Thursday, June 25, 2009

Viva España

I'm spending my summer here in Spain and thought I would give you a peek into the Spanish real estate market. Most investors claim that Spain is an excellent real estate investment opportunity right now. Spain is one of the countries in Europe that has been the hardest affected by the international financial crisis and prices have, in some areas, been reduced by almost 50%.

Because of the wonderful beaches, the comfortable climate and the accessibility from northern Europe there is a strong optimism that Spain will bounce back and again become one of the forerunners in the European holiday market.

For the fun of it I have chosen to showcase two very different properties on the Costa del Sol (South coast) at each end of the price range. This is an example of what your money can buy. There are thousands of homes for sale here right now and if you want to see more properties go to

Property #1
Located in Calahonda

Beds: 2, Baths: 1 Built: 76 m², Terraces: 12 m²
Priced at 125.000 Euro

Existing Freehold Reduced by €45,000. Lovely reformed apartment, 2 beds / 1 bath, completely new fitted kitchen, brand new bathroom, quality furniture, as well in lounge as both bedrooms. Direct access to the beautiful community gardens, gated parking, marble floors, fitted wardrobes, fantastic sea views. A good deal!

Property #2
Sierra Blanca - Marbella

Beds: 8, Baths: 8
Built: 1200 m², Terraces: 200 m², Plot: 4000 m²
Priced at 5,450,000 Euros

Existing Freehold Large mansion with a great semi-rustic ambience, located on one of the finest adresses in Sierra Blanca, Cascada de Camojan. The villa is set on a plot of 4000 m2 with beautiful landsacped gardens, outdoor barbecue/bar area and 70 m2 large swimmingpool. The villa have 1000 m2 livingarea divided over 3 levels. Furthermore 200 m2 terrace with great views to the coast, sea and mountains. The house have 8 bedrooms with 8 bathrooms and 2 guest toilets. Pool room, jacuzzi, turkish bath and fitness room. Independent apartment on basement level. Great driveway with fountain, carport for 2 cars aswell garage for 2 cars. Aircondition hot/cold. High security in area aswell installed alarm system! Great villa on large plot in prestigious area!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Charming Home in France looking for new owners

Lovely farmhouse consisting of a house, an adjoining barn, a beautiful bread-oven room and a little house with conversion to be completed. The present habitable space is approx. 130 m² but it could be extended to 220m². The land is over 7000m² and consists of a garden, a courtyard with paved terrace and meadow.

This could be that french cottage you have been dreaming about. The land is absolutely beautiful. I do think the house and barn need some TLC, but the possibilities are almost endless...

The price is 286.200 Euros ($399.000)

Ground floor
LIVING-ROOM - approx. 25m² - tiled floor, exposed beams
KITCHEN - approx. 12m² - tiled floor, beams
ROOM - approx. 35m² - fire-place, bread-oven, exposed stones, beautiful beams
Small ROOM behind the bread-oven

First floor
LANDING BEDROOM 1 - approx. 13m² - carpeted floor, exposed timber-frame
BEDROOM 2 - approx. 12m² - carpeted floor, exposed timber-frame
BEDROOM 3 - approx. 30m² - could be used as an office

Adjoining BARN
Two rooms with BOILER-ROOM - approx. 38m²

Little HOUSE
Ground floor
ROOM - approx. 25m² - presently being restored - exposed stones and beams

First floor
ROOM - approx. 25m² - floor-board, exposed timber-frame

Gas central heating
Roofs : tiles
Mains drainage
Broadband available
Double glazing
Local tax : 350 €
Baker and café in the nearby village. All amenities 5km away About 20 mins from the beautiful medieval town of Loches, with all amenities and a school catering for foreign children of all ages About 40 mins from the city of Tours - airport with low-cost flights to London and TGV station with direct trains to Lille connecting with Eurostar.

There is need of remodeling inside, but the structure of the house is sound and there is great potential in these rooms. The old stones and beams add that extra charm.

Now with a little imagination this home could be transformed into something like this:

For more information click here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A kitchen makeover

My friend Nooria asked me if I couldn't post some pictures from my own home. I have had many homes and they have all been remodeling projects. And I have never had enough money to do everything I wanted, so I had to come up with my own solutions...

This is the kitchen makeover we did when we lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It's 9 years ago, so I would have done it differently today, but all inn all I think we did a pretty good job.
We bought our dream home on the golf course, that needed a lot of work. Of course we had spent way too much money just buying it, so we didn't have a big budget for remodeling. We had to do most of the work ourselves. My least favorite room in the house was the kitchen. It was dark, dull, had old appliances, hideous wallpaper and a lowered ceiling. There were no windows. We chose to spend our money on newer appliances and granite tiles. The house was a rustic flagstone house, so I had to take that into consideration.

This is what we did:
I stripped the varnish off the kitchen cabinets. Then I painted them inside and outside with 3 coats of white paint. I put on a layer of grey glaze that I rubbed off and finished with a matt lacquer. It was a tremendous amount of work, but they looked good when we finished.

New wallpaper (I probably wouldn't have picked this one today, but okay...)

My best tip is: if you cannot afford granite-slab countertops, buy granite tiles. We put them down tightly with a minimum of grout both on the countertops as well as the backsplash. At the end of the counter we put a decorative stone tile to finish it off. It actually looked very good and many people didn't even notice that these were tiles not slab. I would definitely do this again.

The end result:

And here are a few pictures of my dining room before and after:

It's a little bit dark, but I have this wonderful diningroom that I inherited from my grandfather. It was built to match the woodbeams in his house in the 1930s. The art is from my parents. (I'm fortunate to have a summerhouse where I can play with a lighter New England style.)

Well, this was a little bit of personal information. I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweeter Homes' Sweepstake

For a couple of days now I have been busy posting different homes from the HGTV Sweepstake on my blog. It got me thinking. I know I can't match a $2.000.000 home, but I got inspired to hold a little "sweepstake" of my own.

So here is the deal.
I'm giving a way a gift subscription to House Beautiful (10 issues).
I will draw a winner the 15th of July 2009.
You'll get one ticket if you leave a comment.
Two tickets if you become a follower.
Three tickets if you place the contest on your blog with picture and a link.
Four tickets if you place my blog on your blog list.
Please write in your comment what you have chosen to do, so that I can write down the number of tickets you get.

I hope that you'll help me spread the message!
House Beautiful is something that readers from all over the world would enjoy:)
So thank you for joining my little sweepstake

See you around!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

All that pink!

My little girl loves pink. She wants pink everything. I thought I had grown out of that stage myself, but lately I find myself fascinated by anything pink. And I see it more and more in different designs from all over the world.

If you are a shabby chic kind of of girl you might go for the soft rose-colored pink. Nothing creates an atmosphere of romance like a palette of dusty pinks.

Personally I love the clear pink. The pink that will put you in a happy, flirty, fun mood. The pink that is just a little bit "over-the-top" pink. But then again, I'm a little "over-the-top" kind of girl.

If you are bold, use it as backdrop to dramatic furniture or on the furniture itself. If you want to quiet it down just a little bit (and not get to committed), put a splash of color around the room using accent pieces.
I'll hope you'll be inspired.

Shabby Chic interiors


Coastal Living Magazine

House Beautiful
Chic shack


Martha Stewart Living


"Living in Argentina"

A kitchen that I absolutely love! Featured in House Beautiful.

Pottery Barn for kids


Country living

Canadiana Home and Garden

House Beautiful


Traditional Home Magazine

Main Cottage

House Beautiful

Traditional Home Magazine

Country Living

House Beautiful

Country Living


Country Living

Designer's Guild


Style Estate

Manuel Canovas collection


Skyler St.John

Pink by IKEA

Designers Guild

Nick Johnson

Ghislain Vinas Bathroom

Amy Butler Tableware

Traditional Home Magazine


Country Homes and Interiors

And if you really love PINK, why not take it all the way?