The Roaring Twenties are no longer a distant murmur in this striking collection of homes that evoke the glamour, grace, and architectural ingenuity of the Jazz Age
turn to a golden era of opulent living as Luxury Defined presents its collection of fine homes that evoke the Jazz Age exuberance and the glitz, glamour, and style of 1920s’ architecture. Gone are the speakeasy, the flapper’s beaded dresses and cloche hats, the collegiate “Oxford bag” trousers, and wasp-waisted suits. But the iconic architecture of, what F. Scott Fitzgerald dubbed, the “age of miracles, the age of art, and the age of excess” will never go out of vogue. Whether the style is Art Deco, Moderne, Bauhaus, Neo-Georgian, Spanish Colonial, or Mission Revival, you will see simplicity and richness of design, clean lines, warm-toned palettes, lavish textures, and visual grace notes as refreshing to contemporary taste as they were to the Gatsbyesque residents of that excessive, often turbulent, but ultimately glamorous epoch of the 20th century.
Splendid Chateau (1927)
Westmount, Quebec, Canada
The spirit of post-WWI affluence and style lives on at this château-like manor in a leafy enclave of Montreal. Built in 1927, the four-story, seven-bedroom residence commands 8,000 interior square feet and nearly half an acre of tranquil wooded grounds. The interior architecture harks to the splendor of the past: nine-foot ceilings and mahogany floors, crafted millwork, wainscoting, and coffered ceilings. A library with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the garden. Fireplaces warm the grand salon and dining room, which seats 16 comfortably. Creature comforts include an elevator, gourmet kitchen, numerous fireplaces, wine cellar, bar, billiard room, sauna, and gym. There are ample accommodations, seven bedrooms including staff quarters and a master suite complete with fireplace, dressing room and boudoir/office with a private terrace with breathtaking views of Montreal.
Casa Espanol (Mid-1920s)
Long Beach, California
Buster Keaton shot silent movies in Long Beach, and he would feel at home in this classic,three-bedroom Spanish Colonial hacienda, restored to its mid-1920s’ grandeur. The interior’s earthy palette uses cream and tan walls accented with dark wood tones, with custom fresco hand-painted crown moldings and ceilings, burnished wood floors, and Spanish tile throughout. The sensational amenities include a gourmet kitchen, separate kitchenette, laundry room, powder room, and library/den. French doors off the formal dining and living room open to the courtyard’s resplendent garden with waterfall, pond, and seating area surrounding a fire pit. Upstairs, the three bedrooms all have individual balconies and cedar walk-in closets. The garage includes superb guest quarters above.
Riverfront Grandeur (1920)
James Island, Charleston, South Carolina
This star of this elegant waterfront home is a breathtaking front-row panorama of Charleston’s Stono River. Adding to the splendor is a deepwater dock with a 30-foot floater, eight-ton boat lift and a dry slip, all serviced by a generator, water line, and boat shed. The ornate 4,560-square-foot interiors have retained all of their 1920s opulence. A study with cypress built-ins adjoins the family room and formal living room with fireplace. The covered patio with Jenn-Air grill is just off the eat-in kitchen with Wolf appliances and a wet bar. The second floor’s master suite has a large walk-in closet and a lavish spa bathroom. The third and fourth guest bedrooms look out upon enchanting views of the river.
Rationalist Villa (1928)
Benimàmet, Valencia, Spain
This traditional Valencian villa was built in 1928, during the Spanish Rationalism period, when clean lines, geometric forms, and structurally defined spaces were paramount. Renovated in 2008, the residence features a multi-tiered façade and original Art Deco elements such as ornate stained glass finishes, beautiful mosaic-tile floors, and decorative beamed ceilings. There are five bedrooms, formal reception rooms, and luxury amenities including a wine cellar and lower-level recreation area for entertaining in style. The mature landscaped garden is an oasis of serenity complete with spaces for alfresco entertaining, including a unique paella cooking area.
