Home Summer Spotlight

Local experts weigh in on the latest and greatest in interior design trends.

Photographed by Cheryl Gerber

Home design trends may not change quite as quickly as those in the fashion industry, but the pace can surprise you, especially if it hasn’t been on your radar. It may be time to freshen things up with something as minimal as updating your window treatments or as large as breaking ground on a complete kitchen overhaul. Not only are trends aesthetic in nature, they can also be technological – solar-powered shades, music-playing showerheads and hands-free faucets are all popular amenities hitting the market. The following local experts gave us a sneak peak at the latest growing kitchen and bath trends across New Orleans and the nation.

 

Located Uptown, Artisan Kitchen & Bath (5243 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8884, ArtisanNola.com) remains a popular destination for those looking to update their kitchen and bath cabinetry and countertops. According to Kitchen Designer Kerry Flanagan White, textured cabinets with a weathered, light-wash look are increasing in popularity.

 

“Light washes on grains like oak can add a lot of texture,” says White. “Another popular item is Thermofoil doors, something foreign cabinet lines have been doing for a while, and American manufacturers are now catching on to.” Thermofoil doors are coated with a vinyl-like durable plastic and come pre-finished in solid colors and simulated wood grains for an easy-to-clean, modern look.

 

In the world of countertops, Caesar Stone is shaking things up with a new marble-like line of quartz that has impressed White and other designers. Marble, a porous stone, isn’t typically durable enough for a kitchen countertop, and Caesar Stone’s new line gives the look and beauty of marble with a worry-free lifetime warranty.

 

Lindsay Swenson, General Manager of Floor & Decor Design Gallery (2801 Magazine St., 891-3005, FloorAndDecorOutlets.com), is seeing an influx of polished porcelain tiles into the New Orleans and national markets.

 

“It’s always been a popular style in beachy areas, and now it’s becoming a national trend,” says Swenson, who notes that the large-format, polished tiles give a clean, contemporary look to a space. Another growing tile trend is uniquely shaped tiles such as elongated hexagons and octagons. “The real linear look continues to expand, and tiles are now coming in all sizes – 6-by-18, 4-by-10, 4-by-16,” says Swenson.
In wood floors, Swenson sees a growing interest in reclaimed pine, whitewashed and greyed looks, as well as wide-plank and distressed, beachy, soft woods. Floor & Decor Design Gallery also has a secondary location in Gretna.

 

Further down Magazine Street Peggy Stafford, owner of Stafford Tile & Stone (5234 Magazine St., 895-5000, StaffordTile.com) is stocking up on mosaics – tile, stone, glass, metals and combinations of all of the above.

 

“We’re seeing a lot of use of mosaics, and a lot of mixed media mosaics, where you might have a stone basket weave design with a glass dot in the middle and other variations,” says Stafford. “With respect to shapes, we’re seeing a resurgence in those that might be considered vintage or retro in appearance, such as chevrons
and herringbone.”

 

While many people are still emphasizing the plain 3-by-6 look for backsplashes, Stafford is seeing a new interest – hand-painted, patterned tiles.

 

“People aren’t afraid of patterned, colored tiles, Moroccan patterns, Italian designs, these things are coming into vogue and onto the scene,” says Stafford.

 

Stafford regularly posts updates and trends on Facebook and is currently running a contest for those who “like” their page.

With a large showroom of kitchen and bathroom essentials, Southland Plumbing Supply (2328 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 662-1065; 68443 Highway 59, Suite 6, Mandeville, (985) 893-8883; SouthlandPlumbingSupply.com) is constantly bringing in the latest technologies and designs. According to Showroom Consultant Melissa Dupre, the latest high-tech favorites include a showerhead with a built-in speaker, as well as touch- and motion-sensing faucets.

 

“The Kohler Moxie showerhead has a removable speaker that we’ve been selling like crazy,” says Dupre. Using Bluetooth technology, the speaker can stream music, radio or podcasts from any number of devices.

In the kitchen, more and more people are opting for hands-free or semi-hands-free faucets. Touch and motion-sensing faucets help keep the kitchen more sanitary and are increasingly popular for their convenience.

“If you have cookie dough or raw chicken on your hands, you don’t have to grab and contaminate a faucet lever,” says Dupre. “You can just place your hands underneath the stream or touch the faucet with a clean part of your arm or the back of your hand.”

In keeping with a hands-free theme, Wren’s Tontine Shade & Design Shop (1533 Prytania St., 525-7409, WrensTontine.com) is now offering a convenient option for controlling natural light without having to ever open or close a shade. The new Somfy Sunis Indoor Wirefree™ RTS Sun Sensor is a solar powered sensor that knows when to raise and lower shades based on light thresholds you can set yourself.

“People really enjoy them and the convenience of not having to physically open and close all of their shades,” says Blythe Wren, third-generation owner of the store. “You can also override the sun sensor anytime you want via a remote.”

 

In addition to being stylish, it’s always trendy to reduce energy costs. Many customers want to find window treatments that help keep out the heat while accentuating a room. Wren supplies a number of designs and materials that do just that.

One area of the kitchen often overlooked due to its nature of being “behind closed doors” is the ever-important pantry. The function and utility of a pantry keeps your kitchen organized, so guests can appreciate sweeping countertops and sleek cabinets, not cereal boxes that don’t fit on cabinet shelves or dusty wine racks.

 

“The traditional pantry used to be a closet about two or three feet wide with shelves,” says Paul Corona, franchise owner of California Closets (3211 N. Causeway Blvd., 828-5705, CaliforniaClosets.com/metairie).

 

According to Corona, most houses built today have walk-in pantries and many are doing a lot more in terms of storage, customizing the shelving and space for clients’ needs.

 

“Adjustability is very important and helps you maximize space. With adjustable shelving you can fit big cereal boxes in one place, small cans in another. We can also do spice racks, wine racks, drawers and baskets,” he says.

 

California Closets offers free consultations in which they take a look at a person’s space and discuss their specific needs before creating a custom design and installing the warrantied closet or pantry.

In recent years, a growing number of home designs find utility in connecting the master closet with the master bathroom.

 

“A big trend is creating larger master bathrooms with a walk-in closet attached so that people can get ready and dressed without having to wake each other in the bedroom rummaging through drawers and turning on lights,” says Don Wise, founder of Louisiana Custom Closets (885-3188; showroom 13405 Seymour Meyer Blvd., Suite 24, Covington (985) 871-0810; LouisianaCustomClosets.com). Since 2003, Louisiana Custom Closets has been tailoring rooms, shelves, hampers, hutches and more to fit the needs of residents in Southern Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.

 

“After you measure, you take inventory of people’s belongings – shoes, long dresses, suits, etc. – then we can custom design with their needs driving the design process,” says Wise.

 

Louisiana Custom Closets’ showroom and manufacturing facility is located in Covington, where they personally manufacture each custom closet design.

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