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Category Archive: ‘Interesting Houses’

Floating Homes


More on new housing alternatives, primarily suited for the younger folks:

Argh, matey! A new trend in housing is afloat in Denmark, with college students from Copenhagen solving their cash-strapped housing woes with a series of floating apartments.

The Copenhagen-based housing startup Urban Rigger designed a series of low-cost modular housing to float in Copenhagen’s urban harbors. At only $600 a month (a real deal in the trendy city), these shared living spaces provide students with a private bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Built with the help of Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels, each unit—crafted from modular shipping containers—can house up to 12 students. The spaces also include community gardens, kayak landings, bathing platforms, and outdoor cooking areas—and who wouldn’t want to attend a college rager on a boat?

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 5 comments

Luxury Bunker

Worried that the end is near?  How about a bunker! H/T daytrip:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Some upper-income Texans are headed down below, not Australia, but below the surface.

An investor group is planning for a doomsday scenario by building a $300 million luxury community replete with underground homes. There will also be air-lock blast doors designed for people worried about a dirty bomb or other disaster and off-grid energy and water production.

The development, called Trident Lakes, is northeast of Dallas.

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Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

Modern vs. Contemporary


A comment left at the WSJ site: “Prairie mixed with Craftsman”

John Stewart, residential committee chair of the American Institute of Architects, helps explain the difference. Modern homes and décor have the simple lines and “stripped-down” aesthetic of 1940s, ’50s and ’60s modernism, said Mr. Stewart, an architect in San Carlos, Calif. Other qualities associated with modern design: cube-shaped structures with flat roofs, monochromatic color palettes, low-key furnishings and a greater use of exposed steel and concrete. Modern “is probably the original contemporary style,” said Mr. Stewart.

Contemporary homes are often more playful in combining materials and bright colors, explained Sheila Schmitz, editor of home-design website Houzz. Some may include a dramatic black-and-white palette. Interiors are flooded with natural light and floor plans emphasize indoor-outdoor living. When it comes to spotting home décor, “those terms are really good starting points to start a conversation, and then kind of go from there,” she says.



Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

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.

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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.

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