All the Comforts

August 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Edit

Explore these 10 amenities available for your personal oasis

Whether you are planning on purchasing a new home or renovating your current abode, there are a number of innovations that should be considered before you begin. State-of-the-art technologies have made it possible for homeowners to incorporate first-class luxuries into comfortable homes, and high tech no longer has to equate to “sterile.” Many of today’s innovations can be seamlessly incorporated into just about every type and style of home. From outdoor kitchens to indoor wine rooms, living the high life has never been easier.

1. Digital video surveillance
Home alarms are so last year. Digital video surveillance allows homeowners to keep an eye on their homes from anywhere they can access the internet. Not only is picture quality greatly enhanced, but videos are also saved on a computer for later review and made available on your TVs at home. www.tellipro.com

2. Home theater rooms
Why go to the movie when you can have a theater experience at home? Dad’s favorite recliner has evolved into the family’s favorite room – perfect for watching TV, playing video games, listening to music and catching a movie. The home theater rooms of today have such amenities as surround sound, speakers built into the wall and ceiling, plasma and LCD monitors, projection TVs, theater seating and much more. www.hometheaterstore.com

3. Wine rooms
No longer do you have to stock up before a party; wine rooms allow true wine aficionados the opportunity to store their favorite wines in their homes. Whether you choose to locate it in the basement or in the middle of everything, in-house wine rooms are a great way to add the spirit of romance into your home. Just remember: The most important concepts to consider are air temperature and storage design. www.bacchuswinecellars.com

4. Outdoor kitchens
Temperate weather year-round has made outdoor kitchens a popular addition to Houston homes. Although casual and comfortable, the outdoor kitchen of today has elevated itself immensely from yesteryear’s barbecue pit. Countertops and sinks, gas-burning stoves and happy hour bars are all finding their way outside. Perfect for a romantic meal or to accommodate a party of 20, outdoor kitchens have helped make entertaining others entertaining for you, as well! www.pittsandspitts.com

5. Mosquito repellent systems
Snowbirds aren’t the only guests Houston weather attracts. Mosquitoes can be an unbelievable nuisance during the summer. (Truthfully, they can be an irritation all year long!) Thankfully, technology has surpassed smelly sprays and ineffective candles. Mosquito control systems are able to take the itch out of outdoor fun with time-controlled misters and on-the-spot remote controls (similar to sprinkler systems). www.abcpest.com

6. Home automation
Let programming the coffee pot in the kitchen become a thing of the past! Home automation allows you to program pretty much anything and everything that runs on electricity – from wherever you want. From the air conditioner to the landscaping lights, the aforementioned coffee pot to the TV, you can now schedule times for use and remotely control your appliances from afar. www.smarthome.com

7. Multiple shower heads
Many homeowners are choosing to rethink their bathrooms. No longer do you have to go to the spa for an escape. Home showers have moved beyond simple faucet mounts to multiple shower heads that transport you to your own tropical island waterfall. Close your eyes, and relax! www.designerbath-kitchen.com

8. Heated flooring/cool flooring
You may have heard of radiant flooring, but did you know this? Not only can you heat the floor from within, but you can also cool it. Tubing underneath tiles, carpet and wood has been heating homes for years, but technology has finally caught up with Houston needs. Very rarely do you step out of the shower and get a bite of frost from the bathroom floor here, but every Houstonian could use some cooler temperatures during the summer. www.energy.gov

9. Geothermal heat pumps
Help the environment and lower your monthly bills in one fell swoop. Geothermal heat pumps differ from standard heat pumps because they utilize the earth’s natural heat, rather than outside air, to produce your hot water, air conditioning and heating needs. Not only are they quieter than ordinary heat pumps, geothermal pumps use 40-60 percent less energy. Can you imagine your next electric bill? www.energystar.gov

10. Misters
It might seem like many of these innovations have to do with keeping you cool inside your home, but have you been outside lately? Wall-mounted misters help to keep the temperature down while you’re enjoying your backyard. Combining a slight mist and a cool breeze from a fan, misters can make the Bayou City feel more like the windy one. www.microcool.com

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