Luxury Homes

The Party Never Has to End in These 10 Mardi Gras-Ready Homes

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Some Creole architectural delights for your viewing pleasure

It’s almost time for the biggest party of the year: Mardi Gras.

So grab some beads and a hurricane cocktail and settle back with these elegant French colonial homes for a sale — a vestige of the French settlers who once populated the Big Easy.

French Quarter

1005 Governor Nicholls St, New Orleans, LA
For sale: $849,000

Like many French colonial homes in semi-tropical areas, this mini-estate features an enchanting garden oasis to complement its tall windows and tastefully understated storm shutters.

Check out more homes on the market in the French Quarter.

Frisco, TX

12387 Shoal Forest Ln, Frisco, TX
For sale: $1 million

This French colonial boasts hinged shutters, a parlor with built-in bookshelves, and balconies adored with ornate ironwork. The master suite is a haven for pampering, with a coffee bar, two walk-in closets and a claw-foot tub alongside an oversized shower.

See more listings in Frisco.

Madisonville, LA

138 Deloaks Rd, Madisonville, LA
For sale: $2.275 million

French colonial homes built on acreage are often called plantation homes — and they have the luxury of wide porches for sipping lemonade and taking in the breeze. This home along the Tchefuncte River boasts five fireplaces for chilly evenings.

View more listings in the Madisonville area.

Vero Beach, FL

9230 E Marsh Island Dr, Vero Beach, FL
For sale: $2.2 million

Located on an island in South Florida, this home was built in 2005 but has the narrow windows and shutters, wide front balcony and French doors of a traditional French colonial home.

See more listings in Vero Beach.

New Orleans, LA

910 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA
For sale: $1.875 million

This Creole townhouse, which mixes French and Caribbean architectural elements, brings the elegance of a slate roof and copper gutters to a French Quarter home that dates to 1830.

See more homes for sale in New Orleans.

Charleston, SC

17 Thomas St, Charleston, SC
For sale: $1.459 million

Balconies figure prominently in French colonial architecture, although the most ornate railings were added during the subsequent Victorian era by people who found colonial design dull.

See more homes for sale in Charleston.

Houston, TX

5636 Longmont Dr, Houston, TX
For sale: $3.8 million

The French colonial style takes on a country manor look with larger houses, like this 8,715-square-foot mansion that’s Texas Big.

See more homes for sale in Houston.

Shreveport, LA

2025 Fairwoods Dr, Shreveport, LA
For sale: $349,900

Modern homes like this one sometimes mimic the French colonial style, with steep roofs and tall windows. This one is billed as a cottage, but it measures more than 2,000 square feet.

Check out more listings in Shreveport.

Los Angeles, CA

1286 Sunset Plaza Dr, Los Angeles, CA
For sale: $5.149 million

Word had reached Los Angeles as far back as 1936, when this home was built, that French colonials had it all over elegance. A backyard pool, plus immense closets and a giant wine cooler bring a California sensibility to the mansion.

See more homes for sale in Los Angeles.

Houston, TX

904 E 26th St, Houston, TX
For sale: $659,000

Here’s a modern home outside Louisiana that makes the New Orleans Garden District look seem easy. Tall windows, a front porch and an ornate balcony: You almost expect to see beads flying through the air.

View more homes for sale in Houston.

Posted by Melissa Allison on Zillow

Own Your Own Private Island With NYC Views

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Billy Rose owned it, and Lillian Hellman and Marilyn Monroe are said to have visited.

Old-time showman and lyricist Billy Rose — best known for “Me and My Shadow” — knew a party island when he saw one.


He held some doozies when he owned Tavern Island in Connecticut, a 3.5-acre property allegedly named for its use as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Or at least that’s how the lore goes, and the lore is epic for this particular island: It’s said to have been inhabited by European settlers in 1651 and occupied by the British during the American Revolution. Lillian Hellman finished her play “The Little Foxes” on Tavern Island, and Marilyn Monroe is believed to have attended at least one Billy Rose soiree there.

Whatever history the island holds, its trappings are impressive — and on the market for $10.995 million. Located about an hour from Manhattan, its centerpiece is a 1900 Tudor home with coffered ceilings and extraordinary views.

The three-story home boasts 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, 2 offices, an exercise room and steam room.

