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Restoring a 1788 House in Charleston, S.C., With a Walled Garden

For years, Julie and Rowan Taylor dreamed of what it would be like to live in Charleston, S.C.

“We first came in 2005 — long weekend, no kids,” said Mr. Taylor, 54, the managing partner of a private equity firm. “And fell in love.”

After that, they often visited the city from their home in New Canaan, Conn., and their admiration for its handsomely weathered buildings, towering palms and expansive oaks — as well as its thumping urban heart — only grew.

Credit…Hunter McRae for The New York Times

But Mr. Taylor worked for a company based in New York City, and the couple had three daughters who had their own friends and routines, so a move didn’t seem realistic.

E E Fava Architects. Ms. Taylor was game for buying a house that needed some cosmetic updates, although after living through a full-blown renovation in Connecticut, she set a guiding principle for their search: “I didn’t want a project,” she said.

But that was before Mr. Taylor fell for a stately Federal house from 1788 in the South of Broad neighborhood. The house was 8,130 square feet, with expansive rooms and its own walled garden. But it needed a thorough restoration and updating, which they wanted to avoid. Still, Mr. Taylor couldn’t get the house out of his head, so he asked Mr. Fava to take a look.

Mr. Fava came back with a glowing report: “I said, ‘It’s everything you don’t want to do, but it will be everything you want, without a doubt.’ I said, ‘It’s the big project. It’s going to be way more than you thought, but you’re going to be as happy as can be when it’s done.’”

The Taylors swallowed hard and bought the house for $5.35 million in January 2017. Then they moved into a rental down the street and began the long process of reviving the house with Mr. Fava, Betsy Berry, an interior designer, and Sheila Wertimer, a landscape architect and a partner of Wertimer & Cline.

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Cyber Monday Nest Thermostat Deals (2021): Smart Learning Thermostat Deals Highlighted by Deal Stripe

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Business Activity Makes My Building Unsafe. What Can I Do?

Q: I live in a small rental building in Brooklyn. Another tenant has leases for several of the units. He lives in one, and uses the others for a gallery and office space. There’s a stream of interns or employees who blast music and leave front doors propped open and unattended for parties or the loading or unloading of goods. This has led to package theft and people coming in to do drugs. The landlord must know about this, but has denied that it’s happening. As a neighbor, I’m frustrated and at times feel unsafe in my own building. Is there anything to do?

A: Your neighbor might be allowed to use some of the apartments as commercial space, but not at the expense of your safety and well being.

From what you describe, your neighbor is creating a nuisance for you and other tenants, and that nuisance could violate your warranty of habitability, a state law, according to Jennifer Rozen, a lawyer who represents tenants. You shouldn’t be subjected to excessively loud noise or music. And people should not be trespassing, which puts your safety at risk. By allowing this situation to fester, your landlord is not meeting his basic obligations to you.

New York City Department of Buildings website to see if commercial use is permitted. Even if it is allowed, it is prohibited above residential floors, according to Kenneth K. Lowenstein, a land use attorney and a partner at the Manhattan law firm Holland & Knight.

If you think the use violates the certificate of occupancy, call 311 to report the problem to the Buildings Department, which could send out an inspector and potentially issue a violation. A ticket from the city might not end the problem, but it would be another way to get the landlord’s attention.

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The Penthouse That Keeps Breaking Records in SoHo

For the second time in just over a year, a sprawling triplex on Broome Street set a record for the highest price paid for a single residence in SoHo.

The sale price was $49 million, roughly 40 percent more than the $35.1 million, the previous neighborhood record, the apartment sold for in October 2020. It was also the most expensive closing in New York City for the month of November.

Several other sizable closings were recorded in downtown Manhattan during the month, including two penthouses at 56 Leonard, the distinctive Jenga-like glass skyscraper in TriBeCa. The apartment at the pinnacle sold for $45 million, the unit two levels below for $30.1 million.

bought Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime residence on the Upper East Side last winter, sold the duplex penthouse he shared with his wife, Blake Daffey. The price was $24.6 million. And in the West Village, a four-story townhouse with a garage was bought for $17.6 million, nearly $1.7 million above the asking price.

Obama family had rented for three summers in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; the buyer used the limited liability company Oak Shade.

The loftlike apartment, encompassing the fifth through seventh floors, has around 8,000 square feet of interior space, with three bedrooms and five full and two half bathrooms, along with two kitchens, a media room and a gym. There is also a roof deck and six landscaped terraces, totaling 3,800 square feet, one of which includes a hot tub.

on the market in 2018, initially for as much as $65 million.

GameStop’s stock. But he and his wife, Irina Shaulov, made a handsome profit on the apartment sale, having bought it in April 2017 for nearly $26.8 million.

listing with Leslie J. Garfield, but could be converted into “an unrivaled single-family West Village mansion.”

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How to Build a Terrarium, So It’s Always Gardening Season

During the months when you can’t be outside working in the garden, what could be better than a miniature landscape that sits in your living room?

Just remember, as you put the finishing touches on your first terrarium and celebrate by cuing the chorus of “It’s a Small World (After All)”: This is a tiny garden, not a scaled-down theme-park installation where the scene is picture-perfect, day after day.

“It’s not a diorama, and these are not plastic plants,” said Patricia Buzo, a terrarium designer who owns Doodle Bird Terrariums, in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minn. Mrs. Buzo’s terrariums are living gardens that she plants with narrow tongs and then prunes with shears more appropriately sized for manicures than hedge trimming.

The same rules that apply to tending your garden outside also apply here: Choose the right plants and put them in the right place. Or else.

common houseplants,” Mrs. Buzo said. “The best choices don’t tolerate the conditions out in the house, but really need that high humidity.”

Within those little glass walls, it’s possible to cultivate mosses, miniature tropical orchids and even certain carnivorous plants.

Green Terrariums and the author of “Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass,” agreed. “Let’s not just plop some plants in a jar,” she said. “I wouldn’t put palms in a forest scene.”

Apart from the visual incongruity, there’s a bigger problem: Tropical plants and temperate woodland types won’t cohabit happily, said Ms. Colletti, who began making terrariums around 2006, when she was the shop manager at the New York Botanical Garden, and now teaches how-to workshops.

ferns: Although they might seem like obvious terrarium subjects, many get too tall for terrarium containers. Besides the fern moss, another appropriately sized look-alike that Mrs. Buzo uses is a fern ally called spike moss (Selaginella), which despite its common name is not a moss.

My Green Obsession, Orchids Limited and Logee’s.

California Carnivores, a specialty mail-order nursery in Sebastopol, Calif., recommends starting with one kind of plant before you try mixing genera in a design. Carnivorous plants like to grow lean, so be sure any medium you use does not contain fertilizer.

A Way to Garden and a book of the same name.

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Readington, N.J.: A Farm Community Intent on Preserving Its Charm

Recently married and looking to move out of their rental townhouse in Woodbridge, N.J., Shaun and MaryJo Spiller set their sights on Readington, N.J., the Hunterdon County town where Mr. Spiller was raised. The couple looked at several homes last fall, putting in one bid that fell through over problems with the house’s septic system. Around Christmas, Mr. Spiller’s father told him about another house newly on the market: the one the younger Mr. Spiller grew up in.

“Everything was exactly the same,” said Mr. Spiller, a 28-year-old data engineer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, describing the couple’s tour of his childhood home. “Even my old bedroom was the same electric-blue color.”

census data. In 1978, seeking to avoid the kind of overdevelopment that occurred in neighboring Somerset County, Readington became the first municipality in New Jersey to put an open-space referendum on the ballot, asking residents to vote for a $1 million bond to preserve farmland and check development. The referendum was approved, and since then Readington has preserved 9,000 acres — nearly a third of the town — through a combination of land acquisition, the purchase of farmers’ development rights and cluster zoning.

“It was a grass-roots effort by those who moved here in the 1970s looking to get away from the hustle and bustle and suburban sprawl,” said Mayor John Albanese, who moved to Readington two years after the referendum passed. “They didn’t want to see the whole town turn into the place they had moved away from. There was definitely an element of ‘I’m pulling up the ladder as I’m getting in the door here.’ But either you do that, or you don’t do anything and it becomes fully developed.”

