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Jan 12

New York City Penthouses – Life at the Top

by Mary Teresa Fowler
New York City Penthouses

When developer Ian Schrager, co-creator of boutique hotels, and his partners asked the renowned architectural firm, Herzog & de Meuron, to design 40 Bond Street in New York City, they were choosing a top team. This prestigious firm had designed the Tate Modern Museum in London, the main stadium for the Olympic Games in Beijing, as well as other world-class projects. Schrager made one more top decision.

"I'm taking the penthouse," says Schrager.

Luxury Penthouses

No doubt, building owners and co-owners can have the first chance to live in the luxurious penthouses. Most owners of luxury real estate position themselves at the top. Take Donald Trump and Trump Tower – another co-developer who took the opportunity to occupy an opulent penthouse. Do you ever wonder what life is like at the top?

40 Bond Street

The penthouse at 40 Bond Street makes a sizable impression and comes with a big price tag – a reported $18.5 million. That chunk of cash will get you 6,626 square feet of interior space and 3,529 square feet of exterior space. Of course, you could choose a smaller 3-bedroom apartment for $9,950,000. You could even choose a 2-bedroom unit for the more affordable price of $4,850,000.


The apartments at 40 Bond Street have all kinds of luxurious features - Austrian smoked oak floors, Italian cabinets with smoked oak and high gloss lacquer, as well as Glacier White Corian walls, and shower floor with embossed graffiti pattern. 40 Bond Street was designed to reflect a version of SoHo commercial loft buildings. The building uses a green glass grid instead of cast iron.

Boomer hotel icon Ian Schrager is far from done

Trump Tower

Donald Trump chose an office and a penthouse in Trump Tower at 721 Fifth Avenue. Angelo Donghia designed this elegant penthouse. Even from the outside, Trump Tower is no ordinary building. Its unique look and unusual layout make an innovative statement.


Donald Trump continues to express his individuality with his choice of detailing. From the inlaid Trump Tower seal on the ramp of the entrance to 'T' stanchions and vitrines, it is hard to miss the 'Trump' connection. Developers of luxury properties tend to make their mark with extravagant buildings.

Trump Tower is full of elaborate details. Its 100-foot high atrium features a seven-storey waterfall in front of Breccia Perniche marble in gorgeous colors – peach and orange - pink and rose. Polished granite walls and brass vitrines add an extra glow.

Trump Burns Mortgage At Trump Tower

NYC Penthouses

Life at the top might cost a fair penny but many buyers are willing to pay the price for a luxurious lifestyle. Of course, if you own (or co-own) the building, occupying the penthouse makes it a more probable and personal choice. Yet developers are not the only buyers wanting to move into penthouse apartments.

Despite the recent downturn in the economy, the U.S. luxury real estate market is rebounding in fast order. Upscale markets tend to make a fast recovery from economic woes. Luxury property is seen as a smart investment in the long term.

Luxurious residences and hotels do well in major centers like New York City. Ask Ian Schrager. He just started Schrager Hotels and created two new hotel brands – one luxury model - and one less expensive brand - for those of us who can't afford the penthouse suite.

What Would Be The Best Thing About Living In A Luxury Penthouse?

Image courtesy of bilgenozturk.blogspot.com



Oct 29

Inviting Front Doors – What a Treat

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Inviting Front Doors

On this Halloween weekend, the more mysterious and creepy your entrance looks, the better kids (and adults) like it. Yet come Monday morning, lose the look! Indeed, if you are planning to sell your home, a mysterious, hidden, or overgrown entryway won't attract buyers. No dead branches or plants in the yard! Without a doubt, a horror of a door will spook your buyers.

Potential home buyers respond to well-tended property and a welcoming entrance. A neat and attractive entryway gives the impression that you care about this home. An inviting door and tidy yard can help to sell your home before the buyers even see the interior.

Added Attraction

Every house should welcome guests (and buyers) through an attractive and well-maintained front door. No scratches and scrapes or doors that won't open or close without considerable effort! The finish on doors can fade and chip after years of enduring weather conditions. Sometimes it is not necessary to buy a new door. A light sanding and a paint job might do the trick. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to choose the right type of paint.

Complementary Colors

The color of the door must work with the color scheme of your home's exterior. It doesn't have to be the same shade as the house. Yet the color should not provide so much contrast that it draws attention to the door alone instead of the entire home.

A bright color can work if your home is surrounded with brilliant flowers or blazing foliage. Generally, colors that blend with natural hues look welcoming at an entrance. Choose shades that match the natural elements (like stone or brick) of your home and its surroundings (landscape and other buildings).