There’s also a 2-bedroom, 2-bath guest cottage; a boat house with a large game room, bedroom and bath; plus a tea house with stunning nighttime views of the New York City lights.

The island comes with two boats and a half-acre property with a dock and parking lot on the mainland for year-round access.

In case that’s not enough water, the island also boasts a 75-foot pool that overlooks one of four private beaches.

“Of all the homes I’ve seen in Connecticut, this is far and away the most unique and most romantic and just plain cool,” said Rick Higgins of Higgins Group/Christie’s International Real Estate.

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

Abandoned behemoth with 46 bedrooms – or ‘more like 70’ – is for sale in Texas (where else?)

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Now this is more like it! Don’t you think?

Forget Jackie Siegel and her biggest-home-in-the-nation Florida “Versailles” with its piddling 30 bedrooms or so, which was once on the market for $75 million unfinished.

This Texas structure is being marketed as a 60,175-square-foot “shell” of a single-family home on about 15 acres, with 46 bedrooms and 26 bathrooms — “more than enough room for the entire family inside and outside!” the listing says — for $3.5 million.

Those room counts are only estimates, by the way. “It’s probably more like 70 bedrooms,” listing agent Mona Miller tells the Houston Chronicle. “They’re not completed, so it’s difficult to tell.”

Rumors about this residence and its junior version next door, which is about half the size at a mere 32,000 square feet, have been circulating locally for going on a decade. They’re in Manvel, near Pearland, about half an hour’s drive south of Houston. In 2009 the Houston Press got a glimpse of the bigger one, which it dubbed“Pearland’s mystery mansion,” and judging from the current photos, the property has been essentially abandoned for the intervening six years.

Theater room perhaps??
There’s even an unfinished indoor pool.

Even Miller isn’t sure of the real story, but she’s heard that a physician and his wife started building the bigger structure in 2001 as a surgery rehab center, then turned their attention to building a smaller (air quotes) neighbor.

Old listing photos for Junior (shown at the bottom) show a furnished, finished and distinctly institutional-looking dwelling that was billed as being available for residential or commercial use.

The bigger behemoth now on the market was earlier floated as a “special purpose” property but apparently didn’t go over with prospective buyers. According to that listing, the property was “originally designed to be a senior assisted-living center, but was not completed.” No kidding.

The remaining photos — from a property listing from 2008 — show the smaller (air quotes) property next door. It’s about 32,000 square feet and was apparently built by the same physician and his wife sometime after they started and then dropped the 60,000-square-foot project in about 2001. They completed this one, as the photos show.

Originally published by Jennifer Karmon on Yahoo Homes.

Massive Lodge in Mammoth Lakes Hits the Market for $16.4M

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What do you get when you cross local artisans, mountain views, and a love of gambling? It sounds like a lame joke you’d overhear at a bar, but the answer is one of the most private homes in the Sierra Nevada.

Listed for $16.4 million, Victory Lodge in Mammoth Lakes, CA, stretches 16,400 square feet and boasts nine bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms.

Pulling in to the circular drive, you’ll likely be in awe of the large, stone-covered entrance.

However, the real jaw-dropping moment happens when you step inside the great room. A soaring 30-foot ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows surround an antler chandelier. And it’s not just any antler chandelier.

“It is the largest elk and deer horn chandelier ever constructed,” said listing agent Gwen Banta.

As with the great room, nature is a theme running throughout the rest of the home. The carved wood beams are the work of local craftsmen—but they weren’t easy.

“The construction of this house was such a feat, the main part of the construction itself took four years,” Banta said. The builder “tried to use as many local artisans as possible. All of the beams were split and hand-carved by local people.”

In addition to the nine bedrooms, the massive lodge also has plenty of entertainment and relaxation rooms. There is a spot for an indoor gym, sauna, and event room.

“The event room was originally used as a casino. The owner loved gambling and had several antique slot machines. There are still a few of the antique gaming equipment pieces in there as display,” says Banta.

The sale price includes furnishings, so those pieces of old Las Vegas could be yours.

Stepping onto the back deck is another moment worthy of pause.

The property sits on protected land just off Gull Lake. Beyond the lake you have views of the snow-capped Carson Peak. “You can even see the June Lake ski lift in the distance,” Banta said. And if that isn’t enough nature for you, Yosemite National Park is nearby.

