Category Archives: Home Design Ideas

Who Will Buy Your Home?

2015-08-12 13.01.23

Who Will Buy Your Home?

When it comes time to sell your home, whether you’ve lived there for three years or 30, you need to see it as a product for sale. And just like an item on a store shelf, you want your home to stand out from the competition.

Of course, your feelings and emotions about your home — and all of the memories you made there — may make it difficult to detach and view your home as a product. But sellers who quickly transition away from the emotional connection and into investment mode will reap the financial benefits many times over. Homes that go into contract quicker and with few (if any) price reductions ultimately sell for more money. And isn’t that every seller’s goal?

What’s on buyers’ wish lists

Homes that sell quickly probably have many of the features today’s buyers find desirable. Smart retailers try to understand better what consumers want, and then deliver to them. Home sellers should do the same.

When you’re preparing to sell your home, consider small renovations, updates, cleaning and even some light staging. I’ve seen sellers make significant upgrades to their home before listing, leaving them to question if they actually want to move.

Today’s buyers look for move-in ready and turn-key homes. The more bells and whistles, the better.

Focus on kitchens and baths

It’s a pretty well-established fact that kitchens and baths sell a home. If your kitchen or bathroom is tired or outdated, consider modest upgrades that pack a punch.

Painting cabinets white gives the kitchen a clean and fresh look. Consider new stone countertops like quartz or granite. And replace old faucets with shiny new ones.

Spending a modest sum can reap incredible benefits — tenfold.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Research shows that certain features help sell a home faster. Even if you don’t have time for renovations, you might luck out and already have some of the items on buyers’ wish lists.

For example, subway tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, barn doors, and craftsman features are proven to help homes sell faster. If your home has these, play them up, because today’s buyers want them.

Just like companies figure out the next hot car, handbag or shoe for their respective industries, smart home sellers must know their audience and market their product to meet customer demand.

When it comes time to sell, consider your buyer, and try hard to make your home into a top-notch product.






Tracy Tkac
Evers & Co.

Curb Appeal


Curb Appeal   Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Curb Appeal

Let’s face it, first impressions matter. We care about how we dress for a job interview, and we spent extra time in front of the mirror before that first date. When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter, too. Its all about curb appeal!

The term “curb appeal” derives from real estate sales and home design. For years, buyers have formed their first impressions of homes while standing in the street or sitting inside the car, just beyond the curb. Before the advent of text messaging and smartphones, a buyer would get a phone call or fax from their agent about a new listing. The initial drive-by would determine whether or not they would go for an actual showing.

To get that buyer in the door, the seller spent hours, even days, seeding new grass and planting flowers, painting their front door, mulching, weeding and cleaning up the yard. If the home didn’t appeal from the curb, buyers moved on to the next house. Curb appeal was always the single most important piece of the home sale puzzle.

Expanded appeal

Today, curb appeal still matters — but it matters differently. Almost every buyer forms their first impression from a home’s online photos.

Instead of driving to your home, buyers will scroll through pictures of both the outside and the inside, before ever stepping foot inside. What’s more, they may never come to see it if they don’t like what they see online.

While the exterior of your home should be high on your priority list, it is most valuable only when the buyer walks up or drives by. But they may not ever get that far.

The interior also needs to show your home in its best possible light, because Web appeal has become the new curb appeal. And if your home doesn’t photograph well — either because you didn’t have it professionally shot, didn’t post high-resolution photos, or you haven’t taken the time to prep it — then curb appeal won’t even make a difference.

What sellers should do

Sellers need to spend ample time preparing the inside of their home and getting great photos, so buyers will form the best possible impression.

The downside for sellers is that they have to work so much harder than they did just 15 years ago. In our ever-more-visual society, buyers make immediate judgments about a home within moments of clicking on the new listing on their smartphone.

Sellers only have one chance to make a good impression. The home still needs to look good from the curb — but to get the buyers there in person, it needs to look great on the Web.



Tracy Tkac
Evers & Co.

Going green can add value to your home

What is going “green” worth in Washington home real estate? If you rehab a house to exacting energy and environmental standards, or install a solar-panel array on your roof, does your house command more when you sell?

If you seal up all the energy-leaking areas in your house, install a highly efficient heating and ventilating system, new windows and a long list of other green improvements, will a future buyer pay you a premium price for your efforts?

A new study conducted by national appraisal experts says the answer most probably is yes — often tens of thousands of dollars more.

Funded by the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment and assisted by the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation, the study employed a sophisticated “paired sale” analysis of homes sold in the District between February 2013 and June 2015.

Appraisers matched individual “high-performance” energy and resource-conserving houses against multiple homes similar in type and location but without green improvements. They then calculated the extra dollar increments buyers were willing to pay for the green features and found they ranged from $10,343 to $53,000, or an average premium of 3.46 percent. Some premiums on individual houses ranged as high as 6 percent to 7.7 percent, and were enhanced when properties had photovoltaic solar arrays to slash electricity costs.

According to the study, green features in renovations and new construction represent “a growing trend” in the District. As of September, there were 457 LEED-certified homes and 329 Energy Star homes as of August. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED certification involves independent evaluation and verification that a building or an entire neighborhood meets high energy efficiency and resource conservation rating standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Energy Star certified homes must meet rigorous energy-savings standards prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Research published in 2015 documented strong demand for high-performance homes in the District: 18 percent of total residential sales and 29 percent of sales in the Friendship/Chevy Chase area (Zip code 20015) had one or more green features associated with the house. The high-performance homes used for paired sale analysis in the new study were scattered among neighborhoods in Northeast and Northwest and consisted of renovated older row houses, detached single-family homes and one high-rise condo unit. The median sale price was just over $693,000, though two homes sold below $500,000 and one went for $817,000.


Perry, who teaches Latin at the National Cathedral School, says he and his wife weren’t even shopping for a house with green features. “We were mainly just looking for something that we could afford and that was old and had a good location,” Perry told me. Though they visited and considered a number of competing, non-green but comparable houses in roughly the same price category, they ultimately found the case for the Petworth property compelling.

“We were really intrigued by the solar panels and with the possibility of savings on utilities,” Perry said. The closer they looked at the green features, the more they saw: energy-efficient new windows, a commercial-grade air exchanger to keep the interior air fresh and recirculated at all times, super-heavy insulation, a heat recapture system that employs waste hot water to save on the energy costs of heating water, to name just a few. The solar array was bigger than the average system used for houses of this size and promised to cut electricity bills drastically, which it has in the months since they moved in. “We really like it,” Perry said, but he conceded that he has not quite figured out the “net metering” system that adjusts their bills based on how much energy they have been contributing to Pepco.

Even better, according to the study, Perry’s five-kilowatt photovoltaic equipment on the roof could be eligible for between five and eight Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) per year over a three-year contract. “Over this time period, the study reported, “the SRECs are valued at $7,500. Besides the energy produced by this [solar] system, the owner may receive income for three years.”

Tanya Topolewski, a D.C.-based green real estate developer who rehabilitated and sold two of the other houses appraisers selected for the study, says it is not surprising that Perry and his wife were not shopping specifically for a high-performance house. “The vast majority of people who come to see our houses are just interested in real estate,” she said in an interview. But once they see the advantages of buying a home with extraordinary energy efficiency, fresh air 24/7 and a positive environmental impact, “it’s kind of a no-brainer.” Topolewski says creating a truly high-performance home can be daunting, especially converting old, leaky rowhouses in the District. Both of her houses in the study are certified LEED Platinum, the highest rating possible.

But, she says, “there’s quite a bit of building science involved when you do a renovation from a low-performance home to a high-performance one. This has a name, actually — a deep energy retrofit” — and it is usually not a do-it-yourself type of project.

To read the whole article at



The message to buyers: Even though you may pay a modest premium for a high-performance house, it will probably save you substantial money over a period of years in energy costs and almost certainly will be a healthier place to live.

 – Washington Post

Tracy Tkac
Evers & Co.

Warm Up to Cozy Spaces

Warm Up to Cozy Spaces

It’s funny how after the holidays, living in a Winter Wonderland becomes a whole lot less wonderful. Whether you’re enduring thunderstorms, snow, or gusts of wind, snuggling up at home near a crackling fire or in your personal reading nook is the ideal way to wait out the weather.

No matter your interior style, there’s always room to add a few cozy touches. Here are some favorite ways to warm up your home design and to warm up to cozy space to face the wintry days ahead.

Fireplaces: Light up the night (or day)

There might be nothing in the world as comforting as a beautifully decorated fireplace. While it’s typical to have these fixtures in the living room or even the dining room, consider the charm of having one in your own bedroom.

