Cover story: Home projects with an eye to resale value

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Wearing his builder hat, Mr. Zorc said more than half of his new homes are going with light-colored painted cabinets.

“They’re off-white or cream,” he said, adding that this look is more flexible for making other changes in the kitchen. “You can change the floor color, change the backsplash, change the counters.”

Mr. Lloyd said light painted cabinets are a good choice for smaller kitchens because they make the whole room appear lighter and more open, but he conceded that he is seeing darker cabinets in larger kitchens.

“Either way, you don’t want to go with in-between colors - no maples, no honey woods - that looks dated,” he said.

Mr. Zorc pointed out that Washingtonians once were enamored of walnut cabinetry, but that trend is waning.

“Natural wood-grain cabinets can be tricky because then you’re stuck trying to match up the floorboards,” he said.

Many homes in the Washington area have three-quarter-inch oak hardwood floors, Mr. Lloyd said, noting that it’s well worth the money to refinish them.

“Don’t put a laminate finish over the hardwood because that can’t be sanded off and refinished,” he said. “Don’t put an artificial wood like Pergo over them.”

Mr. Zorc agreed that laminated and veneered factory-finished woods are not the way to go.

“These are susceptible to heel marks and delamination with water damage,” he said, adding that a new line of vinyl composition tile has the look of hardwood and is available in various grains, colors and lengths. “These are great on concrete floors in basements.”

Mr. Huggins said not everyone is a fan of hardwood floors. “It’s 50-50 between hardwood and carpeting,” he said.

But Ms. Chevalier said hardwood is still a must-have, especially when it comes to the main level.

“Possibly, some people might want carpeting in the bedrooms,” she said.

When it comes to carpeting, Mr. Lloyd said it’s best to go with a solid neutral with no wild textures.

Mr. Zorc agreed that neutral, light-colored carpeting is best, and he advised steering clear of Berber because the carpet’s loops are easily torn and it shows wear in high-traffic areas.

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