A rustic log cabin in one of the Bay Area’s priciest ZIP codes is selling cheap

A hidden log cabin in the middle of one of the Bay Area’s most expensive neighborhoods is going cheap.

The Oakland hills and Piedmont’s 94611 ZIP code has an average home value of more than $1.5 million, per Zillow, but a rustic cabin that would make Jack London proud is currently selling there for $575,000.

The property, at 7135 Pinehaven Road, includes three contiguous parcels on 25,000 square feet of land.

“It’s a very unique property but it’s not in great shape,” listing agent Nick Flageollet said. “We found some interesting history on the place, back in the 1930s there was a fire there.”

The fire in question was reported in the Oakland Tribune on Oct. 23, 1933. But the cabin, built in the 1890s, somehow survived. It’s likely that the “destroyed” house mentioned was a second building on the same plot.

Account of fire at 7135 Pinehaven Road, Oakland, Oct. 23, 1933.

Account of fire at 7135 Pinehaven Road, Oakland, Oct. 23, 1933.

Oakland Tribune

Four years later, another historic fire that scorched 9 square miles of the Oakland hills — including the steep land where the home sits — made headlines, but again, the log cabin on Pinehaven survived.

Archives reveal that the 1937 blaze started when a music teacher’s backyard bonfire got out of control on Pinewood Road on Sept. 25, 1937. During the first six hours, the fire burned across the western edge of the Pinehaven district up Broadway Terrace to a point just below Skyline Boulevard and back down another canyon to the west.

the listing here.

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Covid concerns cause mortgage rates to retreat

For seven weeks in a row, mortgage rates steadily moved higher. Then they started pulling back last week. But despite this week’s decline, experts don’t expect their downturn to be long-lasting.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 3.04% with an average 0.7 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1% of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.13% a week ago and 3.31% a year ago.

Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from around 80 lenders across the country to come up with weekly national average mortgage rates. It uses rates for high-quality borrowers with strong credit scores and large down payments. Because of the criteria, these rates are not available to every borrower.

The survey is based on home purchase mortgages, which means rates for refinances may be higher. The price adjustment for refinance transactions that went into effect in December is adding to the cost. The adjustment, which applies to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances, is 0.5% of the loan amount. That works out to $1,500 on a $300,000 loan.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 2.35% with an average 0.7 point. It was 2.42% a week ago and 2.8% a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average fell to 2.8% with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.92% a week ago and 3.34% a year ago.

“Rising covid-19 cases across the country and the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine introduced fresh uncertainty to the market and placed renewed downward pressure on rates, helping drive them to their lowest level in a month,” Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist, wrote in an email. “But despite this week’s pullback, the outlook for rates is likely still upward, barring any additional setbacks for the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.”

Investors seemed less concerned about two readings on inflation that came out recently than the negative news surrounding the pandemic. Both the producer price index and the consumer price index for March showed upward price pressure beginning to materialize, Speakman wrote.

“The muted reaction to this week’s reports indicated that the market views the price pressures as transitory – that is, as a temporary occurrence due to weak prices a year ago – rather than a signal of runaway price growth,” he wrote. “But while the market offered a muted reaction to those reports, pandemic-related developments continue to affect rate movements.”

Mortgage rates are influenced a great deal by the expectations of investors. Good economic news can be bad for home loan rates because a strong economy raises fears of inflation. Investors do not like inflation because it causes fixed-income assets like bonds to lose value. A sell-off in bonds will cause prices to fall and yields to rise. Higher yields tend to lead to higher mortgage rates.

Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found more than half of the experts it surveyed expect rates to remain about the same in the coming week.

“About two months back, mortgage rates started going up steeply as mortgage-backed securities’ prices started dropping,” said Shashank Shekhar, chief executive officer of Arcus Lending. “By mid-[to]-late March, [MBS were] oversold and hence we saw mortgage rates improve since. It seems we have reached a point where, for a few days, MBS may just move in a tight range and hence the mortgage rates will remain mostly stable. For mortgage professionals and borrowers expecting to get back to mid-Feb level mortgage rates, it seems obvious that we are not going to see that anytime soon.”

