San Antonio Express News—-Living Luxuriously Tips by Lisa Nichols

Living luxuriously is something we all dream about! Make sure to read this wonderful article from the San Antonio Express-News where Lisa Nichols helps to define luxury living and the most popular trends that we are seeing in the luxury custom home market in San Antonio.

Living Luxuriously

By Jennifer McInnis

Outdoor living, spacious kitchens with hidden storage, large master bathrooms and detailed finish outs are among the priorities for clients of Lisa Nichols, owner of Nic Abbey Luxury Homes."

She said buyers are focusing on outdoor living areas that join with family living spaces and include covered kitchens and stereo systems.

“They really are finishing these out as nice as interior rooms,” she said.

Examples include a variety of textures and surfaces, such as stone countertops, tile and brick flooring and other details such as gas lanterns.

Inside the home, kitchens that open to family rooms are still popular, Nichols said. More of her designs are including built-in coffee bars.

The trend of high ceilings has reversed, and people now want to lower them or are designing vaulted, wooden ceilings with custom beams. Overall, rooms have more layers of detail, such as paneling and arches. Custom cabinets and large pantries provide hidden storage for small appliances and bulk items.

“Most of the cabinets we're building now have pull-out shelves, large doors or spice racks,” Nichols said. “People are going more Zen, keeping the clutter out of the home.” 

Nichols said the trend is a more transitional, contemporary look with sleek chrome fixtures. The popularity of polished granite countertops is fading in lieu of textured surfaces, such as a more rugged leathered finish, or different counter materials, such as quartzite and quartz composites.

“People are becoming really educated about how durable that stuff is,” she said.

Backsplashes have become works of art made from hand-cut custom tile or stone. Vent hoods are custom built or made of copper and designed into the cabinetry. The trend is to lighten up the kitchen with windows and simple color schemes. “A lot of people are requesting floor-to-ceiling windows,” Nichols said. Additionally, her company is installing more large retractable glass doors that open the family room to an outdoor living space.

ManyMany new upscale houses have bars that open to the living or dining area, and they typically have wine refrigerators and ice machines.

With more focus on family rooms, formal dining rooms are going away. TVs are over almost every fireplace Nichols builds. Studies are becoming more of a sitting room because of laptops and mobile devices, and electrical outlets are hidden by screwless plates that are cleaner and sleeker.

Nichols is installing wireless sound systems and lighting control systems, such as Lutron, that are energy efficient and allow for lighting to be programmed to suit each room. For instance, it could set the scene programmed for a party with the touch of a button.

Next on the list is the master bedroom and bathroom with bigger his-and-her closets.

“Toilets, shower and tub areas may be shared, but vanities are separate,”

Nichols said.Homeowners want exercise rooms off the master bedroom, and they want windows to look out while they work out.

The laundry room is another area with lots of details in the design to keep everything in its place. For example, some utility rooms have folding space above front-load washers and dryers. Nichols has included deep sinks, space for an extra refrigerator, pet doors, dog-washing showers, under-counter lighting and even chandeliers.

Nichols starts the design process with her clients by having them fill out a questionnaire.

“It's 10 pages of detailed questions to understand their personality, how they live what's important to them,” she said.

Then, the home is designed specifically for what the owners.

“They want to make it special and unique to them,” she said. © 2016