For anyone driving around an established neighborhood of traditional homes in Madison, WI, one residence on Stevens Street stands out. Or doesn’t stand out.
“It’s an earth-sheltered home. Not necessarily built into the ground, but it’s earth-covered on the roof and on a couple of sides,” explains the listing agent, Jennifer Rios. “It’s in a kind of older neighborhood, with typical midcentury homes and older.”
She says she doesn’t believe any comparable earth-covered home can be found within at least a 10-mile radius.
The style has proved popular with buyers. The home was listed for $329,900, and multiple offers above the listing price came in after just a few days on the market.
“We went into it not really knowing what to expect with the uniqueness of the home,” Rios explains. “I laid out two scenarios: In this market, we’ll either see a very quick turnaround, or we may sit awhile. We tested it and had the best outcome possible.”
The home has two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, plenty of living space, and is surprisingly bright.
“It has full exposure on the back side, so there’s lots of nice natural light,” Rios says. “Because of its earth-covered roof and partially on the sides, it’s very temperate inside. The earth provides a really nice installation and flow of air.”
Which adds up to lower electricity bills—a boon in this part of the country.
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Built in 1980, the home has only had two owners in the past 41 years, and the current owner has lived there for 26 years.
Rios says she feels a perfect buyer would be somebody who is environmentally conscious and appreciates the uniqueness of an earth home, and who also likes being able to walk or bike around the city.
She grew up in the neighborhood and knows this distinctive dwelling quite well.
“I would ride my bike by, and wonder who in the world lives there,” she says.
Now that Rios has been inside and scoped out the place, she says that looks are deceiving.
“When you walk in, you kind of feel like you’re entering a hobbit house,” she says. “It’s really surprising when you open the front door, and it’s an abundance of natural light. It feels like a very traditional home for the most part, except for the curved roof line.”
The curve is an interesting flourish.
“It creates such a nice sort of vaulted ceiling effect, but it’s kind of open and airy, which is what a lot of people like nowadays,” Rios adds.
Inside, the house doesn’t need require any more maintenance than any other 40-year-old home, but Rios points out that the roof does need attention and upkeep—at least after the snow melts.
“You can let it go and become real grassy, or you can mow it,” she says. “The sellers have just gone up there with a weed whacker a couple of times a year.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
When spectacular mountain views are available, nearby homes almost always feature an abundance of windows to soak in the vistas.
However, this property in Montana heads in a completely opposite direction. These four homes have no windows at all—they’re completely underground.
The quartet of below-ground homes sit beneath 10.6 acres in Paradise Valley near Emigrant, MT, just north of Yellowstone National Park.
Listed for $1.75 million, the earth-sheltered homes were originally built as fallout shelters. They offer all the amenities a comfortable residence requires—albeit with curved walls.
Three of out of the four homes measure in at about 2,500 square feet, and each features multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.
The fourth home is significantly larger, with space to accommodate a crowd looking for a real escape.
“The largest one has several bunk rooms, so you could have more than a couple people in there,” says the listing agent, Theresa Lunn.
Each boasts a basement for food and supplies storage and to house all of the mechanicals.
The earth keeps the houses at a constant 50 to 55 degrees and to increase the temperature as needed, each home is equipped with its own HVAC and ventilation system.
“It never feels musty in there with the air circulation system. It always smells fresh,” Lunn says.
Each home comes with its own kitchen, complete with appliances.
“Once you’re in there, they’re comfortable. It’s just like you’re in a house,” Lunn explains. “You walk down hallways, but then you just you walk into a kitchen that you think is your mom’s kitchen—a great area, bedrooms, very nice bathrooms.”
One house features a pool table in the rec room.
The current owner is a builder and is willing to sweeten the deal for a buyer who might be interested in buying the land and the underground homes.
“He would put a very nice [above-ground] home for an extra $240,000 onto the list price. Underneath the house, it would have a discrete entrance into shelter No. 4,” Lunn explains. “The additional house has not been built. He is offering that as a buyer package, if someone wanted that.”
