The Transition

Cover photo ©istockphoto.com / Evgeny Zhigalov

Of all the changes brought on by the pandemic, what is here to stay?

From a drone’s eye perspective of 50 years, real estate might resemble a Mobius strip, a never-ending roller coaster of ups and downs with each boom-and-bust cycle sparking small changes and adaptations. But none have had an impact comparable to the pandemic, which ushered in an avalanche of innovation, new ways of doing business and a profound shift in consumer values. Some effects are a temporary response, while many reflect a significant transformation.

“The way that real estate as an industry operates has changed, and I believe it is a microcosm that can be applied to 90 percent of the economy out there. No one is going back, and that means the way we live, work and play changes forever,” observes Marci Rossell, former CNBC chief economist and chief economist for Leading RE. “COVID drop-kicked us into 2030.” 

Ask agents if any prior cycle compares to the experience of the last year and a half, and they will tell you the pandemic boom is unparalleled. “I don’t think any Realtor in the country has had the experience we’ve had this last year! Yes, there have been good upticks in certain years in certain places, but never anything like this!” shares Trinkie Watson with Chase International in Lake Tahoe.

“We’ve certainly seen periods where you had to pivot skill sets and be really aware of the market and things that would impact clients, but we’ve never seen anything like the last year and a half, (and) that’s been compounded by a lack of availability,” shares Tami Simms, with Coastal Properties Group in St. Petersburg, Florida, who is also trainer for the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

“I think that last year was the most significant year of change from a tech perspective,” says David Marine, chief marketing officer at Coldwell Banker Real Estate. The pandemic market accomplished what major brands had been working on for years. “In 90 days,” he says, “every single real estate agent figured out a way to move the transition online. Now it’s commonplace. It’s no longer an issue.”

“Agents basically skyrocketed 10 years into the future, and they did it in a two-month period,” says Rossell. Rather than an abrupt switch, industry experts see real estate’s seemingly overnight embrace of new technology as acceptance of tools already available. Think of it as “escalating trends that were already underway that would have happened, but they are going to happen almost a decade faster than anyone expected,” explains Rossell.

Will it be a virtual world?

Prior to what Simms dubs “the Zoom age,” she says, there wasn’t a widespread understanding or trust or proficiency with virtual apps. “Now,” she says, “we know how to use it. We’re reasonably proficient at it, and there’s a level of trust. So, we’re able to embrace this technology. You know I don’t ever want to go back to having to communicate with out-of-state buyers purely by telephone.”

Virtual Sales are touted as the main advancement sparked by the pandemic, but an even greater benefit has been an industry-wide recognition and adaptation of virtual apps to enhance and expedite the process from initial views of a property to consumer education. “FaceTime is an effective tool, but really more to give a prospect a better idea of the home, not to induce an offer … though it could,” says Watson. 

Looking ahead, agents don’t expect virtual sales to disappear, but they will continue to be a rarity. “I don’t think we’ll see many escrows where the buyer hasn’t physically seen the property. Yes, Zoom and similar will continue to be a part of our lives. Also, more defined photography for our listings … the importance of a comprehensive ‘walk through’ so prospects can get a good feeling for how the house flows,” says Watson.

Detailed virtual walk-throughs became more important than ever, with platforms such as Matterport leading the way. 

©istockphoto.com / fizkes

“In-person viewings have been very limited. No one wants to go to open houses. No one is walking about a house just for fun. People are looking online. They are viewing the pictures of a listing maybe 10 times before they see a house. So, a showing is more like a fourth showing, and agents need in-depth knowledge of a property,” says Joanne Nemerovski, with Compass in Chicago.

©istockphoto.com / joakimbkk

Dreaming of Home

The ability to work remotely is often cited as the main driver for the surge in sales, but even more fundamental are new consumer values regarding home and lifestyle. Citing millennials, who now comprise a substantial portion of buyers, Nemerovski says many were starting careers and literally were never home, so home basically was a shoebox they visited. “I think that sentiment has changed. Home is where the heart is. It has become the center of people’s lives. People are also more respectful of their homes.”

