Monica Lewis of J.S. Brown & Co. on Current Home Trends

Sherry Beck Paprocki
Columbus Monthly
Monica Lewis

At the launch of a new decade, Monica Lewis, vice president of operations at contractor J.S. Brown & Co., shares a peek into growing home renovation and style trends.

Mom and dad may be aging in your space. When comparing the cost of elderly parents living in a specialized community, some homeowners are moving them into their own homes and providing first floor in-law suites for their use. (Some provide a suite for a caretaker, too, on the lower level or elsewhere.)

Preparing to party. Retiring empty nesters are realizing that they don’t need to keep big homes in both Columbus and somewhere the sun more frequently shines. Thus, they’ll downsize at least one of the homes. Lewis mentions an Arlington couple preparing for retirement. They bought a condo, eliminated one of its three bedrooms to create more open space for entertaining on the main floor and created lots of storage spaces throughout. A first-floor owner’s suite and a second-floor guest suite remain.

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Hosting the holidays. Millennials like open spaces that help them oversee young children—and provide space for entertaining indoors and out. “There’s more focus on family as they are child rearing or thinking about it,” says Lewis.

Tuning into tech in a big way. Home owners want better Wi-Fi compatability and better storage for all those digital devices (and their cords). They may want Nest security and a growing number of tech capabilities, including cameras to watch over an elderly resident home alone.

Concern about footprints and human rights. The question about carbon footprints sometimes comes up as consumers ask how far products are being shipped. Lewis often asks clients what “environmentally friendly” means to them, if the term is mentioned. Energy efficiency regarding insulation, solar heating, LED lighting and more are concerns, as are the environmental effects of some products. Occasionally a homeowner refuses a product from a country with which they disagree about socio-economic policies. “Sometimes keeping things that they already own is the answer,” says Lewis.

The end of gray. “We’re finally getting away from gray [in home décor],” says Lewis. “We’re moving to more color in general.” A greater variety of colors is available for cabinetry, countertops, tiles and even custom shades. “Sometimes a supplier gives us a palette with 30 colors that look like a Crayola box to choose from,” she adds.

Quartz is queen. There is a significant push toward quartz, adds Lewis. Natural granite and other stone are still desirable and can be dramatic, but many consumers are enjoying easy-care quartz and other such products for their countertops.

Luxury vinyl tile is in vogue. There’s a new evolution of LVT flooring. “It has softness and acoustic advantages over other tiles,” says Lewis. Large format, porcelain tiles, even those as large as 4x8 feet, that previously may have been more prevalent in commercial spaces now offer interesting possibilities for homes, too.