The Most Desired Luxury Feature for the Home

I read something yesterday that really surprised me. Did you know that one of the most desired features these days for a high-end home in California is apparently a moat! The home below belonging to Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, is sporting one.

Gisele Bundchen & Tom Brady's Brentwood Estate


So is Christina Aguilera’s home. Since both of the these folks are celebrities, maybe it’s a way to ward off the paparizzi…do you think? They would need waterproof cameras and a wetsuit to get close. 🙂

Christina Aguilera's Mansion Home


This Beverly Hill’s  home with its “wraparound moat feature” was designed by Architect Michael Palumbo.

You know what the first thing was that popped into my mind when I saw these three homes?

Moat around a House in Los Angeles


This. Yep, Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. 🙂

Disney World Cinderella's Castle


Interestingly, some of the other “luxury” features and amenities being asked for are dental chairs, Botox rooms, and garages that look like high-end showrooms. The garage thing didn’t surprise me but dental chairs did!

If you were building a fancy, schmancy home today and money was no object, what “most desired” feature would you want to incorporate? I don’t think a moat would be very high on my list, nor would a dental chair or a Botox room.

Mine would probably be a butler’s pantry. I need to think bigger, don’t I?

Okay, how about a really big, butler’s pantry! A Butler to go with it would be pretty nice, too. 🙂

What luxury feature or features would you include in your dream home?

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  1. A moat? Definitely not something I would have guessed! I’d have to agree with you – an amazing butler’s pantry would be fantastic, as would a tricked out mudroom with a *separate* laundry room. That’s my idea of luxury I guess. 😉

  2. A MOAT???? First thing I thought of was mosquitoes! NOT on my list of “luxuries.” I have a butler’s pantry and have often wished I had the butler to go with it! I buzz but nobody answers! I think I would like a wine cellar room.

    • lol Yep, same thing happens here! No one comes. 😉 I’m with you on the mosquitoes…we have enough of those here in GA without providing a breeding “pond.” I guess they must treat the water in the moat with a lot of chlorine or something to prevent that. What a maintenance job that would be but I guess if you can afford the moat, you can afford the pool moat guy to maintain it. 🙂

  3. I would love to have an indoor pool (with sliding walls to open to a garden) and a hot tub big enough to recline in.

    A moat is just conspicuous consumption.

  4. No, a moat isn’t on my desired list at all. I do like an outside water feature though but don’t think I will ever have one. My wish list priority is a separate laundry room from the mud room. Both good size too. I’m tired of coming in from the garage into a teeny, tiny combined laundry/mud room (actually there is no “mud room” at all – just a teeny, tiny closet that you can’t hang anything in cause it is too shallow). All the dirt from outside comes in too and it is such a pain to move the washer and dryer to clean under them. If I open the dryer door you can’t open the door to the garage. Obviously the builder never used a laundry room or he would have known it was too tight a space. Whew….sorry to go on and on. Love your blog Susan!

    • Sandy, that sounds very similar to the layout I had in my last home. My garage door opened between the two (dryer and washer) and you walked between them to get to the kitchen. You had to lock the door to do laundry or get anything out of the dryer or someone would hit you with the door. Better designed laundry rooms have really moved up on the list of priorities over the years. Hope you get that awesome laundry room and mud room one day, Sandy!

  5. Je suis très heureuse de vous retrouver après ma longue absence… Il n’est pas facile de retrouver ses marques… La végétation luxuriante, le soleil et la lumière de Île Maurice me manque déjà !
    Quelle agréable publication… Des photos qui vous entraînent à la rêverie.
    Gros bisous à vous

  6. No moat for me either…I immediately thought of the bug issue. In the same vein as Jewel…I have a kitchen but I’m the only chef in the house. I would love to have a personal chef. Tyler Florence for instance! I love to cook but would enjoy the luxury of calling on a chef when I didn’t want to or have the time to cook. Structurally, I’d love to have a high tech greenhouse to overwinter my tender plants and start all my annuals from seed. Vikki in VA

    • Vikki, I too would love that! I’d have no more excuses for not eating right! The greenhouse sounds wonderful, too. Or maybe a big, glassed conservatory, a la Practical Magic. 🙂

  7. A greenhouse connected by a walkway…and a turret…and a pony…and a….franki

  8. Well I just built my dream home, 5500 square feet of it which includes 1500 square feet of porches, and money was a big object. If it hadn’t been, I would have added a luxurious pool, hot tub, cabana and a nice size gym.

