For Aging Homeowners, Elevators Give Luxury Properties a Major Lift
In 2020, Russell Franchi’s clients liked many features of a beach home in South Walton County, Fla., but it was missing one thing: an elevator. The clients, who had limited mobility, considered retrofitting an elevator, but ultimately walked away from the deal before finding a house that already had one installed. “We have a lot of baby boomers that are retiring, and it’s just something that a lot of clients looking for homes starting around $3 million think about, or have it high on their list,” said Mr. Franchi, a real-estate agent with Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
Home elevators aren’t one-size-fits-all features. Kaitlind Meeks-Price, a sales representative of Delaware Elevator in Salisbury, Md., said that elevators are typically 3 feet by 4 feet, but she’s seen them go up to 15 square feet. A basic, three-stop elevator, including installation, typically starts around $32,000 to $35,000. When it comes to maintaining the lift, Ms. Meeks-Price suggests having it serviced at least once a year for the first five years. After that, it is best to have them serviced every three months. Maintenance typically costs around $800 to $1,600 annually.
Elevators provide a service, but some offer pizazz, too. Ms. Meeks-Price sometimes sees murals painted in the elevators she sells. Mark Jensen, a San Francisco-based architect, uses glass elevator shafts as a way to extend light into the home, using a skylight or window. “Then the ride in the elevator itself is more enjoyable if you can see out of a glass cab or through windows and get views as you move up through the building,” said Mr. Jensen.
Five Homes for Sale With Elevators
Wrightsville Beach, N.C. // $10.49 million
In addition to an elevator, this 8,622-square-foot waterfront house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. Architectural details in the home include exposed steel and cast-in-place concrete, as well as wood accents found in ipe ceilings, white oak and American walnut wall panels inlaid with African wenge, and polished concrete flooring. On the ground level is a partially covered, heated and cooled 25-meter negative-edge lap pool and spa. The property includes a 50-foot floating dock, a boathouse and a 24,000-pound boat lift. The property is listed by Landmark Sotheby’s International Realty.
Houston // $7.5 million
This 12,617-square-foot house has a wood-paneled elevator as well as six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three half-bathrooms. There is a two-story library and the kitchen contains stainless-steel appliances, an adjacent catering kitchen, a marble island and wood cabinetry.
Outside is a tennis court, pool, spa and a summer kitchen with a fireplace. The primary suite, located on the main level, has a private staircase to the second floor. The property is listed by Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty—Central Houston Brokerage.
Durham, N.C. // $1.999 million
This home’s glass elevator has views of its outdoor amenities such as the enclosed patio with a skylit roof. There are five bedrooms, five bathrooms and one half-bathroom in the 7,010-square-foot house.
Additionally, there is a walnut library, a 1,500-plus bottle wine cellar and marble flooring in the primary bathroom. Outside, there is a pool, spa and a lighted basketball court. The property is listed by Keller Williams Realty.
Belvedere, Calif. // $28.88 million
There are four bedrooms, five bathrooms and two half-bathrooms in this 8,131-square-foot house. The upper level of the four-level house is a three-car garage with glass doors, a detached one-bedroom, one-bathroom guesthouse and wine cellar.
The home has two elevators; one goes from the garage to the courtyard and a three-stop one in the house that travels between the main living room, the bedroom level, and the entertainment room on the pool level. The property is listed by Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty.
Chicago // $5.225 million
A five-stop elevator climbs through this 8,217-square-foot house with six bedrooms, six bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. The home’s kitchen comprises custom cabinetry, Taj Mahal quartzite countertops, which is white quartzite with gold veins, a brushed stainless-steel range hood, an island with bar seating and a built-in banquette. The living and dining rooms have access to the terrace and the great room has a gas fireplace with a Calacatta-marble surround as well as access to the stone yard with a grill. There are also two rooftop decks, a movie theater and a sauna. The property is listed by @properties Christie’s International Real Estate.