Real Estate Tastes Change

Whether you are planning to sell your home and considering some changes to make it more attractive to prospective buyers, or thinking of updates to your residence, it might be worthwhile to consider present trends in home exteriors and interiors.

Desirable Less desirable
Hardwood       Parquet
Bamboo Laminate
Finished (polished) concrete    Broadloom
Distressed wood floors Vinyl tiles
Large, rustic tiles Shiny, white ceramic floors
Sandstone, slate Ceramic tiles with busy pattern
Wall finishes
Soft colours Deep colours
Flat paint finishes Shiny paint
Exposed brick Faux finishes
Tin or tin-alike ceilings        Popcorn ceiling
Framed large mirrors   Mirrored walls or doors
Wall sconces Central ceiling fixture
Halogen pot lights Large track lights
Under-counter lighting
Retro light fixtures
Bathroom fixtures
Oversized sinks Cultured marble
Glass bowls
Stone sinks
Free-standing tubs
Oversized showerheads
Distressed wood cabinetry
Window treatments
Light cotton, linen, silk draperies    Heavy drapes
Retro wood blinds Mini blinds

Lots of storage, family rooms that are combined with open-concept kitchens, good access to outdoors, with French doors being more popular than sliding glass doors, good kitchen work surfaces, wide baseboards and door trim, historic paint colours on the outside, front porches, and energy-efficient windows and appliances are all in demand.

It is good to keep in mind that any man-made product that imitates natural material is not really stylish. It is better to use innovative materials in their natural condition. We have seen beautiful floors made of large plywood squares (2' to 3' squares), stained in two tones to form checkered pattern. Of course such floor treatment will not suit every decor, but the effect was stunning.

In several recently renovated homes we noticed pocket doors being used in tight spaces. In a fairly narrow hallway a bathroom door sliding into a wall provided an easier flow, and allowed for better use of space inside the bathroom. A sliding door at the top of basement stairs did not block the hallway when open.

Good House, Cheap House book by Kira Obolensky, available in bookstores for $34.95 provides a range of ideas for innovative and inexpensive renovations. Marisha's family personal friend, the late architect Jeffery Stinson, who tought architecture at the University of Toronto, always used to come up with a multitude of such ideas, whether for commercial or residential applications.

When planning a renovation, be sure to visit Toronto's on-line home improvement directory, at, where you can check the ratings of various renovation-related professionals and supliers.