Monthly Archives: February 2015

Home of the Week: A Classic Mediterannean Home in Beverly Hills

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a Victorian home on Martha’s Vineyard to a beautiful two-story tennis court estate in the heart of Beverly Hills.

Located enviably across the street from the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel, this opulent $10,850,000 estate perfectly captures the beautiful Beverly Hills lifestyle. Beverly Hills is globally known as the embodiment of luxury, sophistication and elegance – and this wonderful property listed by Christophe Choo absolutely lives up to those expectations.

The Mediterranean home built in 1987 comes complete with spacious rooms, high ceilings and French doors throughout. The home is tailor-made for those who love the camaraderie that comes from entertaining friends and family. Whether its enjoying lively conversation by the fireplace in the step-down family room, cooking in the huge updated kitchen, or heading to the formal dining room for a sit-down dinner – there are a plethora of ways to enjoy the home and the company of those closest to you.

The party doesn’t always have to be inside of this over 7,600 square foot home either! The covered terrace on the the side of the family room is the ideal place to lounge during cool rainy days. When the sun is out (and that’s pretty much every day in Beverly Hills), the estate offers a sparkling pool and meticulously landscaped yard to capitalize on the beautiful weather. Not to mention a pretty awesome tennis court as well.

The home is an entertainer’s dream, but it is also a serene haven that truly feels like home. The sizable master bedroom offers up views of the trees and foliage from the gardens below, a sofa lounge, wet bar, fireplace and even a sitting area on an outside patio. The his/her en-suite bathroom with walk-in closets, steam shower and sauna is the perfect way to wind down after a long day at the office.

Click here to see more of this iconic Beverly Hills home listed by Christophe Choo with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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Five Green Products Dog Owners Should Have at Home

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If you’re like me, you have found yourself addicted to searching the Adopt-A-Pet.com website since the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project launched, looking for that special one to bring home. But one thing not to overlook is all of the new products and toys you’ll have to purchase for your new family member, and hopefully those will be eco-friendly items. Check out these green products for your four-legged friend.

Krebs Recycle manufactures these dog leashes out of upcycled climbing rope.

SkinnyWidth Collar Plastic-Tie Dye

Cycle Dog is a company based out of Portland, OR, that uses recycled bicycle tubes to make these awesome dog collars.

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PoopBags indicates they are the only dog waste bag manufacturer to earn the USDA Certified Biobased label and uses natural ingredients such as corn to produce their doggie bag product. Brilliant!

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Harry Barker has all types of eco-friendly doggie beds and blankets made from recycled plastics.

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I loved this list from Phyllis DeGioia with DogTime.com because we all know “natural” ingredients don’t always mean the good stuff. In her review of Earthbath, she indicated that it rinsed quick and her dog Ginger’s fur smelled great.

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January Existing-Home Sales Top January 2014 Sales

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Existing-home sales for January 2015 were higher than January 2014, which represents the fourth straight month of year-over-year growth, according to the National Association of Realtors January Existing-Home Sales Report.

These year-over-year gains occurred despite a drop in total existing home-sales from December 2014 (4.82 million) to January 2015 (6.07 million). Inventory tends to be lower in the winter, so some buyers may be waiting until spring home buying season when the snow is thawed and more homes are on the market.

Prices continue to rise, which is a positive indicator for stronger buyer demand. The median national existing-home price in January was $199,600, marking the 35th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Below is the region by region price comparison of median home prices. As you usher in spring, start looking at new places you could see yourself living and check out these listings from around the country!

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Real Estate Headlines with China, San Francisco and Steve Martin

Welcome to the last week of February! Oscars have been handed out. College basketball season is coming to its climax. And before you know it there will be Easter candy in your cabinet. But before the thought of eating a whole box of peeps makes you gag a little bit, let’s start your week off on the right foot with your weekly dose of real estate headlines.

Are lenders beginning to ease requirements for getting a mortgage?

In case you missed it, Coldwell Banker is committing to find homes for 20,000 adoptable dogs this year with Adopt-A-Pet.com.

Everybody focuses on indoor staging, but outdoor staging should not be overlooked.

Does China have a real estate bubble?

We don’t like the sound of this, but San Francisco may have a pet housing crisis.

How’s this for a deal? Buy a condo. Get free Uber.

RISMedia asks why are real estate seasonal trends important?

Bet on these home improvement in 2015.

And finally, Steve Martin is selling his ’70s era concrete fortress of a home.

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‘Home’s Best Friend’: Pawsitively Adorable Outtakes

If you were one of the millions of movie buffs watching the Academy Awards last night then chances are you saw Victor, Layla, Max, Cotton and a handful of our other favorite rescued dogs in our ‘Homes Best Friend‘ commercial. What you didn’t see was the hilarity that ensues when you have over 20 dogs on a set performing tasks like jumping up for bubbles and looking sad when they really want to run around and eat treats all day.

