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Q: We’re thinking about doing a remodel. What are some of the hot trends?

A: One of the emerging trends in remodeling is smarter and less-costly automated controls.

It is becoming more affordable to control your home’s systems — temperature, security, electronics, lighting and more — through a single device, including a tablet or smartphone.

The average family has more than 80 devices that can be controlled with a single system, making it much easier for homeowners to manage things around the house, even when they aren’t there.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Cable companies are also offering these services, so check around and compare prices.

Outdoor living areas and screened porches continue to be a hot trend because they allow homeowners to add more livable space outside with the feeling and function of an indoor room.

Outdoor living areas can be equipped with kitchens, TVs and audio systems, firepits and fireplaces.

Outdoor living spaces increase a home’s original footprint by expanding outward from a living room or family room.

High-efficiency glass windows and doors can make them energy-smart and seamless with indoor rooms.

Screened porches have gained in popularity with the addition of indoor accouterments such as fireplaces, making them livable nearly year-round.

With more families opting for “staycations,” converting existing space into a media room is also a popular trend in remodeling. The rooms often feature multimedia systems and incorporate comfortable theater-style seating, tables and specially designed lighting.

A homier appearance seems more popular lately than something resembling a theater — either way, the room is devoted to state-of-the-art media options and entertainment for the family.

Homes continue to be scaled back and many baby boomers are choosing to move into condos.

As a result, furnishings are being designed with an eye toward multifunction capabilities. These include ottomans that can be used for storage as well as seating, couches that convert to beds and coffee tables that can rise for dining.

If you are trying to maximize a small space, work with a lighting professional — the right lights can make a room look larger.

It’s no surprise that updated kitchens and baths remain at the top of the list for many homeowners contemplating a remodel. A well-designed kitchen remodel can drastically increase usable space to accommodate cooking, eating, socializing, doing homework or paying bills.

For the bath, the “universal design” trend facilitates aging-in-place for homeowners without looking institutional. Grab bars that masquerade as towel bars, wider hallways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, and zero-threshold showers add safety and security without sacrificing style.

Looking for more ideas and inspiration? The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties is presenting its free Remodeled Homes Tour next Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 19-20) featuring 10 remodeled homes.

Tour information and project descriptions are available at

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to

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