‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Star Kyle Richards Sells Bel-Air Mansion for $6.1M

“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Kyle Richards and her husband Mauricio Umansky, the founder of The Agency, sold their Bel-Air abode.

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Kyle Richards, of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and her husband, Mauricio Umansky, founder of the real estate brokerage firm The Agency, have finally sold their Bel-Air home.

The elegant estate sold for $6.1 million.

Over the years since they’ve vacated the premises, their residence has been available for sale and for rent. Last year, Richards’ fellow cast member Sutton Stracke leased the place at a “friends and family discount” of $20,000 a month, while Stracke’s own home was under construction.

The couple initially placed the property on the market in 2017, for just under $7 million.

In 2018, they dropped the price to $6,229,000, and then dropped it again to $5,995,000.

After spending a couple of years as a luxury rental, the home returned to the market in July 2021—this time with a price hike, to $6.75 million. The posh pad had last been on the market for $6.5 million, before selling at the beginning of 2022.

The listing was held by Umansky, along with his listing agent daughters, The Agency’s Farrah Brittany and Alexia Umansky, who had both lived in the family home.

“A bittersweet goodbye to the home I have countless memories in,” Alexia Umansky said in a statement. “A home that shaped so much of who I am today. It was an honor to pass it along to the next owners, who I know will love every moment here.”

The buyer is the financial guru and author Amanda Frances. Steve Frankel with Coldwell Banker Realty represented the buyer.

Bel-Air abode

We approve of the investment. Located on a tree-lined cul-de-sac in upper Bel-Air, the expansive estate features seven bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms, on 6,229 square feet.

The listing boasted that it is “exquisitely reimagined by Faye Resnick Design,” and the layout is set up for entertaining.

Highlights of the grand interiors include a living room with marble fireplace, exposed beams, and hardwood floors, and a formal dining room. The chef’s kitchen, with marble counters and a large island, flows out through French doors to the backyard and pool.

Other amenities include a pub, home theater, gym, office, and master bedroom with a balcony, marble bathroom, and walk-in closets. 

The grounds of almost a half-acre are no less impressive, boasting a pool and spa, dining and lounge terraces, a grassy lawn, a lighted sports court, and putting green.

‘Real Housewife’ of Encino?

The couple has moved on to Encino, CA, where they picked up the Smokey Robinson estate in 2017. The home where the legendary musician lived from 1988 to 2002 sold for $8,253,000.

Remodeled by a developer long after Smokey had left the building, the 10,600-square-foot compound includes seven bedrooms, a home theater, a separate guesthouse, and pool.

The reality TV star is the last remaining original cast member on the show, whose Season 12 is in production.

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Beige Is Back, Baby! Why This Neutral Color Is All the Rage Again

Remember beige? This soft neutral was hot decades ago—and now it’s back to pretty up your walls, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more.

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Beige used to be white-hot (well, off-white!) back in the fabulous ’80s. In fact, you couldn’t stroll through most homes without spying it splashed on kitchen cabinets, counters, bathroom tile, and, um, home fax machines.

And then, just as suddenly as it rose to glory, beige fell by the wayside. For those of us who are old enough, we recall the bland-shade days and the other names beige went by, like ecru, tan, taupe, and khaki—and therein lies the reason for this neutral renaissance.

“Beige is a novel hue to most of today’s decorating set, which means millennials and Gen Z’ers, since every shade of gray has been their beige for two decades,” explains Debra Kling, an interior decorator and owner of the eponymous color consultancy.

Even the paint giant PPG named Transcend (aka beige) as one of its three Colors of the Year in its latest palette.

Leon Elias Wu, a fashion designer and owner of Sharpe Suiting, calls Transcend “a familiar beige that’s more modern, with a brown sugar touch.”

Finally, we’re changing gears when it comes to neutrals in the home.

“With beige as a Color of the Year, the end of the domination of supercool grays and blues has finally arrived, and we’re switching over to a warmth we can feel,” adds Kling.

Ready to make beige a part of your decor? Here are seven ways to bring the tone home.

Mix in metallics

Layer beige with gold.

Interior Impressions

Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions suggests wallpaper as the perfect foil for a beige color scheme.

“I chose this beautiful textured gold-speckled paper to add interest to this room,” says Leferink. “But I also loved that the base beige color still felt soft, inviting, and not too busy.”

Gold is the clear choice if you’re considering shiny options with this neutral color. But you can also go for copper, brass, and other metallic picks with built-in brown tones.

Get spicy with it

Photo by Studio 1 Architects 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been responsible, in part, for our collective desire to cocoon ourselves.

“These challenging, even disappointing, times mean our domestic environment is called upon to envelop us with warmth and comfort,” says Kling.

