Philippe Starck embarks on first-ever Philadelphia project

SLS Gold event (image 3.13B)Philadelphia, Pa. — Luxury developer Dranoff Properties, along with hospitality, lifestyle and real estate development company sbe, recently announced that Philippe Starck will be the exclusive interior designer for the SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel. The SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel, with its 47 story tower and 152 boutique hotel rooms, is set to be built at the prominent corner of Broad and Spruce Streets in Center City Philadelphia. It will mark Mr. Starck’s first ever project in Philadelphia, further transforming the “Avenue of the Arts” into a glamorous destination for culture, art, fine dining and more.

“French design has long been a hallmark of Philadelphia’s aesthetic,” said Carl Dranoff, Founder and CEO of Dranoff Properties. “In the early twentieth century, it was Paul Philippe Cret who gave us the celebrated Rodin Museum, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge.  Today, it is Philippe Starck who is poised to redefine Philadelphia design with the SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel. To have an interior designer of Philippe’s caliber and world-class acclaim for this project truly speaks to Dranoff Properties’ and sbe’s shared commitment to excellence but also, to the transformational nature of this project for Philadelphia as an emergent global city.”

The famed French designer’s relationship with sbe and Sam Nazarian, sbe’s Chairman, began in 2005 as the design-centric brand planned to open its first luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. Mr. Starck guided the interior vision for this landmark project, notably its crown jewel, “The Bazaar by Jose Andres,” which serves as an indoor piazza for the property. Since this successful collaboration, Mr. Starck has served as the exclusive hotel interior designer for all SLS properties. He now brings his extraordinary global vision to Philadelphia for the SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel.

“To be entrusted to design the SLS LUX Philadelphia Hotel on the former site of Philadelphia International Records is an extraordinary privilege and opportunity, especially for my first project here,” said Starck. “The cultural richness of this city and its history provide unending inspiration and now knowing the history of this property, it is reminiscent of my work with EastWest studios in Hollywood. I am excited to continue my collaboration with Sam and SLS and I look forward to working with Mr. Dranoff and the incomparable Gene Kohn of Kohn Pederson Fox Associates in creating one of the great architectural and design properties in the United States, if not the world.”

New tower of Hawaii’s Ritz-Carlton Residences breaks ground

Penthouse LanaiHonolulu, Hi. – Real estate development firm, Irongate, has broken ground on the second tower of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach and launched the final phase of sales at the luxury residential community.

The development is approaching 90 percent sold since it hit the market in the summer of 2013. The final phase is now selling and includes a collection of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom residences priced from $949,800 to $3.5 million as well as a handful of one-of-a-kind- penthouse estates priced from $6.75 to $25 million. Available residences range in size from 500 to 5,100-square-feet.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the world’s best hotel and residences brand to Waikiki,” said Jason Grosfeld, founder of Irongate. “The Residences will further secure Waikiki’s position as a world-class destination providing full- and part-time residents, as well as visitors, with all the legendary services and amenities they have come to expect of The Ritz-Carlton brand.”

The second tower, known as the East Tower, is being built alongside the West Tower, which broke ground in September 2013, and reached 25 of its 38 floors this week. Completion for the West Tower is slated for the spring of 2016 followed by the East Tower in 2017. The two towers will connect at the base with a seven-story parking and amenity podium, which when completed will become a premier Waikiki destination and resort terrace.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach have achieved status as one of Hawaii’s most sought-after luxury residential addresses, with 88 percent of residences now sold to buyers primarily from the United States, Japan and other parts of Asia. These are the first luxury towers to be built in Waikiki since 2009.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Grosfeld and his team as they enter the Waikiki market with their exciting new property,” said Tim Grisius, Ritz-Carlton Senior Vice President “We also look forward to introducing our company’s legendary hospitality to an iconic location such as Waikiki.”

Dean & DelucaThe Residences will be the ultimate in resort-style living offering unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean from every home, world-class design and architecture and access to unprecedented amenities and legendary services delivered by one of the world’s best hoteliers. Located adjacent to the internationally acclaimed shops of Luxury Row, the shopping, dining, relaxing and rejuvenating found here places The Residences among the most valuable and coveted real estate in the world.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences Sales Gallery is located on Kalakaua Avenue next to Luxury Row and open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

New owners of dream Italian estate turning it into hotel

unnamedLucca, Italy — The famous violinist Paganini used to play during the summer evenings for Napoleon’s sister, Princess Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, in the spectacular Green Theatre at the Villa Reale di Marlia.

