Not just any toilet, but the Toto Neorest. It happens to be in the master bath of the second home I am enjoying here in (c-c-c-cold) New York City. It heats, washes, dries, all but buffs and powders your butt and is self-cleaning. I was more than delighted to see such high-quality fixtures in this home, and while there is no microwave oven, I can say who needs a microwave when you have a Neorest?

And what a smart seller to lure buyers with a luxury commode.

Oh my, now Jupiter Island is lovely, and I could tan myself into some basal cells on that private beach, but this is the place Elin should make Tiger pony up for her and the kids: the Cooke House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Virginia Beach, VA. See, everyone dreams of having perfect homes. And everyone who has ever built a home since the dawn of time has gone over-budget and square footage. The rich today and 50 years ago are no different from you and I in that regard except that they can, ah, afford them!

In the early 1950’s, Maude and Andrew Cooke had a dream: live in a house designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Mrs. Cooke wrote Mr. Wright in 1951: “Dear Mr. Wright, Will you please help us get the beautiful house we have dreamed of for so long?”

A rendering was not up until 1953, which means a lot of planning and research must have been going on. Plans were delivered in 1957.  Construction was begun in 1959, two weeks before Wright’s death.  The home is a hemicycle design of soft yellow brick built into a sand dune. An arcing wall of windows faces south to soak up light and heat and look over Crystal Lake, a deep-water lake that feeds into Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. A copper, cantilevered roof tops the home, which follows the shape of a question mark.  The 70 foot long Great Room still has Wright’s originally designed furniture, cypress beams, a heated Cherokee red concrete floor, and huge hearth cleaved into the masonry. Typical of Wright’s linear design, a long wing off of one side holds four bedrooms three bathrooms. After Wright’s death, the home was completed six years after its design. The total square footage is about 3000.

The house was completed in 1960, and it was completely Wright’s rendering save for the pool surrounding the patio, rightfully thought to be a hazard to the couple’s three young children. Besides, they wanted to see the lake.

Here’s a shocker: the Cook’s original building budget of $40,000 had grown to over four times that amount; they actually asked Wright’s firm for a smaller re-vision of the home, but ended up building the larger, original design. Great lesson: the Cooke family lived in their dream house for 23 years and loved every  minute of it.

In 1983, Maude sold the home — it must have killed her, my mother also sold our family home in the mid 1980’s — to a Daniel and Jane Duhl.  The house needed TLC, and this couple dug right it. The restoration was stunning and received an award for preservation from the AIA of Hampton Roads.  They undertook a green construction with passive solar design. Since air conditioning was not standard in fifties era homes (nor in Wright’s — can you feel him rolling in his grave?), the Duhls added two central air conditioning systems, ostensibly to protect the house from damage of heat and humidity. A/C preserves homes and helps them last longer.

This time, a A 14 foot swim spa was installed in a terrace overlooking Crystal Lake.  In order to accommodate the mechanisms needed to operate the swim spa, a large underground bunker was built into the dune above the lake.  This included a sauna and an exercise room.   Also at lakeside are two docks; one floating for launching small boats and a larger dock which can accommodate two large yachts.

I mean, it doesn’t get much better than this:$4,513,783 including half a million for Wrights’ artistic value, and $150,000 for his furniture, which is a steal. STEAL.

Ask Santa to put the deed under your tree.

Have you ever in your real estate life had clients zero in on an item in a home that sold the home faster than you could think? I am always looking for a unique real estate story, especially anything about selling a home faster for the most in this market. (This vacation home advertises the Duxiana to pull in renters.) I met Serena Cole, owner of Duxiana Dallas, over in my favorite neighborhood haunt of Preston Center, and she told me that a Duxiana bed actually, truthfully, recently sold a house in 75230.

You have got to be kidding me, I said.

These are not what I’d call cheap beds.

Readers consistently give these mattresses high quality, high price and high service votes. A Swedish design, the Dux Bed claims its fame from the huge multiple of springs in each mattress: 4000 springs compared to the up to 900 springs found in conventional queen-size mattresses.This allows you incredible firmness and softness so that your spine is straight and not bent. And each bed is custom-fitted to the buyer’s sleep preferences by inserting cartridges into the main mattress: firm, extra firm, soft. The cartridges are interchangeable and couples can create their own, so just because your husband wants ultra firm doesn’t mean your side has to be that way.  A queen size will run you from $6,500, but should last you 50-plus years. The top cushion pads can be replaced every 7 to 10 years for about $1,000. So you can drop $5000 on a high end bed every 7 to 10 years, which is how often you should change your mattress, or get a Duxiana. 

Serena told me that when the buyer, who was also a Duxiana Fan herself – I guess there’s rather a fan club – saw the bed, they immediately zoned in on the the quality of the bed and deduced that the homeowner must have had similar standards for everything they put into the house. Something to the effect of “if they put their money into this kind of quality, we feel secure they built a solid house.” So they bought it. And this was not all that long ago; in fact, it was within the year 2010 just about the time the first time homebuyers credit was getting hearted up.

If these guys had a Duxiana, something tells me they may not have been first time homebuyers.

Now I am not telling you to run out and buy a Duxiana bed just to impress your buyers… but think about it. Real estate and beds are a natural fit, especially in this town. They are made for each other. So much of what happens in real estate happens under the covers…  or between the sheets!

Just like a great piece of blue chip real estate, a Duxiana lasts forever: at least one realtor has told me that her back pain disappeared after the first night she spent in her Duxiana. Another person told me his grandmother has a 75 year-old Duxiana –he’s hoping to get it in her will!