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Luxury Kitchen Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Luxury kitchen trends for 2020 are centered around bespoke designs, high-quality materials, and high-tech functionality. Today’s kitchen designs combine the latest technology with timeless style. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen. Whether a home is traditional or modern, an outstanding kitchen design won’t look dated anytime soon. The true luxury kitchen is built to last.


Statement Kitchens With Pattern And Color


Creating a “feature wall” makes a visual statement in the kitchen, and strong pattern and color are the ongoing trends. Patterned tiles with a global aesthetic are the perfect update to a traditional kitchen. Open shelving lightens up the kitchen and provides display space, while rich color adds warmth.

 


Photo Courtesy of Emily Henderson

 

Durable quartzite now comes in bold designs that mimic veined marble and granite. Popular for countertops, this manufactured material is easier to work with than natural stone, so it can be used to cover large areas. We’ll continue to see tall backsplash areas, or even entire walls of patterned quartzite and real stone. Installed in a mirror-image pattern called bookmatching, it has a dramatic, elegant effect:

 

 

 


Source: TheDPages

 

Dark, moody cabinet colors are very on-trend. They evoke the richness of a dark wood kitchen, but add a modern aesthetic. Deep blues, greens, and soft blacks are popular, combined with rustic wood tones. Monotonous walls of wood-tone cabinets are out, as people are embracing colorful kitchens and two-toned cabinet finishes.

Matte finishes are the latest trend for stone and quartz countertops. They look fresh (after years of glossy kitchens), plus they’re easier to maintain. Matte countertops mix beautifully with shimmering tiles and trendy gold and brass hardware, creating an interplay of light. Luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black.

White kitchens are still popular, but designers are combining matte and glossy finishes with soft color to bring them to life. Pale aqua and greige are the perfect modern substitute for white, providing a light and airy look that’s completely custom.

 

 

luxury kitchen interior design manchester, MA

Open-plan kitchen in Manchester


Luxury Kitchens For Entertaining


Open-plan kitchens are still in high demand, sharing the same views as the living area. Features like double islands and a second dishwasher make entertaining easier.

 

Double islands and a view in Manchester

 

With the kitchen open to the living area, the focus is on beautiful finishes and uncluttered design. Reducing upper cabinets leaves space for a decorative tile or stone feature wall, visible from the living area. New storage options help keep everything close at hand and the kitchen clean and tidy.

Custom cabinetry walls are the perfect solution to open-plan interiors. They incorporate fully integrated appliances and concealed storage into a modern, furniture-quality design. Custom-finished in a beautiful wood, the cabinetry becomes a feature wall, creating a “hidden kitchen” effect:

 

Source: Pinterest


Luxury Trend: The Butler’s Pantry Returns


The current trend of removing upper cabinets makes kitchens feel more spacious, but it also creates storage issues. The traditional butler’s pantry is making a comeback, keeping clutter out of sight and adding additional prep space. A modern butler’s pantry may hold a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, countertop appliances (hello, Instant Pot) or a second dishwasher. Treat it with the same custom lighting and high-end finishes as the kitchen:

 

Luxury kitchen with butler's pantry,

Butler’s Pantry and Wine Bar, Swampscott

 

Some designers are even enlarging the butler’s pantry so it serves as a second kitchen, leaving the main kitchen practically mess-free.


Luxury Kitchen Lighting


Well-designed lighting makes luxury kitchens highly functional and illuminates its best features. A high-end kitchen will have three levels of lighting:

  • Task lighting – directed at work areas, it usually includes under-cabinet lighting and spotlights or ceiling fixtures over prep areas.
  • Ambient lighting – general lighting from chandeliers, with small ceiling spots where necessary. Advanced lighting designs include bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs.
  • Accent lighting – added above or below cabinets and behind glass doors, it highlights decorative features and adds a soft glow when other lights are off.

 

Traditional white luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

Traditional luxury kitchen in Lynnfield, MA

 

Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three types of lighting. Smart Home systems can automatically control the light settings throughout the day.


