All posts by Mark Moffa

Tambor Tropical Resort Listed At $4.2 Million By Hurwitz James Company

Tambor Tropical in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, an intimate boutique beach resort featuring 12 beachfront suites on the Pacific Ocean, is listed for $4.2 million by Josh Reef of the Hurwitz James Company. Built with both comfort and adventure in mind, Tambor Tropical offers guests a unique experience to connect with nature while providing high-end amenities.
Located at the end of a short, palm tree-lined road in a serene, unspoiled setting, guests of the resort can enjoy an unforgettable experience with nature. Tambor Tropical nurtures local wildlife, and encourages guests to take advantage of the environment. Guests can enjoy activities ranging from yoga on the beach to stand up paddle boarding, and ziplining through the jungle to scuba diving off the coast. The resort also offers exciting birding trails and tours, with close to 300 different bird species on and around the property.
Each suite spans 1,000 square feet with full kitchens, a sitting area and hardwood floors, and there is one garden suite offering 700 square feet. The resort features a massage and Jacuzzi studio, a large beachside tile pool with a jacuzzi, 450 feet of beach frontage and about 200 acres of lush gardens. There’s a full restaurant, bar, kitchen, walk-in cooler, dry storage, dining rancho, exercise rando, laundry services and a maintenance shop.
Mitch Gabourie and Andrea Webb, who have stayed at the resort four times, say “There hasn’t been an instrument invented which could measure how much this special place means to my family and myself. It’s a paradise to heal all the slings and arrows of life. Beautiful as always… Amazing memories!” Five-time guests Ruth and Michael Smith state, “There is no place like Tambor Tropical.  It overwhelms the senses – the sight of the bay, the sounds of the monkeys and the birds, and the smells of the flowers. But just as special is the charm of the staff of Tambor. We will return for our sixth time next year to the paradise that is Tambor.”
The resort sits on 3.5 acres, with an additional 2.5 acres and 400 feet of beachfront available for condos and expansion. For more information, contact Josh Reef of the Hurwitz James Company.
Find Josh on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube.

Leave a comment

One Key to Success for RE/MAX's Top Agent: Unique Homes

Anne Miller of the RE/MAX Collection recently spoke with Unique Homes advertiser Jordan Cohen of RE/MAX Olson & Associates, Inc. and Kim Paucini-Hauch of RE/MAX Gold. In 2015, Cohen was honored as the number one RE/MAX Agent in the United States, closing over $125,000,000 in residential real estate. Cohen, the number 1 agent with the most Instagram hits, talks about the benefits of investing in high-end print publications like Unique Homes Magazine in addition to free marketing through social media platforms.
In the interview below, at the RE/MAX R4 Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cohen and Paucini-Hauch discuss how they got their start in the luxury real estate business, the tools they utilize to succeed and more.

Leave a comment

Big Island’s Kohanaiki Debuts State-of-the-art Clubhouse

At 67,000 square feet, the clubhouse is one of the largest in the world

Kohanaiki, the first luxury development on the Kona Coast in nearly a decade, has finished construction on its exquisite new clubhouse and spa, raising the bar for private residential communities across the globe. Incorporating the finest features and finishes, including more than eleven miles of cedar decking throughout, the clubhouse boasts world-class amenities and unexpected extras including a James Bond-style cigar lounge with a poker table and scotch bar hidden behind a secret door, a museum-worthy collection of more than 200 artworks and artifacts, a private brewery, a four-lane bowling alley, as well as a holistic spa designed by the leader in modern spa design, Tracy Lee.
“Our members are a well-traveled and sophisticated set with the world at their fingertips, so we were challenged to create a clubhouse that was larger-than-life and incorporates clever details to surpass anything done before at a private residential community,” said General Manager of Kohanaiki, George Punoose. “We designed the clubhouse to be the heartbeat of the community. I’ve always said that the best part of Kohanaiki is the people, and this clubhouse will play a big role in bringing all of our members together under one roof to enjoy each other and our incredible location.”
Kohanaiki’s young, family-oriented membership drove the development team to create a fun, relaxed environment for all ages to enjoy. The 21-seat movie theater and four-lane bowling alley were crafted with the latest technology and design in mind, and are complemented by an assortment of snacks, candies and drinks. Kids will find endless entertainment options with video game rooms, shuffleboard, pool tables and the K-Kids Children’s Center, while their parents can host events in one of two private dining rooms, sip from the rare wine collection in the tasting room, or enjoy a game of poker in the cigar lounge behind a secret door with a modern speakeasy feel.

Tracy Lee—owner of TLee Spas and designer of many of Auberge Resorts’ signature spas—created treatments inspired by two words: “Aloha Aina,” or “the love of the land.” Reflecting the unique philosophy and teachings of native Hawaiian healers, the menu features locally sourced botanical ingredients and reflects ancient healing traditions of the island. The Spa features four freestanding treatment rooms, including one for couples and one specifically for skincare, all of which will boast outdoor showers and soak tubs. A salon for nails, makeup and hair pampers members, while the 25-meter pool, yoga lawn and advanced training equipment and studios keep them active. Kohanaiki aims to maintain harmony of the mental, emotional and spiritual self, focusing on the preventative health of members so they may live a fully engaged, vibrant life.

Known for its focus on sourcing the finest ingredients from across the world, and oftentimes from its own organic community farm, Kohanaiki is expanding its food and beverage offerings with the debut of Kōnane, a sophisticated 2,261 square-foot, 120-seat Chop House and Sushi Bar by Executive Chef Patrick Heymann. Located on the top floor of the clubhouse, each table overlooks the event lawn and offers the best ocean and sunset views on the island.

Downstairs, brewmaster Garratt Fitts has worked with Kohanaiki to create signature beers in the 300-square-foot brewery, where new concoctions are made daily and members can taste seasonal flavors. For members who prefer wine, the clubhouse has reserved space for prized bottles, with wine storage lockers lining the hallways of the lower level. There is also 50 years of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in the clubhouse wine room, where members can host private tastings among some of the most coveted wines in the world.

The clubhouse was designed by renowned architect Shay Zak of Zak Architecture, who is known for his ability to capture the spirit of the sites where he works while honoring the principles that make good design. The clubhouse design represents a modern Hawaiian aesthetic. Combined with the rare collection of Hawaiian literature found in the clubhouse, ancient remedies in the spa and an impressive gallery of historic art pieces and artifacts, members will be consistently reminded of the land’s rich history and culture dating back hundreds of years.

Kohanaiki’s clubhouse is now open to members and their guests. Membership is associated with purchasing real estate at Kohanaiki, with homes ranging from $3 million to over $22 million. To find out more, click here.

1 Comment

Beyond Golf In Arizona

By Kirsten Niper

Pine Canyon, outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Talking Rock Ranch, nearby Prescott, Arizona, recently welcomed Unique Homes to tour both properties and experience the stirring lifestyle they are curating. Operated by Symmetry Companies, whose motto is “Inspiring the Human Spirit,” both clubs offer top-tier amenities, including Jay Morrish-designed
golf courses.

My first visit was to Pine Canyon. Upon arrival, it was clear that the residents were the number one concern for the staff. One of the first things highlighted on our trip was the dog park, which was brought to life after a member formed a stewardship committee. “The most important thing is people. We can talk all day about service and lifestyle, but the most important is community. You have to create it and build it with a consistent set of values and a brand standard,” shares Annie Brown, vice president of Club and Membership Services, Resort Communities.

Pine Canyon offers distinctive communities throughout its 600-plus acres. Homesites start from the $100,000s; custom residences from the $900,000s; and cabins, condominiums and townhouses from the high $500,000s. Community amenities include a clubhouse with state-of-the-art spa and fitness facilities, a second amenity building with three pools, two tennis courts and a clubhouse for children and 7-acre Trout Creek Park. “The championship golf course, clubhouse and Camp Pine Canyon for kids set us apart from other Northern Arizona properties,” says Deanna Keck, executive vice president of community development and sales with Pine Canyon.

