Upgrading Your Home with Luxurious Touches

ByABC News via logo
November 27, 2005, 10:21 AM

Nov. 27, 2005 — -- The saying goes, "home is where the heart is" -- and now, American homeowners are putting a lot of heart into their homes, inspired in great part by an influx of home-improvement TV shows.

With big ideas and more affordable high-end building materials, home sweet home is becoming a little sweeter -- and a lot more luxurious.

The Maguire family in Stamford, Conn., like millions of American homeowners, has seen the value of its home skyrocket. With increased equity and lower interest rates, the Maguires took out a home loan, refinanced and built the kitchen of their dreams.

"Lisa likes to cook and we like to entertain, and now we have the facility to do it," Declan Maguire said.

Now that they've been bitten by the home remodeling bug, the Maguires want to redo the master bathroom.

"I would like for it to be a spa, and I would like for it to be bigger," Lisa Maguire said.

Just 10 years ago, such design ideas and materials seemed exclusive to the rich and famous. All that is changing as stores capitalize on a growing market.

"People can now get an idea of a very high-end thing, and go in, and shop and compare, and get the look without getting everything custom," said Taylor Hastie, director of design and trend analysis for Expo Design Center.

For their kitchens, Hastie said, people now "want high-tech appliances and all the gadgets."

"It's not just cooking anymore," she said. "The kitchens now are becoming the entertainment centers."

Customers also want a totally different look for their bathrooms.

"People really want to create a whole separate space for retreat, for serenity in their bathroom," she said.

So what's driving the market?

"All of the new TV shows," Hastie said. "Everyone knows everything about cooking, kitchens, decorating."

Lisa Maguire is one of these people.

"I like to watch the home improvement, mostly the redesigns," she said. "I love to see when they take a room and they redesign it."

Builders tapping in to the new home market have taken note.

"Since the market has changed a little bit and things have become more affordable, it becomes more readily available," said Kevin Frasco, president and owner of Craig Custom Builders, a home-building firm based in Wayne, N.J.

"With granite at $90 a square and Corian at $80, people are saying when I'm done, 'For a few dollars more I'm getting a better product,' " he added. "Today, people want the high-end products and they expect it."

Homeowners everywhere are making sure there really is no place like home.

"It becomes a haven and it's somewhere where you just love to be," Declan Maguire said.

Doing your own home improvements? The most popular remodeling projects involve the kitchen or the bathroom, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Here are some tips for putting any kind of luxury touches on your home without breaking the bank: