Trendy Building that will Scream 'Built in 2000s'

November 23, 2008

We are now in the process of choosing some of the interior finishes and fixtures for our new construction. After visiting with some family members this weekend, I began to wonder (while looking at her matching apricot - and probably very expensive - Kohler shower/tub, potty, and sink - and not only was the sink apricot but also a hexagon!) what are people putting in today's houses that will scream 2008 in ten years?

I know that you need to get what you like, don't worry too much about resale, yada yada, but this dear lady was talking about remodeling to sell, and I thought, it'll cost her a fortune. With the teal and maroon carpet, the ultra brass fixtures, the pink tile around the fireplace, and the pickled cabinets (all of this was very very high end when they built, BTW) she will spend way more getting it up-to-date than she can get out of it. The only thing, IMO, that still looks great is her granite counters.

My DH was trying to talk me into rounded corners in the house, and I nixed it for this very reason - I like the look right now, but I'm afraid it will be very 2008 one day - and that's not any easy fix. I know that everything will be out eventually, but there is a difference between dated and too hard/expensive to update. We are thinking we'll be in this house approx 10 years.

So I got to thinking, what would you GWers consider to be the current building equivalent to stirrup pants and bell bottoms?

Comments (101)

  • bungeeii

    You have to know by the title that you need to turn your sensitivity level wayyyy down. There are certainly going to be various reactions to each of our surroundings, all of which are different.

    I'm sure each of us have a feature that's been mentioned already. That's just the way it works.

    I do have to say, though...

    White cabinetry trendy? Not a chance. Natural maple on the other hand, (which I have) that could very well be a trendy thing.

    2-Story foyers? Foyers with open staircases have been built for centuries. Trendy? Hardly.

    2-story great rooms? Here in southeast Michigan we had seen lots of simple 2 story and tri-level homes with family rooms built on slabs. These rooms were usually a step or two down and is when we began to see living spaces moving closer to and open to the kitchen. In the mid 80's these wings on slabs gave way to 2-story great rooms. They continue to be popular in the suburban areas. (Until the market froze here anyway.) So, 20+ years and slowed only by the economy, I really don't know how we could call that a trend of the 2000's either.

  • sue36

    There is a difference between something being dated (or datable, meaning you can figure out what year it was put in) vs. something that isn't currently trendy. White kitchens may not always be the current trend but that doesn't mean it dated either. Now, if those cabinets have arched tops and partial overlay doors, yes, dated. I think glazing is something that will go away (hope, hope). I never understood the desire to have cabinets look like they have greasy dirt imbedded in the grooves.

    But I really don't think there is any way to prevent this. Not that long ago partial overlay doors were the standard, there really was no other choice. If you get them now you are sort of inviting a dated look, but 10 years ago you had no way of knowing that would happen.

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  • nc_lawn_nut

    I can say that we're building what we want. This will be house #4, and the 3rd new build. Our house sizes range from 1700 to 2600 sq ft. Many of the features people have listed above have been in one of our houses.
    I can tell you that marketing folks are only predicting. That's all they can do. There are comic strips filled with jokes about marketing blunders ..... just some food for thought. New Coke anyone? All it takes is a few Martha "The Felon" Stewart episodes or magazine articles and a new trend is born. If it keeps the economy going, I'm all for it.

    If anyone is concerned about what's trendy and what's not, I'd be more concerned about what other houses in your area and n'hood are like. Particuraly those in a comparable price range. If all the houses in the area have a pool and brick fascade, guess what my house would have?

    Based on the homes we've previously owned, we're making choices today based on how we live in the house and being mindful of any potential resale points. We like to read these posts for ideas as some people have some great innovative thinking. There are folks on this board who are a little thinned skinned for sure. It's all opinion. I can say that having sold three houses, we have some experience on what we wasted money on and what we didn't when it came time to sell. It doesn't line up with many of the magical 'sell this house' shows would lead you to believe either.

    Bear in mind that many items that have been referenced in these posts are extremely regional. There are very few white kitchens in the area we live in (Coastal Maine). Do an MLS search and find out for yourself. We looked at literally a couple thousand MLS listings (ME, NH, MA, VT) to help us make our choices. Perhaps in your area things are different.

    Be open minded. Everyone's litmus test is not calibrated to the same scale.

  • allison0704

    (How do you find something classic? Unique? Timeless? I certainly don't know).

    Don't ever shop mass production stores (Stein Mart, Target, Home Goods, Macys, etc) for anything other than towels and dishes. Use family photos, family mementos, shop antique stores, consignment shops and estate sales. Ebay! Buy small items on trips (as long as we're not talking Florida with the kitchy seashel) or buy larger items and ship them home.

  • thepond2007

    Allison, Thanks for the tip, clipping it now.

  • ponydoc

    I think this is a great thread. Mostly because it's filled with advice from many people who actually "think" about these decisions before or during ( and even after) their build.

    I honestly cannot tell you 'exactly' how the choices made in our home came about. I can tell you I do know what I want and have walked through hundreds of homes- usually custom luxury parade of homes types- to help define what I did or didn't want. I don't think I ever walked around and said "I don't want this or I do want that". Eventually when my choices were made though, I did find myself pulling away from some things instinctively I had previous thought I liked.

    My own mantra is - I don't buy something unless it's something I would want my great grandchildren to have. Of course that doesn't apply to everything but with decorating and home design it gives you some direction. It also reduces the clutter!

    I also go back and forth between my home being a shelter and haven for my family or an expression of my tastea/my hobby etc. The former usually wins. That means the items and finishes we have picked are to make us happy, not to impress anyone else.

    I have been in some very "dated" homes - and I wouldn't change a thing. I have a friend who owns a gorgeous VA horse country historic farm. We have spent a lot of time there- don't think it's been truly updated since the early 50s'. It was classicly decorated then and it still works- even if it is a bit worn. It's worn with living and that is truly attractive.

  • Oakley

    Here's another one, although it's an appliance. The front loader washers and dryers that are a 100 feet tall. lol. We're doing a major build-on and a remodel right now and I have the option of buying a new w/d. People keep asking me if I'm going to get the front loading ones. Heck no. I've read more problems they have, and besides, they're an eyesore. Pretty colors, but an eyesore unless you have a REALLY big UR. Which I'll have, but I still won't buy them. How many toes did I just step on? lol

    I also love this topic. It's just personal tastes is all. I still say the open floor plan will die out, or include one more wall. :)

  • divadeva

    I laughed all of the way through this thread...great entertainment value. It's something I've been thinking on also. My vote is for cut-up roofs and concrete "stone" to scream "2000's. Neutrals such as limestone, white cabinets, stainless steel will still be desirable. I think natural materials will always have a fan base. That said, I hope that they offer a dark red kitchenaid fridge by the time we're ready for our next! And they wear out after 10 years, so buy another.
    The thing I've always hated is houses that aren't drawing from a classical style base. They're a mish-mash of current trends. And houses that are in the wrong place, like English Tudor in Southern CA. Log homes are great, French if they have authentic details, country vernacular, Santa Barbara, New England, Southern ; anything that's consistently drawing from a regional vernacular that makes sense with the environment. Contemporary homes that are creating a new style base are fantastic, although I could never get DH to agree. Just look at the current appeal of well done 50's's not the year it is the consistency and the quality. I have to say that I'm a sucker for any house with good construction, good "bones", and an eccentric personal touch such as an entry floor made from 40 different tile samples.

  • allison0704

    I like your post, ponydoc. DH always teases me that what I want doesn't exist - yet. When going through my favorite local antique stores, if someone asks if I'm looking for something my usual reply is "not really" or "I'll know it when I see it." Some things just call out to me and those are the things that come home. I don't buy just to fill a space or impress. I want to love everything or have nothing.

    My 23 yo DS said something negative the other day about our home. My question to him was did he look at the things in the house, because the majority of the furniture and accessories have been in our home(s) for the past 25 years! One of the things I liked about our move from our family home of 20+ years to our empty nester retreat was so many of our pieces we've had and loved worked here as well. Even if in different rooms. I think that says something about a piece - if it can be used in a variety of places in a home, rather than only one spot.

  • sue36

    Re: front load washing machines. They are not decorating, they are a purely functional item. Front loaders use less water, wash better, and are more gentle on clothes. Criticizing a washer or dryer for it's looks is, to me, like criticizing a boiler.

