5 ‘Dream Kitchen’ Upgrades That Homeowners Tend to Regret | Kanebridge News
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5 ‘Dream Kitchen’ Upgrades That Homeowners Tend to Regret

Are you lusting over the costly custom features that are flooding social media—from pot-fillers to library ladders? According to design pros, many are just plain silly.

By SOPHIE DONELSON
Mon, Aug 14, 2023 8:54amGrey Clock 3 min

A YEAR AGO I found myself teetering demi-pointe on the soapstone counter of my newly renovated kitchen wondering why I had asked for cupboards up so high.

Why had I fallen prey to the Instagram Reels and TikTok videos that malign the gap between cabinets and ceiling? My top cupboards, which hiked the cost of my cabinets about 35%, finished the millwork handsomely, but they were basically unusable.

Before you, too, succumb to custom-kitchen lust, here are five “must-haves” that design pros, and some reality-checked clients, say you almost certainly don’t need.

1. Continent-Sized Kitchen Islands

When rapper Cardi B revealed her new New Jersey kitchen island on Twitter, now X, she strutted across its surface—and got quite a ways without even nearing the edge of what appears to be a six-slab marble behemoth. In marginally less flamboyant kitchens across America, islands of 15 to 18 feet, roughly the size of SUVs, roost.

Debbie Travis, a veteran host of home-design TV, wanted one for a villa in Tuscany where she welcomes guests for retreats. Her self-described vision: a 16-foot counter surrounded by “a dozen women making pasta, drinking prosecco and laughing.” With the dishwasher and sink on one side and the stove on the other, she says she’s “constantly pushing the cutting board across the island and running left or right to the other side.”

Said Atlanta-based kitchen designer Matthew Quinn of these expansive surfaces, “You literally have to use a Swiffer to clean the middle.”

2. Pot Fillers

“A wall-mounted faucet near a range in theory is great because you can fill a big pot with water and not have to carry it from the sink,” says Christopher Peacock, owner of an eponymous luxury cabinet company in New York. “But it’s ridiculous,” he pointed out. After you’re done, say, boiling several pounds of pasta, you have to carry the pot to the sink to drain the water. “For $5,000, this one’s often a complete waste of time.”

If you don’t use the tap frequently enough, Quinn warns, “you have to open the valve, drain it into a vessel and dump out that water, which will be full of sediment.”

3. Over-Glowing Pantries

“LED-lit shelves and drawers are huge,” said Jaqui Seerman. The interior designer says her Los Angeles studio creates pantries in which everything is decanted and then lit like a boutique. “A surge of people are asking themselves, ‘If I’m creating a Reel of myself cooking, how does the olive oil look and how does its background look too,’ ” she said, “but it’s vanity, not utility.”

4. Workstation Sinks

Brands from Delta to the Galley, a high-end purveyor, offer workstation sinks—trough-size basins up to 7 feet long with myriad inset components, including cutting boards, colanders, dish racks and entertaining kits rife with metal ramekins. Moving the parts looks cool on video.

The drawbacks? De-gunking the slim horizontal ledges and tight corners that support the layers of add-ons, not to mention storing these accoutrements. And those cutting boards? Architect-builder Robert M. Berger, in Westport, Conn., says they’ll often discolour, stain and warp. He advises sanding and treating them with mineral oil pre-use.

Quinn objects to the ergonomics. “We designers create work zones and task areas for comfort and efficiency,” he said, “and now everyone’s jammed into the sink trying to cut and prep and wash.”

5. Library Ladders

They may evoke sweetly analog book stores and reading rooms, but in a kitchen, library ladders “are 98% charm, 2% utility,” said Peacock.

Colleen Silverthorn had designer Meredith Heron install a single ladder that hooks onto rails in the kitchen, laundry and family room in her Regina, Saskatchewan, home. “You need two hands to bring down anything, but you have to hang on while you’re up there, so you only have one,” she admits. “It’s absolutely beautiful [but] doesn’t work at all in the kitchen.” In the other rooms she uses it to retrieve wrapping paper or books, “anything you can toss down onto the floor.”

Sophie Donelson is the author of “Uncommon Kitchens: A Revolutionary Approach to the Most Popular Room in the House” (Abrams).



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UAE Residential Market Review Shows Strong Growth and Record Transactions in Q1 2024

The total transaction volume in Abu Dhabi for the first quarter of the year reached 2,795.

Thu, May 16, 2024 4 min

The CBRE Middle East, a global leader in commercial real estate services and investments, released its latest edition of the UAE Residential Market Review for the first quarter of 2024.

