Customized Renovations Can Be a Hard Sell

Are you thinking of renovating your home and adding customized, truly unique amenities?

If so, think again.

There’s nothing wrong with having a Turkish bath, Atlantis-sized aquarium, gold-plated toilets, rock climbing wall, or monogrammed tile floor in any remodel … if that’s your taste. But if you’re planning to sell your home (now or at any point in the future), such amenities could actually depress your home’s value and limit your pool of prospective buyers.

Better to think about modifications that will improve your home’s curb appeal and boost the sale price because most buyers don’t appreciate too many personal touches. If potential buyers don’t like what they see, they’ll start wondering what’s it going to cost to remove your customized renovations instead of visualizing themselves living in your home. And that could be a deal-breaker.

I’ve heard woeful tales from both buyers and sellers: One person’s eclectic masterpiece may be another’s cluttered nightmare. Where you may see dollars signs, someone else might see empty wallets. Therefore, the goal is to have your home as close to turnkey as possible.

How should you approach renovating your home?

Choose your amenities wisely

Here are some tips to consider when renovating:

  • Avoid lavish lighting fixtures and ornamental wall finishes. That ultra modern chandelier or stone wall may be on trend today, but out of date in a few years.
  • Skip highly personalized additions such as a children’s theater with a stage, elaborate home gym with a rock climbing wall, or indoor hot tub (which could lead to you taking a bath on your asking price!).
  • Think classic and timeless when it comes to color. Use neutral décor, with small splashes of soft color; avoid heavily patterned wallpaper, loud colors, or overly ornate cabinetry.
  • Go for uniform flooring. Hardwoods offer more resale value than tile or composite materials. Steer clear of custom finishes! A large nautical star in the floor of your entryway may appeal to the boat lover in you, but not to a potential buyer with Western ranch on his mind.

The idea is to help a potential buyer imagine what living in the house would be like.

When in doubt, ask a professional. A real estate agent can tell you exactly what renovations make sense and which do not, and share the benefit of their experience so that you make the right decision.

Contact Fiona at 914-417-5147 or



Dive In: Ten Westchester Homes with Gorgeous Pools

Looking to take the plunge into home ownership, or perhaps upgrade your current home to one with a swimming pool? With summer temperatures on the rise, potential home buyers may be seeking properties that offer a water view and a pool for the family to play in.

If you’re in the market for a new home, check out this list of properties in Westchester County with pools — all on the market right now! From waterfront estates on the Long Island Sound, to center hall colonials on quiet cul-de-sacs, these spectacular homes feature high-end amenities, locations in desirable neighborhoods, and inviting pools that encourage an outdoor lifestyle. 

 The summer real estate market is heating up! For information on any of these homes, give me a call at 914-414-5147.

1. Purchase
Listed at $3 M

2. Rye 
Listed at $3.15 M

3. Rye 
Listed at $3.25 M

4. Port Chester 
Listed at $3.79 M

5. Mamaroneck
Listed at $3.895 M

6. Rye 
Listed at $3.95 M

7. Port Chester 
Listed at $7.1 M

8. Purchase 
Listed at $4.9 M

9. Mamaroneck 
Listed at $5.5 M

10. Rye 
Listed at $5.595 M

Top 5 Outdoor Additions to Boost Your Home’s Value

At this time of year, the outside beckons. As we spend more time outdoors, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to want to update their outdoor spaces with the kinds of amenities that duplicate what they enjoy in their indoor spaces. We’re not just talking about a gas grill on the patio; far more elaborate open-air amenities are on the rise.

For those looking to invest in their backyard entertainment spaces—and add value to their home—I’ve created a round up here of some of the hottest outdoor home trends in exterior design. From built-in barbecues and pizza ovens, to weather-resistant televisions and overnight mosquito sprayers, your outdoor oasis awaits!

Five Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Space

 1.  Al Fresco Media Rooms: When it’s 80+ degrees outside but you want to catch up on your Netflix viewing, an outdoor media room is in order. Homeowners are opting to install retractable screens in covered spaces that both protect technology from the elements and ensure sun glare won’t interfere with what’s on the screen. (Game of Thrones, anyone?) Weatherproof TVs that can handle rain, dust, salty air, and humidity also offer a higher brightness and more reduced glare than many indoor products on the market today.

