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10 Worst Home Trends of the Decade

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10 Worst Home Trends of the Decade

by Linda Merrill, Networx

10.  McMansions

Clearly, one of the worst design trends of the last decade was the explosion of the McMansion. These bloated and larger than necessary homes cost more than anyone could ever imagine (mortgage crisis, anyone?). These monster homes use enormous amounts of energy to light, heat and cool.  Some of these homes were of course designed to be as energy efficient as possible, but the energy footprint of a 5,000 sq. ft. home is always going to be larger than that of a 2,500 sq. ft. home all other things being equal. And does a family of four need so much space?

9.  Stadium Kitchens in Which No One Cooks

Hard on the heels of the McMansion is the “stadium” kitchen that looks like it should be on a television show with an audience or in a fine restaurant preparing gourmet meals. Professional grade appliances, side-by-side six-foot wide refrigerator/freezers and every other electric appliance one can imagine became status symbols. And likely, most of their owners were not gourmet cooks or big entertainers. These over-the-top kitchens were not only found in McMansions, but in kitchen renovations of more modest homes. While the kitchen may be the heart of the home, the heart should be a warm and breathing thing, not a cold, stainless steel appliance.

8.  DIY Design Television

There are many wonderful television programs that encourage homeowners to work on their homes. The granddaddy of them all is “This Old House” – the long running PBS series. While TOH encouraged good work and the importance of building trade professionals, many shows on other channels focus on the “do it on a dime and in a weekend” type makeovers that obscure the true cost and time it takes to do a good job. When half the construction team is off-camera, you know there is something missing in the equation. These programs have left many homeowners with an unrealistic view of costs and the value of quality.

7. The Loss of the Formal Dining Room

There was a time nearly every home over a certain size had a formal dining room. These spaces were generally reserved for “Sunday Best” entertaining and holidays. Over time, our lives have become less formal and most parties end up in the kitchen. (Which naturally gave rise to the kitchen stadium concept mentioned above.) However, there is a value to maintaining certain more formal traditions. Respect for conversation, table manners and the ability to be comfortable in a more formal, adult atmosphere, is a great lesson for children. Besides, who wants to eat a nice dinner with dirty dishes sitting over your shoulder?

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Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Green Home Decor, Holidays, Home, Household Hints, Life, Materials & Architecture, New Year

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12:05AM PST on Dec 2, 2014

The quality of your articles and contents is great.

11:05AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

The McMansion style house should be required to provide it's own electrical source, water well and septic system before people are ever given a permit to build. If people want to be so wasteful they should not be allowed to connect to the grid and slurp up so much that it raises prices for the rest of us.
There was a time when haveing lots of people on the line brought prices down, but those days are long gone.And if people had to monitor their own energy use and do upkeep on their own water, waste treatment and energy generation, they might get a better sense of what 'careing about the health of their personal environment involved.For instance, it's not a good idea to use a lot of chemicals on your lawn to make it look like a golf course, because those chemicals will end up in your well water, and you don't dump harsh things down your drains because that will destroy the microbial life that keep your waste treatment systom working properly.

8:28AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

It's tough being a writer- no matter how much work is put into an article, there would always be nay-sayers. For what it's worth, there are some very interesting issues in this article. Indeed, who needs to ramble in a big mansion , with the latest gadgets and gizmos and for what? So many only use their homes to sleep and for personal care.Out all day, no interest to cook , why bother cooking when there is such a variety of food out there! But- a home is one's sanctuary, whatever is in that house/home is a personal expression of the home owner. It may be a fulfillment of childhood dreams of living in a nice house- out of a magazine look. The house/home may not exude warmth or a welcoming atmosphere to visitors- but to the owner, it is a dream come true,perhaps with the nightmare that is spelled maintenance cost.

5:42AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

You have really nailed it here! (pardon the pun).

I've worked as both an interior design professional and a writer/producer of those quickie DIY home projects that present a warped view of how things really work in the design and build industry.

What homeowners on those shows really get is more of a stagecraft set, built with spit and glue. The kitchens don't even have running water. What's more, the major furnishings are donated by sponsors and design and contracting fees are never included in the ridiculous prices quoted. In the real world, good designers help clients save money.

Thanks for this important article that expresses the views of so many of us in the business!

3:50PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

The thing that I have noticed most about new homes is, as you mentioned, the mixing of styles and also the lack of proportion. The first makes me think that the poor house just doesn't know what it is. The contemporary Colonial is so disproportionate that it doesn't look Colonial, it just looks like a box. The roof's pitch is too low, the windows are too short and many if not most are missing the large center chimney. The same holds true for the Cape style. The old homes had steep pitched roofs to clear the snow and ice and were 'hunkered down' to keep out the cold winds and gales. Those characteristics made the old Cape look warm and cozy. Don't even get me started on the modern "victorian'. I live in New England, and one of the things that realtors here are lacking is a knowledge of architectural styles. Generally, if it's a two story home they call it a Colonial, and a one story that has equal windows on both sides of a center door, is a Cape. If your job is selling houses, one would think you would want know something about them.

12:36AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011


12:53AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

Noted. Thank you.

6:59AM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

For a very long time I lived in a 5600 square foot house and while it was lovely, it was a huge drain on all of us! The kitchen was gigantic and even though I cooked three meals a day for a family 6 it was no fun at all; the house absorbed all my creative efforts and was just an albatross. We sold it, and the people who bought it added another 1000 square feet, removed the small orange and tangerine grove, put in a tennis court and gutted the interior. Every time I drive by it now I whisper a little prayer of gratitude that this monster is out of my life!

9:03AM PST on Feb 13, 2011

Building McMansions leaves me shaking my head at the waste of energy and resources. How do the owners ever pay for it, heat it, cool it, maintain it? You'd think they could afford a solar, wind or geothermal heating/cooling system when building these huge houses but no. Just about all of them are on the 'grid'. I just don't get it.

9:13AM PST on Feb 4, 2011

I agree! We have turned to ugly consumers. And thanks so much for putting light on the "faux green trend." People need to know the truth about what it is to truly be green, and how these hyper marketed trends are no much more than crap, as though they really wanted to fill up the landfills even more!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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