Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Kitchens are worth the investment
Kitchens are probably the best return on investment if you renovate but do choose wisely and make decisions that accurately reflect the property. I have renovated my share of kitchens in my life and have seen a variety of options. I am currently embarking on a new build and have for the first time decided to work with a kitchen company rather than a cabinetmaker that constructs the cabinets based on an architect’s drawings. Architects are great at design but kitchen layouts and cupboard customizing aren’t always their strong suit.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. One thing about a cabinetmaker is that they can customize sizes to fit the kitchen dimensions like a glove, save for filler pieces that may be required as walls are rarely 100% straight. You can choose how you would like the kitchen constructed whether it be wood, MDF, stainless steel or even Corian cabinets. You can request things like dovetail drawers, upper-end hardware with soft close and any handle you would like to use. I have had some stunning wood customized kitchens done by cabinetmakers and we have been happy. Wood is always unstable, though; it is sensitive to heat and humidity so you need to choose a cabinetmaker that is capable of producing a product that withstands these conditions that are common in kitchens. There is a definite trend away from wood in kitchens to other materials such a stainless steel and even a composite plastic material as they are more durable than wood.
After visiting showrooms I realized there are definite benefits to using a kitchen design company versus a cabinetmaker. They have full optionality for drawers with a purpose as well as amazing corner cupboard units that make full use of space that is often wasted or difficult to access.
For those on a budget I must say IKEA kitchens have come a long way. If you have just bought your first home in Trinity Bellwoods, Leslieville, Riverdale, Roncesvalles or Dovercourt Village an IKEA kitchen may well be the best way to provide a nice return on investment. There are a few other cabinet companies that provide quality without a huge expense. I had my laundry room cabinets updated by Summerhill Kitchens and they did an excellent job with great attention to detail at a reasonable cost.
For a luxury property in an upscale neighbourhood it is important to invest in a quality kitchen with quality appliances as buyers are expecting that. Trust me, the discerning buyer notices the difference.
In my search for a new kitchen for a home we are building we looked at three European kitchen manufactures as we like the contemporary style: Poggenpohl (German) Poliform(Italian) and Bulthaup(German).
I liked the aesthetic of all three of these and they all provide a quality product. However Bulthaup stood out to us as it provided a balance of a quality product with the highest level of customization in every aspect of the kitchen. Bulthaup offers unique wood cabinet door fronts that are solid core with a veneer of the same wood laid vertically to the horizontal piece to add stability. A lacquered white MDF cabinet will complement the wood cabinets and lighten up the kitchen but the wood cupboards will add warmth. Both Poliform and Bulthaup provided an amazing corner pantry mechanism to utilize what can become dead space if not properly accessible. We plan to enjoy the home we are building for a few years, but maybe not forever, so I feel a branded kitchen will be a great marketing tool when we go to sell the home.
For loft-dwellers Bulthaup offers two lines, B1 and B2, a moveable, open-concept kitchen idea in which the pieces are more like furniture and can be moved with you when you sell. In a luxury home a kitchen should be fixed so the B3 option is the one for us; customized to make perfect use of the space we have and every drawer will have a purpose with the appropriate dividers.
For those looking to support a homegrown talent right in Toronto, Downsview Kitchens provides both contemporary and traditional cabinets. They have been so successful providing a quality product that lasts over the years that they now have showrooms in Palm Beach, Philadelphia and Boston.
Smallbone kitchens from the UK are perfect for those looking for a more traditional look. Nigella Lawson would be very happy cooking in a well-appointed, signature Smallbone kitchen! They have been around for years and are a high-quality product. A Smallbone kitchen goes hand in hand with a stunning Aga Stove.
A quality kitchen requires quality appliances and Sub Zero,Wolf, La Cornue, Miele and Gaggenau seem to trump most other brands. With a more modest property, your money is better spent on solid traditional brands like GE, LG, Fridgidaire, Dacor, and the slightly more upmarket Viking appliances, but not a luxury property. Appliances are a big part of the budget but you will make it up on resale by choosing quality.
Make sure as you do your kitchen you plan for each appliance you own and that the doors around the appliances are unencumbered, the cupboards have the height requirements for you mixmaster, juicer, etc. as well as storage for you big pots and pans. A good kitchen designer will guide you through the planning so the end product is seamless.
Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Limited