The soothing crackling of a fire is the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day, and with so many styles to choose from, you’re sure to find one that fits your interior style.


Courtesy of Mitch Wise Design, Inc.

Reading nooks: Bookworms’ paradise

Creating a little getaway within your own four walls is a fantastic way to warm up on a particularly cold day. A reading nook can inspire calm and creativity with a few simple furnishings and accessories.

Pair a fun patterned chair with an ottoman, and a unique side table to set your reading material on. Make sure you have sufficient lighting and a cozy throw blanket nearby for those days when you just want to curl up with a good book.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Window seats: Room with a view

On your day off, there’s nothing quite like sipping a cup of coffee while enjoying a beautiful view. What better way to soak up your surroundings than with comfy window seating?

Traditionally found in older homes with Victorian style, window seating is versatile and complements most styles of design. If your home is modern, consider a bright white seating display with patterned pillows. If your look is more traditional, opt for textured seating in a timeless print.

Whatever your choice, you won’t regret spending time in this cozy spot.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Area rugs: Keeping toes toasty

Hardwood floors are a luxury, but they can be painfully cold in the winter months. Help insulate your home with plush area rugs throughout the space for visual warmth and added coziness.

Rugs with texture like shag or a high pile offer extra comfort while walking around the house. Put one in each high-traffic area, as well as under your bed to ensure you wake up with warm feet.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

home design trends

2016’s top home design trends

1. Art deco-inspired patterns and shapes

art deco

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Art deco will make a bold new comeback in 2016. Look for the style’s trademark geometric patterns and honeycomb shapes to weave their way into everything from wallpaper to artwork, adding elegance and dimension to any space. Experts also predict gold statement lighting fixtures will become more popular.

2. Nubby wool rugs

Nubby wool or other natural fibers will be the go-to texture for 2016, especially for area rugs. Their neutral hues create the perfect indoor/outdoor vibe, while softening bolder colors and dramatic statement pieces.

3. Encaustic tiles


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

These intricate patterned tiles get their coloring from different types of clay rather than glaze, and can be used to create a beautiful, natural-looking focal point. Expect to see encaustic tiles pop up in a variety of rooms throughout the house in 2016, including kitchen backsplashes, bathroom shower tiles, accent walls and even fireplace mantles.

4. Artisan accent pieces

Travel souvenirs, unique artisan pieces and flea market finds will take center stage in home design as more homeowners gravitate toward decorating with unique art pieces that tell a story. Look for a rise in partnerships between big box stores and global artisans to accommodate the increased demand for one-of-a-kind or handmade items.

3 fads to ditch from 2015

1. Mason jars

Mason Jar

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

The mason jar trend is exhausted, and will finally make its exit in 2016. After using them to invoke a rustic chic feeling everywhere from wedding decor to restaurants, experts and homeowners alike are finally ready to move on.

2. Chalkboard paint


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Chalkboards smudge easily, and unless decorated with perfect handwriting, are usually not the best way to label household items. This trend is not built to last in 2016.

3. Burlap details


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Burlap is too harsh for indoor use, and is far overplayed for another year in the spotlight. Instead, homeowners will gravitate toward softer natural fibers that are more suitable for throw blankets, pillows and rugs.

Want to learn more about 2016’s hottest home design trends? Check out more photos of the top trends on Zillow Digs!

The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features

The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features



The Hot (and Not) List of Home Features

The things we consider to be must-have home features are constantly changing—less than a half-century ago, plush, “can’t see my feet” shag carpeting (in bold colors such as gold, orange, and purple) was all the rage, and kitchen appliances came in coordinating hues. A quarter-century ago there was no HGTV to tell us to knock down a wall to open up the kitchen or swap out bathroom vanities. And just a few years back, tiny homes were just, well, really small homes.

We wondered what home qualities are must-haves right now, what the up-and-comers are, and what’s heading straight for the dustbin of home features history. To find out, our data team dug deep into our millions of listings and sifted out the most commonly used phrases for home features, going back five years.

Voila!  Here are the 20 features that are most often touted in our listings. These are the stuff that home dreams are made of—a mixture of classic favorites and rising stars.

At first glance, the results aren’t too surprising. After all, who doesn’t love fireplaces and wood floors? (Well, other than those who prefer carpet, which is No. 3.)

“Rather than a barometer of trends, those are really adoption cycles,” says Javier Vivas, data analyst at®. “It’s more about how long it takes a particular new feature to become prevalent. It’s like car technology: First you see the cutting-edge stuff in luxury cars, then it spreads into the mainstream.”

