2019 Outdoor Living and Design Trends For Every Homeowner

(BPT) – Outdoor living continues to grow in 2019 as homeowners dream of adding spaces that provide tranquility, connection and touches of nature. More than just a home enhancement, these spaces are meant to inspire people to set digital devices aside and find moments of calm while making memories with friends and family.

Now is the perfect time to plan updates to outdoor living areas so as the seasons turn, you’re ready to enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest. Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard, offers his expert insight into top outdoor design trends of the year that you should consider for your home.

Blurring of indoor and outdoor areas

Beyond windows and patio doors, home designs are truly blending indoor and outdoor areas thanks to features like folding walls and collapsible screens. For example, imagine a family room that opens up completely to an outdoor patio for easy entertaining, made possible by retractable walls plus smart lighting and strategic heating and cooling sources for seasonal comfort. These types of integrated spaces make the backyard a one-of-a-kind extension of the home.

Clean lines and contemporary style

Modern lines are a top interior design trend and it is expanding into outdoor living spaces, offering a seamless visual transition. Contemporary style with clean lines, textures and shapes have taken over more traditional styles, particularly among younger homeowners. Modular, large-format pavers embrace this trend and are expected to continue to increase in popularity, with smoother textures gaining traction.

Monochromatic and “greige” tones

The contemporary trend also leans toward monochromatic color schemes. Gray continues to be popular, with the growing trend of “greige” – blends of gray and beige tones – poised to take off in 2019. These muted hues blend seamlessly with the landscape, plus they allow homeowners to use strategic pops of color with furniture and flowers to create customized spaces that reflect their personalities perfectly.

Outdoor kitchens and fire features

In an effort to make outdoor spaces an authentic extension of the home, livability is a priority. That means outdoor kitchens and fire features continue to be a top trend. Kitchen additions like pizza ovens are reflective of the foodie movement, while fire features using gas fuel rather than wood are reflective of the desire for convenience, plus they are a good fit for many municipal regulations.

Sustainability is king

As more homeowners are prioritizing green living, outdoor designs that become a part of the local ecosystem are in high demand. This could include planting to support pollinators and integrating edible landscape into the design. Water features are growing in popularity, used to add a tranquil element to outdoor spaces while masking unwanted sounds, such as traffic or other noise pollution.

Visualization of designs

Partnering with the right designer is key to achieving the outdoor space of your dreams. More homeowners are asking for 3D designs in order to properly conceptualize a space before it is brought to life through construction. Belgard Design Studio can take a simple sketch with dimensions and a few photos and turn it into a 3D rendering or virtual reality experience so homeowners can see the true potential of their outdoor space.

Small footprint designs

Outdoor living isn’t just for homeowners with large properties. Houses with small footprints are adding impressive outdoor spaces in surprising places. This could be maximizing alleyway access, adding a courtyard to a small backyard, or shifting the focus by utilizing the front yard to create a patio and fireplace area. If you long for an outdoor living space, don’t let space constraints limit your dreams.

These 2019 outdoor living trends, in effect, will prove to create a year full of innovative outdoor projects that fit the needs of every homeowner.

Connectivity Is King This Home-Buying Season

(BPT) – The spring home-buying season is just around the corner and that means people are busy making improvements to get their homes ready to sell. These days, home upgrades are increasingly focused on one key feature: connectivity. In 2019, buyers want smart homes they can easily control from anywhere. From smart HVAC and sprinkler systems to connected garage door openers, it’s all about creating convenience and comfort.

Security gets connected

Security systems are nothing new, but the technology used to arm those systems is changing rapidly. More and more home security companies now offer fully connected systems that allow users to protect and monitor their homes from any smart device. Whether it’s a live video feed, the ability to lock and unlock doors remotely or just checking that all sensors are working properly, integrated security systems offer peace of mind. Having the infrastructure in place can be a selling point for buyers who want to make sure their new home is as safe as possible, given they’ll only have to set up the monitoring subscription upon move-in.

