Tired of pinching pennies? Weary of the recession? Dream along and pretend we can afford these top-shelf home improvements. But donâ€™t worry if these budget-stretchers are out of reach â€” weâ€™ve got you covered with smart advice for alternative products and systems that will make you feel luxurious without draining your bank account.
Throw the switch on your very own wind turbine and youâ€™ll get a 50% to 90% reduction on your electrical energy bills. The price of all this efficiency is about $40,000 for a 10-kilowatt turbine, a steel tower, and professional installation. If thatâ€™s not in your budget right now, a little regular maintenance will keep the HVAC system you have running at peak efficiency.Â Credit: Bergey Windpower Company
Wine connoisseurs know that the beverage itself is only part of the fun â€” a glass-front, temperature-controlled wine cellar adds to the delight. For wine aficionados who collect as well as sip, storage is a must â€” the wine cellar shown here holds 1,346 bottles. Ceramic tile floors, hand-carved trim, stained glass, and lighted racks add up to a $70,000 tasterâ€™s haven. If your storage needs are more modest, check out under-stairs storage solutions that gobble up clutter.Â Credit: Wood wine racks by Wine Cellar Innovations
Stoves from La Cornue are known as some of the worldâ€™s most elegant cooking appliances. Each is handmade, and can be ordered as gas, electric, or a combination of both. Choose from 25 enameled finishes and 12 metallic trims. The GrandPalais 180 model features dual ovens and retails around $45,000. For that, you could buy a dozen top-of-the-line, double wall ovens with options that include convection heat, temperature probes, and variable broiling.Â Credit: Culinary Architecture by La Cornue
With an insulated glass panel that lets you check contents before opening the door, the stylish Sub-Zero Pro48 is billed as one of the most expensive â€” and best â€” refrigerators on the market. Listed at a cool $15,540, the Pro48 features an LCD touch-pad that controls two compressors and three evaporators. Be sure to green clean the inside of your Pro48 so that itâ€™s nice and tidy if guest should peer through the window.Â Credit: Sub-Zero
Nothing quite says â€œwelcomeâ€ like a pair of custom-designed, hand-carved entry doors made of pine, mahogany, or oak. Expect to pay $5,000 to $25,000 for a matched set of custom-made, double-opening exterior wood doors, installed. The price may be worth it: A good-looking exterior door is a big contributor to curb appeal, and helps preserve the value of your home.Â Credit: Pinecrest, Inc.
If your little slice of heaven is racking up heating and cooling costs, consider a geothermal heat system. A geothermal heat pump system extracts heat and cooling from deep underground to keep your interiors on an even keel, reducing energy usage. The price for a geothermal system can be steep â€” typically $20,000 for a 3,000-sq.-ft. house. The good news: A system placed in service between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2016, is eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Credit: Colorado Geothermal Drilling
Slate shingles were once common, but modern roofing, such as asphalt shingles, have become so much more cost-effective that slate is increasingly rare â€” and expensive. According to Remodeling Magazineâ€™s Cost vs. Value Report, covering a 3,000-sq.-ft. roof with top-quality asphalt shingles costs about $21,000. A comparable slate roof costs $100,000 to $150,000. Nevertheless, if you want a roof thatâ€™s classy, fireproof, and will last 100 years or more, slate is hard to beat.Â Credit: Linda Hartong
Now dream of sugar plumsâ€¦itâ€™s Christmas time after all!