Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trendy elements that scream 2000s?

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Thank you to
the Washington Post for including this post in your Blog Watch, October 29, 2009!

Before I started my blog, I was a frequent visitor on the Gardenweb home forums. When I discovered the world of design blogs, the magazine like format of blogs appealed to me and I stopped frequenting the Gardenweb forums. However, one of my readers pointed me back to Gardenweb recently, and I have been enjoying some of the posts.

My favorite forums are the decorating forum (no surprise there) and the building a house forum; I find the analysis of floorplans and the decision points that people make while building houses to be fascinating. More than anyone else, a person who is building a house watches the trends like a hawk, trying to make sure that they do not put something in their home that will be dated just a few years later. Recently, a reader on Gardenweb asked the question - what home elements will scream '2000s' when we look back at them in a few years. Not long before this thread was created, the New York Times had an article on 'Living in a Time Capsule', and the phenomenon of homes that were decorated at a certain point in time, and never updated. Reading both of these sources made me wonder - what are the things that people are doing now when they renovate or build that will be part of this decade's 'time capsule'? The New York Time argues that with credit tight, and 'mortgage strapped Americans bunkering down, there may be a new generation of time capsules in the making' given that people are not gutting and redoing homes as much these days, and the activity is not anticipated to resume anytime soon. The Times cites 'garage size family rooms and stainless steel appliances' as early 21st century equivalents of the conversation pit and the avocado colored refrigerator.

Here is a run down of the top elements that the Gardenweb readers said might very well be 'trendy elements that will scream 2000s'. All of these elements are architectural or a part of the house, which is more of a commitment than a trendy pillow or lamp. I thought I would present a few of the recurring items to my readers to see whether you concur with the opinions of the Gardenweb readers. For the record: I love most of these elements, but of course part of the appeal is that they are a sign of the times, times in which we are still living!

Oil rubbed bronze
Just as brass fixtures seem to date a house to the 80s, some people wonder whether oil rubbed bronze will date a house to the early 2000s. I personally love the look of oil rubbed bronze, particularly in doorknobs, for the nice contrast it provides to light colored walls and decor.

White kitchens

I love white kitchens, and consider them to be a classic. In my mind, you can never go wrong with a white kitchen! However, I wonder if there is an all white kitchen backlash brewing...it seems like there are more colors being introduced to kitchens, whether it be black or gray or even blue. (Commercial style ranges is another one that a few readers predicted would be a dated look - I love this look too, though - doesn't the range look great in this kitchen?)

Stainless appliances

Stainless is another style that has had real staying power; people keep trying to look for the next big thing, but nothing else seems to have the look that works as well in a variety of kitchens. One Gardenweb reader declared that stainless has surpassed the trend, and is now the new standard. Image via House Beautiful, photo credit: John M. Hall.

Maple kitchens with granite

My thoughts: I will admit, this is a look that seems to be a bit dated, but I also admit that this is not my style at all (I had to dig around to even find this image, as I seem to only have white or gray kitchens saved on my computer!). Image via Cote de Texas.

Interior columns

Joni of Cote de Texas did a post on the transformation of her friend's living room. The friend used interior columns to keep the room open, but define the space between the hall and the living room - there is certainly a time and a place for interior columns. I really don't consider these to be a 'trend'.

Arched faucets

Who knows, they seem pretty functional to me, but maybe the industrial look is something that will date this decade. I love that farmhouse style sink...which leads us to the next item...

Farmhouse style sink

Again, since this is an element that I love, I see it as a classic, and can't imagine how this would be considered a trend of the decade. Image via Cote de Texas.

Full body spray showers

There certainly seems to be a trend to make master bathrooms as spa-like as possible. I am not sure if this will 'date' a house to the 2000s, though. I have not given this area much thought! I have a friend who recently built a house, and she got a full body spray shower because she was not able to fit a large bathtub into the master (and the bathtub would never be used), so she opted to get a luxurious shower instead. Image via contractortalk.com.

Two story rooms

This is an extreme example of the two story phenomenon (I spy some interior columns too), which has never been my favorite look, but I would not necessarily associate it with the 2000s - more the 80s and 90s.


It seems like designers have been trying to move away from granite for a while now - always searching for the next best thing. Here in Atlanta, a lot of people are now doing marble, and have been for the past few years. I have never been a fan of the busyness of many granites, but I like how durable it is.

Open floor plans

When I think about an open floor plan, it doesn't get any more open than this! Ina Garten created this barn as a kitchen and guest house. In today's homes, the combination of kitchen and family room in a very open floor plan is very popular, as life and entertaining get even more casual. Image via House Beautiful, photo credit Simon Upton.

Metal staircase balusters

This is from an old real estate listing - the home was remodeled in the early 2000s. I really like the look of iron balusters, and will probably do them in my next house - but I also think that this style suits some of the houses being built today. Who knows, maybe this is a design feature that will look dated in a few years.

Arched doorways

I always love a good arch, but I must admit that some houses overdo them. I like the shape of the arch in this picture.

Minimal overhead cabinets

This is a look that I love - very few overhead cabinets. Although it has been a lot more common in kitchens this decade, it is really much more of a European kitchen look that is also classic. This beautiful kitchen belongs to blogger Katiedid. My guess: if you look at this kitchen many years from now, it will still look fresh and timeless.

Vessel sinks

I can see how vessel sinks might be a trend that can be defined as a style of the '00s, but then I see a picture of the powder room of the great designer John Saladino, and it is exquisitely beautiful and timeless.

Subway tile

Maybe this will be consider a phenomenon of the 2000s, but this seems like such a classic, non-intrusive style that I don't see how it can be considered something that will date to this decade. I went to a house in Newport, Rhodes Island that was built at the turn of the century, and all of the bathrooms and the kitchen had subway tile. This bathroom image, interior design by Brooke Giannetti, shows how the classic subway tile does not have to be white - and I think this is one of the prettiest bathrooms I have seen this year.

Multiple cabinet finishes in the kitchen

This was another one I struggled with, as I could not find a great picture. I wonder if the Gardenweb readers mean the style where the island is painted a contrasting color, as shown in this picture? It does seem as if this is a style that started to come into vogue early in the 2000s. Another thing I notice in this picture is the wood paneling on the walls, which is very popular in newly built homes in Atlanta. I wonder if this is something that will define the architectural detail of this decade.
Readers, I would love for you to weigh in. To you, what defines this decade in architecture and decor? Many of the examples above seem to be related to kitchens and bathrooms, which are rooms that are often redone every 20 years or so. In general, I believe that good, functional architecture, decor, and design will always have a place and be considered classic. In the end it is important to pick what you love, with materials you like (and, if it suits you, the expert eye and guidance of a design professional), and you will think it is beautiful for years to come. I am not a fan of 'disposable decorating', so this kind of approach resonates with me.

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  1. i really like this post. a few months back house beautiful had dan carithers home in it. his kitchen has not been remodeled in over 20 years and still looks fresh. it's simple and white and beautiful. thanks for such an interesting post.


  2. Great post! I am always asking myself this same question -- how will this look 20 years from now? That is why I consistently gravitate toward Georgian architecture. I know it will stand the test of time. Great design, no matter how old always looks good. Just look at the interiors of C.Z. Guest, Givenchy, Lee Radizwill, Sister Parish, David Hicks -- while some of their interiors may look "dated" to some, the overall appeal remains no matter what the era.

