Style at Home


Story by Emily Baker

From modest family homes to sprawling estates, this year’s award-winning Parade of Homes revealed designs that can be replicated at any budget. In both style and function, Idahoans are changing the way we use our homes. Designers and builders are listening.


Across the price spectrum, homeowners are seeking rustic finishes that give their homes a modern farmhouse feeling of “lived-in” warmth. These inviting spaces feature hand-textured walls, scraped plank flooring, barn-style doors on main floors and tiles designed to look like weathered wood and rich fabrics. Hubble Homes’ Parade home featured a Sun Valley hand-textured wall finish throughout echoing the look of plaster. These informal, durable finishes remove the stress of home maintenance, easily hiding the nicks and scrapes of daily family life.


Designers are using materials in bold new ways. Builders are using wood planks on ceilings and vertical surfaces to create rich, warm accent walls. Weathered, wood-style tiles are also being used on floors and adjacent walls, creating fluid continuity from the ground up. Shelburne-Marrs’ “Preston” in this year’s Parade of Homes featured tiles mimicking worn, painted wood planks on both the floor and walls of a shared bath to great effect.

Textile-inspired tiles with herringbone, houndstooth and linen textures combine style with durability and are surprisingly affordable. Laying tiles vertically on walls can visually lengthen the space and add a fresh spin. Conjuring the look of cloth imparts warmth and layers texture into rooms like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Simple, solid tiles are being laid in new patterns, with herringbone overtaking the still-prevalent chevron, creating timeless, classic looks.


Alchemy is the hot, new aesthetic in home design, with metals layered all over the house. Mixing industrial steel railings with chrome finishes and oil-rubbed fixtures, creates transitional, layered styles rich in contrast. Shape and structure are used in eye-catching ways, bringing depth and interest to design. Delicate glass pendant lighting is coupled with stark, industrial, faceted fixtures or a bold look that is modern elegance. No need to match your metals — an eclectic look ties your home together, from the kitchen to the bathroom and every fixture in between.


With our computers a footprint of their original sizes, traditional office spaces are on their way out. Tiny tech grotto dockingstations in central areas have overtaken them, tucked in small corners of kitchens, mudrooms and communal spaces. Gone are the towering desktops and jumbled wires of the past. Our electronics can move from the couch to the yard with ease, wirelessly changing the way we use our favorite spaces. Turn that extra room into the craft room or fitness space that serves you best.


For years, home buyers have put open floor plans on their “Must Have” list. But those open, communal living spaces have lost the cozy, secluded living retreats from the rest of the bustling house. Home builders and designers have solved this with second-floor family rooms. Utilizing the large landings at the top of the stairs, nestled between bedrooms and away from the central nervous system of the house, homeowners across price ranges are choosing second-floor enclaves, creating distance from the downstairs while not forcing family members to be closed behind their bedroom doors.


Idaho families are designing multigenerational living spaces. Realtor Will Loverde shared that “Buyers are thinking ahead and designing their homes with grandparents and adult children in mind.” Builders are offering flexible home plans that swapbedrooms or dens with modified, apartment-like spaces with separate bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting rooms and kitchenettes, all on the main floor. This removes the hazards and difficulties of staircases for elderly family members and offers accessibility with privacy. Separate entrances offer privacy, while practical details, like walk-in showers and low thresholds offer safety and peace of mind. Idahoans value family and keeping their loved ones close. Home builders and designers are recognizing this trend.


Gourmet kitchens and luxurious master bedrooms remain on trend, but with a fresh angle– the more functional use space. Lavish bedroom square footage is being replaced with expansive master bathrooms and closets. Spa-like master suite retreats are now realistic and affordable in all family homes. Walk-in showers, soaker tubs, built-in linen closets, large closets and plenty of elbow room are favorites. In the kitchen, functional pantries are on everyone’s list. Taking clutter and appliances off the counters and into the pantry creates a cleaner kitchen aesthetic.


Boasting some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, Idaho is an outdoor family playground. But our favorite varied outdoor activities have one thing in common: the gear, and where to store it. Most families would love additional storage space without having to change home facade or lose the footage across the front of their properties. The new solution is the play-inspired, tandem (or “L-shaped”) garage. This flexible design allows for three cars, but the double-deep bay stores boats, bikes, paddleboards, fishing equipment, ATVs and all the other trappings of Idaho’s outdoor lifestyle. Direct access to a mudroom or laundry room off the garage makes quick work of dirty clothes and shoes.

If work is your play, the double-deep bay lends itself perfectly to a shop or workbench, equipped with plenty of space and privacy.


Idahoans prioritize environmentally-conscious, cost-efficient construction. Residents expect their homes to mirror their values, so energy-efficient homes are in high demand. Home owners are seeking not only efficiency, but clean, healthy environments for their families. Families are buying efficient, socially-responsible homes with the highest HERS (Home Energy Rating System) and Energy Star indexes. They’re also paying attention to the unseen details, like energy efficient windows, power-ventilated crawl spaces to help provide constant circulation and cleaner air, and 2×6 framing construction for better insulation and sturdier homes.