6 Luxury Home Must-Haves for 2018

Categories: St. Louis Luxury Homes

 

 

You own a beautiful homenow, how can you make it better? Luxury homeowners all over the globe are adding amenities to their houses that increase the resale value and give homeowners an even more luxurious quality of life. Consider some of these gorgeous (sometimes unusual!) improvements to your home:

 

 

 

1. Dog Shower


Dog showers are becoming popular design features in many luxury homes. Architect William Harrison reports that he’s been asked to design dog showers for many clients. These are often designed for large dog breeds, who have difficulty bathing in a traditionally-sized bathtub. Dog showers are low to the ground, designed with extra-tough, dirt- and wear-resistant tiles and shower heads with long flexible hoses. These custom showers leave both owner and pooch happy!


2. Bathroom Fireplace


A hot bath is the perfect way to relax after a long day. The only thing that could make the experience more relaxing would be a crackling fireplace. This trend has taken over luxury homes, with many owners choosing to improve their properties with a bathroom fireplace. A luxurious, relaxing bathroom can add greatly to a home’s resale value, as well as giving the homeowner many peaceful nights.


3. Observatory


Turn a top floor room into a luxurious observatory with the addition of a telescope! This is a new trend in luxury homes and is particularly popular with homeowners who already have large skylights or glass-enclosed rooms. Companies like High Point and Frontgate make excellent at-home telescopes that can transform any home into a beautiful observatory.


4. Home Theater

 

 

 


One of the hallmarks of a luxury home is a fully-functioning home theater. Modern technology allows homeowners to have full movie screens, surround sound speakers, and luxury seating. You can even design your own.


5. Sauna


Sitting in a personal steam room is the height of luxury. Specially designed benches, custom sauna decor, and particular rocks and wood are all sold to help homeowners personalize their saunas. Saunas have been proven to have many health benefits, helping people sweat out toxins and decrease stress.



6. Wine Cellar


Tried and true, the wine cellar has been a cornerstone of luxury homes. And, this classic is as relevant as ever in 2018. Amassing a wine collection is a wonderful hobby, and storing it in an aesthetically pleasing wine cellar is a privilege that comes from owning a luxury home. Play with lighting, shelving, and even seating to create a space perfect for storage and tasting.



Any of these amenities will add beauty and value to your home. You already own an amazing house--now make it truly luxurious!


If you’re ready to start the search for your luxury home, contact Janet McAfee for access to our listings over $750,000 as part of our exclusive affiliation with Luxury Portfolio.

To My Fellow Realtors, “Buyers and Sellers still need YOU”

Just released, a 2018 Harris Insights & Analytics study reported that 90% of all buyers and sellers used a real estate agent in their transaction.  This is up from 85% in a similar study conducted four years ago.  

 

The most important factors in choosing an agent were:  “a referral from someone I trust,” “agents who had listings similar to what I am looking for,”  “looking at websites with ratings of agents” and “having a personal relationship with the agent.”

 

Negotiating the best price was mentioned by 89% of buyers and sellers as being extremely or very important.  

 

I’m not surprised by these findings.  A real estate transaction is complex and stressful.  Why wouldn’t you rely on a professional with a proven track record from a reputable brokerage to help you navigate the most important purchase of your life?

 

(Source: Real Trends September 2018 newsletter)

-Janet Horlacher

Discover the Top School Districts in St. Louis

Categories: General

 



For a family looking to settle down, a good school district is essential. The St. Louis County area offers a lot of great school districts, all with their own unique features. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each district to make your move location easy!


School District of Clayton


Clayton, MO is the affluent, bustling business hub of St. Louis County and borders the city of St. Louis. In 2018, the district was ranked the fourth best school district in the United States and the best school district in Missouri by Niche. Several primary schools and high schools in the Clayton district have been ranked as top schools in Missouri. The School District of Clayton is one of the highest-achieving districts in the State of Missouri. Each of the district’s schools are regularly featured in Missouri's list of Top Ten Highest Performing Schools. On average, the student to teacher ratio is 11:1.


According to the 2010 census, the population of Clayton is 15,939 people. Several local universities are at least partially located in Clayton, bringing energy to the city. Being the county seat, St Louis County is the largest employer in Clayton. An active public transportation system connects the city. Clayton’s downtown features art galleries and boutiques, and it is host to the annual St Louis County Fair. For a family looking to settle down in a friendly, small town with an art scene and great public and private schools, Clayton is a great option.



Ladue School District


Ladue, MO is a suburb of St. Louis with a population of around 8,000. Ladue has the highest median household income of any town in Missouri, making it a relatively wealthy suburb.


The school district includes four public elementary schools and one public high school, as well as two private high schools. The student to teacher ratio is 14:1, and teachers are generally reported to care for and give special attention to students. Teacher salaries are above the national average, showing that just as teachers care for students, the district cares for its teachers.


