Canadian-Built Log Home Ahead of its Time

Reconnect with nature in this rare, stunning, custom home on a picturesque 20 acres. The well-manicured, park-like acreage boasts an unparalleled open and private setting with groomed trails for biking or strolling through the serene private landscape. The property boasts extraordinary features like a large heated shop, outbuilding for storage or equipment, and a clean, nicely finished 2nd home with a suite — and the possibility to subdivide.

This home is packed with modern features — including vaulted ceilings, geothermal heating, and custom showers throughout — and a massive kitchen area with granite surfaces, gas range, and plenty of extra storage space.

The property is just a short drive to stunning lakes, Big White ski resort, hunting, fishing and more. Enjoy all of the conveniences at your own rural retreat, just minutes from town.

To view a virtual tour, click here and here.

For more information, contact:

AJ Hazzi | Vantage West Realty Inc.
vantagewestrealty.com | info@ajhazzi.com
250.864.6433

On the promontory of the Sestri Levante peninsula in Italy, this villa is surrounded by the sea at 270 degrees, guaranteeing the maximum level of privacy.

It is a singular work of the architect Luigi Carlo Daneri, the most important Genoese exponent of Italian rationalism. “It is an original 1930s villa with the original floor plan and furniture pieces, intact,” says listing agent Niccolo Pigni of Engel & Volkers. “The villa is perfect as a representative house, with large marble saloons and clean modern lines — very charming.” 

The designs, finishes, materials, furniture are very refined and of great value, but not ostentatious, a very Genoese trait. “My favorite room is the wonderful living space overlooking both the garden and Mediterranean Sea over the cliff,” says Pigni. “The completely restored original 1940s window lifting mechanism is just a rare piece of jewelry and allows you to completely open the living space over the terrace — exterior and interior areas merge together.

With the 5.6-acre park designed by the architect himself, it is one of the most surprising examples of “Mediterranean scrub” with ancient trees. Listed for 20.3 million euros, the property also showcases a swimming pool, patio, football field, four terraces overlooking the sea and a private beach (accessible only from the villa) — which all make this property unique on the Italian Riviera.

If someone is in love with art, design or architecture this house is perfect,” says Pigni. “It’s a piece of art that should be collected and preserved.”

 

This property originally appeared in the

Unique Homes Summer ’20 edition

This spacious apartment in Calata Marconi features two levels with four windows (two on each level) overlooking the sea — a true rarity in the most exclusive and well-known village, positioned at the heart of a green promontory surrounded by the bluest sea. The first level features a living room with an elevated dining area and a corridor that leads to the guest bath and the kitchen. “There is so much natural light coming in and it really feels like pie dans l’eau — it’s truly on the water,” says Niccolo Pigni of Engel & Volkers, who is listing the property for 2.75 million euros. “There is no other property in Portofino like this one.”

The internal stairs lead to the second level, which includes three bedrooms, two baths and a studio. “It’s basically 2 condos merged together,” says Pigni. “And, it has three entrances — two in the front and one in the back — guaranteeing privacy and independence.”

Fine architectural details throughout include on-site wooden beams in the living room, that together, with the colorful facades of the building, make this property a unique masterpiece. Direct access from both the road and the sea level are available. “It is perfect for someone who owns a yacht and wants a pied-a-terre to impress guests when he/she comes to Portofino” says Pigni. “Or for a unique properties collector — it is so rare that it is like an art piece to be collected.”

For more information, contact:

Niccolo Pigni

Engel & Völkers – California

www.niccolopigni.evrealestate.com

Niccolo.Pigni@EVrealestate.com

+1 707.331.4327

Only once in a lifetime does a legacy property like 136 Fort Walker Drive become available! A unique home with spectacular water views on 3 sides, a stunning great room featuring floor to ceiling windows with 270-degree views. This elegant 2-story waterfront home features 2 master suites, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, granite counters, 3-car garage and a boating dock. This private enclave is perfect for entertaining and enjoying. Located where Port Royal Sound meets the Atlantic Ocean, delight in brilliant sunrises and sunsets from multi-level decks, swim in the sea or the pool, or relax in the spa or on your own private beach surrounded by nature. $4,395,000

Click here for a virtual tour of this stunning South Carolina property! 

