5 Eco-Friendly Overhauls for Your Next Renovation

Happy Earth Day! While we all want to reduce our environmental impact, it’s often said that sustainability equals sacrifice. But there are a few additions that can make our homes work smarter, not harder. From native plants to reclaimed materials, these eco-friendly upgrades are standing ready for your next renovation. Here are five ways to reduce your carbon footprint without skimping on modern conveniences.

1. Install Energy-Efficient Windows

Ontario, Canada | Perry BariaSotheby’s International Realty Canada 

More comfort, smaller carbon footprint—two things you can count on when updating single-pane windows to their energy-efficient counterparts. Whether you’re renovating in a region with four seasons or an environment with tropical temperatures, bolstered panes work to optimize and regulate a home’s temperature. By sealing in warm air during the winter and keeping out the heat come summer, double-pane windows lessen the need for fossil fuels, like those required for natural gas furnaces. Framing materials can also make a difference—consider the eco-friendliness of fibreglass when making your selection, as did the designers of this contemporary Halton Hills, Ontario home.

2. Use Local Flora for Landscaping

Mexico City, Mexico | Alejandra RomoMexico Sotheby’s International Realty

When it comes to designing an eco-friendly landscape, choosing native plants is the way to go. By being naturally acclimated to a region’s weather and rainfall conditions and resistant to local pests, they require minimal maintenance and less use of pollutants like insecticides and pesticides. From a design standpoint, they work to deepen the sense of place—which can feel particularly restorative in a vacation home such as this orchard home in Malinalco, Mexico, where homeowners can escape the stresses of day-to-day life among plant varietals that are local to the area.

3. Invest in Solar Panels

Tenino, Washington | Michael MorrisonMorrison House Sotheby’s International Realty

For those looking to sell, solar is one eco-upgrade where you may see a return on your investment. As with a recently renovated kitchen, many buyers are willing to pay a premium for a solar energy system, meaning a 3.1 kilowatt system is capable of upping a property’s resale value by roughly $18,000.

Scottsdale, Arizona | Kathleen Benoit & Karen BaldwinRuss Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty 

In cities like Scottsdale, which receives an average of 299 sunny days a year, solar energy is becoming the norm. But many are surprised to learn that even areas with heavy cloud coverage receive an average of two hours of sun per day. While four hours is ideal, solar panels make it possible to live nearly off the grid in a region as overcast as the Pacific Northwest.

4. Bring Natural Stone into the Kitchen

Savaneta, Aruba | Aruba Sotheby’s International Realty

The kitchen is often one of the most-used rooms in the home, so it only makes sense to choose materials that are built to last. Natural stones such as marble, quartz, and granite are virtually indestructible as kitchen surfaces, making them one of the most sustainable options in the long term. Fortunately, they’re also some of the most beautiful—as revealed by this breezy beachfront Aruba estate.

5. Lay Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Pacific Palisades, California | Barbara BoyleSotheby’s International Realty – Pacific Palisades Brokerage

In the age of mass production, nothing beats the authentic character and rustic charm of reclaimed wood—just take a look at the 100-year-old oak barn flooring in this California abode. But beauty isn’t the only thing upcycled wood has in its favor. Whether it was used for an ancient ship or centuries-old barn, most reclaimed wood comes from old-growth trees and is stronger, more resistant to rot, and more dense than new-growth. What’s more, reclaimed wood effectively traps air, making it a natural insulator when used as flooring.

Whether buying or selling, it’s more important than ever to consider the environmental impact of a home. Thankfully, it’s possible to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing style or comfort—all it takes is some smart strategizing and renovating to help us live a little more green.

Looking for more Earth-friendly inspiration? Check out these eco-friendly homes you could own.

Posted on April 22, 2019

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RESIDE® Magazine | Marie Kondo’s 5 Favorite Things

Whether it is her #1 New York Times best-seller, The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering, her Netflix series, or her many appearances on television promoting her trademarked KonMari™ Method of tidying by category, Marie Kondo is rapidly becoming a household name.

