Turn home into a winter wonderland, reap profit later?

October 24, 2011

Want to kick up your feet no matter how hard the cold weather kicks its heels? With winter on the way, we examine luxury renovations ideal for cocooning. Judge for yourself whether they’re worth a set of blueprints and a stack of greenbacks.

Item: Home theater system

Why you want it: Screening movies in your own theater — complete with rump-shaking sound and a larger-than-life picture — can bring out the Hollywood mogul in anyone.
Cost: Estimates vary widely, but figure a minimum of $5,000 for a high-end setup that includes 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, at least seven speakers and a subwoofer, amplifiers and a 73-inch rear projection TV that can reproduce 3D and HDTV images. Rich Conklin, a principal engineer with Grand Home Automation in Grand Rapids, says the company’s “Signature Series” surround systems range from $15,000 to $30,000.
Value: A survey conducted by Axiom Home Theaters in Dwight, Ontario, Canada found that a 375-square-foot home theater can add $15,000 to $25,000 to a house priced between $150,000 and $350,000. (Those figures apply to both U.S. and Canadian dollars.) However, this is one asset you can take with you to a new home, as many of the components are portable.
Did you know?: Music engineer/producer Jeremy Kipnis designed a home theater system that reportedly cost more that $6 million, and incorporates three dozen-plus speakers and a motion-picture screen measuring 18 x 10 feet.


Item: Heated driveway

Why you want it: Who wants to shovel during a snowstorm when you can flick a switch and melt the white stuff away?
Cost: About $1,500 to outfit 100 square feet of driveway with radiant heating elements and controls, according to Warmup United States of Danbury, Connecticut. Heated Driveway Systems, a division of Warmzone in Salt Lake City, Utah, estimates operating costs at 28 cents per 100 square feet per hour.
Value: A $2,000 investment in a heated driveway equals of 80 man-hours of shoveling, if you paid two local kids $25 each to shovel your driveway for an hour.
Did you know?: In some cases, heated driveway systems can reduce the cost of homeowner’s insurance due to reduced risk of accidents from walking on slippery property.


Item: In-ground indoor pool

Why you want it: Swimming year round for exercise beats just about any domestic alternative, especially heart-attack-inducing snow shoveling.
Cost: A fiberglass in-ground pool from Endless Pools of Aston, Pennsylvania starts at about $25,900 for a model measuring 8 ½ feet wide, 18 feet long and 60 inches deep.
Value: A study co-authored by G. Stacy Sirmans, a real estate professor at Florida State University, found swimming pools add 8 to 13 percent to a home’s selling price. A pool “is generally positive and significant” to a home’s value, Sirmans says.
Did you know?: When Robert Kaufman died in 1995, he left behind a five-story Manhattan townhouse with a sauna, hot tub and an enormous indoor pool measuring 8 feet deep. The home — which apparently hosted some lascivious bachelor parties — went up for sale for $10.9 million this year, the New York Times reports.


Item: Wine cellar

Why you want it: You (and your collection) have outgrown that Crate & Barrel wine rack on wheels.
Cost: Wine Cellar Innovations of Cincinnati, Ohio custom-builds cellars that can hold 1,400+ bottles, and range from about $4,000 to $71,000. The top-of-the-line “Platinum” series features racks made from all-heart redwood, and a selection of custom moldings and cabinetry.
Value: It depends on the wine you put in it. Serious oenophiles can make a handsome profit selling the vintages they accumulate. Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold part of an American collector’s cellar in April for $5.1 million.
Did you know?: For those who can make the dates, Sotheby’s London will auction the wine collection of “a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist” on Oct. 26 and 27. The goods include some 5,743 bottles, 689 magnums, 479 double magnums, 215 Jeroboams and 247 Imperials.


Item: Custom bowling alley

Why you want it: In a high-tech world, bowling still rules as low-tech family fun. Or perhaps you’ve seen “Kingpin” and “The Big Lebowski” so often you’ve developed an uncontrollable kegling urge.
Cost: A two-lane residential bowling alley installed by Murrey Bowling of Los Angeles, California ranges from $130,000-$200,000, while a one-lane alley ranges from $80,000-$105,000.
Value: Assuming public bowling costs $5 per game, and a family of four bowls two games daily, five days a week, it would take 9-plus years for a $100,000 alley to pay for itself, not counting maintenance and operating costs. But imagine the marathon bowling parties you could throw.
Did you know?: John Amend of Dallas built a private four-lane bowling center that he uses for business networking and charity events. According to the Dallas Business Journal, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and former President George W. Bush have bowled there. The price tag: $1.5 million.

This past summer, Reuters Wealth looked at luxury home add-ons through the eyes of Architect Barbie and bathroom lovers. In July, we examined six home additions in a Barbie Dream House Competition, running the gamut from solar power to a greenhouse. And in ourAugust “Royal Flush” bathroom feature, we highlighted the joys of a $47,000 bathtub and luxury three-ply toilet tissue in seven colors (including black).


One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I love dreaming about the home bowling alleys! This company does it too (looks like for a little cheaper) www.fusionbowling.com.

Posted by bobbyman | Report as abusive