By Rebecca R. Newsome, MIRM
Ahhh… You know the feeling. After a long and trying day, there’s no place like home. More specifically, there’s no place like the privacy of your own bedroom and bath in the owner’s suite. Whether your mantra is derived from the wise words of Maya Angelou, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned,” the 1970’s bubble bath slogan “Calgon, take me away!” or a catchphrase somewhere in between, surely you’ve experienced the bliss of relaxing in the seclusion of the home space designated just for you. Builders and designers have certainly recognized the important role private retreats play in renewing our bodies, minds and spirits in the midst of today’s hectic lifestyles. Let’s take a look at this year’s trends in these essential areas, and compare how your current domicile stacks up!
Keep calm and “relax” on
Tranquil, spa-like wall and accent colors continue to top the charts in owner’s suites as they have over the past few years, however, we’re moving a bit away from neutrals and migrating into the territory of muted color. Variations of grey, blue, white and beige remain popular, with hues of green (especially olive), violet, and coral gaining momentum. Vibrant pops of color appear to be on the horizon as we finish out the year and enter 2016, but serene colors carry on for now, as they provide an atmosphere of rest, relaxation, and re-vitalization.
Set the mood with retreat-like lighting
Lighting possibilities are more creative than ever, with major trends including affordable and practical LED lighting (which is six to seven times more efficient than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer!); bowl and drum pendant lighting; chandeliers (not just for dining rooms anymore) instead of ceiling fans in owner bedrooms as well as in owner baths and even walk-in closets; lighting on demand inside drawers and cabinets; and the introduction of copper-colored/warm metal light fixtures, especially in wall sconces, along with the continued popularity of brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and chrome.
John Wagner, Area Sales Manager for Lennar, comments that Lennar simplifies the process of lighting selections by offering high quality fixtures as standard in their homes. “Brushed nickel is standard and very well received, with high performance, flush-mount LED fixtures and wall sconces rounding out owner’s suites,” he says.
Larry Barnes, President of Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Raleigh LLC, says his company frequently provides individual reading lights over each side of the owner’s bed, as well as owner’s suite chandeliers and specialty lighting for owner’s suite sitting areas.
“We share a tremendous amount of information on what works well and what doesn’t with our sister franchises,” says Larry. “This gives us a huge database of information to work with, so when clients tell us they’ve seen something on Pinterest or Houzz or NewHomesAndIdeas.com that they like, chances are great that we’re familiar with their request and we can either deliver it or make great suggestions to get them what they want in a similar or sometimes even better method.”
Although nothing replaces ever-popular natural lighting, LED lighting that shines up into ceilings can replicate natural daylight. Window placement is strategically planned for the location of furniture in bedrooms while also being well thought-out to bring natural light into owner baths and clothing closets.
Sitting areas and access to outdoor living for R3 (Resting, Reading, and Relaxing)
Regardless of bedroom size, many owner’s suites today include a sitting area for increased functionality and space.
Whether utilized for reading and catching up on office work or relaxing and catching up with your spouse, this area provides an intimate place of belonging at the end of the day. Likewise, linking the owner suite to outdoor living is trending in today’s homes. Oftentimes a private porch off the owner suite allows for a quiet morning cup of coffee and an undisturbed glass of wine in the evenings. The connection between home owners and nature has never been stronger. Outdoor living spaces allow for this bonding, especially for those who spend many hours of the day in an office.
Today’s closets offer a wow factor if the right elements are included. What are the “right” elements? “Over-sized closets are always in the top four of most requested features,” says Lennar’s John Wagner. “Owner islands are growing in popularity too,” adds Michelle Simms, Owner of Terramor Homes.
“Typically located in the closet’s center, owner islands are comprised of drawers for lingerie, jewelry, and other items we previously kept in dressers. Trending now are bedrooms without a lot of furniture – consumers prefer to utilize closets with built-ins.” Arthur Rutenberg franchise owner David Schenck agrees. “Owner bedroom furnishings have become more decorative than utilitarian, with closet drawers and organizers stylishly filling storage needs,” he says. “Closets have become dressing rooms, with vanities, seating, and full length mirrors, all in harmony with the spa feel of owner baths. They’re inviting, rather than just storage space.” Walk-in closets of this type also have the advantage of keeping early morning preparation and dressing free of disruption to sleeping spouses.
Classic, minimalistic owner baths continue to receive top rankings among consumers. These relaxing spaces include adult height cabinets, two-sink vanities or separate his-and-her sinks, discrete water closets, and the previously noted calm colors combined with mood lighting.
“Our owner baths are simple, yet applauded by our home owners,” says Nick Tsakanikas, General Manager of Adams Homes. “We feature a nice grade of cabinetry and plumbing and lighting fixtures as our standard, and customers appreciate that.” Tile floors, framed mirrors, granite, marble, or solid surface countertops, fireplaces, and wall-mounted waterproof or within-mirror TVs are among the leading trends in achieving peaceful owner bath retreats, along with opulent, free-standing tubs.
The request for free-standing tubs in owner baths has become so great that they are now standard in the plans for many builders. These tubs give a sumptuous look to bath retreats while providing functional space for soothing bath time.
Alluring walk-in showers
Super-sized walk-in showers up to 6’ x 6’ are trending in today’s bath environments, with a wide variety of rainfall heads and body sprays to enhance the bathing experience. According to Arthur Rutenberg’s Larry Barnes, plumbing is important in these showers to ensure that water releases correctly with optimal pressure from the assorted spray heads. Many of these “no-threshold” showers don’t include doors, and those that do are typically frameless, with door handles and small hinges being the only hardware visible. Steam showers, however, also on the rise, do need doors to keep the steam enclosed. Glass and frameless showers provide an open and luxurious feeling to the bath, while also allowing for ease in cleaning and maintenance.
Oh-so-wonderful comfort heating
An electric mat under the current trend of 12” x 18” to 12” x 24” bathroom tile flooring provides comfortable radiant heat after bathing or any time your feet could use a little warmth; these have been in demand for some time now. Newer to the scene there is a request for heated towel bars and warming drawers to keep towels and bathrobes warm in the same fashion that kitchen warming drawers keep food properly heated. These elements contribute to the spa-like bath environment in a tangible way.
Water-saving toilets and high-tech faucets
Energy and resource efficiency remain top priorities in 2015, with low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads fitting the bill to conserve water and reduce costs without sacrificing performance. As sensor-operated faucets have become popular in the hotel/hospitality industry, they have also surfaced as front runners in homes. This trend appears to be a continuing one for the foreseeable future.
Summing it up
So there you have it: the top owner oasis trends of 2015. To quote Arthur Rutenberg’s David Schenck, “The only thing missing in today’s resort-like owner suites is a staff.” These in-vogue styles can add long term value to your home while giving you lush, customized surroundings.
View these trends in model homes throughout the Triangle and learn more from the professionals quoted here. You might just decide that some of these features are just what you need in your own home… Remember the goal of renewing your mind, body, and spirit, and best wishes!