Classic or trendy finishes in reno of older units?

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Reading a thread about finishes in new or reno sale properties had me wondering if my approach is fuddy duddy. In my century old buildings I try to go classic and timeless, give the renters what they expect in the place. My rents are $1200-1700 depending on size and location.

I use oak cabinets not only because I can get all wood chinese imports as cheap as the particle board crap from the home center, but because its classic, no one is going to respond strongly like they might to painted, or dark. Same when I use laminate, oak gets no special attention, just registers as "oak floor", where some exotic pattern might get more scrutiny and register as the fake it is. Kinda like wearing too big a fake diamond. Sadly Cosco has discontinued their oak pattern.

It's usually oil rubbed bronze lighting (doesn't show dirt and dust much), antique brass door hardware, stainless and brushed nickel in the kitchen and bath.  Baths are the classic pre-war B&W.

I was reading that granite is over in the trendy crowd. That's crazy, granite is insanely practical and indestructible compared to previous things like Corian or Formica, and now relatively cheap. I do my own granite tile counters, but I may give that up. They're easily repairable, but I've yet to have one damaged.  Another sign I'm a fuddy duddy is a refuse to take the stainless cool-aid for rentals. Black appliances are more durable and lower maintenance. I just had a tenant move out a year after I bought a new fridge, and it was scratched and scraped. I shudder to think what it would have looked like if it was stainless.

Here's my latest.  Funny story about the porcelain floor, I didn't intend it to be bicolor. I had boxes of 6" in tan for the pattern, but the contractor saw the boxes of slate color I had for the backsplash and assumed I wanted it this way! I sputtered when I saw it, but calmed down, returned the tan for more slate, and got used to it.  The "tin" in the bath is plastic, $2.50/ft. No more stained and crumbling drop ceiling panels from leaks.

The only thing I would fee strongly about is the oak cabinets.  I hate the grain of oak in the cabinets, although the color in the picture doesn't necessarily bother me.  It's not what I would pick, but it's not offensive.  I would choose medium color in a maple or birch cabinet.  

Medium buysellinvest.2Dawn Brenengen, Trailwood Realty, LLC | 919‑840‑8692 | http://www.trailwoodrealty.com | Podcast Guest on Show #101

Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen :

The only thing I would fee strongly about is the oak cabinets.  I hate the grain of oak in the cabinets, although the color in the picture doesn't necessarily bother me.  It's not what I would pick, but it's not offensive.  I would choose medium color in a maple or birch cabinet.  

 Fact is, I'm don't think this Chinese "oak" is actually oak, it doesn't have the same strong grain of American oak. I suspect it's an Asian wood they decided was close enough when given a medium finish. And that's OK with me at that price point. FWIW, I compare cab prices by asking for a 30" sink base. That way there's no variables like drawer construction or glides to mess up the comparison. These cabs are $140 for that base.

Here's a crop of the grain: