We are deep in the process of home upgrades. The kitchen has been de-constructed. We want to sell our house, so we asked real estate agents, stagers and people who are looking to buy what people want to see most. Every single one said, “granite in the kitchen”. Hmm. Our tile countertops looked fine. I mean COME ON, do you really need to have a multi-hued slab of polished rock to stare at while you cut carrots? Even though it’s a natural material you have to forcibly tear it out of a mountain. Not exactly “green” behavior. There’s even a rare possibility of getting granite with enough uranium in it to let off radon gas over time. Radon’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. There are other materials like marble and laminates that look just as nice! The design web sites and magazines are full of articles that say “granite is over”. Those same articles, however, are followed by dozens of comments from people expressing how much they LOVE granite. The shows on HGTV promote it as a sign of quality in a home. All right, all right. People love granite. We picked out some granite.
When you get granite, there’s often enough left over to do a sink somewhere else, so our “award-winning bathroom” is now also torn up. We had to pick out sinks. I won the kitchen argument (like the previous one, but stainless) and lost the bathroom argument. The bathroom is getting a porcelain oval bowl topped by a burnished copper faucet. Lady Windermere will be quite at home, should she decide to visit the water-closet.
Oh, it didn’t end there. The granite conundrum was nothing compared to the arguments we had over tile for the backsplash. Our stager, who is educated and experienced in these matters, indicated a look of textured stone helps a home sell. Geez, this is the suburbs, not Tuscany. Then we had to decide whether or not to angle the tiles, and whether to use square or rectangle-shaped tiles. It seems (say the experts) that people like the look of bricks, so you should use what are called “subway” (rectangular) tiles and offset them. It’s a sign of quality in a home, you see. Even though the tiles aren’t bricks, and they only remind people of bricks, and they are, you know, tile-thin. The walls aren’t even insulated, but by God we’re gonna have the HGTV seal of approval.
I’ve had to learn to look disapprovingly at things in my house I never spent a second thinking about before. Our cabinets, for example, have a nice bevel you can put your fingers under to open them. However, our stager says they need to have little brass handles on them. Yeah, yeah I know, please don’t say it…sign of quality.
The house must also be painted, inside and out. The colors we have are not in fashion. Beiges and greens are in fashion now. We have variations of ivory and blue, which are no longer a sign of quality. If I haven’t made it obvious by my previous reactions to the big kitchen questions, I am a man. Whatever I may know about, I know little and care less about fashion. However, I’m no dummy. I know fashion influences purchasing choices.
Let the grand cover-up begin!
Have you been through home upgrades and survived?