Feature walls add style to remodel projects

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published November 11, 2015

 This bathroom wall is part of a bathroom remodel that won a silver award.

This bathroom wall is part of a bathroom remodel that won a silver award.

Photo provided by the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan


METRO DETROIT — In almost any room of the house, a feature wall delivers major impact as a contemporary addition to a remodeling project.

Design manager Dean McQuade, of Transitions Remodeling, received a gold award from the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan for a recent whole-house remodel in Canton.

“We did lots of feature walls,” McQuade said. “In the bathroom, we did one whole wall in slate tile with an embedded mirror and glass shelves. The other walls were just painted. It was very cool.”

Feature walls also are popular behind a stovetop cooking area in a kitchen, or on a fireplace wall.

“It is a focal point,” McQuade said. “Fieldstone and slate are coming back in style. but not on the floor — they are used on walls. We did another feature wall for a doctor, with stacked stone.”

In addition, McQuade added a dog shower area to a mud room and constructed an extra-large island in the kitchen in his award-winning remodel entry.

“We took out a central fireplace and a load-bearing wall for an open look,” he said. “We put together a ‘before and after’ book for the client.”

McQuade said the entire whole-house remodel process took nine weeks.

Another new design trend involves fireplaces, McQuade said.

“The one thing that is coming back is the hearth,” he said. “People want to sit on the hearth, which is raised with seating. We put stone on it and put pillows out for added seating.”

The Home Builders Association held an inaugural remodeling design contest this year. Twenty-one remodeling projects were entered in six categories.

“Remodeling is an important segment of the residential construction industry,” said Michael Stoskopf, HBA chief executive officer, in a statement. Remodel categories included basement, bathroom, whole house, exterior, kitchen and specialty room.

Silver award winner Jena Anastasio, of Transitions Remodeling, said her award-winning bathroom included a feature wall with a beach theme.

“It turned out really, really nice with beige sand tones in the tile,” Anastasio said. “We did some lighting on the feature wall — uplighting that acts as a nightlight too.”

Bathrooms as spas are very popular, she said.

“People work hard and want to take a moment to be pampered,” she said.

Today’s remodeling project also can include accessibility features for seniors.

“We consider aging in place,” Anastasio said. “Accessibility is something we take a lot of pride in. A lot of people are happy where they are and don’t want to move. The way we do it, it won’t harm your investment in your home. It will enhance it.

“And you will never go wrong redoing a kitchen or bathroom,” she said. “Counters, cabinet hardware and just the simpler updates. Freshen it up. That is what sells homes.”

The Home Builders Association awards will be presented Dec. 9 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

“We are pleased at the response for our first contest,” said Lenox Bowman, HBA council chairperson, in a statement. “We look forward to involving more builders and remodelers during the coming years.”