Luxury Kitchen Appliances


Fully integrated appliances are a top luxury kitchen trend, followed closely by specialty appliances for specific lifestyles.

“Consumers looking for high end appliances are looking at SubZero/Wolf, Viking, Dacor, Monogram, and Thermador appliances. Consumers’ wish lists include speed ovens, microwave drawers, convection steam ovens, and coffee machines.”
Juanita Gillespie, Builders Source

Microwave and refrigerator drawers are easily incorporated into a kitchen island, an especially convenient design for families with children. Built in coffee machines by Thermador can create 28 different coffees. Steam ovens cook meals quickly and are a healthy alternative to microwaving. Gaggenau‘s Steam Oven has a sous-vide function, and a built-in vacuum drawer to seal food for cooking or storage.

Custom appliance colors are another luxury trend. These commercial-style refrigerators with gold hardware make a chic gourmet display:

 

Source: True Appliances

 

Smart Home technology is quickly becoming a luxury kitchen staple. Today you can control your oven from your phone, and check the refrigerator contents remotely to see what to buy for dinner.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home with a luxury kitchen, or planning a renovation to create the kitchen of your dreams, focus on high-quality design for a kitchen that lasts. Our professional Realtors here at Sagan Harborside Realty have the expertise to find you the perfect location. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

Design A Stylish Porch For Entertaining

Watching the sunset with a drink in hand is reason enough to have a front or back porch. But a well-appointed porch gives your home extra space for entertaining – and extends our outdoor season on the North Shore well into the fall. Whether your porch is petite or grand, the right furnishings and accessories can turn it into a gathering spot. We've collected some of our favorite porch design ideas to inspire you.

Create An Outdoor Living Room:

Front porch decor greets your guests with a statement of your style. Classic planters and attractive light fixtures create a warm welcome. Furniture with deep cushions makes your porch as comfortable as the living room inside. Even a small porch may have room for a pair of chairs. Include as much seating as possible in your porch design, and you'll expand your living space to accommodate large groups.

Design Ideas For A Small Or Narrow Porch:

If your porch is small, or less than eight feet deep, you may think porch rockers or a bench are the only option. But comfortable chairs with cushions are often less than 30" deep. You can easily fit a pair, or even a row of chairs against a wall. Put a small drinks table between, and your guests can linger for hours.

 

Image Courtesy of Copper Lighting World

 

Tuck a small bench across the end of a narrow porch and instantly create a cozy seating nook:

 

Image Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

You can even use the bench trick to create a small dining area – just add a small round table in front of the bench, and bring out folding bistro chairs when you're ready to eat.

On a porch that’s narrow but long, create separate seating and dining areas. A dining nook or bistro set at one end can seat 2-4 people. Place shallow furniture against the house, facing outwards, for more seating. Vintage wicker sofas and chairs are perfectly scaled for narrow porches, but you can find modern designs around 30" deep. Measure your porch before shopping so you'll know what will fit.

Small stackable chairs are perfect for entertaining on a narrow porch. Pair them with small tables, or add them to a dining area. These striped chairs from Frontgate are stylish and comfortable:

Striped Stacking Cafe’ Chairs, Frontgate

 

Design Ideas For A Large Porch:

Large porches usually have space for different seating and dining areas. A porch that’s eight feet or wider has room for a dining table and chairs. A long, narrow table can be the ideal solution for large dinner parties. Or, set it up as a serving area for drinks and appetizers.