Ladue residents are privileged to be near some of the finest schools in the nation. Ladue School District passes state examinations with flying colors. Ladue Watkins High School is consistently ranked among the best high schools in the state, and has often been named the best public high school in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report. Mary Institute and Country Day School (MICDS) and John Burroughs School are nationally-ranked private schools. Whether in public or private schools, students in Ladue can be assured of receiving a first-rate education.



Lindbergh School District


Lindbergh School District serves the area of Sunset Hills, an idyllic suburban municipality.

Schools in the Lindbergh District have excellent test scores, with math and reading rankings above 80 percent proficiency. Lindbergh High School, the only high school in the district, has a 96 percent graduation rate compared to the 86 percent national average. In fact, Lindbergh School District was recognized as the Number 1 district for K-12 achievement in the State of Missouri from 2010 through 2014.


Lindbergh School District is known for having very good public schools, particularly elementary and preschools, which make up the majority of the district. This makes it particularly great for families with young children.



Kirkwood School District


Kirkwood, MO is home to some of the strongest schools in the state and also serves the area of Sunset Hills, Missouri. The Kirkwood School District has the top-rated teachers in Missouri. Kirkwood’s student to teacher ratio is 15:1, and the district expends more money per student than the national average, most of which goes toward instruction.


In fact, Kirkwood boasts some of the most collegiate schools in the St. Louis area. Not only was Kirkwood High School ranked the third best high school in the state by U.S News and World Report in 2013, but Sunset Hills is also home to elite private schooling. Thomas Jefferson School is a nationally ranked college preparatory school, attracting the St. Louis community’s best and brightest young minds. With students’ average SAT scores over 2000, Thomas Jefferson School occupies a place among the educational elite.


St. Louis Public and Private Schools


The top-rated private school in the St. Louis area is John Burroughs School (mentioned above) located in Ladue. John Burroughs School is ranked as the number one high school in Missouri, as well as the top college prep school in Missouri. The school has a 6:1 student to teacher ratio, and the graduation rate is 100 percent. Families looking for strong private schools should also consider: St. Louis Priory School, ranked as the number one Catholic high school in Missouri and the number one all-boys school in Missouri; Thomas Jefferson School, ranked the #1 boarding school in Missouri and home to excellent test scores; or the Whitfield School, a tight-knit community of 440 students with excellent test scores and strong parent and student reviews.


Families looking for excellent public schools should visit Clayton High School, the top-rated public school in Missouri. It is ranked as having the best public school teachers in Missouri, with a 12:1 student to teacher ratio. Clayton High has great test scores, ranking far above average in proficiency in math and reading. Ninety-two percent of Clayton High students report that they feel happy at their school and enjoy attending. Other public schools to consider are Kirkwood Senior High School, which has excellent test scores and a beautiful campus with above-average athletic and academic facilities, and Marquette Senior High School, which is home to great test scores and above-average student proficiency in math and reading.


Ready to find a home in one of these areas? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate to get started!

Plan For These Seven Fall Renovations Now

Categories: DIY Seasonal Preparations




With the start of a new season, fall brings the opportunity to reinvent your home! There are plenty of fall renovation projects that will make your home feel fresh and get you ready for winter. Not sure where to start? No problem! We picked out a few seasonal projects that will leave your home feeling renewed before winter arrives.


1. Seal Your Windows


An easy way to prepare your house for winter is by putting caulk around the edges of your windows. Small gaps between windows and window panes allow heat to escape and let the cold in, lowering your home’s energy efficiency and raising your heating costs. Caulk is very low in cost, and it’s a simple project that you can knock out in a weekend.



2. Update Your Outdoor Pool


Whether you’re looking for some serious repairs or just standard maintenance, fall is the best time to work on your pool. Summer is the busiest season for pool repairs, and costs are often at their highest, so waiting until fall to get repairs done ensures that you’ll face a lower price. Plus, companies will have more time in the off-season, which means your repairs will likely get done quickly.



3. Protect Your Garden


As temperatures cool down, it’s time to start getting your garden ready for winter. You’ll want to cover your flower beds to protect them from snow and cold. One of the easiest ways to do this is with dried, fallen leaves. Collect the leaves that fall in autumn and place them in a layer over your garden, which will insulate your plants for the cold months ahead.



4. Paint Your Exterior


A fresh coat of paint does wonders! Remember to add sealant over the paint to protect against snow and ice damage. While you’re at it, apply sealant to outdoor stairs, doors, and wood on porches, too.


5. Repair the Roof


If your roof has any small holes or leaks, winter will only make them worse. Heat will escape and snow will get in. Fall is a perfect time to have a roofing crew come in, take care of any small repairs, and make sure you’re ready to handle snow and ice.