Listings have gotten ever-more detailed and adorned in recent years, and certain features appear more and more often as selling points. So popularity among listing descriptions is kind of like being listed on the S&P 500—it shows that a feature is no passing trend. For example, granite countertops, once a splurge, are now a go-to feature—they’ve shot up from being mentioned in 8% of listings in 2011 to 13% today.

Got it? Good. Let’s go home shopping! Don’t forget to bring your checkbook.

Fireplace (No. 1)

On a chilly night, nothing competes with snuggling up near a crackling fire—or maybe it’s the hissing, considering that the leading type of fireplace mentioned in 3.2% of our listings is gas. After all, it’s easy to clean and maintain and comes in some cool modern designs. Still, there’s nothing like the charm of a wood-burning fireplace, and its popularity is picking up fast.

And in total, fireplaces—wood-burning, gas, brick, stone, or kiva—are the stars of 23.8% of our listings.

Flooring: Wood (No. 2), carpet (No. 3), and tile (No. 11)

Always popular, the classic elegance of a wood floor continues to gain ground, particularly since last year. Not surprisingly, carpeting’s popularity seems to rise and fall in opposition to wood. It’s made a comeback before, but wood seems to be pulling ahead. In 2015, wood floors appeared in 15% of listing descriptions, 2 percentage points ahead of carpet.

Meanwhile, the tile floor—though never a major contender for the top spot—has slipped from No. 4 in 2011 (when it beat out walk-in closet and open floor plan) to today’s No.10. Still, it will probably hold onto its niche in humid, warm climates such as that of Florida.

Granite counter

Granite countertop

Granite counter (No. 4)

Once a rare luxury, granite has become more affordable and is now practically standard for anyone who gives a hoot about kitchen design. It shot to fame quickly over the past five years, making its slick presence felt in 13% of all listings. For those who think all this trendy granite craziness is on the wane, reports of its death, as Mark Twain might (or might not!) have said, are greatly exaggerated—at least according to our listings data.

Stainless-steel appliances (No. 5)

With their elegant and modern appearance fitting into almost any kitchen design, stainless-steel appliances have made their way into more and more households since the 1990s. “Stainless” is now mentioned in 9% of all listings, almost double its share of five years ago.

Open floor plan (No. 6) vs. formal dining room (No. 8)

A house divided? Not these days. Separate living rooms, dining areas, and kitchens have been edged out by the open floor plan, which knocks down or eliminates walls to create a sense of spaciousness and light.

The open floor plan has seen a rapid increase in popularity, and in 2014 it surpassed the formal dining room for the first time. In 2015, an open floor plan is the fifth most popular feature, representing 8% of listings. The much-debated open kitchen, which encompasses the dining as well as the cooking area, also made it onto the list at No. 9.

Walk-in closet

Walk-in closet

Walk-in closet (No. 7)

In a time of over-the-top “glam rooms” dedicated to, um, getting ready, the walk-in closet is another feature that has seemingly gone from luxe to a near necessity. Stashing all your clothes in a shallow closet with hangers crammed together and no shelves? How primitive! It’s no wonder 7% of home listings mention walk-in closets as a big selling point.

Chef’s kitchen

Gourmet kitchen

Chef’s kitchen (No. 16) vs. open kitchen (No. 10)

The kitchen used to be all business—a place to churn out meals, nothing more. Again, we’ll point the finger at TV—not just HGTV, but also the Food Network—for fueling homeowners’ desire for a kitchen worthy of a chef, featuring a center island, a large stove/oven with hood, and granite or marble counters (see No. 3).

And it’s not just for cooking, but also for hanging out while you prepare the meal—especially if you have an open kitchen, touted in 5.7% of listings. We’ll also point out that five of the top 20 home features are kitchen-related.

Garden tub

Mesa, AZ

Garden tub (No. 20)

No, a garden tub is not set amid the lovely and fragrant rose beds so you can bathe in the open air (and get bitten by insects). The term generally refers to a wider and deeper bathtub that usually has steps but no jets. Nice! Providing a relaxing soaking experience with less cost and cleaning difficulty, the garden tub has gained popularity over the years, but it’s still a niche feature.