An outdoor buffet is handy for storing table decor, candles, and serving pieces. To have room for a buffet alongside your dining table, your porch should be ten feet wide. A buffet is also the perfect spot for a vignette of elegant accessories and potted plants. This buffet is made from weather-resistant teak and granite. When you're not throwing parties, it's durable enough to hold plants and flowers:

 

Teak Buffet from Country Casual

 

With an outdoor sofa, loveseat and cocktail tables, a porch becomes a second living room. Look for durable frames in teak, aluminum or resin, with comfortable cushions in Sunbrella or Outdura fabrics that will last for years. Today's outdoor styles even include sectional furniture, so it's easy to find pieces that fit your space perfectly:

 

Chatham Sectional, Pottery Barn

 

Smaller pieces make it easy to rearrange the furniture for different events. Loveseats are very space-efficient (most people won’t sit three-to-a-sofa anyway) and they’re easy to move around. Combine a pair of loveseats with several chairs to create a more versatile seating area - like designer Suzanne Kasler has done on this stylish porch:

 

Design by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs

 

Use area rugs to define different seating areas – they'll also add texture, color and a sense of warmth. A cheerful stripe adds casual flair, while a Persian-inspired rug provides a touch of elegance:

 

Outdoor Persian-inspired rug, Eyely

 

Design Your North Shore Porch For Fall: 

The nicest porches here in Marblehead, Swampscott, and Lynn take advantage of our beautiful Fall weather. If you have room, add an outdoor fireplace so you can enjoy being outside well into the Fall. Enclosing one end of the porch (or adding outdoor curtains) offers some protection from cold breezes.

Even without a fireplace, you can create a warm and cozy glow with candles and lanterns. Look for LED lanterns for long-lasting, safe outdoor lighting.

 

LED Outdoor lantern, Eyely

 

Quilts and blankets are a great way to add a pop of Fall color to the porch, and they'll keep you warm. Sunbrella makes outdoor throws that are warm and washable, so you can leave them outside. Add a covered basket or storage trunk to keep extra quilts and pillows handy.

 

Sunbrella Outdoor Throw

 

No matter what size or shape porch you’re working with, our design tips will help make it comfortable and inviting. A porch that's as well-appointed as your interiors will beckon your guests outside to enjoy the fresh sea air.

Do you love the charm of a classic porch? Sagan Harborside Realty has been matching porch-lovers to amazing homes with porches for years. Give us a call at 781-593-6111 to find your dream home on the North Shore of Boston.

 

 

Guest Room Tips For A Luxury Retreat

A beautifully appointed guest suite is a gift to your guests they'll appreciate and remember. Creating the perfect guest room means adding thoughtful touches that make your guests feel pampered and completely at home. We've gathered our favorite guest room tips and ideas, so you can be guest-ready when the holidays come around.


Spending the night in your guest room is a great way to decide what improvements you'd like to make. Is the mattress comfortable?  A memory foam topper adds instant luxury. Did the sun wake you up too early? You'll want room-darkening draperies or shades. Is the closet too full? Be sure to clear out at least half the closet for hanging space, and provide empty hangers. 


Is your guest room attractive? If it's a collection of cast-offs from other rooms, freshen them up with paint or new upholstery. Add a plush upholstered headboard. Embrace a quirky mismatched look, and give your guests a charming spot to Instagram.


Guest Room Furniture


The ideal guest room has a plush, cozy mattress, enough storage and a spot to relax, read or work. A small desk can be used for a laptop, or as a makeup vanity (just add a mirror and good lighting). A seating area lets your guests relax in private. If your usual guests have babies, add a rocking chair. Short term guests don't unpack, so a luggage rack or a bench at the foot of the bed is handy for suitcases. Finally, cover those cold hard floors with a fluffy rug.

Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing
 Guest Room from our Swampscott Listing


Guest Room Amenities


Top quality bedding is a worthwhile investment. Not only will your guests love the silky-soft finish, high-end sheets will last for years. Include European square pillows for reading in bed. Give your guests a choice of sleeping pillows, both feather and non-allergenic. Layer a light blanket under a cozy duvet for year-round comfort. Bedside lamps should be at least 28" tall, and have 3-way bulbs for reading.


�Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

 Tenora Bedding Collection by Sferra

 

A plush throw is a luxurious touch - and your guests can use it for an afternoon nap without unmaking the bed.
Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

Luxury Wool Throw at Gessato.com

 

Pamper your guests with hotel-style touches like plenty of white towels, mini toiletries, a blow dryer, and ironing board. A basket of things they may need, like razors, toothbrushes, and allergy or headache medicines are a thoughtful touch.

