By Natalie Weinstien, ASID
Long Island building and rebuilding is on the rise. Homeowners are now, more than ever, inclined to purchase “fixer-uppers” for less money and undergo renovations, especially kitchens and baths, with the help of certified designers, architects, and contractors to improve the value of their investment and get exactly what they want. Homeowners are finding their style on the internet before shopping or seeking design advice. Homeowners have become more inclined to go “green” because green product costs have gone down.
Because there are so many more over “55 communities”, seniors are staying on Long Island and downsizing as well as buying smaller homes. Many are giving or “selling” their homes to children who couldn’t really afford to live here. (Now seniors are babysitting their young grandchildren so both parents can work to afford a better Long Island lifestyle.) Seniors are also renovating their homes to accommodate returning adult children (and their families) who are not able to purchase a home yet, allowing them to save for one.
As a new high end furniture consignment store owner, I see young people as well as older people buying good quality previously owned furniture, online and at the premises, to meet their budgets rather than buying new poorly made cheap furniture. But younger homeowners are not interested in keeping the “collectibles” of crystal, china, Lladros, etc. that their parents and grandparents amassed. The value of these items, therefore, has gone down and those who have become collectors are buying these items for a fraction of their original value.
Unfortunately, there is a trend, today, towards “disposability” - the notion that nothing needs to last. “We buy cheap, have the kids wreck it, and then throw it out and get something else.” Some big box stores promote the savings, but there are no savings because there is no value. Instead it promotes a generation that doesn’t appreciate quality and its worth, and doesn’t care for or take pride in their homes. The role of the professionals in the design world, more than ever, should be to educate the public – to help them know the differences in what they are buying and opt for quality as well as value, understanding the true worth of their homes as a way to empower and nurture all who live there. The good news is – we’re making progress!