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Luxury real estate clients are some of the most discerning when it comes to home design.
Although many affluent homebuyers go into a transaction expecting to put their own footprint on a property with upgrades and renovations, others want a turnkey property that’s already outfitted with their preferences. Either way, it behooves a luxury agent to know what clients are looking for today when it comes to home design.
The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program recently pinpointed key trends and features that clients are looking for in their future luxury homes as determined through a survey of over 200 Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property specialists conducted during September 2023. Agents said that luxury clients are craving a Zen, spa-like atmosphere throughout their homes, across all spaces.
Those findings were then distilled into a “Best of the Best” shoppable guide of luxury products that embody these design trends — just in time for holiday shopping.
Michael Altneu, vice president of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, told Inman that the brand’s inaugural “Best of the Best” list spun out of a desire to find more ways to engage with the consumer.
“We thought a lot about the typical life of a transaction between a real estate agent and a consumer, and after the close of a home, many times it ends,” Altneu told Inman. “So aside from something that would be more report-like or more data-heavy, we thought, why not try to take insights from our luxury agents and curate it into this holiday shoppable guide that will allow our luxury agents to continue the conversation with their clients and sphere of influence and do it in a different, fun way?”
Altneu clarified that Coldwell Banker is not receiving any kind of commission from other brands whose products are featured in the guide. At this point, the brand is keeping an open mind about whether or not to release another such list in the future and how frequently.
One of the most striking trends to emerge across Coldwell Banker Global Luxury’s agent survey was the desire for wellness to permeate all aspects of a home, Altneu said, and for technology to help facilitate that wellness.
“It all circles back to this essence of wellness and spa-like attributes throughout the entire piece,” Altneu said. “If you look at all the products, everything has what I feel is a very Zen-type role. So I think that’s spread across everything.
“The results were that [homes] are sanctuary spaces,” he added.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury agents said that home features like calming indoor-outdoor spaces, robust kitchens, tech-enabled appliances and smart home tools that promote wellness are all top-of-mind for luxury clients heading into 2024. Here’s a breakdown of what that includes.
Affluent clients today want a chef’s kitchen that can hold up both in terms of performance and style.
The most important feature that exemplifies such a kitchen is the double kitchen island, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property specialists reported. A double island feature allows for plenty of space to cook, gather and entertain simultaneously, which allows luxury clients to show off their skills in the kitchen while surrounded by friends and family.
Designer kitchen appliances, including sleek oven ranges and statement range hoods that feature bold colors or unique designs, are another must-have for today’s luxury kitchen, luxury agents said.
Resort-style outdoor spaces that merge indoors
When it comes to a property’s outdoor spaces, two-thirds of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury experts said that merging indoor and outdoor living was the biggest trend to-date. Altneu added that this was even a trend seen in cooler climates, which might surprise some.
“Indoor-outdoor [features] were something even in cold weather climates that were important to our luxury agents,” Altneu said. “The ability to — when the warm months are there — to be able to seamlessly blend those two.”
Design trends that embody this idea include cabanas and pergolas that bring the comforts of relaxation outdoors, as well as more robust outdoor living areas like outdoor bars, chef’s kitchens with pizza ovens and grills, and large gas fire pits.
A variety of water features, like heated pools, waterfalls, fountains and plunge pools also help cultivate an atmosphere of an oasis in a homeowner’s own backyard.
Creating a spa-like bathroom that also boasts wellness features, like hydrotherapy showers and infrared saunas, is also a coveted aspect of today’s luxury client homes, Coldwell Banker luxury agents reported.
Freestanding soaking tubs represent the height of elegance and relaxation and have become essential for most homeowners, agents said. A room within a bathroom that is devoted specifically to spa features, like a sauna with heated floors, has also become in demand.
Wellness smart home tech
Smart home features that enable a healthy lifestyle have become some of the top tech products in luxury properties today, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury specialists said.
Not only must smart tech make living in one’s home easier, but it must also promote wellness in luxury clients’ homes.
Smart gyms that provide targeted workouts and bring fitness experts into the home with touchscreen mirror displays and smart thermostats that provide air quality monitoring while conserving energy with sensor technology are both keystones in this type of smart home trend.
Advanced air purifiers controlled from an app that guarantee nearly a 100 percent particle-capture efficiency rate have become coveted features for luxury smart homes, Coldwell Banker luxury agents said. In this anxiety-ridden era, human-sized sound therapy meditation pods that mix gentle body vibrations with music serve as a crucial feature in the homes of luxury clients.
Agents and their clients who are interested in seeing what products specific to these various trends Coldwell Banker’s Global Luxury program recommends can visit the 2023 “Best of the Best” guide here.
“This is another way for [consumers] to look at us as trusted leaders in luxury,” Altneu told Inman. “And to see that luxury goes beyond just the price point — it goes into all the elements that make it such, and everyone has different ways in which luxury comes into their spaces, and we can continue to look at things in a fun, unique and different way. I hope that we put something out that gives people a little touch of inspiration and fun in their lives.”