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Trend Watch: The Evolution of Homes Styles



When you’ve been in the same business for over 27 years, chances are you have seen more than your fair share of trends. Beloved real estate icon Jade Mills has watched the Beverly Hills real estate market cycle through a number of home styles. Contemporary. Spanish. Cape Cod. What’s on Beverly Hills homebuyers’ most-wanted list right now? Warm contemporary, she says.

Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills

It’s not surprising that Mills has spotted this latest evolution of home styles to hit the palm-tree-lined streets of 90210 — long considered the epicenter of luxury. After all, you don’t get to be called “the $5 billion woman” without being able to recognize specific buying patterns before anyone else does. (“You need to know clients, what they like and what is luxury to them,” she is fond of saying.) She recently surpassed an astounding $5 billion in career sales — the highest sales volume on record of any agent in Coldwell Banker history. Not surprisingly, she is the No. 1 real estate agent in the nation for the Coldwell Banker brand and for all brokerages nationwide. She counts A-list celebrities, tech founders and some of our nation’s most prominent business leaders as clients, plus a long list of exclusive and historic sales, including the Playboy Mansion. There is no other professional that could be better positioned to know what’s new and next in luxury real estate.

To get a better handle on what’s trending in the nation’s most famous luxury ZIP code, we recently sat down with Mills in Las Vegas.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What’s been the most interesting trend you’ve observed this year?

Jade Mills Home style changes. Buyers are preferring a different home style now. They are moving away from the modern “white boxes” and moving towards more of an “organic” and “farmhouse” style.

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Coldwell Banker Global Luxury When did you begin to notice this shift?

Jade Mills I think about a year ago people started saying, “We love contemporary, but we don’t want a cold look.” More buyers today are looking for a warmer look, like wood floors and wood ceilings and warmer finishes.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury It’s interesting — Christopher Fling and Karen Yang also noted the modern farmhouse as a trend in Silicon Valley.

Jade Mills The modern farmhouse style does have a lot of appeal. Napa Valley architect Howard Backen was probably the first to popularize the style. Now the trend has made its way South. It’s more of a contemporary home with the traits of farmhouse — simple forms, high-pitched ceilings, a farmhouse sink, organic materials.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury How have you seen the trend play out, and where?

Jade Mills If you had a view, then that was the most important part of buying the modern white boxes. Today, buyers want a little land. Of course, if they had their way, they would have a view and land, but that is hard to get in Los Angeles! So, buyers are looking for a little land that either already has a warm contemporary home or they plan to build one. One example that comes to my mind is the Brad Grey house, set on two acres on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills. The original 1930s house was torn down to make way for a modern farmhouse-style mansion designed by Howard Backen. Owlwood is another large piece of land, which rests on approximately 10 acres in Holmby Hills. Some potential buyers have had the idea of keeping the existing main house, and building a new house on the other lot. So, I would say the trend is playing out predominantly in Westside neighborhoods with large lots. It is difficult to transform a Trousdale home into a farmhouse because you can build only one story in Trousdale, unless they are grandfathered in.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are some of the driving forces behind this trend?

Jade Mills For a while, the trend was a more minimalistic style with all white, white counters and floors. Some buyers then began to regard this as cold or even hospital-like. Now it is changing. We remember when everyone wanted old Spanish-style homes 12-15 years ago. It’s just like every trend; it’s cyclical. I think one of the key things driving the warm contemporary trend is that people are looking for a more comfortable way of living. The super contemporary homes are harder to live in. Buyers now want a homier feeling for their children and grandchildren. Some clients who have built large homes are realizing that they don’t use some of the space such as the movie theater or spa.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are the demographics of buyers who are gravitating towards these warmer styles?

Jade Mills It has appeal across the board. The younger buyers are still wanting the Sunset Strip. But they don’t want that sexy white box anymore. Even the young bachelors seem to want warmer contemporary spaces. That said, there are buyers for every lifestyle. It’s all about finding the right buyer. We always find the right buyer for our listings, even if it might take some time.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury From your perspective, why do you think this concept is particularly interesting to see play out in Beverly Hills?

Jade Mills Style is just a trend. When I first came into the business, people loved mid-century contemporary. Then the trend seemed to move to old Spanish style. Then the traditional Hamptons style came into popularity and everyone loved Traditional. We’re going through another change now.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Where do you see luxury home design going next? Do you think traditional styles will come back in vogue at some point?

Jade Mills Since I love Hollywood Regency or French Traditional, I’m hoping those styles will come back next. I love both styles. I’m feeling that we are trending towards these more traditional styles.

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Trend Watch: The Evolution of Homes Styles

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