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AOL Real Estate - Blog

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    Geodesic dome home in Fairfield, Va.
    Natural Space Domes via CNBC


    By Linda Federico-O'Murchu, Special to CNBC

    Over the past decade, the world has watched in horror as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, tsunamis and most recently, one of the largest typhoons on record, caused death and destruction in epic numbers. With meteorologists predicting even more intense storms in the future, some homeowners are finding a simple yet ingenious way to minimize their vulnerability: building a dome home.

    The domes' balanced shape is self-supporting and strong enough to withstand the force of an EF5 tornado, a monster hurricane or a powerful earthquake. Dome buildings made of concrete can deflect falling buildings and flying debris, even airborne trees and cars. Plus, the roof won't blow off. "People feel safer in a dome," says design engineer and Texas resident Nanette South Clark. "Domes have a double curvature like an egg so they're very strong. They're the buildings of the future."

    Clark, who helped design space shuttle launch systems, grew up in a dome home herself. It was designed by her father, David South, who was inspired by the intricate balance and symmetry of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic spheres. South created his "Monolithic Dome" as a round, freestanding structure that could be economically built to serve as protection against natural disasters and a unique living space. "This is an answer," insists Clark's husband Gary, vice president of Monolithic sales and marketing. "It's the strongest disaster-preventative shape that can be built for the dollar."

    In fact, today the Monolithic Dome Institute has taken its vision globally to build domes for residential and commercial use. Concentrating on areas prone to natural disasters, the company is currently aiming to build 20 dome shelters in Birmingham, Ala., a city devastated by tornadoes in April 2011. In 2006, Monolithic built 71 dome homes -- an entire village -- in Indonesia after the mass destruction caused by an earthquake.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency agrees that domes can play a part in disaster preparedness. In 2012, FEMA spent millions of dollars to build dome shelters in Texas communities that had been hard hit by tornadoes. In May, a photo on the FEMA website showed how well a dome fared compared with a conventional building after the EF5 tornado in Moore, Okla.

    The problem, say dome advocates, is that meteorologists are predicting even more violent weather systems and domes are still a rarity. The last decade has seen a tenfold increase in major earthquakes worldwide, according to a recent United States Geological Survey, as well as some of the deadliest hurricanes and tornadoes on record. In 2012 alone, 251 people died in the U.S. in weather-related disasters that cost $104 billion.

    MIT scientist Kerry Emanuel, one of the world's top experts on hurricanes, published a paper this year predicting that the world will see even more intense tropical storms in the future, in combination with rising sea levels. Emanuel's 2005 article published in the international science journal Nature foreshadowed 2013's Typhoon Haiyanin the Philippines, (death toll 6,000) and 2008's Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (death toll 138,000.)

    "Hurricane intensity should increase with increasing global mean temperatures. ... This trend is due to both longer storm lifetimes and greater storm intensities. ... My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and-taking into account an increasing coastal population-a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century," he wrote in the Nature article.

    "In the next 50 years, we do expect to see an increased incidence in the most intense hurricanes," Emanuel told CNBC. "If I were living in the Philippines, I would certainly build stronger buildings and put a lot emphasis on saving lives. I'd certainly build hospitals and storm shelters much stronger than I might have built them before.

    "Whether it's worth the money to build ordinary homes and buildings stronger is an economic decision; even with global warming, another storm like that might not happen in another hundred years. But I would say that, in a broader sense, building alternative structures that can withstand intense storms is something that urban planners certainly have to think about."

    According to Gary Clark, a Monolithic Dome currently costs between $125 and $135 a square foot. Not accounting for architectural enhancements, that figure, $125,000-$135,000, is on par with the average cost of a 1,000-square-foot home in Texas. "Dome homes are probably about the cost of a standard home, maybe slightly more. But we're really green -- that's where we shine. Your energy costs will basically be 50-75 percent less than in a conventional house."

    So with all the advantages of dome homes, why are they so rare? "The shape is the problem," explains South Carolina architect Peter von Ahn. "Domes are very efficient and work well, but the majority of people don't like them. They don't fit people's preconceived notion of what a house should look like."

    Often playfully dubbed "ball houses," "bubbles" or "igloos," domes can produce a variety of reactions from passersby, from delight to disgust to just plain old confusion. Sotheby's International Realty is currently selling a rainbow-colored, multidomed structure in Sedona, Ariz., that is unique, to say the least. Resembling a space-age cartoon dwelling more than a traditional home, it's on the market for a little more than a million dollars. "It's not for everybody," admits selling agent Ken Robertson. "It takes someone with imagination and creativity to appreciate this home. It's almost like a fantasy home." (See it in the slideshow below.)

    Interestingly, even survivors of major storms often say they would not consider moving into something as "weird" as a dome home, regardless of its protective qualities. "It would be a real stretch to consider that," says Clark Crabill, a 67-year-old retiree from Cincinnati. "It would be so extreme."

    Though his home was decimated by a tornado 14 years ago, ("it took less than 10 seconds to pop the house; it was like an explosion") Crabill says he would never consider buying a dome home. In fact, his reaction to the tornado was to search for the blueprints of his original home and rebuild it exactly like the first. Crabill acknowledges that he lives in the wide swath of country known as "Tornado Alley," but is convinced, "The probability of a tornado happening here again is low."

    Clark's daughter Carrie says she still feels emotional when she thinks about the early morning of April 9, 1999. "I was thrown out of bed onto the floor," she recalls. "I looked up and saw the sky. My sister was found in the neighbor's yard."

