It all starts in the kitchen: Even small changes add up to a new look, experts say
By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer
There was the mid-20th century look of teal cabinets, then the olive phase of the ’70s.
What’s hot in kitchens now? It’s mostly about the countertop.
Whereas granite rocked the world for years, Mat Vivona, president of Father & Son Construction in Troy, said many people are moving to man-made quartz counters.
“They are very durable. You can remove something right from the stove and place it on the countertop, as opposed to laminate,” he said. “The color is consistent. It’s probably the most durable on the market, and it’s non-porous — you won’t have to seal it.”
While granite may have different veining from slab to slab, and can stain and even possibly hold bacteria because of its porous nature, he said quartz doesn’t have those qualities, although it is a bit more expensive.
Whatever you choose, Vivona said homeowners should beware marketing gimmicks that may offer countertops at a deeply discounted price. Sometimes those come from poor quality slabs or are thinner cuts of the material.
“If you’re going to invest in granite, you want something that’s going to look beautiful,” he said. “The cheapest price often yields the poorest result, I think.”
In cabinetry, “we tend to stick with the ones (brands) that work,” Vivona said. “There’s a discount center offering some interesting designs in cabinets, but you have to put them together (and) their durability is unproven.”
He said remodelers are moving toward lighter maple and oak woods for kitchen cabinets; he doesn’t see many people choosing white cabinetry anymore.
But he cautions shoppers to make sure they are getting true wood cabinets when they remodel and not just products with a thin wood veneer on the outside.
“It’s just a much better quality cabinet, and again, you can shop for the cheapest and there are companies promising $3,000 kitchens, (but) before you’d ever entertain such an idea, I strongly encourage you to go look at one that’s been in a home for six months and see how it holds up,” Vivona said. “I know it won’t.”
Carolyn Stieger, owner of We Stage Greater Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, said she still thinks cherry cabinets and other woods with a “dark umber wash” are popular, and kitchen islands are always hot features, as well. A new trend, she said, has been to add dishwashers, sometimes even two, “depending on the size of the house.”
“Those are always a good update,” she said.
But no matter what option homeowners choose, Stieger said kitchen updates are worth it for those looking to sell their home quickly and at a good price.
“The updates are important, and rarely do people want to invest in their house when they’re getting ready to sell, (but) if they don’t invest the money, they’re going to lose money on the return,” she said.
She said young families are looking for “turnkey” homes because they don’t have the time to invest in renovations and remodeling, “and that’s who the majority of buyers are.”
“Get rid of the wallpaper,” she advised. “Put in the time and effort. If you don’t invest the money to get a quick sale, you’re going to get a hit for what you can sell it for.”
Vivona said even a small change can make a difference when trying to sell a home; he’s working on a Sterling Heights home now where the cabinets are still in good shape, but a new granite countertop and tumbled marble backsplash “gave the kitchen a whole new feel.”
“The kitchen, for the past few years has been kind of overlooked,” he said. “It’s been overshadowed by bathroom remodeling” because that is more affordable.
But he said with home sales picking up across metro Detroit, “people are beginning to see the value in remodeling by a professional remodeler, and therefore, they’re willing to invest more in their home.”
“Even if they’re going to stay put, redoing a room or a deck or windows, it makes it much more enjoyable to live in that home.”
For more information about We Stage Greater Detroit, call (248) 322-4703.
For more information about Father & Son Construction, call (800) 380-8888 or visit www.father-son-const.com.
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