Mediterranean-Revival Manor (1923)
San Antonio, Texas
Built in 1923, this Mediterranean Revival is distinguished by its exquisite proportions and craftsmanship. Evoking a Gatsbyesque grandeur, a gated entrance opens to a long driveway that winds past close-cropped lawns to arrive at sumptuous Neoclassical-inspired checkered terraces and a grand foyer. Arched sliding pocket doors open onto a library with outdoor access, a dining room, and a formal living room with a detailed fireplace and adjoining sunroom. The large-scale kitchen offers restaurant-grade appliances and a butler’s pantry. A grand staircase ascends to a spectacular living area that opens onto a balcony revealing enchanting views of the parklike grounds, replete with a canopy of trees and specimen plants. Seven classically appointed bedrooms and five bathrooms comfortably accommodate owners and overnight guests.
Villa Hoogenoord (1923)
Doorn, Utrecht, Netherlands
Villa Hoogenoord was built in 1921 on three quarters of an acre of landscape-sheltered grounds in the pastoral, Medieval province of Utrecht. Behind massive wooden double doors, roomy, light-filled interiors await, especially the 645-square-foot living room, with its monumental tiled fireplace and half-round sunroom. The dine-in kitchen is an epicurean’s dream with a fireplace, wainscoting, and a coffered ceiling. The upper floor has a balcony revealing a pastoral perspective at the front of the house. The central hall accesses three bedrooms (two with a balcony) and the luxe master suite. A detached stone outbuilding provides a cozy living space with underfloor heating, kitchen, sauna, and parking garage. In addition to glorious grounds, this exclusive estate enjoys proximity to the historic center of Doorn, famous for the eponymous castle that was home to the last German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined, Christie’s International Real Esate
Expert insight on trends shaping the luxury residential real estate market from Christie’s International Real Estate’s 2016 white paper, Luxury Defined
The global prime property market continued on a steady growth trajectory in early 2015 after several post-global-crisis years of price appreciation and booming sales.However, shifting economic dynamics and financial-market volatility created a paradigm shift in the second half of the year and into 2016 across many luxury housing markets internationally.
Skyrocketing home prices and record-breaking luxury sales volumes that captured headlines worldwide in recent years were abated somewhat in 2015 and 2016. After starting 2015 at the same breakneck speeds that characterized 2014, volatile financial markets and related geopolitical uncertainty caused international luxury real estate market growth rates to finally begin to slow.
Many of the world’s prime property markets plateaued in late 2015 as a result of macroeconomic factors that caused softening across the world’s financial markets: the slowdown in China’s economy, the drop in oil and commodity prices, and the unrest in Russia/Eastern Europe and the Gulf regions. The confidence and buying power of many high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) were impacted. Despite these factors, meaningful pockets of the world’s most affluent continue to turn to luxury real estate as a safe and tangible wealth-storage asset. The volatility of real estate is, indeed, substantially lower than that of the stock market as observed in a 14-year comparison of the S&P 500 and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. HNWIs are likely to continue to invest in property because it can weather changing economic cycles, creating long-term value and superior risk-adjusted returns.
Luxury Housing Sales Return to Historic Norms
Global economic issues resulted in a small contraction in the number of billionaires, according to Forbes (1,810 billionaires, down from a record 1,826 in early 2015), the first drop in this ultra-affluent population set since 2009. Some of this shift in international wealth can be attributed to the impact of the strong US dollar and the concurrent drop in other more commodity-tied currencies, which had both a positive and negative impact on different markets, hampering inbound investment in some and attracting new interest in others. “The greatest impact in the luxury real estate market has been the fluctuation in global financial markets over the last year,” says Alex Head of First Team Real Estate in Orange County, California. “In our market this is having a positive effect as foreign buyers are seeking the tangible investment real estate allows, with the added benefit of the security of the U.S. dollar.”
Second-home resort markets saw on average a 10% increase in year-on year luxury home sales
Despite a slowdown in the second half of the year, the 2015 international prime property market was characterized by steady overall growth. Across our more than 100 surveyed luxury housing markets worldwide, million-dollar-plus home sales grew by eight percent over 2014, a decline on the 16 percent jump recorded in the prior 12-month period, yet still solid levels of overall growth.
