Priced at $1,395,000, a huge, 9,345-square-foot mansion that rates among Milwaukee’s finest housing stock is the third-highest-priced single-family home in Wisconsin’s biggest city. It’s been on the market since mid-September.
However, the prodigious price tag works out to only $149 per square foot, only a tad above the city’s current median list price of $111 per square foot.
Designed by George Mann Niedecken, a Wright student and Prairie School architect, the two-story home was built in 1903 and features eight bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. It sits on a quarter-acre lot on the city’s East Side.
The list price is $120,000 more than its 2014 asking price of $1,275,000. No buyer nibbled at that price six years ago, and the home has remained with the same owners.
Craftsmanship throughout the house includes two fireplaces, windowseats, leaded-glass windows, and exquisite woodwork that’s been well-preserved.
Off the kitchen is a butler’s pantry rivaling the size of a Manhattan kitchen, while the third floor boasts a ballroom. While hosting dance night might not be a savvy idea with social distancing in place, this space could make an incredible play room or work-from-home space.
Niedecken took his lead from Wright, with built-ins in abundance throughout the residence.
Watch: This Frank Lloyd Wright Home Is a Classic That Feels Modern
The home sits across the street from the southern tip of Lake Park, which overlooks Lake Michigan and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York City’s Central Park). The location is further enhanced by a spacious front terrace from which to revel in the views.
And in a rarity for city living, this home boasts a three-car garage. There’s also a two-bedroom coach house, which would be ideal for rental income or housing out-of-town guests.
Jay Schmidt of Keller Williams Realty-Milwaukee North Shore is handling the listing.
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
Frigid weather kicking off 2018? No problem! Let these island getaways fuel your fire.
A hazy shade of winter has settled in over much of the country, but these brightly colored retreats are a good reminder that it’s always sunny somewhere.
From Florida to Hawaii, we’ve got your dream destinations covered. Here are 10 island spots to fantasize about as you count down to spring.
Atlantic Beach, NC
239 Sea Dreams Dr For sale: $695,000
This North Carolina beach house is set on Sea Dreams Drive — fitting for a home that’s just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. The bold, blue house on a hill offers up views from sea to sound. Cathedral ceilings also give this 3-bedroom retreat the feel of a classic beach house. Bonus: There’s an outdoor shower.
View more homes in Atlantic Beach.
Vero Beach, FL
692 Ocean Rd For sale: $12.5 million
The warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean practically lap at the backyard of this Florida dream house. At more than 14,000 square feet, this home has ample space for entertaining. The first-floor master suite has its own dedicated wing and private bar; second-floor bedrooms each have their own balconies facing the ocean.
Check out more homes in Vero Beach.
Dauphin Island, AL
106 Westward Ho Ct For sale: $399,000
There’s sand on all sides of this waterfront home on Alabama’s Dauphin Island. The 3-bedroom beach house has both covered and open-air decks, offering views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Sound. The interior features an open floor plan, fit for relaxing with friends after a day of swimming or beach volleyball.
Check out more homes on Dauphin Island.
4809 Lower Honoapiilani Rd For sale: $18.75 million
This Hawaiian hideaway is all water views all the time. Glass walls slide away, opening up rooms to the ocean vistas outside. The 7-bedroom estate also boasts private waterfront land and a winding pool with waterfalls and a spa. For a more laid-back experience, a luxurious, second-floor bathtub features two built-in lounge chairs pointed at the beach. Aloha!
Explore more homes in Lahaina.
Key West, FL
1500 Albury St For sale: $2.19 million
Nestled in the heart of Key West, this home may look historic, but it’s brand new. A backyard pool under a canopy of palm trees is the perfect spot for cooling off on simmering Florida days. Inside, an open kitchen — with modern appliances and a built-in wine refrigerator — is primed for having guests over for dinner.
View more homes in Key West.
Johns Island, SC
4289 Charles Freer Ln For sale: $4.99 million
This spacious South Carolina getaway offers 180-degree water views, along with a backyard dock to launch a kayak or simply watch the sun fade onto the horizon. A classic Southern-style front porch allows for relaxing outdoors on warm nights, and the backyard infinity pool is a refreshing respite when the weather heats up. For chillier nights, the screened-in sunroom features a stone fireplace and views of a large tidal creek.
Take a look at more homes in Johns Island.
St. John, US Virgin Islands
43 Chocolate Hole For sale: $1.075 million
The sunsets alone make this next spot, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, worth the flight. The 3,900-square-foot island retreat features panoramic views of the surrounding islands along with a poolside bar and five bedrooms. For swimmers and snorkelers, the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument is a just short boat ride away.
Check out more homes in St. John.
1502 17th St For sale: $360,000
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this home is no different. Just three blocks from the beach, the Galveston getaway has big pops of color reminiscent of the Caribbean. An open kitchen with bold wallpaper is perfect for entertaining friends fresh from the beach (bonus: it’s got a bar with a wine fridge!), plus the master bathroom has spa-like features for unwinding after a day in the sun.
Explore more homes in Galveston.
Balboa Island, CA
333 E Bay Front For sale: $5.4 million
Launch a boat and reel in the catch of the day from the private dock of this home on California’s Balboa Island. This bayfront beauty in Newport Beach comes with a spacious front patio built to entertain (hello, outdoor refrigerator!). A master bedroom features a private deck and the requisite panoramic water views.
See more homes on Balboa Island here.
Key West, FL
1319 Eliza St For sale: $1.625 million
Modern upgrades abound throughout this classic Key West-style home. Though it was built in 1933, some touches are distinctly 2018: accent walls made of reclaimed wood and barn-style doors leading to the bedrooms. A canopy of palm trees surrounds the backyard pool and large deck; if you’re more in the mood to dip your toes in the sand somewhere, beaches are within walking distance.
For anyone driving around an established neighborhood of traditional homes in Madison, WI, one residence on Stevens Street stands out. Or doesn’t stand out.
“It’s an earth-sheltered home. Not necessarily built into the ground, but it’s earth-covered on the roof and on a couple of sides,” explains the listing agent, Jennifer Rios. “It’s in a kind of older neighborhood, with typical midcentury homes and older.”
She says she doesn’t believe any comparable earth-covered home can be found within at least a 10-mile radius.
The style has proved popular with buyers. The home was listed for $329,900, and multiple offers above the listing price came in after just a few days on the market.
“We went into it not really knowing what to expect with the uniqueness of the home,” Rios explains. “I laid out two scenarios: In this market, we’ll either see a very quick turnaround, or we may sit awhile. We tested it and had the best outcome possible.”
The home has two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, plenty of living space, and is surprisingly bright.
“It has full exposure on the back side, so there’s lots of nice natural light,” Rios says. “Because of its earth-covered roof and partially on the sides, it’s very temperate inside. The earth provides a really nice installation and flow of air.”
Which adds up to lower electricity bills—a boon in this part of the country.
Watch: Idaho Home Perched on a Lake Is a Storybook Fantasy Come to Life
Built in 1980, the home has only had two owners in the past 41 years, and the current owner has lived there for 26 years.
Rios says she feels a perfect buyer would be somebody who is environmentally conscious and appreciates the uniqueness of an earth home, and who also likes being able to walk or bike around the city.
She grew up in the neighborhood and knows this distinctive dwelling quite well.
“I would ride my bike by, and wonder who in the world lives there,” she says.
Now that Rios has been inside and scoped out the place, she says that looks are deceiving.
“When you walk in, you kind of feel like you’re entering a hobbit house,” she says. “It’s really surprising when you open the front door, and it’s an abundance of natural light. It feels like a very traditional home for the most part, except for the curved roof line.”
The curve is an interesting flourish.
“It creates such a nice sort of vaulted ceiling effect, but it’s kind of open and airy, which is what a lot of people like nowadays,” Rios adds.
