Is the real estate market about to crash? No way, says this CEO — and here’s why

With corporate headquarters on Bunker Hill downtown, CBRE Group Inc. — the world's largest real estate services firm — is one of only a handful of Fortune 500 firms based in Los Angeles. And it’s riding high after a long real estate boom. The company finished the first quarter with its profit up nearly 60% compared with a year earlier to $130 million after posting record revenue of $13.1 billion in 2016.
Los Angeles has notably benefited from the boom too, and looks to continue doing so. The city ranked No. 1 in a recent CBRE survey of global real estate investors looking to buy property this year in North America. “L.A. is the Clayton Kershaw of destinations for institutional capital,” said Chief Executive Robert Sulentic, 60, who has led the company since 2012 and previously was chief executive of Trammell Crow Co., a Texas real estate developer CBRE acquired in 2006. The company, known for decades as Coldwell Banker & Co., makes money on commissions from brokers who arrange sales and leases of offices, warehouses and other commercial property, and by managing real estate for corporations and other property owners. Though it keeps a fairly low profile in its hometown, its roughly 75,000 employees have a vast footprint, with clients in more than 100 countries. It counts outposts in such financial centers as New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. In a recent wide-ranging interview, Sulentic, who grew up in Iowa and graduated from Harvard Business School, discussed how his firm is faring and whether the real estate market is due for a big correction, as some fear.

What is it about L.A. that makes real estate investors write big checks?

One of the key things is that there is good job growth here — more than in San Francisco and San Jose combined. L.A. has a cross-section of what millennials like: It’s the entertainment capital of the world with beaches, mountains and edgy places like Venice and Hollywood to live. Tech companies like that. One of the problems Silicon Valley has is no office space. We have a decent amount of empty space in L.A., and that’s a good thing. It’s also cleaner than other international cities. The whole emissions-control program has been a big difference maker.

CBRE leases and sells a lot of shopping centers. Isn’t the whole retail sector getting hammered by online sales?

About 12% of all retail sales are only online, so a massive amount of product is still bought in stores. Well-located malls and high-street retailers in places like L.A. are doing quite well — retail rents grew faster than office rents last year. B and C-level malls are under pressure, however, and where retailers overbuilt there is going to be a day of reckoning independent of e-commerce.

But why travel to a mall when you can get exactly what you want with a few mouse clicks?

There isn’t a single baseball game that will be played in the big leagues that you couldn’t watch better on your couch, but 75 million people will go to the ballpark this year because people want an experience, want to be with other people. Imagine being a millennial in a favored place like downtown or Hollywood. If I said to you, “By the way, there is no retail,” would you go live there? You would not, and neither would they. That’s why retail is not going away. We do think e-commerce is a big deal. We just don’t think e-commerce is going to run retail off.

The industrial real estate market has practically no vacancies in much of Southern California and elsewhere. What’s going on?

This is where e-commerce is a growing factor. People like to buy good stuff from around the world, and that fills up warehouses. There has to be a whole distribution system to handle that. This year it looks like we’re going to build more than we lease, though. It has been the other way around.

Have we overdosed on so-called creative offices, where most employees share an open floor plan and individual offices are out of fashion?

Some people say the pendulum has swung too far, and it probably has. But most companies want to work with some version of creative space. You can do that in a downtown high-rise or a warehouse in Venice. People are saying, “We’ve got to figure out who we are and what works for us.” Maybe that’s more private offices. Tech companies are leading the way. Pull up a picture of Apple’s new headquarters. It’s hardly a loft space.

Experience teaches us that the real estate market is cyclical, and we’ve been on the upswing for years now. Is it time for a downturn?

We expect the economy will sustain slow growth into next year. If it’s slow growth, there won’t be a lot of overbuilding. Historically, several years into an economic expansion there is overbuilding. Now the market is more organized. This is unlike any cycle I have seen in my 33-year career.

Are you saying the real estate industry somehow finally got smart enough to avoid overbuilding and tanking the market?

The industry is capitalized and managed more transparently and thoughtfully than it has been historically, with less easy money floating around. Banks got smarter, equity sources got smarter and developers got smarter and more conservative. Compared to 25 years ago, the business is more transparent, professional and institutional. That makes a crash less likely.

CBRE beat analysts’ earnings estimates by at least a dime for the last two quarters. What did analysts miss?

