All posts by Kristen Ordonez

Nap Bars

Khaliah O. Guillory, Owner of Nap Bar

A new set of businesses aims to help a sleep-deprived society relax and rejuvenate.

Nap bars. Upon hearing about this concept, various images come to mind, from a series of bedrooms with designated time slots for napping, to a pillowy oasis set in the clouds. While some ideas are more fantastical than others, the meaning behind many nap bar businesses and their missions is far more down to earth.

Whether naps are offered as a complimentary service or finely curated in a luxury setting, the importance of sleep has been reinvigorated by companies like these who know that the benefits of napping are nothing to sneeze (or snore) at in today’s world. 

In recent years, with the rise of globalization and businesses running 24/7, productivity can and has for some time become a priority. Maria Jose Hernandez of recharj, a meditation studio headquartered in Washington, D.C., says the needs of the human body should take precedence, however. 

An avid lover of naps since childhood, Guillory developed her company as a way to keep herself from “taking naps in [her] car.” 
Photos courtesy Nap Bar.

“Science has proven that sleep is how you are able to learn, retain memory — all these functions that we need to be productive.” 

Many nap bars and sleep-oriented businesses have been developed by busy business professionals and entrepreneurs who found themselves suffering from sleep deprivation or sleep-related issues. For example, Khaliah O. Guillory was working at a Fortune 500 company and struggled with getting restful sleep when she was inspired to open Nap Bar in Houston. An avid lover of naps since childhood, she developed her company as a way to keep herself from “taking naps in [her] car,” and engage other young professionals to rest, relax and feel rejuvenated through a curated, white-glove napping experience.

Top: Zen – Bar à Sieste Weightless Chair and VR.

Photos courtesy Zen – Bar à Sieste

Christophe Chanhsavang and his wife, Virginie, have had similar trials and tribulations. From Virginie’s corporate work hours to Christophe’s long hours of study, he realized from his experience working in the UK, China and Greece how much the concept of wellness was nonexistent in the French society. To avoid taking more naps in the office bathroom, Chanhsavang says they founded Zen – Bar à Sieste in 2011 in Paris and have since approached wellness from a holistic perspective by promoting sleep, nutrition, physical activity and mental health. 

Professionals in the wellness industry have noted and continue to highlight the importance of sleep, which in turn has led to research and results into the benefits of napping. Guillory offers facts that have helped fuel the educational aspect of Nap Bar, including a NASA statistic that suggests shorter nap durations are better for reducing the impact of sleep inertia, a physiological state of impairment that affects cognitive and sensory-motor performance.*

Mauricio Villamizar, CEO of Pop & Rest in London, takes these findings a step further, noting how a lack of sleep can ultimately lead to disruptions in workflow. “Sleep deprivation is linked to lower productivity at work and it’s one of the main drivers of absenteeism … in the workplace. If we translate this into working days, we are looking at around 200,000 working days being lost each year in the UK only. In terms of economic consequences, it’s around £40 billion, almost 2 percent of the UK’s GDP,” Villamizar says.

Wellness overall has seen a resurgence in strength from businesses like these, as health has come to be the utmost priority of nations around the world. And just like there are many types of methods of getting and staying well, there are a variety of ways to nap.

Pop & Rest is a London-based wellness startup that connects locals and travelers with sleep and meditation pods, offering clients safe and secure spaces to unwind, rest, and work peacefully. According to Villamizar, customers can visit one of the company’s various locations throughout London and become immersed in a calm environment where the pods are situated.

“Once you are inside, your pod will be like a box that features a single bed, small table, along with accessories to change lights, music and the aroma,” he says, noting that everything is built to ensure the best relaxation experience. The pods are movable and soundproofed, and only require a power supply and WiFi connection to function, an enticing offer for companies looking to purchase these pods for their own offices.

The aforementioned Nap Bar curates a luxury napping experience for customers, which Guillory says is ensured by engaging all five senses. For sight, all of the custom suites are outfitted with mood lighting that is adjustable; for taste, a duo of raw juice shots are offered with rich nutrients and ingredients that aid in relaxing the body pre-nap, and waking it up post-nap; for hearing, exclusive brain waves are curated for each client and played inside suites that increases the release of melatonin in the body by 97 percent; and for smell, an aromatherapy pillow mist infused with lavender is available.

recharj – D.C. meditation room and class.

Photos courtesy recharj

Pop & Rest sleep pod for napping.

Photo courtesy Pop & Rest.

The final sense, of touch, goes a step further, as all suites include an organic, locally sourced mattress, linens and sheets, and each room is painted with toxin-free paint. All of these inclusions are accompanied by a full-service concierge who will guide customers through the experience and help them on their wellness journey

According to Chanhsavang of Zen – Bar à Sieste, wellness is the future of humanity, a future he aims to advance with the Siesta Bar, which combines technological and traditional means of treatment for sleep deprivation. For nap services, customers can choose from a luxurious memory foam retreat, a zero-gravity massage chair or a Shiatsu bed; for aiding in relaxation and overall wellness, complimentary services include massages, virtual-reality meditation and even a fish spa.

As a meditation studio, recharj has been offering premier restorative practices to help clients, which includes the use of power naps. According to Hernandez, during open hours these power nap sessions are curated to be 25 minutes long and offered in large Yogibo chairs, a favorite for many. “A client once described them to me as if you’re laying down in a cloud,” Hernandez says, which only adds to the whole-body experience.

