All posts by Alyssa Gautieri

Overwhelming Beauty

By: Camilla McLaughlin

Finding the perfect pairing of a residence with a one-of-a-kind setting is a rarity, but the Pebble Beach estate featured on our cover accomplishes this with ease. It has few peers along famed 17 Mile Drive, where properties only occasionally change hands — even along the entire California coast.

The location — on a bluff on Pescadero Point, adjacent to dedicated conversancy acreage — is unparalleled. “It is the most private and has the best views of all 31 homes on the oceanfront,” says Mike Canning of Sotheby’s International Realty’s Canning Properties Group.

The residence, which occupies a long swath above the water, makes best use of this dynamic setting. Almost every room takes in expansive ocean vistas, waves breaking on Carmel Beach and Point Lobos in the distance, and grants access to terraces that run along the oceanside. “Anyone who sees this property is absolutely blown away by the views,” says Canning. On the easterly side of the home there is a fantastic terrace with a pool and spa. The views literally are breathtaking. In fact, Canning says, “You can hardly talk, the beauty is so overwhelming.”

Inside, using the home’s classic Pebble Beach Mediterranean architecture as a foundation, designer Jeffrey Doherty has achieved the perfect synergy of old with new. Reclaimed materials, many sourced in Europe, mix wood and stone, such as the limestone on the exterior that was custom milled for the property. Many were sourced on numerous trips to Europe, so, Doherty says, “everything took on character immediately.”

Also unique is the sense of ease and an up-to-date but still timeless ambiance often not found in estates of this magnitude. Still, Doherty says, it feels very much like an authentic Italianate villa. “Everything was designed and collected to create a warm, beautiful environment that looks like it has been there for a long time.”

Currently, Canning has this peerless property discreetly available and the price is $49.888 million.

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Storefront Synergy

By: Roger Grody

When she and Clark Halstead founded Halstead Property in 1984, Diane M. Ramirez envisioned three storefront offices across Manhattan. As the firm’s Chairman and CEO, she now oversees an organization with nearly three dozen offices throughout the New York metropolitan area, a staff of 1,200 professionals and a global reach.

Ramirez began her real estate career in Palm Beach, Florida, where her investment banker husband was opening an office. “I loved real estate from the start,” reports Ramirez, who notes her appreciation for the industry intensified when she returned to her native New York. “In Palm Beach I dipped my toe into the water, but in New York I jumped into the deep end of the pool,” quips Ramirez, who quickly became one of the city’s most respected luxury brokers.

At a time when the entire luxury real estate market was operated from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Halstead branched out to the West Side and Downtown as well. The firm was also committed to interacting with clients in storefront offices, something unheard of in New York at the time. “We wanted to go into storefronts because we wanted to be a part of the community,” says Ramirez, and also reports her firm was among the first to embrace technology. Halstead pioneered the use of computers when they were still exotic novelties and mobile phones when they were much too large to fit into any pocket. Today, the CEO reports Halstead remains a technology pioneer, investing in sophisticated analytics, drone photography and virtual reality.

Ramirez reports the luxury market in New York has changed dramatically since she co-founded Halstead, primarily because of how the city itself has evolved. “In 1984, New York was a very important city, but not really the kind of town international clients ever thought of buying in,” she recounts, contrasting that with today’s market in which the entire world competes for Manhattan real estate.

Ramirez has always enjoyed the personal side of the business, stating, “As an agent, you build incredibly intimate relationships with clients and their families,” adding, “You really connect with people, learning their wishes and dreams.” As an executive, that same joy is realized through counseling and mentoring her agents and brokers. In 2001, Halstead Property was acquired by Terra Holdings, which fueled further growth via acquisition throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Halstead’s chief executive is quite selective about office opportunities, stating, “I work very hard to preserve the culture of the company, so there has to be a synergy between Halstead and potential offices.” Ramirez notes that virtually all of the firm’s 33 offices are still based in storefronts, fully integrated into their neighborhoods.

A proud New Yorker, Ramirez has been widely recognized for her commitment to service and charity. A member of the Real Estate Board of New York (where she serves on the Board of Governors), she received the agency’s Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for her contributions to the community. She serves on the Board of Directors of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, which honored her with its prestigious Leadership Award. Ramirez’s entire family was recently presented with the Family Spirit Award from Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service, dedicated to serving underserved households in East Harlem.

Ramirez’s personal passion for community service is instilled in her staff and colleagues through a corporate foundation called Halstead Helping Hands. On select Saturdays throughout the year, several dozen Halstead agents can be found painting a classroom in Bedford-Stuyvesant or cleaning up a neglected park in the Bronx.

Ramirez and husband Samuel have two children, Samuel, Jr. and Christa, and five grandchildren. She enjoys reading, tennis and golf, and indicative of her overall.

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The 10 Most Expensive Listings In The Bahamas

By: Kelly Potts

Purchasing property in the Bahamas can be appealing for a variety of reasons: the proximity to the United States, the gorgeous environment and the low taxes can all be big factors.

“The luxury real estate market in The Bahamas is flourishing,” says Mario Carey of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate’s MCR Bahamas Group. Residential property of up to five acres may be acquired by foreign investors without prior government approval, though must be registered via the International Persons Landholding Act.

If you’re considering relocating, John Christie of H.G. Christie Ltd./Christie’s International Real Estate says that in order to become a permanent homeowner on one of the islands, “you will need to purchase and maintain a residence in the Bahamas at a value of $500,000 or higher.”

Christie recommends exploring a few different islands, explaining that each has its own ambiance. For example, Harbour Island, where the most expensive residence on this list is located, is known as a cosmopolitan island where celebrities relax, while others may be more secluded.

