Friday, March 24, 2017

Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs Compound, Architect Designed Trump's Mar-a-Lago & Michael Jackson's Neverland Is a Bargain


Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs Compound!

Actress Suzanne Somers and her TV-host husband, Alan Hamel, are one of those rare married couples who know what it’s like to live every day like it was Valentine’s Day.   If environment counts, their romantic Palm Springs home might have a lot to do with it.  With impeccable and elegant good taste, Suzanne has created a love nest that is voluptuous, tactile and out-and-out sexy.

Suzanne and Alan have created an earthy, and at the same time, glamorous estate which is now back on the market.  Modeled after L’oustau De Baumaniere in Provence, France, the compound is on 73 acres and set into the side of a craggy mountainside above the valley in Mesa Canyon. The couple combined their love of nature and elegance by bringing out the best in both with their use of contrast.  Crystal chandeliers twinkle against natural rock and reclaimed wood - rough against smooth, soft against hard.  Adding even more intrigue, access is via a private funicular, a golf cart or a hillside of stone steps - but no cars.  There are five buildings to explore with 8,826 square feet of living space between the pavilions.  One houses the master suite, another the dining and living room, a separate two-room kitchen and wine cellar and an elegant stone guest house designed in the 1920s by Albert Frey.  There is also an outdoor amphitheater carved into the mountain that seats 50, meditation garden, dance floor, pool, spa, hiking trails and natural waterfall that spills musically down the hillside into a pond.  Much of the home’s furnishings collected by Suzanne and Alan in their world travels are included in the sale. Scott Lyle of Teles Properties is the listing agent.

Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel have re-listed their ultra romantic, private Palm Springs retreat on 73 acres with eight bedrooms and eleven baths, asking $14.5 million.  Was first listed in 2008 at $35 million.




Architect Designed Trump's Mar-a-Lago!

There are some homes designed by renowned architects whose designs have stood the test of time, well suited to their physical location and environment.  In Palm Beach, Florida where wealth could buy the very best, architect Marion Sims Wyeth designed fabulous mansions including President Trump’s Southern White House, Mar-a-Lago, which he originally designed for heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post in the 1920s.  Carefully constructed using old world crafters, many of his homes are more important today than they were when originally built, including his own family home.  Wyeth also designed the Florida Governor’s Mansion and Shangri La, Doris Duke’s home in Hawaii.

One of Wyeth’s homes, Lemon Hill, has just come on the market.  Built in 1939 and tucked away on 2.63 private tropical acres at the end of a canal leading into the Intracoastal Waterway, it is a stately compound with waves of its namesake lemon colors on the home’s walls and borders and an impressive entrance surrounded by emerald lawns and tropical plantings.  Located along A1A in Gulfstream, equidistant between Palm Beach and Boca Raton, it is close to the ocean, world-class shopping, posh dining and many cultural attractions.  The small wealthy community of Gulfstream has an island feel and the ambience of Old Florida during its Gilded Age with its beautiful mansions and tropical landscaping.  Wyeth favored the use of wood-beamed ceilings, Cuban tile floors and pecky cypress along with generous sized rooms with large windows that would open the house to the trade winds.

The two-story main house at 6,206 square feet has four bedrooms, six baths, large formal rooms with high ceilings and fireplaces, a cypress-paneled library that opens to the pool terrace and a large kitchen and breakfast room to service a large family or for entertaining.  Between the main house, guest house, pool house and maid’s quarters, there are a total of seven bedrooms and twelve baths.  It also includes an elevator, hurricane shutters and backup generator.  One unusual architectural feature is Wyeth’s use of tall, double French pocket doors both on interior rooms and exterior walls leading to the garden and pool.  Designed for outdoor living, the covered outdoor dining area also has an outdoor kitchen with wet bar and refrigeration.  The private dock is a perfect spot to watch the Florida sunsets over the water.  The last owner, Nancy Cudahy Touhey, was well known for her beautiful fairy gardens on the grounds and she enjoyed serving visitors fresh lemonade squeezed from the lemon trees behind the pool.  Co-listing agents are Keith Neff and Quisqueya Neff of Sotheby’s International Realty.  Price includes all furnishings with the exception of four dining room wall sconces.

A taste of Old Florida in this pristine waterfront mansion designed by Marion Sims Wyeth, architect of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, priced at $9.495 million.


Michael Jackson's Neverland Is a Bargain!

