I have a love-hate relationship with trends. This year I finally figured out why.
- Trends don’t take into account regional differences, which include cultural, environmental and natural light differences.
- Trends rarely take into account the levels of consumer affluence and spending.
- Trends are just that: the items that are popular at this given moment in time.
- Trends ebb and flow at different times in various parts of the world.
- Almost every trend that’s out there–with the exception of technology– has been done.
To prove my point, have a look at the “Top 10 Interior Design Trends for 2014” from the Wall Street Journal, which hits all five points above. (Macrame wall hangings? Everyone over the age of 40, I already have a hilarious idea of what you’re thinking.)
Let’s take into account that I design for homeowners that are going to stay in their homes for a long time. They have the disposable income to say, “If I amortize that purchase over the number of years I’ll be living in the home, it makes sense to upgrade.” The home values are high here and a typical (I use the term typical very,very loosely) kitchen remodel is between $60,000-$200,000. I also live near Silicon Valley where technology is created, quickly adopted and used. (My clients bring tablets to meetings to show plans and photos, and our company presents tablet-to-TV, although sometimes I still like paper.)
So what I am seeing as the 2014 trend?
Let’s talk technology
Wireless programmable lighting, appliances with remote controls, thermostats and other devices that can be tracked with remote control are some of the items being adopted here. (Well, except for the remote control appliance; that’s new, but coming.) I’m still waiting for wireless TV applications but they’re still a few years away.
While all the editorial reports you’ll see in 2014 will be glowing about the future of wireless technology in the home, I’d be leery of embracing all things wireless without a LOT of research.
Remote wireless technology doesn’t always play well with each other, certain home construction and an entire host of other considerations. In one of our think tank/designer sessions we had on Twitter, I mentioned that one of the biggest technology advances for homeowners would be a standardization of wireless technology. Until we get that, each manufacturer’s technology may or may not play nicely with the others in the home.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t embrace it, but at this point, adding a bunch of applications and having it all work perfectly on your IPad or tablet isn’t a sure thing.
What I’d like to use more of in 2014
Lutron’s Radio RA2 system and the Maestro wireless system. This has been on the market for awhile so Lutron has had their chance to fine-tune and develop these lighting systems. Here’s where I see the possibility: for those of you with older lath and plaster homes, the challenge of running a wire from the light to a new switch is eliminated. The switch is surface mounted on the wall (or is a remote control like your garage door opener) and reacts to the wireless system built into the light. The boss and I still joke that we could still lose the remote control in a flash. Even in a newer home if you’re simply replacing a light or two, you’ve just saved on sheetrock, texture and painting.
The demand spilling over from 2011-2013
Induction: Induction cook tops weren’t as popular this year as they were in 2013, but that was due to many of the clients opting for pro ranges. Certainly a 48″-60″ range with an induction top might sway those figures, but not seeing any yet. I do know when we’re looking at cooktops, once a homeowner does his or her research, induction is a winner.
Touch Faucets: All the kitchens last year ( with the exception of one) had Brizo touch faucets for the kitchen sink. Part of the reason is I have one. I rave about turning on the faucet with a wrist touch when my hands are full of dough or handling chicken. Love it. The top two choices of my clients in 2013: Talo for transitional/traditional kitchens and Venuto for contemporary kitchens.
Where is it all heading?
In two weeks time, I’m heading to Las Vegas to cover the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to check out some of this technology and latest apps. There will be miles and miles of new kitchen and bath goodies…and I can’t wait to show you.
This year, KBIS is pairing up with the International Builders Show (IBS). As a residential designer working for a design/build firm, this also makes me happy. This might not get you excited, but I’m curious as all get-out. Not all the technology is happening in wireless.
Until next time,