$24.5 Million
Superyacht Estate, Ocean Club, Paradise Island
A double lot features a British Colonial property with world-class architectural design, combining Island Style interiors with endless water views. Creative decor includes a pirate-themed theater.
Listed by Virginia “Ginger” Hornaday of Engel & Völkers
$22.9 Million
Beachfront Estate in Harbour Island
Designed by Thierry Despont, this 3-acre home combines modern elements with historic charm and offers soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and open living spaces.
Listed by Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty
$19.75 Million
Orchid Estate, Lyford Cay
Orchid Estate sits on 2.4 acres with two residences: Orchid House and Little Orchid. The main residence offers four en suite bedrooms and a living room with direct access to the covered patio and ocean views.
Listed by Graham Real Estate
$15.995 Million
Casablanca, Clifton Bay
This oceanfront property on 1.3 acres of neatly manicured gardens offers a heated pool and a courtyard. The master suite features a private courtyard, a foyer and his and hers walk-in closets.
Listed by Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
$15.995 Million
Ocean Club Estates Residence, Paradise Island
This iconic Venetian-style home offers a private dock, pool, Jacuzzi, spa and stone gazebo. Recycled glass countertops can be found in the custom kitchen and bar, and the pantry offers a 100-bottle Sub-Zero wine cooler.
Listed by Mario A. Carey of Better Homes And Gardens Real Estate
$14.5 Million
Villa Paradiso, Paradise Island
In the exclusive community of Ocean Club Estates, Villa Paradiso offers panoramic ocean views of Paradise Island. Villa Paradiso features a 40-foot pool, indoor and outdoor gourmet kitchen, an exercise room, a theater and office.
Listed by H.G. Christie Ltd.
$13.9 Million
Ocean Club Estates Home, Paradise Island
This villa, in the gated Ocean Club Estates community, offers a unique floor plan that exemplifies casual island elegance. The courtyard offers views of the sea and there is a guest pavilion with two bedrooms.
Listed by Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty
$12 Million
Ananda Estate, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera
This estate unites luxury and utility on a tranquil beachfront setting with pink powder sand and clear waters. The estate offers designer Italian furniture throughout that will be sold with the property.
Listed by Rhonda Waton of H.G. Christie Ltd.
$11.995 Million
Casa DeLeon, Paradise Island
Casa DeLeon offers a large open kitchen featuring Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances and granite countertops, an atrium with breathtaking views and five bedrooms with a master bedroom offering expansive ocean views.
Listed by Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
$11.26 Million
Beachfront Estate, Fortune Cay
This beachfront estate offers over 2.5 acres of landscaped property with serene ocean and beach views, a pool, 11 bedrooms and over 17,000 square feet of living space.
Listed by Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty

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California’s Top 101 Coastal Properties

Each year, the editors of Unique Homes compile the authoritative list of the most expensive properties for sale in the United States. Currently, we’re working on our 13th edition of Ultimate Homes (it will be out in May).

But as we research, we thought we’d whet your appetite with another list — one we’ve never done before. For last year’s Ultimate Homes, we found 567 properties selling for $20 million or more. More than 25 percent of those listings were in California. So for this, our annual winter waterfront issue, we thought we’d celebrate waterfront and water-view masterpieces with a look at the priciest offerings along the California coast.

2500 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara
Ranch San Carlos is a 237-acre estate property of historic significance that cascades down the foothills of Montecito and offers views to the Pacific.
Sotheby’s International Realty
10045 Calle Real, Goleta
Las Varas Ranch is an 1,800-acre coastal gem with two miles of unspoiled ocean frontage.
See pages 60-61
Anthony Punnett, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 917.573.7896,
Kerry Mormann & Associates
4100 Calle Isabella, San Clemente
La Casa Pacifica — the Western White House for Richard Nixon.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
120 Montecito Ranch Lane, Summerland
This gorgeous ocean and mountain view estate comes with its own polo field.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
33218 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Private and secluded one-of-a-kind beach compound on approximately 3 acres.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
22506 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Unique Carbon Beach property — nearly 3/4 of an acre and one of the deepest properties on Carbon.
See page 59
Judy Feder, Hilton & Hyland, 310.858.5464,
7292 Exotic Garden Drive, Cambria
Palladian-inspired estate on 80 acres including a pinot noir vineyard.
See page 62
Andrea Gilbert, Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, 858.945.1312,
Carol Dotson, Hilton & Hyland
1627 East Valley Road, Montecito
Magnificent estate with glorious ocean and mountain views, splendid architecture and historic gardens on over 9 acres.
See page 63
Susan Burns, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 805.886.8822,
Jason G. Siemens, Sotheby’s International Realty, 805.455.1165,
2431 Riviera Drive, Laguna Beach
One of 5 properties that open onto the sands of Irvine Cove.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
9751 El Camino Real, Gaviota
The Royal Rancho includes 214 acres and a stately Casa Grande mansion built in the 1920s.
Kerry Mormann & Associates
4130 Calle Isabella, San Clemente
Behind the gates of Cotton Point Estates is this custom residence expertly designed by James Glover.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
3290 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach
On Pescadero Point and a short stroll to The Lodge, this is an iconic Pebble Beach oceanfront estate.
On our Cover and pages 15-17
Canning Properties Group, Sotheby’s International Realty, 831.596.1171,
1 Buggy Whip Drive, Rolling Hills
This authentic Spanish estate is the only U.S. residence designed by renowned architect Rafael Manzano Martos.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
27724 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Reimagined all-teak beach house on one of the most sought-after pieces of sand in Malibu.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
256 Eucalyptus Hill Drive, Santa Barbara
On a knoll top with views of the Pacific, Solana, circa 1916, is one of Montecito’s original “Hilltop Barons” estates.
Village Properties
1104 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara
This oceanview Contemporary built in 2008 captures the essence of Balinese charm.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties,
Sotheby’s International Realty
Undisclosed location, Santa Barbara
Magnolia Manor is a Georgian estate on nearly 5 acres in the Golden Quadrangle.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
14200 Calle Real, Gaviota Coast
Villa della Costa, completed in 2014, is a 106-acre private hideaway on the Gaviota Coast.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
27465 Winding Way, Malibu
Grand estate on a private 4.8-acre knoll top with unobstructed ocean view of Catalina.
Westside Estate Agency
2529 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

