The Roaring Twenties are no longer a distant murmur in this striking collection of homes that evoke the glamour, grace, and architectural ingenuity of the Jazz Age
turn to a golden era of opulent living as Luxury Defined presents its collection of fine homes that evoke the Jazz Age exuberance and the glitz, glamour, and style of 1920s’ architecture. Gone are the speakeasy, the flapper’s beaded dresses and cloche hats, the collegiate “Oxford bag” trousers, and wasp-waisted suits. But the iconic architecture of, what F. Scott Fitzgerald dubbed, the “age of miracles, the age of art, and the age of excess” will never go out of vogue. Whether the style is Art Deco, Moderne, Bauhaus, Neo-Georgian, Spanish Colonial, or Mission Revival, you will see simplicity and richness of design, clean lines, warm-toned palettes, lavish textures, and visual grace notes as refreshing to contemporary taste as they were to the Gatsbyesque residents of that excessive, often turbulent, but ultimately glamorous epoch of the 20th century.
Splendid Chateau (1927) Westmount, Quebec, Canada
The spirit of post-WWI affluence and style lives on at this château-like manor in a leafy enclave of Montreal. Built in 1927, the four-story, seven-bedroom residence commands 8,000 interior square feet and nearly half an acre of tranquil wooded grounds. The interior architecture harks to the splendor of the past: nine-foot ceilings and mahogany floors, crafted millwork, wainscoting, and coffered ceilings. A library with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the garden. Fireplaces warm the grand salon and dining room, which seats 16 comfortably. Creature comforts include an elevator, gourmet kitchen, numerous fireplaces, wine cellar, bar, billiard room, sauna, and gym. There are ample accommodations, seven bedrooms including staff quarters and a master suite complete with fireplace, dressing room and boudoir/office with a private terrace with breathtaking views of Montreal.
Casa Espanol (Mid-1920s) Long Beach, California
Buster Keaton shot silent movies in Long Beach, and he would feel at home in this classic,three-bedroom Spanish Colonial hacienda, restored to its mid-1920s’ grandeur. The interior’s earthy palette uses cream and tan walls accented with dark wood tones, with custom fresco hand-painted crown moldings and ceilings, burnished wood floors, and Spanish tile throughout. The sensational amenities include a gourmet kitchen, separate kitchenette, laundry room, powder room, and library/den. French doors off the formal dining and living room open to the courtyard’s resplendent garden with waterfall, pond, and seating area surrounding a fire pit. Upstairs, the three bedrooms all have individual balconies and cedar walk-in closets. The garage includes superb guest quarters above.
Riverfront Grandeur (1920) James Island, Charleston, South Carolina
This star of this elegant waterfront home is a breathtaking front-row panorama of Charleston’s Stono River. Adding to the splendor is a deepwater dock with a 30-foot floater, eight-ton boat lift and a dry slip, all serviced by a generator, water line, and boat shed. The ornate 4,560-square-foot interiors have retained all of their 1920s opulence. A study with cypress built-ins adjoins the family room and formal living room with fireplace. The covered patio with Jenn-Air grill is just off the eat-in kitchen with Wolf appliances and a wet bar. The second floor’s master suite has a large walk-in closet and a lavish spa bathroom. The third and fourth guest bedrooms look out upon enchanting views of the river.
Rationalist Villa (1928) Benimàmet, Valencia, Spain
This traditional Valencian villa was built in 1928, during the Spanish Rationalism period, when clean lines, geometric forms, and structurally defined spaces were paramount. Renovated in 2008, the residence features a multi-tiered façade and original Art Deco elements such as ornate stained glass finishes, beautiful mosaic-tile floors, and decorative beamed ceilings. There are five bedrooms, formal reception rooms, and luxury amenities including a wine cellar and lower-level recreation area for entertaining in style. The mature landscaped garden is an oasis of serenity complete with spaces for alfresco entertaining, including a unique paella cooking area.
Mediterranean-Revival Manor (1923) San Antonio, Texas
Built in 1923, this Mediterranean Revival is distinguished by its exquisite proportions and craftsmanship. Evoking a Gatsbyesque grandeur, a gated entrance opens to a long driveway that winds past close-cropped lawns to arrive at sumptuous Neoclassical-inspired checkered terraces and a grand foyer. Arched sliding pocket doors open onto a library with outdoor access, a dining room, and a formal living room with a detailed fireplace and adjoining sunroom. The large-scale kitchen offers restaurant-grade appliances and a butler’s pantry. A grand staircase ascends to a spectacular living area that opens onto a balcony revealing enchanting views of the parklike grounds, replete with a canopy of trees and specimen plants. Seven classically appointed bedrooms and five bathrooms comfortably accommodate owners and overnight guests.
Villa Hoogenoord (1923) Doorn, Utrecht, Netherlands
Villa Hoogenoord was built in 1921 on three quarters of an acre of landscape-sheltered grounds in the pastoral, Medieval province of Utrecht. Behind massive wooden double doors, roomy, light-filled interiors await, especially the 645-square-foot living room, with its monumental tiled fireplace and half-round sunroom. The dine-in kitchen is an epicurean’s dream with a fireplace, wainscoting, and a coffered ceiling. The upper floor has a balcony revealing a pastoral perspective at the front of the house. The central hall accesses three bedrooms (two with a balcony) and the luxe master suite. A detached stone outbuilding provides a cozy living space with underfloor heating, kitchen, sauna, and parking garage. In addition to glorious grounds, this exclusive estate enjoys proximity to the historic center of Doorn, famous for the eponymous castle that was home to the last German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined, Christie’s International Real Esate
Expert insight on trends shaping the luxury residential real estate market from Christie’s International Real Estate’s 2016 white paper, Luxury Defined
The global prime property market continued on a steady growth trajectory in early 2015 after several post-global-crisis years of price appreciation and booming sales.However, shifting economic dynamics and financial-market volatility created a paradigm shift in the second half of the year and into 2016 across many luxury housing markets internationally.
Skyrocketing home prices and record-breaking luxury sales volumes that captured headlines worldwide in recent years were abated somewhat in 2015 and 2016. After starting 2015 at the same breakneck speeds that characterized 2014, volatile financial markets and related geopolitical uncertainty caused international luxury real estate market growth rates to finally begin to slow.
Many of the world’s prime property markets plateaued in late 2015 as a result of macroeconomic factors that caused softening across the world’s financial markets: the slowdown in China’s economy, the drop in oil and commodity prices, and the unrest in Russia/Eastern Europe and the Gulf regions. The confidence and buying power of many high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) were impacted. Despite these factors, meaningful pockets of the world’s most affluent continue to turn to luxury real estate as a safe and tangible wealth-storage asset. The volatility of real estate is, indeed, substantially lower than that of the stock market as observed in a 14-year comparison of the S&P 500 and the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. HNWIs are likely to continue to invest in property because it can weather changing economic cycles, creating long-term value and superior risk-adjusted returns.
Luxury Housing Sales Return to Historic Norms
Global economic issues resulted in a small contraction in the number of billionaires, according to Forbes (1,810 billionaires, down from a record 1,826 in early 2015), the first drop in this ultra-affluent population set since 2009. Some of this shift in international wealth can be attributed to the impact of the strong US dollar and the concurrent drop in other more commodity-tied currencies, which had both a positive and negative impact on different markets, hampering inbound investment in some and attracting new interest in others. “The greatest impact in the luxury real estate market has been the fluctuation in global financial markets over the last year,” says Alex Head of First Team Real Estate in Orange County, California. “In our market this is having a positive effect as foreign buyers are seeking the tangible investment real estate allows, with the added benefit of the security of the U.S. dollar.”
Second-home resort markets saw on average a 10% increase in year-on year luxury home sales
Despite a slowdown in the second half of the year, the 2015 international prime property market was characterized by steady overall growth. Across our more than 100 surveyed luxury housing markets worldwide, million-dollar-plus home sales grew by eight percent over 2014, a decline on the 16 percent jump recorded in the prior 12-month period, yet still solid levels of overall growth.
Luxury property sales in the world’s top global economic hubs—Hong Kong, New York, and London—plateaued in 2015 and into 2016, despite several outlier top sales. While prices have continued to increase, demand at the top end of the market has begun to level off but without pointing toward an overall collapse or lack of confidence in the luxury market. On the contrary—as evidenced by Hong Kong’s record-breaking $194 million top sale, ultra-affluent investors continue to recognize the longterm value in the purchase of prime property in prized international cities.
Beyond the big three, many top-ranking US housing markets experienced more normal levels of growth in luxury home sales as compared to prior years. San Francisco, which recorded explosive growth in year-on-year luxury home sales of 62 percent and 19 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, saw a 12 percent jump in 2015. California’s flourishing economy also resulted in stable gains across many of the state’s other luxury housing markets. Million-dollar-plus sales in Los Angeles grew by five percent annually, with transaction volumes soaring at mid and low luxury price points, and remaining consistent at the upper echelons (82 sales above $10 million in both 2015 and 2014). Despite a drop in Canadian buyers due to exchange rate pressures, “Coachella Valley’s high-end market inspires optimism,” says Harvey Katofsky of HK Lane Real Estate in Palm Springs, adding that his firm’s sales for 2015 were better than 2014.
Low interest rates, a weaker euro, and lower-than-peak property prices prompted many HNWIs to consider the purchase of a second home in prime European destinations. “The strong US dollar has brought Americans back into the market,” explains Michael Baynes of MaxwellStorrie-Baynes in Bordeaux. In Paris, luxury sales jumped by more than 20 percent in 2015, the first significant uptick in three years. Much of the resurgence has been fueled by American and Middle Eastern buyers, who comprise 27 percent of overseas buyers, up from 16 percent in 2012. “The sales increase was due to the return of newly confident buyers attracted by prices at 2011 levels, down 20 percent from their peak,” says Charles-Marie Jottras of Daniel Féau Conseil Immobilier, who adds that Paris is now one of the least expensive European economic hubs for luxury property.
Luxury housing markets worldwide recorded an 8% annual increase in million-dollar-plus home sales
Despite much media attention on the reduced buying power of HNWIs in oil-money-dependent markets, many astute Middle Eastern buyers continue to purchase prime property overseas, transferring a portion of their equity into illiquid assets in safer currencies and thereby leveraging against any devaluing of their own currency. Much like savvy Asian investors who were “saved” by their geographically diversified equity and property portfolios during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, the acquisition of prime property abroad remains an important portfolio strategy for many ultra HNWIs based in turbulent home-country markets. Geographical diversification for these affluent individuals is more important than ever.
Australia and Canada—both commodity-dependent countries that experienced rapid declines in their respective currencies over the past 12-24 months—have witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets. Sydney’s million-dollar-plus sales were up by 15 percent and Toronto’s by a whopping 48 percent in 2015. Growth was not consistent countrywide, however. The differences can be attributed to two key variables— affluent buyer demand and inventory levels—that strengthened sales in some cities and obstructed growth in others. In Canada for example, cities with strong international appeal, most notably Victoria, Vancouver, and Toronto, continued on an upward trajectory, whereas luxury property sales in oil-money-dependent Calgary slowed. “Strong governmental, banking and investment systems, favorable migration trends, leading educational institutions, and stable employment have all caused our market to defy the impact on other marketplaces that are experiencing declines in sales volume and average prices,” observes Chris Kapches of Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto.
Compounded by the challenges posed by global financial market turmoil, growth in several prime property markets is also being stymied by local market issues. Many prime property buyers in London postponed purchases due to concerns of a mansion tax proposed by the Labour Party in the lead up to the UK’s General Election (May 2015). Despite Labour’s defeat, the anticipated post-election rebound in sales failed to materialize. Although prices remained relatively steady, London’s prime property sales ended down four percent year-on-year. Changes to stamp duty land tax for properties above £1.5 million that took effect in late 2014 along with a further three percent stamp duty on additional properties are among the causes. “These changes have understandably impacted the luxury London market at every level as people take stock and take longer to make decisions,” says Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker. “However, they have not stopped buyers purchasing our very highest quality properties as London remains a fabulous city to invest in and a very attractive place to live. Prices have gradually been adjusting to absorb the extra taxation and are now at a stable level.”