For more information, contact:

Wayne McDonald
Premier Island Properties
hiltonheadluxuryproperties.com
info@hiltonheadluxuryproperties.com
843.384.5764

The trends changing houses in 2020 and beyond.

By Camilla McLaughlin

New values, shifting demographics and technology are all transformative agents in 2020, and each will shape real estate and design well into the next decade. Some, such as outdoor living, are not new, while others, including the importance of ancillary spaces or a desire for slightly smaller but highly customized homes, are just getting underway. Farmhouse is out; contemporary, along with modern interpretations of traditional styles, is finding favor with architects and home buyers. Attitudes about what’s important in a home beyond an open floorplan, and even the open concept itself, are being reconsidered and revised. Color is back. Experts tell us the passion for grey and all-white kitchens is waning, although in practice designers also say neutrals still dominate.

Got all of that?

Even the term “move-up buyer” has a new meaning. “Move up doesn’t necessarily mean move into a bigger home as it did for previous generation,” explains Leigh Spicher, national director of design studios for Ashton Woods. “Today’s move up buyers expect quality and are willing to invest in special features in their home.” For upscale owners, preferences are likely to lean toward diversification in favor of several properties in different locations rather than a large estate home.

Each year, The Best in American Living program (BALA), an annual design competition held by the National Association of Home Builders, showcases award-winning design and architecture and pinpoints current and growing trends. Awards this year, based on homes built in 2019, showcased a range of styles from midcentury modern to transitional to contemporary expressions rooted in traditional styles or regional aesthetics.

Another change, according to Don Ruthro , principal at Dahlin Group Architecture Planning and this year’s judging chair, is more homes with the same style inside and out, which he says conveys a greater sense of authenticity.

Even in production homes architects are pushing for more character and uniqueness with thoughtful, well edited design elements. Well edited, according to BALA, means a genuine purpose of place and points of interest that draw the eye across the facade without all of the fussiness of past decades.

Curated design details are another design trend BALA judges highlight. “It’s clear that buyers want their home to feel personalized to their taste. From ceiling textures to shelving choices to mullion size. Every detail matters, and today’s educated buyers won’t settle for anything less,” they explain.

Other trends play into the desire for personalization. Anything that adds texture is on trend, especially wallpaper. Also enhancing personalization are unique applications of wood to highlight forms and also warm up interiors. Compared to prior years, the use of wood, often a dark hue with a matt fi nish, mixed with other surfaces, was very much in evidence in homes, new and remodeled, constructed to showcase current trends at the International Builders Show. Adding to the depth created by an overlay of textures in a home is the use of mixed metal finishes, with gold tones very much in evidence.

No facets of design are left to chance or convenience, even lighting. “Like other design details, just installing what’s on hand without added thought about placement just won’t fly with the 2020 buyer,” further advise BALA judges. Curated design details, personalized lighting design and texture were all highlighted as trends buyers can expect to see in homes over the next few years.

Even though kitchen, great room and dining — casual or formal — combined into a central living space continues to dominate, how that space is organized and expressed in an overall fl oorplan is slowly evolving. “Open space plans for the family room, kitchen, and dining area are still going strong. Our challenge in open plans is how to defi ne each space and give it some separation while still maintaining the overall open feel,” says Chicago designer Donna Mondi.

In California, designer Christine Markatos Lowe says the open plan is going strong, and perhaps the biggest change has been the addition of a second functional space to kitchens. For higherpriced homes, the presence of a back kitchen, whether a full-blown kitchen, a large walk in pantry or a butler’s pantry, has become a must have, central to keeping the main kitchen streamlined and clutter free.

Colorful kitchens? Maybe.

Examples at the national kitchen and bath industry show refl ected forecasts calling for color to punch up kitchens. Dark blues and earthy greens combined with wood finishes often clad lower cabinets and islands. Still, a number of designers express reservations regarding too much color. Wood cabinets continue to be on trend, mixed with other finishes.

“There has been a shift back into furniture-style cabinetry, exposed appliances (there’s always a place for LaCornue!), and especially statement marble countertops. European influences have made their way into the modern kitchen and I couldn’t be happier,” adds Mondi.

Another trend in renovations, Lowe says, is to open sightlines so rooms feel more connected to each other but still have their own language. “So it’s a combination of both things we’re seeing.”

