Trends – New Construction & Remodel Finishes

I view trends more from the standpoint of how people who are buying homes view the trends, moreso than how people who actually live in their homes view them.

“The carpet that “has become extremely popular of the last few years is the Textured or Frieze style. It is also referred to as the ‘trackless’ or ‘no foot print’ style. This style is very good at hiding traffic and doesn’t show vacuum lines. A Frieze is a lot like the Textured style except that the twist is much heaver with the Frieze. A good quality Frieze styled carpet can be one of the most durable styles you can buy and holds up extremely well under heavy traffic.”

[photopress:textured_1_2.jpg,full,alignright]I took the quoted language from a carpet site, to show the difference between Texured and Frieze. They look about the same to me. One thing I have noticed is that on bare feet, some feel terrible and stiff and others feel great. You may want to give it a bare foot test both on the carpet sample at the store and then again when the carpet arrives before it is installed. One of the advantages of viewing homes with bare feet and slip on shoes. Doesn’t look as professional I guess, but I pick up a lot more imperfections in the flooring with bare feet.

Along with this trend comes darker carpet colors in sage green and brown tones, or at least a darker beige. No more black dirt borders around the edges. I for one am happy with this trend, but remember to keep the walls light if you are going with darker carpet. You can still use sage green paint with a darker sage carpet, but keep it light with only an accent wall in the darker color and the rest of the room in a lighter version. I find adding white paint to the darker one keeps the same color tone, better than playing with all the paint chips trying to match the light with the dark. From what I’ve seen in some homes, not everyone has a “good eye” for matching tone, so adding white cuts down on the error factor.

Hardwood floors are more popular than ever. People talk more about bamboo for the “green” factor, but I SEE more wood than bamboo. Newer townhomes are using a lot of Brazilian Cherry, shifting from narrow plank to wide plank recently, and in the darker version. I’m looking at the thicker version myself, but the thinner pre-finished version, that can only be refinished lightly once or twice, is what I see most in newer townhomes in Seattle.

My favorite subject is knobs! and handles. And here we see a big change. Nothing changes the look of a kitchen and bath more cheaply than changing out the cabinet hardware.

If you have these white ceramic knobs,[photopress:white_knob.jpg,full,alignleft]

a quick change out to brushed nickel or stainless knobs [photopress:kn.jpg,full,alignright]does the trick.

I just sold a condo with the white knobs, and will probably give him all of my brushed nickel knobs, because while I was looking at knobs for this article, I found this great one!! [photopress:glass_knob.jpg,full,alignleft] Anyone who has been to my house will know why 🙂

But the really big news is in the two hole pull vs. the knob.Anyone who has anything that looks like this: [photopress:out.jpg,full,alignright] in gold or brass or even in brushed nickel,

there is a big change to this round extended bar style, either in stainless steel or brushed nickel [photopress:in.jpg,full,alignright]

21 thoughts on “Trends – New Construction & Remodel Finishes

  1. Hey Ardell,
    Thanks for all the insight into the trends! My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a home and I’m already planning new knobs everywhere! I can’t wait to see the new look when I’m done.

  2. You are very welcome Nickie. I changed my knobs right away when I bought my house. There were not only white ceramic, they were white ceramic with delft blue flowers on them! I have a bunch in the basement if anyone wants them 🙂

  3. Great post Ardell. We had exactly the white knobs you mentioned throughout our house when we bought it. Home Depot features a great contractor pack of the brushed nickel ones. We replaced all of the knobs in the house in about 30 minutes for less than $30. It is a huge improvement.

  4. Eric,

    I have 37 knobs in my kitchen! I think I’ll go with the glass knobs on the top cabinets and switch the big lower drawers to drawer pulls. But I’d have to drill two new holes and fill in the hole in the middle, to do that.

    Next time you are over here, I’d appreciate your opinion on that. I think the lower portion needs some knobs to stay and some drawer pulls.

    37 knobs is way too many to be all the same kind. I’ll order the turquoise glass ones first, to match the “silver” base to the rest. 37 glass turquoise ones would look like a pinball machine…way too much of a good thing.

  5. Ardell can you also comment on 1) surround sound 2) lighting (Can lighting with dimmers in family, master), 3)laundry room additions like stand alone sink 4) tech desk in kitchen 5) data ports or RJ45 ports with CAT5 6) ceiling fans pre-wire 7) surround sound pre-wire using high quality cable like monster 8) bottom mounted sink with true slab granite versus sile stone 9) kitchen backsplash 10) paint types, colors?

    what type of carpet would you recommend if not frize

  6. Hi Sandy,

    I answered most of those questions in the comments section where you originally asked them. I’ll repost it here later after my Open House and 5 o’clock appointment after the Open House.

  7. Hi Ardell, How often do people install hard wood on their stairs? Does this improve the re-sale value of a home? Is this worth the investment – considering its pricey to do this for a 14 steps

  8. I haven’t seen people do that for a very long time, but recently I have seen several. Many are boxing the steps in pergo or thin pre-finished wood products, and sometimes it looks really bad. Some are using big wide 2″ to 3″ thick edging strips, that makes the stair treds smaller and somewhat dangerous. I did see one recently that was done very well with the back of the steps in white and the treads in a very nice darker wood. Solid pieces of wood, not hardwood narrow plank pieced togther.

