by Linda Merrill, Networx
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?