A Cachet Homes expert shares what’s hot (and what’s not) in today’s housing styles

By Nora Burba Trulsson

Photography by Chase Capture Photography for Cachet Home

With more than three decades in the homebuilding industry, Sue Goodrich, vice president of sales and marketing for Scottsdale-based Cachet Homes (cachethomes.net), knows what home buyers want, and don’t want. Pocketing glass doors, yes. Tuscan-style flourishes, not so much.

With Cachet Homes, Goodrich is in a unique position to view trends across all segments of the market. The firm was founded in 1990 by Scottsdale residents Matt and Whitney Cody, and initially focused on custom homes in North Scottsdale and Paradise Valley before moving into production-home communities, first in Scottsdale and Prescott. The company has also branched out into condo and townhouse projects, as well as apartments in greater Phoenix as well as in Flagstaff and Sedona. “We’ve done about 2,800 homes and custom lot improvements,” says Goodrich. “Our buyers range from first-time buyers going for a 1,600-square-foot starter home to someone building their custom dream home.”

With that perspective, Goodrich is able to drill down on everything from architectural styles to faucet finishes, based on what’s selling for Cachet Homes.

“Our architectural styles now are simpler and more modern when it comes to exterior elevations,” she says. “Spanish colonial influences are still popular, but we’re using a smooth stucco finish for an elegant look. Our architects are also developing what we call “Southwest Ranch” and “Desert Craftsman” styles, which have a farmhouse basis and feature board-and-batten cementitious siding and concrete tile roofs.” For one of their newer projects, as part of a masterplanned community in north

Phoenix, Cachet Homes was able to put garages in back, off an alley, leaving room in the front elevations for neighborly assets like front porches and second-story balconies above the entry doors.

Exterior colors? “Most communities have color and reflective-value restrictions,” Goodrich notes, “so the colors are largely neutral. Near the Wigwam resort in Litchfield Park, we were able to do white walls with color on the shutters, for more of a Santa Barbara look.”

Another architectural element that’s gained traction in recent years is the pocketing or disappearing window wall in great rooms, linking indoor and outdoor spaces. “These add a nice element for entertaining,” she says. Something else that’s disappearing in home buyer requests is the built-in gas barbecue setups in the back yard. “That may seem surprising, but a lot of people are buying the individual barbecues, smokers, grills and griddles,” she explains. “When you do something built-in, it’s a long-term commitment and you’re stuck with that piece of equipment for a while.”

Open floor plans are now a given, she says, but the pandemic has re-emphasized the need for a separate den/office for remote working, often with doors for quiet and privacy. More bedrooms are going ensuite, Goodrich observes, or, at least, having two secondary bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, with a powder room for guests. If there’s not enough eating space in kitchens, dining rooms are high priorities, while formal living rooms have gone the way of rotary phones. Instead, some plans give buyers a “teen room,” a secondary space in addition to the great room, usually located in the bedroom wing of the house.

“We’re also seeing buyers wanting larger laundry rooms that can be used for hobbies, gift-wrapping or even another place for remote working,” Goodrich says. “We also find that buyers like a second master or an ensuite guest bedroom for multigenerational living, a place where a grandmother could be comfortable.

Garages? Wider, she notes. “A standard, two-car garage is barely big enough for two cars. We make ours wider or deeper, so you can get in or out of a car more comfortably and store a few things. In some places, we also add a single-bay garage for storage or to use as a workshop.”

When it comes to interiors, “greige” is still the hue, moving away from the straight gray of a few years back. For floors, LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring is big. “Our buyers love it because it’s easy to maintain,” says Goodrich, “and you can’t hardly tell it’s not real wood flooring.”

Kitchens, she says, have become the “wow” spaces of the home, with big islands (which include seating), high cabinetry (Shaker style, please) and white tones in big demand. “You’ll have some buyers wanting darker accent colors for the island cabinetry,” Goodrich notes, “but white quartz is popular for countertops, and backsplashes range from patterned tile to subway tiles.” Black, rose gold and brass faucet and hardware finishes are big requests, while oil-rubbed bronze is heading for the trend dumpster. Post-covid, buyers are also requesting serious kitchen pantries. “People are getting used to stockpiling things,” she says.

Finally, in bathrooms, soaking tubs are getting mixed reviews with Cachet Homes buyers. “They look good, but most people hardly use them and they take up a lot of floor space,” Goodrich says. “In our standard homes, we do a larger walk-in shower for the master suite and give buyers an option for the tub, which decreases the shower size.”