Luxury Redefined

Till very recently, the concept of luxury housing pertained to location and size of the property. The profile of people who could afford such homes were high net worth individuals like industrialists or businessmen who wanted to live in large bungalows situated in premium locations such as South and central Delhi or South Mumbai.

04 Oct 2018

By Anshuman Magazine

Luxury Redefined
Till very recently, the concept of luxury housing pertained to location and size of the property. The profile of people who could afford such homes were high net worth individuals like industrialists or businessmen who wanted to live in large bungalows situated in premium locations such as South and central Delhi or South Mumbai. The size and location were directly related to the amount of wealth the individual or family had. At that time, in most of these properties, the interiors were generally simplistic.

With the changing landscape of urban India, including the economic boom, a younger population with increasing disposable income, and exposure to global trends, the concept of a luxury home has become one that encompasses various amenities, conveniences and provides a luxurious atmosphere. In Delhi areas like Amrita Shergil Marg, Golf Links and Aurangzeb road were where the wealthy lived. Today these locations have expanded to include parts of South Delhi and even Gurgaon (Golf Course Road).

On the other hand, Mumbai, another city with premium homes, is not as conscious about location. However, few areas including Carmichael Road, Napean Sea Road and Malabar Hill were the preferred locations for the wealthy. Today these areas have expanded to include parts of Worli, Bandra, Lower Parel and Powai where a particular building is considered a luxury property, because of specifics, even if the entire location is not.

Luxury housing in India can also be described by the development of gated communities in the suburbs that cater to those people who are not able to be in prime locations in the cities. These gated properties come with advanced security systems, club houses, swimming pool, and various sports facilities like golf courses, children’s play areas, common party areas, cigar lounges, etc. The interiors of these apartments or town houses are done to the highest standards and people have access to almost everything (materials, accessories, fittings, furniture etc) that a property in a prime area would have. What is interesting to note is that some of the apartments in these areas come under the premium category over the others not only due to the quality of amenities and facilities it offers, but also due to the kind of people living there which could be corporate bigwigs, movie stars and so on.

For a luxury development in India, size and location continue to remain the main criteria. While earlier these used to be restricted to large plots of land, today apartments in high end complexes are also being given the luxury tag. This has spurred the evolution of the entire design aspect and interiors of a luxury home. When embarking on a luxury project, the affluent spare no expense in ensuring they have the best that the world has to offer. Today a number of these home owners hire the top architects - be it from India or even internationally (Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe and USA, etc) to design their homes. Designs themselves have become ultra modern, functional and eco-friendly with top of the line construction materials being used.

There is also an extensive emphasis on glass (soundproof German glass), stone (be it Italian marble or top end granite) and other features like water bodies, green areas containing exotic plants, advanced air conditioning systems etc. Depending on the size of a property, a lap pool or a temperature controlled infinity swimming pool, personal gym, a massage or yoga room, a wine cellar and various other sports facilities are included in the design of the home. The air conditioning system in the home is extended to the kitchen, bathrooms, pet rooms and even the rooms for the domestic staff.

With the advent of various technologies in the real estate sector, developers are constantly innovating ways on how to bring in this aspect into their luxury projects. Some technology related improvements include high end electrical elements like the home theatre systems, body sensor lighting, air conditioning and so on. Security too is a major feature in a luxury home. Today these houses have personalized swipe cards for each member of the household and domestic staff which records their entry and exit. Military grade night cameras for the CCTV’s and alarm systems are installed. Besides this, round the clock security personnel are also stationed at the home. To effectively run these various gadgets, every home now needs a dedicated server room. This same server controls the lighting, entertainment, curtains, air conditioning and the security cameras of the entire house. All of the above can be operated and controlled by a single remote from any location in the house.

Every aspect of a luxury home is taken into consideration during the design phase. This includes particular emphasis on kitchens and bathrooms of the properties. Today, one can get access to the best German and Italian fabricated kitchens with fitted accessories like cooking ranges, microwaves, ovens, refrigerators, exhaust systems and other utilities at the click of a button. Bathrooms too come equipped with state of the art Japanese electronic fixtures, French crystal or Lalique faucets, semi-precious stones like Onyx or Lapiz for the knobs or fixtures, walls and furniture inlayed with Mother of Pearl, Jacuzzi’s, sauna’s, steam and shower systems, waterproof mirrors that convert into a television if required and of course a music system.

In many cases the cost of the interiors of a home/apartment far exceeds the value of the house itself. A number of designers focusing specifically on luxury interior designs are gaining prominence in the country. These designers advise clients on selecting the best lighting, furniture, fixtures, flooring, paint, fabric and other materials to be used in the house. As demand for these ultra luxury items picked up, building materials, accessories and furniture available in the market too has gone through a revolution. Today in India one can get almost anything imported; from furniture by Armani, Fendi and Versace, flooring and high quality stone from countries like Italy, Spain and Africa, to bohemian crystal and automated luxury beds from Sweden. Besides top quality Indian products, several people, accompanied by their interiors advisors, travel to Italy, Dubai, Malaysia and China to buy furniture and accessories. Paintings and sculptures by Indian and international artists as well as art in the digital form are considered must haves in these homes.

The ultimate luxury feature is the ability to outsource the regular upkeep of the house to an agency which specializes in services fit for a 7-star hotel property. Everyday household staff is not equipped to clean expensive chandeliers and crystal or polish flooring and furniture. Neither can they be expected to have the expertise to maintain the advanced equipment. A small army of people comes into the house everyday to clean, make the beds, change towels as well as ensure that all the equipment and utilities are working efficiently all the time. The cost of these services varies depending on the level of work required for a particular property and can range from the expensive to over the top.

Luxury living in India and the overall quality of life has seen a major transformation in the last decade, primarily due to the huge wealth creation the country. A house will always remain the number one luxury statement followed by cars, yachts, private planes and holiday homes etc. Going forward, if the Indian Economy continues to grow at the same pace, luxury housing will grow significantly.