Everybody wants their dream home,” says Frank Aazami with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale, Arizona, “because they just cashed out of another home that maybe they inherited or maybe were there for 20, 30 or 40 years.”

Buyers’ expectations of quality are high and will continue to be so. “People understand the level of finishes better than ever before. We’ve gotten so much better with respecting architects, good architects’ work, good designers’ work,” he says.

“All of a sudden, consumers are finding that now it’s not all about a commute. It’s about ‘does the place that I live offer me the things that I want to do when I have a little extra time, both inside and outside.’ Outside spaces have always been a luxury item, but more so now than ever,” says Simms. Topping wish lists are beautiful recreational facilities, inside and out. Also becoming more desirable is access to nearby outdoor venues such as parks and trails. Before COVID-19, outdoor living was a growing trend; now a connection with nature has become almost an essential for homes, particularly new construction.

Skills Put to the Test

With properties selling days or hours after going on the market and multiple platforms broadcasting new listings, it would seem agents’ skills are not essential. However, the pandemic market has proved the opposite. “It’s been a really intense time for real estate professionals in terms of making sure that their communication skills are absolutely the most important thing that they have, setting expectations, both on the seller side and the buyer side,” says Simms.

“There’s more attention to vetting prospective buyers, making sure they are qualified to buy before showing them property,” adds Watson.

Price is only part of an offer’s appeal to sellers, and crafting a winning offer has been an important skill for agents and buyers in the current market. Even when multiple offers become less of the norm, this aspect of buying will continue to be important.

An intense market tempts buyers to forgo contingencies. “It has been definitely challenging to counsel people on strategies to be successful in acquiring properties, but also in making sure that they truly understand the ramifications of releasing contingencies and know the risks they are taking on,” shares Simms.

“A downside of the intensity has been buyer’s remorse, cancellations before closing, some attempted lawsuits … a result of no inspections, jumping too fast without thorough exploration, et cetera. This would be a small percentage of the purchasers, but certainly a reflection of ‘herd mentality’ going the wrong way!” says Watson, referring to the pressure buyers felt to make a decision.

Cooldown Ahead

With days on market hovering just over 14 in July, prices rising in 99 percent of all metro areas, and double-digit price increases in 94 percent of metros (according to NAR), the current pace might seem no less fevered. Still, indications of a transition are beginning to filter out from a number of locations. Days on market are increasing ever so slightly, and overblown prices are being reduced. Or, as Katie Treem at Keller Williams Realty in Portland, Maine, explains, it might be that a property receives 20 offers instead of 40. “We’re still seeing people moving from New York, Boston, Connecticut and D.C.,” she says.

Also, agents like Treem are just beginning to see a few who bought in 2020 reselling. Sometimes they improved the property, but in others, decided the lifestyle was not what they desire or the commute, even for occasional days in the office, was too difficult.

In Tahoe, Watson says, “I believe the intensity has certainly calmed down, and I suspect very few listing agents will accept an offer from a buyer who hasn’t physically viewed the property. That goes for waived inspections … I’d be surprised if many are doing that any longer.”

No Bubbles Here

Bubble talk has become almost a perennial for real estate, but experts such as Rossell do not subscribe to this characterization of the market. Rossell says, “It’s not a bubble. It’s simply real demand bumping up against severe supply constraints. But this doesn’t mean house prices continue to go up. But what it does mean is you’re very unlikely to see the bottom fall out of the market, the way that you did in 2007, 2008.

“September 11 forever changed the way that we thought about terrorism. And I think in the same way, the first round of COVID in March of 2020 forever changed the way that we thought about public health, and pandemics. I think we’re all going to be living with the reality that at any given time something like this could happen, just like terrorism.”

Days on market are increasing, and overblown prices are being reduced. It might be a property receives 20 offers instead of 40, says Katie Treem at Keller Williams Realty in Portland, Maine.
 

©istockphoto.com / sara_winter

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Fall ’21. Click here to see the digital version.