    Though her family survived, four people died in that tornado. Carrie says she has never truly felt safe since that day. "Our home was all gone, except for the basement and the foundation," she says. "Your sense of home and where you belong is taken from you. I will never not be aware of a storm again. Regardless of where I am, I'm always aware of the weather."

    COLORFUL DOME HOME IN SEDONA, ARIZ.:

    More from CNBC:
    Tips on Staging Your Home for Buyers
    10 Best Home Fixes to Save Money This Winter
    Most Desirable Celebrity Neighbor

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See celebrity real estate.


    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    Temple of the Muses exterior, Malibu
    Zillow
    By Catherine Sherman

    When architect and surfer Cho Yiu Kwan designed his home in 1993, he called it the "Temple of Muses." His muse being a 5-acre hilltop location overlooking some of the most prominent surf breaks in Malibu, Calif. "You can watch sunrise to sunset with the Pacific Ocean laid out in front of you. It's very dramatic," said listing agent Brant Didden. "Kwan designed and built everything around the inspiration he was getting from nature."

    The result, in Kwan's words, was "an assemblage of parts, forms and pieces with water at its center." Perhaps most striking is the giant triangular facade framing the home's glass and cement exterior. "You feel like you are in nature but also in a glass-enclosed piece of art," Didden said.

    The house at 2050 Rambla Pacifico remains a standout piece on the Malibu real estate scene with a surprise at every turn. The master bathroom has three "pods" that look like giant beer tanks but actually house the sink, shower and toilet. A circular stairway appears to take you to the roof of the garage but instead leads to a massive tennis court framed by the Santa Monica Mountains. Finally, an elevator takes you to a lower level with a movie theater room looking out over a koi pond.

    "You look to your left and feel like you're sitting at the level of the water," Didden explained. "It's like you're submerged."

    While unusual architecture can deter some buyers, Didden says he listed the home just a week and a half ago and has already had a half dozen showings. "I showed it to this couple and they are in love," he said. "[When the woman saw the master bathroom pods,] she was like 'That is one of the coolest things I've ever seen in a house.' " (See slide 20 in the gallery below.)

    Compared to other homes in Malibu, where the median list price is $3.25 million, this one is listed for $145,000 more. [That's a bit less than it was listed at in August 2011, when AOL Real Estate reported its priced hiked to $3.5 million.] A buyer should expect a monthly payment around $13,593, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.


    More from Zillow:
    House of the Week: Modern Sowden House
    For Sale: Frank Gehry's Malibu Borman House & Other Architectural Gems
    Unconventional and Ultra-Modern Real Estate

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    Cresskill, N.J. home for sale
    Zillow

    By Catherine Sherman

    From candlelight dinners to crackling fires and clanking silver, the familiar sights and sounds of "Downton Abbey" are back for a fourth season. The award-winning TV show would not be complete, of course, without England's Highclere Castle. A Victorian masterpiece set on 1,000 park-like acres, the castle sets the tone for the fictional Crawley family's affairs. To bring "Downton Abbey" a little closer to home, we've gathered a few Crawley-worthy estates currently on the market in the U.S.

    Atlanta

    3270 Nancy Creek Rd NW, Atlanta
    For sale: $12.9 million

    Atlanta, GAAtlanta, GA_2
    Known as the Woodland Hills Manor, this Atlanta estate was designed by the award-winning William T. Baker to combine historical elegance with million-dollar technology. Formal manicured gardens, a home theater, swimming pool and wine cellar/tasting room are highlights.

    Cresskill, N.J.

    (undisclosed address), Cresskill, N.J.
    For sale: $12.9 million

    Creskill, NJCreskill, NJ_2
    Built in 2004 with a 19th-century design, this French chateau-style home showcases gorgeous iron work, mahogany paneling, a banquet-size dining room and stone courtyard. The estate has 1.6 landscaped acres and is less than 30 minutes from Manhattan.

    Hillsborough, Calif.

    1225 San Raymundo Rd, Hillsborough, Calif.
    For sale: $19.75 million

    Hillsborough, CAHillsborough, CA_2
    Lord Grantham would likely feel at home in this English Tudor's living room with rich wood paneling and a stone fireplace. The 1931-built home has 12 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a smoking room, wine cellar, home theater, gym and garden.

    Greenwich, Conn.

    218 Clapboard Ridge Rd, Greenwich, Conn.
    For sale: $20 million

    Greenwich, CTGreenwich, CT_2
    In Greenwich, where the median home value is currently $1.221 million, a 13,084-square-foot estate on more than 5 acres isn't cheap. After a $5 million price cut, this 1929 brick manor is listed for $20 million. The home has been completely renovated for a modern lifestyle while paying homage to European elegance and style.

    Armonk, N.Y.

    17 Cowdray Park Dr, Armonk, N.Y.
    For sale: $24.9 million

    Armonk, NYArmonk, NY_2

    Described in the listing as a timeless beauty, this French Revival-style home is located on 10 private acres on Converse Lake. Highlights include Venetian plaster living room walls, a limestone fireplace, music room with a gilded domed ceiling and a romantic veranda overlooking the lake. The home also features an indoor basketball court, movie theater and gym.

    More from Zillow:
    5 Homes Jay Gatsby Would Love
    Timeless Doesn't Mean Traditional in These Tudors
    Historic or Modern: Which Home Would You Choose?

    More from AOL Real Estate:
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    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    glass house bloomfield hills mi
    Zillow
    By Catherine Sherman

    No need to hang wallpaper or a landscape painting -- walls of windows let nature do the decorating in these homes. To see why homeowners are ditching drywall for glass, check out these stunning modern gems currently on the market.


