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Photo Courtesy of Lance Meyers Decorative Painting

Kitchen Remodels: What’s Driving Color Choices

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ccording to Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at home renovation and design platform Houzz, one of the major factors driving color choices has nothing to do with HGTV. That factor is age. Referencing the 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, Sitchinava says, “If you look at colors by generations, you see younger homeowners—ages 35 to 45—being more cautious about color choices. Whereas older homeowners—baby boomers—are going for the unusual.” For many, what drives color choices is how long they plan to stay in the home, says Sitchinava. “The overwhelming majority of baby boomers have no plans to move in the next 20 years. They perceive their home as their long-term nest and are making choices that have nothing to do with resale value. If they want brown or green cabinets, they’re going for it.”

The finance of finishes Yanni Fikaris, owner of Custom Renovations in Haddonfield, NJ, agrees that bold colors and finishes are making a comeback but, in his area, the choice is tied more to finances than age. “We work in some affluent areas and we’re finding that, when introduced to alternatives to gray and white, homeowners who can afford it are going for one-ofa-kind looks regardless of their age,” he says. “But it really falls to the pro to share the potential options with customers.” Fikaris’ team has completed kitchens with finishes ranging from metallics and rust to patinas and soft glazes. The company recently completed a set of cabinets with tiger maple topped with a deep, clear finish. “None of these customers started out saying ‘I want my cabinets to look like a hot rod, or whatever, but once I showed them what could be done, there was no going back.” He adds, “While not all customers are going bold, they’re definitely going with color more and more. Even the cabinets we build with solid-maple panels … people aren’t staining them. They’re painting.”

Cautions and consults Based in Minnesota, Nick Slavik of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. finds his customers tend to stick with safer choices. “We’re in the Midwest so people—no matter what their age—don’t stray too far with color. We do a ton of off-white,” he says. “An accent color on the island is about as crazy as we get.” “That’s not to say that if someone wants color, I won’t provide it. But we have a conversation first.” For Slavik, that conversation includes a reminder that painting a kitchen can cost as much as painting the outside of a house. Given that, he advises them to only do it once in their lifetime. “I always ask customers if they want the color of the cabinets to be the accent in the room or if objects in the room—say, the countertops—are to be the accent,” he says. “That forces them to look at how the whole space works together, rather than looking at the components.” While Slavik has plenty of sample cabinet doors to show, he likes to suggest customers do Google searches. “I may not have a flat panel in Navajo White, but if you Google that, you’ll find over 400,000 images of that combo with all kinds of countertops, wall colors, lighting, you name it. For me, it’s the best color consult tool out there. And it’s free.” Back in NJ, Fikaris likes to start his color consults by asking how long a homeowner intends to stay in the property. “I don’t want anyone suffering buyer’s remorse a few years out,” he says. He also directs customers to the web to research options, but his go-to site is furniture manufacturer HickoryWhite.com. “Their photos show a really nice collection of finishes that get people thinking outside the box a bit.”

“ … when introduced to alternatives to gray and white, homeowners who can afford it are going for one-of-akind looks regardless of their age.” —YANNI FIKARIS, CUSTOM RENOVATIONS

April 2018 | inPAINT

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