Real Estate Market Continues to Improve as Bob Hope’s Estate Gets Listed

10346 Moorpark St, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

The numbers are in and home prices in the US rose 12.4% in June when compared to home sale prices one year ago.  Low inventory continues to have a big impact on price.  Experts predict that an increase in the number of homes being built and the increase in interest rates may lead to a slowing down of the current scenario but overall results will continue to be positive.

10346 Moorpark St, Toluca Lake, CA 91602

Bob Hope’s estate in Toluca Lake, California has been listed for $27,500,000.   This is truly a spectacular home (really a compound); once you drive through the front gate you really never need to leave!  There is both an outdoor pool and an indoor pool and spa, a guest house, staffs quarters and of course, a private golf course!

The original architect, Robert Finkelhor, designed the home in 1939 and was responsible for designing many notable Hollywood celebrities and executives homes, including Harpo Marx. 

In the 50’s the home was updated with a more contemporary style by architect John Elgin Woolf who also worked for many celebrities including John Wayne, Cary Grant and Greta Garbo.  One beautiful home updated by Woolfe was most recently rented by designer Nate Berkus.  

SKINNY home sells in Manhattan


This 9 ½ feet wide row house recently sold in Manhattan for $3.25 million.  Located in desirable Greenwich Village at 75 ½ Bedford Street, one of New York’s narrowest houses is designated an historical landmark by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.  Built in 1873, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Meade, Cary Grant and John Barrymore have all stayed there at one time.  

See more skinny homes and other buildings here.

Maybe the new owner can use some of the tips from this article by Fred Albert with tips on decorating a narrow room…..

Belcourt Castle




Take a look at this amazing Rhode Island home, now named Belcourt Castle which was purchased by Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of the jewelry company Alex and Ani.  The architectural detail in this nearly 40,000 square foot residence is incredible.  The home was purchased for $3.6 million.  Many millions will be spent on the rehab and when done, Ms. Rafailian has no plans to move in.  Instead she may open the home for house tours, install an art gallery or use as an event space.  I love that the home will be restored to its’ original beauty and that the public will be able to enjoy.  See more pictures of this home here.

Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani, has created a company that makes beautiful necklaces, bracelets and rings using recycled materials.  The eco-friendly jewelry is made in America with the goal to not only produce beautiful jewelry but also to empower and enlighten those who wear it. Within Alex and Ani, the line called Charity by Design creates jewelry inspired by a variety of charitable organizations; each organization receiving 20% of the sales from that line.  Stand Up To Cancer and Blessings in a Backpack are just two organizations that benefit.        

This and That

Great news in the real estate market; home sales are on the rise and have been increasing steadily for 26 months in a row.  The increase in demand has allowed home prices to increase.  All good, right?  The down-side is that appraisers may find it difficult to accurately analyze the home’s current value, which can lead to disappointing appraisals and that can stop a home sale in its tracks.  What to do?  If possible, try to be prepared for the home appraisal by having recent home sales data available for the appraiser.   An appraiser will use sales figures for comparable homes that have sold within the area, usually within 1 mile of the home being appraised.  And the appraiser will look back through up to 6 months of sales.  Since home values are on the rise, home sale prices from just 6 months ago may not accurately reflect today’s market.  I have found appraisers to be receptive to any factual data I can offer. 

Just in case you are thinking of putting your house on the market soon, this article from Houzz by Laura Gaskill lists key places to spend your dollars.  Some ideas are simple but will still have a big impact on potential buyers.  I like the tips for updating a tired bathroom.

For the past few months I have been enjoying the blog Little Green Notebook by Jenny Komenda.  Jenny is an interior designer and is currently updating her family’s new home.  She offers great DIY tips and lots of inspiration.  I wish I had her energy!

What I Found Interesting Today

Here are a few tidbits that I found interesting while surfing the web today. 

A home in Philadelphia built between 1959-1961, designed by famed Architect Louis Kahn, is on the market.  Listed for $1,100,000, this modernist design incorporates lots of natural light and includes a family room.  See more pictures here.

French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud is celebrating 150 years and asked artists, movie-makers and photographers to help them celebrate by sharing their views with Bernardaud.  There are some great collections designed by the artists on the website.  I think my favorite design is by Sarkis.

I discovered the blog STILL.  Photographer Mary Jo Hoffman offers a daily image from nature which she and her family have discovered near their home in Minnesota.  Her style is simple and elegant.   Below is an example of her thoughtful work. 

Beautiful, isn’t it!?