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Ellen DeGeneres' fabulous Santa Barbara estate on the market for $45 million

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:17:00 UT

The TV talk show host and her wife Portia de Rossi are selling their Tuscan-style villa set among 16 acres of olive trees.  

Wraparound garden adds to appeal of updated Craftsman in Oakland

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:37:10 UT

Wraparound garden adds to appeal of updated Craftsman in Oakland Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. A front door with a diamond-shape window stands at an angle atop an exterior stairway and opens to a living room that includes a fireplace with floor-to-ceiling sandstone tile surround. Hardwood floors grace the main level and wood-frame windows welcome sunlight into the home a block from Telegraph Avenue. The formal dining room has an alcove with a custom china cabinet and the updated kitchen features KitchenAid appliances and quartz counters. A second bedroom, an unwarranted water closet and a bonus area that opens to the backyard are downstairs. Don’t miss: A wraparound backyard with a detached deck, shaded trellis, raised planting beds, stone walkways and mature trees.

Hot Property: Serene views accompany soothing design in Claremont Hills

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:00:00 UT

Completed in 2002, the five-bedroom designed by Phillip Perkins enjoys a fashionable interior with several fireplaces, tall windows, hardwood flooring and high ceilings. Professional appliances outfit a sleek chef’s kitchen finished with stone counters and connected to a voluminous family room. A tiled view terrace rests just beyond this inviting space, and both the dining room and breakfast nook open to the outdoors as well. Perkins designed every home on the cul-de-sac in the years following the 1991 Oakland firestorm, McRae said. A temperature-controlled wine room, a media room/exercise space and an office act as additional bonuses. Set on 1.37 acres, the rolling landscape points south and basks in the East Bay sun. Recreation areas and regional preserves surround the home that’s a few minutes north of Highway 24 and east of UC Berkeley. Slightly south of the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, this five-bedroom contemporary rests at the end of a placid cul-de-sac.

Designer Profile: Lights and fabrics to brighten your home this spring

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 23:48:33 UT

Designer Suzanne Tucker, co-founder of San Francisco’s Tucker & Marks Design, recently launched new designs and finishes to her outdoor furniture line. The weatherproof finishes are dyed to mimic the random color schemes inherent to real wicker. A sofa, coffee table, dining table and ottoman are among the Riviera’s furniture selections. In addition to operating a design firm and launching her own product lines, Tucker also lectures on incorporating antiques, textiles, decorative arts and various finishes within a home. Pablo, maker of some of most sought-after modern light fixtures in San Francisco and beyond, offers a solution in the form of an LED lantern with surround sound speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. The UMA Sound Lantern debuted last year and already earned a myriad of awards including Azure Magazine People’s Choice Award, the 2016 Good Design Award Australia and the 2017 German Design Award. Venezuelan-born industrial engineer Pablo Pardo founded his namesake firm in 1993, and the brand continues to turn heads and win acclaim for its innovative designs that marry artistry and functionality. The Solis Drum Pendant features laser-cut polyester fabric joined by aluminum rings, allowing the shade to hang under tension. An LED dome diffuser spans the diameter of the top ring, radiating light down and sideways to cast shimmering warm patterns wherever it’s placed.

Palatial playground surroundedby vineyard views in Ukiah

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 23:45:43 UT

[...] a distance from the city keeps the region private, yet accessible to Bay Area residents searching for a low-key hideaway. The Ukiah Municipal Airport is a few minutes away, offering executive aircraft a convenient spot to touch down for a weekend getaway. For those who like to cook, the home offers a superlative indoor chef’s kitchen, as well as a sheltered patio with a built-in grill and pizza oven outside. The angular footprint bows the home toward the driveway, and the front door stands within a shady portico. The same material palette is used along the rear facade with wraparound decks overlooking the pool and spa. Skylights and tall windows brighten a living area that opens into an open kitchen with stone counters, integrated appliances and a cooktop built into an alcove. Anchoring the far end of this level is the master suite, a getaway defined by a walk-in closet and spa bathroom with jetted tub. Abundant built-ins like ceiling speakers, a bar counter and another gas fireplace await in a sprawling game room that opens to a view deck with the outdoor kitchen. Organic agriculture plays a prominent role in Ukiah, but the region’s fruits and vegetables aren’t all that wind up on menus. Of the 17,000 acres of vineyards in Mendocino County, roughly a quarter of them grow certified organic grapes.

