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Kiss These 10 Once-Popular Home Features Goodbye

Times are tough in the home-building industry, meaning the 500,000 or so new single-family homes expected to be built this year are going to include more practical and value-conscious features and fewer wish-list items.

Outdoor Kitchens & Outdoor Fireplaces

Along with outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces aren’t expected to be in such great demand. They are the second least-likely feature to be included in new homes in 2012, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders.


Sunrooms are also on the wane. “Builders are focusing on features that add immediate value and make a home more practical,” said Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research, economics and housing for the NAHB. What’s more practical? Things like walk-in closets, linen closets and laundry rooms.

Two-Story Family Room

The family room itself may be making a comeback as a gathering center of the home, but the two-story family room is getting cut off at the knees. On a scale of 1 to 5, builders gave it only a 2.2 as a feature for new homes in 2012.


Even with all the options in home entertainment today, the media room isn’t high on the list for home builders. You’re much more likely to find a charging station for all your devices hidden away in a kitchen-island cabinet in 2012.

[Also see: Cool homes of fashion leaders]

Two-Story Foyer

Like the two-story family room, the two-story foyer is on the way out. Blame utility bills: Home buyers are more focused on energy-saving windows and appliances than on soaring spaces in 2012.

Master-Planned Developments

Master-planned developments like Lago Estancia in Phoenix often tout their walking and jogging trails as a community attraction. But such amenities will not be popular this year, home builders say.

Luxury Master Bathrooms

Luxury master bathrooms with multiple-head showers will be getting toned down in 2012. Something more practical — say, a double sink in the kitchen — is much more likely to be included in new homes this year.

Formal Living Room

The demise of the formal living room is predicted once again in 2012. Home buyers are much more likely to request a great room that combines the kitchen, family room and living room into one large open space at the center of the home.

Whirlpool Tubs

As with the multiple-head showers, whirlpool tubs in the master suite are also on the wane. You are more likely to see stand-alone tubs, in classic or contemporary styles, that make a design statement in the master bath, said Jill Waage, editorial director/home for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

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