Must-See Art Exhibitions in London

With the 2012 London Olympic Summer Games underway the city is bustling with excitement.  Olympians, tourists and Londoners alike are enjoying the Olympic games and other cultural events happening around the city. VisitLondon.com has collected the Top 10 Art Exhibitions in London.  Here are a selection of events from the list.

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

The 244th annual Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art exhibition, and displays some of the best contemporary works from both new and distinguished artists.  From over 11,000 submissions, just 1,200 pieces were selected which includes paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, film, architectural models and books. The exhibition runs through August 12th.

Photo: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour

Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

With more than 70 works from over two decades, the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern is the largest British survey of work from the prominent artist.  The display includes the iconic display, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which Hirst suspended a shark in formaldehyde.  The exhibition runs through September 9th.

Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991. ©Damien Hirst and Hirst Holdings Ltd, DACS 2011. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery

Celebrated artist Yoko Ono, in her first London public exhibition in more than a decade, features new and existing installations, films and performances. One notable presentation is #smilesfile, a project that encourages worldwide participation through inviting people to send images of their smiles by hash-tagging #smilesfilm.

Yoko Ono’s TO THE LIGHT runs through September 9th.

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye

With the record-breaking sale of Edvard Munch’s The Scream at auction in May through Sotheby’s, the Norwegian painter has grabbed headlines around the world.  The Tate Modern exhibition showcases the artist’s work from the 20th century, including sixty paintings and rare works in film and photography.  The exhibition runs through October 14th.

Photo: Edvard Munch: Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed 1940–3 © Munch Museum/Munch-EllingsendGroup/DACS 2012

See the full list of Top 10 Art Exhibitions in London on VisitLondon.com.

2012 Olympics Showcases London

Tonight is the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games, and while it is yet to be seen what impact the games will have on the London housing market, the global focus on London undoubtedly continues to build the profile of the country.

In the East End of London, where the Olympic Village is located, the area has been transformed thanks to the construction of the Olympic Park.  Once an industrial wasteland, the area has been regenerated with shops, cafes and walking paths.  A new Westfield shopping centre opened here last September 2011 which is Europe’s largest shopping mall.  Peter Bevan of United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty, has been following the East End development.  “The Olympic Park will change the perception of this part of London, establishing it as a new residential area with great leisure amenities,” explains Bevan.

The completed Olympic & Paralympic Village. Photo: London2012.com

Although the majority of the Olympic events will occur in the Olympic Park, there are other areas of London that will experience the Olympic presence.  On the South Coast of Britain, off Dorset’s coast is Weymouth Bay, a world class sailing destination that is being used for all the Olympic sailing events.  The sailing waters here are credited by the Royal Yachting Association as the best in Northern Europe. For the sailing enthusiast, the desirable areas of Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs are well suited for the perfect coastal home. Here are two magnificent waterfront properties on the South Coast.

$11,235,096 USD | Poole, England | United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty

 This spectacular waterfront home in Poole, England is located on the world famous Sandbanks Peninsula offering breathtaking views directly over Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island. With its own boat house and mooring, this property is sure to be a sailor’s delight.

$6,037,909 USD| £3,950,000 GBP | Poole, England | United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty

Emperio, arguably has the most breathtaking views from any residential home on England’s South Coast. A truly unique marine villa in Sandbanks, England, the cutting edge design is the unmistakable signature of specialist super-home builder Seven Developments.

Another event which will showcase other areas of London is the Olympics Cycling Road Race which runs from Central London through the southeast county of Surrey.  The race will travel down Brooklands Road in the town of Weybridge, which borders the very exclusive gated community of St. George’s Hill.  Here are several magnificent homes currently for sales in the area.

St. George’s Hill | United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty

Jasmin is one of the most amazing homes to come to the market in St. George’s Hill.  The spacious ground floor provides a home that fits family living as well as the best entertaining space available.  

United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty

Aurora combines the perfect blend of excellent architecture and 21st Century style. The home comes with a formal dining room, gym, cinema, indoor swimming pool, a pair of wine rooms and private lift. 

