Designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen, this estate in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania, sits on a sloping hillside, nearly invisible from the road.
The main home is grand without being grandiose, a quiet elegance that offers multiple experiences. Features within include two entertainment patios, a two-story library, four bedrooms, three full and 1 half baths, and a private office in the master suite. There are many fine details throughout, including five wood-burning fireplaces, a circular staircase, a custom light tower in the foyer. granite countertops and a kitchen island.
As one turns down a pea-gravel drive past a series of perfectly placed pines and hemlocks, a sharp 120-degree turn to the west reveals a remarkable village-like cluster of five buildings on the left with the barn across the drive. From the moment you turn down the drive, there is a sense of calm discovery. “Good architecture doesn’t really over-power its surroundings, it makes the site look better,” said Jacobsen.
The property is listed by J. Scott Laughlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox and Roach for $1.295 million.
ODYSSEY PHOTO COURTESY HORNBLOWER CRUISES AND EVENTS
The Odyssey Chicago River
Between top-tier restaurants and skylines, the Windy City is an adventure that’ll satisfy all of your senses.
The best guides to “The Windy City” will urge visitors to experience Chicago on every luxurious level from the river to the skyline. Begin by roaming the Magnificent Mile for a glimpse of glamour on foot, set your gaze over Lake Michigan from historic rooftops and then cruise along the Chicago River before tasting the flavors of the world at top-tier restaurants for an adventure that will satisfy all of your senses.
Kimi Williams, director of sales for Hornblower Cruises and Events, says “Chicago is a big city with a generous sprinkling of Midwestern charm.” Similarly, Adam Skaf, senior public relations manager of The Magnificent Mile Association notes, “Chicago is increasingly cosmopolitan yet entirely cozy and approachable.”
Located in the heart of downtown, The Magnificent Mile is known as Chicago’s version of Bond Street in London or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and is the perfect way to get a feel for the city. “The Magnificent Mile is home to three vertical shopping centers, rang-ing from the country’s original mixed-use mall at Water Tower Place to the 900 shops that appeal especially to locals in the Gold Coast neighborhood with its higher-end retail offering,” says Skaf.
PHOTO AT RIGHT COURTESY OF THE MAGNIFICENT MILE ASSOCIATION
Designed with a bounty of greenery, Michigan Avenue offers a perfect day of exploring with views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River and more. “What strikes me about The Magnificent Mile is the full spectrum of options for a shopping spree, from well-known brands to independent boutiques and luxury retailers,” according to Skaf.
Strolling through Chicago’s streets opens the door to the many neighborhoods that make up this great city. “Chicago has all the benefits of a major city yet it leaves you with a sense of comfort and intimacy as if it was a collection of small neighborhoods. Each neighborhood offers unique experiences with the charm of good old fashioned Midwest hospitality,” says Michael Ditterline.
PHOTO COURTESY THE GWEN HOTEL
The Gwen King Terrace Suite
As the general manager of The Gwen Hotel, Ditterline knows something about hospitality and Chicago’s robust history of architecture and more. “Our original façade on the building was famously created by renowned sculptor Gwen Lux, our hotel’s name-sake.” The Gwen balances modern details with historic glamour that is unique to Chicago and has the feel of a boutique hotel, with all of the benefits of being a part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. “Located right off of The Magnificent Mile, The Gwen offers a luxurious respite from the bustle of the city below,” according to Ditterline.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MAGNIFICENT MILE ASSOCIATION
The John Hancock Building at dusk
For an equally relaxing afternoon, dinner on the water brings the true beauty of Chicago’s architecture and skyline into focus. “The Odyssey Chicago River redefines the city’s grand tradition of river cruising through its unique blend of contemporary design and elegant dining seen from an entirely new perspective — pulling the outside in and fully immersing guests in the spectacular architecture and vibrant energy of the Chicago River,” according to Williams.
Experiencing Chicago is embracing the city’s history of architecture, great food, and the brisk winds off of Lake Michigan. Luckily, the Odyssey is well equipped for toasty year-round cruising. Williams notes, “One of my favorite things about the city is the incredible views, especially when you get to enjoy this from the water. Admiring the sunset against the skyline while cruising across Lake Michigan or sailing down the Chicago River with the city backdrop is a perfect way to spend the day.”
Travel through time and admire seven handcrafted designs in the New World Collection designed by Sasha Bikoff for New Ravenna, America’s premier mosaic designer and manufacturer.
The historical journey begins in the 17th century with Atlas Major, a charming rendition of Dutch cartographer Joan Bleu’s Baroque geography. The aged appearance of a crinkled, antique map was replicated by New Ravenna’s design team applying a honed finish to the 12 different stones, and then selecting a darker grout to finish the piece.
From the 17th century, we move to the modern world and the quintessential American textile pattern: the bandana.
“Tile is a cultural emblem that represents a country’s aesthetic. There are unlimited beautiful tiles that feel Italian, Delft, Portuguese, Spanish. America’s history is younger and the culture has a more relaxed vibe. I’d like to define that through tile,” Bikoff says.
The iconic bandana print is available in two versions: East Coast and West Coast. A honed background was chosen by Bikoff and New Ravenna to give the allure of softened cotton, and grout lines and paisleys mimic the cloth’s permanent creases from being worn and folded hundreds of times.
To contrast the bandana design, three delicate lace designs, Point d’Angleterre Lace, Queen Mary’s Lace, and Swiss Dot Lace bring in the gentle femininity found in women’s garments and home textiles to the collection.
Designer, Sasha Bikoff
“The lace is a juxtaposition to the bandana prints and offers the same playful idea of turning a textile into a tile mosaic,” Bikoff adds.
The designs, inspired by the complexity of antique lace, include honed and tumbled stone to create texture, and differing grout colors to highlight the intricate webbing. The New World collection is as versatile as it is beautiful, and can be installed on walls and floors, indoors and out. Add a splash of color and a dash of design to your home with help from New Ravenna.
Photos and featured image courtesy of New Ravenna
A 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.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VRBO
More travelers than ever seem to be eschewing traditional hotels and considering lavish vacation rentals for more authentic and comfortable experiences.
Vacation rentals, from cottages to castles, can elevate the overall experience of traveling while avoiding that unsettled feeling of being away from home. Travelers can relish in the privacy of their own space and choose a rental that offers the peace and downtime traveling requires, all the while taking advantage of the same amenities and luxuries offered at a hotel or resort.
“The best luxury rentals can offer fine architecture, artwork, and furnishings that can rival the decor of any 5-star hotel, but without the transient feeling of being in a hotel. It’s as if you’re living in a place that is meant to be lived in, which can emphasize the sense of a place,” says Carol Perehudoff, an award-winning travel writer based in Toronto for the travel site Wandering Carol.
Whether you’re staying for the weekend or a few weeks, skip hotel rooms that can feel secluded and away from the excitement and embrace the idea of your own schedule and space.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF VRBO
An Authentic Experience
Luxury travelers are looking for a more authentic adventure when they visit a new place. They want to experience profound architecture, personalized activities, and the overall culture in an area. “Travelers can have an all-inclusive resort-like experience with the added bonus of space and privacy to completely relax and spend quality time with their loved ones,” according to Alison Kwong, travel expert for Vrbo (Vacation Rental by Owner). Renting a vacation home immerses you in the surrounding culture to create your home away from home. “Oftentimes a vacation rental can be a better all-around experience. We use high-end vacation rentals as a base of operations for custom-built adventures,” says Dan Austin, the president of Austin Adventures.
Vacation rentals make authentic travel seamless. Visit hard-to-reach places or lesser-known destinations in a home rather than a hotel. Easily submerge yourself in a residential area rather than skim the surface of the commercialized options typically available for tourists. “You’re often staying in neighborhoods where residents live, rather than in tourist zones,” says Perehudoff. She describes one luxury vacation rental in Venice as being “as much of a cultural thrill as visiting a famous museum or palace.”
Space and Privacy
Space is a significant component to consider when vacationing with family and friends. There are endless rentals that sleep large groups comfortably, which means your party can stay together without feeling crowded or overwhelmed. “Vacation homes are ideal for traveling with family because they allow everyone to stay together under one roof,” says Kwong. Similarly, Austin says, “you can create a better “gather” type of environment … to create bonding moments.” He notes, “one of the biggest benefits is privacy.”
Lounge by the pool, fit in your morning workout, enjoy an afternoon snack, or take a midnight swim all in the privacy of your own space. Forget overcrowded hotel pools, spas, and restaurants when you have easy access to your own private pool, at-home theater, sauna, and other amenities.