Talking Rock has developed an active and social lifestyle for those nearing retirement age. “The serene, peaceful environment, plus the hiking, biking and clubs offer a unique lifestyle in the Prescott area,” shares Jim Jones, designated broker with Talking Rock.

The Ranch Compound is the focus of community life, offering the Ranch House Restaurant and Morgan’s Bar and Grill, the Fitness Barn, Golf Shop, Coop’s Coffee House a pool and tennis courts. Offerings include Cooper Ranch homes from $574,900, Ranch Cottages from $459,900 and the Signature Series by Mandalay Homes that will exceed current energy code requirements.

During my visits to each property, I got to see a unique perspective of the communities and how much emphasis is put on the residents. From early morning hikes along Talking Rock’s championship golf course to seeing the petroglyphs near the property, to the spa day at Pine Canyon and gourmet meals at both locations, the human spirit is definitely inspired.


Leave a comment

What You Can Buy Around the World for $4.5 Million

To mark our 45th year, we scoured the world to find 10 dream homes, from waterfront estates to country manses.

By Samantha Myers, Kirsten Niper and Kelly Potts

To commemorate our November/December “Global” edition of Unique Homes in this, our 45th year, we scoured the world to find 10 dream homes that could be purchased with $4.5 million. We discovered a diverse array of offerings, from waterfront estates to country manses, and historic properties to Contemporary works of art.

Marbella, Andalucia, Spain

La Zagaleta is one of Europe’s most exclusive residential and golfing estates, attracting celebrities, business people, even nobility.

With just two entrances, the community offers 24-hour security, two golf courses, a clubhouse, equestrian center and a helipad. This sought-after villa is built in the Andalusian style, with extensive terraces, a fountain, courtyard and views of the countryside and mountains. The heated swimming pool and gazebo are the centerpieces of the landscaped gardens. Enter the immaculate villa through a double-height entrance hall.

Features of the home include air conditioning, a spacious lounge with a fireplace, a fully fitted kitchen with a breakfast area, a staff bedroom with an en suite bath, and a three-car garage. The villa is offered for about $4.3 million and is listed by Diana Morales Properties of Knight Frank.

Photo courtesy Diana Morales Properties

San Jose, Costa Rica

On the west side of San Jose, in a gated, exclusive community that offers a private entrance, 24-hour security, tennis courts, a basketball court, swimming pools and a clubhouse, the setting could not be any better for this impressive home.

Listed by John Ordoñez with Luxury Homes C.R. for $4.5 million, the residence features its own award-winning pool, maid’s quarters, a meeting room, independent office space, spacious bedrooms with panoramic views, social areas and first-class luxury finishes.

This mansion is only minutes from Santa Ana, Escazu’s business area and commercial areas.

Photo courtesy Luxury Homes C.R.

Vancouver, British Columbia

On Erwin Drive in one of West Vancouver’s most prestigious neighborhoods is this Contemporary home.

Listed for $4.388 million by Tim Webb with Royal LePage Sussex Realty, the 4,046-square-foot residence offers indoor/outdoor living via an expansive patio with a fireplace and hot tub, plus open-design entertainment rooms and a gourmet island kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

The planning and construction was incredibly thoughtful, with the highest-quality finishes offered, including radiant heated flooring for cooler nights, four fireplaces and a two-car garage.

Photo courtesy Royal LePage Sussex Realty

Stockholm, Sweden

On the very edge of a crag, with views of Lake Mälaren in Höglandet, Bromma, this property boasts a total area of about 6,450 square feet, and adjacent space.

The home was designed in 1962 by a top architect of the time, Anders Tengbom. After purchasing the property in 2004, the current owners hired architect Anders Landström for renovations beginning in 2005. With horizontal lines often seen in the residences of Frank Lloyd Wright and in the spirit of James Bond, this home is one of the best for the discerning buyer.

While walking among the houses on Grönviksvägen in Bromma, in an out-of-the-way location, it’s hard to imagine what lies there, half-concealed behind a row of terraced houses. From the other side, on the water, you can see just how fantastic the home is, occupying the most magnificent setting on the Bromma side. This top-quality villa is being listed for $4.306 million by Anders Alf of Eklund Stockholm New York.

