Cutting-edge items for your next home
Square footage and countertops are giving way to disappearing walls and pet amenities as the latest in home must-haves.
Some cutting-edge amenities now offered in new home communities in California:
Retractable walls: Walls made of accordion-style, bifold doors that open to the backyard are gaining ground.
“It has huge style points,” says homebuyer Ian Cornell. “It looks great and, when you are relaxing, I anticipate that feeling of open space and connecting to outdoors.”
Doggy features: More young homeowners have dogs than kids, and most of us consider our dogs full-fledged family members.
Introducing the indoor doggy shower, with tiled walls and hot and cold faucets. Anthem United Homes is about to put some in its subdivision in Lathrop, Calif., an hour south of Sacramento. “It’s about three feet wide, two feet above the ground. A special faucet to wash at your waist. It’s like a half-tub,” said Anthem’s Matt Gustus.
Other builders are adding doggy drawers in kitchens that hold a pet’s food and water bowls.
California Room: This indoor-outdoor space has a ceiling and one or two walls. It can be used as a second dining room, outdoor kitchen or even a living room with couches and flat screen TV. It may have a ceiling fan, fireplace and tile or polished concrete floor.
Elevators: Baby boomers, some now in their early 70s, want their homes adjusted for aging in place — and that includes elevators to upper floors.
Builder Mike Paris, of BlackPine Communities, estimates the elevator adds$33,5000 to $47,000 to the price of the home, depending on how many “stops” it has. The spaces on each floor also serve as closets, pantries and storage rooms until the owner is ready to install the elevator.
A “Tesla” in the garage: If you buy a home with a solar rooftop, should you order a solar-energy storage battery? A solar battery in the garage will allow homeowners to minimize evening utility bills by storing their own daytime solar energy, then tapping into it in the evening.
The batteries aren’t cheap, though, costing anywhere from $5,300 to $20,000. Tesla is among the makers. Some in the industry expect prices to come down.
Cooking with gas? Nope: New home energy efficiency is moving toward zero net energy. For cooks, going no-carbon means stovetop cooking gas. That’s going to be a tough sell for some traditionalists. Look for induction stovetops as an alternative.
MultiGen homes: More buyers are multi-generational families who want to live under one roof, but want some distance. The answer: in-law apartments embedded in the main home, with their own front door and a door to the main house.
Foiling porch thieves: Doorbells now double as cameras and loudspeakers operated via a smart phone app. If it’s someone selling a product, you can talk to them. If it’s a delivery service, you can, if you choose, code them into the house so your package isn’t left outside the door.
Other tech options include smart thermostats that can learn your rhythms, and adjust the temperature on their own. As well, Wi-Fi certified homes put an end to reception dead zones.