June 17, 2024

Day: May 18, 2022

The Best New Furniture and Home Goods

Photo-Illustration: Studio Bertjan Pot, Better Things Studio, Sean Davidson, William Jess Laird

At Design Week, the references artists and designers choose, how things are made, and the ideas that are introduced tell us a little bit about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re heading. At this year’s NYCxDesign — New York’s annual citywide festival of furniture, interior design, and architecture (now in its tenth year) — galleries opened their doors and designers unveiled their latest projects to packed parties and excited crowds. This year’s Design Week felt like a triumphant return (given the nearly canceled 2020 edition, which organizers salvaged with self-guided tours and digital exhibitions) and the solemnity of last year’s smaller event held, somewhat awkwardly, in November — as the city braced for a winter COVID surge. This year, a few trends emerged: the stripped-down aesthetics of industrial manufacturing, nature-inspired motifs, and intuitive ways of working — all reflecting a strong desire to hit “reset,” keep moving forward, and just have fun. Even though face masks and hand sanitizer were still within arm’s reach.

From left: Photo: Courtesy of Studio Bertjan PotPhoto: Courtesy of Studio Bertjan Pot

From top: Photo: Courtesy of Studio Bertjan PotPhoto: Courtesy of Studio Bertjan Pot

Dutch designer Bertjan Pot has been weaving masks out of rope for the past decade. The series started out as a happy accident — he was trying to sew a rug, but the material wouldn’t stay flat, so he coaxed the curves into a face. Over time, the masks have become cartoonish and creature-like, and Pot is now experimenting with weaving them out of natural grass and making them more deranged. “The latest versions feel like masks wearing masks,” Pot writes in his artist statement. “Psychoanalyze that!” They’re on view, along with Pot’s new lighting fixtures, at Patrick Parrish through June 30.

Photo: Joe Kramm, Courtesy R & Company

Serban Ionescu (a designer best known for playful pieces that look like hand-sketched characters that have come to life) has created new large-scale sculptures for “Castle Garden,” an exhibition at R & Company named after the first immigration-entry point in the U.S. To date, Ionescu’s functional objects made from wood and powder-coated metal have mostly been small in scale — in the form of chairs and tables. It’s a delight to walk through an immersive environment (including a 22-foot-tall folly) that feels like a children’s storybook. Through August 12.

Photos: Matthew Gordon, courtesy TIWA Select.

Photos: Matthew Gordon, courtesy TIWA Select.

In the early 20th century, one of Dana Arbib’s relatives migrated from Libya to Italy and ran a glass furnace in Venice. Arbib, working with expert artisans in Murano, has created a series of glass vessels that pay homage to that family history. The pieces in “Vetro Alga” reference ancient relics from Rome and North Africa. The shapes of the glassware feel organic and painterly, and they look almost as though the material is still slightly molten. By appointment only through May 18.

Photo: Sean Davidson

Emma Scully’s “Anti Chairs” show brings together a few of the most experimental designers working today to consider furniture primarily as a conceptual rather than a functional object: Bradley L. Bowers, who made a puffy, iridescent armchair; Jumbo (the studio run by Justin Donnelly and Monling Lee), which contorted a metal barricade to make a bench; and Chris Wolston, who contributed an abstract carpet — his first-ever rug design. Ilana Harris-Babou, an artist who interrogates design culture, presents collages inspired by sitting down on a subway seat still warm from the previous occupant; the unsettling sensation sparked a hunt for images that show the butt imprints left on a chair and took her on a fascinating journey through, among other spaces, online fetish communities and furniture-repair blogs. I was also mesmerized by the kaleidoscopic surfaces of the recycled plastic chairs from the gallery’s previous exhibition on British designer Jane Atfield, which were on view in the room adjacent to “Anti Chairs.” Atfield was one of the first designers to make furniture out of postconsumer plastic — specifically bottles turned into high-density polyethylene — when she presented her RCP2 Chair for her Royal College of Art grad project in 1992. The chairs have been reissued by Yemm and Hart, the plastic maker she’d worked with in the ’90s. Through July 1.

