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When Does a Comfortable Home Become a Luxury One?

What exactly elevates a home to luxury status? There are a number of elements to consider 
By Julien Delbassée-Leflon August 22, 2017

In today’s real estate market, just having your name on the title is a privilege. And each property is different. Some are in good shape, clean, and with some personal touches – that’s comfort. Then at the higher end of the spectrum, we find the luxury market – not necessary, but great if you can afford it.

The first channel of communication for any product is the price. In the luxury market, if the price is too low, it won’t qualify as luxury anymore, and therefore, lose buyers’ interest. This is true of the automotive industry, the fashion industry and also in real estate.

For our purposes, we will review the four cornerstones of a luxury home:

• the address;

• the land;

• the architecture; and

• the interior design.

The Address

Some addresses are associated with prestige and/or luck. It may happen that it is a combination of both. For example, a Vancouver address is more prestigious than a Burnaby or Richmond address.

Then, within the same city, you have neighbourhoods. Westside in Vancouver can be seen as luxurious, and the east side, comfortable. And within neighborhoods, you have streets that are associated with the higher end, such as Point Grey Road, South Granville, and the British Properties in West Vancouver.

Finally, the numerology. In Manhattan, for example, some prefer an address associated with the prestigious 10011 zip code. And for a house number, all over the world, many buyers prefer 88 or 66 because of its associated mystical strength and signification of good luck.

It is a comfort to live in a renowned neighborhood, and it's a luxury to live on a specific street, with the associated house number. 

The Land

Comfort would be to own land. Luxury would be to own a big parcel of land with a view and landscaping, an orchard and a pool. Having a little backyard for your kids and pets is generally seen as “a plus.” But when the property comes with a sauna, a steam room, a wine cellar, a solarium, and a basketball court, that’s luxury.

The Architecture

Do you know that feeling you get as you enter a home? It can range from “It’s a little cramped in here,” or “Where am I supposed to go now?” to “Wow!” It can create that feeling of a big breath of fresh air and being at the right place at the right time.

So what makes luxury architecture? A sense of space and light is can be described as comfortable. Architects and associated craftsman that have applied their skills to realize your specific vision, or converting a home into a specific style that fits your character and tastes, such Californian or Contemporary West Coast – that is luxury.

Interior Design

An open-concept kitchen is comfortable. But a mud room and a washroom with a Japanese “Toto” toilet, combined with a Belgian Industrial lighting pendant beaming onto yeo dozen orchids in the centre of the kitchen island, next to a La Cornue oven and a Sub-Zero double-door fridge, that’s luxury. It is all about labels – it doesn’t necessarily make the greatest meal. OK, maybe it does if you associate it with a Thermomix Vorwerk.

In my opinion, a fridge that doesn’t sound like a tractor is already satisfying.

Being in a position to create a great interior is good. Hiring a tasteful interior designer will come with a cost, but also the “wow” effect, as well as holding its value.

Remember, comfort is a success in itself. Being able to afford homeownership in a clean and safe environment – congrats, you made it! Luxury has more to do with an exterior sign of wealth, expressing a life of dedicated hard work, or perhaps just privilege.

But there is nothing wrong with obtaining the most sought-after. And despite the rules I set out above, luxury is a matter of perception. What matters to you might not to matter to others, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, what truly matters is the health of my kids.


Interested in becoming a contributor for Whether you're an agent, broker, home inspector or general real estate professional, we're always looking for writers to share their knowledge with home buyers and sellers. Contact [email protected] for details. 

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