Restored $17.5M Historic Craftsman in Palo Alto Attracts a Buyer


Palo Alto, CA, sits smack in the middle of Silicon Valley and lays claim to some of the highest home prices in the nation. Its current median list price is an eye-popping $3.2 million.

Given these high prices, the city has developed a reputation for tear-down projects that have left charming neighborhoods dotted with modern construction. These new homes emphasize sleek lines and contemporary stylings. For example, take this brand-new $4.25 million home. Or this boxy $4.3 million home.

Which is what makes this Craftsman-style home in the city—currently pending sale, with a list price of $17.5 million—so intriguing. Built in 1905, it’s also the second-most-expensive home in Palo Alto, right behind an $18.5 million French-inspired mansion.

And what is it that the Craftsman possesses and these newer homes lack? It’s protected for eternity, thanks to its spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Owned by a former Facebook executive and his investor wife, who bought it for $4.9 million in 2011, this isn’t your ordinary Craftsman bungalow. After buying it, the couple embarked on a massive multiyear restoration project to revive this historic home.

Spanning 7,823 square feet, it packs five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms into a half-acre lot in the Professorville neighborhood, a 20-minute walk from University Avenue downtown. Stanford University is a relatively short jaunt away.

Exterior of home in Palo Alto, CA
Exterior of home in Palo Alto, CA

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Porch
Porch

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Stairwell
Stairwell

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Living room
Living room

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Dining room
Dining room

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Kitchen
Kitchen

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Wine cellar
Wine cellar

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Terrace
Terrace

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Outdoor kitchen
Outdoor kitchen

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Garage
Garage

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Garage interior
Garage interior

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Throughout the home are luxury details for the home entertainer, such as the high-end blue range in the kitchen, which was crafted in Italy, multiple fireplaces, and a walk-in wine cellar that could easily host a small tasting.

The bedrooms are spacious and much larger than you’d normally find in a Craftsman home. To bring the home into the 21st century, an upstairs media room, open kitchen layout, lower rec room, and two private offices were added.

To provide additional space for a growing family, the detached garage was converted into a massage and yoga studio, with shiplap interiors and new light fixtures. It could also be used as a one-bedroom cottage.

There’s also a sense of California-style outdoor living, with a chicken coop, and custom alfresco kitchen. A brick terrace has a fireplace surrounded by sectional sofas, for a cozy year-round vibe. Much of the gorgeous landscape work is complete, including planting beds, water features, and mature trees.

Open-beam ceilings, stonework, diamond-shaped window panes and woodwork have all been impeccably restored.

Photos of the home prior to its renovation illustrate the extent of the work on the interior. In addition to its spot on the National Register, the home earned a Palo Alto Stanford Heritage Historic Restoration Award in 2017.

The gorgeous restoration and its historical cred paid off—the multimillion dollar Craftsman is now in pending sale status. A new owner will reap the benefits of the meticulous handiwork.

Carol Carnevale and Nicole Aran of Compass have the listing.



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Historic Castle With Old-World Charm Is Just as Ideal for New-World Living


It is possible to live in a historic castle for less than a million dollars.

A 7,500-square-foot, European-style castle on Fairway Lane is available for $950,000 in Alliance, OH. Completed in 1930, the 26-room castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It has seven levels to the house, all of which are above grade. It’s very unique. It’s not just a traditional two-story-style house,” says listing agent Joanna Belden.

“It has just been beautifully maintained and I think that’s why you kind of feel like you’re taking a step back in history,” says Belden. “It reminds me of something that you might have found in France. It has a feeling of grandeur in that way, but at the same time it’s a really comfortable property.”

Aerial view
Aerial view

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Curved stairs
Curved stairs

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Interior
Interior

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Robert and Elizabeth Purcell built the castle in the late 1920s in a French Normandy style. Soon after the construction, Robert, an aviator and industrialist, died in a plane crash in 1932. He was 29. His young widow did not stay in the mansion after his death, and it sat vacant for most of the 1930s.

The current (and seventh) owners used the property as a bed-and-breakfast as well as an entertainment and wedding venue. After living on the property for 25 years, they are getting ready to retire, Belden explains.

“When you walk into this house, everything that’s been done in terms of any improvements, remodeling, or changing was done in keeping with the original integrity and character of the home,” Belden says. “You don’t walk in and feel like something doesn’t fit. There are still some of the original light fixtures and the flooring and the brick walls and the beams and the carvings. Most of everything that’s there was part of the original structure of the property.”

Fireplace with carvings
Fireplace with carvings

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Dining area
Dining area

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Dark wood runs throughout the house, some of it intricately carved.

Carved wooden gargoyles, a horned frog, and fire-breathing dragon guard an entryway. Two life-size noblemen stand guard next to a fireplace. The fleur-des-lis, the symbol of the French monarchy, can be found throughout the home.

Bedroom
Bedroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bedroom
Bedroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bedroom
Bedroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bathroom
Bathroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

The house has five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Three of the bedrooms have carved wooden beds with gargoyles and floral motifs. The bathrooms have all been updated while maintaining historical style.

“They are done in a way that doesn’t detract from the original intent of the home but allows you to live in it,” Belden says, noting that two of the three fireplaces have been converted to gas.

“There have been a lot of things that have been done that allow you to live in it comfortably, but it still has that old-world feel,” she adds.

