Friday, December 19, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Restored Irish Farmhouse

Once again, we've fallen for a dreamy property in the Irish countryside, this time in far western County Leitrim, just over the border of County Sligo near the sweet village of Ballintogher (home to one of our favorite pubs, Morans, which has excellent music and friendly patrons). Originally built in 1880, this traditional farmhouse was completely revamped a few years back and now has all the modern conveniences you could want—just look at the kitchen and baths—plus vintage details like fireplaces, oak flooring and interior stone walls. The 5 bed/3 bath home extends to adjacent converted stone stables (which contains a reception room and bedroom suite that opens to the courtyard), and the 2.7 acre property includes a walled garden, poly-tunneled- and glass greenhouse and lawns. Nearby is gorgeous Lough Gill, home to 20 tiny islands including Innisfree, which inspired W.B. Yeats' famous poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"; the larger town of Sligo is less than a 20 minute drive. The cost for all this beauty? A very reasonable $490K. See more of its beauty here

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cool, Contemporary Cabin in the Woods

Okay, this extraordinary1970 home in Pennsylvania's bucolic Bucks County is not really a cabin, but there is a lot of wood in its composition, and it is surrounded by forest, so it's not a lie, either. Built in the early 1970s, the 3 bed/2.5 bath home is a heady mix of rustic chic and contemporary thrill. Thus, its 2800 square feet features 18 foot high wood clad ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, sleek industrial style kitchen and baths with fancy appliances and top notch finishes. We're also gaga for the unusual river-rock foyer floor, stained glass accents throughout, excellent lighting fixtures (they'd all have to stay!) and the walls of glass that make it feel like you're in the middle of a beautiful nature painting. That the $699.9K asking price includes nearly 3 acres of wooded privacy is just the cherry on top for us—how about you? Take a closer look here

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Importance of Being Elegant

A roomy condo in a nearly 100 year old Tudor style building? Who cares where it is, we're in! Fortunately, the 2800 square foot unit can be found in coveted Marcy-Holmes, Minneapolis' oldest neighborhood, bordered by the Mississippi River between downtown and the University of Minnesota. On the market for $499K, the 3 bed/2.5 bath home has been well-maintained and updated, but retains the luscious vintage details we crave: rich hardwood floors, 2 fireplaces, wood-trimmed ceilings and multi-paned windows, original doors and more built-ins than even we could fill (ok, that's probably not true, but it is considerable). We also spied one of our favorite updates--a split a/c unit (we luv Mitsubishi Mr. Slim!)--and lots of extra spaces (enclosed sun room, study, extra lounge areas). There are parks nearby as well as shops and restaurants, including personal favorite, Restaurant Alma for a splure-worthy meal (you can't go wrong with the glazed pork shoulder, almond crusted monkfish or 3 course vegetarian dinner). And just think: condo living means you don't have to mow the lawn, rake the leaves or clean the gutters! See more of it here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Walk the Vine: Wowed in California Wine Country

A gorgeous 90 minute drive north of San Francisco, the picturesque Sonoma County city of Healdsburg stands smack dab in the middle of California's famed wine country (there are at least 100 wineries in the area) and is home to antique shops, high-end b&b's, and some of the best restaurants in the state (we like Chalkboard and Scopa, in particular). If this sounds like your idea of nirvana—and you've got deep pockets—then we present this 3400 square foot revamped former ranch house on nearly 2 acres for your purchasing consideration. Located just a few minutes north of Healdsburg's pretty 19th century town plaza, the 2 bed/2.5 bath property has all sorts of stylish touches, from darker-hued wood floors to vaulted ceilings, built-ins, interior french doors, the kitchen of pretty much anyone's dream, and simple but elegant baths. The $3.3 million price tag includes what looks suspiciously like a separate guest apartment (where we'd love to stay anytime between mid January and the end of April), plus an in ground pool, gardens, patios and European-style graveled walkways under rows of trees. Take a closer look at it all here

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Portland, Oregon

Although it's often called "The City of Roses," we think Oregon's largest city should consider dubbing itself "The City of Tasty Beverages" as some of America's greatest beer, coffee and even hard liquor (Distillery Row is real and amazing!) are made and consumed here. Just a suggestion. Of course, Portland has many other attributes—stunning scenery, ecologically conscientious policies, exceptionally friendly natives—including some great neighborhoods, like leafy Hillsdale, popular with young families because of its great schools, many parks and and suburban feel. Priced at $595K, this 2500 square foot home there has 4 beds/3 baths and updates ranging from a kitchen with quartz counters and maple cabinets to a master suite with 2 walk in closets. The 1956 home also features radiant heat (something we dream about), an open floor plan with polished wood floors and cozy fireplace, large deck, and tons of new windows framing crazy-amazing city and mountain views. We can easily imagine staring out at those evergreens while sipping an exceptional cup of joe. Or a frosty brew. Or a smoky whiskey on the rocks. While we go raid the bar cart, see more of this home here

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Wednesday Wow: A Manhattan Love Story

