Archives For September 2013


We love the idea of recycling––and we’re not just talking about putting your discarded newspapers and empty bottles out at the curb. Some of the most beautiful homes are not only made from salvaged materials, but often the structure itself has been repurposed from the original intended use.

In our post Converted Churches: Why They Make Great Homes, we discussed how “converting buildings not intended for residential use into homes is a great way to recycle and preserve history at the same time”; but what about alternative structures––a ship, for example?

Less common than the floating home or a houseboat, some people have recycled ships to create some of the most interesting and beautiful homes in the world. Check out some of our favorite in the gallery below:

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Sources: and

medium_166ee8a8-dcc3-4d91-8c08-9144fd157405Described as “one of the most private homes in Palm Desert,” this 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom estate sits on five acres with incredible 180 degree views of the valley, city, and mountains.

Listed by Panayot Tomov with Gotham Properties International for $3,750,000, property features include a gourmet chef’s kitchen, master suite, and attached casita to accommodate guests. Outdoors––in addition to the “best views in the entire Coachella Valley”––amenities include a brick patio, infinity pool, hot tub, and grilling station.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.

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“Let’s say—just for a minute—that you’re omnipotent and you can reinvent real estate search… What would you do? Would you tear out all the charts, graphs, maps, lead forms, banner ads, analytics, calculators, other agents, and flashing buttons and strip the listing down to just the essential information? Would you make your user interface soothing and simple? Would you ensure that each listing ONLY shows the agent and/or broker who actually represents the listing? And would you make the whole site free for everyone to use, forever? If that sounds exactly like what you’d do, then you need to head over to”

In a promo video and comprehensive written review, Eight11 marketing and technology real estate consultant, Tracy Weir, determines that Househappy’s platform is beautiful, but asks: Is it effective?

With almost three decades of marketing experience––including a stint at Inman News as the chief marketing and sales officer––Weir is certainly the right person to answer this question.

Her assessment touches on everything from Househappy’s visual search, clean design, detailed property posts, and ad-free interface, to her interview with Househappy founder and CEO, Kevin McCloskey.

While Weir is certainly a tough critic, she makes one thing clear in the end:

“Househappy is a pleasure to use, plain and simple.”

This post can be found in its original form on


FSBO home in New Lebanon, New York, posted to Househappy by Laura Lappies

6 ways to heat up interest in your property:

1. Post a professional looking sign. House hunters tend to scout out neighborhoods before looking at specific homes. A professional yard sign is one of the best ways for a seller to get their property noticed.

2. Use high quality photos. Whether you are marketing online or using flyers, pictures are the first thing a buyer looks at when considering the purchase of a home. For some easy photo tips, check out our previous post A Lesson in Real Estate Photography.

3. Return your home to a neutral state. Declutter, remove personal items, and return each room to its original intended use. Creating a neutral space will make it easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in your home.

4. Don’t forget about curb appeal! Even simple things like washing your windows, mowing the lawn, and repairing small cracks in your driveway or sidewalk can make a significant difference.

5. Get social. Share photos of your home to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social platforms. Even if your friends aren’t looking to buy, they may know someone who is.

6. Post your property to Househappy! is a place for buyers, sellers, and brokers to search and post property for sale around the world––for free. For FSBOs who may have fewer platforms on which to market their property, this is a great way to reach prospective buyers.

For additional tips, visit


Photo by Eric Striffler for The New York Times

When David Schiff (an L.A. based talent agent whose clients include big names like Jeff Bridges, Eminem, Sienna Miller, and Ethan Hawke) and his wife Lucinda got around to planning the renovation of their summer home in Sagaponack, New York, simplicity and budget were key.

The Schiff’s Long Island home, as modest as it is, is a notable footnote in the area’s architectural history. Constructed in the 1970’s, architect Tod Williams made the beach house from two midcentury barns.

It was an ambitious project for the young architect who––with wife and partner, Billie Tsien––has gone on to design some pretty significant cultural institutions including Cranbrook’s natatorium and the building that once house the American Folk Art Museum.

“I had an idea to be a developer,” Williams said, explaining how he bought four more barns and moved them to a three acre site across the street from his then-girlfriend’s sandwich shop, hoping to test himself as an architect by creating two inexpensive dwellings from a combination of these elemental shapes, and then selling one and living in the other.

The structures successfully emphasize the purity of the barn shapes and the sweetness of the land, and serve as an indication of the fine architect Williams would be come. “I was struggling with ideas about context and change,” he said. “I wanted to keep the integrity of the barns, keep what was good about them, their rawness and their simplicity.”

Williams moved the smallest of the barns he had bought to the 1.7-acre site that would one day be the Schiffs’. “I think it was really used by the farmer as a garage,” he said. He connected it to the larger barn already there with a breezeway enclosed with a grid of windows. On the other half of the land, he assembled the three remaining barns into an elegant, modernist whole––a beautiful home featured in this month’s Architectural Digest.

For additional photos and complete article, visit NYTimes