Binaural beats are also incorporated into the nap session, a type of music melody that registers at different frequencies that are meant to relax your body and get it ready for sleep. Overall, the studio aims to bring a sense of relaxation as well as mindfulness through meditation to its clients. “We offer workshops about mindful leadership, mindful communication and mindfulness in general,” Hernandez says, which in turn helps clients learn ways to de-stress and regain focus on whatever tasks lay ahead.

Unlike the typical fad that comes and goes, wellness is rooted in a deep need for comfort and stability. As we write this, we’re in the midst of a public health crisis, and brick and mortar locations may not be open. But there are ways to implement the wisdom of these businesses from your own home. Studios like recharj continue to offer online meditation classes, in an effort to keep a consistent schedule that is based solely on keeping well. And though the future is uncertain, businesses like Pop & Rest, Nap Bar and Zen – Bar à Sieste continue to work and create solutions for customers, from promoting online educational sessions and tips to developing applications, products and services for when businesses are fully up and running.

“Wellness is not just a fashion, but a fundamental trend in our societies,” Chanhsavang asserts. “Hopefully the nap services and related businesses will become a game-changer in the hospitality industry.”

*Source: NASA conducted a study on sleepy military pilots and astronauts and found a 26-minute nap increased productivity by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent.

Leave a comment
hello

Jump for Jubilado

©istockphoto.com / SimonDannhauer

Government-sponsored incentives are drawing retirees to Panama.

From superior benefits for retirees and an assortment of visa options, to the captivating sights and real estate options available, there is much to see and even more to experience as a resident of Panama.

For retirees in particular, the benefits offered through Panama’s programs have crowned it as “one of the top retirement destinations in the world,” according to Stephanie Villarreal, president and Realtor for Your Panama Real Estate Connection. She notes that the government-sponsored “Jubilado” retirement program provides impressive discounts on a range of expenses, including dental/eye exams, medical consultations, restaurant bills, airline tickets and even car purchases. What is needed to qualify is an annuity/pension-like income of $1,000 USD per month. Having good, affordable medical services like, amongst others, the Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital in Panama City is another added benefit, Villarreal says. New residents find themselves taking on the Panamanian lifestyle in no time at all.

The process of immigrating to Panama is relatively simple as well, Villarreal says, and with the help of experienced law professionals, the process is straightforward and easy.

Basilica of the Mother of God is prominent in Casco Viejo, where churches dating back hundreds of years blend with activities for those of all ages.

Photo  ©istockphoto.com / rchphoto

“We work alongside attorneys to assist our clients with immigration and residency,” she adds. The Panama Friendly Nations Visa, for example, is also a popular special immigration program for citizens of selected countries who have professional or economic ties with Panama.

Those exploring their immigration options should also understand the differences in lifestyle of Panamanians, from “slower pace of life” to the fact that Spanish is the country’s main language. However, every difference also offers an opportunity to learn and experience the unique nuances of Panama. “Things in Panama move slower than in North America and Europe,” says Villarreal, “but with our team’s extensive knowledge and experience of how things work in Panama, we can assist our clients to adjust to life in the country.”

Adjusting to life in Panama can come easily with the help of the right brokerage team who will help guide potential buyers to their dream home or neighborhood. Villarreal says her team recommends that buyers should visit the country first to get a feel for what Panama is all about. “There are established ‘expat’ communities in Panama City, various communities at the beaches … there are many clubs offering get-togethers, bingo, Spanish courses and more.”

Add this to the plethora of good restaurants, cafes and bars amidst the cobblestone roads and churches of Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old quarter, and the amazing beaches and archipelagos, and there’s too much to fit into one trip. So, perhaps, make it a trip to last the rest of your life?

 

This article originally appeared in the Unique Homes Spring ’20: Elite edition

Leave a comment
hello

Commanding California Escape

Stunning Bay Views!

Commanding wide angle vistas are ever present from this superbly elevated Sausalito hillside home. Most interior rooms are appointed with large view windows framing sailboats in the Sausalito Marina, the Mill Valley hills, and spectacular skyline panoramas. The continuous change of colors throughout the days and changing seasons, provides a joyous ambiance year round.

The first floor, with easy access from the street and carport, consists of delightful public rooms flooded with light through wall of windows. Pristine hardwood floors compliment this level, an ideal space for entertaining with viewing deck attached. The large dining area adjoins the living room with  newly installed gas fireplace and hearth.  The adjacent kitchen is highlighted with all new appliances and sunny breakfast area.  A well placed powder room serves guests.

Lower level with 3 Bedrooms, 2 baths features panoramic bay views and attached exterior deck.

Master bedroom with en suite bath and walk-in closet.

2 Additional bedrooms and 1 full bath.

Workshop level presents potential for expansion.

4-car parking deck. 

 

Price: $1,949,000

For more information, contact:

 

Jean Mastagni – CalRE #00479256

Broker Associate – Global Luxury Specialist
415.310.7386 | jeanlmastagni@gmail.com | JeanMastagni.com

Anna Roberts – CalRE #00854780

Associate Broker
415.331.7355 | anna@cbsausalito.com | Anna.cbintouch.com
Leave a comment
hello

Centered on the Earth

Photo by Sally Guillaume.

These three travel companies offer sustainable opportunities to see — and even help save — the planet.

Aracari

Ahead of its time when it was originally founded in 1996, South American travel operator Aracari is highly regarded in the sustainable travel industry. Founder Marisol Mosquera defines sustainable travel simply as travel that does not destroy the
destination, which in today’s standards means low impact, low-volume tourism. These pillars of tourism have been part of Aracari’s mission since it began, in order to promote natural landscapes.

One of the most important ways Aracari maintains such high standards of sustainability is by educating guests throughout their trips, to “treat the local communities and sensitive environments with great respect,” Moquera states. To follow through, the company works tirelessly with the other businesses they work with to help ensure their self-imposed regulations are effective across the board. For example, Mosquera says the company seeks boutique hotels that are more stringent on standards like waste management, energy consumption, community involvement, et cetera. With these methods incorporated into their business model, Aracari is able to fulfill
clients’ travel needs while making a smaller impact on the surrounding environment.

“People travel to learn and experience new things, and our region is very rich with cultural and natural attractions,” Mosquera says, attractions that they strive to find new ways of highlighting through their bespoke travel tours. One upcoming tour in May 2020 is an eight-day excursion in Bolivia, hosted by National Geographic photographer Max Milligan, based in Kachi Lodge which is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Nestled next to Tunupa Volcano, these transparent igloo tents afford wonderful views and a unique sense of isolation while guests enjoy delicious food, hot water and comfortable accommodations.

Kachi Lodge | Bolivia

Kachi Lodge is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.

Photo courtesy of Aracari.

Machu Picchu

Guests can travel to archaeological sites like Machu Picchu with Aracari’s Peru tours.

Photo by Marcella Echavarria.

Another tour featuring Milligan is an adventure through the mountains of Peru at El Albergue Ollantaytambo, where guests can visit local communities, archaeological sites like Machu Picchu, and an organic garden that stretches from the glacial snowline to the tropical cloud forest.

Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya

Photo by Stevie Mann.

Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya

Cottar’s Safari Camp provides an authentic and individualized safari experience by ensuring a legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security.

Photo courtesy of Steppes Travel.

Steppes Travel

Steppes Travel creates eco-luxury holiday trips that are tailor-made for people who are interested in wildlife. While it highlights giving a behind-the-scenes look into many different sensible wildlife environments and discovering different cultures, at the core, Steppes Travel focuses on giving back to the environment and communities their teams visit. An avid traveller himself, Rob Gardiner fit in perfectly at Steppes Travel as the Commercial Manager for the Africa sector with his overall knowledge and love for travel. “I love the people that you meet, I love the lessons that you learn from it, and I think it breaks down barriers, changing our perception of different places and alters our prejudices,” Gardiner says.

Gardiner says that the company’s focus on sustainable travel is driven by a need to look after the communities they visit and keep those wilderness areas as pristine as possible. Steppes Travel also works with community members and conservation groups to ensure proceeds are given back to those areas, noting that, as a whole, travel can be a force for good. “If you’re lucky enough to go to Zambia, Tanzania or Botswana on safari, for example, there should be money that goes back into the local economy so they too are incentivized to look after what they have.”

Regarding the tours, Gardiner says that the wildlife aspect is what helps keeps sustainability in mind for both guides and travellers. He notes that often these trips provide a unique educational experience, granting travellers a new, real perspective on conservation while taking part in projects like tracking rhinos in South Africa or working on a jaguar safari project in Brazil. Tourists can go further by becoming ambassadors for certain regions and work with communities around the world to be more conscious of endangered environments.

“As much as possible, we don’t believe in cocooning our clients away from the streetlife in Delhi or living with a nomadic family in Mongolia,” Gardiner affirms. “I think it’s about getting to know the people and about having that personal human connection.”

Undiscovered Mountains

According to Sally Guillaume, owner and founder of sustainable travel company Undiscovered Mountains, her reasons for starting the company were driven by a personal drive to create a better world, “to do things in a way that everyone benefits without exploiting people or environments.”

Focusing on trips located in and around the French Alps, Guillaume wanted to steer away from mass tourism and “build a sustainable approach to tourism both for the communities and the rich natural environments they live in.” In doing so, she built a business that not only focuses on preserving natural environments, but also helps clients to discover authentic Alpine communities, not usually found in mainstream Alpine travel.

Guillaume’s vision of a sustainable world includes less consumerism and a deeper appreciation for experiences. And while Undiscovered Mountains, Steppes Travel and Aracari are all model companies, there is a long way to go in sustainable tourism — from updating local infrastructure to promoting lower-impact travel methods such as train or “green” vehicles. She notes, however, the ethical standards of travel companies have become more and more important consumers in recent years, as well as the destination and activities involved.

From touring preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and flora on the southern French Alps, to immersive tours in both Nepal and Norway that are launching soon, Undiscovered Mountains will continue to make its mission about serving the environment, which has always shaped the culture around them. “The type of food people eat, the architecture of old buildings, the choice of where villages are situated is all to do with how people have survived living off the land of the mountains for centuries.”

The French Alps

Travelers can learn to paraglide and fly above the mountains on one of Undiscovered Mountain’s paragliding courses.

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

The French Alps

From ski touring to dogsledding with huskies, …

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

The French Alps

Undiscovered Mountains offers a wide assortment of winter activities that are fully customisable, all in the French Alps.

Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.

