Cleveland Choice Awards & Design Trends

May 22, 2018

It makes sense to safeguard home deliveries arriving from such companies as Amazon. Wall-mounted or secure free-standing parcel delivery boxes for residential use are on the rise.

Homes entered in the 2018 Cleveland Choice Awards include features that range from that simple, but innovative lockable storage idea above to exciting, fresh, whole-house architecture. This year’s entries reflect many of the latest consumer-pleasing trends in our evolving home environments.

Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Cleveland members and consumers make decisions together that guarantee attractive, well-built houses. Builders help guide homebuyers to new materials, systems and styles that the worthy of endorsement. And of course, a little homeownership indulgence can be well deserved. But builders also may urge caution when looking at trends that may be here today, gone tomorrow. (Did anyone really think live goldfish in clear glass chandeliers was a good idea?) Many of the best trends were apparent in this year’s entries.



Mike Payne Jr., vice president of operations, Payne & Payne Builders, says his company’s architect, Mike Caito, definitely sees a trend toward more modern architecture and less traditional/European styles. As a result, Payne says his company “has implemented some cool uses of old styles.”

“Board and batten siding is a great example. It’s a system once known as being specific to rural barns and now used in a Modern Farmhouse look. It is appealing to a lot of people and is the new transitional style of architecture. It’s not fussy traditional and not too modern looking,” says Payne.

Today’s new houses also may include a floorplan that welcomes multigenerational families. The in-law suite or Fonzie Flat over the garage for adult children are flexible spaces that work well as guest rooms or storage when not needed on a daily basis.


Luxury homes may still feature a “show” kitchen and a smaller, adjacent “off limits to company” working kitchen. But unless a homeowner has someone catering or cooking for them every night, this idea isn’t for everyone. For some homeowners, sharing the cooking experience with each other or guests is part of the fun. President Pat Perrino of Perrino Builders & Remodeling, also said two separate sinks in the kitchen (the main sink and a “vegetable sink”) are used infrequently by many homeowners and many feel they aren’t necessary. But you would think our names are all The Farmer in the Dell – farm sinks are still in demand.

Cleveland Choice Award entries showed tall cabinets that reach to the ceiling, flat panel cabinetry doors that echo traditional cherry, maple and straight grain oak, but also natural colored walnuts, bamboo or painted fronts. (Think matte lacquers.) Perrino sees glass backsplashes and subway tiles making a return trip. He calls engineered quartz kitchen countertops and islands very popular, but don’t count out granite, even though nationally it has lost its prominence. Also consider lava stone, soapstone and concrete.

“And it’s wide plank flooring. People still favor a distressed look unless you are going contemporary, and then the look is definitely sleek,” says Perrino.


Perrino recently created stunning bathroom flooring featuring cascading stone detail that appears as a rambling creek. While that extravagance might not be in everyone’s budget, most homeowners can opt for the oversized tiles that the builder said are very popular. Other items on the current bathroom wish list include: zero-threshold showers, free-standing bathtubs, floating vanities, frameless glass shower doors, sleek faucet design, built-in ledges and seats in shower stall, wall-hung and two-flush option toilets.

While granite and marble are still important and requested countertops, Perrino says “quartz is hot,” including composite combinations that are low maintenance. Consumers are loving built-in entertainment centers as well as Bluetooth speakers in showerheads.

And anyone who has trouble keeping their eyes open in the morning will appreciate Perrino’s offering of a convenient beverage center (mango tea or jumping java, anyone?) between the master bedroom and master bath.


Ovation Interior Design staff members Kelly Otero, Kaleigh Cody and Amber Oprean know the importance of color in our homes, and say “blue is the new black,” even in cabinets. Also look for terra cotta and sage green this year because the three believe “organic textures, natural colors and elements are being used to soften contemporary spaces.” Choice Awards entries also echo rose gold accents as well as brass, impressive black matte finishes on plumbing fixtures and brightly colored faucets.

The prestigious competition also illustrated black and white geometric tiles that complement black iron shower frames, as well as metallic tiles and statement stones including agate and onyx, sometimes even reflected in wallpaper and accent furniture.


Optimistic housing experts say 2018 may be the subtle start of intelligent marriages between smart technologies and passive strategies in our homes. Too much of either doesn’t seem to work best for the way we live. Advanced technology touches almost every part of a home’s structure and function. And we certainly don’t want to give up solar heat, tankless water heaters or non-toxic paints.

But we also have come to once again appreciate that a simple roof overhang can offer some shade, cooling and UV protection (and save energy costs) that more expensive and mechanical systems provide. Think wise compromises. As they say, just because we can do it, doesn’t always mean we should.

Cleveland Choice Awards homes reflect that sensible philosophy. HBA builders create homes that provide energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality and site designs that preserve open space and provide better HVAC operation. Today’s responsible builders recycle building materials, use sustainably harvested lumber and/or wood alternatives. And while HBA builders are open to innovations and new products, they rely on scientific studies and field tests before they expose their clients to unproven ideas. (Even though polar bear fleece has been tested as a home insulation material, chances are good you won’t be seeing it in any new residential construction in northeast Ohio in the coming year…)

But new homes will reflect the health and wellness movement that is taking a firm hold in both commercial and residential buildings. Finishes, paint and flooring that not just resist, but kill bacteria are becoming more commonplace. Rooms that nurture and renew us are no longer just dream, but realities.

Andrew Gotlieb of Keystate Homes says his team, which he describes as “a young innovative group of people full of ideas,” plans to “only build green homes moving forward.” While constructing his Cleveland Choice Award entry, Gotlieb used sustainable products and management and recycled when possible.

Cleveland Choice Awards matter. Builders deserve recognition for their best work, of course. And competition within the homebuilding industry is also welcome, as it promotes the sharing of knowledge, trends and smart building practices. Homebuyers can trust award-winning builders to build quality and attractive homes.