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

Getting A Warm Welcome in the Twin Cities

Practically on the doorstep of pretty Sibley Park—home to gardens, playing fields, wading pool, ice rink, tennis court and rec center—the leafy Minneapolis neighborhood of Standish was established in the early 1900s by Norwegian and Swedish immigrants. Located on the city's south side, its new light rail train system makes it easy to connect to downtown, the Mall of America and the Twin Cities' international airport. Which makes this darling 3 bed/1.5 bath vintage bungalow there all the more attractive! On the market for $240K, we love the 1922 home's original features like the hardwood floors, beautiful built-ins, and handsome wood trimmed windows, but appreciate the updates like the kitchen, baths, finished lower level (now an office and family room) and two car garage. See more of this bargain here

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Located about 90 minutes south of Portland in the midst of the Cascades, the gorgeous city of Corvallis is the kind of place where bicycling to work is de rigeur (made easier by the mild year round weather), building green is the way to go (it's been awarded as the city with the most green buildings of its size), and volunteering with the Peace Corps is fairly common (it has the highest number per capita). In other words, you'd be lucky to live here—especially if you could do so from the confines of this exquisite 1956 MCM perched on 1.5+ acres with views of the mountains and mere yards from nearly 100 year old Corvallis Country Club. The 4 bed/5 bath home has 4340+ square feet of living space with wood-clad cathedral ceilings, 3 fireplaces, updated kitchen, built-ins, and several outdoor spaces including decks, patios, koi pond, hot tub and drop dead views from all. The reasonable $759K asking price even includes a sweet guest house where family, friends or even mad-talented bloggers who made you aware of this property in the first place can stay! While we mark our 2015 calendar for a May visit (is 4 days okay?), see more of it here

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Baltimore, Maryland

We found this stunner in the northern Baltimore suburbs, an oak-dappled area near Stevenson University that's known as horse country (this is where the posh Maryland Hunt Cup takes place). Built in 1958, the 4650+ square foot glass, stone and wood contemporary has been thoroughly upgraded and reno'd, though we must say that the bland furniture in the photos, which we're assuming (hoping?) were brought in for staging, don't do the house justice (we suggest imagining snazzier pieces from and instead). Nonethless, the 5 bed, 3 full- and 2 half-bath home has obvious wow factor, from its sky high vaulted ceilings with walls of glass to travertine floors to two stone fireplaces. $580K includes things like over half an acre of loveliness; a separate downtstairs suite perfect for the in-laws, an au pair or the college grad who won't leave home; and a dazzling (to us) whole house ductless system for both heating and cooling. Take a closer look here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Where the Wild Things Are!

A loyal reader will be heading off to Australia soon, so we took the news as an excuse to—what else?—go house hunting! But rather than stick to the cities, we went off the beaten track looking for rural-luxe and, damn, if we didn't find it: a sleek contemporary carved out of sandstone in South Wales' stunning Kangaroo Valley, a National Trust area about 2 hours south of Sydney. Priced around $3.8 million, there's a 3 bed/3 bath main house with extras like a screening room, wine cellar and office; a 4 bed/2 bath guest house; pool, tennis court, covered and open patios and acres of exotic gardens (we don't know how many, but we're guessing it's significant). Hidden from view and reached via a long  private drive, the estate is surrounded by lush forest and ancient boulders, with personal access to the river for kayaking and boating. The village of Kangaroo Valley (where a popular annual folk festival will take place in a week) is a few minutes' drive, but if you prefer communing with the less domesticated, this is the place: King Parrots, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, wombats, sugar gliders and, yes, kangaroos (mostly wallabies, actually) all make their home here. Heed the call of the wild (style)—take a closer look at this amazing property here

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Young at Heart in the Motor City

Contrary to popular belief, there are still some neighborhoods in Detroit that aren't filled with crack dens and abandoned homes—can-do hipsters have taken over Corktown and much of downtown, filling the streets with coffee shops and rescue dogs. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city's affluent Indian Village neighborhood has dozens of huge early 20th century architecturally significant homes. We're rather partial to this one: built in 1916, the 5200+ square foot 6 bed/4 bath home, asking $525K, mixes vintage details with modern amenities to charming effect. Things we love: the pale wood floors, clean molding, lovely iron railed stairs, sun room with palladium windows and doors (oooh, and that iron work!), built-ins, and updated but vintage-style bathrooms (like the black subway tile in one). We're also keen on the lushly landscaped yard with patio and pool, and the area's burgeoning restaurant scene (Rose's for amazing breakfasts and scrumptious upside down cakes, and Craft Work for their French dip sandwich with fries). Need further convincing? Then just take a closer look at the house here