They are handicapping us to perform like the real estate market, but we have some things going on that aren’t fully understood. For example, our real estate outsourcing business we call Global Workplace Solutions (a property management service) is growing consistently at a double-digit rate. If investment sales slow down, that doesn’t slow down. Across the board we have been doing a good job of taking market share.   Article seen in the LAtime.com, written by Roger Vincent.

What $2 million buys right now in three L.A. County real estate markets

Here’s a look at what’s on the market for about $2 million in the affluent communities of Cheviot Hills, Pacific Palisades and Rolling Hills Estates. CHEVIOT HILLS: Built in 1938, this single-story home features an updated kitchen with white subway tile and a wide island/bar.
From Our Partners:
Roundup of the Most Expensive Products You Can Buy Right Now
Address: 10561 Clarkson Road, Los Angeles, 90064 Listed for: $1.999 million for four bedrooms, three bathrooms in 2,400 square feet (7,649-square-foot lot) Features: Updated bathrooms; living room with fireplace; outdoor living room About the area: In the 90064 ZIP Code, based on 26 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $1.807 million, up 46.3% year over year, according to CoreLogic. PACIFIC PALISADES: Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, this updated midcentury invites self-reflection with a glass-enclosed meditation room. Address: 16925 Donna Ynez Lane, Pacific Palisades, 90272 Listed for: $1.895 million for three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms in 2,016 square feet (0.35-acre lot) Features: Open-plan living room; mountain and ocean views About the area: In the 90272 ZIP Code, based on 25 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $2.625 million, a 3.4% decrease year over year, according to CoreLogic. ROLLING HILLS ESTATES: Sliding glass doors lead to a wraparound deck at this freshly renovated traditional-style home on more than a quarter-acre. Address: 4 Gaucho Drive, Rolling Hills Estates, 90274 Listed for: $1.995 million for four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms in 2,630 square feet (0.28-acre lot) Features: Open-space floor plan; chef’s kitchen with center island; fireplace feature About the area: In the 90274 ZIP Code, based on 34 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $1.476 million, up 7.3% year over year, according to CoreLogic. CHEVIOT HILLS: Lush landscaping and mature trees surround this 1950s traditional, which has hardwood floors and a wall fireplace in the living room. Address: 2736 Anchor Ave., Los Angeles, 90064 Listed for: $1.895 million for four bedrooms, three bathrooms in 2,738 square feet (9,459-square-foot lot) Features: Formal dining room; covered patio; park and greenbelt views About the area: In the 90064 ZIP Code, based on 26 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $1.807 million, up 46.3% year over year, according to CoreLogic. PACIFIC PALISADES: Vaulted and beamed ceilings keep the eyes moving upward inside this traditional-style home, built in 1954. Address: 16723 W. Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, 90272 Listed for: $1.995 million for three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms in 2,010 square feet (4,946-square-foot lot) Features: Living room with fireplace; hardwood floors; updated kitchen/baths About the area: In the 90272 ZIP Code, based on 25 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $2.625 million, a 3.4% decrease year over year, according to CoreLogic. ROLLING HILLS ESTATES: Two-story windows and thin clerestories bring natural light inside this updated home with a swimming pool. Address: 34 Horseshoe Lane, Rolling Hills Estates, 90275 Listed for: $1.99 million for four bedrooms, four bathrooms in 3,024 square feet (0.32-acre lot) Features: Vaulted and beamed ceilings; living room with fireplace; conversation pit About the area: In the 90275 ZIP Code, based on 28 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in March was $1.293 million, up 1.2% year over year, according to CoreLogic. Article from LAtimes.com

Charming Cape Cod Style Makes You Feel Right at Home

Cape Cod-style homes may have originated on the East Coast, but they’re making a comeback on the opposite coast. The popular cottage style’s roots can be traced to Colonial New England, and is quickly recognizable by its low, broad profile, typically one and a half stories half tall, with a steeply pitched roof with end gables. In cold climates, the roofline of a Cape Cod is practical as it sheds snow and water. But it’s the traditional look of the inviting homes that are attracting more of them to be renovated or built from the ground up in one Los Angeles coastal community: Pacific Palisades.

