Category Archives: Unusual homes

English village that inspired Agatha Christie for sale

The village of Bantham, in the English county Devon, is for sale. It’s here where Agatha Christie found inspiration for many of her stories. Those who can scoop up £10.000.000 can be the lucky new owner.


Village that inspired Agatha Christie for sale (image APEX)

The village has about 25 homes and a small shop only open on weekends. Most of the buildings are cottages with thatched roofs and the streets are lined with cobble stones. Off course there is a small local pub and a natural beach is just around the corner. It’s part of one of the largest private estates, Evans Estate, which is also for sale. £35.000.000 and it’s yours, and this includes the village. It’s not certain if the two can be bought separately.





Fully furnished apartment, uninhabited since 1942, discovered in Paris

Time stood still in this remarkable place. An apartment, left by its owner fleeing for the Germans in 1942, wasn’t rediscovered until 2010. The magnificent large apartment belonged to Madame Florian, who never returned to her home after the war. She died in 2010. Bailiffs and those in charge of her estate found documents showing she rented an apartment in a desirable part of Paris. When entering, they stumbled upon a treasure trove of turn-of-the Century antiques and memorabilia including a painting by 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. Madame Florian paid her rent every month.


The smallest apartments in Amsterdam

A top three of teeny-tiny apartments in the Amsterdam real estate market.

1. 16m2 / 172 ft2, right on the canal

This very compact refurbished studio apartment on Amsterdam’s posh Prinsengracht offers all you need. A new kitchen with basic appliances, a small freshly retiled bathroom with shower, toilet and vanity. The roof is sloped,further limiting the available floor space. But it has its charm, and I can imagine the view, once one sticks their head out of the window, is quite nice. The studio is in the front of the building, so canal side. It was on the market for €120.000 / $162.000. That’s €7500 per m2 / $942 per ft 2, which is quite steep even for Amsterdam standards. But it sold within 4 months.

A tiny studio right on an Amsterdam canal

A tiny studio right on an Amsterdam canal

Refurbished and move-in ready

Refurbished and move-in ready

2. 22 m2 / 237 ft 2, again on the same canal

Funny enough the second smallest apartment is not far from the previous one. Again, this tiny studio is in a very characteristic and typical Amsterdam building on the canal. However, this apartment is not as refurbished as the other one, and the kitchen leaves a lot more to desire. But it does have double doors opening to a French balcony and I guess it’s bigger. The apartment faces the garden in the back, so no canal view. A big bonus is a storage room on the ground floor and access to a communal garden. This one was on the market for €129.000 / $174.400 and sold in a bit over 4 months. The price per m2 / ft 2 of €5864 / $736 didn’t scare potential buyers.

Another studio on one of Amsterdam's famous canals

Another studio on one of Amsterdam’s famous canals

French doors leading to a French balcony facing the communal gardens

French doors leading to a French balcony facing the communal gardens

View to the gardens in the back. The owner of this studio has shared use of the garden

View to the gardens in the back. The owner of this studio has shared use of the garden

3. A 23 m2 / 248 ft 2 studio with balcony overlooking a canal in up and coming Amsterdam West

This building is a bit of a landmark. It’s right along a canal by a working drawbridge, so many of Amsterdam’s inhabitants have seen it while waiting for passing boats. It’s in a part of town that was not really desirable up until a few years back. Since then, many people have ventured that way for its cheap real estate, and its proximity to the more popular parts of the city. This brought in new shops, bars and restaurants and in turn caused a fast rise in prices and a shift in the area’s popularity. That makes the price of €89.000 / $120.000 surprising.  Only since the crunch have prices dropped slightly below €100.000 for the smallest of places in lesser areas. The owner must have been going for a quick sale. Like the other, this one sold in a little over 4 months. Surprising because flats in this building tend to sell faster. Especially considering this is one of the few with a balcony. Only the first and top floor units have these. The apartment consists of a small living/bedroom, a separate kitchen, nice when you only have one room, and a small bathroom. There are a few built-in closets. The view is quite spectacular. And there’s a shared garden, laundry facilities, private storage and a communal bike storage. The building itself is an architectural gem so all in all a very good deal for €3870 per m2 / $484 ft 2.

The 'Geuzenflat' overlooks a working drawbridge in one of Amsterdam's newer canals.

The nicknamed ‘Geuzenflat’ overlooks a working drawbridge in one of Amsterdam’s newer canals.

The building's official name is Oranjehof, and is listed as a monument

The building’s official name is Oranjehof, and is listed as a monument

The door leads to a balcony overlooking the canal

The door leads to a balcony overlooking the canal


Cartoon-like home in Thailand cost just $8.000 to build!

It reminded me of the Maison Bulles house for Pierre Cardin on the French south coast. And it reminded me of another real live version of the Flinstones’ home. Either way, this is a clever piece of work. The owner built this wonderful little home for as little as $8.000. His name is Steve Areen, once a flight attendant for Delta, now non conventional entrepeneur making money with music, photography, blogging and, as this project shows, by saving money on living costs. He used materials sources from the local area and did most of the work himself saving on labour costs. It took him only 6 weeks nonetheless.

Dome house by Steve Areen / photo:

Dome house by Steve Areen / photo:

Dome house bathroom by Steve Areen / Photo: Inhabitat

Dome house by Steve Areen / photo: Izona

What $2.950.000 buys you in New York.. and in Amsterdam

A recent post on one of my favourite blogs, The Real Estalker, featured a modest two bedroom apartment in NYC. I am no newbie to international real estate so know that prices tend to be, well, insane there, but this surprised me. The 1,486 square feet apartment is listed for $2,950.000….

Don’t get me wrong.. it’s a nice place, but $2.950.000? really??

Granted; the views are amazing, and having windows in both the bathroom and kitchen are rare in this city, but still…. $2,950.000???????

Let’s stop and have a closer look. First, let’s get this in metrics; $2,950.000 equals about €2.225.000 and 1486 square feet is about 138 square meters. I am actually wondering if, based on the floor plan, that figure is not a bit of a fib, but let’s say that square footage is a hard fact. Now come join me and find out what that price tag gets you in my home town Amsterdam, shall we?

Schermafbeelding 2013-09-11 om 11.40.38 AM

I give you, the floor plan of just one floor of our soon to be revealed mystery home

I wish I could get a sharper image, but I am confident that you can see that this home (yes home, not apartment) is a tad bit bigger than the NYC listing. It is situated on one of Amsterdam’s famous canals; Leliegracht. It’s listed for exactly €2.225.000 and for that you get 13 rooms spread over a total of 500 square meters (5382 square feet). But the real treat is the garden! The back of the house is double width so the garden is huge with a lot of privacy. It borders the neighbouring gardens so the city seems far, far away.

The House is situated on a lovely, treelined canal

The House is situated on a lovely, treelined canal

The home would not be fully available for use though. The second floor consists of two self-contained studio apartments that are rented out. But this, in turn, gives you a bit of cash each month, lowering the monthly payments. And the current tenant is willing t discuss a move. That’ll cost you a so called ‘oprotpremie’ (severance pay). Mind you, there is still more than enough private space, and the studio’s make use of their own separate entrance. The one downfall really is parking, or rather, the lack there-off. No private parking means you are subjected to the bureaucratic hell that is parking laws in Amsterdam. If you did not leave behind a house in the same area, you might be looking at a waiting list for one spot. But then again, the building fees of the apartment in NYC are a staggering $2668 a MONTH, which is more than enough to rent two parking spots somewhere nearby.

The main floor boasts a wonderful formal living room and eat-in kitchen with doors leading to the garden

The main floor boasts a wonderful formal living room and eat-in kitchen with doors leading to the garden

Lush gardens, with several spots to follow the course of the sun

Lush gardens, with several spots to follow the course of the sun

The house is old, built in 1900. Which is actually relatively young for its location as most homes on Amsterdam canals are from the 18th, sometimes even 17th Centuries. It’s a monument, which does mean that you are limited in what you can change or do with the home. But anything you do, you can do subsidised! Ahhh, the joy of living in a socialist state 😉

The house actually looks older than it's 114 years.

The house actually looks older than it’s 114 years.

So, I guess it’s safe to assume living in NYC comes with a price. A high price. And here we are, Dutch ‘disgruntleds’, complaining about the price of real estate in our capitol…… I dare not compare the other way around; checking to see what a private residence with garden on Manhattan would cost. I guess it’s more though.

Skycraper designers forgot to design elevators

It was designed as a beacon of prosperity – the Intempo Skyscraper in Benidorm. A proud building to show that the popular beach town was not affected by the crunch. In a rush of greed and over-excitedness, the design was changed from an original 20 storey building, to a 47 storey one. Too bad they didn’t redesign the elevator shafts and room for technical equipment, as the space needed for elevators serving 47 floors is now simply not available. The building however, as the images shows, is near completion.

Photo: Gizmodo / Economia – The designers of this building forgot to design elevators

Public toilets turned into architect’s dream home

Well, your initial thought might be what I was thinking too. No matter how cool this house is going to look, I am not sure if I could ever live in what was once a public restroom. But London-based architect Laura Clark went for it and after long legal battles bought the old restroom from the local council, and revamped the space into her dream home.

The place before. Now there are some original features you might want to get rid of instead of preserving……
image source:

The place after. I am beginning to see what she was thinking
image source:

The garden is where the stairs to the ladies restrooms were. The entry to the men’s is now her front door.
image source:

The flat has no windows, only roof lights. But it still seems bright and airy. I really hope she managed to get rid of any lingering odour though. All in all I am impressed with her pezzaz, or chutzpah if you will, but am not sure I would call it worth it. To be honest, I find the decor a bit dull.

Read the whole story here.