Learn what today’s luxury homes look like thanks to insight from Tony Calvis of Calvis Wyant Luxury Homes.
The Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors bi-weekly Pinnacle Peak Marketing Session (RMS) recently featured an old friend and highly acclaimed valley builder as the keynote speaker, Tony Calvis of Calvis Wyant Luxury Homes. As Realtors we see multitudes of properties in various price ranges, absorbing architecture, finishes, decor, use of space, and a myriad of other elements that make up the finished product. The Luxury Market is always ahead of the curve, and Tony shared with us his views of today’s luxury home trends – which ones are here to stay and which ones are on the way out? I thought this information could be interesting to share with our Cashman Partners Blog readers, so here are the cliff notes from my copious scribbles along with my own editorial and a little insight. Many thanks to Calvis Wyant for allowing me to share their property photos.
Let’s Start with Layouts.
Overall, there is a trend to Smaller Simpler Floor Plans with more manageable and flexible square footage, but not to the degree of the fleeting TINY house.
Kitchens? Oh boy.. get ready for super-sized islands. The bigger the better. As Tony says, kitchen and bath fixtures are all “Mack Daddy”. Lighting and plumbing fixtures are of primo quality. We will go into this in more detail below.
Master Retreats are more intimate now, and master sitting areas are on the way out. Baths and closets however, are taking up that old sitting room space and becoming larger and more completely appointed. Closets are no longer in the closet – rather they are being showcased and the finishes are often to the level of the more public areas.
Mud Rooms are – even though we have more dust than mud here – very popular. This is a place to empty your car’s daily contents. Backpacks, purses, keys, shoes, tennis rackets, etc…all have a home that doesn’t invade the REST of your home.
Outdoor Living Spaces are changing configuration. Long patios across the back are being replaced by multiple private spaces – terraces and balconies off guest rooms and offices, breakfast areas, master, and of course the main living areas. The intimacy of these spaces is truly charming incorporating water and fire features along with comfy furnishings for an inside-out feel.
Casitas (guest houses for all of you non-zonies) are still very much in, especially with multigenerational families. Guest retreats offer a little more autonomy than simple guest bedrooms, perfect for long term guests and family members.
Bonus Rooms – sometimes called flex rooms – continue to cater to families with children as second family rooms. Their uses are endless and can change over the years to accommodate the family’s changing needs. Ours spanned a number of years and the contents changed from blocks to lego tables to video games to movie night.
Garages! Supersized, extended length, 11-12 ft ceilings to allow for auto lifts, and oversized doors are all important. We are seeing more tile baseboards and water resistant cabinetry. “Sidewinder” garage doors are a newer trend as well.
What Design Styles are Hot?
Modern Style is a major trend. Not cold and “museum” modern, but more of a multi-family “urban vibe” feel. Tony refers to the “New Traditional”, a blend of styles that allows transitions without awkwardness.
Rural Mediterranean style “Med” is not dead, but has become more transitional with lighter cooler colors leaning to the grays and aways from the deep reds and golds. We are seeing a departure from the dark & heavy woods in favor of a more reclaimed look which again allows for a lighter brighter feel. Combining styles for a more eclectic look really makes for a timeless design.
Spanish Colonial is still a perfectly flexible design which invites the “Euro-Minimalist” clean lines on the inside. This will be a forever style.
Lighter French Oak hues are replacing the old rich walnut flooring.
Wainscot adds interest to various rooms, and from our property tours we are seeing a strong reintroduction of wallpapers and pleasing paint palettes – No Faux!
Wet Walls are going way way back to full tile, and cabinetry is being delivered in multiple tones.
The New Neutrals are grayer, but where gray and white became the hot trend recently, there is a correction to warmer more color-definitive grays with direction – the blue grays, green grays and taupes.
Porcelain flooring has been improving by the minute, and now the plank and parquet options are infinite including textures and metallics. They are a great alternative to wood for durability and maintenance.
In the luxury homes we are seeing today, there is – yes – a return to Gold! Not really the brass of the 80’s and 90’s, but the brushed lighter bronzes and light gold hues. There is no fear of Mixed Metals. Our own kitchen remodel has incorporated stainless appliances, white brushed gold light fixtures and a combination of brushed white gold and polished chrome pulls.
For Countertop Surfaces, only a few specialty granites remain popular. Marble and quartzite slabs are more commonly used, but for those who are real cooks, the marble is not necessarily a friendly finish. Man made quartz finishes such as Cambria, Cesarstone, Silestone and a host of others provide a myriad of color schemes and textures for your own personal palette no matter what your style direction may be, and they are maintenance free. The highly polished jumbo porcelain slab is used widely for vertical spaces including dramatic shower walls, and is a spectacular marble imposter. Having researched this though the fabrication using this material for kitchen counters for instance is challenging because it’s so thin and delicate to work with.
Venetian plaster, clay and faux are going away. White Walls are in. Variations on white will make the property much easier to envision by future buyers, and the color splashes can emerge from your furnishings and decor.
Bye Bye Built-ins! Due to the changing technology and limitations of the 90’s niches and matching built-in cabinetry, homeowners are going for custom furniture pieces that can be taken with them. They are statement pieces for any room, and it’s a much cleaner look adding a touch of personality or drama.
Super Kitchens are offering bigger and bigger islands. Remember when we said formal dining is being replaced by larger breakfast and kitchen spaces? The kitchen is where today’s owners are spending time gathering. Windows and natural light are becoming more important, and upper cabinets are being knocked out in favor of window installation and open display shelving. Brand consciousness here is key. The Sub-Zero | Wolf appliances continue to be a must, with wall ovens and a gas cooktop replacing the range units for convenience. You will see lots of under the counter appliances including microwaves and steam ovens, which cut your cook time dramatically.
The Luxury Bathroom is of course your sanctuary. Chandeliers and top quality lighting and plumbing fixtures are of prime importance here, exuding quality. Dual commodes are still the norm, but bidets and urinals not so much. Showers are being enclosed again for comfort, and the multiple spray “car wash” scenario is somewhat disappearing. In a few years it may be ok for you not to have a bath tub in your master, but for now the freestanding tubs are still an aesthetically pleasing element to our master retreats, giving them a spa like feeling.
Outdoor Living Spaces are seeing the benefit of big investment dollars now. Especially living in Arizona, we spend so much time outside that the usable square footage is of enormous benefit and added value. Outdoor living rooms with custom hardscape with meandering private patios are so inviting. Custom tile pools offer a more linear and angular look with a trend to fewer free-form oasis style pools. Pergolas, outdoor barbecue/dining areas with deep patios, fireplaces, automated sun shades and LED lighting all create an amazing outdoor entertaining package.
Technology continues to make our luxury homes smarter. The whole house systems available to us now are in a constant state of change, and allow us to control the majority of our home’s systems from afar. This will grow and change with the times, but will always be an important selling feature of today’s luxury property.
What we see from all this is that there has been a transitional trend afoot in design. Moving away from baroque & heavy, but without going too far the other direction which can be stark and impersonal. We love the focus on clean lines, lots of light and flexible color schemes. The daring combinations of finishes offer uniqueness and a sense of style with out going overboard. We LOVE these trends and hope they are here to stay. Thank you Tony for your years of experience and insight!
Cashman Partners | Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty