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Trendy vs. Timeless Renovations

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the real estate market in Middle Tennessee is BOOMING.  This, of course, is awesome news for people selling homes, but not so great for buyers, who often find themselves competing for houses, especially in hot neighborhoods and communities. As such, many of my clients find that they’d rather renovate their current home than enter the fray of our frenzied “sellers” market.  I can’t say that I blame them, but I do caution all my clients (those prepping for sale, too!) to make sure that their renovations are “buyer” friendly.
Even if you’re renovating your home for your own enjoyment, chances are that you’ll become the seller one day.  Here’s what I’m getting at… some of our current design styles are pretty swoon-worthy, but others – while pretty – are quite trendy.  They’re on every designer’s “must have list” today, but tomorrow… they might not seem so fresh and hip.  Bottom line… no matter why you’re renovating or redecorating your home, it’s important to remember that timeless, classic elements will always pay off while trendy, up-to-the minute changes might leave your home feeling dated and old-fashioned.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to spend time talking about do’s and don’ts for renovating and redecorating two very important areas of your home… your kitchens and your bathrooms.  Upgrading these rooms can change your entire home, for the better or for the worse.  They’re also very pricey projects, so you want to be sure you’re planning and executing well.  If you’re renovating to prepare your home for sale, these redo’s are really important because great kitchens and baths sell homes!  But, out-of-date kitchens and baths can stop a motivated buyer in their tracks.  Those big projects deserve their very own posts, though, so today, I thought I’d just touch on a few general trends that I see popping up throughout new and renovated homes and how you can tweak the “trendy” to make it “timeless.”

Everybody loves gray!  It’s the hot new color for today’s builders and designers.  It’s cool and crisp and looks great paired with accents of yellow, navy or green.  I’m a fan, truly, but I caution my clients to carefully research their paint choices.  Know the gray you’re getting, because you might have heard there are fifty shades of it.  I’m here to tell you there are fifty-bazillion. Grays come in undertones of blue, purple, brown, green and even pink.  If you choose poorly, your home might wind up looking like a really washed-out gray Easter egg.

When choosing your perfect gray, start with the room that’s largest and brightest.  Buy sample paints and paint large swatches on the walls in various spots, then check out the samples at various times of the day.  What looked like a lovely, blue-based gray in the morning light, might look dingy and dirty in the fading sun.  Once you do find your favorite gray (for me, it’s Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray, but millions swear by its beiger cousin, Revere Pewter), work from the same color card or palette.  If you choose Coventry for your foyer, go two values darker for your living and dining room or two values lighter for a tiny powder room.  As long as you’re in that same gray family, you can change colors without changing hues.

One other thing about paint… I’ve been seeing lots and lots of gray on baseboards and crown molding and wainscoting and coffered ceilings.  Please, just no.  You will regret painting your millwork and trim any other color than white.  Trim is meant to be an accent.  A bright, white accent to complement the darker tones of your walls.  Nothing looks nicer than a dramatic gray dining room with thick white crown molding.  But turning that design practice on its head takes a classic, timeless upgrade and makes it scream 2016!!!  Maybe even 2015.  It’s not trendy… it’s tired already.

Before I sign off, let’s talk about barn doors.  No doubt the modern farmhouse vibe is thriving right now.  Thanks to a certain HGTV-loving, house-flipping super couple down in Waco Texas, sliding barn doors are THE. NEW. THING.  And I get it.  They’re cool and hip and also really functional in tight rooms where space is a premium.  I’m not here to tell you not to install a barn door.  I’m here to tell you not to install a barn door in every room of your home.    Use them sparingly in front of a mudroom or hall closet.  DO NOT use them for bathrooms.  While barn doors are chic and stylish, they are not conducive to privacy.  Also, shiplap.  Sigh.  Shiplap, like barn doors, is all the rage.  It’s a great way to add texture and dimension to a room, but again… use it in moderation.  Today’s shiplap is tomorrow’s velvet wallpaper.  If you use shiplap in your redecorating frenzy, use it on an accent wall or in a small room.  And please, trust me when I tell you that you will rue the day you install ship lap on your ceiling.  Remember: timeless, not trendy!

Next week, we’ll tackle the kitchen… appropriate since we’ll all be spending a great deal of time there as we prepare for Thanksgiving Feasts.  Speaking of, my dear readers and clients, I hope you all know how thankful I am for all of you each and every day.

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