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Sotheby's International Realty
Monday, March 3, 2014
Plush upgrades that won't break the bank...
Carpe Diem...Real Estate Update
6 Plush Upgrades
A little luxury goes a long way toward making your home truly your castle — and more marketable when it’s time to sell.
Every remodel should add value to your home; that’s our mantra. But HouseLogic knows that some luxuries just make your home life sweeter and easier — and there’s terrific value in that, too.
Here are some of our favorite remodeling splurges that are great for your life now and someday may pique a buyer’s interest.
Central vacs store dust in a collection bin that's
usually in a basement or garage (aka away from you), a feature much
appreciated by allergy sufferers. Image: Karen Bertelsen
1. Central Vac (aka Whole-House Vacuum)
super-suction, built-in vacuum system that features convenient inlet
ports throughout the house where you plug in 25-to-50-foot lightweight
vacuum hoses. The collection bin is usually located in a basement or
Why: No more dragging heavy vacuum cleaners up and down
stairs and throughout the house. With central vacs all you need to
schlepp is a lightweight hose fitted with a power brush.
vacs have up to five times the suction power of portable vacuums, and
they store dust far away from where it’s collected — great for allergy
sufferers. Some high-tech systems have retractable hoses that disappear
into the wall.
Tip: Make sure you have enough ports — at least one for every 500 sq. ft.
How much: $1,500-$2,500 to retrofit a house; add about $500 for retractable hose.
Up the relaxation factor by turning your shower stall
into a steam room. If you're building from scratch, slope the ceiling so
the condensation runs off. Image: Case Design Remodeling Inc, Bethesda
2. Steam Shower
A sealed shower attached to a steam generator that turns the stall into
a steam room. You can build a steam shower from scratch or buy a prefab
Why: Steam relaxes, opens sinuses, soothes
muscles, and cleans pores. Installing a steam shower is a major project
that includes wiring for the generator; vapor-proofing walls, floors,
and ceiling; installing a tightly-fitting door; and having a bathroom fan outside the shower to suck up the extra humidity.
Tip: A sloped ceiling in the shower room ensures that condensation runs off.
How much: Fiberglass unit: $1,000-$5,000; framed-in unit and generator: $7,000-$10,000.
Thin radiant mats can be installed under bathroom tiles
to pleasantly heat the floor -- a dream come true for many homeowners,
especially in the middle of winter. Image: Warmboard
3. Heated Bathroom Floors
What: Thin, thermostatically-controlled electric radiant mats that install under tile.
No more cold tootsies when stepping out of the shower in the morning.
Many systems come with timers so warm bathroom floors await you each
Tip: Heated floors help stem mold growth in humid places.
much: $15.59/sq. ft. for material and installation (not counting cost
of tile or adding 20-amp GFCI dedicated circuit with 110 volts,
A skylight in a bathroom provides plenty of natural light while maintaining much-needed privacy. Image: Batim Studio
4. Super Skylights
Roof windows that let sunlight in. Upscale models feature insulated
glass, solar-powered shades, and rain sensors that’ll automatically
close an open skylight in bad weather.
Why: Nobody likes dark,
dreary rooms and hallways. Skylights let the sun shine into areas you
can’t brighten with windows — hallways, interior rooms, even closets.
Skylights save you money on heating, cooling, and lighting bills.
Tip: If you plan to open and close skylights, order screens to keep out bugs and roof debris.
How much: $500-$3,500 (depending on size, glazing, and complexity) installed.
When Kimberly of Serendipity Refined designed her master
bath, she treated herself to a towel warming drawer, which she says is
especially nice during Chicago winters. Image: SerendipityRefined.com
5. Towel Warming Drawer
What: A stainless steel, heated drawer that slips into cabinetry, plugs into an outlet, and warms towels.
Why: Because there’s nothing more snuggly than wrapping a warm towel around you after a bath or shower.
Tip: Towels take time to heat up — some people say as
much as 45 minutes — so you’ll have to plan ahead to have a toasty one
ready when you are.
How much: $1,700-$3,400.
6. Whole-House Electrostatic Filters
What: Also called “electrostatic precipitators,” these
dust-removing wonders are incorporated into your HVAC ductwork. They
charge polluted air with a high-voltage current, and then collect
particles on plates with the opposite charge. Great at removing tiny
particles that slip through regular fiberglass filters.
Why: Whole-house electrostatic filters remove smoke,
dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and dust, improving air quality and
health. But they also create ozone as a byproduct which is a lung
irritant, so the health benefits could be a wash.
Tip: The filters last indefinitely, but you’ll have to
clean the plates, some say as often as once a week; others advise every