No matter the lifestyle, wellness and the pursuit to live better has been a rising trend in today’s world. In 2018, Pinterest reported that searches for “self care” were up 140 percent year-over-year, with no mention of stopping. Recently surveyed by national paint brand Sherwin-Williams, homeowners and professional interior designers have also noticed this uptick in wellness and how it affects modern home design and décor. Looking to make your spaces “healthier”? Check out these recent trends to see how you can incorporate wellness into your home styling.

Self-Caring for Your Space

People are taking self-care beyond their body and into interiors. According to the survey, nearly 42 percent of designers say they have been asked to incorporate self-care into their designs. Twenty-nine percent of homeowners also take self-care into consideration when decorating their home. 

The most popular way to bring wellness into a space also happens to be one of the easiest — natural light. Eighty-seven percent of designers use natural light to effortlessly reflect wellness.

 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Breathe It In

Improving indoor air quality is key for homeowners and designers looking to make changes. Over 54 percent of homeowners cite air quality as away they bring wellness into their homes, and 58 percent of designers use it as a tool to incorporate wellness. 

Limiting volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that are released through building materials is one of the best ways to improve air quality. This is done by using lower-VOC paints and other home improvement products that are sustainably sourced and have a low-carbon footprint.

Photo by Anamul Rezwan.

Color

When it comes to color, designers and homeowners do not see eye to eye on their top color choice that represents or stimulates wellness. Nearly 41 percent of designers say that green associates the most with wellness, whereas 34 percent of homeowners believe this color to be blue. Another popular color is white/gray, which 11 percent of designers and 18 percent of homeowners associate with the trend.

The color least likely to be associated with wellness? Red. Not a single designer and only 1 percent of homeowners reported that they associate this hue with wellness.

 

Photo by Pixabay.

Total Zen

In regard to specific spaces that are designed to promote wellness, homeowners different on their choice of which space was the best to achieve “total zen.” The top choices included a gym/fitness room (41 percent), a reading room (41 percent), and a greenhouse (38 percent). These choices differed from designers, who say that the most popular wellness rooms they’ve been asked to design in the past year include a reading room, a sauna/spa, a gym/fitness room, or a meditation room. 

No matter the space, these insights into the wellness trends of today may better help you to find the wellness you crave from the comfort of your own home.

 

Photo by KatjaFiona.

With a sleek, modern style becoming the new trend in home design, chandelier makers are turning from the traditional designs to modern light fixtures instead. Not only do they add an elegant and modern piece to the room, but they’re becoming pieces of art in their own right. 

The creativity that goes into designing and manufacturing these modern chandeliers is pushing the boundaries on the line that constitutes furniture and works of art. With that said, here are some tips on choosing which modern chandelier is best for you:

Photo courtesy of Covet NYC

Photo courtesy of DelightFULL

1. Get Creative with Material

With any modern chandelier, the material matters. Getting creative with the material used to create the chandelier can add a great addition to the room’s decor. Creativity is proven to go a long way in designing the perfect modern chandelier.

The Botti pendant lamp, inspired by the American trumpet player Chris Botti, adds a fun twist by using trumpets as the main material of the chandelier. While still luxurious in its style and design, it adds personality and a conversation piece to the space. While the chandelier is more retro in its style, using a creative material and thinking outside of the box can be beneficial for whichever style is preferred.

2. The Space it Resides

Both small and large chandeliers can be a great addition to any space. It’s important, however, to consider the type of space when choosing which modern chandelier to include in it. For a foyer or room with high ceilings, look for a larger chandelier to create a major focal point. In spaces like dining and living rooms, a smaller chandelier will still be a work of art, yet it won’t take away from the rest of the design in the space.

Photos courtesy of Muse Residences

In recent years, more and more hotels and apartment buildings are getting rid of the traditional designs and replacing them with modern and sophisticated styles instead. The modern chandelier in this residential building is certainly the focal point, simply for its sheer size and elegance. When visitors and residents walk into the building, they are in awe of its design. 