Featuring any properties in Manhattan is a rarity here—there's just no way to justify the city's stroke-inducing prices (like the $95 million condo currently for sale uptown)—but we've actually found one worth telling you about. Built in 1899, this 3300 square foot totally revamped and reno'd brick West Village townhouse is on the market for $13.850 million and includes 5 beds, 4 full-, 2 half baths, roof deck, terrace, private patio and a sizable and shared garden. The details are beyond dreamy: 6 working fireplaces, leaded glass windows, oak herringbone floors, Moroccan tile, a master suite that takes up the entire top floor, double height living room, handsome moldings and millwork, steel casement doors and windows, and zoned heat and a/c system. We're crushing hard on everything here, especially the cozy, luxe library with marble fireplace and glowing lacquered walls (we hope the furniture is negotiable cuz there's no way we'd let that sofa walk out the door!). Five other town houses and St. John's Church share the enchanting garden which is filled with statues, fountains, Japanese maples, hydrangeas, bluebells, etc. Fantastic restaurants and shops are just outside the door (as is famed jazz club, The Village Vanguard), and neighbors include celebrities we actually like, such as Julianne Moore and Hugh Jackman. What's not to love? See more of the house we'd like to marry here

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Preaching to the Choir: Live in a 19th Century Church

Our deep and abiding love for barn-, school-, and especially church conversions is well-documented on these pages, though we don't come across these kinds of homes nearly enough. Which makes today's find all that much sweeter: a 1400 square foot 2 bed/2.5 bath condo in the former choir loft of a church just east of downtown Providence, Rhode Island in the lively Fox Point neighborhood. The Union Baptist Church, built in 1876, was divvied up into 13 units in the late 1990s, but along with adding modern amenities like underground parking, central air and an elevator, the brick exterior remains intact, as do details like stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors and columns. Asking $349K, the home is close to parks, transportation, the waterfront, shops and restaurants. Naturally, we have a recommendation regarding the latter: Tea in the Sahara, which reminds us of a particular Moroccan cafe in Paris' 5th, has lovely tea service, delicious delicacies and reasonable prices. While we put on the kettle for what will doubtlessly be an inferior cuppa, take a closer look at the condo here

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Dallas, Texas

What do Mark Salling (the cute guy from "Glee"), Chris Harrison (the cute host from "The Bachelor"), and hipster rocker St. Vincent (real name: Annie Clark) have in common? They're all from the Lake Highlands area of northeast Dallas! Naturally, we took this as a sign to go house hunting there and turned up this winner: built in 1961, the 4 bed/2 bath mid-century beauty sits on a leafy street just a few blocks from highly rated White Rock Elementary school, and has over 2600 square feet of gently updated living spaces. Asking $599K, highlights start at the curb (love the landscaping, the covered front patio with skylight and the pale aqua door!) and include interior details like bright, open floor plan, vaulted ceilings, blonde wood floors and a fetching circular white brick fireplace. There's also a detached 2 car garage and fully fenced yard with raised garden beds, mature trees, and several paved patios. We're sold, how about you? Take a closer look here

Friday, December 5, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Swede as Apple Pie!

We were so excited by this enchanting converted barn in southern Sweden that we celebrated by inhaling a pickled herring smorbrod and a shot of lingonberry-infused akvavit! Located near the picturesque fishing village of Kivik in an area known as "the apple kingdom"—over 70 varieties are grown here—the 1300 square foot home has 2 beds/1 bath and more charm than a bus full of handsome Skarsgards (that might be a slight exaggeration). Wide plank floors, two cozy fireplaces, exposed beams and wood-clad ceilings aside, the $359K home hasn't been nicely updated; there are discreetly placed wall heaters throughout, gas stove and oven, multi-paned windows and a gorgeous curved wood staircase leading up to the large sleeping loft. Surrounded by orchards and farmhouses, the house is a short stroll to Kivik's many restaurants, pristine Baltic beaches, and stunning 1000 acre Stenshuvud National Park. Note: while Stockholm is 6 hours away by car, Copenhagen is just 90 minutes, which makes this a viable summer getaway for Europeans (or very adventurous Americans). See it here

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rendez Views: An Aerie in the City of Angels

We're not usually into swanky high rise condos, but when it's this fab, we'll make an exception. First off, the West Hollywood, California location couldn't get better: not only is it mere steps from what might be the coolest hotel in America (the legendary Sunset Marquis, home away from home to loads of rock stars, writers and discreet politicians), but it's a short stroll to the shops, clubs and restaurants of Sunset Plaza (our fave: Book Soup!). Asking $1.99 million, the 2 bed/3 bath pad has a roomy 2350 square feet, with luxe touches throughout, from the sleek European kitchen cabinets and stunning master bath with walk-in shower and soaking tub, to the projection room with bar. There's a covered outdoor lounge area with impressive views, or you can head up to the 1964 building's ginormous roof top deck—there's a pool, patios and grassy areas—for the full 360 degree effect. Did we mention the tennis courts, gym and valet parking? Well, now we have, so take a closer look at these divine digs here