Archives For Luxury

Are you getting tired of the winter weather? Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying a sunny, ocean-front property with a breathtaking view? Fortunately, we’ve compiled some of the world’s most beautiful beach houses to get you through the rest of those cold days:

Photos: MSN Travel, Australian Traveler, DesignRulz, Trendir, Ideasgn, DigsDigs. 

Bigger does not always mean better in todays luxury home market as many high-end homeowners are skimping on size to make room for expensive amenities.

In the past, the luxury real estate has been defined by the size of homes, but today many are scaling down on the size. Real estate brokers say more and more clients are shaving off square footage to give priority to sustainability and smart design––including solar power and becoming LEED platinum certified.

For example, last year mortgage banker Heidi Brunet built a 2,085 square foot home in Dallas with extra additives like soy-based, energy-efficient insulation, stained concrete floors, and $48,000 LED lighting system.

Instead of splurging on space in the house, she chose to have a large yard with a 1,000 square foot deck, and a pool because she spends most of her time outside. To Brunet she “wanted the house to be everything I needed it to be and nothing more”.

Architects design  size-conscious homes by removing unnecessary space like formal living rooms, dining rooms, and large hallways. Some regions are also attempting to regulate home size with new ordinances; For example, city planners in Austin, Texas created the 2006 “McMansion ordinance’” which limits floor area to 40% of a lot size. Also, in 2010, Marin County, California required any plans to double homes size more than 3,000 square feet to undergo a design review.

The lesson? A home can still be a dream home no matter the size.

This article can be found in its original form on WSJ.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

Porsche-Design-Tower-BuildingGiving door-to-door a new meaning, The Porche Design Tower in Miami, Florida will feature 132 units, each with their own private garage in the sky.

“You don’t have to leave your car until you are inside your apartment,” said Porsche Design Group CEO Juergen Gessler. Instead, residents––and their vehicles––can soar up to 60 stories above the Atlantic in a glass elevator and park directly in their own 2-4 car garage.

The $560 million project is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by 2016. Available floor plans in the cylindrical tower (most of which include their own private pool) range from 4,252 square feet to the 16,915 square foot, $32.5 million tri-plex penthouse.

For more information on The Porche Design Tower, visit Invest in Miami or check out additional photos below.

Source: Invest in Miami

Images: Invest in Miami

As home values began to rebound following the foreclosure crisis, the number of multi-million dollar homes in California climbed to a record high last year. According to reports from DataQuick, there was a 47% increase (4,500) in properties sold for $2-3 million, a 31% increase in homes sold for $3-4 million, and a 29% increase in homes sold for $4-5 million.

The majority of luxury home sales occurred in 25 cities along the California coast including Manhattan Beach, La Jolla, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, and Los Gatos. California’s most expensive sale last year was an 8 bedroom, 14 bathroom beachfront mansion in Malibu for $74.5 million.

The luxury-home market “responds to its own set of economic factors,” said John Walsh, President of DataQuick. Rather than traditional factors, things like initial public offerings, stock-market performance, and investment decisions can play a greater role.

Check out some of our favorite luxury homes for sale in California (below), or visit Househappy.org to view more properties.

This article can be found in its original form on Bloomberg.

Images: Househappy.org

Every January, Park City, Utah draws in tens of thousands of movie fans to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival. This influx of nonresidents creates a huge opportunity for real estate agents to up their game and attract potential buyers.

Park City is the lesser-known Hollywood ski town when compared to Aspen, Colorado; however, many celebrities choose Park City because they can keep a low profile there. Celebrities from Michael Jordan to Katherin Heigl own homes in this ski town.

While many locals see the Sundance Film Festival as two weeks of crowded restaurants and paparazzi, real estate agents see the festival as a boost in business. They find ways to turn the thousands of nonresidents who visit into potential buyers––especially those who are looking for an escape from Hollywood.

“I love Sundance. I have sold so many homes through Sundance. At least one person will fall in love with Park City. They may not buy that week but they come back,” says Paul Benson, an agent at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, who sold three homes for a total of $27 million last year to people exposed to Park City through Sundance. Mr. Benson says the potential buyers aren’t just in the entertainment industry, they are also the investors and the corporate sponsors. He hosts dinners and events to get to know them.