But nobody can live by beige alone, so work some energy into your color scheme.

“Beige allows for the introduction of spicy colors, like oranges and reds, which invigorate and conjure excitement,” adds Kling.

Not sure tangerine is your jam? Try this hot hue as an accent wall, on a piece of art, or with some bright throw pillows.

Add beige to blue

Midtone blues pop against beige walls.

White is fine, but beige is better when you’re looking for a quiet background, says Georgia Zikas of the eponymous design firm.

“Beige is wonderful if you want something a little richer than white but still need a blank canvas for a room,” says Zikas. Her work in the sweet kitchen corner (above) showcases this exact advice.

“Beige is the anchor for the color that we injected via artwork and upholstery—and I love how light and bright it is while still feeling cozy, which is just what you want in a breakfast nook,” adds Zikas.

Bring in some texture

Rugs and art help enliven beige.

Design Lines Signature

If you’re looking to highlight an art collection or funky rug, choose beige as your partner.

“This quiet hue allows a designer to add either layers of color in art, rugs, or accessories to create a beautiful monochromatic, calming space of tone-on-tone patterns and wonderful textures,” says Judy Pickett of Design Lines Signature.

Set beige against jewel tones

Photo by Libby Langdon Interiors, Inc.

A beige bedroom may seem snoozy—and that’s precisely the point. A gentle nest where you can retreat at the end of the day is made even cozier with beige as a backdrop. This calming color is also a lovely contrast for royal shades like purple, scarlet, and forest green.

Malka Helft of Think Chic Interiors recommends warmer neutrals in bedrooms to create a more intimate feeling, especially if you can install an upholstered beige bed.

Cook with beige

Photo by Leff Construction Design/Build 

White kitchens are the classic go-to—and they’ll probably never fall out of fashion. But beige in your kitchen space is a welcome change.

Make beige cool with modern cabinets and an island that sports greige (that’s gray-beige) tones. Both bright orange artwork and medium-shade wood stools perk up this neutral kitchen.

Let beige set the stage

Dark wood and beige create a stunning foyer.

Interior Impressions

If you’re serious about beige, you’ll let it shine like the star it truly is in your home’s entryway.

Leferink used beige to create definition and contrast in this foyer.

“The beige paint juxtaposed beautifully against the rich darker wood, helping to make sense of the various architectural elements as well,” adds Leferink. She also added a beige bench to tie the look together.

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Exclusive: The Stars of ‘Married to Real Estate’ Reveal a New Tactic Homebuyers Must Do Today To Get the House

“Property Virgins” star Egypt Sherrod and builder Mike Jackson talk about their new HGTV show, “Married to Real Estate.”

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Egypt Sherrod, the real estate agent host of HGTV’s long-running “Property Virgins” and its spinoff, “Flipping Virgins,” has teamed up with her builder husband, Mike Jackson, in an all-new series, “Married to Real Estate.”

In the show, which also streams on Discovery+, Sherrod and Jackson renovate houses for clients in Atlanta while also showing off their own home projects.

Curious to hear more, we had a chat with these stars about what makes their new show unique, plus some smart advice on what hopeful homebuyers should do to get ahead in 2022.

‘Flipping Virgins’ and ‘Property Virgins’ were big hits. What makes ‘Married to Real Estate’ different?

Egypt Sherrod: While I was doing “Flipping Virgins” and “Property Virgins,” Mike was right here along with me. We were still doing the business together. We were flipping homes together. He just wasn’t on camera. So we always said, “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we can have a show that really shows a full 360 of our lives?” And then it finally happened!

So “Married to Real Estate” is not just a snapshot of the business. Now it’s also us. It’s me, my husband, three beautiful daughters, how we make it work, even some of the drama. That’s the real good stuff.

Mike Jackson: I was there for 14 episodes of “Flipping Virgins,” so it wasn’t something new. But to do it with my wife and my family, that’s the exciting part.

On the series, you guys show off your own home projects as well. Is doing your own home easier or harder than renovating for others?

Sherrod: It’s harder. It’s a lot harder.

Jackson: When you’re dealing with this design lady right over here, who changes her mind 500 times, that becomes something of a hurdle.

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson and Egypt Sherrod are all smiles in a home they remodeled for clients.

HGTV

Sherrod: When we’re working with our clients, yes, we’ve both got design opinions. But for the most part, he knows his lane and then I’ve got mine.

But then, at home, everybody has got an opinion. Everybody wants something different. And we put our clients’ timelines first, which means that our house always tended to come last—which is why we tend to live in homes and fix them up as we’re in them. And then we sell them.