 


 Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802
Hospitality Supplies by Beekman 1802


Encourage guests to explore on their own with books about the local area, brochures and coupons for nearby activities and a map of the town. Local post cards and stamps add old-fashioned fun to their stay.


Guest Room Snacks and Coffee


A basket of snacks like granola bars, pretzels, or fruit lets guests help themselves without having to ask. Add mineral water, baked goods, or even a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. If your guest suite has space, a coffee bar and a small refrigerator will make them even more self-sufficient. We love the idea of gathering everything onto a guest room cart; it looks stylish and makes re-stocking easy.

 

�Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com
 Photo Courtesy of KellyNan.com

Essentials For A 5-Star Guest Suite


These luxury touches will make your guests feel extra-pampered and loved.

  • Fresh flowers
    • For an instant welcome. Use a sturdy vase that won't tip easily, or a blooming plant in a pretty pot. 
  • Air freshener
    • A spray freshener for the bath area and an oil diffuser for the bedroom.
  • Bedside carafe of water
    • An old-fashioned touch that's much appreciated - they come in all styles, from modern to monogrammed.
  • Covered waste can
    • A step-can is easy and sanitary, a nice touch when the trash isn't emptied daily.
  • Extra toilet paper and plunger
    • Stash it in an easy-to-find spot, so no one has to ask.
  • Framed wi-fi password
  • Reading material
    • A few current magazines or books; essays, short stories and light fiction are a nice touch.
  • Slippers
  • Charging station
    • A USB outlet or power strip with USB ports is a simple solution.
  • TV-remote instructions
    • Print out your channel guide, and a few pointers for your particular setup.
  • Hamper
    • Keeping only the clean clothes in a suitcase helps travelers stay organized.
  • Night lights
    • A bathroom nightlight and motion-sensor nightlights in hallways help guests navigate in the dark.
  • Welcome treat
    • Chocolate on the pillow anyone? A sweet treat tells guests you're happy to host them!
  • Spare keys
    • Guests love to come and go as they please. Give them printed instructions for the alarm, if you have one.


 Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com 

Image Courtesy of AlmostMakesPerfect.com

 

If you’d like to be settled in your dream home before the holidays, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

Wine Storage Systems To Upgrade Your Home

Those of us who enjoy a crisp, chilled white wine on a summer evening, or sipping a full-bodied red in front of the fireplace usually keep a few bottles of wine on hand. A true wine connoisseur may even be in the market for a home with custom wine storage or a built-in wine cellar.


�Architect: Robert A.M. Stern

Of course, a dedicated wine cellar (and tasting room) is a luxury that requires a lot of space, as well as a large budget. When it comes to getting the best out of our wines, there are plenty of affordable storage options. We know you can do better than that shelf above the stove! First, let’s look at the best ways to store wine, and why it matters.


Tips for Wine Storage

Unless you’re a serious collector putting up bottles for years of aging, you probably don’t need a custom cellar. However, wine does need to be stored at a consistent temperature, ideally between 45 and 65 degrees. Large temperature swings must be avoided, and temperatures over 70 degrees will “cook” a wine and destroy its complex flavors.

For long-term storage, your kitchen refrigerator is too cold – although it’s fine for wine you’ll drink in a week or two. To preserve your wines’ subtle flavors and have them ready to serve, follow these tips:

  • Heat is very bad for wine, so a kitchen shelf is not ideal. Your laundry room or pantry are probably too warm as well.
  • Avoid locating wine racks in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Exposure to light is very damaging, hence the dark color of wine bottles.
  • Storage in a cool spot in your home (consistently under 70 degrees) is fine for wines you’ll drink in a year or two.
  • Store bottles on their sides to keep the liquid against the cork – this keeps the cork from drying out and letting air in.
  • Artificial corks and plastic caps don’t require horizontal storage.
  • A wine refrigerator set at 55° F is perfect for storage and keeps your wine at what many experts believe is the ideal serving temperature.