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Sunset Photos: Beauty Captured in Remarkable Sunsets

A beautiful sunset can brighten even the worst of days.  It is truly breathtaking when the sky turns those magnificent hues of pink, purple and orange.

Although it’s commonly reported that these colors are a result of dust and pollution, the main ingredient is actually clean air, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  See beauty captured in these extraordinary photos from our remarkable listings.

$ 3,350,000 USD | Davenport, New York | Select Sotheby’s International Realty

Buttermilk Farms is a world-class horse farm and family compound. The luxury horse farm in Davenport, New York has housed, bred and trained over 50 horses in residence. The property is comprised of 25 structures including barns, stables, temperature controlled riding arena, maintenance buildings and high quality infrastructures and supporting mechanicals of a first class operation.

Newport Beach, California | HOM Sotheby’s International Realty

Casually elegant waterfront property in Newport Beach, California.

Eagles Nest Hotel | New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

The world-renowned Eagles Nest Hotel in New Zealand overlooks the ocean and captures the most spectacular sunset views.

Paia, Hawaii | Island Sotheby’s International Realty

North Shore Maui Estate in Paia, Hawaii.

Phuket, Thailand | Hunter Sotheby’s International Realty

This chic apartment in Surin is intelligently designed for the maximum potential of privacy, location and aesthetics. Each unit occupies an entire floor, complete with stunning sea views, private swimming pool and jacuzzi.

Telluride, Colorado | Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty

Awe-inspiring Diamond Ranch in Telluride, Colorado.

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5 Tips for Taking Great Real Estate Photos

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 88% of home buyers used the Internet in their home search, which means online property listing photos are just as important to selling a home as curb appeal.

Taking great real estate photos is not just about snapping a few good pictures; it’s about telling the story of a property through purposeful photography.  Here are 5 tips to taking great real estate photos:

Tip #1: Make the First Impression Count
The first listing photo may be your only opportunity to grab the attention of the buyer. Choose an outstanding selling point of the property; it can be the amazing view, updated kitchen or luxurious master suite.

Buckhorn Ranch in Joseph, Oregon leads with a rustic welcome.

As you can see, the feature photo does not have to be the exterior of the home. Unique features and remodeled spaces should be flaunted.

Tip #2: Pay Attention to Details
Ensure surfaces are as tidy as possible; tuck away food boxes, toiletries and stacks of mail. Pull the garbage cans into the garage, park the car in the driveway and roll the basketball hoop out of sight – whatever the focus of your photo attend to the details and make sure the tidiness abounds.

Immaculate gourmet kitchen in Palm Beach, Florida is tidy and clean.

Tip #3: Get Some Perspective
Try snapping images from unusual perspectives like standing on a chair and pointing the camera down onto the room. Give a sense of layout and space by photographing a room from a vantage point which allows for the most expansive view. Think Art – frame a photo in what seems to be the most traditional method, then think of how you could make it more artistic. Maybe it is just a matter of zooming in tight on a beautiful fixture or detail.

Spiral staircase in the Cayman Islands.

Tip #4: Imply Use
For bathrooms in particular, providing a glimpse or impression of the space is best. Please, no close ups for the commode! There is no need ….everyone knows it’s there. A home buyer wants to see the layout and upgrades; not a lot of personal items which clutter the space. If the bathroom is out of date, it may be best to skip photographing it altogether. And please be careful not to get caught in the mirror.

Unique elements in this Dallas, Texas bathroom are cleverly featured.

Tip #5: Show What’s Special
If there are obvious special elements about the property it is crucial to show them now. Whether it’s the view from the kitchen table into the garden, a basement that has been finished into an amazing play space or an inviting flowered terrace – show those gems to inspire a potential home buyer to action.

Unique Italian property includes Capri’s former Astronomical Observatory.

The end of your property’s story should be every bit as wonderful as the beginning. Strive for immaculate photos from beginning to end. Before taking a photo always consider composition and take a moment to frame your focal point. Ensure your photos are large, high resolution images. A 5 -8 megapixel camera can generally do a good job; just take care to adjust the settings for maximum quality. Remember to check and see how the finished product appears online .

