This article, featuring Alice, appeared in the September 2009 issue of Cape Cod Magazine. If you would like a PDF copy of the article, please click on the image below.
A good kitchen requires space, but once space is achieved, it’s the interior that makes it functional as well as inviting. Vantine stresses the importance of a classic look that won’t feel dated 10 or 20 years down the road. Stainless steel remains popular when it comes to the color of fixtures and appliances, and designers don’t see a slowing in this trend, especially with new stainless steel that doesn’t leave fingerprints as easily.
However, homeowners are on the fence about which is more pleasing to their eye—some home appliances are becoming increasingly hard to spot, as designers have become experts at hiding the appliances behind beautiful cabinet doors. However, this does not seem to have had an affect on all aspects of the kitchen appliances and fixtures. “Faucets are so sculptural; designers have taken a utilitarian article and created an architectural statement. Sinks and faucets have taken places of pride in the middle of islands, so that they are the ‘eye candy’ in the kitchen,” says Alice Duthie from Design Soho in Chatham.
The attraction to beautiful faucets and fixtures does not limit itself to the kitchen space, but can also be found in bathrooms. Alongside this “eye candy” is a growing trend in beautifully designed sinks. Complete this look with glass tiles and you’ve got quite a picture. “Glass tiles are also so popular now because they reflect the light so they have a ‘shimmer’ effect,” says Duthie.
Another popular detail spotted by designers is Bead Boards, strips of wood that are installed vertically halfway up the side of the wall almost like paneling. These boards help create a clean break between the color of the wall and the tile or flooring, giving the room a very streamlined appearance.
Of course the most important aspect of the room as far as hygiene and relaxation goes is the shower and bath. “Showers for ‘two,’ oversized showers, are becoming very popular,” says Duthie, pointing out the larger spaces often feel very spa-like and may include shelf-style seating. Adding to the luxurious spa quality are more complex showerheads with functions spanning from gentle massaging water flow to high-powered pressure, as well as multi-showerheads throughout the space. Adds Duthie, “The fun of a shower head is that clients can have a variety of shower heads and a variety of placements.”
Continuing the luxury bathroom trend is a growing demand for larger, deeper bathtubs with plenty of room for accessories. Whirlpool tubs continue to remain a popular trend, although the tubs are now featuring easier to clean and more mold-resistant air tubes—instead of large jets circulating air, tiny holes releasing air bubbles around the tub produce a similar effect.
With the desire to slow down and get away from the whims of the outside world, master bedrooms are becoming sanctuaries for homeowners. More and more homeowners are incorporating comfortable sitting areas ideal for morning lounging or finding a quiet reprieve from weekend guests taking advantage of beach homes. Eliminating clutter to create a peaceful place is key, says Duthie, who sees larger, walk-in closets with boutique style built-ins growing in popularity. “Clutter is something that you can hide behind a closed door. Oversize closets for storage of clothing, shoes, etc., means that the bedroom can become a sanctuary with a beautiful bed and lighting dedicated to reading,” she says.
To further calm the senses, muted colors on walls, floors and fabrics continue the peaceful atmosphere. These muted colors also allow homeowners freedom when choosing accent colors, allowing color to pop in small doses, such as along trim of accent pillows or in a colorful painting. The muted colors also allow the homeowner to suit both sexes in the bedroom. “Often sitting areas in master bedrooms are more feminine, but in a growing number of homes, they are becoming more neutral so men can enjoy the space, as well,” says Vantine.
Vantine also notes neutral colors are popular in flooring options, especially in children’s room, where wall colors change as time passes. Neutral colors allow for rooms to transition from a nursery to toddler room to a haven for teens, despite the change of fabrics, furniture and wall colors, she says.
Color, as most designers and homeowners know, is an integral part of the interior design of a house—color allows homeowners to put their mark on the homes. With designers trusting color trends from paint developer Benjamin Moore, its no wonder the newest color collections are popular among Cape Cod interiors. Colors such as Blue Nose, a chic blue with a small measure of gray, Sea Haze, a gray with a tinge of brown, and Vellum, a subdued yellow, bordering on the color of wheat, continue a trend toward muted color palettes offering hints of calming colors.
“Trends for homes are simpler, pared down and offering relief from the pressures and anxieties of the outside world,” says Benjamin Moore’s Director of Communications Eileen McComb. For our beach-friendly communities, Duthie finds those simple, pared-down colors reflect the environment. “It’s a sand and sea environment here at the Cape. Taupe, white and blues with black and white accents are the perfect choice,” she says.
Even colors found in fabrics reflect the depth and colors of the Cape. The varieties of patterns in fabrics enable designers to create interest with textures and depths of colors. “I still like chintz, and so do my clients,” says Duthie. “Chintz has such a crisp look and the florals from Thibaut are wonderful.”
Vantine also looks for colors in fabrics that blend well, but are both beautiful and serviceable and won’t fade as easily in the sun.
Perhaps the largest trend in interiors is to bring them outdoors in outdoor living spaces. While patios used to be the most popular, and are still in demand, the concept of making the outdoor space into something akin to a room has risen in the past years. The areas are no longer just a patio with a table and set of chairs, but are far more detailed. Says Vantine, “People want to be where the sun sets and rises, where the view is.”
Homeowners are even incorporating general landscaping to add a homier feel to the outdoor living space. Plants are increasingly planted in soil and stonework patterns to compliment the “interior” design, as well as help provide privacy from neighbors. Details like a red brick patio or potted geraniums provide finishing touches to this extension of the home.
Green living isn’t exactly a new concept, but with increased awareness homeowners are reusing, recycling, and as Vantine puts it, “people are thinking more long-term, instead of just a quick fix.” Reusing furniture by revamping them with paint or new fabrics, is just one way interior designs can create a “new” look. This also helps homeowners manage their budget a little bit better, while reducing waste and the loss of raw materials in the environment. This recycle and reuse trend isn’t just in furniture, but in flooring. While wood flooring is still the leading flooring selection, designers have seen an increase in more sustainable flooring alternatives, such as cork and bamboo flooring. Both provide a classic look and are perfect for the environmentally conscious home owner.
Cape Cod homes are no strangers to the world of chic, style and sophistication, all while still managing to capture the relaxation and gusto for life that homeowners know and love. Be daring in your fixtures, classic in your kitchens, and green in your home and you’ll be the envy of your neighbors even as they try to peer through the privacy shrubs outlining your new outdoor room.