Sound Off: Some pros and cons of contingencies

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:00:12 UT

Buyers are doing all sorts of things to acquire houses beyond writing the heartfelt “pick me” letter. In some cases, buyers will waive certain contingencies that are commonly included in an offer. There are various contingencies in a real estate contract, including inspections, title and financing/appraisal. Here in Marin, we are increasingly seeing more and more sellers provide the buyers with a complete buyers package, which typically consists of all inspections — the most common are home, pest, sewer lateral and drainage — as well as all required disclosures, plus the city resale report, the preliminary title report and the Natural Hazards report. If the buyer has received a complete buyers package upfront, and reviewed it thoroughly, then that may allow them to feel comfortable in writing an offer with few, or in some cases, no contingencies. The buyers’ agent can help assess the offer situation of a particular home. The buyer needs to understand the risks involved, and evaluate them against their own risk tolerance and desire to purchase that particular property. In the San Francisco/Bay Area market, having as few contingencies as possible will make an offer more appealing to a seller. Is the buyer paying cash or getting a loan? When representing a buyer, I run the comps up front so my client is reassured the appraisal will not be an issue. [...] there is no loan contingency. When representing a seller, I prepare an extensive disclosure package up front, including inspections, and if needed, bids for repair work. Successful buyers will go over the disclosures with their agent and presumably be able to either write a non-contingent offer or one with a very short review period of the disclosed items. In a multiple offer situation, if the non-contingent offer is not the high offer, then, with the seller’s permission, I make several calls.

Natural light infuses modern masterpiece in Upper Rockridge

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:03:38 UT

Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. The living room in the two-story Contemporary has a 20-foot ceiling, clerestory windows and a wood-burning fireplace. A mezzanine loft overlooks the living room and provides cover for the dining area. The main level includes an eat-in chef’s kitchen equipped with professional appliances, stone counters and floor-to-ceiling cabinets. A family room off the kitchen has a built-in entertainment center and sliding glass doors that open to the terraced backyard, which includes a soothing water feature, built-in seating, a gas fire pit and drought-tolerant landscaping. Upstairs, the master bedroom contains a walk-in closet and a spa bathroom anchored by a soaking tub set beneath frosted windows.

Bathroom is the only 'livable' space in this half-million-dollar Rockridge teardown

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:41:20 UT

The Oakland enclave's surging popularity and prices explains why the $495,000 teardown at 383 60th St. is a hot commodity—even though everything is dilapidated except the bathroom.

Pot-grow paradise? Oregon town selling for $3.85 million

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:00:00 UT

In San Francisco, $3.85 million can get you a pretty nice house in a nice neighborhood, but in rural Oregon you can go big and buy yourself an entire riverfront town.

Reimagined Queen Anne Victorian overlooks Alamo Square

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:01:35 UT

Jensen Architects and DrömHus General Contractors reimagined this Victorian overlooking Alamo Square Park into a majestic 16-room mansion that defines modern luxury living. Light wells, floor-to-ceiling windows and voluminous proportions create an interior with effortless flow between rooms. Both a dramatic central staircase and an elevator connect all three levels, and culminate at a roof deck with gas fire box, wine refrigerator, Wolf grill and city views. The lower level has a family room/in-law suite with sliding glass doors opening to a backyard with living wall. The master suite overlooks the backyard and includes a walk-in closet and lavish spa bathroom. The main level, which includes a picturesque kitchen with traditional and contemporary cabinets, a sunny breakfast area with full-size windows framing northern views, a family room with built-in entertainment center and a living room that overlooks Alamo Square Park.

