Couture Closets

Prepare yourself. You are about to get a serious case of closet envy. The September issue of Previews Inside Out® takes us inside four in vogue closets fit for the ultimate fashionista.

While the closet has typically been considered the “woman cave.” These couture closets prove that an Armani suit collection and a library of Louboutins deserve the same red carpet (and custom cabinetry) treatment.

If you could design your dream closet, what would you add? A jewel-toned chandelier and tufted bench? Ample seating and a dressing island? Zebra wood paneling? Or, perhaps you’d make it the size of a bedroom? Well, try these four fabulous couture closets on for size. Each is plucked from listings marketed by Coldwell Banker Previews International®.

The closet is arguably one of the most personal rooms in the house. The contents often say more about our personal style than any other room in the home. So, shouldn’t the room’s design be tailored as much to our personality and lifestyle as the clothes it stores?

If the shoe fits, wear it (especially if it’s Jimmy Choo).  If the closet fits, it’s too small!

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5 Fun Things to Do This Fall in NYC

Fall in NYC is a beautiful season, and a favorite of many. After the hot and humid summer, autumn’s crisp breezes and temperate weather bring a welcome change. It’s a perfect time to walk around and enjoy all the city has to offer. Here are a few choice options.

Central Park | Is there anything quite as lovely as autumn foliage in Central Park? The trees explode with color, making it a perfect time to take a stroll and enjoy the scenery. Many interesting fall events take place in the park, too, including concerts, yoga classes, walking tours, and more.

City Walking Tours | On the subject of walking tours, you can find many of them offered through various outlets, and autumn is the perfect season to take one! The crisp weather makes fall in NYC the perfect time to expand your horizons and explore this great city before it gets too cold. Tours run the gamut from historic tours that teach you about the history of the city and its architecture, to food tours that allow you to sample delicious treats, to neighborhood-specific tours that allow you to learn more about an area of the city you may have always wondered about.

Smorgasburg | Saturdays and Sundays, April–November | Smorgasburg is an eclectic food-centric gathering that takes place in Brooklyn every weekend. While this event runs in spring and summer, too, the fall is a particularly wonderful time to check out this fun event. Here, you’ll find roughly 100 vendors serving up some of the most unique, delicious food in the city. Help yourself to an apple cider doughnut or delicious hot cocoa when the weather starts to cool down. It’s the perfect way to get into the fall spirit!

New York City Wine & Food Festival | October 16–19 | At the NYCWFF, you’ll find tons of great events that will appeal to foodies, such as seminars, tastings, dinners, and more. And you can feel good about participating, as proceeds go to charity. All the information on events and tickets can be found on their website.

Hester Street Fair | Saturdays and Sundays, April–October | Every weekend during the warm-weather months, the Lower East Side hosts the Hester Street Fair, which brings together food vendors, artisans, and small business. Autumn is a great time to stroll through this street fair, enjoy some delicious artisanal food, and peruse the unique handmade items and vintage goods for sale.

Fall in NYC is lovely, but fleeting! Be sure to take advantage of the beautiful weather and make the most of the city during this season — the fun you can have during these lovely autumn days will surely remind you why you moved to NYC in the first place.

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Moving to NYC? 7 Things You’ll Need to Know

You’re moving to NYC. Congratulations! Now fasten your seat belt. Moving to New York is one of the most awesome, scary, enviable, and amazing things you’ll ever do, but make sure you know what to expect before you get here. Listed below are seven of the most important things you’ll need to know before carving out your slice of the Big Apple.

1. You’re going to need money.

You already know this, but it’s worth repeating for those in the cheap seats: Living in NYC costs money. If you’ll be renting, you’ll need to bring money for your first month’s rent, your last month’s rent, the security deposit, and the broker’s fee. If you’re buying, you’re going to have to put a hefty percentage down if you want to get into the best buildings. There are always exceptions, but these are the rules.