Photo: Sean Davidson/seandavidson

Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, founders of Sight Unseen, have helped launch the careers of hundreds of designers — by publishing stories or exhibiting their work early in their careers. For many of these designers, that publicity has led to orders and commissions, and they took the next step of developing their own lines with a manufacturer. Singer and Khemsurov felt they were missing out on helping to develop this part of designers’ careers. (Plus, manufacturers were getting free talent scouting.) The two had experimented with selling vintage furniture through 1stDibs, then thought, Why not produce furniture ourselves? They partnered with Bestcase (a manufacturer on Long Island) and a few of their favorite designers on a new line of fully customizable home goods made from metal: An Art Deco–inspired mirror by Home Studios, the architecture firm behind Elsa and The Spaniard; a wavy screen and plinth-like chair by Charles Constantine, Bestcase’s founder; thin-framed glass tables by Swiss studio Thévoz-Choquet; and a bar cart with a resin handle by Studio Anansi. I enjoyed how simple yet sophisticated the pieces look — refreshing to the eyes after the latest wave of raucous maximalism.

As the show’s name suggests, a lot of the pieces in “Melt,” curated by the design platform Adorno, look like they’re dripping and oozing — a marker of an aesthetic unruliness that has defined home goods recently. The warm, organic feeling of woodworker Luke Malaney’s wavy console drew me to it, and I was charmed by the details in the piece: the rich reddish stain, dimpled chisel markings on a catchall that sprouts out of the tabletop, berrylike drawer pull, and a drawer lined with hammered metal. You can’t see many of these details from afar; it’s only by using the console that you uncover the different materials and textures.

Photo: William Jess Laird

I was struck by the richness of the Terra Series update from Danny Kaplan (a Brooklyn-based ceramic artist) and In Common With (a Brooklyn maker of minimalist lighting). The two had collaborated on a series a couple of years ago, and these new ceramic pieces — a sconce, table lamp, floor lamp, and pendant — are made in dark hues inspired by natural materials like anthracite, terra-cotta, and lapis lazuli. The surface-mount light is like an elegant ceramic vessel hovering on your ceiling. The pieces are on view at Kaplan’s studio through May 20 and will be featured at the new Brooklyn design shop Assembly Line in June.

From left: Photo: Dave PinterPhoto: La Lana

From top: Photo: Dave PinterPhoto: La Lana

Cuban American designer Jocelyne Cabada is on a mission to “smother” the world in felt — a material she’s attracted to for its softness and tactility. She started by making accessories and handbags but has scaled up to furniture and home goods. I was drawn to the painterly wisps of color in her stools, which are on view at “Radiator,” a showcase of emerging designers at Art Cake through May 17.

Photo: Sarah Yao-Rishea

Presented at WantedDesign’s Launch Pad, the Alcove vases from emerging Toronto-based designer Sarah Yao-Rishea are designed to make flower arranging a little bit less daunting. They’re composed of a couple dozen tubes welded together — each wide enough for a single stem. I adore their simplicity and how the pieces reflect two trends from this year: minimalist industrialism and florals. While these are still prototypes, I would have happily taken one home were they available for sale.

From left: Photo: Better Things StudioPhoto: Better Things Studio

From top: Photo: Better Things StudioPhoto: Better Things Studio

During the pandemic lockdown, Irina Flore wasn’t able to go to her studio, so she started making paper collages of tableware — imagining vibrant alternatives to the monotonous cups and dishes she was using every day. The Portland, Oregon–based artist liked the conceptual designs so much that she decided to fabricate them. Working with glassblowers in Istanbul, Flore created this asymmetrical, color-block series, which was exhibited at WantedDesign. I enjoy the playfulness of the sculptural silhouettes as well as the depth of texture in the blown glass. They cost $350 each and are available at irinaflore.com/shop.

Photo: Photo: Matthew Gordon Studio

David Eardley, founder of Pink Essay (a creative studio), has created a singular community of emerging artists and designers through his group shows: “Open Studio” (2020), with Anna Theroux Ling; “Home Around You” (2021); and “Physical Education: Parallax 101” (2021), which was curated by Matt Pecina. Eardley invited artists who’ve previously exhibited in Pink Essay’s shows to create work for “Physical Education II: Design for All,” which celebrates an intuitive approach to crafting furniture and objects. It’s a philosophy that dovetails with Skilset’s belief that anyone can be a designer and you can make what you need with the materials you have at hand. It’s a little bit Enzo Mari and Victor Papanek — updated with a contemporary sensibility. I admire Isabel Rower’s The Sky Contained My Garden (a ceramic chair and side table — minimalist pieces adorned with hand-glazed, surrealist flowers) and Yuki Gray’s How to Find the Right Pebble Table, a CNC-milled wooden piece that, as its name suggests, references the designer’s obsession with finding the perfect skipping stone. Through May 20.