Leave a comment
hello

The Southwestern Spirit

Photo courtesy of Troon North Golf Club

With art museums, golf courses and luxury architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona is more than just a desert town. 

Known as The West’s Most Western Town, Scottsdale, Arizona, is certainly more than just a desert town as it is annually rated among the nation’s most desirable communities to live in, visit and conduct business. Three focuses in particular are art, golf and architecture, each a key draw for the luxury sector and ones that have shaped the culture of the city. 

Among Scottsdale’s 80 art galleries are museums that not only showcase fantastic creations from artists, but also provide an insight to the city’s past. One in particular is Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, located in Old Town, which offers high-quality exhibitions reflecting the arts and dynamic cultural exchanges in the city’s history. Dr. Tricia Loscher, assistant director of collections, exhibitions and research at Western Spirit, says that the Scottsdale art scene started at the Arizona Craftsmen Center in the 1940s, where skilled artisans could work and collaborate together, and customers could watch art being created in front of their eyes. These artists in turn helped to elevate Scottsdale’s cultural standing by showing and selling their unique creations. 

 

Photo courtesy of © Loren Anderson 2018

Museum of the West

Today, artists are continually drawn to Scottsdale, a place that is recognized worldwide as a destination for art collectors and enthusiasts. The diversity of the city’s artistic community, says Loscher, leaves visitors remarking on how much there is to see, and that it cannot all be viewed in one trip. “You’ll want to come back again and again because you can’t possibly do justice to what Scottsdale has to offer.”

Photo courtesy of © Jill Richards Photography

Taliesin West

The distinctive landscape of Arizona, punctuated by giant granite boulders strewn across the rugged Sonoran Desert, is the perfect playground for those who live and breathe the golf lifestyle. There are several key points as to why Scottsdale is such a popular golf destination, according to Mike Friend, director of sales at Troon North Golf Club, from wonderful weather to the beautiful desert itself. “The unique desert layouts are so different from typical tree-lined golf [courses],” he notes, adding that players love how the green grass contrasts from the desert browns. 

This culture began in the 1990s as many courses over the last 30 years were built around luxury residential developments and communities, which also stimulated the growth of resorts and travel interest overall. “The growth of this type of traveler created a need for more golf,” Friend says. The travel fever has not stopped since, and from the variety of activities and sights, Scottsdale is bound to experience growth and diversity for years to come.

Also nestled in the desert, along the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, is an architectural mecca — Taliesin West, known to historians as Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert laboratory in Arizona. Taliesin West was Wright’s beloved winter home and the headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, an architectural marvel that has since become a National Historic Landmark, as well as the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin. 

“[Wright] found the site in 1937 and with his apprentices began experimenting with new materials and building techniques to create a desert camp that embodied his principles of organic architecture,” according to Foundation president and CEO Stuart Graff. The Foundation works to preserve the site and Wright’s legacy through programs that bring more than 110,000 visitors to Scottsdale. Here Wright’s experimental camp is open to the world as a living expression of his ideal vision for how he wanted humanity to live in harmony with the world around us.

Photo courtesy of © 2016 Andrew Pielage

Taliesin West

     

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Winter 2020.

Leave a comment
hello

Selling Near the Stars

star property itself, this private estate offers incredible attention to detail and elegant interiors that exude sophistication.

Patrick Fogarty of Hilton & Hyland represented the buyers, German national Ekkehart Hassels-Weiler and his new husband Omar Romero, who were eager to acquire this unique home. Fogarty says the home was on the market for less than a month and bought in under four.

Externally, the home is almost mysterious at first glance, as the long driveway affords complete privacy from the street. That mystery transitions into pure awe once the house is in full view, as Fogarty says the home’s proportions and classic design give it a grand feel that enhances with every meticulous detail. “The style is timeless rather than of the moment,” he says, adding that the overall aesthetic is tasteful yet opulent.

Built and developed by the seller, British property developers Ian and Richard Livingston, the estate greets visitors with a graceful motor court that features both trees and fountains. The front doors open to a striking grand entry with 30-foot ceilings and walls of marble, all opening up to a grand staircase and detailed floor plan. A strong yet beautiful harmony is felt in every room, from the dramatic kitchen to the tasteful master bedroom and baths. Interestingly, Fogarty notes that though “the home is grand in scale, [it] still manages to feel like a home.” Other features of this estate include a master wing, gym, theater, guesthouse, staff quarters and bocce court. The expansive backyard also boasts an ozone pool that highlights the perfect California indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Only approximately five minutes from Rodeo Drive, the 8-bedroom, 11-bath home remarkably reflects a sense of tranquility and serenity, allowing the new owners to relax with complete privacy. The blend of rich landscaping and natural materials, such as stones, wood, steel, and brass, also enrich its character and depth, making it a true sanctuary.

Photos by Berlyn Photography 2019.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

Dining Responsibly

Seafood challenges chefs and delights diners, but a world of rapidly depleting resources requires conscientious choices.

A Guide to the Michelin Guide

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that both the hotel’s signature restaurants, the Italian Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and the Chinese Bao Li Xuan, have been awarded Michelin stars during the Michelin Guide Shanghai 2020 presentation ceremony.

Breathtaking Beauty, Uniqueness and Exclusivity in Portofino, Italy

This spacious apartment in Calata Marconi features two levels with four windows (two on each level) overlooking the sea — a true rarity in the most exclusive and well-known village, positioned at the heart of a green promontory surrounded by the bluest sea.

