Monday, September 27, 2010
We learned some great tips thanks to “Realtor” magazine this weekend about what buyers are looking for when they start their home search. Kitchens carry some weight when it comes down to comparing and contrasting homes, and over the years, buyers are changing their views about what a kitchen should have.
If we think back to our grandparent’s kitchens, many of us might remember secluded rooms with swinging doors much like those seen from “The Cosby Show.” Don’t get us wrong, there was plenty of action that happened in the Cosby kitchen, but it was a completely separate part of the home and was divided from the bustle of Sunday night football games in the living room or from the kids coming through the front door. In these home plans, the chef remains the “behind the scenes manager” that always makes sure everything comes out beautifully golden and tasty, but is never seen doing it. Today buyers want the kitchen to be a more central piece to the home.
Over the years, kitchen plans have changed. Since the days of the secluded kitchens, we’ve since seen the addition of open-air windows accompanied by bar seating that usually connects the kitchen to the dining room; giving the chef some chat time during meal preparations. Windows are not the last change kitchens have seen, as according to “Realtor,” buyers today push for comfy kitchens, fewer cabinets, and open floor plans.
Realtor,” stated that the kitchen today is no longer just for cooking, but rather is used as a gathering place, a work space, and an open area to pursue craft projects or to entertain. Buyers are looking for kitchens that are mulit-funtional and open. Today, kitchen’s offer a place for kids to do homework so a parent can offer advice while still being able to cook dinner, or a place for a ladies’ night gathering.
Don’t panic if your listing doesn’t have the open floor plan that is today’s fashion for a great kitchen: “Realtor” prepared some advice to make your listing shine to the best of it’s potential. Here is the advice straight from the guys who know how to best fix your kitchen up. Enjoy.
Excerpt from “Realtor” Magazine, “Buyers Want Cozy, Connected Kitchens.” By Melissa Dittmann Tracey.
1. Install a kitchen island. Kitchen islands not only have functional benefits but also provide space for entertaining, informal dining, and extra storage. If your listing doesn’t have one, consider a portable island, which can range from a butcher block to a breakfast table with bar stools. “Just make sure that the style you choose is consistent with your existing decor in the kitchen and the size is appropriate,” says Ashley Whittenberger, founder and owner of Interiority Complex, a Texas-based staging and design company. She recommends at least 3 feet between the island and walls so there’s plenty of space to move around. If the kitchen island is large, add chairs to show it can serve as an extra gathering place.
2. Look for comfy chairs.Skip the typical wooden stools for an upholstered bar stool with a back, recommends Whittenberger. Switch out traditional chairs around the kitchen table for wing chairs, a love seat, or even an upholstered bench.
3. Soften the light.Use accent lights and sconces, usually associated with a hallway or den,” says Susan Serra, a home designer in Huntington, N.Y., who specializes in kitchens. Numerous small lamps also will create a softer effect. Whittenberger suggests hanging a chandelier or light fixture over the kitchen island.
4. Add storage. Buyers are always drawn to extra storage. Add a standalone cabinet, cupboard, buffet, or wall shelving. Stage cabinets with craft supplies to show that the space can serve many purposes.
5. Display quality pieces.Take the artwork you may have once reserved for the living room and display it in the kitchen. Accessorize shelves with collectibles or books.
6. Make sure the basics are strong. “If the bones of the kitchen aren’t strong, fix those first,” Whittenberger says. “The condition of countertops, hardware, flooring, appliances, and cabinets aren’t going to be covered up by creating a cozy atmosphere.”