House & Home

Dining rooms disappear, floor plans flow on local home tours

The Spring Parade of Homes, which opened the doors to 377 new area houses, wraps up Sunday. And the Kansas City Remodeled Homes Tour showcased 23 homes two weeks ago.

Both offered glimpses of what’s to come in terms of new materials and design concepts in home construction and remodeling, as well as tried and true features. Here are highlights from them.

Walls be gone

Open floor plans are still popular in remodeled and newer homes.

“People are still taking houses from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s with small boxed rooms and blowing out the walls,” Burchette says.

Chris Ragland, owner of Homes by Chris of Kansas City, says the No. 1 trend she’s seeing in new construction is the end of formal dining rooms.

“That space has become either a music room, library or home office,” she says. “It’s more about casual entertaining. In the custom homes we’ve built in the past two years, we haven’t put in a single formal dining room. The kitchens are larger they’re eat-in kitchens with a farmhouse table. That’s where homeowners are entertaining.”

Countering with quartz

Ragland also is noticing a movement away from granite to quartz countertops and says color has a lot to do with that.

“I like granite, but people are going to lighter colors and lighter granite is way more expensive,” she says. “A light quartz is more than the average granite but less than a light-colored granite.”

Reclaimed and glossed over

A Fairway home remodeled by ReTouch Design Build Renovate of Overland Park featured an island top made of reclaimed cedar coated with a high-gloss epoxy.

“It’s unbelievably beautiful,” says Jan Burchett, executive director of the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, which organized the tour. “There’s so much marble and granite, marble and granite, that when I saw this, I thought, ‘Sweet!’ 

According to Erik Haberkorn, client coordinator at ReTouch, it comes in several types of wood and three epoxy finishes that have different effects on the grain.

“It fits with all kitchen design styles, depending on how you use it,” Haberkon says.

It’s not cheap though. The cost per square foot is about $100, more than twice the price of most granites, he said.

Gas and tile are big

Gas cooktops are more popular than electric cooktops. Several home contractors noticed a shift to gas during the recession when people stopped eating out as often and had an urge to upgrade their kitchen appliances.

“The first thing they wanted was a gas top, and the trend has stuck,” Ragland says.

She’s also seeing more homeowners upgrading their tile.

“They want a cleaner, streamlined look,” she says. “Subway tile is very popular and so are 12-inch-by-24-inch floor tiles. And they’re going either very light or very dark, sort of each end of the color spectrum.”

More color, less carpet

One way or another, homeowners are injecting bold color into their homes. Some want white walls and bright furnishings and artwork; others are going for vivid walls.

“Navy blue is really big,” Ragland says. “Everyone loves blue. I think it’s gorgeous.”

She’s also installing less carpet and more hardwood and tile floors.

“Homeowners always have a dog or cat, and it (hardwood) holds up better. You can refinish it 10 years down the road and make it darker or lighter. It’s timeless. With carpet you have to change out.”