Luxury Waterfront Property on Hilton Head Island

Only once in a lifetime does a legacy property like 136 Fort Walker Drive on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina become available!

Resort Living in New Jersey

Looking for an at-home getaway? This Holmdel, NJ home exudes resort-like living with high-end features.

One-of-a-Kind Residence on Lake St. Clair in Michigan

With approximately 445 feet of water frontage, this property is set on 4.3 acres in Grosse Point Shores, Michigan and showcases panoramic views of Lake St. Clair.

Elegance, Luxury and Sophistication in Michigan

This captivating Michigan offering features luxury living indoors and out and can accommodate a guest house and/or boat house on Bay Harbor Lake.

Elite 2020: Stars of Santa Fe

Listed by Sotheby's International Realty agent Darlene Streit, this star property situated in Las Campanas is a prized jewel in Santa Fe real estate.

A Peaceful Paradise

Tired of being cooped up working from home? Make your summer of 2020 as enjoyable as possible on peaceful Isle of Palms at this luxury rental paradise!

Christine Aldrete Banks: Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

Introducing Unique Homes ELITE 2020 Agent, Christine Aldrete Banks and Spyglass On the Island, a luxury development in Corpus Christi, Texas

In the Heart of Key West

Listed by Ocean Sotheby's International Realty, this is your chance to buy a bit of Key West history, along with a unique house with serious celebrity status!

Prestigious and Pristine Property in Portugal

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal offers Quinta de Lago, boasting some of the most spectacular and beautiful villas in the Algarve.

Featured Michigan Agent: Denise Bellore

Denise Bellore, associate broker at Keller Williams Paint Creek, has experienced firsthand the ebbs and flows of the real estate market. Learn more about her here!

You Have Arrived: Frank Aazami and the Private Client Group

The Private Client Group brand at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty has a passion for offering first-class service.

Jump for Jubilado

From benefits for retirees and an assortment of visa options, to the sights and real estate options, there is much to see and experience in Panama.

ELITE 2020: Elegance Abounds in Massachusetts

This newly constructed Shingle-style home on coveted Smith's Point in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, is strategically set on 3-plus acres.

Foxworth Realty: Luxury Real Estate in New York City

Foxworth Realty is like an artist’s palette when you need a primary, secondary or a weekend residence in New York City and the outer boroughs.

Elite 2020: Stars of Santa Fe

Listed by Sotheby's International Realty agent Darlene Streit, this star property situated in Las Campanas is a prized jewel in Santa Fe real estate.

Prestigious and Pristine Property in Portugal

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal offers Quinta de Lago, boasting some of the most spectacular and beautiful villas in the Algarve.

A Modern Masterpiece: A Village of One’s Own

From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm coming from this Pennsylvania home.

The Abundance of Aspen

Aspen’s abundance has grown in terms of luxury, from fine restaurants, world-renowned ski resorts to some of the most culturally stimulating experiences.

A Sunset Paradise

This exquisite new construction estate will excite the discerning buyer who is looking for quality, uniqueness and all the beauty of the Florida Keys.
Leave a comment
hello

The Perfect Balance

The perfect home finds a balance between style and substance.

Style or substance? The perfect home finds a balance between both of these concepts, and this newly built mountain residence is no exception. 1548 Explorer Peak Drive, located inside the Red Ledges residential development in Heber City, Utah, was carefully sited on a dynamic hillside to optimize unobstructed views of Mt. Timpanogos. Its architectural design pairs with hand-selected materials and luxury finishes, perfect for retreat seekers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. 

Every detail of this home creates a seamless transition from indoors to out. Abundant natural light is cast through the home’s soaring windows, while the vast outdoor living areas are situated to connect the home to nature’s beauty. The expansive indoor/outdoor living spaces, featuring a custom spa, fire pit, fireplace, and more, make this home perfect for both entertaining and relaxing, with stunning mountain views as the ideal backdrop. Interior features that capture attention as much as the surrounding beauty include French oak flooring, a gourmet kitchen with a waterfall quartz island, and a large main-floor master suite.

With its coveted location in the Heber Valley in the heart of Utah’s Wasatch Back mountain recreation mecca, Red Ledges offers an active outdoor lifestyle, according to Mitchel Burns, Red Ledges chief operating officer. “Members come together and immerse themselves in some of the most beautiful — and accessible — natural habitats in the world.” Red Ledges offers such outdoor attractions as world championship mountain biking, world-class fly fishing, boating, hiking trails and more. 

Management at Red Ledges agrees that those who find a place at Red Ledges not only share in the coveted mountain lifestyle, they also form close kinships with their neighbors. “Lifelong friendships develop as members laugh and play together and create the real personal connection for which Red Ledges is known,” says John “JJ” Johnson, Red Ledges Club general manager. For $3.595 million, one can find peace of mind at this contemporary mountain haven with enough style and substance for all. 

     

 

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Winter 2020.

 

Leave a comment
hello

The Abundance of Aspen

Maroon Bells ASPEN / COLORADO 

Photo: Vkoulampet / wikimedia commons

Originally named for the abundance of aspen trees in the area, Aspen’s abundance has grown exponentially in terms of luxury, from fine restaurants and world-renowned ski resorts to some of the most artistic and culturally stimulating experiences. These aspects and more are appealing to buyers and continue to shape Aspen’s diverse, high-end lifestyle.

