By Louise Bolger
New buyers determine home styles
sun staff writer
Theres certainly been enough doom and gloom in this
column and everywhere else during the past few weeks, so its
time to lighten things up. If youre into real estate,
youre also into design and decorating, so lets
examine what the latest trends are that will help you make
choices contributing the most value to your home.
Home styles are fascinating to study. They ebb and flow with
each new generation of home buyers and, not surprisingly,
whats old is new again. Two-story Florida homes have
certainly been commonplace for the past decade at least, but
they were usually Key West or Spanish-style. Now, however,
old-world styles are gaining in popularity. French, English
and Tuscan are popping up in builders models, spot building
The Hyde Park area in Tampa has many original Craftsman style
homes, a style popular in the early 1900s. The deep eaves,
tapered columns and wide trim distinctive in this style are
starting to reappear in many parts of the country. And dont
discount the retro look of Floridas ranch style homes.
Their simple design is perfect for first time home buyers
interested in remodeling with a clean, young modern look.
Front porches, screened and covered patios are and will continue
to be popular especially in Florida. Outdoor fireplaces are
also popping up everywhere to warm you on those chilly winter
Floor plans have both new and traditional elements. Surprisingly,
about 9 11" ceiling heights are the most popular.
Two- story ceilings are out, partly because of wasted energy
and a desire for a cozy warmer space. Formal dining rooms
are still in demand, but not formal living rooms. An open
kitchen-family-great room is still popular, and either cabinet
space or wall space for televisions is required. Three-car
garages, especially in regions without basements, are becoming
more of a necessity than a luxury.
Everyone is still into kitchens with functional storage space,
double sinks and an extra refrigerator and dishwasher in a
butlers pantry. Stainless steel is still in as are concealed
appliances. Using antique tables or cabinets for kitchen and
bath cabinets is a great look, however, using granite, marble
or stone countertops on 1980s cabinets are not. The newest
tile look for kitchen backsplashes and bathrooms are 3
x 6" subway tiles that run horizontally.
In keeping with the popular European look, wide baseboards
and door and window trim are in, as well as rustic finishes
on hardware. Rustic wood beams and coffered ceilings with
decorative inserts are back as well as distressed wood floors.
Laminate floors that look like wood are out, as are heavily
textured walls and popcorn ceilings. Faux finishes are out.
Flat paint is in, shinny is out. Soft colors are in with bold
colors used only for accent.
Heavy drapes are out; light cotton, linen or silk are in.
Mini blinds are very yesterday but wood blinds have made a
Bathroom sinks should be glass bowls, granite stone, stainless
or china; cultured marble is out. Also free-standing tubs
are in, as are pedestal and wall hung lavatories.
Last but not least, energy efficiency is definitely in. High
efficiency air conditioning, good insulation, programmable
thermostats, double pane windows and ceiling fans are all
in. Stick on window film is out.
These are just a few things to keep in mind if youre
making changes to your home. Do whats practical for
you and dont worry about the rest. Remember, no ones
house is perfect. Time for me to get going on the popcorn
ceiling. I knew there was a reason I never looked up.