Many of the most celebrated historic villas in the province of Lucca, Italy, have been sold by Lionard Luxury Real Estate over the years. Now, you can add the vaunted Villa Reale di Marlia property — including its historic Green Theatre — to that list.

The estate was bought from the by a Swiss couple, who after having it accurately restored, intend to open a dream hotel that aspires to be one of the prime extra luxury hotels in Italy.

Among one of the most representative Italian historic dwellings, Villa Reale di Marlia is one of the Monumental Villas of Lucca, which were built in the 15th century in the countryside surrounding the town of Lucca, by rich bankers and silk merchant. It was then brought to notoriety by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, crowned princess of Lucca and Piombino and Grand Duchess of Tuscany, who bought Villa di Marlia in 1806 and the nearby Villa del Vescovo uniting them into a single property.

The villa is surrounded by a 19 hectare English style park, with parts of the garden original from the 1600s, including the magnificent Green Theatre that was created in 1652: an open air theatre, with walls of yew hedges and statues in terracotta, representing the characters of the Commedia dell’ Arte.

The interiors of the villa include an overall floor surface of 18,000 m2. Among the numerous rooms of the villa is the grand ballroom where the princess used to give memorable parties, and the great violinist Niccolò Paganini directed the orchestra.


Luxury golf and ski community’s sales surge before final phase

CaptureTruckee, Ca. — Martis Camp, a private residential golf and ski community in North Lake Tahoe, recently announced it orchestrated a total of 138 property sales in 2014 which totaled a record $255 million, the community’s highest volume in a yearly sales period. More than 85 percent of the master-planned community’s 671 homesites have sold to date, with a total of 418 custom homes complete, under construction or in design.

With only 75 homesites remaining in inventory, 2015 marks the final phase of one of the most successful real estate sales stories in the last decade. New amenities introduced, such as the Beach Shack at Lake Tahoe and Aerial Adventure Park, have contributed to 2014’s brisk sales pace as Martis Camp’s developers continue to invest in the lifestyle experience and further build the Camp into Tahoe’s definitive family retreat.

“We are pleased to enter the new year with a great amount of energy at Martis Camp and excited to welcome many new families to our community this winter,” says Martis Camp General Manager Mark Johnson. “As we enter this last stage of sales, our focus is on refining our already robust stable of Club amenities and programming, and continuing to add new offerings and valuable experiences for our families and Club members.”

Martis Camp sets the industry standard in mountain private Club amenities, most recently unveiling the new Beach Shack at Lake Tahoe, opened in fall 2014. Martis Camp now offers one of the most comprehensive four-season experie
nces in the country with private ski lift access to Northstar California, an award-winning Tom Fazio golf course and now a home base on Lake Tahoe.

A full Club calendar of events benefits the whole family, from movie nights at the Family Barn, to après ski mixers and winter wine dinners. The Martis Camp Folk School offers a variety of artistic pursuits from wood carving to cookie decorating, and the competitive spirit can flourish at the Martis Camp Ski Cup Championship and Neighborhood Snowman Competition. Long days on the slopes culminate with “Bluebird and Après Ski Music” at Lookout Lodge, which showcases the sounds of some of Tahoe’s best musicians, from jazz to folk to bluegrass.

Beautiful Fendi Château penthouse on sale for $25 million

Render 18 - Terrace_watermarkedMiami, Fla. — Luxury private developer Château Group today announced the release of the southeastern penthouse at FENDI Château Residences, a new 12-story waterfront condominium building located in Miami, Florida, two blocks south of The Bal Harbour Shops. The two-story penthouse includes 7,000 square feet of interior space and almost 2,000 square feet of expansive terraces, along with a rooftop pool. The penthouse is now available for $25 million and is being marketed by Venegas International Group.

“We are excited to reveal this exclusive penthouse residence at FENDI Château Residences, which offers refined living in FENDI’s first branded condominium project in the world,” said Manuel Grosskopf, chairman and CEO of Château Group. “The penthouse residence is located on the southeastern corner of the building and offers extraordinary and unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean and inter coastal waterway, in addition to expansive interior space and a rooftop terrace with a pool.”

“FENDI Château Residences is attracting a balance of both domestic and international buyers looking to purchase in a luxury branded development,” added Monica Venegas, principal of Venegas International Group. “We are currently 75 percent sold, proving that today’s global buyer is more discerning than ever and brand-oriented with a desire for low density developments and white glove services.”

Slated to be completed in the spring of 2016, FENDI Château Residences features 58 exclusive floor-thru oceanfront residences and penthouses ranging in size from 3,300 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet, with prices from $6 million to $25 million.

