Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Home Remodeling Fads that Failed

Home remodeling is no exception to fads, styles and crazes. There is nothing wrong with picking up good remodeling ideas from wherever they can be found. But to incorporate something into your home remodeling plans just because everyone else is doing it is often a huge mistake. Often a fad has no foundation of quality, style or utility. It just seems to create itself and continue to generate followers who do not realize the mistake they are making until it’s too late. A look at some of the popular home remodeling fads of the past will show that what seemed like good ideas at the time turned out, in retrospect, to be big mistakes
  • The Open Plan Home of the 80s. The open plan (or Great Room) was based on the idea that there was no need for the kitchen to be cut off from living spaces. And what was the need to separate the den from the dining or living room? All rooms are equal and a home without these divisions is a more spacious and open one. Not so. What happens when cooking, TV watching, video gaming and online activities all go on in the same open space at the same time? Too much noise for everyone. And how do you efficiently heat or cool such large spaces – especially if large parts of it are unoccupied?
  • The Super Kitchen. The cramped kitchens common in mid-20th century houses and the popularity of celebrity chefs in the 1990s led to the huge kitchen craze. Sure, bigger is better, but does the average family need a kitchen large enough to feed a restaurant? And huge kitchen need huge expensive appliances to avoid making things seem out of proportion. Is it better to have to walk across a huge room to get from the stove to the fridge, instead of being able to quickly pivot from one to the other? Let’s not even look at how much space is lost to the rest of the house to accommodate the Super Kitchen.
  • The Massive Garage. The post war boom of the 1950s caused the creation of the multi-car family and 3 car garages where thought to be essential. Yes, the valuable vehicles were protected from the elements, but the huge garages were often an architectural eyesore and looked to be the center point of the house relegating the living areas to the background. No matter what you do, a big garage door is not going to look attractive. So what about 3 of them? Once again, what about the sacrifice of space for the living area? Won’t a one or two car garage and a parking bay (if required) be enough?
  • Built-in Lighting. Homes built in the first part of the last century never had enough fixed lighting. After World War II, it was thought that recessed lighting was the best way to illuminate the interior. But do all the rooms need to be brightly lit? Who wants a bedroom so bright you have to wear shades? And does a pockmarked ceiling add to the ambience? Track lighting was also a fad, but they gave a home a department store like look and the lights were often a danger to anyone over 6 feet in height.

These style concepts were the rage in their time, but soon became passé and home owners had to live in uncomfortable and unappealing homes until they had saved enough money to get another remodel done, this time without following fads. If you are planning to remodel you home, consider styles and trends, but then think about comfort, utility and maintenance before making any decisions.

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