Photos courtesy of DelightFULL

3. The Lighting

In terms of lighting, either a dramatic flair or a softer hue can be a great addition to any space. While the design and material of chandeliers can be similar, the lighting can make a major difference in the atmosphere in the space.

 

While the first chandelier provides a dramatic light in a darker room, the second provides a more subtle light in a room ample natural light. Both, however, add to the design and atmosphere of the space.

4. A Work of Art

Regardless of the material, design and lighting, it’s crucial to remember the creativity a modern chandelier allows. Whether it’s above a dining table, in the living room as a statement piece or the focal point of the foyer, modern chandeliers aren’t simply light fixtures anymore — they’re works of art.

Photo courtesy of The Alyn

Often serving as the focal point of a living area, a fireplace can take a room from ordinary to extraordinary.

Whether it’s a fireplace that hangs from the sky or a fireplace with multi-colored LED lights, European Home has compiled research to form the definitive ‘what’s hot’ list of luxe outdoor modern fireplaces for the summer of 2019.

This is what’s trending in modern outdoor fireplace design.

Fire that hangs from the sky. For example, the suspended Ergofocus by Focus Fires combines the humble backyard fire pit with the high art of the sculpture garden at MoMA. This fireplace even rotates so you can enjoy every square foot of your outdoor living space.

Ergofocus by Focus Fires
Image courtesy of Focus Fires

Paxfocus by Focus Fires
Image courtesy of Focus Fires

A linear fireplace with a twist (or a corner rather). The J Series: Corner outdoor fireplace can dramatically draw attention to the architecture of your outdoor living space with its unique wraparound corner design.

 Industrial textures. This wall-mounted outdoor fireplace features a rusted, corten steel finish which is the perfect textural accompaniment to an industrial or minimalist outdoor living space.

The architectural fire pit. At actress Courteney Cox’s Malibu home, custom seating becomes an extension of the patio and surrounds a teak and steel gas fire pit.

Custom Architectural Fire Pit. Photo by Simon Upton
Image originally published by Elle Decor

Color + Illumination. The JM2 outdoor fireplace offers the ability to illuminate the interior of your fireplace with multi-colored LED lights so you can create a tantalizing outdoor ambiance with or without the flames.

The fireplace is the epitome of luxury, and many other brands are also creating innovative fireplaces. Here are only a few:

napoleonfireplaces.com

modusfireplaces.com

flarefireplaces.com

Secondhand has gone upscale.

The names tell the story. The Vault Luxury Resale. The RealReal. Poshmark. Once the domain of nonprofits and local mom-and-pop stores, consignment and resale has become a big business, with new ventures adding a high-end twist to a timeworn model.

Resale, in which retailers purchase items directly from consumers and sell them outright, frequently replaces the traditional consignment model. No matter the method — consignment or resale — items are often not new. Still almost everyone in the business would be hard pressed even to utter the word “used,” instead opting for pre-owned, pre-loved, gently worn and secondhand.

“The attitude about resale has changed significantly over the last five years. The new consumer mindset sees the value in purchasing high-quality, well-made items that can last a lifetime, and our model creates access to these items,” says Rati Levesque, chief merchant for The RealReal, which sells luxury goods online (and in two recently opened brick and mortar stores) on consignment. ThredUp, one of the first online companies to focus on second-hand apparel for women and children, estimates 70 percent of their shoppers, which they often call “thrifters,” have never purchased secondhand before.

Used items from premium labels such as Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Chanel have always been in demand, often only obtained through a very small group of discrete local shops. In 1991, Sue McCarthy opened a consignment shop in St. Louis, eventually realizing that purchasing items outright was better suited to her upscale clientele. Today, she heads a multimillion-dollar enterprise, trading the original 400-square-foot storefront for a 7,000-square-foot boutique. Her roster of clients extends worldwide with approximately 15,000 individuals who send items to her. Additionally, along with her daughter who is the company curator and verifies authenticity, she frequently travels to view and purchase items from some of the largest closets in New York, Paris, London and other cities, something she calls “shopping the closet.” Clients include some of the world’s wealthiest women and celebrities, and more than a few stylists have her on speed dial. Also, customers travel to St. Louis to shop in her store. For some, like one group of female lawyers, it’s become an annual event.