Inside, the house doesn’t need require any more maintenance than any other 40-year-old home, but Rios points out that the roof does need attention and upkeep—at least after the snow melts.
“You can let it go and become real grassy, or you can mow it,” she says. “The sellers have just gone up there with a weed whacker a couple of times a year.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
When spectacular mountain views are available, nearby homes almost always feature an abundance of windows to soak in the vistas.
However, this property in Montana heads in a completely opposite direction. These four homes have no windows at all—they’re completely underground.
The quartet of below-ground homes sit beneath 10.6 acres in Paradise Valley near Emigrant, MT, just north of Yellowstone National Park.
Listed for $1.75 million, the earth-sheltered homes were originally built as fallout shelters. They offer all the amenities a comfortable residence requires—albeit with curved walls.
Three of out of the four homes measure in at about 2,500 square feet, and each features multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.
The fourth home is significantly larger, with space to accommodate a crowd looking for a real escape.
“The largest one has several bunk rooms, so you could have more than a couple people in there,” says the listing agent, Theresa Lunn.
Each boasts a basement for food and supplies storage and to house all of the mechanicals.
The earth keeps the houses at a constant 50 to 55 degrees and to increase the temperature as needed, each home is equipped with its own HVAC and ventilation system.
“It never feels musty in there with the air circulation system. It always smells fresh,” Lunn says.
Each home comes with its own kitchen, complete with appliances.
“Once you’re in there, they’re comfortable. It’s just like you’re in a house,” Lunn explains. “You walk down hallways, but then you just you walk into a kitchen that you think is your mom’s kitchen—a great area, bedrooms, very nice bathrooms.”
One house features a pool table in the rec room.
The current owner is a builder and is willing to sweeten the deal for a buyer who might be interested in buying the land and the underground homes.
“He would put a very nice [above-ground] home for an extra $240,000 onto the list price. Underneath the house, it would have a discrete entrance into shelter No. 4,” Lunn explains. “The additional house has not been built. He is offering that as a buyer package, if someone wanted that.”
The Paradise Valley area is known for its outdoor activities.
“It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., for sure. It’s a huge mecca for fly fishermen,” Lunn says, adding hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and horseback riding are also popular.
“It’s a great spot for vacation rentals,” Lunn says, adding that renting an underground home could offer a unique allure for guests. “If you bought this, you could live in it and still rent it out. It’s also a great retreat possibility.”
Lunn says buyers have shown an interest in the property—ranging from those in search of a sustainable property, to folks who desire the ultimate in protection.
The agent says she doesn’t like to use the term “preppers,” because of the negative connotations attached to the term. But she acknowledges that that is basically what people do when they store supplies in underground bunkers.
“If our great-grandparents didn’t prep, none of us would be here,” she says. “It’s just being prepared.”
The homes are currently attached to the electrical grid, but could be unhooked if a buyer decided to rely on the property’s own generators for power.
As in the case of most fallout shelters, the entrance to each home is through a thick door. Upon entry, the hallway takes a turn at a right angle.
“Any bunker worth its salt has to have those 90-degree turns, because nuclear and chemical material can’t go around [corners],” Lunn explains. “That’s really one of those tips of the trade for guys that are building bunkers.”
Lunn stresses these are regular homes where people would be very comfortable living or vacationing.
“[They’re not] some kind of freaky, end-of-the-world, zombie-apocalypse whatever. There is a lot of need for this type of property.”
The potential of a home in Huntington Beach, CA, was readily apparent to buyers.
And if they blinked, it was easy to miss the fact that this four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home was actually on the market at all.
One huge reason behind the speedy sale? The place was renovated by Jasmine Roth on Season 2 of her popular HGTV series “Hidden Potential.”
In less than a week, the home, which was purchased for $825,000 in 2017, had an accepted, contingent offer above the asking price of $1.1 million. Thanks, Jasmine!
