photos courtesy of Kitchens Unlimited
The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most important rooms in a home. The kitchen is where we cook, entertain, and bond with friends and family, and is sometimes considered the core of the home. The bathroom, on the other hand, is a personal sanctuary — a place to soak in a hot bath and relax after a long day. If you’ve lived in your home more than 10 years, or even if you’ve recently moved into a new house, a new kitchen or bathroom or even just a few simple upgrades can improve the appearance and feel of your home, as well as increase its overall value.
Ron Carelle, who handles residential sales for Ferguson, says that the kitchen and bathroom are the two most important areas of your home to consider in regards to resale value. “Most people live in and spend a majority of their time in their kitchen and in the bathroom,” he says. “Those should be the focal points, and making sure that you have all the right tools in those areas will give the best value if you are going to sell your home.”
If you aren’t planning to sell, upgrading a dated kitchen or bath can enhance your daily life by adding an attractive personal touch or newer tools for better functionality. For those who’ve found their cozy nook in the neighborhood and want to make it more appealing and more appropriate for their needs, remodeling can make a world of difference, especially when it comes to utility in the kitchen.
“Even if you’re moving into a new house and it’s already been remodeled, sometimes there are going to be things that don’t suit you,” says Karen Kassen, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer, Allied ASID member, and part owner of Kitchens Unlimited. “When I work with people on a remodel, I think resale value is very important, but I also tell people to consider what their needs are and how they function in the kitchen — whether one person cooks or whether they want it to be a family kitchen. You want to make the space your own, so that it functions for your needs and your family’s needs.”
There are many things to keep in mind when determining those needs: appliances, cabinets, countertops, tile, hardware, and lighting, for example. In the kitchen, storage space is essential, and Kassen says there are many storage features available, such as under-mount drawer glides that free up space that would otherwise be taken up by side mounts, deep drawers, pull-out pantries, and corner storage applications.
“Even if it’s a small space, these storage features make it much more functional,” says Kassen. “People want to get organized and use every square inch of space they have.”
As far as kitchen design and style, Kassen suggests people are going for a more transitional look, incorporating cleaner lines and simplified overall design. “We’re getting away from heavy molding and carvings and fancy appliques that were popular 5-10 years ago,” she says. “People may still be using traditional wood and finishes, but in a much cleaner style.”
But many people are choosing to go with custom color finishes or new, natural-oil finishes. “The oil finish doesn’t emit the VOCs; it’s formaldehyde-free, and good for people who have health concerns, but it’s also a great look,” says Kassen.
In appliances, there is an abundance of new gadgets available to suit your wants and needs. Some typically high-end lines are now offering “affordable luxury” appliances, scaled-down versions of popular products for those on a budget. People looking to treat themselves, however, can get a built-in barista station with a coffee maker, bean grinder, and cappuccino steamer; or the latest in cooking appliances, such as induction ranges or steam ovens.
Ferguson’s Carelle says there is another neat feature on one brand’s cookware. “Jenn-Air has touchscreen LCD displays on all of their cooking products — and even some refrigerators — that act as the main control for temperature and oven settings.”
There are also new gadgets for the bathroom. “Kohler has the Moxie shower head, a single shower head with a speaker inside of it,” Carelle says. “It works remotely off of Bluetooth, so you can listen to anything on your iPad, or you can stream live.”
Heidi Pollard, showroom consultant at Coburn’s Supply, says customized showers are gaining popularity. “Body sprayers, hand showers, seated showers, steam units, and his and hers two-shower heads are some of the available options for customizations,” Pollard says.
Also trending are touchless bathroom and kitchen faucets, as well as water-conserving products. “A majority of manufacturers are switching to low-water consumption commodes — down from using 1.6 gallons of water to 1.28 gallons,” says Pollard. “More people are going green, so we’re also seeing a lot of water-saving faucets and shower heads.”
Whether you’re considering a remodel of your kitchen or bath because you plan to sell or if you’ve found your forever home and desire to enjoy those enhancements yourself, upgrading these rooms can improve energy efficiency and functionality, as well as add a touch of style to a dated look.