But with our current house, he says, “I’m not moving from this one. I like this one.” And I said, “Well, we got a lot of projects to do.” So the house we live in now, we’ve been in for almost two years and we’ve done quite a few renovation projects. We’ve added additional square footage. We did a den, we added an office, a movie theater.

So our plate is always full with some sort of renovation project, and I would definitely say our home life is harder because we take it more personally.

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson
Jackson and Sherrod in a newly transformed family room

HGTV

Egypt, your designs are always beautiful. Are there any colors or materials that you’re especially loving these days?

Sherrod: My style really is a reflection of the client’s style. As we talk about my personal aesthetics, it’s very different.

I love texture. I really tend to veer toward things that feel organic and earthy. As you’ll see throughout the season, I can work with foam. I love to work with bricks. I love to lime-wash or add texture or do some sort of treatment. I also love wallpaper. You can slap it on and change the whole look of a room.

As far as colors, I will say we will get a lot of clients who want to pick your usual whites and grays and taupes, and what I try to do is break people out of that and not be afraid to inject beautiful blues and organic greens.

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson
Sherrod and Jackson show off a colorful recent renovation.

HGTV

The housing market is incredibly competitive. What’s your best advice for buyers to get an edge?

Sherrod: Preparation is key. Whenever you can get your ducks in a row, that gives you a competitive edge. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to win in a bidding war, but you will definitely put yourself in a better situation.

So the norm was before you started searching for a house, you get pre-approved so you know your buying power. Now, what we’re telling all of our clients is don’t just get pre-approved. Go all the way through underwriting and get a conditional approval. That way, the only thing left to do is to find a house.

It definitely gives you a competitive edge when you’re in a multiple-offer situation, because your agent can then go and say, “Listen, they’ve already been through underwriting. This is guaranteed to close. All that’s left is the house.” It also gives you an opportunity to waive something like a finance contingency. People have been doing [this] in order to get their offer chosen.

Got any advice for homebuyers on what to look for when touring homes?

Jackson: Make sure the foundation is solid. Check the roof, like the big-ticket items, the HVAC. Is it fairly new? Because those are things you may or may not have to replace when you buy the property, and that goes to your bottom line. With the older homes, you want to look into the paint, if it’s lead-based, because that then becomes a part of your health situation.

Sherrod: As a [real estate agent], I always look for how can we immediately go in and increase value. So when we walk in with a client, it’s really about showing them what a house can be—not just what it is. I always say, “Hey, I see an opportunity, if you wanted to add an additional bedroom. I see an opportunity for additional square footage.” So that they truly know the potential of a property.

DIY has been a really big thing lately. Got any advice for DIYers trying to fix up a home themselves?

Jackson: Avoid anything that requires electrical work because it becomes a safety hazard. And avoid any water issues that they need to have done because although you may know how to do plumbing, I can’t say how many houses I have to come into and repair the work just because they didn’t tighten a bolt and now you’re dealing with water damage.

There’s so much stuff out there in YouTube University and Pinterest World. I would say they could take on things that require building or painting, projects that aren’t actually structurally built onto the house, like feature walls. Those are things that DIYers can definitely take on.

Do DIY fails ever happen to you despite your experience?

Sherrod: We’ve learned a lot about what works and what comes out funny. But at the end of the day, it’s construction. Nothing is ever going to be perfect.  Every house you take on, it has an identity and a history of its own.

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Extra Credit: Could You Revive This Former Schoolhouse in Minnesota?

On the market at the very affordable price of $48,000, the former Norcross Public School needs a buyer with big ideas—and lots of cash.

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This forgotten schoolhouse in rural Norcross, MN, holds out the possibility of becoming an A-plus conversion. Extra credit will be required.

“It has a lot of potential, but it has a lot of work ahead of it, too,” says the agent, Karen Berget with American Eagle Realty. “It’s almost all cement, which is why it is still standing after all these years of neglect. It is the perfect example of Art Deco on the outside.”

On the market for the very affordable price of $48,000, the former Norcross Public School needs a buyer with big ideas—and cash—to breathe life back into the place.

“The building itself was a WPA project in 1938,” Berget explains, referring to the Works Progress Administration, which was set up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to supervise a wave of public construction in the 1930s.

She tells us that the structure served as a school until the 1970s.

“At that point, all of the woodwork,” she says, “all of the original chalkboards, the staircase to the lower level, the wood floors—all of that was taken out and salvaged.”

Exterior of former schoolhouse in Norcross, MN

Realtor.com

Works Progress Administration plaque

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Exterior

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Louis C. Pinault, a well-known architect at the time, was responsible for the original project. He worked on many WPA projects across the state, including at least one on the National Register of Historic Places.