    You have asked many questions regarding which improvements are worth the investment. A lot depends on the style, location and size of the house. For example, the house next door to me is “a tear down”. It is currently used as a rental. If someone put all of the improvements you have asked about inside that house, they would not get a dime back on it. The value of that house is the value of the dirt under it. There is nothing they can do to change that. The value of the lot is about $700,000 and the house in any condition whatsoever is going to sell for $700,000. So adding $50,000 of improvements is a total waste of money. Making any improvements except regular maintenance items would be a waste of money. The owner knows that and only does what is needed to keep it rented and provide an income, until he is ready to tear it down and have a new home built on the lot.

    Another example would be a townhome. There is a maximum amount that people will pay for any townhome in the complex. Adding lots of expensive upgrades can only return about 10% more than the value without the improvements (an old appraiser’s rule of thumb). So if the townhome is worth $350,000 relative to all the neighbor’s values, and someone put $50,000 into it, they would likely be wasting $15,000.

    If you send me an email telling me where you live, and send me a picture of the outside of your house, I can likely give you a better idea of the max value after improvements. This way you can budget to spend no more than X. If you live in my “service area”, I would be happy to stop by and give you a list of what improvements would provide a return, and which will not.

    If you are not in the Seattle Area, I’d say that the most return for installing wood stairs would be in a house where the staircase is a big value factor. A big home with a very visible grand staircase that is visible from several places in the home.

    I have “split landings”, 5 or six steps, then there is a landing and the steps turn. For those I would put wood on the landings and carpet on the steps.

  9. Kay,

    Not a lot of difference in appearance as far as I can tell. Stainless comes in a lot of custom and designer shapes and I believe costs a bit more. Depends on the style of knob and the weight.

    A satin finish stainless is glossier than a brushed nickel, but almost identical to a satin nickel.

    You can do a rough comparison yourself at

  10. Hey Ardell,
    Do you really go barefoot in your clients’ homes? I have an agent who always shoes with bare feet and I am reluctant to ask her to remove her shoes.

  11. I don’t think it makes a difference, Dan. It depends on the style of home and the door color. Dark brass is more “in” right now, than brushed nickel. What color are the hinges? Is it a stained door or painted a color?

  12. I’m replacing all of my door hardware, inside and out. I have a sixties split level that’s decorated with natural cherry Danish modern furniture. Basically a warm color scheme. Up until now I’ve had polished brass hardware. Because my TV and many lamps are silver, I’m thinking of going with satin nickel hardware everywhere. Some people have recommended oil rubbed bronze. Some say bronze outside and nickel inside. The nickel seems like less of a jump for me. Any advice about what would look best? Also, what color outdoor lamp would you recommend?

  13. You can go either way with modern furniture, but rubbed bronze does seem to be replacing the brushed nickel. As soon as something becomes cheaper to get, it seems like that’s the sign that it is on it’s way out.

    If you plan to own your home for a long time then buy whichever one you like best, as by the time you sell it something entirely different may be in style.

    I’ve been helping a couple of people change out gold light fixtures, and we are opting for the rubbed bronze. But if they have brushed nickel, then we do not replace them.

  14. I changed out all my door and cabinet hardware back in 2007. The brushed nickel is a vast improvement over the brass in my opinion. The only problem was I had to change out the chandeliers and the ceiling lights too, not to mentioned the fireplace covers!

    Another nice touch if you’ve got some extra dough is to change out the electrical outlets, floor registers, bathroom fan covers, and recessed-light rings. I did it for mine and it helped make the house feel a lot newer and cleaner.

  15. Good advice, Q-Diddy,

    I’m getting pretty good at targeting some reasonably priced lighting fixtures for pre-market change outs. Working on two now for a condo and a townhome. Usually the owner comes shopping with me. My general rule is if I can use it again and again, like art and accessories, I pay. If it stays with the property when sold, like light fixtures, they pay. So we shop together with two different carts.

    When the permanent stuff is good and I only need accessories, I shop alone. It goes a lot faster.

    Off to get one of those big fake antique clocks and some makings for floral arrangements. One problem with longer days on market is I’m running out of “stuff” with my inventory all sitting in properties not sold.

  16. Do you have a recommendation for granite (Stonemark) versus Sile Stone for outdoor use? We’re putting in an outdoor patio bar, and we really liked the Sile Stone, but have been told that granite holds up better.

  17. emp,

    I do not, and have not been able to find any readily available information on the topic. I would recommend added protections of the surfaces, whether it is granite or silestone/quartz)), if being used outdoors. I would even consider an off season cover that protects loosely from the elements and is not so tight that it creates a worse condition.

    I’m reminded of the days when we never left the office without covering the typewriter 🙂

    I have no personal experience and have not seen many used outdoors. I would be more inclined to use slate or concrete or tile or any surface that has more of a history regarding outdoor usage.

    Perhaps the installer has advices, I’m sure he does. What I would want to see if one that was installed five or more years ago outdoors and examine the condition. Not sure that’s feasible.

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