Luxury property sales in the world’s top global economic hubs—Hong Kong, New York, and London—plateaued in 2015 and into 2016, despite several outlier top sales. While prices have continued to increase, demand at the top end of the market has begun to level off but without pointing toward an overall collapse or lack of confidence in the luxury market. On the contrary—as evidenced by Hong Kong’s record-breaking $194 million top sale, ultra-affluent investors continue to recognize the longterm value in the purchase of prime property in prized international cities.
Beyond the big three, many top-ranking US housing markets experienced more normal levels of growth in luxury home sales as compared to prior years. San Francisco, which recorded explosive growth in year-on-year luxury home sales of 62 percent and 19 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, saw a 12 percent jump in 2015. California’s flourishing economy also resulted in stable gains across many of the state’s other luxury housing markets. Million-dollar-plus sales in Los Angeles grew by five percent annually, with transaction volumes soaring at mid and low luxury price points, and remaining consistent at the upper echelons (82 sales above $10 million in both 2015 and 2014). Despite a drop in Canadian buyers due to exchange rate pressures, “Coachella Valley’s high-end market inspires optimism,” says Harvey Katofsky of HK Lane Real Estate in Palm Springs, adding that his firm’s sales for 2015 were better than 2014.
Low interest rates, a weaker euro, and lower-than-peak property prices prompted many HNWIs to consider the purchase of a second home in prime European destinations. “The strong US dollar has brought Americans back into the market,” explains Michael Baynes of MaxwellStorrie-Baynes in Bordeaux. In Paris, luxury sales jumped by more than 20 percent in 2015, the first significant uptick in three years. Much of the resurgence has been fueled by American and Middle Eastern buyers, who comprise 27 percent of overseas buyers, up from 16 percent in 2012. “The sales increase was due to the return of newly confident buyers attracted by prices at 2011 levels, down 20 percent from their peak,” says Charles-Marie Jottras of Daniel Féau Conseil Immobilier, who adds that Paris is now one of the least expensive European economic hubs for luxury property.
Luxury housing markets worldwide recorded an 8% annual increase in million-dollar-plus home sales
Despite much media attention on the reduced buying power of HNWIs in oil-money-dependent markets, many astute Middle Eastern buyers continue to purchase prime property overseas, transferring a portion of their equity into illiquid assets in safer currencies and thereby leveraging against any devaluing of their own currency. Much like savvy Asian investors who were “saved” by their geographically diversified equity and property portfolios during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, the acquisition of prime property abroad remains an important portfolio strategy for many ultra HNWIs based in turbulent home-country markets. Geographical diversification for these affluent individuals is more important than ever.
Australia and Canada—both commodity-dependent countries that experienced rapid declines in their respective currencies over the past 12-24 months—have witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets. Sydney’s million-dollar-plus sales were up by 15 percent and Toronto’s by a whopping 48 percent in 2015. Growth was not consistent countrywide, however. The differences can be attributed to two key variables— affluent buyer demand and inventory levels—that strengthened sales in some cities and obstructed growth in others. In Canada for example, cities with strong international appeal, most notably Victoria, Vancouver, and Toronto, continued on an upward trajectory, whereas luxury property sales in oil-money-dependent Calgary slowed. “Strong governmental, banking and investment systems, favorable migration trends, leading educational institutions, and stable employment have all caused our market to defy the impact on other marketplaces that are experiencing declines in sales volume and average prices,” observes Chris Kapches of Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto.
Compounded by the challenges posed by global financial market turmoil, growth in several prime property markets is also being stymied by local market issues. Many prime property buyers in London postponed purchases due to concerns of a mansion tax proposed by the Labour Party in the lead up to the UK’s General Election (May 2015). Despite Labour’s defeat, the anticipated post-election rebound in sales failed to materialize. Although prices remained relatively steady, London’s prime property sales ended down four percent year-on-year. Changes to stamp duty land tax for properties above £1.5 million that took effect in late 2014 along with a further three percent stamp duty on additional properties are among the causes. “These changes have understandably impacted the luxury London market at every level as people take stock and take longer to make decisions,” says Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker. “However, they have not stopped buyers purchasing our very highest quality properties as London remains a fabulous city to invest in and a very attractive place to live. Prices have gradually been adjusting to absorb the extra taxation and are now at a stable level.”
Commodity dependent countries Canada and Australia have both witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets
Other markets that saw significant annual sales declines were also burdened by imposing factors led by government intervention in the market. Cooling measures introduced between 2011-2013 in Hong Kong to curb price speculation continue to impact prime property sales. Luxury property transactions in 2015 dropped by more than 12 percent in total during the year and have continued on their downward slide in early 2016, registering their lowest month since 1991 this January.
As the Summer Games commence in Rio this month, here is a look at past events still cemented in sports history
Every Olympics has its stars and memorable takeaways and the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be no exception. The world will watch Michael Phelps attempt to swim to further glory, rightly claiming the title of Best Swimmer Ever. The Fastest Human Ever, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, will be the joining Phelps at theses Games. After an injury scare earlier this summer, Bolt announced that he would be competing, and sports enthusiasts around the globe sighed in relief.
That said, there are Olympic moments that transcend time and continue to resonate. Here are our top five:
1) Rome, 1960
A brash, young boxer by the name of Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky, all of 18 years old, quite literally pounded the international competition to claim the gold in the light-heavyweight division. Thirty-six years later, in Atlanta, Mohammad Ali — then a 10-time heavyweight champion as well as an eloquent spokesman for civil and religious rights, now battling Parkinson’s Disease — took to the Olympic stage one more time to face perhaps his most daunting challenge. The applause thundered and eyes welled worldwide as, despite all odds, Mohammad Ali’s failing body and shaking hands lit the Olympic Torch.
In Rome, Ali also surpassed all athletes in the time-honored tradition of trading national pins. He loved nothing more than walking through the Olympic Village to meet people from around the world, proving that he was an ambassador before he knew he was one. Ali went home after the 1960 Games to encounter Jim Crow laws in his home state. Even after bringing honor to the U.S. with this Olympic gold, he couldn’t dine in the same restaurants with whites. That experience forged his tireless advocacy for his race, and next, his newly discovered Muslim religion, and also his vehement objection to the war in Vietnam. In the end, his support for all races and cultures was universal. He was a humanitarian.
We cannot close this sport chapter without acknowledging Ali’s oratory talents. His comments were genius, for example: “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
Mohammad Ali passed away in June.
2) Montreal, 1976
Way back in 1976, one was hard-pressed not to see Bruce Jenner’s face peering off a magazine cover, not to mention a Wheatie’s cereal box, after his record-setting win in the Olympic decathlon. The victory came at the height of the Cold War. Russian Nikolay Avilov was the 1972 gold medalist, an event long dominated by the U.S. and such iconic athletes as Rafer Johnson, Bob Mathias and Jim Thorpe. Jenner won back the title for the U.S. and in doing so, ascended into the firmament of Olympic greatness.
Shifts in the global economy are influencing prime property buyers, presenting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for some and challenges for others
High-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) are becoming increasingly global in their investment outlook. Extensive fluctuations in global exchange rates—the US dollar hit a 10-year high in mid-2015 after climbing from an all-time low just four years earlier—have presented exceptional opportunities, as well as challenges, for buyers seeking to acquire prime property outside their resident country.
As part of Luxury Defined 2016, our annual report on the prime property market, we explore the impact of exchange rates on the cross-border movements of important buyer groups and examine how currency-strong buyers may benefit from exchange rates that are positioned in their favor.
Gateway US markets such as Phoenix and Miami, where overseas buyers were a steadying post-financial crisis force, have seen the number of international buyers trending down as the rising dollar made US luxury homes more expensive.
Overseas buyers now comprise 35 percent of luxury sales in Miami, a nine percent decrease from 2014. “This reflects the financial uncertainties of countries whose residents have historically been active purchasers of South Florida real estate,” says Ron Shuffield of EWM Realty International. “Despite the downward trend, affluent foreign buyers continue to purchase property in Miami as a currency hedge and a safe store of wealth.”
Although many of our 100 surveyed markets reported decreases in buyers from oil and commodity-dependent countries including Russia and Canada, there has been limited dropoff in Chinese buyer interest.