  9. Linda Page says

    The first thing I thought of with the moat was mosquitos!!! UGH! We have enough of them in Texas already without adding to the population. BUT……if the moat came with a really good looking 35ish hunky moat guy, I could tolerate a few mosquitos!!!!! Hmmm….it’s a thought! I would love a large laundry room with an area to hang clothes, store cleaning supplies out of sight, drop down ironing board and enough room for a kennel cage for a dog (have to have a pet!) plus a large sink and a separate toilet with small shower. My second desire would be a spa facility where I could get facials and massages every day if I desired it. And a full time massage therapist. I could so do a massage every day!!!!

  10. Peggy Thal says

    The moat looks rather interesting. For me it would be another pain to take care of. Botox room , spray tan room and makeup room is something these stars seem to need. They should all lay off the Botox a little. Too many are looking a little freaky and they are so young. – Must be fun to be able to design anything that you would want. I could think of a few things in my home. Need most right now is an exercise room-haven’t made it to the gym as much as I planned. Just looking forward to Spring. Thanks for sharing. I love looking at homes !

  11. Charlotte says

    I want a Butler’s Pantry and a Pool! I need a place for my dishes and serving pieces and I just love to relax in a pool. Of course I want the beautiful yard with pretty blooming flowers to go with the pool. I can’t wait for Spring either, enough of this cold weather!

  12. Storage space please. My laundry room is where my pantry should be, but many laundry rooms are in the garage. Who thought that was acceptable? Most of the time it is an architect that sends his laundry to the dry cleaner. 🙁

  13. What are these moats stocked with other than mosquitos, to ward off the paparazzi? I have a couple of huge alligators in the lagoon outside back that I could ship to CA if wanted. During mating season which is coming up pretty soon I find them in my yard, even once on my back porch steps! as they traverse from lagoon to lagoon. I think they’d look more threatening in a moat!

  14. What if the “moat” was actually a chlorinated swimming pool? No mosquitos and you get to do laps all around your house?

  15. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says

    Between the moats and all of the bottled water, it is no wonder California is having a drought!

  16. Patricia Mason says

    I enjoy your blog so much Susan – always look forward to receiving my email post from you…. ! Oh, to dream……! I would start out with a big mudroom, with lockers for each family member, along with wall hooks and a bench with a place to store boots, etc. Moving next into a big, separate laundry room, with a window, shelves, and a place to sort and store the dirty laundry. I would also love to have a 2nd laundry room upstairs ! Don’t ask for much, do I ? Wait ! Not done yet – how about a screened in porch off my kitchen eating area, and a really nice deck ! Like yours !

    • Thanks so much, Patricia!
      Oh, I’m with you on that, I would love a laundry room upstairs, too! Maybe we could have a stackable laundry upstairs so it wouldn’t take up much room. We already have all the plumbing upstairs so I bet that wouldn’t cost that much. 🙂
      lol You are too funny! Yes, you need a screened porch! 🙂

  17. I would want a library…a big one with comfy chairs, lots of bookcases (including a bookcase that swung into a secret room behind it… wouldnt that be fun!), a big window to sit by, and a wood-burning fireplace for cozy winter reading. And of course, a call bell for my butler (who happens to look a lot like Johnny Depp) to bring me a cup of tea when required.

  18. Linda C in Seattle says

    I dream of the perfect clothes closet.
    Nothing as large as candy spellings but a place for everything.
    Nice and organized would be great.
    I don’t need a moat I live in the PNW lol

  19. No moat for me…..first thought also was about the insect population……and if you had young children or grandchildren………the temptation would be too much!!!! Everyone, including pets would be on a leash!!!

    I also yearn for a separate and large laundry room, with a place for an ironing board, etc. The butler’s pantry has always been high on my list…….and a storage room that could house the vacuum cleaner, rug shampooer, canning supplies, folding chairs, table leaves, seasonal decor, and all that stuff that lives in obscure areas that are just to hard to get to when you need them!!!! Also dream of a screened in porch……..

