Friday, October 24, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Caliente, Colombia!



We confess: until recently, the only thing we knew about Colombia was that drug lord Pablo Escobar ruled from there, and that the seemingly omnipresent actress Sofia Vergara is from there. But Pablo died over 20 years ago and the country's changed a lot since then—it's safe, the economy is good and it's become a foodie and high end tourist destination. We found this magnificent villa in the Magdalena River Valley town of Anapoima, a delightful weekend/resort destination about 2 hours from Bogota known for its near perfect year round weather (temps average just below 80 F year round). On the market for around $1.3 million, it has a staggering 10,700 square feet of living spaces with most rooms opening to views of the lush vegetation surrounding the 1 acre property. Inside are 4 bedrooms, 5 full- and 1 half-baths, with sunny, open spaces, high ceilings, stacked stone walls, and high end finishes; outside, the hammock-strewn decks and patios surrounding the infinity pool are positively dreamy. Take a step closer to making it a reality—take a closer look here

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This Boise Life: A Modern Marvel

Just 40 miles east of the Oregon border, the lively capital of Idaho mixes attractions of natural beauty (mountains! rivers! endless skies!) with those of more cultural significance (the Boise Philharmonic, the Idaho Ballet, Boise Art Museum, Opera Idaho, etc). A few minutes from downtown and a few blocks south of Boise State University, this 3600 square foot home—originally built in 1940—underwent a dramatic transformation nearly a decade ago and emerged as a warm, bright contemporary. Settled on a tree-ringed 1.2 acre lot, the 4 bed/3.5 bath house features this sumptuous library with soaring ceilings and custom built bookcases, high end kitchen, hardwood floors, two fireplaces and walls of windows. Priced at $735K, it's mere yards from lovely 11 acre Manitou Park, full of stately trees, playgrounds, baseball field and tennis courts, and a short stroll to restaurants like Shangri-La Tea & Vegetarian, where even meat eaters dig their bubble tea and delish cheesecake. Location, style, the great outdoors and dessert? We're in! Take a closer look at our dreamhouse here

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hearts and Crafts: Rock Solid in Birmingham, AL


We were leafing through the October issue of House Beautiful when we came across a fabulous vintage apartment in Birmingham that had just been revamped by the talented design duo of Doug Davis and Hannon Kirk Doody (see the article/pics here). Which naturally led us to fantasize about moving to the fun, surprisingly sophisticated Alabama city, which is home to everything from America's oldest baseball park (1910's Rickwood Field) to the second oldest drag queen contest (The Apollo Pageant). Anyhoo, that's how we came to fall for this handsome 1919 craftsman in the city's pretty Highland Park neighborhood, just southeast of downtown. Asking $375K, the 4 bed/2.5 bath 2850 square foot home has one of our favorite front porches eveh—the stone colums, the white ceilings, the amazing tile!—wood-trimmed ceilings, walls and windows, original pocket doors, river rock fireplace, and shady, enclosed yard with large patio. You owe it to yourself to see more of it here

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Land, Ho!: Antique Farmhouse + Acreage = Bliss

"In all my travels in this country and in Europe, I have not seen a village more beautiful than this." Those words, uttered by author Washington Irving in 1832, were referring to Orford, a tiny town on the Connecticut River in the far west of New Hampshire, just over the Vermont border. Naturally, we took the Sleepy Hollow creator's edict to mean that we should go house hunting—and, holy flaming head, look what we found! An 1820 compound, dubbed Turtle Pond Farm, that seamlessly mixes original details with modern updates, plus separate studio, two barns (one for the horses), a spring fed pond and a whopping 240 acres of Mother Nature's finest land. We could weep (with joy) over the sunny kitchen's soaring ceilings with skylight; sing about the burnished wood-clad, multi-paned windows and multitude of fireplaces; and write poems about the flower strewn gardens, open fields and rich green woodlands surrounding the property. Could. Instead,we'll direct you to take a look at the whole reasonably priced (950K) shebang for yourself here

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Ann Arbor, Michigan


One of America's great college towns, Ann Arbor has several leafy neighborhoods sprinkled with mid-century gems; one of our favorites is Allen, just southeast of downtown on the Huron River. $519K will nab you this snazzy 3250 square foot 1959 contemporary there, close to the city's excellent schools and several parks. We're loving the wood-clad ceilings, white brick accent walls, open staircase, updated kitchen, fireplace, and walls of windows, many framing the water. The 2 bed/2 bath home has a large 2+ car garage and over half an acre of outdoor spaces, including a Japanese style garden, deck with hot tub, and boxed planting areas. Just down the road is bucolic Gallup Park (favorite feature: pedestrian bridges connecting tiny islands), as well as historic Huron Hills Golf Course. In other words, this is a great place to call home—see more of it here

Friday, October 17, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: From Paris, With Love