Photo ©Jesper Florbrant

Long Beach, Indiana

Luxury living awaits you in this pristine home, big enough to entertain the whole family, with six bedrooms, seven full baths and living spaces for all ages to enjoy.

Wake up to the sound of waves lapping along the shore of Lake Michigan. Spend your day at the beach enjoying sunshine and a refreshing breeze. Hang out on the grilling deck while cooking and enjoy the benefits of your lower lakeside patio and pool that extends the season of swimming. Retreat into the master suite that boasts views of Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in the background.

Only 1 hour from the city, this 7,950-square-foot beach house is the ultimate getaway destination. Listed by Line Mullins of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for $4.15 million, this home offers the finest finishes and craftsmanship, with an open-concept floor plan and a coastal design.

Photo courtesy Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Newburyport, Massachusetts

Built circa 1773, the Lowell-Tracy-Johnson House is billed as the finest mansion in historic Newburyport.

Listed by Anne Neal and Melissa Corkum, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the home is on over three private acres, just a short walk from downtown. The home has been modernized and outfitted with state-of-the-art systems, but remains true to its historic elegance — the main staircase is considered one of the architectural treasures of the city.

The circa-1850 carriage house has been reimagined, and now offers a cutting-edge music chamber/performance space, a two-car garage and two apartments/guest quarters. This home is offered for $4.1 million, and this is its first time back on the market in 20 years.

Photo ©Jeremiah True

Coventry, England

Listed for up to approximately $3.662 million (asking price is £2.5 million to £3 million), Coton House has a long, exciting history.

The Manor of Coton was held by the monks of Coombe Abbey before it was sold in 1551 to the Dixwell family after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Dixwell family built a moated manor house on the property, and in 1787, Abraham Grime replaced the home with the present house, built to the designs of Samuel Wyatt. From 1948 to 1968, Coton house served as a hostel for a nearby Rugby industrial company before being purchased by the post office in 1970.

After suffering a fire in 2010, the current developer has remodeled the residence with luxury features throughout, while being mindful of the historical features. Coton House is listed by Fine and Country.

Photo courtesy Fine and Country

St. George’s, Grenada

Laluna Villa Estate is a very private and exclusive development on the dramatic coastline of Morne Rouge, just 10 minutes from both the capital of St. George’s and the international airport.

Nestled on 30 acres of prime waterfront land and designed by two acclaimed Italian architects, the property offers a warm and intimate atmosphere where you can enjoy the casual and unique Caribbean lifestyle. The development consists of seven five-bedroom villas, all uniquely designed to offer stylish surroundings, privacy, unobstructed sea views and resort access.

With the purchase of a villa, you can get all the benefits of a Caribbean vacation home, with bonus access to amenities and services of Laluna resort. This villa is being listed by Peter Wallace of Coldwell Banker Grenada Realty for $3.95 million.

Photo courtesy Coldwell Banker Grenada Realty

Angwin, California

Surrounded by vineyards offering stunning views all around, this Italian-inspired estate offers privacy, style and ease of living. Sitting atop Staples Ridge, the 5,900 square feet offers five bedrooms, five baths and a separate apartment.

Enjoy the expansive and peaceful decks that offer vineyard and valley views, creating the perfect setting to enjoy the custom-designed infinity pool.

Offered at $4.25 million by Cyndi Gates of Gates Estates Sotheby’s International Realty, the gated residence has stunning views of the surrounding California area from every window.

Photo ©Jack Journey Photography

Milton, Ontario, Canada

This unique home situated on 8,483 square feet backs onto lush conservation land and offers a luxurious lifestyle. Relax in the master suite that offers a gas fireplace, dressing room, five-piece en suite with jetted soaker tub and a walkout to a private covered terrace.

Find the heart of the home in the gourmet eat-in kitchen, featuring custom Barzotti cabinetry, marble countertops, a walk-in pantry and an 11-piece stainless steel Gaggenau appliance package, or the great room with coffered ceilings and oversized windows.

