The top home trends include technology and sustainability – Orange County Register

The top home trends include technology and sustainability – Orange County Register

Finding or remodeling a home to make it into your own personal retreat is no small feat. With communities to check out and home improvement products, furniture, appliances, landscaping and garden supplies and other necessities to purchase, our personal spaces require a lot of running about.

Even if you aren’t in the market, it’s worthwhile to visit some of the new home communities to spot trends and get inspiration if you are planning a project.

And what are the 2019 trends?

Two words: technology and sustainability.

The number of residences with smart home technology — such as video doorbells, automated thermostats, controlled lighting and cameras and other safety features — is growing by leaps and bounds, and “homebuilding is one of the great frontiers of this trend,” said Linda Peak, director of digital marketing for Brookfield Residential. “As more devices continue to integrate ‘the internet of things’ and even artificial intelligence, one’s residence will be home base for new technology.”

Brookfield Residential is the builder at the Delano at Irvine’s Eastwood Village, one of the top vote-getters in the new home community category. The townhome community of Delano was the first in the nation to offer Apple’s smart home technology as a standard feature when it began selling units a couple of years ago. Through the Apple Home app, residents can control HomeKit-enabled accessories including lighting, thermostats, locks and Wi-Fi.

In the Highmark neighborhood of Lake Forest’s IronRidge, the top vote-getter in the best new home community category, the KB Smart Home System done in partnership with Google will be offered as a standard feature. Homeowners will be able to control features such as a Nest video doorbell, lighting, window shades, cameras and more. You can see how it works at the Highmark model home.

Even Best Buy, the top vote-getter in the best appliance store category, is dedicating a lot more of its sales floor space to smart home products.

The second big trend is the increased interest in and use of sustainable, eco-friendly products and a general awareness of acting in an environmentally friendly manner when it comes to your home and garden.

For new home and remodeling projects, this might mean following LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Home guidelines, a green building certification system. It takes into account improved indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency and other goals.

To improve indoor air quality, home improvement stores can help you find nontoxic paints and flooring specialists that can point the way to low-emission materials. Heating and air conditioning professionals can advise on best practices, as can fireplace specialists.

Energy efficiency is becoming more of a priority when it comes to home projects such as installing solar panels, new windows or window coverings. Smart home technology can also help by automating thermostats and light usage. The government-backed EnergyStar label on appliances, light bulbs and other products show they have been independently certified to be more energy efficient.

For interior water efficiency, look for the WaterSense label from the Environmental Protection Agency on low-flow showerheads and toilets and flow-limiting faucets. The EnergyStar label on new appliances also provides guidance on water usage.

Outdoors in the garden and yard, smart irrigation timers and drip irrigation help save water. More people are removing their lawns and replacing them with a more climate-friendly option, especially because of a generous rebate offer by the Metropolitan Water District

Your outdoor spaces can do more for the environment than just use less water. Roger’s Gardens, one of the top vote-getters in the garden center/nursery category, puts it this way on its website: “Southern California gardeners are also increasingly embracing the concept of their gardens as habitat. More and more often, gardeners are concerned about conserving resources, wanting to grow their own food, and structuring their outdoor spaces to be healthy, pesticide-free and organic.”

And here’s a last tip about a new one-stop shop when it comes to home and garden furnishings and décor to save you some time while out and about. At Home, a new-to-California home décor superstore, is now open in Foothill Ranch. It is almost overwhelmingly large but very well-organized. To provide just a peek into its selection, it has full aisles devoted to different themed outdoor décor products such as farmhouse, beach, Asian-inspired and bright tropicals. A wall of seat cushions in every imaginable color, furniture pieces, lots of storage and organization choices, wall art and more are packed into the 85,000-square-foot space. It’s unlike anything seen before here.

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