 

Do You Need A Wine Cellar?

The short answer to this question is no – you can create good conditions to store wine at home in a number of ways. However, if you’re investing in wines to be opened after several years, you’ll need optimal storage conditions in order for them to mature properly. And if you’re a gourmet cook and want to have a large selection on hand to complement your menu, good storage will ensure that your wines maintain their flavors.

Traditional underground cellars were created in ancient times to provide the consistent temperature and humidity levels required for long-term wine storage. Modern wineries still use underground cellars for aging. If your home has a cellar, it may be the ideal location to store your wine collection. Humidity levels of 50%-80% are thought to be best to keep corks from drying out. Too much humidity can encourage mold, so it’s important to test your cellar area. A cool basement that’s not too damp can be used to create an excellent cellar just by adding horizontal wine racks.


What’s The Best Wine Storage System For Your Home?

If your home isn’t blessed with a basement that can also work as a cellar, there are plenty of ways to incorporate good storage practices into your home. Interior designers have unique and creative ways to turn wasted space into wine storage.

�Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot
 Photo Courtesy of The Renovation Spot


Wine Storage in Bar Furniture

Wine connoisseurs may advise against keeping your wine in a bar cabinet, but for short term storage (a few months to a few years) it’s just fine. Look for a cabinet with horizontal racks, and place it in a cool room away from direct sunlight.

�Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair
 Wine Storage Cabinet, Wayfair


Modular Wine Racks

Modular wine racks are available in many styles. A modular system can fit into tight spaces and lets you add additional racks as your collection grows. Create a wine storage area by re-purposing unused space in a cooler area of your home, like an empty closet or outdated wet bar.

Modular racks by Vinotemp
Modular racks by Vinotemp

 

Cabinet-style modular units can be added to built-ins, hung above a piece of furniture, or stacked in a closet for a custom look.

Modular storage by Kessick
 Modular storage by Kessick


Wine Refrigerators

The next step up from racks and cabinets is refrigerated wine storage. From small, countertop wine refrigerators to large dual-zone units that hold hundreds of bottles, a wine refrigerator is the easiest way to create cellar-like conditions in your home. Specially-designed wine buffets are even available with refrigerators built-in.

Under-counter wine refrigerators have become popular additions to modern kitchens. They’re an affordable way to keep your collection conveniently at hand. A dual-zone model provides ideal storage conditions for reds and whites, and the best serving temperatures for both.

�Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero
 Undercounter Wine Refrigerator by Subzero

 

If your enthusiasm for fine wines turns you into a collector, you may indeed need a cellar of your own. WineEnthusiast.com has refrigerators that accommodate 300 bottles. Beautifully-designed custom storage can even become a focal point in your interior design:

�Custom Storage by Kessick
 Custom Storage by Kessick
Photo by Eric Cucciaioni

 

Are you looking for a home with wine storage? Whether you’d like a kitchen with a wine refrigerator or a deluxe wine cellar, Sagan Harborside Realty is your best resource for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

 

Design a Stylish Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

Is your deck designed for entertaining? Summertime is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and neighbors on the deck or patio. With our beautiful weather, everyone is longing to be outside. And with a fairly short season, we want to make the most of our outdoor spaces. To help you get your deck or patio summer-ready, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas.

Of course, if hiring a top interior designer is in your budget, you can have a dream patio like this one, by designer Mark D. Sikes:

Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes
 Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes

 

What makes this patio so inviting? Aside from the gorgeous color palette, it’s a design that accommodates both dinner parties and relaxed hanging out. If you want to live outdoors like this in summer, you’ll need to create an outdoor living room. Here’s how to make it happen:


Make Your Outdoor Furniture Comfortable

Hard wooden benches or rockers aren’t conducive to hanging out for hours. Add seat cushions and throw pillows from durable outdoor fabrics to make the outside as comfortable as indoors. If you have the space and budget, an outdoor sofa or sectional creates a cozy ambiance.