It’s easy to see why the Sierra Nevada mountains are a sought-after spot, and Banta believes this lodge will appeal to a certain clientele.

“The ideal buyer is someone who wants a home for generations. It is the kind of house where—as extraordinary as it is—it is meant to be used. This is a comfortable house,” Banta says. Of course it wouldn’t hurt if the family also had a love for games of chance or an affection for antlers.

Published by Angela Colley on

The Most Expensive Streets in America

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From Florida to California, these streets are a world of their own.

Coopers Neck Ln is the most expensive street in The Hamptons, and one of the priciest in the U.S.
Coopers Neck Ln is the most expensive street in The Hamptons, and one of the priciest in the U.S.

No helicopters, no mega yachts. At first glance, Indian Creek is just a small private island in Biscayne Bay. But South Florida real estate agent Cory Waldman begs to differ.

“It’s a city within a city,” the Coldwell Banker associate said. “They have their own police force. The lot sizes are enormous. It’s top-notch.”

Across the country, luxury real estate agent Kofi Natei Nartey has a similar reaction — but not about Indian Creek.

“Beverly Park is the most exclusive gated community in Los Angeles,” The Agency‘s Sports & Entertainment Division director said. “With guard-gated access only, it attracts some of the highest net worth individuals and celebrities in the world.”

They’re not exaggerating. New data shows Indian Creek Island Road and Beverly Park Circle are the most expensive streets to live on in the U.S.

Indian Creek, known locally as Billionaire Bunker, is home to four of the richest people in America, the Miami Herald reports. Beverly Park Circle is home to Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy, among other big names.

So what does it cost to live there? Based on Zillow’s analysis of streets with at least 10 homes, here’s a look at the median home value for the top 15:




Median Home Value

1. Indian Creek Island Rd FL $21.48 million
2. Beverly Park Cir CA $16.238 million
3. Beverly Park Ter CA $15.813 million
4. Lazy Lane Blvd TX $15.42 million
5. Conyers Farm Dr CT $13.033 million
6. Strawberry Park Ct CO $12.421 million
7. Field Point Cir CT $12.113 million
8. Coopers Neck Ln NY $11.872 million
9. Nimes Rd CA $11.445 million
10. Arvida Pkwy FL $11.209 million
11. Cameldale Way AZ $10.834 million
12. Nelsons Walk FL $10.496 million
13. Broad Beach Rd CA $10.272 million
14. Tahiti Beach Island Rd FL $10.267 million
15. Copa De Oro Rd CA $10.264 million

Names vs. numbers

This 6-bedroom, 10-bath home at 3600 Nelsons Walk is on the market for $18.9 million in Naples, FL.
This 6-bedroom, 10-bath home at 3600 Nelsons Walk is on the market for $18.9 million in Naples, FL.

Interestingly, all of the priciest streets are names, rather than numbers. In “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate,” co-authors Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries explore what’s in a street name. By digging into the data, they’ve found a named-street premium exists across the country.

Among the 20 largest metro areas, “we only found three places in the entire nation where named streets don’t have the advantage,” they write. “In Atlanta and New York, named and numbered streets come out roughly equal. Denver is the solitary example of a place where numbered streets are more valuable — probably because homes in its premier neighborhood of Country Club are located on numbered streets.”

What gives named streets a higher price tag? Rascoff and Humphries say in general, the most valuable street names describe something about a home’s location. Indian Creek Island Road is a great example because “island” indicates the homes are near water, and therefore probably worth more than non-waterfront homes in the area.

Suffixes matter

705 Arvida Pkwy, spanning approximately 390 linear feet right on the water, is currently listed for $9.5 million.
705 Arvida Pkwy, spanning approximately 390 linear feet right on the water, is currently listed for $9.5 million.

It’s easy to gloss over the letters tacked on at the end of a street name. But as shown above, living on Beverly Park Terrace versus Beverly Park Circle could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In their analysis, Rascoff and Humphries discovered the most common suffixes — street, boulevard and avenue — tend to be the least valuable. Way and place, meanwhile, make up only 4 percent of street name suffixes nationwide, and their homes’ are typically worth more.

These findings shed light on the myriad factors at play in local real estate markets. Of course, at the end of the day, lot comes down to perception.

“There’s nothing else like [Indian Creek] in South Florida,” Waldman said. “It’s the most prestigious address.”

Published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog.

