Ron Howard’s Hollywood career pretty much covers it all. You may know him from his early acting days – most notably his roles on “Happy Days” and “The Andy Griffith Show” – or his more recent success as an Oscar-winning director of popular films including “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code.”
The 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath unit features private elevator access, heated floors and a natural wood-burning fireplace. The master bathroom sports stunning tilework – and even offers views of Central Park – from the bathtub.
Photos by Rob Lowell
What the kitchen lacks in city views, it makes up for in appliances with a 48-inch Viking stove, a wine fridge, two Sub-Zero refrigerators and two dishwashers. The former maid’s room off the kitchen has been converted into a laundry room and provides an additional peek onto the park.
The giant library/office boasts built-in wooden bookshelves, but we’re guessing the prominently featured Emmy doesn’t come with the sale.
The home is in the famed Eldorado building on Central Park West, which has housed other celebrities over the years, from Bruce Willis to Alec Baldwin. The art deco-style high-rise, built in 1930, has its own fitness center and mini basketball court, and it’s so close to the Central Park tennis courts that you can nearly lob a ball over the net from your front door.
Housing has become less affordable for all renters since 2011 as rent appreciation greatly outpaced income growth. But for renters living in predominately black or Hispanic neighborhoods, the situation is decidedly worse.
New data shows that, on average, residents of predominantly white neighborhoods spend 30.7 percent of their income on rent, in line with the generally accepted standard of 30 percent. Renters living in predominately black neighborhoods spend 43.7 percent of their income on rent, and renters in largely Hispanic communities spend 48.1 percent.
For renters in minority communities, devoting such a large share of income to rent limits their ability to save for a down payment, which would allow them to transition their costly rent to more affordable mortgage payments.
In markets where rents overall are high for all residents, minority neighborhoods are hit even harder than white communities. In Los Angeles, renters in white communities spend 50 percent of their income on rent – well above the recommended 30 percent, but still far less than renters in black or Hispanic neighborhoods, who pay a premium of 63.7 percent and 63 percent, respectively.
In expensive San Francisco, rent in largely black communities requires the greatest share of the median income (74.8 percent), followed by rents in primarily Hispanic communities (62.5 percent) and then, after a sizable gap, rents in predominantly white communities (48.8 percent).
Boston follows a similar trend, with residents in black communities paying 71.2 percent of the median income, followed by 59.5 percent in Hispanic communities and 34.8 percent in white communities.
“This research sheds light on another example of inequality in the housing market,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Renters in African-American or Hispanic neighborhoods find themselves in a catch-22 situation: While owning a home is a great way to build wealth, you need to save up some cash to be able to buy. If you’re spending close to half of your income on rent, saving for that down payment is going to be incredibly difficult.”
These differences shift for homeowners, with mortgage payments requiring the greatest share of income from owners in Hispanic neighborhoods, at 22.8 percent. Homeowners in white communities allocate more of their incomes to their mortgage payments (15.2 percent) than owners in primarily black communities (13.6 percent).
Still, transitioning from renting to owning remains a challenge for minorities, not only because they have less income left over to save for a down payment, but also because race impacts minorities’ ability to get approved for a mortgage. Home values in predominantly black communities also tend to be much lower than home values in predominantly white communities, contributing to this difference.
UPDATE: Donald Trump’s childhood home in New York City has changed hands for the third time in as many months. The newly established Trump Birth House LLC purchased the 5-bedroom Tudor-style home in Queens for $2.14 million, according to The New York Times.
ORIGINAL POST 1/23/17: The real estate investor who bought Donald Trump’s childhood home in Queens last month has resold it in an auction.
The Tudor home in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood was built in 1940 by Trump’s father, a local real estate developer and landlord. It’s where the president spent his early childhood.
The 5-bedroom, 4.5-bath home measures 2,500 square feet and has a finished basement with a full bathroom. There’s also a bonus room for guests, and a summer kitchen.
The home features a living room with a fireplace, a formal dining room and an enclosed back porch, along with the charm of arched doorways and hardwood floors.
It was first listed last summer for $1.65 million, but it took a couple of price cuts before Paramount Realty USA planned an auction for the evening of one of Trump and Hillary Clinton’s debates. That auction was postponed. Then, real estate investor Michael Davis bought the home for $1.39 million.
Davis, in turn, auctioned the home last week. The winning bidder and bid amount will not be disclosed, according to Misha Haghani, a principal at Paramount Realty USA.
Late singer, songwriter and actor David Bowie moved on from this apartment in 2002, but his piano still remains. The piano has been passed from owner to owner – and it can now be yours for $6.45 million.
My friend Rex Hohlbein, the compassionate force behind the community-building project Facing Homelessness, just launched a visionary new endeavor to alleviate homelessness: the BLOCK Project.
The BLOCK Project aims to put a BLOCK Home in the backyard of one single-family lot on every residentially zoned block within the city of Seattle. While this goal sounds ambitious, Rex is not tackling it alone. BLOCK Architects – a collaboration of Rex and his daughter Jennifer – has formed partnerships with over a dozen companies and organizations who are providing their services pro bono.
And community members are already raising their hands to host a BLOCK Home in their yard. “It’s been a community effort to get this community project off the ground,” Rex says.
A new approach
The BLOCK Project is different from other efforts to combat homelessness because it is not solely trying to solve housing problems for the homeless. “That will be the byproduct, but we’re not starting there,” says Rex. “We want to bring community together, so people are engaged on their blocks. We want to inspire a sense of purpose.”
