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Travel: Home trends

Painting the town

Color us excited about this development. For decades, homeowners associations have been fairly restrictive about the colors they let homeowners paint their homes’ exteriors. But recently, many have been changing up their palettes in response to residents’ desires for deeper, richer shades.

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“They’re still painting earth tones, but the trend is to go darker,” says Jimmy Zades, owner of CertaPro Painters. “We’ve also been seeing some palettes with a little bit of red, some different blues and things like that.”

Rob Groucutt, a sales rep with Sherwin-Williams, agrees. He’s the liaison between HOAs and the paint store, and helps build color schemes for HOAs.

“With HOAs that have their original paint job from six or seven years ago, you see more off-whites and, I guess, safer palettes — for lack of a better word. Now, the trend seems to be colors of more depth, darker Southwestern tones and to want to pop out architectural accents.”

If you’re thinking of slapping on a fresh coat, Zades has a few tips. First, avoid red. Red pigments don’t fare well in the Vegas sun, which is why older homes still sporting the faddish pinks of the ’80s look almost white today. If you do opt for red, be prepared to repaint sooner. Also keep in mind that while the dark colors are lovely and stylish, they’ll likely lead to higher energy bills. Plus, painting a dark color over a light color will require more paint, so the initial project might cost a little more as well.

Finally, all of this isn’t to say that you can go ahead and paint your home neon green. HOAs still have their rules. Before you head to the paint store, contact yours.

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The latest flames

Want to add value and appeal to your home? We’re not blowing smoke when we say invest in a fire pit or a fireplace. This is expected to be one of this year’s most popular trends in outdoor living, according to the 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey, conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Ninety-seven percent of landscape architects from around the country, specializing in residential design, agree that backyard flames will be the big trend in 2013. The survey also indicates that, in this still-uncertain economy, we want to hang out in our yards: Outdoor living spaces, like kitchens and entertainment areas, are expected to be just as popular as gardening and landscaping. If this seems like too much work, skip it and get a hammock — although you’ll be in the minority (24.1 percent), and I don’t imagine you’ll be able to snooze with all that partying going on in your neighbor’s yard.

That’s so yardcore

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Outdoor living is hotter than ever, and not just because we’re in Vegas. Across the country, Americans are extending their living space to include their yards. The key to doing this well? Blur the lines between the interior and exterior, so that the design and décor flows naturally from one to the other. Pay particular attention to your outdoor kitchen. In the same way the kitchen is the heart of your home, your outdoor kitchen will also become a central gathering spot. It should be relatively close to your indoor kitchen and mimic it in style. Choose your materials carefully. They should complement your indoor space while being resistant to the elements. Stainless steel is ideal for appliances and relatively easy to clean.

Today, options for built-in cook stations abound. A sink, a refrigerator and storage space is nice, but if you like to entertain, why not a beer tap or a pizza oven? Newer hybrid grills that cook with gas, wood and charcoal are perfect for serious chefs, as are fresh vegetable gardens. Done that? Consider taking it a step further: The next big food trend includes backyard ponds with organically raised fish.