Monday, July 31, 2017

Homes That Dreams Are Made Of

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Most of us who are lucky enough to own our own homes would typically agree with the well known proverb ‘home is where the heart is’. Owning a house of your own is something that you aspire to when you are young and taking your first tentative steps into adulthood. Once you consider yourself a fully fledged grown up, have a career and a regular income, you will probably be ready to take the next step, namely a step onto the property ladder.

Buying your first home can be a nerve wracking experience. After all, it is probably the most expensive purchase that you will ever make, so it is important to take your time and make the right choice. Borrowing money, saving and signing your very first mortgage deed is a terrifying prospect for most of us but rest assured, it could be a good thing because this could mark the beginning of the rest of your life.

Meeting, getting to know and marrying your chosen life partner often goes hand in hand with a house purchase. For those who are blessed, children may follow and all of a sudden that little house which once seemed almost palatial can begin to feel increasingly cramped. Babies arrive and bring with them masses of equipment, toys and ‘stuff,’ with every nook and cranny soon to be filled with strollers, travel cots, sterilisers and playmats. Then they grow into toddlers and collect unfeasibly large amounts of toys and more ‘stuff’ which inexplicably multiply year on year when Christmas and birthdays come around. It isn’t long before you can go from feeling like king of the castle to a lodger in your own home.

As life moves on and families grow, many of us choose to extend our homes in a bid to create more space for our rapidly expanding brood, adding on playrooms, games rooms and family areas or making more of the outside space instead. If there is money available some will look to buy a bigger property which they can grow into and some of us on the other hand just sit tight and make the best of what we have got.

That said, these days we are increasingly aware of the property market, both where we live and further afield, and it is perfectly natural for us to regularly scan the real estate pages online if only to have a good old nosey at the neighbours’ decor and pass judgement on what they did to their garden!

It is in those ‘sit tight’ moments, however that our thoughts can often turn to some of the amazing homes that we read about and see on the television property programmes. These are the types of homes that we could never even imagine being able to afford, but they are themselves aspirational and undoubtedly inspirational in their own right. We can spend hours marveling at the jaw dropping designs of some of the world’s most incredible architectural creations. We can only imagine what life would be like and marvel at how the other half live.
From ocean front mansions to sprawling country estates with unbelievable amenities, let’s take a look at some of the world’s most covetable properties.  
Set on 189 feet of golden sand on the Kona Kohala Coast is the breathtaking oceanfront estate, Kamuela in Hawaii. This property boasts a patio which spans more than 1000  square feet alone, which is more than the average modest sized house! Couple that
with an awesome infinity pool, so beautifully
designed that it appears to just float in from the ocean, and you have one of the most beautiful beach front residences ever seen.
         
If you love the water but don’t need all that space, then maybe a modern luxury houseboat in Seattle is more your thing. Still, with incredulous ocean views, one such creation by architect Jim Olsen features contemporary fixtures and fittings and luxury amenities that you could only dream of

If playground crossed with bachelor pad is more your thing, then look no further than the Sandcastle Estate, Bridgehampton, New York. Stretching across 31,000 square feet the property offers a two-lane bowling alley, golf simulator, a skateboard half-pipe, a rock climbing wall with gym and complete spa facilities thrown in too. A definite man cave if ever we saw one.

If you like a bit of history in your home, then you may want to take inspiration from the historic mansion that was built in 1908 by acclaimed architect Alfred F Rosenheim as his personal residence. In latter years this has been the setting for numerous films and tv shows, probably most recently American Horror Story.

As we begin to look further afield, the properties just seem to get better and better. Who wouldn’t want to spend time at the Lawedua Estate on Wakaya Island, Fiji? A vacation favourite for the likes of Celine Dion and Jim Carey, this property achieves what so many of us set out to capture with our own modest homes, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor space into one.

And the list goes on. Residences inside cinemas, houseboats, and aquariums you name it, and people have designed and built their homes in and around it. But don’t despair in the face of all this grandeur. With so much information available to us online these days we are privileged to be able to see inside some of these wonderful homes. We may not be able to replicate them, but we can still take inspiration from them in some small way and bring it into our own living space.

So if you feel like you are stuck in a residential rut use some of what we have seen here to spruce up your home and give it a new lease of life.

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 Colour palette

The easiest way to breathe new life into a tired interior is with a lick of paint. Take inspiration from some of the contemporary and minimalist examples we have seen and note how they have used light yet bright inviting color palettes for a crisp, clean finish, and plenty of natural light to give the impression (or perhaps illusion) of space.

If you like to be a little more adventurous why not opt for a feature wall. You can either paint it a particular colour or choose some striking wallpaper to make a statement.

Fixtures and fittings

Another simple and inexpensive way to freshen up your home is to change some of the fixtures and fittings. Go for simple lines and fuss free surfaces to keep clutter to a minimum. Chrome effect finishes are always stylish with a modern feel.

Furniture

If you can afford to replace your existing furniture that’s great, pick something modern and functional but don’t be afraid to make it a feature too. One chair in a bright citrus colour can provide a neutral room with an attractive focal point. However, if this is not an option why not have your existing chairs reupholstered in a fabric of your choice. This won’t cost the earth if you shop around and they will look as good as new when they are done.

Flooring

Changing the flooring is a major upheaval in any project, and the chances are, one that you don’t want to tackle. Carpets can get a new lease of life with a thorough steam clean. Or maybe you could sand down existing floorboards to see what lies beneath. Alternatively, hardwood floors can be re-stained, varnished or painted for a whole new look, but if you are not in the market for a major project, a stylish new rug will do the trick.

Lighting

Adding a new light fitting or fixture can dramatically change the feel of a room. Lighting is one of the most important fundamental considerations when designing an interior so why not experiment and add a standard lamp or two for a totally different feel.

Hopefully, these examples have illustrated just how we feel about our homes and how, in turn, our homes make us feel about ourselves.

We have looked at some of the reasons that we yearn for change and witnessed some of the most extreme and extraordinary creations that have been designed and built in the pursuit of ideal living.

Finally, we have looked at just how we can take inspiration from some of these amazing dwellings and bring just a little bit of decadence and luxury into our corner of the world. Afterall, it is not all about limitless budgets and extravagant tastes, know how and a sense of style are just as important when designing your home.

So next time you are having one of those ‘sit tight’ moments and your mind strays to the blingtastic homes of the rich and famous, reflect on what we have learned here and channel your energies into some home improvements of your own. However small and inexpensive they can make a significant difference to daily your lifestyle and bring you a little bit of happiness to boot.

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