2.  Outdoor Kitchens: Cooking outside used to mean throwing some hot dogs and hamburgers on a charcoal grill. Now, gourmet meals can be put together in outdoor cooking areas complete with high-end appliances. Rotisserie grills, ceramic grills, deep fryers, smokers and even pizza ovens can be found in some of the more elaborate outdoor kitchens. Don’t feel like carrying all the dirty dishes inside for washing? Dishwashers now come in outdoor versions, with winterization features. Add to the list custom cabinetry to store your outdoor flatware and dinnerware and…you get the picture.

3.  Free-standing bar: Tiki huts or similar free-standing bars that offer drinks and entertainment separate from the outdoor kitchen are on the rise, too. They can be designed to offer views of the pool or landscaped gardens, and may feature comfortable seating, a cocktail prep area, beer tap, and cold storage.

4.  High-tech outdoor systems: When planning outdoor spaces, homeowners are considering heating and cooling systems just as they do for their homes’ interiors. Fireplaces, fire pits, and stylized space heaters extend the use of outdoor areas in the cooler months, and ceiling fans and cooling mist systems keep the cool breezes flowing on the hottest days. To keep insects in check, mosquito control systems can be installed that will de-bug your backyard overnight.

5.  Indoor-worthy furniture and flooring: If you do make some of these investments in your outdoor spaces, you’ll need comfortable and attractive furniture on which to enjoy your entertainment and meals! Sitting on your old weather-beaten wicker won’t cut it. Advances in the industry make it possible to have fully upholstered, weatherproof furniture that’s comfortable enough for the duration of a leisurely dinner or two-hour movie. And for feeling barefoot and fancy free, new eco-friendly deck materials both look great and will leave you splinter-free. (That said, bluestone continues to be a hot trend).

The key to enhancing your outdoor space is to ensure that the work is done professionally and the materials are high-quality and built to last. Savvy buyers will appreciate well-designed exterior “rooms,” which add to a home’s value as well.

Before starting any project, do your research. You’ll need to find a great contractor, understand the rules governing your property and the permits you may need, and know which features will help maximize the ROI of your outdoor living additions. With over 15 years of experience helping my with this process, I’d be happy to help guide you through.

Contact Fiona at 914-417-5147 or




Newly Constructed Dream Home on Market in Rye

The newly constructed dream home at 135 Highland Road in Rye has everything a new homeowner could ever wish for – from the 20-foot-high entry foyer to the magnificent chef’s kitchen to the luxurious mahogany-paneled office. Beautifully designed to combine an elegant New England Colonial exterior with striking contemporary interior design, this 7900+-square-foot home also features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, ten-foot ceilings, and five fireplaces.

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY, Aerial View

“From the moment you open the solid mahogany front door and take in the two-story entryway and sweeping staircase to the second floor, you are surrounded by luxury,” says Fiona Dogan, Realtor at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. “The home features custom millwork and cabinetry built on-site by master craftsmen and has the finest quartz, marble, and granite countertops throughout. In addition, the builder has utilized the most upscale and up-to-date amenities, including Smart Home Lutron lighting, radiant heat, and high-efficiency, multi-zoned heating and cooling systems. It’s fantastic!”

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY Kitchen

And that’s just for starters. The extraordinary level of custom detail includes a gourmet kitchen with two islands, a 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator and 36” Sub-Zero freezer, two dishwashers, and a butler’s pantry. The home also has formal living and dining rooms; family room with a coffered ceiling; private mahogany office featuring an “entertainment gallery” with built-in bar and Sub-Zero wine storage; den/playroom; and a bedroom and second office/mudroom – all on the first floor.

Upstairs, there’s a majestic master bedroom suite with a gas fireplace, tray ceiling, his/her walk-in custom closets, private outdoor balcony, and Dolomite marble master bathroom, along with four additional bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.

The lower level features a rustic wine cellar area and a fully finished recreation room, and there is also a three-car garage fully outfitted with GarageTek-style cabinetry, storage, and epoxy floor. Set on a magnificent private level one-acre parcel, the home has an extensive outdoor BBQ/TV/bar area, covered bluestone patio, and room for a pool.

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY Outdoor grill and patio

Another added benefit is the home’s in-demand location in the heart of Rye’s Indian Village, just steps away from downtown shops and restaurants, and the Rye train station, and extremely close to Rye Country Day School and the Apawamis Country Club.

This dream home was constructed by DT Custom Home, which has successfully designed, built, and sold multiple luxury homes in Rye since 2003. Their homes have been featured on the Rye House Tour in 2009 and 2012, and they have deep family and professional roots in the local community.

More information on 135 Highland is available at: and by contacting Fiona Dogan at or 914-414-5147.


Let Fiona help you sell or find your dream home. Contact Fiona at 914-414-5147 or email her directly.