WASHINGTON — More than 140 single-family, multifamily, interior design, remodeling and community projects were honored this month at the 2021 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) ceremony at the 2022 International Builders’ Show, hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Orlando.
Judges awarded eight Best in Region and seven Of the Year homes and projects. These front-runners represent the nation’s best in home and community design, interior design and remodeling.
BALA winners showcase top design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years.
“We’re seeing a continuation of recent trends, especially as they relate to outdoor spaces,” noted Allison Paul, chair of the 2021 judging panel and principal at Lessard Design. “The pandemic has definitely made people rethink how they live in their homes, and that’s reflected in the creative niches, attention to detail and quality, and general warmth present in this year’s BALA-winning designs.”
Beamed and/or stained ceilings. Different detailing overhead creates a wow factor for both low and high ceilings alike, while stains and tonal materials provide a more cohesive room palette. This trend is especially popular in kitchens.
Creative outdoor spaces. Post-pandemic design continues to utilize the outdoors to develop spaces for relaxing, entertaining, home office or just taking in the views. Multilevel terraces, sunken living rooms with firepits and indoor courtyards are just a few examples of these designs. Rooftop spaces in particular are on the rise, providing multifamily projects and townhomes alike with a “yard in the sky.”
Improved indoor/outdoor connections. Emphasis on health and wellness has led to an increased focus on creating intentional, seamless transitions from indoors to outdoors. Material choices can play a large role by visually connecting adjoining spaces, but even details as subtle as skylights in the kitchen or glass walls to take advantage of the surrounding views can usher in these natural connections. Landscape designs are also improving to seamlessly blend the home with the surrounding area.
Better designs for affordable housing. Affordable developments are losing the utilitarian designs often associated with them in favor of better detailing to help create rich, story-driven designs that complement the existing landscape and community.
More durable materials. As indoor and outdoor spaces continue to blend, materials that operate equally in both conditions are key to creating a smooth transition. This includes not only the doors or track systems that bridge the gap, but also selections such as ceiling treatments or flooring, where materials such as stone can provide a wow factor both inside and out.
Resort-like amenities. More time spent at home means greater attention paid to features that can enhance it, whether it’s an outdoor lounge or a game room. Pets are very important, with designs increasingly incorporating areas such as dog spas, pet pads or dog runs.
Enhanced focus on function. Homes have had to work harder for their residents in recent years, and designs are adapting to incorporate more functional and multifunctional spaces to use. Examples include wine storage, prep kitchens, mudrooms and dedicated gym or workout areas.
Size doesn’t matter. Spaces should get as much mileage out of their designs as possible, whether it’s a remodeled great room/dining room/kitchen that improves functionality or a glass-encased room with doors that can provide privacy when needed while remaining connected to the rest of the home.
More information about this year’s winners and trends can be found at bestinamericanliving.com.