How the pandemic is shifting residence design

The pandemic has modified what People in america want from their households, and builders say they be expecting all those improvements to final.

The large photograph: A ton of pandemic-era diversifications are turning out to be popular fixtures in new properties. The model residences that builders are displaying off now are meant for doing work, living and understanding, not just coming residence and crashing at the conclusion of the day.

Aspects: Significant pre-pandemic tendencies — open up ideas with major kitchen area islands — are not likely everywhere. "My verdict is that folks truly like open floor designs, and they are right here to remain," says Nancy K. Keenan, president of Dahlin Team Architecture and Planning, who assisted carry out the America at Property Analyze of pandemic-era customer preferences in home design and style.

  • But total footprints are acquiring even larger as builders incorporate on more smaller rooms, which may possibly need to have to purpose as workplaces, perform rooms, house fitness centers or dens, relying on the household.
  • Loos are finding greater, in element mainly because we use them a lot more frequently when we're house all day. And every single room of the property is a lot more wired — builders are adding energy stores and USB ports to accommodate the equipment essential to functioning or attending school from household.
  • Some houses also function different entrances for company, with effortless access to a powder home for hand-washing.

"Overall flexibility is possibly the most important factor. Folks want to be in a position to personalize their residence to the way they live," Keenan says.

Flashback: The "powder area" was at first born from the flu pandemic of 1918 — as were tiled bogs, as men and women changed draperies and carpets that harbored germs.

  • 'The dilemma we get all the time is, how substantially of this do you consider is genuinely going to adhere into the long term?" Keenan tells Axios. "You will not realize that this form of point basically does create improve."

Zoom in: Based mostly on the benefits of the America at Property Examine, Garman Properties of Raleigh, North Carolina, developed a 2,600-square-foot concept house referred to as "Barnaby" that demonstrates what customers want, which involves extra entry to out of doors room and room to exercising.

  • Barnaby, with 4 bedrooms and a few-and-a-half baths, was developed for "a hypothetical older millennial family members with two doing work mother and father, just one who will work from property and the other outdoors the household," for every Builder, a household-creating information web site.
  • It includes "separate house owner and visitor entries, two dedicated place of work spaces, flex areas, a visitor suite with out of doors access, a larger loved ones toilet, numerous protected out of doors spaces, enhanced kitchen functionality, versatile storage, fall zones for package deal deliveries, and extra."

Involving the lines: "Houses are becoming much more like business office space," claims Amit Haller, CEO and co-founder of the homebuilding business Veev. "There is the grand opening spot with a pretty huge countertop island that enables folks to eat with each other."

  • From there, citizens can carry their laptops to non-public rooms as wanted.
  • "The bedroom is likely to be basically like your conference room and your private space," Haller claims.

By the figures: The median sizing of a new one-family house has already grown by about 10% considering the fact that 2009, and will probably retain growing.

  • More than a 3rd of Millennials (36%) want much larger homes as a outcome of the pandemic, a study by the Countrywide Association of Property Builders (NAHB) discovered.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers want extra bedrooms, exercise rooms and house places of work.
  • "The household building marketplace expects to see house dimensions go on to enhance owing to a shift in shopper choices as extra things to do are having area in the residence in the write-up-pandemic natural environment," NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter mentioned in a press launch.

Sure, but: Even bigger homes are far more highly-priced, and large curiosity costs will only make a property finance loan even more durable to afford to pay for.

What's upcoming: Devoted rooms are popping up for online video video games, golfing simulators, Zoom phone calls or peace — so termed "Zen rooms."

  • "Metaverse rooms" may be on the horizon, with some designers looking at the require for indoor area exactly where folks can wander all over in digital actuality, per the Wall Road Journal.

Homeowners Are Paying More for Just About Everything

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Buying a house is expensive these days. But paying for one you already own? That’s no cheap task either.

Homeowners are getting hit with higher costs from all angles. Take Eric Hegwer, a homeowner from Leander, Texas, for example. He saw his home’s assessed property more than double this year. That would be good news if he was looking to sell or take out a home equity loan, but he's not. "This means my taxes will also go up a lot, which is something I just wasn’t prepared for so quickly,” Hegwer says.

Meanwhile, Terri and Kurt Grosse, homeowners in Las Vegas, just saw their monthly homeowners association dues increase by 18%. And Jack Pinard, who lives in Dunstable, Massachusetts, has seen his repair and maintenance costs skyrocket. He recently paid $26,000 to repair his home’s septic system — $11,000 more than it would have cost him pre-COVID. It also required a seven-month wait due to labor shortages.