Freedom with Amenities
Forget dining on a schedule or mid-morning interruptions. Renting a home offers the desired freedom on a vacation that runs on your own schedule, without sacrificing any of the luxuries. “Travelers can still enjoy special amenities, like private chefs, daily housekeeping and concierge services that organize itineraries full of activities personalized for guests and their families,” says Kwong. Everything from welcome baskets to day excursions and transportation are available.
The Right Choice
Vacation rentals can provide accommodations for groups without the financial strain of booking several hotel rooms. Family and friends can split the cost of a home with the added bonus of endless amenities at your fingertips. “Travelers are increasingly drawn to vacation homes instead of hotels or resorts when going on family or group trips because vacation homes provide the same value at a compelling rate. When renting an entire vacation home, travelers also have access to more space and privacy, better amenities, and the chance to stay in some truly unique properties that aren’t available just anywhere,” according to Kwong.
©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV
Vacation rentals are perfect for large parties who want to create gather experiences without feeling crowded.
Hotels can become a necessity rather than a welcome addition to your travels. Vacation rental companies have their own special niche, while the overall goal of each is to craft a unique, authentic experience for travelers.
Companies with a Purpose
Vrbo is based on the more traditional sense of a vacation rental. Families and friends are offered the privacy that large gatherings crave. Forget overloaded resorts and stuffy hotel lobbies. Instead, stretch out in front of your own fireplace with a book, make a cocktail in your private kitchen, and head out to the pool or spa where you and your guests can relax in privacy.
“Over the last 25 years, Vrbo has grown into a global community of homeowners and travelers with more than 2 million unique properties around the world, ranging from cabins to beach houses and every kind of space in between,” says Kwong. The site began in 1995 and has only expanded over the years, now offering easy-to-use technology to plan a dream vacation.
©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV
Rental sites offer the opportunity to stay in one-of-a-kind homes all over the world for a unique experience.
“One of the newest features Vrbo has added to the site are virtual tours, which pro-vide immersive, 360-degree views of vacation rental properties directly from the listing page,” according to Kwong. “Vrbo makes planning a trip together feel as effortless and enjoyable as being on one. Recently introduced, trip boards is a collaborative tool that allows multiple people to share, vote and collaborate about their favorite properties. That way, everyone is involved in the decision-making process and travelers feel confident that the vacation rental they choose is suitable for everyone.”
The trusted brand Airbnb is one of the more well-known services when renting a space, whether it’s for vacation or business. The luxury facet of the company, Airbnb Luxe, offers a trip designer for personalized activities that are specifically crafted for you and your guests. In tandem with activities and amenities, these ultra-luxury properties appeal to those with an interest in design and have been carefully chosen for that very reason.
PlansMatter is a platform that provides architecturally significant hotels and vacation homes for rent. For those with a special interest in spectacular architecture, travelers can choose from the likes of Pole House, a home in Australia that is suspended 40 meters above Fairhaven Beach; Vila Vals in Switzerland, which is built directly into the mountain scenery; the circular Solo House in Spain, and many more. “One of the highlights of a vacation rental is being able to get away from the crowds and enjoy more natural surroundings,” says Perehudoff. This is a component that can be overlooked when the simple convenience of a hotel is presented.
PlansMatter provides comprehensive information about architects and the properties that will boost the overall experience from the very start of a trip. Everything needed to decide, from photos and customer reviews to blueprints of the home, even a chance to read about the architects, is available.
Vacation rentals are growing in popularity today as a smarter way to travel for groups and for those searching for an authentic experience, but the concept has long attracted savvy and avid travelers. Founded in 1986, Windows on Italy carefully selects prestigious villas and apartments throughout Italy. From Florence to Rome, the countryside to the seaside, rentals with private pools, frescoed lofts, antiques and more will enchant travelers. The brand is another that focuses on one-of-a-kind, top-tier properties that heighten the overall travel experience.
©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV
Experience profound architecture when staying in homes such as this gorgeous Scottsdale, Arizona property.
This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.
3 ocean watch photo courtesy of Haig Point; all others ©Dennis burnett photography
Daufuskie Island offers Southern charm and comfort that can only be found on an island with no bridges. Accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride, my journey to the Haig Point community began and ended with relaxation. Catching a glimpse of diving dolphins as I left the mainland behind was a warm welcome into the exclusive area. The sea island just off the coast of South Carolina, which is easily accessible from Savannah, is one that wholeheartedly embraces the easy pace of the Lowcountry.