    As far as 2000's looks, I predict oil rubbed bronze, over industrialized kitchens with pendant lights over islands, the over abundance of "global" inspired fabrics, mid-century furniture, and overly open floor plans.

  3. vessel sinks are my number one pet peeve, so yes- i think they are terribly dated already. there is an exception to every rule of course and john saladino can do no wrong, but *over*all, i'm *over* them!

    you are so right- that maple and polished granite kitchen is terribly dated already- if a client asks me for granite, i'll try to push honed granite, never polished. better yet, timeless honed marble that picks up stains and patina over the years- not everything needs to look brand new (or corina or ceaserstone if stains are less then desirable).

    finishes of bath fixtures go in and out of fashion- i've been using a lot of polished brass because it was so out, it's back in again. i won't use satin nickel because it had it's heyday and is now looking a bit 'home depot bargain bin' and i'm afraid will continue to do so for the next 15 years... and yes, oil-rubbed bronze will date as well, though i'm still liking and using it. chrome/polished nickel never seems to date, strangely enough.

    subway tiles are timeless, and though i'm sure they'll look dated eventually (again, everything does), they are still looking great, and will for many years to come.

    last, i LONG for open-plan living to go out of style. i like a medium to small kitchen with a built-in breakfast area but want it closed off from the rest of the house- cooking smells and mess should be confined. let's separate the kitchen and the family/media room! (i know this opinion is VERY unpopular, but, hey- it's how i feel). same goes for formal dining and living rooms- separate please, instead of one large multipurpose room...

    small, but separate rooms is a trend i'd really love to see catch on- the great room is not so great in my opinion. who needs a basketball court sized room with 42 upholstered chairs and sofas? houses have grown out of control large, as if most people have families of 20 living in them. the fact is, most of the time it's just a few people using the home so i'd rather accommodate to that, and adapt when entertaining for larger groups- i have fond memories of eating at the kiddie table in the TV room at thanksgiving!

    damn- did i just type all that? maybe i need to do a blog post on this same subject!

  4. 2009 here in Scottsdale was ALL about the "Tuscan" theme. Brown granites, faux walls, dark wood cabinets with tons of mouldings, dark tile floors,those faucets over the stove...Huge olive oil bottles stuffed with god knows what! Oi vie! I could go on and on. I love warmth and charm as much as the next person but this look seemed dated from the get go. Example here - http://www.artfactory.com/images/Deluxe-Kitchen-CHT1036.jpg

    P.S. Sorry if your kitchen is decorated like this. It's just not my thing. I'm sure yours is lovely :)

  5. Everything will date as long as fashion and fad drive us - the decorators and the architects. It only dates for the next generation, the one after finds it nostalgic.

  6. why does your blog get better and better? what am I doing wrong? hehe - seriously - this is fabulous.

    ok -everything dates in 10 years - everything. it all cycles. you can't help it or stop it. go back and look at a magazine from 2000. it just does. you can not stop it. so forget it. don't worry about it.

    the only thing that doesn't date is antique furniture. i saw a picture in a 30 year old hb and everything was so dated but one picture - antiques and white slips. amazing. i need to scan that picture in.

  7. Oh and irresistible post! I had to link to it.

  8. Wow. If all of that will be "out", what will be left "in"?
    I'd love to see vessel sinks and granite go away. And great rooms... not such a great idea at all imho. I think oil-rubbed bronze was doomed from the beginning to have a short lifespan... especially on plumbing fixtures. But white kitchens can never be out for me. Or farmhouse sinks or subway tile. Glass subway tile yes, but not the classic white. And even tho they're not my fave, stainless appliances are no longer a trend but a new standard. That's my two cents.


    When I was looking at condos this past year, so many of the new buildings had quartz countertops in lieu of marble or granite (marble is my favorite look).

    But I think everything in architecture and interior design will be dated and replaced by eco-friendly materials. See HGTV Green Homes as examples: http://www.hgtv.com/green-home/index.html

  10. Oh.. and beautiful, interesting post! I'd love to see a poll of the one trend readers wish would stay and one they'd love to see go. For me it's white kitchens stay and maple cabinets go. How about you?

    (maybe you could set one up with quibblo.com. just a thought!)

  11. I really enjoyed this post as a new reader. Four years ago we had to stop a remodel and you hit on just about everything I wanted to do. I guess I need to start all over again but what will be popular materials to use? Marble is porous. Soapstone? Green recycled materials? Limestone? Quartz? I need to call in the Pros when we begin again. :)

  12. This is a fabulous post. I have often wondered what we will look back upon in the near future and be completely sick to death of. Right now I must say I like most of the elements you mentioned. I do wonder how long open plan living will last though.
    Thanks for the post. Hayley x

  13. I've often thought about this question myself. Certain things I agree with {finishes always seem to change}. I staged a two story {similar to the pic with the balcony} that had the interior columns as well. If they continue making houses as big as they do, that feature might continue. Although, I did read they have not been making McMansions as much in recent years.

  14. For me what will be screaming 2000 are oversized open plans. Bring me a closed kitchen, of reasonable size - where I do not have to run a marathon to prepare a meal. And already past their time are stainless appliances, vessels sinks. McMansions are OUT.

  15. Thank you for the comments, everyone. Like Joni said, with our consumer culture, designers and manufacturers seem to purposely set a 'sell by' date on many of the items we put in our homes, so that we feel the need to buy more, update constantly. I love the idea of doing something that stands the test of time...often this means more initial investment, because things that stand the test of time tend to be more expensive - but in the long term it might just be worth it.

    I am curious, how would you define a McMansion? In Buckhead, where a 3500 sf home is considered small, a McMansion is probably one of those homes that is 9000 sf or more. But, I am sure it is different all over the place.

  16. This is such an interesting post. I have thought about this quite a few times and struggle with eliminating what I think will be known as "trendy". I agree with you that several of the listed items seem far too classic to ever be considered a trend, but maybe that's what trendy? Classic style and taste?? Oh, we'll hope not...

  17. Wonderful idea for a post. We started building our home six years ago and many of the items you listed are elements of our home. I never liked the finish on the maple cabinets, but I still love my black granite and open floor plan. I think an open floor plan brings our family together much better than our old home, a center hall colonial, with each room closed off from the next.

  18. Interesting thoughts!

    I think many of the things you listed are pretty timeless. I have hated dark kitchens and granite since everyone in Calgary installed one in their contractor-grade box house in the past 5 years. I hate each and every one of them with equal measure, together with their giant family rooms and monster tvs. Now as far as people with CLASS go, I think the farmhouse sink has got to be my least favorite thing. I know, everyone loves them. I think they are coarse and clunky looking. And no overhead cabinets - not practical at all unless you want to dust constantly and have storage elsewhere. But things like marble and oil-rubbed bronze and white kitchens - I don't think these will ever really date. Perhaps not trendy, but historically classic, I hope. Oh, and vessel sinks - always too high so you have to reach your hands up and into them. All my colleagues have those too. Will be glad to see those go. Oh, and I don't see the fuss about stainless either. Quite the contrarian, aren't I?

    Loved this post - really got me thinking!!!!!!!!!

    Hope all is well with your endeavours!

    xo Terri

  19. For me, McMansions are not defined by square footage but rather by a generic style. Gil Schafer's classical architecture firm creates timeless, large new homes (http://www.gpschafer.com/) that will never date.

    McMansions are generic oversized homes that lack character. The usually have very open floor plans, two story great rooms, and all the consumer-driven "bells and whistles" of the day. McMansions today may be like the ranch-homes of the 50s in that they will one day be very easily identifiable by their style.

