By Lance McCarthy
Tight-rolled jeans became popular when I was younger. It was not pleasant. I wasn’t exactly a trend setter then (or now), but I willingly rolled the bottoms of my pant legs every morning before school, although it was not comfortable. If you are reading, Mr. Original-Jeans-Rolled-Tight-Man, I’m sorry, but that was not your finest hour. No one seemed to enjoy it, but we all walked around wishing we could itch our ankles.
Ready for the segue? I feel like many homeowners get caught in a similar trap. They end up improving the home for the next owners instead of for themselves, and using rules that most people don’t actually personally agree with. Example? Take the corner jacuzzi. Until recently this massive tub has been a sure-thing in almost every new home being built. Most clients I encounter say they rarely use it, but won’t take it out because of what it will do to…wait for it…”re-sale”. Let’s think about this. Few people actually use these tubs in their daily lives, yet few people are willing to part with them for fear of what someone else might think. Sounds like tight-rolled jeans to me.
I think this is a shame. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against corner jacuzzi’s. I have met a few people who actually use them and enjoy them (two hours after they decide to start filling them up). I’m also not against considering the financial return on investment for a home project. I think that is a real part of any project. However, I believe it should be put into context. Here are my three reasons:
- It is time to re-define the term “Return On Investment”. We don’t buy wedding rings, nice meals or even cars in order to make a profit. We buy them so they will improve the quality of our lives in ways we feel are important. In the home–the place we will sleep, make pancakes, shout, cry, hug and make a life, we should consider ROI in terms of Peace, Security, Intimacy, Happiness…as much as financially.
- People change. There is a graveyard of used-to-be-fashionable home features. Brass faucets, sparkly popcorn ceilings, squishy-foam toilet seats (you know what I’m talking about) and maybe even dining rooms (that one may take a while). We need to spend less time thinking about what everyone else would want in our houses sometime in the future, and trust our own instincts.
- People are moving less. It’s true. Google it. The mobility of Americans has been on the decline for the last 20 years from over 20%, to less than 11% by some studies. We are staying put longer. That means that in the list of priorities, “what will a homebuyer think?” just dropped below “will this improve my family’s life?”
For those of you who are certain you will be moving in the next couple of years, nevermind. But for the rest of us, I would like to start reconsidering the way we think of our houses. I want to think about time in terms of decades, and investment in terms of quality of life.
In the meantime, do you think baggy yoga pants will ever take off? Just an idea.
Extra credit assignment (with a $50 gift card to Dolce Baking Co. on the line…)
I know you have your own nominations for best/worst home fad from the past. We want to see them! Pictures are bonus. Have monkey wallpaper? Or a blue toilet/tub combo? Let’s see it. Send your nominations and photos to me here, and we’ll announce the winner next week!
A video from ReTouch: Things that our going out of vogue…
This weekly sponsored column is written by Lance McCarthy of ReTouch, a full-service, client-based contractor specializing in home remodels. For more information about their services, or to view samples of their work, visit their website.