What's on your home design ``wish list''? Plenty of specialists are around to point out the options for you and help you make up your mind. These experts know how well educated you are, which of your many interests prevail, and how much money you have to spend.
They can predict both present and future trends, and many did so at the National Association of Home Builders Convention in Dallas.
Beverly Trupp of Color Design Art Inc. in Pacific Palisades, Calif., said the one thing that those baby-boomers-coming-into-middle-age will expect and demand in new homes is quality. They will be looking for the following:
Wood cabinetry and floors that look weathered or bleached or whitewashed - and, in more expensive homes, even soft, wood ceilings.
The use of ``earth elements,'' such as real marble, slate, and granite, as well as simulated versions of all three. Rich natural materials that people can see and feel will be used for flooring, countertops, and wainscoting.
Faux finishes of every kind, and more stenciling and trompe l'oeil treatments.
Polished brass hardware and doorknobs.
``Pleasure of panes,'' or more expansive and distinctive windows that bring dramatic impact to rooms. More ``windowscapes'' and floor-to-ceiling glazing that invite nature into the house.
Exciting and dynamic architecture that could lead to using fewer small accessories, and give focus to fewer and more important pieces of art.
Better illumination, especially more indirect and recessed lighting, and lights on dimmers. Most home buyers see artful lighting as ``perceived value.''
Kay Green of Kay Green Interiors, Ormond Beach, Fla., referring to a recent poll of buyer preferences conducted by the association of builders, stated that the master bedroom has become the ``relax-and-repose room, a statement of personal life style and affluence, a conversation-piece space.''
The overall kitchen preference, she discovered, is toward a kitchen/family room relationship, the two spaces being separated only by a divider or small wall. Totally separate areas or completely open areas, she found, are not preferred.
Kitchen features desired by ``move up families'' (stepping up to a better house from the basic first one) are walk-in pantries, bay windows, greenhouse or solarium additions, space for computer stations, sophisticated storage components, well-lighted counters, and top-grade, brand-name appliances.
All new home buyers, says Ms. Green, want bathrooms to be as luxurious and glamorous as possible (at least 2 to 2 baths per house, please) - and equipped with skylights, steel porcelain tub/ showers, and dual bowl vanities.
Carole Eichen of Carole Eichen Interiors Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., researched the ``ideal future American home'' that may be the aspiration of today's younger generation. She discovered that ``nationwide, the young American dreams of owning a contemporary version of the same house his parents bought 25 years ago - a single-family home in the suburbs with three bedrooms, two baths, and a yard.''
The majority (55 percent) of these potential home buyers, age 24 to 35, she says, expect to have monthly payments of between $500 and $899. And a quarter of them are willing to invest from $900 to $1,299 a month.
Faith Popcorn, chairman of Brain Reserve, a New York City-based think tank, believes builders will be incorporating into new homes such features as more home offices and more automated house-cleaning devices such as wall-vacuum systems, better self-cleaning appliances, and laundry chutes that are linked directly to washing machines.
She thinks that technology for monitoring infants in their nurseries from other areas of the house (intercoms, interactive video monitors, and even food-dispensing systems) are not far off. And that mini-gourmet kitchens will soon be part of the master bedroom suite - complete with small refrigerator, a compact microwave, and dispensers for both hot and cold drinks.
Almost every home buyer would like a two-car garage, a really attractive breakfast nook, a lot of recessed lighting, and a convertible den with a floor-to-ceiling ``library wall'' of shelves crammed with books.