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

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.

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Classic Big Sur Home Offers ‘Best Hot Tub Location in the World’

Slide into Big Sur, CA, and after a scenic drive hugging the Pacific Coast and heading south from San Francisco, you enter an entirely different, windswept world. A world that allows you to soak in the majestic views while soaking in your tub.

This spectacular home along the rugged coast, which just hit the market for $5.5 million, provides you with your own front-row seat to the oh-so-scenic setting.

Legendary photographer Ansel Adams was apparently a frequent visitor to this well-placed property. “He talked about the views from the north being the best coastal views that he’d ever seen,” listing agent Ben Heinrich recalled. “He took a lot of photography from that location.”

The sellers, who called the place home for decades, are heading East to be closer to their family. They clearly leave behind quite a history—like the annual visits from the nearby Carmel Bach Festival musicians.

“It has such large scale in the home, you could fit the whole orchestra in there,” Heinrich said. “Drinking wine and playing the violin and listening to all that music. It would just be fun.”

The 9,849-square-foot, four-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom house could be quite the party pad. But there’s plenty to entertain the kids, as well—from the indoor whale-shaped pool to the loft above the family room to the pool table with an ocean view.

“The scale of the home is just breathtaking,” Heinrich said. “The ceilings are 25, 30 feet. And the views are every direction.”

Those same views would allow a buyer to take in the whale migration that parades by the house twice a year.

The dwelling, located in an area south of the more famous hotels such as Post Ranch Inn, was built in 1969 on the more remote area known as Notleys Landing.

And although the property is tucked away from other homes and affords plenty of privacy, it’s only about 10.5 miles from nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea. (That’s where locals go grocery shopping on the weekends.)

Outside, the natural wonders await and it’s even sweeter to take them in from the deck or the hot tub. “You could get in the hot tub and experience the best hot tub location in the world,” Heinrich said.

“Hot Tub Time Machine: Carmel,” here we come.

This article was published by Claudine Zap on realtor.com.

Texas Mansion With Three-Story Closet

The Houston home flipper who envisioned this closet said she’d like to build one twice as big next time.

47 Grand Regency Cir, Spring, TX
For sale: $12.9 million

Proving once again that everything is bigger in Texas, a real estate agent in the Houston area is flipping a house to which she added a three-story, roughly 3,000-square-foot closet.

The payday for Theresa Roemer and her husband could be big, too. They’re asking more than three times what they paid for the home in July 2013.

“I’ve always been a house flipper. Normally I pocket $30,000 to $50,000 to a cool million,” Roemer said. “This will probably be my biggest one.”

Roemer points out that the couple put “quite a few million” into the home since buying it. They added 4,000 square feet and installed Italian porcelain, marble and crystal chandeliers. The home has two kitchens, a spa and a theater.

And how about that closet?

“I’ve always had beautiful, big closets. One thing I found was that when I had charity and other events, women always wanted to see the closet,” said Roemer, a former Mrs. Texas. “We’d end up in the closet drinking champagne, and I started thinking, I’ve got to build a closet big enough to have a party in, because that’s where we always end up.”

That begs the question of whether her next flip will involve a giant closet.

“Sure. Why stop?” Roemer said. “I’d like to build another house with a closet maybe twice the size.”


This article was originally published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog

Paradise Found: realtor.com’s Top 10 Dreamiest Homes of 2014

Every year brings an array of dream homes to the market—some old and some new, but all spectacular in their own right.

When you hear the words “dream home,” you might conjure up a vision of a place with fabulous views, a home with awesome architectural flourishes or a mansion where closet space is never a concern.

Realtor.com combed through the houses they’ve featured over the past year and found a mix of homes that cover all of the dream bases. To learn more about any of their Top 10, simply click on the pictures below.

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10. Henman House — Malibu, CA

Located high on a hill in the ultra-exclusive Malibu, the fascinating Henman House listed earlier this year for $9.2 million. Designed by architect Ed Niles, this one-of-a-kind home makes extensive use of glass to create an effect that brings the outdoors in. The home’s soaring ceilings and dramatic angles make the home look like the world’s coolest cathedral.

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9. Hyperbolic Paraboloid — New Canaan, CT

Just up the road from Philip Johnson’s revered Glass House, this New Canaan, CT, Mid-Century marvel shatters the mold of conventional rooflines.