  20. My vote: glass tile & stainless steel, industrial anything, oversized homes!
    great post!

  21. happy to see the mcmansion's trend fading, shiny granite countertops and oversized rooms.
    would be sorry to see the farmsinks and subway tile become dated.

    whenever i see a "trend" all over home depot, IT IS over.
    loved this post!

  22. My house was built around 1999, we bought it in 2007, and I thought the kitchen looked dated already then. It has black granite, LOTS of stainless, and cherry cabinets, but stained a reddish hue similar to the maple you showed. Everyone who comes in loves the kitchen, and can't understand why I think it looks dated! They want to upgrade their kitchens to look like mine does now.
    I agree with all of your list--I think the best way to avoid trends when remodeling is to match the architectural style of the remodel with the house. A craftsman kitchen never looks dated in a craftsman house. A farmhouse kitchen never looks out of place in an actual farmhouse.

  23. I think everyone has covered it all fairly well. Fabulous post, I personally prefer to err toward traditional and timeless for architectural elements whenever possible. Marble has stood the time for centuries!

    I wish I could receive posts from your wonderful blog earlier than I do! It seems mine come in my in-box a fell eight hours later than it appears others receive it. Any help figuring that one out? (wink)

  24. I tend to think that elements influenced by classical styles will transgress the "trendy" status. For example, arched doorways - influenced by classic architecture spanning from Italy to Morocco.
    I do think the scale of homes might change, with everyone seeming to opt for a smaller, but more custom footprint.
    As some of these elements are my favorite: subway tile, stainless appliances, I hope they don't fall out of favor too soon!
    Thanks for the wonderful and thoughtful post!

  25. Oh, the designers dilemma! I am always asking myself, will this be dated in a few years? My thought is just go with what you truly love. Great post!

  26. You forgot beadboard and granite and wrought iron.

    I think the reason there is such a trend toward marble and subway tiles is because they were popular in the early 1900s and even later- making you think they were "timeless."

    We were going to update our kitchen in 2000 and the contractor was adament about using beadboard and I felt it would look dated. We ran out of funds and left the kitchen as it was. I probably would have used black granite back then and am glad I did not.

  27. McMansions by which I mean "overly big houses" in hot neighborhoods are IN, I'm afraid. Let's hope they are beautiful not tacky.

    More than ever banks lend based on formulas. That tends to homogenize the results. I spoke with an architect last week. He said, "we didn't want to build it that big, the owner doesn't need this much house and certainly didn't want to pay for it." The bank said things like, "you really need to add a 5th bedroom."

    Anyway, this is precisely what is happening in my neighborhood right now even in these times.

  28. I totally agree with your last two sentences -- the most important thing is to decorate your home with things that you love.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of stainless steel appliances, subway tiles, white kitchens, or columns. So, we don't have them in our house :-) I'm not a big fan of granite either (I agree, it's too busy), but we found a beautiful brown granite that looks more like marble and had it installed in our kitchen.

    I like oil rubbed bronze a lot. Copper has been my favourite metal since the early 90s. I like maple, gooseneck faucets, farmhouse sinks, and metal balusters. I like the look of vessel sinks, but I don't want one, mainly for practical reasons. I also really like the look of no upper cabinets in a kitchen, but I can't convince hubby to take our upper cabinets down ;-)

    Really interesting post :-)


  29. Bravo! What a wonderful post addressing a concern that in itself is timeless. I agree that some elements become dated, such as the vessel sink and the granite/stainless kitchen. I also think that these elements can and should be used if the homeowner has a sincere preference for it/them. The key to presenting them in a timeless way is how they are used and blending these elements with less expected ones.

  30. I am loving the farmhouse sinks! the first pic of one is going in my favorites file! also, I do think subway tiles have to be timeless since they used them so long ago! Great Post!

  31. The ideal to me is to make flexible spaces to accommodate changing styles and tastes for your family and for future owners. I'd hope you wouldn't have to tear out a kitchen or bathroom to change styles.

    I think the ideal house today and forever has flexible space and great flow, with pleasing, harmonious proportions. It should feel good when it's empty. If the "built" decor: fireplaces, cabinets, paneling, beams, tile, windows, and doors, tend modestly classical, it's most amenable to style changes.

  32. HA! i had no idea i was so trendy! we are currently re-doing an older home to move into (next week!!), and it's the first time i've ever chosen the finishes, appliances, colors, etc for a home. i went with my gut- every picture i've ever saved from a magazine or blog is very similar: soothing neutral colors, hardwood floors, and almost EVERY one of the trends you mentioned! and i thought i was timeless... oh well! i am in love with how our house is turning out, so no worries about what someone will think in 20 years.

    i always wonder what the next trend will be- what comes AFTER stainless appliances? will it be the retro style colorful ones, or a return to avocado green? who gets to decide what will be the next big thing? : )
    thanks for sharing- this is a fun post!

  33. Some of these are old world trends, which make them timeless... the white kitchen... never liked them never will. If the kithchen is the heart of the home it has turned to white stone.
    It may look chic but...it lacks warmth and hospitality.
    Great post... thought provoking.

    It is okay to disagree with someone on your birthday? Right?
    Lee :)

  34. Great post as usual. I have read both the NYT article and the Gardenweb post so am familiar with the discussion. In my opinion white kitchens are classic. There may be elements such as a farmhouse sink or the style of cabinetry that are trendy, but the color itself is here to stay. I definitely do not like the 2 story rooms so will be happy to see those go. Actually, you know what. It just dawned on me what the issue is. It's not so much these individual elements, it's the quality of them. Any one of these elements can be beautifully and timelessly executed. However, as they have become popular they have been cheapened by companies trying to make a buck on a trend. Take the 2 story room. There are excellent implementations of this that will be timeless and beautiful forever (ie. the 2 story library in the Gianetti house recently featured on the Velvet and Linen blog). Then there are cheap spec builder grade 2 story rooms that didn't have any architectural talent overseeing the design that are just eyesores. Unfortunately good design is VERY expensive and often times less expensive implementations of the idea just don't come out as well and will look bad in time (if not immediately). Sad but true.

    Which leads me to the topic of McMansions that was broached. I really hate that word because it is overused and I feel like it is a backlash against people with money. Yes, MANY people with money have VERY poor taste and buy/build crappy, ugly homes. But just because a home is large or has a lot of square feet does not make it a "McMansion". The definition of McMansion is a large, architecturally dull, low quality house often times on a small lot. Thus the "Mc" part of the word which alludes to the cheapness of McDonalds. Does anyone believe that a large beautiful well executed design by a top tier architect such as McAlpine, Summerour, William T. Baker, etc. etc is a McMansion? I certainly don't. Please people, can we stop misusing this word.

    I sincerely hope that the down economy forces builders to create smaller, more architecturally correct and pleasing homes of higher quality instead of the cookie cutter crap we so often see. Several years from now we will be tearing down these low quality "McMansions" because they won't have stood the test of time in build quality or style.

    Off my soapbox now...

  35. after revisiting your post, i have an addendum: actually, not every one of the trends... no granite, no columns, no huge open spaces, no crazy spa showerhead. also no farmhouse sink, which i couldn't afford but really wanted!
    : )
    *and to me, McMansion is too big for the family living in the home. there needs to be a little elbow rubbing, i think!

