3 Celebrity Color Schemes to Covet and Copy

Editor’s note: Painting is the first project many of us tackle in a new home – sometimes before we even unpack the first box. And if we can’t paint, or prefer not to, we express ourselves with color through the textiles, furniture, and accessories that fill our homes. Introducing our favorite colors to our home decor helps us make an unfamiliar place begin to feel like it’s truly ours, and a new color scheme can refresh a home we’ve lived in all our lives. Each day this week we’ll share expert tips, designers’ advice, and inspirational images to help you make the most of color in your home.

Folks who are in the spotlight often love to surround themselves with dramatic colors and furnishings. See the shades three celebs chose for their homes, and learn how you can get the look, too.

Zooey Deschanel: ship-shape navy

Photo from Zillow listing

The “New Girl” actress’ bold blue kitchen pairs crisp navy cabinets with brass accents and a nautical-inspired light fixture. Coordinating tile and deck-like chairs complete the “galley” of the Hollywood Hills home.

Alex McCord: seductive red lounge

Photo from StreetEasy listing

Bring the summer heat indoors like “The Real Housewives of New York” star Alex McCord did in her red-walled seating area. Patterned red curtains complete the passionate look to create a perfect entertaining spot in Brooklyn.

Max Azria: cool gray

Max Azria's home sm
Photos from Zillow listing

Clothing designer Max Azria rarely shies away from making a dramatic statement, and this elegant gray and white parlor with coral accents in his Los Angeles estate is no exception. Plenty of glass and sparkling silver accessories brighten the room, while a striking graphic rug grounds the space.

See inside more celebrity homes.


Originally published May 15, 2015

from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/3-celebrity-color-schemes-176275/

Jaime King’s Family-Friendly Dream Home Updates

When “Hart of Dixie” star Jaime King purchased her first home in Beverly Hills at 24 years old, she immediately felt at home.

So when she and her husband, Kyle Newman, had their first son, they decided to update the home they love to make room for their growing family.

A reimagined garage

Looking to create both a play space and guest suite, Jaime and Kyle separated their garage into three sections. The space now houses a beautiful guest bedroom and bath, a hangout room complete with TV, and a play area.

The new guest suite gives the young family a space to host overnight visitors.

In keeping with their home’s mid-century modern design, the space flows seamlessly with the rest of the residence.

A converted porch

Originally a porch off the master bedroom, this space was going to be a quiet sitting area for Jaime and Kyle to work and relax in.

However, as soon they finished the room, they found out they were going to have their second son, so they redesigned immediately. The result is a covetable nursery and relaxation area.

The sitting area offers space to unwind.
The former porch’s floor-to-ceiling windows supply nature views and lots of sunshine.

See inside more celebrity homes.


from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/jaime-king-dream-home-215056/

Setting up a Successful Home Repair Budget

Many people will become first-time home buyers this spring. Those buyers are probably running the numbers now: This much for the mortgage, this much for property tax, a bit more for utilities….

Some of them will get renovation loans that allow them to rehab a fixer-upper and make it fit for fine living, but many won’t think to include the cost of ongoing maintenance as they plan their new budgets.

The adventure of buying a home was one that my husband and I approached with great excitement. We were ready to dive into gardening, outdoor entertaining, having a dog, and creating a space that was all ours.

Like many first-time home buyers, we had a lot to learn. In addition to delving into our personal finances, we studied up on things like mortgage insurance, flood zones, and – after a particularly revealing inspection on a home we didn’t end up buying – foundation types.

One thing that didn’t come up in our new-homeowner education: Budgeting for home repairs.

While unexpected home repairs can strain almost any budget, being prepared for these inevitable costs promised deep peace of mind.

We wanted to be the kind of homeowners who were prepared to replace a water heater or repair a roof without pulling out our credit card, so we began researching how much we should save each month to keep our home safe and sound.

As part of our research, we tried out two different methods of estimating home-maintenance costs, and set up a successful home repair budget.

Option 1: The assessed-value method

Many experts advise setting aside between 1 percent and 4 percent of the assessed value of your home each year for repairs and maintenance. Maintenance costs for homes that are aging, remotely located (like island homes), or lavishly trimmed out with features like swimming pools can run toward the higher end.

Our home didn’t fall under any of these categories, so we chose 1.5 percent (one of the most commonly recommended rates) when we set up our estimate.

The assessed value (which forms the basis for property taxes) can vary a lot from the market value of a home. Knowing this, we also used our home value on Zillow to create our estimate.

This method was incredibly easy, but it didn’t give us complete peace of mind. Three major factors led us to take a deeper look at our actual home-maintenance costs:

  • Assessed values are not always accurate.
  • Home values can be affected by factors that are completely unrelated to actual repair costs (like the quality of the school district).
  • The 1- to 4-percent savings rate range suggested by experts left us with some reservations.

Our specific situation gave us additional reason to doubt the assessed-value method of estimating. Because we are close to great amenities like a commuter rail station and a walkable historic downtown, we could own a much larger home just a half hour away with a lower assessed value. This much larger home would be more expensive to maintain than our cozy abode, but a savings rate based on assessed value would have us putting aside less money.  The only way to ensure our peace of mind was to test the accuracy of this repair-cost estimate.