Library
Library

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

The home is built in an L-shape with a round tower where two wings meet.

A library sits atop the tower and offers views of the gorgeous grounds. The property’s 13 acres include manicured gardens and a stocked pond.

Kitchen
Kitchen

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

The kitchen has both original cupboards and modern appliances. On the floor below are the pub room and wine cellar. There’s also a ballroom and exercise room.

Pub
Pub

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Wine cellar
Wine cellar

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Woods surround the property on three sides and the Alliance Country Club adjoins the property on the other. Canton is only 18 miles away, and Cleveland and Pittsburgh are only an hour away.

Gardens
Gardens

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

“Our cost of living is relatively low and the cost of real estate is low comparatively to many other places in the country. Which is why I think we’ve seen sort of a surge of people buying in this area,” Belden explains.

“If this house was in a different part of the country, it could easily be a $2.5 million property.”

Interior
Interior

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Gate
Gate

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Exercise room
Exercise room

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Living area
Living area

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bathroom
Bathroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Living space
Living space

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bedroom
Bedroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Pond
Pond

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Bathroom
Bathroom

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio

Fireplace
Fireplace

Jeremy Aronhalt/ A Studio



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Collective Composition: A Historic Villa Renovation in Auckland by Katie Lockhart and Jack McKinney Architects


We’ve long admired the work of New Zealand interior designer Katie Lockhart whose distinctive style crosses the boundaries between midcentury and contemporary while pulling from European, New Zealand, and Southeast Asian design. Lockhart recently completed the renovation of a traditional New Zealand villa in Ponsonby, Auckland, working with Jack McKinney Architects. The clients both work in creative fields, and took inspiration from a recent trip to Sri Lanka, where they encountered the work of architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Working with a relatively small site constrained by houses on all sides, McKinney was limited by the heritage rules surrounding the original dwelling, a timber construction with hipped metal roof typical of early New Zealand homes. Unable to change the exterior or the roofline of the original home, McKinney suggested an architectural expansion and the renovation to only the non-original parts of the house. McKinney and Lockhart agreed upon an identity for the architecture and interiors, preserving. the integrity of the original villa, located at the front, while developing a new vocabulary for the new spaces facing the garden in the back. “The result is very far from a typical Auckland villa alteration, but feels natural and calm, not strident and forced,” says McKinney.

Lockhart set out to enhance the sculptural nature of the space and support this vision, integrating an indoor garden, a palette inspired by Italian terracotta tiles and tinted trowel-polished plaster walls, and one-off design objects sourced from vintage dealers and her own travels.

Here’s a walk through the space.

Photography by David Straight courtesy of Katie Lockhart Studio.

The walls throughout the house are done trowel-polished plaster from Resene Rockcote, shown here in color Aalto Pause. The curtains are a cotton-linen mix, Ehbirra YP0 from Designs of the Time, running on a custom track made by woodworker Grant Bailey.
Above: The walls throughout the house are done trowel-polished plaster from Resene Rockcote, shown here in color Aalto Pause. The curtains are a cotton-linen mix, Ehbirra YP18016 from Designs of the Time, running on a custom track made by woodworker Grant Bailey.
The furniture in the living room is made up of the CS Sofa from Truck Furniture in Osaka, Japan, a side chair made by Grant Bailey, both with custom olive green upholstery, and benches and side tables from a sourcing trip to Japan. The rug is a vintage Tuareg rug from Kulchi. The lamp is the Hotaru Double Bubble Light by Barber & Osgerby for Ozeki & Co. Ltd.—the Japanese manufacturers of Noguchi lamp shades.
Above: The furniture in the living room is made up of the CS Sofa from Truck Furniture in Osaka, Japan, a side chair made by Grant Bailey, both with custom olive green upholstery, and benches and side tables from a sourcing trip to Japan. The rug is a vintage Tuareg rug from Kulchi. The lamp is the Hotaru Double Bubble Light by Barber & Osgerby for Ozeki & Co. Ltd.—the Japanese manufacturers of Noguchi lamp shades.
Lighting by way of an Aalto A8 Floor Lamp and FLOS Jasper Morrison Glo-Ball Table Lamp.
Above: Lighting by way of an Aalto A810 Floor Lamp and FLOS Jasper Morrison Glo-Ball Table Lamp.
McKinney had the idea to run custom walnut cabinetry along the entire length of the wall, connecting the living space to the kitchen beyond.
Above: McKinney had the idea to run custom walnut cabinetry along the entire length of the wall, connecting the living space to the kitchen beyond.
A wider view of the living room and open kitchen. Without a kitchen island, the architects note, the dining table becomes a central gathering space, connecting the two rooms as one.
Above: A wider view of the living room and open kitchen. Without a kitchen island, the architects note, the dining table becomes a central gathering space, connecting the two rooms as one.



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Historic Nyack Home Featured in the Movie ‘Stepmom’ Available for $3.5M


A Victorian estate with a cinematic past is on the market in Nyack, NY.

Glenholme is the official name of the stately waterfront residence on the market for $3,495,000, but locals have another name for it.

“It was the setting for the movie ‘Stepmom,’” says the listing agent, David Sanders, “so people call it the ‘Stepmom’ house.”

The 1998 tearjerker stared Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Ed Harris. It was the house where the character Jackie, played by Sarandon, lived with her two children.

