Gardens Like These Are Cause For Celebration

Backyard Water Feature

A grand entryway or elegant dining room can wow your guests, but nothing leaves a lasting impression like a spectacular garden.

The good news is that homeowners can grow thriving gardens anywhere. Every region in the U.S. belongs to a specific plant hardiness zone, and because of that, it’s easy to choose perennials that will survive the winter and create show-stealing green spaces. Endemic species are easy to care for and help nourish local biodiversity, while exotic species can generally acclimatize to a range of situations.

To envision what’s possible for a variety of gardens in a variety of settings, leaf through these luxurious properties and see how they’ve cultivated their vegetation to create gorgeous venues.

A Flowering Oasis in the Tucson Desert

Tucson Backyard Oasis
Thalia Kyriakis - Ross Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

An arid region such as Tucson, set amid the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by five low-rising mountain ranges, may at first glance seem daunting for gardeners. But the subtropical climate and warm year-round weather makes places like this great for drought-tolerant landscaping, or “xeriscaping”.

The fact that plants can proliferate in the dry Arizona heat is on full display at Eleven Arches, a rare trophy property designed in 1937 for a glamorous heiress, and officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With a lot that can accommodate 70 cars and a south yard with space for 250 guests, picture a private retreat—like a company summit or a wellness getaway—at this illustrious gated residence in the Catalina Foothills, with shrubs and cacti in full flower.

The Trees are All Abloom in Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Back Yard
Lydia Geraldo - Sotheby's International Realty - Westlake Village Brokerage

In mild regions, vegetation is adapted to seasonal variations in temperature and rainfall. That’s typically the case with Mediterranean-style climates, such as Los Angeles, where most of the year is hot and dry—but cool, clement winters and the proximity of the coast creates fluctuations that support a range of flora.

That’s why this Beverly Hills residence, with its front drive through a lush copse, and a back patio densely swathed in wisteria vines, would be an incredible place to host a glittering soirée. With custom sliding doors connecting the state-of-the-art kitchen to the al fresco dining area, guests can savor hors-d’œuvres while taking in the city of angels’ magical vistas.

Ripe Vines in Napa Valley Wine Country

Napa Valley Garden
Ginger Martin - Sotheby's International Realty - St. Helena Brokerage

The temperate conditions that sustain the nation’s farmlands and orchards also nurture the growth of wonderful gardens. This is particularly true in wine country, such as Napa Valley, where ample sunshine and fertile soil allows for the burgeoning of vineyards and backyards alike.

Complemented by fountains and pools, tennis and bocce courts, and a world-class wine cellar, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place more suitable for a celebratory luncheon or post-event reception than the garden of this luxury compound. Set out a table on the grounds of this sprawling, lushly landscaped property, and get ready for a leisurely afternoon of wine pairing, food sharing, and basking in the bright blue glow of Lake Hennesey.

New York City’s Quiet, Natural Sanctums

Upper East Side Garden
Louise C. Beit - Sotheby's International Realty - East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Those living in coastal regions will be accustomed to maritime settings, with substantial precipitation, moist air, and moderate or humid weather all year long. When sown with the proper species and cultivars, gardens are energized by these conditions—even in busy metropolises such as New York City.

Enclosed by mature pear trees, and boasting an enviable limestone terrace and landscaped garden, this townhouse shows just how green an urban neighborhood like the Upper East Side can be. It’s easy to imagine an elegant tea time or posh brunch taking place in this prestigious 1870 construction, with its expansive roof deck looking out towards Midtown Manhattan.

Evergreen Yet Ever-Changing in Chicago

Chicago Garden
Matt Leutheuser and Tim Salm - Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Inland regions make up most of the continental U.S., with major cities, vibrant communities, and distinct, dynamic seasons that enable gardeners to display a diverse mix of vegetation. Chicago is a perfect example of this—hot summers, cold winters, and spring and fall weather that’s as variegated as the local trees and flowers.

This estate in the affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood demonstrates the area’s natural splendor, as does the eponymous lakeside woodland. Built on a parcel of land larger than eight city lots, the mansion is a genuine masterpiece. There would be no better place to hold a formal banquet or gala than in its ornately-wrought garden pavilion, positioned between bountiful greenery, antique fountains, and meditative reflecting pools.

To anyone who believes that they lack the space, light, or location to cultivate a garden—take heart. There are trees, shrubs, and blooms suited to every possible environment, and suited to every personal style.

Need to add more natural elements to your lifestyle? Take a step into this beautiful New Zealand home with a bonus mountain skyline. 

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Originally posted by Sotheby’s International Realty.

Manhattan Penthouse Outdoor Kitchen

Feasting Alfresco: 4 Homes With Delectable Outdoor Kitchens

Author Claudia Roden’s assertion that “everything tastes better outdoors” is certainly true at these four homes, where meals come with a side of fresh air and vistas of sparkling city lights or starry nighttime skies.

Relaxing Retreat

Texas Outdoor Kitchen
Friendswood, Texas | Geri Mills, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

This four-bedroom home in peaceful Friendswood, Texas—just on the outskirts of Houston—deftly combines charm and elegance. It features a gourmet kitchen, a spacious game room, an office or fifth bedroom, tumbled travertine floors, and a whole-house generator. The one-acre grounds are colorfully landscaped and offer a swimming pool and a covered outdoor entertaining pavilion with a warming fireplace and a summer kitchen that boasts a cast-iron grill, a refrigerator, an ice maker, a microwave, and two sinks.

