When was the last time you asked "how are you" and didn't hear a response involving the word "busy"??
We're all wrapped up in the minutia of doing more with less, the endless imbalance of work/life & trying to achieve all of these things to feel good about ourselves. The end game is that we're all overworked, over-tired, stressed & probably not having as much fun as we think we should. Believe it or not, these sentiments creep into our home. When real estate was BOOMING, this was reflected in our homes with opulence- luxurious finishes like marble, onyx, travertine, scrolling iron, rich, silky textiles & all that... stuff. Our homes were literally bursting at the seams with THINGS. We all know where that time went...
A few years back, a good girlfriend of mine & her husband built a home. She's a wonderful person- and incredibly giving of herself and teaches their kids to do the same. They're inclusive and very kind. As a result, they're truly loved by all. Their family is incredibly fortunate were able to build the home of their dreams in a Paradise Valley with the help of very talented designers, architects and builder. As they went through the seemingly endless process of finding the right location, lot, planning the layout, flow & function, she was involved in each little detail. When she got to the interiors, one comment she made really stuck with me.
"I really want people to come over and feel like they're at home- like they can relax and put their feet up. I want them to be comfortable" She nailed it.
Most homes especially at the price point of hers, didn't achieve this in the past decade. Sure you can have "a room" or a space that's comfortable enough for nights in and more formal entertaining. But that's just it. Who does "formal entertaining" anymore? I for one have never served tea in my parlor... I don't even have a parlor, nor do I want one. My idea of "afternoon tea" is to throw a pod in the Keurig, pull out a unique mug from someplace fun (Anthropologie anyone???) drop my shoes & put on my Ugg slippers. I will always serve real cream, but admit I haven't used my formal china in far too long (I really need to stop that and use it!!!). The idea of going through all those extra steps, doesn't appeal to me on the random chance that a friend is actually able to break away from her myriad of responsibilities with children, spouses/SOs, work, etc., etc.
However, not many homes reflect this lifestyle that we have, but they do. Over the last few years, I've watched the trends in home floor plans go from lots of formal spaces- formal living, formal dining, breakfast table, sitting room, blah, blah- to one cozy great room in a "modern farmhouse" where everyone can congregate so that the cook won't miss any of the fun! It's not by accident that the Bohemian trend gained so much steam. The cozy cable knit throws, gorgeous Persian rugs, Encaustic (cement tile) & lots of green are popping up.
The same goes for Industrial design elements with simple iron pieces, glass, wood & light. LOTS of light.
These styles are: tough, forgiving, well-worn, broken in, whimsical, and dare I say, fun, quirky & "tongue in cheek"? They won't be RUINED if you have a bad day and are clumsy, "under the weather", off, or simply "don't give a f&*" (excuse the French). You can be... you. Unapologetically. This also resonates with buyers.
Have you heard of FLOR? They're carpet tiles with a rubber backing that can be attached together, form a pretty water tight seal and can be removed washed or easily replaced if say your kid/dog/husband comes in and has an OOPS! moment on a few. I have them in my house and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEM!!! These are actually commercial flooring that was adapted for residential application.
My favorite part has been the COLOR!!!So many, too many homes are lightening up from the heavy browns, golds & tans of Tuscan or Old World designs to whites and grays or greige. Dark monochromatic brown is a bore, but who wants to keep beige or white pristine?! I sure don't. Blues, reds, blacks & bright citrus colors are creeping in. My friend, me & most people I know are installing finishes like matte and/or reclaimed hardwood floors, worn brick, concrete & elements that will withstand hundred-pound dogs or kids who don't take off their shoes...
Walking through Paradise Valley & North Scottsdale, I see home after home of this formal living that buyers refer to as "dated" or "needs work". They simply just won't go see these homes unless all the boxes are checked. That and they're too big! Over the summer on a broker tour, I walked through a home on the golf course at Gainey Ranch that was about 6,500SF. The owners had clearly invested hundreds of thousands into custom features like tartan carpeting, color coordinated living room furniture, artwork and more. The listing agent looked at me and another agent and said, "Do you have any buyers for this home?" The other agent on tour grinned at me and said, "I've got no one..." It was all over the top, too much and too specific.
The same sentiment has popped up in agent feedback on my listings for the last few years. I've spent hours showing anxious sellers what buyers really are drawn to. They "get it", but don't want to do anything about it. I understand that, but this is all part of the experience for buyers. They want to come into something that they can enjoy *RIGHT NOW*. It's easier to finance it too.
Life is too short not to wear fuzzy slippers, use the "good china" or have to put out a 3-course dinner so friends show up. That ought to be reflected in the way we live. After all, at the end of a long day, where would you feel more comfortable spending your precious time with your favorite people?