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October 2021 Existing-Home Sales Rise Modestly

NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this October inclined 0.8% from September 2021. October’s existing-home sales reached a 6.34 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. October’s sales of existing homes declined 5.8% from October 2020.

Line graph: U.S. Existing-Home Sales, October 2020 to October 2021

The national median existing-home price for all housing types rose to $353,900 in October, up 13.1% from a year ago. Home prices have continued to rise, and this marks the 117th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Bar graph: U.S. and Regional Median Sales Price of Existing-Home Sales, October 2021 and October 2020

Regionally, all four regions showed strong price growth from a year ago. The South had the largest gain of 16.1% followed by the Midwest with an incline of 7.8%. The West showed an increase of 7.7% and the Northeast had the smallest price gain of 6.4% from October 2020.

October’s inventory declined 0.8% from last month, standing at 1.25 million homes for sale, falling for the second consecutive month. Compared with October of 2020, inventory levels are 12.0% lower. This would mark 29 straight months of year-over-year declines. It will take 2.4 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace, well below the desired pace of 6 months.

Demand remains strong as home buyers are snatching listings quickly off the MLS, and it takes approximately 18 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market. A year ago, it took 21 days.

Bar graph: Inventory, October 2020 to October 2021

From a year ago, all four regions had declines in sales, except the South where sales were flat. The Northeast had the biggest dip of 8.3%, followed by the West, which fell 3.0%. The Midwest had the smallest decline in sales of 2.7%.

From September of 2021, three of the four regions showed increases in sales. The West region had no change in sales. The Midwest region had the largest incline of 4.2%, followed by the South with the smallest gain of 0.4%.

The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 43.8% of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 11.8%.

Bar graph: Regional Existing-Home Sales and Year-Over-Year Percent Change, October 2021 and October 2020

In October, single-family sales increased 1.3% and condominiums sales were down 2.9% compared to last month. Single-family home sales were down 5.8% while condominium sales were down 5.6% compared to a year ago. The median sales price of single-family homes rose to 13.5% at $360,800 from October 2020, while the median sales price of condominiums rose 8.7% at $296,700.

Line graph: Single-family vs. Condo Sales Month-Over-Month Percent Change, February 2019 to October 2021
Line graph: Single-family vs. Condo Price Year-Over-Year Percent Change, January 2019 to September 2021

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House Hunting in Brazil: A 19th-Century House on the Coast

This two-story colonial-style house with a courtyard and views of the ocean and mountains is in the historic colonial center of Paraty, one of the best-preserved towns on Brazil’s Costa Verde.

The 6,997-square-foot, four-bedroom house was built between 1860 and 1870 on a lot once owned by Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Bragança, second in line to the imperial throne of Brazil. But it had been left to crumble by the mid-20th century, said Guilherme Makansi, the co-owner of Anglo Americana Imóveis, which shares the listing with a local partner, imóvel F.

With government permission, the property was restored in the 1970s by a previous owner with attention to the Portuguese colonial period, Mr. Makansi said. River stone and double-cooked ceramic bricks were used to rebuild it, along with traditional colonial tile and hardwoods from the Brazilian Atlantic forest, such as peroba rosa, ipe and angico.

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What $900,000 Buys You in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado

This house is a late work by Harry Weese, an architect who studied at Yale under Alvar Aalto and is known for designing the first group of stations in the Washington Metro system. It is in a part of the city that is a golf hub, with two courses — one public, one private — within a few miles, and the property has a dedicated golf-cart garage.

A shopping center with a Target and an Aldi supermarket is less than five minutes away by car; driving to Chicago takes about an hour and 15 minutes.

Size: 5,801 square feet

Price per square foot: $155

Indoors: A long driveway connects the street to the garage area, with a wood walkway leading to the front entrance. The foyer has high ceilings and teak floors that flow into the main living area. There, a stone fireplace surround stretches to the level of the second floor, with a vaulted ceiling above and a sunken seating area in front. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of the grounds.

The expansive windows continue into an open kitchen with cherry-wood cabinets, stainless-steel appliances and a large island. An adjoining eating area has a view of the Kishwaukee River through large, curved windows and from a balcony big enough to hold a dining table.

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