My Takeaways From the Triangle Parade of Homes!

October 19, 2021

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Over the weekend Brooke (our social media manager) and I went to the Parade of Homes in the Raleigh area and it was so fun to get a feel of how other people in our new area are living and living large! The purpose of the parade is so that home builders and designers can show-off their portfolio through this open-house style walk-through of new builds. We’ve been to the parade in Idaho several times and always found it fun, so we thought we would give this a try as well! I thought I might share some of my thoughts and takeaways from walking through 9 new build homes (out of 50+ available). You can also watch all of the Instagram stories I shared in this highlight here.

1. Mixed Exterior Materials

There was a lot of emphasis on mixing materials on the exteriors. We actually didn’t see any non-painted houses, and all were mostly painted white. Just last week I said out loud I had the thought to paint the brick on our exterior. As pretty as they all looked, I think for now I got white brick out of my system and I feel so grateful for my red brick again. I did think though that if most of these houses were painted white, then that must be what people want right now and there’s nothing wrong with that!

This black and cream painted house was stunning, too.

2. Windows

Windows were another big takeaway. There were some houses that I loved the windows in and some houses I wish the windows made more of a statement. Seeing so many houses back to back, it became so clear that windows can really tell a home’s style story–modern vs. traditional. Almost all of the homes had a large emphasis on adding a lot of windows and I loved seeing ones with black exterior and white interior (something I’m considering for our home!). And an accent window like this diamond-paned window above a bathroom tub took my breath away. That light fixture, too!


3. Lighting

Speaking of lighting, my favorite part was looking at how each designer used lighting to further tell the home’s design story. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’m really putting an emphasis on lighting in our home so I was enamored with all of the difference choices. Lighting matters and makes such a big difference!

I did note that every home I loved, I loved because of the really great lighting. In fact, my favorite home we walked through had the exact same bubble chandelier I purchased for our dining room and it definitely validated my love for it. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

4. Built-in Cabinetry

The cabinetry was lit. No it was actually lit, some with overhead gallery lighting, and some even used led-rope lighting. A few homes had upper cabinets resting on the countertops and in a different finish. It feels like a kitchen hutch to me–really special and cool.


There we a LOT of built-ins. Built in shelves, built-in desks, built in credenza’s, and at one point I did think to myself that I did miss seeing some free-standing furniture.

Look at how great this corner turntable was in the pantry! It really helps maximize that corner space.

5. Wall Treatments

Every house we walked into had paneling, especially in the entry and dining rooms. I think the most successful ones kept it really classic, but this curvy moulding in the entry was a wow moment and unique!

6. Wallpaper in the Powder Room

I’m not kidding–EVERY powder room was wallpapered and I loved to see all the selections. I’m telling you it’s in, and almost all of them were bold. This one with Kelly Wearstler wallpaper was my fav.

7. It’s All in the Details

Yes, I took photos of air returns! I’m officially inspired to switch out all the air returns in our house to something a little more pretty, yet discrete. These details might feel so insignificant but they really impacted me during the walk-throughs so I know they make a big difference overall.

And one home had glass knobs throughout the house. They felt so substantial and special and I couldn’t even remember what our doorknobs looked like so that was something to think about. Ha!


8. Indoor/Outdoor Area

We’re new to the area and we don’t have a screened in porch or anything, and it’s safe to say our eyes were opened to the magic of indoor/outdoor living! It does make sense since the weather here has been incredible so far, but this was a whole new world to me. I couldn’t help but wonder what we could do at our house, especially since we’ve got plans to renovate our exterior soon.

We saw a lot of these grill outdoor kitchens which I just know Chris would love.

9. Pools

We are going to be putting a pool in our house and it was helpful to reaffirm that I really like when the hot-tub is seamless with the pool, and not separated. Dreamy!

Loved the fire features by the pool too, and I couldn’t help but think about how beautiful it would look in the evenings.

I joked in my stories about what was I going to do if I fell in love with a home and felt that “crap” moment since some of the homes were for sale. But all jokes aside, I actually couldn’t wait to get back to my own home with fresh eyes full of inspiration. It’s easy to walk away from new builds and feel inferior or start comparing your home to what you just saw, but I walked away so invigorated to bring out all the potential in our 30+ year home. Hope to make the Triangle parade of homes an annual thing!

What do you think?

  1. Sally Reynolds says:

    To a large extent, I don’t expect you agree (it’s your job after all!) – but, looking at these houses, which are undeniably gorgeous!, I think that there is definitely a conversation to be had about having too much. Whilst I know that the obvious response is mind your own business and that people can spend their money on whatever they wish, I find that more and more I wonder how much is just too much?… 🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. Cara says:

    Would love for you to credit builders in your post. @homescapesbuilders designed the circle wall paneling.

  3. Taylor says:

    Hmmm. Am I alone in thinking that the Diamond window and light fixture in that bathroom look super 80s? I know trends come back but I’m not ready at all for this era. It doesn’t do anything for me.

  4. Renata says:

    No lightning? I saw some beautiFul and different stuff at the stories

  5. Kerry says:

    Wait you’re putting a pool IN your home?! Very cool!!!

  6. Michelle says:

    Would love an air return round up from you!

  7. Jessica McAllister says:

    I’d stay in your home for at least a year before deciding on a western folding door. We live in Atlanta, which has a very similar climate to the Triangle. There is hardly any time of year that you can leave your windows open. The pollen is beyond horrendous for a few month in the Spring, we have lots of bugs in the summer/fall and it’s too cold to leave windows open in the winter/early Spring. I’m in the process of building a new home and my builder is trying to talk me in to these doors but I really don’t see how they could ever be practical in the South.

  8. LeeAnne says:

    I LOVED the bubble chandelier that you shared on your stories, would you mind sharing the source?