The Paradise Valley area is known for its outdoor activities.
“It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., for sure. It’s a huge mecca for fly fishermen,” Lunn says, adding hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and horseback riding are also popular.
“It’s a great spot for vacation rentals,” Lunn says, adding that renting an underground home could offer a unique allure for guests. “If you bought this, you could live in it and still rent it out. It’s also a great retreat possibility.”
Lunn says buyers have shown an interest in the property—ranging from those in search of a sustainable property, to folks who desire the ultimate in protection.
The agent says she doesn’t like to use the term “preppers,” because of the negative connotations attached to the term. But she acknowledges that that is basically what people do when they store supplies in underground bunkers.
“If our great-grandparents didn’t prep, none of us would be here,” she says. “It’s just being prepared.”
The homes are currently attached to the electrical grid, but could be unhooked if a buyer decided to rely on the property’s own generators for power.
As in the case of most fallout shelters, the entrance to each home is through a thick door. Upon entry, the hallway takes a turn at a right angle.
“Any bunker worth its salt has to have those 90-degree turns, because nuclear and chemical material can’t go around [corners],” Lunn explains. “That’s really one of those tips of the trade for guys that are building bunkers.”
Lunn stresses these are regular homes where people would be very comfortable living or vacationing.
“[They’re not] some kind of freaky, end-of-the-world, zombie-apocalypse whatever. There is a lot of need for this type of property.”
As the cold weather continues in most of the nation, temperatures in Florida are sizzling—and so is the real estate market.
It’s difficult to keep up with the dizzying pace of high-dollar deals in the Sunshine State.
To recap February thus far: Only a month after landing on the market for $140 million, a brand-new Palm Beach mansion wound up selling for $122.7 million. The golf legend Greg Norman’s cool compound on Jupiter Island recently listed for $60 million and has already landed an offer. David Tepper, the owner of the Carolina Panthers, just spent $73 million on a brand-new mansion—also in Palm Beach.
Big money has migrated south, and Florida’s luxury market is off to a blistering start in 2021.
With multimillion-dollar mansions flying off the market, we wanted to take stock of what’s left at the top end of Florida real estate. And we have great news: For deep-pocketed buyers still on the sidelines, there are plenty of other opportunities to shine.
Plenty of mansions with enormous price tags are still out there. Slather on the SPF 50 and have a look at the 10 priciest places currently available in Florida.
Price: $115 million
Known as Gemini, this giant, 62,200-square-foot compound has both Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth frontage, with 360-degree waterfront views. It’s been languishing on the market for years and was once listed for as much as $195 million back in 2016.
Built in 2002, it has plenty of space, with 33 bedrooms, 38 full bathrooms, and 14 half-bathrooms.
The main house has 12 bedrooms, each of the four cottages on the beach has two bedrooms, another house has seven, and of course there are guest and staff houses.
For fun, owners and guests can choose a bottle of wine from the wine cellar, swim in the pool, putt on the PGA standard golf area, hit some balls on the tennis court, play basketball, work out in the gym, or relax in the spa.
To relax, you can stroll through the botanical gardens, which feature 1,500 species of tropical plants.
Price: $110 million
Built in 2003, this 28,399-square-foot Mediterranean mansion on Billionaires’ Row has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, and six half-bathrooms.
It sits on 2 acres right on the ocean, with an ivy-covered, cloistered courtyard surrounding the pool.
Price: $95 million
If you want a bit more space, how about your own island? Known as Pumpkin Key, the 26-acre island sits in Card Sound Bay in the Florida Keys, near Key Largo.
It’s a short helicopter ride away from Miami and a brief boat ride to shore.
Right now, there’s a 5,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home on the island, which was built in 1985. It has loads of entertaining space, with an indoor-outdoor feel and a huge pool.
There are also two caretaker’s cottages and a dock master’s apartment near a 20-slip marina that can handle megayachts.
The island’s landscape is lush, and there’s room for several more homes. Tennis courts in the center of the island also serve as a helipad.
Price: $84 million
Completed this year, this brand-new, 18,000-square-foot mansion also sits on Billionaires’ Row.
Inspired by the homes in Bermuda, this estate offers 175 feet of direct oceanfront. It has seven bedrooms with ocean views, as well as two kitchens and oversize living spaces.
The lower level has a wine cellar with room for 4,000 bottles, a home theater, and a fitness center. Guests can stay in the two-bedroom guesthouse.
Price: $78.5 million
This 7,686-square-foot contemporary home is on a large lot at the tip of Palm Beach, with views of Palm Beach Inlet.
Built in 2020, the seven-bedroom home has water views of both the ocean and the inlet. Outside is an infinity pool along with tons of outdoor patio space.
Inside, luxe amenities include a theater room, a sauna, and gym—all with a modern feel.
Price: $56 million
Never lived in, this 17,190-square-foot home was completed in 2019. The two-story contemporary residence has an abundance of natural light, with doors that open to allow for cross breezes and indoor-outdoor living.
Dubbed Lago-a-Lago, the six-bedroom house is being offered fully furnished. For aquatic aficionados, there are docks in both the front and back yard.
Price: $49.9 million
Sitting on a V-shaped point on Biscayne Bay, this nearly 19,000-square-foot house, finished in 2018, has a dazzling modern design and views of the open ocean and downtown Miami.
Walls of glass showcase the views and allow for a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. The highlight of the outdoor space is a gorgeous glass mosaic pool with an artistic pattern.
The eight bedrooms include a master suite with a grand entrance, a custom dressing room, and a spa bathroom.
The boat dock is 140 feet long and can accommodate a megayacht of up to 200 feet. Meanwhile, the captain of your yacht can enjoy the captain’s quarters.
Price: $49.5 million
Nestled among the stark white modern homes on Palm Beach’s Billionaires’ Row is La Salona—a mansion built in 1928.
With its 19,434 square feet of living space on almost an acre, this Mediterranean beauty has belonged to the same owner for three decades.
The house boasts 16 bedrooms and includes a three-bedroom apartment on the first floor and another three-bedroom apartment on the second floor.
Price: $48.5 million
Surrounded by 674 species of trees and plants, this 13,465-square-foot estate measures 2.38 acres.
Built in 2007, the two-story home has 245 feet of waterfront and direct access to Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. And of course, the private dock can handle a large yacht.
Inside, the 12 bedrooms and nine full bathrooms each have unique design features. The compound also has its own chapel, wine cellar, and home theater.
Price: $46.75 million
The ocean is the backyard at this 17,370-square-foot Mediterranean estate. Built in 1991, the seven-bedroom home offers a master bedroom on the main floor and plenty of living space.
The interior is ornate, with plenty of Old World charm, combined with modern conveniences.
It’s located in the exclusive Seminole Landing neighborhood, and could potentially be subdivided to allow for the development of a family compound or additional structures.
The potential of a home in Huntington Beach, CA, was readily apparent to buyers.
And if they blinked, it was easy to miss the fact that this four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home was actually on the market at all.
One huge reason behind the speedy sale? The place was renovated by Jasmine Roth on Season 2 of her popular HGTV series “Hidden Potential.”
In less than a week, the home, which was purchased for $825,000 in 2017, had an accepted, contingent offer above the asking price of $1.1 million. Thanks, Jasmine!
Of course, it helps that the 2,223-square-foot residence is located in a great neighborhood. It’s within walking distance of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and a 2-mile drive (or skateboard ride) to the Pacific Ocean and legendary Huntington Beach itself, as well as to shopping, restaurants, a golf course, and highly rated schools.
Combined with the location, Roth’s riveting redo made this home a hot commodity. Built in 1969, the home had undergone some renovation over the years, but nothing nearly as dramatic as Roth’s effort a couple of years ago on a $90,000 budget.
“I wanted to update the entire home to represent this fun, vibrant family’s love of the beach. They are a quintessential California couple, raising their family in a beach town, teaching their children a love of the ocean and community,” Roth said on her website.
So the HGTV star took what was previously drab and beige and converted it into a welcoming abode with a “super beachy” vibe, with splashes of aqua, coral, and gleaming white, both inside and out.
As Roth put it on her blog, “The front of their home needed to be opened up to showcase the welcoming, friendly nature of this family. Inside, the floor plan needed rethinking. By removing one of two redundant family rooms, and redesigning each space in the home with a designated purpose in mind, I helped breathe new life into each individual space.”
The home’s biggest highlight may be the bright and open gourmet kitchen, which features stainless-steel Viking appliances and quartz countertops, with a stylish tile backsplash. There’s also a large dining island with a dedicated beverage refrigerator.
Roth also added not one, but two work spaces right next to the kitchen—an addition that now makes perfect sense for a work-from-home lifestyle.
One workspace is for adults, the other is for kids, with the intention that a family can get work done “while in the good company the kitchen always provides.”
Other interesting “hidden” features include a secret bookshelf door under the stairs that leads to a children’s play fort, and a clever Biersafe outside—an in-ground cooler that costs nothing to operate, since it uses the ground’s thermodynamics to keep beverages chilled, and can be hidden underneath a flower pot.
The house has two bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs, two full en suite bedrooms downstairs, and a powder room for guests. This can put much desired distance between the adults and the kids. When the episode aired in 2019, the owners had three of their four children, Grandma, and two dogs living with them.
With new landscaping, cement, fences, paint, and other finishes both in the front and in the back, the home’s renovation was complete, ready to be snatched up in no time after it went on the market.
When the work was done, Roth said she felt the home had a “purposeful update that it deserves.” It looks as if buyers agree.
It isn’t common for a buyer to renovate a home and embrace a truly retro vibe, but that’s exactly what the owners of one midcentury modern residence in Austin, TX, did.
The 7,000-square-foot Atomic Age classic, built in 1963 on Balcones Drive, is now on the market for $3.95 million. Its color palette is right out of the TV series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“The owners bought it in 2017. The home had been updated in the 1970s and ’80s, and a lot of the original things were torn out, so the owners actually went by the original pencil blueprints and restored it,” explains the listing agent, Rebecca Wolfe Spratlin.
The architect Charles Granger of the popular Austin firm Fehr & Granger originally designed the space for Dr. Byron Smith and his wife, Irene, in 1963.
Granger is known for his designs of a number of buildings in the Austin area, including the iconic blue airport control tower for Austin’s former airport. The tower still stands as part of a new residential and commercial development on the old airport land.
Irene Smith was a real estate agent in Austin for over 50 years, Wolfe Spratlin says, and came by to a broker’s open house at the property recently.
“She and her husband are still living in the area,” she adds, “so she was able to come in and walk through the entire house. It was so fun to talk to her about her memories.”
The current owners are the fifth family to call the place home, and they’ve dubbed it Sky Crest. The name is an homage to the distinctive airport control designed by Granger, as well as to the color scheme of the house.
The house, true to midcentury form, has clean lines and a wealth of windows
“The whole house in the front is glass, just walls of glass,” Wolfe Spratlin explains. “It’s got natural light just pouring in.”
A fence and gate surround the house. The true glory of the home is only visible once you’re inside the gate.
“You punch in the code, and the gate opens, and you see this amazing light-blue kind of light turquoise house. It’s very long and expansive,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
Up the front steps, you enter the house on the second level.
“The ceilings are vaulted, and there’s a wooden screen that was recreated according to the original blueprints,” the agent adds.
That wood screen, most of the light fixtures, and other furnishings were custom-created for the house’s wide-open floor plan.
“There’s a Sputnik light fixture right as you come in. Then, on the staircase, they had a custom-made light that’s very retro and appropriate for the setting,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
In keeping with the vibe, the kitchen is straight out of the early 1960s. However, all the appliances are new and from Big Chill, with retro styling.
