Uber customization is the new trend that is bringing home design. – Boston.com | NutSocia


A screening room at home? Darling, this is so last decade. We need a custom pole from Europe and a dog bowl.

New home designs shy away from trends and more toward functionality.

Home design trends come and go like fads making their debut on a Parisian runway. Going the en vogue route can be a tricky interior design game, as there’s a fine line between trendy and crippling resale value. But owners of luxury homes increasingly prefer customization in their palatial homes.

The new living trend is trend-shy, you could say.

“It’s not like you go into the design center and pick a bunch of tables and chairs on that level,” said Pamela Nicholson, senior designer, luxury hospitality at Frank Nicholson Inc., an interior design firm behind a mix of residential and hotel projects .

Instead, Nicholson’s clients today often focus their design plans on creative flourishing—literally. Luxury homeowners on Nicholson’s list of clients typically have “really phenomenal” art collections, so they often request apartment floor plans that reflect their collections. Nicholson recently designed and implemented a layout that complements a collection featuring Georgia O’Keeffe and French artist Fernand Léger.

Frank Nicholson Inc. designed this home to complement the owner’s extensive art collection. — Pamela Nicholson

“Most of our work is custom. We sit down and draw carpets and furniture and have them made,” added Nicholson. “We design cabinets and rugs to coordinate them, and that would be quiet and wouldn’t interrupt the paintings.”

For those wondering, that means furniture pieces are somewhere “in the big five figures” — not exactly a $2,000 sofa from a popular furniture chain.

However, customization is not limited to glittering art collections that define the aesthetics of carpets and furniture. Local builders, realtors, and interior designers are finding that homeowners today are making design decisions based on how they will use a space.

Spending more time than usual at home during a global pandemic meant homeowners began to view their modest apartments as a haven rather than a place to showcase the most striking new interior trends. Now the focus is on functionality.

Even as the U.S. economy shrank 3.5 percent in 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak, home improvement spending grew more than 3 percent, or about $420 billion, according to the latest data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies from Harvard University.

“We’ve just really become a more diverse society,” said Maggie Gold Seelig, founder of luxury boutique MGS Group Real Estate. “Even with people back in the office, they’re still doing a lot more from home than they ever were before the pandemic.”

Functionality and customization can range from elaborate home offices with studio-quality lighting for Zoom calls, to mudrooms with build-outs tailored to this family’s activities—even the furry members. Yes, that means integrated dog bowls with a faucet to make refilling a whole lot easier.

“When I sell a house, I spend more time debating and/or in the mudroom than anywhere else,” says Seelig with a laugh.

The kitchen is another focus of individualization in the field of interior design and home renovation, especially for active hobby cooks. Laura Ciampa, founder of eat-in kitchen strategy firm KICHD, advises homeowners on how to use their kitchen before they begin the buildout. This method makes a dream kitchen a reality and usually ends up prioritizing functionality over fads.

“The trend is not trendy,” Ciampa said. “You don’t want to work for your kitchen; You want your kitchen to work for you.”

For example, tall cabinets are popular but have shelves that many people can’t reach. Ciampa will listen to customers who crave these cabinets and add an element of functionality like an extension ladder. Other touches can include islands with adjustable heights or making sure the sinks are big enough to clean the grates of a showy stove.

It’s important to think these things through beforehand, rather than simply seeking the advice of someone in a showroom who hasn’t done kitchen setup, Ciampa said. “When you spend that much money on a kitchen, you want to be happy about it. You should be careful who advises you because a lot of people don’t really cook.”

“When I’m selling a house, I spend more time debating and/or in the mudroom than anywhere else.”

Maggie Gold Seelig, Real Estate of the MGS Group

That doesn’t mean she steers customers away from fads entirely. Outdoor pizza ovens are popular, but Ciampa reminds people of the maintenance that comes with owning a pizza oven and asks how often they get used in a typical New England winter.

“My job is not to discourage,” she added. “It’s meant to guide people to make smart decisions.”

Functionality and customization may be the current fad, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t commonly requested luxury amenities in the homebuilding world.

C. Stumpo Development luxury home buyers increasingly prefer outdoor living. Outdoor kitchens have all the conveniences of an indoor kitchen, from running water and ice makers to refrigerators. Inside, homes often have two kitchens: one for the show, which always stays Instagrammable, while another prep kitchen is where the actual cooking happens. Smart home systems control everything from starting the shower to the coffee machine.

If the home is a sanctuary these days, the primary bathroom could be the altar. The showers are equipped with intelligent ThermaSol systems that offer at-home spa treatments with steam and other features.

CEO Cindy Stumpo notes that bathroom upgrades are getting bigger, with showers coming in at roomy 12-by-5 ​​feet. For context, the International Residential Code sets the minimum shower size at 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet.

Other developers are seeing increasing requests for luxurious builds in surprising locations.

“People are now going to great lengths to take the basement and make it look like the rest of the house,” said Matt Abrams, founder of Abrams Properties. “At least with renovations, it’s not just a simple media room anymore.”

The basement is no longer just a place to store or store a spare TV and couch. Custom moldings typically found in upstairs living areas are now included in finishes. Gyms, saunas and even light wells to brighten up the space are all part of the ground floor upgrades.

Even the home bar gets a glittery facelift.

“Bars in the basement aren’t exactly new, but these bars are next level,” Abrams said. “It is not a seating area for three. It could be someone shipping a bar from Europe that they saw while on vacation.”

It may sound like there’s no limit to luxurious home amenities, whether you’re chasing fads or seeking the ultimate state of function and customization. However, Stumpo warns against getting too caught up on what you find on social media or in a home magazine.

“I have two schools of thought. One is everyone looks at the pictures of houses and their friends are there and I think they all want to outdo each other,” she said. “But the others say, ‘I’m never going to go into the office full-time again. It’s my new way of life.” These people make a house their home.”

Send comments to [email protected]. Follow address on Twitter @globehomes and Cam Sperance @camperance.

Leave a Comment