Category Archives: Home Builders

2017's Most Favorited Home in Every State

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only is it the holidays, but it’s that time when we look at the homes favorited most on Zillow (yes, we’re talking about that little heart button at the top of each listing!). In 2017, the top picks ranged from grand mountain chateaus to modest suburban homes – and even a spooky listing that went viral. Whether they earned 283 favorites in South Dakota or 7,290 favorites in California, these homes all have their selling points.

So what’s the most favorited home in your state? Scroll down to find out!

Alabama

598 favorites
6605 Cedarwood Ct, Mobile, AL
Our favorite features: old-growth trees, a newly remodeled kitchen

Photo from Zillow listing.

Alaska

572 favorites
L53A Whiskey Lake, AK
Why we adore this home: remote location, rustic wood interior

Photo from Zillow listing.

Arizona

2,736 favorites
976 S Wanda Dr, Gilbert, AZ

Simple pleasures: a large backyard with no neighbors in sight

Photo from Zillow listing.

Arkansas

717 favorites
16240 Kostner Dr, Rogers, AR

Reason to adore this home: movie theater with built-in projector

Photo from Zillow listing.

California

7,290 favorites
924 Bel Air Rd, Los Angeles, CA

The wow factor: private helipad, two fully-stocked wine cellars

Photo from Zillow listing.

Colorado

2,507 favorites
600 Chateau V, Evergreen, CO

Fun fact: modeled after the famous Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina

Photo from Zillow listing.

Connecticut

1,058 favorites
163 Creamery Rd, Durham, CT

Selling points: expansive windows, surrounded by nature

Photo from Zillow listing.

Delaware

604 favorites
24908 Crooked Stick Way #4333, Long Neck, DE

Selling points: dog park within walking distance, solar panels on the roof

Photo from Zillow listing.

Florida

2,038 favorites
11112 Ancient Futures Dr, Tampa, FL
Reasons to call it home: arched doorways, high ceilings, hardwood floors

Photo from Zillow listing.

Georgia

3,056 favorites
1055 Ada Ave NW, Atlanta, GA

What we love about it: bright hardwood floors

Photo from Zillow listing.

Hawaii

1,546 favorites
72 S Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, HI

Where we’d rather be: this home’s poolside bar or cabana

Photo from Zillow listing.

Idaho

728 favorites
8602 W High Ridge Ln, Eagle, ID
Eye-catching feature: a bright red front door

Photo from Zillow listing.

Illinois

1,897 favorites
1932 N Burling St, Chicago, IL
Windy City wow: 25,000 square feet in the heart of downtown

Photo from Zillow listing.

Indiana

1,383 favorites
New Edition Floor Plan, Harrison Lakes, Fort Wayne, IN

What’s warming our hearts: the fire pit and covered patio

Photo from Zillow listing.

Iowa

603 favorites
2209 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA

Things to ogle: historic character, leaded glass windows

Photo from Zillow listing.

Kansas

652 favorites
11613 Barton St, Overland Park, KS

Things we love: vaulted ceilings, covered deck

Photo from Zillow listing.

Kentucky

832 favorites
324 Wilson Downing Rd, Lexington, KY

Why we love it: newly remodeled with hardwood floors throughout

Photo from Zillow listing.

Louisiana

672 favorites
1448 4th St, New Orleans, LA
Fun fact: film location for a few movies

Photo from Zillow listing.

Maine

933 favorites
35 Seafarer Cv, Whiting, ME

Standout features: private dock, fireplace

Photo from Zillow listing.

Maryland

2,751 favorites
Lincoln Dr LOT 1, Jessup, MD

Why we’re mad about this MD home: 5 large bedrooms on a large lot

Photo from Zillow listing.

Massachusetts

1,235 favorites
22 Old Colony Avenue, Pembroke, MA

Selling points: historic home with modern upgrades, access to a nearby pond

Photo from Zillow listing.

Michigan

1,045 favorites
20 Peppers Trl, Montague, MI

This listing had us at: “tree house on the shores of Lake Michigan”

Photo by Roger Wade Studio.

Minnesota

1,827 favorites
Haverhill Apartments, 32 Spruce Pl, Minneapolis, MN

The draw: restored brownstone walking distance to downtown

Photo from Zillow listing.

Mississippi

543 favorites
706 W Pine St, Hattiesburg, MS

Why we love it: old-world charm, modern upgrades, a small backyard pond

Photo from Zillow listing.

Missouri

1,067 favorites
597 Harper Ave, Saint Louis, MO

Reasons we fell in love: 100+ years old, located by a park and golf course

Photo by Jason Fry.

Montana

1,191 favorites
Montana’s Shelter Is, Rollins, MT
The obvious reason we love it: private-island castle

Photo from Zillow listing.

Nebraska

634 favorites
2114 S 46th St, Omaha, NE

Reason to ‘heart’ this Heartland home: 19th-century charm

Photo from Zillow listing.

Nevada

3,611 favorites
1033 Tabor Hill Ave, Henderson, NV

Favorite feature: private backyard pool for hot desert days

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Hampshire

956 favorites
3 S Main St, Newton, NH

Why we adore it: fully remodeled in 2012

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Jersey

1,298 favorites
18 Frick Dr, Alpine, NJ

Selling point: less than 10 miles from New York City

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Mexico

562 favorites
5724 Fairfax Dr NW, Albuquerque, NM

Reason we love it: upgraded kitchen with a subway-tile backsplash

Photo from Zillow listing.

New York

1,769 favorites
635 W 42nd St #45th Floor, New York, NY

Why we love this Big Apple beauty: breathtaking river views

Photo from Zillow listing.

North Carolina

1,620 favorites
196 Bayview Dr, Stumpy Point, NC

Why we love it: historic home in a wildlife refuge

Photo from Zillow listing.

North Dakota

339 favorites
5039 Elm Tree Rd, Kindred, ND

Things to ogle: not one but two sunrooms

Photo from Zillow listing.

Ohio

1,001 favorites
3903 Saint Lawrence Ave, Cincinnati, OH

What we love: historic Victorian with six fireplaces

Photo from Zillow listing.

Oklahoma

971 favorites
707 Martin Cir, Sand Springs, OK

Why this OK home is more than okay: views of Tulsa from every floor – even the basement

Photo from Zillow listing.

Oregon

1,529 favorites
1135 SW Coast Ave, Lincoln City, OR

Why we adore this home in a word: oceanfront

Photo from Zillow listing.

Pennsylvania

1,227 favorites
122 Squirrel Rd, Buck Hill Falls, PA

Reasons to ‘heart’ this home: historic log and stone structure, beautiful views

Photo from Zillow listing.

Rhode Island

611 favorites
252 Thatcher St, Rumford, RI

Fun fact: overlooks a country club

Photo from Zillow listing.

South Carolina

1,259 favorites
709 Michaelmas Ave, Cayce, SC
Why we’ve seen this home before: viral status

Photo from Zillow listing.

South Dakota

283 favorites
2613 S Van Eps Ave, Sioux Falls, SD

Fun feature: wood-paneled accent wall

Photo from Zillow listing.

Tennessee

1,436 favorites
2325 Golf Club Ln, Nashville, TN

Reason to sing about this Music City home: private recording studio

Photo from Zillow listing.

Texas

4,459 favorites
10711 Strait Ln, Dallas, TX

Proof everything is bigger in Texas: 10 bedrooms, a bowling alley inside

Photo from Zillow listing.

Utah

796 favorites
1886 S Geneva Rd, Orem, UT

Luxury feature: motocross course

Photo from Zillow listing.

Vermont

706 favorites
1796 Cheney Rd, Lowell, VT

Reason to break out the maple syrup: classic log cabin on 20 wooded acres

Photo from Zillow listing.

Virginia

1,912 favorites
2975 Desert Rd, Suffolk, VA

Why we love it: giant front yard for recreation, private sauna for relaxation

Photo from Zillow listing.