We’ve talked about features that have made their way into the mainstream, but we also saw a couple that are clearly on their way out:

House with vinyl siding

House with vinyl siding

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding was once one of the most popular cladding choices, because it’s affordable, long-lasting, and virtually maintenance-free. But over the years it’s become something of a gauche punch line in some quarters. It’s no wonder its lead has slipped substantially in recent years, while fiber cement is gaining ground, according to

Oak and cherry cabinets

The last time honey oak cabinets were trending, Monica-gate was a thing, Will Smith was the prince of Bel-Air, and Y2K loomed as the biggest threat the world faced. Yes, the ’90s were particularly friendly to oak cabinetry and cherry wasn’t far behind, popularitywise, but those days are long past. Today you’ll be hard-pressed to find either in listings or in new home construction. But maple cabinets? Welcome to the future!

Yuqing Pan,

Tracy Tkac
Evers & Co.

The Right Kitchen Island

The Right Kitchen Island

There are few better workhorses than the right kitchen island. It’s beautiful, simple, and full of storage possibilities. Offering features from scratchproof counters for chopping to hooks, rods, and bins for stowing, the kitchen island is an invaluable addition to any home.

Best of all, there’s an island option for every style and budget. Here are a few of the best.

Sink space

If you’re looking for a creative sink solution, consider installing it in the kitchen island. This setup provides a central spot to wash your hands, drain pasta, scrub dishes or rinse produce.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Tucked away

Kitchen islands usually evoke visions of huge, solid, and largely immobile countertops reserved for spacious kitchens. However, tiny islands are slowly gaining momentum and becoming popular for their mobility, slim size, and ease of access.

Take a look at islands on casters, which can be positioned where they’re most needed, then tucked in a corner or underneath a counter when not in use.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Sit and stay

Kitchen islands are great for creating an extra sitting area, especially if your kitchen or dining room lacks the space for an actual table.

Choose an extra-long kitchen island with overhang to allow for a few bar stools or tall chairs. Add some festive placemats and a few dining accessories to create a unique tablescape, and clear it all away when you need some extra workspace.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Careful cubbies

One of the best ways kitchen islands add to a space is by providing unique storage options. In a room so full of doors and hardware, adding small baskets, hooks, and rods can be a fun way to stow your utensils, linens, or knickknacks. Even better, you can switch out the textures and finishes to match your favorite seasonal decor.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

While kitchen islands are most often used as giant cutting boards, they’ve come full circle in design and function, and have proven to be a great way to add substance and style to any kitchen design. Take a look at your space, define your personal style, and determine your needs to find your perfect island oasis.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.Courtesy of Zillow Digs.


Tracy Tkac
Evers & Co.

Inspiring Closet Designs

Inspiring Closet Designs

Luxury closets can be a dream come true for homeowners who enjoy organized, well-designed spaces. If you’re considering updating your overcrowded, inefficient closet to a useful, tranquil space, consider stealing some of these 10 design ideas.

Get inspired by these premium closets before tackling updates of your own.

transFORM Home

transFORM Home

This traditional design is both timeless and efficient. Notice the variety of racks, rods and shelving to serve every possible closet purpose. The built-in vanity is ideal for her while the functional island is perfect for him. The shared closet space also includes well-lit, transparent storage for increased visibility — one of the newest closet design trends this year.

Closet Factory

Closet Factory

Another popular look includes balanced finishes appealing to both genders, and this closet meets that trend. The contemporary, split finishes of neutral wood and soft white tones, along with the metal hardware and light fixture, are in fashion. The luxury islandwith see-through top drawers is a newer, desirable feature for organization. And you’re bound to find the extra, above-cabinet storage space useful.

LA Closet Design

LA Closet Design

This modern design is the equivalent of a closet man cave. The backlit shoe racks put the vast collection on display, while the lighted hanging rods offer a low, yet comfortable level of light for the morning routine. Plus, the oversized mirror is visible from nearly every angle of the space.

Closet Organizing Systems

Closet Organizing Systems

On the flipside, this closet is like the she-shed most women only imagine in their dreams. The contemporary space includes a vanity, cubbies for every purse, racks for shoes, rods and cupboards. The millwork takes full advantage of the vaulted ceiling and caps with classic crown molding.

NEAT Method

Neat Method

What about the kids? This contemporary design caters to children, placing important items in accessible baskets down low and storing less frequently used things in storage containers higher on racks.

Dana Lyon of Palm Design Group

Dana Lyon

If rustic style suits your home design best, mimic some of the features in this premium closet. The clean space hides clothing, shoes and accessories behind stunning built-in cabinets and mirror-paneled doors. The candlestick chandelier, quilted bench, wide-board hardwood floors and natural tones solidify the rustic look.

California Closets

California Closets

The eclectic style of this closet incorporates transparent storage to visualize your entire wardrobe at a glance. The task lighting along the built-in closet illuminates every section, and the natural light pouring in from the skylight enhances the space. Plus, the mod chair, patterned wallpaper, herringbone flooring, funky side table and textured rug all make the room a design statement.

Ultimate Storage Systems

Ultimate Storage Systems

Is a transitional space more your speed? This closet balances stylish features with practical built-ins for an uncluttered, comfortable space — casual enough to catch a television episode. Clothes are mostly hidden behind sleek doors and drawers, but the shoe collection is well-organized and displayed on floor-to-ceiling racks.

Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets

Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets

Another transitional look takes the opposite approach, exposing the full wardrobe on an array of hanging rods and shelves. Notice the pop of the hardwood floors, comfort of the custom seat and practicality of the marble-topped island with numerous drawers.

Econize Closets

Econize Closets

If you’re limited on space for your closet, consider a traditional design for an unconventional layout. The classic shelves, drawers, cupboards and cabinets make this L-shaped space highly efficient. The natural light from the window seat illuminates the narrow space, making it appear larger than its square footage.



Bedroom Trends


How the Master Bedroom Took Over the House and Todays Bedroom Trends
With square footage that rivals the average American home, master suites in luxury properties come with private pools, kitchenettes, gyms and spa amenities.
With boutique-store-style closets, media rooms with retractable projection screens, offices, gyms and even kitchenettes and laundry rooms, the latest high-end homes come with master suites larger than average-sized houses. Rendering: ArX Solutions

The latest high-end homes come with master suites that are so vast and lavishly appointed, you never have to leave the bedroom.

With boutique-style closets, media rooms, offices, gyms and even kitchenettes and laundry rooms, many masters are larger than average-size houses.

The penthouse master suite of the new L’Atelier Residences in Miami Beach, Fla., is over 3,000 square feet, with another 1,000 square feet outside on two terraces—including one with a hot tub overlooking downtown Miami.

“It’s like a separate apartment,” says Meir Srebernik of SMG Management, the co-developer of L’Atelier. The penthouse, priced at $33 million, totals 8,000 square feet of indoor living space, 37.5% of which is in the master. Echo Brickell, another Miami-area development, will have a 10,000 square foot penthouse with a master suite that has a “midnight bar,” gym and an infinity-edge pool.















At Turnberry Ocean Club in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., the 11,000-square-foot, three-level penthouses will have master suites that take up almost an entire floor and feature a large balcony overlooking the ocean. The space includes his-and-hers offices, a gym, a massage suite, a sitting room and a separate living room with a “midnight bar” that has a sink and microwave. The units haven’t yet hit the market, but the developer says the asking price will be around $35 million when they do, later this year.
At Barn & Vine, a development of 37 homes in Bridgehampton, N.Y., homes include large primary master suites with custom closets, fireplaces and free-standing soaking tubs, as well as secondary master suites on the ground floor. Homes under construction there will range from $2.695 million to $3.995 million when completed.


Carina Radonich, the co-owner of Finish My Condo, a Miami-based general-contracting company, says she recently completed a unit at the Regalia tower in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., where the master takes up 50% of the home’s total 5,700-square-foot floor plan. Built as a vacation home for a client whom she declined to name, the condo’s master includes a sitting area, an office, his-and-hers closets, his-and-hers bathrooms and, of course, a bedroom. A large projection-screen TV is hidden in the ceiling in an entertainment area.















Today, the median newly built American home measures about 2,300 square feet, with a typical master bedroom taking up 12% of the overall square footage, according to the National Association of Home Builders. It wasn’t always this way. Before the 18th century, a home’s sleeping quarters tended to be communal spaces in multi-purpose rooms like great halls, according to “Sleeping Around: A History of American Beds and Bedrooms,” by Elizabeth Collins Cromley. Late 19th- and early 20th-century homes had bedrooms with far more privacy, though they were typically small, often to conserve heat. For the wealthy, a master bedroom could include a series of sitting or dressing rooms, a precursor of the multi-room suites gaining popularity today.

