Best in American Living™ Awards Shine a Spotlight on Design Trends for 2016 and Beyond

January 21, 2016

A record 117 single-family, multifamily, remodeling and community projects were honored at the 2015 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) Gala held during the 2016 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. These award-winning projects represent the nation’s best in home and community design, interior design and remodeling.

“BALA continues to be a snapshot and a directional for the way forward in home building and design,” said Heather McCune, co-chair of the Best in American Living Awards Subcommittee and director of marketing at Bassenian | Lagoni. “Something in each year’s winners will help you do your next project better – no matter who you are. That’s the power of a program like BALA.”

This year’s BALA winners also showcase design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years. Some of the most prominent trends include:

Intimate Outdoor Spaces: Many single-family custom and production homes include intimate outdoor gathering spaces, complete with outdoor fireplaces or fire pits and cozy seating. These spaces are geared toward smaller gatherings, as opposed to the extended family-size backyards of the past.

Mid-Century Modern Detailing: Mid-century modern is now 21st century chic, trending again in furniture, elevation design and detailing. Quite a few homes, particularly in California and Nevada, reference this easily recognizable style.

Indoor-Outdoor Convergence: What was once a distinct line between two living areas has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens. Residents now have the ability to transition their own living spaces by both visually and physically moving between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Troughs and Spouts: Outdoor tables with open, trough-like water channels add extra outdoor entertaining space. The water feature often culminates in a delicate waterfall off the edge of the table into a pool or water feature below.

Board and Batten Used Inside and Out: Perhaps more often thought of as exterior cladding, board and batten is being featured inside quite a few homes now as well, adding a 3-dimensional layer to interior finishes and providing an interesting alternative to paint and wallpaper.

Copper Bathtubs: Copper bathtubs have become a popular bathroom feature in quite a few award-winning homes. These tubs are a striking addition in any home, from rustic to modern to traditional.

White with Exotic or Repurposed Wood Accents: Many winning interiors feature stark, modern white paired with rich wood accents, a striking combination in flooring, ceilings and cabinets.

Modern Industrial Accents: Making its strongest appearance in multifamily projects, this trend combines sleek lighting and furniture with the brick, glass and steel elements of a building’s shell and skeleton. Vibrant pops of color offset the cooler color palette of metals and whites.

Barn Doors: Barn doors are appearing everywhere inside the home, from kitchens to mudrooms to closets. These offer an alternative to traditional left- or right-hung doors and become a design feature of the home, unlike pocket doors that tuck away.

Intricate Stairways: Overall, stairways are becoming more prominent and sophisticated features of the home. BALA winners featured curving glass railings, detailed iron newel posts, unique stair accent walls, glass treads, and intricate tile work.

Low-Impact Design: Many BALA winners and entrants included sustainable and green features in their designs, including permeable pavers, native species in landscape design, and thoughtful site design, incorporating green features into beautiful landscaping.

Waterfall Islands: Still trending are waterfall islands in kitchens across the United States. These islands, whether made of wood, granite or marble, emphasize clean, modern lines.