Archive for the 'Real Estate' Category

Usonia For Sale

When our clients came from Brooklyn to the idyll of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia community here Pleasantville, they fell instantly for the Aaron Resnick-designed house they found on Orchard Brook Road.  With a bold composition and blurred transition between inside and outside, they new they had found something very special.

Over the next eight years, they meticulously restored and respectfully enhanced the original house.

Bjorn Slate, Fivecat Studio‘s Director of Architectural Services, had the privilege to work with them on an exterior renovation. The project included straightening and reinforcing the house’s deep pronounced roof projection, swapping out inadequate pipe columns under the “cantilever” with new i-beam columns and steel-rod X-bracing, and adding a new Ipe deck overlooking Usonia’s thick green forest of trees.

Our friends are moving on, and we’re sad to see them go, but we’re grateful to have had the unique opportunity to work on such a wonderful example of mid-century modern architecture.

For more information on the house, or to inquire about it’s purchase, visit Houlihan Lawrence broker, Tom Goddard at

For Sale: A Little Piece of Heaven

Last summer I posted about the obituary for Theodore Nierenberg, the co-founder of the Dansk brand of housewares.

Today, I received an email from one of our clients sharing a Trulia link for the property. It’s for sale for $7,500,000.

I hope that whomever purchases the property will value not only the unique Scandinavian modern architecture, but will also love the gardens as much as Martha and Theodore did.

My family and I have enjoyed several visits to the Nierenberg Gardens through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days. Will the new owners continue the tradition of sharing their little piece of heaven with the public? Stay tuned.


Thanks again Elizabeth.


Have you visited the new website built by The National Association of Realtors? It’s loaded with valuable information.


You care about your home. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® cares about homeownership. To help you become the best, most responsible homeowner you aspire to be, we want to provide you with free information and tools you can use to make smart and timely decisions about your home.

Living Well Link of the Week: HouseLogic

Recession May Redesign the American Home

By Elizabeth Razzi

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — What will new homes look like after this recession, which has brought construction nearly to a halt?

Consumers who have learned the bitter lessons about declining home values, burdensome debts and ephemeral retirement-savings values may well demand different houses than the ones that dot our recently built neighborhoods.

History hints that this downturn could change our tastes. Homes built in the 1940s and ’50s, for example, were usually smaller and simpler than large, frilly Victorians that had been in style before the Great Depression and World War II.

Materials remained scarce for years after the war, and returning veterans, boosted by mortgage-assistance provided under the GI Bill of Rights of 1944, bought Levittowns full of simple new houses as quickly as they could be made.

Virginia McAlester, author of “A Field Guide to American Houses,” said that after this recession she expects smaller homes built closer together, but with more attention to their positioning on the lot to better preserve privacy and the occupants’ access to a little spot of nature.

At the turn of the last century, the wealthy lived in elaborate houses with 20 to even 40 rooms, which required a tremendous income just to keep them going.

“You just had such overbuilding of size,” she said. “Now you have a lot of cul-de-sacs of great big, overbuilt houses way outside the city.”

Already, new homes are being simplified compared with those built during the go-go years. “We are going to have far more small houses and attached houses,” McAlester predicted.

Read more.


via Slow Home

Not So Big… Explained

Invest in Your Nest

A few weeks back Lawrence Lanahan called. He was writing an article for the annual real estate issue of Westchester Magazine. (By the way… check out their new website. It looks great.)

I received my issue yesterday.

I don’t think this article could be better timed. With real estate in a slump, the stock market riding the dragon coaster and our nation’s banks playing musical chairs, there is no better time to invest your money in your own home.

You’ll never lose with a kitchen renovation, or that kid-friendly family room you’ve been dreaming about for years. Maybe a new master bedroom suite, so when the kids are in the family room, you can escape to your own private quiet space. Give yourself a spa-like master bath with warm radiant floors, a steam shower and an air-jet therapy tub. You’ll never think about the stock market again.

And when our financial world returns to normal (and it always does), cash in and reap the rewards of investing at home.

From Westchester Magazine:

Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Sales of single-family homes in Westchester decreased 26.7 percent between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2008, according to the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service (WPMLS). As if that’s not disheartening enough, the median price (that is, the mid-point of all reported sales) of a single-family home also dropped in the same period, from $700,000 to $674,900. And inventory is up 10.6 percent—that’s 443 houses on the market that weren’t there a year earlier.

If you were hoping to sell but decided to wait for a rebound, you might be staying put for a while. Even the rosiest prognostications say we’ve got a long way to go; there are simply too many factors at work, all tunneling into market stability like termites. The Westchester County Board of Realtors in a recent newsletter proclaimed that “foreclosures, mortgage interest rates, credit availability, unemployment, the Manhattan real estate market…are not radiating wellness.”

Well, “not radiating wellness” is one way to put it. Might as well come right out and say it: real estate-wise, life is giving you lemons. And when that happens, you renovate the kitchen in which you make your lemonade. The fact is, whether you’re planning to sell or stay, experts say it makes sense to invest in your abode. “When things get tough, instead of selling and buying a different house, homeowners do upgrades,” declares Mark LePage, president of residential architecture firm Fivecat Studio in Pleasantville. “It is great for resale.”

Read more.

The Glass House: Visited

On January 25, 2005, architect Philip Johnson passed away. In June of that same year, his partner David Whitney passed too, leaving their entire New York and Connecticut estates to The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Two years later, Philip Johnson’s Glass House was opened to the public.

Unfortunately, unless you would like to purchase tickets for a Private Tour ($500 per person) or an even more exclusive Patron Tour ($1000 per person), you will need to wait at least 12 months for a visit.

Lucky for us, Katie Hutchinson has prepared an amazing review of her recent trip to the iconic New Canaan residence. When you’re finished reading her post, you’ll feel like you were there with her.

In photos, the Glass House has always struck me as smallish, perhaps because the landscape is so vast. In reality it’s much larger than I expected. It’s 1,728 square feet. The floor is brick, laid in a herring-bone pattern. The ceiling height is ten-foot six-inches. It’s a bit like a patio with a lid. The plan is a simple rectangle with full-height glass doors on both central axes. No-nonsense, black, steel I-beams stand as columns around the perimeter. A brick cylinder toward the northeast houses a private full bath and a fireplace facing the seating area.

Read Katie’s entire review here.

For more information, or to purchase tickets for the 2009 tour season, visit the Glass House website.

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