Along with the backyard BLOCK Homes, the BLOCK Project team is working on ways to build that community. With support from one of their pro-bono partners, POSSIBLE, the team is working on an app that can help mobilize neighbors to reach out and form a support net for the inhabitants of the BLOCK Homes. Community involvement could include doing a load of laundry, providing a meal or just spending time together.
Not only is the model innovative, but the BLOCK Homes themselves are a first of their kind in Seattle. Each 109-square-foot home will be completely off the grid. The homes will have solar panels for electricity, filtered rainwater for plumbing and self-composting toilets. Thus, neither the construction nor the ongoing usage of these homes will create any new costs for the property owner.
Going forward, the BLOCK Project will be a collaboration between BLOCK Architects, Facing Homelessness and their supportive community. Facing Homelessness, which started as a Facebook page six years ago, has over 43,000 followers in Seattle as well as 25 affiliate programs in other cities.
To date, that community has met every need posted to help people experiencing homelessness, and Rex believes they will continue to step up to support tenants of the new BLOCK Homes. Combine that with Rex’s 30-year architecture career and support from several key business and government partners, and the dream of a BLOCK Home on every block starts to look attainable.
Rex says the reaction to the BLOCK Project has been so affirming. “Every single person that we have shared this with has embraced it. We think this will create a giant YIMBY ["Yes, In My Back Yard”] movement and the critical mass that is needed to get past people’s fears.“
The mission was simple: Transform a run-down 1930s Los Feliz, CA craftsman into a modern-day dream home fit for a young family.
Los Angeles interior designer Ryan White was up for the challenge, especially because he agreed with developers Jamie Davis and Jonathan Nash of W One Properties that the house should retain its old-fashioned charm.
“Let’s make sure we make it feel really authentic and not super-developed,” White recalls the pair saying. They envisioned a home “that still had the old bones” but reflects “the way we all like to live today.”
When you set foot in the home at 1921 N. Hobart, it’s clear White understood their request. Although there were no moldings in the home originally, he decided to bring some in “to give a little bit of a nod to an older, more refined style,” he says.
Wide-plank wood floors are also new additions, along with black iron banisters – a “nod to what you’re going to expect for the rest of the home.” The white paint was an obvious choice, he adds, as the low ceilings dictated he keep things as open as possible.
To maintain the old-school vibe, White added build-in shelves to the all-white living room; a linen closet was salvaged with the help of talented carpenters, who replaced the broken fittings and tracking.
After stripping the cabinets down to their raw wood, they were painted a thin coat of grayish green, which “nods to the English tradition of being crisp and clean and handsome,” White says.
He cites the U.K.’s Soho House as an inspiration, where the muted colors, seen in the powder room and study, would make future homeowners “feel like they’re in their own private club.”
Considering the house hadn’t been touched in decades and “looked like a crazy lady with 16 cats had lived there for 50 years,” White jokes, that’s saying something. “I remember walking in and being like, ‘Is this going to come together?’
"The house was essentially brought down to its studs and gutted to open the rooms,” he adds.
Today, 1921 N. Hobart boasts truly desirable amenities that a growing young family would ask for. The palatial master bathroom "feels like an oasis,” White says, thanks to an expanded marble shower, white clawfoot tub and vintage vanity.
In the double closets, another with-it addition, sconces were added to make it feel “like you’re walking into a high-end department store.”
However, the airy all-white bedrooms are where old and new harmonize best. There, you’ll find custom cabinets and benches that beckon you to take in the view.
Take the full tour:
Get the look
Inspired by White’s design? Here are a few tips for achieving a similar look in your own home’s upgrade.
Keep the character
“When you’ve decided what really makes the house shine, then you add in modern amenities,” White says. “I see way too many houses where people come through and completely gut it.”
Splurge on plumbing and fixtures
“I really do love adding in great plumbing and fixtures, whether it’s the lighting or sink,” White says. “Having those type of moments in a home … makes it feel a bit more creative.”
In the powder room, it’s easy to express your creativity, White says.
Try to “start off on a tailored level, keep it smart and then add the freak flag at the end.” But you don’t want to overwhelm the small space.
Ellen DeGeneres has made quite a name for herself in real estate. When she’s not busy buying and selling property with wife Portia de Rossi, she’s designing her new home furnishings line and writing books about her home renovation experience.
Her newest offering, on the market for $45 million, might the best one yet: a romantic, secluded villa in the hills of Santa Barbara.
The home – appropriately dubbed “The Villa” – was designed in 1930 by architect Wallace Frost, who spent time living in Italy.
The barrel-tiled roof, terra-cotta surfaces, 18th-century tiles, vintage light fixtures and rustic exposed-beam ceilings certainly are reminiscent of Tuscany. Inside the 10,500-square-foot estate are 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 9 fireplaces and multiple libraries.
Photos by Jim Bartsch
A quarter-mile driveway, secured by 18th-century Spanish gates, leads up to the sprawling mansion, which sits on a 16.88-acre lot. The yard is adorned with olive and eucalyptus trees, fountains, sculptures and statues.
“The surrounding gardens and olive trees are almost as wonderful as the interior,” DeGeneres said of the home. “The house truly feels like it was built out of the landscape, rather than plopped on a plot. It feels ancient, like it’s been there forever. Like that hill was never without the house. This is a home that honors nature, and I love that.”
The backyard boasts an alfresco dining area within a serene garden space that is undoubtedly spectacular for throwing dinner parties and watching sunsets.
A Roman-style pool, a tennis court and a separate entertainment pavilion also grace the property.