Interior Design

How to Create a Personality-Packed Wall

Wall decor is one of the easiest ways to turn a ho-hum space into a statement-making room. A personality-packed wall is a fun way to embrace your own style without needing to invest in the latest trendy furniture. While the gallery wall, which features a curated collection of photos and artwork, is a major trend, we’d like to take a look at a few different ideas that are a bit more out of the ordinary. From groovy wallpaper and floating books to tapestries and vintage signs, here are a handful of ways to create a unique wall that screams “you.”

Paint and Wallpaper

Make a graphic statement with wallpaper or painted designs. The choices are endless when it comes to wallpaper – pair a neutral pattern with framed pictures, or try a bold design that stands on its own. Walls that have architectural detailing, like an inset or wainscoting, are perfect candidates for a dramatic accent wall. Explore a more cost-effective route with a painted design. Elbow grease, painters tape and a bold paint choice are all you need to create a unique design like metallic stripes, chevrons or a modern marble-dipped look.


As if there wasn’t another reason to love books, they’re also great as decorative accents. Books can easily be mounted in an open position for a unique look—try using vintage finds with a well-loved patina. Invisible wall-mounted bookshelves or floating shelves paired with color-coordinated books can also make a functional and eye-catching feature. Pro tip: try wrapping thrift store books of the same size in pretty wallpaper for a more cohesive design.

Fabric and Tapestries

While every other aspect of design touches on fabric, very rarely does it come up as a go-to for wall decor. However, textiles are unexpected and full of stories, and they have the wonderful ability to combine pattern and color into a complete presentation. The beauty of textiles is that they can be hung in a variety of ways, and they don’t have to come in large scales to be a jaw-dropping piece— a small collection of antique textile fragments is perfect when hung up in delicate flea market frames. Or, stretch fabric over a frame for a handmade canvas. Take a hint from different cultures or showcase your travels: embroidered Suzanis from Central Asia, richly dyed textiles from India, Native American rugs and Turkish kilims can all add depth to a wall that will last for generations. Flat sheets of fabrics aren’t the only option, either. Showcase family heirlooms or beloved uniforms in shadow boxes or frames, and don’t forget the beauty of a sentimental quilt hung in the family or dining room.

Heavy Metal

Give a contemporary room some vintage flair with some metal wall art and signage. Mid-century metal wall sculptures like starbursts and geometric shapes add a retro touch. Vintage wall metal wall signs are frequent flea market finds. A collection of small signs adds eclectic flair, while large metal art can instantly transform the feel of a room and create a new focal point.

Art and Mirrors

Creating an impact in a space doesn’t need to be complicated! Large-scale art provides drama and weight to a simple wall. Pair a sizable print with eye-catching typography over a chic couch for a sleek yet subtle look. An oversized clock can also work wonders for a wall: not only is it a functional piece of art, but there is something about a large, old clock that adds the perfect amount of nostalgia to a room. Looking to add glam to a smaller space? A round, modern mirror or glitzy framed one adds a sense of openness.

Natural Accents

A lack of space for planters is no excuse for not bringing the outdoors in. With the “living wall” craze at its peak, wall planters are available in all shapes, colors and sizes. Showcase delicate moss with a vertical green garden, or plant a few succulents in a wooden corner planter. Play up a cluster of hanging plants with painted pots or delicate ceramic bowls— there are many lovely options available from talented designers and local artisans.

Think Outside the Frame

Keep an open mind, and you can find unique wall hangings just about anywhere! From an antique door or a mounted bike to stunning metal floor grates, the list is endless with possibilities. Who ever knew that a group of assorted woven baskets could be turned into a show stopping piece? Try clustering baskets in varying sizes and colors on the floor and play around with placement before hanging them. Can’t find colorful baskets? A collection of pretty plates or lightweight bowls are great alternatives.

How will you let your space reflect your personality?

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on HomeZada

Interior Design

9 Kitchen Color Ideas That Aren’t White

Don’t get me wrong: White kitchens are cheerful, clean and classic — it’s no wonder why they’re so popular. But since white kitchens are everywhere, it’s easy to forget that there are other colors that can also look great in this space. Thinking about bucking the trend in your kitchen? Consider one of these options, from alternative neutrals to bright, bold hues.