  36. Great post to get us thinking... I have to say that I agree with you & that a lot of these "trends" seem to me to be classic.

    I think that a lot of the "trends" we've had in the 2000s have actually been resurgences of classic components & details, which is why I think (haha hope!!) that they won't be as terribly trendy as other decades.

    I do think of the McMansions as very 90s- early 2000s... I'm loving how newer (god) construction seems to be including some pretty & historical architectural details. I love the "new american" style of home... based on the bungalow but larger & also very open...

  37. Okay that is the most diplomatic approach to 'things that are soon to be dated' that I have seen! The only thing you missed was the 'brown' of this decade, but maybe that was on purpose so that everyone with a brown kitchen wouldn't get cranky by reading your post!

    Once again, a thoughful point of view you don't get anywhere else on the blogosphere!

    Excellent post!!!

  38. oh ps- I also think that when details are done appropriately/ fit with a home, that they won't tend to be as out of date in years to come. A vessel sink won't work in just any house or powder room but there are some that it can & always will be perfect in. (Same goes with a farmhouse sink, oil rubbed bronze, etc.)

    Whenever I'm working in a new space I try to get to the bottom of the space & see what seems to be most fitting.

  39. Love this post, back for a second look. I agree with most items on the list. White kitchens, arched doorways and some version of subway tiles will probably stand the test of time in my opinion.
    When the purchase of our dream house fell through we had to buy a replacement the same day and although the size met our main requirement nothing else did. We planned to be here for 5 years and move on. We live in the Metro Detroit area so you can imagine how that plan is working out....not. We have many of the dreaded items that we have learned to deal with. The most prominent feature is our (what I call) orange cabinets in the kitchen with black granite counter tops that I hate.
    Unwilling to put another dime into this hot mess I go merrily along my way pretending the negatives do not exist and playing up the things that I do love about it here.

  40. i soooo want the farmhouse kitchen. brass def makes a house outdated. my house was built in the 90s and we just purchased it recently and i am in the process of redoing all that is brass. its going to be a long road! great post!

  41. Fascinating post! My prediction/hope is that homes will become smaller with multi-functional rooms, teaching family members to interact with civility. Interiors will use more natural light. The green movement will also lead to greater use of recycled materials and of alternative energies. We'll also incorporate more elements of universal design to help the aging population age at home. The home should be a refuge for its family first of all, and then only secondarily a statement of family wealth.

  42. There are two unmentioned elements which I also believe will be dated: first is the "modern or 50's" emphasis on the horizontal rather than vertical (for example, horizontal stripes, low slung sofas, and architectural elements which take one's eye around the room visually shortening the space)and the second is bleached wood. I remember when I was a preschooler and blond pianos and bleached furniture were the rage. They were ugly then and are still unattractive. The only exceptions are wonderful antique (such as Swedish or Belgian) pieces with aged patina.

  43. Great Post and very interesting. I agree with what your article deemed as trendy but I think a white kitchen will stand the test of time. Now what is put in the white kitchen might date it, but just white cabinets themselves I think will always look fresh and clean. It would be interesting to see what others think will replace the trends you mentioned. Will we be going back to classic design, what is next in the design world?I think we become trendy when we don't really know what WE love and let the magazines and home builders dictate what we should like. What seems to be different now will be trendy later. I think quality in whatever you choose is key to good design. Thank you for such a thought provoking post and one that I think will be catching a lot of attention in blogland. Kathysue

  44. Just a "housewife" here, no real design experience, but I LOVE everything about houses and decorating. OK, my two cents... I think maple cabinets, shiny black granite, and varigated granite in kitchens and bathrooms (sad, because I did use these myself). Oil rubbed bronze, great rooms, McMansions. Yes, two story foyers need to go! Anything tuscan is going to define the 2000's. Another one to mention is travertine tile in kitchens and baths. I laughed out loud at the comment about olive oil bottles filled with twigs, and garlic, on proud display. Heavy area rugs and ........... TOILE. How come nobody has menitoned Toile? I love it, love it, love it, but it's going to be so 2000. Don't you think? Great post. White kitchens will always be timeless. I am due for a remodel on mine that we did originally in the early 90's. White kitchen, still beautiful. The black and white checkerboard backsplash (and floors) as well as painted hardwood is over as well. Love this post and look forward to other's comments.

  45. I think that so much of what you've shown is just a return to classic looks - as you pointed out, similar to what you saw in the turn-of-the-century Newport house. I love most of what you showed, so I hope these "trends" stick!

  46. Thank you for a wonderful post!

    I agree with quite a bit of what has been said by the Gardenweb people, but I think there is another point to be made here:

    As a designer I experience homeowners wanting to (what I would call) bastardize their homes architecture and inherent style. If you own a modest ranch home you may not want to have layers and layers of swagged drapery, as it looks ridiculous. As I have said to clients "This is not Versailles" and isn't appropriate to the home's inherent style.

    I believe many of these trends that will appear dated are simply just bad design. Good design will always be in style, even if the "finish" isn't!
    Certainly the availability of materials plays a roll in this (Ther are many more choices in stainless appliances, which makes them easier to choose).

    Asking this question is always my focus when I design with a client. I always tell them "Are you going to want to look at it in 10 years?", because people may only remodel their kitchen 1-2 times in their lifetime.

    Thank you for the great thought provoking post!

    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design


  47. Interesting today. I don't go for trends, I go for what pleases me. Living in a time capsule doesn't bother me. Living in a souless house decorated with the newest and the hottest would make my skin crawl.

    1. Ha! I just came across this... You are so right.. Perhaps there's a reason why so many Americans have financial issues...instead of keeping what they have and being happy with it (they did like it at one point right?) they throw away perfectly good cabinets/countertops etc, and waste more money to redo a kitchen/bath only to tear it apart in a few years and redo it all over again. Nevermind what they add to landfills. Just be happy with what you have, it'll be in style again in a few years.

  48. great, very interesting post! I agree with you, many of these elements are what I would consider timeless, and have been around for decades. of course, many of those elements are definitely en vogue at the moment, so it will be interesting to see.

    some of these I can do without: vessel sinks in particular. the one you showed is lovely, but on the whole I think they are terrible!

  49. @David from Ashfield:

    You said what I was trying to say just in a more succinct way. The materials and architectural elements aren't so much the issue. It's how they're used and in what context.

  50. Hi! I'm back to throw in two more cents about McMansions. Here in So California, they spread like crazy over the past ten years. One poorly designed big box on a teeny lot after another filling whole neighborhoods. I define them like James does- cheap, builder-grade, generic tract homes that just happen to have a lot of volume. Volume, by the way, that most people don't know the first thing about decorating around. In my experience, most of those very tall walls in two-story foyers and living rooms that looked so impressive to the buyers, end up being forgotten and ignored eyesores in cold, hard to live in rooms. Now I don't begrudge anyone living in as large a house as they want, but a whole suburban landscape covered by shoulder to shoulder McMansions just doesn't appeal to me at all. I'd rather live in my little ranch neighborhood where the lawns are often larger than the footprint of the house!

  51. Oh, one more thing (s). Red dining rooms, faux finishes, accent colored walls, "jewell" tones in fabric, furniture and paint.