Though the market is plentiful with a large inventory of luxury property options, the Aspen market is finite due to local and state development rules that restrict building in certain areas of the town, according to Craig Morris of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. “Supply and demand are always in favor of our sellers,” he says, but adds that what people want is nearly always achievable. These demands result in an interesting balance of both classic, historic homes with original architecture, and newer construction primarily built on “teardown” properties.

This interweaving of old and new structures is special to Aspen, says Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate, as it further adds to the character of the town and continues to bring in affluent buyers seeking luxury amenities. She notes that particularly in downtown Aspen, the “core,” new residential developments are not permitted and current properties have become more valuable. Wells, and other agents like Robert Ritchie of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, say buyers have grown to cultivate lifestyles in Aspen to fit their own needs. Bespoke estates are either renovated internally, increasing their worth, or new homes are being built more beautiful and upscale than the last. Though Aspen seems to be constantly changing, Ritchie says changes help “shine it up” and ultimately makes the town look good.

And truly, “looking good” is an understatement when considering the luxury and culture that exist in every corner of the city. From an exclusive G650 club and top-rated restaurants to a variety of world-class ski resorts and outdoor amenities, Aspen’s elite can find their true home in a place like this. Whether you hit the slopes or visit the Aspen Music Festival every year, Aspen is a place that can fit any lifestyle, which to buyers is often a priority. “We live in our own little fantasy world and people often suggest that living here is not ‘the real world,’” Morris says. “It’s the ‘real world’ to those that decide to put living and lifestyle at the top of their list, and when they do, they never look back.” 

Colorado

Carrie Wells

Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

970.948.6750

carrie@carriewells.com

www.CarrieWells.com

Page 54 & H&E 161

Colorado

Craig Morris

Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty

970.379.9795

craig.morris@sothebysrealty.com

CraigMorris.com

AspenSnowmassSIR.com

Pages 52-53

Colorado

Robert Ritchie

Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty

970.379.1500

Robert.Ritchie@sothebysrealty.com

AspenValues.com

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

Nap Bars

From nap bars to napping pods, a new set of businesses aims to help a sleep-deprived society relax and rejuvenate. Find the one nearest to you!

Luxury Waterfront Property on Hilton Head Island

Only once in a lifetime does a legacy property like 136 Fort Walker Drive on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina become available!

Lifestyle and Longevity

New values, shifting demographics and technology are all transformative agents in 2020, and each will shape real estate and design well into the next decade.

One-of-a-Kind Residence on Lake St. Clair in Michigan

With approximately 445 feet of water frontage, this property is set on 4.3 acres in Grosse Point Shores, Michigan and showcases panoramic views of Lake St. Clair.

365 Days of Summer

Bring the outdoors in to create your space to enjoy a summer state of mind all year round.

Furniture Shopping Made Simple

MY Furniture, a luxury, high-quality furniture retailer, has made it easy for customers to enjoy furniture shopping without ever having to leave their homes.

Big Gardens for Small Spaces

By focusing on a desire to nurture carefully grown fauna, this company has rethought the living wall by making gardening easy for small spaces.

How To Make Your Home Sports-Friendly

Whether you’re looking to add a basketball or tennis court, or something more adventurous like a putting green, home golf simulator or bocce ball court, having the ability to play these sports while at home can provide countless hours of enjoyment.

Centered on the Earth

These three boutique travel companies offer sustainable yet luxurious opportunities to see — and even help save — the planet.

Salt of the Earth

Given the spike in natural wellness practices, man-made salt caves are popping up across America — promoting a wealth of health benefits.

No Reserve Auction September — Exclusive Dallas Estate

Located in the sought-after rural city of Anna, Texas, Bodark Acres offers a wonderful relaxed quality of life.

One-of-a-Kind Residence on Lake St. Clair in Michigan

With approximately 445 feet of water frontage, this property is set on 4.3 acres in Grosse Point Shores, Michigan and showcases panoramic views of Lake St. Clair.

You Have Arrived: Frank Aazami and the Private Client Group

The Private Client Group brand at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty has a passion for offering first-class service.

In the Heart of Key West

Listed by Ocean Sotheby's International Realty, this is your chance to buy a bit of Key West history, along with a unique house with serious celebrity status!

Rise to the Top

Subscribed to REAL TRENDS 500? This year, Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate members were recognized more than 150 times in the REAL Trends 500. Find out more about these top agents!

A Modern Masterpiece: A Village of One’s Own

From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm coming from this Pennsylvania home.

Under the Radar: North Cyprus and Canada

In honor of our annual Global issue, we highlight areas not always thought of at the top of the luxury real estate list — but they should be.

Selling Near the Stars

With neighbors including Sandra Bullock, Ricky Martin and Tony Pritzker, it’s no surprise this Beverly Hills estate recently sold for $42.75 million.

The Abundance of Aspen

Aspen’s abundance has grown in terms of luxury, from fine restaurants, world-renowned ski resorts to some of the most culturally stimulating experiences.

Footloose Fortunes

While the pace of wealth creation may be slowing, the story now is how it’s spreading around and prompting change in real estate markets around the globe.

