Convenience is the name of the game when outfitting a home with state-of-the-art technology
What’s the first feature that comes to mind when you think of luxury homes?
Sprawling outdoor spaces and expansive floor plans are just as synonymous with luxury homes as high-tech features, which make these living spaces convenient to live in and, in some cases, eco-friendly.
“More luxury buyers want a home with amenities for themselves and dedicated spaces for not just sleeping and dining, but also working out and working from home,” said Leah Canfield, broker associate at Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties. “Home offices and home gyms are even more in demand after COVID. People have an increase in demand for privacy, which can mean larger lots, thoughtfully designed architecture, sheltered outdoor space, lots of landscaping.”
So what are some of the high-tech features commonly found in luxury homes? First, let’s start with some of the basics.
The two most common features in luxury homes are automatic window coverings and audio packages.
Jay Stein, owner of Audio-Video Solutions in Breckenridge, said the majority of his clients are building or outfitting homes valued at $2 million plus and that most of his clients want features that make their lives easier. For example, in homes with lots of lighting, installing a bunch of individual switches can be a hassle.
“Lots of wall switches create wall clutter,” Stein said. “The ability to remove all those switches from the wall and replace them with a single, elegant keypad that can control a scene, or group of lights, accomplishes not only reducing wall clutter but ease of operation. And all this can be accessed from an app on an iPad or phone, too.”
Another feature commonly found in luxury homes is automated shades or lighting.
“We can set the trim on the light output so energy is saved, install vacancy sensors so the lights turn off when no one is home and set exterior lighting up on a time clock,” Stein said. “We can do the same thing with shades. Automated shading not only prevents the hardwood floors and furniture from getting damaged by bleaching from the sun, but also helps keep the house cool during the day, and warm at night.”
Zane Levin, architect at Collective Design Group based in Frisco, agreed that these two features are usually where the conversation begins.
“That’s definitely where we start,” Levin said. “I’d say 99% of our homes choose some selection of those automated lighting and shades and a speaker system or audio throughout.”
So what is considered unique in luxury homes? Stein said some extraordinary components to luxury homes are focused on how items are stored when not in use.
“Some of the more unique things we do are TVs that look like artwork when off, TVs behind mirrors in bathrooms or bar areas, and TVs that pop up out of custom cabinetry or lower down on a motorized lift when above a fireplace,” Stein said. “We recently did a project in Steamboat Springs that has a 75-inch TV that lifts up out of the floor, so the spectacular view is not blocked when the TV is off.”
Some splurges in luxury homes are more focused on sustainability: Levin said his team frequently talks with clients about a hot water recirculating water loop, energy recovery ventilators that help circulate stale air, and automatic thermostats that can be programmed for certain times of the day or year — or even for different rooms.
Besides these, Levin said some other unique features his team has worked on include building out specialty rooms.
“We often do the kind of standard office or the exercise room, but (we’ve even gone a) step further to a specialized theater room,” Levin said. “We’ve had clients that, for their profession, edit video or create movies in some fashion and want a very specific and designated theater-style space in order to do that.”
Other features include wine cellars, heated patios or driveways, hands-free faucets, electric car chargers and toilet-bidet combos.
This story previously published in the June/July edition of Summit County Home magazine.
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