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#34 - Infinity Pools

#34 - Infinity Pools

Infinity Pools
Price: $100,000

Rich people love homes with spectacular views. After spending millions on a dwelling that they may inhabit for as little as a few weeks a year, it is a shame to ruin the splendor and magnificence of the horizon with an unsightly pool edge. Imagine if you will, the distraction that concrete or natural stone could pose when staring across the turquoise seas of the Caribbean, it’s enough to ruin the weekend; it’s like wearing polyester underwear, going to Kansas or flying economy class. Fortunately, architects and pool designers the world over joined forces and collectively tackled this global problem. The result; they gave the world the infinity edge pool. This gift means the wealthy will never again have to tolerate the interruption of their views and can get back to amassing wealth and talking about amassing wealth.

The infinity pool has emerged as a dominant feature of luxury homes and resorts in every corner of the globe. Originally found in villas with spectacular ocean views and hilltop homes overlooking the city below, the infinity pool is now featured in jungles, mountain resorts, rain forests and even golf courses. The most interesting part of the infinity pool is that you will rarely see someone actually use it. Nothing illustrates how bloated you have become after years of Foie Gras and Kobe beef like displacing 25 gallons of water over the side of a large pool.

For many people, the only time they will see an infinity pool is in a photograph or on the television. The simple explanation, rich people don’t do cannonballs while the lower classes believe this is an appropriate baptism for any body of water regardless of size and occasion. Don’t believe it, search YouTube for ‘cannonball pool’ and results include videos of naked cannonballs, flaming cannonballs, cannonball contests, cannonballs from the roof, cannonballs from the wall, etc. Let me put it this way, you will go through a lot of pages before you find a cannonball in The Hamptons. The math is, infinity pool plus cannonball equals funny but you will never get invited back so enjoy it while you can. Besides, nothing ruins a good umbrella drink like the sight of a grown man hurtling through the air!

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#30 - Gated Driveways

#30 - Gated Driveways

Hydraulic Wrought Iron Gate
Price: $4,950

Rich people love large, extravagant homes that are shielded from the public. Long winding driveways nestled in old growth forest and patrolled by trained protection dogs may seem sufficient to keep commoners at bay, but the rich really like their privacy. For this reason, rich people love gated driveways. They keep the curious off the lawn and, when electrified, can be terribly entertaining. While the rich won’t use enough current to stun their nosey intruders, cameras are often installed simply to watch people hop back and forth while holding their semi-charred hands.

Drive through any well-to-do neighborhood, if you can make it past the guard house, and you will see gates crafted in every conceivable shape, size, design and material. What you will discover; much like pets look like owners, gates reflect the personality of the estate residents. This is where you can, please pardon the pun, jumpstart your relationship with the wealthy. Upon entry to their magnificent home take note of the type of gate and tailor your conversation and compliments to the distinct elements of their entrance. Some will be lavishly adorned with gold leaf, others traditional wrought iron while a few reflect a modernity that matches your host’s contemporary lifestyle; be careful if the modernists ask you to leave your keys in a bowl at the front door! Regardless, modesty is not your friend when recognizing their gracious style…err on the side of excessive. On the other hand, comparing their gate to a neighbor’s is a definite faux pas. It’s like saying “your wife is pretty but did you see Alistair’s wife by the pool last week…wow!” If you aren’t sure how to answer the question “do I look fat in these pants”, you may want to practice your gate etiquette beforehand.

Feel that compliments are too transparent? You can always appeal to the cerebral side of your host. For some, the history of gates is fascinating. If your host is a Harvard educated PhD in 3rd century Roman symbology they likely don’t have a lavish home, but I will humor the idea. Discuss that gates likely originated in concert with defensive walls. Wax poetic about the earliest town gates dating back to the Early Bronze Age or about the discovery of a two chambered gate at the temple in Ein Gedi from 4,500 BC. If this doesn’t cause their cerebellum to throb you have no chance of a lasting friendship. A last word on gates; as you are trying to impress your host, can the ‘a doctor, a lawyer and a priest are at the Pearly Gates’ jokes, they’ve heard them all from people that thought they were equally clever!

