It’s easy to see why iconic jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. would live in this Spanish-style estate in Arcadia, CA. It’s a quick trip to Santa Anita Park, where he rode tens of thousands of horses and became one of the winningest jockeys of all time.
Pincay bought the place brand-new in 2002 for $1,725,000. But now that his kids are grown and he’s retired from riding, he’s serving as a horse racing commentator for TGV and NBC.
He no longer needs 5,905 square feet of living space, according to listing agent Elizabeth Gallegos of Re/Max Premier Properties. Pincay recently put the six-bedroom, 6.5-bath home on the market for $3,788,000.
Arcadia is an upscale town nestled right up against Pasadena in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Valley, known for its excellent school districts. Pincay’s house is located in a guard-gated community known as Anoakia Estates.
Those factors, plus the size of the home, make it an excellent choice for a family, says Gallegos. The home is elegant—with high ceilings, French doors, and ornate fireplaces—yet inviting and homey, she adds.
The kitchen features a center island, Wolf stove, double dishwashers, and cherry wood cabinets. There’s also an adjacent butler’s pantry, formal dining room, and breakfast room. The large room is ideal for family entertaining, says Gallegos.
The oversize master suite has a fireplace, walk-in closet, luxe bathroom, and an extra room that could be used as a nursery or a gym.
There are two bedrooms on the first level with independent entries intended for use as a guest bedroom and staff quarters.
The grounds feature a pool and spa, fountains, sun patio, flagstone decking, and lush lawns.
Pincay, who will be downsizing, will entertain offers for the furnishings, Gallegos adds. Of course, the memorable photos and trophies on display throughout the house aren’t included in the sale.
Pincay, now 71, was born in Panama, and learned the art of jockeying from his father. He’s been atop horses in every major race, including the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and the Santa Anita Derby. He rode Swale to victory in the Kentucky Derby in 1984 and won the Belmont Stakes three years in a row from 1982-84. He finished his career in 2003 with an astonishing 9,530 career wins.
On “Fixer Upper: Behind the Design,” we get a second look at Chip and Joanna Gaines working their magic on fixer-uppers from the past. And the latest episode, titled “The Ramsey House,” is particularly intriguing because Jo designs a room that’ll make many people (particularly parents) say, “I need that room now!”
The backstory: The Gaineses’ clients, the Ramsey family, have been living in Pakistan for 17 years, but now it’s time to come home. The parents, Brooke and Charles, both graduated from Baylor in Waco, TX, and that’s where they want to establish their new home base with their four kids. So while still in Pakistan, they shop real estate listings online and buy a 100-year-old farmhouse—sight unseen.
To further complicate matters, the Ramseys tell Joanna their preference is to implement modern Scandinavian design mixed with Moroccan touches, while keeping the home’s original farmhouse charm. Chaotically clashing? Nah, it’s a piece of cake for Joanna.
“Moroccan-Scandinavian is going to be a very interesting but cool blend,” she says. “I love the idea of minimal, but also of that ethnic feel.”
It sounds like a tall order, but Joanna proves she’s up to it. Her ideas work so well you might find yourself wanting to try a few of them in your own home. Take a look!
Let the accessories do the talking
Joanna opts to go with a simple, modern Scandinavian background, and allow the Ramseys to add many of their own Moroccan pieces.
“This will be one of those times where I give them a very clean palette where they can showcase a lot of the things that they’ve collected over the years,” she says. “So when it all comes together, it’s not an overload of stuff, but it also tells their story.”
Add international flair with tile
What’s more Moroccan than painted tile? Actually, Scandinavian-style homes often have accent tile as well, so Joanna selects tile for the kitchen backsplash, bathroom floors, and fireplaces with subtle Moroccan designs that blend perfectly.
Less is more when accessorizing a large bookcase
Joanna has a large iron-frame bookcase custom-made for the Ramsey house, and in demonstrating how she arranges accessories on it, she leaves open spaces—some shelves without anything on them at all. Rather than fill them up with vertically placed books, she lays the books down horizontally, with the pages, rather than the spines, facing out, “to show the different whites.” It seems she’s using books as a design element, rather than as reading material.
Find the right number of pendant lights
Joanna says the number of pendant lights should be determined by the size of the dining table that they’re illuminating. One large pendant light is fine for a 10-foot table. A round table, of course, should have only one pendant light hanging over it.
Give teenage boys their space
The Ramseys have a 15-year-old son, and there’s no way he’s going to share a bedroom with one of his sisters. Only problem is, they’ve run out of bedrooms. It’s Chip who actually saves the day here, finding an unused, unfinished attic space under the gabled roof to build a cozy extra bedroom. They add a closet and dormer window to it—and voila, they’ve created something out of nothing that will mean a whole lot to the Ramseys’ teenage son.
Split the bathroom
So how can these four kids comfortably share one bathroom? Chip finds a clever way of splitting the bathroom into two separate baths, with more privacy than a traditional Jack and Jill bath. This will considerably reduce waiting and fighting.
Restoring wood floors isn’t always worth it
Joanna and Chip opt for tile instead of restoring the old wood floor in the kids’ bathroom, and for good reason: If there are just too many coats of lacquer over the wood and it would take forever to sand, restoring wood isn’t always worth it. This is especially true in the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen, where a lot of water will be tough on wood. So, tile it is!
