1994 BALA Design Trends

Trend spotting is a favorite American pastime, especially when it comes to what is put into a house.  At this year’s Best In American Living Awards competition, the judges spotted several national trends, noted regional particulars, pointed out possible emerging trends, and even discussed what was on the way out, such as vaulted ceilings. 

  • Mixed materials on exteriors.  Stucco, in particular, is moving east from California to the heartland and even up and down the East Coast.  Likewise, there is a string move toward neo-traditional exteriors.  A lot of clapboard siding, which helped to resurrect a return to a New England-style look, with its white picket fences and white trim
  • Multitasking spaces.  Homes are being designed with flexible interiors so that rooms can be used for home offices, in-law suites, libraries, game rooms, media centers, or simply an extra bedroom.  Likewise, loft spaces provide additional flexibility, as they can be finished in many different ways.
  • Cleaner interior detailing. There is a move away from plant shelves and more toward detailed molding.  There is still a lot of drywall sculpting, but with more refined lines.  The trend is a direct result of standard 9-foot ceilings now common in production houses.
  • Stylish cabinetwork.  Taller wall cabinets, more trim work atop the cabinets and unfitted cabinet work highlighted the kitchen trends.
  • Porches. Porches encourage neighborhood interaction and improve the streetscape.  A porch makes a house look bigger, provide a transition zone from outside to inside and helps the house interact with the street.  Porches make a house look nostalgic, refreshing for baby boomers who like to recall the homes they grew up in and symbolize a friendly home.
  • Stairs as a focal point. Split stairs, dual staircases, and highly finished rails and banisters were common in many entries.  Highly finished staircases are becoming architectural features, as well.  By moving the stairs to family areas, homeowners can enjoy a dressed-up staircase instead of putting it in the hallway where it is walked on but not appreciated.

Excerpted and adapted from the original article written by Eric Benderoff and published in the January 1995 edition of Professional Builder magazine.

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