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This fall, freshen things up with the trend toward whimsical wallpaper and bright colors, like this LMS Design powder room in East Hampton. (Photo credit: Eric Strifler)

Summer renovation season might be over, but fall presents a time of transition and a good time to start planning a cosmetic update to your home. Don’t know where to start? Get inspired by some trends local design experts are seeing. 

Bold and beautifulLMS Design, 71 Hill Street, Suite F6, Southampton, 631-943-1500

Interior designer Laura Maresca-Sanatore says she’s seeing a return to color—especially in rooms where white used to reign. 

“It used to be kitchens were the quintessential white kitchens and that has its place for sure, but lately I have been doing wood kitchens and introducing color — sometimes black or green — or texture,” Sanatore says.

“The rest of the house is usually white or a variation of neutral. When you do color in the kitchen, the whole room is the accent, and then we take pieces of that and follow through the rest of the house.” She’s been working with wooden cabinets, which she says “bring a transitional feel to the space,” and wall textures such as lime washing, which makes things “muted and cozy. When you have a bigger space and high ceilings, you can get away with that.”

Sanatore also says she’s doing big things in small spaces, such as modern, bold wallpaper in a powder room or metallic paints. 

“People are bending the rules with large patterns like abstract florals in small spaces. It turns the powder room into a jewel box,” she says, adding, “You can’t think like grandma’s wallpaper.” But for those who are traditionalists, she says, look for updates on timeless patterns like toile. 

“Go have fun: Wallpaper isn’t permanent. It’s a small space so you don’t have to have that much of a commitment,” she says. 

For clients who are not ready to go boldly into pattern, Sanatore turns to another design tool she’s using from her toolkit: the Japandi style, a fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese design. “It’s very neutral and monochromatic to the nth degrees and all you’re doing is adding texture,” she says. 

The smart home gets even smarterBri-Tech, 829 Lincoln Ave., Bohemia, 631-563-8000

If you ask Brian McAuliff,  CEO and founder of Bri-Tech, a home-technology design firm that works throughout Long Island, homes are not only getting smarter, they’re on the verge of genius, becoming more responsive to owner needs. 

No longer relying on seasonal infrastructure, summer homes are being built and upgraded at a higher level, McAuliff says.

“We’re seeing bigger home generators, more robust internet connectivity with more than one point of access. We’re installing a higher level of enterprise or commercial grade equipment — almost a professional network.”

Full-on, immersive home theaters are in, says Bri-Tech owner Brian McAuliff. (Photo courtesy of Bri-Tech)

McAuliff says owner occupancy into the winter holiday season or year round has caused technology upgrades in entertainment, too.

“We’re seeing an increase in entertainment equipment; more media rooms with surround sounds,” he says. But specifically, he notes a trend in immersive home cinemas — dedicated space themed aesthetically to feel the like a private cinema. His firm has been installing amped-up sound systems: 13 channels is now more typical than the five-channel system of yore. And coupled with the ability to download cinema-quality films from a server, homeowners can create a superior cinema experience in their own home, without the sticky theater floors.

“People have more appreciation of sound quality and they don’t want to go back to a movie theater,” he says. 

In tandem with such upgrades are upgrades in security, something McAuliff says used to be an afterthought. “Now clients are very eager to have more robust security” that is not satisfied by a cloud-based application he says. He’s been installing commercial-grade systems for people who want to protect valuables as well as those who “just want to know if someone is walking around on their property when they’re not home.”

In the future, McAuliff says you’ll be hearing more about wellness-driven technology such as responsive lighting and the ability to individualize air quality and temperature. And, his firm will be ready: “We are concierge technology designers,” he says. 

Glamming up the great outdoors — Jen Going Interiors, 44 Quogue St., Quogue, 631-998-3115

For an interior designer, Jen Going has been spending a lot of time outdoors. That’s because she’s finding more home owners are interested in maximizing all the assets on either side of the walls. 

“There seems to be a movement out here for owners to create a resort within their own homes and you want the interior and the exterior to flow,” she says.

Popping up on her project list are spa-like amenities such as cold plunge pools and hot tubs, which she calls “part of a general movement towards wellness.” Along with water, fire, too, is another basic element trending strong, as in tricked-out fire pits with sunken outdoor living areas, Arteflame grills or stone outdoor cooking facilities and televisions. 

“It’s like the whole living space has moved outside,” she says. “These are big family get-together areas that flow together so people can move from one feature to another sometimes with paths connecting them.” 

She’s also seeing spaces converted into yoga studios, citing a pool house turned into a “super zen studio with a beautiful bathroom. People who are doing this would normally have gone away on a fabulous trip, but instead stayed home and created an experience.” 

The spa theme is going strong inside, too, Going says, adding that she’s designing a lot of bathrooms with those amenities and themed in natural woods and serene colors. 

“I feel like things are getting more earthy and earth toned,” she says. Trending now is natural rift oak, a type of milling that gives more grain and texture. Going says it’s popping up in in kitchen cabinets and other finish work, just one of several textural methods she’s seeing, along with alternative paint finishes, stone accents and reeded panels. 

The lighter side of heavy metal — James DeMartis Metal Studio, 214 Springs Fireplace Road,
Number 6, East Hampton, 631-329-2966

James DeMartis is noting a more natural, softer trend in metal and stone design. (Photo courtesy of James DeMartis Metal Studio)

If you’re looking to add metal to your home, either inside or out, to look at, sit on or as a place to set your wine glass, cast an eye toward James DeMartis, a sculptor, metalsmith and architectural welder whose designs are featured on the 1st Dibs website and, less publicly, in the homes of the well-heeled, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Betsey Johnson and Martha Stewart, to name a few.

Like other designers Southforker spoke to, he is seeing the softer side of design trends, even though his medium is anything but. 

“After a long period of hard-edged minimal modernism of simple clean lines, and black, gray and white tones, it seems to me we’re [moving] into more textural materials, more color than a muted palate,” he says. “In my world, that’s metal like brass, bronze and copper, and hammered or acid washed textures. It’s more organic and also a very early sign of things becoming more curvy and less linear.” 

A recent client query was a demonstration of that: DeMartis was asked about creating a sculptural wall — “curved but not quite serpentine, low fence, kind of wall of steel a la Richard Serra but on a much smaller scale.”

A nature-inspired stair handrail from a residence in Sag Harbor, fashioned by metalworker James DeMartis. (Photo courtesy of James DeMartis Metal Studio)

His commercial work includes custom designs for restaurants, hotels and retail spaces  The artist attributes events of the pandemic to some of the interest in his work. “With the mass resignation and people looking to reinvent themselves, there has been a return in interest of people working with their hands and learning craft and trade. It’s not new, but it’s more prevalent in the last few years.” 

Another area of handcraft he enjoys but does not advertise is restoring antiques. 

“I love taking something that’s been neglected and bringing it back to its former glory,” he says. In metalworks, that has included historic artifacts such as the wrought iron anchor for the 18th-century schooner Nahum Chapin in Quogue and The Springs War Memorial Cannon in East Hampton.