On the House

Top Home Design Trends, According to Builders

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“If you build it, they will come.”

This classic line from the 1989 blockbuster Field of Dreams is certainly true for developers in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina, both towns currently undergoing record growth and housing booms.

Great design starts with great inspiration, so if a new build or home renovation project is in your future, consider these suggestions from local builders — from a continued focus on outdoor living spaces to an inclusion of work-from-home flex spaces.

Halcyon Homes

Builder Halcyon Homes is known for timeless designs with historical references and superb attention to detail, especially in millwork, cabinetry, and finishes. Owners James Robertson and sons Austin and Wil have a combined 65 years of experience in the construction industry.

Gold hardware and a wood island add warmth to this designer kitchen by Halcyon Homes. Photo by Abigail Jackson Photography

Green in all shades is replacing navy as a popular accent color, seen here in a Halcyon Homes mudroom. Photo by Abigail Jackson Photography

Halcyon designers Amy Huber and Lindsey Kinton help homeowners bring their dream homes to life.

“I love new builds, creating a home out of nothing. I love seeing a plot of land with a bunch of trees, then all of a sudden you’ve created this home, and it’s almost like artwork,” says Huber.

Halcyon builds both production and custom homes in Southern Wake County and works hard to ensure modern finishes and sophisticated details can be found in their 1,500-square-foot homes as well as the 4,000-square-foot estates.

“(Halcyon) does a good job creating flex spaces in their floor plans. A lot of parents want a place for homework, or a home office, or just an area for paying bills and sending emails. Halcyon does a really good job of making sure they flow nicely in the home,” says Kinton.

Both Kinton and Huber have witnessed interior finishes shifting from cool to warm tones in paint colors, wood stains, and metals.

Attention to detail throughout cabinetry and millwork is a hallmark of homebuilder Halcyon Homes. Photo by Abigail Jackson Photography

“We’re seeing navy as an accent color transitioning into green — jade green, sea green, olive green, really any shade,” says Kinton. “People are using green in islands, butler’s pantries, and even cabinets.”

“Gray is still in, but it’s transitioning to warmer tones. And a lot more warm wood tones are being added in, whether it’s in the island or in some trim work,” says Huber.

“Gold hardware has been trickling in for a few years, but most people wanted antique gold or brushed gold at first. Now homeowners want that bright and shiny gold, which is fun,” Kinton says.

Mixing finishes on hardware throughout a home, and even within one room, is becoming much more popular. For example, mixing hardware on upper and lower cabinets, or mixing metals on plumbing within one bathroom, says Huber.

Home styles are shifting, in part, due to the influx of new residents from out of state.

Flex spaces, like this study by Halcyon Homes that can be used for as an office, homework room, gym, or guest space, are important to new home buyers. Photo by Abigail Jackson Photography

The Huber family built their forever home, pictured, with Halcyon a few years ago in Fuquay-Varina. Amy Huber enjoyed the process so much that she began working with Halcyon as a designer, helping their clients achieve the homes of their dreams. Photo by Abigail Jackson Photography

“We have so many buyers moving from larger cities in the Northeast and California. They want more modern touches and less rustic,” says Kinton.

Farmhouse touches remain, but with modern variations, such as turning shiplap siding vertical instead of horizontal.

“Or not using it at all and going for something more artsy with trim,” says Kinton.

Rufty Homes

With Jon Rufty at the helm, Rufty Homes has been in business for 33 years focusing on custom estate homes and remodeling luxury residences in Raleigh, Cary, and the rest of Wake County. Known for their client involvement and one-of-a-kind projects, Rufty is very familiar with the ever-evolving list of clients’ wants and needs, influenced by everything from the pandemic to the weather.

Seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces are top priority for many Rufty Homes clients. Here, an accordion-style window opens up to a kitchen inside. Photo contributed by Rufty Homes

“It all comes down to creating an environment that you want your family to grow up in,” says Rufty. “It really has a lot to do with your personal lifestyle, how you want to live, entertain, and interact with your family as it grows.”