His original blueprints for the building are included in the sale price.

Blueprint

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Blueprint

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Interior

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Interior

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Several years ago, the current owners bought the building at an auction, sight unseen, inspired by the idea of restoring a WPA building. They worked on it for several summers, until about a decade ago, but never made significant progress.

As the agent puts it, “It got overwhelming for them.”

Interior

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Exterior

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The building is about 3,200 square feet on the main level, with additional space in the basement. There are utility and water hookups, which are not operational right now.

Two bathroom spaces exist, but the building isn’t on a sewer system, so it would require its own septic system.

The roof is unstable and has holes, and Berget says she tries to avoid walking inside.

The building is being sold is as is, but there’s plenty of potential, and renovation work could commence as soon as a new owner closes a deal.

The tiny town of Norcross is near the border with North Dakota in western Minnesota and has a population of about 50 people. It’s about 20 miles away from most amenities, like a hardware store, which could complicate the logistics of renovation.

“It could be a very cool house,” Berget says. “I’ve seen old churches turned into a home or condominiums, I’ve seen old schools turned into homes, so I do think it could be turned into something.”

She estimates that the rehab would cost several hundred thousand dollars.

“If you’re going to renovate a historic structure like this, you really need to do it correctly,” she says, “and that is going to cost more.”

But as every listing agent knows, there is a right buyer and a right price for every property.

“It might be somebody that has an emotional tug to the building,” Berget says. “Maybe somebody who went to school there, maybe someone local.”

Land

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Roof

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Exterior

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Exterior

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Bathroom area

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Exterior

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Is the Housing Market Safe From the Wild Turbulence in the Financial Markets?

The tumult in the financial markets has left many on edge. All-time high home and rent prices have some worried about another bubble.

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The volatility over the past few days in the stock and cryptocurrency markets has left many on edge—especially as it comes on the heels of a nation grappling with yet another COVID-19 variant, high inflation, and worker shortages. Add historically high home and rent prices, and many are worried another housing bubble may not be far behind.

However, despite the turmoil adding to the general malaise, real estate experts don’t believe the housing market is headed for another crash. There are far more people looking for places to live than there are homes available—a dilemma that keeps home prices high as renters and buyers compete over a limited supply.

Until that equation reverses—the way it did during the housing bust of the 2000s—home prices are expected to keep rising unless a major, unforeseen disaster strikes.

“If we see a significant sell-off in the [stock] market, that could spill over into housing,” says Bill McBride, who created the Calculated Risk blog and predicted the last housing bubble. “But so far, this is just a little volatility.”

The financial and crypto markets have been rising since they fell on Monday.

McBride isn’t worried about another crash in the housing market—at least not anytime soon. However, he and other real estate and economic experts predict the rate of annual home price growth, which averaged nearly 11.3% last year, will continue to slow down as mortgage rates keep climbing.

When those rates fell to record lows, bottoming out at 2.65% about a year ago, buyers could put what they were saving on their loans toward higher-priced residences. But the higher rates go, the less money buyers have to spend on homes, essentially taking a bite into their budgets. And that decreases the number of folks who can afford higher-priced homes, essentially putting a check on how much prices can increase.

Rates hit 3.56% in the week ending Jan. 20, according to Freddie Mac. While that less than a full point rise might not seem like much, it adds about $150 a month—nearly $1,800 a year—to the mortgage payment on a median-priced home at $375,000. (This assumes buyers put 20% down.)

Even with these speed bumps ahead, the housing market isn’t likely to see prices fall dramatically like in the stock and crypto spaces.

“People are using the quickly rising, record home prices as a sign of a market in danger of crashing. But it’s the wrong yardstick,” says national real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller. He doesn’t see anything in the economy at the moment that could result in home prices falling 30%—or more in some parts of the country—especially during a housing shortage.

Mortgage rates are still low enough to help balance out high prices. So most buyers aren’t taking on more than they can afford, Miller says. They’re not likely to stop being able to make their mortgage payments en masse, which is what happened when the housing bubble popped.

“You have more conservative lending, some of the highest credit scores” from today’s borrowers compared with the run-up to the financial crisis, when “you didn’t have to even have a pulse to get a mortgage,” says Miller.

“It is easy to worry,” says Danielle Hale, Realtor.com® chief economist. “Even before the pandemic, when unemployment was low, people were worried about a recession. Did anyone realize it was going to be caused by a global pandemic? No, I don’t think many people did.”

Years down the road, though, the market could readjust.

“We’ll always see another housing slump. It’s just a matter of when. That’s a given,” says McBride. “Housing doesn’t go in one direction forever.”

