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Photographer Sean Kernan enjoys the meditation hut set in a bamboo grove on his Stony Creek property. Built by an architect friend, Naomi Darling, the tranquil structure was initially planned as a painting studio for Kernan's wife, Karen, but ultimately it suggested its own purpose. "We hadn't commissioned a meditation space, but meditation happens there quite spontaneously," Kernan says. "My wife and I noticed that we'd go up and sit and just talk quietly, and then stop talking and just sit, noticing the smell of the cedar, listening to the bamboo rustle."
You'll probably never find a meditation hut on a real estate expert's list of renovations recommended to enhance a home's resale value. But Architect Dinyar Wadia, principal of Wadia Associates in New Canaan, sees non-monetary value in these extravagant, even eccentric, extras. "People are looking for permanence," he says. "They long for a way to put down roots."
For a society that once valued mobility and transience, never resting long in one place was a good thing. But times have changed. "Frankly, people never ask me about construction costs," says Wadia, whose own property features a teahouse—a former potting shed he made rustically elegant with lovely wicker furnishings and a fireplace. "They ask me, 'What can I invest in that I will enjoy for years and years?'" The answer is different for everyone, of course, but since you can't buy time, maybe a basketball court will do.