Roberts played Isabel, who married Harris’ character Luke and became the two kids’ stepmother. We won’t spoil the entire plot, but make sure to have tissues handy.

Exterior of house in Nyack, NY
Exterior of house in Nyack, NY

Christie’s International Real Estate

Staircase
Staircase

Christie’s International Real Estate

The home’s exterior, grounds, and staircase play a big part in the movie, especially in a scene where Sarandon and the two kids sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which brings a little levity to a particularly sad part of the film.

“It has the most amazing and unique staircase,” Sanders says, noting that the stairs lead up to a seating nook and fireplace.

He says he understands that the reason the house has such a unique configuration is that it was originally two houses, which were put together at some point.

“That makes for a really interesting staircase,” he says, “really beautiful and different. It was prominent in the movie.”

In a plot twist that occurred after the movie, life imitated art. In scenes that were filmed on a soundstage, rather than in the house, the home in the film was shown with a gorgeous kitchen.

“The kitchen in the Nyack house didn’t look like that,” Sanders explains. After the filming was over, he says, the couple who owned the house were so inspired, “they renovated their kitchen to make it look like the one in the film.”

The eat-in kitchen is now ready for a close-up. It’s fully equipped, with three Dacor ovens, two Miele dishwashers, two Sub-Zero refrigerators, a wine cooler, and two sinks.

Kitchen
Kitchen

Christie’s International Real Estate

Kitchen
Kitchen

Christie’s International Real Estate

“Stepmom” wasn’t this home’s only brush with fame. Its exterior served as a bed and breakfast called “Cupid’s Cabin” in the 2010 movie “The Bounty Hunter,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler.

Sanders told us that Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winning playwright and screenwriter, lived in the house for a time. Foote is best known for writing the 1962 screenplay for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as well as the 1983 film “Tender Mercies.”

Sanders added that although tax deeds show that a home has been on this 1.5-acre lot since 1857, this 5,239-square-foot house was built in 1897.

The six-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years.

“It’s done so immaculately, you would never know it wasn’t always like this. It’s very true to the original integrity of the house,” Sanders says. “It’s the most meticulous restoration I’ve ever seen.”

Part of the renovation work included adding smart home technology throughout the house.

The house has a total of seven fireplaces, some wood-burning, like the one in the living room, and others with gas, including the one in the dining room.

Interior
Interior

Christie’s International Real Estate

Bedroom
Bedroom

Christie’s International Real Estate

Interior
Interior

Christie’s International Real Estate

“The dining room also has a very beautiful and unique feature. It’s like the bow of a ship, with a wall of curved windows, maybe six or seven windows,” Sanders explains.

He notes that all the other windows in the home have been rebuilt or recast so that they open and close perfectly.

A porch wraps around three sides of the home, and an outdoor area with its own kitchen takes advantage of the Hudson River views.

A brook including a series of waterfalls runs through the property and into the river.

“When there has been a big rain, it’s just a wonderful sound of waterfalls all around the house. You open the windows, and you hear it. And sitting on that porch, it’s just magic, real magic,” Sanders says.

Dining room
Dining room

Christie’s International Real Estate

Brook
Brook

Christie’s International Real Estate

Porch
Porch

Christie’s International Real Estate

The home has garnered lots of interest, especially now that buyers are looking to move outside urban areas like New York City, which is about an hour’s commute away.

Sanders says he believes the buyers are likely to be “a younger couple with a love of history. That’s the activity I’m seeing at the moment.”

Workshop
Workshop

Christie’s International Real Estate

Bathroom
Bathroom

Christie’s International Real Estate

Interior
Interior

Christie’s International Real Estate

Bedroom
Bedroom

Christie’s International Real Estate

Backyard
Backyard

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Love History? 7 Homes for Sale on the National Register of Historic Places


As any successful applicant knows, documenting your home’s historical pedigree for the National Register of Historic Places is akin to writing a book report. A long book report.

However, if you wanted to skip the documentation and the burden of presenting a case to the National Park Service, you could always purchase a home already on the register.

Owning a piece of the United States’ architectural history is a big get for a buyer intrigued by American historical moments, events, and architectural styles. For a homebuyer looking beyond the basic tract, it’s a chance to purchase a place that is one of a kind.

We scoped out listings from coast to coast and found seven properties for sale on the National Register of Historic Places. The great news? You don’t need to break the bank to own a slice of history—the prices are as varied as the historic styles.

Price: $674,900
Awesome adobe: Located in Phoenix, in the Medlock Place Historic District, this sweet three-bedroom adobe of just under 2,000 square feet has whitewashed brick walls, red concrete floors, and lofted beam ceilings.

Built in 1937, it has had many updates in recent years, including a new roof, electrical, plumbing, and landscaping. The home’s well-preserved vintage elements include original doors, hardware, concrete floors, ceilings, and millwork.

All additions and modifications are in line with the home’s period style. With a restoration this successful, it’s no surprise that the home earned a 2020 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award.

301 W. Oregon Ave., Phoenix, AZ
301 W. Oregon Ave., Phoenix, AZ

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Price: $12 million
Spanish-style stunner: A beautiful example of Spanish Colonial Revival style, this 14-room manse was built in 1923.

Locals know it as the Bradbury House, and it spans 5,000 square feet. Inside, you’ll find adobe walls, carved-wood accents, hand-stenciled wood beams, and gorgeous tiles.

