Avocado: A True Game-Changer for Real Estate

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Who knew that creamy, verdant avocados could make or break one’s future in real estate?

According to Australian developer Tim Gurner, (who is 35 and worth half a billion dollars, nbd) millennials are poor and unable to buy homes because of their infatuation with the single-seeded berry (yes, it’s technically a fruit—The More You Know!)

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On a recent episode of Australia’s “60 Minutes,” he said: “When I was buying my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for 19 bucks and four coffees at $4 each.”

I would propose that maybe only millionaires would pay $19 for guac, but I digress.

Also noteworthy, Gurner was handed $34,000 from his grandfather at the age of 19, which led to his early success in real estate, and he wants to chastise me for my love of guacamole!? Get outta here. What does he think? That if I was given free money, I would’ve bought 22,667 avocados instead of investing it? (Actually, that sounds like a pretty OK investment, if you ask me.)

Snarks aside, Australian real estate company Ray White is latching on to the avocado craze and offering buyers a delicious deal: free avocado toast for 12 months is up for grabs for anyone willing to shell out for a new two- or three-bedroom townhouse in Queensland.

Now, millennials can save their pennies for a townhouse and guacamole in one fell swoop! If you’re an avocado aficionado, you’d better get that passport renewed ASAP: the deal expires June 30.

What a time to be alive.

Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at nick@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Designer Lookbook: Elena Frampton’s Sleek Pied-à-Terre

Manhattan designer Elena Frampton brightens a small space with sophisticated palettes and structural elements.

Manhattan interior designer Elena Frampton prides herself on striking a balance, be it with color, texture, or the eccentric design details she likes to refer to as “moments.”

For a Westchester County couple who purchased a pied-à-terre in the tony enclave of Sutton Place, Frampton’s mission was to “create a sense of spaciousness” from the kitchen that extends to the bedroom.

A lighter, brighter kitchen

No stranger to gut renovations, Frampton eagerly tore down the kitchen wall to “create an elegant space that would be open,” she says. Then she added an island that serves as a dining room sideboard.

Ceiling-high cabinets in a medium oak were selected for their “cleaner geometry,” Frampton continues, while sky-blue tiles were chosen for color. “I love bringing color and texture into a kitchen,” she says.

A square column that leads to the living room was rounded to make it more of a “sculptural element,” Frampton says, rather than something obtrusive. “When we encounter something that appears to be a conflict, we ask, ‘What can we do to make it something interesting and appealing?’”

In the same vein, Frampton selected a variety of eye-catching light fixtures. “I love bringing personality to spaces with sculptural, interesting items,” she says, noting the surface-mount fixture and chandelier, both in the kitchen, that were made in the ’60s and ’70s.

“It’s really about having fixtures and finishes that are elegant and suitable for an open living environment.”

Spacious tricks for open living spaces

Mixing materials was also important when it came to the textiles. A brown leather couch makes a statement in a living room defined by beiges and grays, while a chunky knit blanket adds a touch of whimsy to an otherwise serene master bedroom.

“It doesn’t feel too beige, and it doesn’t feel too gray,” Frampton says of the bedroom’s palette, which is enhanced by art from Sears-Peyton Gallery in Chelsea, New York. The light on the nightstand is from Orange in Los Angeles.

For Frampton, the biggest challenge was creating a sense of spaciousness in an apartment that felt closed off. “The windows are not large,” she says, “and the ceiling height is the standard eight feet.”

To get around the problem, she used several wall-mounted lights, which take up little space, and painted the ceilings a shade lighter than the walls. “It makes rooms feel larger,” she notes.

Back in the living room, a tinted mirror with an architectural frame was added to reflect the stunning view of the 59th Street Bridge outside.

Frampton also took risks where she could afford them, as evidenced by a fur-covered bench in the bedroom. Going back to the idea of balance, she says, “It’s more about calibrating choices than tempering all of them.” In other words, she carefully chose what she wanted to stand out.

“If art is your thing, or whatever it is that gives you joy, that’s the area to take risks,” she says. “It’s not about whether it’s trendy or if your friends like it. What are the things that bring you joy?”

Get the look at home

Follow Frampton’s tips to get a tailored look in your own home.

