There are dream houses, and then there are dream houses—those abodes brimming with the sort of luxury toys found only on Pinterest, in Hammacher Schlemmer catalogs and the movie Blank Check. After possibly the most enjoyable research ever, we curated our picks for the most extravagant luxury gifts you could possibly give your home, and yourself, this holiday season:
Let's face it, we're all a bit jealous of the Lost Boys, Ewoks and Robinson Crusoe (spare the acrophobes, of course). Whether designed for children or those at heart, these sumptuous treetop bungalows invigorate everyone's inner adventurer, and can be constructed to meet even the most exacting standards. A flip through their portfolio abounds with whimsy, boasting every amenity from rope bridges, slides and zip lines to spas, firepits, and our favorite 2014 trend: the inboard trampoline. You could use it as a guest house, a yoga retreat, artist's studio an AirBNB rental or simply glamping at whim—if you can resist the temptation of becoming a full-time resident.
SWEDISH-INSPIRED ROTATING SINK
Possibly the most useful built-in kitchen gadget we've ever seen, this rotating wash basin, which went viral across the collective home/design interwebs, is provenanced from Scandinivian influence. Designed by Kitchen + Bath Artisans of Atlanta, it boasts a colander, two cutting boards and a prep bowl pivoting around a center axis like a culinary color wheel. Form follows function for a result to which even the most clever informercial pitchmen will reply, "...we've got nothing."
PRIVATE STEAM RAILWAY
Stabling iron horses is as much a millionaire's hobby as the thoroughbred variety. The estate railway was popularized in the 1870s by English baronet Sir Arthur Heywood, whose quarter-scale steam trains snaked a mile-long touring circuit through his grand gardens on rails just 15 inches wide—he even had a miniature dining car with kitchen and a sleeping car with its own "water closet." Vincent Astor had them in Rhinebeck and Bermuda; Leland Stanford built one in Palo Alto, and another encircled Gillette Castle in Connecticut. California's Hillcrest Shops is today's premier producer of bespoke narrow-gauge equipment, employing a full-time draftsman who carefully studies lost practices and designs of great industrial age locomotive builders to craft rolling stock with every prototypical authenticity. Steamers can burn myriad fuels including propane, home heating oil, biodiesel, or old reliable: coal scooped via perfectly-scaled shovel.
DRIVE IN-STYLE OUTDOOR HOME THEATER
Here's one where creativity is more prerequisite than dollars, but the result is priceless! You'll need to procure and an oversized canvas from your local art supply store, but the shopping list otherwise doesn't look incredibly complex. The only downside of having this on a holiday wish list: you'll be counting down the days until summer all the more.
A BASEMENT BOWLING ALLEY
Industrialist Henry Clay Frick had the right idea a century ago when he had a dual-lane alley installed beneath his Fifth Avenue Carrère and Hastings-designed manse, now visible via special tours of his eponymous art museum. "Sandcastle," the much-circulated manse by Bridgehampton's Farrell Building Company featured on countless media outlets including MTV Teen Cribs in 2009, boasts a two-lane variety with adjacent skatepark and karaoke theater. If after-market retrofits aren't your style, consider heading for Purchase, New York, and buying a whole house with one.
TWO-STORY WALK IN CLOSET
This seems an inevitable evolution of its predecessor species, the room-sized walk-in closet. We're pretty sure Mr. Rogers could house the entire Pantone™ color library in cardigans here with room to spare—there's retail clothiers smaller than this! Needless to say, you'll feel like a lord to your tailor dressing here every morning.
We speculate this idea was someone's genius solution to get his kids excited about getting out the door to school every morning (best for use before breakfast). This particular iteration was thought up by Michaelis Boyd, a British architect behind other novel amenities for resident commissions the garden-walled bathroom.
BASEBOARD VACUUM GUTTERS
The proverbial socks and underwear of this list. It's not trending like Tickle Me Elmo or exciting like Playstation, but it's essential, incredibly useful and proof somebody loves you. These ports into your home's central vacuum system make clean-up a simple sweep, from kitchen crumbs to under-the-bed dust bunnies. You'll appreciate it when you're older.