We regularly tour new construction in River Oaks, West University, Memorial, Tanglewood and other upscale Houston neighborhoods, and we have noted several trends. Among them:

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White houses with black or dark bronze windows continue to be very popular, and we will look back at the mid-teens as being the era of off-white slurry over brick. So much so that driving in outlying neighborhoods like Memorial is like traveling through a very prosperous Acadiana.

  • Heavy steel-framed glass front doors (watch your fingers!) and oversized front windows are de rigueur for new homeowners who are not shy about revealing the goings-on inside. Subsequently, we have noticed that net curtains are making a comeback.
  • Large sliding walls of glass opening up to a back patio (“loggia”) is the very latest speculative builder special feature, and one assumes that this will become ever more popular with the progression of climate change in the Houston area.
  • Inside, “greige” (grayish-beige) still dominates the color palette, though we sense that non-color color trend has peaked. Carrara or similar greyish marble is the choice counter surface, especially in the kitchen where it is the perfect accent for those who prefer to entertain in that room rather than cook. Pot-fillers continue to be a required accessory.
  • Commercial-style slit air-conditioning vents are becoming fashionable, though we are still on the learning curve regarding their placement on the ceiling.
  • Pre-installed elevators have become standard, even for homes that are just two stories. Aging baby boomers probably have much to do with that.
  • Lightly stained wide-plank and random-width hardwoods with a milky grey wash are so 2016. Wood floors are becoming darker again
  • A remarkable number of master bedrooms feature a cathedral ceiling with either beadboard paneling or some sort of wooden beam feature. Fireplaces in the master are primo. In the master bathroom a sculptural stand-alone tub remains a must-have, and people are still ordering glass-enclosed showers.
  • Unabashedly fake grass “grows” in the back yard. 

Trends On the Way Out

  • Industrial-style kitchen faucets
  • Rainforest overhead shower
  • Media rooms and theaters
  • Cove lighting around baseboards
  • Library sconce lighting
  • Anything faux
  • Man-sized antique stone fireplaces
  • Libraries without bookshelves.

Trends Coming in 2017

  • Soapstone and quartz counters in working areas such as the kitchen
  • Reclaimed brick (with provenance, if possible)
  • Kohler in lieu of Toto toilets
  • European enameled gas ranges
  • Brass plumbing fixtures
  • Two-sided fireplaces

Marketing Terms of the Day

You read the MLS listings, right? You’ve surely noticed an uptick in the use of these terms:

  • Magazine-quality
  • Boutique-style
  • Bespoke
  • Card room
  • Wrapping station
  • Private driveway (as opposed to a public driveway? we wonder)
  • Owner’s room (i.e. master bedroom)
  • Captivating
  • A suite of appliances
  • Connective flow
  • Many architectural features that “boast” …

Heard or read other real estate descriptors? Email us your favorites.