Spotting Trends at This Year’s Homearama

by hookedonhouses on August 10, 2012

When I was growing up, Homearama was always the highlight of my summer (that’s the kind of kid I was). Back then there would be up to 20 new houses to tour, and they would be HUGE. Now they’re more modestly sized, and this year there were only 6 of them. It got too tough for the builders to sell the mega-houses after the shows were over, so they’re taking a more realistic approach these days.

My mom and I always looked forward to seeing which decorating trends would pop up in the houses. At this year’s show I snapped some pics of them for you–and my mom. This model was called The Wheatland, a “European-inspired Provincial Estate” built by Fischer Homes. Take a look!

When my mom asked what the trends were that I saw in most of the houses this year, I told her “brick walls.” Interior ones, like the accent wall in the dining room.

I also saw a lot of blackboard paint. I think I may be the only person in the blogosphere who hasn’t painted something in my house with it yet.

I have a weird phobia about it–the whole fingernails on a chalkboard thing. Whenever I see a blackboard, it sets my teeth on edge. Seriously. If there’s a scene in a movie where someone’s writing on one, I’ll fast-forward through it, just to avoid hearing that chalky squeak.

At Homearama, you’ll see some houses that are furnished (simply filled with furniture from a local furniture store) and some that are actually decorated. The Fischer model looked like some real thought and effort had gone into decorating it and giving it a cohesive look, which I appreciated, even though it wasn’t my personal style.

I heard a lot of excited chatter from other tourists in this house who loved the details they saw in it.

But I also heard a few people talking about how much they disliked it. “Shutters?” one said. “What’s with all the shutters? They’re for decoration now?” She seemed kind of outraged about it. (Shutters were definitely a big trend this year!)

This boy’s room had some fun details in it:

I liked the storage solution on the wall of the boy’s bathroom:

There was a pretty girl’s room, too. The clock headboard caught everyone’s eye when they walked in. I had to wait for about a dozen other people to finish taking photos of it so I could get one of my own!

An unusual hanging vanity:

The master suite was huge and had an unusual bed:

The tray ceiling had a trompe l’oeil design that made it look tufted:

There was a generous sitting area off the master bedroom. At that point in the tour I was ready to sit down and make myself at home in it. I saw several other people doing just that!

The master bath had more brick tile and shutters. Can’t say I was crazy about this room:

Most of the master baths on the tour had “confetti rugs” like these. Apparently they’re popular. (I’m one of those annoying people who says things like, “But how would you keep it clean?”)

My daughter Lily loved this bed in the playroom:

Silk butterflies fluttered around the walls:

As long-time readers know, I’m not a fan of two-story rooms. When we built our house, we closed in the second floor of our family room and turned it into an upstairs playroom instead. But this one was nicely done. It didn’t feel too cavernous.

More brick tile in the kitchen on the backsplash:

There was a black farm sink…

…and a bench with burlap and ruffles (another controversial piece–I heard some people raving and others hating on it):

An adjoining hearth room that opened up onto the deck (with more shutters):

More blackboard paint on the pantry doors. Are you really going to write your To Do list and meeting reminders with chalk? Makes me think of that hilarious MLS photo I showed you where the Mom got frustrated with her kids for failing to do their chores and left a strong message for them on her blackboard…

I loved the laundry room/mudroom, which was nice and big and had tons of storage:

To top it off, what every pet owner needs–a dog spa! Ha.

The designers who worked on the house were Joy Perkins, Danielle Harris, and Macara Carsley. I helped decorate a Homearama model years ago when I worked as a designer’s assistant, so I know how much work goes into these, and how little time (and money) you have to pull it all together.

Have you been to Homearama or any other good house shows lately? What trends were popping up in yours this year?

(This Homearama took place at Willows Bend in Cincinnati. Check out the houses I toured at the Indianapolis Homearama, too!)

You can find paint colors, floor plans, and more information about The Wheatland on the Fischer Homes website. It’s on the market for $779,900. The photos that don’t have my watermark on them are theirs.

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MissVindicat August 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hi Julia, thanks for sharing! I love to read personal stories like this :D

me August 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

That master bath looks like a Disney-fied version of a New Orleans street. I like the laundry room though.

Ann Marie August 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

That comment made me laugh so hard! You are completely right.

Wednesday August 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

I honestly don’t like anything about this house.

Elizabeth August 12, 2012 at 7:40 am

I totally agree!

