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Hot stuff
Home design trends range from the decorative to the functional

By TINA CHOVANEC

The Elm Grove kitchen of Stephanie Quinn shows off the drama created by dark wood cabinetry and metallic finishes on cabinet handles and appliances.


M asked Milwaukee-NARI members to make their picks for home design trends gaining in popularity and proving to be more than just a passing fancy.

"Faucets for the kitchen are looking more like sculptures and pieces of art," says Stephanie Quinn, design partner at The OAR Group in Elm Grove. Quinn also points to a trend away from stainless steel toward different, more contemporary-colored appliances, such as titanium or steel and light blues and greens that almost look like glass. Commercial-grade appliances have been on the radar for some time, but now designers and remodelers are seeing other commercial products being adapted for home use. She points to a product called Lumicor, a translucent material in which textiles, papers, metals, foliage, wood veneers and other items are embedded into a resin. One client created a railing in an open staircase using metal panels, Quinn says.

David Pekel, president of Pekel Construction & Remodeling in Wauwatosa, says people are seeking simple design that isnít fussy. "Thereís a strong movement toward more casual styles, whether traditional or contemporary, in furniture styles and cabinetry," Pekel says. "In the kitchen and bath, darker wood finishes really accentuate chrome and brushed nickel metal finishes, which remain top client picks," he says. To show off white porcelain, chrome or brushed nickel faucets, he recommends dark stain finishes like espresso "that barely allow the grain to seep through the stain and show well with glass and mirrored surfaces."

Just about every industry is "going green." Project designer-coordinator Matthew Retzak of Bartelt Inc. in Menomonee Falls says that in the world of design itís more of a permanent change than a come-and-go trend. Itís another influence from the commercial world thatís just making its way to Wisconsin, Retzak says. m