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Lifelong designer createsspaces that sell

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Gail Dunnett remembers a time not too long ago when Realtors outside the Bay Area dismissed home staging as another wacky trend from kooky California. [...] only folks in the Golden State would think to move all the furnishings out of a property that’s for sale and design a new interior for fictional residents, right? Chefs at high-end restaurants pride themselves on how plates look coming out of their kitchen. Presenting a home to a discerning buyer should be given such consideration. Staging blossomed from a niche service in only premium Bay Area neighborhoods to the almost mandatory institution in major markets across the nation. Studies have repeatedly shown staging can increase the closing price of a home by 10 to 15 percent,” said Dunnett, the owner and founder of studio D. “That’s when staging really caught on outside the Bay Area — when people realized this made money. Most recently, the Real Estate Staging Association named studio D the “Home Staging Team of the Year.” The New Jersey native’s first true experience organizing a space came as teenager, when her mother allowed Dunnett to select wallpaper patterns and light fixtures for her bedroom. Though her interests gravitated toward economics and the stock market, Dunnett never strayed far from her interest in design. In Australia, she designed packages for products found in local grocery stores and enjoyed going to work every day. In a lightly edited interview, Dunnett talks about style, what finishes are poised for a comeback, and how staging feels like “designers on crack.” How does staging differ from traditional interior design? Interior design can be very expensive, so we focus on beautifying a room without having to go over-the-top. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be framing mirrored closet doors.

Getaway: Fortress on Stewart’s Point highlights 218-acre, oceanfront estate

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Architect Joan Hallberg embraced the philosophy in the early ’90s with a castle-like masterpiece 350 feet above the Pacific Ocean in Stewart’s Point, where Northern California’s windswept coastline feasts on timid architecture. The ingenious approach braces the home against the elements while separating public spaces from private bedroom suites. Sea foam ebbs and flows with the tide and gives a face to the sea’s salty air. Built atop an elongated, narrow peninsula, the four-bedroom home strikes a symbiotic relationship with its surroundings. Bulky hardwood trusses and concrete foundation slabs complement the rocky shoreline and the redwood, Douglas fir, hemlock and bishop pine trees growing throughout the 218-acre lot. Catwalks link roof decks spanning the home, and several public rooms enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows on multiple sides. Wings housing three guest suites stand on one side of the dining room, while the other contain public areas and the master bedroom. An eight-burner range and a restaurant-quality walk-in refrigerator outfit an open kitchen with dual islands and several sinks. Features: A bold material palette and innovative design forge this architecturally significant four-bedroom with southern views over the Pacific Ocean. The structure employs three independent pavilions connected by a semicircular roof made of corrugated steel. Concrete, timber and steel supports a luxury home that complements its surroundings without bowing before them.

Retractable glass walls create exemplary indoor/outdoor living in Tiburon

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Some combination of bespoke finishes, smart home technology and staggering views accompany each step at 1860 Mountain View Drive in Tiburon’s Haven Hill neighborhood. [...] amid book-matched Olivewood veneers, Italian marble, French limestone and retractable glass walls, there’s something you’re not going to see — a support brace for the southwest corner on either level. Collapsible glass walls converge at the southwestern corner, thanks to an expertly engineered cantilevered steel frame. A resort-worthy master suite hosts a dual-sided fireplace that warms both the spa bathroom and sleeping quarters, and both segments of the suite open to the south-facing view deck and a mostly level yard conceptualized by landscape architect John Murton. A suite of Miele appliances — including a coffee station and warming drawer — outfit the open kitchen topped by an acoustic cedar ceiling. The outdoor spaces are beautifully integrated with the indoor spaces to create an environment perfect for grand entertaining or private enjoyment with family and friends. Two dramatic decks with frameless glass railings are accessed from the main floor, one off of the great room and one from the master suite. When collapsed, the retractable glass barriers connect the bedroom with a southern-facing Ipe deck near the home’s infinity pool and level yard. Honed Canadian limestone clads the suite’s spa bathroom and complements its cast concrete sink and counter. A stainless steel soaking tub, rain head open shower and custom teak bench populate the lavish bathroom finished by a monolithic limestone center all with hydra-treated black granite insert. Two more bedrooms — each with Golden Gate views and built-in storage — round out the sleeping quarters. Completely rebuilt to exacting standards, this contemporary four-bedroom in the Hill Haven neighborhood enjoys dramatic views, extravagant inclusions and collapsible glass walls off both levels. Highlighted by views of Mount Tamalpais, the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, the architecturally significant residence enjoys south-facing decks with glass railings, an infinity edge pool and an outdoor kitchen.

