Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miami Beach Condo Sold For $2,000+ Per Square Foot

The Setai Courtyard at 20th and Collins Ave on Miami Beach

Who would have guessed that in a depressed real estate market like the one in Miami, a 3 bedroom condominium in Miami Beach could fetch over $2,000 per square foot? That is what happened just 2 days ago, when a condo on the 34th floor of the Setai sold for a very hefty $5,100,000. Located at 20th and Collins Ave. on South Beach, a now world renowned resort location, the Setai is one of the most exclusive buildings in all of South Florida.

Built in 2004, the Setai is a 40 story resort hotel and residential tower. The 34th floor condo (unit 3401) is actually 2 apartments that were put together to make a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo. With approximately 2,500 square feet of living space, the unit has 2 master bedrooms and 2 balconies offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the ocean and the Miami skyline.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Miami Home Sales Prices Decline 21.7 Percent

According to the Case-Shiller home price index released today by Standard & Poor's, home prices nationwide (for 20 key metro areas) are down a previously unheard of 12.7% in the 12 months ending February. That is a record for falling home prices. Miami and Las Vegas suffered the biggest losses, with Miami home prices declining 21.7% year over year.

According to David M. Blitzer of Standard and Poor’s, there is no bottom in sight. "Prices of single family homes continue to drop across the nation", he said. The report further states that 17 of the 20 metro areas posted the largest declines recorded by the index, since it began tracking prices in 2000.

Although the report is frightening to say the least, and although the Miami real estate market has almost slowed to a halt, there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as evidenced by some of the sales that have been recently made in Miami. For example, in Miami Beach, 17 waterfront luxury homes sold at prices ranging from $2,350,000 to $10,000,000 in the first 3.5 months of this year.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wanderlust hits again! For the Himalayas this time..

Alrighty. My checklist:
Intentions in all the right places
Mittens and woolens ready
Trekking shoes ready
Camera and other misc stuff ready
Accompanying books and music ready
Traveling Partner (aka Mr. Shaking Head) ready - Ah..umm..well. #$%^&!!
My revised checklist..
Persuade/cajole/threaten my best half to be my road-warrior-partner again
Also find out how much would a stay in this piece of heaven cost!
Let me walk you through the architectural and design marvel that is 360 Leti. The fact that it is situated in the pristine Kumaon region of the Himalayas, makes it immensely (and uncontrollably) attractive to city weary dwellers like moi.

360 Leti, a vision of Shakti, was made real by Bijoy Jain and his team from Studio Mumbai Architects. This exclusive (I am very tempted to say reclusive!) resort has been designed and constructed such that it is in complete harmony with nature and takes full advantage of the expansive 360 view of the Himalayas. The resort opened last year, and has already won more than a couple international design awards for the architects.

Ready for a virtual tour of this remote piece of heaven?

I can not express in words how much I want to be in this room Right Now. As in asap!

I adore natural stone on floor and walls. And bare minimum number of walls.

Needless to say, you might add add some weight since you would also be 'taking in' all that view along with your food!
Metal (most likely beaten brass) bathroom fixtures. Irresistible combination of stone, gravel and wood

Sorry, I can't speak anymore. Look at the above pics! I just want to be there. At 360 Leti. I hope that Mr. Shaking Head is listening (and reading).

[Will keep you posted on how my revised-checklist-item-no.1 works out...]

P.S: Shakti also organizes some amazing village walks in Kumaon, Sikkim and Ladakh. I am too stuck by 360 Leti to wax eloquent about those. Please read up yourself. They are so worth it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Miami Architectural Gem Sold At Bargain Basement Price

1215 N Venetian Way, Miami, Florida Sold at $588 Per Square Foot

A gorgeous Miami home just sold on San Marco Island at an amazing price, if you were the buyer that is. Located at 1215 North Venetian Way in Miami, this 7 bedroom, 6.5 bathroom home boasts a very spacious 7,653 square feet of living space, and is situated on a 13,382 square feet lot, with 105 linear feet of unobstructed bay front.