One community’s most-desirable style

“The majority of homes I sell in the Palisades are Cape Cod-style; it’s the most desired style in the community,” said Marco Rufo of our Pacific Palisades office.
cape-cod-architecture

16957 West Sunset, Pacific Palisades | Presented by Marco Rufo

“Many Cape Cod homes have been here for years, but most are brand-new construction. Pacific Palisades is a very traditional area, very family-oriented, and that Cape Cod style is reminiscent of that. We’re considered like a little Mayberry here. It’s a very quaint town.” 'The Cape Cod style is the most desired style in the Palisades' - @marcorufo Click To Tweet Also quaint are the towns back east where Cape Cod homes are found, including much of New England, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and parts of New York. Cape Cod homes remind people of those places, which also attracts them to the style. The homes’ characteristics vary from region to region, depending on location and weather.

A variety of wood styles

“The ones really close to the water have a lot of cedar-wood shingle, the ones more inland have a lot of plank, and most of them are horizontal as opposed to vertical plank,” Marco said. “And the ones from the Hamptons are all vertical plank. So there are specific styles for specific areas, and we have every one of them in the Palisades. “There’s been a growing number of custom-built Cape Cods in Brentwood and West Los Angeles, where you didn’t see them so much before, and also in Santa Monica, where styles were always very Mediterranean and Spanish.”

Revived in the 20th century

Massachusetts-born architect Royal Barry Wills is widely credited with popularizing the Cape Cod-style house, particularly its 1930s to 1950s Colonial Revival incarnation. Houses built to his designs continue to command premium prices. Wills was greatly inspired by the homes along the shores of Cape Cod in the 17th and 18th centuries. The simple structures were designed with affordability and practically in mind. They had to withstand the region’s fluctuating weather conditions, which included harsh winters. The homes were made of timber, which was abundant in the area, and had a steeply pitched roof that kept snow from piling up. A central fireplace was often built to keep the whole house warm.
cape-cod-architecture

1120 Monument Street, Pacific Palisades | Presented by Marco Rufo

Details to look for

Other defining characteristics of Cape Cod-style homes include:
  • Cozy and efficient floorplans.
  • Shutters, which were a must in the original Cape Cod designs to protect windows from severe winds.
  • Dormers, the windows on the second floor, were more common in the 20th-century versions of the Cape Cod. They let light into the second-floor bedrooms.
  • Windows made of many small panes of glass, which also stood up better to the high winds and weather of New England than an individual pane.
  • Simple, symmetrical exteriors ideal for embellishments such as window boxes and pedestrian paths.
  • Indoor and outdoor light fixtures and sconces specific to Cape Cods.
The style has come a long way from the original cottages. They’re now all sizes, with new ones designed to accommodated the needs of modern families. If you find one, you’re sure to fall in love with this style that has stood the test of time.   Article from Bershire Hathaway Blog : http://blog.bhhscalifornia.com/charming-cape-cod-style-makes-you-feel-right-at-home/

Los Angeles ranks as the top choice in the U.S. for international real estate investors

Los Angeles is in a sweet spot in its real estate cycle that will make it one of the top choices in the world for buying property this year, a new report says. The L.A. area ranked number one in North America in a survey of global real estate investors who have a combined total of $1.7 trillion to spend on property in 2017. Top choice cities for investment in other regions were London and Sydney. Overall, offices are the preferred category of real estate to buy, with warehouse distribution centers and multifamily residential buildings close behind. Shopping centers, hotels and industrial properties ranked lower in investor interest. “L.A. has been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Lew Horne, president of Southern California and Hawaii for CBRE Group Inc., the Los Angeles-based international real estate services company that conducted the survey to be released this week. It was the second year in a row that Los Angeles was the top choice for investment in the Americas. In the first CBRE Global Investor Intentions Survey, conducted two years ago, San Francisco ranked number one in the region. Forty percent of investors said they intend to spend more this year than this did last year, while 16% said they would spend less. Researchers caution that while the outlook for commercial real estate investment looks more positive this year than it in 2016, we are now the eighth year of a global economic expansion. Property values have risen for the most every year since 2009, which suggests the market may be peaking. Only 15% of respondents, however, said that property is overpriced and that bubble conditions exist. Of greater concern was the fear that interest rates could rise faster than expected (21%) or that an undefined “global economic shock” could undermine demand from renters (22%). Los Angeles is in a more favorable point in its real estate cycle than other markets are in theirs, said Todd Tydlaska, a CBRE broker who specializes in investment property sales. “Rents in other markets have really run up” in recent years, he said. “L.A. was late to the recovery and still has room for rents to rise.” Property prices in Los Angeles are also considered a bit of a bargain by international standards, Tydlaska said. “L.A. is still a value compared to San Francisco.” Even though investors remain bullish on Los Angeles, it may be hard to top the volume of money spent there last year, he said, when some enormous deals took place. Among the biggest were the $1.34 billion purchase of four Westwood office buildings by local real estate investment trust Douglas Emmett Inc. and the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as the $511 million purchase of the Colorado Center office complex in Santa Monica by Boston real estate investment trust Boston Properties Inc. Another was the $429 million purchase of two Playa Vista office buildings by New York landlord Edward J. Minskoff Equities Inc. All three were among the 50 largest office deals in the country last year, according to real estate software provider Yardi Systems Inc. “Los Angeles’s office market reigns supreme as the main target for investment on the West Coast,” Yardi said in a report. The Westside, where those those and other big sales took place, is the L.A. area’s core market for investment, according to CBRE, in part because it consistently commands the highest rents in the region. But downtown Los Angeles, which has seen billions of dollars worth of investment from Chinese and Canadian firms in recent years, is also growing in appeal to U.S. developers with experience in other cities where old neighborhoods have already been transformed, Horne said. He expects still more investment in once-neglected blocks such as L.A.’s Arts District and Historic Core. “The guys from New York and San Francisco have already seen this movie before,” Horne said.
Article by Roger Vincent on LATimes.com

Introducing Palisadian-Post’s Real Estate Columnist: Marco Rufo

Marco Rufo has worked all over the world, but his work in Pacific Palisades as a broker associate and luxury properties specialist with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices keeps the Sunset Mesa resident passionate about his career today.

Photo courtesy of Marco Rufo

Photo courtesy of Marco Rufo

The award-winning real estate professional with over 20 years of experience was born in a small town called San Donato, located about 60 miles southeast of Rome.

“My family immigrated to this country from Italy when I was about 7 years old,” Rufo said. “At home as a child my language was Italian, and after coming to the United States, I grew up in West Newton, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.”

Growing up, Rufo worked for his father’s construction company, building and designing homes throughout Boston. He moved from Boston to Los Angeles at 17 years old to attend UCLA.

“I studied business and minored in theater, living in Westwood while I was attending school,” Rufo said of his time in college.

Rufo started his real estate career in commercial real estate in Beverly Hills, where he lived from 1992-2008.

“I specifically represented a Japanese conglomerate, and I became their exclusive real estate broker. We bought hotels [in Hawaii and Beverly Hills], resorts [in Canada, Palm Springs and San Diego] and many office buildings, the largest being the AT&T building in downtown LA for $96 million,” Rufo said.

But then his career path changed course a bit.

“My commercial real estate days ended in the late ’90s, at which time I transitioned into residential real estate,” he explained. “I was part owner of a Century 21 office in LA and managed about 120 real estate agents. I sold my share to my partners in 2003. Then in 2004, I became one of the managers at Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Monica and worked there for about three years.”

He then moved to Pacific Palisades and became the managing broker for Miramar Coastal Properties for three years. Then, in 2010, he began working for Prudential California Realty in Pacific Palisades, which is now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

“When I lived in Beverly Hills I had purchased a piece of land in Malibu and built a 4,000 square-foot brand new traditional home, which I sold in 2013,” Rufo explained of what brought him to the Palisades. “During that process I landed in Pacific Palisades and purchased another piece of property, tore it down and built the 3,300 square-foot home in Sunset Mesa, where I currently live.”

Throughout his 20-plus years of experience, Rufo has won awards and earned accreditations. He currently serves as director, president of the Professional Standards Committee and president of the Grievance Committee—all for the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors. Rufo also holds several National Association of Realtors designations, including e-PRO, GRI, ABR, CRS and SRES.

And when he’s not working?

“My family is a big part of my life,” Rufo shared. “I met my wife Paula in 2001 and we were married in 2003. We have two beautiful girls: Alexa and Olivia. Both girls go to Corpus Christi School, which is right across the street from my office and that was very important to me.”

