Among the super-rich, there is little appetite for off-the-rack décor, with homeowners preferring to put their own stamp on a home via uber-customisation. No matter how high-end the kitchen and bathroom, many wealthy new homeowners already plan to tear out any pre-existing furnishing and re-design the space to their own liking.
As a result, sellers in prime luxury real estate markets like New York and Los Angeles are increasingly stripping out their properties before listing. This new strategy, known as ‘white boxing’, is becoming increasingly popular as agents recognise that homes which offer their new owners a blank canvas on which to make their mark are actually considered to be more valuable to ultra-wealthy home buyers.
The white-boxing trend means that the new owner can immediately begin redesigning their space without having to spend time and money removing the previous homeowners’ décor. Furthermore, an empty home eases any environmental concerns a buyer may have about the waste associated with stripping out existing high-end furnishing and amenities.
It appears that these ‘blank canvases’ are also more appealing to architects and designers as it is easier to create computer-generated images and virtual renderings of potential designs when the space is empty.
The Know spoke to local South African designer Kate Moffatt from Hint Décor, about her thoughts regarding this international trend.
“It’s a very interesting concept. What is prevalent in buying a home is that nine times out of 10 the new owner doesn’t like the interiors or style of the house and ends up changing it to suit their own style. This is especially so with more affluent buyers who have the budget to start all over again with every move. So white boxing might be a reason for people to look at their renovations differently and consider how they can become movable while also being conscious of reducing, reusing and recycling. It’s probably the way of the future,” says Moffatt.