John August 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

I agree. A really ugly house. I grew up in a 100 year old Tuto Style house with a mix of antique and Danish furniture and this place just screams fake vintage Costco.

Tracey August 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I also agree – looks like they’re trying too hard and failed.
Though I do love the tile they used for the master bath, just not in that application.

Karen August 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

Thanks for a great post! I love looking at the Homearama houses too. Can’t say I am a fan of the interior shutter either, but I loved that brick fireplace, and surprisingly, the bath (except the shutters). I’m like you on the confetti rugs, they look cool, but the only way to clean one would be to take it outside and shake it, maybe hose it down if something spills on it. Can’t possibly vacuum it or shampoo it.

Cindy August 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

As a dog owner, I literally shuddered when I saw that rug. I would NEVER be able to keep a rug like that free of fur, no matter how hard I tried. Yikes! It’s hard enough to keep the fur from taking over my house without adding to the challenges. LOL

Angfreda August 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

I like most of the house but that master bath… too busy if you ask me, I like a calming, relaxing spa like oasis.
Like the stripey couches in the LR, and the Master headboard, but the real ‘ooh’ spot, perhaps this is sad to admit, is that mudroom/laundry room/dog spa.


Julie M. August 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

My favorite feature from our local “Parade of Homes” this spring was the use of sliding barn doors in many of the country farm-house style homes.

Suzy August 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

Hmmm, overall not too crazy with the decorating in that house. I did find the black kitchen sink with the black counters to be an interesting idea – we are getting ready to re-do our kitchen, and I love those large farm sinks, but the white seemed a bit much. I have seen dog spas in homes for several years, and that one has one big problem – you’d have to be kneeling on the floor or sitting on a stool to bath the dogs. I have seen where they are raised several feet to have them right in front of you – no back strain. Just saying for anyone who might actually want to add one. I’ve seen dog stations in garages too, also an interesting idea. PS I’m with you on the black chalkboard paint! No thank you. More dust – and do I really want to make notes on the wall?
In our area, apparently, black faucets in the kitchen are ‘in’. I’m not liking it. Has anyone seen them? Thanks for the photos!!!

MsJulie August 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

The only problem with a black sink and black counter tops is that they never look completely dust/debris-free no matter how frequently and how completely you clean them. Like a dark car – it shows every single tiny speck of dust.
I agree on the dog spa – it is too low and it should have sides that are high enough so the dog doesn’t have a chance to escape while having a bath. Not all dogs sit still like that ceramic one in the model home ;)

Anne C. August 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm

After using a black granite top on our master bathroom vanity, I am going to think long and hard if I really want to use one in our kitchen when we (one day) renovate. I love the look of white cabinets/black counters but the black is a nightmare to keep looking clean- esp, in a bathroom! Constant water droplet/toothpaste drip marks!

hookedonhouses August 11, 2012 at 8:10 am

Good to know! That would drive me crazy.

Katie August 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

I think the outside of this house is beautiful! I agree that although I’m not super fond of the decor style, I can appreciate the obvious effort and attention to detail. But, seriously that fake little dog is cracking me up. :) It’s just too much. The other details in the room leave little doubt about the purpose of the tub. But, then again, they didn’t ask my opinion, did they?! lol. :)

bermudaonion(Kathy) August 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

I like that house from the outside but I’m not crazy about the interior.

House Crazy Sarah August 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

Blackboards, blackboards everywhere! And burlap bags? Very interesting design! The bed in the master bedroom looks like it’s going to start flapping its wings and lift off! But I kind of like the mix of rough textures and elegant touches. Great post!

Baileywife August 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

Too funny….I posted about OUR home show today also….please check mine out too! Although your pics are better than mine! :) Great minds think alike!


hookedonhouses August 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

Fun! Thanks!

MsJulie August 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

The shutters and burlap are a matter of personal decorating choice and can be changed out easily.
I am not a fan of that much brick – like the confetti rug – I look at it am am overwhelmed by how to keep it dust-free and clean. It’s a very expensive feature to change and will quickly date these homes.
I’m a fan of living in one-story homes, but I love looking at two-story homes. I love looking at all homes!
Thanks for sharing.

gail z. August 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

I think the brick ALREADY looks outdated.

Karen E August 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I agree with you gail.

