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Read about the latest industry news and trends,  and features.

How Apple is Playing in the Home Automation Space

Here at Riverview Contracting, we are always looking for innovative ideas for home construction and remodeling. The trend nowadays is toward home automation with many areas in the home controlled from smart devices.

Home has always been where the heart is, but now more than ever before, it’s where the brain resides too. The popularity of “smart” technology continues to pick up – with each passing year, more of our analog appliances are able to communicate, share data and analyze information gathered from our daily routines. Today it’s possible to lock doors and windows, adjust thermostat settings and even check on the contents of the fridge from the smartphone in the palm of your hand.   

This type of intelligent technology has already begun to revolutionize the way we manage and interact with our homes. Operating in and around the Internet of Things, connected home products have opened the door to a myriad of never-before-seen conveniences. Mobile phones operate as remote controls or command centers, bridging the gap between our everyday demands and the services provided by smart toasters, light bulbs and security systems.

Apple, the world’s largest seller of smartphone devices, made its official debut into the dynamic smart home market last year. With the release of the Home app, and critical improvements to the existing HomeKitplatform, Apple reminded consumers that it still knows how to really work a room.

Connection and Control with HomeKit

Apple’s HomeKit platform seeks to provide a single overarching ecosystem within which all sorts of smart devices can coexist in harmony. Provided a device was made HomeKit-compatible by its manufacturer, it’s ready to integrate with the existing HomeKit hub setup. After this, users can simply begin interacting with the Home app or by talking to Apple’s digital voice assistant, Siri, to enact precise control over every room in the house. There’s no need for hubs to wrangle half a dozen different communication standards, no juggling multiple apps and no hoping that the newest smart device will play nicely with everything else.

Using home automation, it’s crucial to know which products are compatible with one another. In the world of smart home systems, gadgets can only communicate if they speak using the same language or “standard.” Users typically require a separate app for each system, and separate hardware too. And in this still early market, tech firms still tend to see the most profitable business model as one that acts as a walled garden. However, manufacturers are becoming aware that more compatibility is important – soon we hope to see devices that support Apple’s HomeKit, and Google’s Weave, as well as the other systems still on the horizon.

A Secure Investment

Though home automation systems are seldom considered among the best investments for homeowners, their installation can boost both the ease-of-use and the comfort of your home – benefiting you and your family in both the short and long term. Automated and remote control over lighting and HVAC systems can improve energy efficiency, lower overall consumption and help save money on utility bills. Smart security systems enable the remote monitoring of your property, giving additional control and protection over your home even when you are away. Looking toward the future of home selling, having a smart home systemalready installed and integrated is a major advantage.

HomeKit and the Competition

While there is a lot to like about the HomeKit and Home app from Apple, this tech giant isn’t the only player in this long game. Amazon’s Echo has been wildly successful since its introduction thanks to its ability to control a wide selection of smart products via a demure speaker hub. The hub is powered by Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent digital assistant and cohort of Apple’s Siri. With far-field microphones and a sophisticated artificial intelligence, the Echo system has captivated many consumers attention.

The Samsung SmartThings platform, while missing the charm of an Alexa or Siri-like voice assistant, is perhaps the most reliable and widely supported home automation system currently available. It works with a whole host of communication standards, making it an excellent choice if anyone who intends to piece together their smart home systems from an assortment of vendors and devices.

Home Automation is the Future

The connected home sector is still open to transformation. Today the technology firms above and many other product manufacturers continue to jostle for a bigger slice of the pie. For consumers who feel that their homes are no less “smart” for all the Internet-enabled devices they buy, the move towards these types of systems has been more gradual. To ensure home automation takes off, improved data security and more streamlined communication standards are imperative.   

In Apple’s case, because smart products need to be specifically made HomeKit-compatible, the list of supported devices is currently smaller than for other smart home systems. The HomeKit also requires that an Apple TV or other supported device be left at home in order to communicate with the system while users are away, which may be a deterrent for some. Nonetheless, the HomeKit system is already becoming more established, and the list of compatible devices continues to grow rapidly. With deep integration into the recently released iOS 10 and a continued focus on security and protection of privacy, the HomeKit offer compelling advantages over similar cloud-based competitors.