31250 Broad Beach, Malibu
An architectural connoisseur’s dream designed by Frank Gehry.
Westside Estate Agency
92 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach
A 5-level home with direct beach access in Emerald Bay.
Villa Real Estate
3271 Padaro Lane, Carpinteria
Shingled manor built in 2008 with direct ocean views.
Home Bay
1 Pelican Crest Drive, Newport Coast
Behind private gates, a 7-bedroom estate home with ocean and island views.
Surterre Properties
Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
Newly constructed Villa Sogno overlooks Malibu’s world- famous Zuma Beach.
Sotheby’s International Realty
6970 Wildlife Road, Malibu
Spectacular gated architectural estate on Point Dume.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Hilton & Hyland
2722 The Strand, Manhattan Beach
One of the largest available oceanfront corner double lots in Manhattan Beach.
John Aaroe Group
156 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach
A prime oceanfront setting in Emerald Bay, with a 5-bedroom house dating back to 1932.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
1590 East Mountain Drive, Montecito
Five-bedroom home plus guesthouse located on nearly 2.5 prime Montecito acres.
Village Properties
27777 Winding Way, Malibu
La Vie en Rose, inspired by Mediterranean country estates from the South of France.
Westside Estate Agency
25 Montage Way, Laguna Beach
At the Montage Resort, a newly constructed custom estate by architect Chris Light.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
571 Sandpoint Road, Carpinteria
Cape Cod oceanfront estate in the Sand Point beach colony.
Sotheby’s International Realty
23754 Malibu Road, Malibu
Four-bedroom plus guest studio home on the deepest part of Malibu Colony Beach.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
1552 Cypress Drive, Pebble Beach
One of only 5 properties located along Pebble Beach’s famed 18th hole, this gracious 4-bedroom home truly presents a historic opportunity.
See page 14
Canning Properties Group, Sotheby’s International Realty, 831.596.1171,
4305 Marina Drive, Santa Barbara
A contemporary compound of exceptional design on an approximately 3.7-acre ocean bluff.
Sotheby’s International Realty
26848 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
La Villa Contenta is a grand, gated estate in a premier location.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
2806 The Strand, Hermosa Beach
Custom-built Italian villa designed by Ed Beall.
Chhabria Real Estate
705 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates
A completely gated compound with grand Italian villa and spectacular views.
Chhabria Real Estate
19 Lagunita Drive, Laguna Beach
Three-level home with private steps to the sand in Lagunita.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
11802 Ellice Street, Malibu
Located at Marisol, this estate boasts unobstructed views of whitewater.
Sotheby’s International Realty
32 North La Senda Drive, Laguna Beach
A double bluff-top homesite in Three Arch Bay distinguishes this fully remodeled 4-bedroom home.
Teles Properties
415 Avocado Drive, Corona del Mar
Sprawling 1.2-acre estate on the bluffs of Corona del Mar.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
31412 Broad Beach, Malibu
Beach home with panoramic water views, an elevator, infinity pool and training gym.
Sotheby’s International Realty
928 Via Lido Nord, Newport Beach
Five-bedroom home with 200 feet of bay frontage on Lido Isle.
Teles Properties
7400 Vista Del Mar Avenue, La Jolla
Panoramic ocean and sunset views are the backdrop for this 7-bedroom home, built in 2004.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
57 Monarch Bay Drive, Dana Point
A new home by Richard Landry in the gated community of Monarch Bay.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
11846 Ellice Street, Malibu
Extraordinary home perched on an oceanfront bluff top with 137 feet of frontage.
Marisol Malibu
199 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach
Located on Emerald Bay’s exclusive North Point is this 5-bedroom oceanfront home with stunning Catalina sunset views.
See pages 66-67
Maura Short, HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty, 949.233.7949,
23746 Malibu Road, Malibu
This original Colony beach bungalow was totally remodeled and offers whitewater views.
Partners Trust
23762 Malibu Road, Malibu
Five-bedroom home on exclusive Malibu Colony Beach.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
3 Rim Ridge, Newport Beach
This ultra-private retreat is set on an oversized lot with stunning views.
Surterre Properties
200 Toyopa Drive, Pacific Palisades
A home overlooking the ocean from the coveted Huntington area of the Pacific Palisades.
Partners Trust
192 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach
A 5-bedroom traditional home by Harold Zook offers outstanding water views and elaborate interior finishes.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
108 The Strand, Manhattan Beach
An architectural tour-de-force setting the standard for modern beachside elegance.
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
2735 Ocean Boulevard, Corona Del Mar
Water views highlight this 6-bedroom estate by the renowned architect J. Herbert Brownell.
Teles Properties
10 Coral Ridge, Newport Coast
Brand new California-Mediterranean estate with panoramic ocean, Catalina and coastline views.
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
165 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach
Recently completed Santa Barbara-style home with endless ocean views.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
2661 Victoria Drive, Laguna Beach
A masterful contemporary on 3 lots in the coveted community of Victoria Beach.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
24 Lagunita Drive, Laguna Beach
In Lagunita, an oceanfront masterpiece 7 years in the making.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
21 Montage Way, Laguna Beach
Nestled on a bluff, this 4-bedroom home was built to exacting hotel-quality standards.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
29215 Cliffside Drive, Malibu
Brand new architectural East Coast-style estate on Point Dume.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
35 Monarch Bay Drive, Dana Point
A Provencal motif is captured throughout this view-oriented 6-bedroom home in Monarch Bay.
Immel Team Luxury Real Estate
Hot Springs Road, Montecito
Spanish Revival estate home dating to 1920 on 3 flat acres with partial ocean views.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
2033 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar
Spa-inspired custom estate directly on Newport Harbor.
Teles Properties
4 Midsummer, Newport Coast
Six-bedroom home with sweeping front row views of Newport Harbor, Catalina Island, city lights and canyon.
Surterre Properties
1802 Ocean Front, Del Mar
Romantic charm and exquisite details on the sand.
Barry Estates
224 Sea Cliff Avenue, San Francisco
Seven-bedroom 1925 trophy home with views of Golden Gate Bridge, Marin headlands and Pacific Ocean.
Pacific Union International
4015 Bajada Lane, Santa Barbara
Los Arcos Del Mar is a 6-bedroom classic designed by Henry Lenny that has direct beach access in Hope Ranch.
See pages 68-69
Ken Switzer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, 805.680.4622,
1086 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara
Mid-century Modern design and a sense of serenity describe this 3-bedroom home overlooking Butterfly Beach.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
710 Picacho Lane, Montecito
Sophisticated, newly renovated estate comes with sweeping ocean, island and mountain views.
Village Properties
33 Smithcliffs Road, Laguna Beach
Palm Springs resort-style living in Laguna Beach in the gated enclave of Smithcliffs.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
3205 Ballantrae Lane, Pebble Beach
Stately Mediterranean in one of Pebble Beach’s most coveted locations.
Sotheby’s International Realty
16 Skyridge, Pelican Crest, Newport Coast
Breathtaking vistas of sea and sky abound from this coveted corner lot situated at the pinnacle of Pelican Crest.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
5 Pelicans Drive, Newport Coast
A modern interpretation of the French Chateau style, significantly renovated with completion in 2015.
Villa Real Estate
701 Gage Drive, San Diego
An elaborate estate home on one of Point Loma’s largest lots.
Barry Estates
985 Hot Springs Road, Montecito
In the Montecito foothills, Villa Santa Lucia embraces approximately 19.5 acres with views that stretch to the ocean.
Sotheby’s International Realty
1599 East Valley Road, Montecito
A Cape Dutch Colonial masterpiece juxtaposed between the mountains and the sea on more than 3 acres.
Village Properties and Hilton & Hyland
6210 Camino de la Costa, La Jolla
Seven-bedroom home elegantly poised on possibly the best oceanfront lot in Lower Hermosa.
Willis Allen Real Estate
33 Monarch Bay Drive, Dana Point
This stunning oceanfront home is angled on an elevated promontory to capture uninterrupted water views.
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty
11 Deep Sea, Newport Coast
Elegant front row estate in highly coveted and exclusive Crystal Cove.
Surterre Properties
900 Hot Springs Road, Montecito
A romantic Italian villa plus guesthouse on 2+ acres.
Village Properties
4125 Calle Isabella, San Clemente
A turnkey estate with direct beach access located across from Richard Nixon’s Western White House.
First Team Real Estate
2724 Ocean Boulevard, Corona del Mar
A 6-bedroom landmark estate overlooking Newport Harbor and the Pacific Ocean.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
777 Glen Annie Road, Goleta
This oceanview trophy property offers more than 110 acres and 3 separate homes.
3464 Sweetwater Mesa, Malibu
Iconic Malibu living abounds in this architectural oasis atop a generous 4.25 acres within the exclusive Serra Retreat.
Partners Trust
3319 Stevenson Drive, Pebble Beach
Beautifully remodeled Mediterranean with extensive terraces and views to Carmel Beach.
Carmel Realty
23936 Malibu Road, Malibu
A stunning Malibu beach contemporary designed by architect Ron Goldman on 55 feet of ocean frontage.
See page 70
Marcus Beck, Sotheby’s International Realty, 310.456.9405,
4145 Creciente Drive, Santa Barbara
This estate in Hope Ranch includes a pool, tennis court, bluff-top patios and stairs to the beach.
1127 Hill Road, Montecito
A remodeled island-style tropical beach retreat, this property is adjacent to Butterfly Beach.
Sotheby’s International Realty
11 Pelican Vista Drive, Newport Coast
A modern masterwork that represents a perfect intersection of architecture, design and technology.
Surterre Properties
5910 Camino De La Costa, La Jolla
Designed by acclaimed architect Claude Anthony Marengo to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living.
Engel & Völkers
40 North La Senda Drive, Laguna Beach
Built by D.W. Griffith, this historically significant compound is a landmark of the Laguna coastline.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
4653 Via Roblada, Santa Barbara
A Hope Ranch estate of approximately 13 acres set high on a bluff with ocean and Channel Island views.
Sotheby’s International Realty
16 Morning Dove, Laguna Niguel
Single-story Hawaiian-style contemporary plus guesthouse with ocean and Catalina views.
Chalet Properties & Investment
990 Ocean Front, Laguna Beach
A 3-bedroom Contemporary on the sand in the village.
Surterre Properties
28868 Cliffside Drive, Malibu
Recently remodeled bluff top mid-century ranch-style house in Point Dume.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
801 Alston Road, Santa Barbara
On a 7.43-acre hilltop perch with ocean views, this Spanish Colonial Revival estate dates back to 1918.
Sotheby’s International Realty
11768 Ellice Street, Malibu
Marisol estate with 16-foot-high great room, infinity-edge pool and oceanfront vistas.
Partners Trust
345 Golden Gate Avenue, Tiburon
Enter through towering wrought iron gates and discover a French Provincial Manor estate home.
Sotheby’s International Realty
2345 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
This Ocean Front Woods Cove double estate lot with two homes is being offered for sale for the first time.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
Although the publisher has made every effort to ensure that the information in this list is correct at press time, the publisher does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

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Going Global: Explore Canada’s Breathtaking Nature

By: Kelly Potts

SookePoint Ocean Cottage Resort in British Columbia, Canada, has recently launched seven levels of surfside yacht suites, offering views of exciting nature shows, sunsets and storm watching just 16 feet from the ocean.
Founder and Developer Michael Thornton says, “It’s not like anywhere else in the world that I’ve ever seen because you are on the tip of a peninsula that feels more like a large yacht,” noting that SookePoint is for people who want a front-row experience in nature.
The Yacht Suites range from 401 square feet to 1,577 square feet, with prices ranging from $339,000 to more than $1.2 million, and are available as primary residences or recreational homes to rent out. The resort also offers one- and two-bedroom ocean cottage suites.
The new Yacht Suites will allow owners many exciting and leisurely activities including whale watching, kayaking among the humpbacks, eagles, seals and sea lions, stargazing and underwater diving. Residents can also enjoy hiking on one of the premier trails in Canada with tidal pools and scenery of the forest and sea that spans more than 100 square miles.

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Not Just a Winter Wonderland

By: Mark Moffa

It all started the day we arrived. Although Unique Homes journeyed to Stowe, Vermont, from a warmer climate, our visit the first weekend of December ushered in winter. Two weeks later, as I write this, it still hasn’t stopped snowing. Seriously. The Stowe email that just arrived is announcing five feet of “near-daily” December snow, mid-winter conditions, and 103 inches this season so far (more than 300 inches in the seasonal norm).
Skiing here at Spruce Peak and Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, doesn’t disappoint. Its rich world-class ski history started with the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps cutting trails in 1933. But as we discovered, winter sports are just the tip of the mountain of reasons to look at Stowe.
“During warmer months, Spruce Peak is filled with festivals, events on our green, farmers markets in the Village Center, and concerts,” said Sam Gaines, Spruce Peak at Stowe’s vice president and director of real estate. “With hiking trails, mountain biking trails, zip lines, treetop adventure courses and 36 holes of golf, there is no summer destination quite like Stowe, and Spruce Peak is at the center of it all.”

A 10,000 square-foot ice skating rink anchors Village Center

While other developments must create a sense of place, Spruce Peak at Stowe benefits from an authentic character already present in the classic 200-year-old village of Stowe. This allows developers greater freedom to focus on fine design details at the $500 million resort development, which began in 2003. We arrived just a few months after the completion of the Rockwellian $90 million Village Center.
“When we began this project, we envisioned creating the East’s answer to Deer Valley, Aspen or Beaver Creek,” Gaines said.
Of the over 2,000 acres at Spruce Peak, only 35 acres will be used for residential development, and only 400 dwellings are permitted. For such a small footprint, the variety of real estate is astounding. From slopeside single-family homesites (one of which now has an HGTV Dream Home), to the 19 Club Residences that sold out late last year in 6 weeks for $42 million, to the 34 Mountain Cabins that sold out in phases from 2004 to 2015, to condominiums in the Stowe Mountain Lodge (2003), to one-eighth fractional ownership opportunities in the Front Four Private Residence Club, the price points and styles vary greatly.
The newest offerings are 18 four-bedroom Village Townhomes, 2,100-square-foot triplex units with direct access to the slopes, golf and Village Center. It was no surprise to learn that about half of them are already sold.

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17 Markets To Watch In 2017

By: Camilla McLaughlin

For prime real estate markets in the U.S., 2016 was a year of change, and expectations are that 2017 might bring even more. No matter how a market changes, there is always opportunity. In honor of the year at hand, we are shining a spotlight on luxury in 17 cities.
Atlanta, Georgia — Luxury here rebounded after a slight dip at the end of the summer and the months leading up to year-end saw eight or more $2 million-plus condo sales. Outside the city, the high-end market hasn’t missed a beat and prices continue to rise. Barring any substantial shocks, one agent says, “I think we will see a very robust spring.” Lots of new construction is poised for mid-town in 2017.

Austin, Texas
— Few cities can match Austin’s recent track record. It has led Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) list of “markets to watch” and even sparked a category ULI dubs “18-hour cities.” Austin has gained a reputation as a tech mecca. But taxes, cost of living and a lively arts scene also woo newcomers. Yet, the new year finds a few wondering if the fast pace can continue.

Chicago, Illinois
— Inventory frames the story here. Lots of new construction on the market resulted in a slight slowing of luxury sales in city center, while suburban upscale sales were up 5 percent year over year. Still, city living continues to be a big trend, particularly for boomers who want to downsize or just have their place in the Second City. In demand: residences associated with a five-star hotel.

Delray Beach, Florida
— The once sleepy Delray has taken off this year. A downtown revitalization has given this Florida secret, close to both Boca Raton and Palm Beach, a new shine without compromising laid-back ambiance. Third quarter saw a $2.98 million average luxury price, a 70-percent increase over last year. Buyers are a mix of permanent and vacation home residents. Single-family homes with water access demand a premium.
Denver, Colorado — One of the leaders in the West and nationally, Denver real estate continues on solid footing with year-to-date sales in the $1 million-plus market up 102 percent. Still, with 7.5 months of inventory, indicators are inching towards a balance — a plus for buyers. Look for slower appreciation in the year ahead.
Honolulu, Hawaii — With a 30-percent increase in sales and 17.7-percent increase in prices, Honolulu had one of the best markets nationally at year end. Christie’s International Real Estate considers it one of the 10 cities to watch globally in 2017. Hot properties include residences in new towers in Ward Village.
Jersey City, New Jersey — Luxury is beginning to find a new home here. The rush is on for upscale digs, thanks to easy access to Manhattan and bargain prices compared to the Big Apple. Neighborhoods in transition and plenty of new construction translate into opportunities for buyers.

Malibu, California — Location matters here. Flat properties set on a bluff overlooking the most desirable beaches fetch top dollar. The ultimate: Carbon Beach, nicknamed Billionaire’s Beach. The year-end median sale price hit $2.447 million, higher than nearby platinum locations, but still below 2008’s peak $3.3 million. Expect prices to rise only 0.6 percent in the next year.
Newport Beach, California — Buyers, sellers — both win here. By year end, list prices had increased by 19 percent, but the inventory of homes on the market
increased by 9 percent year over year. Look for the balance to tip toward buyers. Price increases are expected to taper down in 2017.

New York, New York
— Contrary to popular perception, the bottom has not fallen out of the luxury market here. But it is a market of opportunity, particularly if an ultra-property happens to be on your horizon as the end results of a multi-year building boom come to market.

Phoenix, Arizona
— Canadian buyers might be on pause, but if fall data is any indication, the high end around Phoenix is on the upswing. Closed transactions were the highest of any September since 2005, with Arcadia hitting a record. The number of homes priced above $500,000 grew by 13 percent last year, but in October the number of listings under contract was up by 12 percent. With prices holding steady, this is one market we’ll be watching this year.

Portland, Maine
— Long a summer haven for the wealthy, Maine, particularly Portland, is garnering attention from out-of-staters, from retirees to young entrepreneurs and tech professionals. With a growing reputation as a foodie destination and excellent home prices, expect to see this city’s luxury star rise, particularly in New England. Recent upscale transactions range from $1 million to $4.5 million.

Salt Lake City, Utah
— The fastest growing nationally, Utah is also one of five states chalking the largest year-over-year price appreciation, so it’s no surprise to find Salt Lake on many “best of” lists this year. Park City’s reputation as a luxury Mecca continues to expand, while nearby Salt Lake’s luxury cachet is just beginning. Adding to the appeal: a year-round outdoor lifestyle, urban living without mega-city hassles, diverse locations and architecture.
Seattle, Washington — Few other places occupy as many top five positions on lists of top markets. While forecasts vary depending on who you ask, one thing is certain: there is no sign of real estate in this exploding tech hub cooling any time soon. High prices in Vancouver are diverting buyers here. Interesting trend: buying sight unseen for properties priced above $750,000.

Stowe, Vermont
— The grand dame of East Coast ski resorts is completing a $500 million upgrade, including a new high-speed quad, an inter-mountain gondola connecting Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, a new $90 million Village Center, and amenities including a ski club. New real estate ranges from single-family homes to townhomes and a private residence club. Brisk sales and new construction set the stage for 2017.
San Diego, California — Transactions and prices still have room to expand here. It’s no surprise that projections call for a 9.9 percent price increase in 2017. Downtown luxury is in demand with new large-scale developments, including North Embarcadero Esplanade and Waterfront park injecting a new vibe into parts of the city. Artful new towers include Pacific Gate.
Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada — Here, it’s a tale of many markets depending on location and price. Lakefront, East Shore shows the average luxury sold price up 29 percent to $4.8 million. Ski properties are also up with a year-over-year increase of 175 percent in Martis Camp. Sales in Northstar also jumped with the total dollar volume increasing by 237 percent. Few other places outside the Bay Area benefit as much from San Francisco’s economy.

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A New State of Mind

By: Camilla McLaughlin

Photo courtesy

Taking the temperature of luxury real estate at year-end was not an easy task, with post-election uncertainty still palpable and an interest-rate hike in motion. What does it mean for upscale consumers? A new state of mind is what Diane Ramirez, CEO and co-chairman of Halstead Property, sees emerging in the marketplace.
Cautiously optimistic … price conscious … limited inventory … a glut of properties … sell now … hang tight. These are all phrases industry leaders used to characterize the upscale market as 2016 transitioned into 2017, and nothing better illustrated the contradictory dynamics of luxury real estate at year-end.
High-end properties led the recovery, but this year the luxury story is, in part, one of increasing days on market and slower price appreciation in some but not all locations. “Some markets are seeing a slowdown in the high-end and some aren’t. It’s important to keep this in perspective,” says Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates.
“Markets that are seeing a slowdown are places that came back hard and fast from the recession,” says Stephanie Anton, executive vice president, Luxury Portfolio International.
“In most markets, we’re seeing price increases stabilizing, and 2017 will be a great time to buy, says Lesli Akers, president of Keller Williams Luxury Homes International. “Basically, we’ve moved out of a ‘crazy’ sellers’ market into a ‘normal’ sellers’ market. We anticipate the luxury market will be more balanced in 2017.”

No Market Shift Overall

By the end of December, the most recent data confirmed what many anticipated: 2016 would go on record as an exceptional year. “Over the past 11 months, the majority of markets have seen home prices return to their pre-recession levels, reaffirming that 2016 has been the best year for the housing market since the recession,” said Dave Liniger, CEO and co-founder of RE/MAX.
Even though rising mortgage rates and a limited inventory in affordable price brackets are expected to temper sales, the outlook is positive, and at year-end, favorable indicators continued to accumulate. October sales — up 5.9 percent year-over-year — charted the highest pace since February 2007. Expectations are 2016 sales will tally 5.42 million, the best year since 2006, when 6.47 million properties sold. September prices, according to the Case Schiller Home Price Index, surpassed the July 2006 peak. With just over a four-month supply, the inventory is well under the 6-month benchmark that signals a balance between buyers and sellers. Looking ahead, prices are projected to rise 5 percent this year, followed by a 4-percent increase in 2017, when existing sales are expected to track at 5.52 million.

According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, more homes in all price brackets sold in November than in any November in the last eight years, with home sales 19.1 percent greater than a year ago.

“The housing market has proved more resilient than many feared this time last year,” observes Akers. “At the lower end of the price scale, there’s very limited inventory. Anything under, say $300,000, is flying off the shelf.”

Most importantly, there are no signs pointing to a market shift anytime soon. In fact, almost three quarters of industry experts surveyed by Zillow do not expect the pendulum to swing back in favor of buyers until well beyond 2017. The largest number, 42 percent, see it taking place in 2018 while a few even look past 2020.

Compared to recent years, interest from international buyers softened in 2016. “The worldwide economic slowdown, like everything else, is relative. Granted, we all have to be mindful of  global challenges with the potential to slow the foreign investment in high-end property, but these types of challenges have yet to negatively affect the majority of the affluent,” says Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC.

Luxury is Local

On the other hand, a range of variables from a surge of new construction to the value of the dollar, to new requirements for transaction disclosures, are affecting sales in certain high-end locales, while a lack of properties puts a damper on transactions in others. The end result is a diverse and stratified luxury market.

“It’s a tale of many markets and, also, markets within markets. Depending on the market, certain price points are more active than others. We also see the disparity in demand for new development and construction,” shares Charlie Young, president & CEO, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

“Real estate is a local market business, so there are always going to be outliers and exceptions to overall trends. It’s all about supply and demand,” shares Akers.

“The West has been strong continually for the last several years. The East Coast had a little pre- and post-election slump or slowdown, but that seems to be improving now with the stock market’s reacting favorably to the election,” says John Brian Losh, publisher of

Uber-luxury properties in New York, Miami and platinum neighborhoods on L.A.’s Westside capture the most attention from both traditional and social media. It’s tempting to consider that heady realm as indicative of luxury overall, but those price points and locations represent a slim slice of the market. It’s for good reason economists are prone to use sui generis to characterize this rarified sphere.

“When we look at the ultra-high-end $15 million-plus price range, it’s a very small percentage of overall U.S. home sales — we have to consider things such as affordability, behavioral trends and more,” says White.

Recently, John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting weighed in to counter reports of a national luxury slowdown. According to Burns, luxury home sales continue to increase and sales of homes priced above $600,000 in the last 12 months exceed the prior 12 months by 10 percent. Data from NAR also shows homes priced above $750,000 accounting for 4.55 percent of overall sales in the first 10 months of 2016, compared to 4.491 percent in 2015.

If anything, the recovery itself has been a story of many markets. “We’ve not had a single year where you can say every sector was growing or performing well. The luxury market did better in the early years, but in the past year appears to be one of the weaker parts of the market,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for, who sees real estate overall as a “big dynamic ecosystem.”

Ask agents and experts where luxury sales are still hot and they tick off a range of places as diverse as Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, even parts of Florida. And the risk in these markets is not a lack of buyers, but rather not enough homes to sell. Of the 35 largest U.S. metros, Boston has had the largest decline in inventory year over year, according to Zillow. 

Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio International and COO of Leading RE, also sees diversification of the high end as a positive indication that the luxury sphere might be settling into what could be considered normal. “When you’re in a normal market, it’s not the same everywhere.”

Uncertainty surrounding the election also put some real estate plans on the backburner, although reports from agents at the end of December suggest this might be a temporary adjustment.

Inventory is Down, Except…

The supply of homes for sale priced above $1 million fell 2.4 percent in the third quarter from a year prior, while those priced above $5 million increased 17.2 percent, according to Redfin.

“Inventory across the board in the broader market has been — and I believe will continue to be — a concern, with the exception of sections overbuilding in new construction. In the upper price brackets, it’s shown to be an issue as well. On the other side of that sword, we have areas where our $7 million-plus and certain $20 million-plus buyers have many to choose from, so that is a sign of few active buyers and not so much an inventory issue,” explains Craig Hogan, vice president for luxury, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. 

In New York City, where the number of for-sale properties grew in 2016 and prices stabilized and even softened, those who know the market say the pendulum still favors sellers. “It’s not a buyers’ market, but buyers do have more options now,” says Eric Serras, principal broker at Ideal Properties Group.

In Manhattan, the number of properties for sale priced at $30 million-and-up is unprecedented. “We’ve never had a supply at that level and with that level of superior finishes. There is nothing that isn’t superb. Usually you have a jewel or two of those, but we have a number of jewels now. It obviously creates a bit of an oversupply,” observed Ramirez.   

Hope and Change?

According to Redfin, luxury home prices rose 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to last year, to an average of $1.6 million. Redfin’s analysis tracks home sales in more than 1,000 cities across the country and defines a home as luxury if it is among the top 5 percent most expensive homes sold in the city in each quarter.

Stock market volatility early in the year followed by global economic uncertainty related to the Chinese economy and Brexit may have dampened price growth, but it didn’t keep luxury clientele from buying. Sales of homes priced above $1 million increased 6.8 percent in the third quarter from a year prior. Sales of homes priced above $5 million were mostly flat, inching up a mere 0.4 percent.

Instead of a slowdown, Anne Miller, director of Brand Marketing for Re/Max, describes the current status for luxury as more of a pause as a result of a watch- and-wait mode post-election.  “Right now, everyone is positive about 2017.” Also, she says, it’s important to remember this is a discretionary purchase. 

All of this underscores how much real estate has become a passion for the affluent. “We know on average the top 1 percent own at least four houses in different locations,” Anton says. “They are focused on real estate, but the post-recession affluent consumer is more price sensitive, more sophisticated, more focused on research and more involved in the process. They are becoming greater partners with their agents.”

Many believe a change is in the offing for luxury. “We are seeing increased activity since the election and believe this represents a pent-up demand in the upper price points,” says White.

Even in New York, a “new state of mind” is replacing what Ramirez calls “a lackluster desire to move forward.” Too many options immobilized potential buyers, who hesitated because a better option might be available the next day. This lack of urgency even trickled down to lower price points. Now, Ramirez says, “People are realizing, ‘this is the market, this is the new normal. So, let me look for what is perfect for me and move forward, there is nothing else to wait for.’”

“What we see is today’s most affluent buyers consider themselves to be prudent. Nobody is spending money frivolously, but they’re spending money. What you have to remember is what may be frivolous to one person is an absolute requirement to someone else, so the person who is making that purchase, it’s not a frivolity to them because then they’re making a prudent purchase,” explains Boomsma.

No matter what happens there is a good chance the love affair between the affluent and real estate will continue. “They are always looking for the next best thing. They want to invest their money wisely, and if they can get in sooner and find something they absolutely love, the better it is,” says Miller.