Listed at $4.089 million by Brad Miller of The Goodale Miller Team Century 21 Miller Real Estate, the home also has an eight-seat Hydropool hot tub and a raised deck overlooking the lush forest.

Photo ©Brad Quan with Q Studios


1 Comment

Luxury Closets: Transformative and Transitional

Luxury closets are more lavish than ever, as designers are eschewing traditional styles to meet homeowners' demands.

By Samantha Myers

Ten years ago, closet design didn’t exist the way it does today. “When I started the company in 2007, I didn’t know another luxury closet designer,” says Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design. “There were always closet cabinet companies, but what has changed is the design aspect. People are starting to see the value in the design and the potential of creating these amazing closet spaces.”

Closets are no longer simply spaces to hold clothing and items, but are becoming as luxurious as the products they store. “The designs are getting elevated,” says Emily Giebel, design consultant for California Closets. “Customers are looking for more items than are typically in a custom builder closet, and the trends are being pushed by things they see on Pinterest. If they value their closet, they don’t want to do wire racks, they want to make the closet something they can walk into and say it’s great.” Giebel added that she has sold more closets for over $18,000 in the last two years than in the previous five.

The price range for a luxury closet is typically $10,000 to $50,000, but can go up to $500,000. Adams recalls one of the most grandiose closets she designed — a three-story closet in Bel Air, Los Angeles. “It was spectacular in its materials and finishing, details and accessories. Imagine gold leaf cabinet details, a spiral staircase, biometrics, a jewelry room, cosmetics refrigerator, a panic room,” Adams says. Giebel recently finished a well-appointed closet with leather countertops. “They were purely for an aesthetic purpose; there’s nothing practical about a leather countertop,” she joked.

While extravagant features obviously appear in the higher price range, one of the biggest trends sweeping closets across-the-board is a display-orientated design, inspired by luxury retail boutiques. “Display is functional,” Adams says. “If you see it, then you’re more likely to wear it, to use it. In all the closets that I design, my motto is to be able to see everything in a single glance.”

Boutique-style closet design has employed glass as a means of achieving both display and storage, and is becoming a resounding trend. Another trend is custom lighting, as well as lighting in hanging rods, a technological detail that has been growing in the last few years. “Ten years ago, we didn’t have all those options. We didn’t have glass doors, glass drawers, high-gloss, all that stuff throughout the home that is now being offered in a closet,” Giebel explains. “A lot of the trends are coming from the furniture industry, and we have vendors giving us access to these things.” Up-to-date with interior design trends, closets are adopting a transitional look, leaving behind the traditional style that was popular in the past. “I’ve seen a trend in mixing materials and textures. Blush, brass and marble are hot right now,” Adams adds.

Because closets are receiving more attention on the back end from vendors and distributers, they are becoming focal points for homeowners, comparable to the conventional rooms in a house. “I’m seeing people take rooms over and make them into closets,” Giebel says. “And when additions are done to the home, they are putting more thought into the master walk-in.”

These architectural and design developments suggest that closets are becoming the new “room” in the house, some fit with center islands, couches, vanities and televisions. “People are converting spare rooms to dressing rooms, and I even have projects now where we are converting a living room and dining room into dressing rooms. It’s the feel-good room in the house!” Adams says.

When it comes down to the basics, there are a few things that Adams thinks every walk-in needs. “Every luxury closet should have matching hangers, high-quality functional hardware, a nice finish or lacquer, organized drawers with partitions, base and ceiling molding, and cabinetry that goes to the ceiling,” Adams says. “Similar to a luxury car, you would expect high-quality detailing and a nice paint finish.” Giebel finds importance in mirror options, especially full-length mirrors and decorative molding.

“What I love about my job is to see how something that is in my mind so economical, change somebody so easily by giving you more storage, or making you put things in a certain place so you know where to find them,” says Giebel. “It’s something that’s so simple that they don’t even think about, but it’s transformative. It makes peoples’ lives less chaotic in the mornings, more simple when they are getting dressed.” And for Adams, “I love closets because they are intimate spaces that blend function, art, design and fashion all together.”