Light-Filled ‘Warehouse With Sophistication’

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A 40-foot, concrete infinity lap pool starts where the living rooms ends.

For the empty-nest Los Angeles home they built seven years ago, Linda and Grant Seltzer wanted “a big warehouse with a little sophistication,” Linda explains.

“Then it got more sophisticated,” she laughs, with touches like a 40-foot, concrete infinity lap pool that starts where the living room ends and is separated from it by a wall of glass.

Even the warehouse-y parts exude elegance, such as a wall of concrete that was poured into wooden supports on-site, leaving wood-grain texturing.

The 3-bedroom, 3-bath home, now listed for $3.849 million, features vast expanses of glass, exposed steel beams and concrete floors with radiant heat.

A half-ton slab of Minnesota stone at the base of the stairs was rolled in on ice bags and matches the claret red of the home’s support beams.

The kitchen has the simple lines of Italian design group Boffi.

The master bath includes limestone tiles and untinted Venetian plaster.

A bird’s-nest room perched above the second floor is designed as a small Japanese tea house, and serves as additional sleeping quarters for guests.

Among all the light-filled beauty, Linda’s favorite part is the way the sun plays off the glass and other elements. “I love the rainbows,” she says.

The listing is held by F. Ron Smith of Partners Trust.

Photos by Michael McNamara of Shooting L.A

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

Staging on Steroids: Swans, Helicopters and Trucks Full of Furniture

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Tool around ritzy parts of Los Angeles for a day, and you’re likely to see at least one Meridith Baer moving van.

Baer is the area’s foremost real estate stager, fixing up homes for the rich and famous — sometimes so well the owners (like Scarlett Johansson) stay a while longer. One of Baer’s greatest triumphs was staging the mansion that the Milken family reportedly bought for $102 million in cash, including all the furniture.

Staging comes in all shapes and price ranges, but essentially it’s the art of creating appeal for potential buyers by encouraging them to picture themselves in a home. It leans toward neutral colors and conventional flair.

Sometimes, though, staging goes right over the top:

The swans

These swans were used to stage a Beverly Hills home built by Mohamed Hadid of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Shahs of Sunset” fame. The Crescent Palace, aka Le Palais, was plenty luxe before the birds arrived — with a 40-seat theater, a 200-person ballroom and a Turkish room that’s become a Hadid hallmark. Listing agents for the palace, which sold for $32.75 million, were Joyce Rey and Stacy Gottula of Coldwell Banker Previews International.

The helicopter

Those same agents used a bird of a different sort for the Palazzo di Amore in Beverly Hills: A helicopter was hired to snap images andvideo footage from above. Also built by Hadid, the estate is currently the priciest listing in the country at $195 million. It too boasts a Turkish room by Hadid — plus two wine cellars that hold 13,000 bottles and barrels, a 50-seat theater and a 15,000-square-foot entertainment center with a revolving dance floor.

The furniture

When Baer and her team staged this penthouse in The Seychelle luxury condo building near Santa Monica pier (asking price $10 million), they “wanted it to feel coastal, but not on the nose — more like home,” she said. They filled the space with furniture that feels like home, but is low enough to stay out of the way of the beach views. “Whatever you see on the outside, we wanted to bring in.” The penthouse is being sold by Related California.

The art

Most staging involves some art, but this newly built modern home in Beverly Hills features world-class art chosen not by a traditional stager, but by an art gallery. The agents for the $3.895 million listing are Paul Lester, Aileen Comora and Michael Perez of The Agency.

The Porsche

The listing with the art also featured a McLaren sports car at one of its house-for-sale parties, but a white Porsche stayed for staging purposes. The amped-up staging is “about curating a luxury lifestyle experience that combines not only great furniture, but bespoke art pieces from galleries, cars that might fit the lifestyle of the new owner, and if there’s an event, serving a wonderful array of foods from neighborhood gourmet restaurants and wine tastings from a local winehouse,” said Lester, a partner and founder of The Agency.

The whole enchilada

Luxury-level staging often involves just a few rooms — but Baer staged the entire 10,000 square feet of this $17 million listing in Pacific Palisades, down to the fern in the kitchen and the throw in the home theater. Then she staged outside, including multiple seating areas on the porch and by the pool. The listing agents are F. Ron Smith of Partners Trust and Aaron Kirman of the John Aaroe Group.

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.