 

 

The RealReal began at Julie Wainwright’s kitchen table and is now a major player in online luxury consignment. Following other online merchants, they recently opened stores in Los Angeles and New York and plan to add more brick and mortar locations in 2019.

Julie Wainwright

Photos courtesy of The RealReal.

When it comes to selling secondhand items online, eBay was a game changer and 1st Dibbs broke new ground for luxury sales online. In the industry, ThredUp, which started with a pilot for peer-to-peer online sharing of men’s shirts, established the resale niche online. Now the company claims to be the world’s largest online marketplace to buy and sell women’s and kids’ secondhand clothes.  

James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of ThredUp says, “There is a powerful transformation of the modern closet happening and I’m proud that resale is a key driver of this transformation.” ThredUp estimates current resale market for apparel at $20 billion and projects the market to grow to $41 billion by 2022. Investors have taken notice. ThredUp, The RealReal, Poshmark and others have captured venture capital. Waiting in the wings as further resale disruptors, according to ThredUp, are depop, Rebagg, Tradesy and Grailed. Additionally, startups such as The Luxury Closet are tapping into a nascent resale market in Dubai.

ThredUp estimates approximately 13 percent of their most active thrifters are millionaires. Several years ago, McCarthy tried an online store but decided a focus on social media would make the best use of their online staff. They have a massive following on Instagram and Facebook, running special sales and events weekly. “We cast a wide net over every product,” McCarthy says. “Once we put an item up it sells almost instantly.”

The industry claims resale benefits the environment and most major players support a charity. But McCarthy believes her process allows wealthy clients to amp up their support of nonprofits. “We’re able to monetize it better for charities,” McCarthy says. Instead of receiving a check or cash for their items, many of their wealthy clients opt to donate the money to charity. “If they give the $2,000 purse to charity, the charity is going to sell it for $200. If they give it to us, we’re going to pay them a thousand dollars. We make the check out to their favorite charity,” she explains. But many opt to take the resale funds and use them to purchase the latest and greatest, underscoring the secret to resale. “The lady who wants the latest Chanel or Gucci bag is going to be the same lady that wants the next latest one. And that gives her a good incentive to sell the previous bags,” McCarthy explains.  

Sue McCarthy

Sue McCarthy pioneered the luxury resale model with The Vault Luxury. Stylists and fashionistas have her on speed dial. And she is called on to shop the most indulgent closets in New York, London and Paris.

Photos courtesy of The Vault Luxury Resale.

As spring kicks into full gear, here are some interior trends that are set to flourish this spring — as told by industry design experts.

Thin Countertops

“Thinner three-quarter inch countertops are the new trend, creating a different and unique way to approach a kitchen staple at about half the thickness of traditional countertops. These countertops can vary in look from pure white, quartz and concrete, to faux premium Italian marble. In the spirit of packing away the heavy winter gear, people are adding design elements such as thin countertops to their home to make it feel lighter for the spring.”

 

Adam Meshberg, Founder and Principal of Meshberg Group

Indoor / Outdoor Living

“Layouts that allow a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor areas in hospitality projects give the space a sense of continuity. Outdoor amenities that are on par with those you’d typically find inside … allow people to spend more time outside connecting with nature, which is increasingly important, especially in warmer months. Maintaining light and airy indoor spaces with lots of organic, natural materials also creates a fresh feeling for spring.”

 

BCV Architecture + Interiors

Photo courtesy of BCV Architecture + Interiors

Mixing Metals

“The all-black metal look is out, and a more refined mix of metals is in. While matte or polished black metal at plumbing or light fixtures or hardware is gorgeous and striking and remains popular, mixing it up with another metal in a warm or cool tone, will update a space with a more refined and luxe vibe.”