You can’t go wrong with these versatile picks.

Charcoal Gray

If you want a cool neutral that’ll add a bit of drama to your kitchen, look to charcoal. Bright accent colors — or even white, as seen in this kitchen designed by Brian Patrick Flynn — really pop against it.


Tobi Fairley
A mix between gray and beige, greige is an incredibly versatile neutral for the kitchen that can complement both warm and cool colors. In this space designed by Tobi Fairley, greige cabinets bridge the gap between warmer brass elements and cooler marble accents.


A black kitchen may sound dreary, but it can actually be stunning if done right. Just take this gorgeous room that goes all in with black cabinets, a black vintage stove and a black-and-white tiled floor. If you’re not on board with an all-black kitchen, try adding one black element like a backsplash or a sink.


Add a touch of color without overpowering your space.

Pale Green

Erin Williamson
Hints of green in the stone countertops inspired the cabinet color in this country-style kitchen. The soft hue brings coziness to the space, yet still feels bright and fresh.

Butter Yellow

Stacey Brandford
Particularly charming in a cottage- or farmhouse-style space, pale yellow adds a cheerful, sunny touch to a kitchen. Try it with robin’s egg blue or with neutrals, as seen in this kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson.

Navy Blue

Eric Perry

Navy is practically a neutral — it pairs beautifully with everything from tangerine to turqouise to chartreuse. In the HGTV Smart Home 2014 kitchen, navy cabinets are offset by a black-and-white basketweave backsplash for lots of eye-catching contrast.


Go all in with these daring shades.


Brian Patrick Flynn
Want to instantly energize your kitchen? Just add a vibrant shade of red. To keep it from feeling overwhelming, try contrasting it with a cool color, like the blue-gray Brian Patrick Flynn used here. If you’re not ready to commit to red cabinets or walls, incorporate the color in small doses with red countertop appliances, dish towels and other accessories.

Emerald Green

Andrea Schumacher
Just a splash of this gorgeous green will make a big impact in your kitchen. In this design, Andrea Schumacher painted only the island, pulling a color from the floral wallpaper to keep the space cohesive. For an ultra-rich look, pair emerald with other jewel tones.


Orange is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it an ideal color choice for the kitchen. In this space by Jennifer Gilmer, an orange backsplash and zebrawood cabinets add warmth, keeping the contemporary design from feeling cold. Smaller orange accents, such as pendant lights or window treatments, can also liven up a kitchen.

Posted by Shannon Petrie on







Selling Uncategorized

13 Surprising Extras That Add Value To Homes

These bonus features are 13 good reasons to love what you’ve got.

Most people who watch home renovation shows on TV can quickly spout off the home improvement projects that bring added value in the eyes of potential buyers. The first projects most people mention: kitchen and bathroom remodels. But sometimes you just don’t have the time, patience, or budget to do a full overhaul, especially if you’re looking to sell in the near future. But if you don’t have a new kitchen or master bathroom, don’t fret. What if we told you that your home could already have the features that can ultimately increase your home’s price tag? It’s possible!

Whether you’re looking for how to increase home value in a new, cost-effective way or want to focus on upkeep and helping these spaces look their best, here are a few everyday “extras” that buyers love right now.


1. Fences

Fences make good neighbors, but they’re also a pretty good investment — especially when you consider that homes without fences are typically priced significantly lower than their fenced-in neighbors. The style of fence matters, though: A chain-link fence is generally passed over by buyers, and some towns have even offered to pay homeowners to get rid of them. Instead, opt for natural materials like cedar, which bring privacy while adding plenty of curb appeal. We’re particularly in love with this craftsman-inspired number for sale at 502 Brinkerhoff Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

2. Stainless steel appliances

Although trends come and go, the desire for stainless steel appliances seems here to stay. Quality always counts, but even homes listed in more affordable price ranges can benefit from including these in the sale — or quickly adding them before listing the property. “If the seller were to spend about $2,000 on stainless steel appliances, their home would sell much faster, and they’d probably double what they spent,” Ellis says. “Most first-time homebuyers don’t have cash to make these improvements themselves.”