Updated garages add value

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value survey, a garage door replacement is the number one home improvement project in terms of return on investment. But these days, more homeowners are taking it a step further and installing new technology to make the garage more user friendly. For example, the SilentMax Connect garage door opener from The Genie Company comes with Aladdin Connect technology built-in to improve convenience and functionality. Not only is the opener super quiet – ideal for attached garages – but the connectivity features allow you to check whether your garage door is open or closed, grant individual access with virtual keys, instantly know when someone is operating your garage door (authorized or not), and provide a log of when each opener was used – all from your phone or smart device. Thanks to this technology, you can open the garage door remotely for delivery people, a housekeeper or for your child coming home from school. Considering your garage is one of the most accessed points in your home, this functionality is a great security feature and proves that garages offer more than just storage space. With the right connectivity tools and features, they can provide convenience that will be attractive to future owners.

Save energy, increase comfort

As home improvement trends go, increased connectivity is rivaled only by the desire for more energy-efficient homes. Smart thermostats accomplish both these aims and can increase the value of your home in the process. Smart thermostats let you easily control the temperature in your home from any connected device. You can set a daily schedule for your heater, adjust the temperature in individual rooms or let the system program itself based on your usage history. For energy-conscious buyers, this kind of technology provides a way of living that’s as aspirational as it is attainable.

Lighting the way

Smart lighting has turned from a novelty to a practical tool as products have gotten more advanced. Programmable lighting allows you to schedule when your lights will come on, turn on and off lights remotely or change the lighting to improve aesthetics. With a smart lighting system, you’ll never have to get out of bed to turn the lights off downstairs, and you can always come home to a fully lit house, boosting your sense of security. With these kinds of applications, your home’s lighting can go from a ‘given’ to a must-have, attracting buyers like a moth to a flame.

New, smart products are hitting the market every day. For homeowners savvy enough to incorporate this new technology into their homes, they’ll not only be more connected, but they’ll likely see more offers rolling in when it comes time to sell.

5 Ways To Create an Inviting Room Using Tile

(BPT) – Today’s tile trends extend so far beyond their traditional use as a staple of bathroom design that you may not recognize them. While once the most attractive and innovative tiles had to be imported, contemporary handcrafted tile and stone products for home design are now being made right here in the United States.

Homeowners and interior designers alike are always seeking distinctive visual touches to make each home special. Here are five ways tile design can enhance a room.

Elevate small spaces. Use tiles interchangeably to create a unique design. The Ann Sacks Radius Collection by designer Barbara Barry has five distinct modular designs that can be used independently, or combined to create patterns to delight the eye. Creative use of a variety of tile shapes like these can easily elevate small spaces such as baseboards, fireplace surrounds or backsplash areas in a kitchen.

Make a color statement. Whether you choose a single color or mix colors to create a pattern, the choices can overwhelm. “I enjoy the soft juxtaposition of watery blue tones, soft green tones and the neutral colors of gravel,” explained Barry. While Barry is known for her love of soft colors, you may choose colors that best complement elements already in the room. If you’re not working with a designer, consider traditional complementary color pairs when making decor choices, such as red-green, blue-orange or yellow-purple.

Create a calm mood. The latest trends in interior design reflect the desire for homes to be sanctuaries. Inspired by the clean lines, appropriate scale and exacting proportion prevalent in Midcentury Modern architectural design, Barry describes her collection as “soft modern, defined by a curved edge for a sensual feel.” Barry adds, “In this busy world, I want to come home to calm rooms and quiet spaces.” Choosing colors, lines, shapes and scale with simplicity in mind can help contribute to a feeling of calm.

Personalize your space. Find what appeals to you, and work with a designer or manufacturer who can meet your requests. In her collection, Barry provides tools for consumers or designers to customize patterns. Designed to spark the imagination, five distinct patterns in varying scales punctuate interiors with personality. Smaller manufacturers can personalize your project with their flexibility, customizing color choices and resurrecting a retired pattern or color, or even by recreating tiles present in a home refurbishing or renovating project. Make your space your own.

