In what could possibly be the most uneven housing swap ever to hit Dallas’ housing board on Craigslist, is this guy wanting to swap his home in Napa, Calif., for your home near White Rock Lake:

Napa for Dallas

 

So, would you trade this:

Napa Valley Photo

 

For this?

WHite Rock Lake Winfrey Point

Tres and E houseA few months ago, my son bought a home in the Peninsula area of San Francisco, home of the priciest real estate in the country.  I assumed they were getting a shack, but paying for a mansion. The equivalent of our M Streets homes or 1950′s mid century moderns go for $800,000 plus on the Peninsula. He bought in Redwood City, just a few blocks from Palo Alto. That geography saved him a bundle: you cannot get much under $1,000,000 in Palo Alto, and a million there is the price of a starter home.

The home they bought is a “remodeled” 1950′s ranch, but it’s mostly new. The slab was kept intact because in California, regulations make it impossible (and more expensive) to build a new home. So builders retain a part of the original structure, enough to pass as a remodel. My kids’ home is, from the slab up, fresh, new and adorable. Seriously, this is better than a new baby! I absolutely adore it because now I have a bedroom in Cali and when I’m there, I happily vacuum the coffee stained floors as much as I can because I love those floors so much I could eat them. They are reclaimed from an Atherton mansion, hand-scraped, wide wood perfection. And there is a lemon tree right in the front yard!Treas and E house Tres and E house LR Tres and E house DR

Buying this home was a frenzied pace and exhausting, and I was back here in Dallas! The day my kids went to look at the home, the first day it was open, was a mad house. Fifty people converged, found an open door, and within moments were crawling over every molecule of the 1600 square feet. Some were sparring. My son says he almost called the police until he learned this was just a typical California open house. This was last February, before things got really nuts. Buying it was tricky: there were multiple offers and they had to reach over the asking price. My son was so happy to have a Realtor who had a strong relationship with the seller’s agent. In tight markets, you need agents more than ever.

After all that, I found this article entertaining: word that the California market is cooling  a bit from the madness that began right after the new year. I know this madness; my children were a part of it. All the crazy stuff you’ve heard about the California markets are true — homes have been selling for more than asking, there are bidding wars, multiple offers, throngs fighting each other to be the first inside a listing, cash offers, deals on commissions. This swing to a seller’s market happened first in California and Arizona, then spread to other parts of the country. Now, the inventory crunch is upon us: some homeowners hesitate to sell for fear they won’t be able to find a place to buy. Cali Realtors cannot throw a simple cheese and wine sip and see for homes — they’d have to buy five cases. Buyers cannot even go to Costco:  “Some of our buyers don’t even like to go into a Costco for too long if it will block the cell signal they need to get instant (real estate listing) alerts.”

But now, Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, a technology-powered real estate broker backed by Madrona Venture Group and Greylock Partners, says that market is cooling. And while we live in Dallas, where foreclosures are down by 40%, it’s worth a minute to see WHY it’s cooling and if that trend will venture our way:

Bidding wars, says Kelman, are still common, “with Redfin agents facing competition on 95 percent of all homes in May 2013, the highest of any of the 21 markets Redfin serves. For example, Redfin Silicon Valley agent Brad Le reports that this nice-enough $2 million Cupertino listing got 12 offers, and likely went under contract in June for well above $2.4 million. But fewer bidders are competing.”

Agents believe demand is waning not because buyers no longer want a home but because they’ve despaired of ever being able to get one — maybe tired of the craziness.

“About one in four of our Bay Area homebuyers have told us at some point in the last three months that they’re taking a break from their search out of sheer frustration,” says Kelman.”

The four reasons he outlines for the slowdown –

The inventory problemo: “Bay Area real estate is again becoming a free market, where the only people selling are the ones who want to sell. As any East German will tell you, this transition is hard. It’s almost as if homeowners have forgotten how to sell. We expect the supply of homes for sale to increase by the Super Bowl, but if it doesn’t increase a lot, we’re going to have a silent spring, with meager sales gains.”

Sellers monopolize: “…there’s an enormous difference between competition of any kind and no competition whatsoever; it’s like the difference when raising venture capital between having one term sheet or two.”

Flash Sales, Thank You Twitter: “With so many home-buyers across the Bay Area now getting alerts instantly rather than nightly, the whole home-buying cycle here is becoming more like a flash sale, with properties lasting a day rather than a week.”

