ULTIMATE HOMES 2019: THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOMES FOR SALE IN AMERICA

OUR EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOMES FOR SALE IN AMERICA

This is the 15th year the editors of Unique Homes have published Ultimate Homes. Our comprehensive list of every property for sale in the U.S. for at least $25 million starts on page 52 of our recent Ultimate edition, and remains the only of its kind. Below, you will find a list of the top 10 most expensive properties featured on this year’s list — starting with a $500 million estate in Bel Air, California and ending with a $135 million property in Manalapan, Florida.

$500 million
The One
Bel Air, California

 

$250 million
Mesa Vista Ranch
Pampa, Texas

$245 million
Chartwell
Bel Air, California

$180 million
908 Bel Air Road
Bel Air, California

$165 million
Villa Firenze
Beverly Hills, California

$150 million
Billionaire
Bel Air, California

$150 million 
Meadow Lane Oceanfront
Southampton,
New York 

$145 million
90 Jule Pond Drive
Southampton,
New York

$137.5 million
Gemini
Manalapan, Florida

$135 million
Wallingsford Estate
Beverly Hills, California

$135 million
The Beverly House
Beverly Hills, California

$135 million
La Follia
Palm Beach, Florida

The list originally appeared in Unique Homes
Ultimate ’19. 

Click here to see the digital copy. 

To see the full list, click here and continue to pages 58, 64, 68 and 72

Featured photo courtesy of Tyler Hogan

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The Ultra High End’s New Story

The Ultra High End’s new story: No longer is ultra high-end real estate in the U.S. just about NYC and LA.

Beverly Hills, Manhattan and Miami, along with one or two other cities, have traditionally been the locus of the most expensive and most exclusive real estate in the U.S. Now, in an increasingly diverse geographic mix from Boston to Boulder, more properties align with what the industry calls the ultra or premier market. Uber prices in these locations might not number in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are the highest of that market. And, no matter the ZIP code, it’s likely that properties at the very top share similar attributes. 

Worldwide, the number of millionaires and billionaires continues to grow, with the U.S. still accounting for the largest share of mega wealthy. “I think the change we are seeing in the growth in the ultra high-end is directly correlated to the growth of significant wealth in the world. More people have more significant money,” says Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International.

“Interestingly,” she says, “it’s diversifying too. In the U.S., no longer is the story just about NYC and LA. Bottom line, the shift in location is a change that influences the high end of the housing market and the demand for significant properties in a way we have never seen before.”

Photo courtesy iStockPhoto.com / Sean Pavone

 

Traditionally, the very top of the market in Boston was the purview of the city’s legendary Brahmins. But the revitalization of downtown neighborhoods and growth of tech and finance, along with globally recognized educational institutions, are revamping the high end in both the city and suburbs. In 2018, there were 82-percent more luxury property sales than in 2014. Not only are more properties considered high end, but new luxury towers mix with traditional blue-chip estates.

 

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto / MattGush

Jonathan Radford with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England is representing the highest priced estate outside Central Boston. Woodland Manor is a $38 million property on more than 7 acres, five miles from the city centerline in Brookline. Photo courtesy of Boston Virtual Imaging.

The highest listing in the city is a $45 million penthouse occupying the entire 60th floor of the new Millennium Tower. Jonathan Radford with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England is representing the highest priced estate outside Central Boston. Woodland Manor is a $38 million property on more than 7 acres, five miles from city center in Brookline. “Over the ast 5 years, we have seen consistent growth in the number of luxury property transactions outside of the city of Boston, in the range of 10 percent to 30 percent per year, with the exception of 2016, when a shortage of inventory resulted in a 2.7-percent decline in the number of luxury sales. In 2018, there were 58-percent more luxury property sales than in 2014,” explains Radford. “In the city, growth in the number of luxury transactions has exceeded 25 percent a year.”