The home sold this week for $4,500,000, which is approximately $588 per square foot of living area. For those of you who are not familiar with prices of
waterfront homes in Miami and Miami Beach, that is an amazing price in an area where homes are often selling from $700 to $1,000 or more per square foot. It demonstrates how much prices are falling in the Miami area. The home, which was built in 2003, was listed for $5,700,000 and had been on the market since 2005.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tibet on my mind..

Tibet. The land of Buddha. The land of peace. Embroiled now in a strife, that we all hope ends. Ends with the hope of Tibet regaining its freedom. Not just freedom of state, but also freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the freedom to nurture its ancient culture and heritage.

One exquisite, but rare artifact from Tibet is its furniture. The average Tibetan household never had much furniture, and whatever furniture was crafted, was crafted for the monasteries and the royalty. A lot of original pieces were destroyed during the cultural revolution, but you can find original antiques through some genuine dealers. It's a question of debate whether these dealers are profiteering from Tibetan heritage or in a way actually helping preserve Tibetan heritage that would otherwise have been lost. Reproductions can of course be found more commonly in the market these days

Tibetan furniture typically had only a few utility items. You will find Buddhist altar tables, storage cabinets, Choyon trunks, Chosom stands and scripture boxes. All of these items are used by lamas (monks) in the monasteries

As I appreciate the beauty of these hand painted pieces of art, I also say a silent prayer in support of Tibet and its people..

[Images from Baronet 4 Tibet]

Other Online resources:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Real Estate 101 - What Is A Short Sale?

A short sale in real estate refers to a concept whereby a lender (mortgagee) agrees to discount the amount of money owed on the loan made to a borrower (mortgagor), due to hardship on the part of the borrower. It basically allows the homeowner (mortgagor) who owes money to the lender (mortgagee), to sell the home or condo for less than the amount owed to the lender.

The benefit to the mortgagee is that the lender gets to cut losses, which would be much greater if the lender is forced to foreclose on the property. The advantage to the homeowner (mortgagor) is that he/she gets to sell the property for less than he/she owes, avoids foreclosure, and the balance of the debt is forgiven. The advantage to the buyer is that he/she gets to buy the property on the cheap, so to speak. It seems like a win, win, win situation for everyone.

Ah, but we have often heard that all that glitters is not gold, so what is the problem? The problem is that the entire ordeal can be very frustrating, and often enough, an effort in futility. Why? The easiest part is making the deal between the buyer and the seller. The seller is eager to sell, thereby avoiding foreclosure, and the buyer is eager to buy the the home or condo at a great price.

They may come to an agreement as to price and terms, and execute a legally binding contract, but then the problems begin, because the deal must be presented to the lender, and the lender must agree to the price before a sale is made. The mortgagee's required agreement to the sale is listed on the contract as a contingency. Without the fulfillment of the contingency, there is no sale.

Long delays by the lender in responding to the contract for sale can be very frustrating for buyers and sellers. Buyers often walk away in frustration or even anger. Then there is the question of price. Banks and other lenders like to make money, but they can’t stomach losing it, so they often wont just agree to the price on the contract. Again a frustrated buyer may walk away, and the process has to begin anew. That is the long and short of a short sale.

An Indian Artist in London..

Caroline Jariwala, the artist of these intense paintings, is inspired by her Indian heritage and portrays the themes of culture, ritual and custom through a celebration of female form. Her paintings describe a fusion of visual imagery drawn from Indian Gujarati traditional arts with Hindu and Christian iconography.

Caroline along with being a painter, also leads art projects in schools, galleries and community venues as a teacher and an community artist.

I specially liked Caroline's portraiture of Indian women in brightly colored sarees, performing traditional household chores. It is also interesting to see her artistic journey through the different forms of paintings and iconography over the last some years...