Commodity dependent countries Canada and Australia have both witnessed brisk growth in their major prime property markets
Other markets that saw significant annual sales declines were also burdened by imposing factors led by government intervention in the market. Cooling measures introduced between 2011-2013 in Hong Kong to curb price speculation continue to impact prime property sales. Luxury property transactions in 2015 dropped by more than 12 percent in total during the year and have continued on their downward slide in early 2016, registering their lowest month since 1991 this January.
As the Summer Games commence in Rio this month, here is a look at past events still cemented in sports history
Every Olympics has its stars and memorable takeaways and the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be no exception. The world will watch Michael Phelps attempt to swim to further glory, rightly claiming the title of Best Swimmer Ever. The Fastest Human Ever, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, will be the joining Phelps at theses Games. After an injury scare earlier this summer, Bolt announced that he would be competing, and sports enthusiasts around the globe sighed in relief.
That said, there are Olympic moments that transcend time and continue to resonate. Here are our top five:
1) Rome, 1960
A brash, young boxer by the name of Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky, all of 18 years old, quite literally pounded the international competition to claim the gold in the light-heavyweight division. Thirty-six years later, in Atlanta, Mohammad Ali — then a 10-time heavyweight champion as well as an eloquent spokesman for civil and religious rights, now battling Parkinson’s Disease — took to the Olympic stage one more time to face perhaps his most daunting challenge. The applause thundered and eyes welled worldwide as, despite all odds, Mohammad Ali’s failing body and shaking hands lit the Olympic Torch.
In Rome, Ali also surpassed all athletes in the time-honored tradition of trading national pins. He loved nothing more than walking through the Olympic Village to meet people from around the world, proving that he was an ambassador before he knew he was one. Ali went home after the 1960 Games to encounter Jim Crow laws in his home state. Even after bringing honor to the U.S. with this Olympic gold, he couldn’t dine in the same restaurants with whites. That experience forged his tireless advocacy for his race, and next, his newly discovered Muslim religion, and also his vehement objection to the war in Vietnam. In the end, his support for all races and cultures was universal. He was a humanitarian.
We cannot close this sport chapter without acknowledging Ali’s oratory talents. His comments were genius, for example: “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
Mohammad Ali passed away in June.
2) Montreal, 1976
Way back in 1976, one was hard-pressed not to see Bruce Jenner’s face peering off a magazine cover, not to mention a Wheatie’s cereal box, after his record-setting win in the Olympic decathlon. The victory came at the height of the Cold War. Russian Nikolay Avilov was the 1972 gold medalist, an event long dominated by the U.S. and such iconic athletes as Rafer Johnson, Bob Mathias and Jim Thorpe. Jenner won back the title for the U.S. and in doing so, ascended into the firmament of Olympic greatness.
Shifts in the global economy are influencing prime property buyers, presenting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for some and challenges for others
High-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) are becoming increasingly global in their investment outlook. Extensive fluctuations in global exchange rates—the US dollar hit a 10-year high in mid-2015 after climbing from an all-time low just four years earlier—have presented exceptional opportunities, as well as challenges, for buyers seeking to acquire prime property outside their resident country.
As part of Luxury Defined 2016, our annual report on the prime property market, we explore the impact of exchange rates on the cross-border movements of important buyer groups and examine how currency-strong buyers may benefit from exchange rates that are positioned in their favor.
Gateway US markets such as Phoenix and Miami, where overseas buyers were a steadying post-financial crisis force, have seen the number of international buyers trending down as the rising dollar made US luxury homes more expensive.
Overseas buyers now comprise 35 percent of luxury sales in Miami, a nine percent decrease from 2014. “This reflects the financial uncertainties of countries whose residents have historically been active purchasers of South Florida real estate,” says Ron Shuffield of EWM Realty International. “Despite the downward trend, affluent foreign buyers continue to purchase property in Miami as a currency hedge and a safe store of wealth.”
Although many of our 100 surveyed markets reported decreases in buyers from oil and commodity-dependent countries including Russia and Canada, there has been limited dropoff in Chinese buyer interest.
Wealth has grown fivefold in China since the beginning of the century and Chinese nationals now make up eight percent of the global UHNWI population. After years of widely reported capital outflows, the country’s slowing economy has yet to have significant impact on the global luxury real estate market, with most brokers reporting an increase in Chinese buyers and only a few observing a slight dropoff.
Amid this headline-grabbing national turmoil, Chinese buyers are still purchasing prime property at top prices across the globe. 2015’s highest price residential sales in several important markets (Sydney, Hong Kong, Seattle, and the New York Adirondacks, among others) were sold to Chinese nationals or recent emigrees. And wealthy Chinese nationals aren’t just buying real estate—they are also purchasing art at the top end of the market. A$170 million Modigliani painting, sold at Christie’s in November, went to a Chinese art patron.
A declining euro is also presenting opportunities for affluent second-home buyers in Europe as well as several destinations in the Caribbean. “2015 saw a boost to the market from American clients who are starting to reinvest thanks to the strengthening of the dollar,” notes Zarek Honneysett of Sibarth Real Estate in St Barths.
London topped the list of the world’s top “luxury” housing markets and Hong Kong edged out New York to claim the second spot in this year’s Luxury Defined Index rankings
om recent stock market fluctuations to the shifting fortunes of emerging market buyers, the global prime property market traversed a challenging geopolitical and economic landscape in 2015 and into 2016.
The annual Christie’s International Real Estate Index, which synthesizes and compares luxury housing metrics, reflects these developments and acts as a measuring stick for the global luxury market. The Index forms part of Luxury Defined 2016, an in-depth study of more than 100 prime residential property markets worldwide.