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#16 - French Chateaus

#16 - French Chateaus

Prestige Property Group
Price: $74,730,000

People own houses; rich people own castles, mansions, penthouses and chateaux. Unlike private islands which are intended to keep visitors at a distance, chateaus are intended to showcase superior upbringing and lavish taste. While you may not own a chateau, ingratiating yourself with the über-rich can be expedited by comparing your host to the monarchs that first erected these fairy-tale structures. Europe and particularly France have a healthy sprinkling of these beautiful edifices in some of the most breathtaking settings meaning you can always find an extravagant piece of history to discuss. Rich people have no shame when it comes to acquaintances doting on them and their material possessions.

Consider the magnificent example of a French chateau currently for sale in the department of Jura in eastern France. The property is advertised as a 10 minute helicopter flight from Geneva sitting on 200 acres of walled opulence. The, yes this number is correct, 75,000 square feet of living space features a 1,200 sq ft entrance hall with a “monumental gothic staircase”. The five floor main building houses 34 bedrooms, a Napoleonic drawing room, Louis XVI apartment, Louis XV bedrooms, billiard room, private library and a square tower; damsel in distress not included. Other property features are stables and equestrian infrastructure, a gardener’s house, 19th century workshops that have been converted to sleep 30, courtyard, farm, walled garden, English design lawns, 2 lakes, cascades, grotto and a statue of Diane Chasseresse resembling the statue found at Fontainebleau – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore not presently for sale.

Discussing these features will provide ample ammunition for small talk when discussing chateaus with your new found acquaintance. Their shared love of exclusive residences will make for delightful conversation. Keep in mind, referring to such opulent residences as “pleasant summer homes” is sure to win you respect and another appropriately aged scotch. Engage the right well-to-do land magnate and it may lead to an invitation to accompany them for a weekend tryst with unpasteurized cheese, champagne and fine port….c’est magnifique!

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#11 - Private Islands

#11 - Private Islands

Emerald Cay, Turks & Caicos
Price: $75,000,000

Stuff rich people love includes private islands and the cache this affords them among their colleagues. This is typically not because they are reclusive, although Howard Hughes comes to mind, it is their disdain for the classes beneath them that fuels a desire for opulent solitude. The exclusivity of a private island provides a reprieve from the riff raff that they tolerate on a day-to-day basis; this naturally does not include the maids, cooks, drivers or concierge services.

Private islands separate the rich from commoners, locals and tourists at their preferred Caribbean destination. Nothing dampens a life of luxury and 24 hour a day pampering than having to step over woebegone partiers that still excrete rum from the prior evening at the Aura nightclub.

If you have the means to partake in the luxury of a private island, you can enjoy a 30,000 sq. ft. mansion which boasts 10 elegant bedrooms, 2 guest quarters, 40 foot high living room ceiling, 3 floor library, home theatre, wine cellar, infinity edge pools, turtle pool bar and first class marina. Should you require a trip to the mainland…use the private swing bridge.

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#3 - Celebrity Homes

#3 - Celebrity Homes

Sudler Sotheby’s Realty
Price: US $2,300,000

Befriending rich people can be difficult even when you live in the same neighborhood. The good news…rich people love to swap stories about the celebrities that have sauntered across their high sheen mahogany flooring. Has Clooney parked his Tesla in your garage, has Warren Buffett joined you for high tea on the family veranda? Subtly hint about the celebrities that have owned, have visited or have worked in your most recent real estate acquisition and build credibility faster than sharing a box of Altadis’ Behike cigars. More impressive still, own homes that have played central roles in iconic American cinematography.

For a paltry $2.3M, a Chicago resident will soon live in the home made famous by the 1986 classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Enjoy hosting the local Ferrari Club meeting in 5,300sq.feet of sleek steel and glass poised above the ravine at 370 Beech St in Highland Park. Naturally, the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California is not included but the stunning garage is the perfect place to showcase your stylish taste in fine automobiles.

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