Chic Condominium Aerie

Manhattan Penthouse Outdoor Kitchen
New York, New York | Tom Doyle, Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown                Manhattan Brokerage

Perched atop one of Manhattan’s landmark Beaux Arts buildings, this three-bedroom penthouse is the ideal setting for sophisticated living and entertaining. Among the highlights are a generous living and dining area, an impeccably designed chef’s kitchen, three bedroom suites, and home automation and Sonos sound systems. The enviable roof terrace offers space for lounging, built-in speakers, and a streamlined alfresco kitchen with a refrigerator, a sink, and a stainless-steel grill. Two storage units and furnishings are included in the sale.

Texas Treasure

Houston, Texas Outdoor Kitchen
Houston, Texas | Ruthie Porterfield, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

This Palladian-style Houston home is distinguished by its exceptional architecture and finishes. The interiors boast a grand staircase, formal living and dining rooms, a butler’s pantry with a wine vault, a study, a light-filled great room, a chef’s kitchen with top-tier appliances and a breakfast area, a media room, and five bedroom suites. The grounds offer an alluring resort-caliber pool and a living and dining terrace with built-in speakers, television wiring, a stone fireplace, and summer kitchen with eye-catching tile and a built-in grill.

California Contemporary

California Outdoor Kitchen
Los Altos Hills, California | Arthur Sharif, Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage

A collection of artisans, contractors, engineers, and designers joined esteemed architect Robert Swatt in the creation of this spectacular contemporary Silicon Valley estate. The heart of the striking home is a living room where window walls on each side open to the outdoors. Surrounding the residence are sculptures, emerald lawn, a refreshing pool, terraces and decks for lounging and basking in city light views, and a Carrara marble–wrapped outdoor kitchen with a grill, smoker, and other amenities sure to please any chef or entertainer.

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Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Perfectly Patterned: 5 Homes With Picturesque Wallpaper

Sitting Room

Few things transform an everyday interior space like carefully chosen wallpaper—whether classically botanical or bold, bright, and modern.

Silver Lake Jewel

Los Angeles Sitting Room
Los Angeles, California | Simon Beardmore, Sotheby’s International Realty – Brentwood Brokerage

On a quiet hilltop in Silver Lake, this delightful two-bedroom home features charming living and dining rooms and two versatile rooms that serve as office or additional guest spaces. Dating to the 1920s and painstakingly updated and maintained, it is filled with eye-catching architectural and design details, including exposed beams, roman clay walls, oak floors, a hand-painted kitchen floor, custom tilework, graceful archways, and distinctive wallpaper that contributes to the decorative allure in a number of rooms.

Colorful Prewar Co-op

New York Living Room
New York, New York | Jeremy V. Stein & Marc Fichera, Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage

A skillful renovation of this “classic 7” in the famed Astor Court building respects its historic prewar aesthetic while adding modern comforts and conveniences. Highlights include a bright living room with handsome wood paneling and a wood-burning fireplace, a welcoming dining room with wallcoverings from Studio Zen, a custom-designed and -finished kitchen, and three private bedrooms secluded in their own wing along with a powder room with whimsical wallpaper from Voutsa.

Inviting Elegance in Houston

Houston Texas Living Room
Houston, Texas | Martha Adger, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

Exemplifying traditional elegance, this stately brick manor in the gated Houston community of Stablewood encourages entertaining with its inviting living spaces, multiple outdoor areas, summer kitchen, and heated pool and spa. Other highlights include a cook’s kitchen with an island, a family room, a generous primary suite, three guest suites, a study, a media room, and a versatile space with a full bath above the two-car garage. Intriguing use of stone, paint, wood, and wallpaper creates eye-catching surfaces and elements throughout.

Park Avenue Panache

Park Avenue Dining Room
New York, New York | Serena Boardman, Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Occupying the entire third floor of a distinguished Park Avenue building that dates to 1914, this immaculately maintained six-bedroom residence enjoys a desirable circular floor plan, sunny southern outlooks, and verdant treetop views. Its inviting public spaces—each of which is warmed by a wood-burning fireplace—include a generously proportioned corner living room, a wood-paneled library, a study, and a spacious dining room with classically inspired botanical wall coverings.

Uncommon Contemporary


Floral Wallpaper In Bathroom
West University Place, Texas | Vickie Driscoll, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

On a beautifully landscaped lot with a pool and an enviable outdoor kitchen, this striking four-bedroom contemporary home features an array of unique spaces, from an Italian-inspired kitchen, a glass-enclosed wine room, and a family room with a warming dual-sided fireplace to a media room, a handsome study, and a peaceful primary suite. Nearly every space boasts uncommon luxurious finishes, including superior fixtures and appliances, lacquered cabinetry, and distinctive tile and wallpaper.

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Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Fabulous And Functional: 5 Home Offices That Inspire Productivity

Aesthetically pleasing home office
For the busy professional, having a home office can be non-negotiable. These studious, aesthetically pleasing spaces in homes from East Coast to West boast designs that balance elegance and efficiency.

Upper East Side Sophistication

Manhattan home office
Robert E. Doernberg, Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

High above Lenox Hill, this six-bedroom duplex condominium is flooded with light and revels in stunning skyline, East River, and Central Park views. Highlights include an open-plan living room with plentiful windows, a formal dining room, an eat-in kitchen, a den, and a gym. A corner office with two exposures enjoys an impressive panorama of the city that never sleeps, while the library has numerous built-ins and another iconic view. Four wraparound balconies offer further opportunities for appreciating the vista.

Greenwich Grandeur

Greenwich home office
Leslie McElwreath & Joseph Barbieri | Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

        On 8.23 colorful acres, this 18,954-square-foot Georgian estate is a majestic retreat. It offers eight bedrooms, formal living and dining rooms, a Smallbone kitchen, a family room, a wine cellar, a theater, a game room with a bar and concession stand, a dance studio, a gym, a batting cage, an elevator, a dumbwaiter, a five-car garage, a whole-house generator, a resort-caliber pool, and an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven and three grills. The mahogany-paneled office includes an upper gallery with a striking brass railing.

Urban Oasis

Sunset Strip Home Office
Tyler Jacobs, Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage

In the heart of Hollywood, this distinctive residence was built by the family of President William Howard Taft in 1922. Blending Italianate and Craftsman styles, it offers four peaceful bedrooms, a formal dining room, a solarium, a remodeled gourmet kitchen, a wine cellar, and an office with verdant wall treatments and French doors to the lush backyard oasis, which includes a pool, a spa, and a fire pit. The property also features a one-bedroom casita secluded at the end of the long private driveway.

Wine Country Getaway

Wine Country Home Office
Cheri Stanley & Jennifer Parr, Sotheby’s International Realty – Wine Country – Sonoma Brokerage

Abundant oversized windows and multiple decks allow for enjoyment of gorgeous wine country views from nearly every vantage point of this Sonoma estate. The 7.14-acre property includes a four-bedroom main residence, a guesthouse with a private entrance and driveway, a wine cellar, a freestanding art studio, two detached garages, and a hot tub. In addition to fluid spaces for living, dining, and entertaining, the home features an office or library with handsome wood built-ins and a wide sunny window.

Lincoln Center Luxury

Downtown Manhattan Home Office
Mara Flash Blum, Andrew Harris, & The Field Team, Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage

Introduced by a stunning foyer with a sweeping sculptural staircase, this dramatic duplex perched atop Lincoln Center features a great room overlooking Central Park, a dining room with views of the Empire State Building, a bar clad in black marble, and a dazzling kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Opaque glass doors divide the primary bedroom and its en suite bath from the sizeable office, which enjoys its own enviable view. Residents benefit from direct access to culture, music, theater, and dance. Discover luxury homes for sale and rent around the world on

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Natural Wonders


The innate character, the unique graining, the colors that take their cue from the earth—there’s so much to love about natural stone. Using it throughout your home, whether iterated for countertops, walls, flooring, or accents adds a singular beauty that can’t be replicated. “No two pieces of stone will ever match completely, as veining and color are all made by Mother Nature,” says Gioi Tran, founder and principal designer of San Francisco-based design firm Applegate Tran Interiors.

Each type of stone has a distinctive range of natural patterns all its own. For a cleaner look, you’ll want stones with more uniform or solid backgrounds. For a complex appearance choose stones with scattered veining, says Mary Dimichino, senior designer at Bakes & Kropp cabinetry in New York. “The finish, whether polished or honed, also impacts the appearance of natural stone. It can transform a surface’s texture, color, and reflectivity,” she says.

And because of its inherent imperfections, natural stone is forgiving—the more flaws, the more interesting the look. But perhaps its most useful quality is durability. “Natural stone is hard-wearing and provides a durable surface for flooring, kitchens, and bathrooms while also relatively being easy to clean, hygienic, and nontoxic,” says Maneli Wilson of Maneli Wilson Interiors in New York. And it’s entirely environmentally friendly. “It does not require any artificial processes or chemicals for manufacturing, unlike many other man-made engineered building materials,” she says.


One of the strongest of all-natural stone varieties, granite is a low-maintenance option that’s heat- and scratch-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor and high-traffic spaces such as laundry rooms, mudrooms, and kitchens, Wilson says. Many types of granite are speckled with flecks of color, while others have veining and swirls similar to marble.

Made of many types of crystals, each slab of granite has unique coloring and veining and is often sold in shades of white, beige, black, blue, green, or gray, Dimichino says.

It’s great for kitchen counters and backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and in tiles as a feature wall, Tran says.


Granite Fireplace
Granite adds a nice touch to a fireplace designed by Maneli Wilson.
Photo Credit: Chandler Pierce Architecture


  “While granite was looked down upon for decades, it is finally having a well-deserved comeback,” says Phillip Thomas, founder and principal of Phillip Thomas Inc., a design firm in New York City.    


Quartz Countertops
A kitchen designed by Phillip Thomas uses quartz. Photo Credit: Eric Piasecki


“I have had a number of commissions lately that specifically ask for granite. New discoveries in granites that have the same qualities of quartz and marble are definitely driving this resurgence,” he says. “It has incredible depth and texture and is warm underfoot.”

Before working with natural stone, Wilson recommends obtaining stone samples to check for color, or actually visiting the stone yards themselves to see the stone in person. “Color, veining, and natural characteristics will vary from slab to slab,” she says. She also suggests having any stone surfaces resealed once every six months to ensure longevity.


Luxury Kitchen
This kitchen is also designed by Phillip Thomas, feels as luxe as can be. Photo Credit: Michael Mundy



A type of marble, onyx comes in varying degrees of patterns and a rainbow of colors, including popular hues like jade, mint, light pink, and warm tan.

Tran loves the glamour and translucency of the material and uses it for feature walls, bathrooms, counters, and even furniture. “The veining, variety of colors, and vibrancy make this material genuinely spectacular; it’s perfect to be backlit as either a feature wall, powder room vanity, or even under a bar counter,” he says.

“A unique attribute of onyx is that it’s translucent and can be backlit for a wow effect,” Wilson says. “However, the downside is that it is also very soft and prone to cracking. It should be used selectively to ensure it stays away from areas of high traffic and frequent use,” she says.

It’s typically featured as an accent. “Its translucent quality, warm color tones, and beautiful veining can be stunning in the right application,” says Donna Mondi, founder and principal, Donna Mondi Interior Design in Chicago. It’s pricey, “but perfect for a floating vanity or accent wall insert.”

“It is so beautiful and unique that it’s almost like lining your home in jewelry,” Thomas says. “I love to use onyx in bathrooms because it gives the space a warm, luxurious glow.”


A porous limestone sedimentary rock, travertine has a uniform look and feel with its characteristic pores and pits gracing its surface. Depending on the variety of travertine, these pits can be small and sporadic or very large and frequent. The colors of travertine are more neutral than other types of natural stone, and they range from ivories and creams to darker taupes or browns. “Color swirls and waves throughout [travertine] bring energy to a space and lend a more modern aesthetic,” says Young Huh, interior designer, Cosentino Design Alliance based in New York.

Travertine can also be iterated in various finishes from honed and polished to brushed and tumbled. “It’s the most suitable material for damp or humid environments, cladding walls, fireplaces, and bathrooms, since it’s naturally porous and breathable,” Wilson says. “It is also a great choice to use around swimming pools and bathrooms and shower floors, as unpolished travertine does not become slippery when wet,” she says.


Terrazzo is a composite material that uses chips of natural stones such as marble, granite, quartz, glass, or shell that are combined with epoxy or cement. And it’s extremely resilient and durable. “Typically poured in place for floors, the price tag is high, but you can find many options of premade terrazzo in tile formats which are a great way to incorporate it into bathrooms and kitchens,” Mondi says.

With its wide range of colors and patterns, terrazzo provides an abundance of design flexibility. “Terrazzo is low maintenance, nonporous, and incredibly durable, making it ideal for flooring applications in both residential and commercial spaces,” Wilson says. Since it’s made of recycled glass and stone chips, it also makes for a highly eco-friendly material option, she adds.

And it can be customized to fit any color plan and precast into a multitude of shapes to create furniture and cabinets, Tran says. “Because it’s a composite material, you can mix in different colors and insert all sorts of stones and metals,” Thomas says.

“Based on 18th-century Venetian pavement, terrazzo has come a long way and can be custom poured, shaped, or even made into tiles that can be chic and elegant for inside pools and bathrooms,” Tran says.

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Home in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico

Superluxury Properties Break Records

Call it pandemic purchasing or a change in priorities for high-end homeowners, but the US$30-million-plus home sale is a trend that shows no signs of slowing.

“The gains from the stock market have been so strong over the past decade,” says Jessica Canning, agent and luxury specialist, Sotheby’s International Realty–Carmel Rancho Brokerage. “Plus, a lot of people are evaluating what they want to do with their lives and how they want to spend what they’ve earned. Many are focusing on spending quality time in places that make them happy.”

Here, three agents share more about their US$30 million deals and what homeowners are looking for in high-end properties in these markets


With only 26 oceanfront properties and 52 golf-front properties in the exclusive coastal community of Pebble Beach, that dynamic of fixed supply and increased demand (the ratio of buyers to sellers is currently 10 to 1) has been on full display in the US$30 million second-home market in this area, known for its gorgeous coastline and renowned golf courses.

In July 2021, a 10,000-square-foot residence with views of the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Carmel Beach sold for $32.7 million in a deal brokered by Sotheby’s International Realty - Carmel Rancho Brokerage. A record for California’s Monterey County.

During the dot-com boom 20 years ago, homes were selling in the US$20 million–to–US$22 million price range. Now, that price has been elevated to over US$30 million.

“With 30% of our buyers coming from the Bay Area, we tend to dovetail with what’s happening in that market,” Canning says of Silicon Valley, which is two hours away by car.

The biggest driver of value—and therefore price—of any home north of US$10 million is a house featuring a big kitchen and extensive square footage both inside and out, Canning says.

“Ultimately, buyers are seeking a home with the best conceivable view,” she says. “As well as the most luxurious amenities.”


For home buyers eager to live full time in Puerto Rico, the luxurious homes in the East Beach community within Dorado Beach are a huge draw.

In fact, a two-acre ocean property with a main house and a guest house sold for US$30 million last year, the highest ever for Puerto Rico, according to Oriana Juvelier, president of Puerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty, who served as listing agent on the sale.

“Home buyers are seeking favorable tax situations,” she says. “They’re also seeking 13,000 to 15,000 air-conditioned square feet, and another 4,000 to 5,000 square feet of outdoor living, because our great weather enables us to be outside year-round, from sunup to sunset. That’s what you’ll get in the US$30 million range.”

And for the US$30 million home buyer, amenities abound, including wellness spaces for yoga, pilates, and cycling, and an at-home spa.

“Home buyers used to want a movie theater or bowling alley,” Juvelier says. “The new luxury buyer wants a full body-treatment space and at-home spa space with floor-to-ceiling windows facing a garden, backyard, or green space of some sort.”


Home in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico
Most expensive home in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico | Puerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty



In the city that never sleeps, a US$60 million apartment home sold in 2021 was the most expensive co-op sale since 2015.

The triplex penthouse, located next to the Guggenheim Museum, was shown for one day only in May, says Nikki Field, senior global real estate advisor and associate broker, Sotheby’s International Realty–East Side Manhattan Brokerage, who handled the sale.

We queued up seven potential buyers, one after another, for that ‘one day only’ showing,” Field says. “The profiles were all similar: billionaires upgrading in New York that qualified for a socially elite building.”

After two days of competitive bidding, one candidate made an all-cash US$60-million offer.

“Ultraluxury buyers in New York are limited by nothing,” Field says. “Their goals are generally divided into two arenas: uptown or downtown, and ‘move-in ready’ or grand estate with prewar bones.”

In this highest of high-end markets, buyers are focused on views, thoughtful design, and curated amenities.

“All of this delivers the added value they require and that their money can pay for,” she says.