Option 2: Itemized project costs

Testing the accuracy of our home-maintenance budget required figuring out the cost of individual home repairs, and the lifespan of things like paint jobs and furnaces.

Here are a few factors we kept in mind as we put together a second estimate based on itemized costs:

  • We live in an area with fairly high cost of living, so services aren’t cheap.
  • Our house is very small (just 790 square feet!) so many repairs are less expensive.
  • We usually buy our appliances “like new” from an outlet store.
  • Our washer and dryer are in an extremely small space, and would need to be replaced with premium space-saver appliances.

Overall, this approach to budgeting was all about creating a customized savings plan that was specific to our needs. Here’s what we came up with: 

Finding the facts

We are not experts in home construction and repair. When we weren’t sure how much to estimate, we used the Home Advisor True Cost Guide or talked with experienced friends.

We also didn’t need this budget to cover the cost of small expenses like lawnmowers or minor repairs. We knew we would use our everyday spending money to cover these less significant expenses, and save our home repair dollars for when we truly needed them.

A customizable solution

The beauty of a customizable solution like this one is that we can update our savings goals whenever we have new information about our home. If we discovered that our roof should be replaced within five years, we could change the lifespan and instantly update our monthly savings goal.

This method would be especially helpful if we owned an older home with several pressing repair needs.

What did we learn?

After all the time-consuming work of putting together the itemized estimate, it came out surprisingly close to using the assessed value method. This was especially true when we used our home’s market value instead of the value assigned by the Assessor-Treasurer’s office.

Unless there are dramatic fluctuations in the housing market, we’ll be setting our savings rate based on our home’s estimated market value in the future. We’ll also be sure to update our savings goals each year to make sure the amount we’ve budgeted is enough to keep up with inflation.

If we decide that something more than plain-Jane home maintenance is in our future, we’ll set aside a bit more to allow us to pay for remodels or renovations.

These tools together helped us set up a successful home-repair budget. The money we contribute to our home-repair fund each month is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Ready to set up your customized home-repair budget? Download the Home Repair Budget Tool to estimate the costs for your home using either of these methods.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/set-up-home-repair-budget-215076/

Iconic ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ House Listed for $8.995M

Hundreds of millions of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” viewers have watched the Kardashian clan call this Italianate-style mansion home – despite the fact that no Kardashian has ever actually lived on the grounds.

The 7,800-square foot Studio City home has served as the public-facing facade for Kris Jenner’s residence, as well as the central family gathering place, since season 4 of E!’s zeitgeist franchise (now in its 13th season).

This iconic piece of pop culture history, known as “Palazzo Dei Sogni” and listed for $8.995 million, is now on the market for a new family.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians” viewers never got to see the interior of the opulent estate, which is very clearly fit for a queen (or Momager).

Inspired by the Medici castle in Florence, Italy, the 7-bedroom, 8-bathroom mansion includes luxurious features rich with history – including sconces imported from the Paris Opera House, a centuries-old stone fountain, a saltwater pool with a waterfall, and chandeliers adorning just about every room.  

Photos courtesy Steven J. Magner Photography

Built in 1983 and extensively remodeled in 2005, the villa extends its opulence to its modern elements, from one-of-a-kind murals hand-painted by local artist Giorgio Tuscani, to indoor and outdoor chef’s kitchens complete with state-of-the-art Viking ranges, and a 2,000-bottle wine cellar.

The outside living spaces are just as luxurious as the indoor amenities, offering sweeping views, intimate gathering spaces, and a covered veranda accessible from the master suite. The estate is situated on nearly an acre of land, and the entrance’s intricate steel gates provide ample privacy (not to mention a driveway with room for up to 10 vehicles).

Photo courtesy Steven J. Magner Photography

A haven for TV buffs, Palazzo Dei Sogni has also appeared on the HBO shows “True Blood,” “Entourage,” and “Rome.” Appropriately, the property includes an HD/THX theater with a 12-foot screen – the perfect setting for binge watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Robert E. Howell of Keller Williams Beverly Hills holds the listing.


from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/iconic-kardashians-house-215137/

Do You Qualify for Treasury Down Payment Assistance?

It’s spring, and some renters’ thoughts may turn to home buying. Then reality hits: Between paying off student loans, paying rent, and keeping up with other bills, they haven’t saved for a down payment.

Renters cite down payments as one of the biggest roadblocks to homeownership. So, if you’re a low- to moderate-income home shopper in California, Florida, Rhode Island, Tennessee, or Kentucky, you’ll want to pay close attention. These states (and a few others) have Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) money available from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which helps eligible buyers with down payment assistance (DPA).

Each state DPA program has income, credit score, occupancy, property value, and location requirements. But they share a common goal: revitalizing hard-hit communities.