Built in 1960 and described by architect James Evans as a “hyperbolic paraboloid,” the home’s distinctive shape is made up of straight lines fooling the eye into seeing a curvy, swooping space that looks as if it’s ready to take flight. If you love the Mid-Century look of this place, you’re in luck: The home is still available for a cool $2 million.

 

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8. Marc Bell Mansion — Boca Raton, FL

Back in May, we asked if you were looking for the “greatest nerd space on earth.” That question remains applicable to this still-available Boca Raton, FL, mansion. While the over the top opulence is visible throughout the $35 million home, the Star Trek-themed wet bar is what cements this mansion’s spot among the most unique homes of the year.

Other themed rooms in the sprawling 27,000-square-foot home include an fully stocked arcade, a Call of Duty-themed video game room and a home theater resembling the bridge from “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

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7. Collins House — Hopewell, NJ

Located in Hopewell, NJ, and designed by architect Philip Collins, this wide-open home with walls of windows also blends the indoors and outdoors—but with a twist: The home has no interior supporting walls, which means there’s total flexibility in terms of the home’s interior layout.

How did they do that? Well, it’s post and beam construction that relies on a series of a stone pillars that ring the outside of the home. The listing price has dropped a bit and is now sitting at $1.6 million. Not bad for a light-filled architectural marvel …

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6. Kentucky Castle — Versailles, KY

For fantasy fanatics, this 50-room castle would prove ideal for staging re-enactments of battles of yore. Used primarily as an event facility, this ode to medieval times is smack-dab in the unlikely locale of Versailles, KY. Listed for $30 million in April, the 16-bedroom home is currently off the market—perhaps it found a prince who couldn’t resist.

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5. Iowa’s Most Expensive Home — Urbandale, IA

Speaking of unlikely locales, this innovative Iowa mansion might seem more at home on the coasts, but its appeal is universal. Located on six wooded acres just outside Des Moines, it’s the most expensive residential listing in the state.

Still on the market for $4.9 million, the home’s interior woodwork and enormous outdoor decks have to be seen to be believed. And that’s not all: The home comes equipped with its own indoor greenhouse, indoor waterfall, built-in aquarium and private pond in the backyard.

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4. Casa de Las Palmas — Rancho Santa Fe, CA

In Rancho Santa Fe, CA, you’ll find the enchanting Casa de Las Palmas. Listed for $17.9 million, the sprawling estate offers the California dream on a large scale. The listing agent we spoke with in October said the Casa’s landscaping alone was worth millions of dollars.

The 16,006-square-foot home even comes with a unique buyer’s perk: a $250,000 gift card for private jet travel.

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3. Glencliff — Mount Kisco, NY

The stately brick mansion known as Glencliff listed for $23 million in October. Just 45 minutes from Manhattan, this Mount Kisco, NY, manor has been totally revamped inside while preserving the historical significance of the home.

Its blend of contemporary style inside with imposing old-school design outside works in spectacular fashion.

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2. Wit’s End — Pebble Beach, CA

Named Wit’s End, this stunning home sits right off the 13th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Course. Owned for years by billionaire mogul Richard Mellon Scaife, the marvelous Mediterranean estate listed in September for $31.25 million.

In unsurprising news, the home sold for its asking price just one month later. The stunning views from this Pebble Beach palace were too beautiful to linger on the market for an extended period.

 

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1. La Palais Royal — Hillsboro Beach, FL

And finally, the former title holder for most expensive listing in the U.S.

La Palais Royal listed in September for $139 million and the 11-bedroom, 17-bathroom mega mansion offers over 40,000 square feet of living space. And if you’re in the mood for a movie, it’s no mundane home theater for this palace. Of course, the home boasts its own IMAX screen.

Since surpassed by the $195 million Palazzo di Amore in Beverly Hills, CA, we still have a special place in our heart for this extravagant Florida palais.

This post was originally published by Erik Gunther on realtor.com.

 

At $195M, This Is the Most Expensive Home in America

With a price tag of $195M, the Palazzo di Amore does not skimp on luxury.

This Beverly Hills, CA, estate sits on almost 25 acres, and it features 12 bedrooms, 16 full bathrooms and a 27-car garage—all this is guaranteed to leave even Bruce Wayne awed.