  • Choose your moment. “Here, we decided to go vintage with light fixtures, but it could also be hardware or dining chairs,” Frampton says. “Pick a moment, and find the right thing to focus on.”
  • Vary the palette. To make the bedroom’s beige walls feel more of the moment, Frampton says, “We brought in art, and the art brings a lot to the story.” It’s also helpful to layer beiges and grays for a balance of warm and cool effects. “Mixing brings some complexity to the palette, even though it’s neutral.”
  • Always test the paint colors. “We test paint colors on-site to look at them in different lighting conditions,” Frampton says. She also likes to sample “four or five neutrals on a wall.”
  • Go a shade lighter on the ceiling. “We do our ceilings in the same shade as the walls, but one hue lighter so it all looks the same,” Frampton says. “A ceiling inherently has shadows, so going one shade lighter makes it look uniform.”

Photography by Joshua McHugh

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House of the Week: $100 Million Mansion Stocked With 177 Bottles of Bubbly

It also boasts Beverly Hills' largest indoor pool.

Put this one on the holiday wish list now.

You might have to beg, borrow, and steal to come up with $100 million dollars to afford this 7-bedroom, 11-bathroom Los Angeles mansion (or give up 20 million $5 lattes — trust us, we did the math), but once you do, you might not have to think of much else.

In addition to coming fully furnished with designer touches (Roberto Cavalli flooring, Fratelli Longhi doors in suede and leather), the home includes a gold Rolls-Royce, a gold Lamborghini and a private concierge for two years.

It’s part of a trend of high-end homes hitting the market with bells and whistles already included, said real estate agent Drew Fenton.

“More buyers are wanting turnkey homes that come with extras, such as the art and car collection,” Fenton said. “Time is money — and to accumulate, let’s say, an art collection or car collection, takes lots of time.”

The 20,500-square-foot mansion is perched above L.A. in a neighborhood dubbed “Billionaires’ Row,” because it is home to a number of high net-worth individuals.

The house offers views of downtown and the Pacific Ocean. A walkway is suspended above Beverly Hills’ largest indoor pool, Fenton notes, with a 20-foot-high glass waterfall.

Motorized sliding doors open up to the deck, outdoor pool and vista.

There’s a $2 million dollar art collection at the ready, along with a Champagne vault (177 bottles of Cristal are already stocked).

The house also has a 15-person home theater, and a so-called car museum with space to display 10 vehicles.

The developer is Nile Niami, who also produced movies such as “The Patriot.” His next project is a $500 million dollar mansion in Bel Air, which will include a “jellyfish room” — a space to relax as jellyfish swim around you.

Drew Fenton with Hilton Hyland holds the listing.

Photos courtesy Jim Bartsch

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Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Safe at Home While You Travel

Help your loved one rest, relax, and recharge — even when you're the one going on vacation.

Caregiving for a loved one is a full-time job. And like any full-time job, you need vacation days to relax and rejuvenate — except caregiving doesn’t come with a team to cover for you while you’re gone.

If you want to actually relax during your getaway, some careful scheduling and home updates will prevent worrying about the quality of your loved one’s care.

Find someone to help

As the primary caregiver for your loved one, you need someone to cover both your caregiving and homeowner’s responsibilities while you’re gone.

  • Hire a professional caregiver. Professional caregivers help with a variety of duties. They can live with your loved one 24/7, stay during the day, or just visit for a few hours, depending on the need.
  • Turn to family, friends, or neighbors. If you have siblings, ask them to cover for you. You can also ask members of your community to take care of your home and do household tasks that your loved one can’t do.
  • Find a skilled nurse. Does your loved one need special medical help? Have a certified nurse step in to fill your shoes. Nurses are licensed and trained to provide care for complicated medical issues.
  • Look into assisted living. Many assisted living communities offer short-term stays for patients. Just be sure to plan ahead — these communities often need advance notice to make accommodations.

Prepare your home

Don’t make your temporary caregiver figure things out alone. Prep your home so everything is easily accessible. While you’re at it, get some home technology that will keep you in the loop.