Sally August 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

Regarding the chalkboard paint trend… I have not succumbed to it either. I can’t help but think of the DUST (we have allergy/asthma issues at our house). But I’ve never heard ONE PERSON mention that, which I find interesting. Is it truly not dusty, or doesn’t anyone want to admit to the decorating faux paux? I wish someone would spill the beans! =D Is it really “all that?”

MAH August 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Hi, Sally and others, chalk boards come in very handy for many things. We leave list and reminders, dates etc. My daughter has one on one of her kitchen doors, that they depend for all important dates.
The dust is no problem you just wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. Julia mentioned the chalk sound and the scraping noise, that makes you cringe, you don’t have that on the home made chalkboards, mainly because they are not made from slate. Mine are on wood so I have no problem with that.
Also the chalk that is used today are less likely to create the squeak either.
Plus, they are so stinking cute, or some are very dressy. Now, I do agree that I’m not sure I would want a whole wall with chalk, but like we all say, “It’s only paint” Have a great day and give the chalk board a chance, maybe just a small one. HA.

Wendy August 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

We use those chalk pens that you can buy at the craft store. They work exactly like a cross between a felt tip highlighter and a paint pen that you push the tip in to “reload.” They come in great colors and give you a nice precision writing experience. That’s what you see when you are in a cafe and they have those well done blackboards with the menus and doodles. No dust. No squeak. Wipe off with a damp towel. My favorite is the silver one on our turquoise kitchen wall. The list is there, but it doesn’t shout at you.

durf August 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

Yikes! Some of it’s pretty but I hope we’re not going back to the brown trend. I much prefer gray.

classic • casual • home August 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the tour.

Gerry August 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

It looks to me like the decorators pulled out every “trend for 2012″ and used it in this house. I think the new owners would be sick of all of it by 2013. Sorry, just didn’t like it at all. Obviously I’m not a fan of burlap and chalkboard paint either….;) And that bathroom is just plain awful!

65andcounting August 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

This New England traditionalist agrees with Wednesday’s comment above. Nothing about this home appeals to my sense of the aesthetic. And I mean nothing. The master bath is so masculine and busy, with the tile work. Hardly soothing. And who will be the first child to run down the stairs and rip out of the wall the sconces going down the stairs? Strange placement.

I had the best laugh at the names the decorators chose for the mudroom baskets: Brie, Colt, and Chloe. Oh my, what happened to Susan, Mary, and Billy?

Julia, re your comment of when you were a child, the houses were huge….I remember going back to the house I spent the first six years of my life in, a house that seemed so big to me at the time. When I saw it as an adult, goodness, it was a shoebox. :-)

But thanks so much for taking the time to bring this to us. As the saying goes – to each his own!

Diane August 10, 2012 at 10:06 am

I love your website, however I HATE this house. I am not a fan of spec houses and also hate all of the beige. I miss old homes with charachter….

Shabby Chick August 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

A lot of Old World Italian influence (which is always lovely!) with some nods to Gothic here and there (not so much). While I have always loved brick walls, these ones are not great looking. I love antique brick (think Boston). Quite a lot of the decor was kitchy rather than practical (chalk boards all over the pantry doors, shutters over tub, strange shutters behind couch). Looks like dark woods are making a comeback, as well as darkier, cozy interiors vs. the bright and light filled spaces we’ve seen the past few years. Overall, I like the direction things are headed, minus the kitch. ;)

Patrice August 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

I really liked this house, it felt homey and comfortable and yet made a statement. I like the shutter idea and also the brick, it adds texture and interest, and frankly I am sick to death of the decor everyone is presently doing, especially on HGTV, seems so cookie cutter, like everyone likes the same look. There is no variety anymore.

Jackie K August 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

I laughed at your ” I’m one of those annoying people who …” comment! Yes, cleaning the confetti rugs must be a problematic chore at best!

My bathroom pet peeve is the location of the plumbing faucets and spout on corner tubs. WHY put them exactly where you need the space to enter the tub? There’s NO elegant way to enter that tub!!

Enjoyed browsing the homes with you!

anna see August 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

loved the tour! so fun poking around in another house. i liked a few things abougt this house, but saw a lot of things i didn’t love.

