My parents built their mid-century modern house in 1958, the year I turned seven. It was about the coolest house I’d ever seen.
But there was one thing my parents got totally wrong. The new appliances were … white! This was the era of crazy-colored bathrooms and two-tone, even three-tone, automobiles. Appliances were available in all sorts of colors. Yellow, pink, pale blue, mint green, coppertone (avocado and harvest gold came later), and my parents chose white. In my eyes it seriously dented the cool factor of the new house.
Of course, my parents were right. Twenty-nine years later, when they sold the hosue and bought a condo, white was back. They re-did the condo kitchen with … white appliances. Of course.
Which brings us to stone and stainless. In the recent past, virtually any new-build or kitchen renovation with aspirations above rock-bottom, had granite – or something that looked like granite – countertops and stainless appliances.
It was de rigueur. And now … it’s all so yesterday.
So, what do you do about kitchens – or any other room in the house – and changing tastes? How should you renovate your own house? What should you buy? What’s the best investment of time and dollars?
A few thoughts …
Know your strategy
If you’re planning to be in your house for 30 years or so – even 15 – do whatever you want in your kitchen or anywhere else. There’s no predicting what the style will be when you decide to sell, so get exactly what you want. Still love granite? Do it! White appliances? Why not? Black stainless, the current cool thing? Sure!
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to sell and make a killing in a year or two, focus on leading-edge fashion and hope for the best. Fashions don’t change overnight, so if you’re au courant now, you’ll probably be okay three years down the road.
Whether renovating or buying, if resale value is in your equation, think trends, not fashions. Steer clear of anything extreme or precious. That stuff gets old – quickly. An aunt and uncle of mine built a house in the 1950s and put knotty pine paneling in nearly every room. It seemed quite fabulous at the time, but a few years later, that house was tough to sell.
Remember that it’s your house
One of my brokers tells a story about renovating his kitchen. He and his husband and kids live in a nice, but not especially upscale, neighborhood. They like it there. Friends told them installing a Sub-Zero and a Viking range was going overboard for the area. They’d never get their money back. His answer was, “This is where we live, and we like to cook.” So they did exactly what they wanted. Why not?
Always remember this: important as it is, real estate is rarely a matter of life and death. So relax, be happy, enjoy your house.