Beverly Hills agent Joyce Rey, head of the Estates Division of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, has brokered a number of record-setting transactions both regionally and nationally. “I never cease to be amazed at the constant ascension of real estate values. Any look in the rearview mirror at real estate values is always surprising because people realize and regret not buying more real estate. And it seems shocking today because when I founded Rodeo Realty in 1979, $1 million was a pretty major property.” The customary benchmark for luxury in many places has been $1 million. Now, in many locales, including Boulder, Colorado, the $1 million home is basically a redo. Boulder agents say luxury doesn’t begin until $2.5 million,
but even then, as Megan Bach with Colorado Landmark Realtors points out, “some homes are not necessarily luxury.” A more reliable gauge in Boulder, she says, is price per square foot, a measure often applied to premier markets in New York and California. She estimates luxury in Boulder begins at approximately $1,000 per square foot. The highest priced home currently on the market is a $9 million property on 15.42 acres outside of town with extensive views and strong indoor/outdoor connections. Having “great indoor views typically price bumps any home in any neighborhood here, as is the case in any view locale,” says Bach, emphasizing what might be a universal truth for uber luxury: No matter the location, the better the views and outdoor connections, the higher the price. 

Utah ay seem an unlikely spot for the ultra high-end, but prices now approach $10 million with the highest residential listing $26 million. Photo courtesy of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Sales over $10 million are very rare, but I think they are coming,” observes Debra Johnston, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties. Photo courtesy of Debra Johnston.

Along Florida’s west coast, values in upscale resort locales traditionally trailed Miami or Palm Beach. Now, “prices for beachfront in Naples begin at $20 million,” says Tade Bua Bell of John R. Wood Properties. The recent sale of a gulf-front property in the exclusive Port Royal for $48 million illustrates how much demand has changed. The home was eventually torn down and replaced with new construction. Another property also in Port Royal and destined for a tear down sold for $28 million. In the ultra-sphere, a $10 million or $20 million tear down is not an anomaly.

The uber market in Atlanta starts around $5 million to $7 million for new construction. “Sales over $10 million are very rare, but I think they are coming,” observes Debra Johnson, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties. “Buckhead is running out of large land lots, which is driving up the cost to build a dream house. The time it takes to build a new luxury home in the $5 million range could take up to 2 years. Many prospective buyers are instead buying the best flat lot they can find in a resale, and renovating the house to their taste level,” observes Johnson. In Atlanta, Los Angeles and other cities, lots suitable for prestige properties are at a premium.

In New York City, ultra luxury starts at $10 million, but Martin Eiden of Compass Real Estate says if you are looking for the “Wow factor” you have to be in the $18 to $40 million range. And anyone considering a trophy — what Eiden calls “I made it big” — property, generally has to look at $60 million and up. In the ultra-sphere, trophy properties often have over-the-top list prices. Greenwich, Connecticut, is a blue-chip bastion for prestige properties. Topping price points is a mid-country European style estate offered at $29.5 million, followed by a $22.5 million property, also in a premier estate setting. Old money locales tend to be timeless. In the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, uber prices currently do not exceed
the $20 million mark. The exception is a $62 million estate in McLean, Virginia, on 3.2 acres overlooking the Potomac and comprised of a main residence and The Marden House, which was designed and constructed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959. Also extraordinary is underground parking for 30 cars, bespoke interiors by Thomas Pheasant and some of the finest views of the river in the region. In the ultra realm, truly singular properties, particularly those with provenance, often merit singular list prices. Parking for dozens of cars might seem over the top, but garage space and parking are both important to high net worth buyers, according to Rey. What else is considered a must-have? Smart home tech, larger closets, a gym, kitchens and great rooms that flow, screening and media rooms. But, Rey emphasizes, “Location is still the number one consideration for buyers.”

The increasing diversity of locations in properties at the highest price points is basically a numbers game: more buyers, greater degrees of wealth, and price appreciation in the overall market. Simply, there are more people in more locations with greater net worth. Utah is an unlikely spot for the ultra high-end, but prices now approach $10 million with the highest residential listing at $26 million. The market changed in 2016, according to Kerry Oman, with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, who brokered the sale of a $13.5 million property in Provo Canyon, the highest-priced transaction in recent years. For the ultra market, the $5 million to $7 million range is typical, and $7 million to $10 million is no longer the exception, says Oman. In spite of growing national interest in Park City, demand for uber properties is most likely to come from home-grown wealth. In the ultra-realm, U.S. buyers dominate a majority of locations today. 