  9. Corrine says:

    Hi! Just wanted to share some real-world experience on the grill situation. My in-laws had a built-in grill on their screened porch in their new build a few years ago. It was very similar to the ones in these houses. But, they ended up taking it out and rebuilding a grill spot outside because the smoke and grease and smell in the enclosed space was too much, even with ventilation. I thought it was so cool and convenient when they built it, but might not be the most practical. Just something to consider!

  10. Lindsay says:

    You forgot to mention all the toilet seats left up. Haha!! Seriously, though, those are some STUNNING homes. That round wall molding in the entry of that one house had my husband and I ogling for a WHILE and wondering, “HOW did they DO that??”

  11. Joellyn says:

    Home parades are one of my favorite things! Like you I enjoy the white exterior with black windows, but prefer a more symmetrical/balanced simple design. I wonder if these (dare I say) “McMansions” are difficult to design that way. Once they get so large it must be hard to keep things layered and proportional. I love the grand feeling of the interiors and sometimes don’t love the exteriors. Still, so much inspiration to be had!

  12. Cathy says:

    Retractable screens seem AWESOME!!!! I am a person that gets SWARMED by mosquitos. It’s such a pain to have to wear bug spray… If I ever own a suburban home I have always dreamed of a screened in porch. These new retractable screens give you the best of both worlds, so you don’t have to use the screen when the bugs are dead in the winter.

  13. Shannon says:

    Beautiful homes – but think yours feels more “homey”. It will be fun to watch it evolve. If you ever get sourcing on the air returns would love know!

  14. Katie says:

    I absolutely loved following you around on stories as you visited the parade homes and appreciate this follow-up post. I have enjoyed attending similar events in my area (Richmond VA). Please make this an annual thing!!

  15. Patricia says:

    We used to have a Street of Dreams, 9 or 10 luxury homes. I went home thinking our home had many of the things I loved about them at a fraction of the cost. And yes, I came home inspired to make our home even better. Fun taking the tour with you.

  16. Amanda says:

    I enjoyed having you take us along for the ride of this house parade! It’s always so exciting to see what the new trends are and how they can look in feel in a living large home. Ours locally start soon and I can’t wait to go on the tour! I LOVE a good wallpaper powder room, you can really put some pazzazz in it since it’s such a small space. And those outdoor indoor grill spaces?! I showed my SO and he was enthralled as well!

  17. Susie Harrold says:

    When you choose your pool, please consider a tile that enables you to clearly see to the bottom of the pool. NC snakes will get in your pool – is better to have a visual. I’m SO looking forward to your back yard reno. The ideas looked fantastic.

    • Onslow says:

      Learning proper pool sanitation and monitoring will allow you to see straight to the bottom of any pool as if the water wasn’t there. Best resource for owners is troublefreepool dot com. Forums and Pool School in particular.

  18. Karen says:

    I enjoyed “touring” the houses with you the other day. So many of the houses blended together, with the outdoor spaces being the one thing that got me excited. I think you said one person designed many of the homes? The white/light wood/open concept/lots of built ins?

    The ones that weren’t open concept were my favorites, they had more charm and color and were inspiring.

    I dream of having a larger screened porch/sun room. My small screened porch is my favorite place the majority of the year. I love a room where I can enjoy my gardens, birds, catch fresh air, and entertain without the bugs. I love NC, but midsummer it’s not always comfortable outside.

  19. Beth says:

    Any details on that air return

  20. Kelly says:

    While I loved watching your stories about these homes this weekend, I have to say, your home is already 1000% better than any one of these. It seems like high end builders just stuff these places to the brim with a bunch of generic “luxury” fixtures and finishes, but all of them pretty much end up looking the same and leave me feeling cold. There’s no personality or “soul”. Just complicated molding patterns and a 2M price tag. Your home is so much warmer and more soulful already, even if you don’t have an outdoor range hood that costs more than my car.

    • Ellen says:

      I totally 100% agree!

    • Deb says:

      I couldn’t agree more! The character and grace of your new home far outshines any new build!

    • Jessica McAllister says:

      I totally agree. A lot of what I am seeing looks very generic and void of character. I am in the process of building a home right now and a lot of what I am seeing in these new homes looks like what the builder is pushing on me. I wanting to be different building a traditional Georgian style home. I’d like it to look more like Julia’s home than those in this article- classic, modern and lived in. Hoping I can pull it off!

    • Amanda says:

      Agreed. I feel like these Homarama homes focus on builder trends, not design trends, all look pretty dated and McMansiony to me. They’re a coool way to show what’s possible in new builds, but all of it together looks disjointed and over the top. Give me an older home any day!

  21. Katy says:

    Sort of unrelated, but related question: Did you walk through these homes yearning to be DONE with construction? You’ve lived in some form of construction for how long now? 4 years? When I was in the midst of building our home and it felt so far away from being done, I would walk in to friends new homes and want to cry at their homes that felt so…homey. Just wondering if you feel the same. If you do – I don’t think anyone would fault you for it! If you don’t – what’s your secret?!

  22. P says:

    Any details on the light fixture in the second photo that you included in the “Lighting” section of this post‽ You mentioned it was on your radar in the IG story you posted with the same photo. I so appreciate the home parade inspiration – thank you so much for sharing!!

  23. EP says:

    These homes are certainly nice but to me they all felt the same basically. The white siding and black windows. White oak railings with black balusters. While I like this aesthetic I can tell I am getting bored with it already since it’s so ubiquitous. I’m California all the new builds look like this too. I appreciate you’re doing something a little bit different with your home!

    As an aside, aren’t there lots of bugs and creepy crawlers in NC? I feel I would hesitate to open up my house THAT much. Or were all of them screened?

  24. Anne says:

    Looking forward to seeing your lighting picks – an area I struggle with.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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