Friday, November 21, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Normandy, France

One of the reasons we return again and again to the country that bestowed the world with treasures such as champagne, camembert and Catherine Deneuve, is because of properties like this one. Built nearly 200 years ago as a hunting lodge, this incredibly picturesque 2 bed/1.5 bath stone cottage—located about 140 miles due west of Paris in the Calvados region of Normandy—has a recently re-thatched roof (try finding one of these stateside!), modern kitchen and bath, updated mechanicals (heat, internet, etc), huge living room fireplace, exposed beams and countryside views from every window. Outside, there's a pleasing little summer house with covered jacuzzi (two rather jolly looking pensioners are actually pictured in it!), a matching thatched roof barn being used as workshop (it has electricity, so we're thinking 'future guest house'), patios, lawns, and gorgeous gardens on over half an acre with a stream. Larger towns like Vassy and Vire are just a few minutes' drive, while the port town of Caen and the historic beaches of Normandy are about an hour. The price for all this exquisiteness? $262K. And that's why we keep coming back. See it for yourself here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Thursday Thaw: Small but Fierce in Key West

As we're currently wearing every piece of cashmere we own (the northeast has succumbed to winter), the thought of living in Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville," aka Key West, Florida, where you'll never have high heating bills or need a snow shovel, sounds awfully appealing. Asking $649.9K, this adorable 2 bed/1 bath 1933 cottage is perfectly located and has updates and charm for miles. For starters, the 850 square foot home's white painted cathedral ceilings give it an airy feeling, while the cabin-like pine walls infuse warmth and coziness. We also love the bright, modern kitchen with quartz counters and steel appliances, and the adjacent dining porch couldn't be lovelier. Like the house, the back yard is small, but lush plantings, a koi pond and a sweet covered bath area—with clawfoot tub—more than make up for it. Everything you could want is a short stroll from the front door: the beach, the Ernest Hemingway Museum (say hey to the six-toed cats!), the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, and a restaurants for every day of the month (we're partial to the conch chowder, pulled pork and pitchers of sangria at nearby El Siboney). Take a closer look at this home here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Wednesday Wow: Modernist Berkshires Barn

Normally, when the Berkshires beckon, it's because we've fallen for an antique farmhouse or 19th century Georgian, but this singular 2009 contemporary has turned our head and won our heart with its sexy modern lines. Built and designed by two people who obviously know design, the 3 bed/2.5 bath 3800 square foot home is front-loaded with discreet but luxe touches like radiant heating beneath polished concrete floors, slinky kitchen with top notch appliances (Miele! Blue Star! SubZero!), and a master suite with two walk in closets and a bathroom we'd find difficult to leave (limestone soaking tub, anyone?). Surrounded by 13 glorious acres—which can be viewed via the double height living room's humongous wall of windows—the $1.65 million property is located near Sheffield, Massachusetts, the antique shops-filled Berkshires town which the New York Times has described as "sophisticated," "charming," and "laid back." Take a closer look at this remarkable home here

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Seeing the Light in Lake Oswego, Oregon

We traveled less than 10 miles south of Portland for something that, like chocolate and movies where Liam Neeson beats up bad guys, we find irresistible: a snazzy 70s house! Ignore the ruby-colored living room walls and the, er, grandmotherly floor coverings and focus your attention on this 1974 beauty's high, vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, two fireplaces, swanky kitchen, walls of glass, updated baths and 2 wood-burning fireplaces instead. Located just north of affluent Lake Oswego itself in the leafy neighborhood of Mountain Park—a planned community on 700 acres of volcanic hillside with a clubhouse, pools, tennis courts and 8 miles of trails—the home has 3 beds/2.5 baths and 2450 square feet of living space plus an attached 2 car garage and enclosed yard with deck and patio. $475K puts the front door keys in your hand and allows you to start picking paint colors and decor asap. Take a closer look here

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Jonesing for A. Quincy!

