Amenities found in upscale homes


I have a lifelong background in real estate and am now retired. I'd enjoy discussing the differences in upscale single family residences found in various parts of the country, if anyone is interested. It seems to be at least partially OT for this newsgroup.
I am now retired to NV. Here, after looking at various custom and semi-custom homes, I was surprised to learn I'd not "seen it all," yet. Besides the expected features and amenities found in most upscale homes today, such as commercial appliances in kitchens, media wiring, built in vac, granite counters, cabinetry in the closets and multiple car garages, I have seen some new things. These include a separate sink for vegetable preparation, usually located near the one or two refrigerators, two dishwashers, pot filler faucet by the cook top, outlets inside bathroom drawers for curlers and hair dryers, fireplaces in major bathrooms and the master suite, steam showers and (always) an in-ground pool with spa.
Upscale flooring in NV is typically Travertine in most areas and carpet in the bedrooms, with large tile being acceptable if it matches the theme of the home. Ceilings are usually 10' in the "lower" semi-custom homes and 12' to 15' in the better custom ones. Doors are almost always 8', solid, and have Baldwin or Emco hardware. Windows are low E double pane, of course, and insulation is extensive. Exterior walls are 6" and the better homes have 5/8" drywall throughout. In some of the better custom homes, the front door(s) are massive iron with swing out leaded glass inserts, weighing in around 400# each.
The designated rooms of a custom home can include a media room, wine cellar, gym, workshop/hobby room, office, den or sewing room. Some homes have a detached building they call a Casita, which typically has a Pullman kitchen, bath and bedroom for guests or a live in relative/housekeeper. Most of even the semi-custom homes have a separate, outdoor accessible toilet and shower for the pool and it might double as an inside powder room. Besides a pool and spa, outdoor kitchen with a minimum of grill and sink are found, and some include a dishwasher and oven.
Another feature seen in the upscale homes is stepped, or coffered, ceilings- many with crown mold as well on the vertical portions. Pot shelves are found in even the tract homes. Drywall corners are rounded, rather than square, and there is every conceivable finish to the drywall other than flat and smooth. Even in the multi million dollar homes, though, trim and baseboards are almost always painted and of man-made material, rather than hardwood. Hardwood trim and doors are simply not evident.
What amenities, features and the like do you find in your own area of the country, such as the above? I'm sure it varies across the country.
Robert
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Probably less than you think. There really aren't any 'new' uses for rooms. It's more about custom-made as opposed to high end standard. You didn't mention mechanical systems. Solar, geothermal, radiant floors, etc. The higher end stuff is often imported from Europe or Japan instead of Chile or China. The high end designers spend more time looking for unique.
Hopefully we've turned a corner and people will spend money on nice instead of big. Having a 1200 SF master suite or kitchen doesn't make sense - whoever you are. Some of the 'designer' kitchens you see are _horrible_ kitchens to work in. That's the main function of a kitchen - what's the point in having to walk 25' between the refrig and the sink? I've seen that in kitchens with two separate sinks - 25' was to the closer one!
Stuff like that is for people new to money where their common sense hasn't grown along with their income.
R
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Agreed. Here in NV, we cool a lot more than we heat. Furnaces are almost always gas and it's cheaper to install several than to have one and use zone valves or dampers. One home I'm familiar with has 5 furnaces and AC units, ranging in size from 3-1/2 ton to 5 ton. The furnaces are horizontal and they and the A coils are installed in the attic of the homes, typically.
Many of the custom homes with the huge kitchens seem to be more of a "showcase" for the appliances than for efficient cooking. Still, there are some I've seen where the architect employed a kitchen designer and they were very efficient.
The commercial appliances, like the ranges, cooktops, ovens or stoves appear to offer fewer features and user friendliness than the upper end consumer varieties. In one house with a Wolf stove, the double ovens had merely convection, where a "lesser" house had Advantium ovens with bake, broil, convection, infrared and microwave options. To each their own. My goal is to find out what is considered "the coolest" features in various areas of the country. For instance, your reference to a European boiler or water heater wouldn't be a big deal here in NV, but a garage with a swamp cooler addition would.
Nonny
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Detached kitchens and iron doors I have not seen. The rest of it I have seen, not necessarily all in one home. These homes were selling for 500K to 1M+.
Sometimes I wonder what the payments would be with a paltry 20% down. As a side note, I am not seeing a lot of new starts in this price range and I am seeing a lot of FSBO listings for some of these over-priced lots.
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Colbyt
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"Nonnymus" wrote in message

