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Simplicity Reigns

Trends Ideas, Volume 2703

For many people, a retreat is all about paring back the frills and complications of everyday life and taking time out to relax with family and friends. The carefree simplicity of such family vacations helped determine the design of this second home in the Michigan countryside.
Architects Dan Wheeler and Jeremy Olsen of Wheeler Kearns Architects say the owners wanted to be able to host friends as well as family, so the house not only needed to have a laid-back attitude, but also plenty of space.
“At the same time, however, the owners didn’t want the house to look overly large,” Wheeler says. “The lakeside neighbourhood reflects a medley of architectural styles, with a large number of cottage-style homes. But we wanted to create something a little more contemporary and agrarian – a design that would reference the local architectural vernacular of farm buildings that have evolved over time.”
Wheeler says the solution was to provide three simple gabled volumes – a stand-alone garage with a self-contained apartment above, and two linked volumes for the family and guest accommodation.
“The separate buildings help to break down the mass of the house. By orienting the volumes to sit squarely on the site, and providing a long ‘hotel’ wing for guests, we could also screen the outdoor living areas from the street.”
The architect says the farm building reference extends to the rhythmic placing of the windows, the barn-style garage doors and the 45° pitch of the roofs. Because the gabled roofs have such a prominent form, Galvalume standing seam metal roofing was specified. This accentuates the surface and adds visual interest. The same metal clads a firebox on the outside of the main living pavilion.
“We wanted to limit the number of building materials, so the house could be presented as a series of pure, simple forms,” says Wheeler.
For this reason also, the whitewashed cedar siding has a very architectural look, with flat, rather than bevelled edges. And the corners are mitred – unlike typical buildings, there are no end boards over the edge of the siding. This emphasizes the idea of a house in its simplest form, much like a child’s drawing, or a simple model carved from wood.
“Essentially, in taking a vernacular approach we have reinterpreted past practices,” says the architect. “The design is all about proportion and the need to provide a comfortable living environment with a sense of airiness.”
High ceilings with whitewashed wood boards contribute to the light, airy look of the interior. On the upper levels, the ceilings follow the slope of the roof.
“Visually, the wood helps to break down the scale of the roofs, both sloping and flat,” says Wheeler.
Wood also features in the glazed dining room, which has whitewashed cedar siding on one wall, so it appears as a closed-in porch or addition.
“Again, this room makes it seem as though the house could have been added onto over time, just as traditional farm buildings grow,” says the architect.
The family living room incorporates a modern Poliform kitchen with an extra-long island that can be used for food preparation, serving and casual dining. Bright terracotta-coloured glass overhead cabinets are teamed with gray cabinetry and a maple butcher’s block.
On the upper level, the master suite provides another escape for the owners. A freestanding wall behind the bed separates a dressing room, with the bathroom beyond. The bathroom has a central shower unit, with glass walls protecting his-and-hers vanities from water spray.
The guest accommodation wing, or hotel, as the family calls it, provides three bedrooms, a bathroom and guest living room, all accessed by a circulation axis that runs the length of the building.
Away from the street, the house opens up to a series of outdoor rooms and a pool. Wheeler says the owners were able to buy a neighbouring site, which they have landscaped with long stone walls like fingers, interspersed with broad expanses of lawn.

11 Kitchen and Bath design trends for 2011

Dark natural finishes, induction cook-tops, satin nickel faucets, and LED lighting are among the top design trends for kitchens and bathrooms for 2011.
By NKBA Staff

More than 100 designers who are members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), and have designed kitchens or bathrooms during the last three months of 2010, participated in an NKBA survey to reveal design trends in the marketplace for 2011. The results of this survey suggest there will be some changes in the direction that kitchen and bath styles will take this year. Below are 7 kitchen trends and 4 bathroom trends that are poised to take hold in 2011. These are overall trends across the United States and Canada; they won’t necessarily appear in all geographic areas.

Kitchens
1) Shake It Up
The Shaker style began a rise in popularity in 2009 and gained momentum in 2010. By the end of the year, Shaker has supplanted Contemporary as the second most popular style used by NKBA member designers. While Traditional remains the most popular style, having been used by 76% of designers surveyed over that last three months of 2010, that’s a slight drop from the previous year. Meanwhile, the percent of respondents who designed contemporary kitchens fell to 48%, while Shaker rose to 55%. Cottage was the only other style to garner at least 20% of the market, as it registered at 21%.