Crazy-ass offers: “People just get tired of losing, and say, ‘Screw it.’” In just the past few days, a $1.8-million listing in Silicon Valley attracted six offers clustered around a price of $1.95 million, which was at the high end of what recent comparable sales could justify. This kind of competition was familiar to us. But the seventh offer came in half a million dollars higher, at $2.45 million, with no contingencies for an inspection or an appraisal. The seller’s agent was flabbergasted. These are the kinds of shots that send a shiver down the market’s spine.”

Folks cashing out 401K etc. to pay cash for homes: “As the U.S. government approached a fiscal cliff, plenty of folks in Silicon Valley with stock in their own companies became worried that capital gains would be taxed at a higher rate, and so rushed to sell their shares by December 31.”

What we deal with in Texas: more sensible home prices, but this scenario could easily apply to piping hot areas like Lakewood, Park Cities, etc. We have the jobs and everyone is moving here, relocating from economically dismal states. So fasten your seat belts: market trends happening in northern Cali could well be heading our way, along with the population.Tres and E house bedroom1 Tres and E house master bath Tres and E house study

 

 

The Glass Pavilion bathUpdate, 10:23 pm: Am told this house must be sold within the next 30 days!

Happy Easter Monday and I hope you all had a beautiful Easter Sunday! My leak is fixed, Jo is enjoying her family, and I am bringing you an Easter treat that will make your heart beat faster. From Robbie Briggs come inside word that my most favorite home in the entire world is not just on the market, not just reduced, but the deal of a lifetime!The Glass House ext The Glass House LR The Glass House autosThe Glass House dining

Remember the Glass Pavillion? No April Fool’s joke here. The initial asking price was well over $35,000,000 WITHOUT cars or furnishings, then it was reduced to $19,995,000. Now I hear the home can be had for even less — like $13,900,000 and sources tell me may be negotiable even at that price! That’s a wee bit over the bank note. Robbie has all the deets, so go to him right now if you are interested.  (That’s rbriggs@briggsfreeman.com.) Anyone want to create a consortium of buyers for our new second home in Montecito? Count me IN!

As I said when I first wrote of it, this home was my Jedediah Leland/Citizen Kane moment: this house is my “girl in the white dress”. It flashes me back to Mies Van Der Roh’s Farnsworth House, near where I grew up. The Glass Pavilion was designed by Steve Hermann, and it is almost 14,000 square feet! A little big, and I’d need some stock in Windex, but I am still head over heels in love with this property! When interviewed by Santa Barbara Magazine, Steve, presumably still the owner, said he set out to design the  most minimalist house ever designed.Glass-House-1-223x300.jpg Steve

“There’s nothing inhibiting the flow of light and space. You are completely enveloped in nature,” says Steve, a longtime designer of high-end spec homes in Los Angeles, who first embarked on creating the Glass Pavilion six years ago.”The Glass House bath 1 The Glass House cars The Glass Pavilion bath

Set within a 3.5 acre estate of oak groves, this almost entirely glass home allows occupants to be enveloped by nature. As you drive down the long gated driveway, it slowly comes into view, like a miracle.

And it appears weightless, through the use of massive structural steel beams one of which alone is the weight of ten Range Rovers, as if it hovers above the expansive lawn. As you can imagine, the budget to build this home was virtually limit-less. Rumor has it the owners have more than thirty million jammed in it! It took six years to complete — well, this is California. Would have taken half as long in Texas. The glass panels are all created of Star Fire glass, an incredibly clear glass usually reserved for museum-quality jewelry displays. Kitchens and baths by Varena, Poliform and Antonio Lupi. The home has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, grand hallway and large wine room. (Do you see that walk-through shower?) The glass pavilion includes an art gallery where the owners currently display their vintage car collection. I’m told the 1955 silver Mercedes Gullwing is worth $ 1 million alone. Which gives me an idea: let’s draft a contract and ask that the cars remain with the house! The space is so generous it is capable of holding up to 32 cars within its walnut-lined walls. I mean, you could practically hold the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in there!

This home is modernism at it’s best. It’s a redefining structure within modernism,  a benchmark building that sets the bar as to what modernism is and can be. And the location,   780 Ashley Road, is in one of the most beautiful parts of southern California, Santa Barbara. Reminds me of my Valencia days...

 

 

The Glass Pavilion bathUpdate, 10:23 pm: Am told this house must be sold within the next 30 days!

