Sale-ing Away to a new location

 

Han1

Sun filled living room.  tall ceilings . low floors.  painted in Benjamin Moore’s Sand Dollar.

You might have guessed with all this talk of rental properties that I had something beside a post up my sleeve.  Well I do, this is the first time that I have written about – in the moment that is – a property that I have on the market.  It went on Wednesday night.  This is a particularly stressful time for me.  I question everything – even the things, that to an outsider – are so clearly good things.  For the next two months I’ll be on pins and needles, right up until the moment my Lawyer Sarah tells me the sale has been recorded in Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.  Then I can breath again.  Two months is a long time to hold your breath, trust me, I don’t recommend it.

Han2

Custom Kitchen cabinets with brass hardware and carera countertops and backsplash.

It started out as a one bed, but has been converted to two.  Apartment living is all about proportion.  Large can feel small and small can feel expansive.  As the French say- ca depend.  Layout, ceiling heights, even the angle and the swing of the door can make a huge difference in the livability of a space.  Of course some things are entirely out of your control (like the sale of this condo and the ceiling heights you are given to work with) other things like the geometry class of a door layout which allows the bedroom doors to swing in and miss the queen size beds that lie within, are entirely within your control.  It’s this bit of genius that make the pint size unit (708SF) worth every penny of the asking price.  It’s two real bedrooms, not a bed and a half, not a bedroom for a baby with a crib, not a “bonus space” it’s a bedroom.  It’s also quite a nice feature that I refer to as the “bow of the boat”.  The doors form a point at the end of the hall, from the ceiling at that point hangs a perfect little pendant lighting the way to your state room.  Charmont, if I do say so myself.

Han4

Dining nook with custom table in grasscloth and Farrow and Ball Lotus Wallpaper.

It’s in the Eight Streets, a prized neighborhood within the South End neighborhood for it’s proximity to some of the best restaurants the SE has to offer.  Snuggled between Tremont and Shawmut Avenues, there is only one street within the eight that extends beyond these two streets and acts as a thoroughfare – that’s Waltham – lived there in case you are wondering.  Why would anyone care about this you ask?  Quiet.  It’s a quiet street, across from the park, a street that might make you think your in the suburbs, and that my friends is worth gold.  Some of which I am asking you to part with for the privilege of living here.

Other selling points include the design – why trouble yourself over it when you can just move right in and start entertaining.  Everything is for sale and no one said you couldn’t, or shouldn’t buy a refined living environment, most certainly not me.  Then there is the fact that it’s parlor level, just three steps up into the building.  It’s across the street from the Ringold Park where the sounds of children’s laughter and the gentle splash of water from the fountain make their way with the breeze into your living room.  There’s the shared garden oasis tucked away in the back for bbq’ing, sipping coffee and reading the paper, or a glass of wine by the fire after a long day at work.  City living…this could be you.

Han8

Tucked away behind the building you wouldn’t even know you were in a city.

Come for a visit:  3 Hanson Street, Apt. 1, Boston – Buy and stay for as long as you like.

South End Report

The Stephen Cohen Team, South End Market Specialists put out a pretty great report in the Spring and Fall -the busiest buying markets.  They let you know what to expect, if you’re expecting to buy or sell.  The South End of Boston, while not the most expensive neighborhood in the city, is pricey and it’s good to know what you can get for your money.

Han5

Under Construction in the Eight Street District . South End

JACKIE FALLA . Meet a Southender

Jackie Falla might not have professional experience as a designer, builder, or architect, but she has been in the construction industry for over 20 years. Growing up on the Cape, her serial renovator of a father renovated every home they lived in, so a certain level of disruption in her living environment became comfortable and familiar. She bought her rst home in 2008. After four years and three renovations, Falla sold it and used the money to secure another property. It’s been rinse- and-repeat since then.

Falla documents her progress on a blog, Quest for the Nest, and the culmination of her journey will be a book she’s tentatively calling “My Life in Sawdust: How to Make a Million Dollars in Ten Flips.” To achieve this goal, she relies on her innate sense of design, as well as architect friends and sub-contractors she meets through her work as Director of Client Services at Elaine Construction, a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated, woman-certified construction management company in Newton.

paris chandelier

In search of glamour . South End.

Falla has made her home in almost every Boston neighborhood except
for Beacon Hill, but the South End has always held a special place in her heart. She’s lived in over a dozen different properties along Waltham Street, West Concord Street, Worcester Square, Worcester Street, Pembroke Street, Milford Street, and Hanson Street. “I know there are these beautiful amenity buildings, and I actually lived in Ink Block,” Falla said. “I absolutely loved it, they make living so easy. But in terms of architecture, the South End brownstones are spe- cial. The details, the moldings, the doors, it’s all phenomenally designed. I’m in love with it.”

Her love for the South End’s historic architecture also ties in with her Cape Cod upbringing. Coming from a family of avid sailors, she respects the cleverness of boat design. Every multi- purpose square inch of space is utilized to its full extent, and she nds that city apartments require the same kind of ingenuity. Falla describes her sense of style as “modern glamor.” She fondly recalls an Italian chandelier she bought at a Paris ea market and had rewired and in- stalled at one of the condominiums she ipped. “It was a very dramatic light fixture,” she said.

Falla is currently at the halfway point of her renovation journey, and she’s loving every second of it. “What I’m doing is an important story for me to tell,” Falla said. “It’s hard for single women to build wealth, and part of why I’m ipping houses and working on the book is to make sure young women know they can ensure their own nancial independence and stability.” This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have fun with her work. From the fact that she lives through the process every time, to the sheer number of details she infuses into her renovations, Falla’s passion for remodeling comes through in every project she takes on.

Is there a South Ender you think should be featured next? Contact our Communications Specialist, Anastasia Yefremova, at anastasia@stevencohenteam.com.

 

As a South Ender, my good friend Nicole Spencer who is a Buyers Agent for the Stephen Cohen Team, asked if I would be interested in being profiled in their market report.  I first moved to the South End in 1993.  It was a different South End then it is today.  Let’s just say I didn’t exactly fall in love with it.

ryan_flip6_biz1

Pulling it all together . South End.

After that I trotted all over the city.  I lived in the North End, Back Bay, and Charlestown, before making my way back to the South End.  Since then, I have lived in 9 different South End locations, making me a bit of an expert – also known as someone that is insanely driven to achieve their goal of flipping 10 properties to make a million.

Swatch Watch: finding fabric in the City of Lights

Paris Fabric 2

4 bis rue d’Orsel
75018 Paris

The 8th is home to some amazing fabric stores.  Whether it’s upholstery fabric or fashion you’re on the look-out for, start here.  Marche Saint Pierre, Sacre Coupons, and L’Atelier D’origins are just a few of the dozen that sit at the base of Sacre Coeur.  A bustling neighborhood full of tourists and Parisians alike, somehow on my last visit I participated in a food tour that cut right through the heart of this neighborhood, my eyes apparently remained fixed on the chocolates, cheeses, wines, and pastries, because I don’t remember seeing all the pretty prints that share storefront space with the gastronomique delights that I sampled.

My mother must have visited this neighborhood because she arrived home from a trip to Paris with a suitcase full of fabric.  This fabric she carted around for years – literally years!  This was normal for Pat Falla.  She had trouble making decisions.  Perhaps that’s why I make so many of them, with little thought to the sheer number of ill conceived avenues I have pursued as a result.  I guess I believe that forward momentum is more important than perfection. At any rate, the fabric did in fact get used but not by Pat.  My sister Mary Beth found it, had it made into curtains and hung them in one of her homes.  They looked pretty good.

Paris Fabric 5

Nicole folding my beautiful fabric!

I too will be leaving Paris with a suitcase full of fabric.  I really had no intention of buying any, and then there it was – shimmering and winking at me.  I fell for it. It will be right at home in home No. 4.  Now if only one of those French Bergers would fit in my suitcase, I’d have something to drape the fabric on.  A good problem to have.

Paris Fabric 3

2 rue Charles Nodier
75018 Paris

Heureusement Samedi!

 

Coup de Foudre: Paris awaits

Even though this French expression suggests the sudden striking of emotion – a thunderbolt of love – I struck anew by its power, every time I visit Paris.  Wednesday I get to sneak away in the night and awake in the warm embrace of the City of Lights.

paris flee

Marche aux Puce . Paris

It’s been three years since my last visit.  I’ve been warned by my friends and family NOT to visit Marche aux Puce again.  For those of you that have just started following, this is the flee market at which I purchased the infamous Italian, Mid-Century-Modern, Chandelier.  There were a number of indignities associated with this purchase, not the least of which was the fact that the vendor sent me a chandelier – but not the chandelier that I bought when I was at the market.  It was close, but a little worse for the wear.  I paid a fortune to have it rewired, have my ceiling reinforced, and hung, not once, but three times.  A story for another day.