While it’s still a growing field, home automation devices and the ever-widening Internet of Things hold tremendous potential. A smart home can be a safer, more convenient and more efficient home, and automation strikes an excellent balance between short-term gratification and long-term investment value for homeowners. There’s no telling what the future of smart technology holds, but by providing all these advantages without sacrificing security and privacy, the Apple HomeKit is poised to remain a powerful player for years to come.


Here at Riverview Contracting, we are always on the lookout for advanced new products that benefit the construction process and  your home.

When it comes to protecting our homes from air and moisture infiltration, there is such a thing as “too tight.”

When it comes to protecting our homes from air and moisture infiltration, the building industry is quickly learning that there is such a thing as “too tight.” No matter how tightly a home is built, water is inevitably going to find its way in. And the tighter we build those walls, the harder it is to keep them dry. Attempting to stop all water and moisture completely is a recipe for disaster and a surefire way to ensure walls will get wet and stay wet.

In many places, building codes are driving the need for better moisture management solutions. The International Residential Code (IRC) now requires the use of water-resistive barriers, but some states have added even more prescriptive measures to their codes that now include the use of drainage planes, and others are expected to follow.

Thankfully, advances in material technology have resulted in innovative solutions for protecting our homes from the elements while also allowing them to both release vapor buildup and, in some cases, even drain bulk water.

Though exterior cladding is the first line of defense against outside water infiltration, housewraps have become a popular way to block whatever water is able to sneak through. And as building assemblies have gotten tighter, housewraps have taken on a new function—helping to remove trapped water from the building enclosure. Their unique permeability enables them to both block moisture from the outside while also allowing walls to “breathe” to prevent vapor buildup. And the very latest innovations in housewrap technology is taking this moisture removal function one step further to incorporate drainage strategies, as well.

Today’s most advanced housewrap products feature integrated drainage gaps through creping, embossing, weaving, or filament spacers. These new products eliminate the need for furring strips, helping to reduce material costs and streamline installation. Products that achieve a 1mm drainage plane, like TYPAR’s Drainable Wrap, can be as much as 100 times more effective than standard housewraps at removing bulk water from the wall.

These new drainable housewraps meet all current code requirements for drainability (ASTM E2273) without sacrificing any of the durability and ease of installation benefits builders and contractors have come to expect from premium housewraps since they essentially handle and install the same. They are also vapor permeable, so moisture will not become trapped in the wall assembly and lead to mold or rot issues.

The ability to drain bulk water becomes even more important when installing a tightly fastened cladding such as cedar siding or fiber cement board, which could allow water trapped between the siding and a standard housewrap to pool. Drainable housewraps also work exceptionally well with reservoir claddings such as brick, stucco, and stone, providing a capillary break that prevents any stored water from being forced into the wall assembly.

Advances in technology and building codes are driving adoption of better moisture management systems, and that’s a great thing. While we can’t completely stop water from getting into walls, there is certainly a lot more builders can do to help them dry out and minimize damage when they do get wet. By adding drainage capabilities to a solid mix of water resistance, durability and permeability, today’s newest drainable housewrap products are a terrific way to address this challenge.

After the flood, the monster that grows like ‘the Blob’ — and doesn’t die

Water problems are often long lasting and hidden. Good construction will never allow water to enter or stand in your home. At Riverview Contracting we emphasize water management and prevention on all of our jobs.

A homeowner uses a crow bar to remove window molding at a home that was damaged by water.

The Texas towns and cities inundated by Hurricane Harvey’s torrential downpours are finally drying out, but the storm left a menace behind: mold.

Just 24 hours after a heavy rain, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now many Texans can attest, the fungi can begin to grow and invade a home.

“Mold appeared almost instantly,” said Alan Tillotson of Cypress, a community about 25 miles northwest of downtown Houston. He and his wife, Vicki, returned to their neighborhood after having fled Harvey for most of last week. They started pulling off drywall and found big black circles of fuzz behind it. “We had it growing visibly on the materials we were removing. The goal is to get all the wet stuff out before it becomes a science experiment.”

