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March 2007


FEATURES

The New Essentials
By Diane di Costanzo

WHAT ARE THE HOTTEST NEW HOME AMENITIES? THAT DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON YOUR PASSIONS. SQUASH, ANYONE?

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These days, high-end homes come loaded with elegant amenities—Belgian block pavers, white Carrara countertops, gunite infinity pools. Trouble is, these standard luxuries are starting to seem a little, well, standard. What's truly luxurious is a room or outbuilding dedicated not to someone else's idea of an out-of-this-world amenity, but yours—however idiosyncratic. Crave a place to meditate? Then build a Zen-like structure exclusively for that purpose. Jonesing for basketball? By all means, install an indoor court.

Born of a homeowner's needs and desires, these couture comforts often stem from a scarcity of the ultimate luxury: time. "People don't want to spend what little free time they have driving back and forth to a club or a gym," says David Parisi, managing architect at Allan Greenberg's offices in Greenwich and New York. He's right: If you're forced to adhere to a schedule of Saturday morning basketball games, budgeting in a half-hour of travel time, you might never lace up your Nike Air Max 360s.

Parisi cites a Litchfield County home built by his firm that makes playtime part of its infrastructure. The "athletic wing" of the 40,000-square-foot estate features an indoor basketball court, fitness room and pool, along with an outdoor pool and tennis courts. Then there's the squash court in one Fairfield County home, built for a couple of former collegiate-level champions who invite an instructor to come work with the entire family. (Their four children play, too.) The complex includes changing rooms, a hang-out area and a kitchenette. Elsewhere on the property are a pool, tennis court and gym.

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