New Water Conservation Law could affect Bay Area sellers (sponsored)

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:06:23 UT

New Water Conservation Law could affect Bay Area sellers
California's fluctuating water supply and accompanying regulations have become a fact of life throughout the state and in the Bay Area. A state law went into effect this January requiring homeowners to install water conserving plumbing fixtures, specifically low flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads. California Civil Code § 1101.4 requires that all single-family residential property built before 1994 be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures.

Hot Property: Modern flair permeates Presidio Heights Midcentury

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 11:00:00 UT

The home offers three living levels, as well as a garage with interior access and a small storage area. Inside, all levels are linked by an architectural staircase with floating tread and glass railing. Completed in the mid-1950s, the home retains a smattering of original midcentury finishes, while modern materials play the prominent role. A stylish garage door embellishes the facade, while the interior boasts an open floor plan, a chef’s kitchen and new hardwood flooring. The kitchen revolves around an island with a wine refrigerator, a prep sink, bar seating and waterfall edges. Both the main and upper levels house three bedrooms, while the lower level contains storage spots, a wine cellar and a bonus recreation room. Guests pass through a landscaped garden before reaching the front door of the six-bedroom home. A two-car garage lends additional appeal and functionality to the trilevel construction hosting six bedrooms, multiple decks, and a landscaped yard.

Sound Off: What to know if and when the Fed raises interest rates

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 00:51:50 UT

While nothing is a “sure” thing except death and taxes, the Fed has all but promised a rate hike when they meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. Current interest rates have been kept low - some say artificially so - because our recovery from the Big Recession beginning in the mid 2000s has been a fragile process and the Feds do not want to rock the boat and send the recovery into a tailspin. Buyers and sellers alike must understand that like most things, the mortgage rate market is a dynamic formula, ever-changing, and what goes down eventually must come up. Both buyers and sellers should rely on the solid advice of their seasoned real estate professional, a financial planner and/or tax accountant to determine the best time and way to purchase or sell property for the clients’ benefit. Last year economists projected four increases in the fed rate and that mortgage rates would rise to more than 4.5 percent. [...] the fed raised rates only once, and 30-year fixed mortgage loans topped at around 4.25 pecent, then dropped, are now up again. The Trump administration is proposing programs which, if enacted, will increase our deficit and put inflationary pressures on the economy. The Fed certainly appears set to raise its benchmark interest rate when it meets this coming week in Chicago.

Approachable elegance awaits in remodeled Kings Mountain Midcentury

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 00:46:57 UT

There’s something to be said for being surrounded by wilderness yet still having access to a chef’s kitchen, surround sound and a soaking tub. “In the lap of luxury, yet surrounded by nature — it’s an irresistible way to live on the mountain,” said Barbara Dunlap of Pacific Union Real Estate, who is listing 13250 Skyline Blvd. in Woodside for $1.98 million. Built in 1966, the fully updated three-bedroom offers an open floor plan and modern materials. Ceiling speakers and contemporary lighting fixtures offer creature comforts in the great room’s living area. An open kitchen is finished with a subway tile backsplash, a stainless steel farmhouse sink and plenty of counter space. Multiple decks and patios await within the gated lot, as a hammock suspended above the rear lawn beckons with the promise of afternoon catnaps. A sliding glass door off the dining area opens to a view deck, and the office accesses a deck all its own. Three-bedroom, two-bathroom on idyllic Kings Mountain offering a modernized interior, mature gardens, multiple decks and ample avenues for indoor-outdoor living.

Spanish Colonial Revival designed by Edwin Lewis Snyder open Sunday in Berkeley

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 00:44:32 UT

Wrought-iron hardware, stuccoed walls, a terracotta tile roof and stately hardwood flooring grace this distinguished Spanish Colonial designed by architect Edwin Lewis Snyder. The home’s au pair suite features its own private entrance and the trilevel offers majestic bay views. Listing agent: Barbara Kaplan, Marvin Gardens East Bay Realty, (510) 559-2910, realtorbk@ 612 Euclid Ave., Berkeley, $1.498 million. Beds: 4+ Baths: 4 Square footage: 2,822 Open home: 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.