The Cool House: real estate
Showing posts with label real estate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real estate. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Name Your Price

I like to keep my eye on what's for sale in the Incorporated Village - call me nosey, I can take it.

I get an email alert every time a house comes on the market.

Sometimes I get a bonus.

The same house 40% off. Pick one!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Taste

Apparently an upholstered bed will work in a modern, mostly wood room. Check out this gorgeous house for sale in Vancouver

The bathroom is pretty awesome, too

and I'm seriously in love with the kitchen.
Apparently the house was used as a location for a new film that has something to do with a popular TV series. Julia has the details...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Krisel and more

My Krisel crush is well-known, and it's been happily fed recently, first by the sneak preview of Jake Gorst's upcoming documentary "William Krisel, Architect". I cannot wait to see the full version. A short time ago Krisel Keeper left a comment here. I followed the links and found her blog detailing the ongoing rehab of a Krisel ranch in Woodland Hills, California. Then there was the trip to Palm Springs, which is dotted with Krisel houses. It was like eating a box of chocolates all in one sitting, albeit really, really good Belgian chocolates while lounging in an Eames chair. I toured three Palm Springs neighborhoods, Las Palmas Estates tucked under the mountains, Racquet Club Estates and Twin Palms in search of the Alexander Construction Company homes designed by William Krisel of Palmer & Krisel. And as I don't have any Belgian chocs to give you, I'll share my real estate finds: three gorgeous examples recently on the market with links to more photos and to the realtors. Enjoy!

The earliest of the Krisel modernist tract homes, like this 1600 sq' 3 bed, 2 bath Alexander Sunflap in Twin Palms Estates, were built in the mid-fifties.

In Racquet Club Estates a 3 bedroom Alexander home built in 1959 is for sale at $399,000

Complete with mountain views a Krisel designed home in Las Palmas Estates, just a stroll from downtown Palm Springs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Desert Realty

Driving around the Old Las Palmas neighborhood I was surprised at the number of For Sale signs, often four or more on one side of a block. I knew that California had been one of the areas most badly affected by the housing crisis but I hadn't realised how hard the state had been hit. Even in the more tony neighborhoods of Palm Springs, you could feel the pressure to sell - at any price. And the homes ranged in every condition from mint to almost abandoned; foreclosure signs placed despondently among the cactus and yuccas.
To be sure not all the homes had that aura of desperation, indeed a few retain that scent of celebrity and glamour:

Donald Wexler designed this house for Dinah Shore in 1963.

It's a glorious example of a Hollywood home in the desert that has been stunningly and sympathetically renovated. Listed at almost $6,000,000, double the price it sold for in 2003, it has been on the market since Spring.

A secret gem: One of Elvis' desert homes, owned by Liberace until 1971.

Already substantially reduced to $749,000 it's a 4 bed, 5 bath, 3000 sq' statue-bedecked MCM house full of flock and glitz

and the occasional piece of Liberace memorabilia.

Also on the market, for $1,295,000, is the former Tony Curtis/Janet Leigh home "Camp Curtis", a stunning 1960 Fey home that got smacked with a nasty granite kitchen in a recent remodel. Click here for more details/photos.
If you fancy experiencing the luxury lifestyle but don't want to relocate to the desert, you can always rent a vacation home for a night, week or longer. You could stay in Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms pad or hang out where Marilyn Monroe slept. On the other hand, given recent press, you might not want to spend time in this particular celebrity's Unusual Villa rental...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Baycrest Beauty For Sale*

Remember this tour and this slideshow of historical houses in the Incorporated Village? Both featured the wonderful domed towers and windows of this Victorian (1887) shingle-style beach cottage. It's been on the market as a rental for a while and is now for sale. If I had a yen for an older house I'd seriously consider this one. It's architecturally charming, the views to the Bay are lovely and I could fulfill all my Rapunzel fantasies from the turret.

4 Bedroom Guesthouse

The 1.6 acre property features a guesthouse and a barn plus all the desired amenities (pool, tennis court, beach rights). I can vouch for the roof being new, as I watched the shingles being stapled not so long ago, and I could hear the thwack of balls last summer so the tennis court is probably in good shape but there are no pictures of the pool, and all I know about the interior is what I can see on the agent's website and that doesn't include any shots of the kitchen. Red Flags!