 

— Sara Ianniciello, Director of Design, Whitehall Interiors

Meaningful Art

“An entire wall of art of all types and sizes, is a memorable way to dress up any room. Art is meaningful and ought to be selected based on what moves you, and you love, whether it’s the medium, colors or subject. An oversized piece in a room can also be stunning.”

 

— Sara Ianniciello, Director of Design, Whitehall Interiors

Mash up of Textures

“We like to create a sense of dimension in the space with a mixture of eclectic textures, rough-hewn woven fabric walls, fumed copper accents, polished concrete floors inlaid with a rustic tile and rough-sewn oak cabinetry in a custom kitchen. In the spring, we mix textured indoor/outdoor rugs, organic accents, and vibrant art and accessories to brighten up both indoor and outdoor spaces after the dull winter.”

 

Adam Meshberg, Founder and Principal of Meshberg Group

Natural Materials & Bold Colors

“Spring is a time of rebirth and vibrancy; in design, this is a perfect opportunity to utilize natural materials and bright, bold colors. Embracing the natural grain and shape of wood coupled with pops of color, like the red chairs and long single-plank communal table at Gott’s Roadside in Marin, California, creates a warm and welcoming environment and cultivates community.”

 

BCV Architecture + Interiors

Photo courtesy of David Wakely

As spring fast approaches, it’s time to rid your home of those dark winter tones — such as browns, blacks and grays — and time to bring in a few bright accents.

From neon yellows to pale pinks, here are a few colors you can use to brighten your home in time for spring.

Yellow

 

Whether it’s the image of sprouting daffodils, the sandy beach or the shining sun, yellow is surely a color that reminds us all of springtime. From carpets and cushions to sofas and tables, these pieces will help you to embrace a pop of yellow just in time for spring.

Photos courtesy of English Blinds

Blue

 

From bedrooms to living areas, both light and dark shades of blues create a calming atmosphere reminiscent of laying on the beach.

Photo courtesy of Covet House

Photo courtesy of Brabbu Design Forces

Woven by artisan weavers in Marrakech, this luxe bohemian home accessory is extremely versatile — use it as a blanket, decorative throw or statement wall hanging.

Teal

 

Teal, a color that has maintained popularity since 2017, pairs nicely with metallics, especially coppers and golds, or leafy prints. From kitchens to cushions, this bright and cheerful color can be used is almost any space.

Left: Photo courtesy of Bohemia Design Limited
Middle: Photo courtesy of Garden Trading
Right: Photo courtesy of AUDENZA

Pink

 

Spring is the perfect season to bring pink accents into your home, whether with wall decor, a new throw pillow or a vase of flowers.

Enjoy Hollywood glamour at its best with this Marilyn velvet armchair in a soft pink cotton velvet. The curvaceous shape of this blush pink armchair offers a touch of chic to your space.

Left: Photo courtesy of TOM TAILOR | Above: Photo courtesy of AUDENZA

Green

 

The bright yet soothing shades of greens, which resemble the spring’s natural outdoors, can help to bring life into any space.

Right photo courtesy of
Sweetpea & Willow

Photo courtesy of DelightFULL

Nude shades can add warmth and subtle sophistication.

 

Whether it be an accent piece or the color of the whole room, nude tones add subtle warmth to any living space in need of an update. Calming, earthy shades of beige, pale pink and light caramel can set a refreshing tone with barely-there hints of these trendy colors.

Nude shades work particularly well in living rooms and bedrooms, but nude-colored kitchen walls can also set a friendly and inviting vibe in contrast to past trends of gray, black and white. Since most neutral tones pair well together, shades of light pink, brown and even some very light blues can be mixed together to create your ideal wall color.

 

Photo by MADE.com

Photo by MADE.com.

Photo by Sweetpea & Willow.

Photo by MADE.com.

Photo by Chaplin Furniture.

Nude-colored furniture — particularly seating, rugs, and accent pieces — add a touch of understated glamour to a bland room in need of color. These muted shades of beige and pink add a soft pop of vibrance on their own, but can also serve as the backdrop for a more boldly colored accent pillow, curtains or piece of wall art. Try pairing a sand-colored sofa with wine-colored cushions to add depth to your living room.

