House of the Week: A Storybook Cottage in the Country

Nestled creekside, this woodland home’s enchanting details and cozy comforts create a magical setting.

This fairy tale-inspired home is handcrafted in every sense of the word. Framed by an antique stone wall entrance that leads into a front yard dotted with trees, the property opens in a clearing to reveal a ivy-covered, tan stucco cottage with red trim.

Built in 1997 by owner Dale Jolliffe, a historical restoration designer, the Pipersville, PA home is an ode to the English countryside, and a labor of love.

Although the cottage is nestled on a spacious lot, Jolliffe built not for scope but for quality — “small, quaint and cozy forces family together rather than apart,” he said. The home, currently on the market for $549,000, measures 2,600 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 4 baths.

Jolliffe wanted the design to ensure a sense of closeness, to create “more of a European flair: smaller, easy, efficient.”

The living area features hand-cut wood flooring and a window that spans the entire wall, giving a wonderful view of the wooded surroundings. The open kitchen boasts a mix of light and dark finishes, with geometric shapes that put a unique spin on a simple yet tasteful space. The room opens to the formal dining area, with its own spectacular views.

Upstairs, the wood flooring becomes lighter and the home design turns more whimsical, with skylights, unusually shaped rooms and arched cathedral windows.

The master bath includes a soaking tub, while another bathroom features a rain shower. The master suite includes a partial privacy wall separating the windowed bedroom space from an adjoining sitting area with its own full sink and a refrigerator.

Outside, enjoy the view from the balcony, or an expansive deck with plenty of room to host gatherings. The property is tucked among parks, protected land and a stream.

Jolliffe created this English cottage from his memories of being in the woods, and the result is a storybook home with warmth and an abundant reverence for nature.

The listing agent is Kimberly Woehr-Kates of Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty.

Photos by Michael Hirsch.


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Tips for Renovating a Home to Appeal to Baby-Boomer Buyers

Follow these tips from HGTV’s Christina El Moussa to catch the savvy baby-boomer eye.

On average, the American population is getting older. More than 76 million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964 (the baby-boom generation), which means a large portion of our population is aged 50 and older. Baby boomers are either retired or reaching retirement age, and they are quickly becoming empty nesters.

These aging Americans are looking to downsize because they no longer want or need their five-bedroom, two-level homes. A home that better fits their current lifestyle is much more appealing, especially if it means they don’t have to make the move to a retirement home.

When Tarek and I are flipping a house in a neighborhood that attracts baby boomers (a less expensive neighborhood with smaller homes), we make sure to include features that appeal to this generation. An easy-access shower or a main-floor bedroom may be some of the features that first come to mind, but baby boomers have other preferences and needs that make a future home more appealing.

If you’re flipping a home that could attract baby boomers, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind as you renovate.

Luxury features

While baby boomers may be looking to downsize in square footage, they’re looking to upsize the luxury in everything else. Budget-friendly remodeling tricks (such as painting the kitchen cabinets) might work just fine for younger homeowners, but chances are baby boomers will be a little more choosy. After all, they’ll most likely be living in this home for the rest of their lives.

You can’t go wrong with installing luxury features like wood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. These features are sure to bring potential baby-boomer buyers to your flip.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

More convenience

Baby boomers are tired of living in an old home that requires maintenance and work. Instead, they want something new that provides more convenience and less stress.

Boomers love modern appliances that they won’t have to repair, a yard that’s easy to maintain, energy-efficient windows and doors to save on their heating bills, and a large, open floor plan that provides lots of space and natural light.

Additionally, baby boomers prefer a one-story home because they won’t have to go up or down stairs to get to their bedroom.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Home office

Many baby boomers are still in the transition phase from working a full-time job to retiring. Often boomers want to keep working even after they’ve retired because they enjoy bringing in the extra income. A home office will allow them to work from home without having to commute every day.

While you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on transforming a room into an office, setting aside a room to be used specifically as a den or an office will be appealing to those baby boomers who want to continue working.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Easy-to-maintain yards

This goes hand-in-hand with more convenience, but I can’t seem to stress it enough. Put simply, baby boomers want a yard that doesn’t need a lot of work.

While finding a zero-maintenance yard is not very likely (except, of course, in maintenance-free communities), hardscaping a portion of the yard or replacing the lawn with a patio will cut down on yard work.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Extra space

Baby boomers love extra space — but it has to be flexible space. They enjoy space they can adjust to their lifestyle and preferences. Rooms they can easily transform from a guest room into an office and then a hobby room are much more attractive than a space meant to be a bedroom forever.

Boomers like the freedom to choose how they use their extra space, especially when it doesn’t require a lot of work on their part to make the changes.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Baby boomers require unique features in their homes, which can be overwhelming if you’re not sure how to appeal to their generation. But keep these tips in mind during your next flip and you’re sure to attract baby boomers.


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Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Makes a Real Estate Funny

Last Friday the 13th truly lived up to the misfortune hype with the Netflix release of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” The sequence of misfortunes, narrated by Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton), begins with Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire (Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith) being informed that their parents have perished in a fire. The children fall in the care of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), their geographically “nearest living relative” who is plotting to steal their fortune. From here on out, the orphans initiate a process of guardian-hopping, following every next guardian’s death at the hands of Count Olaf.