“A lot of money is coming out of Silicon Valley, and Seattle now. And we’re seeing a great migration of significant wealth to more resort markets like Hawaii, Florida and Texas, due to an aging affluent population and also attractive tax laws,” shares Anton. Taxes are only one driver for a new geographic mix of buyers in Florida and Georgia. Even before the tax law was passed, brokers like Bua Bell were reporting more interest from Colorado and California. Brokers in Naples and other cities are also seeing buyers from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Johnson says there has been a big increase in out-of-state buyers in Georgia in the last year. Ultra-luxury buyers in Greenwich have broadened in terms of their use of these properties and what they are looking for, observes Robin Kencel with Compass Real Estate. Some plan to make Greenwich their fulltime residence. Others are looking for a weekend or a summer retreat. “As people discover Greenwich’s natural beauty, from having four beaches to 600-plus nature trails to a breadth of year-round activities and its sophisticated, diverse and wholesome vibe, it is becoming an attractive alternative to the Hamptons,” she says. 

In the Washington D.C., metropolitan area, uber prices currently do not exceed the $20 million mark. The exception is a $62 million estate in McLean, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Gordon Beal. 

Sui generis is how some characterize the ultra market, but as distant and disconnected as it may seem, the ultra sector does not exist in a separate vacuum. “Everything’s fluid in luxury real estate,” says Gary Gold with Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, noting it’s not like the stock market where there is a definite price at the closing bell. “It doesn’t work that way. There are so many nuances. In general, when you have record sales, when you have record numbers of sales, when you have lots of positive activity, it has an overall significant effect on everything,” he explains.

“The rise in significant prices is a reflection of demand but also is consistent with the rise we’re seeing in luxury prices across the board,” says Anton. “According to Realtor.com, in Q4 of 2018, prices in the top 5 percent of markets in 1,000 U.S. cities closed at an increase of 4.7 percent year over year. It’s a bit of that old saying, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’” With pricing heading into the stratosphere, an ultra purchase might seem capricious — a product of desire rather than a well thought
out choice. Instead, no matter the price, it’s still a question of value. Every once in a while a buyer might make a crazy purchase, but agents say that’s a very rare occurrence. Even though prices might be well into the tens of millions, Gold says, “It’s not about the money. It’s about how everyone wants to make a smart purchase, and no one wants to be a chump. For the most part, when they make that purchase, people want to feel they have made a prudent, valuable purchase. People who are worth a lot of money are very used to making very very expensive acquisitions, whether it’s in business or personal.

They know how to wrap their head around these very large purchases.” “These buyers are highly sophisticated consumers and active in multiple luxury asset classes, from cars to art to jewelry. They want to know that beyond enjoying their property, they have made a sound business decision,” says Kencel. Ultra properties might be extravgent and indulgent, but the ultra buyer’s focus is still value and investment. When there are several properties on the market at the highest prices, agents often say, “When one sells, the others will to.” Surprisingly, experience does validate this claim. “If you see homes that are setting new precedent, I think it definitely is an endorsement in an area and a price range,” says Gold. Several years ago, Gold broke the $100 million price point in Los Angeles with the sale of the Playboy Mansion. “No one ever sold something well over a $100 million. Since then, we’ve seen more really big sales than ever before. It’s definitely a validation of an area, and people get more comfortable spending more money, so it’s a good sign.” And the impact trickles down. “The second I sold something for $100 million, all of a sudden the $5 million listings are now worth more.”

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.   

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Cover Story: The Ultimate Compound

No other property would be better suited for an issue devoted to prestige properties than the palatial waterfront mansion in Coral Gables, Florida, featured on our cover. It’s not often family, Miami and a palatial residence are mentioned in this same sentence, but that’s what makes this property is so spectacular.

The gated community of Gables Estates offers the ultimate in security, including patrols on the water. It’s not unusual to see children out on bikes and neighbors walking dogs here. Nearby are some of the best schools in the Miami. That’s one of many reasons why those who know the area see Gables Estates as one of the best neighborhoods, explains Sandra Fiorenza with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, who is representing the property.

