Q and A: 2021 Denise Benach on Design Trends for Homes

Interior design trends for homes are constantly shifting, but within the past year – when many people began spending more time at home during COVID-19 – many homeowners have stopped to consider each and every design decision they have made in their homes.

Denise Benach, Director of Interior Design for Lexington Homes, is no stranger to design trends. With more than 30 years in the business, she has seen it all. Most recently, she has used her expertise on the new Parkside of Glenview, a 29-home development in Glenview. Model homes opened earlier this year.

She sat down recently to talk about trends in kitchens, bathrooms, and gathering spaces, and how the company’s design choices for Parkside of Glenview bode well for a post-pandemic future.

How do your customers approach interior design?

Everyone is much more educated now than in the past. A lot of people watch HGTV or read about design trends on the internet, and that means they know what they want. That also means we keep up on design trends and make sure we have both trendy and traditional options available to suit every customer’s taste and budget.

Often, the gathering point of homes is the kitchen. What sort of design trends are you seeing in this space?

Big kitchen islands are very popular – it’s a place for the family to gather, talk, eat. For countertops, quartz with a waterfall edge is now the go-to design option. The material is great – it’s not porous, like granite, and it can mimic the look of marble while being durable and easy to clean. With faucets and fixtures, matte black is very hot right now. In fact, we are seeing lots of touches of black throughout the home, which gives a nice contrast to the whites and grays that we’re seeing on walls and floors.

For cabinets, many people like to do two different tones, perhaps one color on one wall, or different colors on the base and top. It personalizes it, so your kitchen doesn’t look like everyone else’s. We also offer walk-in pantries, which are very much in demand today. People want somewhere to store their groceries and big cases of water.

And everyone loves high-end appliances, from brands like Bosch and Thermador. Specialty appliances, like wine refrigerators, are also becoming more and more popular.

You mentioned matte black fixtures are popular. Is that also true in bathrooms?

Yes. People are even choosing matte black for their shower doors. But what’s new in bathrooms are bigger tiles. People want cleaner lines, less grout. Subway tile is still very popular, but often our customers are getting them in different colors – greens and grays and blues – and are using them in interesting shapes. Many customers also want spa-like bathrooms, with a soaking tub and an extra-large walk-in shower and separate vanities. It’s all about the luxury.

Wooden floors have been popular for many years. Is that still the trend?

Yes. We offer our customers both red oak and white oak floors. Lighter floors are trending, and some customers are choosing a wider plank. I’m seeing minimal carpet – sometimes in the basement or the bedroom, but not very often – and it’s easy to see why. Wood floors have a more upscale feel, they look much nicer, and they’re easier to keep clean, especially if you have kids or a dog.

One option within your homes are fireplaces with floor-to-ceiling tiles. Is that the latest trend?

It’s certainly popular, since that kind of tile treatment draws your eyes up and makes the room feel bigger and taller. It’s just one of the fireplace options we offer to accommodate both contemporary and traditional tastes.

What about the exterior design of homes? In Parkside of Glenview, you offer four different designs, with different elevations.

That’s correct, we offer four distinct exterior styles. Our farmhouse model is the most popular, but we don’t want every house in the neighborhood to look the same, so we have different options with different elevations, including craftsman, shingle, and European styles. It’s important that our communities have enduring value inside and out, with lasting curb appeal. That’s what exterior design variety delivers.

What trends are you seeing in outdoor spaces?

People love to have outdoor space that extends the comfort and personality of the indoors to the outdoors, space that’s both functional and manageable. Especially popular are covered front porches, where you can have your “alone time”, and rear patios where you can grill and gather with family and friends. Both extended and covered rear patio options are available with all of our Parkside of Glenview homes.

What about technology? Do customers demand smart homes?

Yes, especially now, with working from home and streaming everything you watch. Connectivity is important, but so is automation. We offer automated lights, automated window shades – you name it. More and more customers also want car chargers in the garage, for electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. That is one design trend that I think is here to stay.

How did COVID-19 affect design trends?

The pandemic changed the way we live. Open-concept living is still very popular – people still want gathering spaces, big islands in the kitchens, and large attached family rooms. They still want large volume with focal points that create a warm feeling. But now everyone needs their own personal space, whether it’s office space or just niche space that you can make your own. We were one step ahead on this one – all of the floor plans we offer have this sort of space.

Parkside of Glenview offers 29 single-family homes, all with first-floor master suites, nestled into a lovely garden-like setting within a well-established Glenview neighborhood. Each home ranges from 2,663 to 3,676 square feet, and prices start from the low 900’s. If you’re interested in viewing models and learning more, visit parksideofglenview.com to set up an appointment.