For more pictures of FENDI Château’s waterfront condominium building, check out our gallery below. More information on the residences, and the penthouse, is available at

Las Vegas high rise sold for record-setting $7.7 million

Crown Penthouse

Las Vegas, Na. — Char Luxury Real Estate, a new Las Vegas brokerage, has announced its record-breaking $7.7 million sale of the unfinished Crown penthouse at One Queensridge Place. Sold to a Canadian buyer, the Crown spans over 15,000 square feet and is part of one of the most exclusive high rise communities in Las Vegas.

According to a report from the county assessor, the transaction sets the record for the highest priced property sold in Las Vegas year to date, as well as one of the top five highest priced residential properties sold in Las Vegas over last half decade. It also marks the highest value of an unfinished high rise condominium sold over the past five years and is in the top five highest high rise closings in Las Vegas over the past decade.

“This sale raises the bar for the level of ultra-luxury in Las Vegas and speaks very highly for the future of the high end real estate market;” says Broker Randy Char. “The towers were built in 2008 and the Crown purchase isn’t a speculative investment. It represents a real resident that is looking to design their one of a kind custom home at the top of the tower. Not only is this a record setting sale, the property is unfinished, so it is feasible that with customization, this home could reach in excess of $10 million when it’s completed.”

The residence is one of four Crown penthouses. With each Crown comes 24 hour concierge services, a 15 car private enclosed garage, direct elevator service, seven terraces spanning 3,000 square feet with panoramic views of the Las Vegas Valley and an amenity list that rivals those of the finest in the world.

The last available Crown is currently on the market and offered at $9.9 million. One Queensridge Place, located 10 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, has two 18 story residential towers that feature only 219 “Custom homes in the sky.” This high rise community offers a world class spa, private wine cellar, 24 hour guard gated security and so much more. Set against the backdrop of southwest Las Vegas, One Queensridge Place is moments away from PGA championship golf courses, Red Rock Canyon National Park and spectacular shopping.

The Mesa at Amangiri: Crown jewel of Canyon Point, Utah

Mesa 1 Patio Dining DuskBy Peter Fiorilla

If you’re looking for luxury living arrangements and demand a sense of solitude, consider The Mesa at Amangiri.

An eye-catching, palatial paradise in the secluded desert of Canyon Point, Southern Utah, The Mesa at Amangiri is the crown jewel of the area and among the most beautiful uninhabited residences in the country.

Iconic, famous attractions surrounding The Mesa at Amangiri include the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Staircase Escalante, Bryce and Zion National Parks, and residences are just a 25-minute drive from the nearest town of Page, Arizona — but that 25 minutes can feel like 25 hours if it needs to, as it’s easy to be lost in the area’s quiet dignity.

“There’s a moment that comes when looking out at the majestic landscape when you seem to feel it more than you see it,” said Jade McBride, Amangiri Activities Director. “From the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, the landscape in this area is nothing short of magical and I see the way that magic changes people’s lives every day.”

The Mesa is made up of 36 private homes spread over the Great American Southwest, which will be priced at $15 million each. Mesa One (pictured), which is completed and available immediately, is listed at $7.5 million. The resort’s luxury amenities include  a brand new BMW X5, an automatic enrollment in RYL’s exclusive Black Card Program for travel by aircraft, and the option of hiring a House Manager to run the property.

“One isn’t simply buying a house,” says Canyon Equity’s Homi Vazifdar. “They’re investing in pristine land and a unique living experience unlike anywhere else.”

For more information on The Mesa at Amangiri, visit

Christopher Peacock to renovate kitchen of John Hughes’ estate

unnamedLake Forest, IL — The Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago announces its collaboration with luxury English kitchen designer Christopher Peacock and Jenn-Air at the 16th Biennial Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens. The kitchen renovation will take place in the east Lake Forest estate of the late movie maker John W. Hughes, Jr.  The house will be open for tours daily from April 25 through May 17, 2015. Through its Logan Square clinic, the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago provides quality, community based healthcare to under and uninsured, underserved children and women who would otherwise lack access to basic medical services.

Christopher Peacock’s collaboration with the Lake Forest Showhouse marks the debut of his new “Lambourne” collection, which is a fresh take on classic traditional fitted furniture. “Though state-of-the-art, I designed the kitchen to look as though it belongs in a house from the late 1920’s,” said Peacock. The kitchen will feature a combination of beautifully crafted natural ash and dark grey and white painted cabinetry with brass hardware designed and chosen by Christopher for its age appropriateness. The countertops will be a white and grey marble and a kitchen island will provide seating for three. To allow more light in through its many windows, Christopher opened up the kitchen by removing its low hanging archways. Beautiful weathered oak floors will complete the look of this dream kitchen, which will be a comfortable and inviting gathering place for friends and family.