Article found on palipost.com

Top 10 Home Design Trends To Expect In 2017

Article found at Forbes.com By Mitchell Parker Looking for some great ideas for your home? How about a voice-activated assistant that will give you a weather update while you pour coffee into a preheated mug from a warming drawer? Not your style? No worries — there’s something for everyone in this preview of 2017 design trends. We plowed into Houzz data, sifted through popular photos and articles, and talked to industry leaders for this look at 10 things we think you’ll be seeing more of in the home in 2017.
  1. Satin brass. Brass finishes have been making a comeback in recent years, cherished for their ability to bring shiny golden tones to a space without the high price tag. But more recently, designers like Elizabeth Lawson have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished brass and embracing satin or brushed brass, which is more muted and warm.
“I especially like a satin brass finish because it’s transitional and can complement a number of styles,” says Lawson, who used the finish in the kitchen shown here. “It also looks amazing against almost any color of the rainbow. I think we’ll continue to see rooms with satin brass for quite some time and also possibly mixed with other finishes for a more eclectic look.”
  1. Voice-activated assistants. There’s been a lot of talk about voice assistants in the home. It’s something Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on the Consumer Electronics Show every year in Las Vegas (Jan. 5 to 8, 2017), says will be big in 2017.
Amazon’s Alexa, which is enabled in the Echo Dot shown on this side table, acts as a voice-activated interface for many smart home devices. Google Home’s voice assistant launched about a month ago. These devices work through activation phrases like “Alexa” or “OK Google.” The devices, placed throughout your home, are always listening in somewhat of a dormant state. Say the activation phrase, and the device fires up and awaits your command. Ask it to give you the weather or play a song from Spotify or dim your lights or power up the hot tub. Early last year, Amazon opened its platform to third parties and has since added thousands of integrated features from smart home companies like Lutron, Crestron, Philips Hue, Wemo, Honeywell, Nest, Samsung Smart Home to other services from Uber, Domino’s, NPR and more. Google Home just launched its voice-activated assistant about a month ago, and DuBravac says he expects the company to open the platform to third-party companies soon. “What you’re seeing is continued maturing of the smart home ecosystem,” he says. “It’s still a very nascent technology. Maturing isn’t something that happens instantaneously, but over time.”
  1. Vanity conversions. If you’re having trouble finding the right premanufactured vanity for your home, try thinking outside the cabinet box. Many savvy homeowners are finding chests of drawers, old file cabinets, vintage consoles and more, and converting them into one-of-a-kind vanities.
  1. Hardworking kitchen storage walls. In search of more open space, many homeowners and designers are doing away with expanses of upper cabinets and pushing all that storage onto a single hardworking wall. This one-stop hub frees up the rest of the space to create a breezy look.
  2. White with off-white. There’s just something refreshing about a room bathed in white. But when done in one stark white tone, things can start to feel clinical. Balancing a white palette with creamy off-whites and natural linen hues creates a breathtaking look that can be rich with character.
  1. Greenery. Pantone’s verdant color of the year for 2017, Greenery, seems to be an instant hit for those looking for a revitalizing, back-to-nature hue that brings zest while still managing to work with warm wood tones.
  2. Splurging on laundry rooms. Everyone knows that kitchens and bathrooms get the big remodeling dollars, but many homeowners are seeing value in making every space look great. And laundry rooms in particular are seeing more love. Design tricks to bring in more light, smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize that since they spend a lot of time doing laundry, why not do it in a space that makes them feel good?
According to the 2016 Houzz & Home Report, people remodeling their laundry rooms of 150 square feet or more will spend an average of $2,700. Take away appliances, and that’s a sizable budget to splurge on tile and other details.
  1. Splurging on entryways. The entry, like a powder room, is a compact place where you can have fun with design without blowing a budget. Homeowners will spend on average $2,500 to make over their entryway or mudroom that’s 150 square feet or more ($1,400 for a space that’s less than 150 square feet), according to the 2016 Houzz & Home Report.
Sometimes all it takes is a small area to feature a fun piece of wallpaper, a statement mirror or a narrow table with a tray for shoes underneath. After all, first impressions matter.
  1. Outdoor-feeling indoor showers. An outdoor shower is highly desirable but not practical year-round in most areas of the country. To get around the weather dilemma, designers and homeowners are looking to intimate courtyards and strategic site placement to create bathrooms that connect deeply to the outdoors while still maintaining privacy.
  1. Counter-depth fridges. For small to modest-size kitchens, remodeling is often a game of inches. Counter-depth refrigerators sit flush with adjacent cabinetry and countertops, freeing up just a bit more space while creating a streamlined look.

