Tag Archives: los angeles

Goldie & Kurt list $14+mil Balinese style home in Malibu

21 Sep

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are trying to sell their Balinese 4BR/4.5BA property in Malibu for $14,479,000, again. What an amazing piece of property. I posted some of my fav links to photos below.

Click here to see a an online slideshow from the REALTOR that takes a few sec. to load
Click here to view a slideshow on another site where you can click through the pics. Enjoy

“Unexpected elegance on the dunes of Broad Beach. Open living spaces beautifully appointed w/ media room, designer kitchen and 3 spacious suites. Guest house w/ guest rm, living area + full bath.Expansive exterior entertainment areas w/fp, bbq & grass yard
Simply Beachfront Perfection!

A rare & extraordinary offering that transcends time, this beautiful and exotic residence was extensively redesigned & renovated in 2005. Enter through the gated courtyard, to calming fountains & lush landscaping. The open living spaces overlook an expansive oceanfront patio w/an intimate covered outdoor living room/ fireplace, a grass covered fenced yard, and a path across the sandy dunes. A luxurious oceanfront master bedroom suite has awe-inspiring views, Chinese Onyx spa-inspired bath area, and large closet. The main residence also feat. a substantial ocean view designer kitchen, 2 large add’l guest suites, Creston media room, & fab office. A detached GH that features a meditation/guest room, exercise room, completes this exceptional property.”

Source: www.camoves.com www.dreamhomesofmalibu.com
Photo Source: Realtor.com
0 Broad Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Kristan Cunningham’s dreams turn on a dime in L.A. – latimes.com

18 Sep

Forever Changing Treasures: Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic Couture Re-Blog

12 Sep

Seems to me that the wonderful thing about treasures are their values and beauty are forever changing.

I gave myself the treat to wander through my Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture™ store in New York, and just enjoy. Vintage pieces I had bought in the past. Some I clearly remembered. Some revealed details that had past me by previously.


While the initial search for treasures for my stores and my home is a sacred adventure, I never bore of the new qualities that are forever evolving. I don’t segregate this thought to just material treasures, but also people treasures and lesson treasures. As we spend more time discovering the many layers, there is always a new beauty to experience, seemingly never ending.


A beautiful Florentine table and purple porcelain flowers, visual symphony to my eyes.


The craft of balance and acceptance is a quality I am always striving for. Sometimes it is my aesthetic ability that teaches me how the unexpected opposites, balance each other, and bring out the best.


There are moments in our lives where accents of decadence finds a home. I like to welcome these in heirloom qualities, so they can be shared for many generations to come. Quality and classic needs to be part of a decadent recipe in my book.


When searching for treasures, often it is the patina that finds my attention. The most magnificent piece is without magic for me if the patina isn’t alive with texture.


These beauties were on a wallpaper trunk and porcelain umbrella stand in my store. Both are so beautiful and rare to the eye. Sometimes I question how I part with such treasures. For me discovering and acknowledging value and beauty, is often enough. Letting unique qualities pass thru my hands onto others is often enough for however long they last in my world.

And that is why it is always such a treat for me to go to a store, to experience one more time, the treasure I found, and perhaps discover another layer I didn’t see before.


See these and other treasures at any of our Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores.

Energy-efficient homes seem to sell faster, fetch higher prices – latimes.com

7 Sep

Some research projects in California, Oregon and Washington offer hints that energy efficiency and sustainability certifications for homes may result in easier sales and higher prices.

Window film is applied to a dining room window in Los Angeles. The film will cut down on the heat from outside so less energy is needed to cool the house. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Home energy efficiency and sustainability have been major policy priorities for the Obama administration, but lurking in the background are two consistent questions: Beyond the documentable savings on utility bills, do such steps add to the resale value of a home? And do they make it easier or faster to sell your property?

Housing groups and housing officials say that definitive statistical data covering multiple regions of the country are scarce. But some localized research projects in Oregon, Washington and California offer promising hints.

In a study covering existing and new houses sold from May 2010 through April of this year, the Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit group based in Portland, Ore., found that newly constructed homes with third-party certifications for sustainability and energy efficiency sold for 8% more on average than noncertified homes in the six-county Portland metropolitan area. Existing houses with certifications sold for 30% more.