Miami Nostalgia Circa 1950's

One of Miami's finest areas is Coral Gables, a city of 41,000 residents who live just south of Miami, and enjoy close proximity to one of America's busiest and most culturally diverse hubs. Coral Gables is home to the University of Miami, and is dedicated to maintaining architectural excellence, as is evidenced in some of the finest homes and condominiums in all of Florida. Gables Estates and Cocoplum are two very exclusive neighborhoods in Coral Gables, and are well known for their marvelous multi-million dollar estates. Enjoy the video below, a nostalgic view of Coral Gables from days long gone by.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cher's Miami House (Former) Reduced By $2 Million

Cher's house(former) - Miami Beach real estate on La Gorce Island in Miami Beach Florida
64 La Gorce Circle, Miami Beach Florida $14,900,000

Cher's former Miami Beach home located at 64 La Gorce Circle, on beautiful La Gorce Island, was just reduced by $2,000,000 in asking price. The price was dropped from $16,900,000 to a more reasonable $14,900,000. Boasting 6 bedrooms and 7.5 Bathrooms, the lovely mediterranean home has a very spacious 11,460 square feet of living space, and sits on a lot measuring 29,507 square feet, with 158 linear feet of bay front.

The home was purchased in June 2006 for $9,700,000; some remodeling was done to the property, and in October 2006, it was put back on the market for sale at an asking price of $ 14,420,000. The price was then raised 3 times to a high of $16,900,000 in December 2007, before being dropped back down yesterday to $14,900,000.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why do you build me up...

Build me up Buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will)
but I love you still I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin'
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) Buttercup, don't break my heart

[The Foundations]

This song has absolutely nothing to do with today's post. It's just that I have been humming this song since morning and I HAD to get it out of my system by singing it aloud to you! Phew! Feel better already!

And now for the actual post. Today's post is all about:

Living Rooms from South East Asia!

If you have always wanted to have a living room or a sitting area that reflects the rhythm, serenity, vibrancy and ambiance of South East Asia, look no further. I mean do look in look below, for some awesome inspiration that you can easily adapt for your home. And once you are done, let me know...I'll send over some coconut water or maybe a cuppa chai to go with your new decor!

Wicker furniture is one of the specialties from South East Asia

Use of stone to bring in a touch of 'raw' to an otherwise contemporary straight line room

Fuchsia dominates, with a modern oriental work of art

The simplest of furniture in front of a beautifully panelled wall

Very zen. And very contemporary. Subtle touches like the reclining Buddha, lamps and tropical foliage add to the look

Traditional furniture restored. I think the piece on the left is known as the Java bed..

Comfortable planter lounge chairs, intricate screen/room divider, and a traditional roof

Notice the different forms of Ikat in the pillow covers design

The sitting area is towards the left of these gorgeous stairs

I can feel the warmth of the room, and hear the laughter of friends and family in this room..

Another traditional form of furniture in a more straight line design. You climb up and sit cross legged on the floor cushions

Old benches restored for modern use

Great inspiration on how to transform one wall or a corner of a room for that South East Asian look and feel

All these images are from different villas of Bali (Indonesia).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

San Marino Island Home Sold For $5,000,000

214 W. San Marino Drive, Miami Beach Florida Sold For $5,000,000

A beautifully renovated Miami home located on San Marino Island just closed for $5,000,000. It is a sale worth mentioning because the per square foot price of the home came out to a grandiose $1,328 per square foot of interior living space. The lot size had an affect on the selling price, because at 15,750 square feet, with 90 linear feet of bay front, the lot is approximately 1.5 times the size of an average size Venetian Islands waterfront property.

The sale is remarkable because the average price of most bayfront homes that have recently sold on the Venetian Islands is well below $1,000 per square foot, and in the present climate of slow real estate sales in the middle of a recession, the sale may be a precursor of a market which is soon to rebound. This may not seem likely according to news reports seen on CNN and Fox, but home sales are increasingly being made in the Miami area, and in the luxury real estate market, this may be that long awaited spark of light which will take the darkness away.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Who needs walls...

...when you can have a tent!

Specially tents as luxurious as these!

Be the queen (or a king) on a summer evening

Relaxing, wining and dining in exotic tents

That are inspired by the grandeur and opulence of Indian royalty

[And don't forget to invite me!]

Available at RajTentClub and WhiteCanvasTents