The musician (real name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) is offloading his Miami Beach mansion to a new owner for a cool $10 million dollars. The waterfront home sits on a tiny, exclusive island just minutes away from world-famous South Beach.
Wayne’s estate features sleek, modern architecture, expansive windows, and a private boat dock. Dual balconies provide views of Biscayne Bay, while the roof boasts a custom-built skate park.
But the real mic drop may be an indoor shark pool.
Yes, that’s right. An indoor shark pool:
There’s no word on whether the 6-bedroom main house comes with sharks included, but a 3-bedroom guesthouse boasts a private recording studio.
There’s an outdoor infinity pool to cool off in during those hot South Florida summers, and 15,000 square feet of interior living space.
Bigger isn’t always better. In the case of this West Seattle remodel, the owners were set against a large, looming addition that they feared would overwhelm surrounding homes. They turned to Seattle design firm Board & Vellum, where they found the solution to their need for extra space.
In a surprisingly compact 740 square feet, their new addition incorporates space-saving techniques and unique design elements without overshadowing the neighbors.
The existing single-story home featured a finished basement, a small living room, two small bedrooms on the main level, an awkward entry, and few distinguishing features. “It just didn’t live large enough,” says Jeff Pelletier, principal at Board & Vellum. “There was no real breathing room at all.”
Understandably, the owners wanted more space, but they weren’t interested in sacrificing curb appeal to get it. Pelletier, who says he loves optimizing small spaces, was the perfect architect to take on the challenge.
A second story made the most sense to get the square footage the family needed, and Pelletier used a combination of bold structural choices and whimsical details to achieve the goal.
A second-story addition naturally requires a new stairway to reach it. The typical approach of stacking the new staircase atop the basement set of stairs initially made a lot of sense, Pelletier says, but it “created a challenging second floor that didn’t really work.”
Instead, Pelletier and his team turned a former front bedroom into an entry hall, and placed the new stairway just inside the front door. Then, they added a large archway and glass cabinets between the entry hall and the adjoining living room.
A generous pass-through helps the room spill out into an adjoining space without adding any square footage, while double-sided glass cabinets increase the visual size of the room and help it feel larger. “It’s a great trick for small spaces, where you need storage and a more open feel,” Pelletier says.
Another of the home’s space-optimizing design elements is a 3-foot overhang of the second story at the rear of the house. Placing the bulk at the back of the house easily hides the added space, and also creates a welcome cover over the back deck and grill.
It’s the little things
While the bulk of the family’s new space came with the construction of the second story, a number of smaller design elements helped the family further realize their addition’s potential.
The two kids’ rooms in the new upstairs space offered the most potential for creative design. “The rooms didn’t have to be big, but they had to be interesting,” says Pelletier.
In the daughter’s room, he created a reading nook in a window seat, with built-in bookshelves and storage underneath. In the boy’s room, he opened up the attic to create a loft accessed by a wall-mounted ladder, and closet doors slide side to side instead of swinging open into the room.
Instead of adding doors to upstairs linen closets, Pelletier designed a series of drawers so the closet looks like a built-in cabinet. And in the kids’ bathroom, Pelletier held out for a bathtub that was just slightly smaller than a conventional tub (4 1/2 feet long versus 5 feet long) but fit just right in the available space.
“That extra 6 inches made all the difference,” says Pelletier. “Sometimes you have to look for solutions that are a little more custom but allow the home to feel larger.”
Make the most of your remodel
Sometimes small design changes are all it takes to let a small home breathe. Pelletier offers a few tips to homeowners looking to add space to their existing homes.
Turn an attic into loft space. Removing a ceiling to open up an attic can make small bedrooms feel larger. It also allows for the option of a sleeping loft – something kids especially love.
Maximize space with built-ins. Adding built-in nooks – such as the glass cabinet in the entryway of this West Seattle home – offers space to store linens and collectibles, while also creating a sight line between two rooms.
Blend two small rooms. Adding French doors between a small office and a small living area gives homeowners the option of combining the two. Swing the doors open to create a combined space, and close the doors when there’s work to be done.
Consider a finished basement. Remodeling an unfinished basement is a sure way to gain more space, and it’s usually less expensive than adding on vertically.
One woman in Washington state learned that the hard way. She spent years living large, trying to fill sizable homes – up to 6,000 square feet – with stuff. Living by herself, she says she found it wasteful, if not a bit lonely.
She ended up finding freedom – in just 610 square feet.
Enter this charming cabin in the heart of Orcas Island, in the far northwest corner of the Evergreen State. The homeowner built it with locally-sourced wood and recycled denim insulation, giving the micro-home a small ecological footprint while offering big, breathtaking views of the water nearby.
Two massive, sliding barn-wood doors separate the bedroom from the main living area. Warm wood beams line the ceiling and windowsills, while hand-crafted shelving and baseboards complete the living space. All of the furnishings feature wood from trees grown locally on Orcas Island.