Outdoor Sectional by Ashley Outdoor Sectional by Ashley

 

Teak or metal frames are best, since they can be left outside all year. Traditional wicker will need to be painted every few years. If you’re shopping for wicker, look for resin wicker – it’s weatherproof and looks just like the real thing.

Outdoor fabrics do vary in quality – from cheap and cheerful pillows that only last a season, to high-end acrylic fabrics that last for years. Look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura for fabrics that are easy to clean and fade-resistant.

Even a simple bench or porch swing can get the “sofa” treatment, with a comfortable seat cushion and collection of throw pillows:
 

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

 

Don’t forget tables – your guests need a spot to set down drinks and snacks. Ceramic garden seats are perfect for smaller spaces. They’re portable, stylish, and just big enough to hold a small plate or two.

Add an outdoor rug to tie your seating area together with color and pattern:


  Outdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.comOutdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.com

Get Your Deck Ready For Fun

Keep your guests cool with ceiling fans, or a standing fan in a corner to create a breeze. Books and old-fashioned games encourage everyone to put down their devices and unplug. Games like checkers and dominoes are durable and easy for everyone to play, and you can have a basket handy with a frisbee or soccer ball for a quick game on the lawn. If your crowd likes old-school games, a croquet set can be a lot of fun.


Create an Outdoor Dining Room

Whether it’s a bistro set for two or a long table for a crowd, a dining set keeps the party going. If you’re blessed with a long deck, set up a permanent dining table at one end and a seating area at the other, and you’ll always be ready if friends drop by.

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

 

If your patio is small and you long for an elegant dining area, a built-in banquette is a great solution. It’s not an expensive project, and a bench can tuck easily into the end of a deck. Add a table and some extra chairs and you can seat a crowd. Plus, you’ll have a comfy reading nook. Splurge on upholstered seat cushions and some gorgeous throw pillows.

�Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard
 Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard

 

For extra seating (or a tiny deck where you only entertain occasionally) this folding dining set from Safavieh is really handy. The table folds down and the chairs store inside the base, so you can use it as a console when you’re not dining:

Source: Home Depot

 

For outdoor dining, you’ll probably want to set up a serving area. While a console or buffet is ideal, not every deck has space for a dedicated serving piece. Think creatively; re-purpose a potting bench or plant stand with pretty linens and colorful accessories for a charming buffet.

A bar cart is another handy accessory – you can use it on the patio, or move it into the garden. Keep it stocked with bar tools and glasses, so all you need is your favorite drink. The storage drawers and serving tray on this teak cart from Kingsley Bate make it the perfect summer accessory:


Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Storage For Outdoor Party Supplies

If you entertain often, it’s a good idea to add some storage to your deck for party supplies. Stock a cabinet or shelf with citronella candles, bug spray, a drinks tub, and a few throws for chilly nights.

Outdoor storage boxes or benches make the perfect spot to store cushions and pillows in winter. Larger storage trunks can even be used as extra seating. When the party’s over, they can hold extra pillows, candles, small rugs, and games.

Baker’s racks or etageres make wonderful spots for seasonal displays, and you can use them for storage and serving too. This piece from Ballard Designs has a storage cabinet at the bottom, and open shelves you can set up as a bar or buffet area:


 
Etagere by Ballard Designs

Etagere by Ballard Designs

 

It’s the perfect piece to dress up the deck with a vignette of potted herbs or flowers too.

Set up your deck as an extension of your home, and you’ll enjoy being outside all summer. So gather your supplies, mix some drinks, and invite the neighbors over for dinner on the deck! If you’re looking to buy or sell a deck (with a home attached) on the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.
 

Landscaping Your Backyard For Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and it’s time to get the most out of your backyard. It’s easy to get your deck and porch ready for guests with attractive furniture and decor – but a great landscape design will make your backyard into a prime spot for visitors. Well-placed plantings can soften the edges of a deck, screen off unsightly views, and create separate areas for dining, relaxing, or play.

