Compliments to the Chef

As more Americans turn to home cooking and entertaining, the functionality of a kitchen is more important than ever when choosing a home.

Over the past half-century, kitchens have become somewhat fetishized; a place to display high-tech appliances and high design cookware, a social hub for friends and family, and a continuation of home style that showcases elegance and considered design choices. Pare it back to basics, though, and today’s kitchen is still essentially what it always has been: a place to prepare food. And homeowners, spurred recently by stay-at-home orders, but also inspired by home-cooking television shows, health concerns and the rising expense of dining out, are increasingly relying on their kitchens in times when eating out is not an option, as well as using their kitchens as additional entertainment space; somewhere to try their hand at cooking for their friends and family. For house hunters who relish the opportunity to regularly entertain and prepare food for guests, it pays to know what to look for when assessing kitchen space during your house search—and the best person to ask is an expert.

Edouard Massih is a private chef and caterer in New York City. He hosts intimate dinners in his own home, giving local diners the experience of enjoying his food in a less formal, more personal way. Massih, who was born in Lebanon, found his love for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. Sharing food and creating community has always been the driving force behind Massih’s cooking, and he has discovered a way to do that in his own backyard—literally.

“I wanted to invite people into my backyard, because I had a very unique space in Brooklyn, and not a lot of people [in New York] get to have dinners in a backyard,” Massih says. To bring to life his vision of cooking for the community, Massih extensively renovated his Greenpoint backyard, creating a lush urban escape where guests can enjoy the exquisite food that he prepares in his own kitchen—each dish enhanced by a dash of his grandfather’s olive oil, all the way from Lebanon.

Having worked on his kitchen to ensure that it had everything that he needed to support his at-home dining experiences, Massih has the knowledge of both a professional chef and a home cook. We asked him for some tips to help aspiring culinary hosts to choose the right kitchen space, starting with the five kitchen elements that he finds to be indispensable. First, Massih says, is “the right fridge, or the right fridge space.” Part of taking the pressure off yourself when entertaining, he says, is making sure that you’re prepared in advance. “Entertaining is all about making it simple for yourself when people are there— being able to prep ahead and batching the drinks; having the pitchers of water ready in the fridge; and having everything ready to go. Maybe serve more cold stuff than hot. You can do a pasta salad and an orzo salad, and make it two hours in advance.”

Preparing food in advance, chilling drinks and ensuring that all of your produce is fresh all comes down to having the right fridge. And while interactive fridges with weather forecasts and recipe databases can be useful, the main thing is space—and plenty of it. If you want to get fancy, you could go for a hot-water dispenser and temperature-adjustable drawers, both of which assist in various cooking processes; just make sure that you have enough shelf space to hold all of the food and beverages that you’ve prepped for your guests.

Compliments to the Chef image 1

Because you can’t make a lot of food without creating a lot of mess, Massih insists that having two sinks is vital: one dedicated to food prep, and one to cleanup. You can keep your prep equipment near your prep sink (think bowls, colanders, appliances), and dishes near the cleanup sink (which should ideally be close to the dishwasher). In addition, having two sinks creates more flexibility for multiple cooks, and streamlines the flow while you’re cooking.

The third must-have for Massih is “a lot of prep area—lots of counter space.” You need space for laying out, preparing and organizing ingredients, which most people consider when thinking about counter space; but if you’re planning on entertaining groups of diners, you also need enough counter space to plate all of the meals at once. Nobody wants to be balancing plates on top of kitchen stools because there’s not enough room for everything on the countertop.

Fourth for Massih is storage, in terms of both kitchen cabinets and a decent pantry. You want plenty of space, and also space that complements your cooking flow. Pots and pans should be as close to your stove as possible—either on a rack above or in a cabinet below—and serving utensils like spoons and tongs should be close to where you do your plating, to minimize the number of steps you have to take to collect your cooking tools, which helps with efficiency when you’re cooking for a group of people. A walk-in pantry is ideal, with various shelf sizes and storage options for appliances that are not in regular use. For chefs, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered cooktop.

Lastly, Massih emphasizes the importance of, as he calls it, “legit trash.” “You want a trash can that’s near the sink or accessible around [where you’re working], and not one of those little tiny trash barrels that fits nothing,” he says. “Otherwise, every two minutes, you’ll have to take the trash out when you’re prepping.” Massih also spends a lot of time cooking in other people’s kitchens as part of his catering and private-chef business, and the one feature that he is always delighted to see is a back kitchen.