According to a study by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research, of the more than 30,000 nonresidents who attended Sundance last year, some 40% said they would return to Utah during the following year.

As far as the real estate market in the Park City area goes, nearly 70% of homes are second homes. The average price for a single-family home in 2013 was $929,000 up about 6% from the previous year, according to the city’s department of economic development. Last year, 34 homes sold for over $4 million and the number of building permits for new homes was up 50%.

In the end, wining and dining festival attendees seems to pay off for real estate agents.

Source: WSJ

Photo: World Ski

dog-playing-with-toysFor some homeowners, the most important family members are their pets. Today, pet-ownership is at an all-time high due in part to many Americans delaying getting married and having children.

In the U.S., 68% of households included at least one pet in 2012, up from 62% in 2010 according to American Pet Products Association. Spending is also hitting highs with $53.33 billion spent on pets in 2012, up from $41.2 billion five years prior.

As a result homeowners are turning to architects, builders and interior designers to help them add special spaces and rooms for their pets. This includes everything from dog spas and grooming centers to pet-size furniture. Many of these design-conscious pet-owners want to integrate their pet spaces and items to flow with the design aesthetics of the house. Thus pet built-ins and cabinetry that blend with the rest of the home are being widely adopted.

Designer Melanie Charlton is working on an eating and dressing station for a client with two small dogs. There will be a room to hold the dogs’ coats and leashes, and offer a changing-table-height surface for dressing them. Charlton adds that, “Over the past five years we’ve really seen a jump in the level of cabinetry in certain rooms that the dogs live in”.

Condominium and apartment developers are also adding amenities for pets when constructing new buildings. A condo complex under construction in Coconut Grove, Florida, that is across the street from a 12-acre park found out through focus groups that many prospective buyers are pet-owners. As a result they dedicated a section of the building to include a dog spa with a shower and a separate platform for pet grooming.

A challenge that pet-owners face can be whether or no the pet will like the space they had custom built for it. Homeowner Beth Wright, didn’t want to clutter her newly remodeled house with a bulky dog crate, so she designed a cabinet/alcove for her dog. She even took the dog shopping with her to help pick out the cabinetry. In case the dog rejected the space, she thought it could be used as a storage area, but luckily the dog ended up loving it.

In the end, to many, accommodating space in their house for pets is not much different than designing a house with kids in mind.

Source: WSJ

Photo: GJW Titmuss 

Fashionable and safe, ventless fireplaces are the next big technology for your home. The modern designs are turning these fireplaces from mere heat sources to works of art. With internal tanks or other fuel reserves, this replaces the need for traditional gas lines so fireplaces can stand alone in any part of your home.

Since these pieces use ethanol, they burn without smoke and can be mounted on walls or inserted into surfaces. Plus with high-tech safety features that shut these devices off you won’t have to worry about them damaging your home.

Here are a few of the latest designs in ventless fireplaces from the Wall Street Journal:

MN-AE612_FIRE_G_20131211160104

This looks more like a modern statue than a fireplace. Made to lean against the wall, Safretti’s Vertigo was created for the Dutch company by Porsche Design Studio, a subsidiary of the sports car company.

MN-AE615_FIRE_G_20131211164758

Nature was the inspiration for this design made to look like a tulip blossoming from the floor. The piece was designed by Matteo Ragni for Italian company Bió fireplace and comes in a wide range of colors.

BN-AT291_1212fi_G_20131211170118

Ruby Fires, a Netherlands-based company designed this free-standing fireplace made to look and feel like concrete, but without the weight.

BN-AT290_1212fi_G_20131211165936

The Globe is a sphere-shaped fireplace by Swedish Company Vauni that can be put in any room. A device underneath allows it to turn 360 degrees and the flame size can also be adjusted.

MN-AE613_FIRE_G_20131211160323

Complete with remote controlled safety features means this flaming line can be set into countertops or benches. Planika’s Fire Line Automatic can be custom-made to match its surroundings.

MN-AE617_FIRE_G_20131211165506

Radia by Orlando based Bluworld Homelements is a black-framed vertical system that can be mounted on the wall like a picture.

Source: WSJ