The raw sales data in the study were provided by the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service. “Certified” houses were defined as those carrying Energy Star or LEED for Homes designations or Earth Advantage home certifications. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) The latest study was the fourth in an annual series conducted by Earth Advantage, each of which has shown clear price premiums for certified houses.

But officials caution that using average sales prices pulled from MLS data without trying to measure “comparable” homes against one another directly may not be conclusive. For instance, newly constructed certified houses may be more expensive to start, and existing certified homes may be larger and more likely to be in higher-cost neighborhoods where homeowner adoption rates for energy-efficiency measures are higher.

Nonetheless, said Dakota Gale, Earth Advantage’s manager of sustainable finance, looking back at four years of studies, “we can still see a consistent trend that third-party certification continues to result in a higher sales price, even during the past year when home sales were down.”

A study conducted two years ago by the institute in Seattle and Portland identified what may be another plus: Homes marketed with energy-efficiency certifications appear to sell faster on average than those without. The study tried to come up with rough comparability in appraisal terms between certified and noncertified properties, and it found that in Portland, certified homes spent 18 days less time on the market after listing than noncertified counterparts. In both Portland and Seattle, researchers documented price premiums — 9.6% in Seattle, 4.2% in Portland — in a statistical analysis with a 95% confidence level.

A recent study on houses in San Diego and Sacramento published by the National Bureau of Economic Research took a different tack: When you install photovoltaic solar panels on your roof, how much do you get back in market resale terms, beyond monthly energy savings?

Researchers examined a sample of home sales in the $500,000 range in both metropolitan areas between 2003 and 2010 and found that, on average, solar panel installations cost owners $35,967. But with federal and state subsidies, the net average cost came down to $20,892. This net expenditure, in turn, yielded an increase in appraised value by $20,194 — a 97% rate of recovery on the investment.

Though less than 100%, the rate is much higher than most home improvements in the most recent “Cost vs. Value” study conducted by Remodeling magazine — well above major kitchen and bathroom renovations.

Kevin Morrow, senior program manager for green building at the National Assn. of Home Builders, says that although many newly constructed homes come with energy and sustainability certifications, banks don’t necessarily recognize their value when it comes to providing mortgage money.

For example, bank underwriters often do not include reduced monthly utility costs in the household income/household expense ratios that affect the maximum mortgage amounts available to buyers.

“The case needs to be made” to lenders, he said, “that, hey, these houses will cost less to operate, so they should be worth more.”

Morrow added that appraisers are part of the issue as well if they don’t have the training to recognize and credit extra value to houses that have money-saving solar installations, geothermal heating and cooling, Energy Star appliances, water conservation features and other green improvements.

The Appraisal Institute, the largest group representing that industry, says it has sponsored “green” appraisal courses for 2,300 appraisers during the last two years. It says it strongly supports efforts to better incorporate energy and environmental factors into mortgage underwriting and home valuations, including a possible congressional mandate requiring it.


Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.

Energy-efficient homes seem to sell faster, fetch higher prices – latimes.com

Beetle devours San Diego County oaks — rest of state may be next

5 Sep


A hungry pest called the goldspotted oak borer is devouring enormous numbers of oak trees in San Diego County, and its devastation could spread to trees throughout California, according to researchers at UC Riverside.
More than 80,000 oak trees in the county have been killed in the past decade. Unless the march of the half-inch-long beetle is stopped, it could threaten 10 million acres of red oak woodlands in the state, researchers said.
“This may be the biggest oak mortality event since the Pleistocene (12,000 years ago),” UC Riverside natural resource specialist Tom Scott said in a report issued this week.
The goldspotted oak borer is native to Arizona but may have immigrated to California in a load of infested firewood, Scott said. Dead trees have been found from the backcountry communities of Descanso and Guatay to the seaside neighborhood of La Jolla.
So many trees have died in the Burnt Rancheria campground in the Cleveland National Forest that the U.S. Forest Service has erected shade structures for campers in lieu of what was once a canopy of coast live oaks.
The live oaks, black oaks and canyon live oaks seem defenseless against the goldspotted oak borer, and the beetle has no natural enemies to keep it in check.
The females lay eggs in the trees and the larvae burrow into the interior. Adults bore through the bark. The trees turn brown and die.
The UC Riverside researchers, the UC Cooperative Extension, UC Agricultural and Natural Resources, the Forest Service and other agencies are working with woodcutters, arborists and consumers to discourage the transportation of infected wood from San Diego County to other locations.
Firewood production is one of the least regulated industries in California, said the researchers, who have received $635,000 of a $1.5-million federal grant to study the sudden oak death.
— Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: A goldspotted oak borer. Credit: UC Riverside

