WARRENTON — In the kitchen, it’s all about the contemporary — the latest technology and newest features. In the living room, it’s more about classic design and eye-catching color. This summer, home furnishing retailers have seen sales surge as homeowners turn attention toward projects that were delayed during the spring.
Warmer and dryer weather in June and July has ramped up remodeling after an exceptionally wet winter and soggy spring scuttled home improvement projects for many across the Pacific Northwest.
“Summer time is remodel season,” Roby’s Furniture and Appliances Sales & Installation Specialist Austin Hurlburt.
“It’s when people often want to update their furniture and appliances.” The home furnishing business has been a spot of renewed optimism. “Business is going up, and up, and up every month,” Hurlburt said. “It’s been going up and up every month compared to last year and years before.”
At J & S Appliance & Home Furniture in Warrenton, sales have also been strong.
“It seems like more people are moving in, remodeling and getting new appliances,” said manager Brian Tucker.
Property management companies — Beach Property Management, Easom Property Management and Sowins Real Estate and Property Management are among their biggest customers.
“It’s 20 percent service and 80 percent sales,” he said, a shift from when the store first opened in 1976.
“We started out as only service. It’s progressively gone more toward the furniture. About 15 years ago we brought in mattresses which changed the dynamic as well,” Tucker said. While the business approach has changed over the years, customer demand changes with the season. “Tax season is more furniture and summer time is more appliances typically,” he said.
It’s all about clean lines, black stainless steel and big-name brands in the kitchen.
“We’ve been doing a lot more of higher-end business,” Hurlburt said. Demand for upscale appliance brand lines — such as the KitchenAide, Jenn-Air and Sub Zero — has been hot during the summer season. In the living room, furniture featuring bright colors and antique designs aren’t lasting long on the sales floor. The trend has largely been spurred by customers who’ve recently relocated to the area.
“It’s mostly second homeowners — a lot of couples from California and Coast Guard members, Hulburt said. Finer furniture is also in fashion, with older styles making a comeback over the contemporary. Sofas that feature earlier construction styles, such as nailhead trim and rolled arms, have been particularly attractive to buyers.
“We had a bright, red leather sectional that was only on the floor for two hours,” Hurlburt said.
“Trends are coming back.” Bright colors have been increasingly popular, particularly for customized furniture.
“We just did a teal couch with orange piping — color is making a comeback,” Hurlburt said.
If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning dishes effectively or your refrigerator isn’t keeping cool, Hurlburt suggests looking into having the appliance serviced before buying a new one.
“We do installs and service appliances and that’s something that’s changing around here,” Hurlburt said.
“We’re starting to dip our toe in service and it’s been picking up like crazy.” So far they’ve had approximately 100 calls for service and more than 300 for installation. The original diagnosis by a qualified technician is free and any necessary repairs are often less than people realize. Refrigerators are the most common call, particularly in the summer.
“We go out there, test it and see what’s wrong,” Hurlburt said.
“It may mean replacing a $20 part instead of a $600 dishwasher.”