KBB - October 2013 - (Page 48)
When the Parents Pay,
Who’s in Charge?
A client visited our showroom recently and said, “I need your help in
remodeling my daughter’s bathroom.” At first I thought he was talking
about a secondary bathroom in his own home, but I soon realized he
was describing the home of his adult daughter, who was married.
While this parent knew a lot more about his daughter’s morning
routine than most spouses, he was my first encounter with a new trend:
parents who pay to remodel their adult children’s homes. He wrote the
design retainer check, attended all of the meetings and eventually paid
the entire bill for the remodel, even though the design decisions were all
made by the homeowners.
The homeowner’s parents paid to remodel this master bathroom, a trend
observed by many designers. Remodeled by Kitchen Places of Ventura, Calif.,
the bathroom features alder wood cabinets, quartz countertops and a mirror
backlit with fluorescent lamps.
Today’s baby boomer-age parents are doing a lot more to help their
children, which is a trend noted by many kitchen and bath designers,
and I have already designed three parent-funded projects this year. As
the aforementioned father, a retired firefighter, said, “My kids have huge
student loan bills, and they don’t make a lot of money yet. I’m just happy
to be able to help.”
Maria Stapperfenne, CKD CBD, of Tewksbury Kitchen & Bath in New
York, shared a similar experience.
Quartz was used in the shower for the floating
bench and pony wall cap. Porcelain tile is
accented with a glass mosaic on the walls.
“I worked with the client and her parents at the first meeting, but the
final meeting was with just her parents,” she said. “They will be bringing
everything back to their daughter, who will then sign off to me, but the
parents have already agreed to the amenities and design revisions, as
well as leaving me the payment. They claim that they are happy they are
still around and able to do this for their kids while they can enjoy it.”
Laurie Burke, an account manager with ProSource Wholesale
Floorcoverings in Las Vegas, also recognized the trend.
“Families often utilize the gift tax exemption as a shelter,” she added.
In 2013, individuals may receive up to $14,000 per year without paying
a federal gift tax. Parents may also combine their gifts so mom and dad
may contribute up to $28,000 in a calendar year to one adult child.
Jane Scammon of Sterritt Design in Boston worked with a couple who
owned a duplex and were remodeling both units. One was for their son
and his wife and kids to move into; the other for themselves.
“It was very funny to see how much the parents would permit the
son’s wife to make selections,” she said, “and while not stating it outright,
they were adamant about spending more on their own unit than that of
Frank Iaria of Mint Kitchens by Designwize in Melbourne, Australia, has
sold two such projects.
“In both my cases, it was a roundtable discussion with all involved,
but ultimately the parents let the adult child and spouse make the final
decisions on selections and appliances,” he said.
The most important thing to consider when selling a project that is
bankrolled by the non-inhabiting parents is the paperwork. Rebecca
Gullion Lindquist, CMKBD, owner of Lindquist & Company in Duluth, Minn.,
designed a luxury remodel for a woman who took up residence in her
mother’s home and accepted a down payment from the mother’s trust
fund. The mother was in a full-time care facility, so the check was soon
halted by the bank – the trustee – which said the daughter did not have
the authority to make capital improvements.
“Be sure to verify who the owner of the home is prior to starting a
remodeling project,” said Gullion.
Even if the parents say they are paying for the project, the property
owner is responsible for all payments. Make sure you have the right
signatures on your contract. n
— Ronni Fryman is a designer with Kitchen Places of Ventura, Calif., and she
has been in the remodeling industry for nearly 20 years.
October 2013 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - October 2013
KBB - October 2013
Show Director’s Note
Celebrity Design with...Nicole Curtis
Reader’s Choice Awards
KBIS Countdown to Design & Construction Week
Let there be Light
KBB - October 2013