“The main living spaces are getting bigger and more integrated with each other, but a good architect will design in such a way so they feel like individual spaces even though it’s part of one room,” says Bob Zuber, AIA, who is a partner at Morgante Wilson Architects in Evanston, Illinois.

Tricked Out Extras

Chances are what makes a house special for most buyers is not the number of bedrooms or even a great open plan but extras, what K. Tyler, also a partner and head of Interior Design at Morgante Wilson, dubs ancillary spaces. From tricked out mudrooms and laundry rooms to glass-enclosed wine rooms to pantries and second kitchens, what might be extras are essentials to buyers often shaping a unique living experience and often tilting them in favor of a certain house or floorplan. Offices, dens and studies will continue to be important additions to open plans. Nine times out of 10, homes with these features are going to be preferred over ones that just have big rooms, says Tyler.

Signature front entries are also gaining prominence. Expect to see continued emphasis on front entries. Foyers are designed to be functional but also to make a dazzling first impression.

Preferences for these features and quality over square footage extend to a range of price brackets. According to the National Association of Home Builders annual survey of buyer preferences, more buyers overall are likely to choose less square foot but higher quality homes with desirable features such as large walk-in master closets and energy efficient windows and lighting over large homes with fewer features.

Innovative materials continue to be important change agents. Consider outdoor living, one of the most transformative trends of the last decade. The modest pool and patio is now an array of open air venues and outdoor rooms. Pools and fire features are equally artful and functional. Rather than just an amenity tacked on to the house, outdoor connections are now the main orientation and organizing element for plans. Transitions between the two are hardly noticeable thanks to new materials and finishes, extending flooring beyond interiors. Master bedrooms morph into full blown retreats with their own outdoor spaces.

Innovative plans further bring green spaces deep into the home via interior courtyards. Expect to see more ways to bridge inside with outside as the decade progresses. Most recently, super large panes of glass and larger glass doors, further enhance visual connections and light-filled interiors. In most regions of the country, an indoor/outdoor sync is considered a “must have” for luxury, and there are no indications the penchant for outdoor connections will diminish. Among BALA trends, expansive largeformat windows along with sophisticated indoor/outdoor connections figured prominently.

Thinking Long Term

Beginning with the recovery, the tenure of homeownership increased. Instead of the 4.21-year average, typical from 2000 to 2007, ownership extended to 8 years or longer, hitting a record high in the end of 2018, with some cities — Boston, San Francisco and Hartford — charting tenures of 10 years or more. Whether or not this is a trend worth watching or simply a blip on the charts remains to be seen, but it is a solid indicator of changing attitudes toward home that spills over into design, interiors, even furnishings. Increasingly owners in almost all price brackets are thinking long term and lifestyle when it comes to their homes.

Resale seems to have moved to the back burner. Instead, consumers look for features and fi nishes that uniquely sync with and enhance their lifestyle. “I would say people are tailoring the house more specifically towards they way they want to live,” explains Zuber, noting sometimes those same features will also enhance resale.

According to Ashton Woods’ 2020 design trends survey, 86 percent of today’s buyers said home personalization is important.

Another indication of consumers anticipating longer ownership is growing interest in fl exible spaces and also in accommodating a range of ages. The term flexible spaces is taking on a new meaning. Instead of extra footage for a mancave or teen hangout, it’s viewed as versatile rooms that can change over time, explains Spicher. Perhaps a nursery today and a home o ce tomorrow. Or as many owners (55 percent in Ashton Woods Design survey) say, space that can transform into additional living space in the future for an aging family member or boomerang children.

More clients even in the 40s are looking to use the house when they are older and are planning to these accommodations with wider doors and space for an elevator shaft, say Tyler and Zuber.

Smart Home Challenges

In the next decade, smart home technology will change homes more than any other factor. Already new homes beyond a certain price point include a range of apps and devices, particularly in the kitchens, where manufacturers are already adding connections among appliances such as the hood with a range top. Also, voice control. Some brands also incorporate technology that enables some repairs to be made remotely. “What’s exciting is that every passing second, we get one step closer to a context-aware smart home. Manufacturers are pushing the boundaries. Developments in the areas of sensing technology and AI will result in appliances, fi xtures and systems that automatically respond and adapt to our home and environment changes,” says Kate Bailey, senior director of Category Management at Ferguson Enterprises.

