The pebbly feel of leather under your fingertips, the cooling sensation of smooth marble at our feet and a coffered wood-paneled ceiling are all examples of fine materials that emanate luxury in our homes. While luxury may have traditionally been defined by difficult-to-get products and sky-high prices, homeowners are now looking to channel their funds into the important details that make a room special. Clients have let go of trying to attain particular name brands in order to further personalize their home and save valuable time by making the room layout more efficient. Mercedes Aza, vice president and director of marketing at Roomscapes Luxury Design Center in Rockland, MA, a leader in innovative home design, points out that true luxury is identifying what you want and will benefit from most and investing your money in that particular area.
“Luxury is allowing ourselves to indulge, usually in something we lack the most. For me luxury is time,” says Aza. “When I actually get two free hours for myself, I like to soak in a tub while watching the fireplace and listening to soft music without a smart phone in sight.” To this end, Aza wants to invest in a high-end MicroSilk tub, which generates billions of tiny, oxygen-rich micro bubbles providing a deep cleanse, for her own master bath.
Customizing to create luxury
For many homeowners, luxury means having a house custom designed for their lifestyle, even at the risk of making it slightly less marketable. This customization can be in the form of monogrammed items, such as trays that are tucked away into their own spot in cabinets or authentic wine casks that double as décor in a cellar tasting room.
People are craving specialized spaces for their hobbies, such as baking stations that fold away to leave as much counter space free as possible and pull-out closets with special racks to store table linens. Many of these storage areas are camouflaged to be a seamless part of the home design.
Roomscapes specializes in designing hidden spaces and “magic” corners that allow for more storage while not detracting from the uncluttered look of the room. Whether you want cabinets to store movies and audio-visual equipment in your media room or decorative doors that hide your washer in dryer, Roomscapes incorporates everyday living with fine design.
“The difference between the room you like and the one you love is always in the details,” says Cameron Snyder, president of Roomscapes. “When you find a professional you like working with, that is a real luxury. Clients love our work because the true beauty is always within.”
This desire for hidden storage space has also given rise to “secret rooms,” whether they are in the master retreat, the kitchen, or wine cellar. The rooms often double as cedar-lined closets for furs and other precious clothing materials as well as a place to install a safe for jewelry and other valuables.
Splurging here; saving there
Homeowners are also more willing to spend money on a particular element of the room, such as a spacious walk-in shower, while saving money on other components in the bathroom. Instead of using leather on every inch of their library or smoking room they may opt to use it on the coffered ceiling or as panels next to the fireplace. Clients are still splurging on luxury materials and products, such as onyx, melted-down glass, crystal hardware, leathered granite and thicker tops but Aza points out that more people are using them as accents. More homeowners are fashioning tile as art, and Judy Whalen is Roomscapes’ expert designer in creating that artistic look, whether it is used to accent wall ovens, differentiate between his and hers spaces in the bathroom or as a focal point in a spacious shower.
Homeowners are more open to incorporating different and new materials into their design to evoke a particular feel. In one Roomscapes kitchen, river rock was used underneath clear resin to create a soothing, nostalgic feel, while custom-matched concrete was poured to mimic an old-fashioned washboard as part of a sink in a laundry room. Clients are mixing and matching materials, whether it means combining leather with wood, glass and metal, or polished concrete and tile.
It’s all here
Roomscapes curates a space that allows designers and homeowners to envision a project from start to finish, as well as dream and be inspired. “Our clients enjoy the luxury of time gained by having the best resources available in one convenient location,” says Glenn Meader, Roomscapes’ director of residential design. “Partnering with our expert design team, they further gain efficiency as they’re guided through a comprehensive process that ensures a truly personalized approach to each new space.” While fine finishes and textured materials are still highly desired, homeowners want their luxury pieces to say more about them and their lifestyle.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dan Cutrona
Design by Roomscapes Design Center
**As seen in Southern New England Home magazine’s 2012-2013 print edition.