Come, Let’s Tour Taylor Swift’s Stunning New Southern Estate

Don’t let Taylor Swift’s age fool you: the girl can play the real estate game. The country music crooner has just scooped up a new estate in Nashville, where her family moved when she was 14. Built in 1934 by U.S. ambassador to Denmark Guilford Dudley Jr., the Greek Revival-style Northumberland Estate was sold to a music exec family in 2004, who paid $1.5M for the property and invested much more green to extensively renovate and restore it.

The main house, with 5,600 square feet, four bedrooms, and 4.5 bathrooms, features such exquisite detailing as black-and-white marble flooring, a curved staircase, a vaulted, beamed ceiling in the living room, a marble fireplace, floor-to-ceiling doors leading out from the formal dining room to the patio, crown moldings, Carrara marble flooring in the terrace room, and a wood-paneled office with tons of built-in shelving. Outside, there’s a pool and 2,000-square-foot guesthouse (built in 1964) with herringbone hardwood floors and cypress paneling. Just the sort of interiors that make Swift’s other newish property, a Beverly Hills colonial that she bought in April, look like small potatoes. Plus, it comes with a music buddy: fellow country star Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman own a place just a stone’s throw away. Perhaps we’ll have a new duet to look forward to! Anyway, here’s what Swift paid for this sexy slice of Southern grandeur: $2.5M.

Professor Dumpster Ditches Dumpster for Strangers’ Couches


As of last month, Jeff Wilson, an environmental sciences professor at Austin’s Huston-Tillotson University, had spent one full year living in a 36-square-foot converted receptacle on campus, all while preaching to hundreds of media outlets about the marvel of small living under his wacky alter ego, Professor Dumpster. But now, after all that ballyhoo, it looks like Professor Dumpster is ready to leave that 6×6 Oscar the Grouch life behind. In fact, as a recent Washington Post profile reports, Professor Dumpster has officially vacated the AC-equipped, cutely-furnished green bin—but rest assured, he’s not eager to haul back to an conventional apartment by any means.

Dreamily Remodeled Gilded-Age Carriage House Asks $3.74M

Location: Camden, Maine
Price: $3,740,000
By now, the former-carriage-house-as-modern-mansion is a common enough trope in high-end real estate coverage, inevitably followed by a sentiment along the lines of “if this is the carriage house, think about what the main house was like!” Here’s what the main estate—a Victorian built by Joseph Stearns, inventor of the duplex telegraph—looks like. In this case, the carriage house might look better, and plus, it has a tower.
Owner Sam Rowse recently spoke to Zillow Blog about what the renovation involved, aside from wiring and amenities: replaced rotting beams and trusses, installing a “’75-year roof’ that he feels sure ‘you could park a semi on.’” Three of the five bedrooms are upstairs, off the former hay loft, which is now a combined rec area and lounge.
Downstairs, a pair of dueling stone hearths take center stage. The kitchen has two antique, enameled cast-iron stoves, and there’s also a wood-fired pizza oven in the basement. Total square-footage is 5,656, about half that of the main house, but up 150 feet in that tower, you have all of Penobscot Bay and laid out before you.

Rupert Murdoch Sells Beverly Hills Mansion to His Son for $30M

murdoch.jpgImage via Google Earth

Media tycoon and generally wealthy person Rupert Murdoch has sold his horseshoe-shaped house in Beverly Hills to none other than his youngest son, James Murdoch. After he quietly listed the home for $35M last year, the older Murdoch attracted multiple offers and interest from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio before ultimately pulling it off the market. According to the L.A. Times, James Murdoch ended up purchasing the home for $30M—so, yes, he may have gotten a bit of a family discount.

The house was designed by architect Wallace Neff and built in 1926 for Fred Niblo, an actor and director best known for his silent films The Three Musketeers and The Mark of Zorro. The older Murdoch acquired the home in 1986 from the late physician, philanthropist, and businessman Jules Stein. Official records put the house at 8,651-square-foot, with 11 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.

Over on Variety, Mark David has unearthed an original floor plan of the house, which depicts features like an elliptical entrance hall, extensive service wing, breezeway, to name a few—but, of course, it’s unclear if those elements still exist.

Student Designers Create Modern Pavilions for Little-League Fans in Rural Appalachia

2014JG16.549.jpgPhotos via design/buildLAB

Third-year architecture students at Virginia Tech recently built a strikingly contemporary fieldhouse for a little league baseball diamond in Clifton Forge, Virginia. Made from solid steel and wood, the Sharon Fieldhouse was designed for “extreme openness.”

Design/buildLAB’s Marie Zawistowski described the students to Architect Magazine as the studio’s “first group of minimalists.” Three separate pavilions they designed feature a covered picnic area, kitchen, restrooms, and storage space. Tables are made from leftover steel, and the white oak ceiling was locally sawed.

A 55-Ton Rock Fell on This House So Now It’s a Tourist Spot

Photo via Chris Willman

Fountain City, Wisconsin is home to a quirky roadside attraction called “Rock in the House.” Not to be mistaken with “House on the Rock,” another Wisconsin treasure, “Rock in the House” is essentially a small home with a giant boulder stuck right in the center of its rear side. According to Atlas Obscura, in 1995, the owners were in the middle of renovations when all of a sudden, a 55-ton boulder slid down a steep hill and struck their lakeside abode.

The owners, who luckily survived the calamity without injury, quickly fled their disaster-prone house. The next owner, however, decided to bank on the boulder, leaving the house as is, rock and all, and opening the home to visitors. Now, for $2, anyone can tour the little house with an enormous surprise in the back. One review on TripAdvisor calls it “Roadside Americana at its best!”