Brilliant white is not an appealing choice for a front door because it is a stark color. Bright white is a cold tone - not a welcoming color. A white paint with a touch of yellow or pink is a better choice.

Your door should fit the look and style of your house. A small cottage should have a cozy look. A stately home should have a more formal entrance.

Surviving the Storm

Your door must look sturdy enough to survive a storm. You don't want potential home buyers to think that their entry door will blow down at the first gust of wind. If a home has a main door and storm door, both should look their best. If you can't afford to replace the main wood or metal door, buy an affordable and decorative storm door to make a great first impression.

Getting a Handle

When home owners put in the time and effort to make improvements to their entrance, they are 'getting a handle' on the sale. They are setting the stage for the sale of their home. Maybe that will mean having to buy new door handles.

Metal door handles can tarnish and chip over time. If yours look the worse for wear, replace them. Handles and locks are not difficult to install and it could be a DIY project. If there isn't already a deadbolt on the door, it may be a smart idea to install one. It will be safer for you while you're in the home as well as an extra safety feature that will impress buyers.

Decorative Touch

Even though the Halloween decorations are gone, potential home buyers won't mind a glorious fall arrangement or silk flower wreath on your door. It adds a decorative and welcoming touch. Inviting doors 'invite in' guests – and home buyers!

How to Improve the Front Entrance to Help Sell a Home

How to Choose a Front Door Color

Which Inviting Color Did You Choose For Your Front Door?

Oct 27

Haunted Houses – Exposing the Ghosts

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Helen Ackley Home

So, you don't believe in haunted houses? Well, they exist – everywhere! Houses that are 'haunted' by a horrific event in their past or a horrible rumour or even an association with horror!

Haunted Houses

In fact, maybe you are living in a 'haunted' house at this moment. The chilling reality is that you don't know for certain about every event in your home's history. Even if you have a new home, stories abound about deceased and disgruntled land owners that paid a ghostly visit to current owners of their previously-held property.

All in all, it adds up to a scary situation. Maybe you think this haunted house talk is just Irish malarkey. After all, Erin's Isle has more than its fair share of tales of haunted castles.

Creepy Irish Castles and Houses

Haunted Laws

If you think that haunted houses are a joke, think again! There are actual state laws about haunted homes. The housing regulations in various US states refer directly to the 'haunted' issue. Other states address 'stigmatized' property. These states point out that the 'haunted' reputation is decided on a case-by-case basis. The law's attention to haunted houses is not a figment of an overactive imagination. Haunted houses are 'real' – at least according to the state.

Since 1991, New York's housing law states that hauntings must be disclosed to potential home buyers. Now that official recognition lends more credibility to the 'haunted' factor. Law makers acknowledged that a 'haunting' past affects a home's value – usually in a negative manner. But not always!

Haunted Buyers

It depends on whether horror fascinates or horrifies you. For example, consider the summer sale of a 1909 farmhouse (home of three gruesome murders) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As it turns out, the murders were the main attraction for one group of interested buyers. It is possible to sell a haunted house.

How to sell a haunted house

Haunted Deal

Yet not every home buyer feels so great about ghosts. Thus, the reason for the New York housing law about creepy homes. The 1991 ruling came into 'being' because of a few odd beings – poltergeists to be exact – who occupied a 5000 sq ft Victorian home in Nyack, New York.

A potential purchaser made a down payment without knowing about the poltergeists lurking in the dark corners. Home owner, Helen Ackley, had come clean about their existence. She had even written about her ghosts but she didn't note their tenancy on the sales contract. People, you have to include all poltergeists in the sales contact. Gee, that's a given!

But apparently, this home buyer didn't feel at all friendly towards ghosts. He demanded the return of his down payment. The present New York housing law about ghosts resulted from that court action. As an owner of a haunted house, you have to 'own' up to it.

Haunted Value

And who knows, your home's value could go through the roof. Having ghosts come out of your walls might sell your home. It depends on who's looking and 'whoever is lurking' might not turn out to be just a nuisance. Your live-in ghost might get you a great price for your haunted house. Happy Halloween!

4 Haunted Houses And What They're Worth

Do You Live In A Haunted House?

Sep 8

How To Add Value To Your Home

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Every home owner should keep up-to-date regarding the value of their home. Today's worth is not necessarily last year's value or even last month's worth. Whether home owners have moved in recently or are planning to move out soon, they should be aware of home value.