    When I think of a McMansion, I think of these neigborhoods in particular, which have sprouted up all over the US. Postage stamp sized yards, in a small square, all brick two story houses with double foyers and long brass hanging lanterns or chandeliers. All houses the same, no ranches or cape cods, for interest. Cookie cutter amenities. Oh, and let's not forget the carve out on top of every mantle for a TV that is now out of style

    Margaret, Virginia

  52. I am nearly done with a major remodel of my 1920s home. It had never been touched so it had the original kitchen and baths - white kitchen with shaker style cabs going to the ceiling, two farm sinks, subway tile baths, arched doorways, etc. Whenever someone new has come to my home they have commented on how wonderful it is and how they love the old look. I think that the style just simply stands the test of time - classic, clean lines, and not over done. In my remodel I am essentially keeping the same look - shaker style white cabs, honed marble counters, subway tile, simple drawer and cabinet knobs, one farm sink, one stainless sink. I did update the flow and eliminated a butler's pantry in order to have an island. I think it will be the best of old and modern living. The botton line is that you should enjoy your home for the time that you live there. If the shell is clean lined and classic then you can personalize it with paint colors, pillows, upholstery, window coverings, art, etc. All are easy to change with the times.

  53. Very thoughtful information. It is always amazing to me how you can purchase something (believing it is absolutely beautiful) and then a few years later look at it and say "what was I thinking!"

  54. Very interesting post! I like to do timeless, thinking clean lines, eclectic with a french flair, and contemporary art. I like to be able to change a room easily, without it costing lots and lots!

  55. Super post! I think the updated version of vessel sinks are the low-profile rectangular ones vs the glass semi-circles. I also agree that the small pendant lights are out and artistic chandeliers are IN.

  56. This is a very interesting post, and a topic that is always present in the minds of designers. We all love fresh ideas that elevate a tired looking space. But the dilemma is always to which “at what expense do we submit to the latest, biggest, and brightest trends?”. This seems to be a more American dilemma, which goes along with the nature of our society and culture. Add to that the lack of “history” that other cultures have had centuries to cultivate.

    Some of the characteristics of the American consumer that lead to the constant change in trends are boredom, the desire to standout from or to surpass the Joneses and greater amounts of disposable income. So when the latest style comes to the forefront, we are eager to have the “look”. As a designer, I happen to love a huge range of styles, and the inbred American desire to “have it all” in me would love to have one of each!... the industrial style loft, the French Chateau, the Tuscan farmhouse, the English Manor, the Mid-Century modern, etc., etc.

    The fact that clients want these styles, as they come and go in vogue, is what keeps us American interior designers in business… which gets to my point. Take for instance the French… first of all; they don’t “move” about the way most Americans do. They will live in the same place for decades, and often from generation to generation. Their “style” is basically defined by their culture, which they personalize. They are not changing their style every time a new trend comes on the scene. Typically, they don’t design their spaces to impress or influence other’s opinions, even among those with more wealth. In fact, they are very private about their wealth… to flaunt it would be considered in very poor taste!

    So, even though the newest trends can be fun and exciting, perhaps we would be better served to define our individual styles and tastes… and strive to build and improve upon that… and not concern ourselves with our choices becoming passe’.

  57. Anyone else sick of recessed/canned
    lighting yet? I regret having so much of it installed in my home 4 years ago.


  58. Great Post!
    It just goes to show you what comes around goes around!
    So, love what you love, in or out and trendy or not. It is ALL about you when decorating your home!

    I think that there is always a turnover as Joni pointed out, and if you love trends thats ok too!

    It is something that gets easier to me, the older & more mature ( haha) mt taste gets.
    It is easier to deciede on a look once you have loved a few different styles, and isn't the journey what the ride is all about?


  59. A very timely post for me as I'm working on plans for my living, dining and kitchen areas and baths to update that them in a classic style that won't be so dated in ten years, possibly 15. But like Joni at Cote de Texas states, everything is dated in 10 or so years. And it sure is a hassle trying to keep up with the trends or trying to think beyond them to decorate in a style that does not have to be totally revamped in ten years. I don't mind redecorating all the time, but my husband seems to think it's totally unnecessary. But when I think about his parents old house before his mother passed away, I can't bear to think of having the same "look" for 20-30 years.

    For me personally, living here in Texas where there are homes being torn down to make room for new McMansions, I'm torn. There are times and place to do that, I suppose. But sometimes it seems wasteful. I love some of the older ranch style homes but I love some of the McMansions as well. I think the style that I'm really over is overly Tuscan or French Country -- and I LOVE French Country. But I love it with a soft hand. The Tuscan with the dark heavy wood furniture and faux and trowled walls have been overdone in this area in the new home market. These days, I love seeing anything fresh and soft and contemporary or the new country with a contemporary twist these days. It's like a breath of fresh air.

    I remember one designer saying that if you love it, it won't go out of style. That sounds good, but I'm not sure it's necessarily true. I think if we homeowners (I'm not a designer/decorator) can find a style that we love to live with and at least update accessories every few years, surely we won't end up with my biggest nightmare -- my dear husband's parents house that had not been updated in any way except for carpets in 40 years. Thanks for making us think. Oh, and I LOVE Gardenweb too. That forum is invaluable if you are doing a major reno and want a lot of great advice on many areas of a reno, appliances, etc.

    Victoria in Texas

  60. This post is great. I can't wait to read everyones response. We are about to build and I too want to steer clear of trends!! But love many of the same things you do. But as you said, we are living in the times...I want to love it in 10 years too!!! Definitely with you on oil rubbed bronze..so what's the best choice? Oh and granite...sick of it. I want to cringe when someone I know re-does their kitchen and puts in granite. I want to scream "DON"T DO IT!!!" Of course, I have black granite currently & it's great...

  61. LOL, there is usually dated landscaping in the yard to go with dated kitchens, flooring, knobs & etc....

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  62. What a great post and so much to think about. It is a bit stressful to think that so many things we love about kitchens and bathrooms now will be outdated and undesirable later. I have to believe that if something is well done - it will stand the test of time. Thanks,

  63. Some are timeless, some are trendy. What really matters is how it's done!

  64. Farm house sinks are so out. Oil rubbed brass and bronze as well as brushed nickle are going to really date a house. Brass faucets are coming back, but brass never really goes out. Shiny chrome faucets never go out. Iron decor accents are over. Tuscan style is dead. Country French has died a slow death. Even Charles Faudree is veering away from it. Good art and meaningful paintings stand the test of time. Robins egg blue and Tiffany blue as well as chocolate brown are over just as they began. Antiques and slip covered furniture will forever be tasteful. White kitchens and family heirlooms will never be trendy. Wallpaper and stained wood trim, oh so awful, may never come back. Mapel cabinets and blond wood are just a mess now. I agree about the jewel tones with tassels and jeweled pillows and poofy drapery, all have overstayed their welcome. What I truly don't like and can't believe anyone would do is to put stenciling on walls. Have you seen some of these folks who put plastic stenciled words or phrases or birds on their walls. No! My mother is an interior designer and she really needs to weigh in. I need to call her!

  65. I'm constantly trying to figure out what makes something classic. It's good to know that my vessel sink is trendy before I even install it! Now I don't have to worry :)
    Seriously, this is a great post. I do believe that some design elements get overdone, but those that are classics (great marble slabs, plaster walls, beautiful wood beams...) will stand the test of time.

  66. I agree with a lot of the things you mentioned..although I will say I like a lot of those elements! I think bottomline is...if you like it...do it. Who cares whether or not it's dated or not. If you have to live in the house, you might as well love it!