The 14,443 square foot residence itself offers a huge measure of security with concrete construction and windows that exceed hurricane standards. The exterior is clad with marble, and the same stone — all from a single source — is used on covered balconies and lanais that overlook an infi nity pool and the blue of the wide lagoon. Inside, light dances throughout the home. A neutral palate becomes an ideal backdrop to showcase exquisite details such as Venetian plaster and carved plaster moldings, marble columns and stone carvings. The overall effect is elegant and restrained. 

An extensive master suite with his and her bathrooms occupies one wing of the second floor with an additional four en-suite bedrooms in an opposite wing. The home also has two offices, private staff quarters and a wine cellar. The site on the largest lagoon in Gables Estates also offers access to deep water and the ocean. With a new seawall and 140-foot dock, this could be the ultimate Miami home, as well as a perfect family compound. It’s easy to see why those who know the area see Gables Estates as one of the best places to call home. This Ultimate compound is priced at $25.9 million.

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.

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Feng Shui for Fall Decor

The start of a new season can lead to many new opportunities. For homeowners or interior designers it means the chance to reorganize and redecorate using new styles or regimens, one being Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese belief system with the idea that one’s living space can nourish positive energy. With the fall season right around the corner, there are a few simple ways one can take advantage of some of these concepts that can improve the atmosphere of the home.

Photo courtesy of Artisanti

Accents

As a material, metal represents intelligence and mental strength in Feng Shui. As an addition to the home, metal will attract positive energy while accentuating the fall season, including metal accents in items such as vases or wall decor which can enhance a space. Incorporating metallic paint colors like bronze, gray and gold can have the same effect. 

Photo courtesy of Chaplins Furniture

A bowl of fruit in a kitchen symbolizes a home that will never be without food and encourage healthy eating. Place bright, red apples in a stylish bowl to add a seasonal, stylish touch. Scented candles fill any room with a fall aroma, such as the enticing smell of apple pie or the crisp fall air. These scents will calm you while the decorative candle complements a room. 

Give the people entering your home a reason to take a moment to pause by hanging artwork on a wall. Place it in a foyer or front hall so guests take their time as they come in. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Photo courtesy of Garden Trading

Organization

Removing the clutter in a home is another way to fix the harmony in any space. Opulent organization techniques, like renovating a closet, will refresh a room’s ambiance. While organizing a space, rid yourself of items or furniture that don’t add purpose to the area. 

Shelving allows for an interesting focal point while allowing you to reorganize personal items. Larger shelves give more room to add decorations, books and storage. 

 

Photo courtesy of Covet House

Outdoors

Keep your outdoor space neat and remove tired-looking flowers or plants. Chrysanthemums, for example, bring in good luck and are often used in the practice of Feng Shui. They add balance to a person’s life and can balance out the look of a front yard with a pop of color. Flowers evoke feelings of beauty and grace. If gardening isn’t your thing, opt for artwork for either inside the home or in the yard. 

Doormats are the best way to have some flair and attract the possibility of new opportunities. Get into the habit of putting out new ones every week and steer away from your typical “Welcome” Funky patterns and designs can improve any dreary front porch or walkway. New habits spark good energy during any new season. 

Photo courtesy of LisaSarah – designs in steel

Photo courtesy of Melody Maison

Featured image courtesy of Lights4fun

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Creating Change: A Q&A with Patricia Anastassiadis

Headshot courtesy of Victor Affaro

 

From the Jumby Bay private island in Antigua to the palatial Palacio Tangara hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazilian architect and designer, Patricia Anastassiadis has collected a long, robust list of high profile international projects. Anastassiadis blends her love for anthropology, art, nature and history to create timeless and minimalist furnishings that create a dialogue. 

 

 

 

 

Most recently, she was chosen to be the Creative Director to design Artefacto’s highly-anticipated 2019 collection, which hit South Florida showrooms this past summer. Unique Homes spoke with Anastassiadis to discuss her journey to create Artefacto’s 2019 collection, her style and the future of design in a changing world. 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the first time that you ever thought about being a designer? Did it coincide with your original career path?

As a child, I was always put to sleep listening to Greek Mythology stories told by my father (who is Greek) and that exposed me at a very early age to the power of storytelling and the classics. My mother, on the other hand, is a fashion designer, a writer, and a painter. So as a teenager, I’ve always known that I would take part in the creative business …  At 17, I decided to apply for an architecture major as we’ve realized that architecture has always been a reference and a part of my life. 

