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Cool, calm and condo-collected

by Debra Gelbart on Aug 4, 2017

The latest design trends in condos and townhomes center around technology and streamlined aesthetics, local experts say. 

"Smart technology has taken a giant leap forward," said Mike March, the architect for Two Biltmore Estates, an upscale condo community in Phoenix. "Recent advancements in technology, coupled with relative smaller scale townhomes and condos, have made adding smart technology more affordable than ever." 

"Everything we are seeing is more streamlined and modern," said Claudia Gerster, owner of Tempe-based design firm Creative License International. She added that condo owners want less accessorizing and larger-scale artwork, along with "mixing of reclaimed materials with modern furniture and art."

Making a small space seem larger

Central to smaller-space design, said Pail Williamson of True Craft Residential, the developer and builder of Novella at Arcadia, a community of luxury townhomes in Phoenix, are high ceilings, light-colored flooring in the great room, and the correct amount and size of furniture in the home. 

Painting a ceiling a light color and/or installing indirect lighting upward onto the ceiling can help create the effect of more space, said March, who is with Moderna Architects in Scottsdale. "For walls, lights colors, coupled with contrasting darker accent color on just one wall or area can make rooms seem larger than they are when decorated entirely in a single hue." 

"A small space with feel bigger if you fill the room with only items you love to use, look at or have a personal connection with, such as a (family) keepsake," said Lauren Rosenberg owner of Lauren Rosenberg Interior Design in Scottsdale. "This way, your small space will feel intimate, cozy and personalized and you won't be focusing on the size of your room but rather how it makes you feel." 

Multi-functional appliances

"Appliances that can perform dual functions — such as washing machines that can simulates hand-washing if there isn't space for a laundry sink —and multi-function ovens that reduce the need for additional appliances in the kitchen all help to conserve space without sacrificing function," March [of Moderna Architects] said. 

Gerster [of Creative License International] pointed out that smaller apartments and condo unite have pushed the envelope on both appliances and furnishings. Popular space-saving appliances include stacked washer/dryers, low profile refrigerators/refrigerator drawers, small single-bowl undermount kitchen sinks, [smaller] stoves/ovens, wall-mounted storage, pull-out pantry cabinets, cabinets to the ceiling and furniture that transforms from one function to another [e.g.; Murphy bed wall units and tables that go from coffee tables to dining height], she said. 

Tuck-away appliances — [small frequently used appliances such as coffee pots, juicers and blenders] — are furniture, Rosenberg [of Lauren Rosenberg Interior Design] said. "Cabinets for tuck-away appliances are counter-height, extra deep and with multiple outlets so that all you have to do is pull out the appliance and then push it back in when finished. It's kind of a kitchen within a kitchen." 

A quick summary of trends

According to Rosenberg, several additional design approaches popular now in condos and townhomes include:

• Greens and blues in all shades

• Textural elements in fabrics, art, wall treatments and lighting

• Mixing metals

• Space-efficient furniture vs. oversized furniture

Finally, Rosenberg said that it’s time to say goodbye to beige. “Jeweled-toned and pastel colors take center stage,” she noted.

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