Happy Easter Monday and I hope you all had a beautiful Easter Sunday! My leak is fixed, Jo is enjoying her family, and I am bringing you an Easter treat that will make your heart beat faster. From Robbie Briggs come inside word that my most favorite home in the entire world is not just on the market, not just reduced, but the deal of a lifetime!The Glass House ext The Glass House LR The Glass House autosThe Glass House dining

Remember the Glass Pavillion? No April Fool’s joke here. The initial asking price was well over $35,000,000 WITHOUT cars or furnishings, then it was reduced to $19,995,000. Now I hear the home can be had for even less — like $13,900,000 and sources tell me may be negotiable even at that price! That’s a wee bit over the bank note. Robbie has all the deets, so go to him right now if you are interested.  (That’s rbriggs@briggsfreeman.com.) Anyone want to create a consortium of buyers for our new second home in Montecito? Count me IN!

As I said when I first wrote of it, this home was my Jedediah Leland/Citizen Kane moment: this house is my “girl in the white dress”. It flashes me back to Mies Van Der Roh’s Farnsworth House, near where I grew up. The Glass Pavilion was designed by Steve Hermann, and it is almost 14,000 square feet! A little big, and I’d need some stock in Windex, but I am still head over heels in love with this property! When interviewed by Santa Barbara Magazine, Steve, presumably still the owner, said he set out to design the  most minimalist house ever designed.Glass-House-1-223x300.jpg Steve

“There’s nothing inhibiting the flow of light and space. You are completely enveloped in nature,” says Steve, a longtime designer of high-end spec homes in Los Angeles, who first embarked on creating the Glass Pavilion six years ago.”The Glass House bath 1 The Glass House cars The Glass Pavilion bath

Set within a 3.5 acre estate of oak groves, this almost entirely glass home allows occupants to be enveloped by nature. As you drive down the long gated driveway, it slowly comes into view, like a miracle.

And it appears weightless, through the use of massive structural steel beams one of which alone is the weight of ten Range Rovers, as if it hovers above the expansive lawn. As you can imagine, the budget to build this home was virtually limit-less. Rumor has it the owners have more than thirty million jammed in it! It took six years to complete — well, this is California. Would have taken half as long in Texas. The glass panels are all created of Star Fire glass, an incredibly clear glass usually reserved for museum-quality jewelry displays. Kitchens and baths by Varena, Poliform and Antonio Lupi. The home has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, grand hallway and large wine room. (Do you see that walk-through shower?) The glass pavilion includes an art gallery where the owners currently display their vintage car collection. I’m told the 1955 silver Mercedes Gullwing is worth $ 1 million alone. Which gives me an idea: let’s draft a contract and ask that the cars remain with the house! The space is so generous it is capable of holding up to 32 cars within its walnut-lined walls. I mean, you could practically hold the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in there!

This home is modernism at it’s best. It’s a redefining structure within modernism,  a benchmark building that sets the bar as to what modernism is and can be. And the location,   780 Ashley Road, is in one of the most beautiful parts of southern California, Santa Barbara. Reminds me of my Valencia days...

 

 

HomePrices_Migration_California

Actually, it’s probably a combination of these factors, says Bloomberg News’ Josh Barro. States that have low or no income taxes such as Texas are also more friendly to developers, resulting in lower housing costs.

Trulia economist Jed Kolko found that for every 100 people who moved to California in 2011, 120 people left. Those people tend to be low-income and middle class residents whose bucks would get more bang in Texas.

Who leads the charge out of California? Even though California’s richer residents face high tax rates, lower-income households are more likely to leave. From 2005 to 2011, California lost 158 people with household incomes under $20,000 for every 100 who arrived, and 165 for every 100 people with household incomes between $20,000 and $40,000. In contrast, just slightly more people with household incomes in the $100,000-$200,000 range left than came to California (103 out per 100 in), and California actually gained a hair more people in the $200,000+ range than it lost (99 out per 100 in). The rich aren’t leaving California, but the poor and the middle class are. … What does Texas have that Californians want? Cheaper housing, more jobs, and lower taxes.

It’s Barro’s story, though, that draws party lines, showing the reader that both Texas Governor Rick Perry and his Californian counterpart, Jerry Brown, have a lot to learn from the effects of their policies on the housing market.

The conservative economic agenda tends to be driven by wealthy people who would benefit a lot from lower taxes, rather than middle-class people who would benefit a lot from lower housing costs. And lots of conservatives fail to identify restrictive planning and zoning policies, driven by local governments, as big government in action.

Some liberals have a gut-level distrust of the idea of housing as a market good. They look around and see new condominium buildings springing up in neighborhoods where prices are rising sharply, misidentify the cause and conclude that allowing development causes prices to rise.

In the end, it’s not that liberal or conservative policy is more effective or gets better results, its the misinterpretation that lower taxes brings people to Texas rather than its attractive housing market.

What neither story mentions is that so many people from tons of different demographics are moving to Texas, leaving us with just a 3 to 4 month inventory of existing homes. Unless inventory increases, we might see some level of housing scarcity soon, resulting in higher prices across the board.