3. Walk-in closets

Let’s face it: We all have too much clutter, making a roomy closet a highly sought-after feature in homes for sale. This popular extra might not increase your home’s sale price — but it just might help you sell faster in a competitive market, ultimately saving you from making extra mortgage payments. “I showed a great townhome in Tribeca,” says Laura Cao, a New York, NY–based associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman. “It had everything but a master walk-in closet. Deal killer.”

This reaction from buyers isn’t limited to New York either: Jeff Lowen, real estate agent with The Real Estate Expert Advisor, says that walk-ins or large closets “have gone from a desired amenity to an expectation these days.” He suggests the addition of cedar accents or custom storage accessories like in this home for sale at 2313 Warfield Ln., Nashville, TN 37215, to make yours stand out.  

4. Pool

“This feature can add a great deal of value to a home — depending on the location,” says Than Merrill, former host of A&E’s Flip This House and CEO of FortuneBuilders. According to Merrill, here are the top five cities where owning a pool pays off:

  • Cape Coral, FL: A pool here can increase your asking price by $46,130 on average, 22.5% above the average asking price.
  • La Quinta, CA: A pool can increase your asking price by a whopping $109,250 on average, 21.1% above the average asking price.
  • Naples, FL: Look for a bump of about $73,870 on average, 18.7% above the average asking price.
  • Windermere, FL: Pools here can increase your asking price by $72,500 on average, 14.2% above the average asking price.
  • Palm Harbor, FL: A pool can boost your asking price by $35,100 on average, 14.1% above the average asking price.


5.  Exposed brick

Selling in the city? Buyers are looking for the industrial-chic look of aged brick, like in this home for sale at 10 E. 22nd St., #34, New York, NY 10010. “Exposed brick is something that many buyers are gravitating towards these days,” says Boris Sharapan, associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman. “It adds a sense of character and history to the home. If this is something your home already has, or is hiding behind your Sheetrock, expose the brick! It can add to the purchase price of your home.”

But before you tackle tearing open drywall, be sure to check in with your co-op or condominium board — or else you may face fines that outweigh the added value to your unit.

6. Mudrooms

Like exposed brick, these specialty spaces tend to be a geographic preference; they’re especially popular in New England. “A good mudroom adds major value in Connecticut,” says Jennifer Leahy of Douglas Elliman Connecticut, who adds that this feature is regularly considered an essential for families in the suburbs — any suburb. While it’s great to have a dedicated mudroom, it’s even more attractive for potential buyers to see a customized space with cubbies, lockers, and other clever storage solutions.


7. Original flooring

Wood floors rank high on the wish list of many a homebuyer. If they’re the original wood floors like the ones in this home for sale at 2246 N. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, however, you may hit resale gold, for a surprising reason. “The most valuable benefit of original wood floors is the fact that any damage can be sanded out and refinished extremely easily,” Merrill says. He recounts a small-scale rehab project that had majorly scuffed floors — a problem the buyer, who was already working on an offer, had noticed. Merrill and his partners sanded the floors and added a coat of varnish. The buyer was so impressed by how beautiful the redone floors were that he made an offer over asking price (even after Merrill disclosed the DIY!).


8. Boat slip

For the right buyer, a boat slip like this one at 12415 Holmes Point Dr. NE, Kirkland, WA 98034, is a must-have. “Properties with boat slips sell at a premium because most states in the U.S. regulate how many boat slips are permitted in each state,” says Suzanne Hollander, a real estate professor at Florida International University, real estate lawyer, broker, commentator, and blogger. How much of a premium your boat slip can get you will depend on location, general demand, and often on the type of home you’re listing, particularly on the higher end of the market.