    COLORADO
    300 Eagle Pines Drive, Aspen
    For sale: $15.75 million

    Aspen, CO
    This luxury mountain home in Aspen ski country truly embraces its surroundings with a magnificent great room framed by 25-foot-high walls of windows. "It is a dramatic space that is ideal for an intimate family gathering or an event of several hundred," the listing description says. A scenic mountain view can be seen on either side of a striking stone fireplace.

    FLORIDA
    1236 Biscaya Drive, Surfside
    For sale: $6.75 million

    Surfside, FL
    This Florida home takes advantage of its prime oceanfront location with walls of windows and glass doors facing the water. The home also has a private glass-edge pool, indoor and outdoor bars, a water moat and dock.

    NEW YORK
    (undisclosed address), East Hampton, N.Y..
    For sale: $6.4 million

    East Hampton, NY
    A minimalist design by the award-winning Bates Masi Architects, this 5-bedroom home overlooks a private bay stretching 125 feet. The home's exterior was constructed in 2009 out of two rectangular structures integrating slate, wood and walls of glass.

    MICHIGAN
    4600 Charing Cross Road, Bloomfield Hills
    For sale: $5.795 million

    Bloomfield Hills, MI

    The glory of this home can't been seen from the driveway, but in the backyard a glowing pool is reflected off 2-story walls of windows. The cutting-edge design combines wood, steel, glass and stained concrete, "creating a symphony of warmth and interest," according to the listing description.

    WASHINGTON
    12600 Madison Ave. NE, Bainbridge Island
    For sale: $748,000

    Bainbridge Island, WA

    Bringing in natural light and a pristine wooded landscape, walls of glass are a standout feature of this Bainbridge Island home. Inside, an open floor plan maximizes the modern living space, creating an airy, spacious feel.

    More from Zillow about similar homes:
    House of the Week: Glass Walls in the Colorado Mountains
    'Floating' Glass Home in Laguna Beach
    Montecito's Glass Pavilion

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    interior of 1246 Province Rd, Gilmanton, NH
    Zillow


    1246 Province Road, Gilmanton, N.H.
    For sale: $1.495 million

    By Catherine Sherman

    For Doug Towle, restoring old homes is second nature. He fixed up his first Colonial in 1969 and has been preserving historical properties ever since. But it wasn't until house No. 14 that Towle could say he saved what is believed to be one of oldest homes in the U.S. The circa-1665 Garrison-style saltbox was constructed by George Farley, one of America's earliest settlers, and was occupied by his family for 12 generations.

    Transplanting history: Towle was approached by the Farley family because they wanted to sell the land where the home was originally built in Billerica, Mass. They thought the land would be more valuable without the home so, after a three-year battle in court, the Farleys were allowed to dismantle the property and put it in storage.

    "Most historical societies want to keep properties like this but don't have funds to restore and keep them," Towle explained. "The family came to me because they knew my work." Towle transplanted the home piece-by-piece to a green hilltop with mountain views in Gilmanton, N.H. He added contemporary appliances, central air conditioning and a good heating system but made sure all the furnishings and building materials were true to the historical period.

    "It was an arduous process because it's a saltbox copied from what they had in England. It has a framework made of oak, which is not what we typically see here," he explained. "The windows are also different from Colonials. The wood section between the panes is thicker, so I had to have custom-made windows and find that wavy, distorted glass."

    Typical for First Period homes, the house has a lean-to, a 30-foot-long room with a kitchen, brick fireplace and "borning room," where women would historically give birth. The master bedroom is filled with 17th century decor including a Pilgrim-styled reproduction bed frame and antique crewel bed hanging. Other period details include wide-pine floors, Indian shutters, gunstock corners and barricade doors.

    "The property was saved down the last nail and will be around for hundreds of more years in a place where people can see it," Towle said.

    Recreating a homestead: In addition to rebuilding the saltbox, Towle recreated an early American homestead complete with a 18th-century one-room schoolhouse, corn crib, barn and carriage shed as well as a 19th-century water tower.

    "People said you need to build an 'ell,' a connecting building between the home and carriage shed," Towle said. "I found a Colonial, not Pilgrim-era, one in a nearby town and reconstructed it, giving me a foyer, a great dining area and second-floor family room."

    In fact, all of the outbuildings are transplants to the idyllic Frisky Hill landscape. Towle found a late-1700s schoolhouse a mile away that had been closed since 1917. "I had to reconstruct it entirely, but I found a picture from 1909 of how it looked," he said. "I collected all the desks and textbooks from that period."

    Once the project was complete to Towle's satisfaction, he put it on the Gilmanton real estate market for $1.85 million in 2011. In October 2013, he dropped his asking price to $1.495 million and listed the home with Roy Sanborn of Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty.

    "I went overboard on this one," Towle said. "I have over $2.4 million in it." If he gets his asking price, it will be $1 million less than he spent in renovations.

    "People say, 'Why are you doing this?" he said. "I love the legacy I have left behind. I guess it's obsessive. Even though I turned 71 today, I still enjoy doing it."


    More from Zillow about historic homes:
    Historic Homes: Is 'Owning Old' Right for You?
    For Sale: Barn Homes Mixing Old & New
    13 Homes from the 13 Colonies

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

    Find homes for rent.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    Kourtney Kardashian great room calabasas
    Zillow

    By Laura Vecsey

    They hate to eat and run, so instead, Kourtney Kardashian and her partner, Scott Disick, have decided to decorate and run. The reality TV couple have put their "dramatically re-imagined" Los Angeles-area home up for sale for $3.499 million. They bought the house (pictured) in 2010 for $1.7 million, but a lot has gone down since then, as anyone who tunes into "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" can attest.