“It’s not so much about new things as it is about things getting smaller, faster, lighter better integrated, so they get to the point where smart becomes livable and something you want to put in your homes,” says Melissa Morman, client experience officer at Builders Digital Experience.

Looking ahead, the key, the most transformative feature will be the development of an operating system that will integrate diverse function which will enhance integration and connection of devices and enable a home to further adapt to changing conditions.

Also on the horizon is a desire for homes to be a nurturing center for wellness, a capability that will be enhanced by new technology.

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

The mid-century modern main house features four bedrooms and a heated terrace. Most of the main rooms have beautiful views of the lake. The house has been expanded and undergone extensive renovations to create what is now a 5,490 square foot home. The charming mid-century modern ranch style was retained and the great room features a stunning wood-paneled cathedral ceiling, two fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, which provide fantastic views of the lake. The open floor plan, along with the skylights, allows the home to be filled with even more natural light. The master bedroom suite includes two baths, an office and a walk-in closet.

The current owner purchased the adjacent property, which was then razed to create the gigantic 4.3-acre lot on the water. The property also includes a charming guest cottage with lake views and a quaint 1,065-square-foot farmhouse with two bedrooms, plus an additional carriage house.

The estate, listed for $9.5 million by Kay Agney of Higbie Maxon Agney Realtors, is one of the largest estates in Grosse Pointe — and the scenic home is the ideal place to lead a quiet life, surrounded by trees, with a perfect view of lake St. Clair.

For more information about this property, contact:

Kay Agney-Broker/Owner

Cell: 313 460 3041

83 Kercheval Avenue, GP Farms, MI

www.higbiemaxon.com

This property was featured in the Unique Homes Ultimate 2020 Issue. Click the link to learn more!

Photo courtesy of Kay Agney.

Sitting on 130 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan and 130 feet of frontage on Bay Harbor Lake this custom-built estate is on the gated Peninsula at Bay Harbor. This captivating offering features luxury living indoors and out and can accommodate a guest house and/or boat house on Bay Harbor Lake.

“This property is uniquely situated to capture the most spectacular northern Michigan sunsets and provides the most comfortable, yet sophisticated ambience,” says Chris Etienne of Harbor Sotheby’s International Realty who is listing the property for $9.25 million. “It is elegant and welcoming at the same time.”

Features of the home include five en suite bedrooms overlooking the water, private balconies, a sophisticated den, formal dining, and an exquisite award-winning custom kitchen with a separate chef’s kitchen. It is a rare and exceptional opportunity — and you can even dock your 120-foot mega yacht at your private dock.  

For more information about this property contact: 

Chris Etienne

231.838.2031

chris@harborsothebysrealty.com

harborsothebysrealty.com

This property was featured in the Unique Homes Ultimate 2020 Issue. Click the link to learn more! 

Photos courtesy of Chris Etienne 

The first thing you notice is the view through the 13-foot-tall bank of windows that lines the entire south side of the house. The hills and rock formations against the vivid blue sky are what gave the home its name: Seven Peaks.  

“Then, after you’ve soaked in that spectacular view, when you turn to face the west, it just keeps getting better!” say owners Karen and Steve Kowalke. “Because there’s Mount Rushmore clearly visible! Morning is the best time to appreciate that view, as the rising sun hits the faces on the monument. But evening is great too, because the monument is lit up. And when they shoot off Fourth of July fireworks on top of the monument, we don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy the spectacle!”

Yet as amazing as that sounds, the owners believe it was something else that earned their home a “House of the Week” feature. “We think it was probably the tower that caught the attention of The Wall Street Journal,” they say.

The guest “tower” beside the main home is made to look like the Harney Peak lookout tower; it has living spaces on the first two levels and a 360-degree viewing deck on the top with a spiral staircase connecting all. The tower is connected to the main house via a bridge, so access is easy between the two buildings.  

While unbelievable views and a unique tower might entice a buyer, it’s probably the finer details of this home that will win someone’s heart for good. Entering the home through a massive glass door designed by Thomas Schwaiger from California, and go through a barn-style hanging custom sliding door to the open kitchen/dining/living room area with solid scraped hickory floors and a vaulted wood ceiling that continues out over huge deck.