It might not be a bargain but Michael Jackson’s Neverland, sans Michael’s menagerie of animals and carnival rides, is now much more affordable. First put on the market in 2015 with an asking price of $100 million, it has been relisted at $67 million for its 2,700 acres, lakeside mansion, sports courts, guest houses and famous floral clock.

Designed in 1982 by Robert Altevers, the main house at 12,000 square feet has rooms of large scale containing formal rooms, fireplaces, a comfortable but commercially functioning eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors from an 18th-century French villa, six bedrooms including a master suite complex on two levels with fireplace in sitting room, two large baths and cedar walk-in closets, one with a hidden safe room. There is a four-bedroom guesthouse, a two-bedroom guesthouse, a free-form swimming pool, large covered barbecue area, basketball court, tennis court, 50-seat movie theater with private balcony and stage, and a four-acre lake with waterfall. Long distance views include meadows and mountains.  Michael’s flower bed clock is still at the walkway entrance. There are numerous structures on the property including several barns, animal shelter facilities, corrals and a maintenance shop.

Sycamore Valley Ranch, named for its abundant sycamore trees on the border of Los Padres National Forest, is priced at $67 million. The new listing agent is Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Previews International.


Near Fort Lauderdale Spring Break Beaches!

Although things have quieted down quite a bit from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, it’s spring break time and thousands of college students will still head to the Fort Lauderdale beaches. The beach town that started the tradition in the 1930s, when northern college swim teams took advantage of the spring school break to compete in Fort Lauderdale tournaments and spread news of the city’s big sandy beaches and cheap hotel prices to their fellow students, is much different than the hotel balcony diving and wet t-shirt contest days. Instead of spring breakers, it is now the home of rich guys, beach penthouses, the world’s largest boat show and yachts on its 165 miles of water.   

Now for sale is a Fort Lauderdale waterfront house within walking distance of the glam shopping and restaurants of upscale Las Olas Boulevard and the Atlantic Ocean beaches. Appearing like a boat under sail, the curved concrete roof, wood, stone and glass home with three-level terraces over the water is 4,500 square feet. The three-bedroom, four-bath house was designed by Vernon Pierce which, according to Tropic Magazine, he modeled after a ship and his love of boating.  In some areas the interior is open to the third floor crow’s nest office accessed by sweeping spiral staircase and 24-foot custom chandelier with sunlight and breezes flowing through large expanses of glass. The exterior has multiple levels of terraces and decks overlooking the private dock, pool and spa.

Sailboat inspired home near Fort Lauderdale shopping and dining and for walks along the beach, priced at $4.375 million.


Historic 1910 New York Hotel!

Many dream of owning a Bed & Breakfast and imagine one with charm and hopefully a beautiful location.  When the time comes to make that dream come true, the right place might be hard to find - not enough guest rooms, a difficult layout for serving breakfast, possible lunch or dinner, not enough private owner space, not the right location to draw in guests or lacking an atmosphere where owners and guests can mingle and have a good time - a myriad of details that make the search disheartening.  Not the case with the historic waterfront Pleasant Beach Hotel that recently came on the market in Upstate New York.  

Pleasant Beach’s history dating back over 100 years, the small hotel at the edge of Fairhaven Bay on Lake Ontario was one of many summer hotels built in the early 1900s.  Though most of them are long gone, it was believed that the original owner, Floyd Clark, “fireproofed” Pleasant Beach with the use of pressed tin ceilings and upstairs walls with a masonry exterior and metal roof.  When so many of the hotels were being ravaged by fire, having been constructed of timber in the Victorian motif, Clark was able to advertise the Pleasant as fireproof.

Over the years, different owners have configured the interior according to what most effectively served their guests during their particular era.  Today the hotel has nine guest rooms, a restaurant-bar with seating for 185 and parking for 62 cars.  The dock consists of 20 to 25 boat slips and eight moorings with water and electric.  There is a boaters shower on the exterior in walking distance from the dock.  The owner’s apartment is independent of the hotel and is located on the third floor with stunning views to Little Sodus Bay.

A hundred years of documented history of the hotel comes from the current owner who has been diligent in accumulating years worth of research within the community.  More than enough to keep guests spellbound.  The listing agent is Michael R. Franklin with Franklin-Rutten Brokerage.  Pleasant Beach Hotel is priced at $975,000.



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