APress.gif (1844 bytes) HOMES OF THE 90'S


Characteristics that define Homes of the ‘90s
By Noreen Seebacher for Gannett Newspaper

Today’s newly constructed post-modern contemporary is tomorrow’s antique — the home your children’s children may long to recreate decades from now.

While the needs of families 100 years hence will surely be different than they are today, and modifications will be needed on any home plan from the 1990s, there are certain characteristics that history buffs will have to keep intact.

Most homes are two stories, often with traditional Colonial or Victorian features that homebuilders today remember from their grandparent’s homes. The exteriors, when not traditional clapboard, are brick or stucco.

Inside, the homes are an eclectic mix of past and present. The defining characteristics include:

--Bright, airy rooms, with lots of windows, skylights and soaring ceilings.

--Combination kitchen-dining rooms and family rooms that merge to create large entertainment areas.

--Large master baths, with whirlpool tubs, separate tub and shower stalls, and even built-in television sets.

--Home office and/or home theater space, often prewired for computers, stereo speakers and multiple telephones.

--Covered porches, in the front or back of the house.

--Three-car garages.

--Curved walls and archways.

--Fireplaces – in just about any room of the house.

--Wood floors in almost every room.

Sylvain Côté, president of Absolute Remodeling Corp. in Yorktown Heights, said these are the features homeowners want when they build or remodel. It’s a list echoed by other builders, architects and real estate agents across Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties. Many of them say elements like two story entryways; master suites and at least one fireplace have become not just wishes but expectations.

At Ophir Farms Estates, a $1-million-and-up development in the Purchase section of Harrison, for example, each 3,000- to 4000- square-foot has at least four bedrooms, a covered entrance, two-story foyer, nine foot first floor ceilings, formal living and dining rooms and a family room with fireplace. Most kitchens have center islands and breakfast nooks, master suites with marble bathes and separate glass-enclosed showers, a private sitting or make-up room and often a maid’s room.

Many of those features have filtered down to significantly lower price groups, including $100,00 townhouses.

Units in most new townhouse developments are like those at The Glen at Lewisboro, a 32-unit townhouse development in the tiny northern Westchester hamlet of Goldens Bridge. The homes have vaulted master bedroom ceilings, breakfast rooms, ceramic tile baths and large foyers.

Homebuyers want space, lots of it. Nationwide, the average size of a new home has climbed from about 1,800-square feet in 1986 to more than 2,100-square feet a decade later. More than 30 percent of all new homes are 2,400-square feet or larger.

Even manufactured housing, yesterday’s "mobile homes" are growing. Between 1986 and 1995, the placement of units of doublewide size or larger has risen to 49 percent from 35 percent. The median size of the typical manufactured-housing unit jumped to 1,280-square feet from 1,035- square feet a decade ago.

"People need big houses. The kids aren’t leaving," said Arlene Weidberg, co-owner of Dell Realty in New City. Children used to leave home as soon as they finished school, she explained. Now, many of them stay with their parents until they marry — and many young adults are marrying later and later.

Weidberg said "living rooms" are becoming things of the past. In new construction, they keep getting smaller and smaller, more like the parlors of long ago that the living rooms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Instead, families congregate in the combined kitchen, dining and family areas, great rooms that offer a range of activities for the people within them.

When the budget allows, many homebuyers are adding at least one extra staircase to the second floor – just like Grandma had. Chalk it up to a lesson learned: Times change. But concepts that work, from multiple staircases to inviting front porches, survive.


To find out more on the subject and to view the entire article where these quotes were taken from, go to  HowToRemodel.html


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