Beetle devours San Diego County oaks — rest of state may be next

Bel-Air estate was a nature sanctuary – amid mansions

4 Sep

Once upon a time, nature conservation was a serious commitment for the rich and famous.

Gene Stratton-Porter fashioned the gardens of her 1920s Bel-Air estate as a nature sanctuary. (Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens)

Imagine it is Labor Day 1924. You’ve just finished dinner on the porch, the kids are playing next door and the radio just tuned in: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Today’s story is about bestselling author Gene Stratton-Porter. At this very moment she’s building a castle in Bel-Air and making her garden a bird and wildflower sanctuary.”

Today it’s hard to imagine native bird Paris Hilton tending buttercups at her family’s Bel-Air manse, but a century ago, before the Westside development was paved and clipped, nature conservation was a serious commitment for the rich and famous.

Geneva Grace Stratton was born in 1863 in rural Indiana. She never finished high school, and she married pharmacist Charles D. Porter. Needing extra money, she turned to writing fiction and nonfiction that combined nature essay traditions with 19th century storytelling.

Stratton-Porter published more than two dozen books that were romantic tales set in the Indiana countryside. Her goal, she explained, was to use real-life studies of flowers and trees to describe settings for “moral men and women who are spending their time and strength in an effort to make the world a better place for themselves and their children.”

By 1920 the author’s literary world of sun-filled houses in flower-filled gardens had made her rich, with an estimated 45 million readers. When poor health slowed her output, she moved to Los Angeles.

Here, Stratton-Porter formed a movie production company for her books. She purchased a lot in Bel-Air, launched in the early 1920s by oil man Alphonzo E. Bell. He based it on East Coast enclaves developed as country retreats for New Yorkers and Philadelphians fleeing dirty cities. Lots from 1 acre to 10, on former rancho lands, left room for bridal paths and nature trails running through shady ravines. By present-day standards, the villas and manors were small, a mere 7,000 to 10,000 square feet.

At 395 Madrona Lane, Stratton-Porter built a fairy-tale pile with five bedrooms, four baths and fireplaces faced with Indiana stone. The house was blandly imposing. The garden, planted with California flowers and shrubs for birds and wildlife, distinguished the 3-acre estate.

The citified world that emerged in Stratton-Porter’s childhood brought trauma to American communities. A farming nation watched as small towns with white steeple churches and dry goods stores gave way to industrial centers connected by inefficient railroads. Montana miners gashed open mountains for copper reserves, and Minnesota landowners leveled forests for timber and ore. Steel plants in Pittsburgh and Detroit gushed sludge into rivers, and where wildflowers once fed cattle were Indiana’s Wabash Cannonball Trail and the Southern Pacific’s Road of a Thousand Wonders.

At the turn of the century women, keepers of home and church, organized to save America the Beautiful from extinction. They founded garden clubs and preservation societies, pushed town councils to restore city parks and lobbied congressmen to save coastal redwoods. For visibility, they exploited the era’s new media by bringing photographs of local garden successes to print.

Stratton-Porter was one of these conscientious women. As author, photographer and magazine essayist, she contributed to national betterment. She wrote “What I Have Done With Birds,” “Birds of the Bible” and “Moths of Limberlost,” about her Indiana cabin where she planted a native garden. Her autobiographical novel, “A Girl of the Limberlost,” was a best seller, adapted to film four times.

In December 1924, just weeks before her Bel-Air house was finished, Stratton-Porter died when a streetcar crushed her chauffeured Lincoln sedan as it crossed 3rd Street at Serrano Avenue. She was 61.

The author’s only child, Jeannette Porter Meehan, lived in her mother’s house until 1935. Since then it’s changed hands several times and is now home for Cynthia Beck, Gordon Getty’s former mistress. The place survives with the usual luxury additions, but the nature sanctuary, of course, is lost to a swimming pool and pavilion.

