Killy Scheer highlights how Austin’s growth has emphasized just how much value consumers put in their homes.
By Killy Scheer, Photos by Chisum Pierce
It’s no longer a secret that Austin has become one of the most booming markets for real estate and design in the country. With multiple companies and campuses opening in prominent locations throughout the city and the ever-growing population, Austin continues to see enormous growth.
The influx of people has resulted in a continuous stream of renovation and home update needs, keeping the design and construction industries working at full capacity. However, with global supply chain issues and a shortage of workers, it is challenging to get anything done in a timely manner. That said, challenges are nothing new to the design and construction industries. This new “normal” has simply forced our community to stretch and grow as we figure out how to manage the changes while continuing to provide a high-quality experience for our clients.
Just a few years ago, clients started projects with the idea that they would live in their houses for another five, maybe ten years. Considering the skyrocketing cost of real estate and the fact that renovations now take longer to complete and cost more, many people are planning to remain in their homes for far longer—sometimes forever (or as “forever” as we can predict these days).
Planning the “Forever” Home
That can mean planning to age in place: considering how kitchens and baths might accommodate a wheelchair, thinking about changes in dexterity when selecting door and cabinet hardware, touchless faucets, adding blocking in walls for future handrails in showers and adding smart features for lighting automation.
Even clients who aren’t necessarily thinking about aging in place are planning to stay in their homes for longer. We are taking extra special care in creating rooms that will grow as kids grow, looking to the future to design high-functioning kitchens and laundry rooms and discreetly carving out work spaces that blend seamlessly with the rest of the house.
Far more frequently prospective clients say they don’t want their houses to reflect what’s trending on Pinterest or Instagram. Instead, they want their homes to tell their personal stories—less generic, more unique. Whether it’s turning all-white kitchens and baths into those with jewel-toned cabinetry and highly patterned stone slabs, or moving away from relying on only accent walls for a pop of color, people are more comfortable with being bold and taking risks.
Maybe we’ve all realized that life is too short and that it’s time to get those collections out of storage, learn to layer lighting, art, rugs and accessories so we can all enjoy them rather than let them collect dust. Design leans toward spaces that feel contemporary but maintain a depth found in pieces with history: vintage finds, classic furnishings and a healthy dose of layers.
Textures & Crafts
Like it or not, rattan and other woven textures including grasscloth, rush and caning, are back in a big way. People are getting more comfortable with mixing historic styles and periods to create timeless spaces. Influences from France and Italy, as well as movements like Bauhaus, art deco and Memphis, are taking center stage.
Intriguingly enough, clients are incorporating crafts to infuse more character into their homes. We’re seeing needlepoint, tapestries, mosaic tiles and highly textured handmade wallpapers (or scenic murals painted in place).
In kitchens and bathrooms, we love to guide our clients through the world of cabinetry styles beyond flat front and shaker. Homeowners are getting comfortable introducing more dimension and texture to high-function spaces and are exploring a range of materiality—fluted, scalloped, beaded, cane insets, highly patterned woods, arched panels, hammered copper and even stone fronts.
We’re seeing more bold stone selections, too—less plain white stone composite products and more splashy, highly veined marbles and quartzites. To get the full effect (and value), they are applied as statement backsplashes so they can be seen both vertically and horizontally.
Most clients want their bathrooms to feel like a retreat. That means luxurious finishes (natural stones, unlacquered brass, automation that makes the bathroom feel squeaky clean at all times); large soaking tubs; framed views bringing the outside in; the ability to fully control lighting (dimmers); cabinetry that looks and feels more like something you’d see in a high-end cocktail bar.
Plumbing fixtures are having a renaissance as well—a little less serious and a little more whimsical. That may come in round or oval shapes, brighter, unexpected colors or materials like stone. The name of the game is higher functioning. That can mean removing a tub to create a larger, more luxurious shower, or rearranging a bathroom to incorporate a big soaking tub. More time is spent on designing unique tile patterns, whether a motif is to work with a contemporary space or more of a period home.
Making Home Paradise
Bonus spaces such as home bars have become quite a hot commodity. Perhaps everyone stuck at home over the last couple of years decided they wanted to bring the speakeasies to them, and they’re using that opportunity to create inspired and highly functional bars.
Clients have requested home gyms and quiet, reflective spaces like meditation rooms and spa-like retreats with steam showers, body sprays, etc. to create an oasis at home. Clients also request more indoor-outdoor connections and spaces, whether that’s bigger windows, a wall of doors that fully open to a backyard or patio, or outdoor showers—anything that brings in fresh air and connects with nature.
While these changes seem ever-evolving and never-ending, we’re enjoying the challenges and are dedicated to the process. We pride ourselves on our ability to create a unique and personalized experience for each client. With more value put on our homes than ever before, we’re happy to be able to take each unique request and create something special.
Find out more about Killy Scheer & Co. at scheer.co