Classic Townhouse Renovation Strategies

Image by: Michael Kolomatsky/The New York Times
Image by: Michael Kolomatsky/The New York Times

Image by: Michael Kolomatsky/The New York Times

The following is an excerpt from Mondays with Dexter:
Classic Townhouse Renovation Strategies.


Not long ago, I spotted some good advice in the ‘Q and A’ column in the Real Estate section of The New York Times. The question was about whether an expensive, trendy renovation was a good idea, or whether it might look dated in a few years.

I thought the NYT’s advice was spot-on:

“Choose classic finishes…that will still be popular a decade from now. Let your personal flair shine in elements like light fixtures and paint color, which can be readily swapped when you eventually stage your [home] for sale.”

Here is my additional advice for those who plan on holding long-term before selling:

1) Don’t do a renovation that you don’t want to live with. Double-height ceilings, for example, add drama while subtracting bedroom space. If a two-bedroom townhouse doesn’t make sense for your family, it might not make sense for buyers either.

2) If your home has character, keep the best details. Not every townhouse needs a painstaking restoration. On the other hand, stained glass skylights and mosaic fireplaces add real character. By preserving the best details, you can save your renovation from being boring.

3) Don’t renovate the kitchen unless you plan on staying. I differ from The New York Times on this one. Kitchen renovations are by far the most costly of all home updates, and you should not expect make your money back. Do these renovations for your own lifestyle, not as an investment.

We work with professional stagers who can help you. See this recent article for more staging advice.

- Dexter

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