Stratton-Porter’s faith in nature conservation to heal her America crippled by greed and pollution may seem naive in our America. But she and her crusading friends knew that backyard activism was something men and women could do while waiting for a government that did care about the next generation.


Lost L.A.: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Alice Millard House could be leaving town-Video

4 Sep

Known as La Miniatura, the design is married to its site. A breakup would be tragic.

To the grim list of how L.A. houses might be “lost,” add a new calamity: architectural outsourcing.

Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Alice Millard House, known as La Miniatura, is for sale, now on Labor Day markdown in Pasadena from $7,733,000 to $4,995,000. This paper reported last week that broker Crosby Doe has “an international art dealer with Japanese art-collector clients” looking to move the house to a place ominously identified as “elsewhere.” Presumably this elsewhere is nowhere in Los Angeles County.

The immediate question is: Could this sale happen? Yes. Money, unchecked, trumps preservation.

The relevant question when cash wins all is: Are Mr. and Mrs. Art Collector getting a deal? Some background to consider before deciding:

Millard was an elegant, blue-haired, arts and crafts book dealer from outside Chicago, where she and her husband lived in a cozy board-and-batten house designed for them by Wright. Because of the success of their early collaboration, the couple hired the architect again to build in an undeveloped subdivision just west of Greene & Greene’s Gamble House.

Wright advised Millard to purchase a hillside parcel shaded by eucalyptus. At the time, architects and landscape designers worked to integrate garden and house. Wright set La Miniatura into its ridge and terraced down to a ravine below the living and dining rooms. He organically bonded the house to its site by mixing sand from the hill into the construction concrete, creating a permanent structural flaw undermining the house’s long-term stability. The outcome, however, was a bold interpretation of SoCal’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle mantra.

After rocketing past the Millards’ $10,000 budget, Wright finished La Miniatura in 1923. It was an architectural masterwork of patterned concrete blocks laid up to form a pre-Columbian temple in miniature. At a time when much of white Pasadena distained its Mexican servants, the house was a bold homage to California’s past.

Even though she added a small studio designed by Wright’s son Lloyd, by 1928 Millard had run out of space. She consulted her financial advisor about further improvements and shared his response with Wright. “He views ‘La Miniatura’ as a very bad investment. First: because he considers it to be very badly built of very poor material. Second: because he considers that its plan is not adapted to the home life of an average family. Third: The unfortunate notoriety of the leaking roof would greatly prejudice any possible buyer.”

This assessment holds true today. The concrete is crumbling; the house is cramped, with no room for the essential spa, wine cellar, theater, gym, ocean-scale fish tank and wood-burning pizza oven; the infamous roof continues to defy technology.

A present-day expense would be the PR spin for a radical dislocation of the house. To assess potential publicity costs, the collectors might recall the public firestorm that ensued when a couple from Minnesota leveled architect Richard Neutra’s Samuel Maslon House in Rancho Mirage, thinking us local yokels wouldn’t notice it was gone. Answering annoying questions could be pricey. A prodding critic might question how safe La Miniatura would be in a foreign country, say Japan? After all, Wright’s 1916 Tokyo masterpiece, the Mayan revival Imperial Hotel, was razed to clear its land for redevelopment. And then there’s a potential tangle with the L.A. Conservancy and its booster Diane Keaton, former owner of a Lloyd Wright house.

La Miniatura is a picturesque, poetic, leaky hunk of sandy concrete embedded in California history. The house cannot be moved without trashing its symbolic meaning and design complexity, the very qualities that justify its $5-million price as a collectible work of art. Positives for would-be buyers are profit from the sale of the vacant lot after the house is shipped and any discount the seller might offer to compensate for the scorn heaped on culture vultures. A negative is the pricey replacement lot in Elsewhere.

Considering its impracticality and the inevitable PR turmoil, buying Millard’s temple is a risky, impractical investment for house-moving collectors. They are advised to consult their financial planner before proceeding.

There is no charge for this appraisal.

Watters’ column on Southern California social history as told through lost homes and gardens appears on the first Saturday of every month. Past columns: latimes.com/lostla. Comments: home@latimes.com.

Lost L.A.: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Alice Millard House could be leaving town