Meanwhile, with rates up nearly a half-percentage point since January despite recent declines, mortgage applications continue to fall. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the market composite index – a measure of total loan application volume – decreased 3.7% from a week earlier. The purchase index slipped 1% from the previous week, and the refinance index dropped 5%.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 59.2% of applications. Refinance activity has decreased for nine of the past 10 weeks.

“Last week’s index level was the lowest in over a year, as mortgage rates continue to trend higher,” Joel Kan, an MBA economist, said in a statement. “Many borrowers have either already refinanced at lower rates or are unwilling – or unable – to refinance at current rates. The third straight week of declining purchase activity is a sign that rising home prices and tight supply are constraining home sales – especially in the lower price tiers. Purchase applications were still above last year’s pandemic-impacted low point, but fell behind the level of activity seen the same week in 2019.”

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$6.5M Lakefront Castle in Texas Is Designed for a Party-Loving Owner

Whoever said only kings and queens could live in castles was wrong.

A huge lakefront property available in Clifton, TX, could make just about anyone feel like royalty.

On the market for $6.5 million, the 11,500-square-foot modern marvel at 119 Private Road 1820 Rd could serve many purposes. But there’s a not-so-minor caveat.

“It’s not technically a house,” says the listing agent, Adam Musiel.

Currently, the property operates as an event space. Depending on where you stumble across this royal gathering place, it’s either called Bosque Resort Castle or Parsons Castle—named after the owner who built the property for himself in 2017.

Exterior of castle in Clifton, TX

Costar

Exterior

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Ballroom

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Outdoor space

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Gazebo

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Commercial kitchen

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The first floor is dominated by a ballroom with walk-out access to the outdoor space. There’s also a caterer’s kitchen to handle large-scale events.

A second floor has a number of bedrooms for overnight guests. As for the third level, that’s devoted to the royal owner.

“The third floor is a penthouse level, where the owner actually lives. It’s one bedroom, 1.5-baths and 3,000 square feet, with balconies,” Musiel says.

The full kitchen and large living space on the third floor could be divided into more bedrooms. An elevator provides private access to this level.

Elevator

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Living space

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Living space

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The owners are Stuart and Rebecca Parsons, who own a Texas roofing company. They spent 10 years building the castle after buying the land on a lakefront point. Stuart Parsons is partial to parties, so he’s unruffled by events taking place below his living quarters.

“The owner is a fan of Vegas. He loves going to Las Vegas, and he calls [his level of the castle] his penthouse,” Musiel explains. “I asked him what he does when people are partying downstairs and he’s staying there. He says he thinks of it like Vegas and, ‘This is my penthouse, and people are partying below me.’”

So why would a man who loves bashes be ready to part with his party palace?

“It was a passion project. Now he’s finished with it. He’s the type of guy that loves to build and loves to be hands on. He loves to build things and create. And kind of when it’s built, he’s over it,” Musiel explains.

Bedroom

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Balcony

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Interior

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Bathroom

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For overnight guests and revelers, there are a total of 10 bedrooms, 14 full bathrooms, and other event-related facilities on the property—including bridal suites.

Guesthouse

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Pool

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$6.5M Lakefront Castle in Texas Is Designed for a Party-Loving Owner appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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‘Unsellable Houses’ Reveals the Secret To Selling a Small Home

“Unsellable Houses” hosts Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis are twin sisters on a mission to move real estate that’s been lingering on the market. And while many homes just need some updating, what if it’s just too small?

In the episode “Small House Save,” the sisters help homeowner Marty fix up his Everett, WA, house. This home is just 850 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bathroom, so Lamb and Davis know Marty’s asking price of $440,000 is likely too much in the property’s current condition—which explains why the home has been on the market for two months.

Still, they know that with a little work and a $40,000 renovation, this place will be perfect for a first-time home buyer. Here’s how Lamb and Davis sell this starter home, which may inspire some ideas for updating your own abode.

Add built-ins on the cheap

fireplace
This fireplace needed a little something more.

HGTV

When Lamb and Davis first see this house, they’re unimpressed with the family room. They want to build a custom mantel, but realize they don’t have it in the budget to build anything from scratch. However, when they find two large bookshelves, they realize that they can create built-ins.