The laminate countertops had to be imported from Italy to match the color, because the owners couldn’t find the right shade of vibrant turquoise in the United States, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
The retro vibes continue in the pink kitchenette in the master bedroom. The master bedroom is on the main floor and has another interesting feature—a night bathroom.
Because the master bedroom is so big, and the master bathroom is at the very opposite end of the bedroom, a small powder room was located close to the bed, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
What’s more, for those who have to get up in the middle of the night, this little room has a heated floor and heated toilet seat.
There’s another bedroom on the main level, and three more bedrooms on the lower level. The bottom level features a game room and a home theater.
For the utmost in convenience, a snack bar in the hallway right outside the theater is served by a dumbwaiter that comes down from the main kitchen.
Outside, by the pool, the outdoor kitchen is covered by turquoise sails, perfect for enjoying and entertaining.
“The perfect buyer to me is somebody who just really gets it—and not only gets it, but loves it,” Wolfe Spratlin says. “So you need to have somebody that gets it, loves it, and understands the value of its design.”
“It’s one of the only homes in Buzzards Bay that’s floating and not actually considered a houseboat. It’s considered a floating home, because it does not have a motor inside. For it to be moved, it has to be pulled by a barge or put onto a larger structure,” explains listing agent Jan MacGregor.
Listed for $275,000, the 1,800-square-foot home in Fairhaven, MA, is docked on Fort Street in the Fairhaven Shipyard. However, the location will have to change.
“The person who lives in it currently works at the shipyard, so he was able to keep it there. But a future buyer will have to move it. It’s not going to be able to stay at the shipyard,” MacGregor says.
And the possibilities of where to take this floating home are almost endless.
There are “marinas that accommodate large vessels like this down in Newport, and then also in Cape Cod, and in Boston,” MacGregor says. “You can go anywhere because you can move the vessel anywhere you choose. It really just gives you the opportunity to explore as much as you want. You could go all the way down the Eastern Seaboard with it if you really felt like it.”
Known now as Tapestry, the three-bedroom and two-bathroom house once served as the Governor Herrick, a dredge for the Cape Cod Canal.
In 1912, the Governor Herrick and its twin, the Governor Warfield, helped build the artificial waterway that joins Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay by removing 100,000 cubic yards of earth and silt each month.
The waterway became operational on July 29, 1914—a month prior to the opening of the Panama Canal.
After clearing the way in Cape Cod, the Herrick continued to work for many more years along the Eastern Seaboard.
In the mid-1990s, an enterprising seaman saw the formerly busy vessel beached along the shoreline and turned it into a home. The Tapestry’s current owner has lived aboard the vessel for about 15 years.
The vessel measures 76 feet long and 27 feet wide, and the shingled exterior hides a welcoming residence.
“It’s definitely surprising. Nothing really stands out about [the exterior], and then when you get inside everything feels so warm and cozy,” MacGregor explains. “It doesn’t feel cramped at all. You feel like you’re in an actual house. It’s really cool being on the water, and it’s super spacious.”
Each floor has a large bedroom with bathroom. The second floor also has a loft area and laundry room. The main level has the kitchen, dining area, and living space.
The kitchen has space for dining as well as a small refrigerator and freezer disguised as cabinets. A full refrigerator sits in the pantry.
The interiors of the Tapestry are more accommodating now than when it was a dredge.
“There are little holes in the wooden walls downstairs because there used to be bunk beds screwed into the walls when there were workers staying on the barge because they were working on Cape Cod Canal,” MacGregor says.
For electricity, the house has to plug in to marina shore power, and all of the other mechanicals are located below the living space.
“It’s basically like a basement in the barge, but that’s where everything is kept so you can live on it year-round,” MacGregor explains.
There are huge heating fuel and water tanks as well as a holding tank for waste. All need regular maintenance as does the steel structure of the barge.
“The perfect buyer for this house is somebody who is adventurous and wants to live simply and not be in the hustle and bustle of the city,” MacGregor says. “They just want to be out of the way and kind of have their quiet and their peace in their space with a nice view.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
An estate on a coveted piece of lakefront property now holds the title of most expensive home in Wisconsin.
Recently listed for $20.75 million, the mansion on Snake Road in Lake Geneva, WI, is ideal for a wealthy Windy City resident in search of an escape.
Built in 1906, the home, known as Villa Hortensia, measures 12,396 square feet and sits on 20.5 acres of lakefront property about two hours from downtown Chicago.
“From the beginning, [Lake Geneva] has been a retreat for the wealthy. That’s why a house like this gets built,” says the listing agent, David Curry. “The combination of a huge property, with highly pedigreed design, in relatively nice condition, is a rare combination on the lake.”
In Curry’s opinion, the location of the property is hard to top.
“What makes the property exciting—it’s not just a cool house with a classic design,” he adds, noting that it’s on what he describes as “one of the top 10 pieces of dirt on the lake.”
Built for a Chicago meatpacking tycoon, Edwin Swift, and named for his wife, Hortense, the estate has serious architectural credentials. The architect Howard Van Doren Shaw and the landscape architect Jens Jensen worked together to create the timeless residence, which is flanked by a number of other prestige properties.
“It’s on Snake Road, which is where the majority of our large legacy estates are located,” Curry explains.
Billionaires own the homes on either side, but this villa creates an indelible impression.
“When you’re driving up to it, you see it for quite a distance before you arrive at it. It’s just immense,” he adds.
The current owners have held onto the home for about 20 years and are year-round residents. Curry told us that full-time residents are a rarity on this exclusive stretch of lakefront homes.
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Despite its size, Curry thinks the prestige property may be better suited to an owner who uses it as a getaway.
“It’s more than likely the ultimate and best use of this property is similar to the other ones on the lake, which are almost entirely vacation homes,” he says.
The house has 18 rooms, including six bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, plenty of living space, and a finished basement.
It also boasts great bones.
“Old homes like this with an architectural pedigree, the layouts weren’t complicated. They weren’t busy, like they would be today,” Curry says. “The simplicity of it really stands out. It’s just clean. It’s simple. The rooms are all oriented to face the water.”
He also points out that the house doesn’t seem overwhelming or stuffy.
“I think what struck me the first time I visited is how approachable it was,” he says. “It isn’t some big, weird museum, where you rattle around in it. It’s a really smart, intuitive design.”
In addition to the main house, there are a three-bedroom guesthouse, a boathouse, and two storage buildings.
The property also offers 502 feet of lakefront frontage with a gentle slope, a rarity on this lake.
“From the entrance on Snake Road, all the way down to the main house, it’s largely level the whole way through,” Curry explains. “One of the unique parts about the property is that it doesn’t just wind down a big, steep, unusable wooded hillside, and then dump you out on the lake. The whole drive in is reasonably level and usable property.”
For entertainment, there is a pool and a clay tennis court. Curry says the land would be perfect for soccer or any other kind of outdoor activity. There are also two piers on the lake for boats.
The current owners have updated the roof and mechanicals, so Curry says that all the new owners have to do is come in and make it their own.
“This home has original millwork, original doors, original windows, and original detailed latticework. It’s got tons of original features, but I do think a new buyer will probably upgrade the kitchen, and probably the baths, repaint, and swap some fixtures here and there,” he says. “It does not need some form of massive renovation. It needs appropriate cosmetic updating.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
For just a few years in the late 1920s, the children of Malabar, FL, attended class in their schoolhouse on Marie Street.
Then the Great Depression forced the school to close. Over the decades, the former schoolhouse has served as apartments, a woodworking shop, a mill, and most recently, a wedding venue.
Now the 8,000-square-foot building, zoned both residential and commercial, is on the market for $1.1 million.
“We fell in love with the building, and we thought we could live here,” says the listing agent and current owner, Joanne Murdoch. She and her husband, Tom, bought the property in 2012 and had big plans to renovate it and make it their home.
However, the demand for quirky event venues intervened.
“Everybody was coming out with these barn venues, and we thought this building would make a great wedding venue. So that’s the direction we went into for a number of years,” Murdoch says.
It took a few years to renovate the property to make it ready for happy couples. The schoolhouse on the Sunshine State’s Atlantic Coast was in sore need of updated infrastructure.
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“It was industrial-looking when we got it,” Murdoch explains. “We had to redo all the electrical, the plumbing, the heating, the septic, all the safety stuff throughout, the landscaping, the lighting. It was a complete restoration.”
Rechristened as the Banyan Estate, thanks to the banyan tree on the grounds, the venue has held weddings and other events for the past few years.
The main level has a large pavilion room and a smaller hall—each with new windows and vintage chandeliers. There are also several bathrooms throughout the venue space.
Upstairs, the loft area provides a more intimate setting for smaller gatherings. This was the space where the Murdochs initially planned to live.
It has a full bathroom and plenty of room to configure and carve out bedrooms and other living spaces.
Somebody coming in to use the building as a residence will have to tweak it a bit, Murdoch says. But with the home’s major systems in place, the work that’s left will require an eye for design.
Right now, the only kitchen in the space is designed for commercial prep, so anyone wanting to live in the building full-time will want to add a cooking space.
“We always saw the upstairs part being the loft, and the other two spaces could be any kind of business you wanted,” Murdoch says.
Before deciding to turn the property into a wedding venue, she and her husband imagined a business making cheese in part of the space and setting up a dance studio in the rest.
The building sits on almost 2.5 acres and abuts 350 acres of environmentally preserved land that will never be developed.
Finding a property with this kind of zoning, great location, and fascinating backstory is a big win.
Murdoch says she imagines the perfect buyer as “somebody who loves historic buildings, who can appreciate a beautiful and large piece of property.”
The property is co-listed with JJ Tippins at Pastermack Real Estate.
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
A sweet lake house on the market for $12.5 million is the most expensive home in all of Michigan.
The 16,000-square-foot house is in Charlevoix, MI—a small town in the upper reaches of the state that markets itself as “Charlevoix the Beautiful.”
Built in 2009, the grand mansion on Lake Charlevoix features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms.
The effort behind the home’s construction was no small feat.
“It took about five years to build, and the decor has been imported from all over the world,” says the listing agent, Rik Lobenherz, praising the craftsmanship and finishes in the residence.
The ornate wooden bar in the family room was imported from Malaysia in sections, and reassembled. Attention to detail is obvious in the home’s grand staircase, which spirals its way between floors, with lots of windows around it.
Despite its enormous size, the house doesn’t feel unpleasantly large.
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“Each of the rooms are set up so they’re very comfortable,” Lobenherz says. “You don’t feel like you’re in a mansion as such. The rooms are very cozy, and there are eight fireplaces, so it’s just a very comfortable, homey feeling.”
Most living spaces and each bedroom offer water views, with numerous windows in place to take advantage of the waterfront setting.
The kitchen is spacious, with a large island and high-end appliances.
“The owner loves to cook, so it even has its own pizza oven. There’s nothing that’s missing,” Lobenherz says.
For entertaining, there’s a game room, a bar area, a theater room, and a large wine cellar. Adjusting everything from the heat to the lighting in the home is easy.
“It’s a smart house, so everything can be controlled remotely,” Lobenherz explains.
Beyond the smart home features, the agent says the home will only require a minimum of effort to bring it up to date.
The current owners have lived in the house full-time, but they are looking to downsize. The furnishings are not included in the list price, but could be negotiated into a deal.
The house sits behind gates on 3 acres of land, with 195 feet of waterfront on Lake Charlevoix. The orientation of the house on the lot provides views looking down the length of the lake.
“It’s probably one of the better locations on Lake Charlevoix, which is a very coveted lake that is connected to the Great Lakes. You can go anywhere in the world on your boat from there,” Lobenherz says.
To handle an owner’s vessel, there’s a 400-foot pier.
There isn’t a pool, but Lobenherz notes that the entire lake is there to swim in. A stream with waterfalls runs along the side of the house.