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet August 10, 2012 at 10:57 am

A bit fussy for my tastes, but I love the stonework and especially that clock headboard! So inventive!

grapevine93 August 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

The child’s play room was sweet. Little else appealed to me about this house decor, an extremely rare occurrence in your serious house offerings. Like brick or stone interior walls when about one wall strong in a room. Unless there is absolutely no other place for it…I HATE, TV”s over fireplaces. Particularly bad when so high up!

bfish August 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Grapevine –

I’m totally with you on the TV over FP — it is the worst!! When we recently (finally) got a flatscreen TV, that was the only available place to put it. Well, we took out a wall and moved a door just so we could avoid the obvious (and tragic). Our TV is hanging at a nice viewing height whereas if it were over the fireplace we’d have permanent neckaches. The seating is oriented so we can look one way at the FP, the other way at the TV, without blocking either. It was so worth the effort and money . . . .

Joan August 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

Personally I don’t like chalk boards inside my house. There’s a reason schools did away with them… dust! If I really needed something to write notes, I’d hang a dry erase board instead.

William August 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

I agree it looks like a Disney inspired set, and if I see that same kitchen in one more builder spec house I’ll throw up.

Jennifer August 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi Julia,
I can’t believe I have found my people. I thought I was the only one tht watched movies and t.v. shows more for the houses than the human characters. I just happened upon your site and I can’t get enough. Thanks fo letting me know that I am not alone in my passion. As far as the home featured here (homerama) , I am not a fan. It has some features that I like but overall it does not grip my trigger.

Christina from Dallas August 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I’m your people too. That is the exact thing I was thinking when I found Julia’s blog 5 or 6 months ago. I visit three or four times a week just to look at houses even though I have not plans to buy another one anytime soon.

Shannon August 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

This has not much to do with the house, but I just did some stuff with blackboard paint and the whole key is chalk (bistro) markers. I will never paint a whole chalkboard wall, but I painted over a painting and use the markers and they’re clean – no chalk dust, you just wipe it off with a damp cloth and no scratchy chalk on the blackboard. It’s also a different texture from a regular chalk board so that might eliminate squeaky chalk noise too.

Melinda August 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Bistro Markers?! Thanks for the tip! I have a chalkboard inside a cabinet for shopping lists and I’ve never used it because of my dislike of chalk dust.

snaggy August 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Dont like any of it !

Tracey August 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm


Shannon August 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Everything in this house looks like it came out of the same faux French catalog. The only thing I like is the plastic dog in the dog tub.

I’d take that burlap and ruffled bench out in the yard and set it on fire.

Jessica August 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

You could just give them to me rather than burning them. Ha ;-)

bfish August 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Big like to your comment and will join you to watch the bench fire!

ella August 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but there wasn’t one thing I liked about this house. From the fake stone on the front to the over-used fake brick inside, to the ridiculous shutters and furnishings, everything looked cheap and fake and Disney-fied. I would a hundred times rather stay in my too small, falling apart, 80-year old house, than ever move into something like that.

The Tiny Homestead August 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

very interesting tour! I was surprised to see the brick accent. I wonder if that will become a trend? Then all those people who painted their brick white to have a clean slate will be coming back around to trying to figure out how to have it make more of a statement. lol.

js August 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I honestly never, ever like Homerama decorating, but like this one there are always some small details that I do like. The shutters are just honestly way overdone in this one house. I think somebody got one brilliant idea and then decided to use it in every room, appropriate or not.

Jessica August 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Beautiful house! Thanks for sharing! I so enjoy touring houses.
Hmm…I feel a strangely tempted to buy a confetti rug after seeing that picture, even though it really isn’t my style, and would probably get hairs tangled in it. Ha
My husband loves two story rooms, and I am not opposed to having one some day. ;-)

I love the kitchen!! And the burlap ruffled bench and shutters, for that matter. The people who hated those things must be the types that don’t like anything they aren’t used to. I know several people with that personality! Haha

Kate August 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I didn’t hate the house, and I would like the shutters in ONE room…they did trend overload. I do not like confetti rugs at all, they look cheap. It appears the designers attempted to bring the “outdoors” in. The light fixtures around the fireplace, the shutters and the exposed brick. Although, I do like the brick as an accent wall. It reminds me of an old apartment I had in Chicago. :)

I’d gladly take this home, but switch out a few things. But I will tell you what I hate: the stupid chalkboard trend! I am so over that. It makes your kitchen look like a kid’s playroom. Maybe in a mudroom…but overall it is way too trendy and seems ridiculous. Don’t people have a smartphone to make “notes” on? Every blogger has it and asks as if they are the first to do it. We get it, it’s easy…but it also just looks horrible.

MAH August 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm

WOW, Kate, not all kids have a smartphone, but most of them can write on a chalkboard. And some people are still able to function without a phone in their hand!