In fact, the word “mansion” doesn’t quite do it justice; even the word “palace” comes up a bit short.

Guard house? Check. Opulent theater? Yup.

Tennis courts, pool, spa, discotheque, bowling alley and vineyard that produces hundreds of cases of wine each year? Oh, indeed.

The home hit the market on November 6 and is currently the most expensive home in the country. The Palazzo di Amore is owned by real estate mogul Jeff Greene, who rents it for approximately $475,000 per month, according to CNN Money.

Greene purchased the home for $35 million back in 2007 and married his wife Mei Sze Chan there that same year. Fun fact: Mike Tyson served as best man, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Since he bought the house seven years ago, he’s invested in $25 million worth of upgrades, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After all, to make money in America, you have to spend money. As a Harvard Business School graduate, Greene knows this very well.

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This article was published by Mike Krumboltz on realtor.com.

Extreme Opulence: $139M For Most Expensive Home in U.S.

Is there a ceiling on extravagance? And more importantly, is it vaulted?

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To answer that burning question, we point you in the direction of Hillsboro Beach, FL.

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There you’ll find the newest entrant in the over-the-top luxury contest known as “America’s Most Expensive Home”: listed for a cool $139 million, this French-inspired palace seeks a buyer with pockets deeper than the Mariana Trench.

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Here are some facts to keep in mind before you attempt to get pre-approved for the most jumbo of all mortgages:

Name: Le Palais Royal
Style: Beaux Arts
Bedrooms: 11
Bathrooms: 17
Square Footage: 41,774
Acreage: 1.39 acres
Size of Pool: 4,500 square feet
Home Theater: IMAX (of course)

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The Wall Street Journal reports the home has been under construction since 2009 and still isn’t complete. The Journal also offered this interesting tidbit: “The entire home was built to be soundproof. The home’s South African marble floors were insulated specifically so the clacking of high heels will be muted.”

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So who’s going to buy the place where high heels can’t be heard?

CNBC spoke with listing agent William P.D. Pierce for the details on the most expensive home in the U.S. right now.

“We do have some serious inquiries on the property,” he told CNBC. “The buyers, I think, are from all over the world. Inquiries have been pouring in from Brazil, from Russia, from China, India. Can’t forget America. I’m actually surprised [by] the amount of Americans that have been inquiring on this property.”

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As for that enormous loan you’ll need to finance a palace of your own, Credit.com crunched the numbers on what a buyer might expect to pay every month.

Here’s what the site’s staff found: “Even with the low 30-year mortgage rate of 4.12% … you’re looking at a monthly payment of $550,559 for Le Palais Royal. Annual taxes are $143,425, and if you plan on putting down less than a 20% down payment ($27.8 million), the loan will be even pricier.”

So, for those who can afford to drop a half-million each month in mortgage payments, this might be the place for you.

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If you’re interested in learning more about Le Palais Royal, we found couple of news reports about the nation’s most expensive home worth watching:

This article was originally published by  on realtor.com. See the original article and more photos here.

Shark Week Special: 6 Amazing Aquariums

Although it’s Shark Week, we weren’t able to locate any homes with a built-in shark tank.

So … we opted for the next best thing: homes on the market with awesome built-in aquariums.

Care and upkeep of these huge watery enclosures is likely a job in and of itself, but the reward of being able to bliss out and behold the fish swimming within your walls may be worth it.

We found six stunning tanks in cities from coast to coast, and the beauty in Boca truly stole our hearts. When you see the enormous aquarium in this gleaming penthouse unit, you may not want to scroll any further.

But please peruse all of these interesting homes—including the enormous mansion in Urbandale, IA, we’ve written about before.

If any of the aquariums prompt you to dive in, just click on the image to learn more.

450 SE 5th Ave, Penthouse 1Boca Raton FL, $3.995M.

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1320 Kennesaw Creek WayFisherville, KY, $670,000.

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2220 Avenue of the Stars, Unit 2706Los Angeles, CA, $1.395M.

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13031 Oak Brook DrUrbandale, IA, $4.9M.

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560 S Peralta Hills DrAnaheim Hills, CA, $4.995M.

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7 Durham RdLarchmont, NY, $2.995M.

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This article was originally published by  on realtor.com. See the original article here.