Blog June 3, 2021

Remodeling Fashion vs Style

I recently received an email from a past client asking for my opinion about an element of a major kitchen remodel they were considering. They wanted the elements they chose to remain appealing to buyers 10 years or so out when they would eventually sell their home. Their quandary – what color appliances to choose. I did not see that coming!

Even though some online research shows that 75% of buyers want stainless steel, the husband believed stainless steel is going the way of avocado, the ubiquitous appliance color of the 1970s, He was favoring black, a timeless and classic theme. I suggested they should consider the effect of black versus stainless in the larger context of the
design theme of the kitchen– the cabinets, countertops, backsplash, flooring. and other elements of their remodel. Step back and see the larger picture. Aside from what it might look like in 10 years, choosing stainless steel just because it is “in” might end up looking like wearing blue suede shoes with a tux: cool, but so wrong!

This is a familiar dilemma. If you are trying to guess what is going to be fashionable a decade from now, you’re bound to certain failure. Spectacularly.

Fashion is a fickle butterfly flitting from blossom to blossom. Who can guess what is coming or how long it might last? While fads come on strong and suddenly evaporate, fashion has a bit more staying power, but like the season, inevitably changes. In the beginning, stainless steel appliances were the highest quality, commercial grade, and affordable only by the wealthy. Today stainless is available to anyone and is definitely fashionable, but the tide may already be turning. Dark (grey) stainless, copper and even vibrant colors like red are auditioning for the leading role in the next act of the kitchen fashion scene.

If longevity is your goal, best to turn to something that will endure through time. My
wife is cultured, growing up just outside of Washington, D.C., and (among a lot of things) taught me the difference between Style and Fashion. Style carries gravitas, walks through time with presence, brushing off fickle little Fad and paying little or no attention to Fashion. Black, white, grey, respectful reds and their variations are members of the Style Establishment.

Fashion or style, your goal in a kitchen remodel should be a cohesive design vision. Buyers respond to the overall feeling of a kitchen, and if that calls for black, Stainless steel appliances, the effect will be impressive. You have to live with your selections in the years before you do decide to sell, so make choices that please you rather than trying to guess what will appeal to others in the future. With thoughtful planning, your eventual buyers will be as thrilled as you.