Jessica August 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

I don’t have a smartphone, nor do I want one. I just have a very plain, basic cell phone and prefer to write things down on calendars, etc. the old fashioned way. ;-)

Kim August 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

The style of this house is nice, but some of the decorating wasn’t done well.

There’s no shower rod in the boys bathroom. How are they suppose to take a shower without splashing water everywhere?

What a horribly designed master bath. That tile should have only been put in the shower, that rug is hideous, and how are people suppose to get inside the tub with the faucets in the way?

Chris Howard August 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Kim, I noticed that about the faucets too. I kept thinking that were I to own this house, there would be an inevitable and extremely embarassing trip to the emergency room in my future!

I like that they went with a theme and stuck with it…but they wayyy overdid the brick, shutters, and outdoor light fixtures used indoors.

Karen E August 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

loved seeing this. I wonder if some of the trends are common in one part of the country over another?? The little girls room and the kitchen looked really nice and the boys room was cute. I wasn’t taken with the master bedroom and whoever buys the house will either rip out the brick in the master bath or paint over it. I was surprised to see beige tones and not any of the currently popular grey tones and paints. The other thing that bugged me big time was the siting of the iron globe lights in the family room ceiling (actually, I hated them) and the black carriage lights on the fireplace surround. Shouldn’t that be outdoors? It also seemed that the low mounted sconces on the stairway would hit anyone descending the stairs on the shoulders. I think they were going for a very masculine look overall.

Karen E August 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

One more comment…..was that paper bags laying across the counter in the laundry room? Was that a decor touch? I also hate heavy handedness of the chalk paint.

Christina from Dallas August 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I love the clock headboard. I wonder if they made that or bought that? I like the gingerbread house thing over the bed. That was cute. Other than those two things, I didn’t see much I liked.

Sherry August 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Has color been outlawed? This place just looks drab to me. The exterior is beautiful, and there are some great details here & there, but it mostly seems kinda dreary.

Karen August 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I can’t believe I used to go to these open houses – with a TON of people going through them. Now I find them so ostentatious and on the theatrical side. Now I think smaller and ‘make do creativity’ is so much more practical and impressive. Maybe it’s getting older – things that would have seemed so important to fix and replace take a backseat to just enjoying what I have (worn but still functional!).

stephanie August 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

that is one of the ugliest interiors I have ever seen! The brick wall in the dining room looks ridiculous! alsmost as dumb as the chalkboard paint on the doors. I am so over the chalkboard paint! For reals! Who makes a list on their wall?? The whole point is to take a list with you!! it just looks dumb! If you are going to do a ‘chalkboard’ wall…..pllleeaaseeee don’t style it with a LIST!
the clock headboard was at least original….but what is with the floating kite? I think I tacked a fabric kite like that on my bedroom wall in 1985!!!!!!

Vicki August 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I really enjoyed this tour (or any house tour) and got some good ideas! It looks as if it would be very easy to copy that clock headboard and I’m getting some bistro chalk as soon as I can find some, having already fallen for the chalkboard paint, and it is VERY dusty. Especially if you draw something big like, say, the olympic rings for example. haha! Thanks for some reliable daily entertainment!

Kitty August 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I found little to like in this house. It felt like a Ballard Designs catalog to me. Lots of the trends are already a few years old (factory cart coffee table), not that the trends are all bad, but I was expecting to see the latest ideas, not Restoration Hardware circa 2009. That said, it does not look like it was done on a tight budget, so they scored one there.

Shona August 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I like the mudroom, the big windows in the master sitting area, and I like the staircase as well (I am a drooling sucker for dark wood stairs with white risers). I don’t hate the kitchen.

Most everything else just isn’t my style.

A little over a month ago I dragged my husband and toddler along to 10 homes in our local show. We saw a lot of craft rooms, basement movie theaters, and dedicated play rooms. Creamy white kitchen cabinets are popular right now, which I like. I was also happy to notice that the shabby-chic, distressed look on cabinets and furniture seems to be slightly less popular now than it was a few years ago. Mud rooms seem to be the new must-have in newer homes as well.

We also saw lots of extremely low-pile carpet, board and batten, tile made to look like wood, and craftsman architecture, all of which I like a lot when they are done well.

Emma August 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Face brick? Really? I just spent a small fortune getting rid of all of ours!

Overall not liking this house. Love the laundry though.

