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Wellness rooms and home spas

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From yoga studios, home gyms or meditation rooms to saunas, home spa spaces offer a restorative retreat within a few paces.

A dedicated yoga studio offers space to take mindfulness and a self care exercise area to the next level.

Meditation rooms can create calm during a busy or chaotic day, while home spa and sauna rooms offer respite and rejuvenation. These spaces offer the chance for a mini-vacation throughout the workweek without stepping foot outside the house.

A home spa can incorporate a few – or many – pampering features from a steam or luxury shower, heated towel bars, heated floors, spa bathing tubs or sauna areas.

A Linked In.com report said wellness features were among the top amenities requested by 59% of new construction home buyers; while 64% of homeowners said they would like to include wellness features in their homes and properties. These might include outdoor living spaces, gyms, and dedicated wellness rooms or spaces.

The report added a National Association of Realtors survey revealed 43% of those home buyers responding would be willing to pay more for wellness features such as a home gym or outdoor living space.

“I do see [wellness spaces] as an advantage and a treat when home buyers see them. It’s like a luxury item. It’s hard to put in that time and effort, if you have other things you need to do that are more practical” after buying a home, said Jaimie Meehan, a Realtor at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown.

Wet showers; steam showers

Not everyone might want a sauna, but a wet shower where the entire space is waterproof, and there is no shower pan, might be another attractive home feature to prospective buyers.

“It’s more of an amenity that is special and different. It’s that wow factor. It’s something special we don’t get to see every day,” Meehan said.

A steam shower is a space created without a tub to enjoy a humid, “tropical” experience, according to Forbes.com

“Most any shower can be retrofitted for a steam shower,” said Dennis Gehman, president of Gehman Design Remodeling in Harleysville, Montgomery County.

He said a steam generator is about the size of a carry-on airline suitcase. A nearby closet or cabinet can contain the pipes required to run the steam shower into an existing shower. A waterproof ceiling is needed because steam naturally rises toward the ceiling.

“The walls and glass should all extend to the ceiling, too, and the ceiling should be sloped, otherwise [the moisture] will hit the ceiling and form droplets of water, which can create a rain effect,” Gehman explained.

A sloped shower toward a back-facing waterproof wall is another important feature when planning a steam shower.

Gehman said incorporating a transom window that can be opened to allow steam to be vented to the outside is another option.

“It’s a good idea to have an exhaust fan, so when you are finished enjoying the steam shower it will help to dry out the bathroom” he said.

Why go to Iceland

John Gemmi, owner of Gemmi Construction, Inc. in Buckingham Township said home sauna kits or professionally constructed saunas is a growing trend.

“An outdoor sauna – either wet or dry – and made from cedar with a Scandinavian look can tie into the landscape,” Gemmi explained.

Wood fired charcoal and water is generally used to create the steam necessary for an outdoor sauna space.

For one Bucks County client a sauna and pool combination created the ideal home vacation spot.

“And for those with a pool, consider adding a sauna to extend the season with a fire pit,” Gemmi said.

For another client he created an ice pool. Used in conjunction with a sauna for the ultimate hot to cold contrast hydrotherapy experience, this therapeutic Nordic tradition also known as a “Nordic Cycle” or “Viking Bath,” becomes an accessible at-home option.

“Ice baths are becoming more popular, as is the hot to cold therapy. While not incorporated into a home design, we’ve had three clients who have added these features to their properties,” Gemmi said.

The hot/cold cycles are thought to reduce swelling, promote and accelerate healing, improve pain relief, boost mood and improve the immune system, according to The Orthopedic Institute’s website.

Check with your primary care physician or specialist physicians treating you before participating in any extreme temperature hydrotherapy treatments.

Create sanctuary space in a spare room

For those without a wellness area a corner of a little used room can be carved out to become a self care haven.

Leigh Nunno, a Realtor and associate broker at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown said her home staging professional will create a yoga corner with the trimmings to illustrate the option to prospective home buyers.

“For wellness I think of the home gym located in attic spaces, spare bedrooms, basements or by portioning off a garage corner,” Gemmi said.


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