After painting the shelves and adding some detail work to make them seem custom, the sisters say the shelves look amazing.

“It gives you a focal point to look at,” Lamb says. “We have storage now built in, and it feels like it was meant to be there.”

fireplace
Now, this living room has more style and more storage.

HGTV

Creativity with paint can pay off

mural
This custom paint job makes the room feel extra special.

HGTV

When it comes to decorating the bedrooms, Lamb and Davis need to get creative. They decide to paint a mural on one of the bedroom walls.

Davis points out that a painted mural is very on-trend tight now, and explains that paint is an inexpensive way customize a house without risk.

“Paint is something that’s always fun to play with because it’s so easy to change,” Davis says.

Don’t replace tile if it’s in good shape

bathroom
This bathroom needs to be memorable, since it’s the only one in the house.

HGTV

Lamb and Davis know it’s important to save money wherever possible, so Lamb decides to replace only the floor tile in the bathroom, leaving the ’50s blush tile on the walls.

“We keep the blush, which I love,” Lamb tells Davis, “and then we put in a really cool modern tile floor, which is going to now make this blush feel as if it has been updated and modernized.”

She uses a modern black and white tile, and when the bathroom is finished, the space has a fun midcentury modern feel. It’s a great look and a clever money saver.

bathroom
This blush color works great with the new tile.

HGTV

If a kitchen isn’t working, rearrange the appliances

kitchen
With the stove in the corner, there’s a lot of wasted space.

HGTV

‘Unsellable Houses’ Reveals the Secret To Selling a Small Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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Madonna Buys The Weeknd’s Home in Hidden Hills for $19.3M

The Material Girl is living large. Madonna has purchased the swanky Hidden Hills estate belonging to The Weeknd, the New York Post reported. She shelled out $19.3 million for the privilege.

And the luxe property hits all the right notes for a global superstar. The seller, born Abel Tesfaye, purchased the spacious, 3-acre spread in the celebrity enclave in 2017 for $18.2 million.

The “Can’t Feel My Face” singer proceeded to place the home on the market for $25 million last June. After a series of price cuts, the property was last listed for $22 million in December, before it was sold to Madonna.

Situated in the posh gated community west of Los Angeles, the ultraprivate residence offers serene surroundings flanked by redwood trees, grassy lawns, and hillsides.

Built for entertaining or hanging out at home, the estate offers a seven-bedroom main house, two-bedroom guesthouse, and a stylish interior, on 12,547 square feet.

Enter into a hall with double-height ceilings and a two-story window wall. White, bright interiors include the living and dining rooms, a massive, double-island chef’s kitchen with breakfast area, and a bar. Pocket doors open out to the backyard.

With two master suites, the upstairs main bedroom features a fireplace that opens to a private balcony. Other perks include an office, glitzy glass wine room, home theater, fitness studio, five-car auto gallery with flashy neon lighting, and a barn.

Outdoor space includes the pool, spa, cabana, and built-in barbecue.

The property offers “utmost privacy and seclusion”—obviously something a global pop phenom would appreciate. The location is near downtown Calabasas and the Malibu coast.

The Weeknd will still have a place to spend his weekends—and other days. He reportedly also owns a $21 million penthouse in Westwood area of Los Angeles. He’s also renting an apartment in Tribeca for $60,000 a month, the New York Post notes.

Manhattan and a farm in the Hamptons, is perhaps putting down roots in L.A. as she prepares to shoot a biopic about her life.

The “Express Yourself” singer and dancer, who burst onto the scene in the 1980s with bestselling albums including “Like a Virgin,” has continually reinvented her look and her music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s most recent album, “Madame X,” hit the Billboard Top 200, her ninth of her career.

As for The Weeknd, the Toronto native has hit No. 1 on the charts with “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” and “Starboy.” His latest album, “After Hours,” has lit up the Billboard Hot 100 with the No. 1 singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights.”

Angel Salvador with The Agency represented the seller. Trevor Wright with The Beverly Hills Estates represented the buyer.