The Index ranks the world’s 10 top property markets under two performance measures:
The Luxury Index rates the relative “luxuriousness” of primary market cities with at least one million residents (see the latest Luxury Index rankings below).
The Luxury Thermometer assesses the “health” of the million-dollar-plus market and compares international primary and resort housing markets.
London Tops the World’s Most Luxurious Cities for Prime Property:
2015* Luxury Index Rankings
2) Hong Kong
3) New York
4) Los Angeles
8) San Francisco
*Luxury Index rankings are based on data for the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. The Index aggregates local market metrics measuring market record sale price, average price per square foot for luxury homes, number of sales over $1 million, percentage of listings over $1 million, average price for luxury home sales, percentage of international and non-local homebuyers, and percentage of secondary home sales.
Highlights from this year’s Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Index include:
With more prime property listings than any other city, as well as the world’s second most expensive residential sale in 2015 ($141 million / £92 million), London retains its position as the most luxurious property market worldwide. In spite of slower growth due to new taxes on prime property purchases, the city continues to attract strong domestic and international buyer demand. London has topped the Luxury Index for four years running.
Even with negative annual overall sales growth and pressures from a decline in mainland Chinese capital outflow, Hong Kong narrowly edged out New York to place second in theLuxury Index. The harbor city posted the world’s top residential sale in 2015 ($194 million / HK$1.5 billion).
Miami achieved a local record sale ($55 million for a new-build penthouse), which offset declines in overseas and cash buyers, ensuring a solid performance in the Luxury Index. New luxury stock and slowing buyer demand evidenced in late 2015 and early 2016 however, is likely to move it down in next year’s rankings.
Singapore joined our Index rankings after showing signs of an uptick following several years of declines due to government cooling measures. Singapore knocked Dubai—where pressures from declining oil prices and an oversupply of luxury properties caused price and sales volume declines—out of the world’s top 10 luxury markets.
*Fuente: Luxury Defined http://luxurydefined.christiesrealestate.com/blog/market-insights/ranking-the-worlds-top-performing-luxury-property-markets
From poolside cabanas to open-air living rooms, elegantly appointed outdoor spaces are a key selling point in today’s luxury market.
Long gone are the days when a simple pool and patio set would do to maximize the value of your luxury home. Outdoor living as defined by today’s luxury market doesn’t entail a few extras on a long list of amenities as much as it does a true extension of a home’s interior living spaces, and a seamless blend of interior with exterior. The furniture, textiles, and overall design of outdoor living rooms, terraces, and poolside patios are carefully considered as yet another reflection of a home’s design aesthetic. Outdoor living spaces are well on their way to becoming a requisite rather than simply a value-add; responding to buyer demand, the global luxury market continues to raise the bar for outdoor luxury ever higher. This week in “Luxury Defined,” global experts in the Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate network share six trends for bringing the indoors out.
1. Four-Season Outdoor Living Room Fully realized alfresco living rooms are distinguished by one signature feature: fire. Whether a dramatic stone hearth and fireplace, a firepit, or a chiminea, a fire element turns an outdoor space into an outdoor room that can be used year-round in warm-weather states throughout the U.S., including Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. “Florida’s weather is such that you can do virtually all of your living and entertaining alfresco, especially during the winter months, when the weather is characteristically warm and dry during the day and deliciously cool and comfortable at night,” says Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Company. Fire elements generate warmth and a welcoming ambiance; additionally, two-sided fireplaces can create a natural separation between outdoor spaces, such as a living room and dining area.
2. Poolside Cabanas 2.0 A perennially popular poolside accompaniment, the cabana today is designed to serve triple and even quadruple duty at summer homes in New England, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In addition to being a respite from the sun’s rays, cabanas may be furnished with a wet bar and stools, a kitchenette, and even a full-size dining table. “Our clients enjoy being able to spend the day outside with little need for going indoors,” says Liza McKenney from Great Point Properties. “Being able to fix drinks and food, dine outside, and get some shade is a plus for many. Stepping out your back door into an outdoor living area makes you feel like you have your own private oasis.”
3. Designer Flourishes “Carefully selected furniture adds to the sense of stylish outdoor living,” says Maria Gryllaki of Ploumis Sotiropoulos. Gryllaki has worked with numerous properties in Greece where the designer treatment has been given to the outdoor patios and terraces of centuries-old villas: importing pieces from shops as far-ranging as London and Hong Kong adds just the right touch of contemporary sophistication. Comfortable, elegant seating and pillows done in luxurious fabrics further blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
4. Blended Indoor-Outdoor Living Oceanfront estates from California to the Caribbean are being designed with an open-air concept that takes full advantage of the desirable weather and gentle ocean breezes. The concept is essentially built into a home’s design, notes Peyton Cabano from Willis Allen Real Estate. Architects are bringing the outside in by creating permanent, covered living spaces with all the same amenities as an indoor family room, living room, or kitchen— only one or more walls are absent.
The resulting designs capitalize on sweeping ocean views and make for an impressive space for living and entertaining. “When it comes to entertaining guests, there is no nicer setting than by the sea,” says Dominique Silvera, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at One Caribbean Estates. “Entertaining in a beachfront property creates an unmatchable ambience.”
5. Dining Alfresco Dining outdoors against the backdrop of a breathtaking natural vista is a cherished tradition amid the desert landscape of the American Southwest and the majestic mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. In these places of rugged, natural beauty, understated elegance is best, so as not to take away from the grandeur of the surroundings. That being said, outdoor dining sets have come a long way. Today they are made in a variety of materials that are both luxurious and able to stand the test of time and the elements; teak and cypress are popular choices. Tabletop flourishes including candles, floral arrangements, and elegant tableware and stemware set the stage for an unforgettable evening under the stars.
6. Next-Gen Pool Design Ocean Home magazine reports that the latest iteration of pool design trending in the northeastern states—including the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—is inspired by nature. Characterized by forest-like landscaping, rock work, and water elements that one might happen upon during a stroll through the woods—waterfalls, lily pad–topped ponds—these designs are as much about creating an environment as they are about the actual pool. Taking a page from nature’s playbook doesn’t mean scaling back on luxurious finishes, however. These homes may well have an outdoor kitchen or firepit, or perhaps both.