When it comes to the biggest design trends he’s seen, Rufty says it’s all trending toward lightness and brightness — more windows, higher ceilings, 3000K LED lighting (a crisp, brighter color), and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces.

“Indoor/outdoor living is tremendously important these days,” says Rufty. “In the past, there have been a lot of homes built with basements, but now people don’t want to walk down 15 steps to get to a swimming pool or an entertainment area. So we’ve seen a big demand for non-basement lots where you can walk out of your living area, step down one or two steps, and be at a large terrace with the pool, fireplace, gathering areas, outdoor cooking, etc. Or they are willing to go to the expense of raising the swimming pool up to the main level, despite having a basement lot.”

Beautiful accents like wood shelving, gold hardware, and tile backsplash elevate this luxury wet bar, by Rufty Homes. Photo contributed by Rufty Homes

Covered cooking areas on the back porch have also become a huge trend due to upgrades in retractable screen technology. Push a button and — voila — porch screens lift and lower automatically.

“In addition to the screens, you can also have vinyl that comes down, and it’s a clear vinyl so our clients can completely avoid pollen season,” says Rufty. “You can have both of them on the same porch, so the space is usable year round for Christmas parties or Thanksgiving, regardless of what the weather is.”

Water features are no longer relegated to the outdoors — fountains and ponds have made their way inside, as well as plant walls, as big as 3 or 4 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet tall. Maintaining a live green wall requires its own type of water feature, says Rufty, who has installed indoor automatic watering systems to keep plants looking gorgeously green.

“We’ve seen a big demand for non-basement lots where you can walk out of your living area and be at a large terrace with the fireplace, the gathering areas, the outdoor cooking, all those types of things,” says Jon Rufty, Rufty Homes. Photo contributed by Rufty Homes

According to Rufty, luxury kitchens, including more bars for easy entertaining, multiple dishwashers, waterfall countertops, and built-in wine coolers in lieu of wine rooms remain a top priority for homeowners.

Bost Custom Homes

For more than three decades, Bost Custom Homes has been building luxury, customized homes in the Triangle area. As the director of sales and marketing at Bost Custom Homes, Evan Bost works with clients on the front end, from their first point of contact all the way through the planning and design stage.

“It’s a dynamic business where every project has a unique set of constraints and opportunities,” says Bost. “We help mold the entire scope of the project to fit the clients as best as possible.”

Modern poolside oases include adjoining outdoor kitchens, dining and lounging areas. Photo by Jonathan Fredin

Contemporary, clean line aesthetics are one of the biggest trends that Bost has seen recently, with many clients expressing interest in minimalism — less interior trim, recessed baseboards, and no casing around doors.

“I would say as far as interior trends, we’re seeing a push more in the direction of geometric patterns and textures and more natural materials,” says Bost. “It’s kind of a blend of millwork and stone and grasscloth wallpaper. It’s all very organic.”

Like Rufty, Bost has also noticed a sweeping trend toward outdoor living. Almost every custom house now has an outdoor kitchen setup — a full grill, sink, refrigerator, trash pull out, you name it — all just a few steps away from the indoors.

“With the products we have on the market now, the possibilities for indoor/outdoor living are endless,” says Evan Bost, Bost Custom Homes. Photo by Jonathan Fredin

“People are still interested in first-floor living, keeping as much essential daily living on the main level and minimizing steps,” says Bost. “We’re seeing more people trending toward smaller footprints, and they’ve got more budget for the pool and the outdoor living and the landscaping. So we see them shrinking the house down, but expanding the living space outside of the house.”

In the smaller plans that are trending, formal dining rooms and dedicated movie theaters are being replaced with a second study or den.

“A lot of people are working from home, so we’re definitely building at least one study in every house, which is kind of like a secluded office space, but we are doing some homes that have two offices,” says Bost. “They tend to be separated — one upstairs, one downstairs, so they are completely isolated from each other. A lot of floor plan design now is thinking through those types of living situations.”

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