Recently I went house hunting, and visited three homes in a well-heeled neighborhood. The first was brand new, and had many of today’s best home features. The second home was about 30 years old, and felt very comfortable. The third home was right next door to the second home, and just made me feel sad. These three homes explained perfectly the difference between style, trends, and fads.
Due to copyright, I can’t show the realtor pictures of these houses, but I can show you my pictures and links to the listings until they are removed, so you might see some broken links here.
Style is timeless. It may not be your preferred taste, but always looks well-done. Style is comfortable, inviting, coordinated. Ideally, it allows for updating with just minor changes, hence the idea that it is timeless. You may prefer a modern style setting, but a well-done traditional setting will be just as comfortable for most people, and vice versa. Style can be neutral or colorful, but often has a decent amount of color built on a tasteful neutral base, like we saw in the first house. True style will allow for newer and older pieces, flowing together in a look that reflects the homeowner, and not one particular store, brand, or decade.
Trends typically last about 10 years. They are adopted by the masses and hard to escape in the media. We like to have our homes “On Trend,” but not trendy. Colors, furniture styles, and finishes all fall into this 10-ish year cycle. You can probably remember trends lingering in your past, like mauve carpet, avocado appliances, and flocked wallpaper. More recently, we’ve been seeing trends of pendant lighting, seagrass carpets, stainless steel, and granite counters. In homes, fireplaces kitchens, bathrooms and overall color schemes are usually where you’ll see the telltale signs of aging trends. Spending money to update your home in these key areas will serve you well, both to get maximum enjoyment from your home, and to have it in good condition when you are ready to sell. For $1.195M, here’s this listing. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/268-Ravenscliff-Rd_Wayne_PA_19087_M49354-89331?source=web
Fads have a much shorter lifespan, usually less than 3 years, and sometimes much shorter. These fads are the bread and butter of fashion magazines, including home fashions. Every year, I see an article stating that wallpaper is “back”. (Please, no.) Pantone picks a color of the year; this year it’s emerald. Last year, tangerine. Honeysuckle the year before. One of my designer friends mentioned that everything is horizontal stripes in New York this year. I’m not sure what the craze was about for chevrons last year, but I can do without those kinds of fads (and drains on my wallet).
This last house that we toured yesterday had so many fads, they were inescapable. Pickled wood floors, tile and grout counter tops, pink (faded and stained) carpets, floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the bathrooms (eewww), small pass-through spaces in the kitchen walls, a massive curved leather sectional, black lacquer dining room table, I could go on and on. I couldn’t even bear to take a picture in this space, because it was so depressing, dated, and unloved. The 1980’s was screaming out from every corner of this house! Do you recognize some of these trends? Here’s the active listing. Would you pay $800K for this, knowing you had to address or remove each of these little “time stamps”? (Remember, it is immediately next door to the home above!)