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Amongst the Trees | 5 Homes in Ancient Forests

It’s hard to argue with the appeal of a woodland view. And studies have shown that living in close proximity to forested land has major benefits, both for your health and for your sense of well-being. Spending time in nature has been proven to lower stress levels and, as a result, can actually make you happier—but forests in particular offer the most benefits.

Whether it’s the fresh air that a densely wooded area provides or the pull humans feel towards the natural world, it’s no surprise that living among the trees is a good place for us to be. Escape to your own enchanted forest home and draw inspiration from these properties that take full advantage of their verdant surroundings.

A Tranquil Estate on Orcas Island, Washington

Julie Biniasz & Sandy JustenRealogics Sotheby’s International Realty 

Set on the picturesque Orcas Island off the coast of Washington, this home is a one-of-a-kind retreat for those seeking natural beauty and tranquility. The Eagle Crest Estate sits on 126 private acres with 3,000 feet of waterfront; two English-style cottages, a mid-century modern beach house, barns, orchards, and sprawling gardens are all set against the backdrop of the wooded Pacific Northwest. The cottages take inspiration from the landscape, with designed wooden cross beams, winding wrought iron bannisters, and stonework incorporated throughout. The mid-century beach house is a more pared-back version of Pacific Northwest living: set close to the water, large wall-to-wall windows emphasize the pristine nature just outside.

A Modern Villa in Antwerp, Belgium

Henriette SiersemaAntwerp Sotheby’s International Realty

Enjoying a view of both the grassy Royal Antwerp Golfcourse and the towering trees surrounding the property, this modern home manages to be both contemporary and well-integrated with its natural surroundings. Sleek, geometric architectural details are complemented by modern interior elements—floor-to-ceiling windows, black marble surfaces, and gallery-white walls—making this home the perfect blank canvas for the design-minded homeowner. A serene, rectangular pool set among the landscaped gardens invites homeowners to appreciate the quietude of living amongst the trees.

A European-Style Chalet in Vail, Colorado

Tye StocktonLIV Sotheby’s International Realty

This premier ski-in/ski-out property boasts unobstructed views of the Vail Mountain Gore Range, a stunning natural wonder that will appeal to more than just self-proclaimed ski enthusiasts. The chalet was built in 1996, and while romantic architectural details like custom stone and woodwork give the property its ski-lodge charm, it’s the surrounding old-growth trees and world-class ski hills that really make this property shine. Immediately off the backyard, ancient aspen and spruce trees give way to chairlifts and the Golden Peak base area, while just steps from the front of the home, a gondola takes guests to the heart of Vail Village.

A Riverside Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming

Tom EvansJackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty’s 

Six breathtaking acres of land set along the banks of the Snake River are the setting for this handcrafted ranch-style home. With its legacy of both dude ranching and mountaineering, the area has served as a starting point for the design of this property, which has been constructed with spruce logs from Dixie National Forest and timber from reclaimed barns. The main living space is the heart of the home, where the A-frame structure is emphasized by rustic beams, a stone hearth, and large windows that look out to the surrounding forest.

A Coastal Mountain Retreat in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

Candice Dyer & Ross McGawSotheby’s International Realty Canada

Set between the urbanity of Vancouver and the rugged peaks of Whistler, this home in Squamish, B.C., is the epitome of coastal mountain living. The nearly six-acre property is set along a riverbed, giving homeowners easy access to kayaking or paddle boarding from their own shoreline. Built in a distinctive Pacific Northwest style, the home is stylishly integrated with its environment: breathtaking views of densely wooded forest and snow-capped peaks are best taken in from the swimming pool and hot tub, while a covered outdoor dining area is warmed by a stone hearth—perfect for year-round entertaining in a setting unlike any other.

A walk through the woods to clear your head, breathing in the fresh, evergreen-scented air, basking in the restorative qualities of mother nature—these experiences can be part of your everyday. From mountainside retreats to tranquil island homes, living among the trees has never been so stylish or curative.

From enchanted forest homes to desert hideaways to beachside bungalows, find your ideal nature-inspired getaway among these inspiring homes.

Posted on April 9, 2020

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Take Care | 5 Ways to Balance Working from Home and Homeschooling

During the course of a typical day, parents juggle many tasks between home and work. These unprecedented times have parents stretched further than before—adding homeschooling to their long list of roles. As we all work through this new reality together, here are five ways to help manage your child’s educational needs while also working from home.

Set a Schedule

Whether your child is in pre-school or high school, they’re no doubt accustomed to being on a schedule inside the walls of their school – and there are benefits from that. Write the day’s schedule in a highly visible and highly trafficked place or use devices powered by Alexa or Google to set reminders. Among other things, this sets clear expectations for what can be expected for the day. 

Take Breaks

Every household will be different – just like every child. It’s important to tailor your schedule and workload to what works for your family. That being said, everyone needs breaks. Grab a snack, cup of coffee or a breath of fresh air with your child to break up your day; enjoy the quality time. Studies show that taking breaks help our brains perform better.

Lean on Virtual Assistance

Managing screen time is a point of contention when it comes to the age of your child and how often they’re on their phone/tablet, but in these times it’s important to get help from where you can. Let people like renowned children’s author and artist Mo Willems teach art class, let celebrities handle story time, or call on Les Mills to proctor gym class. There are also a plethora of worksheets available from places like Lakeshore to keep the activities going while you get some work done.

