Moving In, Up, Down or On

Nick Churton of Smith & Associates’ London Office discovers some new homes in Tampa, Florida that will tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people.

Broker: Smith & Associates

Agents: The Wood Team

Luxury real estate isn’t always about the biggest and the best. It is more often about the most appropriate for size, location and budget. Sometimes that might be the biggest and the best. But more often than not it isn’t.

Were I to be looking in the Tampa Bay area, for a two bedroom home, with economic running costs, only a block away from the ever-so-smart waterfront, Bayshore Boulevard, and within easy walking distance of fine restaurants and shops – and all for under $400,000 – then I really don’t think I could do better than one of these brilliantly modernised single floor homes with private front doors. In the UK we call these maisonettes. They are very popular and have lots of advantages.

But whatever one calls them these Tampa Bay homes do the job in an excellent fashion. They provide affordable, upscale and stylish accommodation in a great part of town. Plus there is a garage, additional parking and even an outside area to relax and barbecue. What more could you want for the money – in increasingly expensive Tampa?

If I had a budget of just over $400,000 then I could afford one of the second floor, three bedroom, 2 bathroom units with a generous open-plan living/kitchen/dining area and front porch balcony – large enough for table and dining chairs and even a rocking chair. I went to the show home. It was great and looked out onto some lovely trees at the back. From the balcony I could wave to my new neighbours.

Setting up home for the first time or, later, moving by choice or circumstance is a big step. But these Bayshore Carriage Homes take away much of the angst associated with a change of lifestyle. They are stylish and convenient and are set within a ready-made, friendly community.

What’s there not to like?

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Sarasota Sunset


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Nick Churton of Michael Saunders & Company’s London office takes a look at the sunset from an outstanding Gulf-front penthouse on Longboat Key, Sarasota, Florida.

Broker: Michael Saunders & Company

Agent: Jenifer Schwell

Nothing does Sarasota quite like Longboat Key. And nothing does Longboat Key quite like The Aria. This spectacular love song of a building serenades Gulf of Mexico living in an extraordinary way.

Separated from the pelicans skimming in formation over the ocean is a beautiful sandy beach. Every evening it puts on a world class show as the sun sinks slowly below the western horizon. It is a show that can be caught more privately from the windows, balconies and roof terrace of the building’s penthouse.

As penthouses go this one is really up there. They call it coastal contemporary. That it is. But it is also so much more, for this is no ordinary coast and it is no ordinary contemporary.

The architects had at their disposal all the things that architects like to play with – space, light and vista. They also had the latitude to work these elements into what has become as much a celebration as an uber-luxury apartment. Then the current owner – who is really good at this sort of thing – went and improved the interior even further.

The penthouse has an expansive private roof terrace – 3000 sq ft of sun-drenched leisure and entertaining area with summer kitchen, fire table and spa tub.

Directly beneath the roof terrace is the apartment with three ocean view balconies. The kitchen is magnificent as are the three bedrooms and pampering bathrooms. Naturally the smart home technology is state of the art.

Cars are treated the same way. There is a three-car dehumidified garage and the estate provides a large salt-water pool and wellness centre for residents and guests.

Spacious, sophisticated, sublimely comfortable and very special, there is nothing like The Aria.

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Yin and Yang


25 S Washington Dr

Nick Churton of Michael Saunders & Company’s London Office is spoilt by choice over a couple of fabulous waterside homes in Sarasota.

The Broker: Michael Suanders & Company

The Properties:

1001 Tocobaga Ln – agents: Kim Ogilvie and Drew Russell

25 S Washington Dr – agent: Lenore Treiman

It wouldn’t be good if we were all the same. And it wouldn’t be good if we all wanted to live in the same style homes. Which is all very fortunate as two houses, both in Sarasota, and both in the same price range couldn’t be more unalike if they tried. Yet they happen to be instantly and equally likeable.

The first, 1001 Tocobaga Ln, is a minimalistic, white, waterside palace. It overlooks the Intracoastal, which reflects sparkling sunlight onto the icy cool and spacious interior surfaces. Here is a sophisticated modern, contemporary home with an unbeatable outlook over the Intracoastal to downtown Sarasota – by day it’s impressive and at night it is magical. This is 6,000 square foot, three-level, elevator-served living at its finest. It is a lifestyle that spills out onto the outdoor area having expansive sundeck and deep-water dock with double boat lifts. It was for a similar west-facing view that, just a mile or so away, John and Mable Ringling chose to build their celebrated home, Ca d’Zan, in the 1920s.

The second home is the Spanish inspired, Casa del Mar. It is just a few minutes’ walk away from the highly popular and engagingly friendly St. Armands Circle, next to Longboat Key. From here is a charming, private and privileged view of Sarasota Bay. To say this stylish home and enchanting garden were put together by owners who understand decoration would be a gross understatement. Here is a home furnished by experts in the art of interior design. This is a sumptuous, private and elegant house brimming with character, with beamed ceilings, graceful archways, intricate ironwork, wood burning fireplaces, large picture windows, period tile and original wood floors. There is also a two-bedroom guesthouse.

So the choice is yours: modern or traditional, out front or retiring, waterfront or backwater, cool or hot. If you love haut couture interiors this might be a problem you would like to have. I suggest you go and see both before you make up your mind.

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Welcome To The House Of Fun

Nick Churton of Smith & Associates Real Estate, London office, finds a wonderful home bristling with great features and just a short boat ride away from the Gulf of Mexico.

Broker: Smith & Associates Real Estate

Agents: The Brandi Christine Team

4252 Green Key Road, New Port Richey in Florida may not suit buyers who are merely looking for a home. It is perhaps better suited to buyers looking for a palace. For, make no mistake, this property is a Florida palace. It is for those who require room to live a fun life in the grand style.

Access is by way of road, air or water. There is a FAA licensed heliport with hangar on the property. The deep-water inlet that acts as a partial moat to the estate provides easy access from the Gulf and offers hundreds of feet of fixed dock with 13,000 lb. and 22,000 lb. boat lifts. Plus there is ample housing for one’s impressive collection of sports and luxury cars, SUVs, off-roaders, motorbikes, golf buggies, paddle boards, jet skies, larger sports and fishing craft and whatever else you want to pack in.

For the very active there is a professional grade tennis court and a saltwater heated pool and spa with an over-spanning lanai that is almost as large as the impressive footprint of the main house. So large is it, in fact, that it also houses two fire pits, a spa and a sizable tiki bar with ease.

The 8,400 sq. ft. main house, featuring six bedrooms, all with bathrooms, is embellished with Brazilian mahogany and French and Italian marble and is entered through a grand entrance. The first and second floors are served by an elevator and there are several Gulf view balconies, a 1,000 bottle wine cellar, media theatre and billiard room.

Staff can be accommodated in a self-contained on-site suite.

So there you have it: live like royalty in a home fit for a prince or princess with palatial scale and great access, security, privacy and fun.

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Shore Thing

Nick Churton of Diane Turton Realtors’ London office gets a strong feeling that a wonderful beach-front home on the New Jersey Shore is ready for a new chapter.

Property: 695 East Avenue, Bay Head, New Jersey

Broker: Diane Turton Realtors

Agent: Jennifer Landers

Amongst the attractive pictures on the walls of The Perch, Bay Head in New Jersey, are a black-and-white photograph and a colourful painted portrait – both of its most recent owners. The house has been in the same family since it was built in 1911. The photograph is of a young and handsome newlywed couple in ’50s swimwear walking happily hand-in-hand through the sand dunes. It looks like a Hollywood glamour shot. The painting is of the couple many decades later – they still look glamorous.

These pictures go some way to help one understand why one gets a warm feeling on entering the house. It is a feeling of love, welcome and nurture. It is quite simply the sort of feeling that parents’ and grandparents’ houses should have. This is a house where lifelong fond memories are and have been made.

Inside isn’t new, shiny and temporary. It is solid, stylish and permanent – crafted beautifully in original Arts and Crafts style. Here A/C doesn’t stand for air conditioning, it stands for Atlantic current, the cooling, salt-laden ocean breeze that flows through the house in the summer months. The Perch was built extremely carefully and has been maintained without compromise. It stood, almost alone, against Hurricane Sandy – and won. It protected its owners against the awful damage and broken dreams that beset so many others.

This is a gem of a house perched to take in the wonderful dune, beach and sea views. It still does what it was built to do over one hundred years ago – provide a homely and stylish beach-front family house. I hope the new owners will not move in with a decorator, but instead take some time to get to know the house and let it speak to them. It will tell them it doesn’t need changing. Instead it needs cherishing. It will tell them that this is not a do-not-touch museum piece but a home to be lived in with knocks and dents that all have their stories. It has earned its rich patina. It is a house robust enough to withstand many more small knocks and dents that another family will add – and hurricanes.

If you are looking for an old-money, honest, safe, stylish and classy home on the New Jersey Shore your search is over.


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Point of View

Nick Churton of the Houlihan Lawrence London office has his head turned when visiting a very special home overlooking the Long Island Sound.

Property: 10 Pilot Rock Lane Riverside, CT 06878

Broker: Hounlihan Lawrence

Agent: John Bates

When one visits 10 Pilot Rock Lane in Riverside near Greenwich one could be forgiven for not immediately noticing the strikingly attractive house straight away. Instead one’s gaze strays automatically to the view. But that’s okay. Everyone does the same. It’s natural and only proves how important outlook and location are when choosing a home.

The astonishing view sweeps from local Todd’s Point the the east and across Long Island Sound. But glorious as these vistas undoubtedly are the eye is repeatedly drawn to the New York skyline. There, on the western horizon, is the Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building and the pencil-thin 432 Park Avenue. It is a view so iconic that it pulls the attention and serves as a reminder that one of the world’s most vibrant and powerful cities is not only within sight but is also within an hour’s commute by handy and frequent rail service – from breathless city to breathtaking home in the time it takes to read part of a book, take a nap, deal with emails, keep up with friends on social media or just think.

But now it is time to look away from the view and turn our attention to the house. Here is a modern classic, a home built not just to impress but to love and to last. Built in attractive Arts and Crafts style this beautiful home offers substantial but comfortable accommodation with delightful outside areas for relaxing and taking in the 180 degree views.

A short walk away is the family friendly Riverside Yacht Club, the Association quarter mile crescent beach for swimming and picnics, and cement floats for deep-water moorings.

This is a very stylish home in a world class position.

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Green and Pleasant Land

Nick Churton of the Houlahan Lawrence London office takes a look at a rare estate in highly popular Greenwich, Connecticut.

Property: 216 John Street Greenwich, CT

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

Agent: BK Bates

It might well be the pretty, Colonial main house with nine bedrooms and wonderful reception rooms that attracts you to Bydale, the magnificent forty-three acre estate on the edge of Greenwich. And it really should because the 1735 built home is a glorious example of pre-revolutionary vernacular architecture in the reign of George II.

But my guess is that you will also be attracted by the fabulous features on this beautiful undulating estate.

Some will like the idea of a large family compound with separate and secluded accommodation including two guesthouses, a caretaker’s cottage and a barn with a three-bedroom apartment.

Creatives will like the fact that George Gershwin composed An American in Paris in one of the guesthouses – rather proving the inspirational properties of the estate.

Sporting types will enjoy the two pools, tennis court, river and lake fishing and the easy-to-re-establish equestrian facilities.

Personally I was enchanted by the small hexagonal stone building which looks like a French pigeonnier. It once provided water storage but now offers the possibility to create the most romantic little garden retreat.

But the more hard-headed buyer will not fail to be intrigued by the opportunities for the further careful development of Bydale. The forty-three precious Greenwich acres are an already-approved eight-lot subdivision. The estate provides the perfect setting for several imaginatively designed houses in a town that is a magnet for City buyers. Bydale could become a by-word for exciting, modern homes with a rural twist and a Greenwich address.

Whichever way you cut it this rare opportunity hasn’t just got something for everyone – it has everything for someone.

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Outside Edge

Nick Churton of Mishon Mackay’s London office dons his whites and takes a peek at a wonderful ground-side apartment in Hove, Sussex that would win any test.

Selling Agent: Mishon Mackay

Contact: Hove Office

Outside, but near to the edge of the Sussex county cricket ground in the heart of Hove, is the sort of apartment that will not only thrill cricket enthusiasts but also anyone who wants cutting edge living by the sea.

Hove has long been prized for its great architecture. The Georgians really put Hove on the map in the Regency period when they flocked to the town – making it a highly fashionable seaside resort. But Hove’s star is shining just as brightly now. With Brighton, Hove was granted city status in 2000. Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club are in the English Premier League and the railway station, which itself is a remarkable piece of industrial architecture, sees regular services to and from London. Separated from the capital by only an hour’s train journey Brighton and Hove has long been regarded as London-on-Sea.

So a stylish duplex penthouse, occupying the third and fourth floors of a luxurious boutique development that is close to the seafront and engages with all of the city’s wonderful amenities and pleasures is totally on trend and in demand by buyers who want the best of both worlds.

Three balconies with sea views connect with the outside and the salt-filled air. Three double bedrooms, three bathrooms and spacious living spaces offer superb accommodation. The gourmet kitchen and high specification fittings throughout are a reminder of the finest luxury hotels.

So, settle into your favourite recliner on the balcony, pour yourself a Pimm’s, watch a few overs and before the umpires have drawn stumps you will realise that this place has hit you for six.


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Yin and Yang

Nick Churton of Houlihan Lawrence’s London office heads up the Hudson River from New York City to find a wonderful river-view home with exceptional entertaining space inside and out.

Property: Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

Agent: Sharon Bodnar Briskman

Sometimes architecture needs a counterpoint. This is especially useful when combining the traditional with the contemporary.

At 30 Quaker Ridge Road in Westchester County – only 45 minutes to Manhattan by train – this has been beautifully achieved through the addition of an extraordinary centimetre-perfect decagonal pool house – but more of that later.

The main event is really the house, securely accessed through electric gates and a long drive which slowly reveals the reason the house was built here in the first place – the Hudson River. Serving as an elegant and dramatic backdrop the mighty river slips by changing colour by, the hour and by the season. It provides a restless but permanent feature to a home whose various owners have enjoyed the view since it was built in the 1920s.

The house is built of stone and is charmingly arranged internally. The big statement is a double height, sky lit grand salon that is perfect for entertaining or just relaxing in style – especially in the summer months. But next door to it is a delightful, fire-warmed, winter-cosy withdrawing room/library.

One doesn’t just arrive at this property, one makes the grandest of entrances. A master-craftsman laid out the vast carriage courtyard, around a central fountain, with granite sets in a traditional Florentine pattern.

But more craftsmanship and geometric precision is to come. The ten-sided pool house provides another wonderful focus for relaxation and entertainment. A mathematician with a great eye for design commissioned it, and it works beautifully bringing a spectacular amenity to this fabulous location.

Surrounded by a magnificent collection of mature trees that give additional seasonal interest and screen the estate of almost 10 acres, this is a home in the great tradition of important Hudson River houses.



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Just Mix with Water

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Nick Churton of Houlihan Lawrence’s London office takes a walk in the New York woods and finds the perfect lakeside home.

Property: 134 Pine Brook Road Bedford, NY

Broker: Houlihan Lawrence

 Agent: David Turner

What image does a lake house awaken in you? Whatever style of home you can think of it will probably be a romantic and nurturing one. Man has chosen to live by lakes since the beginning of time – although the great view may not have been the first reason for chosing those locations.

Today it most certainly is. The only decision to make, having found that difficult-to-obtain and popular location, is what to build. There are cabins and all sorts of house styles that mix well with water. In fact a lakeside position suits almost any style.

So how about the Modernist style? Does that work? Well take a look for yourself. Swallow Lake near Bedford in Westchester County, New York is a picturesque and intimate stretch of water surrounded by lovely trees that change in the fall, from breathtakingly pretty to indescribably breathtakingly pretty. Set discreetly amongst these trees, are several homes that share this private world. One of them is a large white stone, and glass, contemporary house. But it couldn’t be more at home with the water and trees. Great architecture does that. It balances random nature with a pleasing formality.

Floor to ceiling windows flood the interior space with light and make the most of the lake views. In fact everything is oriented towards the water, including the 85 ft terrace and the infinity pool. This is a spacious home that is as agreeable to look at, as it is to look from.

Lakeside living is elemental and this house invites the elements indoors to be shared and enjoyed by its occupants in the most spectacular way. Does Modernist suit lakeside? You bet your boots it does.


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