By Katherine Ferrara
Luxury Homes Amenities
Today’s luxury homes boast a bevy of amenities – where warmth and style meet technology and artful design. With more people spending time at home and entertaining, smart tech appliances are transforming the ordinary into an extraordinary experience in every room of the home.
Color plays a role in setting the mood too, with designers gravitating toward using natural or reclaimed wood, rich with texture and opting for warmer palettes with matte black, grays and white, over sterile environments outfitted with stainless steel and chrome. Brushed gold and brushed brass are the new gem tones, symbolizing warmth. “Everything is going earthy, organic and warm,” says Nancy Braamse, owner of Old World Cabinetry. “I love that real wood is coming back. If you find the right wood grain, it’s like art and looks gorgeous.”
Luxury Also Includes Smart Technology
Savvy consumers are also demanding luxury smart technology that accommodates their hectic lifestyles and manufacturers are responding with appliances that can both improve a person’s health and create balance. We asked a few of Tampa Bay’s top designers and curators of luxury living to reveal some gadgets and must-have features that are shaping our spaces.
A well-appointed kitchen remains the centerpiece of the home, where conversations, creating memorable moments and entertaining happen. Gourmet kitchens are viewed as a status symbol, conveying a certain look and feel that permeates throughout the home.
“People are looking for that pro experience in their kitchen – both inside the home and outside,” explains Jennifer Hettich, Showroom Manager with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Tampa. “We call that the ‘approachable pro style,’ using products that make them feel like a chef and bringing those experiences to their families.”
Hettich credits the growing popularity of “The Food Network” and “HGTV” with giving homeowners the inspiration and confidence to transform their kitchens into a luxurious oasis. Demand for smart technology throughout the home has increased with more appliances mimicking the functions on our phones, you can now get a smart shower and even a smart toilet to make those experiences easier for you. Swipe, click, point – one-touch controls can turn on the oven while driving home from work or remotely check the temperature of the meat on the grill so you can spend more time with family.
Appliances Go Luxury with More Technology
“Our lives are technology driven, so it’s a natural progression for appliances to have these capabilities too,” says Hettich. She adds that these devices also provide diagnostic updates to save time and money on repairs, and manufacturers can push out updates, allowing consumers to keep the same product without upgrading every
Wellness is a sizeable consideration when choosing kitchen appliances, with alternative methods such as steam ovens becoming popular. Steam ovens that allow food to cook faster but still retain its flavor and nutrients, function both as a convection and conventional oven, browning meats and cooking grains such as quinoa and rice. Induction cooking is also popular and armed with Wi-Fi technology, so cooks can master the art of controlling temperatures with a swipe of their phone.
Unsure how to cook your favorite dish? Hettich says the Jenn-Air appliance line that offers a pre-set chef center with recipes is a must-have. People can choose their meal, and the system will ask how you want the dish cooked, the size of the pan, and display photographs of the entree at varying stages of cooking. For summer kitchen aficionados, Ferguson carries the Lynx Grill system that allows users to ask how to cook a dish, say scallops, and the embedded guide walks them through the preparation and cooking process to achieve perfect results.
Cleaner lines and two islands in the kitchen are mainstays, and Braasme sees more people choosing natural wood or textured melamine that simulates wood – without the added expense or maintenance required. Antimicrobial technology is an added benefit, ideal for homes with small children.
Luxury interior kitchens and living room space are extending outdoors, with homeowners transforming patios into posh summer kitchens and entertaining spaces. Outdoor-rated appliances and adorning the spaces with encapsulated palmer cabinets give a polished look, says Hollie Driscoll with Just Grillin in Tampa, a family-run, design-build firm that was started over 14 years ago by her parents, Doug and Heather.
“The outdoor area is a place where people can entertain as a second home. We see clients investing in outdoor televisions, speakers, cabanas, and lights,” Driscoll says. She sees bar areas built with the same height overhang to allow for more entertaining space and includes a beverage center with ice makers that produce clear ice, a sink, grill and trash area. Accessories like side burners, woks, and griddles outside avoid any messy cleanup inside.
And technology has a place too, says Driscoll, with the Wi-Fi compatible Flame Boss that remotely monitors the temperature of meat on the grill. The company carries the popular Alfresco Grill line that allows users to convert from gas to a solid fuel line and outdoor grills that can cook the perfect pizza and be used to smoke turkeys or hams inside during the holiday season. For people who may not know how to operate their new technology-driven summer kitchen, a member of the Just Grillin team will come to a client’s home to show them how to use the new kitchen.
Technology and convenience also extend into the bathroom with more people opting to install under-the-counter refrigerators or beverage centers. Whether you need to get a bottle for a baby’s middle-of-the-night feeding or want to enjoy a cold glass of juice, master morning bars are a fixture in luxury homes. Today’s bathrooms don’t need an engineering degree to operate, so creating a spa-like setting is as easy as pushing a button. Armed with Wi-Fi connectivity, you can use your phone to pre-set the shower temperature, sound systems, lighting and time when you want to turn on the water in the morning or relax at the end of a long day.
Learn more about the Luxury Home Trends by visiting: Ferguson www.ferguson.com, Just Grillin www.justgrillinflorida.com and Olde World Cabinetry www.oldeworldcabinetry.com.