Story by Brenna McDermott | Feb 27, 2018

Local experts talk what’s new and popular in home building and construction.

We sat down with local home builders and designers to talk about the biggest trends in the Jefferson City market and what’s changing.

Overall, Michele Higgins, interior designer at Scruggs Lumber, sees consumers finding ways to make their homes more spa-like. “Everything is just very white and neutral right now,” she says. Master bathrooms and bedrooms are now straight out of a hotel, and kitchens have the calm, white colors.

Just about the only thing that isn’t changing is a love of family time — and that’s being reflected in people’s homes. An open floor plan in the kitchen and living room area, for example, allows for the entire family to be together in one room.

“People want to be able to cook, watch TV, do homework, drink a glass of wine, and entertain all in one space,” says Tina Davis, owner of Designs by Tina.

Everything else? Well, to put it simply, home trends change faster than you can say “redecorate.”

A Camera-ready Kitchen

Overall, a great kitchen is in demand, and consumers are willing to spend for it. “They’re going to spend a lot more money on their kitchen, even with lights, to make a statement than they will any other room in the house,” Higgins says.

When Scott Schaeperkoetter, owner of Signature Homes, went to the International Builders Show earlier this year, he saw black stainless steel appliances everywhere — and he expects to see that trend continue to flood into Jefferson City.

In kitchen décor, Schaeperkoetter says he’s still seeing consumers crave the “Fixer Upper” white (named after the HGTV show) or off-white painted cabinets. It ties in with the oft requested modern farmhouse style, which includes open shelving, the use of reclaimed lumber, and neutral colors.

“The modern farmhouse trend is still very much at the forefront,” Schaeperkoetter adds — he says they’ve painted more cabinets in the last two years than in the six before.

Higgins says Scruggs Lumber offers 20 or so variations on the white cabinets, and they’re getting requests for gray and very dark espresso.

Schaeperkoetter says he’s also seeing consumers focus on countertops more, and butcher-block countertops on islands are very popular, while Higgins is seeing an increase in quartz countertops. Scruggs Lumber, Higgins says, is also seeing neutral brick and large tile backsplashes. “They want it to look like a brick wall back there,” Higgins says.

Davis is seeing customers go all in on a minimalist kitchen, which means having a hiding place for the day-to-day essentials. Consumers are more frequently using microwave drawers, which sit in the base cabinets.

“It’s a fantastic way to have a microwave, because when we are looking at kitchen design now, typically we’re looking at it for multiple-person kitchen use,” Davis says. “So no longer do you just have one person in the kitchen.”

Another new trend is a “morning kitchen,” which is a pantry with a countertop inside. It includes plenty of room for the coffee maker, toaster, and other small appliances. It’s a way to have the everyday necessities at your fingertips while maintaining a clutter free, magazine-ready kitchen.

Dining Room

When it comes to dining areas, Jeff City experts disagree. Davis, for one, says she’s seeing younger clients yearn for the formal dining room of their childhoods. “I think people are kind of missing that nostalgic part of what their parents gave them,” she says. “I’ve had more couples say that’s one of the things on their wish list.”

Schaeperkoetter is seeing the formal dining room on the way out, but his clients are requesting a bigger breakfast nook or hearth room off the kitchen, and they’re building larger islands for families of four or five to congregate around in the main kitchen area.

Higgins says a new trend is to install two islands in the kitchen: a small one for food prep or a work space and a larger one where kids can do homework or eat as a family.

Master Bathroom

Higgins says there’s a huge emphasis on the master bathroom and bedroom. Consumers are looking to create a spa-like atmosphere. “They want it to feel like they’ve stepped into a hotel,” Higgins says. “Everyone wants their master bathroom to be different from the rest of the house. They want it to blend, but they want it to feel special.”

Higgins says Scruggs clients desire the adjoining, large walk-in closets: big built-ins, pull-out drawers, shoe racks, and more.

Schaeperkoetter says he sees a continuing decline in Whirlpool or garden tubs, and walk-in showers continue to grow in popularity.

“Depending on the client, sometimes we don’t even put bathtubs in homes anymore,” Schaeperkoetter says.

Popular additions to the shower are hand-held shower heads, rainfall showers, and body sprays. For décor, customers want clean, modern lines and lots of natural light, Davis says. Small details like a teak shower bench can add texture and contribute to that spa-like quality.


No longer do your door knobs, light fixtures, and hinges have to match: mixed metals are in.

“We’re starting to see a lot more of the mixed metals in the house, where your light fixtures don’t need to match your door knobs or your hinges or your cabinet hardware,” Schaeperkoetter says. Nickel, bronze, chrome — it’s all in now.

“People love chrome again,” Davis says. “People love that shiny, clean look of chrome in the kitchen or in the bathroom.”

A timeless design aspect that Jeff City home experts see is the fireplace, and electric fireplaces are becoming more popular. “The flames look so much more realistic than they used to, and they pump heat. They make a much smaller [environmental] footprint too,” Davis says.

Higgins says customers are trending towards hardwood floors or patterned, striated carpets that better hold up over time and easily conceal vacuum marks or shoe prints. Overall, Scruggs Lumber clients are wanting neutral colors, from paint to décor.

While the neutral look is still in, Davis says color is coming back in a practical way. “You’re seeing neutral color palettes on things that you can’t change as easily, like paint and tile,” Davis says. “And they’re putting the color in their accessories, their furniture, their artwork.”

Davis says to look for more color in the future. She suggests accessorizing with bigger, colorful pieces that pack a punch.

Outdoor Living Space

Schaeperkoetter says outdoor living space isn’t just a patio anymore: consumers want covered, sometimes screened-in back patios or decks. And many request custom built fire pit areas with seating.

And the outdoor kitchen is in demand, Higgins says, and it’s more than just a grill: it’s complete with granite counter tops, prep area, sinks, and mini fridges.”

“No matter that we can only use it for so many months per year — everybody wants that extension of their home,” Davis says. “It isn’t just a deck or a patio anymore. It’s another portion of their home that they’re living in and entertaining in.”

Retractable doors on patios help make the space useful depending on whatever season (or day, if you live in Mid-Missouri) it is.

Something for Fido Too

Interior designer Tina Davis says consumers are clamoring for more pet-friendly home elements. “People’s pets are no longer just pets,” Davis says. “They are in the house and in every part of a family’s area.” This includes custom pet baths (picture a raised shower, but not enclosed) with a handheld shower head in a laundry room or mud room. Some homeowners are also opting for custom-built kennel areas instead of a portable kennel.

“It’s an interesting trend you never would have seen five or 10 years ago, but you’re starting to see it now,” Davis says.