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Ask McEnearney: Updating Your Home With Styles That Will Last

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Jillian Keck Hogan of Jillian Keck Hogan Real Estate Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Jillian at 703-951-7655 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What are your recommendations for updating our home with styles that will last?

Answer: I get this question a good bit from clients who are updating homes they are living in and also from those who have purchased investment properties. It is important to personally enjoy what you choose, but it is a great idea to keep in mind your plans for selling/renting down the line.

Your Personal Home

You either just bought a new home or are ready to refresh the space you currently call home — both are so exciting! Making updates to your kitchen and bathroom tend to always improve the value of your home. I would truly look at each space and see if little adjustments could be made versus a complete gut renovation.

In a bathroom you can change out a countertop, vanity, mirror and light fixtures and immediately see the entire space transform. Same could be said for a kitchen with new countertops, cabinet knobs, light fixtures, backsplash or faucets. After a great conversation with our friend Caroline Goree with Madigan Schuler, a Boutique Interior Design firm in Alexandria, she shared that fun wallpaper is a great way to enhance a space and can give it a personal touch.

For future changes you can reverse back to paint for a reasonable price. Caroline also suggests selecting “trend” items in areas that are easier to change out. For example, changing kitchen knobs, lighting and plumbing fixtures are typically less expensive than painting or refinishing the entire kitchen cabinetry. If this is a concern of yours, consider keeping those larger selections simple.

A geometric wallpaper adds a touch whimsy to the powder room of a historic Cameron Street home.

Investment Properties

Typically, with investments the owners are working with a larger renovation after purchase. If you are doing a complete gut job, we recommend keeping it simple and neutral.

There are a lot of trends in kitchen and bathrooms right now. If you are looking to sell your home, the large subway tiles are still going strong, along with bright colors, gold accents and an open floor plan. For those who are looking to hold onto the space for years down the road, choosing white in tile work, cabinetry and wall color is a safe place to start. Tenants may change the wall color over time, so keep it nice and neutral as you begin your marketing to rent it.

As for appliance options, there is no need to pay for the upgraded features. You will want to stick with brand names that are reliable and easy to repair. For example, some of these newer products, like front loading washer/dryer, are developing longer term issues like “mold growth” that can become problematic if the tenant is not properly caring for the systems.

Clean lines and a neutral palette allow for decorative touches to make a statement in this Old Town End Townhome.

Overall

Keep it simple and keep it clean. Some projects can be completed on your own, especially, paint, light fixture or mirror replacement. If you are looking to retile, paint cabinetry, or do any significant electrical or plumbing work, please hire a professional. Future inspectors can pick up on homeowner work and could put you in a position where you would need to redo the entire project. So, doing it right the first time is always the way to go!

As for design, pick fixtures and tiles that are not the focal point of the entire project. You can use fun art, paint and accessories as features and come at a much lower cost when the next trend comes to town. Enjoy your new space and never hesitate to ask a professional to assist in your decision making!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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