Of course, it helps that the 2,223-square-foot residence is located in a great neighborhood. It’s within walking distance of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and a 2-mile drive (or skateboard ride) to the Pacific Ocean and legendary Huntington Beach itself, as well as to shopping, restaurants, a golf course, and highly rated schools.
Combined with the location, Roth’s riveting redo made this home a hot commodity. Built in 1969, the home had undergone some renovation over the years, but nothing nearly as dramatic as Roth’s effort a couple of years ago on a $90,000 budget.
“I wanted to update the entire home to represent this fun, vibrant family’s love of the beach. They are a quintessential California couple, raising their family in a beach town, teaching their children a love of the ocean and community,” Roth said on her website.
So the HGTV star took what was previously drab and beige and converted it into a welcoming abode with a “super beachy” vibe, with splashes of aqua, coral, and gleaming white, both inside and out.
As Roth put it on her blog, “The front of their home needed to be opened up to showcase the welcoming, friendly nature of this family. Inside, the floor plan needed rethinking. By removing one of two redundant family rooms, and redesigning each space in the home with a designated purpose in mind, I helped breathe new life into each individual space.”
The home’s biggest highlight may be the bright and open gourmet kitchen, which features stainless-steel Viking appliances and quartz countertops, with a stylish tile backsplash. There’s also a large dining island with a dedicated beverage refrigerator.
Roth also added not one, but two work spaces right next to the kitchen—an addition that now makes perfect sense for a work-from-home lifestyle.
One workspace is for adults, the other is for kids, with the intention that a family can get work done “while in the good company the kitchen always provides.”
Other interesting “hidden” features include a secret bookshelf door under the stairs that leads to a children’s play fort, and a clever Biersafe outside—an in-ground cooler that costs nothing to operate, since it uses the ground’s thermodynamics to keep beverages chilled, and can be hidden underneath a flower pot.
The house has two bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs, two full en suite bedrooms downstairs, and a powder room for guests. This can put much desired distance between the adults and the kids. When the episode aired in 2019, the owners had three of their four children, Grandma, and two dogs living with them.
With new landscaping, cement, fences, paint, and other finishes both in the front and in the back, the home’s renovation was complete, ready to be snatched up in no time after it went on the market.
When the work was done, Roth said she felt the home had a “purposeful update that it deserves.” It looks as if buyers agree.
It isn’t common for a buyer to renovate a home and embrace a truly retro vibe, but that’s exactly what the owners of one midcentury modern residence in Austin, TX, did.
The 7,000-square-foot Atomic Age classic, built in 1963 on Balcones Drive, is now on the market for $3.95 million. Its color palette is right out of the TV series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“The owners bought it in 2017. The home had been updated in the 1970s and ’80s, and a lot of the original things were torn out, so the owners actually went by the original pencil blueprints and restored it,” explains the listing agent, Rebecca Wolfe Spratlin.
The architect Charles Granger of the popular Austin firm Fehr & Granger originally designed the space for Dr. Byron Smith and his wife, Irene, in 1963.
Granger is known for his designs of a number of buildings in the Austin area, including the iconic blue airport control tower for Austin’s former airport. The tower still stands as part of a new residential and commercial development on the old airport land.
Irene Smith was a real estate agent in Austin for over 50 years, Wolfe Spratlin says, and came by to a broker’s open house at the property recently.
“She and her husband are still living in the area,” she adds, “so she was able to come in and walk through the entire house. It was so fun to talk to her about her memories.”
The current owners are the fifth family to call the place home, and they’ve dubbed it Sky Crest. The name is an homage to the distinctive airport control designed by Granger, as well as to the color scheme of the house.
The house, true to midcentury form, has clean lines and a wealth of windows
“The whole house in the front is glass, just walls of glass,” Wolfe Spratlin explains. “It’s got natural light just pouring in.”
A fence and gate surround the house. The true glory of the home is only visible once you’re inside the gate.
“You punch in the code, and the gate opens, and you see this amazing light-blue kind of light turquoise house. It’s very long and expansive,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
Up the front steps, you enter the house on the second level.