Abu Dhabi Market Overview

During the first quarter of the year, the total volume of transactions in Abu Dhabi stood at 2,795, registering a 22.6% increase compared to the year prior. This increase has been underpinned by an 18.1% rise in off-plan sales and a 34.5% rise in secondary market sales. In the year to Q1 2024, Abu Dhabi’s average apartment and villa prices increased by 4.3% and 2.3%, respectively.

Abu Dhabi’s rental market witnessed a total of 46,130 residential rental contracts in Q1 2024, registering a decline of 10.9% from the year prior. This has been due to a 15.5% decline in the number of renewed rental contracts registered and a 2.4% drop in new rental registrations over the same period. In the year to Q1 2024, average apartment and villa rents have increased by 4.5% and 1.1%, respectively. On the supply front, only 80 units have been delivered in Abu Dhabi in the first three months of the year, with all of this new stock being in Al Raha Beach. An additional 8,660 units are expected to be completed by year-end with 55.8% of this scheduled stock located in Yas Island, Al Sowwah, and Al Shamkha.

Dubai Market Insights

In Dubai, price growth has continued to accelerate during the first quarter of 2024, with average prices increasing by 20.7% in the year to March 2024. Throughout this period, average apartment and villa prices increased by 20.4% and 22.1%, respectively. Although headline average sales rates are still marginally below the 2014 highs by 0.1%, several prominent residential neighbourhoods have already surpassed their 2014 figures.

As of March 2024, average apartment prices stood at AED 1,486 per square foot, and average villa prices reached AED 1,776 per square foot. Average villa sales rates are currently above their 2014 baseline by 22.9%. Rental growth has also gained momentum in 2024, after a period of moderation in 2023. In March 2024, average residential rents registered a year-on-year increase of 21.2%, up from the 20.4% growth registered a month earlier. Over this period, average apartment and villa rental rates grew by 22.1% and 14.5%, respectively. Data from the Dubai Land Department revealed that, in the year to date to March 2024, the total number of rental registrations stood at 159,941, marking an increase of 5.8% from the previous year. As for supply, a total of 6,526 units were delivered in the first quarter of the year, with 59.7% of this supply being located in Meydan One, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Al Furjan. A further 46,086 are expected to be handed over the remainder of the year. However, given historic materialisation rates, the report expects that a limited portion of this upcoming stock will come online as planned.

Record-Breaking Transactions

March 2024 witnessed another record in Dubai’s residential market, with transaction volumes reaching the highest monthly figure on record, marking a year-on-year growth of 13.2%. Throughout this period, off-plan sales and secondary market sales increased by 20.2%, and secondary market sales increased by 2.2%.

In the first quarter of 2024, Dubai’s total transaction volumes reached 35,310. This is the highest total ever recorded in the first quarter of the year, marking an increase of 20.5% from the year prior. Over this period, off-plan transactions recorded an increase of 23.9%, and secondary market transactions rose by 15.2%.

However, in Q1 2024, the total number of sales transactions within the prime market segment registered a decline of 2.1% compared to the year prior. Throughout this period, super-prime transactions recorded a drop of 16.5% year-on-year to stand at a total of 227. These declines witnessed in both markets have been largely underpinned by significant declines in off-plan sales largely attributable to the high levels of demand for off-plan properties and the limited level of upcoming supply. In terms of performance, in the first quarter of 2024, average prime prices registered a year-on-year increase of 16.0%, standing at an average of AED 4,661 per square foot, and average super-prime prices grew by 14.8% over this period, reaching AED 4,978 per square foot.

Taimur Khan, CBRE’s Head of Research MENA in Dubai

Future Projections 

Looking ahead, CBRE expects Dubai’s residential sales market to maintain its upward trajectory. Prices in both the apartment and villa segments of the market will continue to grow, however, not at the same pace. On the rental front, we forecast that residential rents will continue to increase. That being said, the rate of growth will likely moderate.

Taimur Khan, CBRE’s Head of Research MENA in Dubai, comments: “The UAE’s residential market started the year on a relatively strong note, where the elevated demand levels continue to drive performance. The strong levels of activity and high absorption levels, which have reduced available supply, will continue to support price growth in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai over the remainder of the year. In terms of rental growth, we expect that rental rates in Abu Dhabi will continue to rise, with prime areas set to outperform the market. In Dubai, residential rents will continue to increase; however, not at the same rate that we have been seeing to date, and we expect that the rate of change will diminish in the second half of the year.”

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