A Getaway From the Ordinary
If your home is your castle, what does that make your vacation home?
These days, vacation homes go far beyond rustic ski cabins and funky beach shacks. While the second-home market is hot -- accounting for more than a third of residential real estate transactions in 2004, the latest figures available from the National Association of Realtors -- the only way to really get the retreat of your dreams is to build it yourself. Then you can be sure to get the myriad extravagances that no home-away-from-home should be without, whether it's an indoor squash court in your mountain chalet or a home spa in your Hamptons hideaway.
Homeowners often feel the freedom to be more experimental with their vacation homes than they are with their primary residences, says Bill Poss of Aspen, Colo.-based Poss Architecture + Planning. "They want to be fun and they want to have fun."
Many of the mountain homes Poss designs enjoy the luxury of being right on the slopes. A home with ski-in/ski-out access, in turn, demands some special amenities, including a deck with outdoor fireplace for after-ski lounging. You also need a well-designed ski-in/ski-out room for conveniently shedding clothing and equipment at the end of the day.Some clients prefer that the ski-in/ski-out room be large to accommodate lockers for guests, a restroom and a place to set up hot chocolate, says Poss. "It's set up as a casual yet elegant locker room with benches or leather or fabric seats." Of course, for the adults to have fun in their vacation homes the kids must be having fun, too. A home theater is one popular feature that provides entertainment for kids and parents alike. But that doesn't mean just a TV and DVD player. "Every well-fitted luxury home needs a stage just in case you have a budding prima donna. She needs a place to sing," says John Malick, an architect in the San Francisco Bay area whose firm, John Malick & Associates, has designed vacation homes in Lake Tahoe and Carmel, Calif. His home theaters often include amplified sound and a little sound room as well as overhead lights. Poss, meanwhile, has added a little dressing room off to the side of one home theater in a house he designed in Aspen. "The home viewing room becomes more of an entertainment living room than a strict theater with fixed seating," he explains. "It's more of a party room so they can watch movies and they can also entertain there." Other popular devices to entertain the younger set include zip cords and trampolines. Malick has even gone as far as including indoor skateboard ramps in one barn on a vacation property. But it's not just youngsters that take part in the fun and games these days. For another client who played semi-pro basketball, Malick designed a barn with half a basketball court, complete with maple floor. Another client in Lake Tahoe, meanwhile, wanted to be able to play squash when conditions weren't right on the slopes. So the bottom floor of his Alpine-style chalet was outfitted with a squash court. And then like every well-equipped squash court, it had a dropdown basketball hoop in the back in case more than two people needed something to do. In addition to the squash court, the bottom floor also boasts a full-blown, modern gym. "From an authentic Tyrolean chalet you entered another world when you went downstairs," Malick says. "Suddenly it became a 20th century world of gleaming stainless steel. You could ride and pedal in luxury."
|Five-Story Lake Tahoe Ski Chalet
|Source: John Malick & Associates|
|Modern Pool in Rustic Barn
|Source: Poss Architecture + Planning|
|The Master Bathroom
|Source: Stelle Architects|
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