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Kitchen remodeling fads come and go, but the need for financing holds steady

October 26, 2016 | By

Home trends come and go, but kitchen fads may be particularly fleeting, according to Tim Shigley, 2016 chairman of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers.

Within 10 years of a kitchen being remodeled, it’s dated by design trends, says Shigley says, who owns Shigley Construction Company in Wichita, Kansas. In fact, some of Zillow’s top kitchen trends for 2016 have been popular in some parts of the country for years.

Shigley should know. He’s been a licensed contractor for nearly 30 years.

With new home trends popping up online and on television, “It’s probably faster now,” he says. “Most kitchens appliances and colors outlive their useful lives in 20 years,” he says.

Remodelers are reporting steady work amid positive economic conditions and aging housing stock, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index for the second quarter. For 13 consecutive quarters, more remodelers report business activity is higher compared to the prior quarter than those who report it’s lower.

Read more: 5 tips from a Japanese micro home expert to make your home feel more spacious

Most homeowners will spend between $13,000 and $32,000 on a kitchen remodel, says

Buying a fixer-upper and doing-it-yourself can save money – but that savings might not be enough to fund remodeling the new owner’s dream kitchen. Zillow estimates that fixer-upper homes list for just 8 percent less than market value, and the median fixer-upper would save buyers $11,000.

Today’s Top Trends

Here’s what Shigley thinks of Zillow’s top four kitchen trends for 2016:

  1. Two-toned Kitchen Cabinets
Young woman reaching for cupboard in vintage kitchen

(Credit: Getty Images)

While Shigley says he’s seeing lighter colors overall in a home, he has seen a trend in darker cabinets combined with lighter shades.

Interiors of a kitchenGray-Blue Kitchen with Wooden Counter

“With darker base cabinets, we may see something else with a complimentary feel to it,” he says. “We’re seeing a lot of earth tones with grays and blacks. The glazing is still there but it’s not as big as it once was.”

  1. Hidden Appliances
Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

(Credit: Getty Images)

Integrating cabinet-style on appliances has probably been around for 40 years, Shigley says, referring to refrigerators and dishwasher fronts that blend with cabinets.

However, appliances that were once priced so high only higher-end consumers could afford them have come down in price.

“[Those appliances are] available to more homeowners now,” he says, noting that microwave drawers have become a trend recently. The average under-counter microwave drawer fits seamlessly with cabinets to give the homeowner more room above the stovetop and on the countertop.

But not everyone likes the idea.

“If you’re tall like me, the appliance is already at a comfortable level. Dropping down an appliance to a lower height is not something tall people appreciate.”

“The jury’s out,” he adds.

  1. Wood Paneling
Renovation of French watch tower

(Credit: Getty Images)

“We haven’t seen a lot of that. Farmhouses are fairly common around Kansas,” Shigley quips.

Wood paneling is coming back for features, but it’s not going to overwhelm an entire house.

However, Shigley concedes that wood paneling could add warmth to an urban space.

Read more: A Louisiana builder shares why homes in his area are in short supply

  1. Mixed-Hardware Finishes
View of a kitchen with dishes arranged in a rack with above the sink

(Credit: Getty Images)

Tired of stainless steel? Many homeowners are turning to “kitchen bling,” as Shigley calls mixed-hardware finishes.

“But old antique brass is gone. That’s the good news. The ugly stuff from the ‘60s ‘70s, and early ‘80s is just gone. I’m happy,” Shigley says.

Shigley says simple brushed nickel or brushed stainless steel may be more popular than mixed hardware finishes. “We see fun colors with simple lines,” he says.

Dordogne home of artists Gillian and Sjoerd Meijer

(Credit: Getty Images)

“There’s always going to be a classic kitchen that’s going to be timeless. But defining ‘timeless’ is so difficult because there are so many tastes among individuals across the country,” Shigley says.

Financing Options for Remodeling Projects

There are options for borrowers buying or refinancing to roll remodeling costs into a new mortgage.

Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle® Renovation mortgage (special lender approval required) similarly lets borrowers make improvement projects totaling up to 50 percent of the as-completed appraised value of the property with a first mortgage.

Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle® Energy mortgage lets borrowers finance up to 15 percent of the as-completed appraised value of the home for its energy and water efficiency (restrictions apply; may require an energy report).





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