Renovation Trends: What do you need to know?

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Old tools on a wooden table

It’s an interesting coincidence that I was doing some research into home renovation and design trends for this article when a regularly scheduled newsletter from Remodeling showed up in my inbox with exactly that topic. It seems that a lot of online publications have a lot to say about renovation trends in 2014.

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Where does the toothbrush holder go???

There are a few strange things that I started to notice by the time I got to about the 5th or 6th article on the renovation trends of 2014. The first was that no one seems to have their own opinion. Just about every article written was a announcement of “Here’s what so-and-so, design expert, said about kitchens,” or “Here’s what the leading interior designer thinks about bathrooms.” In fact, a lot of the articles were word-for-word ripped from other places, with a little added blurb to say that they agree wholeheartedly with the experts.

The second strange thing that I noticed was that, among the experts who were offering opinions on the latest and greatest, the opinions were either quite vague or sometimes completely different from one another. One article I read said that more bolder colour was this year’s trend along with a contemporary look. The next article suggested earthy tones that mixed contemporary with rustic elements. A third one, granted it was a smaller publication that produced it’s own content, told me that black and white was still a thing. I’m not sure, but something tells me that 2014’s biggest renovation trends are simply what you want them to be.

And finally the biggest, most incredibly strange thought that ran through my head, was that I could go back and search for 2013’s and 2012’s biggest trends in renovations. When you think about that for a moment, it makes me wonder why these trends are so different from year to year when one should expect a new kitchen or bathroom to last 15 to 20 years. Are these experts really expecting me to run out every year to remodel my home so that it doesn’t look so…2011?

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Is this someone’s home or the inside of Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine?

The conclusion that I came to was that perhaps we shouldn’t be using the word trends to discuss popular colours and choices in fixtures from year to year, but we should look at trends as things that will stand the test of time. I mean, even in classic furniture building, most of us have heard of the words Shaker-style. It was a trend to have simple, elegant furniture that had specific design qualities. This was not something that lasted a year, but instead, a period of time; and rightly so. It was a trend because it was beautiful and functional.

So what are the long term trends that we should be talking about in our renovations? Here are some that come to my mind:

Personalizing your home.

If I went with what the “experts” tell me for my home renovation project, I’d be removing my tub and shower combo in favour of a curb-less shower or a separate shower and free-standing bathtub. That bathroom would also be teal (to give it that underwater look that some many experts are talking about). I would also looking at divorce papers from my wife. Without a tub and shower combo, giving our 3 kids and 2 dogs a bath would be much more of a challenge than it already is. Now, I rarely take baths, but my wife loves them and occasionally, after a tough day at work, I like to soak my bones. A curb-less shower would leave me without that option, and quite frankly, my kids would be less interested in cleaning themselves up without the help of a bubble bath.

As well, colour choices should be your own. I like bright colours, but I don’t want them on my walls. Why? I have some beautiful artwork, tapestries, and wall hangings from my travels overseas that wouldn’t get noticed as much or would look out of place against a brightly coloured wall. I’m a big fan of traditional mill work. I appreciate the effort it went into making it and I like the warmer tones of natural wood. Well guess what? It’s not “trendy” this year.

And finally, if you have an interest or a hobby, plan to incorporate that into your renovation, instead of going “trendy”. Do you watch a lot of hockey on TV? Wouldn’t a really cool entertainment room with elements of your favourite team speak more about who you are that this year’s hot trends? Personally, I want a reading room. What would you like to see in your home?

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Function combined with beauty

A lot of the photos that go along with these articles on top renovation trends are amazingly gorgeous. Most people would be quite happy with “that beautiful kitchen” or “this stunning bathroom.” Of course, take any of these photos and imagine a couple of kids, a dog, and a cat running around in them. That’s what kids do. I know. I have a couple myself with one more on the way. I also have two dogs. My point is that a lot of these kitchens or bathrooms don’t take into consideration that they may be perfect for one family, but they might not be perfect for yours. I am constantly reminded that, with kids, there are extra toothbrush holders, towels, and rolls of toilet paper needed in the bathroom. Some of those beautiful bathrooms with pedestal sinks just don’t cut it. You, Miss Expert Designer, are out to lunch on how my home needs to function.

Being environmentally responsible

Okay, I’m not just talking about buying “green” product to use in your home. I’m talking about using products that will save energy and therefore put more “green” in your pocket down the road. My thoughts on this trend: More and Better insulation. That cheap pink stuff may meet the minimum code requirements for insulation, but your heating bills will be more because it doesn’t insulate as well as other products. As well, you should be looking at products that use less water and electricity. Some of them are 2014 trendy too. Those fancy U-sockets that charge USB devices such as phones or tablets are energy efficient because they stop charging when the batteries on the devices are full.

Renovating for your future

One trend that is a growing concern with me is finding ways to cut costs by cutting corners on your home. Do you ever see those flyers in your mailbox that advertise painting your home for a ridiculously low price (I’ve seen some that say $99/room). Well , did you know that these companies don’t fill or sand any of the dings or holes and they only apply one coat of paint with no primer? Guess what? That “inexpensive” paint job will cost you more in the long run because you’ll be doing it again a lot sooner than you think. Instead, think about using quality products and skilled labour. It’ll cost more up front, but you’ll save money over time.

So, my advice to people looking to get their home renovated in 2014 (or any year for that matter) is to not focus too much on this year’s trends and instead look at what will give your home that staying power that will make you happy. Unless, of course, teal walls make you happy. Then you’re covered either way.

If you want to view other blog posts from Robert & Michael at Nord Alta Construction, visit our blog on our site by clicking here.

If you’re in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, or the surrounding area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at www.nordalta.com/contact.php to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at info@nordalta.com.

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaConstruction, on twitter at www.twitter.com/Nordalta, and on LinkedIn.

Robert Breault is the president and owner of Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Robert and Nord Alta Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaContruction and on LinkedIn.