For luxury home builders, figuring out what amenities will persuade clients to pay top dollar is essential – and something that Paul Bigioni, president of Pickering, Ont.-based residential home builder Grand Homes Canada spends his days working on.
In his time building luxury homes in the Greater Toronto Area with his brother, Jeff, and business partner Jerry Coughlan, with whom the brothers are collaborating on The Fairway at Deer Creek, a custom-home project in Ajax, Ont., Bigioni has developed a strong sense of what luxury buyers are looking for.
While the idea of a luxury home might evoke images of extravagance and grandeur, Bigioni says buyers today are focusing on the basics: well-designed kitchens and master ensuite bathrooms. They’re two highly frequented rooms in any residential property, and high-net-worth buyers want them done well.
For kitchens, this means state-of-the-art appliances expertly installed, Bigioni says.
For master bathrooms, a growing number of buyers are looking for “a full spa experience” that includes comforting amenities – heated floors, body jets, rainhead showers and separate his-and-hers sinks – and sleek, minimalist design features such as glass finishes.
Bigioni notes that much of the demand for high-quality kitchen and bathroom appliances comes from the growing availability of information about design. Luxury consumers today are doing their research and going into any viewing with a strong sense of what they want and whether it’s possible.
“They’re not first-time buyers, my clients,” Bigioni says. “Typically, they’re sophisticated and educated, so they’ve travelled, they’ve stayed in nice hotels, they know what they’re looking for.
“People are very educated as well, so they spend a lot of time online,” he adds, noting that many of his buyers also regularly watch HGTV Canada to gather ideas to implement in their own homes. “People know what they like, or what’s available to them.”
While luxury buyers’ priorities may centre first and foremost on the essentials, the details are another key area of focus. Bigioni says many of his clients go into property viewings with their eyes on the little things: ceiling details, wall trims and lighting fixtures.
“People will shop around and buy almost statement pieces, if you will, pieces that are architecturally pleasing,” Bigioni says of the demand for elegant lighting. “It’s not just a function of light now, it’s part of the decor.”
And, as you’d expect, there remains a steady demand among luxury home buyers for additional rooms that go beyond what the standard property offers: home theatres, ornate walk-in dressing rooms, wine cellars and sporting rooms. Clients are looking to bring their hobbies into their homes.
“The trend lately has been toward sport-specific rooms,” Bigioni says.
“We’ve done several golf simulators [and] hockey-shooting rooms, either mini-stick rooms or actual rooms where kids can actually shoot pucks in their house.”
While many of these details seem space-hungry and thus only possible in suburban or rural areas, Bigioni says he’s frequently seen these features incorporated in urban homes.
In fact, he’s noticed that design trends typically start in urban areas and slowly move out to the suburbs, meaning an outdoor swimming pool or home theatre is not only possible in the city, it’s also likely the trend started there.
“The trends that we deal with downtown reach the suburbs about a year and a half later,” Bigioni says.
“Space is always an issue. Everyone always wants the same things, it just comes to a matter of scale,” he adds.
“People still want outdoor living spaces, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor TVs. We still do a lot of swimming pools both in the city and in rural properties, but it’s just about the scale of the property.”
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio, in consultation with an advertiser. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.