2. You can have practically anything delivered.

If you’re an agoraphobic recluse with hoarding issues, no one ever needs to know your secret … because you can have just about anything delivered. Thanks to tons of vendors who deliver, including FreshDirect, Max Delivery, Amazon, local pharmacies, wine shops, Seamless.com, and Walgreens, you can have everything from your groceries to a credenza delivered right to your door.

3. Mastering the MTA will increase your quality of life.

When you’re moving to NYC, do yourself a favor: Nerd up and study New York’s subway system for an afternoon. Use the transportation app HopStop or simply stare at a NYC subway map, learning the best ways to get to the destinations you travel to most frequently. Trust us; you don’t want to wake up two years from now and find out that your hour-long commute could’ve been cut in half if only you’d known to transfer at Broadway-Lafayette or use the 7 to cut across town.

4. Summers can be brutal here.

Yes, New York City is beyond awesome, but during the peak of summer, there’s this weirdly awful period of intense heat and soupy air. Unless you truly love this type of weather or you’re mostly out of town most during the months of July and August, you’re going to want to deal with your air conditioning situation (or figure out some form of alternative home cooling) in a timely manner.

5. New Yorkers are a lot nicer than everyone thinks.

The city has a reputation for being tough and rude, but you’ll find that New Yorkers can be some of the nicest, most helpful people in the world. Except when they’re driving. Or hailing a cab. Or blocking a subway door. Otherwise, they’re awesome.

6. Something is open somewhere, no matter the time of day.

If you’ve got a sudden craving for a pot roast at 3 am but you don’t have one in your fridge, you can find one at one of the many supermarkets that are open 24 hours per day. Plenty of restaurants stay open round-the-clock, too. And if you need a growler refill and psoriasis prescription medicine at 3am, you can get it. That’s right — you can get beer and meds at Duane Reade.

7. You can be a frugal foodie.

Living on a tight budget? There are so many cheap, excellent places to eat all over the city, it’s possible to be broke till payday and still eat well.

Image Source: Flickr/Werner Kunz

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Not-So-Little House on the Prairie: Mansions for Sale in Wichita

Sure, Wichita has plenty of great places to live. But are there mansions for sale in Wichita? It’s true. Kansas is a place with many historic homes, such as the Seelye Mansion and the Carroll Mansion. From these 19th-century marvels to more modern constructions, you can find many grand estates on the Great Plains. And Wichita is no exception. Here, we’ll show you two of the most jaw-droppingly opulent properties Wichita has to offer.

Wichita mansion, view from above

The Countryside Chateau

Offered for sale by Myron Klaassen, Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate. For additional details, visit myronk.com or call 316.722.0030.

This one-of-a-kind French chateau in the Kansas countryside offers unsurpassed views and privacy. Spread across 80 acres, this property includes its own private four-acre lake. Assembled from reclaimed century-old American and European building materials and taking two years to construct, the home is in its own right a work of art. True craftsmen painstakingly integrated numerous Old World materials throughout the home with such precision that the materials seamlessly flow through the home in the style of the architecture!

You’ll find many interesting origin stories regarding the materials used to construct this home:

  • All of the brick for the home came from an old school in Kansas City, while the stone and stone arches are from an old mansion in St. Joseph, Missouri.
  • The French entry doors are indeed from France; they open into a grand entry with limestone floors, 18-foot ceilings, and a curved stairway bent from the iron railing from Kansas’s old Augusta High School.
  • The library’s French doors are very substantial vintage doors with beveled glass arched transoms above; the round top and teardrop transoms are from the Fowler Mansion in Kansas City, the bookcases have an antique rolling library ladder, and the walls and borders were painted by Wichita artist Steve Murillo.
  • The study has a built-in buffet and cabinetry, also from the St. Joseph mansion.
  • The main floor family room features a cathedral ceiling with massive reclaimed wood beams and second-story doors from a church in Texas, while its walnut floors and iron chandelier are from France.
  • The luxurious master bath includes a stone tub from France framed by reclaimed tapered columns, separate vanities with intricate vintage house pieces above, reclaimed round window, and a huge walk-in shower, plus his-and-hers walk-in closets!

Designed for privacy, the grounds around the house are impeccably maintained all the way to the private lake, which has its own babbling brook and dock! As far as mansions for sale go, this one hits the top!

Wichita mansion water feature

A Home of Natural Beauty and Tranquilty

Offered for sale by Myron Klaassen, Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate. For additional details, visit myronk.com or call 316.722.0030.

This wonderful Japanese-style home gives you a very rare opportunity to live in your own serene forest, surrounded by water features — including a picturesque arched bridge to the pavilion by the lake. With its tranquil setting, this unique property offers homeowners a location that’s totally secluded, and yet just a few minutes from all the amenities of Wichita, Kansas.

The home’s intrigue starts at the front walk, with a spectacular koi pond that flows underneath a suspended portion of the home! The stunning great room is framed by the 22-foot high-beamed ceiling with crossbeams, full floor-to-ceiling stone walls, and a wood-burning fireplace, as well as an indoor gas barbecue grill, and a hidden bar. Its five patio doors that bring the outside in, and celestial windows above the room flood the space with natural light! In the fabulous master bedroom, you’ll find three patio doors, a mirrored wall with bamboo trim, and an incredible bath. Also included is a great walkout/walkup basement family room with floor-to-ceiling windows and an island wet bar with hand-carved elephant-faced corbels.

The home was designed by architect John Kropp, who used Frank Lloyd Wright’s principle of creating a space designed to encourage occupants to turn toward the outdoors to appreciate the beauty of nature. When you walk the grounds, words cannot describe the lighted arched bridge over the pond. At the water’s edge, you’ll find a gazebo-style pavilion with screened-in walls. Inside, there’s a built-in table with top-mount lazy susan, as well as a bar fridge. The property also features a concrete pillared pergola and, for the golfer, a superb putting green. Hidden in the trees is a concrete-and-steel Quonset storage building.

Wichita features many mansions for sale, all unique as the individual who desires to live in them!

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Apple Picking, Corn Mazes, and Other Family-Friendly Fall Flings

I love a cool autumn day with the smell of hay in the air. It makes me think of hot apple cider and hay rides! When fall comes to Michigan, the orchards are brimming with crisp, juicy apples ready for apple picking, and the pumpkin fields are awash in orange. One of the great things about living in Grand Rapids is that there are so many exciting and fun things to do with children during this time of year. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Orchard Hill Farm Market

This little gem offers hayrides and a big petting zoo. Orchard Hill Farm Market also has stuff-your-own scarecrows, a children’s haunted house, a corn maze, and apples!

2. Koetsier’s

This delightful greenhouse on Spaulding Avenue has many kids’ activities. At Koetsier’s, you can bounce in the inflatables, tour a not-so-scary haunted house, pick and paint pumpkins, and ride the tiny trains of the Bumblebee Express. Keep in mind that Koetsier’s is targeted to younger children, so I would suggest ages 8 and under for this adventure. And if you work up a hunger while you’re there, try their cider and homemade hot donuts.

Painting a pumpkin for one of the many fall activities in the Grand Rapids area

3. Klackle Orchards

Located in Greenville (approximately 45 minutes from Grand Rapids), Klackle Orchards is my absolute favorite! You can take a ride on the enchanted pumpkins to the pumpkin fields and ride on a hayride to go apple picking. Klackle grows four varieties of apples in their orchards; with admission, each person gets their own bag to stuff. The hayrides run about every five minutes, so you can pick what you want in one section and then hop a ride to the next. You can also eat as many apples as you want! Klackle offers a great little restaurant/snack bar as well. We spend the day and have lunch (and we make sure to pick up a take-home bag of their cinnamon sugar donuts). They also have face painting, pony rides, corn mazes, an awesome playground, inflatables, and a petting zoo. The one-price admission includes everything except the pony rides. My girls beg to go to Klackle every year!