The market - in the immediate neighbourhood and the marketplace at large - affects home value. A home owner is stuck with that reality to a point. Yet home owners can take things into their own hands and try to increase the worth of their home.

It helps to work with a skilled professional to determine home value. Home owners should review strategies that will improve their home's worth. They should understand about the current market – especially in their neighbourhood. Home owners should decipher the factors that impact the worth of their home. Although all renovations are not equal as to how they affect home value, certain home improvements can make a big difference to home value.

Adding Value To Your Home

. Spruce Up The Exterior

First impressions apply to homes as well as home owners. The house that makes a good impression will be a fast seller. It is just common sense that potential home buyers are affected by the state of a home's exterior and the outdoor setting.

Home buyers are looking for a house to suit their needs. If the exterior and surroundings are a disappointment, the stage is set for this house to stay on the market for a longer period. The home's exterior has to look its best for the "open house." The outdoor area and entryway has to be safe and the location has to look appealing to buyers.

. Remodel The Kitchen

Remodelling a kitchen is a major investment ($15,000-$80,000) as well as a true hassle and definite source of stress. Yet a kitchen renovation is one of the best things you can do to add to a home's worth. The intense effort and hefty expense can translate into a high return on a home sale.

Of course, home owners can impress home buyers without having to spend huge sums of money. Most importantly, the kitchen must have a friendly atmosphere and safety has to be a priority. Even a fresh coat of paint or a clean-up and 'declutter' session can make a dramatic improvement to a kitchen.

. Redo The Bathroom

Redoing the bathroom to reflect more comfort and extra style is a wise move for every home owner. Redecorating a bathroom can come with a substantial cost. Keep in mind that an extensive bathroom renovation is a time-consuming project.

Redoing a bathroom can involve plumbing – a costly and labour-intensive process. Yet a bathroom renovation can get a home seller a return equal to or greater than the cost of remodelling. If a major project is beyond your budget, a thorough cleaning and new coat of paint can work wonders for your home. Even simple things can help to add a slight value to your home. The difference might be the deciding factor for a home buyer.

How Do You Plan To Add Value To Your Home?

The best way to celebrate Labour Day is to do as little work as possible – in other words – celebrate the fruits of your labour. It can take little effort to throw a party to end the easy living of summer with a final blowout. Revitalize yourself for the new season. Get ready to face the remainder of the work year.

How to Have A Labour Day Party

Shed Some Light On The Subject

Anyone can create their own unique set of party lights. With a string of lights in hand, feed them through items that can act as light fixtures. Certain cups are an option – if they are safe to be in contact with a light and a hole can be cut in the bottom to string the light into the inside. Keep in mind, however, that a dark light fixture will give a dim light. Yet a bright color or brilliant white will spread more light.

Keep Your Cool

'Keeping your cool' is great advice for the workplace. A successful Labour Day party will capitalize on a 'cool' theme. An ice cream buffet is refreshing for guests and relaxing for hosts. Prepare the toppings in advance. They can be elaborate or simple (depending on your preferences). Ice cream toppings can range from homemade fudge sauce to cookies made from scratch to sliced bananas and colorful sprinkles.

Play The Game

Labour Day parties should be about playing the game. Some of your work associates might be part of your social group. Yet this occasion is not about discussing corporate moves. Concentrate on simple, old-fashioned fun and play like kids before the long weekend is part of history. Badminton, ring toss, frisbee, softball, or any favourite sport will get everyone in the game.

Impromptu Party

Labour Day parties can be thrown together on the spur of the moment. Keep frozen drinks in the freezer (pina colada, margaritas, lemonade for the kids), chips in the pantry, dip in the refrigerator, and chicken ready for the grill. You will have the makings of a great party and it can be organized with minimum effort in a few minutes.

Have Some More

The Labour Day party can be formal or casual but it never hurts to end it with a little fun. S'mores, the chocolate/marshmallow/graham wafer treat, the star of every campfire, is the perfect ending to any Labour Day party. S'mores are synonymous with fun. Whether you are a kid or an adult, they are bound to create smiles.

Moving Up

If you are convinced that a Labour Day party should involve labour, get your guests on the move. Organize a street party or similar party in which guests move from home to home. Each location should be close to the other. This event works best within the same apartment complex or neighborhood. This type of party requires a bit of effort in the planning stage. It is, however, an innovative and fun way to celebrate the last weekend of summer.

Happy Labour Day!

Are You Having A Labour Day Party? 

Tips and Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers

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