Paris 1st

I submit here in advance my apologies to all – I will be going to Marche aux, and I make no promises that I won’t return with another monumental light fixture.  What fun would a trip to Paris be without the dream of a magical find at the market?  A trip that I wouldn’t be interested in taking – that’s the kind.

Paris 1

Frank Gehry designed Foundation Louis Vuitton

I’ll be staying in the 1st – which I haven’t stayed in before.  I’ve stayed in the 3rd, the 6th, 7th and 8th.  I love La Belle Juliette in the 8th Arrondissement, on Rue Cherche Midi, but I like to try new things, and the hot, hip boutique style hotels that have been popping up in the 1st caught my attention.  Hotel Therese is where I will be for my super fast 3 day trip.

Paris dior

1948 Couture Dior . need I say more?

Here’s what I plan to do because its what I love almost more than anything else…eat, drink, and shop – for clothing and furnishing, fixtures, and materials.  Les Arts Decoratifs has an exhibit, that for me, is a must see.  The House of Dior opened its doors 70 years ago – that’s 1947, I know because my company, Elaine Construction is also celebrating its 70th anniversary.  How cool is that.  Over 300 couture dresses are on display, so it goes without saying – I have purchased the tickets to this exhibit already.

grand coeur

Grand Coeur . 41 Rue du Temple . Paris

Foundation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry is an architectural wonder.  It has been on my list, and this trip I will get to see it in person.  The texture and the light, pattern, and materials are amazing sources of inspiration and awe for me.  I can’t wait to see this building, and by the way, I hear the exhibits aren’t bad either.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  Happy Saturday.

Earning Your Stripes

I’m always pleasantly surprised by the number of people that I talk to that have flipped a home, or are considering it.  While I haven’t run across anyone that does it quite like I do, I suspect if I keep at it long enough, and talk to enough people, I will.  There’s a camaraderie in knowing that others have been through the war.  Have suffered through the frustrations of construction, and want to share their stories of failure and triumph.  It’s comforting to learn that you aren’t the only one to have made a mistake, and to learn about resources or avenues that you hadn’t considered before, from those that have done it.

Left:  Serena and Lily . Striped Fabrice.  Right:  Serena and Lily . Striped Oxford Sheets

We’re all just trying to earn our stripes.  Not to prove something to the world necessarily, but to ourselves.  It’s possible to work hard and win.  That’s one of the most gratifying things one can do.

striped 3 bd coventry banquet

Ballard Design . Striped Sectional Bench

I’ll earn those stripes when I am through with this project of mine, and with every property that I complete along the way, I plan to brand it in some small or large way with them.  They are fresh, they are quintessentially french, they are nautical, and opinionated, and all the things I love about the places that have made me .. me.

stripes 1 remodelista.com

Modernista.com – painted striped stair

I am reminded of their ability to be time and trendy all at the same time.  Fall fashion is going to go bold with stripes, with tailored designs and stiff cotton shirts – be prepared to be wowed by the simple detailing that turns a work shirt into a work of art.  Since fashion and interiors follow similar trends, in color and pattern, be prepared to see the heavy use of stripes between the glossy pages of your favorite magazines.

stripes 2 design sponge

Finding a way to strike a pose….Modernista.com

For me, the feeling that stripes illicit will always be in style.  While I am never going to feel like I’ve arrive, I’ll happily keep adding stripes to my sleeve as I make my way through life.  Mine as well do it in style.

stripes weinrib.jpg

Madeline Weinrib Striped Carpet

Going for Broke: gambling on real estate

It is an addiction, this business of gambling on real estate.  Always searching for the next thrill, desperate for the rush  you get when you bet the right amount, and the roulette ball lands on your number – euphoric.  The anxiety that accompanies the decision to stay in the game, hold, or cash in your chips.  The fear that the chips your cashing in won’t cover the bets you’ve made.  It’s a risk, and the timing, the timing is everything.

going 2.jpg

One of my favorite signs….

I’m not much for sitting around and waiting things out. I came home yesterday to find that my next door neighbor (whose building is part of my condo association) has a For Sale sign out.  I don’t actually see the property listed, a tactic that the broker uses to drive a single source sale – a questionable practice at best…. nonetheless, those are all two beds, as is mine, now that I converted it from one to two, and I felt jealousy when I saw the sigh.  It’s true, I had a visceral reaction to that proud sign, swinging in the breeze, strapped to the wrought iron fence, determined to attract a buyer.  I want to put mine on the market, but I have to wait.  I am tenacious, but not patient.

Waiting patiently for fabrication…..

There are things to do yet, curtains to be hung, hardware to be installed, doors to be built for the millwork cabinet in the living room, the perfect chair to be hunted down, a sparkling gold bar cart to be bought, brass wire covers to locate, my front door hardware to be installed by someone that actually knows how to install door hardware.  You see, I am actually not ready to leave yet, but like a girl that can’t commit, I’m ready to dash from the alter before me and my intended can tie the knot, and become comfortably numb.

Going 1

LuxHoldups . Etsy . Awaiting installation.

Not that I believe all long term relationships are a recipe for conformity or boredom, there are many that I admire, it’s just that while I like No. 4, I can’t see myself settling down…forever… not yet.  So the search continues, and in the interim, I will give my all to this commitment.  It deserves the best from me, and I just know that the next lucky person that gets it will wonder why I ever wanted to leave it.  At least I hope they will.

Happy Saturday.

going 7

Perfect … of course it’s already sold!  Flare . Soho. NYC

The Skinny on the Tall: Nashville gets a new profile

Nash1

Tall and Skinny . Green Hills . Nashville

Driving around the neighborhoods of Nashville, it’s clear that the city is growing.  A friend joked that the state bird was the crane.  Cast your gaze just about anywhere and it will fall on bustling construction sites that speak to the cities growth and prosperity.  Millennials, retirees, and many an enlightened soul, who have grown tired of the congestion, and the cost, and realized that they can trade their outrageously expensive one bed condo in for a four bedroom home, or pay cash for a “tall and skinny”, are packing up the Winnebago and heading south.

Nashville is a “city” with a small “c”.  It’s got traffic, and a few elegant civic buildings, a couple of office towers, and even a stadium or two, granted they are not of the scale of those in NYC, Boston, Oakland or Dallas, but they exist.  It’s neighborhoods have cute names names like: The Gulch, Green Hills, Sobro, Marathon Village, Melrose, and many, many more.  The thing is, it doesn’t really feel like a city.  It feels like a suburb.  There are homes with lawns, and gardens, grass so green it makes your eyes hurt, and trees everywhere, not just in a park.  Hum, who knew.

nash4

Where there was previously just one.

Like any growing city there are issues of densification that haven’t quite been addressed. Questions of infrastructure investment, ugh, and the speed in which they can put up luxury hotels to accommodate musicians, enthusiasts, and the growing tourist population.  Book early or stay home, I cannot imagine is the motto Nashville is hoping to adopt. A few home grown natives feel a little disdainful about the rising property taxes that are forcing their families to move out to “the country”.  I smile as I type this, because Nashville, so feels like the country to me.

Nash6

Skinny’s can go for under $600K and be on lots of .03 acres.

I got into a conversation or two with some of these locals, and while they appreciate the growing pains that a city must endure, they are nostalgic for the single story brick Ranches and Bungalow’s of their childhood, and can’t imagine someone wanting to live in one of these narrow homes, where gasp, you can see you neighbor, and barely have a yard.  When I explained to my hair stylists that when I lie in bed, if my shade is up and my neighbor is grilling, I can request he cook my burger medium rare.  That, to me, is city living.

Nash7

Getting in on the action.  2 for 1 is profitable.

So here’s the skinny.  Nashville hasn’t quite figured out what their zoning regulations should be all about.  They need the densification to support the growth, and developers are all too happy to buy up the properties that have been part of the existing neighborhoods for decades, tear them down, and build two in their in place.  This happened for years, with a somewhat fuzzy definition of what a Duplex was.  Two homes that share a connector – interesting.  Two homes that share a party wall – common.  More recently new ordinances that demand the properties be separated by 6 feet and be proportionally no taller than 1.5 times the width.  Two homes on a single lot.  The numbers are penciling out for these developers, and they can’t get the land fast enough to meet the demand.

Nash2

Varied architectural styles receive mixed reviews.

Not everyone is sold, but I loved them.