Austin Luxury Home Lingo
Searching for an luxury homes requires its own set of lingo, but a highly qualified Austin REALTOR® with extensive knowledge of the area housing market and the types of luxury homes available can help make the process easier. This list of luxury home terms consists of some of the words you may come across when conducting your Austin home search.
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Al fresco dining – Outdoor dining. In the context of luxury homes, this often means dining on an open-air veranda, courtyard, terrace, or balcony. With Austin luxury homes, this may also include dining alongside Lakes Austin and Travis or while enjoying hill country views.
Alcove - An architectural term for a recess in a room, usually screened off by pillars, balustrades, or drapery
Appliance garage - Kitchen compartment or cabinet designed for housing frequently-used small electric appliances, such as coffee makers, juicers, and toaster ovens.
Backsplash - An upright surface or border in a kitchen, typically made of natural stone tile, that protects the wall behind a sink or stove. Also can be intricately designed in a mural-style.
Balustrade - A rail and the row of balusters or posts that support it, as along the front of a gallery
Bar sink - A small sink located on a wet bar
Baseboards - A molding that conceals the joint between an interior wall and the floor, often increasing in size in luxury homes
Beveled glass - Plate glass that has its perimeter ground and polished at an angle
Boat dock – a structure designed to secure a boat in the water. In Austin, this would be securing a boat in Lake Austin or Lake Travis. Some homes on the lakes may offer a boat dock for one boat, or up to several slips for multiple boats.
Boat lift – a structure designed to secure a boat above water, for protection from corrosion and from winds or waves knocking it against its dock. An electric lift allows for quick lifting and lowering into the water for ease of use.
Brick oven - A masonry oven, colloquially known as a brick oven or stone oven, is an oven consisting of a baking chamber made of fireproof brick and is most often used in homes to make pizza
Butler’s pantry - Historically, a butler’s pantry was a small room between the formal dining room and the kitchen where the family silver and formal china were stored. The butler often slept here, as it was his job to guard the silver. Today, the space has evolved into a wet bar and prep area, as well as a display area for design elements and decorative items.
Cabana - A lightweight shelter typically with an open side facing a swimming pool, sometimes with a wet bar or small living space
Cantilever -A projecting structure, such as a beam, that is supported at one end and carries a load at the other end or along its length
Carriage house -Historically a building for housing a horse-drawn carriage, now typically a building that has been converted into a separate living or dwelling area or garage.
Ceiling mount rain head -A large shower head mounted to a ceiling with a downward-facing flow
Chalet -A wooden dwelling with a sloping roof and widely overhanging eaves, common in Switzerland and other Alpine regions
Circular driveway -A driveway forming a large circle in front of a house
Classic -The artistic style of ancient Greece with an emphasis on proportion and harmony
Cobblestone walkway - A sidewalk or path made up of round, flat stones held together with mortar
Coffee bar -An alcove in a kitchen or living room with a coffee pot, a small sink, and storage for coffee utensils
Coffered ceiling -A sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling
Commercial range -An oven adequate for use in a restaurant or other commercial facility
Concealed hinges -A hinge that is attached to the door and the inside end panel or stile of a cabinet, making it invisible from the exterior
Contemporary -A design that features streamlined shapes, large unadorned windows, and industrial materials
Convection oven -An oven having a fan that shortens cooking time by circulating hot air uniformly around the food
Country -A style typified by rural details, including a handmade quality with traditional, homestead architectural assets
Crown molding -A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner.
Double oven -Two ovens available for baking and warming simultaneously
Double pane windows -Windows with two panes of glass to insure better insulation
Down lighting -Lighting with adjustable brightness
Dual climate control -A thermostat with the ability to set different temperatures in different areas of the home, particularly helpful in large or multi-level homes
Dumbwaiter -a small elevator used to convey food (or other goods) from one floor of a building to another
Energy Star -An international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America
Ensuite bathroom -A bathroom adjoining a bedroom
Ergonomic hand spray faucet -A faucet designed to provide optimum comfort and to avoid stress or injury
Farm sink -Single, large rectangular bowl with exposed apron front, popular for cottage-style and country-style kitchen designs
Fire pit -A large space for building fires in outdoor living areas, typically an iron bowl
Flash heater - A water heater that quickly heats water as it passes through rather than storing water and slowly heating it
Foyer -An entrance hall or other open area in a home, often considered a showpiece of the home, as it is in public view from the front door. Luxury homes often feature elaborate or well-appointed foyers. Public or semi-public rooms, such as the living room, dining room, or family room, typically attach to a home's foyer.
Frameless glass doors -Glass doors, typically in a shower, that do not have a visible frame.
French Cottage style - Inspired by the manors of Provence, this style marries rustic, country style with French elements like pitched roofs and gables.
French doors -A set of double doors with glass panes throughout its length, designed to provide a broader view or increased ventilation
Frescoes -A painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling; can refer to any painting on a wall in a home
Full extension drawers -Drawers that pull completely out for full visibility
Gas fireplace -A fireplace utilizing gas that does not require fuel such as wood to burn
Gatehouse -A lodge or small structure at the entrance to the driveway of an estate
Granite -A sturdy stone most often used in countertops
Hangar -A storage, typically for a plane or helicopter
Heated floors -Floors heated by radiant heat surfaces beneath the tiles, stone, or wood
Heated towel rack –An electric towel rack that can be turned on to heat the towels hanging from them
Helipad -A landing pad for a helicopter, a hard surface away from potential obstacles so that a helicopter may land safely
High efficiency -A description for appliances that are energy efficient and/or water efficient
High style faucet -A faucet with a gooseneck or set high on the wall to accommodate filling large vessels
Home Gym - an indoor room with cardio fitness equipment, weight machines, free weights, and any type of exercise equipment preferred by a home owner. Often includes technological features, such as television or wi-fi, for leisure or work.
