Prior to the recession of 2007-2008, the luxury home market was operating on the “bigger is better” principle, but today, even the wealthiest buyers are seeking or building smaller homes with unique and sometimes extravagant amenities. These buyers don’t want the hassle of furnishing and maintaining a larger home – especially when half of the rooms go mostly unused. Status is now expressed and reflected by location and amenities rather than size alone. If you are seeking a to buy or build a luxury home with all the amenities in Central Florida, contact an experienced Florida homebuilder to discuss your many options and possibilities.
What kind of amenities are the wealthiest consumers demanding? It’s probably not what you would imagine. As soon as a trend becomes popular, it’s no longer special or unique, and the rich find new interests. For example, if you think that a built-in espresso maker in the chef’s kitchen is cutting-edge, you’re about ten years behind the curve. Today, the wildly wealthy want a full coffee bar – basically a built-in mini-Starbucks. And it’s no longer enough to have a spa-like master bathroom. Instead, the wealthiest are demanding complete, built-in spas. What are the most popular and unique amenities right now, and what are the trends? Here are some answers:
- THE LIVE-IN CLOSET
Thirty years ago, merely having a walk-in closet was considered extravagant. Then some homeowners converted entire bedrooms into closets, and the walk-in closet became routine and boring. Today, closets are “doing more” than you perhaps ever imagined. Showroom styling, plush couches, elaborate makeup stations, kitchenettes, and even elevators are elements of the “live-in” closets that wealthy buyers are demanding in huge numbers. In fact, one Hollywood celebrity is reportedly putting a 5,000-square-foot closet in the new home she’s building in the greater Orlando area.
- SPECIALTY BARS
The wet bar is yesterday’s news. The specialty bar is what today’s affluent homebuyers want, but it’s more than a few stools and a counter, and a style and theme are imperative. You might opt for a wine bar with a south-of-France motif, a sports bar that feels like a luxury box at a stadium, or a juice bar with a tropical theme. One Hollywood star reportedly is building a second specialty bar – a milkshake and fruit juice bar for his kids.
- A SECOND “SHOW” KITCHEN
For most of us, keeping up with one kitchen is quite sufficient, thank you. Why would anyone want a second kitchen? Because show kitchens are the trend. The idea is one kitchen for the family, the kids, and the routine meals, and a second kitchen – more like a Food Network set – where you hire a professional or celebrity chef to “perform” for your friends and guests. Another trend is the outdoor kitchen – you can’t have a pool party without one. And it goes without saying that top-of-the-line appliances are a must.
- GALLERY GARAGES
If you still think that a five-car garage is a trendy luxury, think again. Today’s luxury garage is a plush showroom for showing off the luxury car collection, complete with climate controls and a turntable – so that your friends can enjoy looking at your Bentley or Rolls without actually having to walk around it. Some luxury car enthusiasts even merge their gallery garage with an automotive-themed specialty bar.
- BATHROOMS OF THE FUTURE
If you’re one of the wealthiest homebuyers today, a high-tech bathroom is essential. Beverly Hills “realtor to the stars,” Jade Hill says, “The master bathroom has long been known as an in-home sanctuary where you can retreat after a long day and relax in your spa tub or steam shower. Now, you can make that space that much more luxurious with the help of smart technologies.” You can turn your clear-glass shower opaque, quickly up warm cold floors with radiant heat, warm towels instantly, and turn your mirror into a television – and back into a mirror, on command.
- ULTRA-LUXURY SPAS
Saunas, spa tubs, and massage rooms are so 1990s now. Today’s ultra-luxurious, in-home spas can comprise an entire floor and even include an indoor pool, an indoor meditation garden, or a room with Himalayan salt bricks that are supposed to reverse the room’s ionization – or something like that – purportedly for your health, relaxation, and peace of mind. The famous Hacienda de la Paz in Los Angeles – a palatial private residence that listed in 2013 for $53 million – has a 10,000-square-foot underground spa.
- YOUR OWN GYM
Signing up at a gym, forking over a monthly fee, fighting traffic every day to get there, changing in a humid locker room – who needs it? Today’s luxury home inevitably includes a private fitness room with all of the equipment you need, from weights and treadmills to indoor pools and saunas. Some of the wealthiest stars have even built indoor basketball courts adjacent to their private gyms.
- THE THEATER AND GAME ROOM
What home is complete without your own miniature movie theater? State of the art movie theaters are increasingly popular in multi-million dollar homes. For a genuine theater experience, some of the uber-wealthy build snack bars – with popcorn machines and hot butter – adjacent to the home theater. Theatrical seating is fine, but some prefer a home theater with tables and restaurant-style seating. Some also combine the home theater with a game room that includes a pool table and “classic” pinball machines.
WHAT’S POPULAR NOW IN KITCHENS AND OUTDOOR SPACES?
In the top price range, outside amenities are as important as indoor amenities. In Florida, and especially when it’s not summertime, patios, porches, decks, and backyards are key entertainment spaces. A built-in barbecue grill is only the start. A smoker, a refrigerator, a wood-burning pizza oven, and a full bar are must-have outdoor amenities today. The outdoor TV screen with surround-sound is also growing in popularity.
Cutting-edge high-tech kitchen appliances are essential, and multiple refrigerators and dishwashers are not at all unusual. An “island” in the center of the kitchen is absolutely essential in today’s luxury home. The wealthiest homebuyers also seek the stylish yet high-quality appliances made by manufacturers like Viking, Dacor, Wolf, Thermador, Miele, Sub-Zero, Bosch, and Jenn-Air.
WHAT ABOUT DETAILING?
When it comes to detailing, quality is key. High-end textures are quite popular, meaning more use of “raw stone” on walls or even glass along with imported woods. Also popular – customized finishes on ceilings and even on baseboards. Detailed and craftsman-like built-in cabinets and paneling not only look good, but they provide a beauty that’s durable and lasting. Obviously, these kinds of amenities are dreams for most of us, but if you are building a home in central Florida, contact and speak with an experienced Florida homebuilder who can probably help you squeeze in one or two special amenities, even if you’re not part of the international jet set.