*The list price is very fair for the size of the house and the area but the taxes might make you choke on your breakfast cereal... so put down your spoon before you click here (or here) for more details.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Real Estate Round Up: Easter 2009

Time for another real estate go round in the Incorporated Village, or at least a walk around the block.

First off some evidence of the housing price downturn. This completely renovated Tuscan style house was sold last summer for $1,675,000. It went back on the market for a similar price in the Fall but recently has been substantially reduced.

This red Dutch-style house also for sale last summer was sold in short order. We were afraid it would be bulldozed but hurrah, it got a sympathetic remodel, including a front huge extension and voila - a bigger, brighter Dutch farmhouse. We have to wait for another couple of weeks to see the inside but apart form an odd window placement (picky, picky, I know) it's looking good.

For sale, coincidentally enough, for the same price as the first house.

Lastly, this house was also sold September 2008 but within a few months had been re-listed for a trendbucking extra $249,000.
So there you have it, three houses in one block radius of the Village Hall, all sold late July to early September 2008, now on the market again with similar asking prices. The difference between them is their markedly different styles. Do you have a favorite?

Friday, January 23, 2009

News from the Neighborhood

Are we getting new neighbors? Newsday is reporting that Brangelina will be renting this two-helipad pile, complete with fallout shelter, just across the bay. Not quite next door, but still in the same zip code. Maybe we'll bump into the celebrity duo at the local market this spring?
Seriously though, the place has been on the market for a couple of years at an asking price of $60,000,000. I'm guessing the exclusive prestige market has taken as much of a hit as the rest of the real estate around here and renting out is the only way the owners will be seeing any money from it in the foreseeable future.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Real Estate Selling Tip

Word to the realtor of this newly listed property in Huntington Bay: Posting ten shots of the front of the house tells buyers that there is a BIG problem with the interior. And if you have Stunning Unobstructed Year Round Panoramic Waterviews then SHOW THEM.
File under "and that's worth 5% commission?"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Morning Quote

Today's prize for the most dumb and/or insensitive remark made in this economic climate goes to ex-"Top Chef" host and cookbook author Katie Lee Joel:

“I love real estate. To me, real estate is the ultimate tchotchke. We have five houses; we like our real estate.
New York Magazine

Most Americans just have to worry about one house, the roof over their heads, but for Katie Lee Joel houses are just collectibles. You can enable her to pick up another real estate ornament by dropping by her book signing tour (if you're quick you can catch her at the Book Revue in Huntington, NY tonight). And with 81,312 homes being repossessed by lenders in September I'm sure they will plenty for her to choose from.

You want to know what kind of tchotchke Katie owns?

Thanks to Domino Magazine you can view her Manhattan townhouse, where she arranges her smaller tchotchkes

Then changes them (and the chairs) out for something more soothing in brown.
And there's more about her Long Island houses over here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adding value

Walking through the Incorporated Village on a superb Fall Sunday I was struck by the progress that has been made on a few houses. One is in the midst of an attic conversion and new dormers and a cupola have been added since I last walked this street, another has new windows and siding while the third has dramatically changed the entrance with curved stacked stone walls and piers supporting wrought iron lamps. It looks like a million bucks and is rumored to have cost only slightly less than that. I remarked to The Guy that the number of houses on the market seems to be matched by those that are being "pimped" and that maybe when we have weathered the current market meltdown, unclogged the conduits of credit, and allowed the current of finance to flow freely again (yes, we made these up while we were walking) we should think about tarting up the front adding value and a WOW factor with something spectacular like this driveway:

So I have a question for you, no, not how many years will it take to get ourselves out of the economic morass, but rather:
If money were no object, what would you add to the house exterior or yard to boost curb appeal?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cook in Laura Bush's Oven

I thought it was a joke, what with the housing market being a mess but no, oh irony, the first home of George and Laura Bush is on the market. Insert joke here. The home has a lot of original features, including the sheer curtains, the cooktop, that oven and a few of her dead plants in the atrium, too. I kid you not.

The decor is 80s-sad, but at least there are some personal interest pieces, like these magazines tastefully arranged on the coffee table. You want more? Here you go. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hampton Designer Showhouse

The Hamptons season is drawing to a close but one of the coolest things to do if you're a lover of pricey real estate or interior design is visit the 2008 Hampton Designer Showhouse. This year it's also interesting for the eco-minded as it's a "green house". That seems to mean lots of grass cloth, shells and coral. I don't know how you harvest coral in an environmentally-friendly way, but I'm sure someone will enlighten me.
If you can't get there in person view the Newsday photo gallery and let me know what those tall white objects in the guest suite are (image #9) and whether Kevin Hart's headboard (image #6) reminds you of a headless animal skin. Or maybe I've just seen too many bear rugs at Sagamore Hill? Do pay special attention to image #31 - at least until you fall into a hypnotic trance.