Have a homework room
Last but not least, Joanna designs a room that most parents would love to have: a “homework room” with four built-in desks, one for each child, where they can easily plug in a laptop, write, or study from texts. Each study station has a corkboard back so the kids can pin up whatever they like. Above the desks are extensive bookcases filled with reference books on hand to be used, not just for decoration.
Former NFL kicker and current TV analyst Jay Feely has listed his massive home outside of Phoenix for $2.65 million.
Despite being situated in the middle of the desert, the mission-meets-ranch mansion sits on a man-made lake, providing residents opportunities to go boating, wakeboarding, and paddleboarding in an otherwise dry, dusty area.
The property’s outdoor area also shines with its kitchen with pizza oven, bar area, and gorgeous pool and spa.
The 7,000-square-foot main house has dual foyers—one at the main entrance and another at the garage entrance—five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. There’s also a 974-square-foot waterfront casita.
The home’s luxe details include rolled brick ceilings and travertine floors. The main house also has two master suites and, of course, a 14-screen TV wall to keep up with all the games every weekend. The TVs are included in the purchase, and many of the furnishings are negotiable.
After kicking for several NFL teams, Feely ended his 14-year career with 1,451 points and 332 field goals. Thee University of Michigan alum then joined CBS Sports as a color commentator for college football in 2015. Two years later, he began covering NFL games for CBS as a kicking game specialist.
Whatever his reason for giving this mansion the boot, a new family now has the chance to move into a lakefront home, deep in the heart of the desert. Swimsuits absolutely required.
Vacation homes offer a strange paradox: A calming oasis away from the daily grind often accompanied by a sad trombone sound effect as soon as you unlock the front door.
For something billed as a life’s achievement, why are these second homes often saddled with such ugly decor?
If you own a vacation home, we get it. You spent money on the house itself, and the decor might be an afterthought. But your efforts at saving money on decor and furnishings could actually be backfiring, notes Sara Tayte, interior designer at AID Miami.
“The biggest mistake I see with vacation homes is that they look outdated,” she says. “Some seem like the last time anybody put any love into it was when they bought it.”
Luckily, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to decorate your vacation home so that it looks fresh, modern, and most importantly, appealing to visitors (or, eventually, buyers). Here are a few tips and tricks to get you there.
Not only does this stuff make your vacation home look banal, it’s also surprisingly expensive to go full-theme throughout your place. You’ll spend a bundle loading up on accoutrements that no vacationer is seeking out.
“I have never been a fan of seashells and seahorses covering every last inch of a space in a home,” says Nicole Peters, interior designer and owner of Modern Beach House in Kitty Hawk, NC. “I thought it was because I grew up on the beach, but as I got older, I realized it wasn’t the seashells: It was really anything in excess.”
Of course, you can still highlight a theme—just don’t take it so literally.
“Instead, make subtle references to the location and its natural surroundings through color and textures,” suggests Carmina Roth, an interior designer in Greenwich, CT. “Hang a mirror with a mother-of-pearl frame in a beach house, or use lots of wools and natural wood finishes in a mountain retreat.
“Instead of a ‘Welcome to our lake house’ sign,” Tayte recommends finding a vintage geographical map of the area and putting it in a frame.
It looks great, is a perfect keepsake, and best of all, won’t blow your budget.
Photo by Inside Story Photography
After you’ve ditched the knick-knacks, you can save money and get that vacation vibe with a coat of paint instead.
“A beach house, mountain cabin, or lake house can … set the tone with colors and textures,” Peters says. “And then add a nautical pop here and there.”
Tayte agrees: “Bringing the colors of the outside to the inside and adding complementary colors against them is always a beautiful and easy way to stay within a subtle, understated ‘theme,'” she says.
Photo by Distinguished Pools
Even if you’re on a limited budget, don’t neglect the outdoor space; that’s often where everyone will spend most of their time.
“Adding some cafe lights instantly transforms any outdoor space, and you can find them at just about any retail market,” Peters says. “Also use the earth—plant a row of beach grass or box ferns that can also serve as a barrier separating a space.”
“The Bohemian look for beach houses is so in right now, and it’s fairly easy to achieve by just building your own furniture out of scrap wood,” Peters says. “It doesn’t have to look perfect, and the more rustic the better.”
Photo by Houzz
While you don’t want to skimp on outdoor furniture, it’s OK to keep it light inside. You shouldn’t sink your entire budget into expensive furniture sets. Instead, feel free to mix and match—you can find reasonably priced pieces from online retailers like Chairish, CB2, and even IKEA, Roth says.
“Create simple, but eclectic rooms with lots of personality,” Roth recommends.
Then, figure out where you can scale back: Do you really need huge dressers for short stays? Nightstands are a nice touch, but can be accomplished with a shelf above the bed and a reading lamp attached to the wall.
Comfortable beds and couches are non-negotiable, though.
“Don’t fall into the looks-great-feels-uncomfortable trap,” Roth says. “This is should be your happy place.”
Instead, save your cash on beautiful bedding that’s easy to clean. “White towels and sheets are a must,” Tayte says. “And buy lots of extras.”
And whatever you do, don’t haul in leftover furniture from your primary home.
“If you didn’t like something in your main house, it probably isn’t going to bring you joy in your weekend retreat either,” Roth says.
What does a property manager do? If you own a rental property and want help, a property manager can relieve you of a whole bunch of headaches.
A property manager works for landlords, handling the day-to-day details of running a building. If you dream of collecting income from rental property but cringe at the idea of collecting rent or getting calls from tenants about burst pipes, a property manager could be well worth the money.
“Property management isn’t a glamorous business,” says Dana Anderson, president at Bay Management Group, a property management company in Philadelphia. “Tenants can be difficult, landlord-tenant laws are complicated, and property maintenance can be stressful. Having someone handling those problems for you gives you peace of mind.”
Let’s explore what property managers do, how much they cost, and how you can find a reputable one.
What does a property manager do?
Property managers provide a range of services to rental owners. Generally, they will do the following:
Price your rent. Property managers will help you determine what rent to charge by looking at what comparable rentals are leasing for in your area. “An experienced property manager also relies on their experience and instinct to set rents that move properties,” says Peter Lohmann, CEO at RL Property Management Group in Columbus, OH.
Market your property. Property managers do more than just post your rental on Craigslist—they generate leads through social media, advertising, and the multiple listing service so that real estate agents can show your place to their rental clients.
Vet tenants. The best way to reduce turnover is to find great tenants, and “a good property manager is going to use state-of-the-art screening to find responsible renters,” Lohmann says. So, in addition to running a credit check, property managers screen tenant applicants by checking their criminal history, verifying their income and employment, and contacting their previous landlords, says Stephanie Witko, director of business development and leasing at Nest DC, a boutique property management firm in Washington, DC.
Protect you from lawsuits. Property managers stay up to date on the latest landlord-tenant laws, rules, and regulations, which can vary by city and state, Anderson says. This protects you from housing discrimination claims.
Handle emergency repairs. Most property managers retain a small amount of cash from the landlord for emergency repairs such as a broken fridge or leaky washer. This money is typically held in what’s called a maintenance reserve fund, which generally ranges from $500 to $1,000, Witko says.
Create monthly income and expenditure reports. These reports help you track your money so that you know how much is coming in and going out every month.
Provide important tax filing documents. “Every year we send out 1099s to rental owners” so that they can report their rental income and expenses to Uncle Sam, Witko says.
Perform house visits. Most property managers do quarterly or biannual property inspections. “The big things to check are furnace filters, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors,” Lohmann says. “We’ll also make sure the tenants aren’t damaging the unit.”
How much do property managers charge?
Most property managers charge one month’s rent to procure a tenant and then charge a monthly management fee, either as a percentage of the rent or a flat fee per unit. Fees can vary widely depending on the housing market. In general, though, management fees are 5% to 10% of a month’s rent. However, “if a client is bringing us multiple rental units, we’ll often offer a discount of 1% less each month,” Witko says.
Many property managers also charge a lease renewal fee of up to 50% of one month’s rent to cover the paperwork of preparing a new lease and other administrative fees, Anderson says.
How to find the right property manager for you
To start, you want a property manager that aligns with your needs—in particular how involved you want to be.
“Some property managers are going to involve the owner with a lot of decisions and some aren’t,” Lohmann says. “You may want to be a more passive owner, or you may want to be involved in the decisions. It depends on what you’re looking for.”
You also want a property manager with experience managing the type of property you own. Renting out a condo is more complicated than renting out a house.
Lohmann recommends contacting five property management companies before deciding which firm you want to use. How quickly you receive a reply is a good indicator of the company’s response time with tenants.
“Find a company that gets back to you within 24 hours,” Anderson suggests.
Unfortunately, scam artists abound. To find a property manager who’s reputable, do your research by contacting several of the company’s current clients for feedback and looking up its rating on the Better Business Bureau website. Don’t just go with the cheapest option—you get what you pay for.
Questions to ask a prospective property manager
Aside from asking the basics—how much do you charge, what services do you provide—do your due diligence by asking potential property managers these questions:
When there’s an emergency from a tenant, how do you respond? Some will hire a third party to deal with these issues, others respond in-house (the latter is preferred).
How many house visits do you perform every year? “A lot of companies will say they do home visits periodically, but I’ve found that’s often not true,” Anderson says. (Pro tip: Make sure the contract that you sign states how many home visits the company will perform annually.)
What’s your occupancy rate? A lot of property managers aren’t going to know this number off the top of their head, but they should be able to pull it for you, Lohmann says. Generally, a property management company should have a 92% to 95% occupancy rate, adds Lohmann. The caveat? “Occupancy rates are going to vary depending on the time of year,” he says, with vacancy rates climbing in the winter. Nonetheless, “if a company has an occupancy rate of below 90% during the summer, that’s a red flag to me,” Lohmann says.
Who doesn’t love cheap old houses—or perhaps we should say, charming homes with a past at a great price? Whether you’re a fan of architecture, history, or just a great home-shopping bargain, preservationist Elizabeth Finkelstein has rolled all these fascinating topics into one Instagram account called, simply enough, @cheapoldhouses.
Finkelstein started the account—which showcases lovely photos of historic homes for sale at jaw-droppingly low prices—two years ago. It has gained an ardent following for good reason: Instagram is packed to the gills with pictures of gorgeous new homes, but cheap old homes have their own special allure. Here, Finkelstein shares what makes these homes so special, and her advice on how to shine them up to their original luster.
