It's the highest point of a building, but one that can easily be low on the radar. Designing a roof — and even a rooftop deck — should simply be a reflection of a home's interior space, says Ivee Fromkin, owner of I. Fromkin Interiors in Monmouth Beach and member of the American Society of Interior Designers. "It's just an extension of your home high up," Fromkin says. "Your feelings flow from inside and out. It should be continuous as you leave the inside of the home. I don't think you should feel a difference."
Roofing trends Today, current trends in roofs are colors of a quiet elegance — such as calming grays to soothing purples — explains Kate Smith, national color expert, in a prepared statement by DaVinciRoofscapes, based in Texas. "Our homes provide us with a haven to satisfy a craving for a place to think and renew," says Smith, also president and chief color maven at Sensational Color. "Having all five of our senses continually bombarded in daily life has created a deep desire for a home environment that conveys harmony and calm. We get that sense of silence and contentment in the tones of deep gray, smoky plum and even muted teal. These are the 'top down' color shades we'll see gaining in popularity on home exteriors in 2014." More reserved color combinations on roofs that reflect "timeless elegance," include safe green and deep, rich brown to give a home an updated personality, according to the release. Davinci Shake blend colors — Autumn and Tahoe, for example — complement brick, stone and stucco on home exteriors with their different wood tones, according to the release. "Then, if they choose, homeowners can add in a pop of warm red or orange on the front door or a deep green for the shutters to make a stand-out impression," Smith says in the release. Fromkin agrees with the above trends, saying — as her personal preference — roof colors should be soothing. "Something plum or purple ... you see it in the sunset, it's beautiful," Fromkin says. "I think colors are a choice though. I think I would just want to blend with nature. You just want calming colors." Whether using asphalt shingles, slate or shake materials, roofs are taking on a more contemporary and cleaner appearance, Fromkin finds. Three-tab roof shingles continue to be the most popular on the market, states Bobvila.com. Shingles with scalloped edges provide a more distinguished appearance, the site says. There are ways to be environmentally-friendly in roof design, according to Able Roof. Light colored roofing reportedly takes in less heat than darker roofs, which helps control heating and cooling costs, the Ohio business states online. For homes with an existing darker roof, reflective materials can be placed atop it to cool down the surface.
Designing the decks Maybe your home boasts a rooftop deck, an upper sanctuary filled with luscious gardens or a private, beach-like ambiance. Or, you're thinking of constructing your own. Fromkin has some pointers for deck design. "I think that today, there is a need for more outdoor living, and more outdoor space, so the roof(top) becomes another space for people who don't have gardens or patios," Fromkin says. Colors to use on a rooftop deck should be minimal, Fromkin says, adding she would only incorporate "wild, funky colors" if children also utilized the space. What should be the source of color is a living wall — where plants are grown outdoors on the side of a building as its own wall — Fromkin advises. It also serves as a way to create some privacy, she adds. "If you have a living wall, or a fake living wall, it's gorgeous to have that up there," Fromkin says. "That's more than enough color. Your plants are your color." But people should keep in mind what types of plants should be placed up there — since a water flow on the rooftop may be hard to come by. Fromkin suggests using seagrass. Rooftop furniture varies from lounge chairs, to high-top tables, to picnic tables and more depending on your personal style. And, plenty of outdoor furniture is made with fabrics aimed to last through various types of weather, Fromkin explains. The designer recommends companies McKinnon and Harris, Janus et Cie, and DeDon for some spectacular finds. Other keen accent pieces to complete the space are Styrofoam planters — which give off a concrete appearance, but are much lighter. Depending on coding requirements decided by your municipality, outdoor kitchens or specific grilling appliances may be allowed. Coolers that double as seating benches can be a source of functional furniture, Fromkin says. "There are great coolers; they look like seats and storage that you could roll up (stairs), you could put your drinks in there," says Fromkin. "Some of them are just very nice, they look like a chest." For lighting, waterproof and battery-powered lamps, lanterns and candles are key, Fromkin adds.