Archives For California

Non-profit organization Visit California invited a group of the state’s residents to create something “big.” Brazilian-born skateboarder Bob Burnquist decided to try the impossible: skate on water.

Miami art director Jerry Blohm designed the wooden structure, which features a half pipe, quarter pipe, and 45-degree ramp. They towed it out to Lake Tahoe for the inaugural ride.

“Dreaming big man, that’s what I do every day, I just try to dream as big as I can and then go make it happen,” says Bob in a video about the project. (You can also watch footage of him skating the ramp here.)

The lesson? Always dream bigger.

Source and images: Dezeen

From a 37-story apartment tower on Market Street to a 6-story condominium building in Dogpatch, it is clear that black is becoming one of the latest trends in San Francisco architecture.

“When a single black structure pops out from a corner or in the middle of a block, the contrast can give an energetic jolt to a familiar scene,” writes John King of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But as more owners and architects use dark cloaks to look sharp, there’s a very real danger that the eye-catching exception could spread across some districts like an oil spill.”

For many San Francisco residents, maintaining the aesthetics of a city “renowned for crisp light and soft fog” has long been a priority. In 1971, the Urban Design Plan stated that new buildings should “avoid extreme contrasts in color;” and the Downtown Plan of 1985 maintained that “disharmonious colors or building materials should be avoided. Buildings should be light in color.” But despite their best efforts, shades of onyx and charcoal are popping up on everything from downtown office buildings to single family homes in residential neighborhoods.

Even architects who have used the trend in their own designs are unsure of the long-term effects on the city’s over-all look.

“Old San Francisco is a white Mediterranean city,” said Stanley Saitowitz, the architect responsible for a new 6-story condominium on 20th St. painted a rich charcoal. “Black’s definitely the new color, but my feeling now is that it really doesn’t fit too well with the light.”

Like most trends, the feeling seems to be: “less is more.” In context, black paint can highlight a building’s structure or provide necessary visual balance to a bold neighboring edifice; however, if black continues to be in vogue, many people fear that the trend is in danger of changing the face of San Francisco as we know it.

This article can be found in its original form at SFGate.

Images: San Francisco Chronicle

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

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View from a home for sale in Oakland, CA; via Househappy.

These ten major metro areas are expected to see the biggest increase in home prices this year according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller’s latest home price forecast:

1. Oakland, California
Median home price: $545,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 9.3%

2. Fort Worth, Texas
Median home price: $181,300
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.9%

3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Median home price: $163,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.7%

4. Richmond, Virginia
Median home price: $220,600
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.5%

5. Hartford, Connecticut
Median home price: $234,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.3%

6. Tampa, Florida
Median home price: $177,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

7. Baltimore, Maryland
Median home price: $299,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

8. Birmingham, Alabama
Median home price: $174,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.8%

9. New York
Median home price: $440,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.4%

10. Memphis, Tennessee
Median home price: $122,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.3%

This article can be found in its original form on CNN Money.

Photos: Househappy.org

With the Winter Olympics coming up, you may be inspired to hit the slopes yourself. From the best après-ski hangouts to the prettiest peaks, here is Sunset’s list of best ski towns in the West.

Most relaxed: Rossland, British Columbia––Not a fan of the resorts? With only 112,000 visitors to the slope per year, Rossland manages to maintain that unaffected, small town charm.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Most Old West charm: Steamboat Springs, Colorado––Surrounded by 400 cattle ranches, skiers can mingle with the spur-clad locals.

Prettiest town: Telluride, Colorado––13,000 foot peaks and Bridal Veil Falls, what more could you ask for?

Most under the radar: Sandpoint, Idaho––In the panhandle between glacially formed Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains, Sandpoint has remained relatively unknown. Highlights include: MickDuff’s Brewing Co., Pend D’Oreille Winery tasting room, and Bistro Rouge Café.

Most food-focused: Bend, Oregon––There’s nothing better than a good meal after a long day of skiing, and this former logging town certainly delivers. Try the sandwiches from Jackson’s Corner; Spork, a cart that serves Thai curry and tacos; Zydecom for New Orlean’s flavors; 900 Wall, for a pasta/pizza/steak menu that truly delivers; and Joolz, an Oregonian take on Lebanese food.

Most charm: Crested Butte, Colorado––Expect to see anything from a hand painted bus to ski-toting bike riders.

Best après-ski scene: Jackson Hole, Wyoming––From the Mangy Moose to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, the locals in Jackson prove they are as hard-partying as they are hard-skiing.

Teton Village in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Most well-rounded: Truckee, California––Just 13 miles north of Lake Tahoe, this ski town has something for everyone from cafés, to jazz lounges, to tasting rooms.

Easiest ski weekend: Park City, Utah––Just a quick plane flight away, Park City mixes small-town charm with a swanky celeb scene during Sundance Film Festival.

Best for non-skiers: Taos, New Mexico––Though the steep slopes atop a 9,207 foot base beckons experts, the town of Taos has everything for the non-skier from the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo, El Monte Sagrado’s spa, and an art museum.

This article can be found in its original form at Sunset

Photos: Red Mountain Resort, Brown Cannon III via Sunset, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

A Tiny House on Wheels

Househappy —  January 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

At just 240 square feet, Alex Lisefski built this tiny house on an 8-by-20-flatbed trailer. Because he didn’t want to commit to a location or pay rent, he decided to construct his own home using cheap local materials and the help of his friends.

Lisefski, a web designer, has always had an interest in architecture and was very excited to take on the project. The home has all the amenities any other home has from hot water to lights and a stove. He documented some of the process on his website The Tiny Project and uses the site to educate the community about alternative, affordable and more sustainable ways of living.

“Inhabiting such a small space forces me to live in a simpler, more organized and efficient way,” Lisefski said. “I’m forced to spend more time outdoors, in nature and engaging with my community.” He currently shares the home with his girlfriend and their dog in Sebastopol, California.

Sources: HouzzThe Tiny Project

House for sale in Santa Clarita, CA, one of the 10 safest mid-sized cities in America.

Did you know that in some cases, mid-sized cities have a higher crime rate than large cities? By looking at the 2013 FBI crime statistics for cities with residential populations between 126,047 and 210,309, Movoto ranked 100 mid-sized cities by crime-rate.

Here are the 10 safest mid-sized cities in the nation:

  1. Glendale, CA
  2. Santa Clarita, CA
  3. Sunnyvale, CA
  4. Naperville, IL
  5. Cary, NC
  6. Thousand Oaks, CA
  7. Oxnard, CA
  8. Aurora, IL
  9. Huntington Beach, CA
  10. Torrance, CA

This article can be found in its original form on Movoto

Photo: Househappy.org