Attending local builder "home tour" events and visiting model homes is one of my favorite weekend activities.  Who doesn’t love ogling at the eye candy that is a luxurious, custom-built home complete with all of the latest and greatest amenities?

Aside from the pure entertainment value of these outings, there is much to be gained if you are planning on building your "dream home" in the near future.  Builder show homes are a great resource for learning about the latest in home technologies, new building products, and of course, the latest in interior design trends.

Over the weekend, I toured several of the homes featured in the Akron HBA’s 2013 Parade of Homes. I thought it would be fun to share a few noteworthy finds that I uncovered in my new construction interior design trend-spotting mission.

Trend #1:  Fifty Shades of Grey

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has so much as glanced at a home décor magazine over the past year or two that grey was EVERYWHERE in these amazing homes…on the walls, the cabinetry, the fabrics, and the flooring…you name it.  The Grey Trend is alive and well here in Northeast Ohio, as it is across the country.

Trend #2:   Mix and Match Cabinetry

Gone are the days of “Matchy Matchy” cabinetry within the home.   Today, Contrast is the name of the game.  Most often this plays out in the kitchen, with one of two scenarios:   wall cabinets contrasting with island cabinetry, or contrasting upper and lower wall cabinets.  You can see some examples of this in the pictures below.

Trend #3:  Copper Elements Abound

Copper has been all the rage in the kitchen during the past few years, with copper tables and kitchen sinks increasing in popularity.  Over the weekend, I noticed that builders are beginning to incorporate this beautiful element into other areas of the home.  For example, check out the ornamental copper hood on the fireplace below, as well as the copper sink in the powder room.  It adds such a beautiful warmth to a space, don’t you agree?

Trend #4:  Is it Wood or Tile?  It’s Wood Grain Tile!

While perusing the bathrooms in these homes, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming use of wood grain ceramic tile.  This new building product was inspired by those of us who love the look of hardwood, but understand that it is impractical to use in bathrooms.  It has the look of hardwood with the great properties of ceramic tile that make it a favorite choice for bathrooms (i.e., the ability to withstand water and humidity).  Without actually touching the floor, it’s almost impossible to discern whether its wood or tile.  I love this flooring because of it’s chameleon-like ability to work in either a formal, elegant master bath or a casual kids bathroom.

Trend #5:  Mudrooms on Steroids

It’s so interesting to observe how new home construction design evolves over time.  In today's homes, the space that was once allocated to formal (rarely used) sitting rooms is now allocated to  more functional areas like the mud room.  Today’s busy families are looking for a “Drop Zone” area…a place to hang backpacks and store coat/shoes as they arrive and depart from home.  The mudrooms in these show homes are a Mother’s Dream, with amazing built-in lockers, cubbies, hooks galore, and even a bench with built-in storage.

I can tell you that as a professional organizer, I love the idea of swapping under-utilized square footage (i.e., a formal living room that is only used for the holidays) for uber-functional spaces like these, which will be utilized on a daily basis. 

If there's a new home construction project on the horizon for you, I would highly recommend spending some time this weekend touring builder "showcase" homes in your area.  Be sure to come back and report on any "home design eye candy" that you found!