    The listing comes just as Kourtney had finished overseeing a complete makeover of the 5,400-square-foot home, which she said she loves but needs to give up for more space. The couple has two kids and are looking for extra room for guests -- not a bad call when you're talking about the Kardashian clan.


    In the meantime, the couple may have already landed new digs and in keeping with the drama that usually accompanies the Kardashians, the real estate and players involved in their new home pretty much sum up life in the fast lane.Kardashian and Disick are reportedly buying the sprawling Calabasas home of former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson. At 12,000 square feet, there's no doubt Johnson's abode will suit Kourt & Co. just fine - except for potential antics from their egg-throwing and drag-racing neighbor Justin Bieber.

    While the couple looks to move on to a home twice the size, their "old" home at 25435 Prado De Las Peras, Calabasas, will compete on the hot Los Angeles real estate market, where year-over-year home values are up 20.1 percent.

    The newly-listed "East Coast traditional" home features the work of celebrity interior designer Jeff Andrews and was included in several design publications. An open floor plan is centered around a gourmet kitchen and breakfast area. In addition to a master bedroom suite, there are three additional bedroom suites. There is also a family room, large pool, spa and covered loggia featuring city views.

    Now the question remains: Will Scott Disick's description that his house looks like "Alice in Wonderland meets Beetlejuice" turn off potential buyers to this truly uniquely decorated property?

    More from Zillow about celebrity homes:
    Kanye and Kim Buy in Bel-Air
    Khloe and Lamar's Former Love Nest for Sale
    Lamar Odom's Former Miami Home for Rent

    More from AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See more celebrity real estate.


    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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  • 01/29/14--02:22: Man Caves for Super Fans
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    Man cave with a bar, pool table, sports memorabilia and green turf for carpet.
    Zillow
    By Erika Riggs

    Whether you bleed Broncos blue and orange or are a proud 12th Man supporter of the Seahawks, or even if you're just tuning in for the commercials, we've rounded up our annual list of awesome man caves -- all ready for Super Bowl XLVIII.


    Need more man caves? Check out our favorites from years past:
    Who Needs Super Bowl Tix When You Have a Man Cave Like This?
    Bomb Shelter or Ultimate Man Cave?

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    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
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    foreclosures in your area.
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    Frank Lloyd Wright's Winslow house
    Zillow/Photos courtesy of Pamela Tilton and Jim Tschetter

    By Catherine Sherman

    When William Walker received Frank Lloyd Wright's autobiography in the mail, he found a handwritten note from the famous architect on page 26: "To Bill Walker -- Take good care of it." Wright was referring to the William Winslow House, the first home he built as an independently commissioned architect in 1893. Little did he know that the four-bedroom residence at 515 Auvergne Place, River Forest, Ill. would only have five owners and be in near-perfect condition 120 years later.

    "It's had a remarkable run," said 60-year-old Peter Walker, who moved into the home when he was four and had it in his family ever since. "None of the windows have been broken; nobody has painted anything. The right people have always owned it."

    Listing agent Pamela Tilton of Sotheby's International Realty grew up in River Forest and lived in Frank Lloyd Wright homes as well. But, she says, this one is truly unique. "You have Wright in the house, but also a little [Louis] Sullivan," she explained. "There is so much to take in."

    THE WILLIAM WINSLOW HOUSE:

    Because Wright had worked under Sullivan, his mentor's influence can be seen in an elegant wood arcade in the entryway, which some say is reminiscent of a balcony Sullivan designed in Chicago's Schiller Theatre Building. The home's wide-hipped roof and horizontal chimney, meanwhile, are distinctly Wright, showing early signs of his revolutionary "Prairie style." A circular dining room, u-shaped porte cochere and octagonal stair tower also indicate the budding architect was experimenting with shapes and forms -- a marked departure from gabled Victorians of the time.

    The home was first built for William Herman Winslow, who worked at an ornamental iron and bronze company. He filled the interior with original sconces designed by his firm before passing the property onto the Mills in the early 1920s. The Johnson family owned the home next, followed by the Attwoods, who subdivided the lot in 1948.

    The Walkers cared for the striking Roman brick and limestone estate over the next 55 years. They converted a screened-in porch into an enclosed sunroom, updated the kitchen and added wallpaper in the bedrooms. But other than this, no major changes have been made to the home. "My dad never bought paintings because he thought the house should speak for itself," Walker said.

    In 1960, the home was designated as one of 17 most significant Frank Lloyd Wright homes by the American Institute of Architects. It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Wright reportedly built it for $20,000 and, up until his death, was interested in how much it sold for. According to Walker, he felt it was arbitrary to assign a dollar amount to a piece of art.

    The home is currently on the River Forest real estate market for $2.4 million. A buyer can expect a monthly payment around $9,352, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

    More Frank Lloyd Wright homes from Zillow:
    House of the Week: A Frank Lloyd Wright, Carefully Preserved
    Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Cincinnati Hits the Market for First Time Ever
    Wright's Staircase Home in Phoenix Saved by Anonymous Buyer

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

    Find homes for rent.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    midcentury home palm springs
    Zillow
    By Catherine Sherman

    Midcentury modern homes are just as popular as ever: furniture stores are lined with sleek, retro pieces, and designers are showing off their "Mad Men" flair on Zillow Digs. But shopping for an architectural gem doesn't mean you have to forgo contemporary amenities. Here's a look at a few homes currently on the market combining classic midcentury style with tasteful upgrades.

    ARIZONA
    4832 E. Virginia Ave., Phoenix
    For sale: $269,900

    Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ - 2

    Built in 1957, this Phoenix midcentury residence has been completely remodeled with a new kitchen layout, maple cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, modern bath fixtures and an indoor-outdoor entertaining space separated by a glass garage door. The home first hit the market in September 2013; its list price was dropped by $1,000 in December.

