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What the luxury market demands in houses


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2001

ATLANTA -- "Millionaires want everything," interior designer Eve Lowey says. "They want astounding levels of square footage. They want the very top design talent. They want top quality at all levels. These people want life without compromise."

How nice for them.

The "predictable luxuries" Lowey provides for clients of her firm, Chameleon Merchandising and Design in Costa Mesa, Calif., include:

"Sanctuary spaces": a separate casita that can be a guest suite or home office; a teen room where they can entertain, play music, do whatever kids do.

His and her dressing rooms: not just closets, dressing rooms.

Two or three living areas: formal living room, family room, seating area in the master bedroom.

Play spaces, such as drop-your-jaw pools.

Wine cellars.

Outdoor "rooms," including living and dining areas.

What's the difference between the furniture and finishings you see in a typical subdivision house and what goes into a custom home?

"When you get to the higher price points, like the millionaire buyer, what you're changing is the quality of furniture and the complexity of the design scheme," Lowey said at a panel discussion on "Who Wants to Sell a Millionaire" at the National Association of Home Builders convention in February. "There are more layers, more architectural details, a higher level of finishes."

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