By the mid-20th century, larger suburban-style homes gave rise to master bedrooms with private bathrooms and larger closets. Architects say the space started to become more luxurious in high-end homes in the 1980s and ’90s, with grander closet spaces and spa-like bathrooms.

In recent years, homeowners and developers say elaborate master suites have become more apartment-like in the midst of another trend: multigenerational housing. Many homes now include living spaces designed to house aging parents as well as adult children who may be moving back home. The sweeping suites provide a getaway for the homeowners. Joan Marcus-Colvin, senior vice president of sales, marketing and design for the New Home Co., a master-planned community developer and home builder, says the company has recently started offering more floor plans that make the master suite feel more like a private retreat, partly as a response to the multigenerational shift.

Inside Super Luxe Master Bedroom Suites
A slideshow of high-end homes and condos with ultra luxurious—and large—master suites.

The glass-walled master has two fireplaces, an espresso bar and a private terrace with a fire pit. “It has the best views in the home,” says Mr. Franklin.
The master bedroom of a penthouse at the Regalia tower in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., was constructed by Finish My Condo, a Miami-based contractor. The master bedroom in this unit takes up 50% of the home’s total 5,700-square-foot floor plan. The suite includes an entertainment area with a large projection-screen TV hidden in the ceiling.
One of the two bathrooms—his and hers—in the Regalia penthouse master suite.
At Turnberry Ocean Club in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., rendering shown here, one of the planned 11,000-square-foot, three-level penthouses.
A rendering of one of the master suites in the penthouse of Turnberry Ocean Club. The suite will take up almost an entire floor and feature a large balcony overlooking the ocean.
A rendering of the master suite’s gym, part of the Turnberry Ocean Club’s penthouse unit.
This rendering depicts a private balcony and pool in the penthouse unit of Turnberry Ocean Club.
The penthouse master suite, rendering above, of the new L’Atelier Residences in Miami Beach, Fla., is over 3,000 square feet.
Under construction in Miami is Echo Brickell, a 60-story luxury condo development. Above, a rendering of a master bedroom.
A boutique-style master closet, depicted in a rendering of units in Echo Brickell.
The gym in the Echo Brickell penthouse unit, rendering shown, will have views of Miami.
An home office in the Echo Brickell’s penthouse master suite, depicted above.
An indoor/outdoor pool in Echo Brickell’s penthouse unit.
The bedroom in the master suite at a Winnetka, Ill., home designed by architect Richard Landry.
The master suite’s sitting area at the Winnetka home, called Le Grand Rêve. The home is currently on the market for $13.9 million.
At Barn & Vine, a 37-home development in the Bridgehampton, N.Y., homes include both primary and secondary master suites. Top, a bedroom with deck and fireplace.
Above, a large soaking tub in a master suite of a Barn & Vine home. Homes under construction will range from $2.695 million to $3.995 million.
Jeff Franklin, best known as the creator of the TV show “Full House,” recently put his 8,000-square-foot Los Angeles home on the market for $38 million. The home was built speculatively and includes a roughly 2,500-square-foot master suite that takes up most of the third floor.
The glass-walled master has two fireplaces, an espresso bar and a private terrace with a fire pit. “It has the best views in the home,” says Mr. Franklin.
The master bedroom of a penthouse at the Regalia tower in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., was constructed by Finish My Condo, a Miami-based contractor. The master bedroom in this unit takes up 50% of the home’s total 5,700-square-foot floor plan. The suite includes an entertainment area with a large projection-screen TV hidden in the ceiling.

In Park City, Utah, orthopedic surgeon Dennis Phelps hired architect Lori Schneider, of Boulder, Colo.-based Studio Blue Design, to create a 6,000-square-foot spec home with a 1,200-square-foot master. Because the home would most likely be a second residence for the potential buyer, and frequently draw relatives and friends as houseguests, Dr. Phelps and Ms. Schneider discussed making it a private suite that could be somewhat self-contained from the rest of the home. The entire space can be heated and cooled separately. A flexible room within the suite can be outfitted as an office, gym or TV room. The home sold in March for $3.3 million to a couple from California.