How did you become interested in old homes?
I have a master’s degree in historic preservation. After I got my degree, I worked at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where I split my time between researching the histories of houses in downtown New York City, and working with homeowners and architects to advise them on how to make appropriate and sensitive alterations to historic buildings.
That’s my professional background, but I really believe old houses are something you don’t need to have a master’s degree to appreciate.
How did @cheapoldhouses begin?
My husband and I were looking to buy our own historic home. He runs a digital design agency in Brooklyn. We wanted to figure out a way to combine his tech expertise with my background in historical preservation, so he and I created CIRCAOldHouses.com, a curated online marketplace of beautiful historic homes for sale across the country in 2013. Our Instagram account is an extension of that.
What’s your goal in showcasing these homes? Do you hope they end up sold and restored?
Yes, that’s 100% of my motivation! I want to see them sold, loved, and restored by the right people—people who understand what gems they are. A lot of these homes are diamonds in the rough.
Some of them are inexpensive because they’re in neighborhoods that don’t have a strong base of homeowners working hard to advocate for their neighborhoods. These homes are especially vulnerable to being either torn down or flipped by people who don’t necessarily understand or care about their unique architectural features. I have worked hard to create a large community of people who love and care about these homes, people who get it.
There’s something about looking at a big, old house somewhere crying out for help, something you might actually be able to afford, and imagining, “What if?” It’s the feeling that you could actually start your life all over, and do it with a strong sense of purpose. Because fixing up a house—working with your hands—is immensely purposeful.
What’s your favorite cheap old home you’ve posted?
Seriously? That’s like picking a favorite child. I posted a beauty in Darlington, SC, that people went wild for. I ended up writing about it for Country Living Magazine and taking some video footage of it when my husband and I were nearby on vacation. The real estate agency told me that they got hundreds of calls in one weekend about this place. The broker told me that his agents started complaining, and he said to them, “Are you kidding me? I’ve been trying for years to get the phones to ring off the hook!”
I was born and raised in an 1850s Greek Revival in Queensbury, NY, that my parents restored with their own hands. When they bought it, it was in such bad shape that the real estate agent told my parents they were the first people who even get out of the car to look at it when he showed it to them. My mother was always scouring auctions and antiques shops for things for the house, and rearranging rooms over and over. I guess I’ve really become my mother!
I think growing up in an old house really shaped my version of what a home should be. It’s so much fun to be a kid in an old house! There are so many fun nooks and crannies. The back of the house was the original farmhouse built in the 1700s, and the front Greek Revival portion was added in the 1850s. The two parts were connected by a passageway that you accessed through a miniature door. We called the passageway “the secret room,” and my brother, sister, and I spent so much time in there as kids. Magical!
What kind of house do you currently own?
I live in a 1940s Cape Revival in Nyack, NY. I had a baby two months later, so besides lots of aesthetic changes, which I’m always dabbling in, we haven’t done too much serious work on it.
What advice do you have for people buying and restoring cheap historic homes?
You need to really love working with your hands and truly be a “house person.” There are people who would choose to spend every summer weekend at the beach, and people who would choose to spend every summer weekend doing house projects. Which camp do you fall into?
Stay true to the house whenever possible. In most cases, elements in historical homes were custom-made to fit that particular place. Nothing will work better than the original piece. Rebuild when absolutely necessary, but restore whenever you can.
Try to avoid relying too heavily on current trends. Nothing is worse than walking into a very 1850s house with a very 1980s kitchen. Trends come and go, [so] try to make sure that whatever you’re doing assimilates well with the rest of the house.
Also, don’t be afraid to take your time. Half the fun of owning an old house is that it’s always a work in progress, always a project to keep you busy. Try to live in the space for a while before making any hefty decisions. Sometimes after living in a place for a while, you come to appreciate certain quirks that you once couldn’t wait to get rid of.
NASHVILLE—Kathleen Ervin moved here 12 years ago from the Northeast, drawn to the relaxed atmosphere, green parks and relatively low cost of living.
But in the past five years, her commute time from her 1950s ranch house in the Glendale neighborhood to her job about 12 miles away has tripled on some days to 45 minutes because of increased traffic. Developers are buying nearby properties, tearing them down and building “tall skinnies”—multistory homes geared toward wealthier home buyers.
“We hear all this talk about how Nashville doesn’t want to become Houston, Nashville doesn’t want to become Atlanta,” said the 54-year-old account manager at a merchant processor. “Who is preventing that from happening?”
Anxiety about the rapid growth is widespread here, as a city known for country music also becomes known for its skyline full of cranes and traffic congestion.
Ms. Ervin blames all the new development for last year’s severe flooding of a creek in her backyard. And her latest concern: A nonprofit wants to sell about 20 acres nearby where it formerly housed foster children and youth. Part of the property sits on a floodplain.
The Nashville region population grew 45% from 2000 to 2017, reaching about 1.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ms. Ervin represents both sides of the city’s extraordinary growth: a transplant who was attracted to a booming urban hub, and a resident increasingly concerned that unbridled development may threaten the Tennessee capital’s charm.
