Do we influence culture or does culture influence us?
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
How much wood would a wood chuck chuck. . . er, never mind.
While I doubt we’ll truly answer these questions, it’s interesting to look into the sociology of home building over the last 100 years and trace the journey of architecture, Northwest style. The key is: trend, fad, fashion. The “in-thing.” Housing is a lot like teen-wear; what’s in today might be completely out tomorrow.
Think: olive green countertops, reflective foil wallpaper of the late 1970s, and black metal railings. All of which I have a soft spot for in my heart since they remind me of my youth.
Trends work a lot like erosion, eventually rendering obsolete things such as indoor brick planters, popcorn ceilings, and hanging macramé planters (Or not, maybe the macramé thing is just me). But what’s the story behind the change? How did we come from log houses to modular homes? At what point in our history did we decide to enclose garages and make the shift away from the traditionally gabled carport?
In part, we are influenced by the media, by the housing cool factor we see on television. Like Leave it to Beaver, the Brady Bunch, and The Munsters. Okay, maybe not the Munsters, but you know what I mean.
We are also impacted by the financial climate in which we find ourselves. For example, researchers at HousingEconomics.com just released a study suggesting the housing trends we may expect in the next 5-10 years. Here are the results of likely characteristics we’ll see in average, new single-family detached homes in 2015:
- The average, new single-family home will be smaller and have more green features
- The living room will either vanish or merge with other spaces in the home
- The “Great Room” is the likeliest room to be included in the average new home
- Low-e windows and engineered wood products are the likeliest green features
- A double sink, recessed lighting, and table space for eating are very likely in kitchen
Not surprisingly, many of these minor shifts are the result of the current financial woes felt across the country. We’ll have to prioritize and make a few changes in our architectural expectations. We’ll be focused on efficiency and practicality more than luxury.
Next week we’re going to take a look at Victorian architecture from the late 1800s in the northwest. What made it popular at the time? What were the key features? More than likely, the cultural climate played a big part in the decisions made by builders and home-buyers. Bring on the corsets, parasols, bustles, and top hats!
My name is Joni Kerley, I specialize in real estate located in Snohomish County, Washington State. If you are interested in buying or selling, please contact me at 425-343-4545.
*photo courtesty of stock.xchng