Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Loft Spot: A Beantown Splurge

North America's largest Victorian residential district, Boston's South End neighborhood mainly consists of tree-lined streets dotted with 19th century bowfronts and rowhouses, plus dozens of restaurants, shops and, lately, galleries. It's also home to some amazing living spaces, like this phenomenal 3 bed/2 bath loft carved out of a 115 year old industrial building. The 2800+ square foot unit, asking $2.149 million (pricey, but still less than similar square footage in Beacon Hill), looks like the kind of Tribeca loft that only exists in movies: bright and airy, with high ceilings, gray paver floors, exposed mechanicals, industrial windows and luxe touches like marble-topped kitchen counters and spa-like master bath. The unit includes 2 garage parking spaces—a big plus in this city—and is a quick stroll to Blackstone and Franklin Squares, with tranquil fountains, walkways and benches beneath massive trees. See more of this lovely loft here

Bargain of the Day in Elvis Country

The birthplace of everyone from Aretha Franklin to Justin Timberlake, and the city where Elvis chose to live, Memphis is America's most musical city (and a walk down Beale Street will confirm that—the bars might be touristy, but the blues being played in them is authentic). Today's find, a darling 1926 blue brick bungalow priced at a ridiculously reasonable $153K, sits around the corner from the Memphis Country Club and just a few blocks from the University of Memphis southwest of downtown. The 1050 square foot home has a 2 beds/1 bath, a sweet front porch complete with swing, hardwood floors, dining room, laundry room and a large, shady backyard with deck and patio. It's also within strolling distance of some great dining places, like Brother Juniper's, voted the city's best breakfast, where you can chow down on cheese grits, blueberry pancakes, home fries, fluffy biscuits...damn. We've made ourselves hungry. Again. While we go stare into the fridge wishing for a slice of chocolate cake to appear, take a closer look at this bargain here

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: San Diego, California

Born in Maine but raised in San Diego, Lloyd Ruocco was the city's premiere post-war modernist architect, responsible for some 100 structures, most of them houses. His philosophy was that nothing could ever equal the beauty of southern California, so he designed his buildings to fit into the existing landscape with minimal disturbance. This exquisite 5 bed/4 bath 5100 square foot home, dubbed "Solari," in pricey College West's Alvarado Estates was his own residence. Built in 1955, the home has been updated, but retains the architect's original features like an interior rock garden, wooden walls (that might move—some do in other Ruocco houses), skylights, walls of glass and, our very favorite thing, a snazzy sunken conversation pit complete with circular seating and a fireplace with a ceiling exhaust.  The $1.495 million asking price includes extras like a guest house, pool and 1.7 acres of privacy. We encourage you to take a closer look at it all here

Mid-Century Modern Monday: Raleigh, North Carolina

Known as the City of Oaks (for the many trees lining the streets here), Raleigh is so pretty and so vibrant, that you'd be pretty bonkers not to want to live here. And now that we've found this amazing house, we may have to arm wrestle you to see who gets it! Located in midtown's lively North Hills area, the 2 bed/2 bath contemporary from 1960 has been thoroughly reno'd and updated and now possesses a sort of zen vibe that we find extremely appealing. The floors throughout are over-sized gray-green pavers (attractive and easy to clean) and the prodigious use of natural wood—for example, surrounding the home's many windows and floor to ceiling glass doors—hints at Asian influence. Asking $365K, the 1650 square foot home also has a simple but handsome kitchen (high end appliances, marble counters, butler's pantry, 3 sinks), modern baths, and remarkable outdoor spaces including decks, yard, koi pond and exotic landscaping. We're already picking out furniture (we're thinking a pair of red womb chairs for the front room), so you'd better take a look at the house here before it's off the market!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Lower Normandy, France

Over 200 years ago, a farmer's wife named Marie Harel (allegedly with a help from a priest who was from...Brie!) came up with the recipe for camembert, one of our favorite forms of fromage. It's also the name of a village in the Orne department of Lower Normandy in northwest France, which is treasured for its natural beauty, as meadows, lakes and forests abound. In the countryside a few miles from the village, this 4 bed/2 bath half-timbered cottage—a common style in Orne—sits on half an acre of luscious gardens and has an asking price of around $395K. Downstairs you'll find traditional red tile floors, modern kitchen and gorgeous fireplace and wide french doors opening to a large terrace; upstairs are wood floors, timbered ceilings and updated baths. Deauville, the posh seaside town known for its film festival and horse-racing, is an hour away, and Paris can be reached in 2.5 hours. But if we lived here, we'd only leave the premises for more pear cider (made locally and sometimes called Norman champagne) and cheese!See if you agree— take a closer look here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sleepy Hollow Manor Worth Losing Your Head Over