Breathtaking Beauty, Uniqueness and Exclusivity in Portofino, Italy

This spacious apartment in Calata Marconi features two levels with four windows (two on each level) overlooking the sea — a true rarity in the most exclusive and well-known village, positioned at the heart of a green promontory surrounded by the bluest sea.

Nap Bars

From nap bars to napping pods, a new set of businesses aims to help a sleep-deprived society relax and rejuvenate. Find the one nearest to you!

Luxury Waterfront Property on Hilton Head Island

Only once in a lifetime does a legacy property like 136 Fort Walker Drive on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina become available!

Direct Oceanfront in Massachusetts

Sophistication abounds in this property, which has sweeping views over all of Plum Island sound and the Atlantic Ocean in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

A Unique Country Sanctuary in Dublin Hill

Award-winning design-build firm SBP HOMES is bringing life to a six-residence development on private Dublin Hill Drive in a bucolic and convenient section of mid-country Greenwich.

Elegance, Luxury and Sophistication in Michigan

This captivating Michigan offering features luxury living indoors and out and can accommodate a guest house and/or boat house on Bay Harbor Lake.

Jump for Jubilado

From benefits for retirees and an assortment of visa options, to the sights and real estate options, there is much to see and experience in Panama.

ELITE 2020: Elegance Abounds in Massachusetts

This newly constructed Shingle-style home on coveted Smith's Point in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, is strategically set on 3-plus acres.

Elite 2020: Trusted in Marblehead

Heather and Mary (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Agents) are trustworthy negotiators offering a high level of service, integrity & trust.

A Peaceful Paradise

Tired of being cooped up working from home? Make your summer of 2020 as enjoyable as possible on peaceful Isle of Palms at this luxury rental paradise!
Leave a comment
hello

Perfecting the Imperfect

PHOTOS FROM WABI-SABI: FURTHER THOUGHTS BY LEONARD KOREN

The ancient Japanese design philosophy of Wabi-Sabi turns “the not-beautiful into the beautiful.”

What happens when a new design trend highlights the beauty of imperfections?

The aesthetic of wabi-sabi was originally related to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, but has since been developed into a design style, highlighting all things “opposite of perfect.” Unique and striking by nature, this style derives from a deep understanding and respect for time and recognizing the beauty in the understated.

Author Leonard Koren describes this distinctive philosophy in multiple ways, from the “antithesis of the Classic Western aesthetic notion of beauty,” to the “beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete; of things modest and humble; of things unconventional.” Before writing two books on wabi-sabi, Koren first learned the term during his youth in the 1960s. As he describes in his book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, to him the term initially seemed to be “a nature-based aesthetic paradigm … a perfect antidote to the pervasively slick … corporate style of beauty that I felt was desensitizing American society.”

Koren notes that when physically manifested, wabi-sabi is related to the “entropic processes that all living things are subject to,” meaning that it embraces the method of showing objects that are worn or time-weathered. Antiques, for example, are generally imbued with qualities of wabi-sabi, Koren says. “An 18th century Italian desk, for instance will have evidence of hundreds of years of human use and misuse — along with the discoloration and natural deterioration that comes with age.” Further, he reminds us that despite its appearance, the character and merit of the desk “is not diminished by these ‘imperfections.’”

Another aspect that Koren stresses is that wabi-sabi art or design pieces are often initially perceived as ugly. “It is the transmutation of the not-beautiful into the beautiful that is part of the magic of wabi-sabi,” he affirms. He adds that every person perceives this aesthetic in different ways and applies it where they think it best. Though not as well known as styles like Modern or Contemporary just yet, designers and artists are appreciating the freedom and creative liberties of wabi-sabi and are finding ways to apply it in various ways.

Passionate about Japanese culture for over 10 years, Ukranian designer Sergey Makhno calls himself a devotee of minimalism and wabi-sabi, calling it a “manifesto of nature and tradition, simplicity [and] tranquility.” Makhno, like Koren, relates the philosophy to the impermanence and imperfections of man, asking that if man is imperfect, why should the place he calls home be perfect? As the founder of Makhno Studio, Makhno works on a multitude of projects, but his first venture in applying wabi-sabi principles into a physical space was in his own home.

“I had to make sure that the design philosophy was practical,” he says, and from its first installation it was a success. The project, titled Wabi-Sabi Apartment, has won multiple interior design competitions and showcases qualities that Makhno chose to highlight: honoring nature, remembering history, loving art and showing courage.

From the moment you walk in, the Wabi-Sabi Apartment boasts a carefully designed interior that is in stark contrast with the concrete cityscape outside. The walls are finished with clay, in a technique seen in older Ukrainian homes, while the wooden beams that support the ceiling and doorways are left looking rough and rustic. Nature is also represented in bonsai trees and a small roof garden.

PHOTO FROM WABI-SABI: FOR ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, POETS & PHILOSOPHERS BY LEONARD KOREN

Much of the furniture and art also display the aesthetic in simple yet functional ways. For example, the metal lampshades hanging in the home help integrate a contemporary element to the overall earthy, natural interior. “Their own imperfections also demonstrate how the ancient philosophy of wabi-sabi can find new applications in contemporary design, making us appreciate the beauty of handmade objects through the use of natural materials,” according to Makhno Studio.

Makhno says wabi-sabi provides simple principles that anyone can follow. From the use of natural materials that show signs of wear, as well as colors that tie closely to the earth, to incorporating nature itself, Makhno stresses that “things live with and for the person; a person does not live for the sake of things.”

