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So long, McMansion attractions

Elegant great rooms among exiting trends, thankfully

The days of high ceilings and tall windows may be over. McClatchy-Tribune (File McClatchy-Tribune)
The days of high ceilings and tall windows may be over. McClatchy-Tribune (File McClatchy-Tribune)
Kim Palmer Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Now that the first decade of the century is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to wave buh-bye to some ubiquitous design trends that have worn out their welcome. Here are my picks:

Two-story family rooms: It’s a McMansion thing. Remember when towering great rooms first arrived on the scene and we thought they were grand and impressive? Now they just seem stiff and pretentious.

Not to mention dysfunctional. When what should be the coziest, most convivial space in the house has an echo, you’re got a design problem.

Soaring ceilings are perfectly fine if you’re planning an audience with royalty. But for hanging with family and friends? Not so much.

Cookie-cutter kitchens: Stainless steel and granite have been inseparable during our long love affair with the trophy kitchen. But the honeymoon is over. Stainless steel appliances are too cold and commercial for most home kitchens.

And granite? Well, I finally got some a couple years ago. Visually, it was a big improvement over my old laminate. But it hasn’t been as indestructible as I thought it would be. I have to seal it every year and worry about oil stains.

Mismatched upholstery: This fad always irritated me, even when it was new and “fresh.”

I’m not talking about mixing and matching complementary pieces of furniture. I’m talking about those sofas and chairs that aspire to be quaintly “cottage” by combining two or more fabrics – like a cabbage-rose print on the seat cushions and another pattern on the back or arms.

Such contrived bohemia is worse than too much matchy-matchy.

White stair risers: Want to showcase every scuff mark and spend your weekends scrubbing? Here’s how to do it.

Tuscan overload: Murals, Venetian plaster and wrought iron can be rustic and charming. But when you pile them all together, everywhere, and slap the T-word on them – year after year after year – it’s like gorging on too much fettuccine.

Who wants to live in an Italian theme park?

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