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posted: 3/1/2013 5:17 AM

Builders fulfill desires with specialty rooms

Builders fulfill desires with specialty rooms

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  • Sun rooms and morning rooms are cozy spaces off the kitchen where homeowners enjoy much natural light.

      Sun rooms and morning rooms are cozy spaces off the kitchen where homeowners enjoy much natural light.
    Courtesy of KLM Builders

  • Specialty flooring, electrical wiring and added sound insulation are common for fitness rooms.

      Specialty flooring, electrical wiring and added sound insulation are common for fitness rooms.
    Courtesy of Avalon Development and Construction In

  • A home theater is a very common specialty room requested when people build their own custom homes.

      A home theater is a very common specialty room requested when people build their own custom homes.
    Courtesy of Avalon Development and Construction In

 
By Sherry Giewald
Daily Herald Correspondent

Have you ever dreamed of having a whole room dedicated to your favorite pastime, sport or other leisure activity?

If you're a quilter, you may want a room with easy access to your materials and supplies, with a table or counter and plenty of storage space. The room would be spacious and inviting so you could have your quilting friends over for an afternoon of craft, coffee and conversation.

You may be in a book club where your group gathers for discussions of the classics. You'd like comfortable seating around a table where guests can take notes and enjoy refreshments.

Or maybe table tennis or billiards is your game, and you want a room where you can challenge your opponent in style.

Custom homebuilders often receive requests from their clients for a specialty room where they can indulge in their passion. People request everything from a cozy reading room to a themed playroom with all the bells and whistles.

A fitness or exercise room is a frequent request of John Elias, owner of Avalon Development and Construction Inc. The builder can design such a space differently from a room that is just outfitted with exercise equipment.

"We design the room with sound insulation because many people like to listen to music or catch up on the news while working out. So the room needs to accommodate different electrical requirements for audio and video," Elias said.

"People like all mirrored walls or mirrors on one wall. We also use a resilient type of flooring, such as rubber flooring, where you can drop a barbell on it. It's made from recycled material and is a great product as well. It really looks nice."

While Kim Meier echoes that exercise rooms are hot, his niche is the morning room, an option offered in his custom homes that most of his clients select.

"We do more morning rooms than the screened porch because there's so much glass, and it's a true four-season room heated and cooled for year-round use," said Meier, president of KLM Builders.

Typically, the room is 12-by-14 feet, sits off the kitchen or breakfast area and features a volume ceiling and glass on all sides. It's usually more of a casual space that people furnish with wicker or rattan, Meier said.

"People love to read the newspaper and have their morning coffee there where they also enjoy the scenic outdoor views," he said.

Similarly, Overstreet Builders Inc. offers a sunroom option, which many of its clients desire. "It's an extension of the kitchen, and with most of us living so much in the kitchen, it becomes a great space for entertaining. When you have a group of 15 or 20, you can just expand into that room," said Doug Overstreet, president of the company.

Do you have papers and mail piling up on the kitchen counter? US Shelter Homes creates a small niche off the kitchen or breakfast area called a chef's office for recipes, mail and even children's homework, said John Sorenson, vice president. "It's a great space because it keeps clutter out of the kitchen."

With today's technology, many people prefer a family command center rather than a home office. D.R. Horton shows this concept in its Cascade model at Cambridge Lakes. The room features an Internet cafe across a long countertop, bookcases and a large counter-height table for using laptops and iPads, working on school projects or poring over homework.

If you want the luxury of a spa in your own home, Elias can make it happen. "Home spas are big now, not only in the bath, but in a separate room with a massage table and pedicure and manicure stations (for house calls)," Elias said.

"Sometimes we do a spa suite with a spa bath and a steam shower or sauna. This is often adjacent to the exercise room, which makes sense, just like in a gym," he said.

Today with the popularity of wine, people keep more wine on hand than they did before, and they need a place to store it. Overstreet Builders comes to the rescue.

"We do a nice wine cellar, a specific area on the main level designated for wine storage," Overstreet said. "Typically the space holds 75 to 100 bottles of wine, and it's regulated to keep the wine at a certain temperature."

While some specialty spaces, like a billiards or exercise room, are rather common, builders also get requests for the uncommon variety.

Elias has built homes with a dedicated prayer room. He said more clients want the luxury of a prayer or meditation room because of their religions.

"We put in sound insulation so the room will be very quiet. Many times we design parameters that are specific to a religion, such as certain colors -- or other things the client wants to bring into the room," Elias said. "It's sometimes very sparse with two chairs. For meditation, a big open space might have some type of yoga mat in the center of the room."

And some requests are even rarer. What about a room dedicated to the dogs? Elias included such a room in one of his custom homes -- a stunning Italian villa.

In that house, an outside door brings the dogs from the dog run into their room inside the home, which also has an interior door. The room was furnished with all the creature comforts a dog desires -- a cozy bed for a good sleep, water and food. Each of the two dogs had a little space with a bed and an eating area with their own water and food. In some homes, Elias has also installed a doggy shower.

Want to keep your valuables safe? You can have a vault room built where you can store important documents, expensive jewelry and art in a secure and high-tech safe within your own vault room.

When it comes to specialty rooms, whatever you want, a custom builder will create.

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