The Palm Beach Post Real Estate News page reports that,  “you and your neighbors are not alone.  The place the president and his family call home was worth 5.1% less last year, one analyst says.”

Zillow “zestimates” 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC (The White House) at $288,494,000.  The residence has 16 beds, 35 baths and is 55,000 sq ft.  They further estimate a monthly mortgage payment would be $1,216,562.


One of the oldest Colonial brick homes in the country still stands, with 11 rooms, built in 1650.  Originally a grant from King Charles I of England of 10,000 acres, it now contains 735 acres in Middlesex County with 2 mils of Rappahannock River frontage in Urbanna, Virginia, a historic port town.

Rosegill was acquired by Captain Ralph Wormeley in the early seventeenth century, as a grant from King Charles I of England.  Myriads of wild roses gave the place its name.  Wormeley was one of the most influential men in Virginia. Rosegill is listed in the National Historic Register of Colonial Plantations. Eventually Rosegill included an airstrip. To wind up the long hill from the little village of Urbanna, along a shady road, and to behold the fine old mansion a way off from its double outer gates is to realize delightfully how well some Virginians planned and built.  The kitchen includes a fireplace.  There is a dining room, paneled in mahogany, sitting room and library in oak and white drawing room.  At either end of a very large hall you will find winding stairs.  Five bedrooms are upstairs.

As the international sailing vessels of the colonial tobacco trade yielded to Chesapeake Bay schooners, then steamboats, then the pleasure boats of today, one thing remained constant: Urbanna’s history and fortunes are one with the Bay.  There is one huge bedroom in the attic with 14 beds for bachelors.  The lawn is 5 miles wide.  The green walk from the house to the river is bordered with roses its whole length.

First area commercial activities revolved around the tobacco trade, then shifted towards retail sales, fishing and tourists.  By the early 20 C. the town was known for oyster beds and packing plants, and as a summer resort.  Most of the original structures remain.  Included are the dwelling, a washhouse, kitchen and storage house.  The house has been continually occupied and is associated with some of the Colonies most prestigious individuals, making Rosegill perhaps one of Virginia’s richest archaeological sites as well as one of the oldest and most historic estates in America.



The Walton County Cultural Arts Association is presenting a tour of 5 homes along the beaches in the area as a fund raiser for their Educational Giving Program.  The tour starts on February 13th at 10 am and concludes at 4 pm Central Time.  The homes are in exception settings.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.


New World Symphony is selling its 38,000 sq ft building to a group of local investors.  The original architectural features of the new mall will be preserved.  New ownership of the Miami Beach historic Lincoln Theatre, built in 1935, will convert the property to a retail mall.  Plans for the Mall are to have room for up to four retail shops and restaurants.  Spaces can be larger than 5000 sq ft on the major retail corridor of Lincoln Road.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards the Symphony’s new home, a Frank Gehry designed building directly behind the theatre.  The selling price has not been disclosed.  As usual, Gehry’s designs are controversial.



Recently featured on the cover of Metropolitan Home Magazine, the Fougeron Tehama Grasshopper house in San Francisco CA is a bold combination of old and new elements including concrete, steel, glass, wood and marble. 

A light filled interior courtyard connects the building to the new penthouse above.  The first floor is a warehouse and includes the garage and Fugeron’s studio. 

The second floor has been described as concrete and steel with grey and white accents, and the top floor as white, bright and airy.  Some call it “The Glass Box as what is inside is clearly visible and even the bathrooms have glass walls.  It has been described as both modern and minimal. 

Another described it as post-industrial conversion or post-modern saying the reuse of space combining industrial with residential also make it minimalist.  All vantage points offer beautiful city views.

Walk to San Francisco’s famous Downtown with museums, shops and restaurants.  The modern masterpiece is the recipient of a national AIA Institute Honor Award and Fougeron’s designs have received many other awards as well including 2008 Best Architecture from Home & Garden.