A truly palatial spread, the home centers on a tiled courtyard. The prized property includes two lots and features a swimming pool, gardens, and two-bedroom guest quarters,

102 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA
102 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA

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Price: $1.12 million
Wright stuff: Built in 1915, the Brandt House is decked out with Art Deco embellishments. The four-bedroom home was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style. The gorgeous home is nearly 4,000 square feet, and the outdoor spaces truly shine. The current owner—a founder of the local botanical garden—has maintained a lovely acre of raised decks, lush gardens, and a stream for the next occupants to enjoy. Inside, we love the master bath with a Hollywood Regency vibe—black soaking tub included! And, you’ll also have no trouble moving in thanks to an extremely wide front door.

815 E. Warm Springs Ave., Boise, ID
815 E. Warm Springs Ave., Boise, ID

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Price: $1.1 million
Stately beauty: Flaunting Greek Revival style, black shutters and Doric columns provide serious curb appeal. With four bedrooms, the gated estate sits on a nearly 50-acre lot with additional outbuildings. Interior features include heart-of-pine flooring, rectangular glass fans, and oversized double doors.

888 Highway 100, Greenville, GA
888 Highway 100, Greenville, GA

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Price: $249,900
Pre-American: Even among the abundant Colonials in Connecticut, this five-bedroom home is a standout because it was built in 1720—a few decades before the United States even came into existence. The former Babcock Tavern has also been a well-respected bed-and-breakfast. Cozy up to any one of the three original stone fireplaces; relax under wood-beam ceilings, and greet guests for dancing in the ballroom. A detached barn is also included in the sale. The historic home’s curb appeal is cemented by a lovely caramel-hued exterior marked by a red door.

484 Mile Hill Rd., Tolland, CT
484 Mile Hill Rd., Tolland, CT

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Price: $239,900
Tudor-rific: With a peaked roof, dark-stained wood walls, and diamond-grid windows, this is English Tudor to its core. The three-bedroom home was built in 1938 and measures 3,000 square feet. The owners recently upgraded the heating and air conditioning, and there’s a flex space upstairs, plenty of storage in the kitchen, and large bedrooms downstairs.

505 Court St., Hattiesburg, MS
505 Court St., Hattiesburg, MS

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Price: $400,000
Stone groove: Crafted from limestone, this whopper of a Colonial currently operates as an inn but could also be reverted back to a single-family home. Built in 1800, the huge home has seven bedrooms and a one-bedroom guesthouse with a fireplace. For budding gardeners, the 2.5-acre lot is a dream. A space in the home with original stone and wood-slat walls looks like the ideal spot for an art studio or home office.

204 Limekiln Rd., New Cumberland, PA
204 Limekiln Rd., New Cumberland, PA

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Major Glow-Up! Historic $4.2M Mansion Shines on Chicago’s South Side


The South Side of Chicago is a study in contrasts. Poverty and foreclosures mark neighborhoods just south of the Loop, but promise is also apparent as you travel further south.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center is slated to open in Jackson Park, and in leafy, racially diverse Hyde Park, the Obamas’ former neighborhood, lies the University of Chicago and the Frederick C. Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

If you’d like to live close to the University and live in style, we’ve found just the right spot in Hyde Park. Built in 1898, at the tail end of the Gilded Age, this 8,000-square-foot mansion in Hyde Park is on the market for $4.2 million.

Five short years ago, the property sold for just $1.7 million. As has been the case with other parts of the city’s South Side, this grand manse was brought back to life with concentrated effort.

Designed by the renowned architect William Carbys Zimmerman, this palatial six-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom spread clocks in at 8,000 square feet.

In 2018, the owners embarked on a top-to-bottom renovation that introduced new mechanical systems, state-of-the-art automation, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, and even commercial-grade Wi-Fi hotspot transmitters.

In the kitchen, you’ll find custom white cabinetry, as well as a large charcoal-gray island with pullout drawers, cabinetry, and electrical.

A casual dining area attached to the kitchen allows for a long dining table, L-shaped sofa and an entire wall of shelving and cabinetry.

A half-flight below the kitchen is the most up-to-date part of the home.

A denlike space has a greenhouse vibe and features high ceilings, as well as three walls of black, industrial-style windowpanes designed to coax in natural light, and a kitchenette at the ready to prepare cocktails.

Exterior
Exterior

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Entry and staircase
Entry and staircase

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Living room
Living room

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Dining room
Dining room

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Kitchen
Kitchen

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Casual dining area
Casual dining area

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Kitchenette
Kitchenette

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Along with these upgrades, vintage touches throughout the home were left intact.

They include classic wood-beam ceilings, leaded-glass windows, oak and mahogany woodwork, and built-ins with diamond-shaped glass panes.

To warm up, there are a trio of fireplaces, including one that warms the vast entryway, with its wide staircase.

The third floor has a luxurious retreat with a master suite, spalike bath, two walk-in closets, and space to both unwind and sleep.

The home is set on a quarter-acre lot, and its curb appeal is readily apparent, with a mature tree in the front yard, a bench on a concrete slab, and the garden arranged in a boxlike design.

A deck off an upper floor has good views, as well as also privacy, and a raised deck in the backyard features a pergola-style roof.

What kind of person might snap this gem up? It might be someone associated with the university—the campus is a block away.