That’s what James Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said earlier this year. According to Candy’s post, we could see double-digit rate increases when it comes to North Texas home prices. Home prices are up 7.6 percent for the year ending in December.

What do you think?

It’s Mayacama, one of Sonoma’s most amazing and luxurious golf, wine, fitness, and relaxation second home retreats. Solo fractional ownership until just now. Guess who is now Timbers’ Resorts newest member? Mayacama. I am beyond psyched. Click on over to SecondShelters to learn more about this amazing second home property and learn about the Dallas connection: my precious vet at Lovers Lane Animal Hospital.

I’ve got problems, big problems: now I don’t know which fractional club I love more — Fairmont or Timbers…

You know this home, you’ve probably almost crashed your S65 into the Porsch at the corner of Turtle Creek and Avondale as you ooohhed and aaahhed over 4001 Turtle Creek. That is the shockingly white, exquisitely redone 1920′s Mediterranean beauty with the blue-tiled roof.

And yep, it’s on the market! But NOT in MLS.

Just under 7000 square feet, built in the early 1920s, designer Susan Baten added a master and a den, turned the foyer into a music room, doubling the size of the former home. It took three and a half years to transform the place from decrepit to dynamo. As Dallas Morning News editor Christopher Wynn wrote:

 

 

Crisp white stucco walls rise to meet a crown of aqua tiles. A lion’s head fountain once again splashes in the front courtyard’s reflecting pool. Gleaming windows reveal peek-a-boo views inside a white lacquer wonderland inhabited by leggy chairs and modern art. This place stops traffic.

Now she’s on the market, (but, again, NOT in MLS) with agent to the stars Mark Godson, who splits his time betwixt Palm Springs Cali and Dallas. Mark tells me he has priced the home European style: nothing set in stone, but in the region of $4.1 million to $4.3, definitely northwards of $4 million.

Ha! Let the bidding begin!

“This is what they do in Europe,” says the dapper Brit-tongued agent. “You don’t lay out a flat boring number, you kind of let the market decide.”

In 2007, the house was a tear down listed by Eleanor Mowery Sheets, remember her? Years of disrepair had led to an interior mess: peeling paint, a hole in the kitchen ceiling, Lord knows what else. Susan Baten and her husband, Greg, intervened, because they had seen it from afar, like most people driving on Turtle Creek Blvd. And they like to take in house orphans.

“I always thought it looked worthy, it just needed a little help,” she says.

Others thought she should let it be, let CPS or the wrecking ball take over. But Wynn called Baten a “serial renovator”. She renovated a  pink stucco on University Boulevard to resemble her fave LA haunt, the Beverly Hills Hotel. She and Greg also have a vacation home in Palm Springs, which is mid-century modern mecca and going gangbusters as a second home hot spot. That’s where Baten told Wynn she is stockpiling Saarinen Womb chairs and Tulip tables, and a pair of lamps once owned by Nancy Sinatra. 

‘Course, 4001 Turtle Creek is circa 1920′s, when glam reigned supreme.

Replacing the home’s crumbling red Spanish roof with aqua tiles was at the top of Baten’s want list, wrote Wynn; Baten heard from the contractor, “we hope you like blue”; Baten told her husband, Greg: “This is going to look like the pancake house.”

Might be a good idea to keep your sunglasses on once you walk inside: the interior is dipped in Benjamin Moore’s “Decorators White.” Baten worked with Highland Park’s Veritas Developers Group to accentuate the high ceilings, a step-down living room, handsome moldings. The small, choppy rooms were reconfigured for smoother flow, and a rear addition of a sprawling den and upstairs master suite were added on. I want the recipe for those new wide-plank hardwood floors: “Chocolate Lab – not black, not brown, but chocolate Lab.”

Absolutely delicious!

Oh, the art! It doesn’t come with the house, at least not at this price, but Wynn writes that Baten measured for paintings when the house was still a construction zone, calling upon her friend and art adviser, Kenneth Craighead, co-owner of Craighead Green Gallery. Kenneth is one of the best art consultants and galleries in town and I also buy from him. As he says, Susan Baten worked the furnishings and accessories around later as background to the art. The floral photos on Plexiglas in the living room are by Sibylle Bauer. There is a large encaustic abstract by Brad Ellis in the dining room of dots. This sounds almost like the Nasher/Museum Tower relationship: Craighead “studied the piece in the room at different times of day to make sure it looked as spectacular during coffee at 7 a.m. as it did during candlelight dinner at 7 p.m.”  Dallas artisan Brad Oldham, brother of  designer Todd’s, created the dining “bird’s nest table” for Baten, and also created three smiling round faces just outside the breakfast-room window, a concrete sculpture he says was inspired by a “melodic mass of cypress tree roots” he’d seen jutting from the ground near Fair Park. Those are the “worm men”. Ask Mark if they go with the house — they are adorable!