In honor of the return of Fox's fab Sleepy Hollow series, we traveled to the tranquil—and seriously gorgeous—village of the real Sleepy Hollow (40 minutes north of Manhattan via Metro-North rail) in search of somewhere grand to rest our weary head. And we ended up head over heels (we can keep this up all day!) for this remarkable 11 room jewel on 3 acres overlooking the Hudson River. Built in 1847—27 years after Washington Irving's famously frightening story about the Headless Horseman was first published (could the author have stepped foot in this home? maybe!)—the 4 bed/3.5 bath 5600 square foot stone manse has splendid vaulted and coved ceilings, some 18 feet high, burnished hardwood floors, large original carved stone fireplace, french doors, and some of the prettiest gothic style windows we've ever seen. The $3.4 million asking price includes a modern kitchen the size of a one bedroom NYC apartment, and an enormous  porch with  breath-taking views of the Hudson. And just think: if you lived here, you could pop over to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to say 'hey' to Washington Irving, who's buried there. Heads up: just don't go at night, as it's said to be a tad haunted. To see more of this amazing home, go here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bargain of the Day: Historic Condo in College Town

Home to 3 colleges, the quaint yet sophisticated town of Amherst is the kind of place where tweed-wearing professors rub shoulders with organic farmers and artists drink coffee next to iPad toting students. Located in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, the area is on the cusp of its annual fall foliage display—so naturally, we went house shopping there! Priced just under $260K, this 1300 square foot 2 bed/1 bath condo is perched on the top floor of a charming 1860 Victorian right on Main Street. While the unit's been updated, we're glad to see original details like cherry wood floors, crown molding, built-ins, vintage hardware, window seats and deep-set arched windows with city and country views. Close to everything, including some great restaurants; we recommend (you knew that was coming) the Lumber Yard, especially the delish duck confit sandwich and a side of their mouth-watering crispy brussels sprouts (made with pistachios, lemon and pecorino). While we raid the fridge, take a closer look at the condo here

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tudor Tuesday: Hollywood Hills High

Although it's mere minutes to trendy restaurants, shops and urban amenities, with its shaded glen and waterfalls, Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills feels like a country destination. Home to a wide variety of wildlife (meaning don't leave your kitties or small dogs outside alone), the area has been a favorite nesting place of L.A.'s other animal, the celebrity for decades (Ava Gardner, Steve McQueen, Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Seacrest are just a few folks who've owned homes here). Priced at $2.65 million, this 2700 square foot Tudor has what it takes to succeed in this town: good looks, loads of charm and that certain touch of sexiness we crave. Built in 1940, the 3 bed/3 bath home has loads of nooks and crannies, built-ins, beamed ceilings, multi-paned windows, hardwood and tile floors, and cozy living room fireplace, plus updated kitchen and baths. Besides the bright steel and glass guest house/production studio (hey, this an industry town), the home's biggest plus are the outdoor spaces—lavish gardens, water features, decks, patios and a 12 foot waterfall of its own. You know you wanna look, so do it here

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mid-Century Modern Monday: A Gem in Chapel Hill, NC

Although this house needs a bit of work—new roof, bathroom updates—it's still a dazzler and well worth the investment. Built in 1969 by one of our favorite mid-century residential architects, Arthur Cogswell (see more of his amazing designs here), this roomy 5 bed/5 bath 4200 home in Chapel Hill was Cogswell's own, so you know it's extra special. We're absolutely besotted with the Hockney-esque pool, entirely enclosed in the courtyard and surrounded by the home's floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Inside, an open floor plan and clean lines make the roomy 4200 square foot house seem even larger (indeed, Cogswell's daughters have said that they used to host sleepovers here for 35 of their bff's at a time!). Renovations schmenovations—we think the $549K asking price is on the money. Take a closer look here

Friday, September 19, 2014

Foreign Intrigue Friday: Iconic Artist's Home in Venice

In honor of George "I'm never getting married again" Clooney's upcoming nuptials, we present this exquisite—and wildly historic—apartment in the city where he'll be swapping vows with his brainy bride-to-be, Venice, Italy. Located in the northernmost neighborhood of Cannaregio (though the railway station is here, it's one of the quietest areas of the sinking town), this is where the most important Venetian artist in history, Tiziano Vecelli, aka Tititan, lived and worked for several decades before his death in the 16th century. (His sometimes religious, often violent paintings are large in scale and breathtakingly detailed; look up our fave "The Rape of Europa" if you're not familiar with him.) Spread over 3 floors, the 3 bed/2 bath home has 1700 square feet with two living rooms, one which has a fireplace, which is decorative only, as it is against the law to have fires of any kind in this city (meaning no pizza cooked in wood-burning ovens!). We're crazy for the terrazzo floors, high ceilings, gorgeous living room mural, dark wood beamed ceilings, and an ornately painted staircase. Tragically, the $2.84 million price tag is too high for us, but we suggest Movie Boy makes it a wedding gift to his much better half. Whadya say, George? Take a closer look at it here