Locked Up: Old Kentucky Home Comes With 2 Vaults and an Outlaw History

History buffs will surely be taken with this property which once housed a bank robbed by the notorious James Gang, one of America’s most famous post-Civil War outlaws.

Built in 1857 and known as the Southern Bank of Kentucky Building, this historic structure was converted to residential use in the early 1980s. It features hardwood floors, 12 fireplaces, two mahogany staircases, and 15-foot ceilings restored to their 19th-century grandeur.

The 7,321-square-foot building on three quarters of an acre is zoned for residential or commercial use. It sits in a historic district in Russellville, KY, only 45 minutes from country music capital Nashville.

Priced at $825,000, it includes six bedrooms as well as a renovated kitchen with exposed brick wall. Covered porches recall a simpler time when sitting on a porch to chat with neighbors was a way of life.

However, our curiosity was piqued by what remains under lock and key. Inside, the bank’s two vaults remain and are still operable should you have some priceless treasures to keep safe.

The main vault, which has three chambers and four doors, sheltered $2 million in gold at the time of the James Gang robbery—gold the gang was unable to pilfer.

However, the bank wasn’t left unscathed on March 28, 1868, when the James Gang (Jesse James himself was elsewhere recovering from a gunshot wound) rode up. Two bullet holes remain from that day when bank president Nimrod Long refused to cash a questionable bond the gang brought in and was shot, according to listing agent Becky Reinhold.

The gang, which that day likely included James’ brother, Frank, made off with more than $9,000, a true haul for its time. The robbery was only the third daylight bank heist in U.S. history and the first for the gang, which became known as the James-Younger Gang after the robbery because of the presence of the infamous Younger brothers.

The cash the gang did make off with was housed in the building’s second vault—located in what was then the president’s office. It was known as the day vault because it remained open during the day while the bank did business.

The gang wasn’t the first to try to steal the gold in the bank’s main vault. The Confederate government of Kentucky (which desired to secede) wanted the bank to loan it the gold during the Civil War. The bank’s board refused and subsequently hid the gold in an upstairs residence then used by the bank president.

Whether you choose to keep the vaults as curios or use them to hide valuables is up to you. Just don’t lock yourself in.

Posted by John N. Frank in realtor.com

Own Your Own Private Island With NYC Views

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?)

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.

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.

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.

Fairy Tale Homes for Sale

Towering castles and romantic cottages are hitting the market across the U.S.

Source: Zillow Blog

Source: Zillow Blog

Looking for a place to live happily ever after? For the whimsical at heart, we’ve collected homes for sale that look straight out of a fairy tale.

Woodstock, CT

450 Brickyard Rd, Woodstock, CT
For sale: $45 million

With glimmering spires, sweeping great rooms and 8 royal bedrooms, this home is fit for a modern-day Cinderella.

See more Woodstock homes for sale.

Edwards, CO

157 Pilgrim Dr, Edwards, CO
For sale: $7.25 million

A prince on horseback wouldn’t seem out of place here. The English estate is set back among tall aspens, exquisite gardens and an enchanting brook.

See more homes listed in Edwards.

Ranger, GA

436 Liberty Church Rd NE, Ranger, GA
For sale: $899,900

Located on 28.7 acres of green pastures and rolling hills, this 4-bedroom, 4-bath castle is a private getaway suited for royalty.

See more Ranger listings.

Vashon, WA

12225 SW 164th St, Vashon, WA
For sale: $995,000

“Welcome to Candyland” reads a sign by the front door of this home. With animal-shaped topiaries, a charming carriage house and decor fit for a tea party, the property is like a life-size doll house.

See more Vashon Island homes.

Bernardsville, NJ

450 Mendham Rd, Bernardsville, NJ
For sale: $12.885 million

Built in 1896, this European-inspired home has a touch of whimsy at every turn. From formal gardens to an entertainment-level replica of a Parisian street scene, there’s something for everyone.

See more Bernardsville listings.

Garrison, NY

19 Lawes Ln, Garrison, NY
For sale: $3.9 million

With hand-cut stone, hand-milled mahogany trim, Tudor chimneys, herringbone brickwork and more, Langhurst Lodge has the Old World charm reminiscent of a Grimm fairy tale.

See more homes for sale in Philipstown.

Snowmass, CO

163 Spruce Ridge Ln, Snowmass Village, CO
For sale: $7.9 million

Surrounded by tulips and lush landscaping, this French-style chateau offers an idyllic slice of Colorado paradise.

See more Snowmass Village listings.

Sundance, UT

2687 Stewart Rd, Sundance, UT
For sale: $2.94 million

This home combines castle-like luxury with a storybook setting. According to the listing description, “you are greeted by majestic views of Stewart Falls and Timpanogos Cirque through every window.”

See more Utah County real estate.

Muenster, TX

6868 S FM 373, Muenster, TX
For sale: $795,000

In Muenster, TX, your own private palace awaits. The home is royally appointed with gorgeous hardwoods, a fireplace, coffered ceilings, elegant living spaces and more.

See nearby listings.

Topanga, CA

21128 Bellini Dr, Topanga, CA
For sale: $2.999 million

Nothing says “storybook” like a classic Tudor estate. Up a winding stone path, the home boasts a grand foyer, a private hilltop gazebo, fireplace and rose garden.

See more homes in Topanga.

This article was published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. 

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