 

Why do you do what you do? What about interior design draws you into it doing it every day?

Architecture itself tells a beautiful story about our time on this planet and the relationship we establish with our surroundings. That idea completely amazes me.

I don’t make a distinction between my work as an architect and my work as an interior and product designer. They are all extensions of my work. For me, it is all connected as I enjoy working with design on different scales, but most importantly, I like living with the idea of creating something that puts you in contact with another human being.

How would you describe the style of the new Artefacto collection?

This new edition is the continuation of the previous one launched in spring 2018 and our aim was to promote a dialogue between the two of them. I believe a good design piece ruptures its timeline without losing its aesthetic or functional relevance. Thus, my intention with this edition is to design furniture that is truly timeless. We are proposing a more holistic aesthetic linked to values that, despite the strong visual appeal, are not a synthesis of a trend. 

What do you draw inspiration from to form your own unique perspective?

My inspiration comes from nature, materials, architecture… All those different elements are part of the repertoire that moves me to create and design products of my own.

 

What can a client expect from you when you take on their project?

What marks our work is how we evaluate the location where the project will be held. I take into account the cultural characteristics; the local materials we can work with; the vernacular architecture of the place, and how people interact with it or behave there… I also really enjoy exploring and connecting materials, textures and colors… The aim of my work is to turn it all into an enhanced experience that will bring out the real essence of that location to visitors.

What recent changes in the industry have you noticed and want other designers to take part in?

I’ve been really concerned with the environmental issues, and consumption plays a big part in it as we’re also discussing discard. I believe we’ve really passed the time where we could just raise a flag over the problems we’ve been noticing in the world as a consequence of our damaging exploration of natural resources. We’re right now sensing an imminent call for action regarding the environmental issues. Change really is urgent. It’s essential that we, as designers and architects, are able to engage in the cause and make conscious choices when developing a project.

What can people expect from your new collection?

We’re now working with the concepts of a brand new edition. We’ve been inspired in the past by Japanese architecture, culture and design so we’ll keep developing that. We’ll also create a brand new chapter of furniture design with natural fibers and materials, inspired by food. We’ve also been experimenting with shape, adding volume to new pieces.

Any goals for this year, both for you and/or your brand?

Right now, I’m working on an upcoming Four Seasons hotel as well as a brand new collection of furniture design for Artefacto. There are new projects to be announced as well. But we can’t reveal much just yet.

Photos courtesy of Artefacto

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On Location: Entryway to the Sea

Upon entering Puerta Cortés — a 500-plus-acre property in La Paz, Baja California, I was immediately intrigued by its essentially untouched landscape and its proximity to the marvelous Sea of Cortez.

Puerta Cortés, is surrounded by the world’s richest body of water — home to rare sea life such as whale sharks, dolphins, grey whales, humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and more. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s sea life is represented in the Sea of Cortez, making it a prime destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea life exploration.

With seven marinas, Puerta Cortés demanded that I spent a day out on the water to discover Isla Espiritu Santo, swim with whale sharks, and explore sea lions habitats. I followed my day-long boating excursion with an ocean-view dinner as the sun set on the water.

Vista Mar

El Cortés Golf Club

Only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the small town feel of La Paz.

El Cortés Golf Club, boasting sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez from 17 of its 18 holes, is accompanied by a cliffside Clubhouse with views unlike any other. The perfect destination for a Mexican-style breakfast, the Clubhouse evokes a peaceful atmosphere — complete with a calming morning breeze coming off the sea, views of the course’s lush greenery and the crystal blue Sea of Cortez, and an assortment of growing cacti to complete the mountainous desert landscape.

Las Colinas

After spending a morning at the golf course, I headed to Blue Cortés — the signature beach club at Puerta Cortés — to enjoy an afternoon soaking in the sun, relaxing in the infinity pool, and indulging in fine international cuisine while poolside. 

Located only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the authentic, comfortable and small town feel of La Paz. 

When Davila visited the property with his wife six years ago, he immediately fell in love with the serene landscape of La Paz. 