“As soon as people step off the ferry they
typically fall in love with the island lifestyle,” says Lauren Hunt, the programming and communications manager at the private, member-owned Haig Point. “Their genuine commitment to the island is why they choose to build and live here.” Members welcomed me with open arms and shared the island’s charming attributes, all with similar stories of visiting and deciding to stay for the long haul.
If the 29-hole Rees Jones golf course, equestrian center, award-winning tennis facility, and beach club don’t entice you, the real estate will. It ranges in size and price, creating a diverse community with something to offer everyone. Haig Point goes beyond vacation and second homes. Permanent residents are enjoying the influx of younger residents. “More families under age 55 joined in the past three years than the previous 10 combined,” says Hunt. An island destination with no traffic — the island runs on electric golf carts — is an ideal opportunity for those hoping to enjoy a smaller, safer environment for their families.
Homesites for building your dream home and a collection of existing properties make up the variety of real estate within the current 270-home development. On the market for $2.995 million, 3 Ocean Watch in Haig Point was designed and built to the highest standards with stunning heart pine and woodwork soured from a 200-year-old house. Other properties range in price from the mid $300,000s to $3 million.
The island won’t be threatened by commercialization or overcrowding, due to building restrictions, according to Hunt. The community’s Architectural Review Board ensures the nature and integrity of the island remain intact alongside development. Across the water, Hilton Head Island is visible. “Hilton Head Island has 2 million visitors annually. That means easy accessibility to great restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. And with only an eight-minute commute, our hourly water taxi makes it easy to escape back to the solitude of Haig Point,” says Hunt.
3 Ocean Watch offers Calibogue Sound views.
Enjoy uncrowded, pristine beaches.
Haig Point offers a private Equestrian Center.
©istockphoto.com / ClaudioVentrella
While the pace of wealth creation may be slowing, the story now is how it’s spreading around the globe.
“The increasingly footloose nature of wealth.” That’s how global consultancy Knight Frank characterizes today’s trend in affluence. When it comes to real estate, all it takes is a quick look at the worldwide activity of major brands to see a clear illustration of this concept.
The locations of new affiliates of Sotheby’s International Realty in recent months include Oklahoma City, Arkansas and Kansas, along with Cyprus, Slovakia and Qatar. Qatar is the second location in the Middle East for Sotheby’s. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has extended its reach to global hubs, partnering with major firms in Europe and the Middle East. Now, they count Berlin, London, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Dubai and Frankfort in their network. Coldwell Banker has offices in 49 countries. Luxury Portfolio International, the luxury arm of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, has affiliates in more than 70 countries.
“The fact that the world is becoming smaller and smaller, the speed of information flow, and travel contribute to people’s interest in owning properties elsewhere, both for Americans and foreign nationals,” explains Joyce Rey, executive director, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.
Markets may go through cycles and new partnerships emerge, but the foundation of global real estate hasn’t changed. “The luxury buyer understands that one of the best, if not the best, investments they can make is property,” explains Michael Jalbert, executive vice president, Global Field Operations for HSF Affiliates, the parent company of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Chatter regarding a potential recession might form a smokescreen, but wealth creation will continue to be a constant, according to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report, which forecasts a rise, over the next five years, of 22 percent in the number of individuals whose net worth exceeds $30 million, a group often classified as Ultra High Net Worth, UHNW. Over the next year, existing UHNW, especially in the U.S., expect their wealth to increase.
When Rey began her career in the 1970s, foreign buyers were a rarity, especially in Southern California. Today, she says, the percentage of foreign buyers purchasing ultra-luxury properties, those priced above $20 million, has remained pretty steady. “Usually it waffles between about 20 percent to 25 percent. And that hasn’t changed over the years.” For the first nine months of 2019, foreign buyers accounted for 31 percent of purchases of $20-million plus residences in Los Angeles’ tony west side.
Rey was one of the first to reach outside U.S. borders to forge connections. After the increase of Japanese buyers in 1980s, she traveled to Japan to meet one-on-one with agents and potential buyers. “I feel if a quarter of your buying population is foreign, you should be reaching out to the foreign market,” she says.
Bob Hurwitz, founder and president of the Hurwitz James Company (HJC), was also on the leading edge of the global outreach. “In the early 90s, I recognized that the buyers for my highest-priced properties were more and more often originating from overseas. This was actually before the Internet was even a reality for marketing purposes. As a result, I started focusing a significant percentage of my marketing to exposing my listings here in the states to affluent foreign buyers.” He also created a network of HJC representatives to promote his listings overseas. Currently, Hurwitz represents nearly $3 billion in luxury properties and developments worldwide.
