Housing design trends of the past and future
|By Carole Moore
Want to avoid owning a white elephant when
it's time to sell your home? Know what housing design features have lasting value,
then renovate with an eye to the future and you'll make more when your home hits
The U.S. Census Department's 30-year
report on housing trends, which runs from 1975 through 2005, tracks the changes
that shaped today's neighborhoods. Among the biggest losers in housing design:
split-levels such as the one television's "Brady Bunch" called home.
|Housing designs have changed a lot over the last
three decades, as chronicled in today's television reruns. For a real retro experience, check out Bankrate's slideshow on housing trends.|
very Brady house design
What was trendy when the Bradys enhanced
their space with shag carpeting and gold and avocado decor, has given way to the
modern preference for size: higher ceilings, multiple garages and more square
Also hot over the past 30 years are ways to keep cool
-- homes without central air conditioning, especially in the steamy South, aren't
even on the radar these days. There's also little demand for places with fewer
than three bedrooms and only one bath. While the Brady kids may have brushed six
sets of teeth in one lonely bathroom, even today's singles crave an extra toilet
and sink in their house design.
But the Bradys had one advantage
over most modern homes -- a huge yard. Today's mammoth houses sit on smaller lots,
one of the trends noted in the Census report.
Bradys had played it smart, they would have anticipated changes in taste and updated
their home before little Cindy went off to college. Mike, an architect by trade,
really should have been able to draw up the necessary blueprints and personally
oversee the remodeling. He and homemaker wife Carol could have retired and downsized
with a fatter wallet.
(don't) love Lucy's kitchen design
Back in the 50s when Lucy and Desi
rented an apartment from the Mertzes, Lucy's kitchen was smaller than most contemporary
bathrooms. But when they eventually bought a home (for which they made a $500
down payment), one big draw was the spacious kitchen. It's still the way to a
"Everybody wants luxurious kitchens,"
says Gopal Ahluwalia. "You can't sell a house unless the kitchen's upscale."
should know. He's the head of research economics for the National Association
of Home Builders, which makes staying on top of housing trends serious business.
predicts that home size probably won't change. But new home construction will
add more competition for the buyer's dollar. The solution, Ahluwalia says, is
to make every improvement count. That's why focusing on the kitchens and baths
usually pays off. Remember -- the word is "usually," because in some
cases, it doesn't. There's such a thing as overdoing it.
know of people with a $95,000 home and they spent another $95,000 making a big
white kitchen," Ahluwalia says. "I said, 'Do you realize you won't recover
Kitchen improvements help snag offers, but
to sink more money into a house than the neighborhood can support won't help you
turn a tidy profit. Instead, upgrade within reason.
same with bathrooms. Ahluwalia predicts every bedroom in a home will soon have
its own bathroom. It makes sense to add another if your home has less than two
and a half baths. "In bathrooms, two and a half to three will be the minimum,"
Jetson's house plans
While robotic maids and daily space travel aren't
yet part of the fabric of everyday life, at least two housing trends are predicted
to grow in a futuristic direction: the move toward "green" upgrades
and high-tech home improvements.
Andrew Gutowski, vice-president
of Waterford Development LLC, advises homeowners to keep their eyes peeled for
ultracool environmentally friendly products when it's time to replace siding or
other home or garden materials. Gutowski says lots of new products have already
hit the market and predicts an "increase in firms that provide environmentally
sensitive services to homeowners."