“Costs to renovate and maintain a home have jumped exorbitantly,” Pinard says. “Finding qualified contractors to do work can be nearly impossible. We called 23 contractors before one even agreed to bid on the job.”

And the worst part: These are only a few of the rising costs of homeownership. Are you considering buying a home? Already own one? Here’s where you can expect to pay more this year — and what’s behind the upswing.

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Homeowners insurance

Homeowners are seeing insurance premiums rise two-fold right now — first, on their home insurance policies, and second (at least for those in certain parts of the country), on flood insurance.

In February, home insurance premiums were up as much as 27% annually, depending on the carrier and state. The reasons for the hike are many, but primarily, it’s because rebuilding a home is getting more expensive.

“Most home insurance policies are written with a ‘replacement cost’ endorsement that pays the amount of money it costs to put the home back in the condition it was in before the damage took place,” says Ted Olsen, vice president of human capital development at Goosehead Insurance in Grapevine, Texas. “Due to labor shortages and supply chain constraints, it’s now costing a lot more money to make repairs than it did a few years ago. The $50,000 kitchen renovation you made back then might cost over $100,000 today simply due to higher labor and material costs.”

Increased climate risk is also to blame. The U.S. saw 97 "natural catastrophes" in 2021 — events defined by the Insurance Information Institute as ones causing at least $25 million in damages. Total insurance property losses due to these events topped $92 billion in 2021 — up from $84 billion in 2020 and $41 billion in 2019.

“Over the last few years, there have been a record number of events — hurricanes, fires, hail events, tornadoes,” says Ken Gregg, CEO and founder of insurance company Orion180. “These have driven up losses for insurance companies, which causes their internal loss cost for pricing to increase.”

If you’re dealing with higher insurance premiums, improving your credit score, keeping your home in good condition, adding a home security system and opting for a higher deductible can help keep hikes to a minimum. Shopping around with different insurers is wise too.

“Check around with other carriers,” says Suzi Dailey, a real estate agent with Realty ONE Group in Laguna Niguel, California. “You may be surprised at the rates other carriers charge. I had been with the same carrier for over 10 years. I decided to check with some other insurance companies — and much to my surprise, I was able to save almost two-thirds the cost.”

Flood insurance

Floor insurance costs are also on the rise. Traditional homeowners policies won't cover flood damage in areas with a high risk of flooding events (hurricanes included). So in these regions, homeowners need separate flood insurance policies to protect from flood-related damage. Often, they're even required to have this coverage by their mortgage lenders.

Most of these flood insurance policies are issued through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which just implemented new risk assessment procedures last month. The move has caused premium hikes for a large swath of homeowners. According to an analysis by real estate brokerage Redfin, 81% of policyholders will see an increase. In Texas, Florida and Mississippi, it's 90%.

“There has been a sharp increase in catastrophic weather events over the last decade, and longer-term weather patterns and climate change will exacerbate this trend,” says Bill Martin, president and CEO at Plymouth Rock Home Assurance in Boston. “As the climate changes, the likelihood of such events increases, and insurance premiums rise.”

Unfortunately, there’s not many homeowners can do about their flood insurance costs. Those rates are standardized by FEMA, and premiums are calculated based on your home's location, replacement cost and structural features.

Property taxes

The hot housing market is also sending property taxes upward for most homeowners. Property taxes are based on the value of a home, and since home values have jumped steeply in recent years (up 19% in 2021 alone), homeowners’ tax burdens have increased as well.

“Property taxes are tied to property values,” says Jaclyn Bild, broker associate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “In this appreciating real estate market, property taxes will rise hand-in-hand with home values.”

While it’s too early to tell how much taxes will increase this year — those bills won’t come out until early next year, the typical homeowner saw their taxes increase about 2% in 2021 and 5.4% in 2020. In some metros, they rose by 10% or more last year (Nashville’s uptick was 27%!)

To reduce these higher taxes, homeowners have a few options depending on where they live: Typically, they can protest the home’s value with their local appraisal district, file a homestead exemption or both.

Homestead exemptions reduce the home’s assessed value by a certain amount ($25,000 in my county here in Texas), and they also set a maximum increase in tax value (10% annually in my case). That way, even if your home increases exponentially in value — like Hegwar’s did, you won’t feel the brunt of those higher taxes all at once.

