Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Wednesday Wow: Historic Home in Old Santa Fe

Every time the Power Ball lottery goes over $300 million, we start fantasizing about how we'd spend some of that dough and, besides a few 5 star hotel stays (like the Meurice in Paris and the Peninsula in Shanghai), it usually involves—what else?— it real estate! And with the jackpot now at $348 million, this sensational mini-estate in the heart of Santa Fe's gallery district sits at the top of our list. Dubbed "House of Sunshine" by former owner, famed early 20th century muralist Gerald Cassidy, the property dates back around 300 years but has been recently and meticulously renovated. Classic Spanish Colonial features such as saltillo tile floors, thick plaster and adobe walls, vigas, coved ceilings and kiva fireplaces abound, with pieces from an 18th century mission (beams, corbels, and a remarkable altar screen) adding to the beauty. Priced at $3.915 million, there's a 3300 square foot main house, two comfy 1 bed/1 bath casitas that include kitchen, living rooms and fireplaces, and several quiet, shaded outdoor spaces with fountains and patios. Walk to Canyon Road's cafes, shops and especially its famous art galleries (we recommend Vivo Contemporary and the Waxlander). See more of this spectacular, splurge-worthy home HERE

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mid-Century Modern Monday: San Diego County, CA

Admittedly not a strict MCM home, we couldn't resist this extraordinarily groovy California contemporary from 1969, which sits on 3.3 acres in the hills of Vista, about 40 miles northwest of San Diego (and just 7 miles from the Pacific ocean). Thoughtfully landscaped with crazy-beautiful tropical flora that make it feel more like Belize than SoCal, the sprawling grounds feature koi ponds, greenhouses, pathways, and several shady decks and patios. Past the two foo dogs guarding the front entrance, you'll find a 4 bed/2 bath, 3600 square foot home that has most of its original design intact—which, in this case, we totally dig!—from the living area's soaring, double height rock wall with fireplace, to the kitchen's simple wood cabinets and tile countertops, to the fab, far-out stacked stone shower. $1.6 million puts the keys to the front gate in your righteous paws. So fire up the turntable with some vintage Creedence Clearwater and take a closer look at this awesome pad HERE

Friday, April 29, 2016

Foreign Intrigue Friday: UNDER $100K in Italy!

Three hours east of Rome (but just 40 minutes from Pescara airport), the quiet mountain village of Bomba sits at the foot of Mount Pallano, surrounded by thick green forests and close to the man-made (yet rural) Bomba Lake. This is the less-crowded Abruzzo region of central Italy, beloved by nature enthusiasts for its rocky mountains, narrow valleys and wildlife ranging from brown bears to wolves to golden eagles. And guess what? You can live there in this lovely, updated 3 bed/2 bath  house for just under...wait for it...$97K! We're loving the thick walls with exposed stone, barrel-vaulted ceiling, timber-topped built-in shelving, dramatic iron and wood staircase, raised fireplace and the compact kitchen's blue and white tiles. Pluses include a small balcony, a sizable terrace and ground floor garage with extra storage areas. Did we mention that some of the Adriatic Sea's finest beaches can be reached in half an hour? Craaazy-amazing! See more of this fabulous bargain HERE

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Wow: Cabin Chic in Texas Hill Country

If you've never been to Texas Hill Country, now is the best time to go (well, maybe not today, exactly, as the weather's meaner than a skillet-full of rattlesnakes), when bluebonnets, paintbrush and black-eyed susans line the roads and cover the hills as far as the eye can see. And once you're there, you'll think about a permanent move, which is where this spectacular 3100 square foot log cabin compound comes in. Less than 20 years old, the 3 bed/4 bath home exudes the kind of le chic rustique that's drool-worthy: vaulted ceilings, wide plank floors, ginormous stone fireplace, exposed timber walls, screened porches and top of the line kitchen and bath finishes. On the market for $1.79 million, the property includes an extraordinary rock-lined pool, carriage house, and nearly 5 acres overlooking a quiet cove above Lake Travis in Spicewood, about 22 miles northwest of Austin. Added bonuses: the home is close to spiffy Lakecliff Country Club, local swimming hole Krause Springs (waterfalls! grotto! rope swings!), and famed music mecca Poodie's Roadhouse (where you just might see Willie Nelson, who lives around here). In other words, this house is, as they say in the Lone Star state, fine as frog fur. (And if that ain't a fact, God's a possum!) See it HERE

Monday, April 25, 2016

Just Another Mid-Century Modern Monday: Minneapolis

Like everyone else, we've been thinking of Prince all weekend, so we went house-hunting for today's mid-century modern listing near his beloved Minneapolis, Minnesota (note: Paisley Park Studios is in nearby Chanhassen; his actual home is said to be located nearby). Built in 1958, this extraordinary 4 bed/2 bath sits on a well-landscaped .4 acre lot in Golden Valley, a suburb less than 7 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. Its airy 1800 square feet of living spaces feature gentle updates (those kitchen cabinets are actually precise replicas of the originals) along with a remarkable number of original details such as cork flooring, bathroom tile, hardware and lighting fixtures. We're positively mad for the painted concrete block walls, vaulted ceilings, full length wood-framed windows, living room fireplace and the unusual stained glass feature in the entry, not to mention the eclectic artwork scattered throughout the home (fabulous!) and furnishings like the Saarinen table and Eames chair. The $449.5k asking price also puts you within a short stroll of both 20 acre Lions Park (playing fields, tennis courts, skating rinks, walking trails) and fancy 102 year old Golden Valley Country Club. What's not to love? See more of this pretty property HERE