“There is very little opposition in our town to growth,” said David Briley, newly elected mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, in an interview. “I would say there is a high level of anxiety about the pace of growth.”
Nashville’s thriving health-care, financial and tourism sectors have drawn national attention. In April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the city had an unemployment rate of 2.7%—lower than any other major metro area in the U.S. From 2010 to 2016, Tennessee’s large urban areas, led by Nashville, accounted for 57% of all employment growth in the state, according to the Brookings Institution.
Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Miami and other large Southern cities have become the economic powerhouses of the region, drawing more migrants from the North and Midwest. Southern metro areas make up almost 32% of the U.S. population, up from about 29% in 2000, according to the census. During the same period, the percentage of the U.S. population in metro areas of the Northeast and Midwest dropped.
As Southern cities draw more people from other regions, politicians, business leaders, economists and residents are increasingly focused on how to manage the growth to keep housing and other costs of living in line with wages.
For decades, part of the South’s appeal has been low housing costs, said Laurel Graefe, deputy regional executive of the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. While corporate incentives and relatively low taxation are still drawing businesses and workers, housing demand in some places has far outstripped supply, driving up prices, she said.
Nashville area business leaders are increasingly worried about attracting and retaining workers, in part because of housing costs, Ms. Graefe said. “It’s been pretty jarring” how much the subject has come up, she said.
From 2008 to 2018, housing values, based on a weighted measure of all transactions in the housing market, rose 75% in Nashville, compared with 33% in Charlotte and 26% in Atlanta, according to the Brookings Institution.
With urbanization comes pressure on local government to improve housing affordability, workforce education and public transit, Mr. Briley said.
This spring, the Metro Nashville government and civic groups pushed for a multibillion-dollar bond plan to dramatically expand public transit in the region. Voters rejected it, and the city will have to find other ways to develop public transit.
Mark Deutschmann, president of Nashville real-estate company Village Real Estate Services and head of a development company, Core Development Services, said the local government should work with developers to build out public transit corridors and encourage developers to build more homes costing less than $200,000 to meet workforce demand.
The government has been working to manage growth, such as preserving green space and establishing a special fund to build low-income housing in the city, which spent $10 million last year, Mr. Briley said.
James Fraser, an urban studies professor at Vanderbilt University, said Nashville is in danger of becoming a “chic urban playground for the wealthy.”
He estimated the city needs about 30,000 more units of affordable housing and should spend about $1 billion to meet the demand. Working people are being pushed to outer suburbs and rely on buses to get to their jobs, while wealthier people are moving into Nashville’s inner neighborhoods, he said.
Brandon Walker, 34, who works on branding for a tire company, said in 2012 he lived in a city neighborhood and paid $875 a month to rent a three-bedroom house. Now, he pays $1,300 a month for a three-bedroom in Smyrna, Tenn., and he said his commute is “horrible.”
“I can’t afford to live in the city,” said Mr. Walker, who is African-American. Many lower-income people in gentrifying neighborhoods are leaving the city, and many traditionally black venues are closing down.
Allison Harris, 25, who is white and works as a wedding photographer with her husband, said they tried to buy a house out in the suburb of Hermitage, but the appraisal came back $30,000 above their offering. So, she said, they signed another year lease on their apartment and are “trying to save up a lot of money.”
Sold! Supermodel Cindy Crawford and her businessman husband, Rande Gerber, have let go of their superchic manse in Malibu for $45 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.
While that is a lot of money, it wasn’t exactly the price the couple had hoped for. The twosome placed the remodeled beach compound on the market for $60 million in 2016, as we reported at the time.
When that sky-high price didn’t fly, the listing was chopped to $50 million earlier this year, which must have been enough of a discount to entice a buyer.
The duo will reportedly still have an oceanfront home in Malibu—the price didn’t include the property next door, which they also own. According to the Times, the couple purchased the side-by-side properties in 2015 for $50.5 million.
The listing description from 2016 calls the 5,254-square-foot abode on 3.18 acres “a one-of-a-kind beach compound” that “a celebrity couple transformed.”
The renovated two-story home features four beds and six baths. The main floor includes floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to a wraparound deck with a firepit for seamless indoor-outdoor space. The great room includes a sitting and dining area, media room, and a kitchen with a breakfast bar.
The master suite on the second floor offers an ocean view, fireplace, sitting area, and two spalike baths. Along with two more ensuite bedrooms, there’s a third private entrance guest room with a kitchen and spa bath. The media room could be converted into an additional bedroom, if desired.
The breathtaking oceanside estate boasts a secluded, “parklike” setting of manicured lawns, a tennis court, swimming pool, and a path that leads down to the beach.
Malibu real estate has been on fire of late. The recent $110 million off-market sale of Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton’s Malibu home led the way, setting a Los Angeles-area record.
And the beach community has also hit the most expensive new listing honor on realtor.com® twice this spring, with a cliffside villa on the market for $58 million, and a brand-new construction beach house for $85 million.
The stylish couple has been buying outside the ’Bu as well. They are apparently BFFs with A-listers George and Amal Clooney—each couple reportedly bought a condo in a building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. And Gerber and George Clooney launched Casamigos Tequila in 2013, which they recently sold for $700 million.
Crawford, 52, has been one of the most in-demand models during her career, landing hundreds of magazine covers in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2015, she co-authored a book, “Becoming,” about her life and career.
