For February 20, 2004
Guest Column for the Palm Beach Post

Jackie Slatkow or Kelly Husak
(561) 278-0850


By Rebecca Gismondi, vice president of Sterling Communities

PALM BEACH GARDENS – With more and more families selecting luxury home features to create the ultimate retreat, the trend in the real estate market is to provide the amenities which will enhance the buyers’ lifestyle and allow them to be as comfortable as possible without ever leaving home.

Luxury home builders today are providing buyers with creative solutions, incorporating every provision imaginable, so there is no reason to go out for anything. The trend today is toward ‘cocooning,’ and making homes the ultimate oasis.

Many upscale luxury communities are offering homes with a plethora of creative solutions, with expansive designs and innovative features – all planned to offer buyers an exceptional lifestyle.

Customization is the key. Buyers in today’s luxury market want a home which is a perfect complement to their lifestyle and their families needs. In addition to requiring a spacious home, estate buyers want a floor plan which has a lot of versatility, and one which can be transitioned over time.

Buyers at San Michele, for example, have been provided with numerous considerations, including courtyard homes complete with outdoor summer kitchens, bars and informal entertainment centers, master bedroom suites with sitting rooms, exercise rooms and hobby areas, and spacious secondary bedrooms.

The loft has been an important feature for our buyers at San Michele -- our two-story home designs include an upstairs loft, which has been showcased as a billiard room in one design and a children’s play area in another. Lofts are used as a second family room and are often positioned just off the bedrooms, providing space which can serve changing needs for the growing family over the years.

For example, a loft designated as a children’s playroom is dually functional: not only does it keep the children’s toys, books and play things near their bedrooms, but it leaves the family room presentable for adult guests. As the children grow older, the loft can be easily transitioned into a separate family room for them, providing computer space, a separate music area and even mini kitchen.

With teenage children, many families transition the loft to be a billiard room, card room or even an art studio or hobby/crafts area.

Other features popular with today’s luxury home buyer include formal foyers with two-story dome ceilings, grand spiral staircases, walk-in wine vaults, and master bedroom suites. These master suites are designed with dressing areas, morning rooms or sitting areas which could also be customized into a fully-equipped gym, accessed through the master bath so buyers can enjoy a quick shower after a workout.

Bedrooms, in general, can be transitioned into a number of versatile uses, even into media rooms, home theatres of wherever your families’ dreams and needs take them.

Our buyers not only want a spectacular new home, but they want it customized with amenities that best suit their own needs. They want an elegant home with all the bells and whistles, so they can stay home and enjoy their lives and their children.

Rebecca Gismondi may be reached at Sterling Communities in Boca Raton at (561) 994-4778 or at San Michele in Palm Beach Gardens, (561) 691-9100. More information on San Michele is available at