*Fuente: Christie´s International Real Estate /Luxury Defined
As the world becomes ever-more connected, and communication becomes ever faster, a well-designed home hub is essential
Mobile technology grants us the freedom to work remotely – from home, an airport, while on vacation – meaning the working day begins and ends when we choose. As Craig Schultz of California-based architects Laidlaw Schultz says, “No longer are office hours defined by a nine-to-five work schedule; people are now expected to be at-the-ready 24 hours a day.”
This new era of working “when it suits you” has catalyzed the trend towards home offices or hubs. A place where you can not only do business, but surf the web, connect with distant friends and relatives, and while away the hours gaming.
Increasingly, designers and their clients now regard the home office as a room worthy of the kind of attention normally reserved for a kitchen or living room. Linda Holmes, interiors director at LuxDeco, an online store for luxury home furnishings, explains: “More and more homeowners are starting to realize that an office isn’t simply a workstation, but another space that offers the opportunity to express their personal style, and help pull the look of their entire home together.”
Indeed, the very notion that a home office should be an isolated unit is outmoded. Designers are now integrating offices within a home’s communal areas – whether connected to the living room, part of the master suite, or used as a multi-purpose space. In one oceanfront property, Schultz utilized all the space available to create a fully functioning home hub adjacent to the home’s primary living area.
Some home offices can be neatly slotted into existing space, others created from scratch. And as with any other room, the desire for bespoke furnishings is a given. Interior architect Thomas Griem, founder and director of architecture and design practise TG-Studio, observes: “Space planning is key; it is always important to utilise unused areas within your home. We have in the past created a fully functioning home hub underneath a staircase.”
One of his clients wanted a stylish and functional office area that, when not in use, blended seamlessly into the living space. Griem had ample storage built into the wall to hide office clutter and maintain the space’s clean lines, as well as enlarging the room’s windows to keep it light and airy.
With the move to bespoke design and furnishings comes the freedom to be more experimental with style. As Schultz says, “No longer is the home office a dark-panelled room with a mahogany desk and tufted leather chairs; now these spaces can be light, modern, and – dare I say – fun.”
Brian Pontin, sales manager for Neville Johnson, a British bespoke furniture-maker, also advocates using color to brighten up a home office: “Bold accent shades needn’t be restricted to accessories; when designed carefully and tastefully, office units can look fabulous in a smooth white gloss with the option of combining with contrasting on-trend colours, such as orange and green. By mixing painted doors, drawers, and shelving with a wide selection of veneers, gloss, and glass finishes, the home office will have that modern, cutting-edge look.”
Schultz goes even further, suggesting the use of metallic paint, chalkboard paint, or even marker-board paint, allowing you to use your wall as a magnet board, chalkboard, or whiteboard – your very own real-life Pinterest. In his modern library home office, he incorporated a blue fabric-wrapped panel underneath the shelves, which the owner uses as pin-up space when working through a project. “This can offer a new way to work and help organize one’s thoughts. Don’t be afraid to be a bit eclectic with your desk – let it reflect your personality.”
A desk, or “work station,” will, of course, be the focal point of most home offices, so it’s vital to find something that’s both practical and beautiful. As Linda Holmes says, “A desk is one of those investment pieces that we expect to last for generations, so it’s really important to find something timeless that you will love forever.” Modern technology, however, may soon render a desk less vital, if not redundant. As Schultz observes: “Thankfully technology designers have recognized that tech should really be in the background – supporting our daily lives, not the other way around.”
For now, however, homeowners are choosing desks with ample storage solutions. One of the best-selling desks at LuxDeco, Holmes says, epitomizes this trend: “The Wellington desk by British-brand Davidson is a perfect example of enduring style and quality. It’s a pedestal design which is entirely designed and created by master British craftsmen using black sycamore wood and special lacquering techniques. Like all of our best-selling office pieces, the Wellington blends form and function impeccably, offering impressive storage capacity to aid a clutter-free space and an organized mind.”
And, of course, any home office will require storage and accessories: a simple item like an Aston Martin paper knife, or a pair of elegant globe bookends by Eichholtz, for example. L’Objet has some beautiful crocodile-effect pieces, crafted from porcelain and flattered with 24-carat gold detailing which would be a stunning addition to any home office.
As Holmes observes: ‘Smaller, unique items that help homeowners to tell their own story always prove popular. People look for functional pieces that make a statement and give their workspace an identity of its own.’
Traditional Christmas markets in Europe and America make town squares merry and bright
Visiting a Christmas market – known as a Christkindlmarkt in German or a Marché de Noël in French – is like stepping into a real, live Advent calendar. In the weeks that lead up to December 25th, cities and towns all over Europe light up with hundreds of festive outdoor stalls where shoppers can find handmade ornaments, seasonal sweets, and unique gifts. Christmas markets originated in the Holy Roman Empire and Scandinavia during the late Middle Ages. When Queen Victoria and the German-born Prince Albert married in 1840, they introduced German traditions to their Yuletide celebrations in England. As a result, both Christmas markets and Christmas trees gained wide popularity in Britain and America. Christmas markets traditionally take place in town squares and nearby pedestrian streets, and typically feature a nativity scene, or crèche, and a huge Christmas tree.
For full-time residents of cities like Paris, Stockholm, Salzburg, London, or New York, a visit to the local Christmas market is a wonderful neighborhood ritual to celebrate the season and ring in the new year. Count down the Twelve Days of Christmas by learning about Christmas markets all over the world, and explore the spectacular nearby estates that could each become a cozy and luxurious holiday perch.
1. Christmas Market at Champs-Elysées, Paris, France November 15–January 4 The most famous avenue in Paris is home to the annual Christmas Market at the Champs-Elysées, and it attracts thousands of visitors every year. The charming vendor stalls are designed to resemble chalets, and goods range from specialty foods to toys and ornaments. This elegant, turn-of-the-century apartment in the 8th Arrondissement is within easy walking distance of the Christmas Market at the Champs-Elysées-—and of many of Paris’s top cultural attractions year round.
2. Salzburg Christmas Market, Salzburg, Austria November 19–December 26 Salzburg’s Christmas Market is one of the oldest continuous holiday markets in Europe. Nestled at the foot of the iconic Hohensalzburg fortress, it dates back to at least the 15th century. The nearby Baroque Salzburg Cathedral just happens to be the church where one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized. Appropriately, the Salzburg Christmas Market has an extensive program of events, including choral music that’s performed right in front of the cathedral. During the holiday season, this rooftop apartment in Salzburg is the ideal place to enjoy the city’s beauty from indoors: its panoramic views of snow-covered rooftops and churches are picture perfect.
3. Old Town Christmas Market, Stockholm, Sweden November 21–December 23 Stockholm’s Old Town Christmas Market is a tradition five centuries in the making. Set just in front of the city’s Nobel Museum and not far from the Royal Palace, it offers a chance to enjoy Swedish holiday fare like pepparkakor (thin ginger cookies) and glögg (mulled wine), while browsing handcrafted gifts, many of which feature the trademark Swedish Christmas colors of red, silver, and white. This modern, four-bedroom villa located nearby is a prime setting for a chic Scandinavian holiday celebration.
4. Bordeaux Christmas Market, Bordeaux, France November 23–December 30 Every November, a stretch of downtown Bordeaux metamorphosizes into a sparkling fairytale village full of wooden stalls when the Christmas market on Allées de Tourny opens to an eager public. This being France, the Bordeaux Christmas Market is especially famous for its local wines, artisan perfumes, and Landes foie gras. Enjoy these holiday treats in anearby duplex apartment on one of the city’s loveliest streets. With the Bordeaux Public Gardens nearby as well, it’s an ideal location any month of the year.
5. Canterbury Christmas Market, Kent, England November 28–December 24 Whitefriars Square in the medieval cathedral city of Canterbury is home to the Canterbury Christmas Market, in addition to being the famed site of poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and the seat of the Anglican Church. The setting is every bit as charming as the description suggests: colorful stalls have roasted almonds, gingerbread, and tin toys on offer. This 16th-century timber-framed estate with a courtyard garden nearby has the look and feel of a quintessential English country estate, yet it’s within walking distance of the historic city center. A lush courtyard garden frames the property.
6. Salisbury Christmas Market, Wiltshire, England November 26–December 20 The Salisbury Christmas Market in Wiltshire’s Guildhall Square is known for its vividly colorful paper lantern parade, musical performances by local school choirs, and the Father Christmas Grotto. Its food stalls offer award-winning cheeses, local wines, French sausage, and homemade chili jams for a savory holiday treat. This gracious four-bedroom Georgian estatein Wiltshire has a light-filled dining room, a wonderful setting for a Christmas dinner.
7. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, Winchester, England November 19–December 22 A relative newcomer only in its tenth year, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is already renowned as one of the most spectacular in Europe. Taking a cue from the older historic markets and inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, the Winchester version features mulled wine, bratwurst, stollen, and the English holiday favorite, mince pie. Talented craftspeople including jewelers, painters, glass makers, and textile artists make it an ideal place to browse for unique gifts. This stunning, modern estate known as the Dutch Barn is inspired by the proportions of a historic Cotswolds farmhouse. With six bedrooms, landscaped grounds, stables, and a five-oven AGA stove in the kitchen, it’s ready for holiday entertaining.
8. Belgravia Christmas Market, London, England December 5–6 London lights up each year for the Belgravia Christmas Market with its trademark striped awnings atop each stall on Pimlico Road. For just two days in early December, the streets appear to dial back the clock to an earlier era, and festive stalls offer food, drink, toys, and ornaments while music plays and electric lights shimmer. A particularly London-style touch is the iconic Black Cab photo booth, where Santa poses with kids in one of the city’s famed taxis instead of his traditional grotto. The light-filled, modern Penthouse at 59-60 Cadogan Place is situated a short walk from the location of the Belgravia Christmas Market. Charles Dickens wrote of Cadogan Place in his 1838 novel Nicholas Nickleby, and though London has certainly changed since the famous author’s time, Cadogan Place remains a lively street full of historic charm and character—especially at Christmas.
9. Union Square Holiday Market, New York City November 19–December 24 It’s no surprise that New York City’s Union Square Holiday Market draws nearly 1 million visitors each year to its more than 150 stalls offering food, ornaments, jewelry, toys, and crafts beneath their red and white striped tents. Since 1994, it has been one of the city’s most festive and popular holiday attractions, located about two miles due south of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. With its huge windows and spacious kitchen and dining area, this spectacular Upper West Side residence overlooking Central Park is a lovely place to watch the snow fall and prepare a sumptuous holiday meal after a shopping sojourn to the Union Square Holiday Market.
10. Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, Berkshire, Massachusetts December 4–6 Northwestern Massachusetts is a storybook winter wonderland with its rolling hills, famously robust snowfalls, and charming New England architecture. Each Christmas, the town of Stockbridge hosts Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, which includes a market, historic holiday home tours, a candlelit carolling walk, holiday-themed storytime for kids organized by the Stockbridge Library, a holiday concert at the First Congregational Church and, of course, lots of great food. Nearby in historic Lenox, Thistlewood, an 1880s estate, has been exquisitely restored. Grand, spacious rooms for entertaining, period woodwork and details throughout as well as multiple fireplaces make this six-bedroom home a magical winter getaway.
11. Great Dickens Christmas Fair, San Francisco, CA November 21–December 20 San Francisco does its best to recreate Victorian London at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, which occupies more than 120,000 square feet of space. Going well above and beyond the traditional arrangement of festive stalls, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair is actually held in a miniature London cityscape complete with winding streets, actors wearing period costumes, lamplit shops selling pewter wares and ornaments, and vendors selling roasted chestnuts. And with a staged performance of the Dickens holiday masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, it’s about as close to London as one can get without leaving California. And in keeping with the 19th-century spirit of the Dickens Fair, this three-bedroom Victorian “painted lady” on Pine Street has been beautifully restored and updated. Originally designed with ample space for displaying art, its spacious interior and chef’s kitchen are ideal for entertaining.