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bargain Week, Day 5: Village House in France

We're ending the week in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, favored by actual French people as a holiday destination due to its beautiful villages, temperate climate and access to the sea. Priced around $168K, this handsome 3 bed/2 bath stone house is located right in the picturesque hilltop village of Murviel-les-Beziers, which has shops, a bakery, a school and a handful of cafes and restaurants (we recommend Le Garde Manger, owned/run by Julie, her chef-husband Sebastien, and their affable dog). Fully renovated, the 1150 square foot home has a bright, modern kitchen and baths, radiant floor heating, exposed beams and rock walls, fireplace, a shady stone courtyard and sunny terrace. The coast is a half hours' drive, and the town of Beziers—home to dozens of famous sites such as Canal du Midi, Saint Nazaire Cathedral, and an outdoor arena where a bullfighting festival takes place each August—can be reached in 20 minutes. As they say in France, un bon rapport qualite-prix, non? Abso-friggin-lutely, so take a closer look at what could be your new European digs HERE

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bargain Week, Day 4: The Pride of Pittsburgh!

After several years of placing near- or at the top of many Most Liveable Cities' lists, Pittsburgh PA is not quite the bargain it used to be. Still, we managed to find something fabulous and a little funky in a great location for just a smidge under...drum roll please... $160K!: built in 1920, this 4 bed/1 bath 3 story brick home has great original details like burnished wood floors, tiled fireplace, and built-ins, along with an updated kitchen (looks like Ikea to us, but the open shelving is a nice touch) and bath (yep, there's only one full bath, but that's common in these old houses, and it can easily be remedied). The current owner has both taste and an artistic eye (perhaps he/she is an artist?) and we'd definitely try negotiating for things like the dining room's amazing "birdnest" lighting fixture, the marvelous painting over the fireplace and the piece hanging in the entryway (is that Chairman Mao?). Pluses include a covered front porch, another one out back, an attached garage, a nice workshop/art studio in the basement and a snazzy tree house. Located just 4 miles from downtown, the diverse, family-friendly Dormont neighborhood has shops and cafes, 2 parks, a pretty library and a humongous municipal pool (60,000 square feet!). Pittsburgh properties move fast, so take a closer look HERE while you still can.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bargain Week, Day 3: Into the Woods...of Oregon!

Resting on the banks of the McKenzie River at the foot of the magnificent Willamette National Forest in central Oregon, the tiny mountainside town of McKenzie Bridge couldn't be better located for outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, white water rafting, skiing—it's all here, as is renowned Tokatee Golf Course (and the steamy mineral waters of nearby Belknap Hot Springs, which you'll need after all that activity). And what better way for you and yours to enjoy it all than from the confines of these awesome 1966 A-framed beauties ringed by towering evergreens on a full acre? The $199K asking price includes the main house with 1150 square feet and 2 beds/1 bath, plus the 450 square foot 1 bed/1 bath guest house (perfect for that annoying teenager or noisy newlyweds!). Either of the decks is the perfect spot for enjoying a glass or three of the area's famously full-bodied pinot noir (we suggest something from Evening Land Vineyards) and there's a fire pit for the s'mores-making crowd. See more of this great buy HERE

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bargain Week, Day 2: Shingled Cape in Coastal Maine

Fun fact: the area now known as Georgetown was purchased by an English fisherman from an Indian chief in the 17th century in exchange for some pumpkins and rum. Shameful history lesson aside, this tiny town is technically an island between the Kennebec and Sheepscot Rivers near the south central coast of Maine, favored by bird watchers, artists and lobster lovers alike (the famously delicious Five Islands Lobster is nearby). And, hold onto your Sperry Topsiders, kids, cuz you can live here year-round—or just all summer, if that's your preference—in an adorable gray shingled cottage overlooking a pond for just $164.5K! Originally built around 1900, the 2 bed/1 bath home features tons of updates and loads of charm in its 1000 square feet (highlights include the painted kitchen cabinets, wide pine floors, window seat, and curved staircase with tree trunk rails). If you act fast, you can be moved in just in time to enjoy the island's 82 miles of shoreline (hello, harbor seals and bald eagles!), so hurry and take a closer look HERE

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bargain Week, Day 1: Mid-Century Condo in Phoenix

Just because we like a challenge, every day this week, we'll be featuring a charming, stylish home at a bargain price—which we've defined as UNDER $200K—beginning, as always with something from the swingin' mid-century modern era. Located just north of downtown Phoenix in the groovy Central Park West Condominiums complex, designed in 1965 by local architect Michael B. Defiel, this bright 2 bed/1.5 bath two-story unit has tile floors, louvered french doors throughout, breakfast bar, open staircase, brick interior walls (love!), and a sweet, enclosed patio. The gentle $169.9K asking price includes 2 parking spots, a big pool, and quick access to biking paths, the light rail, dining spots (we recommend Windsor for weekend brunch and Churn for ice cream delights like the crazy-delicious Fat Elvis sundae!), and the fabulous Biltmore Fashion Park (with stores ranging from Saks to Williams Sonoma to Apple). While we contemplate snapping this one up for ourselves, hurry and see more of it HERE