Molly August 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

There is a builder in Louisville that has been putting “dog spa’s” in his garages for a few years, the best part of his puppy shower is that it is countertop height…so you don’t have to bend over to wash fido. Pick up a smaller pooch or let the bigger mutts jump right up.

Really great in the garage keeps all the crap out of the house (sometimes literally)

Anne C. August 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Thank you for posting- this was fun to see! I love the little girl’s playroom with the cottage bed, and I love the mudroom (we have a very small combined laundry/mudroom- I understand why mudrooms are the new must-have feature). A lot of the decor I really did not like- it’s like they are going for some kind of nature-inspired/mixed with industrial look. I don’t get it. What is going on with all of the various, huge light fixtures everywhere?! I was particularly bothered by the oddly placed light fixtures on the wall of the stairway- they take away from the beautiful woodwork going up the stairs!

Gail August 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Uh … no, this house is not working for me. The brick is hideous IMO and the master bathroom … ugh.

Nathan August 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I love the walls of brick – more so in lofts and that sort of thing, but I don’t dislike it here either. I do prefer other stone instead though.

Bethany August 11, 2012 at 12:34 am

I just went to our local Home Show Expo (central Iowa) and toured 12 homes. They were all on a golf course. Almost every single home was painted predominantly gray. Hidden features seemed big – walk-in pantry hidden behind cabinetry doors, hidden bunk room behind a bookcase, hidden storage in the basement behind a built in niche. In a couple there was a little tiny Alice in Wonderland type door that opened from the garage into the pantry (to put groceries in from the garage and to throw recycling out). Lots of moldings, board and batten, etc. Oh, almost every one had a mudroom with cubbies/hooks.

Rebecca C. August 11, 2012 at 3:02 am

Now if the brick were there for a hundred years, I think I’d love it. It’s a bit too perfect for me.

I thought that chalkboard paint was out of style, which is why I painted part of a wall with chalk paint in my daughter’s room a few weeks ago. I’m always really behind on the trends. And here it’s coming back. She loves drawing on it! We have no allergies, so no worries there. Too many walls would be a problem. I hate the smell of dry erase (she has several boards of these). Chalk is fun for kids and easily gotten rid of in a few years when she’s tired of it.

Many of the rooms are too busy for me. I like the laundry room and the mudroom, in addition to the kids’ rooms.

Deb in Oz August 11, 2012 at 6:01 am

That is one of the ugliest houses I have ever seen. Way too cluttered, overdone and a mish-mash of too many styles.

65andcounting August 11, 2012 at 6:55 am

I’ve never been to or seen a Homearama other than here. Are the homes always spec houses that have not sold, so the builders choose decorators to “design” them in hopes they will sell after the show? I’m not sure of the concept so any help would be appreciated.

hookedonhouses August 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

It’s sponsored by local builders. Each one builds a house and hires a local decorator to decorate it. Sometimes they have sold before the show opens, and sometimes they’re still on the market. It’s a way to promote local builders, decorators, landscapers, furniture stores, etc. Their reps hang out at the house and answer your questions, hand out their business cards, etc. Everyone who goes through the houses then votes on their favorites. It’s always fun to see what they come up with. There are always certain trends that pop up in all the houses, even though they’re working separately.

65andcounting August 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

So, let me be sure I understand. A row or strip of homes is built, in an already planned development, but each one is by a different builder? Wow, that seems complicated and hardly worth it for the builder to put up one spec house next to others by different local guys. You are taking your chances that no one will like your construction plus you have several different work crews working on the street? And how does that make the development look – a mish-mash of homes by different builders? How this is viable economically? Sorry to be so lame here but I am not seeing this concept. Maybe I can chalk it up to being more Hooked On Politics today! Go Team Romney! :-)

hookedonhouses August 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

It’s usually a new (or newer) subdivision that is being developed. They devote a couple of streets to the Homearama houses. This was the 50th year anniversary of the show, so it’s been around a long time and is very popular. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing, but I thought they had them all over.

They typically get over 30,000 people going through the houses over a two-week period. It’s great advertising for the subdivision, the builders, the decorators, the landscapers, and everyone involved. And the developments are usually beautiful because there is a mix of styles and not just a row of similar houses. They’re all built within the same general price range, so it works.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs August 11, 2012 at 8:38 am

Julia….really enjoyed the tour and seeing some of the upcoming trends…Love the shutters…and so many creative headboards…My hubby is preparing to hang some antique shutters as we speak…Thanks for the tour!!

kathy August 11, 2012 at 9:21 am

I love the trend of the interior brick wall! If we ever build, I want to add that somewhere in my home.