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10 Gardening Hacks That Save Money, Time, Messes, and More

Think you’ve got a black thumb, and no amount of gardening advice can help keep your plants from meeting untimely demises?

We’re here to say that growing flowers and veggies is definitely an art, but it’s one you can learn fast with a few shortcuts—aka gardening hacks.

Here are some of the best gardening tricks of the trade approved by experts who say they really work. And the best part? Many of these ideas use home goods that you’ve got lying around the house already.

1. Fill your planters with bottles and cans to save dirt

By Dawn Y 

Ever wonder how those ginormous planters get filled? Sure, you could use a 50-pound bag of pricey potting soil to get the job done, or you can try an easier, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly approach.

The trick here: Fill the pot about two-thirds of the way with cans or plastic bottles from your recycling bin, then pile the dirt on top. This way, you use far less costly soil from the garden center, plus you improve the aeration and drainage at the bottom of the planter. Oh, and you can move it around your patio more easily, too.

2. Divide your bulbs in half for more flowers

Photo by The Garden Concierge, Inc. 

This one’s a two-fer: You can double your garden’s beauty and save money simply by dividing annual bulbs. (Tulips, irises, and daffodils are ideal for this.)

“When you see your flowers aren’t producing the way they used to, yank them up and then carefully pull the small, offset bulbs away from the base of the plant,” says Susan Brandt, master gardener at Blooming Secrets.

Plant these new bulbs, plus the original one if it seems in good shape (it’s worth planting again if the base is firm to the touch), and you may double your blooms without spending more money.

3. Take your soil’s temperature with a kitchen thermometer

Photo by Oregon Scientific 

That oven and grill thermometer isn’t just for your barbecues and Thanksgiving turkey. Yup, you can actually stick it in the dirt to determine whether your soil is warm enough (meaning above freezing) for planting. A standard meat or digital thermometer will work as long as it tests colder temperatures in the 40-degree range, says Brandt.

4. Line pots with coffee filters for easy repotting

Photo by Lauren Kelp

Transferring plants to new pots or into the ground is a tricky project. The reason? Dirt can drop all over when you try to lift them out, and disturb their delicate root system. The fix here is run-of-the-mill coffee filters.

Place one at the base of your pot, fill with dirt and plant your seeds or plants right in this paper nest.

“And when you go to repot it, lift up the filter gently and evenly so it keeps loose soil from spilling on your workspace,” says Brandt.

5. Use zip or twist ties to keep climbing vines in place

Photo by Sylvan Gardens Landscape Contractors 

A gorgeous grid of climbing clematis or other vines is easily achieved by grabbing a few twist ties (the ones that come with loaves of bread). Secure the vine stems to a wire backing, fence, or post, and you’ll be able to arrange the growth in any way you like.

FormLA Landscaping. These delicate wonders also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which can help perk up house plants, too. (Sprinkle some in the dirt every couple of weeks.)

7. Fill an over-the-door shoe holder with plants

An old shoe holder is easily made into a pocket planter for succulents, ivy, or any perennial you want to showcase. Poke a few small holes in each section for drainage, add dirt and plant seedlings or small plants, and then hang it on a fence, shed wall, or any exterior door that gets good light.

8. Insert plastic utensils to scare off critters

Beware of those mean plastic forks!

Flickr via Recyclart

Brandt isn’t sure why this one works, but theorizes that this small army of plastic forks standing sentry in the soil scares off rabbits and birds since it looks so unfamiliar to them. Save a few from your next picnic and try it!

9. Pour vinegar on weeds

Who doesn’t have a cabinet full of random vinegar bottles? The acid in this pantry staple kills weeds like dandelions, so douse a bit on each garden offender. You’ll have to put up with the sharp scent for a little while, but it’s a fair trade for weed-free flower beds.

10. Trap slugs and pill bugs in beer

While you might hate to share your suds this way, by putting a small dish of PBR near your plants you can catch and kill slugs and other slimy bugs. The reason: They’re attracted to the sweet odor of beer—and when they get close to it, they end up drowning. RIP!

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The Hottest Markets for U.S. Real Estate in March 2021: Are We Back to Normal?