Wild Cards

Year-end finds us at a unique vantage point, where everything from foreign policy to taxes to the economy seems to be on a mythic tipping point. For luxury, several potential wildcards could be at play. Consider: “tax cuts that might benefit high-income or higher-net-worth individuals that could provide the incentive, the means and the interest to invest in real estate,” says Smoke. “Real estate is a long-term inflation hedge, and so if indeed those funds are more available because of tax cuts and/or from financial market performance…. And inflation is more expected in the future, there could be more individuals pursuing specific investment and second homes because of the ability to access an inflation hedge.”

A potential negative, according to Smoke, would be changes to the mortgage interest deduction. “Imposing a cap is going to impact luxury more than other parts of the market, and, in particular, one part of the cap could be no longer allowing an interest deduction on second homes or vacation homes,” he says. While not all the upper-tier relies on mortgages, changes would still affect a swath of this demographic, such as older baby boomers who comprise a substantial segment of this market.

Still, Boomsma says he finds it interesting that in post-election concerns, the economy is not at the forefront. “It’s certainly not in the perception right now that the economy is the great concern, so from this perspective when it comes to luxury real estate, that’s probably a good thing,” he says.

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An Island Like No Other

By: Samantha Myers

Designed by Foster + Partners, 50 United Nations Plaza is a magnificent architectural addition to the Manhattan skyline, offering 88 condominium residences just a block from the UN headquarters. Among its luxurious apartments is an astonishing duplex penthouse apartment, currently on the market at $70 million.
Jill Mangone, director of sales with Zeckendorf Marketing, describes the residential building as an “island site” — an uncommon feature for New York City. “The building is very open on all sides, and as a consequence of that, even the apartments on the lowest floors enjoy tremendous light and space for views,” says Mangone.

From the hard-to-come-by private motor court, the lobby greets residents with a 20-foot water wall feature that backs to an open circular fireplace. Past the water and fire elements are the elevators that can either bring you to your residence or to the amenity-filled floor described as a “temple to luxurious wellness,” fit with a health and fitness center, spa and 75-foot swimming pool, not to mention abundant wine bottle storage available for residents.
An immediate distinguishing factor for 50 United Nations Plaza is the remarkable 10,000-square-foot penthouse, exceeding luxury standards in all definitions of the word. Contributing to the price tag are a 10,000-pound, handcrafted stainless steel staircase; two outdoor spaces, one of which features a heated, infinity-edge pool; and impeccable 360-degree views of some of the most recognizable buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building, UN Secretariat and Chrysler Building.

A feature exaggerated in the penthouse, but a fixture for every apartment in 50 United Nations Plaza, is the deep bay window design that frames the city vistas. “The curtain wall features deep bay windows that truly animate the views. You don’t have a flat panel of glass with a one-facet view — instead, you have this surrounded quality. It brings you out into the view, and brings the view in,” says Mangone.

Rounded glass windows, coupled with stainless steel and burnished gold, create a shimmering iridescent exterior for 50 United Nations Plaza as it stands at 43 stories tall, making its mark on the city skyline.
“One of the qualities of life in New York that really impressed Norman Foster was the brilliant quality of light for so much of the year. He was very intrigued by this, along with the use of stainless steel in skyscrapers. Therefore, stainless steel as a design element is consistent throughout the entire building and was a deliberate attempt to harken back to its use on the Chrysler Building, and to a lesser extent, the Empire State Building,” says Mangone.
Also on the market at 50 United Nations Plaza is apartment 20A, a 3-bedroom turnkey residence exclusively designed by Bennett Leifer offering a livable, internationally accessible space with iconic and recognizable pieces of furniture and accessories.
To find out more about 50 United Nations Plaza, visit

Photos courtesy of Chuck Choi, Marco Ricca and Paul Warchol

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Inspired In The Bath

Photos courtesy Maison Valentina

For a luxurious bathroom, pair the Symphony Bathtub, inspired by music, with the Envy Chaise, accented with soft button tufting and polished brass trim. The Lapiaz Freestanding Washbasin, pictured below, was inspired by a stone frozen and cracked to reveal a golden interior.

By Kelly Potts

Luxury design brand Maison Valentina is changing the way bathrooms are viewed with exclusive pieces that transform a restroom into a masterpiece. The brand was formed in 2015 as part of the Menina Design Group in order to fill a perceived gap in the interior design realm of luxury bathroom elements.
Maison Valentina puts a modern spin on standard pieces with its geometric and textured designs in classic color palettes consisting mostly of black, white and gold. It offers high-end bathtubs, sinks, mirrors, lighting and chairs designed with materials such as brass, marble, wood and glass. The pieces each have a new story to tell, the company says, and are created for “someone that enjoys details, art, luxury, cosmopolitan and a modern way of living.”
The brand finds inspiration in every aspect of the luxury world, including restaurants, hotels, fashion, photography and cities. CEO Joaquim Paulo says, “Our team’s inspiration comes from different perspectives: the study of art history, following the main currents of design, architecture, sculpture, painting and even music has a strong influence in our work.”
Some pieces boldly acknowledge the source of their inspiration, like the Metropolitan washbasin, which pays tribute to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The elegant washbasin is available in either a black glass or gray mirror finish, and the brand notes that this elegant and sober piece is a tribute to the culture center in New York City.
Joana Gouveia, marketing manager of Maison Valentina, notes that the company puts a high focus on comfort, excellence, luxury and exclusivity. She says, “The finest materials and quality make it possible for the brand to transform every space into a relaxing and luxurious spa environment,” stating that the company guarantees excellence in every piece and offers a unique experience for each client through its personalized customer service.
Gouveia says that her favorite piece from the collection is also the best seller: the Lapiaz Freestanding Washbasin. “Its shape, colors and haughtiness take me to a world where everything is possible and the unattainable doesn’t exist,” she says of the freestanding sink that features polished brass details and mirrored sides.
In the future, the company hopes to continue to grow the collection and eventually allow its customers to furnish an entire bathroom with Maison Valentina pieces.

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