Increasing the Value of Your Home recently revealed the results of a survey that identifies the features that help homeowners sell their homes fastest and at the best prices. Identifying improvements that generate the most significant return on investment is more critical now than it has ever been. In 2017, homeowners spent more improving their homes than in any year since 2006, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Not surprisingly, the top two rooms that captured the most interest and dollars are kitchens and baths, according to surveyed more than a million single-family home listings in February to identify the top features that help owners to sell their home fastest. The top features are as follows:

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What’s Trending in Countertops

If the kitchen is the epicenter of the home, then countertops are the epicenter of the kitchen. It’s where almost every kitchen activity begins and ends. Because countertops are one of the first things you see when you enter a kitchen, they naturally serve as a focal point. And the good news is that choice of color, shape and material is virtually unlimited, enabling you and your designer not only to make countertops the functional workhorse of your new kitchen but the ultimate expression of your design and personality.

On the South Shore we are finding that our clients want to invest in high-quality, high-performing, statement-making countertops. Not only because a high-quality countertop makes it easier to prepare meals, but they are also used to cook, eat, entertain, do homework, charge electronics, read, relax and spend quality family time together.

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What’s Trending Now and What’s Expected for 2019

For the first time in many years, more homeowners are electing to stay in their existing homes and opting to improve their existing space, instead of moving. The motivation to improve existing space is to make it more beautiful and functional and to make necessary changes that allow for aging in place gracefully. Some of the trends that are expected to continue into 2019 are larger, barrier-free showers and more clearance space in bathrooms and kitchens. Some other major kitchen trends include:

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Epicenter of Entertaining

I have found that my kitchen is the epicenter of entertaining in my home and that it needs to be well organized, functional, beautiful and clutter free. Because a well-designed kitchen is an organized kitchen, we at The Cabinetry address storage requirements early in the design process.

An almost endless array of options are available to store food, cookware, utensils, countertop appliances (blenders, mixers, etc.), recycling containers and so on. We suggest our clients assess what currently exists in their kitchens and encourage them to inventory their cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools, storage containers, cutlery, knives, utensils, gadgets and countertop appliances. Then we encourage them to take the new floor plan we’ve created and label each cabinet with its intended contents. This ensures there’s enough storage for everything in the new kitchen and it provides a handy guide for putting everything away when it’s time to move back in.

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The Tools to Keep Your New Year’s Diet Resolutions

We know that many of our blog readers will make New Year’s resolutions to either improve their health, lose weight or both (I know we all have!). There are numerous reasons to make weight loss resolutions. Losing weight makes you healthier, gives you more energy and helps to reduce fat and build muscle. If you subscribe to a particular diet or simply elect to eat healthier, there are certain kitchen tools that can help guide the way and make dieting easier.

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The Future of Cooking

IFA is Europe’s largest consumer electronics show held annually in Berlin. This year, several appliance manufacturers premiered new technology that has the potential to be game-changing. One was German appliance manufacturer Miele, which introduced its Wi-Fi enabled Dialog oven. The Dialog oven uses electromagnetic waves (similar to microwave, but with vastly different results), traditional radiant heat from the top and bottom of the oven and a convection fan. As opposed to a conventional microwave, the Dialog oven’s electromagnetic waves are extremely precise. The Dialog oven uses the same technology used by physicians to keep organs at specific temperatures during transplants.

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Are tubs going the way of horse & buggy?

For more than a century, almost every master and secondary bathroom in North American homes was outfitted with a tub shower. That’s not the case as we approach the third decade of the 21st century. Who wants to step over a tub to take a shower? That’s a question many hotel developers are answering by eliminating tubs altogether. Hilton’s Canopy brand has replaced the tub with a barrier-free, walk-in shower. Marriott also is foregoing tubs for walk-in showers at properties that are part of the brand’s Autograph Collection. Both hoteliers are not eliminating tubs completely, however. They are outfitting their suites with tubs to evoke a more luxurious feel and look to the space.

Do you need or want a tub? That’s a question we almost always ask our clients when they are renovating their bathrooms. When designing a bath, the overall goal is creating a room that offers the greatest amount of enjoyment in the least amount of space. Often my clients want to include a tub in their master bath because they think it’s necessary for resale. It’s common in the older homes of New England that the master bathrooms are on the small size so having a tub sometimes means having a relatively small shower. I always suggest to my clients that they consider skipping the tub to make room for a larger shower. Most chose this option because they realize the tub will sit mostly unused whereas the shower is part of their daily routine.

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Ideas to Improve the Efficiency of Your Bathroom

A well-designed bathroom should have the right kinds of storage to make the occupants’ lives easier. Because bathroom space is often limited, there is a greater premium on organizational tools. In master and secondary baths and even powder rooms, the vanity often does the heavy lifting for storage, and thanks to recent innovations, storage options have increased significantly.

When storage space is at a premium, vanities with open shelves create storage space for towels and baskets around drains, traps and other plumbing components. Open shelving is an extremely attractive option that can provide a visual focal point. Just keep in mind you’ll want to keep it styled which might take some work.

Shelves and roll out drawers maximize the space under and around plumbing in vanities with doors. Roll out drawers can hold baskets or be equipped with dividers for cosmetics, towels, brushes, etc. We can customize vanities with drawers and pull-out shelves that help to minimize loss of storage space caused by plumbing that flows through the vanity to the sink and faucets. We can also wire vanity drawers with outlets so your hair dryer or flat iron can be stored in a drawer and easily plugged in and ready to use.

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What’s Trending In Kitchen Design

I wasn’t surprised to hear that the most popular kitchen layout among U.S. homeowners undertaking a renovation is L-shaped. According to a recent survey, nearly 50 percent of homeowners changed or plan to change the layout of their kitchen as part of their remodeling plan. U-shaped kitchens were the second most popular layout followed by a galley layout. As a kitchen designer it’s tempting to always start with the L-shape but I always prefer considering first if there’s any way to do something different to improve the storage, counter space and clearances for my clients. I must admit however that the L-shape or U-shape usually turns out to be the most efficient.

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What’s Trending In Kitchen Faucets: Incomparable Design with Unmatched Functionality

The kitchen faucet is the most used appliance in the home, and too often it does not get the attention it deserves during a kitchen renovation. All faucets are not created equally. New advances in technology provide greater functionality and make today’s kitchen faucets not only extremely durable and functionable, but also fashionable. One of the dominate trends in kitchen faucetry is the addition of color. You can add personality to your new kitchens with faucets that come in a vast array of new finishes, ranging from rose gold to matte black and almost everything in between.

The size of the faucet is contingent on the amount of space in the kitchen. We often recommend high arc faucets because they provide additional functionality to sinks that can accommodate stock pots and other large pots and pans. High arc faucets also add visual appeal. But if space is at a premium around the sink, we will often suggest a smaller profile faucet.

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