In the latest issue of RESIDE Magazine, Kondo took the time to take us through her home and show us a few items that, to coin her own phrase, “spark joy,” in her life.

I get to experience the joy it brings me every day.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kondo, 34, now lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two children. In 2016 Kondo told New York Times Magazine that her, “dream is to organize the world.”

See more of Marie Kondo’s favorite things in the latest issue of RESIDE Magazine

Posted on April 9, 2019

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Magnificent Milan | 5 Homes Worthy of the Salone del Mobile

For Paris, it’s couture week. For Austin, it’s South by Southwest. For Milan, Italy’s capital of design, it’s Milan Design Week, where each year some 370,000 professional visitors descend on the city for Salone del Mobile.Milano, the largest furniture fair in the world. Covering more than 210,000 square meters at the Rho Fiera Milano fairgrounds, the event showcases more than 2,300 of the most innovative and dynamic companies on the market. True to their city, here are some homes leading the way when it comes to industry-leading flair.

Historic Environs on Via Cappuccini

Barbara FregonaraItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

No Milanese abode is complete without the perfect place to retire for a digestivo, and the sophisticated salon at this central address is the space to do just that. Located inside a prestigious historical building in the heart of the city, this apartment may be situated at the center of Milan’s cultural scene, but its elegant interiors provide a reprieve from the flurry of Design Week. An eclectic range of custom furnishings and hand painted walls add allure, and echo, at a distance, this year’s DE-SIGNO installation celebrating Leonardo da Vinci’s contributions to the Renaissance period at this year’s Salone.

An Artistic Loft on Via San Gregorio

Ilaria DupréItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Concealed inside a Milanese courtyard, this art lover’s paradise offers a labyrinth of surprises. Its open concept, glass floors, and prominent loft give this home the feel of a gallery, with notable features including curved glass balustrades and a steel skeleton staircase. High ceilings and bright walls offer a great degree of décor versatility, and this space makes for both an elegant residence and a dynamic design studio. The most fantasticoof all the home’s features, however, might be the luxurious spa escape hidden away in the building’s lower levels, bringing to mind water installation AQUA. Leonardo’s Vision, on display as part of the 2019 Salone del Mobile.

Urban Flare on Via San Vito

Isabella CoppiniItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

For all its Torre Velasca views, this bright and airy apartment feels decidedly more West Village than Western Europe. Ample windows and exposed brick walls add New York sensibility to an otherwise laid-back home. Ideal for those who love to entertain, a cozy outdoor terrace teeming with plants overlooks the Duomo di Milano, and guests can retreat to their own private rooms in a quiet pocket of a vibrant city. If the exhibitors at this year’s Salone are any indication, well-crafted furniture with handmade appeal places this home right on trend.

A Historic Villa Near Piazzale Libia

Isabella CoppiniItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

A period home built in the early 20th century, this redesigned villa is prepped for the true escapist. Completely renovated in 2007, its exterior retains all of the character and Old-World charm of a historic building, while the interiors have been given a contemporary overhaul via sleek cabinetry and flooring. With a unique floor plan that includes six office rooms on the ground floor, a spacious apartment on the second level, and a suite in the basement, the villa could easily serve as architect studio, fashion maison, or expansive residence.

Original Frescoes on Via Giovanni Gherardini

Barbara FregonaraItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Those looking for a well-appointed appartamentonear the Arco della Pace, look no further than this bright four-bedroom suite situated in the historic Sempione district. The property features multiple terraces, herringbone hardwood floors, glass pocket doors, and crown molding, offering imaginative homeowners endless opportunities for design. With easy access to the restaurants and sights of Corso Sempione, this convenient home places you an easy commute from the action come Design Week.

While Design Week is fleeting, Milan continues to maintain its status as a style incubator throughout the year. Find the best of house and home in this auspicious cultural center.