Leave a comment

Dazzling on the Dunes

A Lake Michigan Contemporary compound breathes life into a protected seashore.

By Zachary Chase
Photography by David Kingma & Roger Wade Studios

Merriam Webster defines a “labor of love” as “a labor voluntarily undertaken or performed without consideration of any benefit or reward.”
According to that definition, The Dunes, a 40-acre private lakefront oasis in Montague, Michigan, fails to qualify. Make no mistake; the labor was most certainly there — how else to explain the years of approvals to even get the go-ahead to build in a protected Lake Michigan Critical Dune Area? But so was the reward — how else to explain the rousing, remarkable structure that has redefined coastal development in this idyllic hamlet?
Truth be told, it took vision simply to…

Click here for the full story, as seen in the Fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates.

Leave a comment

Australia’s Wild Card: Greg Natale

By Sarah Binder


With a new tile collection debuting later this year, two new rug collections and a second carpet line launching next year, and a major refurbishment of a hotel nearly completed, Greg Natale is the design world’s equivalent of the Energizer Bunny, if it just so happened to live Down Under.
The Sydney, Australia-based interior designer embarked on his solo career with a project that others may deem low-key — designing his sister’s one-bedroom apartment. Natale made a splash by transforming it into a multi-award-winning space.
“I installed wall-to-wall, custom-colored Florence Broadhurst wallpaper, layering it with matching artwork and linen,” Natale, founder of Greg Natale Design, says. “The apartment was published in Australian Belle and the UK magazine Wallpaper* and won me my first award, the 2002 Belle Wild Card award, a category created especially for me. Since then, I haven’t looked back.”
Self-described as being “obsessed” with the realm of design since he was young, Natale grew up fascinated with the worlds he saw on television and in film. “The incredible settings showed me that there were endless creative possibilities and inspired me to design my own amazing spaces,” he explains.
Natale studied interior design at Sydney’s Design Centre Enmore, followed by visual arts at Sydney College of the Arts, and architecture at the University of Technology Sydney. In 1996, he received his first break at a residential design firm as a junior interior designer. From there, he worked in two more commercial firms before launching Greg Natale Design in 2001…

Click here for the full story as seen in the fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates.

Leave a comment

The Pageantry of Portage Bay

By Alyson Pitarre


Rising from opposing wedges of glass and concrete, the monolithic steel structure of this Seattle lakefront architectural gives one the distinct feeling that it is reaching out to the view of Portage Bay and pulling it right into the home. The stunning effect — “a seascape pageantry,” as listing agent Wendy Lister of Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle calls it — is by pure design.
“I wanted it to feel as though you were descending into the view, but also pulling the view in and enveloping the space,” reveals architect Dave Dykstra. “Great consideration was given to making sure the view became a grandelement of the home and the experience of living there.”
Dykstra fashioned the 4,468-square-foot residence around the elemental qualities of water, first by extending the house toward the bay and then by integrating the pool and spa into the overall design. Being careful not to disrupt the full-width-view frontage of the home’s main great room, he oriented the spa and sunlit pool— which won an award in 2009 — with expansive terracing along the side of the home. The resulting placement protects the pool against the wind and connects the water elements to the landscape, unfolding and cascading, one into the next…

Click here for the full story as seen in the fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates.

Leave a comment

Coldwell Banker Reports: Top Trends Shaping the Luxury Real Estate Landscape

By Mark Moffa

Recently, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC asked seven respected and knowledgeable sales associates and broker/owners affiliated with the ColdwellBanker® brand to gather for a roundtable discussion to reveal and examine the developments currently having the greatest effect on the industry.
As we were preparing for the roundtable, we expected to hear that buyers are concerned about safety and security, highly focused on technologyand smart homes, and even preoccupied with spaces for their collections of art, wine or cars. And to some extent this was true. But it was clear that our panelists are also finding…

Click here for the full story, as seen in the Fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates. 

Leave a comment