Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

The Evolution of Houses

I have done a lot of house hunting in the Washington DC suburbs over the past 13 years. I‘ve seen all types of houses, townhouses and some apartments. I have been to 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and brand new houses. It is quite fascinating how the changes in the way people live are markedly influenced by changes in society.

In older houses for example (even the ones that have been remodeled), bedrooms and bathrooms were much smaller. Closets were also small. People had a lot less toiletries. A woman would have a face cream, toothpaste, one lipstick and one perfume. A man had this shaving gear. Nowadays people have tons of lotions, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, eye cream, hand cream, hair products, make up, sunscreens, etc.

Clothes were much more expensive before they started being made in China and created with synthetic fibers. People had a lot less items in their closets. Shoes were very expensive, and so were sneakers. When I was a child jeans became popular but were still pricey, so you had one or two pairs of jeans and that was all.
Nowadays you can buy clothes for the price of a hamburger! Clothes are almost disposable items. You can wear them once and give them away or throw them out after a short while. Young women have 10 or more different pairs of jeans. People have clothes in every color and for every occasion, even those who just make ends meet. Some women have a huge collection of shoes. Therefore closet sizes have grown considerably over the last few decades.

The focus now is in the master suite. The couple is the main attraction, since the kid’s one day leave. Master bedrooms have grown in size, sometimes having a “sitting room” and its own fireplace. Even the spare bedrooms have grown in space to accommodate toys, TV, computers, etc. No one wants to sleep squeezed between two walls.

Higher ceilings became the norm. I won’t go as far as to say it’s because humans are taller, but it does give homes a more pleasant and open feeling.

Once a place to be hidden, kitchens became socializing spaces. People want to show off their kitchen and the use of expensive materials such as granite and steel appliances are becoming the norm. You don’t find this trend in Brazil because many families still have maids. As a remnant of the slavery days, the kitchen is still the place for servants.

Living rooms and Dining rooms:
Formal living and dining rooms are disappearing. People tend to socialize in open areas that include the kitchen, so a separate living room and/or dining room is rarely used. Why waste space with rooms that are not going to be used?

Computer rooms:
Computer rooms came to replace the former office, which was usually used by the head of the house. Computer rooms started showing up in houses in the 90’s, and I predict they will disappear once we have screens all over the house that double as TV and computer and more mobile gadgets such as tablets.

Every decade had its mark in the houses I have visited in the East Coast. I believe other parts of the United States, specially the warm areas such as California and Florida have had a different experience. What trend awaits us for the 10s? Are the MacMansions from the recent decades going to be extinct? Are new homes going to be smaller? Are homes going to be comprised by a large social area that includes a family room/kitchen and some big bedrooms with big bathrooms and big closets?


January 5, 2011 - Posted by | Difference between cultures, Lifestyle, Society

1 Comment »

  1. nice house i wish i had enough money

    Comment by victoria morgan garham | April 24, 2012 | Reply

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