“What is really nice about some of [the private homes that I cook in] is they have a back kitchen, like the ‘help’ kitchen,” he says. “That really does help a lot. If I [had the resources], and I was looking for a house to entertain in a lot or to do a lot of dinners in, then that’s definitely something that I would look for. “A lot of these kitchens nowadays are very open-plan, because the idea of it is that it’s really fun. But it gets annoying when you’re [hosting] a formal dinner, and you can’t do dishes [or hide them away] while your guests are eating. Having a small back kitchen really helps, because then you can hide all of the stuff that you don’t want people to see.”

There’s nothing wrong with a kitchen as a style statement, and most people whose interests lie in kitchens will admit to some fetish-like reverence. Just keep practical concerns in mind, particularly when you have culinary aspirations; remember, you can have a waterfall countertop AND legit trash. That’s what we call the best of both worlds.

For more information on Edouard Massih and his home-style cooking, visit www.edouardmassih.com.

Source: century21.com

Daniel LaRusso’s House on Cobra Kai: A Real-Life Tuscan-Style Villa

In Netflix’s popular series inspired by the iconic ’80s movie the original Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso, has moved up in the world — and traded the rundown apartment complex he lived in with his mother for a downright gorgeous Tuscan villa in a posh Los Angeles neighborhood.

In the 30 years or so since Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) famously defeated the Cobra Kai star student and two-time winner of the All Valley Karate Championship, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), LaRusso becomes the owner of a successful car dealership chain in Southern California. He lives happily with his wife, Amanda, and their two children, Samantha and Anthony, in a large home with a swimming pool in Encino — an upscale neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. At least that’s what the storyline of Cobra Kai claims.

Daniel LaRusso’s house in Cobra Kai. Image credit: Netflix

With countless scenes in the series taking place at the LaRusso residence, we couldn’t help ourselves and had to track down the house featured in the Netflix show. Especially since the Tuscan style house is so damn beautiful (and I’m willing to bet I wasn’t the only one reduced to tears to see members of the Cobra Kai dojo make a complete mess out of it at the end of the third season).

Where is Daniel LaRusso’s house in Cobra Kai?

Carefully picked to reflect Daniel San’s new status in the world, his luxurious-yet-homey Spanish-inspired villa is said to be located in Encino, a quiet, affluent neighborhood in San Fernando Valley. While still geographically close to Reseda, where Daniel lived with his mother after moving to Los Angeles, Encino is worlds apart in terms of affordability and home prices — which also signals the divide between Daniel and Johnny, and which worlds they belong to as grown-ups. Boasting impressive architecture and verdant green spaces, Encino has housed a number of notable residents, from Richard Pryor to Johnny Cash, and even got a shot-out from Frank Zappa in his 1982 hit song “Valley Girl”.

Daniel and Johnny next to the pool of the LaRusso house in Cobra Kai. Image credit: Netflix

Where to find it in real life

With its Tuscan-style architecture, Mediterranean-inspired décor, lush landscaping, and generous pool area, the house looks like it was taken straight out of a rich Los Angeles neighborhood. So much so, that many people have pointed out the striking similarities between Daniel Larusso’s house and that of the Walsh family from Beverly Hills 90210. While the two TV homes do share some architectural features, two very different locations were used for filming.

In real life, the LaRusso house isn’t even in California. The house is actually in Marietta, Georgia, a beautiful community located just northwest of Atlanta. While we won’t provide the exact address of the home (out of privacy concerns, as this is an actual single-family house that a lucky family calls home), we did manage to track it down on Zillow.com, and find out quite a few things about it.

With an estimated worth of $1.7 million, the charming Tuscan villa has 6 bedrooms and 7 baths spread across roughly 9,000 square feet of living space. As seen on the Netflix show, the house comes with tons of outdoor space, including a resort-like pool and al fresco dining, and there’s also a greenhouse and an indoor atrium. Other nice features include cork floors, clay walls, and many expansive, rounded windows that add to the appeal of the house.

Cobra Kai – Season 2 – Episode 205. Scene filmed inside the LaRusso house. Image credit: BOB MAHONEY/NETFLIX
Daniel and Amanda LaRusso in their fictional home in Cobra Kai. Image credit: BOB MAHONEY/NETFLIX

Other Cobra Kai filming locations are split between Georgia and California

Despite the action of the show taking place in California, many of the locations seen on screen are actually in Georgia. Just like the LaRusso family home, their dealership and the country club they belong to are both in Georgia, as is the fictional West Valley High School (scenes take place C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Adamsville, Atlanta).

In fact, the only prominent location from the series that’s actually based in California is Johnny Lawrence’s apartment building, said to be in Reseda. In reality, it’s located about a 10-minute drive away, on Burbank Blvd in Tarzana.

