The hottest trends in bathroom renovations are all about staying warm.

Warm Floors

Yes, warm floors are back, in the bathroom and elsewhere. They’re not a new concept ­­– there are signs of underfloor heating dating back to 5000 BCE. Modern radiant heat was introduced in a 1937 home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Many of our Bay Area neighbors still enjoy radiant heat in Joseph Eichler’s well-known homes, built starting in 1950.Radiant Heat

According to the US Dept of Energy, radiant heat is more efficient than baseboard heating and often forced-air heating as well. It benefits people with allergies by not distributing allergens as a forced-air system does. More about how that works here.

Heated floors may also save homeowners money by allowing lower temperatures in the home without the floors becoming cold. Plus, they’re great for the resale value of your home.

Instant Heat

Ditch the energy-sucking heat lamp. Instant heat warms your bathroom just when you need it, without heating your entire home. Instant electric heaters are both energy-efficient and inconspicuous. While you’re at it, pair the heater with a humidity sensing fan that will automatically start when moisture levels rise, and shut off when they return to normal.

Instant Hot Water

Hate the waste you create while running your tap, waiting for the water to get hot? More and more, homebuilders are installing on-demand (tankless) water heaters specifically for the bathroom. If you’re looking for a retrofit alternative, consider installing a hot water recirculation system. Either way, the water will be hot when you turn on the tap!

Hot Bath in a Wet Room

Wet Room










The traditional shower-over-tub is increasingly being replaced by shower stalls in many homes. If you love a nice, hot bath, though, you may covet a “wet room” — an enclosed and separate room with a curbless, walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub. This elegant room, inspired by cultures that value soaking rituals, offers an extra advantage – the curbless walk-in shower adheres to universal design standards, making it wheelchair-accessible and practical for aging-in-place.

Special thanks to Henry Jackson, Architect (Palo Alto, CA) for inspiring this post by sharing the trends he’s seeing in modern bathroom design.

To get a free market evaluation of your own home, contact Bruce Richmond today.

Super_Bowl_50_Logo.svgDid hosting Super Bowl 50 affect Bay Area housing market at all?

In Palo Alto, more homes sold, and faster, in February compared the previous month. Unlike the game’s final score, however, real estate numbers are fuzzy.

How is it that Palo Alto’s median price this year ($2,180,000) is so much less than the prior year ($2,460,500)? Well, comparatively cheaper homes sold this February. 2016 sales included a home selling for $1.3225M and two others below Feb ’15’s lowest $1.75M sale.

On the higher end, February’s most expensive sold sign was $3,600,000, the same sales price of last February’s 5th place prize for being the priciest – and the top sale was $2M higher. One $10M sale in January 2016 skewed numbers that would have otherwise been similar to February.

It’s a continuing trend we started seeing with the Chinese financial crisis and the slowing of venture capital investments in Silicon Valley. The market has slowed a bit for the luxury market. Demand is still there, though. Prices on the lower end are continuing to sell fast, with bidding.

Get a free market evaluation of your Silicon Valley home today!

Here are your summary numbers:

15 homes sold in February 2016 compared to 12 in January 2016 and 16 in February 2015.

The median sales price was $2,180,000 in February 2016, $2,263,500 in January 2016, and $2,460,500 in February 2015.

Median price per square foot for the same months showed a similar pattern – $1,393.19 in February 2016, down from $1,617.13 in January 2016, and $1,405.57 in February 2015.

The median 21 days on the market in February 2016 was far faster than January’s 33 or February 2015’s 32.


CES 2016 (the Consumer Electronics Show) concluded last weekend, showcasing new products to make our homes “smarter.” describes “spectacular growth from products like a smart mirror from Haier that delivers news and weather and connects to other appliances; connected spoons; and diet scales” to help mainstream “smart homes.”

1950s washer adNot long ago, we thought we were technologically savvy by having a programmable thermostat, an automated sprinkler system, and an electric garage door opener. Well, back in the 1950s, an automatic washing machine was the great time-saving device. Welcome to the Twenty-teens. A smart home is a connected home.

By the way, one product is not enough to make home “smart.” To achieve this status, you need at least three different categories of smart products within a house. According to a year-end poll, “Smart Home Marketplace Survey,” the most recognized categories are smart security (locks, sensors, and alarm systems), temperature (thermostats and fans), lighting (bulbs and lighting systems), and safety (fire/CO2 detectors and nightlights).

What’s Being Used Now

451 Research identifies the top three products owned by current users of smart home tech as being a smart thermostat (41%), smart indoor cameras (28%) and door/window motion sensors (28%). However, this paper didn’t include entertainment as a category.

The Smart Home Marketplace Survey finds entertainment to be the gateway tech into the smart home habit. (Yes, 70% of people with smart home technology said buying their first smart home product made them more likely to buy another one.) Highest on the list of smart entertainment are TVs and speaker systems. Icontrol also noted a 55% surge in entertainment as a driver to smart home adoption between 1014 and 1015.

Desired Smart Home Devices

From iControl Networks “2015 State of the Smart Home Report”

Differences by Region (USA)

There are some interesting regional differences in the US according to Icontrol’s report in early 2015:

  • Homeowners in the Northeast had the highest likelihood among regions to purchase a connected home monitoring camera.
  • Southern homeowners were most interested in a connected thermostat and also wanted to communicate with their home appliances.
  • Those in the West had the highest likelihood to be interested in self-watering plants and were most excited about connecting their entertainment room to the house.
  • Midwestern homeowners were least likely among the regions to purchase a connected device, but if they did, they were most excited about connecting their kitchen.


The flip side of being connected is the fear that personal information may get stolen, according to Icontrol. Other identified concerns include the fear that data will be collected and sold and fear that their smart home tech will have too many bugs.

Selling a Home

New homes and the luxury market have led the way in smart home technology.

As we see more mainstreaming of smart home technology, we should expect to see connected devices being considered an “expected” feature in homes in the way that multi-paned windows have replaced with a single pane.

smart device imageAccording to the Smart Home Marketplace Survey, more than half the homeowners who were planning to sell their home would purchase or install smart home products, if they knew that doing so would make it sell faster. Pre-installed home tech that most attract home buyers are smart security (58%) and temperature (56%), while connected entertainment systems seem to be least appealing (29%).

What smart home tech do you already have? Do you plan to purchase new smart home tech this year?