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Creating Curb Appeal


When it comes to first impressions, the paint you choose for your home’s facade matters. “Refreshing, changing, or brightening up the exterior can make a huge difference,” says Cara Woodhouse of Cara Woodhouse Interiors in Roslyn Harbor, N.Y.

Curb Appeal
A muted roof and facade complement each other in a house using Benjamin Moore white Chocolate OC-127.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Moore

It’s not just about the color; the type of paint you choose is vital. “With exterior paints, durability is key,” says Rick Watson, director of product information and technical services at Sherwin-Williams. “The best exterior paints hold color longer and resist peeling and blistering. Look for paints formulated to resist chalking, mildew, and dirt, which will save you money and time in maintenance,” he says. The company’s new Emerald Rain Refresh, has a self-cleaning technology that washes dirt away upon contact with rain or water, requiring minimal maintenance, Watson says.

But painting your home isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. It requires upkeep, which can depend on where you live. “It’s all about the weather,” says New York City architect Kevin Lichten. “If you live on the coast of Maine or North Carolina where your house is pelted with salt spray, sand, and wind in the winter, you may need to touch up every spring and repaint every three or four years. In more mild climates, you may only need to repaint every 10 years,” he says. “And remember that the sun can be brutal.”


When considering the hue, your selection should be driven by the home’s character and architectural style, says Vancouver-based designer Stephanie Brown. “Generally speaking, a simple color palette of one to two colors helps modernize most homes and more complex color combinations of three or more lend themselves to more traditional homes, especially if you are trying to highlight various details and moldings,” she says.

The secret to painting your home’s exterior is more than just finding the right color; it’s finding the right color combination, says Mike Mundwiller, end user product experience manager at Benjamin Moore. “To narrow down your color choices, build an exterior palette around the elements of the house that won’t change, such as roofing materials and stone or brick components,” he says.

Color choice can also be a product of your surroundings. Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, recommends first looking at the colors your neighbors have chosen for their homes and avoid using those exact same shades. “Choose a color that complements—a curb appeal trick that will benefit you and your neighbors,” she says.

Blue Victorian
Sherwin-Williams’ Georgian Bay SW 6509
Photo Credit: Sherwin-Williams



Trims are an important finishing touch—much like an accessory is to an outfit. “They add a layered look to your home,” Woodhouse says.

Wadden advises making sure your accent, trim, and siding colors are varied enough to discern them from each other, unless you’re purposely going for a monochromatic look.

The shades you choose can also impact how big a house feels.

To make a small house seem more substantial, Lichten suggests keeping the walls and trim the same color. “Likewise, a massive hulking house can be made lighter and more delicate with a contrasting trim,” he says.

Homes with the most curb appeal tend to have opposite hues of paint and trim, Mundwiller says. “If your home’s exterior is painted in a lighter hue, consider a trim in a darker color, and vice versa,” he suggests.


The outcome of any painting project is only as good as the preparation you put into it. Everything needs to be washed, cleaned, and sanded and any loose paint or damaged or rotten wood should be replaced before starting.

“A good primer will render the surface more uniform and, because of this, the topcoat has a better chance to adhere to the surface, which ultimately results in longer coating life expectancy,” Watson says.

Timing of the work is important, too. “Check the weather forecast. Paint dries faster in warmer temperatures, lower humidity, and when it’s sunny,” Watson says. For best performance, avoid painting in direct sun, and try for a material temperature above 35 degrees Fahrenheit, Watson says.

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

And look at the location. “A dark brown house with green trim would not look great near the beach, but would be very happy in the mountains or a forest,” Lichten says. “Likewise, a gray-shingled house with white trim would not fit into a wooded area but it’s happier by the ocean,” he says.

Grays, whites, and beiges are classics that help the siding of a house look prim and freshen up the curb appeal, Wadden says. But there are other choices too, of course. “Charcoal gray, navy, and hunter green are more popular in areas with pine trees, mountains, and sea access, while terra cotta, burlap, and rust colors dominate areas of the country in the desert,” she says.

Dark, saturated hues, such as Tricorn Black, Iron Ore, and Urbane Bronze, have been trending for exteriors in recent months, Wadden says. “Not only do these colors pair beautifully with a home’s surrounding greenery, they also help create a focal point when used on a front door or shutters.”

And you don’t even need to paint a whole house to make an impact. “Painting your front door is one of the easiest and quickest ways to boost curb appeal.” For a classic and elegant look, Wadden suggests a bold navy blue, or, for a door that really stands out, a jewel-toned blue/green or even a deep pink.

Naval SW 6244 are both bold options for the outdoors.
Photo Credit: Sherwin-Williams


Trims are an important finishing touch—much like an accessory is to an outfit. “They add a layered look to your home,” Woodhouse says.

Wadden advises making sure your accent, trim, and siding colors are varied enough to discern them from each other, unless you’re purposely going for a monochromatic look.

The shades you choose can also impact how big a house feels.

To make a small house seem more substantial, Lichten suggests keeping the walls and trim the same color. “Likewise, a massive hulking house can be made lighter and more delicate with a contrasting trim,” he says.

Homes with the most curb appeal tend to have opposite hues of paint and trim, Mundwiller says. “If your home’s exterior is painted in a lighter hue, consider a trim in a darker color, and vice versa,” he suggests.


The outcome of any painting project is only as good as the preparation you put into it. Everything needs to be washed, cleaned, and sanded and any loose paint or damaged or rotten wood should be replaced before starting.

“A good primer will render the surface more uniform and, because of this, the topcoat has a better chance to adhere to the surface, which ultimately results in longer coating life expectancy,” Watson says.

Timing of the work is important, too. “Check the weather forecast. Paint dries faster in warmer temperatures, lower humidity, and when it’s sunny,” Watson says. For best performance, avoid painting in direct sun, and try for a material temperature above 35 degrees Fahrenheit, Watson says.

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Under The Sea


Global travelers in search of new destinations have increasingly been looking underwater, where a growing assortment of luxury experiences are waiting to be had. Some are offered in conjunction with a beachfront or overwater resort, while others provide intrepid adventurers the opportunity to channel their inner oceanic explorer, plunging below the surface in search of shipwrecks, exotic wildlife, and more.


For adventurers who have already mastered the art of scuba diving (or are looking to skip certification), and are dreaming of sinking even further into the great abyss, there’s The Deep Blue Experience by Fraser & U Boat. Guests can explore forgotten shipwrecks and underwater volcanoes throughout the Mediterranean on the U Boat Navigator, a 24-meter expedition yacht that houses a pair of Triton submarines capable of diving 1,000 meters deep; a three-person, custom-built Triton 3300/3—the same model used to film the BBC’s award-winning Blue Planet II—and a smaller, one-person Triton 3300/1 that serves as a support sub. The U Boat Navigator cruises through Malta, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and beyond, aided by a crew of six professionals. There’s even a full dive center with mixing facilities for breathing gases.

At roughly US$80,000 per week, the package—which accommodates up to 11 guests for cruising—is ideal for amateur explorers who are passionate about world history, shipwrecks, or geology. The U Boat Navigator can be chartered either as a stand-alone explorer vessel or as a shadow vessel for someone’s principal charter or their own yacht. Fraser creates bespoke itineraries based on the interests, including shipwrecks, dive sites, Mediterranean volcanoes, underwater cinematography, and more.

Marine biology enthusiasts looking for a new snorkeling experience are venturing to Thailand for a one-of-a-kind Swim Reef at The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui. The largest man-made reef pool in Southeast Asia teems with more than 50 species of injured fish rescued from local fishermen, and advanced filtration systems ensure that pollutants, jellyfish, and suspended solids in the seawater are removed, resulting in a consistently temperate and safe environment throughout the year. Strategically placed artificial coral reef structures allow for optimum fish viewing. While enjoying immersive snorkeling discoveries and supervised fish feedings, guests are able to view cat sharks, hold sea cucumbers, and try an ad hoc spa experience by letting tiny cleaner wrasse fish swim up and nibble dead skin off their outstretched arms.


Renowned for its overwater bungalows and endless blue waters, the Maldives has become a preferred aquatic playground for the global jet set. In November 2018, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island debuted The Muraka (“coral” in Dhivehi, the local language), a luxury suite submerged more than 16 feet under the water’s surface. Nestled on the Indian Ocean floor, the two-level structure has an above-water living area, sitting over a main bedroom with an 180-degree curved acrylic dome, windows in the bathroom and walk-in closet, and a dedicated tunnel viewing theater that doubles as a personal aquarium. With rates starting at US$10,000 per night (depending on the season), the suite, which can accommodate up to nine people, includes an infinity pool, a gym, a private bar, and 24-hour butler service. Junior explorers can go glamping with the fishes, as staff will set up a tepee in the undersea suite.

The Muraka
Conrad Maldives’ The Muraka is a luxury suite submerged more than 16 feet below the water’s surface.
Photo Credit: Justin Nicholas

Huvafen Fushi, a luxury resort located in North Malé Atoll, has placed its spa below the water’s surface—the first and only spa of its kind in the world—to deliver next-level calm and relaxation. To make the most of the hypnotic refuge eight meters below the water’s surface, a SpaQuarium experience is offered every evening. Guests enjoy Champagne, canapés, and petits fours while the resort’s marine biologist provides commentary on the nocturnal predators (sharks, rays, eels), bioluminescent plankton, and pristine corals illuminated by UV light torches. Also offered is a bespoke underwater dining experience.

The Maldives has seen several other notable properties open underwater facilities and attractions recently. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas—located in Baa Atoll, a renowned UNESCO Biosphere Reserve housing some of the richest diversity of marine life in the world—offers SEA, an underwater restaurant and wine cellar featuring the country’s first certified wine education. Patrons can expand their wine knowledge and earn a globally recognized WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) certification during their vacation. (The resort’s wine collection is valued at more than US$2 million.)

Guests enjoy an array of underwater activities, most notably the Snorkeling with Manta Rays program; the waters are home to the world’s largest natural manta ray feeding region from June to November, allowing visitors to get up close and personal while swimming with hundreds of the gentle giants.

Niyama Private Islands Maldives, whose entire spread, including a pair of private islands with 134 spacious villas, can be rented out for $130,000 per night, is home to Subsix, the world’s first underwater club, located six meters below sea level. If lounging with drinks while gawking at bioluminescent activity doesn’t appeal, the subaquatic space also hosts private chef dinners, wine tastings, and events.


One of Dubai’s most iconic resorts, Atlantis, The Palm, is home to a three-story underwater suite. (The master bedroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows look directly into the Ambassador Lagoon aquarium.) Starting from around $5,500 per night, the suite includes 24-hour butler service and full access to the resort’s myriad attractions. One such attraction, the Lost Chambers Aquarium, hosts underwater yoga, pilates, and meditation classes, with a backdrop of 65,000 marine animals.

Lost Chambers Aquarium
A little underwater yoga at the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai.
Photo Credits: Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

The resort’s newest underwater thrill is the Aqua Trek Xtreme experience, in which intrepid explorers descend a ladder 10 meters to the bottom of the Ambassador Lagoon, while wearing an Aquatrek helmet. Once guests reach the bottom, they embark on a guided underwater walking tour of one of the biggest open-air aquariums in the world, coming face-to-face with sharks, stingrays, and schools of multicolored fish.

