When you’ve been in the same business for over 27 years, chances are you have seen more than your fair share of trends. Beloved real estate icon Jade Mills has watched the Beverly Hills real estate market cycle through a number of home styles. Contemporary. Spanish. Cape Cod. What’s on Beverly Hills homebuyers’ most-wanted list right now? Warm contemporary, she says.
Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills
It’s not surprising that Mills has spotted this latest evolution of home styles to hit the palm-tree-lined streets of 90210 — long considered the epicenter of luxury. After all, you don’t get to be called “the $5 billion woman” without being able to recognize specific buying patterns before anyone else does. (“You need to know clients, what they like and what is luxury to them,” she is fond of saying.) She recently surpassed an astounding $5 billion in career sales — the highest sales volume on record of any agent in Coldwell Banker history. Not surprisingly, she is the No. 1 real estate agent in the nation for the Coldwell Banker brand and for all brokerages nationwide. She counts A-list celebrities, tech founders and some of our nation’s most prominent business leaders as clients, plus a long list of exclusive and historic sales, including the Playboy Mansion. There is no other professional that could be better positioned to know what’s new and next in luxury real estate.
To get a better handle on what’s trending in the nation’s most famous luxury ZIP code, we recently sat down with Mills in Las Vegas.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What’s been the most interesting trend you’ve observed this year?
Jade Mills Home style changes. Buyers are preferring a different home style now. They are moving away from the modern “white boxes” and moving towards more of an “organic” and “farmhouse” style.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury When did you begin to notice this shift?
Jade Mills I think about a year ago people started saying, “We love contemporary, but we don’t want a cold look.” More buyers today are looking for a warmer look, like wood floors and wood ceilings and warmer finishes.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury It’s interesting — Christopher Fling and Karen Yang also noted the modern farmhouse as a trend in Silicon Valley.
Jade Mills The modern farmhouse style does have a lot of appeal. Napa Valley architect Howard Backen was probably the first to popularize the style. Now the trend has made its way South. It’s more of a contemporary home with the traits of farmhouse — simple forms, high-pitched ceilings, a farmhouse sink, organic materials.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury How have you seen the trend play out, and where?
Jade Mills If you had a view, then that was the most important part of buying the modern white boxes. Today, buyers want a little land. Of course, if they had their way, they would have a view and land, but that is hard to get in Los Angeles! So, buyers are looking for a little land that either already has a warm contemporary home or they plan to build one. One example that comes to my mind is the Brad Grey house, set on two acres on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills. The original 1930s house was torn down to make way for a modern farmhouse-style mansion designed by Howard Backen. Owlwood is another large piece of land, which rests on approximately 10 acres in Holmby Hills. Some potential buyers have had the idea of keeping the existing main house, and building a new house on the other lot. So, I would say the trend is playing out predominantly in Westside neighborhoods with large lots. It is difficult to transform a Trousdale home into a farmhouse because you can build only one story in Trousdale, unless they are grandfathered in.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are some of the driving forces behind this trend?
Jade Mills For a while, the trend was a more minimalistic style with all white, white counters and floors. Some buyers then began to regard this as cold or even hospital-like. Now it is changing. We remember when everyone wanted old Spanish-style homes 12-15 years ago. It’s just like every trend; it’s cyclical. I think one of the key things driving the warm contemporary trend is that people are looking for a more comfortable way of living. The super contemporary homes are harder to live in. Buyers now want a homier feeling for their children and grandchildren. Some clients who have built large homes are realizing that they don’t use some of the space such as the movie theater or spa.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What are the demographics of buyers who are gravitating towards these warmer styles?
[a name="Jade Mills"]It has appeal across the board. The younger buyers are still wanting the Sunset Strip. But they don’t want that sexy white box anymore. Even the young bachelors seem to want warmer contemporary spaces. That said, there are buyers for every lifestyle. It’s all about finding the right buyer. We always find the right buyer for our listings, even if it might take some time.[/a]
[q name="Coldwell Banker Global Luxury"]From your perspective, why do you think this concept is particularly interesting to see play out in Beverly Hills?
Jade Mills Style is just a trend. When I first came into the business, people loved mid-century contemporary. Then the trend seemed to move to old Spanish style. Then the traditional Hamptons style came into popularity and everyone loved Traditional. We’re going through another change now.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Where do you see luxury home design going next? Do you think traditional styles will come back in vogue at some point?
Jade Mills Since I love Hollywood Regency or French Traditional, I’m hoping those styles will come back next. I love both styles. I’m feeling that we are trending towards these more traditional styles.
Security comes in many forms, from armed guards to bulletproof windows to technology that can monitor every corner of a sprawling estate. But among the most ancient forms of security are specially trained canines, offering their owners far more comfort than a fleet of drones. An elite group of specialists supply an exclusive clientele with animals of impeccable breeding and training.
South Carolina-based Harrison K-9, founded by Harrison Prather in 1975, provides home security dogs to high-net-worth individuals, professional athletes and entertainers with Grammys or Oscars on their shelves. The company deals exclusively with a refined bloodline of German Shepherds from Europe, resulting in exceptionally keen, agile and intelligent dogs free from some genetic issues facing Shepherds bred in the U.S.
November Holley, Harrison K-9’s president, insists that a premium home security dog requires a different style of training than military or police dogs, and her company’s animals are specifically bred and trained for family environments.
“We don’t want a soldier and we don’t want a robot,” states Holley, who adds, “We focus primarily on providing a companion, but one that will be there for you when you need help.”
Prices for Harrison K-9 pooches generally range from $37,000 to $47,000, but a dog of unrivaled pedigree named Julia was sold to a client for $230,000. Holley maintains her clients recognize local police departments are overburdened and feel the need for frontline security that is compatible with their children and other pets. Female German Shepherds are particularly well-suited to homes for which there is a perceived kidnapping threat, suggests Holley, who explains the dogs’ maternal instincts result in a natural tendency to hover near small family members.
During a rigorous three-month process, animals at Harrison K-9 are trained by both male and female staff — they sometimes even involve their children in these sessions — to encourage dogs to respond to handling skills rather than fear or intimidation.
“Our dogs are trained in English, German and hand signals and understand that commands from a woman are just as important as those from a man,” explains Holley. She reports that commands in other languages (e.g. Spanish, Chinese, Japanese) are incorporated into training for bilingual households, illustrating the intelligence of these animals.
Former Navy SEAL and lifelong dog lover Mike Ritland founded Trikos International after serving 12 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL. His firm places dogs with police departments, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the military. After an appearance on 60 Minutes in 2013 (Ritland is also a New York Times bestselling author), the former SEAL began receiving more requests for personal protection dogs, now the hallmark of his business.
The animals Trikos places in private homes require more intensive training than military or police dogs, as they must be acclimated to homes with pets, children and other distractions. Noting his wealthy clients are likely to spend as much for a single private jet trip or on a hand of blackjack in Las Vegas, Ritland believes the price tag of approximately $100,000 is a bargain for family security. He also suggests a dog, after properly bonding with its owner, represents the most reliable security system, offering early detection as well as both defensive and offensive measures. “You’re buying a 24/7 companion that can’t be bought or bribed, and unlike an electronic security system, it can’t be bypassed or defeated,” reports Ritland, adding, “The dog is also safer than a weapon that can be taken or used against you.”
In contrast to Harrison K-9, Trikos is not uncompromising when it comes to breeds, and deploys Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois in addition to German Shepherds. While there are nuances to their respective temperaments, Ritland reports all can be trained to be superb protectors. “I don’t look at the breed any more than I look at the race or gender of people I hire,” states Ritland, who quips, “To me, the breed is more like a paint job.”
Ritland or one of his trainers accompanies the dog from rural Cooper, Texas, to its destination, and does not return until the animal has fully adjusted to the household. “The entire training process takes four to seven months — sometimes even a year depending on the circumstances — and it’s finished when it’s finished,” states Ritland, who adds, “If you’re looking for a dog in a week, I’m not your guy.”
Located just outside Los Angeles, Wolfgang Expert Dog Training prepares home security dogs for celebrities, but customizes the program to suit any household’s needs. While he works with many breeds, founder and CEO Wolfgang Rader appreciates the skills of the dog most closely associated with his native Germany. “The Belgian Malinois is the best dog for protection but they’re not so good with families,” reports Rader, insisting the German Shepherd is more gentle in domestic situations and that home security is in its DNA. The veteran trainer accommodates a range of security needs, explaining, “Some people just want a dog that barks along the fence, others need one that will attack in a life-threatening situation.” During a demanding four-week training course, Wolfgang Expert Dog Training can transform the family pet into a protective companion.
The magic of the Jet Age has returned to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. After 18 years of being mostly hidden from public view, the 512-room TWA Hotel opened yesterday to great fanfare — exciting architecture and mid-century modern enthusiasts in what has been hailed “the hospitality and aviation moment of the year” and a “time traveler’s dream.”
The new hotel is the result of a meticulous restoration of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 former airport terminal by MCR and MORSE Development. When the TWA terminal first opened, it epitomized the glamour and optimism of the Jet Age. The structure was designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and, after its 2001 closure, was listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005. Restoring the beloved building (a project led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners), constructing two brand new hotel wings behind it (designed by LUBRANO CIAVARRA Architects with interior design by Stonehill Taylor) and building a 50,000-square-foot events center (by INC Architecture & Design) was a massive endeavor. The project involved 22 government agencies and more than 170 firms. Turner Construction Company began work in the fall of 2016, with roughly 450 union tradespeople on site every day. In addition, dining, retail and amenity partners helped give the space new life.
“Eero Saarinen’s cathedral to aviation has always looked toward the future,” says Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR and MORSE Development. “We restored and reimagined his landmark with the same care that he devoted to his design.”
No detail went overlooked in the ambitious reimagining of the hotel. From the millwork by Amish artisans and the authentic split-flap departures boards made by Italy’s Solari di Udine to the custom font inspired by Saarinen’s own sketches and the one-of-a-kind manhole covers, the new hotel is a striking homage to an architectural icon. Built into the original penny-tile ticket counters is a digital kiosk for self-check in, with front desk staff dressed in period uniforms designed by Stan Herman. A 60-year-old plane, the Lockheed Constellation “Connie” L-1649A, has been transformed into a cool cocktail lounge decked out in plush red flooring, restored windows and 1930s controls in the cockpit. Authentic mid-century style furnishings, like Saarinen tulip chairs and Herman Miller Eames lounge chairs and ottomans, give you the feeling that you’ve stepped back into the 1960s.
Even with all of the authentic period details, the design and development team managed to seamlessly bridge the gap between old and new. For example, the mid-century modern inspired rooms, housed in brand-new buildings behind the landmark terminal, have all of today’s expected accouterments: large flatscreen TVs, plenty of power outlets and button-operated window drapes. Rooms either look out onto the Terminal 5 runway or into the hotel itself. If you’re worried about jet noise, you need not: a soundproof glass curtain wall measuring seven panes and five-and-half-inches thick by Fabbrica LLC allows guests to watch planes take off without hearing them.
Beyond the rooms, the TWA Hotel is a destination in its own right with plenty of “wow” moments to satisfy even those who are not staying at the hotel. There is the eye-catching 200-seat Paris Café by Jean-Georges, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from an open kitchen in collaboration with Tastes on the Fly. Other attractions include two cocktail lounges operated by the Gerber Group, numerous grab-and-go dining options, a coffeebar, 50,000 square feet of event space, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center operated by The Wright Fit and a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck with views of runway 4 Left/22 Right, plus a pool bar.
Collectors and shoppers might enjoy perusing the Shinola custom watch bar and leather goods store, a Warby Parker Pencil Room (where they can use pencils emblazoned with pithy one-liners to fill out custom postcards), a Phaidon + Herman Miller Reading Room and the TWA Shop (which sells apparel and gear honoring Trans World Airlines’ legacy). True history buffs will also find inspiration, thanks to museum exhibitions on TWA, the Jet Age and midcentury modern design curated by the New-York Historical Society.
Guests may enjoy BLADE helicopter service to Manhattan, and if they need to catch a flight? They can always take the iconic tubes featured in the 2002 film, “Catch Me If You Can,” which connect to JetBlue’s Terminal 5.
Starting room rates for the TWA Hotel are $249 for overnight stays. However, if you have a layover or short day stay at JFK, there are day passes available for $149 within four different time frames: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.; 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; and noon-6 p.m.
Last month, many of our luxury real estate professionals affiliated with the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Asian Real Estate Association of America’s Global & Luxury Summit in Beverly Hills. It’s always a thrill to connect with the top luxury real estate stars at this premier annual event and, of course, to learn about new real estate trends potentially impacting our clients.
This year, we had five key speakers representing the Coldwell Banker® brand, myself included: Jamie Duran, Christophe Choo, Lucio Bernal and Janice Lee. Janice spoke on a panel called “FIRE, HENRY and DINKY… OH MY!” — and it perfectly illustrated the reason why we participate in events like the Global & Luxury Summit. One thing we know from being in this business for over eight decades is that the luxury real estate world is constantly evolving. Today’s luxury homebuyers are increasingly diverse, making a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy all but a recipe for failure.
The group of panelists discussed several different acronyms categorizing consumers that are widely used in the financial planning and investment community. In my day, we had YUPPIES (young urban professionals), but now we have FIREs (financially independent retire early), HENRYs (high earning not rich yet), DINKs (double income no kids) or DINKYs (double income no kids yet). Data on each of these sub-groups is rich and growing by the minute. As marketers, we now know when, where and how to reach each of these categories. If they’re on Instagram, we’re on Instagram. If they’re most likely to be found in first-class airport lounges, we’ll go there, too. The point is, we meet them where they are. This is a major change in the way we market. The more we know about these individuals, their spending habits and where they actually are on their journey of wealth, the more we can tailor our marketing, presentations and client conversations to speak directly to them. After all, the No. 1 rule of marketing is “Know your audience.” As Global Luxury Ambassador and Beverly Hills real estate icon Jade Mills likes to say: “You need to know clients, what they like and what is luxury to them.”
From Hawaii to Spain and back to dreamy California, this month’s newest $10 million+ listings from the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program combine the best of luxury living — views, inspiring architecture and plenty of space for savoring springtime moments.
3229 Diamond Head Road Honolulu, HI. $ 22,000,000
Makalapua, a.k.a. the “House of Blossoms,” wows at the base of Oahu’s Diamond Head with over 74 feet of linear ocean frontage opening to a small but beautiful very private beach. Unlike other homes in the Islands, Makalapua fronts a rare oceanfront channel to the open sea, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, small boat access, and all ocean activities. One of only 18 residences along this prestigious coastline coveted by Hawaii’s prominent families for centuries. Makalapua enjoys spectacular sunsets for about nine months of the year. A setting within walking distance to Oahu’s Gold Coast, Kapiolani Park and Waikiki also makes this stunning beachfront estate a must-see. Iconic and extraordinary, Makalapua offers an unparalleled combination of rich history, prized trophy location and sophisticated architecture and interiors.
96 Heather Dr Atherton, CA. $13,880,000
Imagine living at a 5-star resort every day in this primeAtherton estate: working out in your personal fitness center, relaxing with a sunken spa, steam room and sauna in your very own spa center, and then watching a movie in your home theatre. Wine collectors will relish in the cellar with tasting bar while car collectors will find amazing space for premium models. The home has eight luxurious bedrooms arranged over the three levels connected by elevator. The master suite is exceptionally sumptuous. With five bedrooms on the main level, this home stands ready for the needs of a growing family. There is a second master suite on upper-level. Outdoor living is equally grand with a saltwater pool, outdoor spa, outdoor kitchen, courtyard, vineyard terrace, heritage trees, mature landscaping, cabana and pool house. A desirable location with two gated entrances in sought-after Lindenwood plus access to excellent Menlo Park schools are among the many standouts in a home truly built for lasting luxury.
Platja d`Aro, Girona, Spain $ 11,879,146
This exclusive farm property rests on one of the best plots in the cliffs area, on the way to Spain’s Sant Antoni de Calonge — just a few minutes walk from the center of Platja d’Aro, with its shops, boutiques, restaurants, yacht clubs, heliport and less than 30 kilometers from golf courses and near the Girona Airport, with flights that connect with all of Europe. The property wows with stunning views of the sea, the horizon and Platja Llarga. It stands out for its unique architecture and open spaces, yet still maintains the ultimate in privacy for its occupants. Views of the sea are captured from any room in the house. The farm has several buildings. The main house offers four fantastic bedroom suites, a living room and kitchen, with access to the terrace and the garden. A guest apartment also has capacity for four people, plus breathtaking sea views. There is also a service house. The views from any point in the garden are simply spectacular. Two stairs lead directly to the path and coves, where you can enjoy complete tranquility and privacy from its privileged location.
6907 Grasswood Ave Malibu, CA, United States $ 12,000,000
Completely redesigned in 2016, this gated architectural modern estate on Malibu’s famous Point Dume features breathtaking ocean views of the Santa Monica Bay by day and the Queen’s Necklace at night. Spectacular outdoor entertaining spaces bring people together with a new salt water pool and entertainment area with sand fire pit, an organic fruit orchard, drought tolerant landscaping, a full guest house overlooking the pool plus lots of flat land for gardening and other outdoor pastimes. Interior touches include a huge Balthaup kitchen with walnut cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Enjoy the spacious ocean view master suite with fireplace and master bathroom with steam shower and soaking tub looking out to the Santa Monica Bay. This property has a beach key to “Little Dume,” one of Malibu’s best surfing beaches.
269 Park Avenue Aspen, CO $12,500,000
Set at the Hopkins footbridge in the heart of Aspen, this extraordinary mountain home inspires with views of Aspen mountain and Smuggler. Enjoy the sound and sight of the river. An open floorplan for gatherings encompasses six spacious bedrooms with custom baths, an expansive media room with custom bar and wine room, five indoor fireplaces, and a spacious custom gourmet kitchen. Multiple outdoor spaces call for entertaining outdoors; the outdoor fireplace on the top floor patio will keep you warm at night. An intimate courtyard offers hot tub and a fire pit. There’s also an exquisite guest house on the property. Added bonus: you can walk to all Aspen has to offer.
3800 Washington Street San Francisco, CA. $ 30,000,000
Originally built from 1902-1904 for one of the City’s most prominent families of the era, the breathtaking Le Petit Trianon is inspired by the original world-renowned Chateau at the Versailles Palace in France. The iconic, historically irreplaceable facade of Le Petit Trianon is one of the world’s most recognizable images. Designated as both a San Francisco as well as a National Historical Landmark,and considered one of the City’s architectural masterpieces, this extraordinary monument has been host to a glittering array of some of the most important social, cultural, artistic and philanthropic events in San Francisco history. Evocative of another era of 18th-Century grandeur, this timeless masterpiece has seen yet another re-incarnation in its legendary history by the 2019 San Francisco Decorator Showcase for a glamorous and contemporary 21st-Century lifestyle…one of the world’s most extraordinary private residences.
600 Perugia Way Los Angeles, CA. $ 26,995,000
One of the finest examples of modernist architecture in Los Angeles — this clean, contemporary design integrates timeless mid-century elements. Years of thoughtful design by Joseph Lam and Zen West Design has culminated in a breathtaking masterpiece. Expansive use of luxurious materials throughout express a modernist point of view. There are walls of retractable glass as well as rooms that can display a substantial art collection. The open and intelligent floorplan captures the quintessential California indoor/outdoor dream. Outdoor entertaining spaces have been masterfully planned in the private backyard with a grassy lawn, swimming pool and spa, complete outdoor kitchen, and views of the Bel Air Golf Course. A three-car garage with a large, gated motor court for additional parking adds convenience. Located in prime lower Bel Air on one of the most coveted streets, a property of this magnitude only comes to market once in a decade.
543 Seale Ave Palo Alto, CA, United States $ 11,880,000
This light-filled, brand-new construction home is conveniently located in one of Palo Alto’s most prestigious and elite neighborhood, Old Palo Alto. Quality materials and design elements have been used throughout this home, including a warmly inviting porch with natural stone flooring, beautiful wide-plank French oak hardwood floors, high vaulted ceilings, box beamed ceiling, designer light fixtures and more. A superbly equipped kitchen showcases a large island, ample custom-built cabinetry, Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances, plus a butler’s pantry and spacious breakfast area. The family room has a unique look with a contemporary fireplace and folding glass door “Nana wall,” which opens to large sheltered patio with a built-in BBQ. The indoor/outdoor feel of the home is perfect for entertaining, play, and relaxation. A well-lit lower level offers a recreation room, home theater, wet bar and 800+ bottle wine cellar. This 7-bedroom, 6.5-bath home with an office has a distinctive floorplan that offers optimal flow for living and entertaining in style. A central location within walking distance to Walter Hays, Greene and Palo Alto High School make it a must-see property.
111 Stone Canyon Rd Los Angeles, CA. $12,900,000
This spectacular architectural gem was originally designed by renowned architect Raphael Soriano in 1950. The steel framed original structure was an experimental house, called the “Alexandra Curtis House.” The house and grounds were extensively and respectfully renovated in the 1980s, and purchased in 1986 by world-famous authors and futurists, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, whose Trust is now selling this unique property. The Tofflers are known around the globe, most famous for their trilogy which began with the 1970 publication of Future Shock, which is still in print. The stunning modern design was again expanded by the Tofflers, to include a dramatic two level office/library with an elevator. The mid-century modern vibe still exists, with walls of glass leading to the resort like yard, with pool and fountain/spa. The large, gated motor court accommodates several cars, in addition to the three-car attached garage. This truly exceptional property must be experienced to be appreciated.
16371 Matilija Dr Los Gatos, CA. $ 10,998,000
Epic. Elegant. Sophisticated. Representing a rare opportunity to own one of the best view properties in Los Gatos and an infinity edged pool overlooking the Silicon Valley, this brand-new modern build is set to be completed in July 2019. The estate was designed by Gary Kohlsaat, a most renowned architectural designer who is consistently creative and original. Interested buyers have several options to choose from. Option 1: they can purchase the land, building plans and current “as is” construction for $8.5 million and finish the estate on a time and materials basis with Massei Construction. Option 2: They can purchase a brand new 7,500 square-foot modern view estate with an infinity edged pool for $10,988,000. Or, Option 3: They can purchase the estate, plus add a detached guest house of 1,500 square feet for an additional fee. Located in one of the most sought-after view neighborhoods in Silicon Valley, this home will exceed your expectations as a true entertainer’s dream house. Close to downtown, the property has unobstructed 360-degree captivating views of the entire valley.
88 Old House Lane is a “grand and lavish structure,” says Sabreen Qaiyum, sales associate for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Long Island. “The dramatic, geometric design is particularly striking when lit in the evening.”
The newly constructed home was designed by Stuart Narofsky to create a chic home with an emphasis on contemporary style. Complementing his designs are flawless interiors by Jennifer Rusch and furnishings mainly by Roche Bobois, according to Qaiyum. The undeniably modern feel is ideal for entertaining and also offers the highest sense of relaxation. Easy, walk-on access to the beach and expansive outdoor spaces, including a bar and deck space, are perfect for long, leisurely afternoons with family and friends.
“The atmosphere of the home is both welcoming and warm, while maintaining an elite and luxurious aura. This is achieved by the combination of art, technology and design features located throughout,” says Qaiyum.
Although the home is large — a multi-level of 15,000 square feet — the open spaces are inviting and comfortable. The floor-to-ceiling windows, rare works of art, and the 50-foot indoor pool will entice guests and encourage them to stay awhile.
Qaiyum highlights the tea area — a serene sitting area bathed in light — describing it as being “perfectly integrated with the other spaces within the home. The smokeless fireplace with hand-painted decorative rocks is most inviting and engenders an amazingly relaxing and contemplative experience.”
Already standing out among other homes for its individual style, 88 Old House Lane’s impressive integration of technology is award-winning. “The house is silver-level LEED certified for sustainability, making it one of the largest homes in the U.S. to achieve such an honor. Prestigious awards include the “Ceramics of Italy” honorable mention award, “Sustainable House of the Year” award from the AIA, as well as the HOUZZ “Best of Design” award,” according to Qaiyum. Smart home technology and eco-friendly systems such as geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaic panels, and a sedum-covered organic roof make this home one of a kind. Additionally, iPads are embedded in the walls throughout the grand home. Technology such as this will allow homeowners to control all entertainment features, LED lighting, thermostat, shades and the home-wide audio system with ease and convenience.
Everything seems to be at your fingertips. Entertaining guests is simple with the lavish billiards room, wet bar, wine cellar, and more. The rooftop tee box, another unique feature, allows for 90-yard drives to the lush backyard golf green.
Truly at the height of luxury, the property features a celebrity-style helipad, its own spa, easy access to luxury shopping, and a spattering of inspiring statues. Qaiyum also notes that “the wonders of New York City are just 40 minutes away.”
Listed at $28 million, prospective buyers would be considered “power players,” according to Qaiyum. “88 Old House Land is for a buyer who understands that their property is worth more than that to them and that their ownership will set them apart from others.”
Sands Point, NY $28,800,000 8 bedrooms, 9 full and 4 partial baths Represented by: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Sabreen Qaiyum, Sales Associate Gloria Li, Sales Associate email@example.com SQ: 631.745.4441 GL: 917.502.9211
“Great design taps into the emotions that make a house a home,” observed Don Ruthoff, principal at Dahlin Group Architecture, introducing homes and designers meriting top honors in the National Association of Home Builders’ Best in American Living Awards (BALA) in February. This annual event, held in conjunction with Design and Construction Week, showcases current design trends and top homes nationally and regionally.
While they serve as indicators of what’s hot and what’s not, trends can be tricky, especially when applied to higher priced properties. If anything, affluent homeowners shy away from the notion of trends, but still want homes to be current, elegant, comfortable and, most importantly, exclusively theirs. “A color or trend becomes viral instantly, and suddenly you see it everywhere,” says San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers. “My clients don’t want this. They want their home to feel uniquely their own. We may use currently popular colors and fabrics, but in the end, each home is very special.”
Even more influential than the color of the day or the newest smart gizmo are changing attitudes among the affluent toward house and home. “I think now there is an increased emphasis on the home. People are into design and their home,” says designer Shawn Henderson, who is a member of the AD100. “Some people want more of a trophy home, but the majority want to feel good. They want their home to feel pretty and function well and be sort of an extension of them.”
“People want to LOVE their home. They want comfort and convenience, but do not want to sacrifice chic,” says Jeffers.
Few are also willing to compromise on comfort. Home has become a place to decompress, a refuge for family and friends ideally adaptable to a range of activities and quite often ages. “Families especially do not want a home that is too precious. We have many clients who entertain frequently — both small and large events for charities and such — but then they may also be hosting 30 six-year-olds. Their homes must be able to function and survive with all these options,” shares Jeffers.
Finding the Balance
For designers, the challenge becomes creating interiors that are of the moment, but with an overall style that lasts well beyond the moment. “There is a lot of focus on creating very personalized interiors that also have lasting qualities. So, while we might incorporate something that is a trend right now, we’re also thinking about, you know, we don’t want this to look dated in two, three years, right? So, it’s a balancing act really,” observes Anelle Gandelman with Manhattan design firm A-List Interiors. “Right now, we’re starting to see a lot of things from the ’80s return,” she says. “Brass is coming back, but not the polished, shiny yellow brass of the 1980s. This is more refined, a little more subtle, darker antique brass.”
Hints of brass and gold could be spied at design shows as recently as a couple of years ago; this year, brushed and satin bronze and gold along with oil rubbed bronze and even black dominated exhibits. Although featured usage was faucets and hardware, shiny warm accents are turning up in furniture and lighting. It’s all part of a design evolution toward warmer finishes, which Gandelma expects to be more than a transitory influence on interiors.
“We don’t think of this as an overnight one. I think it’s going to stay a bit longer.”
The New Modern
As the ongoing shift toward contemporary architecture continues, a new modern aesthetic is taking shape. Instead of a composition of hard-edged, white linear forms, modern elevations today appear as an overlay of shapes and forms defined by disparate materials and textures such as stone and brick or even a single stone applied in varied directions. Defining spaces using mixed materials is a growing practice, according to BALA judges. Outside In, a modernist home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, from Bedbrock Developers, took top BALA honors this year. Architect Drewett Works and Ownby Design employed textural components, such as Negra Canta stone, to define spaces and also echo the surrounding landscape. An indoor/ outdoor synergy continues to be an essential, organizing factor. Not only are visual connections strong, but entire living areas, which can be seen in Outside In, open to outdoor spaces with little or no transition between the two. Disappearing doors, few thresholds and using the same flooring inside and out brings spaces together. Even on the smallest of lots, developers and architects are finding ways to incorporate outdoor living, often making best use of side yards.
Contemporary has become the most popular architectural style, but mid-century modern and modern farmhouse are still “incredibly popular across the country,” according to judges, in new homes, but also renovations that bring out a home’s original character. Black window frames are another highlighted trend. Available in almost all price points, equally adaptable and transformative for interiors and exteriors, they easily could be viewed as design’s latest Swiss army knife. They inject an industrial sensibility to some spaces, particularly kitchens, while seemingly elevating the overall design of others. No matter the style, contemporary to traditional, they appear apropos. “Black metal windows have been hot for a few years, and I don’t see that going away in the near future. The black metal looks great in a more traditional house,” says Phil Kean, whose eponymous Winter Park, Florida, architecture-design-build firm was named “the best custom home builder in the U.S.” last year by Home Builder Digest. Kean has also designed and constructed more than one New American Home for NAHB. Using the example of a traditional Georgian-style home, he says, “Put big black windows in it and do white brick and it has a fresh feeling, and it almost seems contemporary.”
Brass and gold accents are only one indication of the ways in which interiors are being revamped. Bouclé, a nubby wool fabric, prevalent in the 1980s, was very much in evidence at this year’s Maison et Objet in Paris. “It was basically on all the furniture.” Says Gendelman. “Things are getting slowly warmed and layered,” says Ariella Duker, Gandelman’s partner at A-List Interiors.
Vintage and Color
Instead of the sterile, monochromatic look recently in vogue, shapes are organic with more curves. Texture continues to be important, but color is back in a big way. Expect to see neutrals continue to edge into warm tans, beiges and creams.
“We have always used neutrals as a foundation for the home to create flow. We still use quite a bit of gray, but both in my office and in the design world we are starting to see warm grays and taupe and brown as the neutral foundation,” says Jeffers, whose recent book “Be Bold” tackles color and other aspects of bespoke interiors. “Color seems to be back with a big bang! Emerald greens, fuchsias, periwinkles, aubergines. Strong, demanding color is everywhere.”
Henderson sees growing enthusiasm for vintage pieces, which he says, are fetching super-high numbers at auctions. “They add a lot to the warmth and start to make a place feel more relatable, more comfortable. It’s a level of warmth and nostalgia that is hard to achieve when everything is fresh out of the box.”
Antique pieces are even finding a place in the kitchen, where they inject authenticity and personalization. “The kitchen continues to be the social hub, the center of the home with multiple activity centers and open plans with delineated spaces,” said designer and educator Mary Jo Peterson, speaking to designers and architects at the national kitchen and bath show.
Also, adds Henderson, the demand for vintage and color is an indication that “people are becoming more confident in their expression of their homes.”
Technology took center stage in Las Vegas during Design and Construction Week. The biggest change for tech, according to technologist Ryan Herd, owner of 1 Sound Choice, is the way things are being integrated and further “knitted together.”
Increasingly, smart responses in the home are enhanced with predictive behavior so when one arrives home or voices a command, a series of events such as turning down or off lights, setting temperatures, turning on/off security systems ensues. These smart scenarios have been predicted for years, but the “knitting together” is making the process consumer friendly and intuitive. No longer considered an amenity for upscale properties, technology is expected, especially to control shades, temperature, music, security and many other functions.
Regarding technology, Jeffers sounds a note of caution for clients. “Maintaining a ertain threshold of technology is important. It’s easy to have smart everything these days. My clients don’t want a refrigerator that tells them to order milk, but they do want to be able to easily adjust lighting and music throughout the home. It is easy to go crazy, especially in the Bay Area, but the technology changes so fast you’ll be obsolete in a year. My advice: other than speakers and keypads, keep everything else out of the walls! An iPad® in your wall instantly dates your home.”
What’s New and Next
New this year? Wellness tech, in a whole house system that integrates with a home’s overall smart system, demonstrated in a concept house in Henderson, Nevada, designed by KB Home. Darwin, a smart system developed by wellness pioneer Delos, continuously monitors air and water quality via sensors built into walls. Rather than simply observing, Darwin responds to changes, adjusting air quality even in a single room. Owners are alerted to water leaks and can respond remotely via tablet or
smart phone. Several other manufacturers, including Moen, introduced products that address water leaks.
Function has become as important as looking good for consumers, a desire Beverly Hills designer Christopher Grubb says he first saw at shows in Europe as early as 2017. “It took this long for Americans to catch up with the Europeans,” he adds. As soon as clients experience organizers in drawers and behind cabinets, he says they want more. “What happens with organization is it helps people focus on need. It’s not so much taking away; rather, organization makes someone more conscious of, ‘Do I need this?”
Double islands, multiple pantries, and secondary kitchens are enhancing functionality of kitchens and expanding the role of this space as a social hub. It’s not uncommon to find flush doors on cabinets open to a place for countertop appliances and an additional workspace. “Using tall bi-fold doors to hide a work station is a huge trend,” says Jennifer Gilmer, founder of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “I saw this at the Eurocucina show in Italy over three years ago and am glad to see this idea finally catching on.” Also, she says, the nice thing about this strategy is it helps eliminate wall cabinets. Phil Kean takes the concept a step farther with cabinets that open to hidden pantries and even hidden rooms.
What’s on the horizon for home? Wet bars, wine bars, even smoothie bars are in demand almost everywhere, say designers. Also, look for “Amazon® rooms” (per Kean) as architects strategize ways to secure deliveries without compromising overall home security. Storage and more storage in all the right places will continue to enhance function, making a home truly in sync with an individual’s lifestyle.
Long perceived as inferior to tequila, which is made from a particular species of agave in a specific region of Mexico, mezcal has its own unique personality and is enjoying newfound popularity in the U.S. Mezcal was once famous only for the gusanos (worms) that were traditionally deposited in the bottom of its bottles. Suddenly fashionable in American bars and restaurants, mezcal is getting new respect.
Tequila is technically a type of mezcal, but artisanal mezcals from Oaxaca and throughout Mexico are rapidly being discovered, appreciated for their diversity and nuance. Emma Janzen, a leading spirits journalist and author of the James Beard Award-nominated book, Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit, explains that large industrial producers gave the spirit its “bottom shelf” or “rotgut” reputation. The best mezcals are traditionally produced in remote rural areas and have only recently become widely available in the U.S.
“Mezcal is a spirit with a very distinct sense of place and is extremely terroir-driven,” says Janzen, who suggests that accounts for the diversity of flavors presented. She is concerned that large producers seeking to capitalize on mezcal’s newfound popularity may dilute its quality. “They’re more likely to view it as a commodity, without respecting the spirit as a cultural product,” she says.
Many mezcals have pronounced herbal qualities that showcase the essence of agave; some possess a minerality while others present notes of toffee, bittersweet chocolate and the earthiness found in full-bodied red wines. “Don’t just try one mezcal and say you don’t like mezcal,” states Janzen. “There’s an expression of mezcal for everybody,” she adds, noting this diversity is what initially attracted her to the spirit.
The most commonly cited quality in mezcal is a smokiness that results from the roasting of the agave, as opposed to the steaming that is traditional in the production of tequila. Mixologists have become enamored with mezcal and Janzen recommends pairing it with bright flavors like pineapple or citrus. “It also works really well with bitters, amaro or Campari, creating a marriage of dark, brooding flavors,” she says.
Mariena Mercer, head mixologist at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, is also impressed with mezcal’s ability to enhance cocktails. “Mezcal has such a strong backbone of smoke and agave that it shines in mixed drinks,” she says, adding, “When used in a cocktail, mezcal always takes top billing.” Mezcal is served throughout The Cosmopolitan, and supper club Rose. Rabbit. Lie. offers the cocktail “Through the Looking Glass,” a clarified milk punch of mezcal, tequila, cachaça, passionfruit, and spiced pineapple presented in a sexy porthole-shaped glass. The trendy hotel showcases a wide selection of mezcal at Ghost Donkey, a branch of a New York bar specializing in agave spirits. “Its collection is like a carefully curated library of mezcal, with each bottle telling a story,” says Mercer, reporting bartenders are pleased to assemble flights for exploration-minded customers.
Las Perlas in downtown Los Angeles — the dark funky spot bills itself as the nation’s first mezcal bar — opened in 2010 and later expanded to Austin. It offers more than 300 mezcals — three new shelves were recently installed to accommodate the growing collection — that are served in traditional clay copitas or veladoras (glass vessels originally used for prayer candles). Bart Walsh, general manager at Las Perlas, reports that many tequila drinkers are converting to mezcal. “It’s such a unique spirit and as the tequila industry has become homogenized, people see that mezcal makers have a greater opportunity to express themselves,” he says. The bar’s most expensive one ounce pour ($52) is a limited release from Mezcales de Leyenda, made from a wild, high-elevation agave grown in a valley in the state of Tamaulipas. For those wanting to consume larger quantities, a bottle commands about $500 in retail shops. At Whisler’s in Austin, locals and visitors soak up the quirky atmosphere the city is famous for while enjoying craft cocktails. Upstairs is Mezcalería Tobalá, an intimate, candlelit speakeasy pouring more than 180 mezcals into copitas. “We pioneered the popularity of mezcal and we respect its cultural significance,” says mezcalería manager Sean Skvarka of the five-year-old bar. In Baltimore, Clavel offers one of the best selections of mezcal on the East Coast, ideal for washing down huitlacoche or cochinita pibil tacos. Other notable mezcal bars include The Pastry War in Houston, Estereo in Chicago and Mezcalería Oaxaca in Seattle. A solid list of single-village mezcals can even be found in South Carolina, at Charleston’s Minero.
Yola Mescal — co-founder Yola Jimenez opened Mexico City’s renowned La Clandestina mezcalería — brings a progressive culture to the spirit, with centuries-old artisanal practices overseen by an all-female bottling facility staff. In addition to building a legacy of economic independence for Mexican women, co-founder and CEO Gina Correll Aglietti reports the company utilizes a slow-cooking process for agave that is never picked ahead of its time and is unadulterated by chemicals. “It fits into the trend of people seeking more rustic, naturally produced and honestly made products,” she suggests, noting that Yola features softer notes than many mezcals, yet is rich in flavor and viscosity. $150 bottles of mezcal are becoming common and the price of a beautifully packaged Olvido Divino Anejo, aged 30 years, can exceed $1,000. But author Emma Janzen insists luxury is not always about price, and cites Banhez as a superior label available for about $35. She also praises the pricier Real Minero, a venerable producer whose use of clay (as opposed to copper) stills creates what Janzen describes as a “rounder, deeper personality.” Derrumbes produces mezcals from regions like Zacatecas, Michoacán and San Luis Potosí, as well as Oaxaca, showcasing distinct terroir-driven flavor profiles.
And the legendary gusano? Although she cites rare exceptions to the rule, Janzen reports, “If you see a worm in the bottle, it’s usually an indication of poor quality.”
The historic 3,500-acre ranch is a rare offering in a coastal area that is heavily regulated and protected from land development, according to listing agent Randy Solakian, enhancing its appeal to the ultra-high-net-worth buyers. Though the listing price is often what attracts luxury buyers, the property itself is universally admired by all, presenting the perfect combination of landscapes all in one property. Solakian notes that such natural beauty and high-quality amenities are oftentimes only available on properties out of state, in locations such as Montana or Colorado.
“[The property] gives you the best of both worlds,” Solakian says, with wide open space, natural beauty, privacy and also proximity to multiple culture centers. Throughout the property are several types of landscape; rolling coastal grasslands, canyons, foothills, open pasture land and orchards currently allotted to grow avocados and persimmons. Such
natural beauty is also well maintained throughout the rangeland, giving potential buyers endless options as to how to capitalize on their investment. Unlike other country ranches in nearby western states, Solakian says, the Southern California coastal climate is a big draw for buyers, promising “basically year-round, perpetual, comfortable climate.”
The real stars of the property are Villa della Costa and Villa del Mare, two fine estates situated on two hilltops within the property’s acreage. The exterior design of the villas is very compatible to the coastal ranches of early California. Solakian notes that when you approach either of the villas they appear low profile, without any dramatic facade that you might see from other luxury California mansions.
“It’s only when you enter,” he says, “that they really open up and you feel the magnitude of the worldclass design … they come alive with the grand scale of the rooms and open space.”
Built between 2014 and 2016, both Villas were designed by architects from J.M. Sewall & Associates and built by Kitchell, offering the highest standards of design and quality, coupled with a level of privacy that happens to also be one of the compound’s most unique attributes. “With the villas on separate hilltops,” Solakian notes, “they’re also very private from each other,” making it a great escape for two families, an extended family, or family friends/guests all on one compound.
Attention to detail is paid to each residence to the fullest extent. On 287 acres, Villa del Mare features 5 bedrooms, a separate guesthouse, cabana with full kitchen, seven-car garage, pool/ spa and a hand-carved outdoor fireplace made from Santa Barbara sandstone. Villa della Costa boasts an antique roof composed of tile from Spain and Portugal, custom hand-hewn walnut floors throughout, an elevator that leads to the media/entertainment floors on the lower level, and a separate private master suite with patio and spa.
The grand scale and proportions of the residences and the compound itself reveal a lifestyle of comfort, style and grace, “strategically designed,” as the agent puts it, “to impress the most discerning buyer with the highest standards.”
El Rancho Tajiguas Gaviota Coast, CA $110,000,000
Represented by Randy Solakian & Deanna Solakian Listing Agent & Co-Listing Agent Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Randy@MontecitoEstates.com Deanna@MontecitoEstates.com R. 805.565.2208 | D. 805.565.2264