Mix it Up

Schedules and a catalog of resources are great, but variety will keep your learners engaged and stave off the much-maligned sentiment of, “I’m bored.” Talk to your child and determine what’s working – and what’s not – before venturing out of comfort zones. Is your child an avid reader? Try Oxford Owl to foster some alone-time with an age-tailored story. Looking for a more hands-on task? Make organizing socks, toys, pencils, or the pantry into a game.

Lower Expectations

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your family and that means you can’t guarantee anything. Don’t live in a world of absolutes – if a schedule that has treated you well falls apart for a few days, don’t fret; staying flexible will keep both you and your child more content in the long run.

We are not the experts here – we’re all in this together. Learn more about succeeding at this balancing act from MoneyThe Atlantic, and the BBC. Share what’s working for you in the comments.

Posted on April 14, 2020


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Furnishing Your Home for Extended Remote Work

New York, New York | Nikki Field & Benjamin PofcherSotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

For many people, the “office” isn’t a corner office in a high-rise building—it’s at home. With the current global health crisis shaking up how business is done, more and more people are finding themselves working from their living spaces.

Working from home can be a tough transition for those unfamiliar with and unprepared for it, but there are a few ways to furnish your home for a better remote work environment. From rearranging furniture and seeking out more ergonomic solutions to creating an inspiring and motivating space, these tips will help the remote worker set boundaries between home life and work life, even if they’re both happening within the same four walls.

Upgrade Your Desk and Chair

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty

The right equipment can make a home office a sanctuary. When it comes to selecting a good chair, it’s best to choose one that has been designed to maximise good posture and suits your body type. Chairs with adjustable lumbar support—as well as a flexible seat and armrests—let you choose the most comfortable settings, while materials like high-tech mesh provide full support and help to regulate body temperature. You’re likely to spend a lot of time at your desk chair: pick something that is both functional and stylish.

When it comes to desks, work surfaces with adjustable height capabilities allow you to take much-needed breaks from sitting, while materials like marble and reclaimed wood will keep work stations from feeling too corporate. In your home office, comfort should be your top priority, and finding the right chair and desk is an investment in your health and wellbeing that will help keep you at your best, most productive self.

Prioritize Your Tech Setup

Perugia, Italy | Diletta Giorgolo S.Italy Sotheby’s International Realty

As meetings and conference calls move from in-person to online, a good tech setup becomes a home office necessity. Check that you have a strong internet connection, upgrade your service if needed, and work with your employer to ensure you have all the technology required to do your job well. Working with a monitor and keyboard will be much better for your posture than a laptop, especially if you’re able to configure the screen for eye-level work.

If you’ll be making frequent conference calls, make sure your computer is up-to-date and has the right software and capabilities for programs you’ll be using often. Now is also a good time to move to using virtual desktops and implement cloud-based document storage, if you haven’t already, so you’ll be well-equipped to work from wherever you are.

Good lighting is essential in a home office: assess the amount of natural light that your space receives throughout the day, and install soft, flattering overhead lights. Avoid fluorescents. In a home with more than one working family member, create spaces so that you can all take calls comfortably—this may mean commandeering a walk-in closet or den as an overflow work space.

Add Inspiring Artwork and Decorative Plants

Dallas, Texas | Jennifer LeLashBriggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

As much as an at-home office space needs to be functional, it should also encourage creativity and foster mental wellbeing. Painting the walls a soothing color and hanging art will contribute to a calming work environment. Choose abstract pieces in muted shades, images of landscapes that remind you of favorite places, or framed children’s drawings—these will serve to brighten your workspace and turn it into a space you actually want to spend time in. Forgo the basic home office supplies for more design-forward essentials, like sculptural brass tape dispensers or minimal marble clocks.

Bringing greenery into your home office is also a good way to improve focus and mental outlook. Whether you opt for a large potted tropical plant or a collection of small cacti for your desk, bringing nature into your workspace has been shown to improve productivity, reduce stress, and boost oxygen levels.

Establish a Fitness Corner

Beverly Hills, California | Angela Roessel & John GalichSotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

One of the best ways to boost your energy levels during a remote workday is with movement. It can be easy to lose focus or become distracted at home, especially when starting a new routine in a new space, so allowing yourself scheduled activity breaks will help you keep your attention where it needs to be.

If possible, find a spot in your office where you can establish a fitness corner and furnish it with your favorite equipment. If lifting weights helps you process your thoughts, add a bench and weights in varying sizes for a quick 10-minute lift session. For yoga enthusiasts, find a permanent spot for a mat; for fans of virtual fitness classes, create a dedicated space in front of your computer so you can join in without needing to reconfigure the room every time. By adding a fitness space into your work area, you’ll give yourself permission to take a much-needed pause, while replacing movement between meeting rooms or to colleagues’ offices with other exercise throughout the day.

Making a home office work for you is as much about inspiration as it is about functionality. Good office design contributes to an overall sense of well-being and improves effectiveness, something that all remote workers can benefit from right now.

Discover more reasons to stay motivated and inspired at home with these library-focused listings.

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#WorldwideWednesday: A Virtual Tour of this Light-Filled Home in Kirkland, Washington

Take a VIRTUAL TOUR of this meticulously designed, completed in 2017, five-bedroom Houghton Lake view home.

On the first floor, find the great room, en suite, and true mud room; and upstairs, four beds plus a a bonus area. The luxurious master suite offers a spacious view deck and through closet access to the laundry room.

Perfectly located just a few blocks from Lake Washington and downtown Kirkland, the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail is just steps from your front door and Terrace Park at your backdoor.

Discover homes from around the world with virtual tours on

Posted on April 1, 2020

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