Resort World Sentosa, situated just off the coast of Singapore on the island of Sentosa, offers 11 two-story Ocean Suites with direct access to the resort’s massive aquarium. Each unit includes a scenic outdoor patio and Jacuzzi on the upper level, with underwater views of the aquarium’s 40,000 fish on the lower level. A daily highlight is feeding time, when guests can watch as divers go below the surface to interact with marine life.

Underwater Suite
The resort’s three-level underwater suite is popular with celebrities and honeymooners looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Photo Credits: Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Off the coast of Zanzibar is Pemba Island, which is home to The Manta Resort. A two-minute boat ride from the beach, the resort’s Underwater Room is a three-level suite offering coral reef views from its submerged bedroom. After lounging on the roof to take in the night sky, guests decamp to the bedroom to view Indian Ocean wonders illuminated by underwater spotlights.


Journey Beyond, which owns and operates 13 tourism brands across Australia, attracts serious divers to Queensland’s stunning Whitsunday Islands, home to the company’s Reefsuites. Opened in 2019, the first underwater accommodations in the country offer unprecedented access to the dazzling underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Moored offshore on a pontoon at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from Airlie Beach, the Reefsuites offers a plethora of aquatic adventures, and guests can take a scenic helicopter flight to see the famous Heart Reef.

French cruise line Ponant, known for its world-class service and gastronomy, has launched the world’s first multisensory underwater lounge, Blue Eye, which enables guests to see, hear, and feel the sights and sounds of the ocean. Offered on each of the six Ponant Explorer ships, Blue Eye was designed by Jacques Rougerie, a French architect who specializes in underwater habitats, and was inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Underwater Lounge
French cruise line Ponant launched the world’s first multisensory underwater lounge, Blue Eye.

Located seven feet beneath the water line, Blue Eye resembles a submarine attached to the ship, albeit one made from 19 layers of clear steel, making it stronger than the ship’s hull. Digital screens adorn the walls projecting images filmed live by three underwater cameras strategically placed to capture spectacles, and the sound system, developed by a music composer and sound design expert, broadcasts a natural symphony across a three-mile radius using underwater microphones. Capping off the immersive experience, “body listening sofas” discreetly vibrate in unison with the streaming aquatic acoustics to create an underwater encounter guests can see, hear, and feel.

Perhaps the planet’s most notable underwater restaurant, Under is located on Norway’s craggy Lindesnes coast. The architecturally striking complex is angled 18 feet below the icy waters of the North Sea. Head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard’s Immersion tasting menu features nearly 20 seasonally inspired dishes, with a focus on locally caught Norwegian seafood. Sustainability is built into the restaurant itself, as the rough concrete exterior attracts limpets and kelp, gradually forming an artificial reef. Diners and visiting researchers study the biology and behavior of the abundant cold-water marine life via panoramic views of the North Atlantic seabed.

Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

Haute Home Happy Hours


As if we need another reason to love life at home, the home bar is enjoying a renaissance. Haute happy hours are the new splurge.

For decades, home bars have routinely taken over basements, displaced spare bedrooms, and usurped garages. But they’ve evolved, says Deirdre O’Connell, chief executive for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. Bars are enjoying greater prominence in our homes. “They’ve moved from the basement to the main level,” she says. They’re now front and center in living rooms, family rooms, and busy hallways.

Imbibing in style starts with imbuing the space with warmth and hospitality. Some home bars channel the vibe of a favorite lounge, taproom, or saloon. Others take design inspiration from their surroundings. On the Gold Coast of Long Island, N.Y., the sophisticated yet welcoming bar of a Cold Spring Harbor estate is an open-concept entertainment destination. It includes a glass-enclosed wine room, home theater, card table, pool table, and even a massage room. “Anything you need to be entertained is there. It’s extraordinary,” O’Connell says.

Regardless of whether the aesthetic is playful, whimsical, retro, or dramatic, the goal is the same: to create a functional, flexible, and inviting spot to wind down with a glass of wine after a long day, or entertain a roomful of guests with their drinks of choice.

Good design enlivens the space, elevates the experience and is “reflective of lifestyle,” O’Connell says. “And that’s even more important now, when home has become a destination as opposed to just the place to lay your head.”


Beechwood is a 30,000-square-foot residence set on 15 acres of private land in the secure hamlet of New Vernon, with features including a carriage apartment and pool house. Designed by WESketch Architecture, its classic “butterfly plan” provides elements of constant discovery for the observer and ensures the remarkable size remains a surprise for visitors as they make their way through it. Spaces include an oval-shaped great room, three-room wine grotto, and an English pub on the main level, the inspiration for which was derived from two copper pendants picked up on a trip in London. Bold selections of Jerusalem limestone floors, Roman-brick ceilings, cashmere wall coverings, and 13 imported fireplaces from Italy and Portugal, selected by designer Frank Delle Donne, are carefully woven throughout to portray quiet elegance. Located just 35 miles from midtown Manhattan, Beechwood is a work of art created with brick and mortar.


$22,000,000 | Property ID: 5DLJ7S | | Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty | Go to property



This is a stunning property in the MacDonald Highlands community, which offers seamless indoor/outdoor entertaining: A central great room opens to an expansive resort-style patio and pool with a swim-up bar overlooking the golf course. Another star feature is the full-size old world pub-style bar, perfect for entertaining.

Two grand primary suites and four all-inclusive guest suites give everyone ample private space. The carriage yard features climate-controlled garages to accommodate 11 cars and a recreational vehicle. This hotel-inspired villa is only minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, two airports, and an abundance of outdoor attractions.