12. Canyon Road Farolito Walk, Santa Fe, NM Christmas Eve Santa Fe’s Canyon Road Farolito Walk offers a different twist on the historic Christmas markets of Western Europe. Inspired by the region’s Spanish heritage, this event takes place on Christmas Eve, when thousands of visitors walk along Canyon Road holding paper lanterns (“farolitos” in Spanish). Small sand-filled paper bags, illuminated with a votive candle, light the path while carolers sing. Not far from Canyon Road sits the exquisite Casa La Luna. Built in the 1920s and expanded in the 1990s, Casa La Luna is one of Santa Fe’s most striking heritage homes. With 13,400 square feet of space and six bedrooms, it is a spectacular retreat for holiday visitors who will no doubt be enchanted by Santa Fe’s luminous holiday celebrations.
From the collective insights and experiences of our expert international real estate affiliates, we have crafted a snapshot of luxury home buyer preferences in 2015. This is what luxury is today…
1 | LUXURY IS… SO MUCH MORE THAN LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Traditionally prominent addresses and prized ZIP codes are no longer the defining baseline concept for luxury homes. HNWIs are expanding the borders of traditional luxury locales, and are willing to pay a premium in emerging luxury areas if the amenities and lifestyle offerings are right. The evolution of high-end commercial real estate is also driving this phenomenon.
– “As certain areas of London become more accepted (The City, Battersea, Vauxhall, White City/Hammersmith, Earls Court, Shoreditch), we are finding domestic and international purchasers more open to areas traditionally outside their comfort zone. This is due to gentrification driven by increased residential development and improved infrastructure.” Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker, London
– “After being priced out of the traditional luxury areas, younger and international affluent buyers have embraced non-traditional areas such as Kowloon Island, where new developments are offering high-quality services and amenities.” KS Koh of Landscope-Christie’s International Real Estate, Hong Kong
2 | LUXURY IS… CONSCIOUS LIVING Owning a home that doesn’t negatively impact the community—and one that can even bring positive meaning—is attractive to wealthy buyers. The demand for more sustainable and healthy environments has placed greater emphasis on knowing where and how products are manufactured, and has fueled a trend toward conscious living.
– “The essence of the Cayman Islands lifestyle is derived from the beauty of our water and weather, and from the alignment of sustainable architecture with the natural landscape. In the luxury market, these elements remain a priority for discerning buyers who value creative vision and thoughtful design as a way of enhancing their lifestyle.” Jackie Doak of Provenance Properties, Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands
– “Luxury-home buyers are looking for houses that are energy-efficient as well as environmentally conscious in construction and amenities.” Walt Danley of Walt Danley Realty, Paradise Valley, Arizona
– “Affluent buyers are increasingly looking for close proximity to a vibrant community rich with cultural offerings and outdoor activities, as well as opportunities to volunteer and make a difference.” Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, Florida
3 | LUXURY IS… EXPERIENTIAL
Today’s new wealthy consumers are more informed, more globally exposed, and more sophisticated than previous generations. Baby boomers in particular are now “less materialistic and more experiential,” noted Cognizent in a luxury retail trend study. And HNWIs are being led into the luxury experience by prestige brands such as Christie’s. “The worlds of high-value art, education, travel, luxury goods, and architecture are colliding,” observes Dirk Boll, European Managing Director of Christie’s. “Our focus remains on serving our clients whenever and however they choose to connect with art. Increasingly they are connecting with art in luxury sectors such as architecture and travel, where the enjoyment extends beyond ownership and into experience.” This shift toward experiential luxury is similarly reflected in the amenity and lifestyle preferences of HNW home buyers.
– “Buyers are increasingly seeking to spend money on property features that could be described as ‘experiential’, such as a meditation garden or an outdoor shower.” Justine DeLuce of Chestnut Park Real Estate, Toronto
– “When economic imperatives aren’t driving things, there is a quest for meaning and a better life. The choice becomes: How is family life enriched by having access to amenities and lifestyle options that can be experienced every day?” Ruth Kennedy Sudduth of LandVest, New England
– “In Pebble Beach and Carmel, buyers are looking to harness some of the perceived slower tempo and quality-of-life priorities, especially when they select a property with provenance. It is not that the former owner has to be famous, or even widely known, but rather that the home has a history, a legacy and sense of presence that the new owner can honor as they create their own memories” Bill Mitchell of Carmel Realty Company, Carmel, California
4 | LUXURY IS… CONVENIENCE
The resurgence of urban downtown cores in many major cities and changing age dynamics are having a significant impact on the home-buying preferences of the world’s most affluent. As millennials grow up and baby boomers transition into life as empty nesters, many larger cities are witnessing a surge of affluent older buyers to urban areas. Residents of suburban areas are also increasingly seeing a preference for urban amenities.
– “Local empty nesters are opting to ‘downsize’ from large single-family homes into generously sized condo and townhome units, with many opting for developments that are within walking distance of offices, shopping, and restaurants.” Ron Shuffield of EWM Realty International, Miami, Florida
– “We have witnessed a trend of affluent buyers, generally aged 50 and above, selling the house in the greens and moving to town.” Michael Blaser of Wüst und Wüst, Zurich, Switzerland
– “Many baby boomers are downsizing and wanting to live near town for the convenience. They’re looking to be as close to city/urban living as the suburbs will allow.” Barbara Cleary of Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild, New Canaan, Connecticut
– “Lisbon’s property market has been growing, fueled by demand from clients looking for new and modern buildings in the city center.” Rafael Ascenso of Porta da Frente, Lisbon, Portugal
5 | LUXURY IS… AGE-AGNOSTIC
Multigenerational travel (trips involving at least three generations) was dubbed the biggest trend for 2014 by a luxury travel industry report. As growth in this type of tourism increases, some prestige real estate markets, particularly those in resort destinations, are seeing increasing demand for luxury homes with spaces that have the flexibility to adapt to generational diversity and entertaining requirements.