Riding a pony as part of one of the many fall activities in the Grand Rapids area

4. Zoo Goes Boo!

Every year, Grand Rapids’ John Ball Zoo goes all-out for its Halloween festivities. The kids get to trick-or-treat for candy and other goodies all around the zoo, which the staff decorates for Halloween. Kids can also play games and win prizes. Another big plus about visiting the zoo in the fall is that the animals are more active in the cooler weather. The big cats, like the mountain lions, are usually out and about instead of sleeping. You can complete the whole experience in about three hours, making it a great trip for younger kids. It’s also cute to see all the little ones dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

Halloween dress-up as part of one of the many fall activities in the Grand Rapids area

Now that you’ve gotten a taste of the family-friendly activities available in Grand Rapids this seasons, I hope you take the time this fall to make memories with those you love — and have fun!

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Tips for Painting a Room in Your DFW Home

Painting a room in your Dallas-Fort Worth home is a cost-effective way to liven up your favorite space while also increasing its resale appeal. For maximum resale appeal, the key is to stick with clean, neutral colors that can agree with anyone’s tastes. Removing drab or unfashionable wallpaper and painting walls in a neutral yet contemporary color can instantly refresh your decor. If you’re thinking about sprucing up your home with a fresh coat of paint, consider these tips for painting a room in your DFW house.

Choose the Right Neutral Color

One of the main reasons for choosing a neutral color is that you can match your paint hue to a wide range of decor and accent colors. Just remember: Neutral colors don’t have to be boring or lifeless. While you might be striving for mass appeal, you’re not restricted to off-whites. According to Traci Connell (a Dallas-area interior designer who’s been featured in CultureMap Dallas), grays are a hot, trending hue for those seeking a clean and sophisticated color that can blend with any style of furnishings and appeal to all tastes. According to Connell: “Gray is a versatile hue. Not many colors will clash with gray.” She adds that, gray shades with colorful accents can help achieve a serene and clean appearance that’s not sterile or dull. When you paint with neutrals, you have the option to customize your space with your favorite accent color by arranging plush throw pillows and hanging decor.

Another approach for those who love bright colors is that you can always designate an accent wall in that shade, which you can paint over with your neutral color if and when you decide to sell your home.

Think Beyond the Walls

When we think of painting a room, we often forget the trim. Crown molding, wainscoting, door and window frames, and baseboards are often overlooked areas. Trim accentuates and frames a room. For example, trim can become dingy from being yellowed by the sun; painting over it with a bright, clean white or cream color can make a room feel new and fresh. If your home features varnished or stain wood, you may want to select a stain with brown or gray undertones.

When painting a room in your Metroplex home, take your time selecting the colors you want to use on the walls and the trim. While you want to appeal to all types of tastes, you also want to enjoy the color you choose for yourself. If you’re uncertain about your color palette, there are resources available at your local hardware store: Pick up brochures with preselected palettes, and ask the store’s paint specialists to help you narrow down your choices.

Photo Source: Flickr/Ryan Cunningham

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NYC Tenant Rights: What Do You Need to Know?

Renting an apartment in New York City can be both an exciting and overwhelming task. There are so many issues to consider when renting, such as location, price point, and apartment features. However, one thing that many people forget to make a part of their NYC apartment search is looking up their rights as a tenant.

NYC tenant rights can change over the years. Keeping up to date with what can and can’t be done, and who’s protected and who isn’t, all depends on the latest set of rules issued by the city — everything from rent stabilization to lease renewal regulations. To get familiar with your rights, start by consulting the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).

Tenant Rights in Rent-Regulated Apartments

Rent Regulation Defined: A number of communities in New York State have rent regulation programs known as rent control and rent stabilization. Rent regulation is intended to both protect tenants in privately owned buildings from sharp rent increases and allow owners to maintain their buildings and realize a reasonable profit. If living in a rent-stabilized apartment, tenants will have their rent slowly increase over a certain agreed-upon time.

Lease Renewal: This past June, the RGB adopted renewal lease guidelines for rent-stabilized homes. Tenants in rent-regulated apartments are entitled to receive required services and to have their leases renewed, and they may not be evicted except on grounds allowed by law. Leases may be renewed for one or two years, at the tenant’s choice.

