SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL:New year, new looks for your home.

Refresh your home for 2018.
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL:New year, new looks for your home.
Dreamhouse Dreamhomes

Anika Laube, Flooring and Design Consultant at Coyle Carpet Floor & Home, says the walls of a home are actually some of the trickiest spots to decorate. “There are a dizzying number of paint colors, finishes, textures, wallpapers, tiles and artwork to choose from,” she says. “It can be difficult to pick a design direction for all those flat surfaces.” In the end, though, Laube points out that walls are one of the best ways to reveal the “soul” of a home, by using colors you love, plenty of individual touches, and artwork that carries personal meaning.

Laube’s area of expertise is coordinating interior finishes for the entire home, including flooring, cabinets, tile showers, backsplash designs, and paint colors. And she knows just how to bring accent walls into the mix. Laube says fields of color work best in small doses, and when it comes to materials, there are lots of options on the market today, including wood, tile and wallpaper. “But my all-time favorite is paint,” she says. “It is generally an inexpensive and easy way to change the feeling of a space as lifestyles and decor sensibilities evolve.” Her favorite colors at the moment are navy and charcoal because they complement most wood tones and provide great contrast with whites and creams, giving depth and richness to a space.

Many homeowners don’t think of their ceilings as a place to decorate, but Laube prefers to think of them as “forgotten walls,” that are absolutely fair game for adding great accent color. “Ceilings can have a personality all their own,” she says. “When painting a ceiling, using a dark color can make a room feel cozy. For an architectural effect, you can add wood beams. Metallic ceiling tiles can also add texture and reflect light.”

More ambitious accent walls will yield different results. “Geometric patterns and bright colors evoke energy and youthfulness, while free-form designs with chalk paint or decals add whimsy and exude creativity. Intricate tile designs will suggest a more refined atmosphere, while walls covered in rustic wood tend to steer toward a more relaxed feel,” Laube says.

In terms of trends, Laube says wood textures are hot. “Painted white
shiplap brings in a coastal or cottage feel, and distressed barn-board textures of the farmhouse style are making their way into decor,” she notes “There are also many engineered wood products on the market now, which are thinner and easier to install for wall or ceiling applications. A home ought to reflect those who live in it, and an accent wall is a great place to start.”

Sales Representative Jerry Schmidt says his family’s business, DreamHouse DreamKitchens, specializes in working with clients on large projects–reimagining their current living spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens, and transforming them in ways that enhance both style and function. “We have an incredible team here at Dream,” says Schmidt. “From our sales staff, to the designers creating 3D renderings of the new space, to the installation crews, we have experienced, detail-oriented, committed people working on each aspect of each job. That’s what makes us a ‘one-stop shop.’ Our goal is to simplify the remodeling process for the consumer and exceed expectations, every step of the way.”

For those interested in a remodeling project, but unsure of what design direction to pursue, Schmidt recommends visiting the company’s recently remodeled showroom. “We completely revamped our store last year, to give consumers an idea of all that’s possible,” he says. “We have a wide selection of plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, tile, and cabinetry to choose from–that’s all on display. So if you have ideas when you walk in the door, that’s great. But if you want to come in and be inspired by our designs, that’s a great way to begin your project as well.”

To assist clients in decision-making, DreamHouse DreamKitchens has its own design department. “The interior design staff is extremely knowledgeable about current trends in materials, accents, colors, and styles of decor,” says Schmidt. “We definitely stay abreast with the latest styles nationally, and we’re also plugged in to specific needs and preferences of our clients here in the Midwest. One unique style that we’ve become experts in is what we call, ‘Wisconsin lakeside coastal.'”

Schmidt explains that many of the homes on Madison’s lakes and Lake Wisconsin embody the coastal look. Inspired by traditional homes on the Eastern Seaboard, they feature large windows to capitalize on views and let in lots of natural light.

“Wisconsin lakeside coastal really focuses on bringing the beautiful natural environment inside. Using the blue sky reflecting off the water as a design element, we riff on that with soft grays, blues and tans. It’s really all about accentuating the natural landscape, using soothing and gentle colors inspired by sun-drenched days.”

Specific finishes that fit with this trend include brushed-brass hardware and light fixtures, which add texture; simple cabinet door styles that range from modern to contemporary; and glass doors to make the spaces feel more open. Wood floors give the rooms a natural feel, in addition to painted or natural wood accents used in ceilings, beams, walls or open shelving.

“We design a lot of coastal kitchens for our customers,” says Schmidt. “It’s been in such demand that DreamHouse DreamKitchens actually has an entire new line of coastal style cabinetry, featured at the Madison store.”

Lora Brown, owner of Brown & Beam, has her eye on all the latest home design and decor trends. As 2018 begins to take shape aesthetically, she says she’s seeing a lot of pops of color brightening up living spaces. “By adding new seating, pillows, rugs and accessories, consumers can infuse a living room or bedroom with new energy and excitement,” she says. “It’s also very easy to change the mood of an entire room, just by coordinating key accents.”

Benjamin Moore’s color of the year for 2018 is Caliente, a bright red, so Brown feels it’s likely that this color will influence design trends this winter. “I think the color of the year speaks to the fact that people are looking for bold colors that liven up a space,” she says. Other hot colors in her forecast are pink, green, blue, yellow and tangerine. “I am personally loving pink,” she says.

In terms of her business, Brown welcomes some changes with the new year, such as an expansion of products and availability, so she can serve style-conscious customers even better.

“We have changed our hours to reflect the increased demand in design services,” she says. “We now have hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, by appointment. This includes time for designers to bring in their clients for more personal attention.” In addition, Brown believes that expanded hours will provide a better overall buying experience, because the clients don’t have to feel rushed. “It allows us to give them undivided attention,” she explains. “It also gives us an opportunity to discuss the products, the materials and their designs in more detail.”

In addition to expanding in-person consultations, Brown & Beam is also improving its virtual store. “We are working to redesign our current website to offer e-commerce on some products and more at-home shopping information. That will launch in the spring,” she says.

In the Brown & Beam inventory, Brown is expanding lighting options in late winter. “We will offer pendants, chandeliers and sconces, in addition to our current line of floor and table lamps. We will also have a catalog of other options that can be ordered. Finally, our artwork will double in the spring. We’ve just ordered more unique wall art set to arrive in the next few weeks.”

In concert with distinctive pieces to brighten rooms and add color to walls, Brown has also been busy collecting exotic floor coverings. “We love bringing in one-of-a-kind rugs from Turkey and Morocco, and limited production rugs. As our business grows we need more options in customizable sizes and material; we will have several lines we will be carrying to meet the needs of our clients,” she says.

What additional interior trends are guiding designers right now? Brown says she sees an emphasis on comfortable, stylish rooms that feature unique pieces. “Accessories don’t need to match, but they should complement each other,” she says. “I think everyone wants comfort, durability and uniqueness in their home environments. That’s what we strive to provide. Brown & Beam continues to get feedback that quality is very important to our clients, and they appreciate that we place a premium on that.” —