Category Archives: Home Builders

6 Millennial Pink Homes Proving This Color Is Here to Stay

If you’ve never heard of Millennial Pink, don’t worry – you aren’t that out of the loop. Though the term was coined last year, it’s been popping up for years, and Pantone’s selection of Rose Quartz as one of its 2016 colors of the year was just a preview of the pink craze to come (yes, there’s a hashtag). Stars from Rihanna to Harry Styles have embraced light pink hues, though it’s more about the vibe than a distinct color, and its popularity goes beyond the 20-something crowd.

Millennial Pink has put rosy-colored homes on the map as well. While painting a house pink is nothing new – several historic, stucco and adobe homes sport the hue – it’s certainly on trend.

Check out these six homes for some Millennial Pink inspiration, and see what all the fuss is about.

Key West, FL

914 Grinnell St, Key West, FL
For sale: $1.43 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Tropical color schemes are a trademark of Key West design and architecture, as embodied by this delightful revival-style duplex. Bright blue shutters pop against a pale pink exterior with white trim, while the interior bursts with cheerful, vibrant blues, yellows, greens, and – of course – more pink.

Find more homes for sale in Key West.

Montpelier, VT

24-26 Loomis St, Montpelier, VT
For sale: $1.8 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

A former mayor’s home, this restored Victorian is Millennial Pink inside and out. With a whimsical two-tone pink façade and a few light pink rooms in the interior, the bright paint choice is architecturally on point. “We often see a color similar on Victorian homes throughout Vermont,” explains listing agent David Parsons, “and I believe it has a historical precedence.” Because of an increase in the number of pigments available and a reduction in the cost of paint, brightly colored homes became de rigueur in Victorian New England.

Find more homes for sale in Montpelier.

Charleston, SC

18 State St, Charleston, SC 29401
For sale: $1.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This historic home full of Southern charm proves that Millennial Pink is nothing new. Built around 1815, the current owners bought the pink house in 2004 and simply repainted it the same color since it worked so well. “There are many pink houses in Charleston, including one on Rainbow Row which is a block away,” explains listing agent Adam Edwards. “Pink is a longtime popular color because it helps keep the interiors cooler in the hot summer months.” Black shutters and white trim give the house an elegant, refined look.

Find more homes for sale in Charleston.

Seattle, WA

920 Federal Ave E, Seattle, WA
For sale: $1.598 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

For a prime example of a bold Millennial Pink, check out this 4-bedroom, 3,080-square-foot gem close to all the action in Seattle. The exterior is painted a solid shade of warm, earthy pink called “New Pilgrim Red” and is complemented with off-white woodwork in “Navajo White.” “We had seen that on another Colonial Revival house years ago when we were just about to repaint,” owners Clint and Elizabeth Miller recall. “It looked dramatic to us and suggested a New England sort of look.”

Find more homes for sale in Seattle.

Albuquerque, NM

1323 Narcisco Ct NE, Albuquerque, NM
For sale: $430,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Stucco exteriors are common in the Southwest because they’re durable and – most importantly, for a desert climate – energy efficient. This pink-hued home shows that stucco doesn’t have to be drab. Here, the pink provides a dose of personality while maintaining a neutral, earthy vibe that meshes with the landscape.

Find more homes for sale in Albuquerque.

New Orleans, LA

326 Warrington Dr, New Orleans, LA
For sale: $249,900

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Orleans is no stranger to colorful homes. In fact, this cute, single-story house is subdued in comparison to many in the Big Easy. But that’s part of its appeal – and of the appeal of Millennial Pink in general. It manages to straddle the divide between playful and refined, youthful and classic.

Find more homes for sale in New Orleans.


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Don't Be a Dummy: This Texas Mannequin Mansion is Waiting for Y'all

Calling all aspiring Andy Warhol types: A Houston-area artist is offloading a Texas residence and the listing is a must-see (especially for mannequin lovers).

Our tour starts at the gates to this private place, where a camouflaged figure waits to say howdy.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Follow the circular driveway to the brick two-story home and make your way inside, where you can saddle up next to a cowboy at the bar. 

