Sustainably Stylish – The Year In Review

 Green design gets personal with these 2018 trends 


It’s always been a challenge to design spaces with sustainability in mind. Granted, it’s gotten a lot easier over the years, but I always felt that there was usually a compromise that had to be struck between what was green and what was gorgeous, and it generally landed somewhere in the middle. 

Sometimes it had to do with price, other times it was because back in the day, most green home design products looked like they were manufactured in a yurt. 

This of course has all changed, and green design has evolved to the point where most of it can now be termed just ‘’design.” 

Manufacturers are not only complying with federal and locally mandated programs, but are designing their products to meet the requirements of today’s most sophisticated, demanding buying group – The Millennials. According to a 2017 survey done by the National Association of Realtors, Millennials were the largest group of homebuyers at 34 percent. 

Increased awareness of the environment, coupled with social issues has pushed Millennial buyers not only to purchase organic and local foods, but they are also conscious of every purchase they make, including clothing. In their living choices, they desire open floor plans, smart technology, energy efficient appliances and windows, good indoor air quality, and natural materials. Outdoor spaces are also high on the list, which adds more living area, especially in homes built with smaller square footage. 

We all know that these priorities have been around for a while, and that builders have been incorporating these demands into their projects. But, beyond that, how does your project stand out from the thousands of other homes with the same features, and meet the ever-increasing demands of the current buyers? This past year’s emerging design trends were all about PERSONAL STYLE. 

The current trend in home design is “all about you.” Today’s design is a mix of colors, textures, finishes, and personal style. In other words, anything goes, as long as it’s pretty. Traditional looks have been pared down to a simple, farmhouse style, while modern design takes the lead in popularity with sleek, minimalist looks. There’s no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to interior design, nor are there any set rules about color and finishes. 

Incorporating some of these stylish solutions into your current building plans can help keep you ahead of the game. 

Customize Your Appliance Colors & Finishes 

Finishes, faucets and fixtures can be customized to suit every budget and taste. Black, brasses and gold tones have been leading the way in popularity, but with a twist. Finishes on these tones are matte, aged, or have a ‘live’ finish that changes over time. California Faucets, a leader in quality kitchen and bath fixtures, offers over 30 options in artisan finishes. With their “Custom Faucet” program, you can design your own fixture with the finish, handles and accessories of your choice. ‘Descanso’, a burnished brass faucet with a carbon fiber handle detail can be customized to create a one of a kind look that’s part rustic, part industrial and completely personal. Of course, California Faucets meets or exceeds the criteria for water conservation. 

The Warmth Of Wood 

Reclaimed wood planking is a great way to add warmth and personal style to a space. 

From feature walls to barnwood doors and backsplashes, it provides instant style and flair, adding unmatched color and texture. Stikwood, an American company, takes reclaimed woods and creates peel and stick, easy to install wood planking. Made from reclaimed and sustainable woods sourced from various locations in the U.S., they’re FSC sourced and finished with low VOC materials. 

Our Home, Our Haven 

We are at a huge shift in the way we currently design and build. Smart home technology continues to evolve and change the way we live, eat, sleep, and shop. In a world of rapid, instant connectivity and information, the ‘outside world’ has encroached into our inside spaces. It’s essential to create homes as a haven, maintaining a natural, healthy balance from the outside world. Creating a design to fit our own personal lifestyles brings us closer to that goal.

 Patricia Gaylor has practiced as an interior designer in the Northeast for more than two decades. She may be reached at