There is no need to stick to one shade when adding nude colors to a room — try adding a pale pink couch to a room with beige walls, or light caramel ottoman to a linen-colored living room. The variety of hues will make the room more intriguing.

Without creating a convoluted or gaudy aesthetic, nude shades add warmth to spaces that lack personality. Maintaining a clean and chic vibe, they are the ideal interior design choice for a homeowner in search of subtle sophistication.

Devices like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home have become common in the modern home. Though they were once considered futuristic, and even alarming, without thinking twice homeowners now have daily interactions with smart technology gadgets that save unprecedented amounts of time and eliminate the need for an alarm clock, radio, kitchen timer, newspaper, or light switch. Now that these devices have become so easily accessible to even the most minimalist homeowners, the bar for what is considered luxury smart technology is set higher.

Celebrities and techies alike are investing in smart technology not only for convenience — many luxury listings boast having lights, heating, and cooling controlled at the touch of the button — but for security, as smart technology has made it possible for homeowners to unlock their doors through an app, view footage of their doorstep in real time and receive notifications about their smoke or carbon monoxide alarms remotely.

Many new luxury apartment towers are attracting tenants by highlighting the building’s built-in smart technology. In addition to amenities like keyless entry, hands-free control of lights, temperature, security systems and pet feeders, some luxury apartment owners will soon have their cars robotically parked. While this technology is still in development, researchers are hopeful that artificial intelligence will be able to precisely park cars much closer together and in a more uniform fashion than human drivers would, eliminating the need for large parking garages, according to The Independent. Drivers would simply wait a few minutes for a robot to retrieve their car, and then when they return home, a robot would park their car back in its place, approximately four inches from its neighbor.

This five-bed, five-bath luxury listing in Chicago is equipped with technology by Control4: Home Automation and Smart Home Systems. Control4 allows homeowners to have voice control throughout the entire home, smart lighting, and intelligent security among other amenities.

Photos courtesy of d’aprile properties.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

This five-bed, six-bath Los Angeles listing is also equipped with Control4 for both security and entertainment purposes — light, sound, locks and screens can be adjusted with a simple swipe.

While the average homeowner may not have a heated driveway or plant watering system that they control from their smartphone like Oprah Winfrey, the increasing accessibility of smart home technology makes the possibilities for a luxury home endless.

From cozy getaway bungalows to spacious retreats for epic gatherings, this inspiring collection of mountain-modern homes is redefining what it means to live amongst nature.

Nakoma Resort, located just a 45 scenic miles north of Truckee in a vast landscape of mountains and lakes, has debuted Ascend at Nakoma. These luxe modular homes are the result of a unique collaboration between Grouparchitect, Method Homes and Mark Tanner Construction.

 

In addition to utilizing the latest in green manufacturing principles and boasting generous indoor/outdoor living, each home was designed with mountain-modern style in mind. With the increasingly popularity of mountain-modern design, we spoke with Greg Traxler, SagePoint sales director, to explore the trend further.

Can you define what “mountain-modern” style means to you?

 

Creating a connection to natural settings and embracing the outdoors. We have large windows to let the outside in along with generous outdoor living spaces. Building homes that utilize the latest in green manufacturing principles is key too. Our interior program for our turnkey offerings are designed and furnished by RH, Restoration Hardware.

How can one merge these two very different concepts: mountain-style and a modern look?

 

Partnering with our design and construction teams has helped create exciting blends of styles and materials to create the mountain-style and modern look. They are all firms very much in touch with the delivering residences that are stylish, fitting and comfortable.

Why do you think this type of design is popular right now?

 

Mountain modern has emerged as today’s most popular architectural style, widely adopted across the U.S., not only in the mountains but also all resort and urban settings.

What are some elements that are essential to creating this style?

 

These residences are decorated and customized by the Nakoma team and Restoration Hardware. The furniture and accessories from the Restoration Hardware design team reflect the very best in today’s trend setting market — all tailored for practicality and durability, but also to be warm and inviting in every season.

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