Complaints: Tenants can file relevant complaints on a variety of forms created by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The DHCR is required to serve the complaint on the owner, gather evidence and then can issue a written order which is subject to appeal.

General Renters’ Rights

Beyond the rules that apply to rent-regulated apartments, there are NYC tenant rights that apply to every renter.

For example, all renters have the option to not renew their lease. No one is allowed to legally force you to sign a document extending your lease if you don’t want to and if the lease has passed its enforcement date. That said, in an unregulated apartment, landlords are not required to offer tenants a renewal lease, so make sure to clarify with your landlord what happens at the end of your lease.

All tenants are legally allowed to collect on their security deposits once moving out of the apartment or by not renewing the lease.

When only one tenant is named on a lease, the tenant has the right to take in a roommate and the roommate’s dependent children. When two or more tenants are named on the lease, these tenants may share their apartment with immediate family, and, if one of the tenants named in the lease moves out, that tenant may be replaced with another occupant.

There are even additional protections and rules for senor citizens and disabled persons looking to rent.

For all the information on NYC tenant rights and the latest set of laws and approvals, consult the government agencies referred to above, such as the RGB and the DHCR. Arming yourself with as much information as you can will help ensure that your experience as an apartment renter will go as smoothly as possible.

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Home Tip of the Day: How to Keep Animals from Eating Plants

One summer, my father declared war against the deer that visited our backyard.  The deer had impeccable taste, they loved anything that flowered.  The rose bushes and the day lilies were gone before you could say “bloom.”

Finally, my dad couldn’t take it any longer.  He constructed twelve-foot tall wire fences and threatened to take up the night watch, until finally someone suggested this surprisingly simple garden tip.  See how to keep animals from eating plants in the easy home tip below.  It only takes one ingredient!

May your gardens be critter free and flower-full!  If you’re looking for other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location for the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

If you have a handy home hack, we’d love to hear!  Post your tip on the Coldwell Banker facebook page.

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Home of the Week: A Mediterranean Masterpiece in the Garden State

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a French country estate in Illinois to an elegant Mediterranean masterpiece in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Located just 35 minutes from New York City, this $15 million dollar home is one of the most incredible homes you will see anywhere. The residence boasts 20,000 square feet of interior living space and 30 rooms in total that have been designed to invoke the grandeur and opulence of old Russian empire estates. This is immediately evident upon walking through the front door, as the entry features a hand painted dome that took two years to complete, real 24 carat gold chandaliers and sconces hand crafted in Italy, towering staircases and so much more.

The stunning architectural elements aren’t just relegated to the entryway; as every square inch of this palatial estate exudes elegance, luxury and sophistication. The home inspired by the finest estates in Europe not only looks like it belongs to royalty, but it lets you entertain like royalty too. Whether it be a full service custom bar, wine cellar, poker room, billiards room or fully functional home theater – you have a great many ways to entertain your family and friends.

The home is undoubtedly stunning, but the grounds that cradle this property are just as awe inspiring. The tranquil grounds surrounded by soaring trees connects you to nature while giving off an unparalleled sense of privacy. The gated property also features a stunning Jacuzzi and pool for those warm New Jersey nights!

The home is just 35 minutes from the big apple and has a walk-in closet bigger than most New York City apartments! The property offers up the best of both worlds – ultra private luxury just a hop, skip and a jump away from the bright lights of one of the world’s most enthralling cities. Click here to see more of this home listed by Bill Boswell and Ronnie Aiosa with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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Home Tip of the Day: Where to Hang a Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are like outdoor accessories–the throw pillow and artwork to an already beautiful room.  They draw in all sorts of magnificent creatures to marvel at: robins and squirrels and bears, oh my!

To avoid unwanted visitors to your bird feeder, heed the advice from David Marine in the below Home Tip of the Day: Where to Hang a Bird Feeder.  You can thank us later!

Looking for other outdoor accessories to add to your home?  We have you covered.

Subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to keep tabs on the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

If you have a handy home hack, we’d love to hear!  Post your tip on the Coldwell Banker facebook page.

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