Photo from Zillow listing.

Venture further into the house and you’ll find a doll doing its best Lionel Richie, dancing on the ceiling of the library.

Photo from Zillow listing.

The master bedroom appears to have a few live-in guests, from a tie-clad mannequin manhandling a remote control to a second figure watching a blank TV screen.

Photo from Zillow listing.

The home’s entertainment room features a child mannequin riding a tricycle – also on the ceiling.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Listing agent Diana Power says she posted the home for sale about a week ago, and that since then “the phone [has been ringing] every 30 seconds.

“All I can say is, it’s for sale and my client is an artist,” Power adds.

Photos from Zillow listing.

The artist’s touch is on full display in this hallway, which is covered in colorful paintings and pictures. A mannequin in a little black dress cooly stands in a doorway, ready to walk the runway.

Photo from Zillow listing.

The dining room brings the flavor of the outdoors inside, with dried plants, a bunny rabbit hanging out near the ceiling, and, wait – is that a mannequin holding a fake fish?

Photo from Zillow listing.

The 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom house will set you back $1.275 million, but does come with a pool, a 4-car garage, and a cozy creekside location.

Photo from Zillow listing

Plus, there’s this room, which we’re not sure how to describe – but Power did emphasize the homeowner’s artistic qualities, and there certainly is a distinct vision at work here.

Photo from Zillow listing.

“She’s got a clothing line and she’s got a jewelry line,” Power adds. “She’s pretty famous.”

Diana Power of Fort Bend Real Estate holds the listing.



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Good to Grow: Creating a Custom Gardening Workspace

A garden shed is more than a place to stash your shovel and lawnmower – it’s a gardening workstation where you can plant and repot to your heart’s content.

Of course, if you don’t have a shed, you can always improvise. Turn a corner of the garage, balcony, or patio into the next best thing by including a potting bench and enough storage space for your gardening gear. And if you have to set up your workspace outside, keep it in a shaded space, and store your products and tools in watertight storage containers.

Wherever you choose to make your gardening workspace, give it the same attention you’d give your home office or kitchen. Follow these tips to make it work for you.

Show off your garden shed

A shed is a utilitarian place to store stuff, of course, but it’s also an opportunity to incorporate architectural interest into your garden.

Mirror your home’s paint colors to create a harmonious effect, or turn it into a focal point by painting it a bright accent color. Just be sure that it complements your existing color scheme.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Give your garden shed the same amount of curb appeal you’d give your home. To avoid mowing the awkward space around your shed, give it a foundation planting, and surround it with ground covers, like mondo grass.

Make room for a potting bench

Technically, you can use any counter-height table as a potting bench, but it’s all the bells and whistles that make the difference – features like potting sinks, open shelving, drawers, hooks, and even paper towel bars.

Make your own potting bench from scratch, or repurpose an old bathroom vanity or console table for a little more character. You can also purchase a readymade potting bench from your local garden center or hardware store, but choose one built with quality wood that can withstand moisture and sunlight.

Photo courtesy of Point One Architects.

Keep it clean

Dirt and debris are bound to turn up in your workspace, but too much will attract pests like cockroaches, silverfish, and earwigs.

To keep your workspace tidy, wipe down your mower, edger, shovels, and hoes with a stiff brush before putting them away, and store them by the door for easier cleanup.

Clear the floor for easy sweeping by placing large supplies in stacking plastic bins, then label one for herbicides, one for fertilizer, and so on. Keep a large, lined kitchen trashcan around so you always have a place to put those empty plastic pots and bags.

Don’t hoard supplies

Workspaces are made for working, so don’t treat yours like a storage shed. Excess stuff is more than a waste of space – it makes it harder to get things done and even creates hiding places for dirt and bugs.

Don’t feel guilty about throwing away (or donating) anything that accumulates a layer of dust. Even if you think they’ll prove themselves valuable someday, those old pots and decorations will never be as valuable as a functional and inspiring workspace.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Sort the small stuff

Once you’ve rid your space of clutter, make designated spaces for the things you actually use. Keep your most often used tools in a caddy so you won’t have to collect them each time you head to the garden. Store the tools and tidbits you won’t need for a while on a pegboard or in designated bins.

Shelving is the traditional choice for storage, but much of that space often goes unused. To make the most of it, stack plastic organizers and bins. Depending on the size and design, they’ll hold anything from potting mix to plant tags.

Organize the shovels and such

Don’t settle for leaning those big shovels and rakes in a corner. Either purchase a freestanding garden-tool rack or make your own wall rack with nothing more than two-by-fours.

Attach one or more two-by-fours to the wall horizontally, securing them to studs for extra stability. Purchase a variety of specialized wall hooks from the hardware store, and arrange them beforehand to leave enough space for each tool. Use large hooks in sets of two to store hoses and extension cords, or even in sets of three to store string trimmers by laying them flat.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


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'Frasier' Star Kelsey Grammer Says Farewell to His Chelsea Home

Perhaps Frasier Crane is heading back to Seattle.

Kelsey Grammer, the six-time Emmy Award winner who portrayed psychiatrist Frasier Crane on the hit TV shows “Frasier” and “Cheers,” has sold his posh Manhattan pad for just under $8 million.

Photos courtesy CORE.

Grammer bought the 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom condo in the Chelsea neighborhood in 2010.

The home offers unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, along with 11-foot ceilings. The living room has a fireplace, wet bar and wine fridge. Motorized shades help keep the place cool and west-facing windows frame dramatic sunsets.

Sunset from the home. Photo courtesy CORE.

The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel and is noted for its dramatic, glassy exterior.

Grammer first put the 3,076-square-foot home on the market last year, asking $9.75 million.

No word on whether the place included a psychiatrist’s couch.

Emily Beare and Daniel Amell of Core carried the listing.




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10 Waterfront Homes Under $300,000

Finding a budget-friendly house on the water might be easier than you think. We found listings across the country that are easy on the eye and the wallet.

Whether you’re ready to land a waterfront home or just daydream, check out these 10 homes under $300,000.

Tahoe Vista, CA

6750 N Lake Blvd #10F, Tahoe Vista, CA

For sale: $225,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Overlooking gorgeous Lake Tahoe, this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom lakefront home is available for shared ownership, giving you 6 weeks here per year. In addition to a lakefront pool, fire pit and BBQ, the Tonopalo community offers access to a luxurious spa, workout facility, sandy beach, sail boats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and more.

See more Tahoe Vista homes for sale.

Myrtle Beach, SC

813 Golden Willow Ct, Myrtle Beach, SC
For sale: $224,500

Photo from Zillow listing.

Perfect for family fun in the sun, this spacious lakefront home has top-rated schools nearby, according to The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom interior includes an office and dining room, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook overlooking the lake.

See more homes for sale in Myrtle Beach.

Bellingham, WA

0 Eliza Island LOT 65, Bellingham, WA
For sale: $267,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Located on Eliza Island in breathtaking Bellingham Bay, this high-bank waterfront home has sweeping mountain, sound and bay views. Custom built with an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings, a large loft and spiral stairway, this home is stunning inside and out.

See more Bellingham homes for sale.

Darlington, MD

4400 Bryce Ln #273118, Darlington, MD
For sale: $198,450

Photo from Zillow listing.

Perched atop Broad Creek, this 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home brings posh style to a rustic retreat. In addition to having waterfront dock access, the house includes a master suite, spacious front and back decks, and a family room perfect for entertaining.

See more Darlington homes for sale.

Sodus, NY

5537 Centenary Shrs, Sodus, NY
For sale: $157,500

Photo from Zillow listing.

Overlooking serene Lake Ontario, this 528-square-foot cottage has a spacious deck and beachfront perfect for paddling out with kayaks. The interior features an oak kitchen, fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water.

See more listings in Sodus.

Saint Germain, WI

1583 Pine Valley Rd, St. Germain, WI
For sale: $129,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

This 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom lakefront cabin offers access to all that Little Saint Germain Lake has to offer, including 13 miles of shoreline and numerous bays and islands to explore. The property spans 8 acres with a fire pit, playground and recreation room.

See more homes for sale in Saint Germain.

Golden, MO

25391 Farm Road 2265, Golden, MO
For sale: $188,950

Photo from Zillow listing.

Situated on half an acre, this newly remodeled lakefront home has plenty of indoor and outdoor space to entertain. In addition to nicely landscaped grounds and multiple decks, its interior has vaulted pine ceilings and a modern kitchen.

See more homes for sale in Golden.

Rockwood, TN

272 Pin Oak Dr, Rockwood, TN
For sale: $275,000

Photo from Zillow listing.


Boasting panoramic views of Watts Bar Lake, this 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom property has abundant outdoor space to enjoy the scenery, including three decks with hammocks and a hot tub. Every bedroom and living area overlooks the lakefront, which is outfitted with a large covered dock and electric boat lift.

See more homes for sale in Rockwood.

Reed City, MI

9011 Lake Dr, Reed City, MI
For sale: $155,000

Photo from Zillow listing

Sporting a private sandy beach on beautiful Todd Lake, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home has been updated with granite countertops and a custom wrap-around deck with sweeping lake views. Close to fishing, trails and other lakes, this home is ideal for an outdoor enthusiast.

See more listings in Reed City.

Bay Saint Louis, MS

10250 Bayou View Dr E, Bay Saint Louis, MS
For sale: $159,900

Photo from Zillow listing.

Built on an acre of land, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom tiny home packs a lot outside its small frame. With 200 feet of Breaths Bayou waterfront, this home is outfitted with a powered boat launch and RV pad. It’s surrounded by mature trees, including queen palms, oak and cedar.

See more listings in Bay Saint Louis.

Lead photo from Zillow listing.


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How to Avoid a Hot Water Heater Nightmare

A hot water heater isn’t typically something homeowners think much about – until, of course, it fails spectacularly. Hot water heaters warm our showers, help disinfect our dishes, and clean our clothes, but they can also cause very costly and dangerous damage if not properly maintained and monitored.

Disaster firsthand

Shawn Gehrt, a homeowner in the Seattle area and senior sales executive at Zillow, found out just how damaging hot water heaters can be.

“My wife called and said it sounded like it was raining downstairs,” Gehrt recalls. “When she went down there, the whole basement was flooded. There were about 4 to 6 inches of water on the ground.”

Gehrt immediately went home, turned the water off, and cleaned up as much of the water as he could with his Shop-Vac.

“It was a good gush of water. It was probably the equivalent of about three baths filling at once. That’s how much water was dumping out the side of our hot water tank,” he says.

Gehrt and his wife called their homeowners insurance company, which sent the restoration emergency company ServPro to help. The professionals pumped out the water, working in the basement for about four hours. In addition to clearing out the water, they cleaned up the damage the flooding had caused.

“They had to remove all the baseboards, because water got behind the Sheetrock,” says Gehrt. “They drilled holes in the Sheetrock every 4 to 6 inches. And then I probably had about 20 fans going in my basement for a week to dry everything out.”

Signs of damage to come

Gehrt and his wife certainly didn’t expect their hot water heater to fail on them, but looking back, there was a major sign of damage.

“My storage room is where my furnace and hot water heater is, and I noticed that there was a little bit of water – just a tiny bit – maybe a 6-inch puddle of water in front of the hot water heater. I cleaned it up, and when I came back down about a week later, it was back,” Gehrt says.

When you see any hint of moisture or water stains around your water heater, it’s a major indicator that there’s something wrong with it, according to Paul Abrams, public relations director at Roto-Rooter. He says there should be absolutely no leaking in any of the joints or on the floor. Besides leaking, the hot water heater’s age is really the biggest determinant of the appliance failing.

“Homeowners should be cognizant of how old the water heater is, because that often determines the period of time when there’s some danger of it failing,” Abrams advises.

Most water heaters, under the best conditions, will last about nine to 11 years, unless you live in an area with especially hard water. Typically, a plumber will note the installation date on the water heater, but you can also look at the serial number on the tank to see when it was manufactured.

Reasons for failure

So, why exactly does a hot water heater fail? The water and its minerals essentially erode the container and create holes.

“The inside of the tank is usually glass-lined, but there’s steel in there. And anytime you have minerals and hard water, they’ll attack that steel and eventually rust it out from the inside,” Abrams says.

Although there are things you can do to prolong a water tank’s life – such as replacing the anode rod (essentially a sacrificial rod made of magnesium, which deflects the minerals from attacking the tank) every five years, installing a water softener, and draining the sediment out of the tank once a year – the best thing you can do is set a replacement schedule.

Advice to homeowners

The restoration professionals came to Gehrt’s house as soon as they could, but plenty of damage had already been done. They removed the base trim from all the doors. They cut the Sheetrock, because it had swelled up beyond repair. And the carpets, tile, and cabinets were all damaged and waterlogged.

The amount of damage came to a whopping total of $14,000. And while the insurance covered the damage, it didn’t cover appliance replacement or labor costs. A home warranty, Gehrt learned after his experience, would have covered the cost of the water heater and a plumber.

The biggest lesson Gehrt and his wife learned, however, is that there are a couple of simple things homeowners can do to prevent hot water heater failures and floods.

“I spent $15 on a water sensor. It’s just an alarm – a box that’s 3 inches by 3 inches. It’s loud, and it has a little sensor that you stick at the bottom of the tank on the ground. When the water hits it, it alerts you. If it would have alerted [my wife], she could have shut it off immediately, and we wouldn’t have had all the damage that we did,” Gehrt says.

Additionally, knowing where your water shutoff is and how to turn it off is something every homeowner should know in case of an emergency. But mostly, it’s all about prevention.

“A lot of homeowners just ignore [their hot water tank]. It’s like the elephant in the room. It’s really easy to ignore. It’s complicated, but the years go by, and something goes wrong. A lot of times, these things could have been prevented,” Abrams says.


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From 'Sold' to 'For Sale' and Back Again: The 4 Phases of Homeownership

You may live in your home for two years, or you may hunker down for two decades. But no matter how long you call it yours, you’ll likely experience these four key stages of homeownership – from the day you get your keys to the day you hand them off to your home’s new owner.

Read on to learn more about what to expect from each phase.

Phase 1: Excitement … and unpacking

The “sold” sign is posted, your belongings are packed, and the day finally arrives – you get the keys to your new home. You open the front door, and possibilities abound. How will you decorate? Where will that new couch go? Which rooms will the kids choose?

This first phase is all about unpacking, settling in, and getting to know your new home. If you’ve upsized from a smaller home, you may be tempted to jump in and start filling all that extra space.

And while you may be eager to make your mark on your new home’s interior (or exterior), Diana Bohn, a Seattle-based agent with Windermere Real Estate, warns against making extensive changes to a home right after moving in.

“It’s always good to be in your home for a year or so before knocking down any walls,” she explains. “Get your furniture in there, unpack, and see how the home lives. It’s hard to know how the space is going to feel until you’ve been there for a while. Go through all the seasons at least once.”

Phase 2: Home sweet home

It may take you a few months to move into the second phase – or even a few years (we won’t judge if you still have packed boxes gathering dust after a year or two). But this phase is when your house becomes a home, and you start enjoying your everyday life in the space.

You’ve figured out where all your belongings should go, you’ve done the bulk of your decorating, and you’re getting to know your neighbors and a few local hangouts. You’ve likely celebrated the holidays in your home a time or two, welcomed out-of-town guests, and gotten to know (and love?) your home’s unique quirks.

Phase 3: Project time

If the housing market continues its current upward trend, it’s likely that, after even a few years in your home, you’re sitting on some equity. So what should you do with it? Phase 3 is often the time when homeowners can take advantage of equity they’ve gained.

First, if you bought an older home, it may be time to update some of your home’s major systems – think furnace, roof, or windows. Portland, OR-based mortgage broker Lauren Green of Green Family Mortgage recommends researching two options for financing home improvements: home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and cash-out refinances.

“Many people have no idea they can access their home’s equity,” Green says. “They think the only way to take advantage of their home’s increased value is to sell it, but in reality, there are some great ways to access the equity in your home while still living in it.”

Second, after living in your home for a few years, you probably have a better idea of the renovations that would really make your home work for your lifestyle.

“There are lots of reasons why someone may decide to remodel instead of sell and look for a new home,” says Tyler Coke, project manager and business development manager at Marrone & Marrone, a custom home builder and remodeler in the Bay Area. “One thing that appeals to many homeowners is the custom aspect of it. You can design and create exactly the type of space that fits your lifestyle and speaks to how you use your home.”

Phase 4: Moving on

When will you know it’s time to move on? And what will prompt you to move somewhere new?

“Usually, it’s some kind of transition that causes people to sell,” says Bohn. “A new job, a growing family, or downsizing once the kids move out. In big cities, we’re also seeing people moving from more centrally located neighborhoods to farther-flung suburbs, where their money will get them more.”

Whatever your reason for putting your home on the market, the day you sign on the dotted line and close your front door for the last time is likely to be a bittersweet moment. But change can be good, and the next time you buy a home, you’ll be well-versed in all four phases and know just what you’re looking for.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


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John Legend and Chrissy Teigen's Former Hollywood Hills Home Is for Sale

Photo: Shutterstock

The Southern California home that formerly belonged to the famous singer-and-model duo is on the market – but not for long (if we had to guess).

In 2014, after seven years of ownership, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen unloaded the property for just over asking, within weeks of putting it on the market.

Three years later, the current owner is asking $2.495 million for the celebrity pad; nearly half a million more than they paid.

That price tag nets you a 2,200-square foot, 3-bed, 3-bath home and a state-of-the-art recording studio. Plus, the mid-century modern gem was completely renovated by Legend and Teigen.

While John got a studio designed acoustically for low sound out of the renovation, we imagine food-fanatic Chrissy had a hand in the sleek kitchen with custom basalt counters, teak cabinets and Thermador appliances.

Photos by Adam Latham of Bel Air Photography

Hidden in a quiet cul-de-sac of Hollywood Hills, this home makes it hard to believe you’re still in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Inside the gated yard are tranquil Asian-inspired gardens, fountains and greenery.

With such a beautifully cultivated yard, it’s easy to see why the entire home is designed to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. Off the main living area, a sliding glass door leads directly to the backyard patio with a grill, several lounging areas and a tucked away hot tub. Similarly, the master suite contains two glass doors – one in the bedroom and another in the master bath, which leads to an outdoor soaking tub.

It’s hard to imagine this serene, luxury home lasting much longer than it did the last time it was on the market.

Heather Boyd of Hilton & Hyland holds the listing.


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Alyson Hannigan Lists Her Atlanta Penthouse for $1.395M

Before Alyson Hannigan was Willow Rosenberg on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or Lily Aldrin on “How I Met Your Mother,” she was an Atlantan. The now-famous actress was raised in the Atlanta area following her parents divorce during her early childhood.

The city must have made an impression on young Hannigan, because she went back and scooped up a local 3-bed, 3-bath penthouse in 2014. While the “American Pie” star and her husband, actor Alexis Denisof, only paid $810,000 for it at the time, the listing price is now a sweet $1.349 million.

Inside the nearly 2,500-square-foot unit, dark Brazilian hardwoods contrast nicely against crisp white walls and silver finishes. The real showstopper, however, is a wall of 14-foot windows in the living room that overlook the city.

In both the kitchen and bathrooms, you’ll find a predominately white color scheme, including the cabinets, subway tile, and fixtures. The one notable exception is the master bath’s dark brown cabinets and a similarly shaded countertop.

Photos courtesy of Rea Kelly of Atlanta Fine Homes.

Panoramic skyline views are also available from private terraces that jut off the the living room and at least two of the bedrooms — allowing you to take in all the different angles of the Southern city.

Located in the exclusive White Provision Residences, the home provides building amenities including a lap pool, a fitness center and a guest suite. The price tag for the condo also includes three parking spaces, a separate storage unit, and easy access to nearby retail and restaurants.

Hannigan has stayed out of the limelight recently, and we can see why — we’d be busy enjoying this spectacular penthouse, too.

Rea Kelly of Atlanta Fine Homes holds the listing.


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7 Things You Didn't Know About Floating Homes & Houseboats

While a huge part of “Sleepless in Seattle’s” appeal could be chalked up to the ’90s rom-com duo of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, another significant part of the movie’s charm is its setting in a floating home.

The key distinction here is that it’s a floating home, not houseboat. Although Hollywood and much of the U.S. refer to the movie’s home as a houseboat, Hanks’ on-screen residence is technically a floating home. And, yes, there is a difference.

Here are 7 things you may not know about floating homes and houseboats – and likely didn’t learn from “Sleepless in Seattle.”

A floating home is not a houseboat

Although both floating homes and houseboats are found on the water, there are significant differences between the two.

Think of a floating home like a condo, but rather than a unit in a building, it’s a unit on the water with HOA dues paid to maintain the dock and slip. Floating homes are permanently connected to sewer, water and electrical, built and moved into place just once.

Houseboats on the other hand have “quick disconnect” features, says houseboat expert and real estate agent Kevin Bagley of Special Agents Realty.

“You can unscrew the electricity, the water hose, untie and easily move away. They’re designed to not be permanently moored,” he explained.

Nicknamed Seaweed, this Seattle houseboat is only 415 square feet but full of personality.

You really have to batten down the hatches

When a storm is passing through or rough water is expected, houseboat and floating home owners tie down their patio furniture, and put their cushions and sun umbrellas away. It’s no different than being on a ship.

When you live directly on the water, the views are spectacular. But when a storm is brewing, you have to batten down the hatches!

Different taxes are required for houseboats

Floating homes are sold like any other house, with traditional loans and closing costs. Houseboats have a sales tax due at the point of sale. And in the city of Seattle, there’s just one lender who handles houseboat loans.

This floating home, known as Otter Magic, measures 600 square feet with ample living space, a solarium and more.

Home inspections require a diver

As with any home purchase, an inspection is generally recommended with an expert checking out the home from top to bottom. This involves hiring a diver to inspect the hull of a houseboat or the floats beneath a floating home.

Floating homes must meet standard building codes; houseboats have a little more leeway with unusual staircases or door and window sizing.

There’s no cookie-cutter constructions. Nautical touches and whimsy are what floating homes and houseboats are all about.

You probably won’t get seasick

Getting seasick is really not likely, says liveaboard expert Linda Bagley of Special Agents Realty.

“The percentage of people who get seasick are so minor. Really one out of 10 should not live on a houseboat,” she explains. However, when she’s showing a potential owner to a floating home or houseboat, she encourages them to check it in all weather – just in case.

Houseboats make the most of a small space with built-ins, hanging storage and cozy nooks.

Floating homes really do float

A floating home may have 30 barrels and 100 floats to keep the floating home level. The floats are generally made of concrete with Styrofoam inside.

Maintaining equal weight across a floating home is key. Whether it’s heavy furniture, or people at a party, an uneven distribution could cause a barrel or float to escape from underneath the home.

With houseboats and floating homes, your neighbors are local sea creatures such as seals and beavers.

Life on the water is wild

Whether urban or remote, living on a houseboat or floating home means you’re literally on the water.

“Most people think that city lakes are barren of fish and fowl but it’s the opposite,” says Kevin, noting that his neighbors include otters, beavers, eagles, heron and plenty of fish.


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