Blossoming on walls, on furniture, on clothes and potentially in every crevice and corner of every soaked property, mold not only damages homes and businesses but affects human health. Exposure can trigger a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, cough or respiratory problems.

Mold is so ubiquitous because it reproduces and spreads via pollen-like spores that are lightweight and travel easily through the air, thus exposing people through inhalation and skin contact. Complicating the situation: Those spores can last a long time.

Indeed, all mold needs to survive and thrive is moisture, oxygen, a surface to grow on and a food source. Molds feed on dead, moist organic matter, including leaves, wood, cloth, paper, even dust. Smaller than the head of a pin, spores can hang in the air for hours — where they can be breathed or ingested.

Dead spores still contain allergens and so can affect health, which is why it’s not enough to kill mold. It must be removed.

Tillotson said he and his wife have suffered no ill effects so far. They quickly ventilated rooms, opened windows and turned on fans. They have already had the drywall stripped down to the studs and their hardwood floors removed.

“The water came in so fast,” he recounted Tuesday. “We had no idea how high it would go. If I had to do it all over again, I’d have already moved away.”

Methods to remove mold run the gamut. There’s simple, as in scrubbing with a fungicide mixed with bleach and water. There’s also complicated, which can involve wet vacuuming or vacuuming with a high-efficiency air purifier.

Yet mold expert Nick Gromicko, founder of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, thinks some victims of Hurricane Harvey may not ever be able to remove all the mold.

“Mold can be hidden behind walls where spores are not detected, and mold can grow very rapidly within days,” he said. “Mold is literally a monster that grows like that vintage movie ‘The Blob.’ … It doesn’t die. If it has food and water, it will live forever.”

With thousands of homes and businesses along the Texas Gulf Coast unreachable for days — and perhaps uninhabitable for weeks or months — Gromicko said many structures likely can’t be rescued.

“Where homes have been in standing water for so long, the cure for most of these mold problems is going to be a bulldozer,” he warned. “The homes are going to have to be razed.”

Among the steps the CDC recommends for getting rid of mold after flooding are:

  • Throw out items that cannot be washed and disinfected, such as mattresses, rugs and carpets, upholstered furniture and books.
  • Remove and discard wet or contaminated drywall and insulation.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces, including floors, wood and metal furniture, counters, appliances and plumbing fixtures, with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.

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Desire for outdoor amenities grows among homeowners

Backyard theaters are among the outdoor amenities growing in popularity.

Backyard theaters are among the outdoor amenities growing in popularity.

Home is no longer just about personal retreat and comfort — more and more, we are seeing people place a high value on how well it can serve and entertain family and friends. According to real estate agents across the Mid-Atlantic, outdoor living and entertainment spaces are gaining momentum as the next big trend and must-have amenity for homes.

If you’re looking to add value to your property before selling during the fall home-buying season, or you simply want to create a space for you and friends and family to enjoy, consider these features:

Outdoor kitchen
Outdoor dining used to be pretty simple — a dining set and a grill was all you needed. Now, agents say that as cooking and food preparation have become as much a part of entertaining as the meal itself, more and more buyers are seeking additional amenities, such as an outdoor refrigerator, sink and counter space.

In the luxury market, we’re seeing full-on outdoor kitchens complete with bar areas, islands, ovens, stoves and extra storage space. These features allow a homeowner and host to be present with their guests outside even as they prepare the meal. This brings right to your home the modern, interactive dining experience where you can watch your food being prepared in front of you. The days of the home cook tucked away from the party in the kitchen are over, and now that trend extends outside as well.

Pool & spa
It’s no secret that waterfront properties are high value. For those without access to a waterfront setting, a swimming pool remains one of the most popular outdoor living features, bringing a waterfront feel right to your own back yard. While many homes in the Washington area have pools, agents are seeing a shift in the way pools and the spaces around them are designed.

To set their home apart, owners are getting creative with shapes and unique pool designs — we’ve seen everything from jets, slides and waterfalls to a hot tub in the middle of the pool and even the occasional moat. In addition to the pool itself, buyers are also seeking beautiful terraces and lounges overlooking the pool area to help create the feel of a relaxing oasis at home. Keep in mind, though, that pools are a very personal preference and best designed for your own enjoyment, not for resale.