– “Wealthy buyers are increasingly focusing on family spaces such as places for adult children or grandchildren and guesthouses for elderly parents.” Dub Dellis of Walt Danley Associates, Paradise Valley, Arizona
– “We are seeing a trend toward the purchase of upscale apartments in luxury vertical developments that offer multi-functional spaces for flexible entertaining.” Lucia Cavazos of Gerencia RED in Monterrey, Mexico
– “A wide array of amenities and entertainment for the entire family are increasingly a priority for affluent home buyers. This trend is especially noticeable in young families where homes with amenities for children of all ages has become a must. This has led to a rise in important new developments being built in the outskirts of Bogotá, even within Country Clubs.” Juan Carlos Corredor Muñoz of Julio Corredor & CIA, Bogota, Colombia
6 | LUXURY IS… ULTIMATE PRIVACY
The age of the smartphone and its pervasive social-media feeds has brought with it an increasing desire for privacy, particularly for high-profile and celebrity buyers of luxury homes.
– “Eye-grabbing street views, which take out-of-town tourists by surprise and which took precedence in the days of Gregory Peck and Greta Garbo, have morphed into a preference for longer-than-ever gated drives, security systems, and being out of the public eye as much as possible. Ostentatiousness has been abandoned in favor of subdued.” Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, California
– “A key characteristic of many of today’s highest-end listings is ultimate privacy and seclusion. Paparazzi-proof hideaways—such as Donna Karan’s ‘The Sanctuary’ with its private-island feel—are increasingly sought after by security-conscious buyers.” Katherine Baryluk of Regency International, Turks and Caicos
7 | LUXURY IS… COLLECTIBLE
“For today’s wealthy investor, acquiring and holding collectibles is akin to building a store of treasure,” notes a report from Barclay’s Wealth Insights. Trophy real estate is the ultimate collectible treasure. Like buying a prized sports team or high-value artwork, trophy residences can ignite the passions of ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI). Many developers of ultra-luxury properties have baked collectible concepts right into their plans with limited-edition structures and one-off creations by highly regarded international architects and designers.
– “South Florida developers and globally recognized star architects are creating ‘works of art’ within many of Miami’s newest condo buildings. Buyers are being drawn to purchase third, fourth, or fifth homes here in order to own a unit in one of these iconic buildings.” Ron Shuffield of EWM Realty International, Miami, Florida
– “One-of-a-kind trophy homes are becoming the latest ‘must have’ for the world’s most affluent. Akin to owning a Warhol or a Bugatti, UHNWIs are increasingly seeking to own an architectural collectible, such as one of the 41 residences within the iconic Ten Trinity Square development by London’s River Thames. Discerning buyers see acquisitions of this kind as an opportunity to be a resident of a living piece of art and history.” Dan Conn, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate
8 | LUXURY IS… TURNKEY-READY
Many buyers are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of a “just bring your toothbrush” property, outfitted with top-of-the-line accoutrements that amplify a luxury lifestyle. Brokers reported an increased interest in brand-new residences, with buyers happily paying a premium for security, concierge, and other luxury amenities.
– “The year’s top sale in Beverly Hills was a $70 million ‘spec’ home, purchased with all furnishings and appointments, including an extensive collection of wines in the 2,500-bottle cellar and a fully stocked $200,000 candy wall. Tired of the line ‘just bring your toothbrush,’ the agent even provided eight OralB 3D Braun toothbrushes as part of the deal!” Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, California
– “Many buyers are more insistent on immaculate condition of houses or apartments. They have little appetite for refurbishment or ‘a project’ and are willing to pay more to be able to move in straight away.” Lulu Egerton of Strutt & Parker, London
– “Responding to interest from buyers, a number of new ‘turnkey’ homes came onto the market in 2014, an emerging trend in St. Barths.” Christian Wattiau of Sibarth Real Estate, St. Barths
9 | LUXURY IS… A BLANK CANVAS
At the other end of the spectrum, some enthusiastic buyers are pushing the desire for newness to new heights. Impeded by lack of quality inventory, more and more ultra-affluent buyers wish to build their owntrophy homes from scratch.
– “One of the most interesting trends is that of purchasing a trophy property with an older home and tearing that home down. As the very best lots were some of the first developed in Jackson, we anticipate that trend to continue.” Julie Faupel of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, Wyoming
– “The highest priced sale in 2014 was a $13 million estate. The property is set to be demolished and the owners will rebuild a new mega home.” Robert Greenwood of Regency International, Turks & Caicos
– “Due to the greatly constricted inventory in our market, we’re seeing significant new and custom construction for buyers who are seeking expansive, one-of-a-kind estates.” James Bruner of Fenton Lang Bruner & Associates, Jupiter Island, Florida
10 | LUXURY IS… UNDERSTATED
Luxury is no longer about brash displays of wealth, note many experts in our network. Instead, scaled-back, quality-over-quantity luxury will continue to be one of the key tenets behind many prestige property acquisitions.
– “Luxury buyers aim to be more discreet, less ostentatious. There is a trend toward architecture that blends into the topography of the area, not about everything being overtly expensive.” Justine DeLuce of Chestnut Park Real Estate, Toronto
– “Quality of amenities and lifestyle offerings are becoming more important to affluent buyers than the size of a home.” Emily Moreland of Moreland Properties, Austin, Texas
– We are witnessing a continuing shift from ostentatious displays of one’s wealth… to a more restrained expression of tasteful understatement.” Bud Clark of Willis Allen Real Estate, La Jolla, California
The attendees were made up of the 140 most successful real estate professionals in the network. Criteria for participation in the conference required that each attendee be among the top 10% of sales for their Affiliate. The training sessions and seminars were led by top industry experts and senior executives of Christie’s and Christie’s International Real Estate. They included the history of art and its relation to the sale of luxury real estate; how to position a listing globally to attract buyers; ways to negotiate the sale of real estate in a global context; and how to take advantage of state-of-the-art global marketing techniques.