Parade of Homes 2017 Recap
I visited the 2017 BIA Parade of Homes this weekend with my wife, brother, and sister-in-law to take a look at the latest home trends. It was a smaller event than last year, with only nine homes to tour compared to 16 in 2016. Perhaps that was because the event was outside the immediate Columbus suburbs. I couldn’t say for sure. But what I can say is there was no shortage of people touring these nine houses. Here is a summary of what I saw.
The decorating trend popularized by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper was found everywhere. Traditional white around a fireplace, whitewashed in a tray ceiling, natural rough wood planks covering accent walls, arranged vertically on a bedroom wall. There were lots of variations—some done well, and some not so well. The ceiling of the main living area in the Maple Craft home was a winner, while the wood-grain-print wallpaper strips in the Fischer Homes kitchen fell flat for me.
New Counter Surfaces
To no one’s surprise, we saw lots of granite in these $600,000+ homes. What was surprising was how many times we saw the relatively new leather finish on the stone counters. A leathered finish differs from the smooth, polished surface you are probably used to seeing. It has a soft, textured appearance that has a slight sheen but isn’t shiny. This textured surface means the granite hides fingerprints and smudges pretty well, making it a more practical surface for day-to-day use. I heard lots of comments about how much people liked it.
The other surface I saw that I found striking was the Geoluxe Pyrolithic Stone counter in the Manor Homes kitchen. According to the Manor representative, Geoluxe is constructed of a mixture of mineral-based materials that has very high heat, scratch, stain, and chemical resistance. The material resembles marble. I didn’t ask how it compares in price to quartz, marble, or granite, but I assume it is at the top of the price point.
The “split-5,” characterized by a two-story living area with a master bedroom halfway upstairs and two levels below the main living area, is not a new style. However, the three homes in this year’s Parade that utilized it made a major improvement to the design. Instead of having the two lower levels effectively splitting the basement in half, these models had the first level down from the main living area only about five steps down. This accomplished two things. First, that first lower level was still high enough that it could employ full windows instead of just short windows higher on the wall. This made these lower level rooms feel much more open and part of the living space rather than basement-like rec room spaces. Second, having the first lower level only a few steps down allowed for a full set of stairs down to a finished full basement. Typically the second lower level is the unfinished storage area of a five-level split. This refresh of the design creates more living space in the same footprint.
There were three builders who featured ranch homes this year, obviously responding to the growing demand by the aging Baby Boomer generation for practical single-level living spaces. These were not “empty nester downsizing” ranches, mind you. The Westport and Ambassador homes rang in at 3960 and 4411 square feet, respectively. Both of those offerings had two bedrooms upstairs with a third bedroom and bath in the fully-finished basement.
Still in Style
There were several things that have been en vogue for awhile that I saw still being used. These trends, like them or not, are here to stay for awhile longer.
Barn doors. I saw these enough times to label them “still in style.” However, I saw an execution that didn’t make sense to me. Barn doors are great for separating a space visually. However, their construction by necessity prevents them from creating any sort of practical sound barrier. Using them as the door to a laundry (I saw this in two different homes) just doesn’t make sense.
Oversized showers. Large walk-in master showers, often without a door, were featured in every home I saw. Where last year’s trend was to have two showers in the space, this year the focus shifted to a single shower with multiple heads (traditional head, rain shower head, and shower wand).
Neutrals. Gray and/or greige (a gray/beige hybrid) with white painted trim is still the preferred decorating style. However, black and white made a few appearances this year as well. The black ceiling in Trinity’s master bedroom made a big impact.
Wood. Hand-scraped hardwood (or laminate made to look like hand-scraped hardwood) was the predominant flooring throughout the Parade. Unfinished wood accents, whether in the form of shiplap or bar accents, also was used quite often.
Two-toned Kitchens. I’ve never been a huge fan, but having a kitchen island whose cabinets are a different color from the rest of the cabinets is still very popular. Clearly I’m in the minority.
Jack & Jill Bathrooms. Let’s face it—if you have two kids sharing a bathroom, a Jack & Jill configuration can make a lot of sense. Today’s take on the J&J gives each bedroom its own sink and vanity with a shared toilet and bath. To me that creates the best of both worlds. You only have one bathtub and toilet to clean, and the kids don’t have to fight over a sink.
So those were my highlights. Did you go to the Parade this year? If so, I’d love to hear what your favorite things were. Post in the comments below.