Wealth has grown fivefold in China since the beginning of the century and Chinese nationals now make up eight percent of the global UHNWI population. After years of widely reported capital outflows, the country’s slowing economy has yet to have significant impact on the global luxury real estate market, with most brokers reporting an increase in Chinese buyers and only a few observing a slight dropoff.
Amid this headline-grabbing national turmoil, Chinese buyers are still purchasing prime property at top prices across the globe. 2015’s highest price residential sales in several important markets (Sydney, Hong Kong, Seattle, and the New York Adirondacks, among others) were sold to Chinese nationals or recent emigrees. And wealthy Chinese nationals aren’t just buying real estate—they are also purchasing art at the top end of the market. A$170 million Modigliani painting, sold at Christie’s in November, went to a Chinese art patron.
A declining euro is also presenting opportunities for affluent second-home buyers in Europe as well as several destinations in the Caribbean. “2015 saw a boost to the market from American clients who are starting to reinvest thanks to the strengthening of the dollar,” notes Zarek Honneysett of Sibarth Real Estate in St Barths.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined
London topped the list of the world’s top “luxury” housing markets and Hong Kong edged out New York to claim the second spot in this year’s Luxury Defined Index rankings
om recent stock market fluctuations to the shifting fortunes of emerging market buyers, the global prime property market traversed a challenging geopolitical and economic landscape in 2015 and into 2016.
The annual Christie’s International Real Estate Index, which synthesizes and compares luxury housing metrics, reflects these developments and acts as a measuring stick for the global luxury market. The Index forms part of Luxury Defined 2016, an in-depth study of more than 100 prime residential property markets worldwide.
The Index ranks the world’s 10 top property markets under two performance measures:
- The Luxury Index rates the relative “luxuriousness” of primary market cities with at least one million residents (see the latest Luxury Index rankings below).
- The Luxury Thermometer assesses the “health” of the million-dollar-plus market and compares international primary and resort housing markets.
London Tops the World’s Most Luxurious Cities for Prime Property:
2015* Luxury Index Rankings
2) Hong Kong
3) New York
4) Los Angeles
8) San Francisco
*Luxury Index rankings are based on data for the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. The Index aggregates local market metrics measuring market record sale price, average price per square foot for luxury homes, number of sales over $1 million, percentage of listings over $1 million, average price for luxury home sales, percentage of international and non-local homebuyers, and percentage of secondary home sales.
Highlights from this year’s Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Index include:
With more prime property listings than any other city, as well as the world’s second most expensive residential sale in 2015 ($141 million / £92 million), London retains its position as the most luxurious property market worldwide. In spite of slower growth due to new taxes on prime property purchases, the city continues to attract strong domestic and international buyer demand. London has topped the Luxury Index for four years running.
Even with negative annual overall sales growth and pressures from a decline in mainland Chinese capital outflow, Hong Kong narrowly edged out New York to place second in theLuxury Index. The harbor city posted the world’s top residential sale in 2015 ($194 million / HK$1.5 billion).
Miami achieved a local record sale ($55 million for a new-build penthouse), which offset declines in overseas and cash buyers, ensuring a solid performance in the Luxury Index. New luxury stock and slowing buyer demand evidenced in late 2015 and early 2016 however, is likely to move it down in next year’s rankings.
Singapore joined our Index rankings after showing signs of an uptick following several years of declines due to government cooling measures. Singapore knocked Dubai—where pressures from declining oil prices and an oversupply of luxury properties caused price and sales volume declines—out of the world’s top 10 luxury markets.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined http://luxurydefined.christiesrealestate.com/blog/market-insights/ranking-the-worlds-top-performing-luxury-property-markets
From poolside cabanas to open-air living rooms, elegantly appointed outdoor spaces are a key selling point in today’s luxury market.
Long gone are the days when a simple pool and patio set would do to maximize the value of your luxury home. Outdoor living as defined by today’s luxury market doesn’t entail a few extras on a long list of amenities as much as it does a true extension of a home’s interior living spaces, and a seamless blend of interior with exterior. The furniture, textiles, and overall design of outdoor living rooms, terraces, and poolside patios are carefully considered as yet another reflection of a home’s design aesthetic. Outdoor living spaces are well on their way to becoming a requisite rather than simply a value-add; responding to buyer demand, the global luxury market continues to raise the bar for outdoor luxury ever higher. This week in “Luxury Defined,” global experts in the Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate network share six trends for bringing the indoors out.
