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!)
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The third house reminds me of house hunting as a kid. My parents asked me to keep a journal and I wrote that one house had “brown crapet.” Good thing I didn’t have a blig back then!
I love that kitchen even though I don’t like white cabinets. The island is my favorite piece. I think hardwood flooring is always a safe choice. Paint can be changed as well as furnishings but a solid classic shell is important.
I know, isn’t that island great? I think it is bigger than most bathrooms I’ve owned in my life.
Sadly, we haven’t done too much to our home since we moved in six years ago. The builder told us not to paint for one year due to settling and my husband swears he said 10. Can you even believe that? Our furniture is pretty classic though I would say : ).
Hope you have a lovely weekend. Good luck house hunting.
Oh, I should clarify that we aren’t moving! I go house hunting”like other people go shoe shopping.
It seems that with houses, like with fashion, it is better to have a classic than a fad.
I don’t really like new white trend. I grew up in apartment buildings, and it just reminds me of that. Not warm enough for me, and with my kids, a disaster to clean too! I prefer dark cherry cabinets myself, with hardwood floors being lighter!
Wow. That third house makes me think of a bad 80’s music video. But, I guess some people love that “style!” 🙂
Oh man, that brings back memories of house hunting with hubby. We happened into some crazy places, and I kept thinking our realtor must really not like us to keep showing them to us! 🙂
Oh man, I wish that I had a kitchen like that… One thing I have trouble deciding is: Do you change something in your house that is super outdated when you are pretty sure you will sell it, or do you leave it outdated for fear that the new owners would have wanted something different anyway? I guess it is a judgement call and probably depends on what it is right?
Lauryn, that’s the age old question. But really, it’s an easier answer than you think. The return on investment is better on a minor kitchen remodel than a major kitchen remodel. So, if you want an update and can afford it, go ahead and make some changes that you will love and enjoy while you are in the house. IF you do happen to sell soon, then you’ll be in a good position and won’t be stressing just before you list it. (And, no, your buyers don’t want the “chance” to make their own choices. They’d rather be presented with a lovely house that doesn’t look like a project waiting to happen.)
I am madly in love with that kitchen. It is incredible!
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