Remodeling trends for 2013




Marc Niski is having a very busy season. Business is good, he said, with people moving forward with plans to remodel or otherwise improve their homes.

“We’re really doing a lot of work,” said Niski, who owns Remodeling Sarasota Inc. And Niski is seeing new energy in renovations, new trends and new choices as 2013 approaches.


This remodeled home in Sarasota has a sepele Brazilian wood floor. Staff photo / Dan Wagner.

So are other local builders and contractors. Denny Yoder, president of Yoder Homes, said his company also is doing a lot of renovations, particularly those that involve the integration of adjacent rooms. “We continue to ‘open up’ by removing dropped ceilings and walls between living spaces,” Yoder said.

The move toward integration and simplification is a nationwide one. According to Kathleen Donohue of Oregon-based builder Neil Kelly, Inc., the overall trend is toward easier, greener living and low-maintenance design. In application, the esthetic extends from whole-house energy efficiency to streamlined kitchen cabinetry, “bulletproof” counter tops, pre-finished wood flooring and solid “pops” of glass and color.

 “A clean, simple, contemporary look will be popular with homeowners looking to economize and eliminate unnecessary clutter and fussy details that equate (with) high maintenance and complicated living,” Donohue said.
According to Lindsay Mineo of Palatin Remodeling, Americans are spending more time in their kitchens and bathrooms than ever before, thanks to open floor plans, kitchens that host an array of activities beyond meal preparation, and spa-like bathroom designs that invite relaxation. The recession, too, has played a role: People are cooking more at home and looking for ways to inexpensively enjoy themselves.
Indeed, both Yoder and Niski said they’re doing a lot of work in kitchens and baths. In 2013, Yoder expects to see glass as a popular choice for backsplashes, as well as open stainless steel shelves instead of upper cabinetry for homeowners desiring a modern, clean look in their kitchens. Stainless-steel appliances remain popular, he said, and he’s installing a lot of specialty storage encompassing drawers with lid holders, cutlery dividers and spice cabinets.
In her work, Donohue is seeing a lot of glass/stone/tile mosaic composites that add texture and tie in with stone and quartz counter tops. As for counter tops themselves, Niski expects granite to remain the No. 1 choice, while Donohue anticipates increased interest in other materials.
“Granite has been dethroned,” Donohue said, while acknowledging that the material “still has many die-hard fans.” But prepare for a surge of interest in composites, particularly in quartz, which she calls “the new king of counter tops,” for its low maintenance and bullet-proof wear.

With respect to sinks, Donohue expects that double-bowls will give way to singles. “With accessories such as fitted colanders and dish drains, deep single-bowl sinks have all the benefits of a divided sink, plus the large size to actually fit that roasting pan or those baking sheets into the sink all at once,” she said. Here again, stainless will remain popular, Donohue said, but quartz composites increasingly will be viewed as a good value and a durable alternative.
In the bath, replacing an old vanity with an updated one can take years off the feel of the room. And installing a vanity in a bathroom that currently has a pedestal sink is a good way to gain storage space and add personality. In terms of larger-scale bathroom renovations, Yoder anticipates continued interest in opening up walls and raising ceilings to create a more open feel as well as in adding windows or glass blocks to increase natural lighting.
Throughout the house, Yoder is seeing interest in engineered wood products for floors, with an added shift towards ceramic wood-style surfaces. “It’s a little more expensive, but the wear-ability and durability seem to be a good fit for the Florida lifestyle,” he said.
Donohue agrees that pre-finished and engineered wood flooring will become increasingly popular in 2013. In addition to providing a durable surface, pre-finished wood floors are an installation time-saver, and they eliminate the sanding-dust dilemma of standard hardwood, she said. Engineered wood is also compatible with under-floor heating systems — a big plus during the colder months.
Look too for lighter colors throughout the house, as people seek to extend the open, airy feel. Light doesn’t necessarily mean white, either; light blues, greens and grays are increasingly popular. For those who still want darker tones, Donohue said charcoal has become the new black. 2013 will find this silky color everywhere, she said, as it blends the right amount of chocolate, grey and a touch of green.
Some already existing trends are going to stick around. According to Mineo, for instance, green remodeling is here to stay. There’s almost no downside, she said, since it typically occurs in areas homeowners were planning to renovate anyway, while using environmentally friendly products, shrinking the home’s carbon footprint, and reducing its utility costs.
Green remodeling can pay for itself within a matter of years, Mineo said, depending on the initial expense and the household’s energy use. An additional benefit is that buyers are typically drawn to energy-efficient upgrades, anticipating that they will reap the financial rewards of the previous owner’s foresight. The growing demand for healthier, more sustainable homes is yet another manifestation of increased interest overall in simplicity, Donohue said.
Another trend that appears here to stay is age-in-place remodeling, which allows elderly family members to remain in the home.
Simple additions, such as replacing a shower with a walk-in bathtub or adding safety rails, along with major overhauls, such as adding a ground-floor bedroom or even a conjoined apartment can enable multi-generational family members to continue to share the same space.
Buyers are now seeing these types of additions and renovations as wise investments in the future rather than as bothersome or esthetically unappealing. Kitchen and bath upgrades that enhance functionality and safety are particularly desirable, Donohue said.
Of course, not all trends are for every homeowner. Decide which parts of your home you’d like to change and be creative with your updates.
It’s your space, after all, and improving it to your taste is most important. One fast rule remains: make sure the renovation will add value in the long run.

Last modified: December 28, 2012
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