  • amalthea

    "Even if in different rooms. I think that says something about a piece - if it can be used in a variety of places in a home, rather than only one spot.

    That's so true, Allison! My husband used to gripe at my preference for smaller multipurpose furniture,(I'm rather short, so it just works for me) but after living in a furnished apartment and house with over sized and too much furniture he's gained new appreciation for being able to re combine what we have into a multitude of different arrangements and rooms.

  • brutuses

    I think there are some things that remain timeless. SS has been around before I was born, not real popular or affordable, but it was around and in the houes of those who could afford it. I don't think it will ever go out of style. I don't think shaker cabinets will ever go out of style as they are also timeless and can be dressed up or down with knobs and surrounding decor. I don't think Granite is every going to go out of style because of many factors, one being it's durability and two, the fact that the prices are reasonable when compared to other not so durable counters.

    I have never been one to follow trends either in decor or dress. I buy things that are classic in style. It's up to you to decide if you want to stick with what will work now and in 20 years or go trendy. If you have quality timeless pieces they can always be decorated, repainted, restained, etc. to last a lifetime. I do realize not everyone loves antiques as I do, but they have been around 100 + years and will be in style for some forever. I do think certain colors can be trendy and style of drapes, but as far as furniture and architecture there is a lot to chose from that will stay timeless.

    I love looking inside others homes and that's why I frequent Rate My Space and realtor web pages to get a look at how others decorate. I'm sorry to say a vast majority of people do not update their homes. I'm talking about having the same orange carpet from the 60's and fake wood paneling. I think it is easy for people to get comfortable in their home and not realize it's gone out of style. I think a house should be updated at least every 10 years if not sooner.

    Someone mentioned 10ft. ceilings with 8 ft. doors. I think that is a trend. We have 10ft. ceilings with regular sized doors and opted to put transoms on the interior, back and side exit doors. The front door is 8ft. and looks approrpriate out front. Transoms are something else that will never go out of style here in the South.

    allison0704, you just spoke for me. If I don't love it, I don't buy it. That's why I doubt if I'll live to fully decorate my new house. It will take me another lifetime to find what I really love for the house. LOL

  • greenbank

    I think a house should be updated at least every 10 years if not sooner.


  • ponydoc

    Allison and brutuses

    When my antiquing friend and I go "out and about" we always are looking for that one piece we cannot live without. Although we rarely find it.... sometimes we do.

    Here's a pic of one of my "finds". I could have sold this thing 10 times over before we even left the antique show! Worn yes, dated never!

  • allison0704

    Love it, ponydoc.

    I think a house should be updated at least every 10 years if not sooner.


    I would like to see this answered also - what exactly do you think needs updated at least every ten years?

    Nice to see you, Greenbank. Did you ever build? Tell the Mrs hello.

  • jasonmi7

    Where you been, Greenbank?

  • flseadog

    We have been working for a while on a new build after having raised our children in a home built in the 1950's. It probably was a top of the line colonial for its time but very small compared to other homes in our neighborhood---the ones with 2 story foyers and great rooms. When we started planning for the new build my grown up daughter begged me not to do the 2 story extravaganza. She told me that all of her friends always wanted to come to our house because it was so comfortable and "homey." I had to laugh about this because I had always felt our house was so insignificant compared to the others around us. In any event, the new house has 10' ceilings on the first floor and 9' on the second floor. We've tried to be mindful of a good scale for living space and keep the little nooks and crannies that children especially will find interesting or just their size. This is what I think is non-trendy, something that makes you feel happy or cheerful or safe and comforted. Hope this helps.

  • FatHen

    Hmmmm, what will be branded as dated to the early 2000s? I believe anything that's not energy efficient will be. Anything overly large or frilly, especially if the underlying construction is shabby. Actually I think many of the poorly built houses will end up torn down and if they are too large for one family to maintain they could become apartments or condos. As for finishes and "looks," I think stainless steel could soon look dated, especially if it's the type you can see fingerprints on. Any kind of material that doesn't stand the test of time will be seen as dated, a mistake of the building industry or of buyers. Could include various laminate floorings if they don't hold up.

    I don't believe a house should be updated in a major way every 10 years. Nothing wrong w/replacing appliances since that's about how long they last anyway, or repainting, etc. But ripping out functionally sound items IMO is wasteful and waste may be seen as outdated in the near future.

    What will endure will be solid construction that CAN be updated when necessary, because the underlying structure will still be in fine shape. Just as people now covet old houses that are sound and that can be refurbished.

  • brutuses

    ponydoc, that thing is hideous. LOL I don't like anything made with animal parts so you'll have to excuse me.

    Do most people not update their decor/paint every ten years, maybe sooner? I do. I'm not talking about major renovations or replacing furniture or appliances.

  • gopack

    This is so fun, reading all these opinions!! We built a new home in a suburb of Dallas and moved in this past September so I have not had time to browse or post here for over a year!! Wow, my home will SCREAM 2000's!!! But I LOVE it so much.

    I do think trends and styles are totally different depending on what area or state you live in. Down here in the Dallas area, Old World is STILL big, believe it or not. My home is more French Country, not as dark or overpowering as Old World. I have all the trendy things talked about above, ORB door handles, and faucets, SS range and microwave, painted kitchen cabinets with dark glaze on them to make them look old and dirty (I love them!!!), with a dark stained island to boot!! And tons of granite on countertops. I mixed in my classic brass and crystal dining room chandelier by hanging it over our master bed and it looks awesome. I have a lot of ornate moldings but not too ornate. Painted cream moldings and trim in the formal rooms and stained knotty pine trim in the kitchen and family room. Someone said you have to build according to your neighborhood as well as the area you live in, and that is what we did. We will not be here forever so we had to also do things for resale, like the huge ss slide in range and 2 dishwashwers!!! (it is crazy). But we are happy and that is what matters!!

    I am so glad I have time to read this forum again. I learned soooo much from this forum, esp. about kitchens and baths. Good luck to eveyone who is about to build. Do what makes you happy!


    PS We do have one fake dormer on the roof!!! My architect would not draw it on, I had to have the framer add it for me!! Dallas probably has more of this trendy overdone stuff than a lot of places. It looks good, though. (Dallas is just so,,,, Dallas.)

  • gopack

    In my previous post, I was talking about my brass and crystal dining room chandelier that I took from my previous home. I took 4 chandeliers out of that home and put them in our new home. Replaced them with inexpensive new chandeliers from a local lighting store. We had to store them until it was time to install them. We did not want to show the previous home (for sale ) with our good chandeliers still in it. Realtor said to take them out first.


  • ponydoc

    LOL, I have been poked by a few horns my career! Seeing them attached to a footstool rather than pointing at me makes me smile! LOL

  • Kelli Tucker Campbell

    I was glad to find this thread, as my husband and I are in the early stages of building our first (and hopefully last) custom home. I am taking these comments somewhat with a grain of salt but am distressed to hear all the negative comments about ORB. What is the most timeless color of fixtures you should get, then? Chrome? I feel like brushed nickel is dated, as is brass, obviously. ORB just looks nice and old, which is the the style of house we're building. Just curious. Thanks!

  • allison0704

    I agree, Killilou3, for the most part; Chrome and brass don't belong in older homes, imo, but I don't think BN is dated. It's not something you see in homes in my area. ORB, copper or black would be my choices.

  • Kelli Tucker Campbell

    I should clarify and maybe need some clarification from others. In our new house, we're considering using ORB door hardware AND plumbing fixtures. Although we'll have black countertops, so brushed nickel faucets really would look better. Anyway, when people said ORB was dated, did they mean plumbing or door hardware (or both)?

  • jeniferrlynne

    I am sure my home has one gable too many but my architectural inexperience went with this look. Oh well live and learn. We just started framing and I am also sure (like kellilou3) I will second guess myself on numerous things between now and finished product- INCLUDING hardware finish, arrrgh...
    I want both old and classic is that possible?

  • megradek

    I'm sure I've made hundreds of mistakes in choosing during this whole process. Perhaps we should have hired a designer - oh well. We'll have ORB door hardware and some of the baths are ORB. My poor daughters' bath is doomed to be dated before we live in the house (I picked satin nickel, LOL). oops.

    I'm done with agonizing....Happy New Year everyone!

  • bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

    I disagree that "brass doesn't belong in older homes." Maybe the permanently shiney stuff doesn't but just about the first faucets, light fixtures, door knobs, etc. that I can ever remember seeing (in an old stick Victorian that we liven in back late 1950s) were brass with a rich golden brown patina that had developed over years of use and constant polishing.

    ORB always struck me as an attempt to reproduce the old naturally aged-brass look without quite the upkeep that natural brass required.

    I'm trying to build a "new old house" and my personal opinion is that there is nothing more classic for fixtures than brass but I too dislike shiney brass... so I've looked long and hard for "antique brass" for everything from light fixtures to ceiling fans to electrical outlet covers to faucets to door hardware. And, where I couldn't find antique brass, I settled for ORB but have every intention of swapping out the ORB stuff whenever I can find replacements in antique brass. My house may wind up "dated" but hopefully the date it screams won't be the 2000s. LOL!

    Happy New Year to all!

  • allison0704

    The permanent shiny brass was what I meant. Should have been more clear. Antique brass with a nice, more brown patina...but then I guess that would be classed with ORB. lol

  • jasonmi7

    It seems that we're not talking about building trends as much as 'decorating' trends.

  • allison0704

    That's what I thought too, Jason.

  • allison0704

    bevangel, I received an email from Pottery Barn about their "new items." They have an antique brass chandelier. Thought you might be interested.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pottery Barn - Gardner Chandelier

  • kateskouros

    allison, thanks for posting that pottery barn chandy. i was looking at similar at 4x the price online last night! while i'm not a fan of polished brass i quite like the satin, muted gold of this particular chandy.
    also have to say, i think ANYTHING can work. it just depends on how you use it really. so much is personal taste. i think a lot of the responses here are very thoughtful while others are just echo bevangel, ridiculous. i won't say which ones but some finishes are classic and (sorry) here to stay. you can change anything to your liking. the single thing i wish could be outlawed is fake white/beige/brown brick. i want to knock on the door of whomever made that choice and beat them with a stick.
    ponydoc: LOVE the stool. how much do you want for it?

  • will_work_for_roses

    Here in NC all the new spec houses are craftsman wannabes with fake stone on the front and siding on 3 sides. row after row of them in huge developments.

    BUT they all have hardwoods and stainless appliances!

  • lsst

    will work for roses,

    Same here in SC.

  • arch123

    Form follows function. We choice brushed nickel because it does not show water spots -this will always work for me!

  • gobruno

    Since we're talking about trendy finishes and folks here are talking about brass, I was wondering what you all thought of this brass fixture. I saw it and was kind of drawn to it, but then when I saw the word "brass" I automatically thought "dated." But then, after thinking about it, I still liked it. It doesn't come in any other finishes. Would you put this in the category of dated? Just curious...

  • charley512

    my 2!!!!!!
    if you had ever seen an autopsy, you would NEVER have ss in your home, ewee.

  • eventhecatisaboy

    Gobruno: Loved the light. The brass looks like a work of art.

    Trends shmends. Who cares. Do what you love! If you die tomorrow, someone is going to cry for you and in time, someone is just going to change what you picked to another trend. We're all a trend. It's called life. Don't sweat the small stuff...or other people's opinions.

  • niecieb

    Excuse my ignorance...but would somebody tell me what ORB is?

  • allison0704

    ORB = Oil Rubbed Bronze

  • Susancc

    I think it is amusing that some of the things labeled trendy have been around one way or another for almost a hundred years, like subway tiles (all over NY, not just subways but classic old houses), white kitchens (origanally modeled after fabulous old English kitchens), deep farmhouse sinks and arched faucets, all classics. As for stainless, it will never go out of professional kitchens and since a lot of people model their homes after these, I doubt it will leave entirely. There might be some other colors but they are also classic too like white and black. It might be a regional thing as in NC that people aren't buying stainless as much but look at any shelter magazine and it is still going strong, especially high end.
    I think kitchens with tons of glazing are a bit dated especially if there is massive grape and rope trim. Also houses with too much stuff on the front, where are their focal points, you don't know where to look first. But if you love it you aren't going to care and you can update as needed!