The kitchen has custom cupboards from Dakota Cabinets, granite countertops, a copper sink, breakfast bar, Hammerton lighting pendants, a custom rangehood by Creative Iron Works and more. The living area is centered around a custom fireplace with stonework by West River Masonry and a custom designed hood and doors.

Yet despite all of that, when asked of their favorite details, the property owners speak of the community.

“Our home is located within the 80-acre Lakota Lake Encampment development, which was developed to preserve wildlife movement, provide privacy between lots and protect the environment,” they say. “All 18 property owners have access to a community lodge where they can host events, grill on the deck, sit around a fire or just meet other neighbors for a talk overlooking the garden. And, an old cave on the property has been converted to a wine cave where owners can store wine at a constant 57 degrees, and have a tasting at the picnic table outside the mine!  Plus, we’re surrounded by natural forest so there are all kinds of hikes starting from or very close to the property.”

Whether reading a book in the living room next to the fire on an evening with a slight chill to the air, or hunkering down in the bedroom —which feels almost like a tree house sanctuary among the pines with views of the night stars after dark — Seven Peaks provides the details, comfort, peace and community needed to feel at home.     

This property is listed by Faith Lewis of Keller Williams Realty Black Hills for $1.599 million. 

In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote, to begin A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Millennium, a property near Sturgis, South Dakota, that is unlike any other, is built to allow its owner to enjoy the best of times, while being prepared for the worst of times.

Partially completed and marketed as an amazing mansion, museum, place of worship or retreat, the first thing that strikes a visitor is the beautiful 360 acres of varied terrain. Long-range views, meadows, pine and scrub oak, and a large artesian-water-fed pond provide for the ultimate in year-round wildlife habitat. But Millennium is unique not only because of its setting. The home is designed to last 1,000 years.

“My wife and I have traveled extensively and with my medical missionary experiences have been to many uncommon locations, such as Mongolia, Cambodia, Western Africa and Vietnam,” says owner Edward J. S. Picardi. “We wanted to create something which would be a monument to the World — and one which would last, really last.”

The Millennium’s basement (basically a 5,000-square-foot safe room) is in place and is supported by 48 subterranean pillars and reinforced with rebar every 4 to 8 inches, both vertically and horizontally. The large four pillars in the center are 30 inches in diameter and extend to 24 feet below the surface. The main open level is graced with beautiful ornate columns and dividing walls.

“My wife and I traveled to various regions to view structures that have withstood time,” Picardi says. “We examined the Great Wall of China, examined both the exteriors and interiors of over a dozen pyramids in Egypt, countless Roman, Greek and Trojan ruins and even the Taj-Mahal. I took what they did and utilized modern building techniques to make something which will last just as long.”

 Picardi talks at length about both the location and the construction of the Millennium. “It is located, quite literally, in the center of the nation. In fact, the ‘Geographic Center of the Nation Monument’ is about 15 minutes west of the Millennium.” Also, he adds, “It is located in the most geological stable regions in the USA. There are no earthquakes here.”

For Picardi, his engineering background is a source of pride and came in handy as he worked on Millennium.

“The four center Roman columns, which extend over 25 feet below the ground level, are designed to each support over 75 tons by the sides alone. That doesn’t even include the load support from the ground underneath the columns,” he says. “There is so much steel reinforcement within the walls that there is a magnetic compass deflection of about 30 degrees inside the structure. For that reason I embedded a compass relief showing true north in the concrete.”

For the best of times, Millennium’s location is perfect for enjoying the sheer beauty and natural diversity of this region. “Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, the Bad Lands National Park are all in this vicinity and are all quite breathtaking. Being nestled on the east side of the Black Hills helps block the winter storms which originate in Wyoming and creates a more temperate climate, Picardi says.

And for the worst of times? “The foibles of both human nature and Mother Nature have not escaped me,” Picardi says. “As there has never been a 1,000-year period of peace since the dawn of man, I considered such issues in the construction.”

This property is listed by Faith Lewis of Keller Williams Realty Black Hills for $3.8 million. 

©istockphoto.com / SimonDannhauer

Government-sponsored incentives are drawing retirees to Panama.

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

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

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

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

Photo  ©istockphoto.com / rchphoto

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

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

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

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

 

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

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