The house’s lower level has several walkouts to the lake, with plenty of indoor-outdoor living options. A huge stone fireplace is the perfect place to spend an outdoor evening.
Guests have a large garage, with a spacious apartment above it.
“It’s beautiful. It would be the only bedroom area that doesn’t face the water, since it’s above a four-car garage, but it has its own kitchen and its own living room. I could live there,” Lobenherz jokes.
As for who is the perfect buyer for this house?
“If they’re looking for the nicest house on the lake, this is the one they should be looking at,” the agent says.
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
A megamansion that Dollar General built possesses everything a family would need for a retreat.
Owned by Cal Turner, Jr., the former CEO and chairman of Dollar General, the home on Evans Ridge Road in Parker, CO, is on the market for $12.9 million.
“It is a very unique property, and certainly one of the larger homes in the country,” says the listing agent, Liza Hogan.
The family built the 45,000-square-foot house in 2001 as a retreat, and it’s in pristine condition two decades later.
“It has never been used as a primary home, so it’s in beautiful condition,” added Hogan.
The mansion occupies 35 acres of land about 45 minutes from Denver. An adjacent 35-acre parcel is also up for sale, offering the potential for 70 acres of fenced-in privacy.
“The location is fantastic. You have beautiful, panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains,” Hogan says.
It’s approached by a long driveway that dramatically circles up to the house.
“When you come through the main gate, you can’t see anything of the property,” she adds.
Conceived as an ideal spot for a family getaway or corporate retreat, the massive house was built with fun and entertainment in mind.
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“It’s got a complete entertainment wing, with everything from a heated pool that looks like it was designed for a Roman emperor, Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna room,” Hogan explains. “There’s also a home theater, a dance floor with a stage, a bowling alley, a billiard table, a pingpong table, arcade room, and a home gym. Outside, there are ponds that are stocked with fish.”
Guests who are exhausted after all the activities on tap will have plenty of places to sleep and recharge.
The main house offers six bedrooms, including a master suite as well as a one-bedroom apartment with a separate entrance. Two other apartments are on the property.
“You can go outside to get there, but they do connect to the main house. One is a two-bedroom apartment, and the other one is a three-bedroom apartment. That adds five more bedrooms,” Hogan says.
A large caretaker’s residence has two bedrooms. With this much space, there’s room for all guests to spread out and enjoy themselves.
Hogan tells us that the mansion’s layout is ideal for long-term guests.
“If you have guests that are staying for an extended period of time, whether it’s friends, family members, or business associates, they can have their own quarters,” she says.
Each apartment has its own kitchen, and the main house has a large main kitchen with a catering kitchen nearby. There are also two large dining areas, one more formal than the other.
Owners and guests will have plenty of places to park, thanks to a 29-car garage with space enough for an RV.
The house is being sold fully furnished, with the exception of a few personal items.
“We have had a complete inventory of all the furnishings done by a professional. It’s approximately 60 pages long, with every item, and photos,” Hogan adds.
The sale also includes all of the artwork and all the bottles in the extensive wine cellar.
The home has been on the market for a couple of years and was once listed for more than $20 million.
Hogan says the pool of possible buyers who want this size of house at this kind of price tag in the Denver area is limited.
“This is toward the upper end in Denver,” she says, adding that the current price reflects what the market can bear, rather than its true value.
“The seller probably has at least twice the current asking price into the property. You have to be realistic, and a property has to reflect the market.”
The Turner family isn’t using the house as much as they used to, so it’s time to sell.
“Lives changed, and people go in different directions. Kids grow up, and all the things that we see happen with these large, legacy homes,” Hogan says. “They still use the property, but not the way that they did for many years. It’s just time to move on.”
Although the house is huge, Hogan says it still feels warm and welcoming.
“There are many intimate areas within the house,” she says. “Every time I show it, people remark on the fact that they’re able to find spaces where they don’t feel like they’re overwhelmed with the size, and they can have privacy.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.