Sound Off: What tech innovation has been the biggest help for real estate transactions?

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
What tech innovation has been the biggest help for real estate transactions? Property search websites like Zillow and Trulia, as well as an agent’s personal site, created the most profound impact on real estate transactions during the last decade. According to Inman News, 90 percent of people use a property search website when shopping for or selling a home. When searching for properties, it is better to use your agent’s home search website. A good agent will have a website that allows their clients to search for homes. Internet-driven, handheld devices are a game-changer. Smartphones and tablets placed virtually Every aspect of the homebuying experience into the palm of not only the Realtor’s hand, but that of our clients as well. Drones — specifically ones used by professional photographers — have been a tremendous asset and marketing tool. Buyers in our marketplace are extremely analytical and tech savvy. Drone video footage enables buyers to get a real sense of scale, proximity to neighborhood amenities and surrounding properties in a way that still images never could. Watching a two-minute video offers buyers a plethora of data previously unavailable to them, which allows them to learn the location and “feel” of the home before ever stepping foot onto the property.

Price Point: $2.8 million in Pacific Heights

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Walnut-stained hardwood floors and natural stone provide a palette of earth tones for the large light-filled unit. A Shaw farmhouse sink, display cabinetry with task lights and high-end stainless steel appliances highlight the gourmet kitchen. Two master suites — each with luxurious spa bathrooms and view terraces — dominate the main level.

Price Point: $2.699 million in Healdsburg

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
A prime location, graceful flow and elegant finishes converge at this property less than a half mile from the town square. A professional range provides the centerpiece to an open kitchen accented with glass tile backsplashes and contemporary hardware. Ultra-modern luxuries like a rain shower with multiple body sprayers adorn the upstairs master suite’s spa bathroom. Out back, an irregularly shaped pool and built-in spa separates the four-bedroom main house and its one-bedroom, one-bathroom guest apartment.

‘Only going to continue’ Arts & Crafts in North Oakland indicates what’s to come

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40

Bay Area buyers burnt out from limited inventory and outrageous prices see opportunities in areas they once avoided. Winkler’s latest listing, 974 42nd St., provides luxury inclusions, a breezy floor plan and fully updated infrastructure. Vibrant stained glass inserted in the entry door provides an inviting introduction. The kitchen, living and dining areas all occupy definitive spaces, but there’s no walls separating or compartmentalizing them. A gas fireplace set inside the original chimney occupies the dining room, flanked by built-in cabinetry that doubles as a bar area. Outside, the spacious lot offers a detached garage, as well as a casita that could act as a media room, art studio or home office. A deck off the main level connects with an exterior staircase, while the lower-level master suite has a sliding glass door. A luxurious, spa-worthy bathroom highlights the full-floor suite with a freestanding soaking tub and walk-in shower with bench. A stylish chef’s kitchen with French door refrigerator, quartz counters and a Blue Star stove anchors the main level. The dining area repurposes original shelving and maintains the tall wainscoting, while the 21st century kitchen includes a six-burner Blue Star stove and glass doors opening to the deck. The spa-worthy master bathroom includes a freestanding tub and glass shower.

Just Approved: New regulations almost leave ranch purchase stuck in the mud

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
[...] complicating matters was that her husband—a self-employed civil rights attorney—reported low income on last year’s tax return because he was working on a large contingency fee case that did not settle until the following year. Next, the attorney-buyer had recently deposited large sums of money from his business account into his personal account for the home purchase. With jumbo financing, many investors do not allow business funds, even from self-employed buyers, to be used as part of the home purchase transaction. Holmgren had to locate an investor with competitive loan terms that would accept the buyer’s income and asset situation, along with accepting the somewhat unusual attributes of the property being purchased. The further complication in this purchase was that the new TRID disclosure requirements had taken effect the very day that the buyer’s offer was accepted. The buyer’s agent had set a 21-day closing period for the purchase, probably not the best idea with the new regulations in effect. Holmgren was able to work through all of the income, asset and property issues, and the agent was able to get a short extension on the closing to accommodate the regulatory delays. The buyers are proud owners of their dream home for their growing family.