6. Clean the Carpets


Summer can get carpets pretty dirty. Between mud, sand, and other pieces of the outdoors tracked in, your floors are begging for a cleaning. Fall is a great time to clean carpets because dirt from summer sports and activities won’t be coming in. It’s also generally still warm enough so that you can open the windows for ventilation while carpet soaps do their work. That means a fall day outside for you and a full cleaning for your carpets!



7. Install a Programmable Thermostat


Save money this winter with a programmable thermostat. You can set your heat to go down while you’re at work or asleep, which conserves both energy and money. Then your heat can come right back up when you get home, keeping you nice and comfortable!



Fall is a great time to do home renovations, and it’s the perfect bridge between summer and winter to refresh your house and get it ready for the cold. What home renovations are you looking forward to this fall?

Is “Maximalism” really the Luxury Home Trend for 2018?

Those who follow luxury design trends have predicted that 2018 is the year of “maximalism.”  Neutral and monochromatic color palettes will transition to bold, saturated colors.  After all, the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, a vivid shade of purple.  Trend watchers are seeing a resurgence of wallpaper, mixed metal plumbing fixtures and layering of brightly colored and patterned rugs. 

From my perspective, I cannot confirm our St. Louis luxury real estate market has fully embraced the maximalism design trend.  I have seen elements of this new style in our finest properties.

Wallpaper is making a resurgence, but this is not your mother’s wallpaper.   The new papers are ultra-chic prints made with modern digital printing technology and textured fabric papers like silk and grass cloth.  We see luscious accent walls covered with hand painted Chinoiserie.

Brass and gold tone fixtures are making a comeback.  Last year, we outfitted our bathrooms with minimalist chrome fixtures.  Newer designs include more ornate hardware made of brushed and shiny gold fixtures or they are black matt plumbing finishes.  

Are richer bolder colors replacing neutrals?  Design trend setters claim that beiges and taupes have become boring.  Bold saturated hues are being introduced, particularly in accent roles.

What do you think?  Are we prepared to “boldly go where no one has gone before?”

What Constitutes Luxury?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned all these years as a luxury Realtor, is “Luxury” means something unique to each of us.  Luxury is personal.  

•  Luxury = Lifestyle.  Luxury buyers are inspired by amenities which enhance the home experience.  Lifestyle seekers are excited by outdoor kitchens, breathtaking pools and spas, wine tasting rooms, whole house media systems and over the top master closets. 

•  Luxury = Smart.  Technology has introduced a whole new landscape of luxury features for savvy home buyers.   Temperature controlled wine cellars, variable speed air conditioners and window glass which goes from clear to opaque are features which motivate this buyer.  Does our future include A.I. devices in every room?

•  Luxury = Aesthetic.  Buyers are seeking exceptional design and exclusivity.   Architectural provenance is important for the buyer looking for historic significance.  Haute home interiors include hand crafted draperies and authentic wall murals, which cannot be replicated.

What does luxury mean to you?   

-Janet Horlacher

Updating Your Home: 10 Projects You Can Complete This Weekend

Categories: DIY


Keeping your home in tip top shape doesn’t have to break the bank or your back! Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or just want to keep your home updated for yourself and your family, there are simple DIY options that will have your home feeling fresh. Plenty of home improvement projects are perfectly easy to do yourself, and can be done inexpensively. Here are a few fun projects that are so quick, they can be completed in a single weekend.


1. Paint Your Front Door


A splash of color on your front door can give your whole home exterior a fresh look! Painting an exterior door may sound challenging, but is actually pretty easy with the right materials. And the stylish look is a gift that keeps on giving! Learn how to paint your own outside door here.



2. Organize Your Junk Drawer


A few simple wooden dividers installed in a junk drawer can turn it into a marvel of organization! Create separate sections for chargers and cables--even add customized colors! The possibilities are endless with this project, and it’s so simple that it only takes an afternoon. Get step-by-step instructions here.



3. Install a New Kitchen Faucet


A new faucet can add elegance and freshness to your kitchen! It’s a simple way to make your space feel completely updated, while in reality you’re only making one simple change. Learn to change your faucet easily here, and enjoy your new modern-feeling kitchen!



4. Re-Paper An Accent Wall



Self-adhesive wallpaper will save you hours of work! Painting or papering an accent wall in the traditional way can take days, but adhesive wall paper makes it a snap! It can seem tricky at first, but with simple tips and tricks, it’s an incredibly easy way to freshen up any room in your house. Plus it can be removed easily, so reversal is as simple as installation!



5. Install a Dimmer Switch


Installing a dimmer switch is a simple project any homemaker can complete. Being able to dim your lights gives you control over the atmosphere in your home. If you want to give yourself lighting options, simply switch to a dimmer. Find step by step installation instructions here.


6. Spice Up Cabinet Doors


Your kitchen cabinets don’t have to be made of boring wood. Try updating your kitchen’s look with cabinet doors made of alternative materials like frosted glass or pounded metal. This simple change can make your space feel modern and fresh. Learn how to replace cabinet doors here.