If you’re moving to a new home, layers of green and colorful summer flowers will get your outdoor spaces ready for guests. From fast, budget-friendly solutions to garden renovations, we’ve collected our favorite ideas here.

Patio Flowers for Outdoor Entertaining

Container gardens are a quick, low-cost way to add greenery to your deck or patio. Flowerpots let you put the color exactly where you need it, and you can add new plants during the season to keep the containers fresh and blooming. Mix various pot sizes, and add height to your display for extra impact:

Container gardens and flowerpots

Photo Courtesy of Signature Gardens

 

If your budget has room for a deck upgrade, consider adding a built-in bench. Benches are an easy way to add extra seating, and incorporating planters adds an upscale touch. Since they’re a permanent part of the deck, there’s no need to buy and store extra outdoor furniture for parties.

Planters for a kitchen garden.

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

 

Planters near the grill area make the perfect spot for a kitchen garden. Plant salad greens and herbs for cooking, or grow cherry tomatoes on a trellis. A deep planter with an attached trellis is a great solution when you need to add privacy to your outdoor seating area. A wall of green helps keep your space cool, and having ready-to-pick produce is perfect for entertaining.

Dress Up A Deck Or Patio With Landscaping

A landscaped border between your deck or patio and the rest of the yard adds a sense of privacy, and softens hard edges. Use low shrubs and flowering plants for layers of color you can admire from the deck.

landscaped border between your deck or patio

Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have the budget for a larger project, building a pergola is a great way to bring landscaping to an outdoor seating area. At night, string outdoor lighting on a pergola for romantic dining. Grapevines, wisteria, and climbing roses are gorgeous climbing plants that provide plenty of shade. They’ll grow just as well in planters, so you can easily cover a pergola that’s close to the house.

pergola over an outdoor seating area

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

This backyard renovation that includes built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees creates an elegant landscape for entertaining right beside the patio:

backyard renovation with built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees

Photo Courtesy of Swell Homes

Landscape Design Creates Outdoor Entertaining Zones

Great spaces for outdoor entertaining have areas for both dining and relaxing. Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, creates “outdoor rooms” for different activities. Formal planting beds and low walls are attractive landscaping features that separate activity areas.

using Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, to create outdoor rooms

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

Shaded areas are important – carefully placed trees can be as shady as a pergola. Seating areas incorporated into the landscaping let you interact with the garden, while a formal dining area is more practical. This project by Amy Martin Landscape Design has all the features of a great backyard for entertaining:

using shaded areas in your landscaping

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

A wide border garden makes a beautiful transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard. Use taller shrubs and small trees to screen off play equipment or a pet run. Small trees like Japanese maples or flowering almonds can be safely planted close to the house for privacy and shade.

using a wide border garden to transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard

Photo Courtesy of Garden Design

 

Backyard Destinations For Entertaining

If your yard is large enough, create a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat. Discovering a seating area behind a flowerbed or hedge is a nice surprise for guests, and you’ll enjoy it too.

a pergola that functions as a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat

Project Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have a large backyard, a dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining. While a permanent structure can be a big-budget project, an enclosed building isn’t necessary. This pergola by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining

Design by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

 

If formal dining isn’t your style, turn a corner of your lawn into a spot to relax. Throw in some curves to break up a boring, rectangular yard. Build a deck around a big tree, or incorporate a patio and fire pit into the landscape. This charming round patio has a matching curved pergola and a swing for fun:

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

Even a simple landscaping project can completely transform the way you use your backyard. There’s nothing fancy about these chairs gathered around an open fire, but it’s certainly an inviting spot:

chairs gathered around an open fire pit

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Snow Photography

 

Our balmy summers here on the North Shore make it a wonderful area for summer entertaining. Larger properties are available with landscaped entertainment zones for dining, cocktails or hanging by the fire. Even the smallest cottage is sure to have an outdoor deck for soaking up the sun and relaxing in the evening. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront that’s built for entertaining, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111

Luxury Home Trends in Kitchen Design

Today’s luxury kitchens have evolved far beyond show-stopping commercial ranges and statement appliances.  Feature walls are the new stars of kitchen design – showcasing open shelving, handcrafted tile, book-matched stone, or a magnificent view. These carefully-curated display areas are complemented by appliances that are fully integrated into the cabinetry, so they almost disappear into the design. 