In-law plan -A separate apartment or living quarters inside of a house, so named for its suitability for a mother-in-law who may come to live in the house
Infrared sauna -Utilizes infrared heaters to emit infrared radiant heat, which is absorbed directly into the human body. Infrared saunas penetrate more deeply than traditional saunas.
Infinity pool - A swimming pool whose positioning gives the impression that it merges into the surrounding landscape. Often overlooking a body of water, such as a river or bay, or on a hillside or cliff.
Invisible appliances – Appliances, such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer, with exteriors disguised to match the cabinetry, the idea being that it feels more welcoming.
Island cook top -A kitchen island with a stovetop feature, designed so the stove is centrally located to food prep areas. Also frees up more cabinet and counter space around the kitchen.
Jetted tub -Also known as a Jacuzzi or hot tub, a jetted tub has air jets positioned around the basin
Koi pond - A small pond with Japanese goldfish and lilypads
Landing -A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction
Log fireplace -A traditional wood-burning fireplace
Mediterranean -A style mimicking Greek and Spanish architecture found around the Mediterranean Sea
Modern -Developed or advanced style, technique, or technology, typically with sleek, clean lines
Multi-spray shower -Also known as a spa shower, features water jets on the side walls in addition to overhead
Outdoor kitchen -A kitchen, typically featuring a grill and sink, found in an outdoor living space
Parquet – Derived from a French term, parquet flooring is a type of wood flooring that utilizes mosaic-shaped pieces to create a decorative effect
Pedestal sink -A bathroom sink that sits on a column;the column is designed to hide the plumbing of the drain
Pedestal tub -A tub sitting on a base instead of feet
Pivot doors -A shower door that rotates on two metal pivots on the top and bottom of the door
Platform tub -A tub that is sunk into an exterior platform that typically matches the cabinetry
Playscape -A designed and integrated set of playground equipment
Porte-cochère -"coach gate" or "carriage porch," the architectural term for a porch- or portico-like structure at a building’s entrance through which a vehicle can pass in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather
Portico -A structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building
Pot filler -A secondary sink in a kitchen with a faucet placed high on a wall to make filling large pots easy, typically found close to the cooktop
Radiant heat flooring -A floor that radiates heat from beneath the tiles
Recessed lighting -Lighting that is sunk into the ceiling, for example, can lights
Recessed medicine cabinet -A medicine cabinet that is sunk into the wall so the door is flush with the wall
Resort-style -A property with all the amenities of a resort, which may include a pool, tennis courts, and waterfront access
Saline pool -A swimming pool with salt water that does not require chemicals for sanitation
Septic system -A small scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewer lines
Solarium – Intended to allow for additional sunlight and warmth, solariums are attached rooms constructed mainly of glass walls, glass roofs, and curved glass corners.
Southwest -A style that mimics homes found in the U.S. Southwest region
Steam shower -A steam shower is a small cabin or enclosure designed to contain heated water vapor that has been created using a humidifying steam generator
Strip lighting -Lighting arranged on a linear strip on the ceiling
Structured wiring -Refers to various types of wiring installed in a home for audio, video, telephone, and data
Sub-zero -Sub-Zero brand refrigerators, freezers, and wine storage are designed with advanced technologies and are popular in luxury homes due to their sealed systems, advanced temperature controls, and humidity systems
Sunken Tub - A bath tub that is flush with the floor rather and must be descended into rather than sitting on a pedestal or feet
Surround sound -A system of stereophonic sound involving three or more speakers surrounding the listener so as to create a more realistic effect, often installed throughout rooms with televisions or theatre screens
Tankless heater -A water heater that does not store water but instead heats it instantly as it is used
Terrace -A level paved area or platform next to a building, also known as a patio or veranda
Theatre room -A room suitable for viewing films without light interruptions, usually by being built in a basement, a windowless room, or a room decorated with heavy, light blocking drapes. Can be quite elaborate in luxury homes, with theatre-style draperies, top-of-the-line acoustic systems, refreshment bars, etc.
Traditional -A style that is simple in structure but often has ornate details
Trim -Additional decoration, typically along the edges of something and in contrasting color or material
Tuscan -A style mimicking Italian country villas, typically with stucco walls and tile roofs
Utility sink -Deep fixed basin, supplied with hot and cold water, which is used for rinsing off mops and disposal of cleaning water
Vanity -A wide, counter-like shelf containing a wash basin
Vapor proof hi hat -Helps disperse water vapor to keep humidity low; especially important in a bathroom with electronic equipment, such as a stereo or television
Vaulted ceiling -An architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof
Venetian plaster – Plaster mixed with marble dust that is applied to wall and ceiling finishes in a variety of tints. Can create the look of marble on surfaces where marble panels cannot be installed easily, such as on columns.
Veranda – A roofed porch or balcony alongside a house or building that is often partially enclosed, such as with a railing. In some cases, a veranda will lead into a courtyard.
Vessel sink -A sink set on top of a cabinet resembling a bowl
Wainscoting -A facing or paneling, usually of wood, applied to the walls of a room
Water feature -A general term that can mean a lily pond, a fountain, or any decorative outdoor feature that includes water
Waterfront -Referring to property residing alongside a body of water
Wine cellar -A dark cool cellar, where wine is stored
Wine chiller -A small cooler resembling a mini-refrigerator where wine can be stored in a kitchen
Xeriscape -A style of landscape design requiring little or no irrigation or other maintenance, used in arid regions