Even those who work in the global arena today are occasionally surprised by the geographic diversity of investors and buyers. “One stat that recently jumped out at me is Aruba is home to 90-plus nationalities and ethnic groups, which I thought was fascinating,” shares Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International. “One of our affiliates there also pointed out that many of their buyers are coming from India.”
And this isn’t an isolated instance. Indian buyers are cropping up in many other primary and second-home locations, including Portugal. Among foreign buyers in the U.S., India ranks third after China and Canada. India is expected to lead the five-year growth in Asia’s ultra-high net worth population with a 39 percent increase, followed by the Philippines (38 percent) and China (35 percent).
Increasingly, the ultra-wealthy are not necessarily tied to one country or one region. Approximately, 26 percent plan to emigrate in the next year. Already, more than a third hold a second passport and 22 percent plan to buy outside their country of residence, according to Knight Frank.
However, 2018 saw only a marginal increase (0.8 percent) in the size of the ultra-wealthy population, which Wealth X describes as a “marked slowdown” from the year earlier. The combined net worth of the ultra-wealthy declined 1.7 percent, the first annual fall in three years, according to Wealth X. However, it’s important to view these changes in context, because 2017 saw dynamic wealth creation with double-digit growth in the number of ultra-wealthy and impressive gains in asset markets.
The global outlook this year is nuanced. Rising interest rates and the end of quantitative easing means we are reaching the end of super-charged returns on everything from classic cars to art and property, according to Knight Frank. Government policies continue to transition as some countries seek to attract wealth, with a record number offering citizenship and residency through policies regarding investment, while others restrict outflows of capital. Others, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK will continue to make it more difficult for wealthy non-residents to purchase properties.
Looking ahead, expectations are for slower price growth in key markets. But, as with any correction, a shift in values is an opportunity to which buyers respond, something that is already happening in London, where agents see a potential turnaround, particularly for higher-priced properties, underway.
“London’s general property market has experienced a slowdown and fall in housing prices. That said, the luxury property market is certainly bottoming out and we are experiencing buyers returning to the market, which is demonstrated by our revenues being up 146 percent year on year,” says Martin Bikhit, managing director at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co.
“Given all the uncertainty of Brexit, values in London have come down significantly. It’s a buyers’ market,” says Jalbert.
The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to sterling makes the value equation even more appealing. “American buyers have been able to take advantage of savings up to 45 percent compared to the 2014 peak of the market. U.S. buyers believe that the market is going to spike post-Brexit and there is now an opportunity to buy competitively. Indeed, this is illustrated by the fact that American hedge funder Ken Griffin was the buyer behind two of London’s most expensive property transactions within the past year,” according to Bikhit, who calls this surge a “pre-Brexit boom.”
Hurwitz sees luxury penthouses in many traditional hot markets, including London, as good opportunities for buyers, since those prices have seen a big decline. Other recommendations in Europe include France as well as Tuscany, which, he says, has an appeal that transcends the strictly financial. “Finding something totally renovated in an authentic manner is key.”
A flat or pied-à-terre in Paris has become a rite of passage for Americans, says Anton, noting reports of particular interest coming from Silicon Valley. Paris is one of the bright spots in Europe, placing third on Knight Frank’s list of the
fastest-growing luxury markets.
“France and Italy are still two of our top locations and our offices are expanding in numbers and experiencing a very solid claim in the market,” says Craig Hogan, vice president, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.
Berlin is Europe’s rising star. It has topped Urban Land Institute’s list of markets to watch in Europe for four years in a row, and currently ranks second after Madrid on rankings of the fastest-growing luxury real estate markets. Luxury residential here is a small but vibrant niche, with the number of privately owned apartments selling above 1 million euros growing by 17.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Stefan Schulze, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate, says, “If Berlin succeeds in further expanding its potential in scientific and culture fields and remains one of the influential centers in Europe, it can be deemed certain that not only the number of premium new development projects but also the quality of luxury real estate will continue to grow sharply.”
Global Buyers in the U.S.
From the perspective of foreign buyers in the U.S., Hurwitz says, the market has changed multiple times over the last few years, fueled by factors as diverse as the attitude and oversight of a foreign buyer’s own government regarding money leaving their country, to crushing economic changes in their country of origin, to U.S. government restrictions on shell companies buying, to various others. Hurwitz says, “I still believe the U.S. is a safe bet and I am telling my clients to buy here.”