Eco-chic comes at a price and the 11,000 sq feet Sagaponack, NY house is a very expensive home. Currently off the market, the house had been listed for $12,500,000 and even with a $1 million reduction that's over $1000 a square foot for a house on a comparatively small lot.
Tickets to view the Showhouse will set you back $30 and there's a whole heap of restrictions but proceeds benefit Southampton Hospital. Open daily through Aug. 31. Call 631-537-0455 for details.
Bonus video here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cervaiole Marble - modern or traditional

Suddenly it's everywhere

I first saw mega amounts of it used in this 2006 Phillipe Starck bathroom. De trop, perhaps?

In this newly built Hampton Shingle Style house in the Incorporated Village it's paired with traditional cream cabinets. There's a lot of it and it's not really working for me. Too dark, maybe?

In Boston, this 2008 Watermark Awards winner contrasts the marble with simple teak cabinetry for a really successful sleek but warm kitchen.
Perhaps most successful use of Cervaiole marble is this backsplash and countertop in a modern home that's actually in the Hamptons. It's a multimedia guide so click on the top photo icon in the dining room to see the kitchen. Bright white, spare flat-fronted cabinets and white oak floors are light and airy while the veined marble gives a richness to the whole space. Lovely.

By the way, I'm awed by the New York Times new interactive guides. There's also a great one on Chinese food in Flushing, Queens for all you New York food freaks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Real Estate Round-Up: The Summer Edition

Time for a quick update on the Incorporated Village real estate market: what's sold; what's new and what is still for sale.
First up both of these houses are Under Contract, as is this lovely Dutch Farm Ranch opposite the Police Station. It's billed as another handyman special, and the price reflected that but I think it's an attractive style and it's on a lovely piece of property.
Still for sale are the gatehouse to the original estate, the two houses that actually increased their prices, the Craftsman on the hill and everything between here and the shoreline. Either that reflects the higher price points of these homes and consequent limited buyer pool or the difficulty getting insurance for a house within 1000' of the water.

Newly on the market is this Hampton style shingle house. Built on the footprint of a ranch on a corner lot, $2.5 million seems a lot of money for a one-car garage but the landscaping is pretty and I like the kitchen, which is done in cream rather than ubiquitous white. Hampton Style seems to be gaining popularity here on the North Shore, this is the second one to be built this year. Of course if you google Hampton Shingle Style you get its greatest proponent: this guy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bucking a trend

Meanwhile back in crazy town.........
Yesterday I reported that the Case-Shiller index was tracking falling home prices across the country.
Today I open my in box to discover this house is on the market at $1,650,000. That's surprising because only five days ago it went on the market for $1,575,000. You can still see the old price on zillow.
This is a phenomenon I noted earlier in the month and I'd really like to know is it just confined to the Incorporated Village of Bizarro or does it happen elsewhere across the nation? If it's the latter how does it affect the Case-Shiller index? Are we bucking a trend or starting a new one?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back were we started?