  67. Architecturally I think the number #1 "2000s trend" is open floor plans and great rooms. While I detest small, closed off spaces, we may be going a bit overboard on this one and I expect some backlash.Another trend architecturally would be media rooms. All the homes built in the last few years seem to have one separate from the family room AND den (which begs the question...what do you do in the den then?).

    As for finishes, oil rubbed bronze, granite and maple cabinets are three big ones. I also wonder if the all the various shades of browns/beiges/taupes that were so big for years (but which thankfully seem to be giving way to grayscale neutrals) won't be another big indicator.

  68. I have been out of pocket today and am amazed to check in and see all of the fantastic comments! I have read each and every one, and truly appreciate the insights from my readers.

    I will readily admit to having most of the elements listed in this post - my house was built in 88, but the architects were very 'cutting edge', as were the homeowners who built my house. Just tonight, I hosted a party for my husband's company, and was amazed at how well the house functions as both a place to entertain, and as a private home for my family.

    Anyway - I have a stainless fridge; oil rubbed bronze front door hardware; two story foyer; white kitchen; arched faucets. Some of these I put in very recently, and I am enjoying them. I think the point that I am taking away from all of your comments is that the quality and thought behind the items is of utmost imporantance.

    I have received several emails about the McMansion component of these comments, which I have also found to be fascinating. I did a post a few months ago on a lead architectural designer in Atlanta who really designs exquisite homes, often on very large lots. Every detail is considered very carefully in these homes, and also the homes are not slaves to historical conventions, they draw upon some of the best of historical architectural designs and concepts. Often, these homes have the very best of interior design and landscape design too. They are often large homes, but are in no way McMansions. I can relate to the McMansion concept, though - there are plenty of those around town too. Very interesting comments, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.

  69. Those vessel sinks are just the worst.

    And to me, so are the "Kitchens on Steroids" of the 2000's. Just give me a simple kitchen with room to cook well and a kitchen table for breakfasts with kids, then let's close that kitchen door and go out there and live. Without making the preparation and lure of food the constant center of our homes and lives.

    We might even lose a little weight too!

  70. Lucky us. Most of our friends and family aren't style mavens, don't know or care what's in or out. They visit for us, not for the decor.

    It does amuse me: If you ask a designer or architect, they'd never say they were trendy, they'd always claim to do "timeless" designs as much as their clients will allow anyway. Yet showing the latest from "the shows" and discerning trends is what the design media is all about.

    Well our tastes do change and need a little refreshing from time to time.

  71. Great post. I am sure they will look dated at some point but I still love white kitchens.

  72. I definately think oil rubbed bronze is out - and now brass is coming back in - not the bright brass of the eighties, but the hand rubbed - slightly antiqued brass.

  73. I loved this post so much that I had to link it to my website. I followed it up with a post on "trends of tomorrow."


    Thank you for continuing to inspire, post after post!

  74. I really enjoyed this post!
    Beautiful trends!


  75. As far as kitchens and trends, I like to think that if you decorate for function, you might also avoid some of the biggest trends.

    When you see pictures of a chef's kitchen, they're not amazingly decorated, but do have a sense of warmth that comes from the practicality.

    No farmhouse sinks (because dishes break when quickly thrown in), no extremely large floorplan (because you don't want to walk 20 feet with a hot saucepan), no open shelving (because of grease and dust), no granite/marble (too much upkeep).

  76. Those dreadful dining booths in the kitchen! I don't care how small a space you have - put a real table in. Someone is always uncomfortable in a booth.

    I get claustrophobic in those things.

  77. I hate the booths! One of my favorite designers - Canadian Sarah Richardson - ALWAYS uses them. "Banquettes" she calls them. I just think they're a pain in the ass. Pardon my French!

  78. trendy elements of 2000's would be - we need a time machine to propel us to the future to really be able to look back. somehow with all of these trends, I appreciate things that get better with age and time.
    Sometimes things to me in the trend area look so forced. I think we will see a more casual trend and designing with the "less is more" in mind which I love.

  79. Great post

    Living in a small, but architecturally interesting NYC brownstone apartment with a tiny (8 x 6) kitchen, I find it fascinating to see what elements are considered in and out, decade by decade. I used to have kitchen envy (space!), but after 20 years, appreciate a compact design where everything is in reach. This makes me wonder about huge spaces that may look great (for a time) but aren't necessarily functional.

  80. What matters most is - do YOU love it? You're the one living with it.

    Who cares if it's outdated? Most things will be at some point.

  81. Great Post!!! I think the only item, albeit beautiful, that could appear cliche/dated is going to be marble. Just like granite, it's going to become widely available and used by the masses. Bet we see it in the big box stores in the near future!
    I personally love oil rubbed bronze for the simple fact it blends with so many styles.
    Hate McMansions...no matter how beautiful...no one can "live" in that much space.

  82. Wonderful post! This is part of why we wanted an older home, with its details in place like glass doorknobs and hardwood floors. We're trying to redo it in a way that doesn't change the classic details. Things like paint that can be easily "undone" with the times.

  83. I have thoroughly enjoyed and been somewat enlightened, reading this fascinating and fantastic post subjest. I'm not an interior designer, but i am very proud of making somewhere I reside not just somewhere I live but a home. I'm European (half British/half French) and we view interiors very casually but at the same time very passionately.I totally agee with the Countrypolitan blogger. She hit the nail on the head. It's not about keeping up with the Jones' as there's ALWAYS going to be someone who can (and will) up the ante. The secret is to personally LOVE what you have in your home and not because some magazine says "you're nothing without this". A home should grow and alter naturally with it's occupier (organically, so to speak)and reveal their personality and not the designers. It should say "I LIVE HERE". So many American homes (and please don't ear bash me, as I love America and have made it my home)have the tendency to have too much. Sometimes too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing and introduces generic and sterile overkill(however cleverly cluttered the look has been 'orchestrated') and needs to just have that persons own personality stamped on it. It'd save everyone a bundle of cash too. Bottom line is....to hell with what the magazines say is in or out and just go with what you like and have the confidence to not give a flying fig. If you genuinely love zebra skin rugs which seems to be a trend I'm noticing (I don't, but that's only my personal opinion) then god bless you and enjoy it. But if acquiring one merely because it's been said is the must have....donate the money to a charity...it'll go a lot further!Our personalities are multi faceted and ecclectic, our homes should reflect this too. Why not have a Swedish dresser next to a Corbusier chair, that's sat next to a Chinese armoire that's below a Venitian mirror if that's what YOU like?
    Be a house big (I love the term 'Mcmansion' I've never heard it before) or small, and budgets big or small...it's about individual taste and style(same applies to clothes). As I'd still rather see a home decorated with (or someone dressed in)what some might consider bad taste, than no taste of their own!
    I will now sign off to eat a croissant washed down with a cuppa tea, before all of NYC hunt me down and burn me at the stake for my post entered on here(gulp)!!

  84. Industrial chic will definitely scream 2000s! What will we do with all these old cogs and factory parts? As one who bought hook-line-and-sinker into the folk art craze of the 1990s, I learned to be wary of too much rustic style--no matter how inexpensive.

    And don't even get me started on white subway tile with white marble counters and pendant lights.