As the weather warms up and the first flowers bloom, home buyers start perking up, too. Spring is traditionally the start of the busiest home-buying season of the year, which extends into summer. And while the coronavirus pandemic completely upended last year’s market, it looks like buyers are back now—and more motivated than ever—according to realtor.com data..

Each month, the realtor.com economic data team ranks the hottest U.S. markets for real estate—those metros where homes are selling fastest and where buyers are clicking up a storm on listings. And whereas last March real estate activity ground to a halt, last month things appeared back to their seasonal norm, with home-buying activity spurred by the eagerness of long-frustrated buyers who have more spending power thanks to relatively low mortgage rates.

“One of the things we saw in 2020 is that a lot of people had to put their home-buying dreams on pause,” says Nicolas Bedo, economic research analyst for realtor.com. “As 2021 home buying is starting back up again, we are seeing people return to those locations again.”

Case in point: In March, the top market was Manchester, NH, followed by neighboring metro Concord. And guess which market was also No. 1 at this time last year? Manchester!

“It seems like people are picking up again exactly where they left off,” Bedo says.

The largest city in New Hampshire, Manchester (whose metro area includes Nashua) is about 50 miles from Boston, while Concord is just a little farther up Interstate Highway 93, meaning residents of those cities could commute to Beantown in about an hour. Plus, New Hampshire’s beaches and ski areas are also within easy driving distance.

But while affordability was the key selling point at this time last year, things were a little different this March. The median listing price of homes in the Manchester-Nashua area was $420,000 in March, up 8.4% year over year. Of course, that still compares favorably with Boston, where median listing prices were hovering around $700,000. Still, on the whole, the hottest markets saw median listing prices 18.9% higher, on average, than the national price in March.

“We’re seeing people be a little more adventurous in the pricing,” Bedo notes. That’s likely because mortgage rates are relatively low, although they have begun to rise in recent weeks and economists predict that the general trend this year will be up. So as long as people have a little more money in their digital wallets, they’re willing to put it down on a place where they may be spending more, but they’re also getting more in terms of space—a key consideration as the pandemic continues.

Manchester, NH 1 0 420,000 Concord, NH 2 17 362,000 Vallejo, CA 3 2 550,000 Burlington, NC 4 21 302,000 Springfield, OH 5 41 145,000 Lafayette, IN 6 -2 297,000 Yuba City, CA 7 4 427,000 Santa Cruz, CA 8 4 1,222,000 Stockton, CA 9 11 468,000 Spokane, WA 10 12 435,000 Janesville, WI 11 70 250,000 Modesto, CA 12 -5 499,000 Reno, NV 13 47 562,000 Worcester, MA 14 2 395,000 Appleton, WI 15 21 302,000 Coeur d’Alene, ID 16 -8 799,000 Madison, WI 17 18 399,000 Eureka, CA 18 62 439,000 Columbus, OH 19 -13 329,000 Akron, OH 20 25 180,000

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The 10 Best Home Office Upgrades Based on How Much Time You Have

Before 2020, remote work was already trending as an option for many companies. But once the coronavirus pandemic hit, that trend became a daily reality for a large swath of the American public.

Moving forward, it looks like working from home may be less of a temporary solution and more of a permanent shift. A recent study from Harvard found that 1 in 3 workers felt their performance and quality of work were better when they worked from home, and 1 in 3 also said they were better able to focus. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they don’t want to return to the office or would prefer a “hybrid” schedule going forward. Plus, companies such as Twitter, Slack, and Spotify have adopted either a fully remote or hybrid work policy.

With all of that in mind, the home office has become more essential than ever. So if you anticipate you’ll be working remotely in the near future, it’s high time to smarten up your office space. Below, our design and real estate experts share some must-tackle projects with a range of budgets and time constraints in mind.

If you have 5 minutes

In just five minutes, you can add beauty to your space and clean the air by bringing in a houseplant.

“If you don’t have a green thumb, succulents are the way to go,” says Andrey Doichev, a resource consultant for entrepreneurs and the founder of Austin, TX, firm Inc. and Go. He recommends placing a small succulent on your desk or putting a larger one in a corner in a planter.