During the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, global purchases of U.S. properties fell sharply, with purchases declining by 36 percent. The dollar volume as well as the average price also declined. Rather than lack of interest from potential buyers, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cites what he calls “a confluence of factors — slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale.”
John Smaby, NAR president, adds, “There is still significant interest in U.S. properties across the globe, and the U.S. is still seen as a safe, secure place to invest.”
©istockphoto.com / _ultraforma_
©istockphoto.com / mammuth
©istockphoto.com / Givaga
©istockphoto.com / SeanPavonePhoto
Global Bright Spots
Along with real estate professionals from over 27 countries, Stephanie Anton recently returned from her company’s international conference in Athens. “It was thrilling to hear and see firsthand about so many bright spots in the market,” she says, including places where property markets were hard hit by political and financial turmoil during the recession. “One that was particularly obvious was our host city itself. The optimism of the Greek people was palpable.”
Both Spain and Portugal are seeing an influx of buyers and a surge in sales. Both suffered during the recession and are experiencing a strong turnaround.
“I think there is a sentiment of Europeans kind of holding their breath and waiting to see what happens with Brexit. But yet, there are also bright spots and the bright spots are more of those second-home markets because they’re lifestyle purchases. And so people are less concerned about the economic impact of Brexit because of making decisions on purchasing second or third homes,” Anton observes.
Some of the strongest luxury markets this year have been in resort locales. San Miguel de Allende continues to rank at the top of best cities and second-home destinations. “Our typical luxury buyers are investors looking for properties to take advantage of the lucrative vacation rental market, or shopping for their second or third vacation homes,” says Nancy Howze, with CDR San Miguel.
“Upscale consumers tend to have a broad world view,” says Jalbert. “They understand markets and are attracted to a range of places. Buyers in different parts of Europe are looking for a weather change, so it’s no surprise to see the resurgences of locations along Costa Del Sol and Portugal.” Jalbert adds that almost 100 percent of the luxury transactions in their eight offices in Portugal are from buyers outside the country. “It’s just an incredibly enchanted place where they have beautiful properties, but where there has also been significant investment in infrastructure,” he says.
One thing that has remained constant across the globe is the attitude of the elite regarding buying. Some of the highest sales in the last year can be tracked to global buyers, according to Hogan. “They will spend the money but need to know it’s a wise decision.”
Ask any stylist the key to a successful shoot and you’ll find yourself in a conversation about lighting.
More than just aesthetics, it possesses its own emotional language, writing atmosphere and warmth into contemporary interiors. If you or your home are feeling a little under the weather, consider experimenting some with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.
To help you get started, Chaplins Furniture has created a shortlist of the best new launches this season…
On the Move
Freed from the shackles of cables, today’s best designer lighting its portable, fun and ready to move. Opt for the comfort of a time-honoured lantern or keep things contemporary with a colourful new BELLHOP.
Ideal for study nooks, reading or outdoor soirees, these versatile luminaires reimagine the intimacy of candles for the modern age.
All clean lines and essential silhouettes, sleek Scandi finds beauty in the bare minimum, offering a serene reprieve from the clutter of contemporary life. Leading the subtle style stakes are the new POST WALL LIGHTS by Muuto.
Thanks to a system of magnetic wall brackets, they can be arranged in striking linear configurations, with 360 degree swivelling bulbs and touch-controlled dimming.
Back to Black
In 2020, designers are experimenting with classic drama, revealing a host of iconic designs in sleek matt-black colourways. Seductive and bold, the new palette feels fitting for this time of year, updating winter homes with a little monochrome magic. A new favorite? The New PH Artichoke in BLACK, a daring design statement if ever there was one.
We couldn’t sign off without mentioning a handful of new retro lights that are making waves in maximalist circles. Boasting everything from 70s fringe through to art deco prints, these funky designs pack a serious punch, with island culture inspiring the creation of the new ARCIPELAGO LAMPS and CONTARDI’S extended CALYPSO collection.
All photos courtesy Chaplins Furniture.
Photo by Charles Roach / aloha films
Experts say it’s the perfect time to buy in Hawaii. But when isn’t it?