It might also be a seasoned entertainer, because the home’s spacious rooms and high ceilings are made for galas, dinner parties, and cocktail hours. The dining room comes with a swinging butler door.

Alternatively, a family with kids might be attracted to the rec room, with its 20-foot ceilings, pool table, and home gym.

The home is listed with Robert Sullivan of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago.

Master suite
Master suite

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Master bathroom
Master bathroom

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Lower level
Lower level

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Backyard
Backyard

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I Do! Historic Memphis Wedding Venue Is the Week’s Most Popular Home


Real estate watchers this week were romanced by an Italianate villa in the heart of Memphis, TN, that serves as a wedding venue and which wound up as the most popular home on realtor.com®.

Surrounded by lush gardens and filled with crystal chandeliers, hand-painted ceilings, walnut paneling, and marble, the Annesdale Mansion has been the site of weddings, rehearsal dinners, and other local events. Once the bouquet was tossed, folks lined to up to catch a glimpse of it. It’s priced at $5 million—and what truly matters is making a potential buyer swoon.

In addition to the restored mansion in Memphis (which comes with 7 acres), every other home on this week’s list is surrounded by wide-open spaces. The smallest piece of property in the 10 most popular properties is a half-acre mansion in Palm Beach Gardens, which opens up to a lake. Perhaps people are feeling a desire to spread out,, in our current virus-fueled climate?

There’s a 25-acre property surrounded by an actual moat in Illinois, a couple of farmhouses with plenty of space between neighbors, and an Ohio barndominium on nearly 6.5 acres in the country. For high-end home shoppers, there’s the waterfront Connecticut mansion of former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

So wash your hands, have a seat, and scroll on down for a full look at this week’s most popular homes…

Price: $3,200,000
Why it’s here: Built in 2011, this lavish tropical paradise is move-in ready, and all its furnishings can be negotiated into an offer. Designed to provide premium views of the property’s pool, spa, and lake, it sits on a half-acre in the planned community of Frenchman’s Creek. The more than 7,100-square-foot home is loaded with high-end finishes like marble, with custom built-ins, and a sleek fireplace.

Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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Price: $299,000
Why it’s here: This 25-acre property is known in the area as the “Moat House,” thanks to the sizable moat surrounding the home. Built in 1966, the six-bedroom brick house provides plenty of room for a large family. There’s also a second full kitchen upstairs, and a second-floor private entrance, making this a smart choice for multigenerational living. Outside, the acreage features two fully stocked ponds, plus plenty of wild animals—including deer and turkeys!

Carbondale, IL
Carbondale, IL

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Price: $799,900
Why it’s here: Lovingly cared for and regularly updated since it was built in 1996, this handsome five-bedroom home has over 5,500 square feet of space. It includes more than 3 acres, which include a pool, patio area, and a steel building currently set up with a full basketball court.

Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne, IN

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Price: $220,000
Why it’s here: Fully remodeled last year, this farmhouse, which was built in 1900, now features a new roof, and new wiring, drywall, and ceilings, Inside, the three-bedroom is crammed with stylish and modern finishes. The 2-acre property also comes with a detached garage, barn, two pastures, and high-tensile fences.

Waterloo, IN
Waterloo, IN

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Price: $26,750,000
Why it’s here: Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is selling his prestigious property on the water. Custom-built for the exec, the six-bedroom home sits on more than 2 waterfront acres on Thrushwood Lake, with views of Greenwich Cove and Long Island Sound. Clean, white interiors designed by Victoria Hagan make the grand home feel cozy and intimate. The luxe walk-out lower level has a lounge and wine wall, and opens out to an infinity pool with perennial gardens beyond.

Riverside, CT
Riverside, CT

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Price: $325,000
Why it’s here: A “barndominium” blooms in Ohio! On nearly 6.5 acres, this structure features more than 2,800 square feet of finished living space. Equipped with two bedrooms, the main level has concrete floors, an oil changing pit, workshop, and plenty of storage space.

McComb, OH
McComb, OH

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Price: $289,000
Why it’s here: All aboard! This historic property was the first stagecoach stop in western Tennessee. Built in 1840 by Peter J. Swink, the three-bedroom home has been owned by only two families and was renovated in 1994. It covers more than 19 acres, including the option to purchase an additional 6 acres nearby.

Medon, TN
Medon, TN

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Price: $300,000
Why it’s here: Rescue required! This one-of-a-kind midcentury modern home was built in 1957 and needs a new owner to make it shine again. The good news is that the home already has an offer, but a buyer will need to sink major dough into the place to make it livable again. The five-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot home is filled with charming touches like skylights, transom windows, multiple patios, and a finished walkout basement with a two-lane bowling alley. Once this renovation gets rolling, we know the result will be a strike.

Palos Park, IL
Palos Park, IL

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Price: $8,900,000
Why it’s here: Inspired by Sutton Place, an Italianate masterpiece in Surrey, England, this Tudor mansion, known as Guildford, was built in 1925. The seven-bedroom residence features antique brickwork, terra-cotta window frames, carved wood paneling, oak floors, limestone walls, and stained-glass windows. We’re in awe of its 13 wood-burning fireplaces. The property, set on more than 18 acres, is fully fenced and located only 25 minutes from downtown Philadelphia.