“My wife and I were amazed by the fact that La Paz wasn’t better known, because we just found it to be the most beautiful place we’d ever seen,” he says. “I was mesmerized by its beauty, spectacular scenery and extraordinary amenities.”

Last year, Ascendancy — a Mexican-based family office and asset management firm — purchased the property and launched a $5 million renovation, which should be complete within the next 12 to 18 months. 

Currently the property offers two residential options — Las Colinas and Vista Mar, and Ascendancy is negotiating the construction of two, five-star hotels. The property will also soon sell cliffside, ocean-view lots. Other upgrades will include additional restaurants, an expanded on-site market, and a complete face lift for the beachfront.

“Puerta Cortés is an exclusive hideaway for those seeking unparalleled, coastal living and adventure in one of the most privileged locations in the world. I have met so many well-traveled visitors and residents who have seen and experienced some of the most incredible destinations in the world and have decided Puerta Cortés is where they want to be,” Davila says. 

The biggest draw of Puerta Cortes “to me is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, its beautiful colors and wonderful sea life.” Davila says his favorite thing about living in La Paz is “being about to go out on the water with my family and experience all of the beautiful sea life. I love the quality of life that my family gets living here.”

Photos courtesy Puerta Cortés

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.

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With Bundles of Joy

Lauren Behfarin saw a need for sophisticated design geared toward growing families.

Arriving home from the hospital with your newborn for the first time, rocking your infant child back to sleep, reading a book with your talkative toddler — a nursery will become the setting for endless, lasting memories as your child grows.

From falling in love with their first smile to cheering along their first steps, parents will inevitability spend many heartwarming hours in their child’s nursery — which means the space should bring joy to both parents and children for years to come.

Designing the perfect nursery may seem intimidating, but luckily this interior designer understands the importance of creating a space filled with love, care and joy.

Five years ago, Lauren Behfarin designed her daughter’s nursery in preparation for her first child’s arrival. She quickly discovered a gap in family-friendly design, and created Lauren Behfarin Design. “Once I had a family, I wanted to do more work geared toward children and younger families,” says Behfarin, who previously worked for Drew McGukin Interiors.

With a growing clientele, the trendy NYC-based interior design firm now designs spaces for new parents and growing families that are vibrant and sophisticated yet comfortable and livable. Understanding the emotion and love that goes into each space created for a child, Behfarin has found that “nurseries and children’s spaces often become an extension of a home.”

Although she designs a range of spaces, Behfarin’s favorite projects are always nurseries for first-time parents. “Nurseries are always so fun, and so full of hope, life and excitement. It is such a special time to watch new mothers experience pregnancy and for parents to experience a baby for the first time. We are always honored when families include us in that time,” says Behfarin, who works alongside her associate, Abby Gruman.

As a parent of two, Behfarin values convenience and function. After designing a nursery, first-time parents may soon realize that a makeover is required less than two years later. In order to keep the transition as simple as possible, Behfarin tries to “anticipate the next steps of a child’s life” with her designs.

Using various patterns, textures and bold colors, the team is sure to incorporate fun elements that feel young while also considering the next five or 10 years of a child’s life. “As I experience these phases with my own children, I am really learning what works and what does not work long-term in a space. We are learning what elements transition with your child and which do not,” Behfarin says.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Behfarin also understands the need for storage in a compact apartment. Utilizing items such as cribs that turn into toddler beds or bunk beds that double as two twins beds, Behfarin “makes sure that clients have the best items for their children to grow.”

Whether it’s furniture that won’t cause injuries to a newborn or toys that won’t grow tiresome, first-time parents often look to Behfarin and her team for more than simple design tips.

“They’re looking for great design, but they are also looking for advice. We take relationships to heart when we have clients who are experiencing this for the first time,” Behfarin says. “I am here to guide, push and challenge clients, but I always deliver something that they love.” 

How to Design the Perfect Nursery

Accent Walls — “There is always an accent wall, whether it’s a really cool decal, cool paint color or interesting wallpaper,” Behfarin says. “There should always be a fun backdrop to one of the walls in a nursery, and it’s usually the one with the crib.”

