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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Just Listed Lot 11 Bridgewater Monroe NC, 28112

Exquisite 5 bedroom/7 bath home built with high-efficiency & low maintenance costs. Spend evenings with the family relaxing by the fireplace enjoying the serene lake views as you are bathed in natural light from the two story windows. The gourmet kitchen is fully equipped with granite counter tops, tons of storage, custom cabinetry and top of the line appliances. The ground floor master bedroom has two separate custom closets, a private sitting area with lake views, and an oversized master bath.


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Tyra Banks Lists Manhattan Condo


SELLER: Tyra Banks
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $3,795,000
SIZE: 2,000(ish) square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

As first reported by the celebrity real estate minx at the Daily News, 1990s supermodel turned “Top Model” mogul Tyra Banks has hoisted her New York City pied-a-terre on the open market with an asking price of $3,795,000.

Property records show the model-mogul picked up the city-view two-bedroom and 2.5 bathroom condo in March 2005 for $2,102,686 and current digital marketing materials suggest the approximately 2,000-square-foot high-floor unit carries taxes and maintenance charges that tally up to $4,097 per month.

According to the floor plan included with online listing details, a curved wall in the unusually roomy foyer bends around to a 600-square-foot-plus open plan living area with Brazilian mahogany floors, five large windows on two walls with north and east exposures, and an all-white galley style kitchen.

At the center of the long and slender apartment there are a guest bedroom, a couple of closets for coats and things, a powder room and a laundry closet. The master suite at the rear has a large bedroom, a spacious compartmentalized bathroom with marble detailing, a private sitting room/study and three custom-fitted closets, two of them walk-ins.

The pet-friendly pre-war building, the former East River Saving Bank Building now dubbed The Spring, was originally designed by architect Cass Gilbert in 1909 and converted to condos in 2004. It offers it’s well-heeled residents full-time doormen, basement storage and a common roof deck with wrap around city views.

Miz Banks’s representatives told the Daily News that although the reality show host “loved the apartment but simply wasn’t able to spend any time there with her current work schedule.

Robert Pattinson Buys House in Hollywood Hills


BUYER: Robert Pattinson
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,176,500
SIZE: 1,940 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

The “Twilight” franchise superstar was the secret buyer behind the $2,176,500 blind trust purchase of a humble if well-appointed and hardly inexpensive home in a celebrity-filled pocket of the Hollywood Hills.

Set privately behind another house down a long, gated red brick driveway, the single-story hacienda-style casa has just two bedrooms and two bathrooms and comes in at 1,940-square feet.

Rustic and satisfyingly well-patinated terra cotta tile floors run throughout the interconnected main living spaces — the flooring switches to wood in the bedrooms — that include a reasonably roomy living room with multiple French doors that open to the yard. Twin arches flank a minimalist, double-sided fireplace and lead into a sky-lit, combination kitchen and dining area with vaulted, open beam ceiling and a full-complement of high-end stainless steel appliances, including a $14,000 U.K.-manufactured cast iron range. Both bedrooms have custom built-in wardrobes and direct access to outdoor living and lounging areas and both bathrooms have arched and tiled combination shower/tubs, the hall bath in cobalt blue and the master bath in celery green.

A brick veranda runs along the inside façade of the angled residence and gives way to a somewhat compact but remarkably private and tree-shaded yard with good-sized flat lawn, wee kidney-shaped swimming pool and rugged canyon views. Courtyard areas around the side and rear of the residence include variety of terraces and a secluded spa set into a brick terrace tightly girdled by a thick wall of privacy ensuring shrubbery.

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