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Neil Kelly design consultant says natural stone, dark wood are 'in' for interior renovations

It's interior design and landscaping month at the Business Tribune and we're here to find out critical information about upcoming home decor styles, like whether decorating with golden pineapples are going to be a short fad or timeless trend.

With interior design firm Neil Kelly celebrating 70 years in business as a remodeling company, Portland design consultant Sandi Erdman spoke with the Business Tribune about the ins and outs of interior style trends for 2018.SUBMITTED: NEIL KELLY. PHOTO CREDIT: DARIUS KUZMICKAS OF KUDA PHOTOGRAPHY - The range top, ovens, hood, refrigerator and dishwasher are by Thermador appliances.

"I feel privileged to work with a company that has been in business and successful for that many years," Erdman said. "There's a lot of history and groundedness that comes with it, but at Neil Kelly that is balanced with a very forward-looking attitude about what we do, because we are seen as a leader in the industry."

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"I always enjoy projects where there is a need to resolve an awkward layout or poorly designed space that is really not working for the clients," Erdman told the Business Tribune. "My favorite projects involve moving or removing walls and redesigning spaces."

That open-concept trend is continuing into 2018, with clients asking for walls to be demolished.

"An addition for a client a few years ago created a larger kitchen, new family room and large open dining room flooded with natural light and views of their beautiful yard," Erdman said. "It was a wonderful transformation that really improved the way they used their space."

Bathroom and kitchen remodels are still key places that need updating. Erdman said she's seeing people rethinking bathroom designs in terms of the space bathtubs and showers take up.

"I worked with some clients on a master bath recently that had a shower tucked into a separate room with the toilet and a large tub," Erdman said. "By eliminating the tub and moving the shower, we were able to gain a second closet, plus enlarge the shower."SUBMITTED: NEIL KELLY. PHOTO CREDIT: DARIUS KUZMICKAS OF KUDA PHOTOGRAPHY - The island countertop is White Macaubas Quartzite.

She said beautiful tile will continue to be popular because there is so much out there for every aesthetic, and it's a necessary material for bleachable places such as the bathroom.

"People are rethinking bathroom design as far as tubs and showers go," Erdman said. "We have done a couple tubs within a shower wet room lately — it's not a new thing, but perhaps gaining popularity."

While tile bathrooms and stone counters are still in for materials, dark woods are also back.

"I have been surprised at the number of my clients wanting natural stone countertops such as granite, quartzite and marble — I thought for awhile there that was on its way out," Erdman said. "Also, not being so afraid of dark wood — balanced with lighter elements so it doesn't overwhelm."

However, a 2017 trend that's over is tile that looks like wood or other materials.SUBMITTED: NEIL KELLY - Sandi Erdman, design consultant with Neil Kelly, loves remodels that include new layouts and moving walls.

"I would kind of like to see wood be wood and tile be tile — maybe we've seen enough tile that looks like wood, or that may just be my personal preference," Erdman said. "Styles will always be changing, but I feel it's important to look at larger trends that are reflecting lifestyle changes and encouraging people to discover what they love, and what makes them feel good in their own space."

By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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