Amanda @ Serenity Now August 11, 2012 at 10:11 am

Oh, thanks for the tour, Julia. That doggy spa is too much fun. :)

Amy August 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I attended this same Homearama over the summer with my family. I feel in LOVE with this same model. I thought the shutters looked gorgeous, and I adored the burlap ruffles on the bench. Thanks for sharing your great photos. I had a hard time getting photos without people in the way!

mom22 August 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Not a fan at all, especially of the hoop skirt on then bench….yikes!!!

Wayne August 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Really love the houndstooth rug in the breakfast area.

Wendy August 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm

This house is a trainwreck. The decor looks like they walked into Tuesday Morning and just bought everything and put it somewhere in the house. Totally random. Everything looks faux something. Ugggh.

Karen August 12, 2012 at 12:20 am

Way too fussy for my taste. But like you, I always want to peer into other peoples’ homes.

Luciane at August 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

My impute? NEVER build/decorate a house based only on trends. They’re the ones that look ridiculous in a couple of years and you’ll have to redo many of its designs and spend a fortune.

Have a classically design home with some easy-to-change trendy decor.

Thanks for the tour, Julia.


Luciane at

Screendoorgirl 3 August 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hi Julia. I guess that Homearama was like a showhouse. I love those, they are so much fun to walk through. I love how they make it seem as if a real family lives there. I find I always come away with an idea or two . I love the rope holders on the kitchen lights and the swag valance above the stairway window seat. I know what you mean about the chalkboards. They’re so cute in theory, but then I find I force myself to write on them. I just have a smallish one hanging behind my front door. It’s fun for holiday greetings or family congrats, etc. Fun post!

gena August 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I’m so excited when you visit these kinds of places – there’s nothing like that here in jersey – the land is just too expensive and we’re tooooo crowded. The only new construction around here is the result of knock downs.

I’m interested in hearing if any of these homes were handicap accessible. The growing trend in this area is houses that you can “age” in. Elevators are becoming common place (we actually re-did our home for our son’s recent disability and added one), for example as are walk in showers and wider halls and doorways.

Thanks for taking on the tour with you!


Donna W. August 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I don’t know about anyone else, but I think shutters, whether inside or outside, should at least look functional so that they would cover the window. The ones in this house looked like folding screens set by a window. My favorite features were the gothic shelf in the breakfast room and the bed and vanity in the little girl’s room. Overall, I’m not fond of the décor because it is too brown and industrial for my taste. The desk in the study is hideous and I hate the patched wing chairs in the living room.
When I go to show houses, I find that rooms designed with old and new furniture with a bit of DIY thrown in are more appealing than ones with just new, trendy stuff.
Homerama looks like a lot of fun. I wish they had one in my town. My mom and I would be at the front of the line. Love it or hate it, we still like to look!

The Country Girl August 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm


Ted C August 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I will never understand the TV over the fireplace thing. What a literal pain in the neck. It makes you sit with your head at an uncomfortable angle plus you always have a huge black rectangle as a focal point. No thanks. That’s one trend I would like to see go away.

Erica August 14, 2012 at 7:48 am

No. No, thank you. This is such an ugly house, IMO. Especially that bathroom – hideous!

T. August 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I have a 70s-era brick fireplace wall in my family room (my house is older than that; the fireplace is in an addition). It’s made with reclaimed brick, and is very rustic. Some people who see it love it, others hate it (and it’s always interesting to me when guests are so free with a negative opinion about my home!) I am neutral about the brick, mainly because it would be a huge remodeling job to change it, so I’ve decided to live with it. I had an interior decorator come over recently and I asked her opinion. She thought it was unexpected and therefore worth keeping. So, bring on the brick walls, I say! Although, honestly, I don’t like much about this particular house, but I did enjoy the tour you gave us!

Donna Levi August 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

Yuck! Nothing about this house is on trend or unique. Only satisfied my looky lou tendency. I did like the dog spa, even though I don’t have a dog that was nice….

SarahConnor August 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Ugh! I think this is one of the most hideously decorated homes I have ever seen!

Lori @ Interior Domain August 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I’ve always loved brick. Perhaps it’s my memories of the strong brick Ohio homes that I remember from my childhood – mostly stucco here in California.

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