In the early 1900s, craftsman architecture and woodworking ability were gaining steam and spreading in popularity across the country. Decorative home accents and custom trim work were hallmarks of quality architecture and were at their peak. The craftsman style began to fade throughout the century, however, as the beautiful details in these homes became maintenance nightmares that would slowly rot away. Builders also became more competitive and started pushing for affordable homes with less detail to cater to middle America. Track homes slowly became the standard in the industry. Recently the trend has shifted, especially with the 2008 housing recession still looming.
There are two reasons for this. First off, the current buyers market makes it difficult for plain houses to stick out anymore. This makes it easy for a homeowner to get a custom home or a house with upgrades and details at a stellar price. Detailed homes are now the ones that are selling and plain track homes are having to upgrade to remain competitive.
Additionally, new low maintenance products on the market like PVC and composites have helped revive the craftsman style of architecture. Fabricators, manufacturers, and craftsman woodworkers have found better ways to develop architectural accents that are maintenance free. Because of this, architectural quality has returned and is continuing to make a comeback. The 2008 housing recession is only helping to nudge this trend even faster by bringing the price down on quality detailed homes which spells good for architecture in general.
Window boxes are an example of the trend that is quickly returning. Brackets and functional shutters have also made a comeback. PVC has worked great for window boxes as a no rot alternative that is also water resistant. Many builders phased window boxes out of the architecture in the early 1900s because the water would rot the boxes out in as fast as little as three to five years.
The quick rotting and maintenance jeopardized the reputations of the builders. Now, more builders are brining window boxes back, because they add architectural beauty and curb appeal and finally they are maintenance free. Anything that can get more potential home buyers to step foot inside has been the motto during this current recession.
PVC has also been a huge hit for trim work and windows as well. There's no better selling feature than to be able to ensure potential homebuyers that the quality that went into building the house is there to stay for a long time. With all these factors considered, expect to see a win for architecture in general as we move forward in 2008.
Matthew Buquoi is a frequent writer about the building industry and owner of Flower Window Boxes, an online company that specializes in custom window boxes.