Looking to put down roots in a capital of design? Find your luxury home in Milan from among these listings.

Posted on April 8, 2019

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Modernize Your Historic Home With Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty℠

Updating a historic home can be a lot like playing professional cards; the stakes are high and the outcome is uncertain. Even the most cautious mover can damage custom wainscoting or dent the parquet flooring. The stress of attempting to bring current furniture into a traditional home can be intimidating, and reason enough to fold.

Charlottesville, Virginia | Ann Hay HardyFrank Hardy Sotheby’s International Realty 

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to simplify your next contemporary redesign. Here, we’ve reenvisioned—both practically and digitally—the stately rooms of Gallison Hall, whose historic lines leave room for tasteful present-day updates.

Futuristic Solutions to Current Challenges

There are few things more disheartening than realizing a purchase doesn’t suit a room or a furnishing doesn’t fit in an intended corner. Depending on the home and the vision, picturing future furniture in an existing space can be a challenging task.

For this design hurdle, there is Curate by Sotheby’s International RealtySM, an immersive augmented reality app available for download on the iOS App Store and Google Play. The first virtual staging AR app from a real estate brand, Curate allows users to preview furniture using their smartphone. When it comes to revamping a traditional space, the possibilities are now at your fingertips.

Make the Most of Shapes

Virtually Staged with Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty 

Take this room in Gallison Hall as an example. Like most historic homes, this landmark property in Charlottesville, Virginia offers beautiful features that make a statement all on their own: crown moldings, herringbone hardwood floors, and ornate fireplaces abound. However, these distinct styles can be challenging when it comes to making contemporary pieces work within a traditional space.

Virtually Staged with Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty 

In this instance, a tool like Curate allows you to outfit the room with modern furnishings to envision what works, and what won’t. Here, virtual furnishings—the round forms in a contemporary lamp, coffee table, and two accent tables—contrast with the linear details of the floors and recessed wainscoting, while echoing the curved lines of the mantelpiece. This creates visual interest while honoring the room’s heritage.

Take Advantage of Contrasting Colors

Adding furniture in tones that contrast the hues of a historic house is a great way to complement—rather than compete with—the home’s foundations. 

The crisp, creamy whites of the contemporary sofa and wingback chairs in this professionally-staged room create a striking contrast with the home’s rich mahogany walls. Moody blue ikat and a hide rug keep the space feeling eclectic and unexpected.

Alternatively, invert the contrast by keeping walls neutral and dialling up the drama with vibrant pops of color, like the cerulean accent chairs and emerald coffee table in this living room. The variety of furniture options in Curate makes it possible to preview a range of different colors in a space, allowing you to contemplate a shade without having to do any heavy lifting.

Embrace Transformational Textures

If you’re still uncertain about incorporating contemporary fixtures into a historic home, layering in texture is both an easy and noncommittal place to start. It can transform an otherwise average room into a layered, multidimensional space.

Introducing contemporary rugs, like these shag or jute pieces, can help warm up traditional spaces, while at the same time adding contrast and visual interest.

Not sure about the weave of a modern throw or the pile of a shag carpet in a traditional space? Pre-test textures virtually. While the potential of AR is still only just being tapped, its ability to assist in projecting concepts and testing ideas is already at hand. Here, a woolen throw and geometric carpet bring a cool modernism to a warm spare bedroom in Gallison Hall. Dislike your handiwork? It’s gone with the click of a button. Give yourself an additional vision board and get creative without incurring the cost of the wrong upholstery or color choice.

Virtually Staged with Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty 

Not all design projects are created equal: the stakes can be significantly higher when it comes to updating a one-of-a-kind historic home. Armed with a few key tips (and the power of augmented reality), you’ll be more than ready to tackle a redesign the next time inspiration strikes.

Looking for more interior design tips? Try out these modern colors as you embrace both the future and the past.

Posted on April 2, 2019

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