Also in the new kitchen, luxury appliance innovator Jenn-Air will feature a built-in refrigerator that surprises with a stunning Obsidian interior. Recently available nationwide, the deep charcoal interior lends a sleek and sophisticated look and gives everything within the refrigerator more prominence and visual pop. Also featured in the Lake Forest Showhouse kitchen will be the recently introduced Jenn-Air 24″ built-in steam and convection oven.  This versatile wall oven uses steam to preserve nutrients in vegetables and tenderness in meats, and convection for evenly-baked pastries and roasts.  Another stand out appliance will be the Jenn-Air Single Wall Oven with V2™ Vertical Dual-Fan Convection System that boasts a 7-inch full-color LCD touch screen control panel and a Culinary Center with access to full color pictures of foods, doneness levels and pan types, and menu-specific cooking tips.

Built in 1929, the 11,233-square-foot home features seven bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a library as well as six fireplaces. The home retains much of its original character, with hardwood floors, detailed mill-work, wall paneling and wood-beamed ceilings. John Hughes widow, Nancy Hughes, generously donated the home to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in 2014 and over 30 top interior and landscape designers and architects have signed on to re-decorate the home to raise funds for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.

The house will be open for tours April 25 through May 17, 2015. Weekdays hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., while weekends hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shuttles will transport visitors to the home from downtown Lake Forest. Tickets will be available online for $35 per person and at the door for $40 per person.

For up-to-date event info visit

Unique Homes Week In Review, Week of March 14

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By Peter Fiorilla

Monday – A magic treehouse apartment complex in Turin, Italy is capturing the imagination of people across the globe for its innovative and eco-friendly design. The complex is home to more than 150 trees, helping it feel organic and alive.

Tuesday - A new study from Sotheby’s looks at the super wealthy residents of Los Angeles and the world. Its findings include that wealthy Angelenos have an average age of 58, are mostly “self-made” and more.

Wednesday – The world’s smartest city turns out to be Tel Aviv, Israel, at least according to the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. Israel’s second-largest city, which has also been rated highly as an innovator by Citibank and the Wall Street Journal, beat out 250 competitors for the prize.

Thursday – Score one point for technology! An online 3-D tour is resonating with luxury buyers in Atlanta, Georgia, where The Residences at Mandarin Oriental are enjoying strong sales thanks to their cutting-edge website.

Friday – Need a little more flair on the patio? In the home? Here’s one way to add an essence of nature wherever you need it: a Wild Flower Door Basket from French Garden House, inspired by the small French town of Provence, France.

Showing someone to the door has a new meaning

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Here’s one way to add plant life to the house: Attaching the Saint Remy-de-provence Wild Flower Door Basket, a one-of-a-kind piece from French Garden House, onto unadorned doors that could use a little more flair. 

“Showing someone to the door” won’t mean what it used to.

This beautiful, handmade basket could also be a focal point for outdoors spaces, but its specialty is in blooming wherever the need arises: On a mantle, the door to the kitchen or the back of a complementary wicker chair, the Wild Flower Door Basket is as versatile as it is endearing.

And it is very endearing, in part because of the source material it draws from: The small town of Saint Remy-de-Provence, France, or just Provence, France.

“In the heart of Provence, it has all the charm of a typical Provencal village, with narrow little streets, squares with fountains, and an abundance of flowers,” said Lidy Baars, an antiques dealer and curator with French Garden House. “St. Remy-de-Provence has always been a favorite of artists, including Vincent Van Gogh. The French Country life style, the roadside wildflowers, and the French ‘Joie-de-vivre’ were our inspiration for this door basket filled with wildflowers.”

The Wild Floor Door Basket is, stripped down to its most basic element, a green wicker basket seating a variety of plants — grasses and greens, roadside French favorites and more.

“Flowers work magic with their lovely colors, they beautify any area with their gracious forms,” said Baars. “Especially for those areas that are low in light, or where a real arrangement just isn’t practical, a luxurious basket or arrangement such as this is the perfect solution to bring the beauty of flowers to a space.”

It has additional features, though, such as a hand painted terre Cuite pot on the side, which serves as the perfect home for a small bird’s nest.

The icing on the cake, though? The Wild Flower Door Basket also features a rich, lavender-striped bow that completes the image. Merveilleux.