If we had $2.995 million, there's no way we'd rather than spend it than by purchasing this sensational 4 bed/4.5 bath home in Los Angeles designed by famed mid-century architect A. Quincy Jones. Built in 1950, the fully renovated 3200 square foot home—which includes a swanky 1 bed/1 bath guest apartment over the garage—takes full advantage of the west coast weather with floor to ceiling windows throughout, fenced yard with patio and built in BBQ, and views of the city, canyon and even the Pacific Ocean. A few of our favorite things include the unique pivot entry door, white painted tongue and groove ceilings, hardwood floors, sunken living room, masonry block walls and fireplace, and luxe kitchen with high end appliances and marble counters. The home is located on a quarter acre lot in Brentwood, one of L.A.'s best neighborhoods and home to dozens of celebrities such as Ben and Jen, Jim Carrey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dustin Hoffman and Heidi Klum (head to the Brentwood Country Mart to see them looking "just like us!"). Before some actor whose show just got picked up takes it off the market, we encourage you to see more of this home here

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Atlanta, Georgia

Well, technically, we're a few miles northeast of downtown in Doraville, but it's part of the metro area and a short ride via car or train to the city. Specifically, we're in one of our favorite mid-century modern neighborhoods in America, Northcrest, a subdivision developed in the 1950s-early 70s that's full of reasonably priced homes (with low taxes!) surrounded by pretty pines and mature trees. With 2100 square feet and 3 beds/2.5 baths on a half acre, this updated 1966 contemporary would meet a young family's needs, especially with an asking price of $289.9K and pluses like new roof, HVAC system and new kitchen with mosaic backsplash and stainless appliances. Original details like hardwood floors, brick walls, vaulted wood ceilings and carport aren't bad, either. See it for yourself here

Friday, November 14, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: San Miguel de Allende for...$84k!

We got so excited when we found this property that we hyperventilated and had breathe into a paper bag from the local bakery (there is nothing like a fresh, buttery croissant, so it smelled delicious) and lie down on the couch for a while. Just a few minutes' stroll from San Miguel de Allende's idyllic town center—this central Mexican enclave, home to expats from all over the world, features winding cobbled streets, colorful stucco walls and lush flora and fauna—this small but darling home is on the market for $84K, which makes a warm weather getaway a distinct possibility for those who couldn't normally afford it. The well-designed 450 square foot studio has living, dining and sleeping areas, plus small but functional kitchen and bath with attractive tile work. Floor to ceiling windows opens to a private, walled patio and nicely landscaped garden. A truly inspiring way to end our unintentional Bargain Week, we urge you to take a closer look at this home here

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bargain Week—Thursday: Vintage Chicago Condo

The Lakeview East neighborhood just north of downtown Chicago has everything the urban dweller could desire: quick access to restaurants, shops, parks, the water and the lively Belmont Theater District. It's also where we found yet another bargain (we hadn't planned on doing a week of deals, but we're happy it turned out that way), this pleasing 2 bed/2 bath condo, one of 70 units in a doorman building from 1928, priced at just $299K. The 1600 square foot unit is packed with original details like crown molding, herringbone floors, arched doorways, carved niches, and fabulous baths boasting vintage subway tile and big built-in cast iron tubs (one of them even even appears to have half a dozen body sprayers!). A garage space is also available for $200 a month—always a plus in the Windy City. See what will make budget-minded NYC home buyers weep with jealousy and frustration here

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Deal of the Day: Charming Texas Victorian Under $300K

Located around 30 miles from both Houston and Galveston, Alvin, Texas is one of those towns where a perfect weekend means cheering on the local high school football team (go Yellowjackets!), hitting the Malt N Burger for a double cheeseburger with a chocolate malt, and maybe taking the family over to Froberg's Farm for fresh vegetables, fruit and some of the tastiest pies in the state (in addition to more traditional pumpkin, they also mini fried ones in flavors like buttermilk chocolate pecan). If this sounds like the kind of place where you could be happy, we humbly suggest this handsome, homey 120 year old Victorian within walking distance of several excellent schools. Priced at just $292K, the 2700 square foot home has 3 beds/2.5 baths, wrap around double porches, enclosed yard, detached 2 car garage with workshop, updated kitchen and baths, and vintage details like high ceilings, burnished wood floors and transom windows. We know you're dying to look, so do it here

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sweet and Sassy in Sausalito, California

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge out of San Francisco is one of life's greatest pleasures, as all roads lead to gorgeous scenery, great wine and amazing food. Our first stop is always Sausalito, which looks like something out of the south of France, its houses clinging to hillsides leading down to the waterfront, dotted with fantastic shops and restaurants where you wave at passing sailboats while enjoying an entree. The only thing that could make it better? If we lived there—specifically, in this groovy 3 bed/2 bath boat-like house from 1970 with water views and multiple decks. The $1.25 million asking price is perfectly normal for pricey Marin County, and includes 1700 square feet of space with a wonderfully open living/dining/kitchen, complete with soaring wood walls, sumptuous fireplace, ginormous windows, skylights and parking for 2. You can also walk down to the waterfront and have one of the better meals of your life at the well-named restaurant Fish., where we recommend the crab roll, fish tacos or whatever's on the specials board. See what we're crushing hard on today here