When considering the design of their new home, some of my clients are not afraid to ask for room inclusions that are nothing short of unique, some even a touch indulgent.
In fact, it seems to be a natural trend for many homeowners to not only want designers like me to include all the features that facilitate the ideal lifestyle they seek at home, but some outlandish ones as well.
While the theatre room, butler’s pantry, alfresco area and inclusion of a separate ensuite for each and every bedroom are now all considered the norm, others can still be a bit of a surprise.
Read on to hear some of the latest unusual requests…
An underground garage
Far from being a place to simply park the car, a bat cave garage is the latest special request I have received for a new home. Sleek and sophisticated, I am hoping my design will be as important as the home itself. In fact, it is envisaged that it will act like a secret headquarters fit for a superhero, with access to it designed so that the car simply enters through a hydraulic lift-up door in the ground.
A grander example can be seen here in this cave-like garage that comprises five concrete display cubes built into a hillside, each showcasing the homeowner’s most prized possessions.
An ultimate day spa
A trip to the day spa is an indulgent treat, but who would have thought that it would become a popular inclusion in new homes of today. Often designed to be in the basement, the in-house day spa becomes a completely separate private sanctuary of escape, making it feel like you are anywhere but home.
The lucky homeowners of the spa pictured here must feel positively pampered on a daily basis – there’s a pool to float in, coupled with a Japanese-inspired lounge, steam room and towel area. It just needs some green tea brewing and aromatic oils burning to complete the experience.
A second master bedroom
Also known as a ‘snoring room’ for obvious reasons, the inclusion of a second master bedroom allows both partners to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep, even when one is blissfully snoring the night away. Having a second bedroom also leaves open the possibility for night owls to watch a bit of late-night TV, read a book or to boot up the laptop when a great idea strikes, all without disturbing their partner. This newly discovered option can lead on to further requests for a second master ensuite, and even a duplicate walk-in robe.
A tenpin bowling alley
Tenpin bowling alleys are appearing in new (obviously large) homes, often with two lanes. As the length takes up a considerable amount of space anyway, two lanes are more economic and allow for competitions between friends.
A bowling alley is a pricey indulgence, requiring a fully automated system to pick up the pins and redeliver the bowling balls. Some homeowners also choose to extend the experience with the inclusion of a foosball table, billiards, large screen TV, a surround-sound system and fully fitted-out bar with club lounge area.
A hidden passageway into a secret room
A secret room with a hidden entrance provides the ultimate place to escape, especially in a busy home. It can be a private reading room, a place to house a valuable collection of art or even a child’s play room.
The room can be made accessible by obscuring the entrance behind a hinged bookshelf, wall-panelled door, the inside back of a wardrobe or an opening in the floor. A secret room is also not a bad place to keep a safe for your valuables.
An indoor putting green
Homeowners who have a passion for golf and the spare cash to indulge their sporting obsessions, like to incorporate an indoor putting green into their homes. This allows them the convenience to chip and pitch at any time of the day.
Careful planning of the area or room is important. The best set-up, which can include an indoor ‘drop in the hole’ putting green that has quality artificial turf, along with the creation of breaks, tiers, undulations and even a sand bank, will provide hours of endless practise and fun no matter what the weather conditions outside.
A ballet studio
With the inclusion of a custom-designed ballet studio in this home, an aspiring ballerina’s dream of stardom could turn into reality. Fully fitted-out with endless mirrors that span wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, a barre fixed all the way along the wall, supportive sprung floors and a quality sound system, the scene is set for dancing success.
This private home ballet studio, featuring a brightly patterned floor, pink feature wall and stunning crystal chandelier, leaves a young dancer no excuse but to practise, practise, practise!
A tasting room
A tasting room provides an extension of the wine cellar experience, transforming it into an inviting place to linger, rather than simply a storage area to dart in and out of to grab a bottle of wine. It can also be a place to showcase your very best drop, along with your exquisite decanters and glassware.
Whether you create an intimate room for a just a few, or a place where guests can gather to sample wines and enjoy your hospitality in general, a beautifully designed tasting room will go a long way to enticing you to open that vintaged wine a little bit sooner.
A yoga studio
A yoga sanctuary in the home will make for a convenient place of escape to stretch, breathe and meditate on a daily basis. The calm, cool colour scheme seen here, coupled with natural materials and an abundance of natural light, provides the perfect backdrop for serene contemplation.
A wall of living greenery will introduce aesthetic appeal and improve air quality, capturing dust, pollen and other airborne pollutants, and a clean, clutter-free space will ensure a clear, calm mind.
An indoor rock-climbing wall
Tired of the monotony of your home gym? Consider incorporating a rock-climbing wall (or allocate an entire rock-climbing room) to your home that can be appreciated and enjoyed by the whole family.
A rock-climbing wall has the potential to provide a more interesting way of accessing the floor above and is a fun, challenging way to maintain fitness. However, it is highly recommended that you also include padded flooring to mitigate any damage from possible falls.
An artist’s studio
An artist’s studio is the ultimate creative space for a creative mind. While not exactly a new idea, there is opportunity at the planning stage of a new home to include one, ensuring you select the ideal aspect where warmth and natural light are in abundance. The space should be as wide and as high as space will allow, as artists often work with materials that give off fumes and odours. If you think your artist will be working late into the night, then also include a well-ventilated mezzanine or loft for sleeping.
A recording studio
Budding musicians will love the idea of installing a recording studio at home. The advancement in digital technology and reduction in size of many of the devices needed to produce quality sound has allowed for the inclusion of more home recording studios.
That said, a recording studio often requires specific planning and must satisfy local regulations. It is therefore often easier to incorporate into a new home to ensure the compliant soundproofing, ventilation and integration of all the required technology is done properly, right from the get-go. The right computer software and microphones will equip you with the tools, so all you need is the talent!
By Larissa Davis, Houzz Australia Contributor and Principal Designer of Lewisham Interiors in Melbourne.