Open-plan kitchens at­tract buy­ers

A clas­sic, mod­ern look helps when sell­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - BONNY FOURIE

WHILE we may dec­o­rate our homes ac­cord­ing to what we con­sider to be our own choice, we are in­evitably in­flu­enced by trend­ing styles and de­signs.

Times change, and so does ge­og­ra­phy. Some­times what is con­sid­ered at­trac­tive in one sub­urb can be a turn-off in an­other. And then there are the across-the-board deal-clinch­ers that do not de­pend on bud­get or area.

Kitchens and bath­rooms are two key ar­eas for buy­ers. Ly­onelle Ven­ter, of Jawitz Prop­er­ties At­lantic Seaboard, says crisp white and neu­tral tiles are in.

“Sub­way tiles, or ones with sim­ple bor­ders, are the rage. Buy­ers pre­fer not too much of a state­ment, but they are af­ter qual­ity tap fit­tings with wa­ter-wise features, such as wa­ter-sav­ing aer­ated pres­sure.”

Open-plan kitchens: These are still trend­ing, Ven­ter says, as young pro­fes­sion­als pre­fer “eat-in kitchens” with ta­bles that dou­ble up as is­lands. “Large coun­ters are con­sid­ered passé.”

In the south­ern sub­urbs, the open-plan kitchen with mid­dle is­lands is also the trend, says Charne Ship­per, a prop­erty con­sul­tant at Jawitz Prop­er­ties South­ern Sub­urbs.

“Mod­ern kitchens should in­clude soft-touch features, var­i­ous colour op­tions, high gloss or matt fin­ishes, neu­tral colours on door fronts, or adding ac­cents such as natural wood or stain­less steel.”

Kitchens where fridges, dish­wash­ers and other ap­pli­ances are be­hind the join­ery, are also pop­u­lar, says David Co­hen, di­rec­tor of Sig­natura prop­er­ties.

“This pro­vides cleaner lines for open-plan apart­ments so kitchens are not full of non-match­ing ap­pli­ances. Me­tal­ware in black, white and gold, is trend­ing as well.”

A good kitchen adds “tremen­dous al­lure” to a prop­erty, agrees Mike Gre­eff, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Gre­eff Christie’s In­ter­na­tional Real Es­tate.

Bianca Arns­meyer, sales man- ager for Ber­man Broth­ers Prop­er­ties, says when de­sign­ing kitchens it is im­por­tant to choose styles that will not date.

“A com­mon theme nowa­days for the kitchen and bath­room is a clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary style, and we are also see­ing peo­ple drawn to mod­ern ex­pres­sions that in­clude the use of wood,” she says.

Qual­ity bath­room fin­ishes: Ship­per says the master bath­room should have room for a shower, bath, dou­ble van­ity and sep­a­rate toilet.

“Pop­u­lar features in­clude slip­per baths, im­ported tiles and taps, mar­ble tops, heated towel rails, frame­less show­ers, large shower heads and steam show­ers.”

Co­hen says peo­ple love walk-in show­ers where there is no door, just a fixed piece of glass. And not ev­ery sur­face or wall in a bath­room needs to be tiled.

Open-plan and airy: Ven­ter says sunny, open lounges with high ceil­ings and large win­dows – ide­ally with study nooks – are ap­peal­ing.

Ship­per says peo­ple like open­plan liv­ing ar­eas that flow out onto en­closed pa­tios.

Arns­meyer says alu­minium win­dows and frames are pop­u­lar as they pro­vide long-last­ing qual­ity while giv­ing struc­tures a more de­fined look and feel.

Alu­minium win­dow frames are es­pe­cially im­por­tant for coastal prop­er­ties as they do not rust.

Ship­per adds: “North- fac­ing, open-plan liv­ing ar­eas with large win­dows and sky­lights help to pre­serve heat, thus sav­ing en­ergy. Ecofriendly homes are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. Features such as LED light­ing, so­lar heat­ing, so­lar gey­sers, dou­ble-glazed win­dows, bore­hole and gen­er­a­tors add value.”

Sandy Gef­fen, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty in South Africa, agrees. Most buy­ers still pre­fer open-plan liv­ing ar­eas with large win­dows and floor-to-ceil­ing glass slid­ing doors to max­imise natural light, she says. “In­creas­ingly im­por­tant is a seam­less flow be­tween the in­te­rior and out­door en­ter­tain­ment area which be­comes an ex­ten­sion of the liv­ing area.”

Co­hen says “open-plan” is also chang­ing to “bro­ken plan”, where ar­eas that are still open to each other are also clearly de­fined in terms of func­tion, through ceil­ing, floor and light­ing de­tails.

Added value: Gef­fen agrees that there has been a no­table in­crease in the de­sire for eco-friendly sys­tems that save wa­ter and re­duce en­ergy costs. Se­cu­rity features are also a grow­ing pri­or­ity.

Gre­eff says garages add value too: “Of all the home al­ter­ations pos­si­ble, the ad­di­tion of a garage is prob­a­bly the most de­sir­able.

“An in­crease in crime has made on-street park­ing more risky, and buy­ers want a home with se­cure park­ing fa­cil­i­ties. Also garag­ing your ve­hi­cle overnight means you’ll save on in­surance pre­mi­ums.”

In the City Bowl, apart­ments with garages will sell for around R150 000 more than those with­out, Gre­eff says. In ar­eas like Lyn­frae and Clare­mont, a dou­ble garage can push prices up by as much as R200 000.

“In the south­ern sub­urbs, garages are ex­pected. Many buy­ers will not even look at a home with­out a garage.”

Unique features are im­por­tant if you want your prop­erty to stand out, says Arns­meyer.

“Pri­vate pools and Jacuzzis are great for the gar­den. In ad­di­tion to ex­cel­lent se­cu­rity, hav­ing a smart home con­nected to the in­ter­net is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in many up­mar­ket prop­er­ties.”

Large bal­conies: These, along with en­closed pa­tios with built-in braais are also “ideal”, agents say.

An out­side space is still valu­able, es­pe­cially for apart­ment blocks, says Arns­meyer. “Although many bal­conies have been en­closed, we still hear buyer de­mand for a bal­cony as it al­lows for braaing, smok­ing, pets and pot plants.”

Large gar­dens are no longer a strong sell­ing fea­ture. Gef­fen says Cape Town buy­ers opt for north-fac­ing prop­er­ties as they op­ti­mise warmth and sun­shine while of­fer­ing pro­tec­tion from south-east­er­lies.

Neu­tral fin­ishes: Co­hen says de­vel­op­ers try to ap­peal to large au­di­ences by keep­ing apart­ments rel­a­tively neu­tral.

“We try to have some great fea­ture in the land­scap­ing and the com­mon ar­eas. There is noth­ing bet­ter than walk­ing into a new de­vel­op­ment that has es­tab­lished trees.”

Fin­ishes that im­press buy­ers in­clude floor­ing like Og­gie sus­tain­able tim­ber.

Arns­meyer adds: “It is im­por­tant not to skimp when choos­ing the fit­tings and fin­ishes as they are of­ten one of the first things a buyer no­tices. Choos­ing some­thing that has a clas­sic or con­tem­po­rary look is safe, and any fit­tings and fin­ishes that ex­ude style and at­ten­tion to de­tail will gen­er­ally ex­cite buy­ers.”


An open-plan kitchen like this one in a home in No­ord­hoek is high on the wish lists of most buy­ers and is even more de­sir­able since the scullery is hid­den around the cor­ner.


Buy­ers want bal­conies, es­pe­cially if they can be used for en­ter­tain­ing or ad­mir­ing a view.

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