Best Places in the US to Buy a Summer Home

Are you in the market for a summer vacation home?  Whether you reside in the U.S. or are looking for an investment abroad, now just might be the time to find the second or third home of your dreams.  According to a recent article published by the SFGate.com, 4 U.S. markets stand out as the best places to buy a summer home.  Here are some idyllic properties just begging to be your summer getaway.  Click on photos to see full listing details.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California | Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage

Modern and distinctive, this Los Angeles residence boasts the most explosive city views.

Malibu, California | HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty

Contemporary oceanfront property in Malibu, California ideal for indoor/outdoor living with butler service facilities, jacuzzi and elevator access to all three levels.

West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida | Sotheby’s International Realty – West Palm Beach Brokerage

Enchanting 1923 Mediterranean residence in West Palm Beach, Florida was exquisitely restored by renowned designers Bierly/ Drake.

North Palm Beach, Florida | Coastal Sotheby’s International Realty

Beautiful waterfront home in North Palm Beach, Florida with a grand master suite.

Phoenix, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona | Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

Stunning mountainside estate in Scottsdale, Arizona on 10+ acres. This home makes an incredible statement as it’s perched up against the side of the McDowell Mountains.

Arizona | Russ Lyon’s Sotheby’s International Realty

Romantic Adobe Villa in Arizona.

East Coast – Hamptons, New York 

Sotheby’s International Realty – Southampton Brokerage

Quintessential Hamptons beach house with both ocean and bay frontage.

Sagaponack, New York | Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage

Modern masterpiece home in Sagaponack, New York.

Welcome

Welcome

Today, I am excited to introduce you to our Destination for Extraordinary Living.  More than just a real estate blog, this is a place that is intended to grant unprecedented access into a distinctive lifestyle.  A lifestyle that I have the privilege of experiencing on a daily basis through our global network of real estate professionals.

From the beginning, our brand has held the ideal that real estate is more than just a transaction; that to live extraordinarily we must be the connoisseurs of life.  For this reason, in addition to real estate, this blog will discuss a range of topics from art and architecture to travel and interior design.

In today’s blog post, our President and Chief Operating Officer, Philip White discusses the profile of a Private Island owner.  Enjoy the exclusive peek into one of the most exotic real estate purchases an individual can make, and we look forward to sharing many more of our remarkable stories with you.

Read about The Lure of Buying a Private Island.

-Wendy

The Lure of Buying a Private Island

The Lure of Buying a Private Island

Owning your own private island conjures up images of celebrities, billionaire tycoons, and adventurous spirits who look to escape from the normal resorts or exotic vacation locales to their own private refuges.

Popular locations to own a private island are the Bahamas, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, Canada and French Polynesia, which all boast noteworthy private island ownership.  In fact, there are three distinct types of private island owners: “The Wealthy Celebrity or Businessman,” “The Speculator” and “The Island Lover.”

Established mavericks of business, successful entrepreneurs and world-renowned entertainers, many from the U.S., are the predominant profile of the private island owner.  They view these islands as status symbols, private getaway spots with a high degree of security and seclusion.  One well known private island owner is David Copperfield, the American Illusionist, who owns Musha Cay in the Bahamas.  Here are several current listings that are well suited for the perfect private island retreat.

$85,000,000 USD | Exuma Cays, Bahamas | Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty 

Located on the Exuma chain of islands, this private island in the Bahamasoffers the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.   The island comes equipped with self-generating power, sophisticated telecommunications, docks, staff quarters for 29, a spa, a gym, an infinity pool, a salon and a Cessna 208 floatplane.

$75,000,000 USD | Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada 

James Island is a breathtaking private island in the Gulf Islands, British Columbia that includes its own Jack Nicklaus Signature 18-hole  golf course, white sandy beaches, a generous main residence, six charming guest cottages and a private airstrip.

Another category of private island owners is the speculator or developer looking for underdeveloped islands.  These properties are not for the faint of heart as they require the installation of utilities such as ground water purification or a desalination system which converts sea water to drinking water, and electricity which requires building a power generation system provided no other source is available.  Some undeveloped islands require roads to be built, housing, marina or dockage facilities.  All of this may require government approval and most islands are highly restrictive in terms of preservation of the environment.  Here are current properties prime for development.