Outside Johnny Lawrence’s apartment building on Cobra Kai. Image credit: Mark Hill/NETFLIX

This isn’t the first time Georgia serves as filming grounds for shows said to be based in different cities. Due to its great tax incentives, the Peach State has been attracting film crews in droves, with many popular shows being filmed here including Ozark, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, The Haunting of Hill House, Sweet Magnolias, and many more.

More homes from popular TV shows

The ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ House Isn’t Even in Bel-Air
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Where to Find the Real Carrington Manor from ‘Dynasty’
Are They Real? The Opulent Homes in ‘Bridgerton’

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Charming Estate With Ties to The Beatles On the Market in Connecticut

A gorgeous, sprawling Connecticut estate with ties to The Beatles, Prudence Farrow, and the Gershwin brothers is up for sale in Westport for $9 million. 

The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 9,360-square-foot property at 157 Easton Road, also known as River Run Estate, is being marketed by Compass’ Susan Vanech. It was originally built in 1955, and completely renovated in 2020, pairing old-school charm with modern-day amenities. 

The marketing for the resort-style estate is inspired by John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ as a reflection of the home being restored and getting a new lease on life. But there is also another, far more fascinating connection to The Beatles. 

Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass

Their song ‘Dear Prudence’ was based on Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence Farrow, who fell into a deep depression during her teenage years after her father’s sudden passing. John Lennon and George Harrison, who were in the same social circles as Prudence, wrote the song to help lift her spirits — and it ended up becoming a massive hit. 

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At the time, Prudence Farrow was living at the River Run Estate, and in her memoir, she describes hiking in the woods near the property, canoeing, skating on the pond, and playing with the neighborhood kids.

Back when Prudence resided at 157 Easton Road, the property was owned by violinist and photographer Leopold Godowsky Jr., and his wife Frankie Gershwin, younger sister to George and Ira Gershwin (the songwriting team whose songs were synonymous with the sounds and style of the Jazz Age). The frequent parties and gatherings at River Run Estate are said to have maybe inspired some of the Gershwins’ most popular compositions. 

The estate is the epitome of relaxed, outdoorsy Connecticut living, featuring personal tennis courts, a home gym, and access to the river waterfront with waterfalls to canoe, paddle, or swim.

Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass

There are also plenty of walking and hiking trails, as well as a pool and spa with a steam room. The outdoor area also includes a river house and a greenhouse, so the property would be an ideal fit for someone who loves the outdoors and enjoys being in nature year-round. 

Inside the property, there is an exquisite owner’s suite, as well as separate guest quarters for when friends or family come to visit. The home incorporates quiet offices, perfect for a work-from-home setup, a spacious dining room, multiple fireplaces, and fantastic views. 

Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass
Westport, CT home with ties to The Beatles. Image credit: Compass

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Source: fancypantshomes.com

Carmel’s 107-Acre Asherwood Estate Sells; New Owner to Build 40 Homes on the Property

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Asherwood, the suburban Indianapolis estate of the late billionaire Mel Simon, has reportedly found new owners. The Current, a local publication that reports on the Carmel area, has learned that the massive property will be divided in two and sold to different buyers for an undisclosed amount.

The opulent main house along with 20 acres that surround it will go to a private buyer (who will use it as a personal residence), while the rest of the 107-acre property goes to Gradison Land Development. The latter has already filed plans to built 40 homes on the sprawling property.

As a quick recap, the famous property — valued at $30 million — was most recently listed in March 2019, following its previous attempt to sell in 2014 which ended with Bren Simon (wife of the late shopping-mall magnate and Pacers co-owner, Mel Simon) donating the 107-acre estate.

Bren Simon, a known philanthropist, handed Asherwood Estate — as well as its lavishly furnished 50,000-square-foot mansion — to the Great American Songbook Foundation to support its dedication to 20th century American music history.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

In late 2018, the foundation led by Grammy-nominated musician and historian Michael Feinstein sought bids from top real estate brokerage firms to advise it on the best ways to market and sell the property. The winning bid went to global real estate firm Avison Young, chosen to lead sales efforts for the 107-acre property in Carmel, IN — an inspired choice, given the recent news of the successful sale.

“We invested a lot of time and effort in evaluating options to maximize the potential of this property, not only for our organization but for the surrounding community,” the foundation’s executive director Chris Lewis said in a statement. “We want to honor this generous gift by opening the opportunity to prospective buyers who are able to elevate the grounds beyond our capabilities.”

Stan Burton, an associate in Avison Young’s Indianapolis office, was leading the efforts of coordinating the sale of the Asherwood Estate.

History of the Asherwood Estate

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

In the 1970s, Melvin and Bren Simon bought the Asherwood estate in Carmel, Indiana. Developed by race car driver and automotive engineer Louis H. Schwitzer, the Asherwood estate was significantly expanded under the ownership of the Simons.

In the years following their purchase, Mr. Simon, the co-founder of the Simon Property Group, became one of the world’s foremost shopping mall developers and the co-owner of the Indiana Pacers basketball team. When he died in 2009 at 82, Mr. Simon was worth $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Mr. Simon’s widow, Bren Simon, listed the property for sale in 2014 for $25 million, with no takers. She then donated the massive Asherwood estate, along with the house and all of its belongings, to Michael Feinstein’s foundation, The Great American Songbook.

The millions of dollars worth of art, furniture and fixtures that were inside the palatial 50,000-square-foot mansion hit the auction block on November 17, 2018 with proceeds from the sale going to the foundation.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

A real-estate deal to redevelop the vast estate into a luxury neighborhood and transform the seven-bedroom mansion into a boutique inn was also underway at the beginning of 2019, but was later abandoned due to restrictions that prevented the development of large-scale homes on the estate.

The existing fully furnished seven-bedroom mansion on the property includes two golf courses, two swimming pools, a tennis court, a clubhouse, greenhouse, guest house, home theater and caterer-ready professional kitchen. The property is located along Ditch Road between 96th and 106th streets.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker
Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

Note: A previous version of this article was published in March 2019, when Asherwood Estate was listed with Avison Young. It was updated in 2021 to reflect the recent news surrounding the property’s imminent sale.

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Source: fancypantshomes.com

Here’s Everything You Need to Set Up a Meditation Corner in Your House

Our homes should be oases of calm where we can retreat to from the hectic world we live in. But that’s easier said that done, especially since every corner of the house stands as a reminder of something we didn’t quite get to yet; whenever we walk past our desk, we’re being reminded that there’s work left to be done and bills to be paid; when we enter the kitchen, we may be reminded that we forgot to cook dinner so we should probably order some takeout… again!

But what if you had a place in your house completely devoted to chasing away stressful emotions? A space with comforting surroundings where you can clear your mind – a meditation corner.

There are no specific rules for creating one, but first, choose a space that simply feels good. You need to make sure that it’s constantly clean and uncluttered, and you may also want to account for lighting, depending on what time of the day you want to meditate.

Once you’ve decided on it, all that remains is for you to decorate and personalize your meditation corner. And we’ve got you covered here! Check out the following meditation items and choose the ones that’ll help you transition into a quiet mindset. Namaste!

Meditation pillow

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What’s best about creating a meditation corner is that you don’t need expensive stuff, but you do need comfort. This meditation zafu will allow you to maintain perfect posture during your practice, by propping your hips up higher than your knees. If you don’t feel comfortable enough, you can easily remove some of the pillow’s filling.  

If you already have an old meditation pillow, consider making it brand new by changing its cover. We personally love this one.

Tibetan singing bowls

Image credit: Ohuhu on Amazon

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Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries for healing and meditation purposes. When played, the sonic waves help induce deep meditative and peaceful states.

Handcrafted by artisans in Nepal, the Ohuhu singing bowl is as beautiful to look at as it is to hear, producing a profound sound healing experience. Besides, it’s easy to carry around, so you can take your bowl wherever your practice takes you.

Meditation bench

Image credit: Mindful Modern on Amazon

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Another item that you can add to your peaceful corner is a meditation bench. For those of you who find it difficult to meditate using a zafu cushion, a bamboo bench will offer ergonomic support and comfort.

Because proper posture is key to in the meditation practice, this bench is ideal for the traditional Japanese kneeling posture, called “seiza” position.

Small bamboo coffee table

Image credit: Zen Bamboo on Amazon

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Create a stylish and tranquil space for your meditation practice with this small coffee table.

Made from eco-friendly natural bamboo, this piece is highly versatile and ideal for accompanying your session with a nice cup of tea, or you can simply use it to place other meditation items.

Wall tapestry

Image credit: Lahasbja on Amazon

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Some people like to keep their meditation space simple, but others like to go all the way and decorate their walls as well.

If you think that a drawing of different yoga elements will help induce a deeper meditative state, then you should probably consider this Indian mandala tapestry. Made out of lightweight polyester fiber, the material is soft and you can also use it as a meditation mat.

Citrine & amethyst crystal tree

Image credit: Mookaitedecor on Amazon

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You don’t need a special place when it comes to beautiful ornaments, but a replica of the traditional Chinese “Wishing Tree” would definitely fit better in your meditation corner.

Made out of natural titanium, coated rock crystal cluster base with crystal quartz leaves, this wishing tree is considered by many to be a symbol of good luck, wealth and prosperity.