    GEORGIA
    3427 Northlake Trail, Doraville
    For sale: $315,000 Doraville, GADoraville, GA - 2

    A 20-minute drive from Atlanta, this house has been upgraded without losing its mid-century modern integrity. The kitchen has sleek white counters and walnut cabinetry, a Sub-Zero refrigerator and other high-end appliances. A $13,000 low-pitched roof also has been added to the home.

    OREGON
    885 Lake Forest Drive, Lake Oswego
    For sale: $575,000

    Lake Oswego, ORLake Oswego, OR - 2
    With the same owner for 30 years, this Lake Oswego home has been well maintained. Updates to the kitchen and bath blend seamlessly with original overhead beams, a brick fireplace, hardwoods and a mid-century flat roofline.

    SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
    10 Lakeview Circle, Palm Springs
    For sale: $660,000

    Palm Springs, CAPalm Springs, CA - 2
    Don't let this home's beige exterior fool you. The interior is anything but bland with 10-foot-high ceilings, black-glass and stone-encapsulated walls, mirrored skylights and bold furnishings. Everything has been custom designed to embody the Palm Springs lifestyle.

    TEXAS
    (undisclosed address), San Antonio
    For sale: $825,000

    San Antonio, TXSan Antonio, TX - 2
    Classic mid-century architecture and chic, modern finishes mesh in this prestigious Terrell Hills home. Major renovations were completed in December 2012, adding new plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning as well as an updated kitchen and bathrooms.

    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
    5 Sierra Vista Dr, Monterey 93940
    For sale: $1.045 million

    Monterey, CAMonterey, CA - 2
    A unique circular design showing off views of Monterey Bay reflects this home's mid-century roots. Updates include marble counters, mahogany cabinetry and Ipe wood decking.

    More from Zillow about midcentury modern style:
    Get This Look: Midcentury Modern
    Midcentury Classic in Bothell, Wash.
    'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Lists Home for Sale

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

    Find homes for rent.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    bob hope palm springs house exterior
    Zillow
    LUCILLE BALL BOB HOPE
    AP
    By Laura Vecsey

    When it comes to a one-of-a-kind architectural marvel that had been the prized property of one of the world's biggest entertainers, there's not a lot of comparable homes on which to base a listing price. That appears to be the case for Bob Hope's modern home (pictured above) that looks out over the entire Coachella Valley in Palm Springs. The John Lautner-designed property was listed for sale last March for $50 million, but after no buyers stepped forward, the property has just been re-listed at a $16 million reduction.

    Now the question is whether the price drop will be enough to attract a buyer for the masterpiece at 2466 Southridge Rd., Palm Springs, Calif., 92264.

    Hear that, Ellen DeGeneres? DeGeneres is one of Hollywood's most active buyers and sellers of mega-million-dollar trophy homes and recently snagged a iconic property of her own.

    BOB HOPE'S MASSIVE MODERNIST MANSION:

    While the Lautner design was modified somewhat by Delores Hope, causing the famous architect to distance himself somewhat from the property, it is a singularly stunning creation that aimed to organically fit into the desert landscape by mimicking the shape of a volcano. Set on 6 acres, the sprawling abode is 23,366 square feet with at least 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms.

    But the many details and amenities included in the property are secondary to the overall narrative of the property:

    "Mere words cannot describe this majestic and historical piece of architecture which was the largest private residence designed by John Lautner and commissioned by legendary Bob and Dolores Hope. The property has entertained dignitaries from all over the world and is viewed by many as one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the world," the listing notes say.

    More from Zillow about celebrity homes:
    Bob Hopes Homes Start To Hit Market
    Bob Hope's Toluca Lake Estate For Sale
    Suzanne Somers Lists in Palm Springs

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    Mariah Carey Nick Cannon home
    Zillow
    20th Annual SAG Awards - Arrivals
    AP
    By Catherine Sherman

    Celebrities like their privacy, but singer Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon (right) also put a premium on entertaining space. The couple's home in Los Angeles' Bel Air community has a double-gated entrance with room to park more than 20 cars and space to accommodate hundreds of guests. The 7-bedroom, 9-bath estate at 3130 Antelo Road, Los Angeles is now on the market for $12.995 million, the Real Estalker reports.

    The home is an eclectic mix of styles with a Moroccan-style room -- where Cannon reportedly proposed -- a formal living room and grand "Aspen" room reminiscent of a high-end ski resort. The property features views of Stone Canyon Reservoir, downtown L.A. and beyond. According to property records, the couple purchased the home under a trust in 2009 for $6.795 million. Compared to median Bel Air homes, it's now 387.6 percent more expensive and priced 33.1 percent more per square foot.


    An indoor basketball court, jetted tub and dining room fireplace are a few of the home's luxurious amenities. An elegant baby nursery for the couple's twins, Monroe and Moroccan, is also a highlight. The listing is held by The Agency's Jordana Leigh. A buyer can expect a monthly payment around $50,475, assuming 20-percent down on a 30-year-fixed mortgage.

    More from Zillow about celebrity homes:
    Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Renting Hamptons Spread
    Chris Brown Lists Hollywood Hills Home
    Rihanna's Pacific Palisades Home for Rent

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    mill junction shipping container housing
    GeoBeats/AOL On
    Converting shipping containers into homes is something that's been done successfully and stylishly for several years now, but a developer in South Africa is taking the process to another level with a student-housing project in Johannesburg. The just-completed project involves stacks of the shipping containers that have been hoisted and attached to another reclaimed industrial structure -- a complex of grain silos. As seen in the video above, the 11-story project called Mill Junction includes 375 apartments -- some with balconies -- along with lounges, computer rooms, libraries and game rooms.

    The developer, Citiq, says on its website that the firm has opted for the reclamation of abandoned structures in urban centers as a way to combat the "urban sprawl" that results from most new residential projects and which leads to "people becoming increasingly marginalized." It also quotes its CEO, Paul Lapham, as saying that "reusing these structures often provides for an artistic and eclectic look and feel, which appeals to people wanting to establish their own individuality."

    As part of the shipping-container project, Citiq also invited architecture students to contribute concepts for the Mill Junction conversion, with the aim of designing a "space that will not only redefine student life, but also student lifestyle." Judging of the design competition is scheduled to take place Feb. 14, with cash prizes to be awarded for the top three designs.

    More about alternative architecture:
    SEE: Hamptons Eco-Home Was Made Using 6 Shipping Containers
    Green Real Estate: Homes Made Mostly From Recycled Materials
    Is Off-the-Grid Living the Future of Housing?

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    romantic bath
    Zillow
    By Catherine Sherman

    < Instead of dining out, consider staying in this Valentine's Day. Setting the mood for a special occasion can be as simple as changing a home's decor or lighting. To cultivate a feeling of romance in your home, we've gathered 10 warm and whimsical spaces for inspiration.

    Feeling a glow

    Scottsdale pool

    A desert villa sets the stage for a romantic evening under the stars with a little mood lighting.

    Bathtime roses

    Bathroom with roses
    No trail of roses is needed in this bathroom designed by Pelz Architecture. A tasteful bouquet signals it's time for a relaxing soak in the tub.

    Loveseats for lovebirds

    Theater room with loveseats
    Instead of traditional theater seats, Zillow Digs designer Jessica Lagrange added loveseats for an intimate date night at home.

    Corner booth

    Outdoor patio table
    It doesn't get much more romantic than a candlelight dinner in your backyard. A wood pergola and chandelier create a private, secluded feel on this deck.

    La chambre rouge

    Lantana bedroom
    A warmly lit bedroom with red velvet sofas is a great way to end a day on the beach.

    Skyline terrace


    Skyline terrace
    Chicago Specialty Gardens designed this outdoor space for a young family wanting a private place to gaze at the city lights.

    Secret garden

    Phoenix garden
    This Phoenix estate, known as "The Secret," has several scenic spots for having a glass of wine or soaking in the afternoon sun.

    Ocean bath

    Carpenteria bathroom
    This Carpinteria bathroom - complete with ocean waves and a crackling fire - is a luxurious spot to take in the view and truly relax.

    Breakfast for two

    Table for two on the terrace
    What better way to end a romantic evening than with breakfast for two on a private patio?

    Breezy bedroom

    White bedroom
    A four-poster bed draped in white linens is elegant for everyday or a special occasion.

    More romantic settings from Zillow:
    Trend: 10 Most Romantic Bedrooms
    5 Sunny Retreats for Sale
    Remote Island Getaways for Less Than $500,000

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    ShadeTree retractable roof pergola canopy
    ShadeTree


    Retractable-roof pergolas can provide the best of both worlds in outdoor living -- sunshine when you want it and shade when you don't. By creating a space that feels like an outdoor room, a retractable-roof pergola can add a sense of privacy while dropping the temperature as much as 25 degrees during the summer. But before buying a retractable-roof pergola, you should know what to look for.

    The best type of wood for a pergola is cedar that's stained with a finisher every five years, says Nathan Boyles, landscape division manager at Blue Haven Pools in Oklahoma City, which designs and builds pergolas. A cedar pergola that's stained every five years will last 40 to 50 years, Boyles says. Without the staining, it might last 10 years. "It doesn't rot and bugs don't like it," Boyles, 28, says of cedar. "Termites don't get into it."

    The worst type of wood is pine, which isn't meant to be out in the elements, he says. Pine pergolas might last two to three years, he says.

    For a pergola with a clear roof, you might choose a shade material such as a polycarbonite, that blocks the sun's UV rays but is transparent, Boyles says. Such coverings can provide shade that will drop the temperature 20 to 25 degrees, he says. Other common shade materials for retractable-roof pergolas are durable and sun-resistant fabrics, or light-weight metals such as aluminum.

    The slideshow below shows some of the variety of materials and uses that can make retractable-roof pergolas so adaptably appealing.


    More about home improvement and design:
    Easy Porch Renovations Now Will Help You Relax Later
    Best Value-Adding Home Makeovers
    Home Makeover Don'ts: HGTV's Sabrina Soto On Big Mistakes

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    How to Build a Pergola Over a Patio

     

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  • 02/28/14--06:10: Oscar-Worthy Home Theaters
  • Filed under: , , ,

    home theater frank, teresa viola
    Zillow
    Among the highest priorities now for homebuyers with high incomes is that their dwellings have home theaters. According to a survey last year of homebuyers with incomes over $250,000, home theaters ranked above wine cellars, safe rooms, tennis or sports courts and even servants quarters. Of course, what qualifies as a "home theater" is in the eye of the viewer, but it's likely that what these luxury homebuyers have in mind is something more than a big screen and a couple of easy chairs with cupholders. As evidenced by some of the home theaters in the slideshow below, variations include rooms that recreate the movie-show experience as well as spaces adapted to a home's design.

    Think nothing beats the experience of sitting down with a bucket of popcorn in a reclining seat at a modern cineplex? What about reclining in a hot tub? In honor of this weekend's Academy Awards presentation, here are AOL Real Estate's picks for the best home theaters we've seen in the past year.


