Gray new neutral

Soft, cool grays are the new neutral at Lake Martin and often are paired with one or two bright, popping colors, like the cobalt blue in these sliding panels.

Whether new construction or remodel, or perhaps an uplifting project during the quarantine, finding the right plans, selecting paint, purchasing furnishings and adding just the right accessories to a Lake Martin home could prove complex and bewildering.

Residential designer Larry Furlong has seen a glass trend in new homes at the lake this year, especially in projects on point lots for homeowners that want wide views of the lake. 

“On the exterior, customers are requesting a direct view from the front entry to the lake. Angled walls of glass have allowed for some creatively styled gourmet kitchens and dining areas overlooking the lake. Homeowners want to enjoy lots of porches, with fireplaces, and pools attached to basement-level outdoor living spaces. Inside, the trends are future expansion areas in the basement and above garages, plus larger bar areas with wine cellars in the basement,” Furlong said.

High ceilings and stone on interior walls are highly requested items, as well. Shiplap remains popular for the main living areas, but many homeowners have switched back to sheetrock for the bedrooms.  

According to designer Phil Spraggins at Phil Interior Design, Inc., trends are pushing away from all neutral accessories in a house that already has neutral walls, ceilings and countertops.

“Gray is still the neutral of choice, but I am seeing bright pops of color in artwork, pillows and rugs. Lake Martin Mini Mall has beautiful pillows, and even Walmart may have just what you need for a new look. Both of those stores are open for business, if you want to shop locally. The trend is really toward more color, the way the old cabins at the lake used to be, bright and cheerful. Even the old-fashioned quilts, like grandma’s, are resurfacing for color. I also see remodels where the stained ceilings are being painted to match the walls, which really brightens a home,” Spraggins said.

On the exterior of the house, Spraggins suggested using all one color or painting the trim just one shade lighter than the exterior.

“Cedar can be high maintenance, so I suggest painting it. My favorite colors right now are Sherwin Williams’ Roycroft Bronze Green, Sage Green Light and Rookwood Dark Brown. A lot of people make a mistake with the garage doors. If the house is all one color, the garage door should match. If not all one color, the garage door should be the color of the trim,” Spraggins said. 

Also working with neutral palettes for her clients, designer Nan Jackson of Interiors Etc. by Nan has found fabulous décor to provide those pops of color at Off the Beaton Path in Dadeville. She also recommended searching for lake-y finds at Lake Martin Mini Mall.  

“The Beatons have beautiful pieces, even rugs, that they have found all over the United States. Everyone is staying with neutral furnishings, sometimes maybe a pinstripe in a sofa or chairs, but the color is in the accessories. Blue is big. In fact, I have done houses recently with blue cabinets in the laundry room and office area. I added yellow lamps to a totally neutral palette, and they looked great, “Jackson said.

Jackson said she is seeing more contemporary, clean lines in light fixtures that are mixed in with more traditional looks. She suggested mixing different materials to make it your own.

“Patterns on the floor tiles in the laundry room and bathrooms are very popular. I’ve seen blue, gray and white tiles, or subway tiles with a gray grout to get the pop. Subway tiles will never be out of style. I just did a bathroom with blue in the tile and gray cabinets, but I will pull the blue in again in the mirror. Big tiles on the floor that also extend into the shower, but perhaps in a different direction, look really nice,” Jackson said. 

Jackson recommended warmer whites for interior walls – specifically, Crushed Ice by Sherwin Williams and Calm or Ballet White by Benjamin Moore. Cabinets in the kitchen are still warm white or gray. 

“Vent hoods over the stove are great, but now we are asking what’s under them. The trend is feature appliances in the kitchen – take-offs from Sub-Zero and Wolf are now adding colored knobs for a statement piece in the kitchen,” Jackson said.