You just can’t compete with LA spec developers/builders. I mean, they have those damned hills that offer uninterrupted, private views, and a population dripping in money, vanity and FOMO.
Enter the most whimsical property that I’ve seen for a while. The 18,000 square foot “Elementi” created by Michael Chen, in association with SAOTA Architects, for the Luxford Group.
The price tag being flagged as $USD65m, seems pretty worth it to these old eyes, considering the invlusions such as the Olive tree imported from Tuscany and craned (they are reported to have needed a 110-ton crane and a crew of 15 ) into the heart of the home.
What a superb and quite brilliant idea to feature this gnarled and ragged specimen against a sharp, gleaming geometrically precise background.
It offers a depth in design that has yet to be equalled in the cut throat spec home world of LA.
There are seven bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms and a measly two kitchens, despite the unlikely event of anyone actually cooking here beside the catering company. Such a waste of a well hidden gaggle of Gaggenau appliances.
The pictures tell the story; from the floating marble footway over the hard edge moat that delivers vistiors to an architectural wonderland.
But for me, it’s about the tree. It’s about the living heart of this truly inspired design
With a strong Australian tie, this former Hollywood ‘hunting lodge’ is on the market for $USD 2.39m (wow that’s a bunch of dollars for a quirky three bedder, but still….star power and all that) through Coldwell Banker.
What’s the tie? You may well ask. Its currently owned by Australian Director Gregor Jordan . His movie credits go back a way including Buffalo Soldiers (2001) (missed it) , (1999) Two Hands , (strike two – even though it had Heath Ledger in it) and the 2010 film with Samuel L Jackson Unthinkable. You guessed it, strike three … what have I been watching all these years? Me, a gal who used to work in Hollywood too. The shame weighs heavy…
I look forward to deep diving on various streamers to catch up.
Anyhow, great quirky place; built back in 1921 it is private, sheltered, includes just three bedrooms and in a huge break with US tradition, a mere two and a half baths.
Quirky goes down well in the Hills, and the publicity on the place includes reference to maybe the house being occupied at certain times by Robert Downey Jnr, and Daniel Craig. Okay, yes, I absolutely know those names. (Be still my beating heart).
I think it is actually a very cool home, from an interesting architectural period of innocence and optimism.
According the the journos at Dwell, the giant Noguchi pendant lampshade was gifted and presented to the owners by close friend Heath Ledger – a man of very fine taste in all things.
Okay so lockdown has led me down some very shady aisles at Bunnings – then some late night, tequila driven escapades on eBay all in the hope of upgrading my humble wardrobe. Somehow I ended up with a new broom, two new lip glosses and travel alerts on every website known to aviation.
Yep, lockdown is a sad place.
Plus my wardrobe is still pathetic. Not helped AT ALL by this outrageously divine property in Queensland. We’ll get to the other bits and bobs later, because I want to show you these two crazy wardrobes. Clothes throne rooms is more like it, but hell, let’s ogle the obvious.
This is just for the Her of the house … even a coffered ceiling – hooley dooley
So this is just for madame … I just LOVE those islands full of drawers. Probably a drawer for silk scarves, a drawer gloves, a drawer for perfumes that start with C. I mean, I dunno how you fill these things because I do not have the weighty problem of too much stuff.
Plus, you get here by walking down a sexy curved stairway from the ensuite.
On a different level, on so many ways, is then His throne room.
C’mon – this is gorgeous, is it not?
The rest of the property is drop dead too – though I for one, am not a fan of grand pianos. Something cold about those suckers.
Check out the living areas and okay, last OMG for this listing, the sunken lounge at the waters edge is just beyond.
Turtle Bay; for those of us who live far away from the USA, it sounds very Hampton-esque, Boston-esque … rich-est kind of place.
One out of three ain’t bad with Turtle Bay being in, of all places, Manhattan. Still a bit lost? – well the neighbourhood encompasses the Chrysler Building (a little thrill just went through me) and the United Nations building.
Turtle Bay has long been a cog in the mighty wheel of NYC – dating back to when the Dutch ran the place, and celebrities such as Edgar Allen Poe, were to be found on its streets.
However, it entered a very untidy period after the Civil War, taking on a rather industrial shabbiness and the beautiful historic homes were all but deserted. A fall from grace, until….
In 1919 Mrs Charlotte Martin, a visionary with money (and aren’t they always the best visionaries to have?) decided it would be super fun to buy 20 properties, renovate them and create a Medici inspired common garden. She must have spent a bomb renovating all the homes, and in the end, she remained holding only 226-228 East 49th St., selling off the rest to ‘arty types’ as they were called.
Kathryn Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Stephen Sondheim, the brilliant screen play writer Garson Kanin (just love Kanin’s stories of life in early Hollywood) and earlier the writer E.B White, have all been attracted to living here over the years, with the glorious hidden courtyard gardens, an almost secret escape from the cheek by jowl life in Manhattan.
In the post war period, around 1949 E.B. White wrote what some have called a ‘love letter’ to New York in his book Here Is New York, in which he uses a willow tree in Turtle Bay garden as a metaphor for his beloved city.
“A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way, it symbolises the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete and the steady reaching for the sun” *
Ah, the inspiring history of this town is too often overshadowed by its boisterous and boastful reputation of bright lights and booze.
This week a part of that marvellous Mrs Martin dream has come back to the market, in a state of, well, undress.
Olivier Sarkozy (yes, of those Sarkozys) bought the property (is 8,700 square feet, over five floors) seven or so years ago, just before he wed the diminutive Mary-Kate Olsen.
It was supposed to be a huge renovation, the house not the marriage – but in the end neither came to a happy ending and the now divorced millionaire has put the home on the market through Sotheby’s.
He is reported to have paid, via a limited liability company) $USD13.5m, but due to the ‘mid reno’ condition of the mansion, is now asking a mere $USD11.5m
My elder son has been living in the states for years now, the last couple in NYC – not far from this address. It has energised me to find out more about this rather mythic metropolis.
*The famous willow tree came to a natural end in 2009, but not before professionals took cuttings which have been successfully grown. The trees are planned to be planted, appropriately, across the parks New York City .
Prue Miller is a property journalist who loves spending a freezing Christmas in New York ..and hopes to again one day soon.
Okay so maybe lockdown lunacy is getting to me but homes with space, room, fresh air, nature well, they are really appealing right now.
And this one, this fab home near Newcastle in NSW has managed to deliver up the ideal mix of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, with the out being just GORGEOUS.
Sure decks and patios and terraces are nothing new – but so often those outside spaces have ceilings that are appallingly low – they make you feel like a cheese and ham croissant squashed into a sandwich toaster.
However the very clever folks at Anthrocite Architects in NSW have created the most spacious, open outside zone, that there is an almost cathedral-esque feel, worshipping the two and a half acres of grassy, sunny, leafy land upon which is resides.
That sentence ran on a bit – but I’m all gushy about this place; from the perfect brick choice, to the heated floors, the exciting shapes and levels. It’s a great property from every perceivable angle.
Near the coast, not far from Newcastle city and a couple of hours to Sydneyh, it is a great spot to enjoy life. At the time of writing the property if for sale through Walkom Real Estate with a guide price on it of between $AUD 3.9-$4.2m
Well Houston, we have a problem. This house is so outstanding there is a good chance I shall gush adjectives like a nervous schoolgirl.
For a start, it’s big. From the street, it’s just monumental, and wonderfully curvy and absolutely anchored to the location that offers a view that … hang on. Before that, you go through well-trodden gate threshold, and are welcomed by lawn the quality of broadloom surrounded by leaf perfect landscaping.
The path is wide and winding and takes it’s time reaching the staircase up to the front door (bypassing the pretty entrance to the lower-floor living quarters), and then, there it is; THAT view.
It’s a showstopper. The breadth of the view, the interest within it, deserves easy and ample viewing opportunities, indoors and out, and this gracious home delivers on all fronts.
Even the spacious veranda tessellation is flawless. The owners have taken no shortcuts in delivering a home is extraordinary condition.
The entry foyer? It sure feels like a ‘12ft ceiling’ height, lined in a rich and intricate cornice, up-lit from the stained glass laden front door. Picture rails, archway corbel, subtle paint pick out … this is a how you did a hallway when making an impression was more than having a busy Instagram account.
