Before & After
Faced a with red hot real estate market and the desire to sell for top dollar, our clients decided to update their 1970’s kitchen to appeal to more buyers
More often than not, you will hear us talk about “spit and polish” updates when selling your home. We normally don’t recommend gutting your kitchen, instead we always try to work with what you have and making it the best it can be. This is true 9 out of 10 times however, every once in a while, we come across a magical combination of eager client and an out of date kitchen.
Doing major home renovations before selling is risky because you have to tightly watch your budget, and prices can soar up quickly. The goal when selling a home is to earn a good return on investment; meaning whatever you invest should pay at least 100% or more of initial investment to justify the work. But we aim for more like 200-300% to make it worth it.
The first step in any home sale is to do a price analysis. We look at factors such as:
• Current market conditions
• Comparable sales
• Typical condition of similar homes in the area
• The Spread- the range of selling price that similar homes will get based on their condition and upgrades
These are just some of the factors that go into our documented approach to selling homes- API. It’s a report that will show the potential increase in price for doing the work.
In this case, we calculated the cost of doing the kitchen at $10,000 and that would equal a payo of $30,000 more on the sale price.
“In this case, our client was chomping at the bit to renovate her well-used kitchen and wanted us to help make the design plan and steer the decisions. I won’t lie, I ADORE a good Kitchen Remodel, because it can make such a dramatic difference to a home and anytime I can install marble, I’m all over it.” Says Stephanie, our team’s Designer and Stager.
Originally, our client and Stephanie both wanted to add wood or tile throughout the kitchen and if wood, to re-stain all the wood floors to a more contemporary walnut. After some research, we quickly decided that it was not in our client’s budget to do so. Luckily her floors were neutral enough that we decided we could work with them and draw attention elsewhere, so that the floors became a non-issue. Since the focus would only be on new cabinets, a counter and finishes, we were confident that we could keep the budget in a good place.
The other consideration for this project was that the kitchen was small and it was a modest family home. We knew that using IKEA cabinets would be perfectly acceptable to the new buyer. On the other hand, if this were an executive home, the
kitchen would have been much larger and expensive, as buyers would expect a custom kitchen.
So as you can see, we weigh a lot of factors in deciding the best course of action to ensure we meet the expectations of buyers and keep the budget appropriate to the home and within reason for the client.
Here are a few pictures of the kitchen before, and you can see, the cabinets had been painted one too many times, the doors no longer closed properly and all of the finishes were dated and worn.
“Designing a kitchen plan is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process to me. It allows me to be creative, and make the best use of the space. I am a strict believer in function first, then style.” Says Stephanie
Inspiration For The Look
It’s important to give the client a view of what the end product will look like before we even start. This is especially true for something as involved as a kitchen remodel.
Since we were working to downplay the client’s white-ish tiles, adding white cabinets would minimize any contrast along the base of the cabinets and floors: allowing the floors to blend away and make the narrow room feel as wide as possible. Then, we wanted to add a contrasting wood counter, to bring the eye up away from the floors. Finally, we wanted a beautiful backsplash and new lighting to add fixed focal points that felt luxurious but were economical too.
Here is the inspiration picture Stephanie pulled together to get her excited about the intended look and feel of the final product.
Given the length of the counters, we found we couldn’t use the wood laminate counters from IKEA without having an unsightly seam. So you will see that we switched gears and sources a mottled stone look from a counter supplier. The key was to have it installed without the standard kickback so that it looked like stone as much as possible.
GRIMSLÖV Door Fronts | Source: IKEA
Chrome 5-Light Globe Chandelier $249 | Source: Titan Lighting
Calcutta Gold Subway Tile – $12 /sq ft | Source: Surfaces Inc.
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray | HC-173
Formica – Argento Romano | Source: Just a Countertop
Stephanie works with clients for both staging homes to sell, and to decorate homes to stay. The comment she hears most from her clients is that there’s just TOO MANY choices, and it leaves them paralyzed when left to their own devices. Thats why our services go above and beyond, because are with you to filter choices and narrow down your options to just a few, so that you can just pick which one you like best.
Stephanie knows what materials work together and why, so she will ensure your choices play well off each other and achieve the desired goals. Just like the countertops, it is important to be able to switch gears when items won’t work or products go out of stock. Our goal is to keep you confident and focused on the end goal, and not get too stressed when challenges happen.
Here, we were able to create a mix of materials that provided visual interest, texture, and were also modern and neutral. It’s very common that staged properties look cold or bland, with no points of interest at all. The key is to find that magical middle ground, where the look is universally appealing but also has a bit of personality.
So in the end, was the Kitchen Remodel worth it? Absolutely. The house sold for way over asking price, which would not have happened with the old kitchen. As part of our standard service, we also brought in props and accessories to revamp the other rooms in the home so that the presentation was at its best from top to bottom. We work with our clients for weeks and sometimes months before the home gets listed on the market for sale. This extra level of service and advice goes a long way to make sure the final product is the best it can be.