It's been a rather trying week (we've been told that Mercury in retrograde is to blame), so to cheer ourselves up, we headed across the Atlantic to go house hunting in a city we especially like to visit in the fall: glamorous, indelible Paris. As being near one of the four phenomenal city parks developed by Napoleon III, we chose the Left Bank's 14th arrondissement, home to spectacular Parc Montsouris—and this stylish 4 story house. The 5100+ square feet alone make it a rarity in a city known for its extremely petit living spaces, and there are 5 beds, 2 full- and 3 half baths as well as a garden, terrace, basement and (drum roll please) a garage! Highlights include the sunny, open 'reception' room with glass catwalks; slinky, curving marble stairs; and the modern kitchen with its glass walls overlooking the garden. The $7.2 million property also has the kind of groovy provenance that we find terribly chic: it's the former home of painter-sculptor Andre Derain (1880-1954), whose boldly colored canvases can be found in museums all over the world. We know what we'll be dreaming about this weekend—take a closer look here   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Heaven Help Us—It's a Church Conversion!

It's been forever since we featured one of these, but this heavenly wonder makes the wait worthwhile: located in southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the former St. Joseph's of Marienstein has been revamped into a splendid 3 bed/2.5 bath home. Updates include radiant heat floors, modern kitchen with concrete counters, and ginormous built-ins on each side of what used to be the altar, but it's the original details that have us singing "hallelujah!" There's the soaring ceilings, of course, the intact bell tower, restored murals and a multitude of beautiful arched and stained glass windows throughout. An old iron fence surrounds the home, including the pretty flagstone patio and garden, and the property's 1.5 acres includes an adorable garden shed that looks like a mini church, complete with its own stained glass windows. The thriving restaurant scene of Frenchtown is nearby, as is Ringing Rocks County Park, and you can be in Philadelphia in an hour and Manhattan in 90 minutes. Asking $749K (and likely to get it)—take a closer look here

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taking the Plunge in Westchester

It's probably not even true, but the story about how the hamlet of Purchase—part of the bigger town of Harrison in Westchester County, New York—came to exist is craaazy: an Englishman named John Harrison was allowed to buy all the land he could cover on horseback in a single day for the equivalent of around $60; thus it became known as...Harrison's Purchase! Dubious history lesson aside, we fell hard and fast for this extraordinary 5 bed/7 bath 1951 contemporary there, which comes complete with 3 acres and a stunning indoor pool we'd marry if we could (but really, how do you put a ring on this?). The 5100 square foot home's $3.5 million asking price includes all sorts of great stuff, from vaulted ceilings and 3 fireplaces to a wine cellar and walls of glass that allow for full enjoyment of the property's luxuriant gardens. It probably doesn't include the owner's amazing artwork (faves include the triptych in one of the bathrooms and fabulous ceramic 'baby' sculpture on the coffee table), but we'd definitely ask! See more of this amazing home here

Finding Comfort in Texas Hill Country

If you've never been to Texas Hill Country, you're missing out on one of America's prettiest places, greener than you thought and groovier than you expected, with a burgeoning wine industry to boot. And once you do arrive (we're expecting you to book a trip soon), head straight for Comfort, the sweetest small town we've pretty much ever seen, full of b&b's, antique shops and restaurants housed in historic buildings. Located right on Main Street and listed at $599.9K, this 120 year old property actually consists of 3 buildings: the renovated 5 bed/3.5 bath main house and two adorable 1 bed/1 bath cottages. A casual one-story Victorian, the main home has a comfy covered front porch for sipping sweet tea (or something stronger) and keeping an eye on the neighborhood (or the neighbors); inside you'll find burnished wood floors, tall windows, formal dining room, living room with fireplace and family room, plus modern eat-in country kitchen with tons of storage. Pluses include the large 3 car garage and workshop, fenced in garden/yard, and quick access to restaurants (like High's Cafe for savory breakfasts) and bars (we suggest Meet Market, where you pay via the honor system). We can't imagine this property will be available much longer, so hurry and take a closer look here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Flaming Star in the City of Roses

This is the kind of house that ignites our passion...gets us all hot and bothered...makes us burn with desire...and it's no wonder—it's a former fire house! Built in 1917 in south Pasadena, close to all the shops and restaurants of the downtown area, it was designed by prolific local architect Joseph Blick (several of his buildings are still standing and listed on the National Register of Historic Places). The 3 engine bays that originally stored the fire trucks are now the heart of the home and serve as the living room, dining room and family room, and the hose tower remains intact. The luxe 4200 square foot house has 3 beds/3 baths, with a possible 4th bedroom via the office (which has an attached bath) or the library. The outdoor spaces make maximum use of the property's quarter acre, with landscaped gardens, patios, fountain, stone fireplace and pergola covered dining space. The $2.75 asking price seems about right for such a hot piece of...ok, ok, we'll stop!—but only if you take a closer look at it here