Wyndmoor, PA
Wyndmoor, PA

realtor.com

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Price: $5,000,000
Why it’s here: The famed Annesdale mansion takes up an entire city block. Built in 1850, it’s one of the oldest and grandest homes in Memphis. The five-bedroom home has most recently been used as a wedding and event venue. The marble entry, spiral staircase, elegant gardens, and mature trees combine to make this place a dreamy romantic oasis in the heart of the city.

Memphis, TN
Memphis, TN

realtor.com



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A Historic Brownstone Bath Remodel Stays True to Its Roots


On-trend? No. On point? Absolutely.

classic bathroom remodel in BrooklynProject: Bring a vintage pink-and-black bathroom into modern-day while keeping it classic.

Before: For Peggy and Jack, renovating the master bath in their circa late-1800s brownstone in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, was an easy decision: they had leaks in the bathroom that couldn’t be ignored anymore. They were nearing the end of their twins’, Cayley and Sam, college careers so they could refocus their financial commitments. The outdated pink-and-black tile and the oddly-placed shower also contributed to the necessary overhaul. They wanted to modernize their Brooklyn bathroom, but not load it with trendy design statements that’d be “out” in a few years. 

renovator portrait

Before bath remodel pink tileTheir brownstone is configured as an owner-occupied triplex and basement rental unit—and they have grand plans for the historic building in the future. “ We have a multigenerational plan for living in our house, so we aren’t concerned about short-term resale maximization,” says Peggy. “We wanted to stay true to the spirit and look of the classic brownstone style, but update the bathroom with a water-efficient toilet and fixtures.” 

After: “The idea was to have this renovation be fine for decades,” says Peggy. “We wanted something classic, electrical and plumbing up to code, and environmentally friendly but that would respect the aesthetic of our centenarian house.” Installing safety compliant features like easy tub access, grab bars, and non-slip flooring was also a priority. 


They posted their project on Sweetena free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and found the right contractor for their Brooklyn bathroom renovation project. 

They originally planned to move the tub under the window, which had been done with their kids’ bathroom a few years ago.  “We like to take baths, and were motivated to expand floor space and have the window view when soaking,” said Peggy. “However, we realized that also meant we couldn’t have grab bars on a  window wall.” 

Their Sweeten contractor referred them to a designer, who then consulted on the space’s layout. The designer suggested leaving the tub in place and moving the toilet to make more space for a larger vanity. Good advice! The end result of the renovation is undeniable: “It’s clean, fresh, serene…and has no leaks!” The couple also used six inches of space behind the shower wall for building in double storage niches.

Bonus: They repurposed their hallway mirror for their bathroom, since it had the vintage feel they wanted. 

Style finds: Vanity: build.com. Hardware: Miele. Bathroom floor tile: Classic Tile. Paint: Benjamin Moore.

WATCH VIDEO:


Check out other small bathroom renovations here.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation.



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The Real Estate Industry Is Fighting New York City’s Historic Climate Bill On Technicalities


NEW YORK ― The fight over New York City’s landmark bill to slash climate-changing pollution from big buildings began Tuesday at a marathon hearing where the real estate industry and its allies picked apart the legislation, criticizing its strict deadlines and protections for affordable housing.

The bill, called Intro. 1253 and introduced last Wednesday, sets an ambitious timeline for cutting emissions from buildings of more than 25,000 square feet ― the city’s biggest source of carbon pollution ― starting in 2022 and increasing steadily until meeting a 40 percent reduction by 2030. From there, the legislation gives landlords until 2050 to double those cuts.

“We can’t wait anymore,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Queens legislator who leads the council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, said at the hearing. “The time to act is now.”

Waiting, he said, risks leaving “our grandkids the world of ‘Mad Max’ or the world of ‘Hunger Games.’” The bill has nearly two dozen co-sponsors, including Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

It’s a formidable goal from a first-of-its-kind bill that, if passed, would set a new standard for cities around the world and mark the most aggressive climate action yet taken by any municipality, let alone the largest and most economically influential in the nation. But meeting it will be costly, particularly for the real estate industry that dominates New York politics and gave rise to such figures as President Donald Trump.

Challenging the bill outright was never an option. The legislation came from an agreement in August, brokered by the nonprofit Urban Green Council, between the city’s real estate lobby and grassroots activists that set out a framework for cutting emissions 80 percent by the middle of the century. To do so, the agreement outlined a roadmap for requiring landlords to retrofit old buildings with energy-efficient technologies.

An early draft of the legislation nixed proposals to give extra leeway to New York’s dwindling stock of roughly 990,000 rent-regulated apartments. But the final version unveiled last week surprised activists by not only preserving the protections for rent-regulated units but also going beyond the original Urban Green Council framework to call for cuts to be made roughly twice as fast.

The timeline for emissions reductions nearly matches the ambition back-to-back reports from federal and United Nations scientists who said urgent action is needed to wean the global economy off fossil fuels and avert catastrophic global warming in the coming decades.

New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides, flanked by housing advocates and environmentalists, announces the introduction



New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides, flanked by housing advocates and environmentalists, announces the introduction of his bill in late November, three months after he first said he’d draft legislation to cut emissions 80 percent from big buildings by 2050.