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Kat Von D Selling L.A. Mansion With Blood-Red Pool for $15M

The tattoo artist Kat Von D is hoping to ink a deal for her Los Angeles mansion. The artful abode is on the market for $15 million.

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The tattoo artist Kat Von D wants to ink a deal for her Los Angeles mansion. Her arty abode has come on the market for $15 million, TMZ reported.

The reality star purchased the place in 2016 for $6.5 million. Six years later, the jump in price reflects the major work and the serious dough she has poured into the historic home.

Located in the Hancock Park neighborhood, the notable abode is also known as the “Cheaper by the Dozen” house, because it was featured in the 2003 movie.

Since then, the home has been transformed from a home suitable for a family film into a seriously sensational showpiece, with period touches throughout.

Making her mark

The home’s dramatic do-over extends outside, to the blood-red pool.

Statement pool at Kat Von D’s home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles

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A crimson palette is used throughout the interior, which has an abundance of ornate details.

As the listing puts it, “No expense was spared in the meticulous restoration” of this historic property.

Built in the 1890s, the home was moved to its current location in 1915. The three-story Victorian sprawls across 12,565 square feet and contains 11 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. 

Living room

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Dining room

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Library

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Ballroom

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If that’s not enough space, the property also has a two-bedroom carriage house on top of the large garage.

A traditional layout opens to a grand salon, den, and formal sitting room. The dining room is lined with paneled walls and stained-glass windows, and is connected to the chef-quality kitchen.

Other highlights include an opulent ballroom, a top-floor theater and bar, a turret side room, and a hidden bar on the main level. Outside, the backyard offers the statement pool, a spa, and manicured gardens.

The eye-catching home, dubbed Casa Von D, often shows up on the entrepreneur’s social media account.

Leaving Los Angeles

For the celebrity’s fans, it is no surprise that she’s made the decision to cut ties with California. Last fall, on Instagram, she announced her decision to close her tattoo parlor, High Voltage, and to move out of the state.

She purchased a historic property in Indiana in 2020, but vowed on her Instagram account at the time, “Definitely not ever selling our beautiful home in LA.”

Since then, she has clearly had a change of heart.

In October, she posted on social media, “Goodbye, California!”  She added, “We plan on selling our beautiful home here, and I will most likely open a private studio in Indiana once we are done with the house remodel there.”

Around the time she picked up the Indiana pad, Von D also placed her Spanish-style home in the Hollywood Hills on the market for $3.4 million. The updated 1920s hacienda eventually sold for $2.5 million.

Hollywood Hills home

Realtor.com

Whatever the expressive decorator decides to do next, we hope she’ll continue to document her home projects online.

Von D is best known for her TLC reality series, “LA Ink,” which followed her work at her tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo in Hollywood. She also launched a vegan beauty brand, Kat Von D Beauty, which she sold in 2020.

Jamie Blake Sher with The Sher Group holds the listing.

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‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals What’s Lacking in Modern Farmhouse Decor: Do You Feel It, Too?

Jenny and Dave Marrs, the hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” help one homeowner add some truly thoughtful details to her modern farmhouse.

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Dave and Jenny Marrs, the hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” know that renovation plans often get delayed—now more than ever—but that it’s never too late to pick up that wrench or sledgehammer, right where you left off.

In the Season 3 episode “Home Dreams Live On,” Jenny and Dave meet Kimberly, a mother of six who’s been dreaming of renovating her home for years.

When she and her husband, Darrin, moved to this Northwest Arkansas house six years ago, they knew the place needed some work, but when Darrin passed away, Kimberly halted the renovation plans.

Now, Kimberly is finally ready to give her three-bedroom a makeover in the modern farmhouse style. Yet she also wants to make sure the look still feels warm and inviting, rather than spare and bright white, as is typical with this popular trend.

Armed with a generous budget of $130,000, Jenny and Dave give this 1981 ranch house plenty of modern farmhouse vibes, while maintaining the warmth that Kimberly craves.

Read on to see Dave and Jenny’s latest take on modern farmhouse, and get take-home tips you might want to try around your own abode, too.

A modern farmhouse doesn’t need to be all white paint

brick house
Jenny Marrs said this house didn’t have curb appeal.

HGTV

Before the renovations, Jenny and Dave aren’t impressed with the front of Kimberly’s house.

“The exterior of Kimberly’s house doesn’t have any identity right now,” Jenny says. “Nothing is special about it. Nothing that makes you think, ‘Oh my goodness, look at that adorable house!’ It has no curb appeal.”

Still, the home (and the porch) are important to Kimberly, because before moving to Arkansas, her husband once had a dream about the two of them sitting on a front porch.

“I have goosebumps,” Jenny says, when Kimberly tells her about it.

entryway
After: Now, this porch is a welcoming spot.