As you can see, these pups put their acting shoes on and delivered some Oscar worthy performances, but not before doing some pretty hilarious things first. Here’s a behind the scenes look at some of our favorite outtakes from the filming of ‘Home’s Best Friend.’

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How to Throw an Award-Winning Oscar Party at Home

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Academy Awards night is always exciting, but this year it’s even more so since Coldwell Banker’s “Home’s Best Friend” commercial will be airing! We know many of you have seen it already on our YouTube channel and Facebook page, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it on the big screen. What better way to enjoy the show and the commercial than by hosting a viewing party right in your own home?

Last year, my friends Tiffany & Jacquelyn invited me to an Oscar viewing party. As soon as I saw the invite, I knew I was in for an amazing evening. With Tiffany being a fashion stylist and Jacquelyn being an event planner, there’s no such thing as a “small get-together” with these ladies – everything is planned to perfection and always over the top in the best way possible! Here are some tips on how to throw an award-winning Oscar party at home:

Fabulous Decor is a Must!

Immediately upon entering Tiffany’s apartment, we were greeted by a table filled with macarons, mini champagne bottles, beautiful flowers, and candles. All of this was surrounded by big, coffee table style books about fashion – perfectly tying in one of the biggest elements of the Oscars! Treat your guests to sweet treats, bubbly (champagne or sparkling water if you have underage guests!), and make sure your table is set to perfection.

Alert the Fashion Police

My friends & I had a blast voting on the red carpet styles by using these homemade “score cards” with phrases like “Fire Your Stylist”, “Giving Me Life”, etc. These were created by simply attaching the star-shaped cards to long Popsicle sticks and finishing it off with a sparkly gold ribbon. They looked beautiful arranged in a glass vase on the table and even doubled as a centerpiece. We even had cards with emojis… you know, for those times when no words are necessary:

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Prepare for Mid-Show Munchies

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Voting on red carpet outfits can really make you work up an appetite (wink) so it was great to have these bite-sized snacks on hand halfway through the show. Provide a few options for your guests so they don’t go home hungry!

Don’t Forget Your Phone Charger

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You’ll want to make sure your phone is fully charged so you can participate in our Twitter party that night using the hashtag #homerocks. We’ll be hosting along with our awesome co-hosts from Adopt-a-Pet.com and bringing you everything from live red carpet coverage to great articles about dog grooming, adoption, and so much more.

See you on Sunday!

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6 DIY Projects to Make Your Dog Feel More Comfortable at Home

From the moment you brought that cuddly pup into your house, it just felt right. He greets you by the door, he rests with you on the couch, he snuggles up to you in bed—when he’s there, you’re home. Which is why these 6 impressive dog lovers came up with home upgrades to please their pets, and make them feel just as comfortable and loved as their owners. If your dog makes your house a home, take a look, and see how you can return the favor!

Dog Washing Station

Image: Hometalker S.J. Janic Company, Inc./ S.J. Janic Company, Inc.

When you’ve got a dog (or two) in the family, bathtime becomes an Olympic event. Anything that can make washing more comfortable for you and your dog is a downright miracle. That’s why this happy family added its own dog-washing station, complete with pull-out stairs, made just right for canines. (Learn more about this project)

Doggy Throne

Image: Hometalker Jenise/ DIY Fun Ideas

To keep her pup Lily out of the laundry basket, this crafty pet lover gave her a special place to call her own. And there’s no way any dog could forget her place in your heart, with a setup like this! Pull this fancy throne beside your comfy chair, for some living room relaxation time for two. (Learn how here)

Pooch Porch Hangout

Image: Hometalker Roechelle/ DIY Show Off

Imagine the scene: Sunday morning relaxing on the porch, a great book in your hand, delicious coffee nearby, and a lounging pup at your side. This dog bed repurpose includes a parasol, so that puppy gets just enough sun. Resting together is the perfect way to enjoy a lazy weekend. (Learn more here)

Leash Holder

Image: Hometalker Dawn/ By Dawn Nicole

Your dog wants to go out, but his leash is nowhere to be found. It could be anywhere from under the couch to behind the bookshelf. To solve that timely dilemma, this dog lover made sure that finding the leash was as easy as finding her keys, so that puppy knows he can go for a stroll whenever nature calls. (Learn how to make it here)

Silhouette Canvas

Image: Hometalker Karah/ The Space Between

Add your lovable friend to your family’s gallery wall of happy moments, even if they won’t sit still for a picture, by creating customized canvas art. This pet lover’s masterpiece is a great way to bring your beautiful dog into your design, and to introduce visitors and guests to your sweet household. (Instructions here)

Feeding Station for Tall Dogs

Image: Hometalkers Jacque and Matt/ The DIY Village

If you’ve got a big dog, meal time can be a bit of a workout, with those low food and water bowls. Give your friend a comfortable tabletop, like this thrifty DIYer, by turning some old kitchen chairs into adorable doggy feeders, not to mention chic home decor. (Learn how to DIY here)

For more inspirations and tutorials to make your pup feel at home, take a look at Hometalk’s Pets and Animals topic page!

