Dream Home Boiler and Designer Pipe Rooms Avanti Group
Last month, Peter and Sara Starr gave dinner guests a tour of their new Bayside, Calif., home. There's the designer kitchen fitted with free-standing ergonomic furniture. And the valley views complete with majestic redwoods. But the pièce de résistance sits just off the living room—a 100-square-foot nook otherwise known as the boiler room.
As more homeowners invest in renewable energy and other high-efficiency appliances, they're spiffing up the dank mechanical room and turning new iPod-inspired designs into showpieces. WSJ's Gwendolyn Bounds reports on six signs you might be a "boiler room junkie."
Inside hums the heart of about $70,000 in state-of-the-art heating and electrical equipment. A sleek hot-water tank is fed by rooftop solar panels; so is an array of batteries storing electricity and feeding excess power back to the grid. Hanging nearby, a petite, black boiler provides radiant heat while hundreds of feet of copper piping snake outward, delivering warmth and water to the 1,800-square-foot house.
"It looks like the Star Trek Enterprise," 61-year-old Peter Starr says. "It's really a little focal point, and a sign of pride."
Say goodbye to the scary room, that dank, dark spot where boilers and water heaters work among the spiders, with human visits taking place only when something—"Honey, there's no hot...