1. Four-Season Outdoor Living Room
Fully realized alfresco living rooms are distinguished by one signature feature: fire. Whether a dramatic stone hearth and fireplace, a firepit, or a chiminea, a fire element turns an outdoor space into an outdoor room that can be used year-round in warm-weather states throughout the U.S., including Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. “Florida’s weather is such that you can do virtually all of your living and entertaining alfresco, especially during the winter months, when the weather is characteristically warm and dry during the day and deliciously cool and comfortable at night,” says Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Company. Fire elements generate warmth and a welcoming ambiance; additionally, two-sided fireplaces can create a natural separation between outdoor spaces, such as a living room and dining area.
2. Poolside Cabanas 2.0
A perennially popular poolside accompaniment, the cabana today is designed to serve triple and even quadruple duty at summer homes in New England, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In addition to being a respite from the sun’s rays, cabanas may be furnished with a wet bar and stools, a kitchenette, and even a full-size dining table. “Our clients enjoy being able to spend the day outside with little need for going indoors,” says Liza McKenney from Great Point Properties. “Being able to fix drinks and food, dine outside, and get some shade is a plus for many. Stepping out your back door into an outdoor living area makes you feel like you have your own private oasis.”
3. Designer Flourishes
“Carefully selected furniture adds to the sense of stylish outdoor living,” says Maria Gryllaki of Ploumis Sotiropoulos. Gryllaki has worked with numerous properties in Greece where the designer treatment has been given to the outdoor patios and terraces of centuries-old villas: importing pieces from shops as far-ranging as London and Hong Kong adds just the right touch of contemporary sophistication. Comfortable, elegant seating and pillows done in luxurious fabrics further blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
4. Blended Indoor-Outdoor Living
Oceanfront estates from California to the Caribbean are being designed with an open-air concept that takes full advantage of the desirable weather and gentle ocean breezes. The concept is essentially built into a home’s design, notes Peyton Cabano from Willis Allen Real Estate. Architects are bringing the outside in by creating permanent, covered living spaces with all the same amenities as an indoor family room, living room, or kitchen— only one or more walls are absent.
The resulting designs capitalize on sweeping ocean views and make for an impressive space for living and entertaining. “When it comes to entertaining guests, there is no nicer setting than by the sea,” says Dominique Silvera, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at One Caribbean Estates. “Entertaining in a beachfront property creates an unmatchable ambience.”
5. Dining Alfresco
Dining outdoors against the backdrop of a breathtaking natural vista is a cherished tradition amid the desert landscape of the American Southwest and the majestic mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. In these places of rugged, natural beauty, understated elegance is best, so as not to take away from the grandeur of the surroundings. That being said, outdoor dining sets have come a long way. Today they are made in a variety of materials that are both luxurious and able to stand the test of time and the elements; teak and cypress are popular choices. Tabletop flourishes including candles, floral arrangements, and elegant tableware and stemware set the stage for an unforgettable evening under the stars.
6. Next-Gen Pool Design
Ocean Home magazine reports that the latest iteration of pool design trending in the northeastern states—including the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—is inspired by nature. Characterized by forest-like landscaping, rock work, and water elements that one might happen upon during a stroll through the woods—waterfalls, lily pad–topped ponds—these designs are as much about creating an environment as they are about the actual pool. Taking a page from nature’s playbook doesn’t mean scaling back on luxurious finishes, however. These homes may well have an outdoor kitchen or firepit, or perhaps both.
*Fuente: Christie´s International Real Estate /Luxury Defined
As the world becomes ever-more connected, and communication becomes ever faster, a well-designed home hub is essential
Mobile technology grants us the freedom to work remotely – from home, an airport, while on vacation – meaning the working day begins and ends when we choose. As Craig Schultz of California-based architects Laidlaw Schultz says, “No longer are office hours defined by a nine-to-five work schedule; people are now expected to be at-the-ready 24 hours a day.”