  • stumpyouch

    I think that there is nothing inherently trendy about stainless appliances, white kitchens, subway tiles, ORB, rounded corners, granite counter tops, limestone floors, farmhouse sinks, multiple gabled roof lines, nickle plated fixtures, frieze carpeting, arched doorways, elaborate moldings, glazed cabinets, stone facades on the front only, etc......

    But when you have a lot of those in one house, it's pretty easy to pinpoint when it was built.

    Personally, I'm a bit bummed because my dream kitchen that I've had in my mind for the past 15 years is going to be trendy and then, horror of all horrors, dated before I even get to build it. White cabinets, soapstone counter tops, wood floor, glass fronted upper cabinets, farmhouse sink, lots of windows. I liked soapstone before soapstone was cool. Oh well, by the time I can actually afford to build maybe the trends will have come around to it again.

  • kelleg69

    I have been reading all the posts about brass knobs. I am putting them in my new house! My mother-in-law's 100 year old house has brass knobs. It CT, they are pretty prevalent, though I know many new homes there are doing ORB or brushed nickel too. I think brushed nickel works in a Nantucket/shingle style, but it really reminds me of commercial knobs. ORB looks like black dots on doors to me--it draws my eye too much. So, I may be dating my house right away, but I am most comfortable with brass and I think it will make a comeback!!!! :) I am trying to mix some metals, though. I will have some brass in lighting, some black and some brushed nickel (in kitchen--kitchen knobs too). I will generally do chrome bath fixtures (and will change knobs in those bathrooms to match).

  • lsst

    Like kelleg, I have brass and bronze for all my fixtures.
    I used Emtek brass with the glass knobs for the doors.
    I think it depends upon the quality of the brass. Solid brass is considered traditional and timeless.
    It is the cheap brass-plated stuff that looks dated to me.
    I purchased quite a few antique brass and bronze sconces and light fixtures and rewired them.

  • sombreuil_mongrel

    The fact that you are concerned that "built in the 2000's" will be a bad thing shows that the state of residential design is at a nadir. If you find a designer who does good contemporary work that has a freshness and relevance that won't be anything to be ashamed of in ten years, let alone twenty or fifty; that will exemplify the epoch of its construction; and have no self-conscious backward-looking-ness.
    Your concerns are on solid foundations because most everything you see built these days is not going to be judged kindly by history.

  • rrhouse

    Where did you get your Emtrek brass with glass door knobs - that's what we're looking for but what we've found is $100/knob.?! We're in SC.

  • lsst

    We ordered ours online from the Hardware Hut.It is still pricey but much less than locally.
    The prices locally were very high.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Emtek Brass/Glass

  • energy_rater_la

    100...hootie hoo!

    ok folks back to trendy..I'll leave that to you experts!

  • lesedi_nc

    I am glad I stumbled across this thread! (thanks jnjmom for the orig. post!)

    I think many posters are right. Some posters just listed their personal preferences/taste as classic and their peeves and trendy and dated, but I still thought that overall, the cross sampling of opinion helped me get some perspective.

    I assumed that many posters are framing the conversation with respect to standard single family houses, while in NC at least, townhomes are cropping up like weeds. (many of which I'm convinced were thrown up in a hurry during the housing boom and were cheaply and 'trendily' made.)
    What are there time-stamped building trends in townhouses that you would avoid? (I assume many that apply to houses also apply to townhomes.)

    One potential 'time stamp' that jumped out at me when looking through the listings were arched entry ways and arched cutouts  all in townhouses built in the early 2000s. In a townhouse especially, they strike me as 'time stamped'. I used to live in an old 1950s home with a gorgeous arched front door, but had no other arches entryways, and I would never call it trendy.

    However, I've been avoiding those "obviously arched" entryways and cutouts in my search because regardless what I think of them personally, I think a square entry to another room or hall is- well, standard, and I have to consider eventual resell.

    Some of the comments mentioned the unnecessary interior molding. I think it is so true! I've seen it in so many 'luxury apartments' but I didn't think of it, so thanks. Some townhouses do have two story and vaulted rooms, and while I personally donÂt mind them, I do consider the future energy costs associated with heating and cooling them down the road when I want to sell.
    If you have any other townhouse Âtime stamps (with regard to design not personal décor) please post!

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