  • Gather important information. Gather all the necessary paperwork, medical records, and emergency contacts your loved one might need. Tape the documents to the refrigerator, within easy reach.
  • Prepare meals. Whether you hire a full-time caregiver or not, prepping meals ahead of time makes it easier for your loved one to eat properly. Package meals in the fridge or freezer with clear labels and instructions.
  • Do the laundry. Ensure that your loved one will have enough clean socks and underwear while you’re gone. Lay out clothing for the week, or hang outfits grouped together and clearly labeled in the closet.
  • Install a home security system. A smart system lets you view alerts and even security camera feeds remotely from your smartphone.
  • Get a medical alert. A medical alert will help your loved one contact emergency services at the press of a button. You can also receive a call if anything happens.

Set the social calendar

Your loved one is used to having you around, so make your absence easier with some careful schedule planning. Post a calendar in an obvious place so your loved one always knows what the next thing is on the to-do list.

  • Overlap the transition. If possible, have your temporary caregiver start while you’re still around. It will help the caregiver understand how you do things, and it will help your loved one get to know them.
  • Make a social calendar. From doctor’s visits to social events, put everything in the calendar. Hang a large, visual calendar for easy reference, and mark the date you return.
  • Write down the daily schedule. Is your loved one used to a certain daily routine? Let the temporary caregiver know. Map out a typical day for the caregiver to have as a reference.
  • Plan something fun. Ask your loved one if there’s anything special they’d like to do while you’re gone or once you get back. You want them to have something to look forward to during your absence.
  • Reassure your loved one. Listen to their worries and concerns before you leave. Let your loved one know that the only thing that will change while you’re gone is your presence. Make sure they understand that you’re coming back.

Rest and renew

Taking a vacation shouldn’t make you feel guilty. Take time to care for yourself, and you’ll be a better caregiver. With everything settled before you leave, you’ll enjoy your vacation knowing that your loved one is well taken care of.

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5 Futuristic Buildings by a Postmodern Architect You Need to Know

Hint: She was the first woman to ever receive the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Photo by Mary McCartney

If you’ve paid any attention to architecture in the past couple of decades, you already know the name Zaha Hadid.

The late Iraqi-born London resident’s buildings — residential, commercial, hotels, retail — can be found all over the world. While Hadid began her career teaching architecture at prestigious institutions, she quickly rose to fame for her designs.

Over her extremely successful 30-year career, Hadid designed numerous iconic buildings, contributed theoretical and academic work to the field of architecture, and received some of the highest accolades, including becoming the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Check out these five Zaha Hadid Architects buildings we love.

1000 Museum, Miami Beach

Located on Biscayne Boulevard, opposite Museum Park, this 66-story tower will house 83 residences described as “super luxury.” A duplex penthouse will occupy the top two residential floors, with an aquatic center and sky lounge above them, and a rooftop helicopter landing pad topping it all off. The views of Biscayne Bay will likely be unbelievable from all floors of the wavy structure.

520 West 28th Street, New York

Overlooking the High Line in Manhattan, this 11-story development features 39 luxury condos that range in price from $4.95 million to $50 million. “I’ve always been fascinated by the High Line and its possibilities for the city,” Hadid once explained. “Decades ago, I used to visit the galleries in the area and consider how to build along the route. It’s very exciting to be building there now. The design engages with the city while concepts of fluid spatial flow create a dynamic new living environment.”

d’Leedon, Singapore

Public and private spaces come together in this unique Hadid design located in the center of Singapore’s District 10. The d’Leedon is comprised of seven residential towers and 12 semi-detached villas with a resort-like communal space in the center, including a pool. Each tower tapers inward as it reaches the ground, creating a funky visual effect, while a petal-shaped layout ensures that each unit will have at least three sides with windows to maximize natural light.

33-35 Hoxton Square, London

This prism-inspired design is being constructed from sandblasted aluminum and clear glass. It will “respond and manipulate daylight and views,” according to the design documents. The two-level gallery will house both commercial offices and residential flats in London’s Hoxton Square.

Casa Atlantica, Rio de Janeiro

Located on Copacabana Beach, this building combines in its design the natural forms of Rio de Janeiro’s beaches with the energy and rhythm of Copacabana. As the marketing materials for the building further explain, “Casa Atlantica’s design continues the liberating composition and spatial flow inherent within Brazil’s rich Modernist tradition.” Balconies jut out on each floor and separate the residential units.

 Photos courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

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