This is a stunning property in the MacDonald Highlands community, which offers seamless indoor/outdoor entertaining: A central great room opens to an expansive resort-style patio and pool with a swim-up bar overlooking the golf course. Another star feature is the full-size old world pub-style bar, perfect for entertaining.

Two grand primary suites and four all-inclusive guest suites give everyone ample private space. The carriage yard features climate-controlled garages to accommodate 11 cars and a recreational vehicle. This hotel-inspired villa is only minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, two airports, and an abundance of outdoor attractions.



$12,900,000 | Property ID: SE4HKK | | Las Vegas Sotheby’s International Realty | Go to property



Over the span of a decade, Jimmy Fallon and his wife, Nancy Juvonen, combined and renovated four apartments over three floors to create an eclectic home like no other in New York City. Perched atop the southwest corner of Gramercy Park East, it celebrates the structure and architecture of that historic landmark while transforming the space into a unique home, with the original window frames, casings, and hardwood floors restored throughout.

With 4,950 square feet of space, including six bedrooms and five bathrooms, the pièce de résistance is the saloon room. This spectacular entertaining space features a custom-designed and fully equipped wet bar, with a vintage stained glass barback and a gas fire with stone hearth.


$12,500,000 | | Sotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage



A one-of-a-kind American Sukiya is available for the first time in bucolic Nicasio, West Marin. A labor of love, the estate and winery are a convergence of Japanese philosophy and California wine-country living at its finest. Consisting of a 3,000-square-foot main residence, a 2,200-square-foot guesthouse, a wine cave, a separate barn, and a 50,000-gallon spring-fed pool, West Wind Estate sits on 32 acres and serves as a functional winery. One standout feature is a 2,400-square-foot climate-controlled wine cave, the only one of its kind in Marin, that has 12-foot ceilings, a custom wine bar, an event space, and a prep kitchen ideal for catered gatherings.



$18,500,000 | Property ID: MGZJ9M | | Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty | Go to property



Located on Long Island’s famed Gold Coast in the picturesque waterfront community of Cold Spring Harbor, this estate offers resort-style living in the solitude of 6.2 acres and a beach with mooring rights, yet is within easy striking distance of New York City. Every room is designed for elegant entertaining: a palatial dining room, an elegant living room, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and an adjacent great room with stone fireplace create an effortless flow. To wind things down, decamp to the movie theater or retire to the sumptuous master suite with fireplace, sitting room, private balcony with hot tub, and a pair of indulgent master bathrooms. When the outdoors beckons, there’s a pool with a slide and waterfalls, and a tennis/sports court.



$12,950,000 | Property ID: 3333174 | | Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty | Go to property



The use of stone, wood, and metal as the main design components add an organic harmony and subtle elegance to this property, built by architects Bernardi & Peschard, with windows that open onto a forest setting. Among its features are mafi floors and high wood-covered ceilings.

The window walls of the open-plan living space, which includes a lounge, dining room, and bar area, integrates the inside with the magnificent gardens and extraordinary views.

$4,850,000 | Property ID: B7VJH5 | | Mexico Sotheby’s International Realty | Laura de la Torre de Skipsy & Mariana Méndez | Go to property



The Sea for Miles estate is the embodiment of natural beauty, with views of the island of St. Kitts and the Caribbean Sea. Located in the private Sundance Ridge community on the island’s southeast peninsula, the 16,000 square feet of luxury living space includes an 80-foot infinity pool and expansive outdoor covered and uncovered seating and sunken lounge areas, which extend the entertaining space from within through retractable glass doors and shutters. The wine cellar and tasting room design is reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy.

$16,000,000 | Property ID: FJY4X5 | stkittsnevissir.comm | St. Kitts & Nevis Sotheby’s International Realty | Go to property



Luxury and tranquility meet in this captivating reimagined single-story four-bedroom sanctuary, situated behind private gates in Beverly Hills. Indoor-outdoor harmony is meticulously defined by the open-floor plan leading to a spacious pool and garden grounds. An artfully placed open-air glass atrium showcases a Japanese maple tree and oversized solid oak front door offering breathtaking curb appeal. The massive great room features Italian limestone flooring as well as high ceilings, both bathed in natural light from multiple skylights, and the bar area seats five.

$17,380,000 | Property ID: XG2MT4 | | Sotheby’s International Realty | Sunset Strip Brokerage


Originally posted by Sotheby's International Realty.

27 Audubon Place | SOLD

27 Audubon Place, New Orleans, LA  | List Price: $3,200,000


27 Audubon Place, New Orleans, La

Audubon Place, considered by many to be the most beautiful street in New Orleans, was originally developed by George Blackwelder in the late 1890’s. Intended as a millionaire’s enclave, the community was lined with the finest residences New Orleans has to offer. 

This legendary street lies just beyond the soaring Audubon Place arches and two turreted stone gatehouses. It lies adjacent to Tulane University and across St. Charles Avenue from the city’s lush Audubon Park. The neighborhood boasts 28 spectacular residences, most of which were constructed in late Victorian and Neo-classical revival styles.

Built in 1927, this preservationist’s delight at 27 Audubon Place is 8,200 sq ft with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. The residence is loaded with ornate tile, original details, and an abundance of character.

5 BEDROOMS  |  5.5 BATHS  |  8,200 SQ. FT.  

Dorian Bennett SIR Agent Contact

Ernesto Caldeira
Phone: 504.944.3605
Mobile: 504.450.8991

PC Studios. (n.d.). Rare Dream House Listing on New Orleans’ Most Legendary Street Creates Major Real Estate Buzz. PaperCity Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from
History of 18 Audubon Place. (n.d.). 18 Audubon Place New Orleans. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from