10 of the Most Beautiful Streets in the World

Not all streets are created equal. Take the colorful Caminito that anchors Buenos Aires's La Boca neighborhood—not only does it provide visitors with a vibrant photo op, but it also serves as a reminder of how the neighborhood was built in the 19th century. Streets, however, don't have to offer a history lesson or be rendered in Technicolor to be charming. Some are notable for their stunning natural features, such as the cherry blossom tunnel in Bonn, Germany, which makes an appearance for a few short weeks every spring. Here, AD surveys ten of the most beautiful streets in the world.
The multicolor homes that line the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina, still reflect much of their late-19th-century history. When European immigrants arrived from the Italian city of Genoa, many of them became dockworkers, who, with little to no disposable income, built their homes with thin pieces of corrugated sheet metal from the docks, coated with leftover paint. When one color inevitably ran out, they would simply use another one. And thus a colorful neighborhood was born. Today, Caminito (shown) is brought to life by an artist's re-creation of the old tenement dwellings that used to line La Boca's streets.
 
2/10
San Francisco's Lombard Street has become one of the city's most visited sites. Tourists often gather to watch as drivers make their way through the hairpin turns. Completed in 1922, the street was designed to slow cars down on its steep hill. Drivers are advised to proceed at 5 m.p.h.
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
3/10
The streets of Chefchaouen, a small city in northwest Morocco, are famous for their different shades of blue. Founded in 1471, the city was once used as a fortress for exiles from Spain. Over the centuries, many Jews moved to Chefchaouen, bringing with them the ancient belief that using blue dye would remind people of God's power. For the most vivid experience, visitors should stroll down such streets as Al Hassan Onsar, Rue Outiwi, and the tight stairs leading up and down Rue Bin Souaki.
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
4/10
Located in Andalusia, Spain, Jerez de la Frontera is a city known for its exquisite wine. Here, a street in the historic center is shaded by grape leaves from vines grown along the surrounding walls.
Photo: Getty Images
5/10
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the 1,000-year-old Old Town in Lijiang, China, is famous for its orderly canals and walkways. Walk along Qiyi Street Chongron Alley or Wuyi Street Wenzhi Alley for some of the more spectacular street views.
Photo: Getty Images
6/10
For two to three weeks each spring, the magical tunnel created by the trees lining Cherry Blossom Avenue in Bonn, Germany, brings in tourists and photographers alike.
Photo: Getty Images
7/10
Bregagh Road in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, is a birch-lined street designed in the 18th century. Nicknamed Dark Hedges, the road will be instantly recognizable to fans of the HBO show Game of Thrones.
Photo: Getty Images
8/10
Paris's Champs-Élysées could well be the most famous street in the world. Beautifully manicured trees line the 1.2-mile-long avenue, which stretches from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc d Triomphe (shown).
Photo: Getty Images
9/10
Lined with boats and bicycles, Amsterdam's many canals have drawn tourists through the ages. But the Brouwersgracht, located a little more than half a mile northwest of the central train station, just might be the most picturesque in the Dutch capital.
Photo: Getty Images
10/10
Águeda's Umbrella Sky Project began in 2011 as a part of the Portuguese city's annual Ágitagueda Art Festival. Each summer, when temperatures soar, a handful of Águeda's narrow streets feature canopies of colorful umbrellas that provide shade to the pedestrians below.
Article from Architectural Digest.

