We don’t spend much time at Dotty Brothers chasing trends. Trends come, go, come back, fade again—they’re transitory by nature. And our process is to build generational homes that stand the test of time and use. We custom design and build every home and remodel project, so that it’s tailor-made for the family that lives there. But that doesn’t mean we’re hidebound, only doing things one way: we’re always looking for good ideas, new innovations, ways to make our clients’ homes more comfortable, longer-lasting, safer, better. That means we are attuned to trends in the home building industry. Here’s what we’re seeing lately.
Most of our builds are in the Brainerd Lakes Area, which is rich with natural resources: lakes, forests, rivers, trails—so it’s no surprise that people who are drawn to the area are also drawn to those natural elements. But we’ve been seeing a lot of those kinds of elements in our design/build projects. Hardwood floors, of course, even porcelain tile that looks so much like hardwood you have to get down and tap it with a ring to tell that it’s not. We’re seeing some of that on walls, too, especially as an accent or as part of built-in shelving or cabinetry.
Stone and tile are showing up in places you’d expect, like granite or other stone countertops and backsplashes, but it’s also being used in some spaces to finish the ceilings. We did a bathroom with a gorgeous walk-in shower that mixed wood and tile on the ceiling, giving the room a transcendentally calm style. The natural materials are lending themselves to natural colors as well: colors drawn from nature, that respect and reflect the locations of these homes.
Roofs have been an underappreciated spot for architectural accents—we’re so used to seeing a large spread of shingles that it’s easy to not think about the kind of touch a metal accent can provide. Think about an accent wall—now apply that notion to the roof. We’ve been seeing more and more “accent roofs” being incorporated into homes. Typically,these are installed over a feature that extends from the home, marking it as separate from the roof at large. For instance, a metal accent roof is perfect for going over a porch, over a portico or entryway, over a bay window, or on its own as a cupola.
Most of the time the metals in use are aluminum, which comes in a wide range of colors, or natural materials like copper or zinc. A copper roof over your front entryway really makes an impression, whether it’s maintained to keep the original gleam or allowed to darken to an elegant patina. No matter what you choose, a metal accent roof can really make your home stand out and look great.
We doubt that brushed nickel or chrome are ever going to be gone for good, but one trend we’ve seen in plumbing fixtures has been to install them with a black finish. It makes sense: the color black can help maintain a neutral color palette while adding some unique character to a kitchen or bathroom. And, as the saying has it, black goes with everything (it probably doesn’t, but it goes with a lot of things). Matte black finishes are also durable and do a good job hiding water spots and fingerprints.
And earlier, where we noted that some styles come, go, and then come back? Say hello to modern brass fixtures. Only a few years ago brass finishes were scorned as part of dated 80s/90s building trends, but the color is back in a big way. People like the warmth and class that brass offers, and much like matte black it seems like it can fit into any design. One reason is something that’s categorized as “brass” can come in a wide range of shades and textures. There’s something there for everyone.
This is part of the natural materials/looks trend, but it warrants its own mention because of how substantial an impact timber can have on a design. That makes sense; after all,a timber is by definition a large piece of wood. In some cases, the timbers are purely decorative, adding a rustic feel to a home. In other cases,these big logs are used traditionally: as structural parts of the building itself, typically as columns, rafters, or joists. The difference here is that they are left visible, and they are finished in a way that highlights their natural beauty and impressive physical presence. Especially for homes in lakes country, where they are often surrounded by trees, these timbers are a really nice way to bring the outside in, and be a reminder of the environment we live in.
Design trends will continue to come and go (with the occasional comeback), but one thing you can always count on from Dotty Brothers is thoughtful, unique design coupled with skilled builders and the level of craftsmanship we’d use if we were making it for ourselves. That kind of service never goes out of style.