Five Ingenious Homes at the Forefront of Small-Space Design


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“A scarcity of space can trigger talent and creativity,” the Barcelona-based interiors architect Francesc Zamora Mola writes in 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas, a new book that profiles tiny homes around the world with a focus on the beauty and simplicity of their interiors. Architects and designers all have their own ways of trying to make micro homes feel spacious, and what emerges is a celebration of efficient architecture. Going far beyond the typical built-in cabinetry and lofted beds, Mola offers dozens of tips about how to design a tiny home in a way that’s creative rather than claustrophobic.

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The shingled Ufogel House has porthole windows and a “beak” that makes it look a lot like a bird. Built on stilts in Lienz, Austria by Architekterbüro Jungmann and Aberjung Design Agency, the home has a sleeping loft under a curving ceiling, a dining nook, and a kitchen all clad in the same blond timber. Glass partitions separate the bedroom and bathroom, which doesn’t allow for much privacy, but does make the room look bigger.

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Tip: “Light and brightly colored surfaces are reflective, making a space feel open and airy. Go easy on the decoration in a small space where finishes are attractive and can shine on their own.”

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This 183-square-foot guesthouse near a fjord in Praestro, Denmark was designed by Martin Kallesø Architects with privacy in mind. The black timber building sits near a number of other guesthouses, and was built in an asymmetrical shape so its windows would face away from the adjacent homes.

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Tip: “Use a glass-panel door instead of a solid exterior door to bring more natural light into a room. Light sources from different sides balance the light across the room.

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The Le Nuage house in Lormont, France is shaped like a cumulus cloud. The 183-square-foot shelter was designed by the French firm of Zébra3 / Buy-Sellf as a temporary art installation, but it now has a permanent home next to a lake. The transportable holiday home has irregularly-shaped blond wood interiors and several built-in bunk beds.

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Tip: “Modern bunk beds blend comfort and space-saving convenience. They make the bedroom more spacious and add a playful atmosphere. Built-in bunk beds can provide storage that optimizes the space they are designed to fit in. This is an advantage over freestanding bunk beds.”

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The Hypercubus home manages to fit three floors into an off-kilter box of just 269 square feet. Designed by the Austrian firm WG3 Architektur und Moebel, the minimalist blue home with purple-tinted windows is both modular and transportable.

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Tip: “Color is a powerful tool when it comes to changing the atmosphere of a space, including the perception of its size and proportions. Explore the creative possibilities of paint or colored light.”

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This 291-square-foot home is shaped like a shipping container with a gable roof. The Spanish firm Abaton Arquitectura designed it with the aim of making a portable structure as cozy as possible. The home uses sliding doors to great effect, with glass windows that double as an entryway, and a wooden partition that divides the bedroom and living area.

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Tip: “A pitched roof adds extra overhead space to the room directly below it. It makes the room feel larger and at the same time more cozy by making the shape reminiscent of a cottage home.”

Scarlett Johansson Quietly Buys a 1940s Nest in Los Feliz

Emotionally complex smartphone A.I. Scarlett Johansson has reportedly bought a new home in Los Angeles. According to Variety, Johansson made the $3,880,000 “under-the-radar” purchase late last year, and though the seller’s identity is unclear, Real Estalker seems relatively certain it was a “former high fashion model-turned-Chicago-based construction magnate.” At approximately 3,500 square feet, Johansson’s surreptitiously purchased 1940s home sits quietly on nearly an acre of land at the end of a very hush-hush Los Feliz cul-de-sac.

The two-story home is obliquely angled and secluded, with a narrow veranda that opens out onto a small terrace with a swimming pool, a built-in grill area, an eight-person spa, and a poolside cabana. (Might its new owner be throwing some top-secret pool parties come summer?) The second-floor master suite features a sitting area beside a fireplace and a balcony with a nice view of the Hollywood sign.

Last summer, shortly before her engagement to Romain Dauriac, Johannsen spent $2.2M on a beach-house in the Hamptons.

Should I Wait Until Spring to List My Home? Not Necessarily

2015 is already shaping up to be a strong year for the housing market. With demand already surging, should you get your home on the market now, or follow conventional wisdom and wait until spring?

There are a lot of ways to go about answering that question. The last time we did, we focused on homes listed near the bottom of the market around 2012, when inventory was at historic lows and buyers were in a frenzy, and found that listing in winter offered the best payoff. But this year, researchers examined more than 7 million homes listed from 2010 through 2014 to see how many of them went under contract within 30 days and how often they sold for more than their list price. We chose these metrics because they’re two of the simplest and most common objectives someone has when they list their home for sale.

For the best chance of selling your home quickly and at a premium, your best bet is to list it in the spring: 39 percent of homes listed between March 21 and June 20 in the past five years went under contract within 30 days and 15 percent of them sold for more than list price. But winter is a very close second bet, just one percentage point behind in each measure. Summer wins bronze, with 36 percent of listings under contract within 30 days and 12 percent selling at a premium. The data suggests that if you have a choice, avoid listing your home in the fall, when people are more focused on things like the start of the school year and getting ready for the holidays than shopping for a home. Thirty-four percent of homes listed in fall went under contract within 30 days and only 11 percent sold above list price.


735 Burrage Road, Concord NC 28025

Gorgeous home located on a private wooded lot minutes to downtown Concord! Mountain-like setting with just a 30 minute drive to uptown Charlotte! Main home features a living and family room, dinning room, Master suite, laundry room, huge kitchen and second bedroom. In the 2nd Living Quarters, a full kitchen, eat in area, deluxe bathroom, laundry room, 2 bedrooms, family room and oversized deck. Huge basement for all your entertaining needs.

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