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Latest ultra-luxe features to boost your home’s value

By Geoff Smith

Over the past few years, our homes have become more than a sanctuary – we are creating flexible spaces that allow us to live, socialise, work and relax at our own pace, in our own style. Here, we look at six design features that give your luxury home that extra edge, enhancing your lifestyle and boosting your investment.

Home gyms

Home gyms these days are much more than a spare room with an exercise bike; not only can you choose high-tech equipment tailored to your personal fitness needs, the design of the space itself is key to making it somewhere you really want to spend time working out.

When you consult an architect or interior designer to create your ideal home gym, here are the basic elements to discuss:

How you’ll use it: Do you need separate, fully equipped zones for, say, weights, cardio and Pilates? Or is a simple space for yoga and relaxation sufficient?

Steam room/sauna: If you have plenty of space, incorporating a well-designed steam room, sauna or shower area adds a luxury spa element to your home gym.

Lighting: It’s vital to get this right, for safety and to create the ambience you require.

Mirrors: These maximise the sense of space and light, as well as being design features.

Flooring: It must be hard-wearing, shock-absorbing and non-slip; look for rubber tiles and matting overlays from specialist stores such as Verve Fitness.

Storage: You’ll need somewhere to store yoga mats, towels, weights and more.

Home Theatres

Lockdowns and covid restrictions made home entertainment more central to our lives than ever before, and the trend for in-home cinemas and theatres hasn’t waned. Contemporary home-theatre rooms range from the full professional cinema set-up to a good-sized family room fitted out with well-placed seating and your choice of audio-visual equipment. In fact, the audio-visual equipment is integral to the design of the space as it drives everything from the style and placement of seating (for optimum audio-visual results) to cabling, external light sources, internal lighting, speaker location and acoustics. A rectangular room is best for sound projection, as a square one produces strange sound distortions – and flooring is another important consideration for acoustics.

Professional design and installation is a must; check out companies such as superdraft.com.au,  mccormickconcepts.com and universalhometheatre.com.au for inspiration.

Wine Cellars

Very few Australian houses are built with dedicated wine cellars so if you’re an avid collector or keen quaffer, a custom-designed wine cellar is the way to go. There are several major factors to consider when designing and equipping a wine cellar, and once again, this is a project for the professionals.

The ideal situation for a wine cellar is on the ground floor adjoining an outside wall, but other important considerations include space (how many bottles do you intend to store?); temperature (in general, the ideal temperature for long-term or short-term wine storage is around 55ºF (13ºC), but this can vary from wine to wine); protection from UV (UV rays from direct sunlight can damage wine’s flavours and aromas); and humidity (if the atmosphere is too dry, corks can dry out, leaving the wine vulnerable to the effects of oxygen, while higher humidity can cause labels to peel off making wines difficult to display or sell).

A well-designed wine cellar will last for decades, create an interesting design element and add value to your home when you decide to sell. Check out Sydney company Signature Cellars for more info.

In-Home Lifts

In-home lifts are becoming quite a thing in newly built houses as well as being retrofitted into older houses. They are ideal for houses built on steeply sloping sites, for baby boomers who are planning to future-proof their homes by making them functional well into retirement, and for home-owners who want to transform a property with several storeys into a multi-generational home.

Contemporary designs are sleek and stylish and a lift that carries two people doesn’t occupy too much valuable floorspace. Advances in technology mean noise is not an issue and lift shafts are not always required, particularly with pneumatic elevators. For more about pneumatic elevators, visit directlifts.com.au. The Lift Shop has a showroom in Sydney and a comprehensive website that answers a lot of questions.

It is important to choose a manufacturer-installer that is reasonably local, for maintenance and service purposes, and it’s always advisable to consult a reputable architect.

Pools

It’s no secret that the demand for backyard pools and spas has never been higher – another consequence of the lifestyle changes brought by the pandemic. In the luxury home market, there is significant demand for bespoke pools that both add to your property’s value and enhance your lifestyle. Design trends include:

The natural look: Landscapers are using plants, rocks and waterfall features to make pools blend in with their surroundings.

Dark finishes: Bright-blue interiors are out – especially if you’re going for the natural look – more subtle dark blues, grey-greens and variegated surfaces are in.

Horizon pools: Seamless edges add an exclusive retreat-style look to your pool area.

Swim jets: These can be custom-built and installed in existing pools, especially lap pools, for personal fitness routines.

Plunge pools: Bigger than a spa but not intended for laps, plunge pools can be both functional and decorative.

Mineral pools: using mineral additives to your pool water (generally magnesium chloride, sodium chloride and potassium chloride) reduces the need for chlorine by about half. Less maintenance is required and swimming in mineral pool water is much better for your skin, eyes and hair.

Heated pools: There are several systems you can install to make the most of an outdoor pool year-round.

Check out houzz.com.au or renoguide.com.au for design inspiration.

Smart home automation

Most new houses have smart technology built in but the good news is that installing ‘smart features’ into existing properties is now easier than ever. And these days, smart features are considered an essential selling point.

If you’re new to the concept of smart home automation, this article on choice.com.au explains how ‘the internet of things’ works. In a nutshell, smart home automation is all about making life easier, safer and more cost-efficient.

Security is a top priority for many of us and smart security systems offer home-owners peace of mind. CCTV, intelligent alarm systems and intercoms allow you to monitor activities remotely on your phone.

Indoor and outside lighting can be changed and controlled remotely or within the house, for security purposes as well as for ambience – dimming and brightening lighting in individual areas.

Smart heating and air conditioning can be adjusted by personal preferences, rather than by pre-set switches or timers.

Integrated voice activation systems can be used for everything from controlling the sound system in different areas of your house to opening the garage doors as you come up the driveway, activating the garden watering system or opening and closing motorised blinds.

The possibilities are endless! If you’d like to discuss how to update your home to achieve its best price, please get in touch.

Geoff Smith, Director
Ray White Lower North Shore Group
geoff.smith@raywhite.com
0418 643 923

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