Open access
An exciting newer trend agents are seeing is the creation of a nearly seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. At the higher end of the market, homeowners are installing collapsible window walls that allow your outdoor living areas to become a true extension of your indoor space, while French and sliding glass doors accomplish this feel at more affordable price points.

These features can make your indoor spaces more attractive and accessible by bringing the benefits of the outdoors in, while still retaining all the comforts of indoor amenities and protecting them from the elements.

Recreation & entertainment
Like pools, recreation amenities such as basketball and tennis courts remain perennial favorites for outdoor features, especially in Washington’s luxury market. We’ve also seen sand volleyball courts and putting greens. To health-conscious homeowners and families with active children, these types of features are especially appealing, allowing them to get in a game without having to go to the gym.

Of course, these features are also great for entertaining. For those looking for a more relaxed gathering, we’re also seeing increased interest in outdoor home theater amenities, including speaker systems and screening areas, complete for backyard movie nights.

Outdoor fireplaces
Fireplaces have long topped home buyers’ wish lists, but the up-and-coming trend is toward incorporating fireplaces into spaces other than the traditional living room, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, even in closets and of course, outside. Local agents are seeing everything from the simple fire pit to custom fire features built into the deck or landscape.

To make the most of your outdoor fireplace, big or small, gas or wood-burning, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of seating options for your friends and family to gather around — or for buyers to imagine their own guests doing so. A combination of couches, chairs, benches — even hammocks or swings — can bring the cozy environment of a living room fire to the great outdoors right in your own back yard.

If you’re looking to up your home’s outdoor appeal, consider incorporating some of these features. Whether you’re preparing to sell or want to enjoy your home’s outdoor space with your friends and family, outdoor amenities could be worth the investment as we continue to see interest in them grow.



River View Contracting takes water control very seriously. We adhere to strict guidelines when building to ensure your home project will not encounter water problems. Other companies may take shortcuts but we take the time to do it right!


House flood water damage can be caused by a variety of factors, requiring you to find a reliable company to fix water damage. Some of these include heavy rain storms, burst or leaky pipes and malfunctioning appliances. House floods can also occur as a result of roof leaks and from defective gutters and downspouts which can cause water damage in your basement or crawlspace.


Some signs of hidden house flood water damage include peeling paint and wallpaper, visible mold, moisture and condensation, musty odors, and moisture or dampness in your carpet or other flooring.


Water flood damage certainly has the potential to cause mold growth. Because mold thrives in moist environments, any place that is wet (and especially humid) is a perfect place for mold to grow. If you ignore the moisture, mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours. It’s very important to take immediate action when you experience house flood damage of any type!


The cost of water damage cleanup depends on the size of the flooded area and amount of time needed to handle the water repair. If your insurance policy covers water damage restoration, you are typically only responsible for the deductible. Because water can move so quickly and be extremely destructive, if not promptly removed with the right equipment, there can be even bigger problems like mold growth and even structural damage. When done properly, fixing water damage can take several days and many man-hours to complete, which have varying costs.


  • Clean water – poses no harm to people. This includes water damage caused by a sink or bathtub overflow or an appliance malfunction, such as a water heater or washing machine.
  • Gray water – can cause harm and illness to people. This category includes water that has a significant amount of contamination, which can be chemical, physical and/or biological.
  • Black water – can cause severe illness to people. Black water is very unsanitary and contains pathogenic agents coming from other contaminated water sources. Black water can come from seawater, ground surface water and sewage backups.

New Home Construction and Water Management

With all the news regarding Hurricane Harvey and homes being flooded, I wanted to post this article on Water Management in new home construction. 

Water Management

A common design for new houses is to concentrate rain water from several roof surfaces to a small area, which greatly increases the potential for foundation and basement water problems. I marked up the images from some recent new construction to help highlight where a lot of water gets concentrated.