HGTV

So, Jenny and Dave are determined to warm up the front of this home, to make the building, and the porch, feel more welcoming. They paint the brick exterior and add cedar shakes to freshen up the look, while adding some character.

While painting brick white might seem like an obvious choice for a modern farmhouse design, this trend may be waning in favor of warmer looks, like cedar. In the end, Kimberly loves the results, particularly the new and improved front porch.

“It’s a gathering place where I can hang out with friends, have a glass of wine, relax,” she says.

Add plenty of storage in the entryway

crowded entryway
The entry had some storage space, but the whole area felt crowded.

HGTV

When Kimberly first shows Jenny and Dave the inside of the house, she complains about the entryway, saying, “The biggest thing that this house lacks is storage.”

Jenny suggests removing the existing furniture and creating a “drop zone” where Kimberly and her kids can store their shoes, coats, and sports supplies.

Kimberly loves the idea, so Dave and Jenny get to work designing built-ins with drawers on the bottom, cabinets on the sides, and even a spot to sit.

To make this space feel special, Dave adds some tongue-and-groove planks above the bench, which he says “will give us some rustic charm in that entryway.”

entry storage
After: These built-ins make lots of room for coats, shoes, and more.

HGTV

When the feature is finished, this entryway looks much more organized. It shows that entry storage can feel clean and uncluttered, while providing inspiration for homeowners interested in wall paneling.

It also proves that paneling doesn’t need to cover every wall. Instead, it can add a touch of character to just one important corner of the home.

Open up a kitchen with a farm table

dated kitchen
This dated kitchen didn’t have much storage.

HGTV

Kimberly loves her kitchen, but she knows it could use a storage upgrade.

“I would like to have some more cabinet space,” she says. “Where I spend all my time is right here in the kitchen, cooking and entertaining.”

Jenny and Dave get to work upgrading the cabinets and even adding a full wall of storage on the far side of the kitchen, but when it comes time to choose a kitchen island, Jenny doesn’t want the typical feature.

“This is a lot of built-in cabinetry,” she says of the new design. “So I want this to feel like an old piece of furniture.”

new kitchen
After: This wood table brings some warmth to the kitchen design.

HGTV

Jenny asks Dave to build a farmhouse island with a butcher-block top with small drawers on the side.

“I’m going to make this island look like an old farm table, which would have been built out of fir or pine, something that you would see in a farm,” Dave explains. “We’re going to make it island height, so we’re going tod kick it up from a standard 30-inch table to 36 inches.”

To finish off the table, Dave and Jenny engrave the words “Always on my mind” on the top, something Kimberly remembers her husband saying often.

In the end, the farmhouse island is perfect in this space. The rustic look adds some country character to this brand-new kitchen. And the engraving shows that it’s easy to personalize the heart of the home.

Bring the outside in with a Dutch door

dutch door
This Dutch door looks great from the kitchen.

HGTV

To finish off the kitchen, Jenny and Dave add a Dutch door leading to the backyard, which Jenny says will “give the back of this house a cottage feel.”

The warm wood color works beautifully with the rustic island, while the black hardware adds to the modern feel.

While a Dutch door is a simple upgrade, this two-piece entry will allow Kimberly to feel connected to the backyard, while still keeping part of the door closed.

Jenny points out that it helps everything flow nicely, from all the different spaces. It’s a thoughtful feature any homeowner looking for that indoor-outdoor feeling would enjoy.

door
Jenny Marrs knew a Dutch door would give the home a cozy cottage look.

HGTV

Sacrifice a window for a stylish media center and storage

living room
Jenny and Dave Marrs wanted to make this living room more functional for the whole family.

HGTV

In the living room, Jenny and Dave want to create a centerpiece for the TV, as well as storage for mementos. They need to remove one window, but the tradeoff is a beautiful built-in feature, in a stunning dark charcoal.

To finish off the feature, Jenny decides to add a karaoke machine, because Kimberly mentioned how much her husband liked to sing with the family.

“They used to sing karaoke together all the time when Darrin was alive, and it was a time of laughter and joy,” Jenny says. “And we want to help her bring that back into the house.”

media center
After: Now, the media center is the centerpiece of the room.

HGTV

Jenny decides to put the speakers in one of the lower cabinets, but realizes that they can’t use traditional wood cabinet doors, explaining that, with wood, the family wouldn’t be able to hear the speakers. Dave and Jenny decide to use caning, a grid material often used for wicker furniture.

Jenny adds that it’ll add “a little bit of texture.”

When the feature is finished, Kimberly is surprised to find the thoughtful karaoke machine and the smart caning addition.

