Redscout Founder & CEO Jonah Disend calls out how shifting attitudes by millennials may soon make current luxury home 'staples' obsolete.
Think open kitchens and huge master suites will always be desirable? Think again.
Some real estate amenities are eternal—a sweeping view across Central Park, for instance, or a doorman who knows your favorite driver. Others, though, might prove unexpectedly faddish: What seems like a must-have today could vanish in the developments of tomorrow. Here are four surprising staples of the luxury real estate market that insider experts predict could soon become obsolete.
The Home Theater
The home theater market stateside stood at $1.4 billion in 2015, up more than 50 percent since the same period in 2010, per Cedia, a trade association for home technology companies. Of course, it’s no longer enough to install a supersize screen and digital projector: True cinephiles can build their own $1 million personal Imax theater and sign up for Prima Cinema, a Netflix-like service for the 1 percent that allows rentals of first-run movies at $500 a pop.
It could prove to a shortsighted investment, though, at least according to architect Duan Tran of KAA Design. “Our clients are requesting fully immersive, VR environments because they’re super-busy and want the highest forms of escapism,” Tran confides by phone from his office in Los Angeles.
One current project, commissioned by a man the architect calls “a real techie, who likes to geek out,” involved simply stripping down the erstwhile maid’s room in his home, turning it into a 20-foot-by-20-foot shell as the venue for his own personal Holodeck. “There, he can throw on a pair of VR goggles and immerse himself completely. Imagine taking a walk on the beach in the Bahamas, or a walk down to the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday afternoon before dinner.”
Tech advances have propelled this blue-sky idea into brick-and-mortar reality, such as the relatively affordable VR cubes and screens from such companies as Virtalis. Tran explains that changing building codes in overbuilt areas such as L.A. could also have an effect moving this forward. “They’re starting to restrict the size of houses, so when clients request bells and whistles—a 20-car garage, say—we need to be more efficient with space,” he says. “Right now, you might need to have 1,000 square feet dedicated to a home theater," but in the future, "it could be a 6-foot-by-6-foot room for the same programming.”
The Master Suite
Sprawling master suites were once the ultimate trophy asset in a luxury home, but recent developments have begun replacing the open-plan, loft-like rooms with a complex of private chambers, jigsawed together around a smaller, cozy space that’s home solely to a bed. Douglas Elliman’s Roy Kim points to Miami’s Rem Koolhas-designed Park Grove as an example. “You’ll see an antechamber, like a study, or a library, plus a large dressing area and a spa-like bathroom,” Kim says by phone from California. “You no longer want to walk unceremoniously into a master bedroom and see the bed—creating privacy is more important than ever.”
Jonah Disend, founder of innovation firm Redscout, explains further: “The concept of a master bedroom is becoming obsolete because we have a different relationship with sleep now—we don’t hang out in the bedroom the way we used to.” Disend notes that millennials are driving this shift. Their relationship with privacy is radically different from those of the generations preceding them—though digitally nonchalant, they’re prudish in person."
“Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” he continues. As gym designers are adapting, so are condo developers. “They want their own changing rooms and bathrooms, even in a couple.”