Empowering question cards

Image credit: Sunny Present on Amazon

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We all need to start an inner conversation every once in a while. Gaining deeper insight into who we really are takes some work — and requires that we ask ourselves the right questions.

These adorable Empowering Questions cards contain all the right questions that’ll trigger positive answers. They’re an easy way to bring mindfulness to your life by getting to know yourself and start working on the aspects that matter to you the most.

Tealight candle holders

Image credit: Iyara Craft on Amazon

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Everyone loves candles. They lighten up the space and create an enchanting and intimate ambiance.

These beautiful antique wooden candle holders will add coziness and a warm touch to your relaxation space. They go very well with both modern and rustic decor and they would also make a great gift for your friends.

Lotus back-flow incense holder

Image credit: YYW on Amazon

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Surround yourself with a soothing scent as you focus on your meditation practice with this back-flow incense holder. The aromas will help you relax and let your imagination run free.

The Lotus back-flow incense holder is also great for welcoming your guests. It will create a pleasant atmosphere and why not, reflect your elegant taste.

Japanese Zen garden

Image credit: Hubert & Quinn on Amazon

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Japanese Zen gardens are a great way to quiet your mind, improve your focus, and develop an overall sense of well-being.

Japanese Zen gardens are places of quiet contemplation and reflection so these tiny versions of them are designed accordingly. You can place one within reach in your meditation corner for tension relief and to help increase mindfulness.

Relaxation fountain

Image credit: Homedics on Amazon

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Another item that will turn your meditation corner into a haven is a tabletop relaxation fountain that will bring the serenity of nature indoors.

With a design that would look great in any setting, this relaxation fountain will instantly put you at ease. Get ready to enjoy the soothing natural water sounds, accompanied by a unique lighting feature for added ambiance.

Folding screen

Image credit: Coaster Home Furnishings on Amazon

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If you want more privacy and less distraction for your meditation corner, you should consider breaking off the area from the rest of the house. And no, you don’t have to build a wall for this, you just need a folding screen.

This black & white four-panel screen is made out of pine and fabric and it would nicely fit in any décor.

So that’s about it — now you’ve got everything you need to create your own meditation corner. We’re sure that there are many other things that you can use to bring serenity into your home and we’d love to hear your ideas.

More fancy stuff for your home

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Source: fancypantshomes.com

The Home Gym Gets a Makeover

Where you work matters as much as where you work out. Like the home office, the home gym has moved from afterthought to forethought in the COVID era. Affluent homeowners are now creating workout spaces loaded with personal style. Whether it’s designing around Peloton bikes and Mirror systems or creating complete wellness suites for relaxation, the new home gym is all about you.

Source: century21.com

How to Turn a Finished Attic Into a Nice Living Space

A home’s attic may just be the most overlooked space of the house. Often used simply for storage, this space has the potential of turning into a sleek living space, hobby room, home office or even a guest bedroom, if given a good amount of tender love and care.

Most people don’t consider using their attic space due to the absence of finished walls and proper lighting. But with the right knowledge and some fairly small additions, you can convert your attic into an elegant getaway that not only adds value to your property but that can also be used as a place to relax and unwind.  

Wondering what it takes? We thought we’d give you a hand by looking at some of the most crucial elements you need to consider if you’re thinking about turning your attic into a living space.

Turning your attic into a livable area

Now, while there are quite a few elements involved when converting an attic, taking them one step at a time — maybe even spacing out the work and giving yourself lots of time to get it done — will make the whole process seem less daunting. Here are some of the major improvements you need to account for:

Wire your attic for electricity

While this isn’t an extensive project, you will need to hire a professional to help you out and get this one out of the way. Whether or not your attic is already wired, you’ll need to hire an electrician to check your wiring and make sure it’s up to par; and if it’s not, they’ll have to wire it altogether. Either way, get this one out of the way well before you start working on the walls or floors, otherwise you might find yourself in a position to ruin your freshly redone walls to set up wiring.

Strengthen the attic’s floors

If you plan on adding furniture to the space, especially larger pieces like a bed or an armoire, you’ll have to account for the extra weight and strengthen the floors. This is another aspect you might want to contract out to a professional, given that you need to make sure both your floors and your home’s foundation and framing can handle the extra weight.

Insulate the attic

Since all the walls (along with the roof) are exposed to the outside, your attic is likely the hottest and coldest room of the house, depending on the season. That’s why you’ll want to take extra steps to insulate it properly, and depending on the area you’re in and how cold/hot it gets, fix the space up with PTACs (package terminal air conditioners) to maintain the right temperature. You might also want to consider adding drywall or add extra wood or shiplap to the exterior walls.