The craftsmanship of the windows, doors, and cabinetry is exceptional. Everything works like a fine Swiss watch!
I've seen a couple of homes with elevators. One home near Beverly Hills is said to have a elevator in the garage which goes to an underground parking area which will fit 7 limousines!
I heard another "house" near Beverly Hills had a staff of 60 people working there! (I'm still trying to figure out what that many people would do?)
One home had a walk-in refrigerator the size of a small kid's bedroom. Also had small doors which accessed shelves for things like milk. The lady who had the house built wanted that to store her full length mink coats and other clothes! (Cold storage?)
Then some of these homes have kitchens with ranges and stainless steel refrigerators you would find in a restaurant kitchen.
One had an exhaust fan system in the living room to remove the smoke during parties (designed in the 60's).
One had living room windows so long left to right, they *had* to have electrically operated drapes. Otherwise you would be there all day pulling on the cord to open/close them! Press a button and the drapes open to a fantastic view - quite dramatic...
Then massive amounts of space in the rooms. And massive amounts of rooms.
One very large mansion had a regular 3 bedroom ranch size house with it's own pool for the guest house. Had a 5 car garage, maid's and gardener's quarters. A sunken 3 story high living room the size of my house. His and hers bathroom with gym in his area and bidet/Hollywood make-up lighted mirrors in hers. Heated towel racks, Jacuzzi, steam room, etc. Wine cellar, and on and on.
They called me there to do some work because they were going to their "summer home"!
Must be nice, but I couldn't afford to pay just the taxes...
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I've seen at least one of those here. It was a designed in feature, and not just added later because of a disability. They cost in the $50k range, and have to be in a fire resistant shaft.

On a lesser scale, I've seen a few houses with separate refrigerators and freezers side by side. That's a pretty nice feature, but the downside is that the high dollar freezers like Subzero, Viking, Monogram don't offer ice or water in the door like the ones found in most homes, for some reason.

One had what's called a French cooktop on a Wolf stove. It had regular gas burners on the 4 corners of the cooktop, but the middle had what looked like, but was NOT, a griddle. Instead, it had concentric cast iron rings to diffuse heat from a burner beneath. You changed the cooking temperature for your pans on it by shifting them to the outside edges or center. For most people, that appeared to be impractical.

Nice feature,

They're putting that in hotels here, also. You control the drapes and curtains by a control near the thermostat, as you enter the room.

One master "suite," in a home had a huge area for the bed, dressers, night stands, footboard bench and chair, and the adjoining "sitting room" was larger than most living rooms.

Outside of the mega mansions, most guest houses associated with a home here would have one bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom for the guest. . . or for use as an office. Many of the bigger homes offer a recessed entryway, with a separate door leading to an adjoining den/office. That way if a business client comes to the house on business, he enters directly into the office, rather than through the house. Offices don't generally have built-in desks and cabinets, though. Presumably, that's so they can be used as bedrooms if desired.
Real estate taxes here run about 1% of the sale price, and that's usually around $175/sf for the custom homes like we're discussing. They generally run in the 4500sf to 6800 sf range and are one or two story with no basement. Most offer a 3 car garage, but some might have 4 or more. Unfortunately, they're so crammed into the lot that the driveway barely permits the cars to maneuver into the garage, if it's at right angles.
Nonny
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"Nonnymus" wrote in message

That's because it is the "staff" who does the cooking and gets the drinks!
These homes will have cans of olives (for drinks) the size of gallon paint buckets! (Restaurant size.)
In the late 80's, I saw 15 million dollar homes purchased in California, and needless to say they were quite nice homes... Anyway the new owner would level the entire lot! House, trees, everything gone! Then they would build a new house and bring in fully grown trees on a semi- truck - have a large crane install the trees. Bring in already grown flowers, bushes, lawn, etc. When they were done, it looked like the house had been there for 20 years! (I think these are the corporation CEO's that are making 100 million a year or whatever...)
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Bill wrote:

A special place in hell awaits idiots like that.
aem sends....
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Bill wrote:

The band alone could be that big.
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Nonnymus wrote:

Some time back, Dilbert (the comic) published plans for his dream house. If memory serves, it included:
* A Pet Room. Features included: - Windows for kitty to look out from a shelf at window height - Tiled, sloping floor with a drain in the center - Double doors to the living area, one with a cat/dog flap. - Door to the outside so pet could be let out - Water faucet and hose rack - Cabinet space for pet essentials
* A basement game room next to a room containing four bunk beds with lockers. This for the hordes that come to visit with up to eight kids
* A tunnel to a two-story keep some distance away.
* Extreme energy conservation measures, including a yard covered entirely in Astroturf.
The original floorplan is no longer online, but Google "dilbert+house" for dozens of good ideas.
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wrote:

Robert ,
You have a good grasp of amenities.
Henderson. NV -- now requires a new home of 5,000 sq. ft. too have a sprinkler system for fire suppressant.
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Yes, and they're found in smaller homes as well here. Oddly, our insurance agent tells me that they don't reduce the cost of insurance, since while they put out the fire, they cause flooding damage. One offsets the other. I also have found that they are not automatically tied to any alarm inside or outside of the house. It can be done, such as a flow switch, but that's extra.
One other thing about Henderson is that most of the homes circa 2000+ have had their plans digitized and can be obtained at City Hall, along with the inspectors' reports and a copy of the C of O.
Nonny

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Considering the cost of sprinkler, the added cost of a flow switch is pocket change.
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Here ya go...
Homes $20,000,000.00 or more.
There is a lovely 12 Bedroom, 30000 sq. ft. home with 15.4 Bathrooms which is a steal at $68,000,000.00! Now what would the monthly payments on that be?
Sotheby's Realty... http://tinyurl.com/2caeeu8
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