Washington

2,651 favorites
935 Deerbrush Dr SE, Olympia, WA

Our favorite feature: yellow front door

Photo from Zillow listing.

Washington, D.C.

1,184 favorites
3030 Chain Bridge Rd NW, Washington, DC

Why it caught our attention: timeless exterior, modern interior

Photo from Zillow listing.

West Virginia

755 favorites
1103 Juliana St, Parkersburg, WV

Why we love it: century-old columns

Photo from Zillow listing.

Wisconsin

887 favorites
743 N 25th St, Milwaukee, WI

What we love: classic Queen Anne-style with a cupola

Photo from Zillow listing.

Wyoming

391 favorites
2005 S Crescent H Rd, Wilson, WY

Why we keep staring: floor-to-ceiling glass walls you can slide open

Photo by Josh Franer.

Top featured image by Roger Wade Studio.

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How Breaking 3 Design Rules Made Our Home Feel More Like Us

“A house is a machine for living in.”

Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier made huge contributions to Modernism, urban planning and furniture design, but among all his contributions, the one thing I keep coming back to is this quote.

The challenge we all face as homeowners is in adapting our houses to our unique lifestyles instead of worrying too much about obeying tradition, design TV shows or our neighbors. And there are so many rules!

Here are three design rules we broke when renovating the dining room in our Omaha home.

The dining room, pre-renovation.

Rule 1: Every home needs a dining room

One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into when decorating their home is being afraid to change the purpose of a room. Sure, a kitchen is always going to be a kitchen, but dining rooms, formal living rooms, and bedrooms are ripe for repurposing.

Like many folks, we don’t make much use of a dining room. While we enjoy visitors, we don’t throw many formal dinner parties, and our eat-in kitchen works just fine for daily meals. Meanwhile, our living room is lovely but not particularly spacious – a piano, fireplace and stairway limit the amount of seating we can add to the room.

Our solution was to extend the “living area” into the adjacent dining room. Suddenly, we doubled the amount of space we have for casual entertaining, while creating a spot for a flat-screen TV for watching movies. The result is a cozy, calming room that the British would call a “snug.” We think that describes the space perfectly.

This layout – and giving up a dining table to get it – may not be the right fit for every family, but it more closely aligns with our needs and could easily be switched back by the next homeowners.*

Rule 2: Dark colors make a room feel small

You’ve heard it from designers on TV. You’ve heard it from real estate agents. Neighbors. The guy working the paint counter. “A dark wall color will make a room feel smaller.”

I have two responses to that:

  1. Not necessarily.
  2. Even if it does, is that always a bad thing?

In many instances, a darker wall or ceiling color will have no effect at all on the perception of room size. Very dark colors can, counterintuitively, make walls and ceilings appear to recede from the observer, creating the illusion that the room is deeper. So, the jury remains undecided.

What dark rooms inarguably do is create an environment that is cozy, elegant or romantic. While your eye may initially perceive a space as smaller, it will not actually be any smaller. You can fit just as much furniture and as many people into the space as before. So maybe it isn’t a problem at all.

Our adjacent living room (and much of the house) has stark white walls and big windows to bring in sunlight, so we decided to paint our dining room-turned-snug in Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black. Nothing subtle about that, but once we filled it with artwork and furniture, everyone commented on how big the room seemed.

Post-renovation, the snug provides plenty of seating space for entertaining.

Rule 3: Too much furniture in a space will make it cramped

As designers and furniture manufacturers, we talk with clients about furniture layouts every day, and choosing too large a sofa in their home is a recurring concern.

While it’s true that the scale of furniture matters, you can often get away with putting more into a room than you might imagine. It’s all about placement and maintaining pathways.

Our snug is a great example of this. It measures merely 13 feet by 10½ feet, and has a wide opening to our living room, a door to our kitchen and three big windows. Into the room, we fit a 10½-foot-by-8½-foot sectional sofa, a barrel chair, three small tables, a bar cart, a large wall-mounted flat-screen TV and tons of artwork. Despite squeezing in seating for a big group of people, we haven’t compromised the critical pathway running from the living room back into the kitchen.

We absolutely love our cozy, compact lounging space and don’t miss our dining room at all. Our unconventional choices may not make sense for your lifestyle, but keep them in mind as you find the best way to live in your home.

* We’re staying in our house forever, so this point is irrelevant. (See previous blog posts regarding me making my husband promise we’ll never move again.)

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House of the Year: A Treehouse Tower With Water Views

Leave it to a celebrity architect to live in a home that was just voted our 2017 House of the Year.

Each week, we take you inside a unique space – from a shipping container converted into a tiny home to a magical treehouse that happened by accident. And at the end of each quarter, we ask you to vote on your favorite.

Tens of thousands of you weighed in throughout the year, voting this wooded, waterside home your favorite of those featured on Porchlight. Even with its August debut, it quickly earned nearly 2,500 votes.

When we first wrote about the five-story home among the treetops, it belonged to Jason McLennan, a designer and environmentalist based on Bainbridge Island, just outside Seattle, WA.

You loved McLennan’s 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom sanctuary with reclaimed wood, accents from a salvaged ship, and lush, green surroundings.

The house was built in 1978 by another architect, who salvaged four, immense wooden posts to anchor the living space. The builders rescued other touches from an old ship, in a nod to the local maritime industry.

A 12-foot-long antique leaded glass window anchors the kitchen, while adjacent doors open up to a patio that offers views of Puget Sound.

Every floor of the five-story home has vistas of passing ships. It’s part treehouse, part ship, some might say.

The home stands in stark contrast to last year’s winning home, a 16,000-square-foot palace with a private ski bridge in Big Sky, MT. That 6-bedroom, 9-bathroom home boasted a full gym and movie theater.

This year’s stunner sold over the summer for $875,000. Read more about the home in our original post here.

Photos by Erik Hecht. Set decoration provided by Lily Karsten. Plants provided by Bainbridge Botanicals.

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The 2018 Pantone Color of the Year Is Here, and It's Purple

Editor’s note: Color authority Pantone just announced its selection for the 2018 Color of the Year: Ultra Violet, a purple shade that is sure to prompt passionate discussion among design pros and enthusiasts. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says the color “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking.” 

We spoke with Eiseman about how her team selects the color of the year, and some of the color trends that will influence home decor in 2018. 

Pantone’s annual Color of the Year selection makes an impact on the home and interiors industry – often in ways the average consumer isn’t even aware of.

For example, Pantone’s 2016 selection Rose Quartz paved the way for Millennial Pink, a blush hue that made headlines in 2017 thanks to its ubiquity in packaging, logos, and products – particularly those targeted to young female consumers.

“That [selection] really created a spike,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of the recently released book “The Complete Color Harmony: Pantone Edition.”

“Pink just went everywhere,” she continues. “It went viral.” Pantone chose the shade because it was reminiscent of rosy cheeks and good health.

Rose Quartz shared the 2016 Color of the Year designation with sister shade Serenity, a soft blue. The delicate colors were chosen for a balance between warm and cool, and to show that pink and blue are no longer gender specific.

Pantone proclaimed its 2017 choice, Greenery, a symbol of new beginnings, and “illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors.” This year, perhaps influenced by Greenery, Gen Z Yellow and other vibrant sunny hues have been seen in the home and on the fashion runways.

“Vibrant yellow has captured attention because in every society, yellow is sunlight. It means warmth, an enveloping presence, and it makes you happy. It’s a feel-good color,” says Eiseman.

Trends for 2018

Next year, in addition to Ultra Violet, expect to see a new, exciting spectrum of colors in the interior design world. Pantone’s 2018 home and interiors color palettes include Playful, an array of “lollipop colors” that are perfect for a cheery kids’ room.

Pantone’s Playful color palette offers a selection of whimsical hues.

On the other end of the spectrum there is Discretion, which feature natural hues and nuanced neutrals, and the Verdure palette’s quieter shades in the green and blue family.

Eiseman also notes a newfound interest in neutrals. Beyond shades like gray, beige, off-white, camel and taupe, a new, exciting category of colors is making its way into the design world. New neutrals like “greige” (gray-beige) and blush are fun new options for the person who wants a neutral that has a little personality to it.

“Neutrals started out in a very basic place,” says Eiseman. “When you add undertones to neutrals it can be affective and sophisticated. You can add a mauve tone to gray so it’s rosy, not dull and flat.”

Eiseman also recommends embracing the natural world and using neutrals that incorporate green tones.

Since 1999, when Pantone started selecting a Color of the Year, the interest in color forecasting has grown dramatically. “It’s just so interesting the way people respond to it,” says Eiseman. “It really proves how exciting the subject of color it is – whether you’re a designer or someone who simply loves getting a conversation going about color. It helps to unleash creativity.”

Signals from many sources

From 2016’s delicate pink and blue to 2017’s invigorating Greenery, color trends have dramatically shifted just in a year. So how does Pantone make its predictions about what the next big thing will be?

From art exhibits to animated movies, each year design elements from around the world guide Pantone as they forecast color trends for the year ahead.

“Our team at Pantone is well-traveled,” Eiseman. “We go to trade shows in Paris and Milan, and while we’re there we stay in the Design District, so we get a real sense of what is in stores, worn on the street, what exhibits are being shown – and then we start to connect dots.”

In the art world, Pantone stays abreast of current exhibits for artists like David Hockney and Yayoi Kusama, along with the colors that appear in their work.

“These shows travel the world and get the buzz out and people start talking about [the art] and the way color is used,” Eiseman says. “This also enters into our thinking when we are creating a forecast. Yayoi uses bright colors and polka dots, and Hockney uses saturated colors for the most part.”

Eiseman also mentions big worldwide events like the Olympic Games and international auto shows in Los Angeles and Geneva as places where Pantone observes the interplay of hues. “These are indicators of the future,” she says.

Using color in your home

When selecting color for your home, many factors come into play. Here Eiseman gives her pro tips on infusing your abode with the right hues.

  • Inside the home, don’t be afraid of defying tradition. “You create your fantasy on the inside of your home,” says Eiseman. For instance, Eiseman lives in the gray Pacific Northwest, so she painted her walls in a sunny yellow to evoke a happy mood and the illusion of sun.
  • For your home’s exterior, choose subtle colors. Eiseman warns that painting your home an attention-grabbing color like purple could rub people the wrong way. If you love vibrant colors, paint your front door a bold hue or incorporate bright colors in your pots and plantings.
  • Decide on your comfort level. “What do you want your house to feel like?” asks Eiseman. “Figure out what you want your house to represent.” If you want solitude, go with a calming color palette. Or if you love bold color, go all out. Each color sends a different message and evokes a different mood.
  • Set the mood. For a soothing environment, choose quiet colors like Pantone’s Angora White or Dove Gray. For a tinge of warmth, go with Rose Water Pink or Almond Oil. Cooler neutrals include sea spray greens, dew-touched blues or a frosty lavender. Eiseman warns to not exclusively decorate with cool hues, as it can create a cold atmosphere.
  • Create balance. For someone who wants a more “provocative palette,” Eiseman recommends seductive hues like spicy reds, hot pinks and succulent oranges – but not exclusively. To ground the vibrant colors and balance out the warmth, she recommends adding a rich chocolate, black or peacock blue.

What do you think of  2018’s Color of the Year?

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3 Easy Holiday Crafts to Get You Feeling Festive

Even when you’re eager to get in the spirit, the busy holiday season can make extra projects feel like a chore. That’s where these easy, how-to hacks come to the rescue!

Fun, festive and functional, these DIYs provide the perfect opportunity to spend a cozy night indoors while also crossing a few to-do’s off the list for your next holiday bash.

Learn how to make pine cone place cards for your table setting, homemade snow globes to liven up your decor, and a kid-sized gingerbread playhouse guaranteed to keep the kiddos occupied.

Ready for a closer look at each project?

Tabletop welcome

Your guests will feel extra loved with these customizable place cards. Whether you stamp them with names or a holiday greeting, this craft brings smiles around the dinner table.

Snow scene

When a friend or family member gives the snow globe on your shelf a shake, you’ll be able to tell them you made it yourself. Insert the setting of your choice to create your own little winter wonderland in a jar.

Playtime starter home

It’s hard to get all the holiday cooking done when you have little ones that want to be entertained. Set them up with this nifty cardboard creation while you bake some treats.

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The Secret to No-Fuss Holiday Decor? Use What You Already Have

Hold your holiday decor horses! Before you purchase gobs of tinsel and piles of twinkle lights, take another look at items you already have – they may be the holiday embellishment you’ve been looking for.

By hunting through your cabinets and closets, you can easily repurpose common household items into yuletide decor for your abode. Need a little inspiration? These design experts share how they style up everyday objects into festive flourishes.

Dig through the craft closet

“Bust out the burlap! I’ve been known to use burlap for anything from tablecloths to a Christmas tree skirt. It’s so versatile and lends an organic, rustic vibe.”
– Brooke Wagner, Brooke Wagner Design

“Roll out brown or black butcher paper on your table like a runner. It somehow elevates everything you set on it. Plus, you can write your guests names on it in black marker (or chalk marker for black paper) instead of place cards.”
– Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Paint a wall with chalkboard paint. It’s the perfect themed accent wall that’s fun and creative, and it gets the kids involved, too.”
– Melissa Martin Molitor, MMM Designs-Interiors

Photo courtesy of Melissa Martin Molitor.

“Tie ribbon on everything! Thread it through chandeliers or banisters. Or put festive printed fabric in picture frames and scatter them throughout the house.”
– Katie Schroder, Atelier Interior Design

Scour the kitchen cupboards

“Place a set of teacups on a pretty tray, and fill each cup with a succulent or small flower arrangement. Or create a centerpiece by placing candles on a serving tray or cake stand.”
– Gita Jacobson, In The Deets

“Fill a large glass serving bowl – or maybe a punch bowl or trifle bowl – with whatever seasonal item you want. Just use the same thing so it looks purposeful and pretty.”
– Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Take an ordinary flower vase, and stick glass ornaments inside with a string of white lights. It’s a pretty display that’s simple and creative!”
– Wendy Berry, W Design Interiors

Ransack the fridge

“Dried fruit garland is still classic and sweet. Take a needle and thread to some popcorn, cranberries or dried sliced oranges, and string it up wherever you want to!”
– Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Cut up fresh fruit and put it in a pitcher before adding flowers for a centerpiece. Throw in some cloves and cinnamon sticks for added flair. For a dash of festivity, use oranges with cloves in them for place card settings.”
– Christine Estep, Jackson Thomas Interiors

Sift through the closet

“Use a vintage plaid throw as a tablecloth or runner. Or decorate a small tabletop tree with jewelry or ribbon.”
– Katie Schroder, Atelier Interior Design

“Repurpose one of your favorite scarves as a cozy centerpiece runner.”
– Gita Jacobson, In The Deets

Forage in the yard

“Instead of placing a star at the top of my Christmas tree, I’ll take a handful of fallen sticks and tie them together at the top of the tree with a raffia bow. I’ll also layer pine cones throughout my tree to balance out the glass ornaments for an organic, natural feel.
– Wendy Berry, W Design Interiors

“I gather sticks cedar branches, along with magnolia, holly, boxwood and pine. I spread them around the bases of containers or arrange them in colorful tea tins. It’s an easy way to bring in greenery without spending too much money.”
– Susan Jamieson, Bridget Beari Designs

“I love to add a garland of fresh greens around my dining room chandelier and hang ornaments from it. The fresh scent mixed with holiday cooking is wonderful.”

– Jennifer Stoner, Jennifer Stoner Interiors

Look everywhere!

“Scatter some festive items that aren’t necessarily holiday themed. For example, we’ll set out some naturally shed antlers in the fall or a tuxedo hat around Christmas. I’ll mix in a few of these types of things that feel seasonally appropriate but aren’t necessarily traditional holiday decor.”
– Summer Thornton, Summer Thornton Design

“Give a corner of your home a holiday touch with just a handful of tweaks. We made a sitting area more festive by adding new pillows (they needn’t have an overt holiday motif – a wintery look works just as well), some evergreen cuttings from the yard (with a few sprigs of berries), a stack of wrapped gifts, a scarf and bow for our deer, and a teddy bear found in the attic.”
– Chris Stout-Hazard, Roger + Chris

Photo courtesy of Chris Stout-Hazard.

“Gather objects with a similar color scheme. I pull out all of my white and silver anything and group them together – candle holders, vases, pots, ribbon. Then I go to my neighbors’ yards for magnolia and holly cuttings and get laurel out of my own yard. I just keep everything green, white and silver – jumbled together it works.”
Lesley Glotzl

“Repurpose a metallic vessel into a vase for displaying rich greenery or arrangements of holiday objects. A brass champagne cooler, a bright silver trophy cup or even small copper mugs could work perfectly. Add fresh pops of red with cranberries, pomegranates, deep-red apples or even a few red roses.”
– Kerrie Kelly, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Photo courtesy of Kerrie Kelly.
Top photo from Zillow listing.

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Vote Now to Pick the Ultimate Kitchen for Holiday Entertaining – Round 2

Get your ovens mitts ready, because the holiday season is upon us. From festive feasts to cookie exchanges, home-cooked food plays a vital role in many families’ holiday traditions.

Most of us don’t get to cook in dream kitchens outfitted with loads of counter space, two or three ovens, an industrial-sized refrigerator, and multiple sinks for piling up the dirty dishes. But let’s escape for a moment into a sugar-scented holiday daydream, where the dishwasher is always empty, the floors are never sticky, and nothing ever burns.

We pitted eight gorgeous kitchens against each other to see which would get a chance at being voted the ultimate kitchen for entertaining.

Round 1 results

In the first round, skylights and a wide island won the modern farmhouse category with 62% of the vote, while a stone accent wall claimed 55% of the vote to beat a brick stove surround in the traditional kitchen category.

With 89% of the vote, neutral tones were the clear favorite in the contemporary category, and when it came to glam kitchens, ornate accents were the clear favorite, with 81% of the vote.

Missed the first round? See all eight kitchens in the tournament:

Country charmCity skylightsBrick beautyStone stunnerModern minimalistNeutral and naturalFrench dressingVintage charm

For more photos of the homes, check out their listings: Country warmth; City skylightsBrick beauty; Stone stunnerModern minimalist; Neutral and naturalFrench dressing; Vintage charm

And now: Round 2!

Choose the kitchens below you would most like as the backdrop for your holiday cooking and entertaining.

Which do you prefer: modern farmhouse or traditional?

Modern farmhouse

Traditional

Photos from Zillow listings: City skylights (modern farmhouse);  Stone stunner (traditional)

Is contemporary or glam more your style?

Contemporary

Glam

Photos from Zillow listings: Neutral and natural (contemporary); French dressing (glam)

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What Happens When a One-of-a-Kind Home Needs a New Owner?

When shopping for a home, it’s not uncommon to come across one that truly stands out. It’s not because the home is an old fixer-upper or that it’s a newly renovated home with a designer kitchen. It’s a home that’s architecturally significant or in some way conveys a “different” attribute. For instance, it might be a castle, a church or even a fire station that has been converted into one or more living spaces.

With an unusual home, pricing and marketing can be a challenge. Here are three things to keep in mind when either buying or selling a truly unique property.

1. Buyers should be cautious

As crazy as it sounds, a would-be buyer may want to reconsider purchasing an offbeat home. While it may be a home you love, it is also an investment. A home with a unique, unchangeable structural feature will likely alienate a large portion of the market.

If you’re faced with the opportunity to purchase a unique home, don’t get caught up in the excitement of it all. Think long term. Understand that when it comes time to sell, it may be a burden, particularly if you try to sell in a slow market.

2. When selling, don’t assume buyers will love what you love

As the owner of an interesting or different home who is considering a sale, be aware that not everyone will have the same feeling about the home as you did when you bought the place. While you’re likely to get lots of activity, showings and excitement over your property, a lot of that may simply be curious buyers, nosy neighbors or tire kickers.

Time after time, sellers with unique homes believe that since they fell head over heels, another buyer who might feel the same. But that person could be hard to find.

3. Hire the right agent and have a serious marketing/pricing discussion

A unique home requires a unique marketing plan and pricing strategy as well as a good agent. The buyer may not even live in your local market, and instead might be an opportunist buyer open to a unique property. So you should consider advertising outside the mainstream circles. Media and press can help get the special home the attention it may need.

The buyer may not want to live in your town but is fascinated by an old church or castle. The more you get this out there, the better your options for finding the specific buyer.

If you get lots of action but few offers, you may need to drop the price below the comparable sales to generate interest, particularly if you really need to sell. Just like a home with a funky floor plan, on a busy intersection or with a tiny backyard, the market for your unique home is simply smaller.

With online home listings, blogging and real estate television shows, unique homes stand out and get more exposure than ever. But selling a distinctive or offbeat property requires out-of-the-box thinking early on, and with a top agent. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Be certain to price the home right, expose it to the masses and have a strategic plan in right from the start.

Top image from Zillow listing.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Originally published October 10, 2014.

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Remote Meditation Retreat With Rocky Mountain Views – House of the Week

Sometimes when searching for a place to live, you don’t find the spot – the spot finds you.

Such was the case for David Tresemer. The year was 1986, and Tresemer was looking to escape the hustle and bustle of burgeoning Boulder, CO. He drove 90 minutes in every direction and was eventually drawn to an expansive spot a short drive from the city.

“It’s so pure. It looks down on Boulder,” he said. “The land really just spoke to me.”

With snowcapped-mountain views and creekside trails to explore, the 105-acre setting was so inspiring that Tresemer not only built his home here but also created a spiritual retreat for the community.

The centerpiece is a 12-sided structure he calls the StarHouse, which serves as a nondenominational gathering space for everything from yoga to weddings to solstice celebrations.

“We all tend to feel a little overwhelmed by what’s going on in the world, and it’s important to have a place to reconnect – for silence and a deeper connection,” said Tresemer’s wife, Lila.

Lila and David married in the StarHouse in 1995, and they’ve since officiated a number of weddings there. They now live in a custom-built 6,500-square-foot home on the property named MorningStar.

With 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, the house is bathed in warm, natural wood elements, from the walls to the ceilings to the doors.

Tresemer described the home as rustic and spiritually accented, with crystals and fountains interspersed throughout.

There’s a celestial mural the couple commissioned from a local artist above a fireplace, and an outdoor courtyard serves as a private meditation spot.

But the west-facing deck on the second floor, perfect for dramatic sunsets and more, might just be the couple’s favorite.

“You’re looking at the snowcapped mountains, and you can see the sunset or the moonset,” Tresemer said. “I prefer the moonset because it’s so dramatic.”

An off-grid, 2-bedroom retreat cabin is just beyond the main house (a woman recently spent an entire week there in silent meditation).

There’s also a historical 1904 homestead cabin on the property, along with organic gardens and other spiritual locales, including two labyrinths.

A perfectly shaped dodecahedron acts as a meditation chamber, and a 20-minute walk on the property leads guests to a physician’s tree – a spot for personal healing, Tresemer said.

Despite their deep love for the home, the Tresemers decided to put it up for sale for $2.45 million (they’ve also listed the entire property for $5.2 million)

“[This spot is] already loved by many, but there’s room for someone to bring their own vision and their own concept,” Lila said. “We would like to see it continued by a community of people who’ve come to love it.”

“It’s age-related for us, and we feel there’s a lot of vision and enthusiasm among the younger generations,” she continued. “We would love to see them take it to the next level.”

Roger Walker of RE/MAX Alliance on Walnut carries the listing. Photos courtesy of Rob Larsen.

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