“The ceilings are vaulted, and there’s a wooden screen that was recreated according to the original blueprints,” the agent adds.
That wood screen, most of the light fixtures, and other furnishings were custom-created for the house’s wide-open floor plan.
“There’s a Sputnik light fixture right as you come in. Then, on the staircase, they had a custom-made light that’s very retro and appropriate for the setting,” Wolfe Spratlin says.
In keeping with the vibe, the kitchen is straight out of the early 1960s. However, all the appliances are new and from Big Chill, with retro styling.
The laminate countertops had to be imported from Italy to match the color, because the owners couldn’t find the right shade of vibrant turquoise in the United States, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
The retro vibes continue in the pink kitchenette in the master bedroom. The master bedroom is on the main floor and has another interesting feature—a night bathroom.
Because the master bedroom is so big, and the master bathroom is at the very opposite end of the bedroom, a small powder room was located close to the bed, Wolfe Spratlin explains.
What’s more, for those who have to get up in the middle of the night, this little room has a heated floor and heated toilet seat.
There’s another bedroom on the main level, and three more bedrooms on the lower level. The bottom level features a game room and a home theater.
For the utmost in convenience, a snack bar in the hallway right outside the theater is served by a dumbwaiter that comes down from the main kitchen.
Outside, by the pool, the outdoor kitchen is covered by turquoise sails, perfect for enjoying and entertaining.
“The perfect buyer to me is somebody who just really gets it—and not only gets it, but loves it,” Wolfe Spratlin says. “So you need to have somebody that gets it, loves it, and understands the value of its design.”
A cozy log cabin with a long and colorful history, this unique dwelling in the historic Idyllwild, CA, area has an unusual past and a very livable present and future.
The original structure is reported to have been built in 1849—an auspicious year in California history—and it’s been improved upon ever since.
Much of what’s standing today was erected in 1943, as what is apparently the area’s only existing “cord home.” The walls of the structure are made of 10-inch cordwood logs that were embedded in concrete, then sealed and protected from insects and the elements.
The building method may sound odd by today’s standards, but it has stood the test of time, as well as the onslaught of vicious wild fires.
Located in the mountains that tower over Palm Springs and the greater Coachella Valley, the tiny town of Pine Cove is accessed by a winding mountain road that breaks off from Interstate 10 near Banning, CA.
The story goes that after the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp retired to San Bernardino, he rode the stage coach up that mountain road to play poker in this very cabin, a stage stop at the time.
The cabin has served a variety of purposes over the years, as a post office, a general store, and a horse stable. It also had incarnations as the Summit Lodge and the Pine Cove Tavern.
When the parents of the current residents bought the property in 1969, it was their family’s home. Their father used it as an art gallery, while their mother used the parlor for psychic readings.
It’s still in the family today. The second-generation owners are musicians, and have been filling the house with music for years now.
Nestled among towering pine trees, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a high, stacked fireplace of river stone, and a shingled, second-story addition above the original cord walls.
Clerestory windows and skylights allow for natural illumination, and pine cabinetry and paneling add to the cabin’s rustic Western feel.
There’s also plenty of decking outside, with stone stairs, walls, and pathways on the large lot.
Listed in July for $399,000, for the first time in decades, the property appears to have attracted a buyer at the price of $380,000.
The cabin feels remote, yet it’s only a few minutes away from Idyllwild’s galleries, restaurants, and shops. An authentic piece of the Old West in Southern California, it’s a portal to another time and place.
“It’s one of the only homes in Buzzards Bay that’s floating and not actually considered a houseboat. It’s considered a floating home, because it does not have a motor inside. For it to be moved, it has to be pulled by a barge or put onto a larger structure,” explains listing agent Jan MacGregor.
Listed for $275,000, the 1,800-square-foot home in Fairhaven, MA, is docked on Fort Street in the Fairhaven Shipyard. However, the location will have to change.
