Build kitchen cabinets right up to the ceiling to maximise space.  Picture: Jason Boud
Build kitchen cabinets right up to the ceiling to maximise space. Picture: Jason Boud
Be aware of where you're going to place taps.
Be aware of where you're going to place taps.
Wood-burning fireplace with a gas starter. Picture: TOPFIREPLACES.COM
Wood-burning fireplace with a gas starter. Picture: TOPFIREPLACES.COM
Real estate experts Steve and Hans Wydler.
Real estate experts Steve and Hans Wydler.

Washington - Brothers Steve and Hans Wydler, authors of Inside The Sell: Top Agents Reveal Unspoken Secrets And Dangers Of Buying And Selling Your Home, give these top trends to watch in 2016.

“Since we have the unique vantage point of seeing lots of homes and working with many sellers and buyers, we thought we’d share with you 10 of our favourites trends we are seeing in homes. Some are functional, some are aesthetic. Others are a bit of both.”

 

Kitchen cabinetry:

Kitchen cabinetry that goes all the way to the ceiling makes use of all the vertical space. Besides, when cabinets stop short of the ceiling, the tops just collect dust. We like to see good quality cabinetry that includes “soft close” (aka “self-close”) features on the drawers and dovetail joints. Also, inset cabinets (as opposed to overlay) require a higher level of craftsmanship and have more of a finished look. Of course, they cost more money, too.

 

Smart use of pocket doors:

Nothing is more frustrating than opening a door only to have it slam into another door that was left ajar. Where there are too many doors opening into an area, or just a need for precious space, pocket doors make sense. In addition to saving space, pocket doors allow for easier placement of furniture.

 

What is a pocket door?

A pocket door is a sliding door that disappears, when fully open, into a compartment in the adjacent wall. Pocket doors are used for architectural effect or when there is no room for the swing of a hinged door.

 

Air conditioner units:

Most A/C air handlers we see are located in an unconditioned area. We are starting to see “green” homes in which the unit is built in a “conditioned” room. In other words, the A/C unit cools itself, making it run far more efficiently and extending the life of the unit. Very cool.

 

Backsplash outlets no more:

A kitchen backsplash can be a great finishing touch to pull a kitchen design together. We’ve seen homeowners go to great lengths to mask kitchen outlets (eg, faux painting). A more elegant solution is tucking the kitchen electrical outlets neatly under the hanging kitchen cabinets. They are out of sight but conveniently accessible.

What is a backsplash? A vertical extension to a counter – typically kitchen or bathroom counter – which protects the wall from unintended splashes of water.

 

Floor vents and return grilles:

Finished floor vents custom crafted from the same material as the floor are vastly better than a cheap metal insert. Similarly, once overlooked metal air returns are an opportunity to add some pizzazz with vintage-style patterns.

 

Placement:

Look for bathroom shower and tub taps which are conveniently located where you can turn on the water without getting wet. Similarly, “toe-kick” light switches at the bathroom vanities make it easy to turn on lights when you have dirty or wet hands.

 

Electric outlets:

Incorporating combo electrical outlet/USB ports into key areas in the kitchen, by bed tables and in home offices can make charging your devices far more convenient.

 

Doors and thresholds:

Hollow doors make a home feel flimsy. Look for solid-core doors, with good quality hardware. Taller door thresholds on the main level create a more open feeling and let light travel between rooms.

What is a solid core door? It provides sound dampening and insulating qualities that a normal interior hollow-core door does not provide.

 

Solar tubes:

Solar tubes are cylinders connecting from the roof to a ceiling, bringing natural light into a home at a fraction of the cost of skylights. They help to save on electricity bills and can brighten up an otherwise dark part of the home.

 

Wood-burning fireplace with gas starter:

A gas starter for a wood-burning fireplace is the best of both worlds. With a gas starter, you can look like a Scout starting a fire effortlessly. No kindling, no newspaper, no sweat.

Steve Wydler and Hans Wydler co-lead the Wydler Brothers Real Estate team.