How to Design a Fun and Cheerful Bedroom

Designer Melissa Warner Rothblum shares her wisdom for decor that children can grow up with—not out of. Blue for boys and a set of superhero sheets. Pink for girls, plus a frilly dust ruffle. Such old-fashioned design parameters just won’t cut it for today’s youngsters—or their parents. “Clients are looking at kids’ rooms as an opportunity to do something whimsical and different that they may not wish to do elsewhere in the house,” explains designer Melissa Warner Rothblum of the Los Angeles– and Seattle-based firm Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design. “It’s a safe place to do something fun.” Fun with serious functionality, of course. “Aside from looking great, kids’ rooms have specific requirements when it comes to both visible and hidden storage, as well as an open, comfortable area for play,” says Warner Rothblum, mom to a 2-year-old herself. “Versatility in space planning is also important. For example, making sure there’s room for a desk, even if children are too little for homework now.” Ahead, Warner Rothblum shows how to create environments that are cool, not cutesy, and easily adaptable as kids grow from toddlers to teens.
Photo: Kimberly Gavin
While the rustic vibe suits a client’s Deer Valley, Utah, vacation home, the industrial feel of the bunk beds and sconces keeps it from veering hokey or juvenile. “I prefer not to do themes or tie decor to a child’s particular interest because that can get dated quite quickly,” Warner Rothblum says. With bold stripes on the textiles and locally sourced touches like the blue-legged bench, this room has a playful appeal that suits the family’s offspring, who range in age from 5 to 13. Light colors contrast against the deep blue walls—a smart paint choice to hide dirt.
Photo: Grey Crawford
Designing for sister-and-brother roomies can be especially tricky. Warner Rothblum kept things classic (and gender-neutral) with simple lines and pale, soothing colors in this Montecito, California, bedroom. At 180 square feet, it’s large enough for two (close quarters can breed bickering, as any parent will tell you), but horizontal stripes help ground the height of the 10-foot ceilings for a cozy feel. Jenny Lind–style beds boast trundles for sleepovers, and the vintage wool rug between them invites kids to sit on the floor and play.
Photo: David Fenton
Though designed for a girl now age 7, this lovely nook with a headboard upholstered in Quadrille fabric could easily see the San Francisco child through adolescence. “The secret is to go classic with the main elements—the bed, seating, etc.—and add personality with art and accessories that can be swapped out over time,” Warner Rothblum explains, noting that the cameo pillows depict the child at the time the room was done. At just 10 feet wide, the space presented a storage challenge that was admirably met with a bed/bookshelf built-in. Special items go on display while deep drawers keep messy stuff like art supplies out of view. The palette sticks to two brights plus white to avoid color overload when dolls, toys, and collections enter the mix.
Article written by Nina Malkin  and Posted July 18, 2017 on http://www.architecturaldigest.com

2016 interior design update: Top trends in tiles

National Tiles lists out the Top Trends in tiling for 2016, especially for the benefit of those working on interior design and renovation jobs. 1. Rustic Chic  Best expressed through exposed brick wall designs, Rustic Chic will continue to be popular for living spaces, bedrooms and even bathrooms in 2016. Brick look tiles can be used instead of real bricks to create a stylish loft-inspired environment, or elements representing country living can be incorporated within the home or workplace. National Tiles’ Chicago Brick range is a rustic European tile that can be used to achieve this look. 2. A Touch of Luxury Classic and luxurious will be a key trend in 2016 for bathroom and kitchen renovations to achieve a timeless vibe. National Tiles’ Moroccan Lantern range renders an old world charm and sophistication - add accessories and furnishings complementing this elegant style to continue the luxurious theme. 3. Sophisticated Scales An increasingly popular range due to their unique shape and dramatic charm, fish scale tiles can fill any space from kitchens to bathrooms and restaurant bars. Particularly suitable for bathrooms, or to enhance water features due to their whimsical mermaid-style scales, National Tiles’ Fan Tiles are a sophisticated scale-inspired range suitable for wall applications. 4. Stay Glossy Traditional white gloss rectangular tiles are a classic favourite for their clean, simple and neutral vibe. A simple white gloss tile can enhance the space with a feature colour that complements the decor theme. A glossy finish is also a great choice when tiling the kitchen, bathroom or laundry for both added style and ease of cleaning. 5. Embrace Patterns Patterned tiles are set to take over floors and walls in a big way during 2016, particularly styles such as National Tiles’ Exagon and Modena ranges. Patterned tiles are a great way to bring life to smaller spaces, whether it’s a bathroom feature wall, kitchen splashback or flooring in wet areas. 6. Terrific Timber Timber look tiles will continue to be a crowd favourite as an alternative to wooden floors for their ability to bring warmth to a space without the hassles of maintenance associated with real timber floors. Timber look tiles can also be applied to walls to achieve a luxurious yet rustic environment - particularly in bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms and laundries. National Tiles’ natural Taiga tile range has a linear chromatic design that evokes an unspoiled natural setting in any contemporary interior. 7. Splash Some Colour This year’s trends also indicate a preference for bright colours over neutral shades. Bright coloured tiles are going to be popular for kitchen splashbacks or feature walls in 2016. One can simply choose a single bright colour, or mosaic a selection of colours for greater impact, with National Tiles offering endless tile colours to suit specific tastes and budgets. 8. Get Geometric Used for centuries to enhance the mood, tone and texture of a living space, geometric shapes and patterns such as those from National Tiles’ Teakwood hexagon mosaic tiles are available in a stone finish and are suitable for creating a subtle or bold feature within a room. A geometric tile is a contemporary design element inspired by European bathroom styles. 9. Classic Marble  Marble inspired accents to achieve high-end design outcomes on a budget will be a popular trend in 2016. A marble feature wall is a stunning way to bring class and sophistication into the home without the hefty price tag of actual marble. National Tiles’ Carrara White Marble Hexagon Mosaics are a great way to achieve a beautiful natural feature in new builds or renovations. Image: Timber look tiles will continue to be a crowd favourite as an alternative to wooden floors   Article Ported on May 1st on architectureanddesign.com

