Latest Home Design Trends Are Familiar in the Bay Area

Eichler home

A classic Eichler home in San Rafael.

Once again, outside experts have confirmed what we in California have known all along: The Golden State continues to lead the way with the latest home-design trends, even when those trends are more than 50 years old!

That’s one of the takeaways from the annual International Builders’ Show this past week in Las Vegas, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Every year, the show’s Best in American Living Awards offer a look at the latest styles in home design and furnishings, and many of the newest trends this year are old favorites in the Bay Area and the rest of California.

One of the awards this year recognizes the influence of midcentury modern home detailing, perhaps best exemplified by the distinctive architectural style of Eichler homes found throughout the Bay Area. Real estate developer Joseph Eichler built thousands of homes in the 1940s through the ’60s. They were fashionable yet affordable, often featuring glass walls, post-and-beam construction, and open floor plans, and even today they continue to turn heads.

“Midcentury modern is now 21st century chic, trending again in furniture, elevation design, and detailing,” the NAHB said in a statement. “Quite a few homes, particularly in California and Nevada, reference this easily recognizable style.”

Another of this year’s Best in American Living Awards calls attention to “indoor-outdoor convergence,” another mainstay in California residential design. “What was once a distinct line between two living areas has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens,” the NAHB noted. “Residents now have the ability to transition their own living spaces by both visually and physically moving between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Other design awards applauded “modern industrial accents” as well as “low-impact design” that takes advantage of sustainable and green features, including “permeable pavers, native species in landscape design, and thoughtful site design, incorporating green features into beautiful landscaping.” All standard here.

We will concede, of course, that some of the latest design trends are having their first run in the Bay Area as well. Take a look at other winning designs at the Las Vegas show:

  • Troughs and spouts: outdoor tables with open, trough-like water channels that often culminate in a waterfall off the edge of the table into a pool below.
  • Board and batten, inside and out: Typically considered as exterior cladding, board and batten is also being seen indoors in quite a few homes now, adding a three-dimensional layer to interior finishes.
  • Copper bathtubs: They have become a popular bathroom feature in many award-winning homes.
  • White with repurposed wood accents: Picture stark, modern white paired with rich wood accents, used in flooring, ceilings, and cabinets.
  • Barn doors: They are appearing everywhere inside the home, from kitchens to mudrooms to closets.
  • Intricate stairways: Award-winning homes increasingly feature curving glass railings, detailed iron newel posts, unique stair accent walls, glass treads, and intricate tile work.
  • Waterfall islands: They are appearing in kitchens across the United States. Whether made of wood, granite, or marble, the islands emphasize clean, modern lines.

(Photo: Flickr/Becky Snyder)