Palatial dimensions await at Oakland four-bedroom open Sunday

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
This contemporary Craftsman — built after the 1991 Oakland fire — enjoys practical built-ins and a welcoming interior. The living room features grand volume thanks to double-height ceilings, while beams of New England blond maple fir line the floor. An office/library occupies a corner of the living room. Listing agent: Tricia Swift, the Grubb Co., (510) 339-0400, ext. 333, 5782 Buena Vista Ave., $1.2 million. Beds: 4 Baths: 3 Square footage: 2,857 Open home: 2 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday.

Updated two-story Craftsman in Sunnyside district open Sunday

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Contemporary conveniences and the use of natural light define this freshly updated two-story California Craftsman near Highways 280 and 101. Both bedrooms host en-suite bathrooms. For more details, visit Listing agent: Kevin Ho, Vanguard Properties, (415) 297-7462, kho@; Jonathan McNarry, Vanguard Properties, (415) 215-4393, 241 Judson Ave., $1.095 million. Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Square footage: 1,407 Open home: 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday.

Prospects are high for this Sausalito listing open Sunday

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
Sweeping views from Oakland to San Francisco await the next owner of this southern-facing — and freshly renovated — Mediterranean Revival. Smarthome technology offers a wealth of energy efficient amenities. Listing agent: Jennifer Bowman, Vanguard Properties, (415) 717-8950, jennifer@; Susan Bowman, Vanguard Properties, (415) 710-0208, susan@ 43 Prospect Ave., $2.795 million Beds: 4 Baths: 2 ½ Square footage: 2,160 (est.) Open home: 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday.

Piedmont contemporary grows as family does

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40
A stuccoed three-bedroom on Piedmont’s Pacific Avenue satisfied those demands — in a convenient location, no less. “The schools our kids went from kindergarten through high school are three blocks from here,” Rob Netsch said of 329 Pacific Ave., the contemporary with Lake Merritt views he and his wife, Pat Netsch, bought in 1998. Tiny aluminum windows, a galley kitchen and inefficient flow plagued the single-story home back then. Extensive remodeling now yields a two-story, four-bedroom with a stylish eat-in kitchen, indoor-outdoor living and an abundance of windows on all sides. “The house was comfortable, and it had a great deal of natural light, but it didn’t take advantage of views or capitalize on the indoor-outdoor element,” Pat Netsch said. An expansion resulted in a top-floor master suite and an adjacent bonus room. Creating about 1,000 square feet of new living space proved invaluable as their children grew older, the couple agreed. The widened kitchen connected to a newly formed family room and offered a host of new amenities. Fattening the kitchen by 4 feet might sound trivial at first, but a bay window, more counter space and a center island with built-in sink fell into place as a result. Stylish four-bedroom contemporary with a chef’s kitchen, brick patio, wooden deck and a flowing floor plan. The top-floor master suite has a spa bathroom, private terrace and a walk-in closet.

Walk-through: Freshly completed and readily available in Ross

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40

Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. Timeless style converges with contemporary convenience in a home with soaring cathedral ceilings and gracious flow indoors and out. The eat-in kitchen has professional appliances, subway tiles, display cabinets and a marble-topped island. Exposed trusses support the great room’s 18-foot ceiling and complement the dark-stained, wide-plank hardwood floors. French doors on one side of the master suite lead to the front yard, while the opposite end opens to a sizable courtyard. The suite includes a spa bathroom highlighted by a two-person walk-in shower with multiple body sprayers. The U-shaped home offers three openings to a courtyard that leads to a level lawn in the backyard.

Toll Brothers’ Alamo Creek grand home designs showcase inviting outdoor living areas

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40

(Danville, CA) – Located in the highly touted, master planned community of Alamo Creek, and enfolded by acres of pristine and preserved hillsides, wetlands and creeks, Avery, Ashbury, and Iron Oak at Alamo Creek are redefining the value of luxurious yet relaxed living.

Walk-through: Lavish lounging in Los Gatos

SF Gate - Sat, 02/20/2016 - 20:40

Twice a week, The Chronicle features a home on the market that caught our eye for its architecture, history or character. Palatial dimensions, light-filled rooms and expansive outdoor spaces define this four-bedroom French provincial structure. Belgatos Park and the roughly 90-acre Heintz Open Space preserve surround the Los Gatos home, resulting in seemingly endless expanses of tree-studded hills for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. Peaked gables, half-moon clerestory windows, columns and a covered entryway provide the curb appeal of this grand residence. Arches and inlaid hardwood floors are found on the main level, while bedrooms and a family room are on the carpeted lower level. French doors off the master suite offer one way to reach the decks. The hillside home includes a terraced garden with built-in planting beds amid verdant surroundings.

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