2) Dark Finishes
Dark natural finishes overtook medium natural, glazed, and white painted finishes to become the most specified type of finish toward the end of 2010. While medium natural fell from being used by 53% to 48% of designers, glazed from 53% to 42%, and white painted from 49% to 47%, dark natural finishes rose from 42 to 51%. Light natural and colored painted finishes remained fairly common, as each rose slightly from the previous year: 24% to 25% for light natural and 24% to 29% for colored paints. Distressed finishes dropped significantly from a year ago, when they were used by 16% of designers, to just 5%.

3) A Place for Wine
While the incorporation of wine refrigerators seems to be on the decline (see Bonjour Réfrigérateur below), unchilled wine storage is growing in popularity. While only 39% of surveyed designers incorporated wine storage areas into their kitchens at the end of 2009, just over half—51%—did so as 2010 came to a close. While other types of cabinetry options remain more common, most are on the decline, including tall pantries (89% to 84%), lazy Susans (90% to 78%), and pull-out racks (81% to 71%). Appliance garages also seem to be falling out of favor, as their use declined from 36% at the end of 2009 to 29% a year later.

4) Bonjour Réfrigérateur
The French door refrigerator has strengthened its position as the type specified most often by NKBA member designers. While freezer-top refrigerators were only specified by 8% of designers as 2010 drew to a close—down from 10% a year earlier, freezer-bottom models fell very slightly from 60% to 59% and side-by-side units actually rose slightly from 46% to 49%. Meanwhile, French door refrigerators jumped from 67% to 78%. Among smaller units, refrigerator or freezer drawers remained flat at 31%, while undercounter wine refrigerators fell sharply from 50% to 36%, an interesting change given the increasing use of unchilled wine storage.

5) Inducting a New Cooktop
Induction cooktops haven’t overtaken gas and electric models, but they’re closing the gap. As we entered 2010, gas cooktops had been recently specified by 76% of NKBA designers, compared to 38% for electric and 26% for induction. However, while the incorporation of gas cooktops has fallen to 70%, electric cooktops has risen slightly to 41%, while induction cooktops are up to 34%. Meanwhile, single wall ovens are down from 46% to 42%, although double wall ovens are up from 68% to 74%. In addition, warming drawers are down from 49% to 42%, and ranges are down sharply from 81% to 68%.

6) LED Lighting
Incandescent lighting continues its journey to obsolescence. While 50% of NKBA member designers incorporated incandescent bulbs into their designs at the end of 2009, only 35% have done so a year later. Instead, designers are clearly opting for more energy-efficient lighting options. While the use of halogen lighting is down from 46% to 40% over the past year, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has increased from 47% to 54%. Designers aren’t turning to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) as a solution, though, most likely due to the poor quality of light they produce; their use by designers remained flat at 35%.

7) Trashy Designs
A greater emphasis is being made to address trash considerations in the kitchen. Some 89% of kitchens designed by NKBA members in the final quarter of 2010 include a trash or recycling pull-outs. In addition, garbage disposals were incorporated by 86% of designers, up from 75% the previous year. Trash compactors have also become more common. Entering 2010, they were recently used in designs by 11% of designers, but a year later, that figure had climbed to 18%. These changes may be due to an increase in sustainability awareness, but they certainly indicate an increase in concern toward trash generated in the kitchen.

Bathrooms

1) Quartz Countertops
Quartz continues to take away market share from granite in the market for bathroom vanity tops. A year ago, 85% of NKBA bathroom designers incorporated granite into a recent design, compared to just 48% for quartz, but now, that gap has narrowed to 83% for granite and 54% for quartz. Unlike in the kitchen, solid surfaces haven’t gained much popularity in the bathroom, increasing only from 23% to 25% over the past year. Meanwhile, solid marble has declined from 46% to 37%, while cultured marble and onyx have increased from 12% to 19%. No other material has even 10% of the market.