But the loophole for buildings housing even one rent-regulated apartment ― seen as critical to avoid rent hikes in a so-called Gilded City already facing record homelessness ― could exempt up to a third of the city’s big residential emitters. Instead of requiring expensive retrofits that, even with rent protections, could be legally passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases of up to 6 percent a year, the legislation proposes requiring the same auditing for all buildings over 25,000 square feet that buildings over 50,000 square feet already undergo.

That appeared to anger industry groups, who demanded their own exemptions, and a handful of their environmentalist allies who said the rent-regulated buildings cannot be left behind as the city reins in the environmental footprint of its skyline.

The Real Estate Board of New York, the city’s powerful and deep-pocketed landlord lobby, “supports the bills intention to act quickly and with ambition,” said Carl Hum, a senior vice president of the group.

“But we also want to proceed wisely,” he said, urging a focus on “long-term goals while being cognizant of short-term realities.”

He said he supports the bill’s call for a study of a carbon-trading market based on Tokyo’s cap-and-trade scheme that allows big commercial landlords in the Japanese capital to buy and sell a limited and shrinking number of CO₂ pollution permits. The cap-and-trade market is the only major policy in the world akin to what Constantinides’ bill is trying to do.

For the Greater New York Hospital Association, the 2022 start date represents an “extremely problematic” and “arbitrary timeline” for facilities that stay open 24/7 and require constant lighting and power, according to Andrew Title, the association’s senior government affairs director.

Adriana Espinoza, the New York City program director at the New York League of Conservation Voters, which, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, made up the only major environmental groups opposing the current version of the bill, said, “We share the concern of others over exemptions for buildings with at least one rent-regulated unit. It is likely these buildings and the New Yorkers who live in them are those who would benefit the most” from retrofits. (Both environmental groups subsequently told HuffPost they fundamentally support the bill but want to “improve” it with various tweaks.)

We can’t let deniers and those with deep pockets whose profits are at risk deter us.
Mark Chambers, director of the mayor’s Office of Sustainability

Looming over the debate is the possibility that the new Democratic majority in both houses of the New York State Legislature next year will pass stronger protections or eliminate Major Capital Improvements ― the program that allows landlords to charge rent-regulated tenants for expensive overhauls ― when rent regulations expire next June. Constantinides said he’d amend the legislation to close the loophole for rent-regulated units if such policy changes occur in Albany in the months to come.

“We need all sectors to participate in the reduction of greenhouse gases in the city of New York ― no sector can be left behind,” he said. “We do not want to create a list of exemptions. We want to make sure every sector participates in a meaningful way.”

He asked the five panelists testifying how many have worked with the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, a free program that advises landlords on making energy-efficiency improvements.

“Just one?” he said with a curt chuckle when a lone hand rose. “OK.”

The accelerator isn’t the only program that could help make the mandated emissions cuts more affordable for landlords. Constantinides sponsored a sister bill to opt New York City into the months-old statewide Property Assessed Clean Energy financial program, which allows building owners to apply for long-term, fixed-rate loans to make energy-efficiency improvements or install solar panels through a voluntary line item on their property taxes.

“We know that many will need help, real help,” Constantinides said.

“No one here is pretending this is going to be easy. We know it’s going to be hard,” he added. “But we also know, as hard as it’s going to be, it’s nothing compared to how hard it’s going to be adjusting to when it’s too late.”

Despite laser-targeted opposition, the bills enjoy strong support from a mobilized coalition of organizations. Nearly 100 demonstrators rallied on the steps of City Hall an hour before the hearing began. They came from groups ranging from working-class stalwarts, such as Democratic Socialists of America and New York Communities for Change; to climate justice advocates such as 350.org, Uprose and the Sunrise Movement. Their signs and chants localized the messaging Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped popularize on federal climate policy, declaring the bills the backbone of a “Green New Deal 4 NYC.”

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is backing the bill in her home city, framing the building emission cuts as part



Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is backing the bill in her home city, framing the building emission cuts as part of the Green New Deal she’s pushing on the federal level.

The stakes for the bill’s passage are high.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to mandate a building retrofit program in 2009, but the effort fizzled. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio twice attempted to mandate emission cuts from buildings, first in 2016 and then again in 2017. But the efforts went nowhere. In September 2017, the mayor released his most detailed plan yet without coordinating with his usual environmental allies on the City Council, alienating lawmakers who were drafting their own bills to cut emissions. They refused to back de Blasio’s proposal.

But de Blasio appears to fully back the bill. When Constantinides asked if the bill represented “the largest emissions reduction policy in the history of this city,” Mark Chambers, the mayor’s sustainability director, cut him off and said, “The history of any city.”

“We can’t let deniers and those with deep pockets whose profits are at risk deter us,” Chambers said. “The science is clear, and we have to cut carbon now, and cutting it from the largest source simply makes sense.”

That could have a huge ripple from a city with a gross domestic product big enough to rank among the world’s 20 largest economies.

In January, the de Blasio administration sued five major oil companies over infrastructure damage from sea level rise. A federal judge tossed the suit in July, but California and seven other big states signed on to the city’s appeal last month.

When the mayor started the process of divesting roughly $5 billion in fossil fuel investments from the city’s pension funds earlier this year, other cities quickly followed.