“That way, you have the speaker back there, and you can still hear it through the cabinet,” Jenny says. “But it looks pretty, too.”

cabinets
These custom cabinet doors won’t muffle the sound of the karaoke speakers.

HGTV

The post ‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals What’s Lacking in Modern Farmhouse Decor: Do You Feel It, Too? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Rental Prices Heat Up in the Sun Belt, Spiking Across the Nation

The Sun Belt is hotter than ever. December marked the sixth month in a row where rental prices rose by double digits annually.

The post Rental Prices Heat Up in the Sun Belt, Spiking Across the Nation appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Sun Belt is hotter than ever.

December marked the sixth month in a row where rental prices rose by double digits annually, spiking the most in Southern and Southwestern cities as well as California. Median rents rose 19.3% year over year in December, to hit $1,781 in the nation’s 50 largest markets, according to the most recent Realtor.com® data.

A handful of warm weather metro areas and cities with booming economies saw rents grow more than 25% year over year in December. And developers can’t build enough rental housing fast enough to offset some of the steep increases, industry insiders say.

“A lot of people, including young professionals and retirees, are attracted to good weather,” says George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com. “Most Americans have really evaluated their priorities. Quality of life has become a big component. Weather, access to the outdoors, amenities that make an outdoor lifestyle possible [are] reflected in these top markets.”

In the Miami market, rents were up an astonishing 49.8% compared with a year earlier, with median rents reaching $2,850. The metro was followed Tampa, FL, at 35%; Orlando, FL, at 34.1%; Las Vegas, at 29.8%; and Memphis, TN, at 29.4%. Rounding out the top 10 were San Diego, at 29.3%; Jacksonville, FL, at 29%; Austin, TX, at 28.7%; Riverside, CA, at 27.2%; and Phoenix, at 26.7%.

(Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.)

“We’ve seen very large rent spikes here in Florida for its warm weather, beaches, and low taxes. People just want to live down here,” says Brad O’Connor, chief economist at Orlando-based Florida Realtors. Some bought primary homes, others purchased vacation properties. “We had a bunch of people from New York and elsewhere buying properties near the coast.”

Single-family home rentals are in high demand right now. But given the shortage of rental and for-sale housing and rising prices, folks may have to compromise on smaller spaces or units without all of their desired amenities.

“People are going to take what they can find,” says O’Connor. “You have to settle in this market.”

Rental price growth is the slowest in California’s pricey Bay Area. Prices in San Francisco’s rental market declined by 2.5% on average, and dipped just under 1% in San Jose, CA. Chicago, Boston, and the New York City markets also had sluggish growth rates at 0.4%, 0.7%, and 1.4% respectively.

Much of that is due to the rise of remote work. Some workers who didn’t have to commute to their offices five days a week moved farther outside of expensive cities or to cheaper parts of the country. That dip in demand led to lower prices.

The good news for renters: With hiring sprees among many employers following on the heels of the “Great Resignation” (people leaving the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic), Ratiu says employees have more leverage negotiating higher salaries. That can help tenants to afford rising home prices.

“For renters, the real silver lining is in the wage growth,” says Ratiu. “Most companies are expecting to pay more because there’s a real shortage of labor.”

The post Rental Prices Heat Up in the Sun Belt, Spiking Across the Nation appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

An Astonishing Look Inside Alex Trebek’s Los Angeles Home—and How Much It’s Worth Today

Is the home of the late “Jeopardy!” host really worth $7 million? Check out these listing photos to find out.

The post An Astonishing Look Inside Alex Trebek’s Los Angeles Home—and How Much It’s Worth Today appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Beloved “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died in November 2020 at the age of 80 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. And while his memory lives on, changes are afoot with the final home where he lived with his wife for 30 years and raised three kids: Trebek’s heirs have decided to list the gated estate near Los Angeles for $6,995,000. 

According to the listing, Trebek paid a mere $2.15 million for the five-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom property in Studio City in 1991. Another fun fact: His daughter, Emily Trebek, is the listing agent for the house, along with Renee Ogiens at Compass.

So, will this sprawling 1.45-acre property sell for nearly $7 million? Sure! The Trebeks cut the price on their 30-acre retreat on Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles, CA, by more than $200,000 in 2019, which just proves that, when it comes to the price of real estate, no one always has the right answer. 

But there’s also reason to believe his L.A. home will go for more than $7 million. So in an homage to Trebek, here’s our “Jeopardy!” question:

Category: Celebrity real estate.

A: What is ‘above asking price’?

Although the 9,993-square-foot home is asking for $6,995,000, some real estate experts believe it will sell for more than that—not only due to its famous pedigree, but also due to its location in a secluded, celebrity hot spot: L.A.’s Fryman Canyon.

