By Jamie Penn
When designing or remodeling an upscale or luxury home, choosing the appropriate deluxe amenities to fit your household should feel, well…luxurious. But, instead, making the call between an outdoor kitchen and a terrace or floor-to-ceiling windows can turn into hours of neck-cramping, late night web-surfing, frenzied flipping through the latest lifestyle magazines featuring the latest design tips, and endless jittery coffee dates with designers and friends.
In hopes of calming the process, we’ve outlined the benefits and the fallbacks of ten of the most popular home amenities for homes in the $500,000-plus range.
- Outdoor Kitchens
Exquisite, full-service outdoor kitchens don’t leave much to be desired. Simple lines, practical layouts, and a beautiful garden backdrop make the home designer’s job easy. Climate can be a concern. And while winters are likely out, in a temperate locale there will be few spring and fall evenings that a stone fireplace couldn’t accommodate long enough for tapas and a cocktail or two.
A terrace is appropriate when one of the highlights of a home is its natural setting, whether it be breathtaking mountain views, coastal or river scenes, or a decadent garden or water feature. Pergolas, lattices, elaborate stonework, and awnings can be integral amenities.
There’s no better way to brighten a room and subsequently the energy of the room. Removing the visual barrier between indoor and outdoor settings can inspire and enhance both creativity and productivity, creating a feeling of expansion.
- Ceiling/Roof Windows
While energy efficiency is still an issue, ceiling or roof windows can accomplish the desired effect of natural lighting without comprising privacy. Roof windows create more light and less exposure and should be considered in rooms with good ventilation. Roof windows are sure to lighten the load in the interior of a home.
- Kitchen Warming Drawer
Warming drawers are increasingly popular in high-functioning kitchens across the United States. Used for warming and slow-cooking foods, every household with a culinary focus could benefit from a warming drawer.
The composition of a family and lifestyle will determine consideration of this option. It’s a great place for some members of the family or guests to “let it all out,” while others can get the reprieve they may need in another part of the house.
- Wine Cooler or Wine Tasting Room
Kind of a “must” for the wine connoisseur or the habitual entertainer. As amenities go, the fairly low-cost wine cooler provides a high return. Or, if you want to enhance the experience or provide more storage for your wine collection, a wine tasting room might be a wise investment.
- Two-Story Foyer
Light and spaciousness can themselves feel luxurious and grand. A two-story foyer instantly sets the stage in a more open floor plan. There is a time and a place for this feature. When implemented, intimacy and privacy give way to openness and exposure.
- Wet Bar
A little Humphrey-Bogart-esque, a wet bar exudes class and sophistication, adding a touch of formality to the home setting. For those mindful of cocktail hours including social entrepreneurs, more traditional professionals, and serial entertainers, a wet bar is a must.
While perhaps one of the most desirable of luxurious amenities, this one probably doesn’t make many lists of the more practically minded. It has few drawbacks aside from the out-of-sight, out-of-mind factor, but is most appropriate in more cramped urban situations.
For the health conscious (or, those aspiring to be!). There’s nothing like getting fit in the comfort of your own home, and if it’s there, it just cuts down on the excuses!