Over the past month, Ocasio-Cortez took Washington by storm, forcefully rallying current and incoming members of Congress to support her plan to start working on a Green New Deal, a sweeping federal stimulus plan to drastically cut emissions over the next decade and drive up wages by funding renewable energy projects with union wages. But increasing support of that plan beyond the nearly two-dozen lawmakers ― including Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) ― will need to be buttressed by local policies like the Constantinides bill, said Randy Abreu, Ocasio-Cortez’s policy director.

“Local policies like this need to happen in every city to give that signal to the federal government that we are ready for this,” Abreu told HuffPost outside City Hall. “We all know the federal government has the resources to make this happen. We just need to show D.C. that this is going to happen.”

This article has been updated to reflect clarifications made by the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Defense Council about their positions on the bill.



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New York City Passes Historic Climate Legislation



The nation’s largest and most economically influential city passed a historic bill Thursday capping climate-changing pollution from big buildings and mandating unprecedented cuts to greenhouse gases. 

The City Council approved the legislation in a 45-to-2 vote Thursday afternoon, all but ensuring its passage by a mayor eager to burnish his climate bona fides ahead of a potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. 

“We are on the precipice of climate disaster, and New York City is acting,” Corey Johnson, the council speaker, said in a statement. “I hope other cities follow suit.”

The effort demonstrates one of the clearest examples yet of what a municipal version of the Green New Deal, the national movement for a multi-trillion dollar climate-friendly industrial plan, might look like. The legislation is forecast to spur thousands of blue-collar jobs and make it easier for the city to take advantage of future state and federal funding for clean energy projects and climate change-ready infrastructure.  

The measure, introduced by Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Democrat from Queens, is the centerpiece of a suite of six climate bills packaged together as the Climate Mobilization Act. 

The legislation sets emissions caps for various types of buildings over 25,000 square feet; buildings produce nearly 70% of the city’s emissions. It sets steep fines if landlords miss the targets. Starting in 2024, the bill requires landlords to retrofit buildings with new windows, heating systems and insulation that would cut emissions by 40% in 2030, and double the cuts by 2050.

“This legislation will radically change the energy footprint of the built environment and will pay off in the long run with energy costs expected to rise and new business opportunities that will be generated by this forward thinking and radical policy,” said Timur Dogan, an architect and building scientist at Cornell University.

Its proponents bill the legislation as the largest single mandate to cut climate pollution by any city in the world. The new rules would create demand for more than 3,600 construction jobs per year, by one estimate, and another 4,400 jobs in maintenance, services and operations, fueled by the sheer magnitude of the investment required to meet the emissions goals.

“The market signals sent by this legislation are significant,” Nilda Mesa, a senior research scientist at Columbia University and a former director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, wrote in Crain’s New York. “The largest real estate market in the U.S. will be seeking products and services to cut energy.”

The Climate Mobilization Act’s other components include a bill that orders the city to complete a study over the next two years on the feasibility of closing all 24 oil- and gas-burning power plants in city limits and replacing them with renewables and batteries. Another that establishes a renewable energy loan program. Two more that require certain buildings to cover roofs with plants, solar panels, small wind turbines or a mix of the three. And a final bill that tweaks the city’s building code to make it easier to build wind turbines. 

The cost to landlords is high. The mayor’s office estimated to The New York Times that the total cost of upgrades needed to meet the new requirements would hit $4 billion. 

There are loopholes for houses of worship and buildings with at least one rent-regulated apartment in hopes of preventing the law from triggering large-scale improvements that would allow landlords to jack up rent and evict working-class tenants. The Real Estate Board of New York, the powerful lobby that represents large developers and property owners, came out against the legislation last year, arguing it provided too many carve-outs for smaller buildings and put an unfair burden on big landlords. 

But the lawmakers forged ahead anyway, vowing to update the legislation if state legislators in Albany win better protections later this year for the city’s dwindling stock of roughly 990,000 rent-regulated apartments.

The policies omitted from the Climate Mobilization Act are significant. The package does not include an existing bill that proposes creating a new city agency to direct and oversee New York’s adaptation efforts, or another mandating all-electric school buses. Those are expected to come up for a vote later this year. 

Other proposals have yet to make it into legislation. Those include a plan to close the notorious prison on Rikers Island and convert the 413-acre facility into a solar farm, water treatment plant and a blueprint for a wind energy manufacturing hub on the rapidly gentrifying industrial waterfront of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. 

Nor does the legislation set a 100% renewable electricity target for the city that goes beyond the existing rules for city-owned buildings ― something New York City is likely to face greater pressure to do since the Chicago City Council voted to adopt a similar measure last week.

The bill is an imitable first step for a city with a gross domestic product large enough to rank in the top 20 economies. But it represents low-hanging fruit. Nearly 70 percent of New Yorkers live in Brooklyn and Queens, boroughs on the western tip of Long Island, a glacial moraine.

While New York City ordering aggressive emissions cuts raises the likelihood that other big cities will adopt similar policies, the emissions reductions alone will do little to halt surging global temperatures and the subsequent extreme weather and sea level rise. Emissions cuts are “just less disruptive” than new zoning laws and potential rules barring waterfront construction, said John Englander, an oceanographer and president of the International Sea Level Rise Institute.

Still, backers of the bill were elated on Thursday.

“It’s not every day the real estate industry loses a major policy fight and not every day one of the world’s biggest cities passes the world’s biggest cut in pollution,” Pete Sikora, a senior adviser to the climate and housing justice group New York Communities for Change, say after the vote. “Both happened at the same time.” 



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