Four years of gains in home prices wiped out wasn't what I wanted to read just as we are planning to celebrate our 48th month in The Cool House. My first thought when I read the headline was an earthy Anglo-Saxon epithet, but when I thought about it in greater depth I have to say it could be a lot worse. We bought this house because we loved it, not to be our personal piggy bank. We could have taken the realtor's advice and ripped out the dusty vinyl vertical blinds and put it back on the market and made some easy money, most of which would have gone in her pocket in commission. We could have sold it at the height of the market in late 2005 when everything was selling at hugely inflated prices, but we didn't buy the house to flip it.
We were lucky to buy in 2004. If we'd bought a year later we might not have been able to afford this great house, or we might be sitting on negative equity. We didn't put the house on the market two years ago, take it off again and re-list it earlier this month at $200,000 less as one of our neighbors has done. Neither did we do such a huge amount of work that we can't afford to drop the price (the situation for another neighbor).
This is a wonderful house and we love it and with luck we'll still be here when the market picks up again, by which time we may even have finished all the work that remains to make it truly fabulous again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Re-visualize real estate three ways, the real estate search website, has come up with three really cool ways to view real estate.
The first Trulia Snapshot is straight porn. Search by town and state and refine by price point or listing time, then gawk to your heart's content. At the moment it only works really well in the big cities but that's what we all want to know isn't it: What do you get for $40,000,000, the most expensive listing in Manhattan? A 5 bedroom, 6 bath minimalist condo designed by Richard Meier overlooking the Hudson River baby, that's what.
The second tool, Trulia Hindsight, takes Visual Earth maps and digitally superimposes data on them, tracking the growth of towns and cities like Madison Wisconsin and Aspen, Colorado. Watch populations grow and decline, search by town or street. Waste a lot of time in a really fun way.
My favorite, though, is this fantastic awe-inspiring video that visualises where people are searching for real estate on Trulia. At the moment both its coverage and its usefulness are limited but plans are in the works for tools to help real estate agents more efficiently market homes. As it says on their blog: It’s sort of like Amazon Recommends for real estate.
The tools have been developed in partnership with the terrific design and technology firm stamen. Go over there to see more wondrous ways to display data, including Cabspotting which I marveled at in Design and the Elastic Mind at MoMA earlier this spring.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Real Estate Round-Up

Another house has gone on the market in the incorporated village. In case you are counting that makes 30. There haven't been that many houses on the market in all the time we've lived here. Most of them are just houses, nice enough but not my style. Every now and then, however, a gem comes up and here it is.
I love everything about this Craftsman-style house, the ceilings, the moldings, the windows. Everything that is except the kitchen, which I hate, hate HATE. The cabinets just don't fit with the house in terms of style or color. I know I'm going to be in the minority here but I'll say it anyway: White is the new generic. Take the virtual tour and you'll see the original dark door next to the range - it's authentic and splendid. Beside it the new white cabinets look like off-the-shelf boxes. They may have cost a lot or they may be warehouse specials but they look wrong and they make the rest of the house look disoriented.
And as an aside, in case you think that the market is sliding downwards, this house just raised its asking price by $1,000,000 and change. Even though it has been on the market over a year at the lower price. While everyone else is dropping theirs. Now that takes balls.

Friday, May 23, 2008

£8,000 per square foot

That's the price a London businessman will pay if the deal on this house in Kensington Gardens, London, England goes through. Britain's richest man, steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, can well afford the £117,000,000 ($230 million) price tag, I'm sure, and rumor has it the house isn't even for himself but his son Aditya because dad already owns a sizable house on the same street. But honestly $15,000 a square foot? With a declining housing market and a looming recession? I ask you is this a smart move?
via Huffington Post and The Times

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The current preoccupation

You can guess from yesterday's post and today's playlist (scroll to page end, press to play) that the economy, our economy that is, which is deeply affected by the real estate market, is my current #1 concern.
When we took on this house we knew it required a lot of work to correct the problems caused by years of deferred maintenance. We did everything necessary to make the house watertight, pest and rot free and we addressed certain things like removing carpets and landscaping that we thought would make the house more appealing and easier to live in. For the first two and a half years we were sure that every dollar we put into the house we would get back at least once. Now the market has turned and even though we didn't buy the house to flip (we bought because I was deeply in love with it) we have to consider carefully the level of investment we are prepared to make in the future.
I was therefore intrigued by an HGTV mail 30 Tips for Increasing Your Home's Value and I started to compare what we'd done with their checklist.
We started really well, a perfect score on things we could do for less than $100, and we are up to speed at the $100-$200 fixes, too. Things start to get a little wonky at the next level. I refuse to believe a "functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing" even though my realtor told us to install ceiling fans in all the rooms as "buyers expect them". I've never met a ceiling fan I like and we have a HVAC system with a fan option so I hope I'm covered. Even more disturbing, though, is Tip #3: "Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open". Does this mean people keep their drapes closed all the time? What are they, troglodytes?
We ripped out all those vertical blinds the first week we were here. The same fan-loving realtor suggested it as an immediate way to increase the value of the house when we viewed the place and we took that advice. The rooms went from dark to light in the hour it took to pull the vertical vinyl from 10 windows. Did we do the right thing, or have we seriously compromised our real estate value?

Is this before shot really better than the image below?

Or should I give up reading the HGTV emails?