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The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – a prestigious awards program recognizing excellence in designs that will influence the entire residential building industry.

Award recipients are lauded as the nation’s most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers.

Below are some of the newest trends in home design that buyers throughout North Carolina will see in the coming months and years, based on submissions from this year’s BALA winners. Some of these elements are sure to inspire your next design project.

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, instead of the extended family-size backyards of the past.

Mid-Century Modern Detailing. Mid-century modern is now 21st century chic in furniture, elevation design and detailing. Particularly in the western United States, this style has become increasingly popular.

Indoor-Outdoor Convergence. What was once a distinct line between two living areas – indoor and outdoor – has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens. Families can both visually and physically move between these areas.

Troughs and Spouts. Outdoor tables with open, trough-like water channels add interest, often culminating in a delicate waterfall off the edge of the table into a pool or water feature below.

Interior Board and Batten. More often used as exterior cladding, board and batten is now being featured inside a large number of homes as well. This technique adds a three-dimensional layer to interior finishes and provides an interesting alternative to paint and wallpaper.

Copper Bathtubs. These are a popular bathroom feature in several award-winning homes. Copper 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, 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. Stairways have become more prominent and sophisticated. Designers increasingly feature 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, rain gardens and landscaping with native species.

Waterfall Islands. Still trending are waterfall-edged islands, in which the kitchen bar is inset into the cabinetry rather than extended beyond it. These islands – whether made of wood, granite or marble – emphasize clean, modern lines.

To find an industry professional who is ready to bring these exciting new trends to your new home or remodeling project, contact your local home builders association

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