Install plumbing

If your attic conversion also involves adding a bathroom to your newly created living space, you’ll need to account for plumbing. This part might add up and bring your expenses up considerably (especially considering all the other elements you’ll have to purchase and install in your bathroom, from the toilet to vanity, fixtures etc.) so think it through before adding it to your wish list. Especially since you can’t really space them out very much, and you’ll need to buy the toilet/bathtub and all the other elements before plumbing starts — as you’ll need to connect them. Also, remember we were talking about strengthening the floors of your attic? Water adds tons of weight, so you’ll have to plan your structure reinforcement accordingly if you’re gonna move forward with the addition of a bathroom. For more info on what it entails to install a bathroom in your attic, here’s a handy guide.

Get proper lighting

If you’re going all out with your attic conversion (and have the funds to back it up), you’ll want to consider adding some nice skylights or windows. But this can ramp up your costs considerably, and make the whole process far more complicated. So instead, why not flood the place with light through some good old light fixtures? Mix things up with a combination of LED lights, overhead lighting, and tall lamps — and pick bright bulbs to get as much light in as possible.

Paint the walls and ceiling

You’re almost done with your DIY attic remodel, so now it’s time to start making it look pretty. Even if your attic has finished walls and ceilings, you’ll want to add a fresh coat of paint to make the space look brand new and inviting. To make the space appear more airy and to compensate for the lack of windows, choose bright colors for most of the walls (though an accent wall that stands at the opposite end of the entrance is always a stylish addition).

Add furniture, appliances & décor elements

The next step in setting up your attic living space is to make it practical and beautiful. This entails adding furniture, design elements, and whatever appliances you think you might need for the space. Think TVs, a mini fridge, a nice stereo system, low, sleek A/C units, whatever you find most practical depending on how you want to use the newly-created room of the house.

Maybe you want to have it ready as a guest bedroom, or a teen kid’s room, a hobby room, a much-needed home office or a place to relax and meditate in. Each potential use comes with its own individual needs, so it’s up to you to get creative from this point forward (though here are some great tips if you’re setting up a meditation room).

Last but not least…

If you’re seriously considering turning your attic into a living space, there’s one hurdle you need to get out of the way before embarking on any of the above changes: checking with your local permitting office to see whether or not you’ll need a building permit for converting your attic space. Not all cities require their residents to pull out a permit for this, but it’s better to know for sure instead of winging it. Your home insurance and later property valuation might take a hit if you don’t account for this aspect.

Keep reading

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What Your Home Office Would Look Like If They Were Designed by David Lynch, Wes Anderson, and Other Iconic Movie Directors

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Beverly Park, a Privacy Haven for Hollywood’s Biggest Celebrities

Some call it a desperate need for privacy and security. Others call it conscious alienation and paranoia. Whatever the reason, one thing’s clear: the world’s wealthiest all want to live in Beverly Park, Los Angeles’ richest and most exclusive neighborhood. 

What exactly is so special about Beverly Park?, you might ask. Don’t feel bad about not knowing the answer, because the amount of privacy and security around this neighborhood is insane, and that’s exactly why celebrities want to live here. 

First of all, you can’t just go take a stroll through Beverly Park in hopes of running into Mark Wahlberg or Samuel L. Jackson (two of the biggest names on the neighborhood roster). This ultra-exclusive gated community is out of reach even for paparazzis. There are basically no sidewalks, and taking photos is strictly prohibited. But who needs sidewalks when each property spans across acres and acres of land? There is plenty of room for celebrities to roam around without running into neighbors, visitors, or the prying eyes of the press. 

Aerial view of North Beverly Park (via Variety)

Because of the unrivaled privacy and massive land plots, Beverly Park has become the most sought-after residential destination for the wealthy. It’s actually the richest neighborhood in Los Angeles, home to A-listers in industries like show business, technology, and finance. But how did Beverly Park come to earn its status of the highest-earning neighborhood in L.A.? Let’s go back to see how this Hollywood hotspot first took shape. 

The history of Beverly Park

During the 1960s, the area now known as Beverly Park was eyed to become a country club-slash-golf-course for Hollywood’s elite. However, in the 1970s, developers Brian Adler and Elliot Gottfurcht joined forces to turn Beverly Park into “an idyllic community of historic-feeling grand estates that would feel like Beverly Hills of yesteryear.” 

Beverly Park stretches between Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Coldwater Canyon Drive, and Beverly Glen Boulevard. It’s divided into two communities, namely South Beverly Park and North Beverly Park. They both boast the famous Beverly Hills Post Office 90210 zip code, even though they’re located in the city of Los Angeles. 