Cost: $5-plus

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Another quick fix is to give your laptop a lift. Studies since the pandemic began show that many people are not using their laptops efficiently, especially because they have smaller screens and often rest at a much lower height than regular desktop computers.

“Monitors should be at eye height,” says Chris Alexakis, a contractor who specializes in rehabbing home offices and co-founded Cabinet Select in Venice, FL. “A simple laptop or monitor riser is a much more affordable solution than an adjustable-height desk.”

If budget is an issue, a stack of magazines or books is an option.

Cost: Free to $20

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If you have 30 minutes


Photo by Marker Girl Home

Marla Stone, a professional organizer based in Irvine, CA, believes that deploying basic feng shui principles can help create an office space that is efficient, organized, and aesthetically pleasing.

“Whether you’re at a desk or sitting on a couch in your living room, your workspace should face the door or opening of the room,” Stone says. “Just look at the president of the United States. His desk is in a position to greet and welcome. It’s also a power position. Facing out of a window and having your back to the room entrance can create uneasiness.”

She also suggests making sure there is an easy path between items of furniture and the entry and exit.

Cost: Free

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Now, look around. Do you see papers and office gadgets everywhere?

“Keeping your office clean is crucial to productivity,” says Aaron Haynes, CEO of the digital marketing company Loganix in Seattle. Haynes has spent a lot of time consulting with experts and coaching workers on ways to make working from home effective.

“I give workers who are new to working from home the same advice: Get rid of everything you don’t use every day,” Haynes says. “You don’t need fancy filing cabinets, because so much of our work is digital now. Dedicate a simple box or drawer for documents and office tools you may need in the future. Having a clean and tidy office space boosts productivity.”

Cost: Free

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If you have 1 hour


Photo by Lisa Sherry Interieurs

A solid hour will give you enough time to tackle the lighting situation. Maximizing any sources of natural light and making the most of interior lighting will help boost productivity. Plus, everyone is spending more time on videoconference calls—and bad lighting can be less than flattering.

“If you have a window, upgrade the curtains to maximize light,” says Jessi Buyer, a Seattle-based author and expert on ecotherapy. Stick with curtains in a light and airy material like cotton or linen. If your home office is private, you can even opt for sheer curtains to let the natural light in.

Experts also say an overhead light is ideal, but barring that, a desk light is essential. Change out the lightbulbs for ones that mimic natural light. Plus, if you have a ton of video chats on your calendar, experts also advise investing in a ring light.

Cost: Curtains, $30-plus per panel; lamp, $30-plus; ring lights, $20-plus.

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If your lighting is on point, consider adding shelves, which serve two purposes: aesthetic and organizational.

“Get rid of bulky storage furniture, and install floating shelves,” Alexakis recommends. “Two large, high-end shelves will take care of the bulk of your storage needs and keep your office clutter-free.”

Shelves also help define repurposed areas (like closets and storage sheds) as office space.

Cost: $15 to $300, plus labor for installation, if needed.

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If you have 3 hours

If you have an afternoon to devote to an office rehabilitation, take the time to do a furniture assessment and shop for some new pieces.

Photo by Mendelson Group

If your office essentially translates to a seat on your living room couch, you can take a weekend to carve out a real space in your home or apartment, even if it’s small.

The most popular and effective solution is a “cloffice,” says Dalas Dodd, the residential real estate design team leader at Sundae in Hermosa Beach, CA.

“A cloffice is essentially a repurposed closet,” Dodd says. “It has a door, which you can close, and it often includes shelves, which you can use for decor to brighten the space or to store office documents.”

Dodd and others also suggest putting up temporary wallpaper to transform the space. You should also add a desk lamp or LED lighting under a shelf to brighten the space.

Cost: Small desk, $100-plus; temporary wallpaper, $50-plus; lamp, $30-plus

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“If you’re lucky to have a designated home office, or if you’re taking over a spare bedroom or a part of the basement, a fresh paint job will transform the space,” says Kelsey Stuart, CEO of Bloomin’ Blinds, a window treatment franchise based in Dallas.