    • I thought about the childen/grandchildren thing, too. That would seriously scare me. I would even be afraid for the pets falling in and not being able to get back out. I bet it increase the homeowners insurance a lot. Wonder how deep they are.
      So many of us want more and better practical spaces…lots of requests for better mudrooms, laundry rooms, storage etc… Interesting!

  20. Elizabeth says

    I find this information incredibly selfish. California has a water shortage. Who do they think they are??? California needs water to grow crops. Moats are just a horrible selfish way that people in LA destroy our natural resources. wow

  21. I would take out the wall behind my laundry and extra closet. Then I would have the washer and dryer in that closet. This would make space for a butler’s closet. I would love to see my dishes in a cabinet with a sink and long shelf in there.

  22. Kathleen says

    Well…check the funky water color. Chemicals to encourage ALL critters to go elsewhere are included in the maintenance of most water features. There’s a new thought: Moat Maintenance business. So breathe in all the fresh air and the chemicals. I think I’ll choose driving to lake or other body of water before I surround my home with that…tho it would be great for a vacation room…after you own your own moat, what is a vacation? Survival camping?
    I would like a wider garage so both cars could have doors open and one could walk in-between the open doors of each car. That is not going to happen with this house. So I would like to have a long skinny pantry/closet with shelves on one side and large dowels spaced on the other, to hang tablecloths, placemats, cloth napkins, etc. We entertain and I would love that easy access and wrinkle free storage and additional shelf storage. My grandmother had a 17 ft skinny closet with fat dowel rods and it was dreamy – we kids were never allowed in after she found the tablecloths on the floor and we had climbed the dowel rods to touch the 15ft ceiling in that old farmhouse. It eventually was a funny story and I think angels were holding we three 8-9 year olds in safety thru that deal 🙂

  23. On the practical side I would love a dinning room big enough to actually walk around the table and serve people without having to “squeeze” by, a bigger laundry room with room for a sewing center and ironing board and good storage. The real luxury ticket would be a cozy library with floor to ceiling shelves and one of those ladders, a cozy fireplace, comfy overstuffed chairs and ottomans, oriental carpets, leopard prints and plaids! Living in California I can tell you that with our water shortage situation…..a MOTE is so irresponsible….just a waste of resources. That’s sad to me.

  24. I would love an indoor/outdoor pool. I think they have glass separating them. While I look out at the snow covered yard in March (like today) I could be exercising in the luxury of my own home. No shoveling and scraping just to torture myself at the gym.

  25. What is a moat without a drawbridge? Susan, I will add to your butler theme with one proviso, that it be Pierce Brosnan……..*ring ring*……”Pierce, fetch me my laptop, I need to see what Susan has to offer today!!” 🙂
    I just want a little cottage on the edge of the beach and watch the real water!!!

    • Oooh, now we’re talking! I fell for him in The Thomas Crown Affair. A young Tom Selleck or Hugh Jackman would do nicely, too. 🙂 Love the cottage idea! What fun we could have decorating it!

  26. Diana W. says

    Maybe the moat could have something to do with fire safety? Perhaps the water could be used to spray the house to protect it from wildfires? I dunno, just a thought, because living in the Deep South I’m in the mosquito camp of Not Happening At My House!
    My dream home would have a combo media/library/safety zone though. One end a huge screen for movies with surround sound and the other with floor to ceiling shelving for books. Comfy chairs and a small kitchen and bathroom complete the area. It would be windowless and have its own generator and walls rated for Cat 5 Hurricanes and the Zombie Apocalypse. (I know I’m an oddball! lol, Don’t ask if you don’t wanna know!)

  27. No…a moat is definitely not for me…although I would love some sort of natural looking pond or lake with maybe a small waterfall and lots of tropical foliage around it with orchids hanging from the trees…oh, yeah…and a hot tub at one end…Now, THAT I can go for…
    PLUS, I would want a really nice, large kitchen outfitted with ‘baking corner’, library, walk in pantry, walk in fridge and freezer and of course, the butler’s pantry or at least a room with shelving all around for all my linens, china and glassware…
    That to me would be the ideal home. Why in the world would anyone want a Botox or dentist hair at home is a mystery to me… sheesh!

  28. CHAIR….botox or dentist CHAIR…

  29. Lisa Renee says

    Don’t mind a moat so much — if it’s like a river water feature like Cinderella’s castle!! But a huge wrap-around porch and a shabby chic gift wrap room would top my dream list.

  30. Well, a elevator for starters if I’d have a two story house. Maid quarters, if I am dreaming, I might as well dream big. I would need a craft/gift wrap/gift storage room (I always buy in advance and when things are on sale)room. I would need a room off the back of the garage to do a few gardening chores. A gym of some sort for the grandkids to go crazy in. A sitting room between to master bedrooms and each bedroom to have their own baths.

    well, back to reality of a 4 bedroom ranch home. lol


  31. bobbi duncan says

    I have plenty of kitchen cabinets, but still store good china and lots of serve-ware in our basement cabinetry because the tall kitchen cabinets make it so difficult for me to reach the higher shelves, so what would thrill me would be a nice big butler’s pantry and a laundry room that allows me more space to set up the ironing board. I’m all for things that make life easier now that I’m 63.

  32. If I could have a large wildflower garden I’d be delighted. We just bought a home, with a large lot and a pool (that needs work) but I’ve been planning on putting wildflowers all around in the borders. Or I could just move into Ina Garten’s house, I think that garden is just spectacular.

  33. Dear Susan,
    Every day I enjoy your blog and today I had to tell you how much I love it! The moat homes are incredible! I put them on my Pinterest! Thanks for all the pleasure you give me. Fondly, Madame Beliveau!

  34. His and her bathrooms off master suite. And laundry room by master suite.

  35. I was married in the 1950s before dishwashers and automatic washers were the norm. I have a different view of what is luxury – those two appliances are luxury to me!!!! Sally

  36. Susan Jones says

    The moat idea does not appeal to me at all. However, I would like to have something very simple added to my home — a dumbwaiter to move laundry up and down the stairs. And, I have always dreamed of having a inground pool with lush landscaping surrounding it……

  37. Ahhh.,..if $$$ were no object – automatic everything and lots of services – maid, limo driver, (limo), pool guy, cabana guy, lawn guys, irrigation peeps, audio/visual peeps, easy to operate remotes, auto lights, ocean front, views, views and more views.

  38. No moat……seriously ostentatious. I would want a huge backyard with a loggia fitted with a flagstone patio and a fireplace. I would love a wildflower garden surrounding the lush, meandering pool complete with waterfall feature and a slide. The crowning glory would be a darling, cottage style guesthouse with shingle siding. All this would be situated right on the beach.


  39. I’d settle for a home with a wraparound porch, part of it screened, with awesome rockers and swings about 🙂 And maybe a saltwater pool 🙂

  40. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA says

    What protection does the moat provide unless it’s filled with crocks/gators?! All the money in the world isn’t worth sacrificing privacy — and living normally. It’s good to be a nobody! I love the idea above. Having a dumb waiter is a fine idea.

  41. Thanks Susan, This was very interesting. I had no idea of these trends in luxury. Thanks for keeping us up on current trends. Nice to know what they are even if it is not feasible for me.

    I would like a large closet off the den with a wide door large enough to roll my fully decorated Christmas tree into. Then all I would need to do is roll it back into place for Christmas the next year!!!!

  42. It’s about time this came up……for years I’ve wanted a baking pantry. A room with a window, sink, plenty of cupboards and counters just for baking. Ovens beneath the counter. Don’t need a dishwasher because the only thing I put in it are dishes and flatware. People think I’m all little ‘off’ because I hand wash all my copper pots and pans and stainless ones, all plastics – not a lot in a kitchen where the grandkids are in their teens 🙂 and all sharps and baking pans and utensils. Back to the pantry: I adore baking but just as I get into decorating cookys or a cake things have to slide down the counters to make room for cooking supper. It would be so nice to be able to let my cookys air dry and not have to move them. The only things I’d need to leave the pantry for would be cold ingredients from the frige. The main kitchen would also have it’s own ovens. The only thing I could think of that would be better than this would be someone to follow me around and clean up after me!

    • I hand wash all my pots and pans, too Chris. I’ve heard the heat ruins the handles. Maybe the new ones can take it better but my stainless pots and pans are old, old. I remember when my Dad bought them, I was about 9 or 10. I also hand wash a lot of glasses I love for fear the dishwasher will mess those up, too. So I know exactly what you mean. About the only thing that goes in my DW are plates, bowls and stainless flatware. So you need one of those pantries where you can do everything in the pantry…including the baking. What do they call those? I think I’ve seen pictures of something like that, maybe in a magazine. lol about having someone follow you around. 🙂 Dogs are good for anything that hits the floor! 🙂

  43. Hi Susan, I would love to have a butler’s pantry and it doesn’t have to be fancy; just shelves of different heights so I could get all shapes and sizes of my dishware in there. I have always wanted one and would be willing to give up one of my bedrooms for it but of course they are too far away from the kitchen !! I want one so I won’t have to juggle all the dishes in my china cabinet every time I need something, and then go on to my kitchen cabinets (which are way to tall for me) to get the rest of the items. Oh well, I will just dream on – got to get that screened in porch first…

  44. Hmmm, never would have guessed a moat! I’d rather have a pond!

  45. Elaine in Laguna says

    Hmmm. I must live on the wrong side of the Cali tracks as no moat here! I’d love a larger home with a pantry, in-house laundry, a home theater, a big walk-in closet, a hot tub, and a pool! I’d love a larger kitchen, too. I’d take some services like a driver who looked like Harrison Ford and a personal assistant who looked like Pierce Brosnan. BTW, We got some much needed rain last week, and we hope we’ll get a little more this month.

  46. Well – a big wraparound porch would be awesome… a sunroom… enough land to have a 3-car garage, a garage for the motorcycles, AND a garden junk shed. Everything all on the first level – especially the laundry. LOL And a large “cottage garden” with walking paths for meandering.

  47. Christine says

    Wow. What a lot of unpretentious people here. 🙂
    Most working within their own spaces, not wishing for Disney. The moat thing is interesting, give in the Middle Ages up until the early 1900s, the privy emptied into the moat. Mosquitos were the least of the troubles. Uh-huh.

    Besides wishing for my home to be finally finished, electricity, plumbing, and drywall, a finished bathroom, no holes in my floors or ceilings, I’d wish for a fire place and higher ceilings. I’ve got a ’76 ranch and the standard 8′. I’d love to be able to hang a pretty chandelier. I’d love to have my MBR sliders turn into French doors (doable) and walk out onto a low deck with pergola, with some flowering, non-bee-attracting vine over it.

    I’d love to make the raised beds out in front and have all my trees full-grown and offering endless shade. To have an actual driveway vs. grown over gravel & chunks of cement the previous owner dumped but never smoothed out. To come home and see the potential I tell myself is here, realized.
    Much of my dreams are possible. It’s the $$ on a waitress/bartender/yoga teacher “salary” that hold me back. 🙂 Moat? Nahhhhh.
    I wish I could post a picture for you to show you my poor-woman’s Botox. I thought it was brilliant!

  48. Jan in IL says

    I’d love a huge wall of cabinetry with etched glass doors to hold all my collections of dishes and glassware! Susan I think you’d like that too!

  49. Amazing homes and the idea of the ‘moat’ thing, how interesting, like the old castles, to give the enemy a harder time getting into their fortresses! The homes are stunning though. We lived in a huge home with huge grounds where our two daughters grew up and we downsized to what it’s our pent house apartment which is big enough, but I do miss somethings, like the huge kitchen and pantry we had. I don’t miss the big garden and pool, it was a lot of work. Thanks for sharing sweet lady.

  50. Gorgeous homes, thank you for sharing! For me personally, if I were to build my dream home, I agree a fabulous butler’s pantry (built by Habersham if I could have my way) but most of all, a conservatory built by Tanglewood Conservatories. They are just beautiful!

  51. Juanita in OH says

    A moat???? That would have never come to my mind I guess celebrities are in another stratosphere. I would be overwhelmed to get a fireplace with the glass crystal in it that look like diamonds burning. I saw that on Candice Olsen’s show on HGTV and I thought it was stunning. But, yes a fireplace is my dream. TFS and the fun of dreaming.

  52. A moat? Really. After I built my home large enough for all the amenities, then my dream(s) would be a chef, chauffeur, butler, maid, nanny, hair dresser, laundress. Did I leave anyone out, oh yes, personal trainer. And I don’t care who they look like, as long as they do the job. Yes, It’s been a long day at work. Love your blog. Vivian

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