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Coldwell Banker CMO Sean Blankenship on Forbes

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Did you know we got a makeover? In fact, we re-launched our entire digital platform this past fall and created a suite of digital tools to benefit sellers, buyers and agents.

This week our Chief Marketing Officer, Sean Blankenship, one of PR Week’s Top 40 Marketing Innovators, appeared on Forbes CMO Network to talk about what’s new at Coldwell Banker.

You can watch his interview here.

In addition to our digital platform, Sean spoke about our brand new, canine-themed “Home’s Best Friend” campaign. If you love dogs and want to get involved in our partnership with Adopt-a-Pet.com, the “Homes for Dogs Project,” click here.

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Lastly, make sure to look out for the Coldwell Banker “Home’s Best Friend” ad during this Sunday’s Academy Awards, and if you absolutely can’t wait until then you can watch this video.

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Homes that Could Have Been in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

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While movie pundits expect ‘Boyhood‘ will sweep the Oscars this Sunday, many “in the know” seem to think ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ (with its 9 Oscar nominations) will play spoiler and grab a few of the coveted golden statues. As is the case with all Wes Anderson films, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is absolutely spectacular to look at. From the striking color palettes and charming Eastern European scenery, to the meticulously crafted Art Noveau decor that exudes old world luxury – the world of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a world most of us wouldn’t mind living in.

While the fictional city of Lutz in the imagined country of Zubrovka means living in that world would be impossible, there are plenty of current Coldwell Banker listings that would be a more than fine substitute. One look at these homes and you just might say they could have played a role in the movie I’m predicting will win Best Picture at the Oscars in a few short days (if Boyhood doesn’t win).

Take a look below!

Art Deco

According to LittleMissArchitect.com, the film’s design aesthetic is mostly Art Noveau, but there are clear Art Deco influences that can be noticed in the Hotel’s decor. Art Deco uses rich colors and bold geometric shapes, as exemplified by these arches that can be found in the Hotel.

If you want the real thing, this French home is right up Wes Anderson’s alley.

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Large Drawing Rooms

The large rooms in The Grand Budapest Hotel are highlighted by ornate custom beams on the ceilings, fine hand carved wood floors, beautiful rugs, french doors that let in wonderful views and paneled walls with some of the more intricate but subtle detailing you’ll see anywhere.

The two listings below, one from Chatillon En Bazois and another from Paris, both capture the look in the film almost to perfection. You can almost imagine the main character M. Gustave pacing or ordering Hotel employees to get things in proper shape for special guests.

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Soaking Spa Tub

This may be a potential spoiler alert, but the inciting incident of the film is when Jude Law’s character meets and begins chatting with F. Murray Abraham’s character in the very large room with various different spa-like tubs.

This scene depicted takes place in the present day when the Hotel isn’t in its best shape. The listing below has a very similar spa-like tub, except it is in pristine condition in a beautiful Villa in the Italian countryside.

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Indoor Pool

Being located somewhere in the cold mountains of Eastern Europe, the owners of The Grand Budapest Hotel were smart when they opted to put a pool inside of the premises as opposed to outside. Pardon the 21st century lingo that would not apply to this movie, but indoor pools are also very baller. Note the Art Deco arches and use of geometric shapes in this room as well.

This $54 million dollar home in Greenwich, Connecticut is more modern than the Hotel, but the pool coupled with its novel use of shapes makes it a space that Wes Anderson could have used.

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The Entrance

Any truly luxurious home or property needs to make a grand first impression, and The Grand Budapest Hotel does just that. As soon as you walk through those doors you’re greeted by an enormous space with a beautiful chandelier, stairs, balconies and some seriously fine trimmings just to name a few. When you walk in those doors you know you are in for a special experience.

An entryway as large and beautiful as the one from the movie is hard to replicate, but if any home can do it, the $195 million Palazzo di’ Amore is more than up to the task. Having had the good fortune to tour this property while we filmed World’s Most Expensive Homes, I can personally attest to just how world class it is. I’m sure M. Gustave would approve of these “quarters”.

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The Setting

The Grand Budapest Hotel is located in a fictional town in a fictional country, but inspiration for the area surrounding the hotel comes from Eastern European classic countries like the Czech Republic. The Hotel’s beauty is only rivaled by the land that surrounds it. One would think that the exterior shots were all CGI, but Wes Anderson shot most of the exteriors in Gorlitz, Eastern Germany, close to the border of Poland.

Who wouldn’t want to vacation or even live somewhere as magical and pleasant as that? Anderson’s movies are usually made up “worlds”, but the fact is there are actual places as beautiful as Lutz. Case in point, take a look at what surrounds this one-of-a-kind property nestled between snow-capped mountains in Aspen, Colorado.

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Balconies

The suites at The Grand Budapest Hotel are outfitted with all the amenities you could ask for, but one of the highlights of the suites would be the large french doors that open up to small balconies. You can either keep the doors open to let in light, fresh air and stunning views; or you can stand out and get a first-hand look at the gorgeous landscape.

The colors might not completely match, but the balcony in this Roman Palazzo listed for $5.5 million seems like it could have been plucked right off the set.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel Exterior

The exterior of the Hotel that you see in the Oscar nominated film is actual footage of a real life model that Wes Anderson’s art department built from scratch. In any event, the exterior is striking nonetheless! The Hotel appears to be a wonderfully kept up castle with two different but complimentary shades of pink. Highlights of the exterior are the towers on the left and right sides, the windows, balconies and classic European architecture.

Grand Budapest Hotel Exterior

We have castles, villas, palazzos and basically every “style” of home you could think of coldwellbanker.com. Here are three real homes that resemble the exterior of The Grand Budapest Hotel in some way or another.

This pink home in the heart of the Italian countryside seems like it could be the little brother or sister to the Hotel.

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The large towers and ornate facade of this Roman castle certainly do appear to be every bit as Grand as the Hotel.

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Last but certainly not least, this castle on 16 acres of French countryside may not be as colorful as the Hotel, but there is a definite resemblance!

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At Coldwell Banker Real Estate, we’re always excited for the Academy Awards, but even more so this year. We’re excited to see who will take home statues, but we’re even more pumped for the TV debut of our “Home’s Best Friend” commercial that we released online a week ago. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re looking to find 20,000 adoptable dogs homes this year, click here!

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4 Home Improvement Ideas to Tackle in 2015

January 1 has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to make a New Year’s resolution or two, especially if one of your goals for the year is to give your home some much-needed attention. Home improvement ideas can range from small changes that make a big difference in terms of your home’s cleanliness and efficiency to major projects that completely overhaul part of the house. You might also resolve to take care of some financial matters involving your home, such as getting a better rate on your mortgage. This year, take the time to focus on the needs of your home. Sound daunting? Use these home improvement ideas as a roadmap.

1. Clear Away Clutter

Who hasn’t, at one time or another, resolved to clean their home and make it more organized? Clearing away clutter should be where you begin before diving into any resolutions. You can’t really redo your kitchen or bath if both spaces are full of stuff, after all. There are two major approaches to effectively decluttering your house:

  • Move room to room, clearing out each space as you go.
  • Sort through things by category, such as clothing, books, kitchen items, and so on.

Getting rid of extra stuff should be your primary objective. Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, resolve to keep it from building up again. You might stick to a one-in-one-out rule, or decide only buy things when you absolutely need them.

2. Pick One Project At a Time

When brainstorming home improvement ideas, it’s easy to go overboard and pick more than you can reasonably complete in a year. Instead of resolving to fix up your kitchen, your bathrooms, and your windows, choose one project and start there. If this winter’s cold temperatures have found you reaching to turn up the thermostat more often than not, it might be a good idea to focus on replacing or resealing your windows. Replacing the gaskets in your windows can help you save about $30 per month in heating costs, according to This Old House. Choose the project that will provide the greatest benefit you and your home, with the least amount of effort.

3. Improve Your Home’s Financial Picture

If you’re still paying the mortgage on your home, one useful resolution might be to explore your mortgage options when it comes to refinancing, especially if it means you can end up paying less in the long run. You don’t want to jump into refinancing without doing some research first, though. Shop around and see what various lenders have to offer. It might turn out that refinancing ends up costing you more in the long run, or it might be the ideal option for you.

4. Bring Some Life In

Improving your home doesn’t have to involve a major renovation project or upgrade. In some cases, adding a small decorative touch is enough to brighten up a space. One way to do that is to purchase a houseplant or two. Houseplants are relatively easy to care for and can help filter the air in your home. Philly has several garden shops that specialize in the needs of urban homeowners, such as Urban Jungle in South Philly and City Planter in Northern Liberties.

It’s never too late to resolve to fix up your Philadelphia home. As you check your home improvement resolutions off, consider adding new ones as the year goes on, so your space gets the love and care it deserves.

Image Source: Flickr/Paul Sableman

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