Art / Lifestyle Featured

Trends in the Landscape – The Latest in High-Impact Grounds

Ridgefield, Connecticut | Krissy BlakeSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

A home’s exterior greenspaces are often the perfect place to find a moment of peace. From city plots to country estates, the configuration of a garden or the layout of a lawn can affect the overall feel of a property and add opportunities for connection and relaxation.

For those in the process of searching for the perfect view—or updating their existing grounds—here are five landscaping trends that are having an impact.

Embrace Rewilding

Munster, Ireland | David AshmoreIreland Sotheby’s International Realty

If you’re seeking to draw even more nature to your grounds while focusing on sustainability, rewilding may be the approach for you. The practice refers to the act of ecological restoration, and for gardens this can mean reestablishing natural habitats for everything from microorganisms and bees to birds and local mammals. Rewilding calls for an abundance of domestic wildflowers to appeal to pollinators, grasses that require little to no maintenance, and plants that are free to grow where they please. With a little time, your landscape should teem with life.

Go Monochrome

Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico | Oriana JuvelierPuerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty

In contrast to the maximalism of rewilding, the monochromatic landscaping trend thrives on simplicity. Create an outdoor space in a single hue: outfit a patio with all-white furniture and decorative accents to instill tranquility, and flow the theme outwards. In the garden, intersperse varying sizes and shapes of flowers in similar shades to please the eye. Contrast adds even more impact here: if you’re longing for variety, enliven your consistent backdrop with some well-chosen bright blooms.

Incorporate Water

Lucca, Italy | Daniela SpreaItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Sound is an important element to consider when creating a personal outdoor paradise, and the ambience of trickling water is of a piece with elevated landscaping. Not only does even the simplest water feature add a sense of calm to an outdoor space, but the choices are endless from a design perspective—from multi-level ponds that cascade into one another to modern marble fountains to natural stone waterfalls, an aquatic touch makes a garden even more appealing for those who like to listen.

Think Tall

Como, Italy | Luca D’AngeloItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Don’t overlook the powers of height to make a landscape feel grand and sophisticated. Towering, manicured greenery like trees and topiaries lining a garden’s perimeter can make a space feel palatial and secluded. Planting tall varietals like hardy hibiscus, foxglove, and delphinium adds drama and instant visual impact to an otherwise flat garden. Raised flower beds are another trending way to bring height and dimension to your grounds—they improve soil drainage and help with the longevity of your plants and flowers.

Augment Indoor/Outdoor Living

Montecito, California | Sandy StahlSotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – East Valley Road Brokerage

Indoor/outdoor living spaces are always a desired feature of luxury homes, but properties that showcase a seamless flow between house and garden are even more in demand this year. Large sliding, retractable, or French doors help connect kitchens and living rooms with nature, and carrying through similar details—whether through color, pattern, or materials—lets a patio or garden become an extension of the home. To really encourage spending more time outdoors, consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen or fireplace.

Regardless of the size or style of your garden, there are myriad ways to approach a timely refresh. From letting flora get a little wild to creating an exceptional outdoor living space, this is the year to turn your landscape into a veritable sanctuary.

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Art / Lifestyle Featured

Inside Jimmy Fallon’s Unique Gramercy Park Home

In the late 1800s Manhattan, the concept of cooperative living—multiple families sharing one building—was a novelty, yet a group of developers who hit on the idea determined to move forward with it. They hired New Jersey–based architect George W. DaCunha to design an arresting Queen Anne–style building overlooking Gramercy Park, whose gates have, since 1844, been openable only by neighborhood residents in possession of a key. His ornate affair, completed in 1883, was a masterwork of redbrick, with terra cotta, brownstone, polished granite, and carved foliate accents; a mansard roof; and three of the city’s first hydraulic elevators. In its early days, the building was home to some of New York’s socially prominent families, and by the time of its 75th anniversary, had beckoned to such Hollywood icons as James Cagney and Margaret Hamilton. Ultimately, the building and its concept would survive early skeptics, going on to be known as a distinguished paradigm of the cooperative model. No expense has been spared in the meticulous maintenance of the building over its nearly 140-year lifespan. To this day the foyer retains elements of 19th-century charm—such as stained glass, mahogany woodwork, and leaded- and beveled-glass doors—although the original elevators have been replaced. New York, New York | Jeremy V. Stein & Debbie KorbSotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage Add to the list of luminary residents comedian, actor, singer, writer, and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who began purchasing space in the building in the early 2000s and over the ensuing years—alongside producer Nancy Juvonen, his wife—combined four apartments on three levels into one home of impressively generous scale and delightfully whimsical and vibrant style. Throughout its 4,950 square feet—a rarity on Gramercy Park outside townhouse living—vintage elements have been painstakingly maintained and restored, perfectly harmonizing with superior fixtures and finishes, contemporary comforts and conveniences, and state-of-art smart technology, from lighting to audiovisual systems. Occupying the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors of the building’s southwest corner, the home is appointed to the hilt with antiques and imaginative finds from around the world. In the colorful living room, 1940s wallpaper and Brooklyn Navy Yard woodwork endure alongside such modern amenities as an in-ceiling projector. In addition to an oversized island with plentiful storage and sitting space, custom cabinetry with E.R. Butler & Co. hardware, and top-caliber appliances, the cheerful kitchen features a gas fireplace with its original mantel and a walk-in soundproofed pantry. A classical staircase unites the public spaces with the private quarters—six restful and uniquely appointed bedrooms. Perched at the top is the owner’s suite, a skylit oasis boasting a gas fireplace, a wet bar, a sitting area, a bath with a separate steamshower and soaking tub, and two well-outfitted walk-in closets. An intercom allows for easy communication between the home’s two enchanting and thoughtfully equipped playrooms. On the eighth floor is the one-of-a-kind “saloon,” anchored by an antique bar that pays homage to the building’s provenance with its inlaid stained glass and intricate wood detailing. Striking ceiling beams and a dramatic stone fireplace contribute to a feeling of Old West warmth. Other highlights include a quiet office, a gym, and two convenient laundry rooms. Naturally, as has been the case since the earliest days of this innovative residential building, ownership conveys a coveted key to the park.
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Featured Market Report Uncategorized

Oahu Market Report – February 2021

The Oahu housing market continues a record-setting year as single-family homes reached a median sales price high of $917,500, a nearly 20% year-over-year increase and a 3.9% jump above last month’s record of $883,000. Single-family home sales saw a 5.3% increase and condominium sales soared 41.1% over last year.

The fierce competition between buyers resulted in sellers receiving more than their asking price in 48.5% of single-family home sales and 29.1% of condo sales compared to only 19.8% and 8.9%, respectively, in February 2020. The record-setting pace of sales continued in February, as single-family homes spent only nine days on the market.

Approximately one-third of single-family homes sold were in the $700,000 to $899,999 range, nearly even with the sales a year ago. However, sales in the $1,000,000 and over range doubled, jumping to 111 sales compared to 55 sales in February 2020. The $400,000 to $499,999 range accounted for 21.3% of sales in the condo market and saw the largest increase in sales volume, up 53.2%.

New listings for single-family homes and condos declined by 19.3% and 2.5%, respectively, offering no relief to the difficulties presented by the lack of inventory. There are 774 active listings for single-family homes and 1,979 active listings for condos available on Oahu.

While strong demand for limited inventory and increased purchasing power through low interest rates continues to place sustained upward pressure on prices is good news for sellers, buyers face a challenging environment with steep competition.

Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors