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

Please click here for the superb video

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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You Couldn’t Make It Up

Broker: Robert Paul Properties

Agent: Bob Malcolm

Nick Churton of Robert Paul Properties’ London office visits a wonderful home in Cataumet, Massachusetts and weighs up living in a cluster of other homes or in glorious and splendid isolation.

Some people love living surrounded by other people – people who have similar incomes, who vote much the same way, and who have similar aspirations and take on life. Some people like to hail their near neighbours in the morning as they leave for work or come home in the evening – and then, spontaneously, have those neighbours round for drinks.

But other people don’t. Some people would rather flog themselves with a cat o’nine tails than live like that.

Well if you are of the latter persuasion then have I got a home for you!

You couldn’t make this up. More importantly you couldn’t make it at all now. This house was built at a time when they allowed properties like this to be built in locations like this: locations that, from a wrap-around veranda, look over the water, locations that have a deep-water dock and a boathouse that matches the main house, locations that are surrounded by trees and nature rather than houses and people, and locations that provide peace, sanctuary, and seclusion.

For the first time in forty years this amazing Cape Cod home, looking due west over Red Brook Harbour and Bassett’s Island, is on the market. It was built in 1900 and stands on 2.2 acres. There are elegant lawns. There is a tennis court and there are miles and miles of creeks and inlets to explore in boats. You may think you wouldn’t want to relax like a Victorian but I’m sure you’d soon find that, actually, you would. But one thing is certain about this house – living here will be very different from living in a cluster.

And then there are the sunsets. You can’t make them up either.

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Jeep and Cheerful

Nick Churton of Lee Real Estate’s London office visits a charming town house in Nantucket and learns that in this popular destination all is not the same on the inside as it appears on the outside.

Broker: Lee Real Estate

The sea passage from Hyannis on Cape Cod to Nantucket, 30 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, only takes an hour by Hy-line ferry. But for the uninitiated it also serves as a rite of passage, as reaching the harbour of Nantucket for the first time will become a life-long memory while subsequent arrivals will always be filled with pleasure and departures with sorrow.

Nantucket is like that. Once you have been you leave a little of your heart behind whenever you depart. Which is why people prefer not to leave at all – or at least they put it off for as long as possible. They prefer to stay and so they buy charming houses, often in or close to the town where they can tend their cottage gardens and Nantucket’s famous window boxes and be only a short walk from dozens of great restaurants and wine bars serving delicious food.

There are lots of these delightful houses and a ready market for them. Each would be at home adorning an expensive and glamorous box of chocolates. But they won’t be because Nantucket isn’t like that. Pretention and ostentation are not how things are done here.

The entry level for a small cottage in Nantucket is between one and two million dollars. But it really gets interesting between four and five.

Take 3 Traders Lane for example. On the outside this is just another exquisitely charming example of an 18th century whaling settlement cottage with shingle elevations and pretty shutters. But don’t be deceived. Inside is a revelation. Here is a bang up to date interior in ultra cool Nantucket/coastal style. On the first floor there is an amazing family kitchen and one-floor master living for a relaxed stay. Out of earshot, on the third floor, is a haven for kids and their friends, and in between are elegant guest rooms with beautiful bathrooms.

All this is only a short walk from the busy little town with a traditional look and a trendy feel all of its own. Most of the shopping and facilities you need for a trouble free stay are there. A car is not required much really – apart from a Jeep to get you all to the beach. Why a Jeep? That’s another thing you will learn the first time you visit Nantucket – a Jeep is de rigeur.

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Follow The Hollow Brook Road

Nick Churton of Turpin Realtors’ London office visits a house in New Jersey and imediately fell in love with the idea of mixing Mid Century Modern with a natural wooded and river environment – something Frank Lloyd Wright did rather successfully at Falling Water eighty years before.

The House: 63 Hollow Brook Rd, Tewksbury Township, New Jersey

The Broker: Turpin Realtors

The Agent: Sylvia Kissel

The strong resurgence in interest in Mid Century Modern architecture in America over the past decade has suprised many. Of course since the beginning of the 1930s there have been US centres of this high art such as Palm Springs. But it doesn’t take much to see plenty of houses elsewhere in the US that bear the distinctive signs of the International and Bauhaus design movements. These had their roots in Germany early in the twentieth century but were taken to heart at lightning speed by architects in the US. Leading the New World charge in this new order was Frank Lloyd Wright who in 1935 designed the outstanding Falling Water in Pennsylvania.

Why has Falling Water become such an architectural icon? Perhaps it is the way the crisp linear and vertical lines created by man work so well with the rock, water and forest created by God. It is a marriage made with heaven. But whichever way you cut it, it worked then and it works just as well today – evidence the thousands of pilgrims who visit Falling Water every year to bathe in the influence and spirit of the master.

So imagine how pleased and delighted I was to visit Falling Water’s smaller and younger brother. No, Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t design it and it’s not in Pennsylvania but I think it acts as quite a homage – whether intended or not. Here in leafy New Jersey, spanning a woodland river that gurgles and chuckles companionably beneath, is a marvelous house of Mid Century Modern design with strong echoes of Falling Water. The similarities in mood if not in scale are inescapable.

Living the Mid Century Modern dream may not be for everyone. But for those who thrill at clean lines, the blending of nature and design nurture, and who seek a perfect antidote to working in the city then this home is the perfect answer.

So pull up an Eames chair, take a look at the great video, imagine life in the steps of Frank Lloyd Wright and follow the Hollow Brook Road.

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