Here's an example. Say my local appraisal district assigned my home a value of $400,000 last year. They think it's worth $480,000 now. With that 10% homestead cap in place, I could only be taxed on a value of $440,000 — a 10% increase over my home's taxed value the year prior.

Homeowners who itemize can also deduct up to $10,000 in state and local taxes (including property taxes) on their federal tax returns but talk to your accountant if you’re considering this strategy. It means forgoing the standard deduction, which may or may not work in your favor.

Repairs and upkeep

Maintaining a home is getting costlier too. According to the Home Care Price Index report from home repair platform Thumbtack, the average cost of home maintenance is up 8% from 2021, clocking in at around $5,000 per year on average.

The costs are getting so out of hand, a recent survey shows nearly nine in 10 homeowners are now delaying home repairs.

“The cost of home insurance, home repair and home improvement are all increasing along with prices in most of the U.S. economy,” says Adam Kornick, president of home services platform Porch.com. “Inflation and supply chain issues have been particularly noticeable in the prices of these items for some time, and it isn’t clear when the prices will level off.”

As Kornick indicated, the rise boils down to a few factors. First, there's inflation. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the cost of building materials — including things like drywall, concrete, and lumber — has jumped 8% since the start of the year and nearly 30% since 2020. Paint prices are also up — about 21% (for interior) and 30% (for exterior).

There’s also a shortage of contractors. This drives up labor costs and causes extended project delays (see Pinard’s seven-month septic tank wait).

Considering a move? Check out Money's Best Places to Live


High energy prices aren’t just hitting consumers at the gas pump. Homeowners also see them trickle down to their utilities, resulting in higher gas and electric bills.

Natural gas prices are up 22% compared to last March, and electricity costs have increased 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even water is getting more expensive (up 4% and 6% over the last two years, respectively).

There’s little homeowners can do about these prices other than reduce consumption, shop around for their provider or consider buying or leasing solar panels. Dailey also recommends installing a water leak detection device — like the Flo by Moen — which can prevent unknown leaks from running up your bill.

“These can more than cover their cost by identifying if you have a slow leak in your home or alerting you to a more costly emergency leak which helps a ton on water bills,” she says.

Other rising costs

And the list goes on. As Grosse can attest, HOA fees are also rising in some places. That’s due to several factors, including higher insurance, landscaping and pool service costs — typically big expenditures for managed communities.

Landscaping, in particular, is getting notably more expensive. Professional landscapers are dealing with higher fuel prices (to power mowing equipment, namely) and higher-cost fertilizers (some are up more than 120% in the last year), among other factors. These costs, ultimately, get passed down to the consumer.

“Small projects and even general maintenance projects are taking longer and costing more money now,” says Bianca D’Alessio, director of new development for Nest Seekers International. “Appliances and furniture costs are also significantly higher, coupled with tremendous supply chain issues and delays.”

The wait for some appliances is months-long in many cases, and prices aren’t much better. According to the latest Consumer Price Index, furniture prices are up 10% over the last year.

“The best strategy for mitigating or preparing for these costs would be to price out multiple vendors and plan out your projects as far in advance as possible,” she says. “Anything seasonal like pool installation and landscaping, plan those out for the next season now.”

More from Money:

5 Tips for Buying a House When Inflation Is High

6 Ways Your Home Can Make Money for You (No Sale Required)

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Old Home Feel New

Real Estate newsletter: Feds try to seize a Holmby Hills mega-mansion

Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter. It’s been a juicy week on the luxury beat, and our top stories have a little bit of everything: bribery allegations, celebrity, eye candy and a little dose of dangerous ambition.

First, alleged bribery. When a Holmby Hills mega-mansion a few houses down from the Playboy Mansion surfaced for sale at $63.5 million, it seemed like just another luxury listing. But federal prosecutors moved to seize the estate, alleging that its owner, a powerful Armenian politician, bought the 33,652-square-foot showplace with bribe money.

We spoke to the listing agent, who said despite all the drama, the home is still up for grabs.

Second, celebrity. The week’s biggest headlines centered on a pair of high-profile sales — one post-move and one posthumous.

The post-move deal was done by Adam Levine, who relocated into Rob Lowe’s $52-million Montecito mansion in March. A couple of months later, the Maroon 5 frontman unloaded his Pacific Palisades estate for $51 million, making it one of the priciest transactions in the history of the coastal community.