It is guardian No. 3 that interests the real estate world: the once fierce and formidable Aunt Josephine (Alfre Woodard). Josephine lives in quite a distressed property. The house is atop a cliff and literally falling apart. The woman is scared of everything to the point where she never turns on the stove and has warning signs placed on mundane items like telephones. Yet, in a world of parent-killing fires and scheming Counts, Aunt Josephine is most afraid of:

Real estate agents.

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In fact, during a definitive moment in the episode “The Wide Window II”—corresponding to the third book in the series—Klaus convinces his aunt to leave her hiding place at Curdled Cave by reminding her the cave is for sale. He only had to state the fact that agents would be showing up for the once reluctant woman to run straight out of the cave in a panic.


Unfortunate_Events_3Moral of the story? Some of your clients might have an irrational fear of you, and that’s okay. Just try your best, and maybe check out “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

Gabrielle van Welie is RISMedia’s editorial intern. Email her your real estate news ideas at

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

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Step Inside the Spendiest Home in the Land

Designed to ‘exceed the demands of the super wealthy,’ the $250-million mega-mansion will be heaven on earth for some lucky billionaire.

What’s 38,000 square feet and comes with a gallery of exotic cars and a staff of seven? This $250-million listing in Bel Air, a luxury extravaganza that’s part resort, part 40-seat Dolby theater and part helipad. (Well, there isn’t a permit for the helipad, so it’s described instead as a rooftop art installation featuring a helicopter from the ’80s television series “Airwolf.”)

Fashion designer-turned-developer Bruce Makowsky, who sold a Beverly Hills spec home to Minecraft creator Markus Persson for $70 million, is upstaging himself by a wide margin here.

“It just reeks of quality and looks absolutely spectacular,” he told Bloomberg. “It gives you the feeling you can only get if you go to heaven.”

The aim is to “exceed the demands of the super wealthy,” according to a press release. “This home was curated for the ultimate billionaire who wants the best of everything that exists in life,” Makowsky said.

And how. The billionaire can feast on all the good things in three gourmet kitchens and five bars while lounging on 17,000 square feet of entertainment decks. When the gluttony is over, there’s a fitness center, a four-lane bowling alley and an 85-foot infinity pool to work it out.

The mega-mansion is filled with artwork, from Lamborghini wall clocks to a much-larger-than-life representation of a Leica camera. And let’s not forget the kids, who can revel by the wall of candy dispensers and play a champagne-themed pinball machine.

All of this grandeur sits in the hills above Los Angeles, offering expansive views from the 2017 power-wealth version of paradise.

If this home sells anywhere near its list price, it will handily break the record set by two $100-million sales last year — another L.A. mega-mansion, sold to an investor, and the Playboy Mansion, which first appeared on the market at $200 million.

The listing agents are Branden and Rayni Williams of Hilton Hyland and Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty.

Tour the sun-drenched neighborhood.

Photos courtesy of Berlyn Photography.


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Before & After: A Palm Beach-Inspired Retreat

Designer Kerrie Kelly shares how her team used sun-drenched colors and bold patterns to transform this home into a breezy retreat.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to shy away from bright colors, playful patterns, and sun-drenched beach motifs. When our clients told us they wanted a master suite that embodied the sunny disposition of their favorite Miami beach spot, we were excited to get started.

Inspired by the young family’s fun and upbeat personality, we threw caution to the wind to create one of the liveliest spaces we’ve ever done.

With rich colors, patterns-a-plenty, and lots of fun texture, this beach-inspired space is perfect for the dynamic family, who often host holiday parties, weekend sleepovers, and family game nights.

The kitchen

We were drawn to the space’s expansive and gorgeous large-format tile flooring.

Before: A dated, dark kitchen in need of a color pop or two.

To make this space shine, we added a playful mix of beachy colors and patterns to intensify the home’s naturally light-filled look.

The new retreat inspires creativity in everyday life with bursts of color and patterns in varying scales, while the complementary tones create the perfect place for friends and family to gather.

After: Perfect pairings of pattern, color, and texture give the kitchen new life.

The living room

The living room was dull and in dire need of color.

Before: The design team’s living room redesign started from “blah.”

Using metallic accents to add balance to the colorful design, we gave the living room a soothing yet modern update with robust art and calming elements like candles and wood-hewn accessories. An oversized mirror serves as a beautiful focal point, drawing the eye toward the family’s favorite part of their new space. By mixing patterns and colors, we created depth and dimension while maintaining a relaxed and playful vibe.

After: Bold colors and metal accents breathe adventure into the space.

The bedrooms

like the living room, the master bedroom and guest rooms were perfectly plain — and screaming for a facelift.

Before: Monochrome bedrooms provided a clean slate for the new design.

After: The master bedroom brings paradise home with beachy prints and patterns.

After: One guest bedroom welcomes all who enter with a cheerful wall treatment and brightly colored accents that elevate the mood.

After: The second guest bedroom invites family and friends with a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe.

The young family is excited to live in a space that reflects their colorful personality, and they’re ready and able to use every square inch for entertaining their nearest and dearest.


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