Water concentrated to one spot 3

Water concentrated to one spot 4

Water concentrated to one spot 5

Water concentrated to one spot 2

Exterior - water management with no gutters

In the last image shown above, all of the water from the upper roof surfaces dumps onto the lower roof, and from there, it dumps onto the corner of the deck right by the patio door. When an invasive moisture testing is conducted in addition to home inspections, and without a doubt, one of the worst areas for water leakage is at the end of deck ledgerboards. I can almost guarantee that water is going to leak into this building before the year is up. Not only that, but this is also a recipe for basement water intrusion. To make things worse, the ground wasn’t properly pitched away from the building, and the soil was too close to the stone veneer siding.

Exterior - water management with poor grading

There should be a 4″ gap between the bottom of the stone veneer siding and the earth. How does one even fix all of this stuff?  There’s not much that can be done about the roof lines at this point, but adding gutters would do wonders for this situation.

The homeowner should have gutters added, whether he had to pay for them out of his own pocket or not. The association wouldn’t allow gutters for aesthetic reasons, and less than a month the building was occupied, four of the units in this association ended up with basement water intrusion. The association had gutters installed shortly after that.

Installing gutters would probably help in all of the situations shown above, but gutters are something that should be planned for early on. If you’re having a home built, think about exterior water management. Take a step back and think about where all of the water will go. If gutters are going to be installed (and they almost always should be), make sure the downspouts have a good location to drain to. That means not onto a walkway, and not over a walkway. Sometimes, this involves laying down an underground drain. It’s cheap and easy to do this before the front walkways are poured. Not so much afterward.

2017 / Modern Building Products and Materials

Houses today are stronger, more efficient, and safer to work on. Modern building products have a lot to do with that. Here are some good examples.

Tyvek Protec

Tyvek Protec Roof Underlayment

Everyone knows Tyvek; their HomeWrap is everywhere. A lesser known fact is that Tyvek also produces a high end roof underlayment that can be used with most roofing materials like asphalt shingles, tile and metal. Tyvek Protec underlayment takes the place of felt paper, but not self-adhering products; although they said that’st just around the corner.

Protec was designed with safety in mind: It lays flat and doesn’t wrinkle, which reduces a trip hazard.  It has a nonslip surface that is much safer to walk on, perfect for steep pitched roofs. And it’s much tougher than felt and should never tear out from under your feet. Protec comes in three grades with increasing quality and durability. Tyvek Protec Underlayment is sold where other roofing materials are sold. Prices start at $124.97 per 10-sq. roll.

Catch N Cover

Filter Out the Debris

Catching and containing debris created from power-washing can be a tricky pain in the backside when using regular poly. That’s because poly is the wrong tool for the job. Check out Catch N Cover,  a micro-filtration membrane that filters all of the potentially harmful leftover material from water (even lead paint chips) and leaves it behind, making clean-up easy.

All you have to do is drape Catch-N-Cover over the area around your jobsite, basically anywhere that water is going to run through. Catch-N-Cover is easy to cut, so you can make it fit pretty much any area you need to protect. Weigh the cover down, and you’re good to go! Water will simply pass through the membrane, filtering out all the solids, keeping the area beneath it clean. When you’re done with the job, simply roll the membrane up and either toss it or store it for later—it’s reusable! Produced by Dumond Chemicals, Catch-N-CoverMicrofiltration Membrane is available online and in home centers for $44.05 per roll.


Stop Worrying About the Weather

Weather can be an unpredictable adversary—just ask a painter. Olympic’s new WEATHER-READY paint can help combat the random nature of Mother Nature. The new Olympic ONE exterior paint formula  is rain-ready in just 12 hours, (probably a lot less in certain conditions).  That means less worrying that an unforecasted spurt of rain will ruin your beautiful work. Also included in this new formula is Olympic’s All-Climate Protection Package feature, which helps paints adhere even in extreme  hot and cold conditions. The All-Climate Protection sticks at temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Olympic’s WEATHER-READY Exterior paints are sold exclusively at Lowe’s starting at $29.98 per gallon.