The posthumous deal was done by Alex Trebek — actually his widow, Jean — who sold the late “Jeopardy!” host’s longtime home in Studio City for $6.45 million. Trebek owned the place for nearly 30 years before his death in 2020, and the 1.5-acre spread is about a 30-minute drive from the Culver City studio where the game show is filmed.

Third, eye candy. The biggest “gotta-click-for-the-pictures-alone” story of the week belongs to Roger Vincent’s tour of Riot Games, the game developer responsible for the hugely popular “League of Legends.” The sprawling headquarters in West L.A. is a gamer’s paradise complete with a dining hall that’s free for employees, an auditorium built for esports competition and a coffee shop designed to resemble Bilgewater, a mythical port city from the hit game.

Lastly, dangerous ambition. The tale takes us back to 1998, when a landslide caused several homes to slide down a rain-soaked hillside. Houses were destroyed, condos were damaged, and now, a developer is looking to build a condo complex on the same site 24 years later. Needless to say, residents have concerns.

As always, while catching up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

Feds look to seize mega-mansion

A mansion in Holmby Hills has a pool and lawn in front and is surrounded by tall hedges.

A French chateau-style mansion in Holmby Hills has 11 bedrooms, 27 bathrooms, and an asking price of $63.5 million.

(Hilton & Hyland

For sale: a French chateau-style mansion in one of Los Angeles’ most exclusive neighborhoods, Holmby Hills, complete with 11 bedrooms, 27 bathrooms and an asking price of $63.5 million.

At 33,652 square feet, it is among the largest homes on the market in Southern California, but there are a few hitches. For one, the interior is not yet finished. And, this week, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles moved to seize the estate, alleging that it was the fruit of corruption involving a powerful Armenian politician and his children.

The U.S. Department of Justice outlined in a court filing how the property on South Mapleton Drive — a few doors down from the Playboy Mansion — was purchased in 2011 for $14.4 million with bribes to the family of Gagik Khachatryan, Armenia’s former minister of finance, from a prominent businessman there.

Khachatryan, 66, his two sons and the businessman are all facing criminal charges in Armenia; the businessman is accused of providing more than $20 million in bribes.

Adam Levine fetches a fortune in the Palisades

A plant-covered roof is among the buildings shown on a property in Pacific Palisades.

The three-acre spread includes a ranch-style home, four-bedroom guesthouse, gym, yoga studio, swimming pool and chicken coop.

(Anthony Barcelo)

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine quickly found a buyer in Pacific Palisades, selling his prized compound for $51 million. It’s Southern California’s third-priciest home sale this year and one of the biggest deals ever in the coastal community.

Levine and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, bought the park-like estate from Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner for $31.95 million in 2018 — so the sale marks a huge profit for the power couple. Over the years, other high-profile owners included “To Kill a Mockingbird” actor Gregory Peck and Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer.

Spanning three acres, the compound features three structures: a 9,000-square-foot ranch-style home, a four-bedroom guesthouse and a separate building with a gym, office and yoga studio. Midcentury architect Cliff May designed the ranch, which mixes chic, modern design with luxury amenities, including a Dolby movie theater, game room, marble bar and walk-in refrigerator.

‘Jeopardy!’ host’s home trades hands

The front of a two-story home opens onto a vast lawn.

Alex Trebek’s Studio City estate includes five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a handful of lavish living spaces.


Alex Trebek’s Studio City estate — which the late “Jeopardy!” host owned for three decades until his death in 2020 — has been sold for $6.45 million.

That’s exactly triple the price Trebek paid in 1991 when he bought it for $2.15 million, records show. His widow, Jean, listed the home for $7 million in January. His daughter, Emily Trebek of Compass, handled the sale.

The $6.45-million deal ranks as Studio City’s second-priciest home sale this year, and that tab should come as no surprise. The 99-year-old home spans 10,000 square feet and sits on 1.5 acres in Fryman Estates, one of the neighborhood’s most expensive pockets.

Inside are five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a handful of lavish living spaces. There’s a two-story entry with dual staircases, a lounge under a dramatic rotunda and a gold-and-white wet bar.

Riot Games’ L.A. home is a gamer’s haven

Two men sit at a long bar inside a coffee shop in Riot Games' headquarters.

A coffee shop inside Riot Games’ expanded West L.A. headquarters is themed after a city in its “League of Legends” game.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Riot Games’ headquarters on Olympic Boulevard in West L.A. is nearly invisible to passersby, much of it a discreetly walled-off campus where security is tight to safeguard work that can mushroom far beyond gaming into the riches promised by TV and film, writes commercial real estate reporter Roger Vincent.

