Every Sunday for a year, we’ve looked at some incredible historical shelters, but this week we hop the pond to England to take in a stunning church conversion.

Listed by Mount and Minster, this church is located in the village of Cold Hanworth, and was built in 1861. Originally All Saints Church, it was built by J Croft of Islington for Commodore Peter Cracroft, and also served as a memorial for his late father.

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Helsinki’s historic waterfront

The 2018 World Happiness Report named Finland as the world’s happiest country. In fact, the top four of the 156 countries measured were all Nordic – Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland (“unhappy” Sweden popped in at number nine.  The good old US of A?  Eighteenth).

The 2018 report is a cumulation of 2015-2017 while the prior report contained data from 2008-2010.  Comparing the two reports, you may want to explore Finland as a second home, if for no other reason than improving your mood.  The latest report shows that the US happiness index is down 0.315 points while Finland gained 0.100 points. This may not seem like a lot, but the index is an eight-point scale, making a 0.415 point separation a significant 19 percent.

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Thinking of purchasing a second residential property as an investment as well as a vacation home? Property purchase outside of the U.S. may diversify risk and take advantage of the dollar’s relative strength against lesser currencies. But where? Live and Invest Overseas, a website dedicated to providing information on foreign real estate and the expat lifestyle, recently published a list of their top picks for investment potential. Lief Simon, editor-in-chief of the site’s affiliated newsletter, gave us his take on the 10 countries he and other Live and Invest Overseas editors singled out. Care to take a guess at them before you make the jump?  (more…)

Villa Mainini, Piazza Lago 50, 6987 Caslano, Switzerland is currently listed for $8,316,008 by Philipp Peter, Wetag Consulting.

Switzerland has long been hailed as a paradise for nature lovers, which is why we are pleased as punch to introduce you to the hottest Swiss waterfront on the market! Meet Villa Mainini, a 20th century architectural wonder on an isolated parcel of Caslano, Switzerland.

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Les femmes d’Alger

In 2015, a Picasso painting sold for a record $179 million. It was painted in 1955 and titled “Les femmes d’Alger” and was a tribute to friend and rival painter Henri Matisse.  Compared to that, the auction of Picasso’s last home should be a breeze where bidding will start at € 20.2 million tomorrow at Residence365.com, a Christies affiliate. Coming full circle, Les femmes d’Alger was also sold by Christies.

Unassuming, yet stunning main entrance (door behind tree)

The home, known locally as Mas de Notre Dame de Vie was the artist’s home from 1961 until his death at 93 in 1973.  It’s located in the hills about four miles north of Cannes, France. When Picasso purchased the home it already had 24 rooms. His first addition was a studio space with its own terrace. Over the ensuing years, the home grew several more times.  The main house encompasses 13,000 square feet with five bedrooms and nine full and one half baths … oh, and two kitchens. A guest house and gatekeeper’s cottage clock in at another 4,000 square feet. Not to worry, the home sits on eight acres spread across a hillside offering mind-boggling views over Cannes and the sea.

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Trip Advisor recently announced a list of the Top High-End Vacation Rental Properties in the World. What does it take to head the list?

  • A great locale
  • Spectacular views
  • Gorgeous architecture and furnishings
  • Posh amenities
  • A wonderful host

Can you guess the location of the No. 1 property pictured above? Make the jump to check your answer, learn more about it and catch a link to the entire list of high-end rental venues TripAdvisor declares the world’s best:  (more…)

 

Marathon - View 1

There’s nothing seemingly historic about this duplex penthouse on the 13th and 14th floors of Marathon House, a modern-ish high-rise in London (Map).  Thankfully for someone who loves big views, modern buildings are not the issue in London that it can be in Paris where old almost always beats new.

For those not familiar with Marylebone (pronounced Marla-bone), it’s just north of Mayfair and borders the 410-acre Regent’s Park.  It’s highly residential and lighter on tourists. But as you can see, it’s still quite close to the action. The tall light slightly left is the Shard while slightly right you can see the arc of the London Eye Ferris wheel.  Truly, London is at your feet.

This 4,079-square-foot apartment has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s listed with Simon Tollit and Hannah McDougall of Sotheby’s International Realty for £7,950 million ($9,857 million) which works out to $2,417 per square foot.

I say you’re Sherlock’s neighbor because the closest underground station is Baker Street, which, as fans will recall, is the street Mr. Holmes fictionally lived on … number 221B to be exact. It’s also just down the road from Euston Station, the home of Eurostar where Sharon Quist of Dave Perry-Miller and I alighted from a train to see this beauty (Brits don’t “hop off”).

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Arc Small 1

Living in Paris is a dream for many people, but a dream financially unattainable.  It may also be that the vagaries of foreign property ownership and the added wrinkle of currency fluctuations are simply not for you.  I mean, while a property may appreciate, if the currency tumbles, appreciation can quickly turn to loss.  For example, in late 2008 the Euro was pushing $1.60. Today it’s nearer $1.05 … essentially erasing a third of its value in nine years.  As recently as the autumn of 2014, the Euro was hovering around $1.40, making for a precipitous loss is a short time … simply from currency. I can tell you that any Parisian market gains in no way offset the currency declines.

You want a second home, not a tax write-off.

Rent.

While I was in Paris last month, I had a perfect confluence of the stars.  CandysDirt.com friend and HGTV hostess Adrian Leeds was on hand to give a sampling of rental units. Also scoping out the market was Dave Perry-Miller agent Sharon Quist who was in town with a friend selling her Paris home.

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