Minimal Themes — Cautious to not take a theme too far, Behfarin always suggests incorporating components from a theme, such as accent pieces or different colors. “There are ways to bring in a theme that are not too thematic,” she notes.

Neutral Colors — “There has been a shift toward gender neutral colors, such as grays, creams and whites,” Behfarin says. “People are prioritizing style. The standard pink and baby blue are not popular right now, and I think it is because style, form and function are so big in the city right now.”

Acrylics — This year, Behfarin is seeing a lot acrylics. “Homeowners are loving acrylic cribs with acrylic bars, or chairs with acrylic legs,” she explains. “Acrylic accents have shown up a more recently, I think as way to make a nursery modern.”

Organized Spaces — Whether it is a bunk bed with shelves, a coffee table with compartments or an ottoman with storage inside, Behfarin appreciates and understands the fluidity of space. “Homeowners are constantly reimagining how their space is being used,” she explains. “The hustle and bustle of the city has caused us to pay attention to creative and innovate ways to save space.”

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Digital Art Curation

Photo courtesy Niio.

Smart technologies and artificial intelligence are changing the way we consume art.

While many treasured works of art are safely contained in notable museums or in the homes of experienced collectors, a new tide is cresting along the shores of the art curation field with the influx of digital art.

Digital art, more widely known as new media art, is an interesting sector of the art industry to define, even for Beryl Graham, who is a professor in New Media Art at the University of Sunderland. She notes that the roots of this art form have drawn inspiration from a range of movements, from conceptual artwork to video art, which also began in the 1960s.

“It’s broadly digital but [it’s also] the kind of art that works in different ways in different kinds of behaviors,” Graham notes. One fascinating example would be an exhibition of software art in which the software, sometimes even artificial intelligence-based artwork, can learn and grow on its own. Graham explains that an artist might start a piece of software and watch it evolve, perhaps give it a virus and watch, showing to the audience that the “end point isn’t quite under the control of the artist.”

Magdalena “Magda” Sawon, owner of the contemporary art gallery Postmasters Gallery in New York, says that the digital age has only heightened the senses of curators and artists, who are traditionally at the forefront of new developments in culture and technology.

“Technology is a tool,” she notes, “it is also a moving target and changing constantly. The question is to be aware of new developments and adapt it intelligently to one’s needs and benefit.” Fittingly, as artists have been harnessing the power of technology within the art industry, curators and galleries have had to “keep up with the times,” and embrace digital forms of artwork and the systems and methods in which they are displayed.

 

Donna Holford-Lovell, director of The North East of North festival (NEoN), notes how the incorporation of interaction and participation into art displays appeals to today’s technology-savvy audiences that have been gradually reinvigorating focus on the digital art world.

“The idea of ‘curation’ has become ubiquitous and our audience is seen to be curating many aspects of their own lives,” Holford-Lovell says. NEoN is an organized event that aims to advance the understanding and accessibility of digital and technology-driven art forms by having the artist and curator work together to translate “the spectacle of experience,” via digital platforms within physical spaces, like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and even social media.

JONATHAN MONAGHAN (US)

The Phoenix and the Medusa (2018), Video, 7 min 69 sec, Edition of 30, Niio Commission Series.

With systems and platforms, from artificial intelligence to online-based forums, both artists and curators now are developing larger platforms and databases to contribute toward. As well as an educator, Graham is co-founder and editor of the Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss, or CRUMB, a resource for curators of new media art that aims to help overcome any challenges presented from this rise in digital art, from installations to networks of artists and individuals versed in these practices.

PERRY HOBERMAN

Suspensions (2018), VR and mixed reality installation, Postmasters April 2018.

QUAYOLA (UK)

Camouflage (2018), Moving Image, 6 min 4 sec, Edition of 30, Niio Commission Series

On the luxury spectrum of art curation, Niio is a brand integrating digital art and technology-driven forms of collection and distribution that surges past the limitations of traditional artwork. Niio is an art and tech company aimed to enable the exposure of digital artwork in a time that to the company feels like a fourth industrial revolution.

“Art has always reflected the world we live in,” says Rob Anders, CEO and co-founder of Niio, “and artists will create their art with any tool they can access.” In today’s world, that tool has come to be technology. Anders, who understands the eclectic background of digital art from conceptual and video art, wanted to help designers and architects best fit homes with the art of today, and after speaking with top galleries he found that what’s really needed are new models of both the business and technological side that reach a broader audience — even better: one with a subscription.