Map of Beverly Park, Los Angeles (via Google Maps)

North Beverly Park is the larger of the two communities, encompassing 64 homes, while South Beverly Park is home to merely 16 residences. North Beverly Park is more upscale than the South section, boasting significantly higher prices and an entrance on Mulholland Drive. Interestingly enough, residents of the two communities don’t always see eye to eye, even if they’re basically part of the same neighborhood. 

In 2008, residents were embroiled in a legal battle concerning the rights of South Beverly Park to use the northern gates at Mulholland Drive. It wasn’t your usual, boring court battle: among the plaintiffs were famous residents like Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson, among others. The dispute was triggered when North Beverly Park restricted access to South Beverly Park via the Mulholland Drive entrance, citing security concerns. After a long legal battle, the courts decided South Beverly residents could use the northern gates freely, but the disagreements left a sour taste for both communities. 

The North Beverly Park entry gate at 13100 Mulholland Drive (via Christophe Choo)

The high profile residents

You know how in some cities in the U.S., local governments impose limits on how big residences can be? Think of that stunner of a mansion featured on Netflix’s Selling Sunset. It’s reportedly the last project of its size to be built in Los Angeles, as the local council voted to regulate the size of new homes in 2017.

Believe it or not, in Beverly Park, a requirement is in place that says homes in this neighborhood must be at least 5,000 square feet in size. Nobody seems too upset about that, given that homes in Beverly Park average roughly 20,000 square feet or more. 

This 5,000-square-foot-minimum rule, which is part of a 70-page property covenant that Beverly Park residents must abide by, is by no means a problem for celebrities. ‘The bigger, the better’ is a motto that famous Beverly Park residents like Mark Wahlberg, Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson, or Silvester Stallone swear by. 

But one of Beverly Park’s most famous residents is none other than Lisa Vanderpump, aka one of the Housewives of Beverly Hills. A few years back, Vanderpump was living in a palatial mansion designed by Richard Landry, and this mansion made multiple appearances in the popular TV show. The neighborhood is by no means stranger to massive mega-mansions, but the Vanderpump estate definitely stood out in its opulence. 

Lisa Vanderpump’s former Beverly Park home (via Pinterest)

Fast forward a couple of seasons, and Vanderpump reportedly decided to ‘downsize,’ moving to a gorgeous Beverly Hills residence dubbed Villa Rosa. Her former Beverly Park palace ended up being demolished by the new owners, but luckily we still have plenty of glamorous footage to rewatch if we get nostalgic. A bit of fun trivia for you here: the old mansion’s façade was used in the first season of Schitt’s Creek

If you’re feeling sad that your favorite housewife has parted ways with Beverly Park, worry not, because there are still plenty of celebrities in the neighborhood. Notable residents include Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Rod Stewart, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kimora Lee Simmons, among many others. 

The priciest home in the neighborhood

All the homes in Beverly Park are massive, uber-glamorous and jam-packed with amenities and state-of-the-art security features. But there is one property that stands out from all the others, and it’s got an equally impressive price tag. Yes, we’re talking about Villa Firenze, a 20,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom estate that could become the priciest home ever to hit an auction. Rumor has it that the jaw-dropping property is hitting the auction block with a $160 million price tag, just $1 million shy of the previous record-holder, a $159 million Florida listing auctioned off in 2018.

Villa Firenze in North Beverly Park. Image credit: Concierge Auctions

You might ask yourself, what’s so special about this residence that makes it worthy of such a high price tag? Well, besides the 13 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and 8 powder rooms, Villa Firenze also comes with a home theater, a wine cellar, a gym, a library, a private office, and even maids’ quarters. But that’s not all. There’s also a 30-car courtyard, a tennis court, a massive swimming pool, and even a walking/jogging trail surrounding the estate! 

Bidding for Villa Firenze starts Tuesday, January 26th, and the highest bidder will become the lucky owner of this ultra-luxurious property. So, if you want to compete with the likes of Denzel and the Vanderpumps, this is your chance. You can register to bid on the Concierge Auctions website. Fingers crossed!

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Source: fancypantshomes.com

Carmel’s 107-Acre Asherwood Estate Sells; New Owner to Build 40 Homes on the Property

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Asherwood, the suburban Indianapolis estate of the late billionaire Mel Simon, has reportedly found new owners. The Current, a local publication that reports on the Carmel area, has learned that the massive property will be divided in two and sold to different buyers for an undisclosed amount.

The opulent main house along with 20 acres that surround it will go to a private buyer (who will use it as a personal residence), while the rest of the 107-acre property goes to Gradison Land Development. The latter has already filed plans to built 40 homes on the sprawling property.

