Recently, I reviewed a local “Mountain Mansion” for a client with the idea that it might lend potential for a large remodeling project. Now, this wasn’t a “bank repo” or a “fire sale”, it was a 8 figure abode set on over 300 acres of pristine mountainside, complete with indoor pool and home theater (ironically placed side by side in a cavernous walkout basement).
Upon inspection, I kept getting the feeling that the builder actually planned on flipping the house from the get-go as in many categories, the material selections just didn’t fit the price point he expected. The residence was all “flash” and no substance. The builder had literally cut every corner imaginable to get a “pretty build” that would be betrayed by the materials lack of durability and longevity.
I want you to think about this for a minute and consider this carefully as you select the materials for your own home project. Sure, some of those “lesser” materials “look” good after the installer leaves, but consider this;
As a family building a home that you plan to live in for many decades, you must pay close and careful consideration to the durability and quality of the materials you select. Trust me when I tell you that the “cost per year” of these higher grade materials will become a bargain as the years pass.
For example: Your kitchen isn’t just a place where you prepare food. Your kitchen is the very heart of your home. It’s not just for preparing meals, it’s a living room, a dining room, a study, an entertainment area, a craft center, a gallery and a family gathering place all rolled into one. As more and more families embrace a “great room” environment where one space flows into the next, the atmosphere in that kitchen is going to influence your movements every day for the rest of your lives. Rarely do we see kitchens built “in isolation” anymore. They’re communal spaces. They become the “hub” of the house.
Countertops (and their installation) usually compose anywhere from ten to 15 percent of a kitchen build or remodeling budget. Keep in mind that you want to match the quality of your countertop to your cabinetry. If you don’t, one or the other will stick out like a sore thumb.
Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about;
Look at the way that the granite countertops and that wonderful knotty alder cabinetry compliment each other. It’s not just looks either. You can FEEL the goodness, the quality in finely crafted components. From the smooth feeling of that granite surface to the smooth glide of those drawers in those hardwood cabinets, you’ll know that for years to come, time spent in the kitchen will be a pleasure and not a hardship. Look at the accented tile backsplash as the light plays across it. Look at how the cabinetry and that countertop embrace the stainless appliances and fixtures. It just feels “right”. There’s a luxury in that creation of space and you can bet that the people tasked with preparing meals in that space will feel it. There’s a joy that comes from making a good meal in a fine space. It’s almost like the atmosphere of the space contributes to the flavor of the dishes.
I urge you to spend your money where your heart is. And this is especially true when you’re working with a tight budget. If you love high-tech appliances or custom wood cabinetry, bite the bullet and spend your money there. I know that you’re probably sputtering and gasping and hoping that your significant other doesn’t read this post, but it’s the truth. If you want a life of happiness and decent meals, you better pay attention to the details.
Once you get past the sticker shock, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you realize that those higher-end materials and appliances you purchased and installed will pay off in the long run. You’re going to see increased durability and a longer use life with less maintenance required. You’re going to create “personality” in that space that “simpler” materials just won’t bring to the room. Your time spent in that space will be warmer, brighter, and happier.
FYI: If you have your heart set on a less expensive, yet “flashy” laminate top, don’t worry. Styles come back around eventually and that 50’s look will be in vogue again soon. LOL!
Until next time…