Do check out Wynn’s piece on Baten and 4001 Turtle Creek, if you subscribe. The story of how she decorates — starting at age 21 with a chair she bought for $1 — is my cup of tea. She mixes tree-stump tables from West Elm (sprayed white) with French side chairs and palm-tree torchieres. The blue and white is, in my design book, to die for. There is nothing, nothing blue and white will not fix — no amount of depression or angst. She mixes Jonathan Adler with flea market bamboo garden furniture, everything lacquered white.

“If you stand still long enough, she’ll lacquer you,” her husband Greg warns.

Before I leave, I must tell you about one of the home’s most dramatic architectural features: the grand staircase’s wrought-iron railings, salvaged from a 1920s Pittsburgh home and signed by artisan Hyman Blum. His work is in the Louvre. Baten found them on a fluke at Nick Brock Antiques. I mean, who finds antique iron spindles for a staircase that fit? When the iron spindles arrived in buckets, there were exactly enough to reassemble the railing on site.

 

 

 

I cannot think of a better place for your Easter egg hunt than this lush lush LUSH backyard oasis snuggled away over at 4612 Watagua in Bluffview. Well maybe not snuggled: the home is actually on a ridge, has great topography and I felt like I was back in the hills of Napa! I know they say the Hill Country begis in Oak Cliff, but sometimes, when I’m in Bluffview, I think it starts right there. Built in 2000, this 7863 square foot home has gone through three owners all of who have added more, more and more to make it perfect. Great example: The Casita, built by current owners/sellers in 2007, which rests along the eastern edge of the site. It has a living area, powder bath plus fully appointed bath with double lavatory, IT’S OWN LAUNDRY FACILITY! How cool is that, guestst can do their own laundry or snack up in the efficiency kitchen. Even better: a Juliette balcony overlooks the front grounds while the dining area looks over a terraced outdoor banquette and the croquet lawn. I am going to ask if I can buy The Casita and just live there!

We begin with the pool and flowers all around the deck because that is where we want to be right now, Mimosa in hand and someone serving more.

The home was built in 2000,  and boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes designed  by the owner and Harold Weidner. And who might that owner be? Finance baby, finance. You will spend as much time as possible outdoors here, which is the point. Inside, you’ve got five bedrooms,  four full and two half baths, and everything. EVERYTHING: a central foyer leads to the Great Room, which opens to the South Portico and the gardens, also a focal viewpoint from the dining room and family/media room. Check out the richly panelled library, with real bookcases (and books!) adjacent to the foyer. The kitchen is on high name brand appliance steroids: Thermador professional six top gas range with oven, Thermador electric and micowave ovens, SubZero full refrigerator & freezer, gleaming stainless sink, twin Bosch dishwashers, prep island with two Sub Zero refrigerator drawers and vegetable sink. There is a walk in pantry,  breakfast room and even the kitchen has it’s own half-bath.

The master is upstairs with a balcony overlooking the magnificent almost 1.3 acre manicured grounds, and the spa bath is outrageous.  Baths are beautifully appointed and closets are generously scaled. Up here are also four more bedrooms, two with en suite baths, two share a bath (shh, don’t tell!). Now here is a really great addition: not only is the oversized laundry room upstairs here, so is The Wrapping Room! You would think that hauling said wrapped gifts downstairs and out to the five-car garage might be your exercise for the day, particularly if the gift you haul is say, a stratolounger? But fear not: whoever lives in this house can just meander down to an exercise room and television nook down a secondary staircase.

Outdoors is of course the overachiever’s gardens, the Portico with outdoor fireplace, a Grotto with yet another outdoor fireplace and flowers, flowers everywhere! Touring this house is worth it for the sweet scents alone. I had been at the Far Niente Winery in Oakville, CA just a week ago and marvelled at the gardens created by the owner of Far Niente, Gil Nickel, who hailed from Oklahoma and whose family was in the nursery business. When I got to 4612 Watauga, I really thought I had returned and was expecting a glass of Dolce. Asking $5,750,000. The home sold for $3,550,000 in 2005 prior to many additions and upgrades. It was listed for $6,395,000 last year, so this is actually an amazing price because not one petal or vineyard could be replicated for $700 a square foot.

Far Niente Winery Oakville, CA

There I go again: this home is just the wine country of Napa in Dallas!