It’s almost over for this year but there is still time left to go. I say it’s worth going–even if you don’t plan to move or can’t afford a half-million dollar house.
The collection of homes is smaller and more manageable this year and, generally, the new features seem more substantive than trivial.
When you go to the Parade of Homes you will see a variety of responses to advancing technology, economic conditions, social, lifestyle and aesthetic trends reflected in the work of builders and designers of the Parade homes. Some of these ideas are clever and inventive, others seem just frivolous or silly.
Nevertheless, because of their practicality, convenience, energy-saving or aesthetic appeal, some of these features or trends may be embraced by regular homeowners. You, for example. Incorporating some of these improvements into your current home has the added advantage of allowing you to stay in your own wonderful neighborhood–in a nicer home.
So here they are…17 things to look for at this year’s Parade of Homes:
- 1. Larger and more purposeful “back door” entry areas such as so-called “mud rooms” with lockers and benches for clothing, sports or foul weather gear for kids and adults. Plus drop zones for pocket stuff like keys or wallets with multiple plug-ins for phones, pda’s and other electronics that need charging.
- 2. Concessions for the family pet. Like dog washing stations and storage for leashes, food, and other space-stealing but essential paraphernalia.
- 3. Rain gardens for runoff from gutters and downspouts reduces pressure on storm sewers and beautifies your landscape at the same time.
- 4. Owners suites–that are like small apartments with bathing, lounging, sleeping, outdoor deck, patio and entertainment areas just a few steps away. If located on the main floor these could make it easier for older residents to stay in their homes longer rather than having to sell and move to a retirement facility.
- 5. Decorating ideas–e.g. large flat screen TVs are transforming how decorating, entertainment and information merge
- 6. Appliances like microwave ovens installed below counter for easier access to wheelchair-bound residents.
- 7. Smaller but more numerous refrigerators and dishwashers in the the form of drawers for smaller loads and more convenience.
- 8. Green home engineering in the form of alternative wall components–foam is used here but other materials, even straw, is being tried elsewhere–result in thicker and fantastically well-insulated walls. This makes for deep window openings–and more decorating opportunities. Imagine the pleasure of reading or just gazing out the window from the plush cushion of a cozy window seat.
- 9. Home wine storage: as interest in the health benefits and pleasure of wine drinking are causing the demand for decent quality wine at reasonable prices to be met by new growers and suppliers, home areas for storage of wine for “average” people is becoming more common. French people seem to live a long time while continuing to eat rich food–maybe wine drinking is the secret.
- 10. New work spaces for telecommuting and work-at-home business people.
- 11. Semi-public work (or study or play) space for kids’ computers in new home areas created by melding stair landings and loft spaces. These open-to-view areas keep computers out of children’s bedrooms and subject to parental oversight.
- 12. Partially sheltered outdoor entertainment areas that include grills, entertainment and more durable fabrics and accessories (like lamps) that more closely resemble indoor furnishings.
- 13. Kitchen gardens-supporting the “improved practical kitchen” trend by offering easily accessible fresh herbs in a small spot near the kitchen door. Herbs can be planted directly in the ground or in an array of pots–another opportunity for combining practical and aesthetic expression.
- 14. New window treatment styles–possible quick updates for your current home.
- 15. New trends for interior paint colors: painting is one of the least expensive ways of updating your current home. Lots of bang for the buck. A new color palette can transform a space.
- 16. New storage ideas.
- 17. Creative plantscaping for more privacy and more highly defined lifestyle uses (fire pits, fountains, bocce courts)–not just boring fences.
I thought of a few more but stop reading this and go see the Parade –it’s fun!