When the temperatures drop, there’s nothing like waking up toasty warm while snow falls outside, or coming in from a crisp day and bundling up on your couch. To make your house feel even more luxurious in the winter, try adding one (or all!) of these seven winter features to your custom home:
1. Heated Floors
No matter how well-heated your home is during the winter season, bathroom floors can still really hold in the cold. Radiant heat coils installed under the floor can turn your cold toes delightfully warm.
Julie Whitley, architectural design and coordination director at Red Seal Homes, a new-home developer in the Chicago and Nashville areas, says heated floors are a popular upgrade for master baths.
“Homeowners can pre-set the temperature and step on toasty tile in the morning — or the middle of the night,” Whitley says.
Some types of flooring are better than others when paired with a radiant floor-heating system. Tile and stone are likely yes, rubber and concrete no. Hardwood and manufactured wood may be okay, but not optimum.
2. Indoor Sports Court
An indoor swimming pool and home fitness center are two great ways to stay active when the weather outside turns cold. Another option is an indoor sports court, which you can have built with your home.
An indoor court is fun for children and adults. Youngsters can use it to ride scooters or skateboards, build forts and tunnels, skip rope, and just generally run around and play. For adults, an indoor court can be used for basketball, volleyball, hockey, tennis, racquetball, Frisbee, putting, badminton, Ping-Pong, or other activities.
3. Upscale Mudroom
A luxury home’s mudroom can be much more than a nook where you take off your boots. To upgrade this space for the winter season, you’ll want hooks for hats, shelves for bags and backpacks, closets for bulky coats, stands for wet umbrellas, cubbies for purses and other personal items, and one or two benches. Plastic storage bins are great for damp gloves, mittens, scarves, and squishable hats.
Other upscale mudroom ideas include a dog-washing station, sink with cleaning supplies, bulletin boards for family communications, and mats and floor drains for muddy boots and other wet winter gear.
Whether your favorite winter sport is skiing, skating, or snowboarding, you may also want shelves or racks designed for your equipment in your mudroom or garage. When you design your mudroom keep in mind its purpose: to provide an attractive and functional transition space from the cold, wet, muddy outdoors to the warm, clean, cozy indoors.
4. Patio Enclosure
Covered patios aren’t just for nice weather. You’ll be able to enjoy yours year-round if you add custom-fitted panels to surround the patio and keep out rain, snow, sleet, and wind in the cold-weather months. Panels that are transparent let in light and allow you to see the view or watch the world go by.
Patio enclosures should be sturdy enough for winter weather and easy to hide when they’re not in use.
Enclosures can turn your outdoor space into an all-season space, making your home more comfortable and functional for you and your family and guests.
5. Motorized Shades
Honeycomb window shades, designed for improved energy efficiency in heating and cooling your home, aren’t new. But there is a newish luxury feature that can come with these shades: Motorization.
Motorized shades are a great luxury-home feature – and not just because they’re fun to operate. The extra benefit is that these shades can be Wi-Fi enabled so you can open and close them with a cellphone, tablet device, or voice-controlled home technology hub, like Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
In winter, you’ll be able to easily adjust your shades throughout the day to take advantage of sunny mornings or afternoons, letting in more light when the days are shorter and darker.
You can also install motorized shades for your skylights, making it easy to open them in the day and close them at night to keep warm air inside your home as the outdoor temperature drops.
6. Wood-Burning Fireplaces
Wood-burning fireplaces have a mixed reputation due to the particulates and chemical compounds that are released when wood is burned.
Still, there’s no pleasure on a cold winter night quite like the warmth of a crackling wood fire. For those evenings when you’re in a mood to indulge, a traditional fireplace in any room — or many rooms — of your home can be a go-to comfort.
“If you’re trying to cozy up your home for the winter, a great way to do so is with a beautiful wood-burning fireplace,” says Glenn Wiseman, sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort, a home heating and cooling installer in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Want to amp up the luxury further? Consider a fireplace in a shared wall, allowing those in two different rooms to share the same fire.
7. Wood Stoves
Many people rely on wood stoves as a primary or secondary sources of heat in their homes, and there’s no doubt that this type of stove can add warmth in winter.
A cleaner-burning stove, certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may come with advanced features designed to improve efficiency. The NHDES says advanced combustion stoves, catalytic stoves, and wood pellet stoves are preferable to older models wood stoves.
Add some or all of these luxury features when you build your new construction home and you’ll be able to enjoy them during all the winters to come.
Marcie Geffner is an award-winning freelance reporter, writer and editor in Ventura, California. In the last decade, she has penned more than 1,000 published stories about residential and commercial real estate, banking, credit cards, computer security, health insurance and small business, among other subjects. Editors describe her as “detail-driven,” “conscientious,” “smart” and “incredibly versatile.” Her award-winning reporting has been lauded as “rock solid,” “spot-on relevant,” “informative,” “engaging,” “interesting” and “nuanced.” Her stories have been cited in seven published nonfiction books and two U.S. Congressional hearings.
Prior to her freelance career, Geffner was senior editor of California Real Estate magazine. Later, she became managing editor of Inman.com, an independent real estate news website. She also has prior employment experience in technical writing, corporate communications and employee communications. She received a bachelor’s degree in English with high honors from UCLA and master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She enjoys reading, home improvement projects and watching seagulls at the beach.