9. Formal dining room

Although you might spend only a few holidays around the table in yours, the formal dining room is making a comeback — especially with higher-end homebuyers. “In homes $400,000 and up, a formal dining room is important,” says Missouri-based real estate agent Tracy Ellis of the Tracy Ellis Team with RE/MAX Edge. “They really want a formal dining room because this usually isn’t their first home, and they enjoy setting their dining room tables and entertaining. They’ll even tell me, ‘We hardly eat in our dining room, but I still want one for entertaining and the holidays.’”


10. Fireplace

“In my opinion, a fireplace is a must in my area,” says Ellis. “I’ve seen homes sit on the market for a while simply because they don’t have one. That isn’t something you can easily add after the home is built, and buyers want it done when they buy the home.” Like a walk-in closet, a fireplace like this one at 5 Faxon Frst, Atherton, CA 94027 might not increase your listing price in a tangible way — but it can boost your bottom line if having one helps you sell your home quickly. (Even if it’s nonfunctional!)

11. Impressive trees

Sometimes money does grow on trees. According to “Green Cities: Good Health,” a study by the University of Washington College of the Environment, a mature tree in a yard added 2% to a home’s price, while mature trees visible in high-income neighborhoods add 10% to 15% to property values — especially when they help shade your street.


12. Attic or basement bedroom

Even though you might have considered your attic or basement bedroom a quirky feature, many potential buyers think an attic bedroom like this one at 545 Ivy Farm Dr., Charlottesville, VA 22901 is a great use of a commonly overlooked area of the home. The estimated resale value of this feature was a jaw-dropping $41,656. Maybe it’s time to take that space seriously! Just be sure to take permitting seriously as well. A nonconforming bedroom can hurt more than it helps when it comes time to sell.

13. Smart tech

While it might not be as fun as, say, a custom closet, a sprinkler system, high-end programmable thermostat, or other green-tech extra can still be attractive features for your home’s next owner. It’s all thanks to the general movement toward increasing energy efficiency. A survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that homebuyers would spend at least $7,000 more on a home if it included technology and upgrades that could help save them $1,000 a year in annual utility costs.

Posted by Brie Dyas on Trulia








Interior Design

Wake Up Inspired Every Single Day

Does that sound like a tall order? Maybe not, if you take your cues from HGTV Dream Home 2016, which was designed to keep its occupants in a vacation state of mind.

The first thing you want to do—if you can swing it—is wake up to a view like this one:

Okay, so everyone can’t have a spectacular waterfront vista outside the master bedroom window, but you can take a page from interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn’s playbook if you want to create the idea of a sweeping view in a room where there is none. In the living room, Brian had a historic photo of the home’s Merritt Island location blown up and printed on vinyl bus wrap—voila, instant wallpaper. You can do the same thing yourself at home using a custom mural or wall decal company—a soothing nature scene would be ideal for the bedroom.

Speaking of bedroom décor, a little glamor makes it easier to peel those sleepy eyes open in the morning. You’ll wake up feeling like the queen (or king) of England if you invest in some sumptuous pillows and replace your boring bedroom light fixture with a striking art-piece chandelier:

And don’t forget to usher in your day softly with a Spotify® playlist of gentle tunes or lively jams if you can handle that sort of thing before coffee. HGTV Dream Home 2016 was outfitted in every room with sleek wireless Bose® speakers that are as much about form as function:

The speakers can communicate over Wi-Fi® or with any Bluetooth®-enabled device in the house to play music from the Internet or your own music library instantly and fill each room with crystal-clear sound.

Add a vase of fresh-cut flowers and the day is worth waking up to:

A note of caution: starting your day this way may cause you to stop leaving your house.

This post is brought to you by Bose, a proud sponsor of the HGTV Dream Home 2016. You’ll find innovative Bose products featured throughout this year’s HGTV Dream Home, bringing each room to life with quality sound. Dreaming about better sound for your home? Visit

Posted by Karin Beuerlein in HGTV Dream Home


7-Day Plan: Get a Spotless, Beautifully Organized Living Room


14 Ways to Reclaim Lost Counter Space

Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there’s too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.

Granite - simple, Contemporary, One-wall, Undermount
Source: Bright Designlab Interior Design

Top-shelf idea

Open shelving — whether it’s set on the backsplash, mounted on a painted wall, or even free-hanging from the ceiling — can greatly increase your kitchen storage capabilities. Although you’ll want to choose eye-pleasing items to house there, the net result will be an increase in space down below.

Roll me away

If you’re striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.

Get some hang time

Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.

Source: Zillow Digs
Source: Zillow Digs

Climbing the ceiling

Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy to spot. Even better, the cabinet they used to occupy gets freed up, making room for items that used to live on your counter.

Sink in

When you’re chopping, you can’t be washing, so why not use your kitchen sink as a prep area? Any cutting board slightly wider than your sink will do the trick.

Slide into home

If you’re lucky enough to be in the design stages, why not sneak a few pull-out surfaces into the mix? It’s a great way to gain extra space that appears only when you need it.

Beyond the block

Let’s face it, traditional knife blocks are counter hogs. A simple solution is to store knives on the wall with a magnetic holder, but make sure you dry your knives thoroughly before storing and place them carefully on the strip.

Trash it

Made famous by Rachael Ray, the “garbage bowl” can help keep peels and trimmings under control as you cook. Scraps go in the bowl until they’re all ready for the trash or composting, and the counters stay free of debris.

Another way to look at it

Having a limited amount of kitchen real estate can inspire creative, and at times beautiful, solutions.Mounting a few shelves inside a window not only gains surface area for storage, but also captures a stunning backdrop for anything placed there.

Island idea

Make your kitchen island work a bit harder for you by adding shelves for books, or bars for hanging towels or utensils.

Corian, Crown molding, Breakfast Bar, Traditional, Flat Panel, Inset, L-Shaped, Pendant
Source: CBI Design Professionals

Hole in the wall

Even if your kitchen’s footprint is small, you may uncover a treasure trove of storage possibilities between the studs. In many cases, reclaiming this hidden wall space requires remodeling only this one area instead of the whole kitchen.

Corner pocket

Freestanding shelves like these from Beyond the Rack give you a clever, efficient way to use that often-neglected corner space.

Have your cake and eat it too

Use a simple cake stand to hold high-use items like salt, pepper and olive oil. If you need more room, you can easily transfer the stand to another spot in the kitchen.

Jar ingenuity

Ah, the all-purpose Mason jar. What a great idea: Affix the metal lids to the underside of a cabinet, and screw the jars on and off as you need them.

This article is by Tracy Anderson of, and was originally published on Zillow Blog. To see the original article, click here.

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Luxury Homes

‘Blue Sky Home’ in Wine Country

This house perched on a wine-country hillside gives away little when you approach it from the driveway — just a bold wall that reveals the owners’ favorite color.

from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow

Swing open the large, pivoting front door, though, and you’re hit by a giant view beyond a wall of windows.

from Zillow
from Zillow

The home, designed and built for a local family in the wine business, is Casa Cielo Azul — the “Blue Sky Home.”

“He designed the house to create a sense of surprise,” said Cyd Greer, the listing agent with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley. “You don’t really have a sense of what you’re in for when you get there.”

Mexico-trained architect Juan Carlos Fernandez designed the modern home, which was built by contractor Mark Grassi. The owners, who recently sold a Napa Valley winery, asked for an easy-living space that incorporated the color blue.

from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow

The sophisticated and private home combines indoor and outdoor living with walls of windows that fold away to access an outdoor terrace with a fireplace and infinity-edge pool.

from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow

Touches of blue carry through the home’s design, such as blue tile in the master bathroom. It also has an outdoor shower, a spa, and a kitchen that centers on a very large marble island.

from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow
from Zillow

Also included on the property: a separate 1-bedroom, 1-bath guest house, a barn-style 1,255-square-foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath second home with a cathedral ceiling and rustic modern kitchen.

from Zillow
from Zillow

“When you’re in this house, it is very hard to take your eyes off this view,” said Greer. “It’s a very easy-living house. It just feels right.”

from Zillow
from Zillow

660 Linda Falls Ter, Angwin, CA
For Sale: $4,500,000

This article  was originally published by Emily Heffter on Zillow Blog. To see the original article, click here

Emily Heffter, a reporter and writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties, and other real estate topics. Read more of her work here.

Interior Design

Makeover Tips for Ugly Fireplaces

Fireplaces are hotter than ever. The National Association of Home Builders reports that, in 2010, nearly half of new single-family homes completed had a fireplace. And the National Association of Realtors say 40 percent of home buyers value fireplaces enough that they’d be willing to spend more to get a home that has one. To be clear: attractive fireplaces are hot. Outdated, poorly designed fireplaces are not. If your fireplace is more “Ugly Stepsister” than “Cinderella,” consider prettying it up using one of these four do-it-yourself fixes:

1. Make over the mantel

Even the most gorgeous fireplace won’t look complete without an appealing, well-proportioned mantel. You can build your own or, if you’d prefer, there are many paint-grade, fully assembled mantels on the market. Readybuilt Products, for example, offers more than 50 mantel styles, from Colonial to contemporary, priced at $350 to $2,500.

Be aware that the National Fire Protection Association’s safety code requires at least six inches between the sides and top of the firebox and any wood that projects up to one and a half inches from the face of the fireplace. Any wood that projects out further than that – a mantel shelf, for example – must be at least 12 inches from the opening. Contact your local building department for specific code requirements in your city and state.

2. Go faux

Living room and fireplace.

Covering an existing fireplace with natural stone can be both expensive and difficult, requiring masonry skills, structural engineering and specialized tools. So, instead of heavy river rocks, consider faux stone. Yes, it’s hard to forget that hideous plastic-looking brick and stone from your grandparents’ home, but today’s products are oh, so much better. They actually have the same look, feel and durability of real stone – without the high costs or installation challenges. Plus, they typically weigh about 75 percent less than natural stone. Some stone veneers will require demolition of the existing fireplace surround before you prep for installation with a layer or two of building paper, covered by galvanized wire lath. Others, like AirStone, can be applied directly to substrate including brick, ceramic tile, stone, stucco or concrete block. Before investing in any manufactured stone product, make sure it and the adhesive required to install it are safe for use around wood stoves and fireplaces. Check local and state building codes to ensure your project meets requirements.

3. Paint it

A fresh coat of paint is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to beautify your fireplace. Prep is simple: Begin by using a wire brush to get all the grime off the hearth surface. Apply a stain-blocking primer to the clean fireplace before you paint to help cover soot stains. Most fireplace hearths are made from tile, stone or bricks held together by mortar or grout. It’s likely you’ll need to apply at least two coats of paint to cover these surfaces, especially brick, which tends to be porous. If you plan to paint inside the firebox, you’ll need to invest in a special heat-resistant paint. Choose a color that will blend with the room’s palette and furniture or, if the fireplace shape and design aren’t bad, choose a contrast color that will make your fireplace pop.

4. Don’t overlook the overmantel

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a fireplace – it’s just not special. With basic do-it-yourself skills, you can give your fireplace visual interest and height by adding an overmantel, that ornamental structure that extends from your mantel upward. You can build an overmantel using MDF (medium-density fiberboard), and trims ranging from cladding to corbels, depending upon the look you’re after. For the look of an overmantel with even less work, consider installing two or three strips of wallpaper from your mantel to the ceiling; finish the project with a couple strips of wood trim along the sides and crown molding at the top. Traditionally, overmantels were dressed with decorative mirrors.

This article was originally published by Mary Boone on Zillow Blog.  To see the original source, click here.

Mary Boone is a freelance writer for Zillow Blog. Read more from her here.

Luxury Homes Unusual Homes

John Lautner’s Rawlins House on Balboa Island

Thanks to distinctive copper-plated accents and its unique, pill-shaped design, this iconic design by architect John Lautner was once given the nickname “Jaws” by neighboring homeowners for its resemblance to a certain great white shark immortalized in the 1975 film of that name. These days, however, the property known as the “Rawlins House” goes by a different name: the treasure of Balboa Island.


On the market for $5.895 million, the Rawlins House displays Lautner’s ability to engage the natural characteristics unique to coastal California, while balancing its relaxed Orange County locale with a unique urban design.


Douglas fir ceilings and ceramic tile floors lend to the organic aesthetic, and modern conveniences such as a gourmet kitchen and an elevator offer an air of luxury. Skylights and walls of telescoping glass flood the 2,100-square-foot interiors with natural light while providing views of Newport Harbor.


Illustrating the premium placed on Lautner-designed homes, the Rawlins House has seen an uptick in price over the last two years. The Midcentury Contemporary, built in 1980, was previously shopped in 2012 for $5.495 million and last publicly listed for $5.195 million—$700,000 less than its current asking price.


Earlier this year, the Garwood Residence, one of five remaining Lautner designs in Malibu, sold to actress Gwyneth Paltrow for a staggering $14 million. The Bob Hope Estate in the Coachella Valley, one of the architect’s most heralded concepts, currently lists for $34 million.


This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on To see the original article, click here.


Easy Improvements to Help Sell Your Home

When you’re getting ready to sell your home, there are two punch lists you need to worry about. The first contains all the issues a good home inspector is likely to find and report to prospective buyers.

Home Improvement

The second list includes relatively minor improvements that can be extremely persuasive when it comes to seducing a buyer. Let’s call it the “I can live here list.” It’s based upon the premise that a buyer needs to be able to envision the home as his or hers — not yours. In other words, try to make your home feel less like you and more like a new house.

For the most part, the improvements are simple and inexpensive, things you can typically do yourself. Taken collectively, they can speed the sale of your home and ensure a fair selling price.

1. Do a thorough cleaning

It should go without saying, but dust bunnies and dirty windows are going to be turnoffs to most buyers. They are looking to buy a “new” house, so any signs of your tenure are bound to be negative. It’s worth hiring a service to clean carpeting and remove stains from upholstery.

2. Update the bath

If your toilet seat is worn, stained or dated, put in a new one (the cost is about $30 and the job takes less than 10 minutes). Replace the shower curtain and liner. This quick, inexpensive improvement spares prospective buyers the view of your mildew — even though they may have plenty of it back at their place. And, recaulk around the tub. This job, done right, will score lots of points with prospective buyers.

3. Run a dehumidifier

Turn it off for the house tour, but run a dehumidifier set at 60 percent relative humidity in the basement during the summer. High humidity, even in basements that do not have water problems, will promote mildew and accompanying odors. You don’t want that.

4. Improve the light

Everyone loves light, so make sure draperies are open. Replace missing or dim light bulbs too. If your compact fluorescents have dimmed over time, replace them. In recessed fixtures, there’s nothing as attractive as the light from halogen bulbs. Be sure, however, to use only bulbs and wattages that are recommended for your fixtures.

5. Clear clutter

Your real estate agent will second the motion, so get serious about throwing out or donating stuff you don’t need. Closets should show a foot or two of unused closet rod, and shelves should also offer unused space. Kitchen cabinets shouldn’t be stuffed either. Remove unnecessary furniture from rooms as well. Oh, and those prized knickknacks? Pack ’em up. It is well worth temporarily renting some space at your local storage facility for items you will be moving to your new home.

6. Get a new doormat

It’s one of the first things a buyer sees, and it can help say “new.” A doormat is also an indication that you care about keeping dirt out of your home.

7. Paint over reckless color choices

If your bedroom is purple or your living room, orange, cover it up with a nice light beige. Even if your house is already painted in neutral colors, consider repainting rooms where the walls and ceilings are stained or faded. Nothing makes rooms look new like a fresh coat of paint, and it’s one of the most affordable ways to update your space.

8. Renew floor finishes

Floors take a beating. If yours look worn, you may be able to renew them without having to resort to an expensive refinishing. Check out one of the many water-based products available from home centers and flooring stores. They can make an old floor shine. Try the product in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire floor.

The total cost for all of the above comes to only a few hundred dollars and a few days of work. The payback can be many times that.

This article was originally published by Bob Vila on To see the original article, click here