  85. Sorry for such a long comment...but you've touched on so many things that I've thought about over the last many years. While all my friends were buying homes with huge, characterless, open interiors, I'm going on historical home tours and LOVING the individual rooms, with their individual uses, that don't feel too small due to their wonderfully high ceilings. My home currently has separate spaces and I LOVE that...wouldn't change it for the world. Would love a slightly bigger kitchen, but other than that...love having individual room with their own individual uses. I, also, have never understood the appeal of having a "furniture finish" on kitchen cabinets...the cherry or mahogany look. I don't care what goes in and out of style...I'll always have a white kitchen with glass cabinet doors...maybe a different paint color on an island...but definitely NO STAIN. In my heart, kitchens are supposed to be bright and sunny, not formal feeling with furniture finishes. Don't care for the open shelving...don't know how folks ever keep the shelving or the items on the shelves free of dust, grime and pet fur. I love the idea of marble and have always preferred that for the counters, but I do worry about the staining. Some staining probably gives it character...but I don't know that a giant red beet juice stain would come across as character. Ummm, I'll have to do a little research on that because I do love the timelessness of marble. Brass...ok there's a hot button for me. 19 years ago when I moved into my 8 year old house, I bought shiny brass and lots of it...sconces, candlesticks, etc...all Virginia MetalCrafters and Baldwin Brass...expensive but great quality. It is as beautiful today as it was when I bought it...and I still LOVE the look. There, I said it! Gasp! :-) You would not believe how many comments/emails I've gotten from well meaning folks telling me to spray paint my kitchen chandelier black...it's a mixture of brass and white...or to change out my brass knobs in my kitchen. A trend that I don't think you mentioned that I think will so be a 2000's look is the tendency to spray paint so much furniture with black paint. I've even seen gorgeous wood pieces with beautiful enlay painted black. :-( I've ALWAYS thought the oiled bronze look would date a home eventually. I'm just surprised that so many others agree seem to agree in your comments. Here's my advise: buy what you truly love and forget about the trends. If you love it, I mean, really love it, you'll love it years and years later. Want something trendy, but a trendy accent piece, some trendy pillows...something that's easy to change later on. So far, I still love my polished granite counter top...but have always dreamed on the marble. I completely agree with Joni...antiques are forever timeless. When you buy new furniture, it's worth less the moment you get it home...reminds me of buying a car. But antiques tend to hold their value and even go up in value...depending on the piece. They almost never go down in value. Plus, they are nomally much better quality and they have character, history...a bit of mystique. :-) Aren't we ALL glad that we don't like the same things...would be a pretty boring world if our homes were all just alike inside and out. I'd also love to see the trend move away from SUBDIVISIONS. I don't want to live in a subdivision...just want to live on a street with a street address. I think I hear an historic home somewhere calling my name. :-) Thanks for such an interesting, thought provoking post!

  86. If I build a home on Brays Island (SC) I will never, never, never have tray ceilings or painted cupids floating in pink and blue skies over my dinning room table. I will have a white kitchen, marble splashback, and heated floors though.

  87. I have to tell ya -- stainless was "classic" in the late '60s as well. My mom had it in her kitchen and fought with it all the time to keep it clean and fingerprints off it.

  88. What - no one mentioned roosters, hens and chickens; red opulent decor, particularly comforters & piles of pillows; the hotel look may be outdated in 10 years but I don't think the serene look will.

    I think energy conservation will be the next big thing, so there will be more emphasis on passive solar gain. For example, "heat banks" in the floors can be created where large windows allow the sun to hit a tile or stone floor which holds heat that is let out at night.

    But I think the big house selling point in 30 years will be which way your windows face because of energy efficiency. Which way your roof faces for solar panels may also be a big deal.

    Decor-wise, I think there will be a back-to-nature trend - but who knows what it will look like? Personally, I like beautiful wood that is a little "rough" - think of a pine antique.

    However, for my new home (to be bought as soon as the prices get low enough), I'm going to go with the stone farmhouse look with tons of 2000-decor: 2-story great room and a lot of open space for kids to play, lots of molding, oil-rubbed bronze, a farm sink (well, not really, I can't afford one), white cabinets, black granite, black wrought iron. However, no stainless or silver anything.

  89. Once again this is a great post! I had to put in my 2 cents worth... The #1 thing that will be dated in a few years IMHO is the huge showers with all the full body heads. I guess next for me would be the accent walls, I hate those and I have never done one for anyone! I do find the vessel sink has a place in a bath re-do that has a short cabinet that is staying, the vessel brings it up a bit and that is a good thing. The best peice of advice I can give anyone is to not over do anything. Never do a "C.F." french country look , but add just a bit. Keep your trends to accessories and you will be fine. If you love something, do it and don't woryy if it goes out! Everything will go out, and come back again if you give it enought time.

  90. Great post! I agree many of these looks/trends are timeless (i.e. white kitchens).


  91. I was amused by your comments and how often you said you couldn't see certain things becoming dated -- because everybody thinks that when they are going through an era.

    Think about it -- everyone once embraced avocado appliances.

    I think it is the trends that get overdone, and especially done cheaply, that date an era. So I think the granite countertops, columns, mcmansions, and stainless steel kitchens will date this era because they are ubiquitous. But not white kitchens or farmhouse sinks because they are less common.

    One thing you didn't mention are those giant kitchen islands. I can't see that lasting, particularly if we begin downsizing...

  92. I know, I felt the same way reading the Gardenweb post - amused - because there were so many people earnestly trying to figure out what would become dated. Who can blame them? When you are building a house, you are spending a tremendous amount of money and want to make sure you are getting it 'right'.

    Clearly this topic has struck a chord, though - people are thinking about it and coming back to this post and commenting again, which I love.

    I like to pride myself on not being overly influenced by the whims of the day, by the trends, but the influence happens in subtle ways. I remember seeing those large vent hoods in kitchens and not liking them at all. Slowly but surely, they have crept into my list of things I love in a kitchen. And, slowly but surely, stainless steel has moved off that list (but perhaps this is because I replaced my 22 year old dead fridge with stainless steel, and I have found the fingerprints to be a never ending battle).

  93. I'm rather late to the party, but this is such a great post with interesting comments that I had to chime in. I think context is key. With kitchens for instance, hammered copper is suitable in an Arts & Crafts bungalow, stainless and satin nickel for a sleek contemporary, while glass knobs and chrome/polished nickel look great in a 1920's white kitchen. For a Colonial house, brass, iron and even wood knobs would be appropriate, while twisted wrought iron is fitting for a country French style, and oil rubbed bronze looks great with a rustic all wood kitchen in a mountain or lake house. The problem is that most mass housing and spec homes don't have a true style. The builder, understandably, fills in with the latest trends to make it marketable. How often do you see buyers on HGTV's "House Hunters" admire the stainless appliances and granite countertops and overlook the house as a whole? (Drives me nutty!) Personally, I think that white cabinets and glass fronted cupboards are classic, but I wouldn't put that in my log cabin in the mountains. And I've found through personal experience that what you think looks good or is trendy doesn't always work well. I replaced my kitchen floor with simulated stone tiles complete with dents and a pocked surface to look more realistic. These collect dirt and I find myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor. What was I thinking? Though I love the look, I think farmhouse sinks might fall into this category. I think a divided sink is much more practical. I love the look of age, but there's a reason certain elements evolved into newer forms. Let's be real!

  94. Ooops! Late to this very interesting discussion! IMO: If a material is used correctly, that is, in the same architectural vein as the home in which it is placed, it will not be dated. The reasons McMansions are so very dated the day they are born is that they lack character and architectural integrity. The materials are cheap and there is a lack of architectural interest inside. The grand scale is not tempered by the proper usage of materials. The one thing that really urks is the cost of heating/cooling a space like this.

