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Gourmet kitchens, media rooms, granite and Italian tile popular in high-end homes

Upscale amenities in demand around metro developments

Viking. Viking. And more Viking.

It’s in demand.

Mark Frascogna recognized the craze early on, and collaborated with Greenwood-based Viking Range Corporation to designate the Town of Lost Rabbit in Madison County, the state’s first Viking Signature Kitchen Community.

“Teaming up with Viking … was a natural fit for Lost Rabbit,” said Frascogna, managing member of Neopolis Development LLC. “We believe that working with Viking is consistent with our goal of making Lost Rabbit the premier community development in the southeast.”

A Viking Signature Kitchen Community features Viking major appliances, including Viking cooking, kitchen ventilation, refrigeration and clean-up appliances, as standard equipment in all residences within a development. This new program, initiated by Viking two years ago, recognizes the burgeoning demand for complete Viking kitchens in the upscale home market.

“A new trend in today’s construction is having not only the full Viking indoor kitchen, but also the newly complete full Viking outdoor kitchen,” said Viking spokesperson Cary New. “Viking is the only manufacturer to offer an entire line of appliances for outdoor use: gas grills, charcoal grills, ventilation hoods, ice machines, beverage centers, stainless steel cabinetry, just to name a few. All are certified for outdoor use. Now the need to run back and forth into the house’s indoor kitchen is obsolete.”

A gourmet kitchen with Viking ranges and subzero refrigerators isn’t the only luxury CEOs covet. Reggie Sims, vice president of sales and marketing for Reunion Inc. in Madison, said most homebuyers in the $500,000 range want to be located on a golf course or a lake and also want three-car garages, four or more bedrooms, with two bedrooms downstairs if it’s a two-story house, a gathering room off the kitchen and a flex room that can be used as an office or a study.

“Folks like interior brick accents on walls and archways and exotic flooring like cork or bamboo,” he said. “Also, they like Italian tile inlays in various flooring or back splashes as a nice accent and conversation pieces. Reclaimed heart of pine flooring is common. Granite countertops in secondary bathrooms and antique chests with sink insets are used a lot instead of pre-made or site-built vanities.”

In houses with sizable square footage, media rooms for family viewing of movies and sports are popular. So are fully functional outdoor kitchens and swimming pools with some sort of feature like a fountain, waterfall or negative edge drop off. Safe rooms are also fairly common, said Sims.
Homeowners are sinking money into landscaping, said Temple Barry, a landscape architect and president of Barry Landscape Inc., in Flowood.

“They’re spending $40,000 to $50,000 fairly easily on pools, mountains, waterfalls and rock creeks,” he said. “Sprinkler systems that make more efficient use of water … that’s a big thing, especially those with gadgets on them that won’t let sprinklers come on if it rains, and things like that.”

Tom Parry, who stays busy full-time building four or five $1-million-plus custom homes every year, said homebuyers are willing to pay more money for energy-conscious products in the home, such as two-stage compressors, multi-staged blowers and electronic air cleaners.

“In most of my homes, I use cellulose insulation, a fairly new product that makes the house a lot more energy efficient,” he said. “There are also new products for the decking of the roof, like tech-shield decking that has a reflective surface and lowers the temperature by 30 degrees in the summer. You can imagine how popular that is in this Mississippi heat.”

And cosmetic touches? “Every house I build, clients want something unique that’s real impressive,” said Parry.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at Lynne.Jeter@gmail.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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