Architect Anne Fougeron designed the 6100 sq ft Ingleside Branch Library with an egg-shaped children’s room, mahogany framed study nooks and a roof above the entrance.

 According to Architecture Week’s Directory, Fougeron Architecture, a nationally recognized design firm,  focuses on single and multi family residences, Mixed-Use, Commercial, Civic and Healthcare Projects and is located in San Francsico.  The property is listed for $4,128,000.



A 2-story, 6 bedroom, 5 bath home of 5026 sq ft, built in 1934, sits on about 2/3’s of an acre of  prestigious and private riverfront property.  The house has gone through probate and now must be sold.  Listed at  $1,300,000, Lee County has assessed it at $1,452,860.  The original floor to ceiling cypress lined 2-story great room has wrap around balconies and stunning panoramic river views.  A guesthouse is included. 

The home is close to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates and the newly revitalized historic downtown River District.  In 1986 both men became friends, and bought properties near each other.  Both properties are governed by the non-profit Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates, Inc. to protect, preserve and interpret the site and further growth and development, and recently finished a $10-MM restoration project in 2006.  Edison’s lush 20-acre botanical garden contains over a thousand plant varieties from around the world.  A 15,000 sq ft museum holds hundreds of Edison’s and Ford’s inventions, objects, video theatres and features changing special events.  Ford’s car collection is featured on the property. Tours are very popular.  Edison built there in 1886 and the Fords often visited, buying their property in 1915.  The Ford Estate is on National Register of Historic Places

The area is seeing a dramatic drop in prices, causing buyers to flock to the region.  Speculators were buying and flipping these prime waterfront properties in the recent past, and when the market dropped, many walked away and let the banks foreclose, the area had the highest number of real estate foreclosures in the country.  Some properties are receiving multiple bids and selling at or above list price within days of being listed.

In 1996, Money Magazine ranked Ft. Myers as the #6 Best Places to Live.  If you are interested knowing more about this or similar properties in the Lee County area, call Marilyn Jacobs at 561-302-3388 for further information.  Marilyn is a Luxury Home Specialist focused on southeast Palm Beach County cities including Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Palm  Beach.



More than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks will be included in “America’s Largest Open House,” the oldest and largest statewide house and garden tour event.  At the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, three dozen Historic Garden Week tours of some of the finest properties in the United States will be available, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Allegheny Mountains, spanning several centuries from the early 17 C. through the early 21 C.

Included will be formal, walled, cottage, cutting, annual and perennial, herb, water, and even “secret” gardens.  Beautiful renovated historic properties with interesting family histories and stories of the Revolutionary War, Civil War and the Victorian era.  Stunning contemporary residences are on the tour.  You can see outstanding collections of glass, china, and American, European and Asian antiques.  Each tour offers a variety of 5 to 6 local houses and gardens, many open to the public for the first time for Garden Week.

The stately interior and exquisite gardens of Tuckahoe Plantation, boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson, will be open in the Richmond area.  Garden Week visitors may stroll the grounds at any time for self-guided tours.  Tuckahoe is considered to be the most complete plantation layout in North America dating from the early 18th century.  The beautiful grounds include a cemetery, the office and schoolhouse where Thomas Jefferson went to classes, a small 18th century country-style kitchen garden with perennials, vegetable lots and a Memorial Garden designed by Charles F. Gillette.

The Pavilion Gardens at the University of Virginia are among the crown jewels of the historic restoration projects of The Garden Club of Virginia with funding from Historic Garden Week tours.  Surrounding the pavilions and enclosed by the serpentine walls designed by Thomas Jefferson, the gardens have been continuously restored and upgraded with plant material known in Jefferson's era.  As naturalist, gardener, farmer, and scientist, Jefferson kept meticulous notes in his Garden Book. The first entry was in 1766, when, at the age of twenty-three, he noted "the Purple hyacinth begins to bloom." His last entry, at the age of eighty-one, was a kitchen garden calendar of planting times, locations, and harvest dates. Jefferson's interests ranged from the amount of seasonal rainfall, to the best tasting bean, to the preferred method of grafting peach trees. Following his own belief that "the greatest service which can be rendered by any country is to add a useful plant to its culture," Jefferson cultivated plants from England, France, and the Lewis and Clark American exploration, as well as from expeditions to Africa and China.

The splendid gardens of the Morven Estate in Albemarle County have been a highlight of Historic Garden Week tours since 1929.  Morven’s magnificent estate gardens were created near Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, on a hillside with panoramic pastoral views.  The landscape contains a number of unusual trees, including a pair of Osage oranges, the state champion Chinese chestnut and a lovely dove tree. Extensive gardens form a series of distinct outdoor rooms, with thousands of tulips, pansies, forget-me-nots, lilacs, wisteria, spireas, deutzia and a rose garden. Annette Hoyt Flanders renovated the garden in the 1930s.  Morven was a charter property opened for the first Historic Garden Week in Virginia in 1929 and is now owned by the University of Virginia Foundation. The stately antebellum brick manor house will also be open for touring.

Westover, on the banks of the James River, is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in America, built in 1730 by William Byrd II, author, diarist, colonial leader and founder of the cities of Petersburg and Richmond.  The lawn, with its centuries-old tulip poplars, offers a commanding view of the James River.  The grounds are still protected by wrought-iron gates hung by Williams Byrd in n 1709 and are known to be the finest set of 18th century gates in this country.  Westover Plantation, on the banks of the historic James River, is considered to be one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in America.

Get a rare glimpse into some of the Commonwealth’s finest private estates in Northern Virginia’s magnificent hunt country in Winchester-Clarke County.  Impressive homes, old and new, are hidden along winding lanes amid green pastures, lovely gardens, Thoroughbred barns and scenic mountain backdrops. Five outstanding rural estates, dating from the 18th century to the early 21st, will not be opened to the public again by their present owners for quite some time, if ever.  All have interesting stories, including Civil War maneuvers in the area and current homeowners’ interests in green technology.  One property was built in the roaring ’20s as a showplace in the grand manner for the daughter of a New York Supreme Court Judge, also owner of the Savoy Hotel.  Furnishings include elaborate 16th century paneling from Samuel Guggenheim’s penthouse suite at the Savoy and a chandelier from the estate of famed architect Stanford White.  The Crash of 1929 ended the mansion’s glory days.  The owner was forced to evacuate. Furniture was sold or lost.  Vines grew through the windows.  Visitors will enjoy viewing the wonderful restoration and reconstruction that has been accomplished by the present owners at this handsome country manor.

During the Colonial period of the 17th and 18th centuries, rivers served as “highways” for early settlers, their friends and their business enterprises.  As plantations along Virginia’s major waterways prospered, fine mansions began to line the banks of the James, Rappahannock, York and Potomac rivers.

Some of Virginia’s most distinguished manor houses from this period will be showcased in Richmond County on Virginia. Generations later, several of these legendary homes are still owned by descendants of their original builders.  Included on this year’s tour are a site where Captain John Smith was entertained by Powhatan Indians in 1609, the home place of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an estate that figured prominently in the introduction of Thoroughbred racing and breeding to this country.  Refreshments will be served in the fabulous stable on the grounds of Mount Airy, one of the most beautiful 18th century Palladian houses in Virginia.

Lexington area tour will include a visit to charming homes, chapels and gardens that were part of  General Robert E. Lee’s life during this period and also the life of Stonewall Jackson.  Of special interest is the house built especially for Lee, with an adjoining brick stable for his beloved horse, Traveller, and a spacious, three-sided veranda around the first floor designed by Lee to enable his wife, confined to a wheelchair, to move freely around the exterior.
Master Gardeners will be stationed in the Stonewall Jackson House Garden to talk with visitors about the period varieties in this space and their horticulture.  The garden is planted and maintained by volunteers.

Historic Williamsburg homes and gardens will be on the tour... a story for another posts!

For more information see: