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Category Archive: ‘Interesting Houses’

Palm Springs


The Elrod House, an over-the-top Palm Springs home featured in a famous fight scene in a 1971 James Bond movie, has closed sale for $7.7 million.

The buyer is Los Angeles-based fashion designer Jeremy Scott, creative director of the Moschino line.

The house was listed at $8 million, down from its $10.5 million pricetag earlier this year. That asking price was chopped from $13.89 million in 2009, according to

Designed by legendary modern architect John Lautner, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, and built in 1969, the residence appeared in the Bond film, “Diamonds are Forever.” The house was where actor Sean Connery’s agent 007 got badly kicked around by a bikini-clad bodyguard.

Architectural Digest in April described the home this way:

“The single-story structure is defined by its circular living room with rosewood walls and black slate herringbone flooring. A concrete dome overhead with clerestories (windows) radiating from the center floods the room with light, and a massive curved curtain wall retracts to reveal panoramic vistas of the Coachella Valley.”

Some of the natural rock is part of the home’s interior, and the glass walls open to a swimming pool and terrace that appear to float above the scenery.

The property, at 8,901 square feet on 1.22 acres about a mile from downtown Palm Springs, includes a 2-bedroom guesthouse with a gym.

Scott has designed for Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and other celebrities. When he entered escrow in June, Variety wrote: “It is perhaps not so strange that Mister Scott, well-known for his celeb-studded bashes during the annual Coachella Music Festival, would be interested in the iconic Elrod House since he already owns the Lautner-designed Foster-Carling House in L.A.’s Hollywood Hills that he scooped up in July 2014 for $3.25 million.”

In the L.A. house, Vogue magazine notes, Lautner conceived an “apostrophe-shaped pool to curl into the living room.”

The fashion designer plans to use the iconic Palm Springs residence as a second home, said John Nelson of Coldwell Banker Previews International, one of the listing agents. “He’s going to restore it to exactly the way it was,” he said. “But I’m sure the furnishings will be over the top.”

Michael J. Kilroy, a real estate investor from Palos Verdes Estates, bought the Elrod House for $5.5 million in 2003, according to a story in The Desert Sun in 2014. Property Radar shows the deed to the residence was conveyed to mortgage holder Lloyds Bank on May 17 after Kilroy was unable to sell the home.

Lautner had designed the house for Arthur Elrod, an interior designer. Some of Lautner’s other homes also have appeared in movies, including Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski, Lethal Weapon 2 and Charlie’s Angels.

In Orange County, a landmark, dome-shaped Balboa Island home designed by Lautner sold for more than $3.77 million in March.




Posted by on Sep 4, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 2 comments

Sunset Beach

Voted the most unique house in America in 1992:

The landmark PCH water tower of Sunset Beach, converted into a private home and once listed for $8 million, quietly sold in August for $1.5 million, property records show.

Set above the 87-foot-high tower, the water tank replica is a 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom house with 360-degree views, from the Pacific Ocean to the mountains.

Stories about the quirky home described a 145-gallon curved aquarium and, at the center of the “party room,” a fire pit that could double as a table – or be mechanically lifted to the ceiling to make way for a dance floor.

The old tower once held 75,000 gallons, or more than 300 tons, of water.

It sat empty in the late 1970s and early ’80s, until a pair of investors decided to save the landmark and replicate its look.

In 1995, they sold it to Gerald Wallace for $800,000.

Read More

Posted by on Sep 3, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment

Cape Town Oceanfront


This beach house couldn’t get any closer to the water even if it wanted to. Located near Cape Town, South Africa, this house was designed to create an extraordinary living experience.

The home was built using a minimal steel framed box with a hull-shaped roof, clad in hardwood.


All of the external walls are made up of frameless sliding folding glass doors, with privacy and security added with slatted hardwood shutters, which open hydraulically to become verandas when open and a continuous secure screen when closed.


The living and sleeping areas are separated by sliding ash clad doors which slide away during daytime hours to create a single large living space.


Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, View | 1 comment

Steel PreFab


In the best way possible, Stanford professor Mark Jacobson‘s new house is like a giant Erector Set, snapped together in less than a week on an irregular, pie-shaped lot near the university. It’s a 3,200 square foot modular home, and the frame is made entirely of steel.

Dr. Jacobson, head of Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, says he didn’t want to build a new house, but nothing on the market right now was quite up to his standards insofar as green building goes. So he called BONE Structure, a Canadian prefab homes company that opened a San Francisco office last year, to see if they could do better.

The house, reportedly costing an estimated $1.5 million, is designed with zero emissions, operating off of solar panels on the roof and storing juice in an enormous lithium battery designed by Tesla Motors. If it works right, it will use no consumer electricity at all, making it a passive house.

The steel frame is made from 89 percent recycled material. BONE’s sales pitch is that, although the parts are all manufactured in Canada (delivery takes five or six weeks), the clip-together design means that you can customize the size and layout of the house, rather than picking from prefabricated rooms.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Thinking of Building? | 0 comments



Here’s another guy who insists on ‘disrupting’ real estate.  While the mobile devices are handy, are people – especially the affluent baby-boomers who are making the real estate market, going to give up their more-traditional homestead to live in a 320sf tin can?

You can tell immediately that Jeff Wilson, the 42-year old founder of Kasita, an Austin-based micro-housing start-up, has been courting venture capital. He has his sales pitch nailed—which is pretty impressive for a former university dean and professor who used to live in a dumpster.

When I ask Wilson what fundamental problem his company is solving he tells me without flinching: “Kasita is on the verge of disrupting the urban housing market in ways not seen in real estate and development in 150 years.” Wilson’s confidence may just be spot on. And perfectly timed.

Over the past decade my wife and I have asked each other countless times why everything else we own is completely mobile with the glaring exception of real estate. It’s not an unreasonably philosophical question. Every current aspect of our personal and business lives—from banking and corporate communications to reading the news or planning a vacation—now runs entirely off of five mobile devices and a wireless hotspot. So why do we still sleep in a house every night with two-foot thick brick walls that hasn’t moved an inch in 128 years?

Seeing a massive, mobility-starved void in the dead center of one of the largest segments of the US economy (while living in a dumpster), Wilson is betting that his tech-stuffed, 320-square foot, portable living capsule (a.k.a. casita, or “small home”) is poised to transform the fundamental concept of what real estate means to a new generation of Millennials, empty nesters, and upwardly mobile creative types (e.g., us) who are looking to trade-in their 30-year mortgage for mobility, simplicity, and financial independence.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Jul 22, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Modular Homes, The Future | 4 comments

French Castle

It’s hard to fathom how magnificent castles were built centuries ago. One group set out to understand just that by building their own masterpiece two hours outside of Paris. Tucked away in a forest, a team of master builders and archeologists are attempting to construct Guédelon, a castle from the 13th century, using only medieval techniques.

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 2 comments

Hiking Banker’s Hill

They asked, “If you could do anything today, what would it be?”

Let’s go for a hike!

I had found this old article a while back, so we went for it:

2016-06-19 10.40.18

2016-06-19 10.48.10

2016-06-19 10.51.04

Spruce Street Bridge

Midpoint of the Spruce Street Bridge, looking south down the canyon:

the midpoint of the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

2016-06-19 10.59.43

2016-06-19 10.59.58

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2016-06-19 11.16.39

2016-06-19 11.17.46

Later I found these other hikes, so I need to go back with my uncle Bob who has lived in this neighborhood for the last 40+ years and take a better look around:

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 2 comments