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Most buyers will consider a well-designed kitchen and bathroom as either the deal breaker or deal maker when it comes to choosing a real estate investment

WORDS: DEBBIE LOOTS & SARAH MARJORIBANKS – IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK  

Smart kitchen design is as much about technology and functionality as it is about individual style and creative choice of aesthetics. But renovating your kitchen for investment purposes adds another layer to the mix – it’s wise to consider the market value of homes in your area before taking the plunge.

“In my experience, a beautiful and practical kitchen normally adds more value to a home proportionate to what it costs,” says Dogon Property Group CEO Denise Dogon. “A top-end kitchen may cost R500,000, for example, but on resale would add more than R1m in value to the property. A kitchen plays a huge part in the decision-making when buying a home.”

More kitchen time

In addition, Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO, RE/MAX of Southern Africa, predicts that kitchens will become increasingly important to buyers over this time. “Until the threat of Covid-19 no longer exists, homeowners are likely to spend more time preparing their own meals at home rather than dining out or even ordering in. The kitchen will, therefore, become increasingly important to buyers purchasing over this time. Sellers can capitalise on the trend by investing in kitchen updates before putting their home on the market,” he says.

We look at 2020’s trends and how adding single elements to a kitchen can elevate it to the next level in terms of style and value and can ensure maximum buyer appeal.

Classic tiles

Warm biscuit and honey brown colours, wooden floors and classic vintage patterns are synonymous with a homely and welcoming kitchen. The look doesn’t have to be old-fashioned, though: a contemporary feel can easily be achieved by selecting the right combination of floor and wall tiles.

These patchwork tiles (see above) are based on the intricate marquetry-style wood-cutting method intarsia, which is the carving and fitting together of small pieces of wood in various colours. Dating back to the 13th century, this ancient technique is the inspiration behind the design of the Itasari Patchwork porcelain tile range by Ceramica Sant’Agostino available from Italtile. While paying homage to the lost art of this early Renaissance feature found on the walls, floors and other surfaces of palatial villas and sacred buildings in Italy, modern Ceramica Sant’Agostino designers have created intarsia-like artistry through digital inkjet technology.

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Light touch

Ehrardt Nieuwoudt, MD, Kim h Interior Design, Joburg, says the right lighting makes all the difference in a kitchen. “The main areas where lighting plays an important role are work surfaces, feature areas and displays,” he says.

“A beautiful pendant or cluster light can do wonders to emphasise a specific area. Something over an island or breakfast nook will create visual impact.”

For a window behind a counter, interesting low-hanging pendants could work well, he says. Display cabinetry is another prime space for feature lighting – some LED strip lights under floating shelves or even cove lighting around a bulkhead feature.

Nieuwoudt believes the most successful lighting style in a kitchen is a combination of all of them. “In the same way you layer texture, you can layer lighting. Use recessed spotlights for general lighting, pendant lights to create focal impact, wall lights to balance spaces and strip lights for subtle highlighting. It all depends on the style or mood you have in mind.”

Store more

According to Deborah Garth, director, Deborah Garth Interior Design, storage is an essential element in kitchen design and will increase the value of a home. “There’s always a heap of various appliances, crockery, utensils, pots and pans and store-bought foods – and never enough place to store it all,” she says. “We need countertop space that’s free from clutter to prepare food.”

As a solution, she suggests a large walk-in pantry and an island with pot drawers. Her favourite storage feature is drawers with inner dividers. “The one part of the kitchen that definitely should have additional storage is the main workspace,” she says. “Everything should be easily accessible when you’re creating a meal.”

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In the mix

A small but important detail – both in terms of functionality and aesthetics – is your choice of sink and mixer. Franke’s striking Fragranite sink in matt black instantly lifts the appearance of a kitchen and suits any design style. It’s available in black, silver or white. The Move kitchen mixer tap has a simplified and classy look yet is practical to use. Both are available from Italtile.

Keep it green

Young buyers, especially, may be curious about the eco-credentials of kitchen manufacturers and materials. “Younger buyers tend to put more emphasis on sustainable living and prefer to make environmentally responsible choices. Homeowners who choose to prioritise this when going about their renovations will earn themselves favour among buyers within this demographic,” Goslett says.