Jeff Franklin, best known as the creator of the TV show “Full House,” recently put his 8,000-square-foot Los Angeles home on the market for $38 million. The home, perched above the Sunset Strip, was built speculatively to sell and completed earlier this year. (Mr. Franklin lived on the lot for more than 20 years before tearing down the original house.) Mr. Franklin decided to dedicate the third story to a roughly 2,500-square-foot master. “It has the best views in the home,” says Mr. Franklin, who lives in a different home he built nearby and is working on a reboot of “Full House.” The glass-walled space has two fireplaces, an espresso bar and a private terrace with a fire pit. An indoor/outdoor shower overlooks downtown L.A.
His listing agent, Brendan Fitzpatrick of the Agency, says master bedrooms often rank in the top two or three things buyers consider when purchasing a home, after the kitchen. “It’s the first place you end up in your home in the morning and the last place you end up in the evening,” he says.

Richard Landry, a Los Angeles-based architect who has designed luxury custom homes for celebrity clients like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, as well as Mr. Franklin’s spec home, says he has designed master suites as large as 5,000 square feet. Amenities have included everything from small kitchens to beauty salons and pedicure stations. Some clients have requested private pools just off the master, separate from the home’s main pool.

Though it’s still considered the most private area of a home, some homeowners have started to think of the master as a space that could also work for small-scale entertaining, particularly as closets have evolved from utilitarian storage spaces to showpieces modeled after designer stores, with fireplaces, seating areas and separate dressing rooms. “It’s a place to enjoy looking at the things you have,” he says.

In Miami Beach, Friedrich Koesters, a corporate lawyer, and Michael Jarboe, a former model, say that since they spend most of their time in the kitchen and in the bedroom, it made sense to invest most heavily in those areas. “Everybody spends a lot of time in the bedroom, even apart from sleeping,” says Mr. Koesters. A 930-square-foot master-suite addition to their 1937 Art Deco-style home cost roughly $500,000.

The design started with a free-standing tile and porcelain shower structure that takes center stage in the open-plan bathroom. “We wanted to showcase everything almost like a piece of art.” They recently put the 3,900-square-foot home on the market for $4.35 million because they’ve decided to relocate to Europe.

Claudia Barnett, a real-estate agent Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Sarasota, Fla., recently remodeled a circa-1926 historic home, spending an estimated $80,000 on the master renovation. The space now has a large his-and-hers bathrooms, mirrored closets and a bedroom. Ms. Barnett says friends and relatives visit frequently. “We run our house like a B & B and have guests upstairs and our own space downstairs,” she says.


Is Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Always Worth It?

Is Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Always Worth It?


Thinking about replacing your floors? Especially if you have carpet, the choice seems clear: Hardwood floors are preferred by home buyers and renters across the United States.

But consider carefully whether hardwood floors are the right choice for every room in your home—and what type you might want to install for the best resale value.

As you weigh investing in your floors, you’ll need to evaluate your budget, the preferences and traditions in your community and your own personal taste. Some people only want to step on soft carpet, while others prefer hard surfaces. In some warm climates such as Florida, ceramic tile flooring rivals hardwood in popularity.

In more traditional markets, tastes still lean toward oak floors, but some owners of more contemporary homes are choosing to stain their wood floors in different colors. Other trends in hardwood include wider planks, the use of reclaimed wood or hand-scraped wood that looks antique and exotic species of wood such as hickory or walnut.

Homeowners on a tight budget also may want to look into laminate flooring, which offers the look of wood at a lower price point.

Keep in mind that people with allergies typically want a hard surface that won’t hold dust. You should also think about the care and maintenance required for your floor surface since you’ll need to take care of it for years. Hardwood flooring lasts longer than carpet, can be easier to keep clean and can be refinished.

In the end, though, the decision about whether to install hardwood or carpeting in a bedroom should be based on your personal preference, at least if you intend to stay in the home for years.

Hardwood Flooring: It’s What Buyers Want

According to HGTV, the top request of home buyers and renters when looking for a home is hardwood flooring. In fact, a study of homebuyer preferences by USA Today using data from the National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.

Installing hardwood flooring can cost between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so some homeowners opt to install hardwood only in some rooms rather than throughout their home. However, carpet typically needs to be replaced if it becomes stained or worn out. Good quality carpet can last about 10 to 15 years, while hardwood can last forever.

The return on investment for installing hardwood will vary according to your market and other factors, but hardwood flooring can often help your home sell faster.

Reasons to Install Carpet

While many buyers and homeowners prefer hardwood flooring throughout their home, some people prefer carpet in the bedrooms—because they like a softer surface. When you live in a two or three-story home, carpet also helps reduce noise.

If you would still prefer hardwood floors throughout your home, you could use put area rugs in your bedroom.