The owner repurposed a vintage farmhouse sink to anchor the open kitchen, while surrounding it with natural wood shelving and stainless steel accents. She also put a white clawfoot tub and pedestal sink in the bathroom, and used a weathered-looking turquoise-colored door to anchor the outside entrance to the basement (it currently houses a laundry room).
The owner tends to the 7,000-square-foot lot using organic methods, keeping wild honeysuckle, blackcap raspberries, red huckleberries and more. Wildlife – including owls, hawks and deer – are frequent visitors to the naturally-maintained property.
The weekend farmers market, local bookstore and cafes (including a restaurant run by a James Beard-nominated chef) are half a block away. Two beaches are within walking distance, allowing for a quick afternoon of kayaking or paddleboarding among the famous San Juan Islands.
Even with all the local amenities, the owner’s favorite aspect is the simplicity.
“There’s just so much more good one can do in life when living simply, because many burdens have been removed,” she said in an email. “I adore small spaces! I’m so grateful that I finally found the courage to live my values. I feel such relief and freedom.”
Celebrities often buy homes from their fellow A-listers. But even among homes with a rich celeb history, the Eva Gabor Estate is a standout. Built in 1938, the home boasts former residents including Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, and Audrey Hepburn.
Paul Williams, a renowned Hollywood architect, built this traditional-style home in Holmby Hills — a prime Los Angeles location – in 1938. Socialite and actress Eva Gabor, star of “Green Acres,” snapped up the 6,414-square-foot estate in the mid-’70s and lived there for two decades. The home became known for its long-term owner and, despite its other famous tenants over the years, the name stuck.
Hollywood glamour emanates from the stately, white home. From a brick paved driveway, a single red door leads into the grand foyer. A curved staircase beginning where the foyer ends draws the eye, and it’s hard to miss the enormous chandelier hanging overhead.
Photos by Adrian Anz, courtesy of Jade Mill.
A fireplace anchors the large living room, which includes a cozy reading nook with built-in bookshelves. Other living spaces in the home include a family room and two dining rooms.
Four of the home’s 6 bedrooms are upstairs, while another 2, described in the listing as “staff bedrooms” are located downstairs. Additionally, a 700-square-foot guesthouse and 1,000-square-foot detached office space boast several more bedrooms, bathrooms, and recreational space.
While iron gates and an impressive facade add to the home’s Hollywood allure, the grounds really complete the picture. The 1.1-acre lot includes a beautiful backyard with a tennis court, lush lawns, manicured gardens, a patio and a large pool.
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The chaos of modern life – with the constant stream of emails, multitude of devices and keeping pace with modern technology – can be exhausting. If you’ve ever thought about throwing away all your electronics, living sustainably or finally ditching life in the city, these 7 off-the-grid homes may have just what you need.
Unplugging from smart phones and the internet wouldn’t be difficult at this ultra private island property off Ambajejus Lake. In addition to the beautiful lake and Mount Katahdin views, it features two structures: one that is more insulated for winter stays and a larger cabin that would be more comfortable during the summers. You can enjoy complete solitude with this property – your nearest neighbor would be approximately 1 mile away.
This charming Idaho log cabin has floor-to-ceiling windows, a beautiful stone fireplace, a gourmet kitchen and a large bathroom with a clawfoot tub for soaking. The home comes with a large horse barn and complete-and-utter privacy on 40 acres of land. Hydro- and solar-powered, this home makes it very easy for you to enjoy a sustainable, off-the-grid lifestyle in the middle of the woods.
This home, with views of the North Cascades National Park and Methow Valley, makes going off the grid look luxurious. The house is set on 97 acres, featuring protected meadows, wild flowers and a pine forest. Inside, the home boasts 3,600 square feet of custom craftsmanship including a spiral staircase, large rec room and a spa-like master bathroom.
With such close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Reno, NV, this home would make the perfect getaway for those wishing to unplug. The interior of the home is rustic yet modern with a chef’s kitchen, two-story ceilings in the living area and a large stone fireplace. The property is perfect for snowmobiling in the winter and fishing in the summer, and even includes its own helipad.
Steps from the Piedra Lisa and La Luz trailheads, this solar-powered home is made for exploring the high desert. It was also designed to bring the outdoors in with large windows, a deck spanning the width of the house and a cozy window seat.
Whether you’re craving a cozy spot to finally draft that novel, or you simply want to enjoy the privacy and tranquility of rural Vermont, this custom-built, modern home fits the bill. Completely self-sufficient with propane radiant floor heat, it’s perfect for those harsh Northeastern winters. It also has an apple orchard and a permanent tree blind for a homeowner who wishes to hunt on the land.
Sweeping views of the mountains and forest, a custom crafted interior and a separate, spacious guest cottage are just a few reasons why this property is so spectacular. Though the home has the capability to be completely off the grid with solar paneling, a diesel generator and cistern water storage, you won’t be roughing it with an updated kitchen, tranquil bathrooms and a library.