“The person who lives in it currently works at the shipyard, so he was able to keep it there. But a future buyer will have to move it. It’s not going to be able to stay at the shipyard,” MacGregor says.
And the possibilities of where to take this floating home are almost endless.
There are “marinas that accommodate large vessels like this down in Newport, and then also in Cape Cod, and in Boston,” MacGregor says. “You can go anywhere because you can move the vessel anywhere you choose. It really just gives you the opportunity to explore as much as you want. You could go all the way down the Eastern Seaboard with it if you really felt like it.”
Known now as Tapestry, the three-bedroom and two-bathroom house once served as the Governor Herrick, a dredge for the Cape Cod Canal.
In 1912, the Governor Herrick and its twin, the Governor Warfield, helped build the artificial waterway that joins Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay by removing 100,000 cubic yards of earth and silt each month.
The waterway became operational on July 29, 1914—a month prior to the opening of the Panama Canal.
After clearing the way in Cape Cod, the Herrick continued to work for many more years along the Eastern Seaboard.
In the mid-1990s, an enterprising seaman saw the formerly busy vessel beached along the shoreline and turned it into a home. The Tapestry’s current owner has lived aboard the vessel for about 15 years.
The vessel measures 76 feet long and 27 feet wide, and the shingled exterior hides a welcoming residence.
“It’s definitely surprising. Nothing really stands out about [the exterior], and then when you get inside everything feels so warm and cozy,” MacGregor explains. “It doesn’t feel cramped at all. You feel like you’re in an actual house. It’s really cool being on the water, and it’s super spacious.”
Each floor has a large bedroom with bathroom. The second floor also has a loft area and laundry room. The main level has the kitchen, dining area, and living space.
The kitchen has space for dining as well as a small refrigerator and freezer disguised as cabinets. A full refrigerator sits in the pantry.
The interiors of the Tapestry are more accommodating now than when it was a dredge.
“There are little holes in the wooden walls downstairs because there used to be bunk beds screwed into the walls when there were workers staying on the barge because they were working on Cape Cod Canal,” MacGregor says.
For electricity, the house has to plug in to marina shore power, and all of the other mechanicals are located below the living space.
“It’s basically like a basement in the barge, but that’s where everything is kept so you can live on it year-round,” MacGregor explains.
There are huge heating fuel and water tanks as well as a holding tank for waste. All need regular maintenance as does the steel structure of the barge.
“The perfect buyer for this house is somebody who is adventurous and wants to live simply and not be in the hustle and bustle of the city,” MacGregor says. “They just want to be out of the way and kind of have their quiet and their peace in their space with a nice view.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
To say this home in Louisiana is safe is an understatement.
For a buyer in search of the ultimate in home security, this former bank building on Prairie Street in Winnsboro, LA, is on the market for $700,000.
“The walls are 18 to 24 inches of brick built in the 1920s. It’s just as solid as an absolute rock, so nothing’s going to happen to the building. It’s just not possible. It’s all metal and cement. Just solid,” says Charles Reed, a family doctor and owner of the home.
Reed bought the former Winnsboro State Bank branch in 2012, and turned it into a five-bedroom home with 7,500 square feet of living space.
“I just thought it was an awesome place,” Reed says, adding that he wanted a place that was safe from storms and other perils, either natural or manmade.
The first phase of renovations included new wiring, refinishing the walls, overhauling the plumbing, and laying out a floor plan for one-third of the interior space.
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The second phase involved transforming the enormous bank vaults into livable space.
“We added a few bedrooms and two baths that didn’t exist,” Reed explains.
The two vault doors are true highlights of the house. One is in the master bedroom and leads to a closet.
“The oldest vault door is very shiny, and it’s very ornate,” Reed explains. “It’s the old style, with steel crisscrossing it. It’s multilayers of steel and rebar, and the walls are 2 feet thick.”
It was built in the 1920s and is still operational—yet extremely heavy.
“Anyone can push it, you just can’t push it fast,” he says.