This new era of working “when it suits you” has catalyzed the trend towards home offices or hubs. A place where you can not only do business, but surf the web, connect with distant friends and relatives, and while away the hours gaming.
Increasingly, designers and their clients now regard the home office as a room worthy of the kind of attention normally reserved for a kitchen or living room. Linda Holmes, interiors director at LuxDeco, an online store for luxury home furnishings, explains: “More and more homeowners are starting to realize that an office isn’t simply a workstation, but another space that offers the opportunity to express their personal style, and help pull the look of their entire home together.”
Indeed, the very notion that a home office should be an isolated unit is outmoded. Designers are now integrating offices within a home’s communal areas – whether connected to the living room, part of the master suite, or used as a multi-purpose space. In one oceanfront property, Schultz utilized all the space available to create a fully functioning home hub adjacent to the home’s primary living area.
Some home offices can be neatly slotted into existing space, others created from scratch. And as with any other room, the desire for bespoke furnishings is a given. Interior architect Thomas Griem, founder and director of architecture and design practise TG-Studio, observes: “Space planning is key; it is always important to utilise unused areas within your home. We have in the past created a fully functioning home hub underneath a staircase.”
One of his clients wanted a stylish and functional office area that, when not in use, blended seamlessly into the living space. Griem had ample storage built into the wall to hide office clutter and maintain the space’s clean lines, as well as enlarging the room’s windows to keep it light and airy.
With the move to bespoke design and furnishings comes the freedom to be more experimental with style. As Schultz says, “No longer is the home office a dark-panelled room with a mahogany desk and tufted leather chairs; now these spaces can be light, modern, and – dare I say – fun.”
Brian Pontin, sales manager for Neville Johnson, a British bespoke furniture-maker, also advocates using color to brighten up a home office: “Bold accent shades needn’t be restricted to accessories; when designed carefully and tastefully, office units can look fabulous in a smooth white gloss with the option of combining with contrasting on-trend colours, such as orange and green. By mixing painted doors, drawers, and shelving with a wide selection of veneers, gloss, and glass finishes, the home office will have that modern, cutting-edge look.”
Schultz goes even further, suggesting the use of metallic paint, chalkboard paint, or even marker-board paint, allowing you to use your wall as a magnet board, chalkboard, or whiteboard – your very own real-life Pinterest. In his modern library home office, he incorporated a blue fabric-wrapped panel underneath the shelves, which the owner uses as pin-up space when working through a project. “This can offer a new way to work and help organize one’s thoughts. Don’t be afraid to be a bit eclectic with your desk – let it reflect your personality.”
A desk, or “work station,” will, of course, be the focal point of most home offices, so it’s vital to find something that’s both practical and beautiful. As Linda Holmes says, “A desk is one of those investment pieces that we expect to last for generations, so it’s really important to find something timeless that you will love forever.” Modern technology, however, may soon render a desk less vital, if not redundant. As Schultz observes: “Thankfully technology designers have recognized that tech should really be in the background – supporting our daily lives, not the other way around.”
For now, however, homeowners are choosing desks with ample storage solutions. One of the best-selling desks at LuxDeco, Holmes says, epitomizes this trend: “The Wellington desk by British-brand Davidson is a perfect example of enduring style and quality. It’s a pedestal design which is entirely designed and created by master British craftsmen using black sycamore wood and special lacquering techniques. Like all of our best-selling office pieces, the Wellington blends form and function impeccably, offering impressive storage capacity to aid a clutter-free space and an organized mind.”
And, of course, any home office will require storage and accessories: a simple item like an Aston Martin paper knife, or a pair of elegant globe bookends by Eichholtz, for example. L’Objet has some beautiful crocodile-effect pieces, crafted from porcelain and flattered with 24-carat gold detailing which would be a stunning addition to any home office.
As Holmes observes: ‘Smaller, unique items that help homeowners to tell their own story always prove popular. People look for functional pieces that make a statement and give their workspace an identity of its own.’
*Fuente: Luxury Defined, Christies Real Estate