“Lighter tones reflect light, which makes a home office feel roomier,” says Stuart. “Go for a light, simple color scheme to promote high energy and creativity. It will also provide a professional background for videoconference calls.”

Cost: Supplies and paint, $150-plus

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$1.7M Glass House in Maryland: ‘Every Season Is a New Masterpiece’

Alisa Goldsmith has spent hours reading the social media commentary about her glass house.

“I’ve been down the rabbit hole the last 24 hours, reading some of the thousands of comments, which is hilarious, being that I’ve lived here, decorated it, and renovated it. It’s just so funny to hear everyone’s impressions about it,” Goldsmith says. “I’m taking it all with humor. I have to say, I’m very amused. I’m tickled about how tickled everybody else is about it.”

She’s also the listing agent for the see-through home. On the market for $1.7 million, the house on Corbridge Lane sits on 4 acres on the banks of the Gunpowder River in Monkton, MD.

Exterior

James Harper

Exterior

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Interior

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Exterior

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Staircase

James Harper

The striking residence is nearly entirely glass, and is topped by a distinctive red roof. The structure takes the shape of a barn, but is decidedly unbarnlike in all other ways. What looks like a silo from the exterior is actually a spiral staircase.

“Everyone thinks that it was a converted barn, but it’s not,” Goldsmith says. “It was actually built as a home, and we’re the third owners. The original owners were a married couple of architects, so they had the vision for it.”

The original owners built the house in 1990, and then Alisa and her husband, Jason, gutted it in 2018. The previous owners had built the house using the principles used to build skyscrapers, so it was built with steel beams.

“Before we renovated, they were covered in wood, but we stripped them down, painted them black, and left them bare,” she says.

Entry

James Harper

Interior

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Interior

James Harper

Goldsmith was showing the house to a client when it was on the market back in 2017, and she fell in love with it.

She couldn’t get it out of her head, so she brought her husband back to see it.

“I didn’t actually think that he was going to be onboard with buying it,” she says. “Everyone wants to look at it, but certainly not everyone wants to live here. It’s a very specific buyer, and my husband was so into it. He just fell in love with it.”

They bought it for $800,000 in March 2017, and the renovations began.

“We didn’t change anything on the exterior,” she says, “but we pretty much took the interior down to the studs.”

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Bathroom

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James Harper

The fully renovated house now has five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms on 5,754 square feet of living space. All surrounded by glass.

“I laugh when people say it’s like a fishbowl,” Goldsmith says. “And I’m like ‘Well, no one’s looking at me, but I’m looking out.’ And if this is a fishbowl, it’s a fishbowl I don’t mind being in.”

She says there are houses on two sides that are only visible when the trees are bare, but they’re far enough away that she doesn’t worry about privacy.

“Someone would have to be a mile away staring at me with a telescope and know what to look for and where to look to catch a glimpse,” she says. “I always thought if someone wants to work that hard, then God bless ’em.”

Lutron shades are in place on all the windows, including blackout shades in all the bedrooms and theater room.

“That definitely helps with privacy, and it’s all app-controlled. You can just walk in and say, ‘Alexa, turn on master bedroom shades,’ and the shades go up or down.”

Kitchen

James Harper

Kitchen

James Harper

Kitchen

James Harper

Kitchen

James Harper

Deck

James Harper

Smart technology is installed through the house. The kitchen has high-end appliances, two islands, and quartz countertops. A deck outside has room for folks to dine, with a river view.

On the lower level, there’s a guest suite with a separate entrance. There’s also a detached two-car garage with a greenhouse above it.

Goldsmith says that while she was perusing online comments and during showings, she found two things everyone wants to know.

First, how does she clean the windows? Second, how much does it cost to heat and cool the place?

The home’s many windows have mostly been left up to the care of Mother Nature.

“If you’re looking for a pristine home with pristine windows, this is not your house. You are in the woods living in basically a tree house. You don’t even notice it,” she explains.

As for the climate control, there are two heating systems, a five-zone geothermal system, and a backup boiler for additional heat.

$1.7M Glass House in Maryland: ‘Every Season Is a New Masterpiece’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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