Alice Allen, Senior Interior Designer Harris Doyle home buyers have the opportunity meet with one of our designers shortly after purchasing their new Alabama home. This means our buyers get professional help from our excellent design team as they pick the many interior features that match their personal style, helping to turn their house into a home!

Our excellent team of Interior Designers, Erin Brigham, Danielle Maros and Alice Allen, recently sat down for an interview to discuss all of the top design trends they’re currently seeing in the new home market, and the top tips they have for buyers getting ready to design their home.

Q: What interior colors are hot right now?

It comes as no surprise that white and grey are the main colors people ask for when designing their new home. However, the Harris Doyle Design Team always try to incorporate warmth via a color like rich gold to keep the scheme fresh and not too cold. Their overall goal is to make sure new homeowners keep a healthy balance of warm and cool tones within the home.

According to the design team, one of the best grey colors to use in your new home is Sherwin Williams’ 2017 Color of the Year, Poised Taupe. This is a warm grey-beige tone that is a better choice than a cool blue-grey.

The team also points out that in this year’s Southern Living Idea House, which is located in Birmingham, there is almost no grey used in the home’s interior design!

Q: What overall design scheme seems to be the most popular?

Erin Brigham, Interior DesignerUrban farmhouse and French country seem to be incredibly popular, and of course, the white farmhouse look à la Fixer Upper. However, all of the designers at Harris Doyle have different designs philosophies that influence their decisions. Erin describes herself as mid-century modern, while Alice likes classic designs and fixtures, like dark iron, brass and wood. Danielle prefers what she has labeled the urban comfy design, which incorporates plush, fun colors, urban lines, iron, and woodwork. All three girls have different preferences, so they’re able to offer a great variety of styles and client preferences.

Q: What are the most popular places in the home that you see buyers’ adding upgrades to?

Most upgrades seem to be added to the kitchen or master bathrooms. Buyers always want the luxury look in those two spaces, so they tend to put more money into the finishes in those rooms. One frequent upgrade they see is the addition quartz countertops, especially when they’re going for the white farmhouse look. These countertops are antimicrobial, don’t scratch, and are heat resistant.

Madison kitchen at Trussville SpringsThey also see buyers spending money on lighting upgrades. These fixtures will eventually date a home, as lighting styles change regularly, but they are easily changeable. Harris Doyle offers exceptional standard lighting options, but even upgrading just one level can really change the look and feel of a space.

Other popular upgrades include adding built-in features, like bookcases, bench seating or special ceiling features, or upgrading flooring to get a reclaimed hardwood look. Many people add these into the master or guest bedroom on the main level so that hardwood floors run throughout, because buyers know that hardwoods add value for resale purposes.

Q: What exterior upgrades are buyers adding to their home?

Gardendale new homesMost Harris Doyle homes feature majority brick on the exterior, with board and batten or Hardie cedar boards. Buyers can opt to add stone upgrades or wrap the brick all the way around the home. Other popular changes they’re seeing is using an ivory mortar instead of traditional grey, or painting the brick to achieve the whitewashed farmhouse look.

The design team also provided a list of tips for buyers to keep in mind as they’re designing their home:

  • When meeting with designers, bring in photos of what they like or don’t like so the designers have a direct representation of what they’re looking for. There is often a language barrier with design terms, so photos can prevent confusion.
  • Don’t forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good design comes over a long amount of time, and there will always be additions that can be made to a home’s interior design. Buyers aren’t going to find an entire design scheme in a box at the store, so be patient.
  • Incorporate a soft textile into every room, like cotton or linen, a piece of metal or glass, and a plan in every room for balance. These are the finishing touches that can turn every house into a home.
  • At the end of the design process, put the photos and Pinterest pins away. Buyers have to make a decision and be confident in their choice. The design team is there to encourage each home buyer that they made the right decision, while the buyer has to know the team won’t let them pick something that doesn’t look good. They hear what their customers want and try to steer them in the right direction to ensure they love their space and that it is livable.

Steelemont in Vestavia HillsWhen buyers purchase a Harris Doyle home, the design process quickly begins. After a home is purchased, the buyer is assigned a designer that they have an initial meeting with to review the plan they’ve selected and create a wish list of features that they want in their home. They can add anything at this point, from ceiling treatments to cabinet changes, as long as it doesn’t change the footprint of the home. After that meeting, the design team creates an estimate and gets ready for the first design meeting. During that design meeting, home buyers get to make their exterior material and color selections, then select the features for their kitchen, bathrooms and more. Finally, the second design meeting consists of selecting all the fixtures, paint colors, lighting and more. The Harris Doyle Design Team affectionately calls this the ‘fluff meeting!’

The Design Team will soon be moving to a new building and will have a brand new showroom opening in late fall. The new space will feature, among other things, private conference rooms for meetings with new home buyers. Potential home buyers and clients are encouraged to come by and visit when the new showroom opens!