Aloha is much more than a salutation or expression of farewell in Hawaii. The “Aloha Spirit” is a way of life. This philosophy of mutual regard and compassion for others was a gift from native Hawaiians and is still practiced today to contribute to the overall experience on the islands.
The relaxed nature combined with pristine beaches, luxurious homes, and natural beauty make Hawaii a dream location for a second or permanent home.
“Oahu, known as ‘The Gathering Place,’ offers a wonderful combination of the amenities you would find in a vibrant metropolitan city as well as easy access to the tropical environment, including beaches, trails, and spectacular scenic ocean views,” according to Tracy Allen, the vice president and global luxury ambassador for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties in Honolulu. The Hawaiian Islands are a true place for gathering, from outdoor enthusiasts to business professionals, with the surrounding Central Pacific Ocean offering added benefits for all.
“Oahu is truly magical in that it has all of the beauty of Hawaii while offering the ultimate lifestyle in paradise — outdoor activities, dining, and culture,” says Tracy Bradley, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Realty. Similarly, Dannette Andrews, at Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty, says, “moving to Kauai is a lifestyle choice for people who appreciate the natural beauty and laid back lifestyle.”
Ideally located at almost the mid-way point between the United States and Asia, Hawaii is an oasis with easy access to flights in both directions. Although, visitors may never want to leave the world-renown beaches, gentle waves for canoe surfing or the more extreme Pipeline, gorgeous waterfalls, hiking, ziplining, luxurious homes, and high-end restaurants. “Year-round we are able to surf, play tennis, hike, snorkel, sail, bike, and enjoy paradise,” says Bradley.
Whether buyers are relocating or hunting for a second home, “it’s the perfect time to buy,” says Andrews. “Luxury real estate on [Kauai] used to be considered anything over $1 million, but I would now say it’s pushing closer to $1.5 million. And the ultra-luxury for high-end gated estates start around $4 million and go up.” According to Allen, Oahu is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the U.S., with a strong influx of foreign buyers. “The leading foreign investing is still from Japan, followed by Canada and Korea. U.S. West Coast buyers are also a dominant force in our market and make up a large segment of our second-home buyer market.”
Hawaii Luxury Experts
Vice President, Global Luxury Ambassador
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties
D. 808.593.6415 C. 808.927.6415
Tracy Bradley, R
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Realty
Realtor (S), CRS, CLHMS
Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty
Elevate your bathroom’s appeal by including a touch of luxury.
Photo courtesy of Maison Valentina
Looking to remodel your dreary bathroom into a personal spa that you can escape to after a long day at work? From tiles painted with Italian designs to plush armchairs, today’s bathrooms are going all out with elegance and sophistication.
Between bulky towels, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and cleaning supplies, there’s a lot that needs to be stored in a bathroom with no place to put it. For added elegance and storage, incorporate a large armoire or chest. Now that your clutter is out of the way, you have room to decorate your bathroom with luxury pieces, like an armchair or dressing table, that elevate that spa look and give you a place to unwind.
Let’s face it — nothing makes a busy morning worse than bumping elbows with your partner in the bathroom. Say “goodbye” to that early-morning fuss by adding an elongated double sink with a marble countertop or blocking out a space on either side of the room for a separate sink for each person. To elevate your bathroom sink’s appeal, prop a large metal, marble or hand-blown glass bowl on top of your counter and decorate the surrounding space with a matching soap pump.
It’s a new year, which means you need to leave that ugly overhead lighting behind and invest in lights that warm up your bathroom and add a touch of class. Opt for soft lighting by hanging a luxurious chandelier over the bathtub and placing a lamp on your dressing table. To enhance your bathroom sink, place lighting fixtures on either side of your mirror. These changes will completely transform your cold bathroom into the oasis of your dreams.
It’s time to swap that frameless wall-sized mirror for a framed mirror that hangs on your wall. From plain silver or gold to ornate designs, framed mirrors are an easy way to show off your unique style and enhance your bathroom. Need more storage? Purchase a mirror that doubles as a cabinet, where you can hide your toothbrush, mouthwash and skincare.
All in the Details
You’ve got the armchair, framed mirror and ornate chandelier — what’s next in your bathroom transformation? Amp up the details! Turn your bathroom from a basic spa to a high-end haven by decorating your space with Italian tiles that frame your mirrors or doorways. You can also add more sophistication by decorating with Persian or Turkish rugs, plants and artwork. By incorporating details in every corner of your bathroom, you’re able to highlight your own personal style while adding interest to your space.