$24,000,000 USD | US Virgin Islands | United States Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty

The Hans Lollik Islands are a pair of undeveloped private islands located 1.5 miles from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  With approximately 587 acres, the islands’ topography includes sloping hillsides, palm forests, and beautiful white sand beaches.

$44,198,895 USD | Chora, Greece | Greece Sotheby’s International Realty

This private island in the Aegean Sea, near Athens, Greece is an oasis appropriate for residential or commercial use.

The third type of island buyer is the true island lover, people passionate about buying private islands to create their own personal retreats or eco-resorts. This is a non-conventional person looking for adventure off the beaten path and escaping from the more traditional spots. Here are two truly unique islands ready for the adventurer’s delight.

Alaska | Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

Located in southeast Alaska, this beautiful private island near Sitka, offers spectacular views of Mt. Edgecumbe and Sitka Sound.  With its own private dock, the island offers easy access to the mainland.

New York | Select Sotheby’s International Realty

Comfort Island Alexandria Bay is located on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands Region of New York State.  This historic island property has a rich history which dates back to 1883.  The Victorian estate which was constructed on the island pre-electricity is one of the earliest large estates on the string of islands, and the only known to be still owned by the original family.

Celine Dion’s Private Island Home in Québec | House Tour

In May, singer Céline Dion and her husband René Angélil put their 24,000 square foot private island mansion in Québec, Canada on the market.  Due to the singer’s touring schedule, the couple seldom used the property.  The magnificent estate is currently listed for a staggering $29.6 million CAD, and is the most expensive property ever listed on the Québec housing market.

The listing agent, Joseph Montanaro of Sotheby’s International Realty Québec, takes us through a guided tour of the estate.  In addition to an accomplished real estate broker, Joseph also holds a degree in Architecture and worked in New York City for over 10 years as a successful high-end interior designer and architect.

Accessing the Island

The ultimate in privacy and security, the palatial estate is only accessible via a single stone road which connects the 83,000 square foot, entirely fenced in island to mainland Montréal.  The private gated entrance is staffed with 24 hour security.

Architecture 

True to its French Normandy-style, the castle-like property boasts a dramatic slate roof and a romantic cone-shaped tower.  There are  numerous stone terraces to appreciate the surrounding water views and natural forested environment.  “At one time there were 200 people working on the house during its building,” explained Montanaro. “It took two years to build and was completed in 2001.”

Design and Décor

Luxurious and classic, the interior of the home has exquisite detailing and furnishings, most of which are included in the sale.  A majestic winding staircase with ornate iron and wood details welcomes entrants into a grand foyer.  The main floor features marble and wood flooring and custom-made Persian rugs.

The main floor also features a formal living room and dining room with seating for eighteen and are appointed largely in a crimson, ivory, gold and mahogany palette. Lavish chandeliers and gilded wall scones adorn the coffered ceiling and custom-paneled walls.

A true gourmet kitchen, the completely custom “La Cornue” design is truly exceptional and includes three granite topped islands, four prep sinks, three ovens, four fridges, and an espresso machine.

The second level of the home presents an interesting dichotomy of traditional master suites (yes, there are two) and a strikingly more contemporary children’s suite.  With cool grey walls and clean-lined furnishings, the children’s suite is a nod to the couples’ Jupiter Island, Florida home.  “The Florida house is more contemporary and in a Bahamian style which reflects the local climate, while this home is more classic and settled and characteristic of Québec architecture,” explains Montanaro.

Amenities

The home includes a custom elevator which makes moving through the residence a breeze. On the lower level, there is a handsome game room and a vaulted stone wine cellar with integrated tasting room that is second-to-none.

Outside, there is a large in-ground pool and fabulous pool house equipped with its own kitchen and built-in grill.

The property comes fully-furnished, including artwork (with the exception the owners’ personal affects), and can be viewed by pre-qualified buyers only.  For more, see listings details or contact Joseph Montanaro, Sotheby’s International Realty Québec at 514-660-3050.

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