    "Real" materials will never go out of style: ex...Tuscan Villas will always be in style....in TUSCANY!!! Brass will always be in style if it is not lacquered and if allowed to age gracefully. Oil rubbed bronze will never go out of style if it is a "living " finish which changes with time and use, and if used in proper context.

    Things like granite and vessel sinks are often used without thought to historical reference. But when you do see a vessel sink like the one pictured in the post which does reference the past....it works quite well. Contemporary vessels will definitely be dated.

    One last thought on open shelving. It can add alot to the character of a kitchen. They are no more of a problem to keep clean than your counter tops. Especially when your everyday dishes and glassware are on the shelves.

    OK...that's it. And Thank you so very much for including my kitchen in your post! I still love being in it every day!

  95. These designs are light, airy and refreshing - as are all your posts - thank you for sharing. But for something timeless, for a room that feels like a hug, it's hard to beat 18th century colonial!

  96. Inspired by the dialogue here, I just blogged about my top 6 trends of the 2000s: http://needspark.wordpress.com.

  97. I enjoyed your blog on "Trendy elements that scream 2000s." I live in New Jersey in a Georgian brick house built in 1930. All of the hinges and doorknobs and other interior hardware are original to the house and are brass. So while brass faucets might scream 1980s I would not say that about doorknobs.

  98. Thought provoking post-- I also think the "tumbled stone" backsplashes and wide expanses of highly patterned granite are on the way out, in addition to stainless steel. Anything really that is overdone or supertrendy is in danger of going "out". The key, to me, is choosing something you love, in colors you love to live in, which embodies classic elements, keeping in mind almost nothing is still "in" after 20 years-- I'd say 10-15 years is a good lifespan for a kitchen or bath.

  99. I really enjoyed this post thanks for sharing

  100. I have nothing new to add...except that I have continued to return to this post to read more comments as they are added.

    FANTASTIC post. Great blog discussion going on.

    Bravo TTI!

  101. Absolutely wonderful post!

    You sure stirred up the nest with this one, but I loved reading the comments.

    I agree with most of the items on the list. However, I think white kitchens are timeless, and the kitchen has become such a gathering place for families and entertaining that I feel larger kitchens may remain safe for many years (maybe without the look and feel of commercial appliances.

  102. I would add "faux finishes" to the list. Never before have so many people attempted to make their house look Tuscan or what-have-you by using paint and strange combs/putties/tissue.

    And I still love me an all-white kitchen with an apron sink. :)

  103. Those all so scream 2000s!!! I think we are going to move away from frou frou into a more natural type setting. Definitely farm house type stuff.

  104. I second everything remarked by Katydid. Honest materials, historical references, room scale and functionality are what gives a home integrity.

  105. I am very late in seeing this post but had to comment as I am just in the finishing stages of building a home and it could be the poster child for your article. Open floor plan, arched door way(1), wood panelling (on a coved cieling though - not walls), we were very anti-granite and dark wood so needless to say we have marble counter tops. We also went with a commercial range, large fireclay sink (not apron though), subway tile, tumbled marbles on the bath floors (ming green & honeyed onyx)etc., etc., etc! Oh yeah, oil rubbed bronze door hardware too! We love it all and think it looks beautiful and wouldn't change a thing! Thank you for the interesting post and your wonderful blog! On to hardware (trendy bin pulls) & lighting industrial/school house) now.

  106. PS. We were very anti-McMansion in our design too....all that glory in just over 2000sq ft. (with a shingle exterior to boot)!

  107. Love all of the comments. In my humble opinion, white kitchens are as classic as classic gets and am building a new home with one now. My only addition to the list would be glass mosaic tiles. They are everywhere and as one poster listed above, once they are on sale in Home Depot and Lowe's, you know it's over. :)

  108. These may last a few more years but the overuse of large-scale damask, coral, and sisal rugs is pretty apparent. And this 'trend' back towards residential wallcovering is far too great a commitment for me.

  109. junk, hate to say all this stuff should be ripped out in 2020. your eye will not evolve with the times and trends are what they are. i'm redesigning my 1843 boarding house and will have nothing to do with any of these mag looks.
    mae skidmore

  110. Old post, I know, but I wanted to add my two cents. I frequent GardenWeb, but didn't see that thread. Coincidentally, though, I have been thinking about this exact issue lately. I think my interest in it stemmed from the realization that the cherry cabinets/stainless steel appliances/black granite combination for kitchens, which was so popular a few years back, seems to have been replaced by white, white, white (maybe with stainless steel appliances) and soapstone counters. It's interesting to see that what was so popular is suddenly out of favor. I think of white kitchens as "classic," but really, are they? Not exactly. Like beadboard walls and hex flooring tile for bathrooms, they are something which were popular at another point in history, but which quickly fell out of favor with the belief that they look dated. There is no reason to think that same thing won't happen again.

    My belief is that the things which are the worst choices today are those which are the most "unusual" and not in the fashion cycle... for instance, vessel sinks which have never been in style before. I think the safest choices are things which have been in style before (or are similar to things which have been in style before, and which function like things which have been in style before), and one should not decorate a room entirely in one style. For instance, ORB can have a classic, understated look, but if combined with a lot of "luxury" elements (travertine tile on floors AND walls) it will look dated more quickly than if combined with wood floors and a classic wooden vanity.

    I use the word "classic," but am then inclined to think that there is no such thing, as absolutely everything will eventually "advertise" the era in which it was installed. But then I realize that's actually not the case. I live in New England, and there are a lot of 100-200 year old houses which look great. There is no need to re-side them in something other than white clapboards, or change the shutters from black to another color... THAT is classic style. Houses built today in this area look the same on the exterior as those that are 200-years old (or 25-years old, for that matter.) 4- or 6-panel doors are another classic element which don't advertise the era in which they were installed. This is what I mean when I say to combine certain things which could potentially
    "scream 2000s" with mostly classic elements. If done well, you CAN have a fairly timeless look. (It may help to live in New England, I suppose, where 'timeless' is valued - there is no pressure to have the latest design.)

    In the end, my belief is that anything that is "overdone" - meaning floor to ceiling in certain style, rather than somewhat collected over time - will end up screaming one era.

  111. I love my Grandma's house. It is decorated in her era. It is warm and comfortable. When we use the best materials possible they really are timeless. Quit trying to keep up with the latest trend and be yourself.

    1. Yes, there are often a lot of positive emotions associated with a vintage look. Just because something's old doesn't mean it's bad. If you go on Mid-Mod home tours, consider what would have happened if the person who lived there in the 80s or 90s gutted the place and took everything to those hideous (but then-trendy) mauves and pinky beiges.

  112. I find that what truly dates something is not the era in which it was popular, but whether it was ever a good idea to begin with. Many items on this list, IMHO, are not dated at all. Subway tile, white kitchens and farmhouse sinks may rise and fall as trends - but will be resurrected again and again because they have a basic appeal.

    Secondly, to really burn out fashion-wise, an item has to be overused. Farmhouse sinks in real life (not mags) are just not that common.

    What I do see as total time-capsule material: Oil-rubbed bronze, dark handscraped floors, and brown overload in general; faux finish and all that faux-European stuff; and perhaps the worst offender of all, tumbled marble backsplash paired with Tan Brown or Ubatuba granite.

  113. White kitchens are sterile looking and not attractive in my opinion. They are NOT classic or timeless. How can granite or any real stone be outdated? It is how the room is put together overall that makes it homey or timeless, regardless of individual components.


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