Thursday, October 30, 2014

Uptown Pearl: Loft Living in the Windy City

Fun fact: the Uptown area of Chicago, long known as the entertainment district, was once the location of the Essanay Studios where stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson produced films. These days, the neighborhood, just a few blocks from Lake Michigan's pristine beaches, is still home to several theater and music venues (Riviera Theatre, Aragon Entertainment Center), in addition to dozens of restaurants and cocktail bars. It's also where we found this urbane 1700 square foot 2 bed/2 bath loft carved out of a 1939 building and featuring things like 17 foot high ceilings, blonde wood floors, a large and dapper kitchen, built-in sound system, electric shades and ginormous windows. While the $510K asking price includes a garage parking space (much coveted in this city), it probably doesn't include the fabulous baby grand or the imaginative artwork. But as we always say: that's what negotiating's for! Take a closer look at this awesome loft here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Budget-Busting Philip Johnson Creation in Dallas, Texas

It's not every day—or every month or even year, for that matter—that you come across a private residence designed by the late, great Philip Johnson, the legendary architect behind so many wondrous modern buildings, from his own famed Glass House to the Seagram Building.
(Note: we're also fans of his fanciful PPG Glass Building, which crowns the Pittsburgh skyline.) He designed this ginormous 11,400 square foot home in Dallas' upscale Preston Hollow neighborhood in 1963, and with a thorough renovation, the 6.5 acre property is now on the market for a heart-stopping $27.5 million (but it's not the priciest in the area—there's one nearby for $29.9 million!). Hidden behind gates (two sets actually as there are two separate entrances), the home features 5 bedrooms, 7 full- and 4 half-baths, along with 6 living/lounging rooms, and two dining rooms, plus top notch finishes like terrazzo, marble and wood flooring. The breathtaking grounds include a pool, pool house/media room, tennis court, several patios, lawns, gardens and who knows what else. As for that price, look at it this way: compared to what you get for the same money in, say, New York, Hong Kong, or London, this is actually a bargain! See it all here

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cabin Joy: A Bargain in the Tennessee Mountains

We'd practically given up on finding on a vintage log cabin possessing all the things we considered essential: it had been renovated but maintained its original features; was cozy but not too small; had some land but not too much; had the kind of views that usually only exist in fiction or on state park websites; and, naturally, was well-priced and insanely charming. And then we stumbled on this adorable 114 year old vision of loveliness in tiny Beersheba Springs, a former 19th century resort destination about 95 miles southeast of Nashville and some 60 miles north of Chattanooga. The 1500 square foot, 2 bed/1 bath home features hardwood floors, living room fireplace, sweet country kitchen, and central a/c, plus a nearly 7 acres with a matching detached garage and several outdoor spaces with seriously spectacular views. Added bonus? South Cumberland Park's 20,000+ acres of dense woodlands, rock formations, and cascading waterfalls is practically in the backyard. $225K and it's all yours. Now, pick yourself up off the floor, take a breath, and see more of it here

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Eastern Pennsylvania

Get out your hankies, Angelenos, cuz here's another mid-century modern home nowhere near southern California that will make you weep: a beautifully reno'd 4150+ square foot 1966 redwood and brick contemporary an hour north of Philadelphia in eastern Pennsylvania that's on the market for...$605K! As our favorite SNL character, Stefon, would say, this house has everything: wood-trimmed vaulted ceilings, brick fireplaces, cork and wood flooring, sleek modern kitchen with top grade appliances and quartz counter tops, Bisazza-tiled baths, and temperature controlled 2,000 bottle wine cellar, plus two bonus rooms in addition to the 4 beds/2.5 baths. Perched atop a hill on 1.2 acres, the property is surrounded by mature greenery and includes a calming rock garden, spa, and several seating areas. Lovely Big Rock Park is a short stroll away, while things like the Promenade Shops outdoor mall and Penn State campus at Lehigh Valley are a few minutes' drive. You know you wanna look, so do it here

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