Get ready. In 2017, homeowners will opt for more color, faux finishes, rustic-style wood treatments and smart technology, says Nikki James, Dallas-based design studio manager for national home builder Ashton Woods, which is currently building in several Sarasota neighborhoods. 

Ashton woods light walls aqrafv

 While light, airy white and gray walls will remain constant in 2017, especially in Florida, we are going to see more color introduced into the home, says James, especially the Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery—a fresh, optimistic color inspired by nature. “It’s a very unique shade of green, so perfect for your area,” she says, “but not big walls of green, more in upholstery, artwork, pillows, area rugs.” And we’ll green in a lot of other shades, too.

We’ll also see more color—light blue and taupe with an underlying gray, especially—in subway tile backsplashes and bathroom walls, and less plain white. In fact, the Sherwin Williams color of the year, says James, is Poised Taupe, a sophisticated, classic neutral.

Ashton woods taupe kitchen bjhhfw

 In the kitchen, two-toned cabinets are still popular in 2017, says James, with light upper cabinets and darker base cabinets “so the room doesn’t look smaller.” Whirlpool and KitchenAid are introducing black stainless appliances. And out with oil-rubbed bronze and satin nickel cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures; clean chrome hardware and matte black finishes are gaining momentum. They go with the more transitional and modern direction of interior design. Shaker-style cabinets will continue their dominance as well as clean-lined countertops. “Nothing distracting; less clutter, less maintenance,” James says. 

Ashton woods wood beams hme2oj

 Faux finishes will be huge, she says; homeowners are opting for budget-friendly alternatives to real Carrera marble that are easier to maintain. And wood-plank tiles are very popular in Sarasota, especially a darker shade with gray undertone. “The most popular size is 6x24,” she says, “because it shows that real-wood look. The patterns have gotten so lifelike, and it’s great for children and pets.” Thin-brick, too, is hugely popular for fireplace surrounds and backsplashes. “It adds great texture and warmth, and it’s a great alternative to thicker real brick,” says James.

Ashton woods tile floor xjik9k

 The popularity of rustic-style wood and shiplap that began in 2016 will continue in the new year. One big difference: instead of remaining white, the shiplap will be painted, perhaps that warm taupe. So will patterned tile as an accent in the master bath or as the kitchen backsplash; “it’s getting more affordable and easier for homeowners to get,” she says. 

And, finally, says James, because we’re all moving at such a fast pace, we all want to live smarter and we will want smarter homes. Not always high-tech, she says, but how thoughtfully we’re going to design the living space. Ashton Woods, for example, makes Honeywell smart thermostats standard in its new homes; you can use your smart phone to turn down your AC before you get home. And in the Florida market, it offers an option for kitchen cabinets manufactured by Italian cabinet company Veneta Cucine. “It has so many options to help you work smarter,” she says—multi-level drawers for maximum storage, for example, and lights that turn on when you open the drawers.

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