Islands Make a Statement:

Islands add a luxury touch when fully clad in a quartz surface material, a rich wood such as walnut, or a highly-figured stone:

Source: Knock Architecture and Design

 

With fewer upper cabinets, kitchen designers are using custom cabinetry walls as a way to fully integrate and conceal storage and appliances, leaving the island and prep areas uncluttered. Finished in beautiful wood, the “hidden kitchen” becomes a feature wall itself:

Source: Pinterest

Custom refrigerator and freezer units can be configured to disappear into drawers, or fit under the counters to preserve the clean lines of a modern kitchen.

 

Feature Walls Set The Stage:

A kitchen’s feature wall is its focal point – and in a modern luxury kitchen, that usually means tile or stone displayed in quantity.

Moody, darker colors are trending this year, and the contrast helps hardware and custom details to really stand out. With open shelving and a steel-trimmed range hood, this deep blue tile creates a stunning feature wall. Antique-inspired pendant lighting adds extra charm over the island:

Source: The Urban Electric Co.

 

A tiled feature wall adds Old-World charm to a kitchen with traditional beams and classic white cabinetry:

Source: Pinterest

 

This modern kitchen exudes high-end glamour with a full-height feature wall and island of Caesarstone. Dark stained cabinetry adds contrast, allowing the gold lighting, barstools and accent strip on the island to stand out. Everything about this kitchen has an air of understated, modern luxury:

 

Hardware Is Like Jewelry:

High-quality hardware adds richness and depth to a kitchen. Today’s luxury hardware trends include rose gold, matte brass, deep bronze, and matte black. These finishes are more difficult to produce and not widely distributed – a rarity that adds an instant aura of luxury to a kitchen.

For a traditional home, refrigerators in a custom color with deluxe gold hardware will display gourmet ingredients and a wine collection with style:

Source: True Appliances

 

Luxury Kitchen Lighting:

Quality lighting adds both function and character to a luxury kitchen. Advancements in lighting design have replaced old-style ceiling spots with bright, efficient, and unobtrusive LEDs. Expect no fewer than three levels of lighting in a high-end kitchen. Task lighting is directed at work areas, so it may be a combination of under-cabinet lighting and pendants over an island. Ambient or general lighting comes from pendants or chandeliers, plus small ceiling spots as needed to keep the room comfortably bright. Accent lighting is added above or below cabinets, or behind glass doors, to add ambiance. Dimmers and remote controls make it easy to adjust all three and set the mood.

Instead of small pendants for island lighting, here the designer has chosen three stylish fixtures with shades as a focal point:

Source: Atlanta Homes

 

A custom marble stove back, seamless marble installed on the walls, and massive marble island gives this Atlanta kitchen a sense of updated luxury. The bespoke range hood and custom display shelves are high-end features that make a traditional kitchen stand out.

 

The Butler’s Pantry Is New Again:

Removing upper cabinets creates an open, spacious feeling – but it also reduces storage. Butler’s pantries are the answer. This classic solution is making a comeback, and it can be the perfect spot for a coffee bar, wine refrigerator, or second dishwasher to keep the kitchen mess out of sight. Custom lighting and high-end finishes make it an extension of the kitchen:

Design: Jeff King and Co.

 

A luxury kitchen in 2019 focuses on the highest quality materials. Natural stone and quartz products are being used as statement pieces over large areas, and rich color or tile patterns inject personality. Hardware and lighting are more important than ever, as they’re truly the jewelry of the kitchen.

 

 

 

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bench facing harbor with moored boats

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