    More about luxury real estate:
    Most-Expensive Views in the U.S.
    NFL Coach Puts Texas-Size Mansion on the Market
    Las Vegas Bomb Shelter for Sale: Luxurious Blast From the Past

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    master suite 11 Rockcrest Dr Rancho Mirage CA
    Zillow

    The master suite of this ridiculously over the top ultra-modern home outside Palm Springs was featured on HGTV's "Million Dollar Rooms," and it's easy to see why it was selected for the show: It's huge at over 1,000 square feet, it's got a floating bed with a $10,000 mattress, and the bathtub is surrounded by an indoor/outdoor water feature. And if for some reason soaking in a tub with a moat doesn't do it for you, you can always jump in one of the dual open-to-the-outside showers and hope the neighbors aren't out walking the dog.

    Designed by architect Brian Foster as his personal residence, the three-bedroom, 4&frac12;-bathroom home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., doesn't limit its oddball luxury amenities to the master suite. The retro-futuristic (i.e., dated) great room features polished concrete floors with built-in water features and indoor cactus gardens, and there's even a glass tabletop resting on a huge boulder.

    Outdoor desert living comes inside the 5,200 square-foot-home with glass walls that slide open and lead to the yard, where there's an infinity pool and "futuristic" design elements, including a fire pit and an outdoor media center, not to mention beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and desert.

    When all the geometry, water, and fire gets to be a bit much, the home helpfully comes with an agreement with the adjacent Ritz Carlton which, according to the $5,999,777 listing, allows the owner to "live the Five Star Resort Lifestyle using the amenities of the Ritz such as room service, concierge, laundry, spa, gym, pools, Edge Steak House and much more."


    More about desert real estate:
    Homes for Sale in Sun-Kissed Climes
    Leonardo DiCaprio Buys Dinah Shore's Palm Springs House
    Bob Hope's Iconic John Lautner-Designed Volcano Home for Sale

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    213 W 23rd St Apt 6S, New York, NY
    Zillow
    By Sharona Ott

    Walking into Cindy Gallop's New York City apartment, you wouldn't guess it was once a room used by the YMCA. In fact, the more than 3,000-square-foot bachelorette pad at Apt 6S, 213 W. 23rd St., is a true departure from the room's modest past. The historic YMCA of Greater New York building was reportedly sold in 2000 and that Y branch left the premises by 2003. The building was divided into 12 apartments and one, measuring more than 3,000 square feet, became the birthplace of what would eventually be dubbed "The Black Apartment."

    However, the conception of Gallop's brainchild did not begin there. Rewind a couple years earlier to Gallop sitting at the Glamour Bar in Shanghai, sipping her second martini. It was there, while visiting one of her favorite places in the world, enjoying her favorite drink, that she thought to herself, "I wish I lived somewhere like this." Soon after purchasing her new space, the public speaker and advertising consultant began the 2&frac12;-year process of painting her canvas.

    "Nelly was in my bathtub with two models."

    "I had to build something from scratch, so I could do anything I wanted with it," she said. "It is the first time I built something about me." Teaming up with designer Stefan Boublil of The Apartment Creativity Agency, Gallop made her dream living space a reality. Now she has a new teammate, Shlomi Reuveni of Brown Harris Stevens, who holds the listing on the property that's for sale at $5.995 million.


    Once lacking pigment, walls were painted black and embellished with an array of collectibles and artwork from Gallop's travels. She says "many art galleries should paint their walls black because the art pops against it." Guests frequently comment that the apartment is comfortable and homey -- the kind of place one you could spend hours enjoying.

    The open concept makes the large apartment seem even more spacious. There are no walls; only black drapes that section off the master and guest bedroom. Each of the bedrooms has its own bathroom, one of which carries its own story: the music video for "Nasty Girl" of the Biggie Duets album was filmed here. "Nelly was in my bathtub with two models," Gallop mentioned. The rapper/singer apparently asked one of her designers, "Do you think your friend would sell the apartment?"

    The unusual nature of the apartment raises the question: Will it be difficult to find a buyer? It's been on the market since September 2013 and it's on the pricey side, even for New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Homes on the market here currently have a median list price of $1.855 million.

    For Gallop, this is a non-issue. "I am very relaxed about the part that it may take some time to sell it. I believe that there are more people like me who want to live somewhere unique." She added, "We have had several people interested."

    After a decade of memories made in the unusual home, Gallop said that she is ready to begin her next adventure. After selling the home, her plans are to rent for a while before deciding what her next purchase will be. "I'm confident of my ability to reinvent an equally enjoyable environment somewhere else," she said.

    While only one buyer can be the next owner of "The Black Apartment," anyone can apply Gallop's free-thinking attitude to their living space.

    "I really would like to urge more people to think more individually of their homes, be very comfortable with yourselves, not give a damn about what other people think, do what makes you happy, and bring that into your home," she said.

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misquoted Cindy Gallop as saying "many art galleries paint their walls black because the art pops against it." Gallop said "many art galleries should paint their walls black because the art pops against it." It also quoted her as saying "lax" instead of "relaxed" in the statement: "I am very relaxed about the part that it may take some time to sell it. And her comment, "I'm confident of my ability to reinvent an equally enjoyable environment somewhere else," was mistakenly rendered as "I want to reinvent and equally enjoy the environment."