The Times got a rare look inside Riot Games’ newly expanded home base, which gives off distinct movie studio vibes. Here are the highlights.

  • Three theaters, two of which were previously used by legendary movie directors James Cameron and George Lucas.
  • A dining commissary called Noms that includes one of the biggest commercial kitchens on the Westside, serving a wide range of fare that changes daily and is provided free to the company’s 3,100 employees.
  • A re-creation of a Korean gaming hall called PC Bang, where employees can play multiplayer computer games such as “League of Legends” — without the hourly fee that gaming hall patrons must pay.
  • Giant statues of Annie and Tibbers, characters from “League of Legends.”

And much, much more.

Developer looks to build on site of devastating landslide

An aerial view of two homes in Laguna Niguel that collapsed down a hillside.

An aerial view of two homes on Via Estoril in Laguna Niguel that fell in 1998 when a rain-soaked hillside collapsed.

(Geraldine Wilkins–Kasinga / Los Angeles Times)

In 1998, after a winter of heavy rains, the hill below Via Estoril collapsed in Laguna Niguel. Several homes slid down, others were destroyed, and the condominiums below were heavily damaged, writes Hannah Fry.

Now, a developer is proposing new condominiums at the base of the hill. Improvements made since the landslide will prevent disaster from striking again, the project’s proponents say.

Residents, however, fear the new project will destabilize the hill and send it crashing down again.

What we’re reading

As the California real estate market jumps away from the middle class, the concept of paying-it-forward is making its way into housing. Fortune tells the story of a Silicon Valley woman whose house is worth more than $1 million but decided to sell it to a trust for half its market value as part of an “age-in-place” initiative that lets longtime owners stay in their homes while the trust deals with upkeep. When she dies, the prized property will be turned into affordable housing.

Enough words. If you made it this far, I offer an interactive map from MarketWatch. It tracks housing availability across the country and found that inventory in L.A. County has gone down 25% since 2017. The drop-off gets even more dramatic up and down the coast, with Orange County’s inventory falling 38%, Ventura County’s falling 45% and Santa Barbara County’s falling 56%.

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The Big difference In between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

When thinking about assistance for a house renovation, it’s normal to get bewildered among designers and decorators. Surely inside style and inside decorating sound like interchangeable phrases for the very same position — and in point, some overlap does exist: Both deal with the within of a residence, earning it an attractive, useful, habitable place.

Still, there are important distinctions concerning the two. In a nutshell, inside designers normally deal with structural problems decorators with stylistic ones. But the designations and the obligations can get squishy when it comes to houses. Quite a few interior designers present decorating services, and numerous interior decorators deem what they do “designing.”

Knowing what the discrepancies are in between interior designers and inside decorators, and comprehension when you must employ the service of a person more than the other, can save you funds, time and grief — and strengthen your odds of a thriving home project.

What is an interior designer?

An interior designer is a experienced educated in developing harmonious, usable rooms and parts within a developing — the architect of its insides, so to speak. The Bureau of Labor Studies (BLS) defines interior designers as individuals who “make indoor areas functional, safe and sound, and gorgeous by deciding place needs and selecting vital and ornamental objects.”

Interior designers choose a complete, structural technique to a space. They are properly trained to get the job done with the items you see — the form, dimension and structure of rooms — but also the things you never see, like placement of HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other purposeful systems and their products and fixtures.

Interior designers often perform together with architects and general contractors on new builds. Many also focus in a specific niche, such as business office structures, hospitality, eco-friendly areas — or residences.

No U.S. condition involves a license or qualifications to do inside style for homes (even though some mandate certifications to do the job on industrial jobs). Even so, the American Culture of Inside Designers (ASID) does established precise requirements on how to qualify, and style on your own, as an inside designer. They involve:

  • Completing 40 semester several hours or 60 quarter hours in an accredited inside design and style plan at a style and design faculty or other tutorial establishment
  • Passing the Countrywide Council for Interior Style and design Skills (NCIDQ) examination
  • Receiving at the very least 10 more hours of inside structure training every two years

Together with passing of NCIDQ and membership in ASID, lots of interior designers earn credentials from other business associations. Widespread supplemental kinds include: American Lights Professional (ALA), Council for Interior Style and design Accreditation (CIDA) and the Interior Design and style Continuing Training Council (IDCEC).

What is an interior decorator?