Is L.A.’s housing market really as unaffordable as it seems?

The average asking price for a home in some of Los Angeles' most recognizable communities ranges from $269 per square foot in Boyle Heights to $1,118 per square foot in Malibu. Based on these averages, one might reasonably expect that a 1,000-square-foot residence in Boyle Heights would cost about $269,000, while a similarly sized one in Malibu would go for $1,118,000. If you’re a prospective home buyer looking for affordable housing, it would seem reasonable, staring at these numbers, to steer as far clear of Malibu as possible in your search. But is that the right approach? We often hear about how unaffordable the L.A. housing market is. When we look at the average cost of a home in an area like Venice, the Southland's reputation for being hopelessly unaffordable certainly appears justified. Stories of bidding wars pushing up prices in once-affordable neighborhoods like Highland Park often discourage prospective buyers from even trying to purchase a home. More from Livable City>> The reality, however, is that while many neighborhoods may seem out of reach based on price averages, those numbers don’t tell the whole story. The range of prices behind these averages can vary significantly — meaning affordable properties are available in areas where many might never think to look.
Los Angeles housing price ranges by neighborhood as compiled by real estate data provider NeighborhoodX. (NeighborhoodX)
For example, while Boyle Heights has the lowest average asking price of the areas we analyzed, the prices within the neighborhood range significantly from $188 per square foot to $524 per square foot. On a per-square-foot basis, the most expensive listing in Boyle Heights is pricier than the most affordable properties in Beverly Hills ($474), Bel Air ($403) and Santa Monica ($423). Conversely, there are neighborhoods where the average listing price is more expensive than that of Boyle Heights, but with a greater price range. In other words, these neighborhoods have properties than are more affordable than the lowest priced properties in Boyle Heights. Deals can be found in Mount Washington (as low as $155 per square foot), El Sereno ($163), East Los Angeles ($173) and Hollywood ($186) that are all cheaper than the lowest priced property in Boyle Heights ($188). This holds true for the upper end of the Los Angeles neighborhoods, too. For example, while the average listing price in Beverly Hills is $1,089 per square foot, it ranges from $474 to $3,206. To put this in context, the most affordable listing in Beverly Hills ($474) is less expensive than the average listing in Eagle Rock ($499). Similarly, the most expensive listing in Los Feliz ($1,030) is still more affordable than the average listing in Bel Air ($1,080). In short, while data can help in the search for a residence or investment property, the right kind of data is even more useful. At any time, neighborhood averages can be skewed higher by new development or lower by foreclosures — and this can steer buyers away from certain neighborhoods. Instead of simply flooding a neighborhood like Boyle Heights because it appears to be the most reasonably priced — and in doing so helping to create bidding wars — Angelenos might be better served by expanding their searches beyond what might appear to be possible at first glance. Looking at the range behind the neighborhood averages can help buyers recognize that there are often some relative bargains even in some of Los Angeles’ most affluent neighborhoods. Article by : Constantine A. Valhouli published in the LA times on May 5th 2016