    More from Zillow about unique properties for sale:
    Pharrell Increases Price on Miami Condo
    Ed Hardy Designer Boldly Lists His Nouveau Tudor in L.A.
    Jay Z's Former Crib at 560 State Street Hits Brooklyn Market

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    432 Ridgewood Rd, West Lake Hills, TX
    Zillow

    By Catherine Sherman

    Want to take a trip back in time? Check out these homes hitting the market, which seem to be locked inside a time capsule. Their original designs and decor are still preserved and what was once considered modern has evolved into authentic, vintage flair. Here are three homes for sale in which time seemed to stand still: a 1950s mid-century gem, a 1960s "Mad Men"-style property and a groovy '70s cabin.

    1950s

    919 E. Cedar St, Seguin, Texas
    For sale: $239,000
    1950s - Seguin 2
    The listing description for this home says it looks straight out of a 1956 issue of "Good Housekeeping" or "Southern Living" magazines. Furniture with straight lines and a metallic lamp shade are early signs of mid-century modern design, though pink and white fabrics are true to the '50s. The 3-bedroom, ranch-style home has housed one Texas family since it was built.

    1950s - Seguin 3


    1960s

    432 Ridgewood Road, West Lake Hills, Texas
    For sale: $749,000
    1960s - West Lake Hills 1
    The 1960s gave rise to sleek, retro furnishings, open floor plans, walls of windows and low-pitched roofs. The "Mad Men" style is captured in this three-bedroom, three-bath residence. There's even a wet bar for sipping martinis in style.

    1960s - West Lake Hills 2

    1970s

    1450 Balsam, Lake City, Colo.
    For sale: $219,500
    1970s - Lake City 1
    If wood paneling and green, shag carpet make you cringe, you're not alone. But, the '70s gave rise to homey interiors, removing much of the formality seen in decades prior. This Lake City cabin captures the essence with a warm, casual kitchen and beautiful pine-wood walls and ceilings.

    1970s - Lake City 2

    Related:
    For Sale: Midcentury Homes With Modern Upgrades
    Home Makeover: Turning '50s Drab Into Classic Elegance
    Historic or Modern: Which Home Would You Choose?

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    Highlands Castle, Bolton Landing, NY
    Zillow
    By Sharona Ott

    Many children dream about living in the grand castles they read about in storybooks. In 1978, John Lavender told his 3-year-old son: "Someday I'll build you a house where we both will live and create special memories together ... a place we'll call home. Someday, Jason, I will build you a castle." And, he did. Lavender, the owner of Highlands Castle at 18 Skyline Drive in Bolton Landing, N.Y., had not given the idea much thought before that moment. However, once he uttered those words, the plan became a reality.

    Lavender searched for the right property and then he stumbled upon a vacant 7.26-acre lot in Bolton Landing, N.Y. In 1982, he purchased the lot, overlooking beautiful Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. "I found the property and knew it was private, which is what I was looking for," Lavender said. No other homes are visible and it is surrounded by 150 acres of untouched land, never to be developed.


    By 1984, the home grew in height and neared completion. At this point, Lavender realized just how spectacular his view was. "After I started to clear some trees and build the home," Lavender said, "I realized I had a 180-degree panoramic view of Lake George." The castle became more than just a place to live for Lavender. It is a home that he never stopped putting love into, well after he and his family moved in.

    "We did a little bit of stone work year after year," he said. A total of 800 tons of stone were placed one at a time, and three structures were built -- the main house, the gate house and the carriage

    'I promised you I would build a castle but didn't say you wouldn't help.'

    house. Each has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the potential for additional bedrooms.
    Lavender reminisced about the memories he built with his son at this 6,000-square-foot home. "As my son grew older he joined in. My joke was, 'I promised you I would build a castle but didn't say you wouldn't help.' " Lavender added that Jason brought his football team one summer, and together they completed all of the outside terraces.

    Many other family memories were enjoyed at the property, including Lavender's wedding, his son's wedding and his cousin's wedding. Lavender hopes that "the buyer will fall in love with it, and [it will] be as meaningful to them and their family as it is to ours."

    Cathy Libecci of Roohan Realty holds the $14.8 million listing in Bolton Landing, where homes are hitting the market for a median list price of $493,000. She toured the home for the first time two years ago and told Lavender, "This view far surpasses anything I have seen in my lifetime."

    "Most people don't know that this exists in the Northeast, three hours from Manhattan," Libecci explains. "That is the problem with finding a buyer." Libecci adds, "I think the buyer is out there and will appreciate the view that he has -- someone who really appreciates nature."

    Thirty-six years later, Lavender's promise has come full circle. Now, he is ready to pass on his home, built on love, to a buyer looking to carry on Highlands Castle's legacy.

    More from Zillow about unique homes:
    Pyramid House in Connecticut
    Italian Villa Favored by the Stars
    These Homes Could Be Your Castle

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    zac efron house hollywood hills
    Zillow

    venice  italy   august 31  zac...
    Shutterstock
    By Emily Heffter

    "High School Musical" star Zac Efron is ready for his next scene. Now that he has a zen-like, secluded new mansion, he is selling the classic California mid-century he bought in 2008. The home on the market is located at 7861 Woodrow Wilson Drive in Los Angeles. His new home is down the street in the same Hollywood Hills neighborhood.

    Efron may be trying to put the past behind him after completing his second stint in rehab. The home that he's listed at $2.849 million is a piece of Southern California history, designed by architect Rodney Walker as part of a post-World War II experimental housing boom in L.A. The two-bedroom, 2.5-bath home has an indoor-outdoor feel with walls of glass, an infinity pool and heated concrete floors.


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    Price Cut: Billy Joel's Hamptons Estate for a Song
    Sean 'Diddy' Combs Lists Midtown Condo
    RHONY Countess Cuts Price of Hamptons Estate

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