“We believe this home will go at or above the asking price,” says Amy Herman, licensed real estate salesperson at Serhant and leader of The Amy Herman Team, which works with high-profile clients. “This is in part because of Alex Trebek’s legacy, and in part because of the fabled Studio City urban/suburban, super niche neighborhood.”

Herman points out that the enclave is home to Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus, and George Clooney

“Plus, a 99-year-old Mediterranean mansion on 1.5 acres is super difficult to find,” adds Herman. “The house has an extra-special library and movie theater, which are especially reflective of Trebek’s iconic Hollywood legacy.”

“Celebrity properties tend to appeal to a different type of homebuyer in the luxury market,” adds Jason Gelios, an author and top real estate agent at Community Choice Realty in Detroit. “Homebuyers who look for that celebrity touch on a property will pay the higher price.”

Yet celebrity cred, even of Trebek’s magnitude, may go only so far in this case, because the house itself isn’t in perfect shape. 

“The house is outdated and needs renovating,” says Khari Washington, a broker and real estate agent with 1st United Realty & Mortgage in Riverside, CA.

Washington, who did a market analysis on the property, believes Trebek’s name will help get the home in front of interested buyers quickly. But in the end, she thinks the house will sell at its list price, and no more. 

“The pricing is reasonable,” adds Washington. “There are smaller homes nearby that are fixed up and have sold in the $5 million range. With this home being more significant, the asking price is right on.”

Of course, the final answer to this “Jeopardy!” question remains to be seen. But in the meantime, if you want to take some guesses about how much this home is worth, check out these listing photos to get a glimpse into the life of Alex Trebek.

Trebek home wide
The Mediterranean-style home was built in 1923.

Realtor.com

“The best features of the home are its size, lot, and guesthouse,” says Washington. “The home sits on a beautiful lot with lush landscaping and privacy.”

Trebek foyer
Wrought-iron staircases flank the airy, double-height foyer.

Realtor.com

Trebek sitting room
A rotunda embellished with trompe l’oeil trellises adds height to the formal living room.

Realtor.com

If you walk up one of the twin staircases, you’ll find the Trebek home’s main living area.

“The most interesting feature of this home is the second-floor sitting area with the cathedral circle-style ceiling featuring multiple windows with their own design features,” says Gelios. “This is a nice touch that brings a unique feel to this room and the home overall.”

Trebek primary bedroom
The primary bedroom is decorated in neutral tones.

Realtor.com

The home’s second-floor primary bedroom boasts two bathrooms and four walk-in closets. There’s also a lovely double-height sitting area, cozy study, and private staircase that leads to a library and home office.

Three additional bedrooms come with private bathrooms.

Trebek primary bath
The primary bathroom features a bathtub with a view.

Realtor.com

There are four powder rooms.

Trebek pool
Slide into this pool surrounded by greenery.

Realtor.com

Trebek jacuzzi
Dark blue tiles line the outdoor spa.

Realtor.com

Trebek entertainment area
The lofted entertainment area

Realtor.com

The estate has a separate wing connected to the main house by a turreted staircase. Inside you’ll find a 45-foot-long media room with a lounge area, home theater, and theater-style curtains.  

Trebek screening room
A closer look at the plush screening room

Realtor.com

Trebek bar
Grab a drink at the bar before settling in for a movie—or a game show.

Realtor.com

The mirrored bar is located next to the media area. 

Trebek kitchen
Could a fresh coat of paint bring new life to these dated cabinets?

Realtor.com

This 1980s-style wood and tiled kitchen could be a turnoff for some buyers.

But there’s lots to love right off the kitchen. The new owners of the Trebek home will enjoy a separate butler’s pantry, breakfast room, family room with a fireplace, and  sunroom.

Trebek dining room
A formal dining room fit for an eight-time Daytime Emmy winner

Realtor.com

Trebek second-level terrace
A second-level terrace looks out on the pool and grounds.

Realtor.com

“One of the most captivating features of the property includes the lush greenery that spans across the entirety of the estate, and the second-floor terrace that overlooks the home’s gardens,” says Jonathan Spears, a real estate agent and founder of Spears Group in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

Trebek home ext

Maybe current “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider will put in a bid on the home. With winnings of $1,319,800, she is just a few thousand away from a 20% down payment.

But whoever ends up with this spectacular home will own a unique property with an unparalleled game show pedigree.

“Even though Trebek was a Canadian native, it’s quite clear he made his mark on this spectacular home in Studio City,” says Herman. 

The post An Astonishing Look Inside Alex Trebek’s Los Angeles Home—and How Much It’s Worth Today appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.