What’s the difference between annuals and perennials? If you’re a novice gardener, you’ve probably asked yourself that question when picking out flowers at your local garden store.
Annual and perennial are classifications based on the lifespan and bloom cycle of a particular flower. It’s something that gardeners need to pay particular attention to so they can make sure their blooms thrive.
Annuals and perennials bloom at different times and need to be maintained differently, so be sure you know what type of flower you’re planting before putting it in the ground (or flowerbed, or pot).
What kind of plants should you choose? We’re here to help you decide. Dig in to discover everything you ever wanted to know about annuals and perennials.
Annuals and perennials: What’s the difference?
The biggest difference is the length of time these two types of flowers live: Annuals last only one year and perennials come back every year.
Annuals produce constant color, while the blooming period for perennials is short (just six to eight weeks). And maintaining annuals is far less demanding than perennials, which require more work and are better prospect for active gardeners.
Annuals offer color
Annuals expend all of their energy in a single year, which gives them brighter colors, says Mark Ruibal of Ruibal’s Plants of Texas. But this also means they have a shorter lifespan. However, some annuals planted in the spring will make it all the way through the summer—it just depends on the type of flower.
While annuals look great in just about any garden on your property, a popular place to plant them is near the front porch, where their bright colors create curb appeal. Plus, you can change your color scheme once a year!
Not sure which annuals to plant? Our experts recommend starting with these:
Dragon wing begonia
Note: Depending on your location, some of these annuals might be considered perennials. So, it’s best to read the plant’s tag and talk to your garden center expert about which blooms will thrive in your climate.
Perennials come back each year
Perennials will bloom in their peak season and then go back to green. You can divide your perennials into three seasons of blooms, Ruibal says—spring, summer, and fall—so you always have a portion of the perennials in peak form. That also means you’ll have a garden that encourages pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all year round.
Perennials are a better choice if you have the time and patience to maintain them. They have spreading roots that usually require more water and fertilization than annuals, and regular pruning is also a must. They can also get damaged during an unusually wet winter, so you need to make sure there’s good drainage; otherwise, the flowers’ roots will rot.
“That’s the biggest problem for why mums don’t come back,” says Rick Effinger of Effinger Garden Center in Belleville, IL.
Here are some perennial suggestions:
Tips for planting
Before adding plants to your garden, check the plant’s tag for information about sunlight and height. Figure out how much light your yard gets (specifically the area you want to plant in) and then choose plants accordingly.
Some thrive in the direct sunlight. Others like partial sun, while still others prefer the shade.
Also, look at the eventual height of that plant to make sure it fits your garden. You don’t want a plant to take over your garden and leave full sun plants in the shade. If you get a tall perennial, put it in the back of the bed with shorter items in front so that they can enjoy the sun, says Sandi Hillermann McDonald of Hillermann Nursery & Florist in Washington, MO.
No matter what type of flower you plant, you must make sure to put them in the right soil. This means preparing your beds before planting.
You should turn over the soil and add compost or fertilizer.
“You want to make sure your bed is nice and loose, so more nutrients get to the roots,” Ruibal says.
Then try adding time-release fertilizer to the soil, so your plants will get a continuous stream of nutrients.
Mulch your garden after you plant. Adding mulch helps with irrigation, prevents weeds, and protects the plants’ roots during extremes of temperature.
Should you plant annuals or perennials?
Annuals and perennials are about the same price, so cost doesn’t need to be a factor in helping you decide what to plant.
Think about your garden’s goal: If you want a splash of color, go with annuals. If you’re going to tend to your garden, enjoy bringing cut flowers inside, and want to welcome back your plants each year, decide on perennials.
Selling your house in the near future? Effinger recommends planting a healthy dose of colorful annuals and throwing down a fresh half-inch of mulch.
“Color drives everything,” he says. “Color sells houses.”
Of course, you can always add both annuals and perennials to your garden. Going that route creates a well-rounded garden of color and yearly staples.
“Mixing both annuals and perennials gives you the best of both worlds,” McDonald says. “Constant color, great pollination options, and reduced yearly planting expenses.”
Most mornings, Margarita Dreyer wakes up around 7 a.m. and gets right to her exercises—stretches, strengthening reps, and pushups. She golfs at least twice a week, skis in Vail, CO, each winter, and regularly parties with her friends. Did we mention the retired furniture import business owner is 85?
“I never even think of age. … I take care of myself,” says Dreyer, who credits her good health to a lifetime of positive thinking, a mostly plant-based diet, plenty of exercise, great friendships—and perhaps most of all, the town of Tiburon, in California’s Marin County, where she’s lived the past 30 years.
“In Marin, usually you find people who are very interested in theater, and opera, and exercise and entertaining. It’s all part of what is important in life.”
In America, the median life span is nearly 79 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But that’s not universal. There are pockets of the Deep South and the Dakotas where a storm of socioeconomic factors lowers life expectancy to 68 years or less. But then there’s the other side of the equation: the special places where people regularly blow right past 80, healthy and active, and just keep on going.
The data team at realtor.com® set out to find these American fountains of youth. We located the 10 counties where people are living the longest, and then took a deep dive to find out what differentiates them from the rest of the country.