“Our goal is to stabilize the neighborhoods and housing markets in Tennessee that have not recovered as fast as other areas across the state,” says Ralph M. Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, which offers $15,000 in down payment assistance to draw home buyers to 55 ZIP codes across the state.

Innovative offerings

Housing agencies in 18 states and the District of Columbia have been administering HHF money since 2010. Participating states were chosen either because they struggled with unemployment rates at or above the national average, or they experienced home price declines greater than 20 percent since the housing market downturn.

In the beginning, programs focused on homeowners in some type of mortgage distress. “Now, to help these communities, we’ve developed programs for other issues we face,” says Cecka Rose Green, communications director at Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Florida, California, Oregon, and Michigan have made HHF available to seniors who can’t pay property charges on their home equity conversion (reverse) mortgages. Illinois is now using HHF to help underwater homeowners refinance to more affordable loans. And several states have launched HHF DPA programs.

Florida’s $188.4-million HHF DPA program has assisted 7,481 first-time borrowers across 11 targeted counties. Borrowers can request up to $15,000 for down payment, closing cost, and prepaid assistance toward a home purchase.

“With the housing market improving, helping people buy homes is strengthening demand in hard-hit areas, stabilizing home prices, and preventing future foreclosures,” says Green.

“These agencies are being creative and resourceful in working with the Treasury to continue to serve their markets,” adds Mark Spates, a Fannie Mae director. Fannie Mae is the leading purchaser of loans underwritten by state housing agencies.

When the money runs out

States have until the end of 2020 to spend HHF money – but how they allocate funds varies from program to program.

The Arizona Department of Housing has a $76-million Pathway to Purchase DPA program, which has helped more than 2,600 buyers in 17 targeted cities.

But on March 29, 2017 – approximately 12 months after launch – Pathway to Purchase ran out of money, and the agency will not refund it. However, buyers can still apply for DPA from the state’s self-funded program, notes Dirk Swift, homeownership programs administrator for the Arizona Department of Housing.

Don’t wait!

California, Florida, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky, and a few other states still have HHF DPA money for renters hoping to buy – for now.

“We’re not in a situation where we’re about to run out of DPA funds,” advises Green. “But they’re going pretty fast.”

If you plan to purchase in an HHF state or want to learn more, contact your state housing finance agency, or visit the Hardest Hit Fund website to learn about local opportunities.

Looking for more information about mortgages? Check out our Mortgage Learning Center.

Top photo from Zillow listing


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/treasury-down-payment-assistance-214856/

‘Welcome to New York’: Taylor Swift’s Former Rental is Waiting for You

Photo: ShutterStock

No “Bad Blood” here: The Greenwich Village townhouse — widely reported to be Taylor Swift’s temporary home while she was renovating her posh Tribeca pad — just hit the market for $24.5 million.

Talk about “Wildest Dreams:” The 5-bedroom, 6-bath home is on a tiny, tree-lined street not far from where Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro, and Hilary Swank have lived in recent years.

The former carriage house, built in 1912, boasts a private indoor pool, three original fireplaces, and a Murano glass chandelier.

The dining room is lined in antique brick imported from Paris, while the floor-to-ceiling leaded glass windows let in plenty of light. A freestanding soaking tub in the master bath awaits for shaking off the stresses of a busy day. 

A rooftop terrace boasts a hot tub and separate outdoor kitchen, along with a view of Manhattan.

Photos by The Corcoran Group

Swift was rumored to have paid $40,000 a month to rent the place from Soho House executive David Aldea, who bought the 5,500-square-foot home for a little more than $5 million in 2005.

Deborah Grubman of Corcoran Group holds the listing.



from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/taylor-swift-rental-214967/

3 Updates That Helped Tyler Blackburn Create His Dream Backyard

When “Pretty Little Liars” star Tyler Blackburn purchased his first home, in Los Angeles’ hip Los Feliz neighborhood, he knew he wanted to make some changes to create a space that would truly feel like his own.

One of the actor’s favorite aspects of the renovation is the new and improved backyard, finished just in time for his big 30th birthday party.

Here’s a look at three updates he made to achieve his dream backyard.

Take a dip

Where there used to be an expansive slab of concrete, Tyler put in a large pool and hot tub. Complete with water features, the pool and hot tub’s design makes it easy to slip from one into the other – the ideal combination for a cool evening in L.A.

A place to relax

To escape the not-so-cool Southern California sun, Tyler built a pergola off the back of his house. Under its shelter, he placed a patio sofa, hammock chairs, and a natural wood coffee table where he can enjoy his morning coffee with his cute pup, Dylan.

Puppy playground

Not wanting to leave Dylan out, Tyler dedicated a large portion of the previously grass-less yard to a grass patch for her to romp around on.

To celebrate finishing his dream backyard, Tyler hosted his friends and family for his 30th birthday. The party was made extra special by the presence of his grandparents, who Tyler lived with as a young child.

Sometimes all you need for the perfect milestone birthday is good food, the people you love, and your own backyard.

Photos by Rupert Thorpe



from Zillow Porchlight https://www.zillow.com/blog/tyler-blackburn-dream-backyard-214468/