As is the norm in this vintage, formal spaces are given room to breathe, with a seriously large lounge (even the current piano seems small here) leading to the front veranda, and a nearby formal dining room with a glorious, dark marble mantle. Kitchen? Another 10/10, with a massive servery to another, Jacaranda shaded, terrace.
The hallway beckons to its conclusion – the parents’ retreat.
It would seem this expression is often misused, because this, dear readers, this is what a retreat should be; 20sqm or more chic bedroom, accessorised by an ensuite and wardrobe, but also with shuttered French doors that open to more broadloom lawn and the mosaic tiled pool and tiered garden – with a ridiculously glamorous staircase up to the four-car garage. To the GARAGE no less.
Not ONE leaf out of place. I swear.
Down the carpeted stair and voila, a two bedroom entirely separate apartment with an exposed stone bedroom that is just, oh my gosh, divine. And be assured this lower level living space is still tops when it comes to sharing THAT view. It’s inspired and inspiring.
For those is the snow know, The Remarkables is a breathtaking mountain range and well respected (and very possibly feared by dreadful skiers like me) ski field in New Zealand – not Europe. Europe dreams of having The Remarkables. The Swiss lie awake at night, with silent tears pooling on their kissenbezugs* cos they don’t have The Remarkables. Yep, it’s that amazing.
So where better to build a lake house than right here, at Jack’s Point? Where from glass enclosed bedrooms you can become one with the oh-my-god-it’s-unbelievable views, while snuggled under a doona.
Mind you, there are SO many fireplaces in this place, you wouldn’t even need to unpack your ski socks. Cosy baby.
It’s (rather unimaginatively you’d have to say) called the Lake House. It’s only a drive from posh and pricey Queenstown, but you could be anywhere as you gaze across That Lake. This can be achieved from a number of outside spaces (I love that NZ isn’t afraid to go outside even though it can get so bleeding cold the hairs on the inside of your nose get frosty) in lounge chairs, or neck deep in the steaming spa.
The agent stats include the fact it is a big two acres plus land parcel, and is part of a golf course? I don’t get that part. You’ll have to sort that out with Terry. So it’s kind of like a luxury resort, with a warm clubhouse and cold beers just a op skip and a jump away. Nice.
It’s only ten k’s to the airport and one imagines the holiday rental potential is mind blowing.
At just $NZ5.95m ($AUD5.42m, $USD4.3 or so), it’s a steal … with a one in a gazillon view.
And finally, why are they called The Remarkables? Named by Alexander Garvie in the mid 1800s for the fact that they are one of only two magnificent mountain ranges that run North South. Or maybe that’s a myth. Ok, well, you’re not reading this for a school assignment, so just enjoy the story and forget the facts.
*You had to look right? That’s Swiss German for pillowcase
Call them dams if it helps, but what we’re missing from the laid-back, luxury property market down under is that chilled out, ever so still, LAKE.
Because what follows is the lake house. The Golden Pond potential (and if you haven’t even taken the time to see this movie, then frankly you don’t DESERVE a lake house) of a Scrabble led family retreat, and rediscovery. (As an aside, I have to say I think Jane Fonda is even better in Grace and Frankie than she was in Golden Pond. But I digress…)
Ocean view homes, the ones right on the water – are also majestic – but there’s so much going on. And worse still, people in all their Lycra loudness surge like a coconut scented tide for at least half the year. No, give me serenity with a glass-like finish and the security of a tree lined fiefdom.
Sothebys have a beautiful one for sale in Nashville at the moment.
A Main House, and a Guest House (it’s my blog so I can use upper case at random), plus the de rigueur Boat House can be found on the aptly named Kentucky Lane – overlooking Kentucky Lake. God, I’d buy it just for the address.
The house is aimed squarely at the lake; the great room a centre piece with what could only be called a glass altar, where the lake is praised, and cocktails (one hopes) partaken.
Four beds, four baths and lots of lovely land for the very reasonable price of $USD2.35m.
Yep, let’s get some of them thar lakes for down under. I need a Golden Pond moment or two.