Old Home Features Then and Now

Many home features of the past have fizzled out with time… boot scrapers, intercom systems and phone nooks are no longer useful for most of us in the 21st century. But some other features have stood the test of time. Let’s take a look at how some home details have evolved over time and how/why they are still used in today’s homes.

  • Dutch DoorsTHEN: The Dutch door became known in the 17th century in the Netherlands, and many believe they were created on farmhouse doors.  They kept the animals outside and the children inside by opening the top half of the door and closing the bottom half. This also kept the dirt out while allowing a breeze in. They first appeared in America in New York and New Jersey, which were settled by the Dutch. NOW: Can be used as a gate alternative for the front door or sometimes the laundry room. They add instant curb appeal and character that today’s new home builds sometimes lack.
  • Butlers PantryTHEN: This room historically sat between the kitchen and dining room and was used as a place to store, count and polish china and family heirlooms. NOW: More commonly used for food storage and also prep space while entertaining. Some use the extra space for a coffee bar complete with a espresso machine or french press and/or wine storage with room for glasses, wine bottles and a wine fridge.
  • Transom WindowsTHEN: Historically, transom windows were used for air flow and to let light in between rooms even when doors were shut. Operable transoms had sashes that could be opened or closed to help regulate the temperature in the room. NOW: Because of modern heating and a/c, most transoms now are fixed and cannot be opened but are still great for providing light to otherwise dark spaces.
  • Laundry ChuteTHEN: Guessed to be invented sometime in the 19th century, they have somewhat of a dark past, but when used properly they are great for getting dirty clothes to the proper wash room. NOW: Not used as much due to fire safety regulations, but when installed correctly, they are still a great way to drop clothes from an upper level to a lower level laundry room.
  • ShuttersTHEN: Shutters date back to the 15th century and are said to have originated in Greece. Before windows they simply had holes in the wall for ventilation, so the shutters would cover the hole to protect from the elements. Shutters were brought to America when the south was colonized by the Spanish. NOW: Shutters are still loved for their ability to open and close easily to allow in more/less light or air, but they are also sought after for aesthetic reasons.
  • Murphy BedTHEN: According to Smithsonian Mag, the Murphy Bed was originally invented around 1900 in San Francisco, when William Lawrence Murphy “was falling for a young opera singer and courting customs at that time would not permit a lady to enter a gentleman’s bedroom. His invention allowed him to stow his bed in his closet, transforming his one-room apartment from a bedroom into a parlor.” Bed historian Robyn Einhorn of the Smithsonian in Washington says owning a Murphy Bed became a status symbol—”People would move into these hotels in New York and they would have a suite which would include a Murphy bed, so they could pick up the bed and have a parlor.NOW: Still used for their space savings purposes, oftentimes found in studio apartments or home offices.

Which of these features do you have or would you like to have in your home and which would you be happy to see go forever?


6 Beautiful Spots to Picnic at Near Denver this Summer

Now that the weather is finally warming up, a picnic in the park is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Here are some parks near Denver that are sure to be worth your while.

  • City Park is the oldest and largest public park in Denver. There are more than 330 acres to enjoy with stunning views of Downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountain Front Range. There are also two lakes, a large wooden castle playground for the kids, a basketball court, softball field, handball and tennis courts, horseshoe pits and an interactive water fountain operationall during the summer season.
  • Sloan’s Lake is the second largest park in Denver with 177 acres of a large preserve of water surrounded by grass, a bike/pedestrian trail, a playground, a boat ramp with rentals, sports field and wildlife. Enjoy a day of water sports at the lake followed by a shaded picnic at one of three of the picnic sites located in the park.
  • Wonderland Lake Park in North Boulder is tucked into the base of the Foothills. This peaceful park is the perfect place to fly a kite, play on the playground, watch paragliders sail above or lay out a blanket and enjoy a quiet dinner.
  • Confluence Park in Denver is located in the heart of downtown but can easily go unnoticed as its tucked away a bit. This is the perfect spot to watch the river run and let your kids or dogs play while soaking up the beautiful scenery.
  • Waneka Lake Park in Lafayette features a lake with gorgeous views. There is also a playground for the little ones and abundant shade trees. Enjoy a picnic while the kids play and then work off your meal with a walk around the lake. Paddle boats are available to rent during the summer months as well.
  • Laverne M Johnson Park in Lyons is a bit of a drive from Denver, but well worth if for a day trip if you have the time. Endless amounts of fun with the St. Vrain Creek flowing through. Watch the kayakers and tubers pass through here or throw in a pole and go fishing. RV and tent camping is also an option with reservations. Enjoy the fire pit and huge open field for throwing a football or frisbee or playing yard games. On the North side of the park you’ll find a splash pad and playground with zipline.


When Will Denver Home Prices Cool Off?

According to a just-issued study completed by CoreLogic, Denver has seen housing costs rise the third quickest throughout a 15 year span, out of 20 major cities surveyed. While metro home prices are expected to keep rising over the course of 2021, the rate of increase is expected to slow down considerably from the current record-setting pace. The average price of a detached home in Denver is $674,990 (April 2021), an increase of more than $40,000 from last month and more than $100,000 above the same period a year ago.

Here’s a CoreLogic graphic highlighting the combined HPI percent change for the Denver and eight other major metropolitan areas. Denver’s year-over-year percent change is the third-fastest among those listed, behind Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale and San Diego-Carlsbad.

Click here to read the Westword’s interview with Selma Hepp from CoreLogic in which she explains the cause for the rise in housing costs, if & when we can expect the Denver market to peak, and why there is only a 1.9 year-over-year percentage change expected for the market through February 2021.

Find the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) April Market Trends Report here. Here are a few interesting facts found in Market Insights:

  • Colorado is home to low property taxes. According to a study, the two counties with the lowest rates were both found in our state: Jefferson County (0.55 percent) and Arapahoe County (0.57 percent.)
  • Builders are struggling with the cost of building materials ranked as the number one problem by the National Association of Home Builders and availability of building materials ranked second. Local contractors are telling clients to order appliances a year in advance to make sure they arrive on time.
  • The Wall Street Journal notes that there are more real estate professionals than homes for sale in the U.S.- a feat that has only occured once before in December 2019. In January, the National Associaton of Realtors had 1.45 million members, a 4.8 percent increase compared to a year earlier.
  • Rates ticked up to 3.18 percent as of April 1st, a mere 0.25 percent lower than they were a year ago, 1.5 percent lower than a decade ago, 3.75 lower than two decades ago and 15 percent lower than four decades ago.