Inside decorators are far more like dwelling stylists. They furnish and adorn regions and areas, but they aren’t competent to assemble or design or make structural modifications to them. Which is not to say they just can't transform a room, utilizing their abilities in:

There is no unique certification, exam or formal training necessary to turn into an interior decorator it’s a subject linked with on-the-task understanding and encounter, even though of training course some decorators may have analyzed art, architecture or design.

Decorators have their very own firms, or they may be affiliated with a home furniture or appliance retailer. They generally right purchase or invest in things for you, and enable set up or organize them in the place.

HomeAdvisor, the common hourly rate for an interior designer is $50 to $200 for every hour in contrast to $50 to $150 per hour for a decorator. In some situations, decorating assistance may possibly be bundled for cost-free when you buy furnishings from a unique retailer.

Difference in duties

But the major variance lies in what the two professionals are properly trained to do.

“The designer focuses far more on the operation of the areas and furniture, though the decorator focuses mostly on the aesthetics and design of the place and the home furnishings,” states Elvis Alcequiez, Architect Designer at Forever Architect who has practical experience operating with both of those inside decorators and designers.

“A designer will acquire into account the conversation of the house with its [external] environment, like all-natural incidence variables this kind of as wind and sunshine,” he adds. In contrast, a decorator’s gaze stays inward, concentrating on the “use and mixture of hues in spaces and furnishings, he adds. In other terms, they give the room a glimpse.

Let’s say you were being likely to transform your kitchen. A decorator could pull the existing space collectively by coming up with a type (this kind of as “farmhouse” or “contemporary”) for it, aid select paint colours and tiling, furniture and appliances even include extras this sort of as wall artwork, light pendants, exciting vases or objects and support in arranging the kitchen area cupboards greater. They would change the kitchen cosmetically, helping it glance far more roomy and probably even discovering you a little space for storage or to run in.

In contrast, an interior designer might suggest a different layout completely for the kitchen. They’d display you how to truly enlarge it or alter the configuration of the key appliances (and ensuing traces/wiring/pipes) They could aid in sourcing and replacing the countertops, building new customized cupboards, including an island they may well even supervise the contractors as in developing and executing the renovations.

So why the confusion?

Specified these variations, why does confusion persist between interior designers and decorators? Partly since some interior designers don’t just conceive a area, they adorn it also. But extra usually it’s for the reason that several inside decorators design and style them selves with the a lot more prestigious-sounding moniker “designers” or as offering “design services” — even when what they generally do is furnish. Whilst some states do regulate which specialists can connect with themselves “interior designers,” the mandates only implement to these working on business structures. Style/decorating expert services are unregulated for residential assignments: When it will come to household interiors, anybody can get in touch with them selves just about anything.

Situation in place: The common on line interior design and style products and services that operate with consumers almost, by using uploaded room photographs, software package renderings and personal computer consultations. Inspite of the title, these services principally are providing decorating thoughts and furnishing recommendations they don’t reshape areas. Some won’t even perform on new builds or raw spaces.

Do I have to have a designer or a decorator?

Picking in between an inside designer or decorator is dependent on the scope of your design venture and your finances. An interior designer can deal with any sort of venture no matter of complexity, which include structural and functional advancements. They’re excellent for a new make, an addition or an considerable rework considering the fact that the designer can also perform with (and supervise) contractors.

An interior decorator will come in when the room is a actuality, and is a lot more minimal to the cosmetic aspect of a position, focusing on furnishings, home movement, shade selection and property accents. Whilst the decorator is effective on a fewer-comprehensive scale than a designer, their services may well be additional than suitable, primarily if what you mainly want is a procuring buddy to brainstorm strategies and come across the ideal piece of home furnishings.

Picking out the pro

Doubtful what the specialist in entrance of you is capable of? Consider on the lookout for individuals various initials immediately after their names — the credentials that are the mark of diploma-toting, board-accredited inside designers. A decorator in all probability will not have these affiliations, no make any difference what their firm’s called.

And question them accurately what they do, and have done on the previous tasks they’re displaying in their portfolios. Do they get the job done with a new place? Can they help you change the footprint or purpose of a space? Will they really enable you source household furniture and fixtures? Supervise contractors or installers?

The superior decision arrives down to what you have to have. “When there is a substantial room difficulty and the options needed are concentrated on improving the high quality of the place, it is improved to seek the services of an inside designer,” suggests Alcequiez. “However, if the room will work, and all that is essential is to increase the aesthetics and model, it is advisable to employ a decorator.”