Another design choice Makhno mentions is the incorporation of kintsugi pieces, or kintsukuroi, which roughly translates into “golden joinery.” These pieces are created through the traditional Japanese practice that joins broken fragments of ceramics together with gold, which according to ceramic artist Tomomi Kamoshita is viewed almost as a reincarnation of the original object. “When cherished pieces are broken, we save them and transform them into keshiki (the restored piece),” she says, giving the ceramic a “new life.”

PHOTOS BY ANDREY AVDEENKO

Kamoshita agrees that kintsugi is similar to wabi-sabi, as both practices aesthetically represent imperfect beauty that prevails despite wear and time. “All things continue to change. Even ceramics,” she says. “Anything can break for any kind of reason. It’s sad, but you can revive it with your own hands,” giving it back a sense of adoration and cherishment. This new life further continues an object’s story and embodies beauty in simple things, which encompasses wabi-sabi. As Makhno himself notes, “the story is that things can be repaired, not thrown away.”

PHOTO BY ANDREY AVDEENKO

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.

Leave a comment
hello

Dressed for Success

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

David Meister’s journey to become a fashion designer to the stars is based on “no rules” and creating timelessness.

A fashion designer or a brain surgeon. As a kid, the “very opinionated” David Meister already decided he was going to be one or the other. It was Cher who convinced him to choose fashion. Or actually, her dress.

Meister couldn’t help but notice how great Cher looked on “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.“ “I watched the credits where it said ‘Cher’s Gown by Bob Mackie,’ and that’s how I realized that people could really do that,” he says, meaning design celebrity evening wear. From that point on, Meister put himself on a path toward fashion stardom.

Meister went on to study Fashion at the University of Cincinnati College of Design. He would later move on to New York City where he worked at Danskin, a fitness and body wear company. There, Meister learned to work with all types of fabric and how it can be used to effortlessly accentuate and flatter a woman’s form. It wasn’t long before he had his first collection of evening wear in 1998, followed closely by his first fall line, which was composed of the more modern evening wear that came to be the beginnings of his brand and signature style. His career has only grown since the 1990s, as he’s gone on to create a daytime dress collection, a line of bridal dresses, and numerous pieces that can be found in top luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as top boutiques across the country.

Apart from his overall love for all things fashion, Meister notes that the aspect of fashion that appeals to him is that it’s always moving. “I love it because it’s never static or ever the same — it’s always different and it’s always changing, and it’s quick. There are no rules, there are no formulas.” He also says that design itself is just another form of creative problem solving — “problems” he continues to solve by creating beautiful pieces in a style that offers a “sense of timelessness” so they will stay fashionable no matter the decade. This style not only makes him stand out as an iconic designer, but as a master of his craft.

What keeps people coming back to Meister’s style is his judgment in terms of design, particularly with fit. “I think a great fit is key, something beautifully made that fits beautifully,” which helps him remain inclusive of all sizes. This is essential, especially for his clients who are walking the red car-pet, noting, “once you put a dress on and go on the red carpet, you should not be thinking about anything except smiling and feeling good you shouldn’t have to worry about anything else.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Meister’s pieces have become staples on the red carpet, as his star-studded list of clientele continues to grow along stars such as Diane Lane, Sofia Vergara, Tina Fey, Sigourney Weaver, and many others. Some of his favorite dresses include a hot pink piece worn by Felicity Huffman at the Emmys in 2007, as well as Valerie Bertinelli’s sky blue chiffon dress for her New Year’s Eve wedding, a personal request made to Meister only a week before the wedding. Even with the razor thin deadline, he and his team finished the dress in time for the wedding, a lovely gown worn by Bertinelli that was also featured on the cover of People Magazine in 2011.

Another strong passion of Meister’s is giving back to others. Now residing in Los Angeles, he frequently works with philanthropic groups in his free time. For example, with The Art of Elysium, Meister goes to communities in Los Angeles to support individuals in the midst of difficult emotional life challenges such as illness, hospitalization, or crisis. He does this by spending time with children or young adults, doing fun projects and helping them to be creative and expressive with art. Meister is also very involved in Dress for Success, having donated dresses and supported the organization as a whole.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

“I’ve always been a big supporter of this organization that works so hard to help people who are trying to put their lives back together and get back into the workforce,” Meister says, noting that it’s especially important for people to give back.

No matter the facet of life he sets his mind to, Meister showcases unwavering determination to succeed. When discussing his goals for the future, he humorously yet seriously says, “Simple: global domination.” Though these plans might take some time to reach their full effect, he adds that “if there’s something I want to do, I’ll do it.” He also recommends to anyone else interested in pursuing a career in fashion that this field is not for the faint-hearted.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Helen Mirren

©2013 JON KOPALOFF

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

PHOTO BY JOHN SHEARER / ©2009 WIREIMAGE

Viola Davis

PHOTO BY MATT BARON / BEI / SHUTTERSTOCK

Delilah Hamlin

PHOTO BY DAN MACMEDAN / WIREIMAGE

Diane Lane

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

Emmanuelle Chirqui 

“Fashion is one of those professions where if you’re talented and you just keep going, there’s no limit to where you can end up … You’re the master of your own destiny, but only if you want it, you have to work hard for it.”

 

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.

Leave a comment
hello