Create visual interest. Choose different textures through materials like wood, glass or tile to break up an otherwise ordinary surface in a room. Radius is available in all Made by Ann Sacks matte and gloss colorways, which can be installed as a singular color statement or mixed to evoke a unique, personalized design, whether to create a captivating statement-making wall or to cover an entire floor. The choice of tile adds a textural element to a room that can’t be duplicated by any other material.

Ann Sacks fell in love with tile while on a family vacation to Mexico when she was 13, and later used that passion to create a business inspired by those Mexican tiles. She hired gifted artisans to grow her business into a true American success story. Ann Sacks, founded in 1981 in Portland, Oregon, draws talented craftspeople to create inspiring designs in tile, stone, plumbing, lighting and accessories. These creations are traditional in terms of craft, but aligned with contemporary design trends. Today, the company includes the work of 15 designers.

Whether you choose to use tile in a more traditional way in your bath or kitchen, or to elevate another space inside a home with a more innovative style, use a customized design and select colors to create a unique environment anyone would want to call home.

Building a New Home? Protect Yourself Against Today’s Faster, Scarier Fires

(BPT) – If your new home is among the one million or so being built in the U.S. this year, congratulations! You’ll have the chance to customize it to your dream home preferences.

One feature that should be at the top of your priority list is the best possible fire protection for yourself and your loved ones: home fire sprinklers. While choosing household systems may not be as fun as picking paint colors and carpeting, it’s even more important. And asking for fire sprinklers could literally save your life.

That’s because home fires today are hotter and faster than fires of the past. Homes with unprotected lightweight building material and flooring burn faster, failing quicker (often collapsing in a fire). Common synthetic furnishings and belongings burn hot and fast and produce toxic smoke. Larger, more open layouts enable faster flashover. That means they can become deadly to people and pets in as little as two minutes.

The tragic facts are that seven people die in U.S. home fires each day, while another 12,300 are injured. The residents aren’t the only ones in harm’s way; firefighters are constantly in danger of injury or death. Studies show they’re being diagnosed with cancer as a result of their occupation.

Home fire sprinklers are dependable. They not only save lives; they protect property and possessions (reducing fire damage by as much as 81 percent). Most insurers offer sprinkler discounts that lower your homeowners’ premiums.

“New homeowners have a great opportunity to ensure their houses are optimized for fire protection,” notes Lorraine Carli, HFSC president and vice president of outreach and advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association. “Start with working smoke alarms on every level, and prepare and practice a home escape plan. Create a complete system of fire safety by asking for home fire sprinklers.

Here are the basics:

* Your sprinklers will be customized for your home, ensuring proper protection for your unique layout. Usually the sprinklers are connected to the household water main. In areas where there is not a city water supply or well water, a tank and pump are typically used for water supply. Piping is hidden behind the walls and ceilings.

* There are several kinds of sprinklers made just for homes. Some can be hidden behind round plates. Some sprinkler companies offer custom painted sprinklers to match your d├ęcor.

* Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat, so the entire system does not activate. Each sprinkler has a temperature-sensitive glass bulb. If a fire starts, the high heat from it breaks the glass, allowing the water to flow onto the fire. That controls or even puts out the fire, allowing you and your family to escape.

* You need not worry about your sprinklers being set off by smoke alarms operating, burnt toast or cigarette smoke. They’re designed to operate from the high heat of a fire, usually between 135-165 F.

Your family’s fire safety is in your hands! Ask your builder for home fire sprinklers. The best time to install fire sprinklers is when the home is being built, while walls and ceilings are open and accessible.

Learn the facts about home fire sprinklers from the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a non-commercial educational organization that offers free information and resources. Follow HFSC on Facebook and Twitter.