7. Strip and Stain Wood Cabinets


If updating cabinets to glass or metal isn’t your style, try making them classic by stripping off paint and showing off hardwood. Stripping paint is easy, and after the wood underneath is revealed, a simple stain from any hardware store can make it look amazing. Learn to strip and stain here.



8. Paint Vinyl Floors


Is your bathroom, laundry room or kitchen decorated with outdated vinyl flooring? Bring your floors into the 21st century with a simple paint job! Painting vinyl floors is quick and easy, and will instantly make your home feel more modern. Learn how here.



9. Make Your Own Curtain Tie Backs


Curtain tie backs are small details that can make a world of difference. Customize them according to your personal taste to add a splash of personality to your space. Curtain ties can be made from cloth, or from wood or metal pieces bought at a hardware store. Find tips and tricks on how to make curtain ties here.



10. Make Yourself a Canopy Bed



Simple curtain rods and drapes are all you need for a DIY canopy bed. This canopy feels luxurious, but is simple to make, and doesn’t take longer than a weekend. Experiment with drape colors and patterns, and curtain rod styles, until you find a canopy that’s right for your space. Learn how to build a luxurious diy canopy here.





Just a few simple updates can totally revamp your home--and they’re so easy, you can do them yourself! These projects are quick, easy, and can be done by anyone. What DIY projects have you used to improve your home?

5 Ways to Refresh Your Front Yard

Categories: Summer Home Tips

 

After this year’s unusually long winter, it’s understandable that not everyone has had a chance to get outside to give their yard some much needed upkeep. However, a well-kept yard shows you care about your property as well as your neighbors and neighborhood. If you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, a well-maintained yard will add value to your property.


Even if you haven’t been gifted with a green thumb, that doesn’t mean you can’t still create a beautiful yard for your home! Luckily, we’ve gathered a few tips to get you started toward the landscaping you and your home deserve.


Keep a Manicured Lawn

Just as a fresh haircut can make you feel renewed, mowing your lawn regularly will create a crisp, clean face for your home. Without any changes to your home itself, your property will look like new again with just this quick, simple fix.


Make Sure Sprinklers Work and Run Regularly

Sprinklers are the easiest way to keep your lawn alive and green under the hot summer sun. If you don’t have sprinklers built into your lawn, you can purchase some from Home Depot or any other home and garden store to easily integrate into your yard. If possible, set your sprinklers on a timer so that they can run at night, which minimizes evaporation and ensures you don’t waste any water.


Complete Landscaping Projects During the Warmer Months

Why not take advantage of the warm summer weather? For example, take a weekend to plant in-season plants and flowers - not only will they thrive in the heat, they’ll keep your yard looking bright into the fall season. Other summer projects might include laying new stonework or mulch, or clearing paths and walkways to get the most out of your yard space.


Replace Your Lawn with Other Plants

If maintaining long stretches of grass isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine, too. Replacing some or all of your grass with shrubbery or flowers can create a more modern look, and will also cut down on the time that would have been spent mowing or fertilizing your lawn.


Install Window Boxes in your Apartment

If you live in the city or in another area without a lawn, there are still plenty of things you can do to brighten up your space. For example, you can add flower boxes or even potted plants to your windows to make your home feel tuned into nature.


Not only will these changes make your home look better, but they can make your home easier to sell down the line. If you’re getting ready to sell your home and looking for more ways to give your home some much needed curb appeal, our agents at Janet McAfee are always here and ready to help.

Luxury Collection Exceeds Expectations

Janet McAfee is honored to present the finest collection of luxury homes for sale in the St. Louis area.  Our luxury collection spans a variety of architectural styles, geography and age.  If a panoramic river view is on your bucket list, then we invite you to discover our Saint Albans listings, perched on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri river.   In the stylish neighborhoods of the Central West End, you will find elegant turn of the century mansions with terrazzo floors and lavish millwork.  Executive style townhomes of newer construction are situated on urban lots in “tony” Clayton.  Magnificent estates grace the pastoral neighborhoods and equestrian communities of Huntleigh and Ladue.  There simply has never been a better time to purchase a luxury home in St. Louis. 

Is the Market Heating Up?

Is the real estate market as HOT as our temperatures have been?  Every month, we monitor key statistics for all homes in our MLS as well as specific geographies.  Here’s a snapshot of all homes in the MLS this year through May 31, 2018 compared to last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed Sales Dollar Volume          Up 6.5% 

Average Sold Price                       Up 4.3%

 

Average Days on Market               Down 3.6%

% List Price to Sale Price              Up .4%

 

New Listings                                Up 1.2%

Available Listings                         Down 3.6%

 

Our collection of fine listings has never been better. 

 

Janet Horlacher