Price Aside, Consumers Want Luxury Kitchens

West Remodeling Inc., of La Crescenta, Calif. recently created an upscale kitchen for a client in Los Angeles. Granite countertops, high-end cabinetry, professional -grade stainless-steel appliances, a decorative tile backsplash, an elaborate blend of ambient and task lighting fixtures, among other luxury finishes, all figured into the program. The result is a spectacularly functional and attractive family living space that looks, feels and lives luxuriously.

“We built our client’s dream come true,” says West’s Diane Rangel. “Our client’s need was to give them a modern and sophisticated look, while keeping in mind that a majority of time at home is spent in the kitchen.”

Years ago, this type of kitchen would have been exclusively the province of wealthy, well-heed consumers. But today, more than in any other room in the house, homeowners of all incomes are spending more on their kitchens. Even those consumers operating within smaller budgets are making trade-offs, going to lower-grade products in some categories in order to pay for one or two high-impact luxury finishes.

With a budget of just over $100,000, West Remodeling’s kitchen client made choices for their kitchen that are very much in line with the results of a new survey conducted on behalf of Qualified Remodeler and Cygnus Business Media by Renovation Experts Inc., a company that connects contractors with customers via its Web site. Late last year, 507 consumers who had recently built or remodeled their homes were asked about the choices they made for their kitchens. Stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, and sophisticated lighting arrangements all topped the list of must-haves.

A detailed list of specific preferences can be found within the 13 charts and graphs in this report.

Good Marks for Kitchen Contractors and Remodelers
The survey also delved into consumers’ opinions about the kitchen design and remodeling process. Consumers say they touch base with three or four contractors before they make a decision about who they want to work with. And, for the most part, consumers are satisfied with the end result. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing the highest and best possible score, consumers gave relatively high marks for overall satisfaction with an average score of 7.54. In terms of “quality of workmanship,” the average score was 7.34. In terms of “fairness” of the price charged, with 10 being “fairest,” the average score was 7.49.

In fact, the only sure way to derail a relationship with a consumer is to consistently delay delivery of the finished product. Of the 185 respondents who said they had experienced problems during the design and construction of their kitchens, 78 traced the problem to “unanticipated delays.” Also high on the list of problems was “additional costs,” 43 and “conflict with contractor or designer,” 31.