The other vault door protects a computer room and was built in the 1960s.
“It’s one of those vaults where it seals to the point where water will not leak out of it. It’s the absolute perfect fit. They don’t make vault doors like that nowadays,” Reed says. “Nowadays, there’s always some slack in them. They don’t machine it to perfection anymore.”
The bank’s former drive-through window is still operational, but now sits behind cabinetry.
The former bank has been divided two complete units, each with a kitchen and a separate entrance. One is fully handicapped-accessible with a larger bathroom and other accommodations.
But there’s still conversion work left to be done. The building’s second floor remains a blank slate.
“There’s a whole other section upstairs that is completely unfinished. It has its own access to the outside and could be converted into separate apartments for some residual income,” suggests the listing agent, Jay Shepherd.
The home is on the town’s main street with a post office next door. Several homes are nearby. Reed says Winnsboro is a great spot in northeast Louisiana, with a good mix of retirees and young professionals.
Reed’s children have lived in the finished product off and on, but he himself has never lived in the home he created.
“I would move into it tomorrow if my wife would agree, but it’s not going to happen,” he says. “I have spent one night in it just to say I did it.”
Reed says the former bank is perfect for a buyer who may be away for a while and wants to know their property is safe.
“I think the lock-and-leave type person,” he says. “If you’re the type of person who is going to be home for a month and then travel for a month, it’s so secure, no one can break in.”
For just a few years in the late 1920s, the children of Malabar, FL, attended class in their schoolhouse on Marie Street.
Then the Great Depression forced the school to close. Over the decades, the former schoolhouse has served as apartments, a woodworking shop, a mill, and most recently, a wedding venue.
Now the 8,000-square-foot building, zoned both residential and commercial, is on the market for $1.1 million.
“We fell in love with the building, and we thought we could live here,” says the listing agent and current owner, Joanne Murdoch. She and her husband, Tom, bought the property in 2012 and had big plans to renovate it and make it their home.
However, the demand for quirky event venues intervened.
“Everybody was coming out with these barn venues, and we thought this building would make a great wedding venue. So that’s the direction we went into for a number of years,” Murdoch says.
It took a few years to renovate the property to make it ready for happy couples. The schoolhouse on the Sunshine State’s Atlantic Coast was in sore need of updated infrastructure.
Watch: Idaho Home Perched on a Lake Is a Storybook Fantasy Come to Life
“It was industrial-looking when we got it,” Murdoch explains. “We had to redo all the electrical, the plumbing, the heating, the septic, all the safety stuff throughout, the landscaping, the lighting. It was a complete restoration.”
Rechristened as the Banyan Estate, thanks to the banyan tree on the grounds, the venue has held weddings and other events for the past few years.
The main level has a large pavilion room and a smaller hall—each with new windows and vintage chandeliers. There are also several bathrooms throughout the venue space.
Upstairs, the loft area provides a more intimate setting for smaller gatherings. This was the space where the Murdochs initially planned to live.
It has a full bathroom and plenty of room to configure and carve out bedrooms and other living spaces.
Somebody coming in to use the building as a residence will have to tweak it a bit, Murdoch says. But with the home’s major systems in place, the work that’s left will require an eye for design.
Right now, the only kitchen in the space is designed for commercial prep, so anyone wanting to live in the building full-time will want to add a cooking space.
“We always saw the upstairs part being the loft, and the other two spaces could be any kind of business you wanted,” Murdoch says.
Before deciding to turn the property into a wedding venue, she and her husband imagined a business making cheese in part of the space and setting up a dance studio in the rest.
The building sits on almost 2.5 acres and abuts 350 acres of environmentally preserved land that will never be developed.
Finding a property with this kind of zoning, great location, and fascinating backstory is a big win.
Murdoch says she imagines the perfect buyer as “somebody who loves historic buildings, who can appreciate a beautiful and large piece of property.”
The property is co-listed with JJ Tippins at Pastermack Real Estate.
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.