 

“We envision a world where in homes people will have more digital canvases with interactive or immersive works, all on a centralized connected system that can very easily change,” Anders says, with access to top artists in the world in this ecosystem of artists, galleries and collections all on the Niio platform. Luckily, the CEO notes, the technology is “already there,” from artificial intelligence in devices like Amazon’s Alexa devices to smart televisions, all devices that can easily work with the Niio platform to display digital artwork.

To those interested in having access to the “world’s finest art accessible on-demand,” Niio is open as a limited edition membership at about $5,000 a month, with access to curated exhibitions and collections, or art “playlists” of over 7,500 art pieces on the platform that can be easily changed and displayed on devices like smart TVs, projectors, screens, et cetera, which can be installed by Niio technicians as well.

“Art curation is telling a particular story,” he says. “In order to give people these digital works, it’s not about just finding the individual works, it’s about giving people the ability to learn about the works they are looking at,” he says.
Rob Anders

CEO, Co-Founder, Niio

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Making a Statement

These bold staircases are making a statement.

In 2019, designers are paying attention to creating staircases that leave a lasting impression — whether the staircase is made of wood or metal, or shaped as a spiral or curve.  

Regardless of style, a staircase can often serve as a home’s focal point. These staircases have been intently designed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Spiral

The free-standing, white-plaster spiral staircase at luxury condominium 277 Fifth Avenue was designed by famed interior architect Jeffrey Beers with a custom-made, commercial-size chandelier composed of 18 strands of brass-trimmed pendants that suspend down its center.

The staircase was intently crafted to create a visually stunning and dramatic connection between two floors that house 7,000 square feet of amenity spaces, including a game lounge and state-of-the-art fitness facility.

Courtesy of Pentagram

Suspended

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach features a unique multimillion-dollar lobby designed to cater exclusively to art enthusiasts and world travelers boasting a $500,000 Piero Lissoni-designed staircase as its focal point. Leading up to the second floor library, the staircase is designed for both beauty and function.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Residences

Wood

Skyline Tower’s glistening bronze and wood staircase was crafted to create a dramatic entryway to the condominium’s expansive Residential Lounge, cascading elegantly into the open-air common space, which was designed to feel like an extension of each resident’s home.

Courtesy of Binyan Studios

Floating

The graceful floating stairs that take you from the foyer to the rooftop in the penthouse at Nine on the Hudson. The staircase leads you to a modern glass atrium that captures the sunlight and serene Zen garden, bringing in natural elements into the home.

Courtesy of VDP

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When Worlds Collide

Natural stone unites with modern metals in the new Eccentric Stone collection by Australian kitchen and bathware design manufacturer Rogerseller.

 

A celebration of the beauty in balance when two become one, Eccentric Stone is a new collection sculpted from natural stone and highlighted by hints of metal. In perfect harmony, these signature elements explore the power of duality; the raw and refined, subtle and strong, timeless and modern.

Presented in Carrara marble or Emperador Grey stone, the collection features new round and oval basin designs, a shelf and the acclaimed Eccentric Mixer.

“Curved lines and generous proportions add an understated luxury to the pieces, while the refined shapes and considered details continue to demonstrate the craftsmanship Rogerseller is revered for” says Jo Jackson, group manager of

Designed to be paired with Rogerseller’s signature Natural Elements finishes, each piece incorporates metallic hints, making this stone and metal duo truly unique. The metal finishes drawn from the Natural Elements collection include Chrome, Brushed Chrome, Satin Chrome, Graphite, Brushed Nickel, Bright Nickel, Twilight, Matt Black, Bright Gold and Brushed Gold, creating styles defined by the individual.

Finding inspiration from the Earth’s raw resources and the untouched qualities that come from years of metamorphosis, the Eccentric Stone collection shows the result of a “whole made greater by the sum of its parts,” according to the brand. “While individually, the elements of stone and metals are well-known and loved, brought together they create a new harmony, making for an unstoppable duo.”

All photos courtesy Rogerseller.

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