“If you want to live a long time, the best thing you can do is move to a place where people are verifiably living the longest,” says Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones, an initiative that works with communities to help set up wellness policies to increase the life span of residents.
Buettner has spent his career researching the places around the world where people live the longest. The five so-called blue zones are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, CA.
He found certain commonalties, ranging from a tradition of veggie-rich diets and exercise, to highly social or faith-based communities. So Buettner and his team set out to make America more blue—helping towns work toward Blue Zone certification, for which residents, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and workplaces institute healthier practices. The project was piloted in Albert Lea, MN, in 2009 and has since spread to other states.
Buettner contends that our habits—destructive or healthy—are shared by fellow community members. So if your neighbors are hiking on weekends or cycling to work, you’re more likely to do the same. By the same token, “if you drive into a neighborhood and you see McDonald’s and KFC billboards … you shouldn’t live in that neighborhood,” Buettner says.
To come up with the longevity list, we used data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, in Seattle, which looked at death certificates in every U.S. county in 2014 to calculate the life expectancy from birth. We also added population data from the Census Bureau and home price data from realtor.com.
Then we interviewed health experts, residents, business owners, and real estate experts to figure out why life expectancies stretch so long in these places. (The ranking was limited to just one county per state to for geographic diversity.)
Our places run the gamut in income, real estate value, population size, and scenery. But most of them are friendlier places where people tend to know your name. Get used to it.
Population: 30,585 Notable city: Breckenridge, CO Median life span: 86.8 years Median home list price: $930,500
The first time Jeff Carlson visited the ski town of Breckenridge, CO, in 2001, he was smitten with the backcountry skiing, hiking, and the glorious Rocky Mountains. Within days he decided to decamp from New York, and he hasn’t looked back since. These days when Carlson, now 37, isn’t at work as general manager of Mountain Outfitters, a ski equipment store, you can find him fly fishing with his dog, Takoda.
“People move to Summit County because they value recreation and outdoors,” Carlson says, adding that people here “value [outdoor] minutes over money.”
An active, outdoorsy lifestyle coupled with healthier diets may be the county’s secret to longevity. There isn’t a single fast-food joint in the county’s main city of Breckenridge, 2½ hours northwest of Aspen.
Population: 940 Notable city: Medora, ND Median life span: 84 years Median home list price: $331,200
Billings County is a small ranching community in the most rural reaches of western North Dakota, where the Great Plains joins the Badlands. It’s an outdoorsy kind of place where most folks hunt and fish in their spare time.
The county’s main attraction is the Old West town of Medora, population 132, a tourist destination that’s very much a blast from the past.
“Long life is not unusual here,” says Douglas Ellison, 55, who owns a bookstore and an inn with his wife in Medora. He notes there are active residents in their 90s and one rancher who’s now over 100.
“The ranchers still do the physical labor,” he says. “The townspeople walk a lot. Everyone stays physically active.”
The clean air and lack of common stressors found in big cities may also be factors.
“We’re not fighting traffic every day,” Ellison adds. In fact, there’s not even a single grocery store in town. Locals travel about a half-hour west to Dickinson to do their shopping.
Much of the county is made up of federal- or state-owned land—it’s home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where the former president famously hunted bison.
But the county’s more progressive laws—such as its 2015 ban on wood-burning heaters, which pose health risks, and prohibiting public smoking a year later—are a testament to the area’s commitment to healthy living. There’s also an abundance of doctors here, with one primary care physician for every 630 residents and one mental health care provider for every 140 residents.
“Marin has policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Buettner says.
The area’s close proximity to San Francisco, top-notch schools, and low crime rate—as well as its breathtaking vistas and world-class biking and hiking— are big draws for new residents, says Jonathan Marks, a real estate agent at Alain Pinel Realtors. But buyers need to pony up for those perks: The median home list price is well over $1 million.
Population: 1,148,433 Notable city: Herndon, VA Median life span: 83.7 years Median home list price: $608,700
The Washington, DC, suburb of Fairfax County has gone bike-crazy. With miles of new cycling lanes added over the past few years, more and more residents are increasingly choosing to pedal to work.
“There ‘s been a big boom in riding,” says Bernard Etherly, a manager at Performance Bicycle, a shop in Springfield, part of Fairfax County. He says bike commuters quickly realize the health benefits: “They start to lose weight; their blood pressure and cholesterol goes down.” What’s not to love?
But biking isn’t the only reason folks are healthier here. The county is home to many affluent, well-educated residents. Nearly two-thirds have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 34% nationally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More educated folks often make healthier choices—and may be able to afford to eat better.
Population: 3,370 Notable city: King Cove, AK Median life span: 83.7 years Median home list price: $226,500
Modern life has passed Aleutians East Borough by in many ways. The only way on or off these sparsely inhabited islands, stretching far from mainland Alaska to the Pacific, is by boat or plane. And a plane trip from Anchorage can cost more than $3,000. Maybe it’s not surprising that some of the Alaska Natives, whose ancestors settled here thousands of years ago, have never left the islands.
“They do not have a newspaper, or any of the standard city features,” says real estate agent Linda Friday of Jack White Real Estate, based in Anchorage. She’s had a listing for a three-bedroom home on an acre lot in the main town of King Cove sit on the market for two years due to a lack of buyers. “You have a very hardy people who live and work there.”
Peter Pan Seafoods has a processing facility on King Cove where many of the locals work. There are a few small food stores, but most of the locals also hunt and fish for their dinner.
“They’re living off the land,” says Jimmy Sparks, a real estate agent at Real Estate Brokers of Alaska, based in Anchorage. “It’s a whole other lifestyle.”
Population: 7,156 Notable city: Marfa, TX Median life span: 83.7 years Median home list price: $297,000
Texas’ Presidio County, which sits along the U.S.-Mexico border in the Chihuahuan Desert, is one of the more puzzling counties on our list. It’s rural with a median household income of just $33,453—not a combo most would associate with longevity.
“Lots of beans and tortillas, I guess,” jokes Brad Newton, executive director of the Presidio Municipal Development District, an economic development group in the city of Presidio.
Like many of the locals, Newton lives in an adobe home that keeps temperatures cooler in the summer. “We’re so far from a hospital, we can’t afford to get sick,” he says.
The predominantly Hispanic families and communities in Presidio County are extremely close-knit—an important factor in personal well-being.
And, like most of the places on this list, there’s a strong outdoor appeal to Presidio. The largest park in Texas, the 300,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park, offering about 240 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, is within its borders.
The county is also home to the small, artsy town of Marfa. It attracts tourists from all over the world who visit the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary fine art museum.
“It’s being out in a really wild place and keeping people close to you,” says Mary Farley, a real estate agent at Marfa Vista Real Estate. “That helps with longevity.”
Population: 16,715 Notable city: Friday Harbor, WA Median life span: 83.7 years Median home list price: $774,400
Those looking for proof that there’s something really special about the islands of San Juan County should note that Oprah Winfrey reportedly bought an $8 million retreat on the county’s Orcas Island last month. North of Seattle, scenic San Juan is known as a vacation retreat for rich buyers seeking a bit of peace and tranquility, some of Washington’s natural beauty, and just maybe the secret to living long.
Buyers may come for the beauty, but they stay for the county’s civic-mindedness, another factor that may contribute to longer lives. Many residents are involved with local nonprofit groups such as the San Juan Preservation Trust. And being in a seaside community may help residents and visitors to unplug and relax.
“When you’re out kayaking or out on the boat shrimping or fishing, you aren’t stressed out,” Simonson says.
Population: 18,738 Notable city: Los Alamos, NM Median life span: 83.5 years Median home list price: $384,400
The nuclear weapons used during World War II were designed by physicists in Los Alamos. Today, this New Mexico county still has a large research presence, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory. And as a result of this highly skilled economy, locals tend to be well-off, never a bad thing when it comes to life spans.
This year, Los Alamos County was ranked the fourth healthiest community in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The numbers tell the tale: Only 11.2% of residents smoke, just 5.8% have no health insurance, and nearly 88% are active in their leisure time. That’s compared with national rates of 17.3%, 12.9%, and 75.5% respectively.
It’s not hard to stay active, with skiing just a hop away at Pajarito Mountain, and two national parks right outside the county: Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
“Many of the scientists and researchers who are attracted to work at the laboratory are equally attracted to this kind of healthy lifestyle,” says Julie Habiger, spokesperson for Los Alamos County.
Population: 23,265 Notable city: Jackson, WY Median life span: 83.5 years Median home list price: $1,305,200
Every year millions of tourists flock to Teton County to visit Jackson Hole, one of the world’s most popular ski resorts, and Yellowstone National Park, which is partly located in the county. The combo of wealth, mountain air, and outdoor activities may be the reason that residents are in such good shape.
After graduating from Presbyterian College 17 years ago, Andrew Ellett came to Jackson Hole. He figured he’d spend the summer backpacking before heading off to grad school. But he enjoyed the lifestyle so much that, after meeting his future wife, he decided to stay put.
“People are here for the beauty, the serenity, a simpler life outside of the city,” says Ellett, who is now a real estate broker at Engel & Völkers Jackson Hole. Once a year, he and a friend do a three-night canoe and camping trip in the county. They don’t get cellphone service and go days without seeing a single person. And that’s just fine. “More than anything [we’re here for] the lifestyle,” he says.
Population: 372,880 Notable city: Naples, FL Median life span: 83.4 years Median home list price: $479,400
Retired advertising executive Steve Calabrese, 70, and his wife hope to soon call Collier County home. The couple are betting that the warm weather and the programs provided by the Parkinson’s Association of Southwest Florida in Naples will help her battle the disease. Naples is the largest city in the county on the western coast of Florida across from Miami.
The Calabreses are just waiting to sell their single-family home in Nantucket, MA, before downsizing into a three-bedroom condo near the beach in Naples.
Choosing Collier County as a place to get healthier isn’t a far-fetched idea. Of all of the counties with the highest life expectancies, only Collier County is up for consideration to become a Blue Zone. That’s partly due to NCH Healthcare System in Naples.
“The hospital [system] is one of the best in the country. Especially for older residents, access to health care becomes really important,” says Buettner, adding that NCH even does the little things right, like offering better-quality food in its cafeterias. “Not the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, or mashed potatoes.”
“I always thought of Florida as a place where old people went to wait around and die,” says Calabrese, who looks forward to the beach and the fitness centers in Naples. “But now I see it as a place to be as active as you want.”