Sub-floor Adhesive Subfloor Adhesive from Huber

Huber Woods, known for AdvanTech subfloor panels, is breaking into the glue game with a subfloor adhesive. They call it “Squeak-free” and claim that it will increase the stiffness of the subfloor. They also say that it will provide a more solid base for finished flooring. The adhesive is applied easily using their AdvanTech gun applicator; it can even be applied directly to frozen or wet joists due to its special formula.

The glue starts as a foam when first applied and then collapses into a gel, allowing it to fill in gaps  and create a firm bond with the panels. Huber is so confident in their new formula that they promise a 10-year Squeak-free Guarantee when you use their sub-flooring panel coupled with this new formula. Advantech “Squeak-free” Subfloor Adhesive is sold at lumber yards and other building material suppliers.

Charred Wood

Unique Home Accents

Looking to make a room stand out and spark conversations? UFP-Edge produces a Charred Wood Shiplap that gives a modern but rustic look to any remodel or renovation.

UFP Edge makes Charred Wood by carefully and specifically burning lumber. This produces a contrasting appearance that highlights the character of the wood and gives off a warm, almost rustic feel. This new shiplap is sealed with a satin clear coat that shields its outer surface but still allows the lumber’s unique look to shine through.

The Charred Wood is available in shiplap and trim kits for easy installation and is perfect for projects such as accent walls, column and beam wrapping and even art and crafts. 4-packs of Charred Wood Shiplap from UFP-Edge can be bought online or at Home Depot. It costs $65 for a 4-pack of  1 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft.

The AZEK Decking Difference


AZEK decks are 100% Smarter Than Wood. They are designed to inspire and engineered to last beautifully. Browse through each collection to see how we’ve used the latest in materials science innovation to protect your deck. Discover the AZEK difference and how we engineer the best high-performance building materials available.

AZEK Vintage Collection vs Pressure Treated Wood

AZEK capped polymer decks are engineered to last beautifully from installation throughout all the seasons in the life of your deck. Interact with the time-lapse animation below to see how AZEK decking stands up to traditional wood planks over time.


The newest must-have amenities for kitchens, closets, game spaces, privacy, and security in residences

In today’s luxury real estate marketplace, homebuyers’ lifestyles, hobbies, and collecting habits are defining their home life and shaping the features and amenities within . As part of its annual 2017 report on the state of the residential property market, Christie’s International Real Estate polled real estate executives and agents in the field and asked them which amenities and home features stood out in the current luxury real estate landscape. Here are some of their insights.

Kitchens as Theater and à Votre Santé

Anyone watching a master chef in action soon realizes that cooking is a dance and a kitchen is the stage. Counter space, considered prime real estate even more so than stoves or appliances, is expanding exponentially and also allowing a household’s multiple cooks to create in tandem. Precision, efficiency of movement, command of space defines a chef— which so many of us now aspire to be.

When entertaining, guests want to watch their hosts in action. As a result, they tend to congregate in the kitchen, which then grows in stature with “spectator” seating and elegant design. 

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

Kitchens are further evolving into the hearth and hub of the family. A great kitchen is said to fuel a healthier lifestyle with more sit-down dinners, conversation opportunities and healthier dining choices than food on the fly. Elaborate indoor herb gardens continue to crop up, so to speak. More elaborate “farm-to-table” garden options in luxury households are taking root, as well.

The 2017 season of Top Chef, the long-running foodie television show, recently wrapped up in Charleston, South Carolina. Helen Geer of local area Affiliate William Means Real Estate explains the importance of a kitchen in selling a home: “The kitchen has become a major entertaining space. Instead of a utilitarian area for someone other than the owner to prepare food, buyers today like to cook and take enormous pride in the meals they prepare themselves. Even if they don’t cook, people still like to entertain in the kitchen with hors d’oeuvres or small plates. It is more intimate and welcoming.”

Closets: Go Big… No, Go Bigger

Just as your art and your home are the image you project to the world, so are the clothes you wear. That is certainly the reason that closets continue to grow in size and opulence. Across our 101 surveyed markets, numerous brokers across the globe reported that large closets continue to be a highly desirable amenity for luxury home buyers.