2) Green Bathrooms
No, we’re not referring to eco-friendly spaces—we literally mean green bathrooms. A year ago, green color palettes were used by only 14% of NKBA designers, but at the end of 2010, that figure had risen to 24%. Still, whites and off-whites, beiges, and browns are the three most commonly used color tones in bathrooms. However, while white and off-white palettes are up slightly from 57% to 60%, beiges are down sharply from 66% to 57%, while browns have dropped from 48% to 38%. Other common color tones include blues at 22%, grays at 21%, and bronzes and terracottas at 17%.

3) A Worthy Vessel
Under-mount sinks continue to dominate newly remodeled bathrooms, with 97% of NKBA bathroom designers having specified them over the last three months of 2010, up from 95% a year earlier. However, vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers, as 51% of NKBA member designers have specified them in the final quarter of 2010, up from 39% a year ago. Integrated sink tops were also up from 34% to 38%, pedestal sinks were up from 21% to 29%, and drop-in sinks were up from 23% to 27%. This shows that bathroom designers have been specifying more lavoratory sinks across the board.

4) Satin Nickel Faucets
This trend relates to both bathrooms and kitchens. From the end of 2009 to the end of 2010, the percent of NKBA designers who specified a satin nickel faucet rose from 41% to 63% in the kitchen and from 45% to 57% in the bathroom, while the percent who specified a brushed nickel faucet fell from 61% to 48% in the kitchen and from 66% to 38% in the bathroom. Other popular faucet finishes in both the kitchen and bathroom are bronze and oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, and polished nickel. However, while stainless steel is popular in the kitchen, specified recently by 44% of designers, that figure drops to just 16% in the bathroom.

ABOUT NKBA
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade association that has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry for more than 45 years. NKBA.org provides consumers with an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs, as well as articles, tips, and an extensive glossary of remodeling terms. At NKBA.org, consumers can also find certified kitchen and bath professionals in their areas, submit questions to NKBA experts, and order the free NKBA Kitchen Planner and NKBA Bath Planner.

Trillium Awards

 

The Trillium Award was originally conceived as the brain-child of builder, Scott Larson, and then Minneapolis Builders Association (MBA) Membership Committee chair.

The original objective was that; a series of awards to Associate Members would be presented in conjunction with the Parade of Homes. The purpose of the award would be to stimulate a very high increase in Associate membership and to enhance Associate member benefits in the Minneapolis Builders Association.

The concept began to develop with the formation in April 1988, of the MBA Associates committee which re-named itself the Builders Resource Group. One of its sub-committees was assigned the “Spring Preview Awards” along with the task to come up with the name for the award which would ring with a little more class. John Waldron of Lyman Lumber is credited with coming up with the name, Trillium. The Trillium is a wildflower which comes up in the springtime and is native to Minnesota. The first Trillium Awards were given in conjunction with the 1989 Spring Preview Parade of Homes which was held in the middle of April.

Over the last 21 years, the Trillium Awards has continued to evolve. Today this award continues to honor the quality of BATC members products and services and the cooperation between builders and associates, now within five major categories: Best Bath, Best Kitchen, Best Interior, Best Special Area and Best Exterior. Recipients can be proud to display their award in their model homes and offices. And so they should be…they have been judged a winner by experts in their respective field.

True to its namesake, this award returns again each year to bloom in spite of circumstances that change around it. The Trillium has become an established and recognized symbol for the Builders Association of the ongoing partnership between Builder and Associate members.

Reggie Award of Excellence

Reggie Award

The name Reggie stands for Registered Builder and is a program that was created in 1957 to promote a higher level of professionalism in the Twin Cities’ homebuilding industry. The registered Builder program proposed what was, for its first time, an innovative concept;builder members were required to subscribe to a Code of Ethics and be approved by a Board of Certification in order to become a member of the BATC (Builders Association of the Twin Cities). The Reggie Awards were conceived as an adjunct to the Fall Parade of Homes to showcase these Registered Builders to their peers and the public.

Today’s members of the BATC have made further advancements in professionalism. They must be licensed builders in the State of Minnesota as well as subscribe to a Code of Ethics and to a set of Association-approved Minimum Quality Standards.

Today’s builders are highly educated and trained, creating homes of quality and value for Twin Cities families. The Reggie Award of Excellence recognizes the very best of this tradition, and has been held every year during the Fall Parade of Homes.

Judged by a panel of peers (area builders and industry professionals), the winners are selected after an in-depth on-site visit followed by a discussion between judges to ensure the very best of the best earns this award.