As a quick recap, the famous property — valued at $30 million — was most recently listed in March 2019, following its previous attempt to sell in 2014 which ended with Bren Simon (wife of the late shopping-mall magnate and Pacers co-owner, Mel Simon) donating the 107-acre estate.

Bren Simon, a known philanthropist, handed Asherwood Estate — as well as its lavishly furnished 50,000-square-foot mansion — to the Great American Songbook Foundation to support its dedication to 20th century American music history.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

In late 2018, the foundation led by Grammy-nominated musician and historian Michael Feinstein sought bids from top real estate brokerage firms to advise it on the best ways to market and sell the property. The winning bid went to global real estate firm Avison Young, chosen to lead sales efforts for the 107-acre property in Carmel, IN — an inspired choice, given the recent news of the successful sale.

“We invested a lot of time and effort in evaluating options to maximize the potential of this property, not only for our organization but for the surrounding community,” the foundation’s executive director Chris Lewis said in a statement. “We want to honor this generous gift by opening the opportunity to prospective buyers who are able to elevate the grounds beyond our capabilities.”

Stan Burton, an associate in Avison Young’s Indianapolis office, was leading the efforts of coordinating the sale of the Asherwood Estate.

History of the Asherwood Estate

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

In the 1970s, Melvin and Bren Simon bought the Asherwood estate in Carmel, Indiana. Developed by race car driver and automotive engineer Louis H. Schwitzer, the Asherwood estate was significantly expanded under the ownership of the Simons.

In the years following their purchase, Mr. Simon, the co-founder of the Simon Property Group, became one of the world’s foremost shopping mall developers and the co-owner of the Indiana Pacers basketball team. When he died in 2009 at 82, Mr. Simon was worth $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Mr. Simon’s widow, Bren Simon, listed the property for sale in 2014 for $25 million, with no takers. She then donated the massive Asherwood estate, along with the house and all of its belongings, to Michael Feinstein’s foundation, The Great American Songbook.

The millions of dollars worth of art, furniture and fixtures that were inside the palatial 50,000-square-foot mansion hit the auction block on November 17, 2018 with proceeds from the sale going to the foundation.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

A real-estate deal to redevelop the vast estate into a luxury neighborhood and transform the seven-bedroom mansion into a boutique inn was also underway at the beginning of 2019, but was later abandoned due to restrictions that prevented the development of large-scale homes on the estate.

The existing fully furnished seven-bedroom mansion on the property includes two golf courses, two swimming pools, a tennis court, a clubhouse, greenhouse, guest house, home theater and caterer-ready professional kitchen. The property is located along Ditch Road between 96th and 106th streets.

Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker
Asherwood Estate, Carmel IN. Photo courtesy of CJ Walker

Note: A previous version of this article was published in March 2019, when Asherwood Estate was listed with Avison Young. It was updated in 2021 to reflect the recent news surrounding the property’s imminent sale.

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Source: fancypantshomes.com

This Dream Getaway Home is Part of a $220 Million Aspen Ranch

If you’re a fan of the mountain farmhouse aesthetic, you’re in for a treat. Nestled into a hillside just minutes away from Aspen core sits the Mount Daly House, one of the eight modern ranch retreats at the 800-acre Aspen Valley Ranch.

The massive Colorado ranch — owned by oil and gas executive Charif Souki — was initially listed back in May 2020 for $220 million, which propelled it to the top of the list of most expensive residential properties for sale in the U.S.

Since then, marketing efforts for the property, led by Souki’s son, Chris Souki, along with Carrie Wells (both with Coldwell Banker) have shifted, with the massive ranch being divided into more manageable assets. One of which is the biggest home on the ranch, Mount Daly, which has been listed alongside a future homesite (so far simply titled Lot 9), which has a 13,000-square-foot proposed floorplan that would outshine all the other existing homesteads on the property.

Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

The asking price for the two properties — Mount Daly and Lot 9, the future homesite of a 6-bed, 9-bath dream ranch home with a generous 13,000-square-foot floorplan — is a whopping $30 million, but that’s not above the mark for properties in the area, especially considering that the lots total 82 acres (in what’s undoubtedly a phenomenal location).

Mount Daly house has 5,373 square feet and comes with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and a barn. Designed by Michael Fuller, the residence beams with mountain farmhouse aesthetic, with its interiors paying homage to western culture and history, boasting reclaimed beams, barn wood, stone features, and other traditional ranch-style elements.

Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

Best of all, the home rests on the valley floor at the confluence of two mountains, offering some of the best Elk Mountain range views. The massive windows carefully placed throughout the home make the most of these views, and invite calm and relaxation.

Inside Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
Outdoor entertaining area at Mount Daly, a luxury ranch home in Aspen, Colorado. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

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Source: fancypantshomes.com