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It would be difficult to find a closet that can rival the square footage of space once devoted to clothes at “Ocean Lawn” in Newport, Rhode Island, which sold this March for $11.65 million by Melanie Delman of Lila Delman Real Estate. The estate was the longtime residence of Elizabeth Park Firestone, also remembered as a turn-of-the-20th-century fashion icon who amassed so many gowns, dresses and outfits, she once commented that she never had to wear the same thing twice.

Closets are no longer confined spaces. The closet is really another room, not a storage center, and has become almost recreational.

The original closet at “Ocean Lawn” was expanded, swallowing two guest bedrooms and three servants’ quarters. When that, too, proved inadequate, she set her sights on the floor above and converted all the rooms overhead to create a massive two-story closet. For her out-of-season wardrobe, she constructed a separate outbuilding on the property.

When the home changed hands in 2000 after the death of Mrs. Firestone, the new owners downsized the closet, reclaiming three bedrooms and a library before selling the estate in 2017.

Raising Your Game

Luxury real estate specialists surveyed report that the passion for recreation at home is only getting more expansive. This year we have seen ice-hockey rinks with Zambonis and warming areas, a BMX pump course, and an irrigated regulation soccer field. One noteworthy home had a slide directly from the master suite to the backyard pool.

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While indoor basketball courts have been a staple of luxury homes for some time, there is one in Portland that comes with an ingenious twist; it transforms into a formal ball room-complete with chandeliers and sound systems for grand-scale entertaining. When it is time once more for a game of hoops, the high-brow accoutrements are stored in giant lockers built specifically for that purpose.

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Sports continue to play a major role in the amenities on offer at many high-value homes across the globe, with homeowners integrating their preferred sports into properties in new and creative ways.

Bill Hamm of Christie’s International Real Estate says “We continue to be amazed at how many homeowners are creatively integrating sports amenities in their home while maintaining the high-end integrity of their luxury property.”

Privacy and Security

Beginning with the castle moat, security has been a salient feature of important homes for centuries. What started as basic in-home security systems like ADT have evolved radically for today’s most sophisticated residences.

Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker, notes, “on a micro level, I think security will be front of mind for many buyers. Fingerprint recognition and other sophisticated security systems—technology will continue to move forward and London will not relax on this front.”

Recent security innovations are wonders of technology, and are not surprisingly designed by former military masterminds: outdoor surveillance cameras with night vision to protect a home’s perimeters; safe rooms with oxygen scrubbers, back-up generators and Kevlar®-reinforced doors; blast films on windows to make them virtually impenetrable; and ceiling devices that when tripped, fire pepper spray or a fog laced with ingredients to temporarily debilitate unwanted intruders.

This Cayman Islands estate features a high-tech security system throughout the property

Design and Construction Trends

Design and Construction Trends

More and more, women are being recognized as the final decision makers regarding new home design and construction. Translated, this can mean more storage space in bedrooms, an oversized garage, larger laundry rooms, security systems and a higher quality of construction; while men are looking for things such as larger garages as well, home theater systems, space for large screen TV’s and separate shower stalls and tubs.

Builders and engineers are becoming increasingly aware of other factors that new home owners are looking for. At the core of these trends are safety and energy conservation, both in manufacture and construction activities, as well as being resistant to storms, earthquakes, and fire. Designs that take into account the health needs of consumers and decrease the use of materials that leak gases after the home has been completed and can literally make you sick. Other interesting trends are flexible floor plans, access by older consumers who want to avoid climbing stairs, etc., outdoor rooms, more storage and the utilization of some eastern beliefs such as Feng Shui and others are becoming recognized by builders and consumers alike.

Technology is making its way more and more into the home and to be more effective, it is best to take into consideration the design of the home before it is build. The truly wired home incorporating security systems with video pickups, as well as sound, music systems with surround sound, home theaters, homes fully wired for phone, cable and satellite TV options and high speed data are becoming common. Controls that allow you to close the drapes to accessing your homes security system remotely are also being added.

Finally, regional trends are also a significant factor and continue to affect trends in various parts of the country.

Useful Web Links

Top 10 Designs in Home Trends

Home Building Trends

Home Theaters

Regional Trends

Home Ethernet

Wiring Your Home for the Net

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