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AOL Real Estate - Blog

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    Xeriscaping, or waterless landscaping (or smart-scaping or native-plant landscaping -- whew!), is a great way to save time and money on maintenance for your lawn. By using native plant species and paying close attention to sun exposure, you will rarely have to water your lawn yourself. A well-made xeriscape does the work for you.

    Creating a habitat using native plants can be livable and enjoyable. Grasses, trees and bushes alien to your natural climate tend to be your landscape's biggest water-suckers. By planting a native habitat in your yard, you will conserve water, create an eco-friendly space and perhaps find yourself living side-by-side with the beauty inherent to the land on which you live.

    Here are six steps to get you started on creating a native, easy-to-maintain and beautiful lawn with xeriscaping.

    1. Seek out plant species native to the area. Local nurseries and landscape architects are great resources when deciding what to plant in your yard.

    2. Look for natural drainage patterns. This will help you to avoid erosion as well as help you highlight visually interesting valleys, crests and plateaus in your landscape.

    3. Pay attention to sun patterns. Take note of which areas get the most sun and will subsequently require more water or more drought-resistant species of plants.

    4. Use well-aerated soil. It's high in organic materials through added compost and conserves water. Many plant species (other than most cacti) will appreciate a wet, dense soil.

    5. Consider alternatives to grass and turf. Use stones, brick, mulch, sand or native grasses in place of turf. You will find that it needs far less water and maintenance.

    6. Learn how to properly irrigate. By replacing crude hoses and sprinkler systems with modern irrigation methods, such as drip irrigation (which limits waste by dripping small amounts of water directly to each plant), a yard can thrive with limited or zero water-waste.

    See also:
    Solar Ready Roofs: California's New Homebuilding Standard

    A Castle Made of Car Parts and Other Junkyard Finds

    Apple Unveils 'Mothership' Campus That Braces for Disaster


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    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    House of the Day Desert Vessel

    Described as a "desert vessel," designed to appear like it's floating over the valley, this $2.895 million Phoenix mansion is anything but your average.

    With its unique architectural design, featuring burnt-orange "sails" and retractable walls of glass, this home is a daring new take on the typical desert contemporary. Inside, you'll find polished porcelain and washed bamboo floors, stainless steel and glass reflective surfaces, and splashes of bright color throughout -- from the walls to the eclectic furnishings. Outside, the home boasts a tennis court, pool, spa, waterfalls and ponds. The 7,500-square-foot space was designed by local architect Lou Werner.

    Situated at the head of Camelback Mountain, the home has expansive views of downtown Phoenix and the entire sprawl of the valley.

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    Laura Joyner of Sotheby's International Realty has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Phoenix, Ariz.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.


    Things to do in Phoenix

     

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  • 06/17/12--09:28: Attention All Dads!


  • Do you have a favorite room in your home where you like to retreat from it all? Somewhere that you go to relax? A great spot for watching the game or hanging out? A proverbial "man cave?" We want to hear from you! Please include:

    1. Any information about the room, especially something that you think makes it stand out.
    2. Your city and state.
    3. A way to contact you.

    Send photos of your digs to Graham.Wood@teamaol.com, and you could end up in our Father's Day photo gallery!

    We can't wait to see your pictures!

     

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    We've been into house flipping way before Vanilla Ice was, and this one in Los Angeles is one of the sweetest we've seen.

    The home is a winner in our books for keeping original details like its 12-foot-tall front columns intact -- but updating the pad with insane luxury features like floor-to-ceiling retractable walls of glass, Swarovski lighting and a steam shower ("for at least two" -- nice), The decor could use a little more character (it comes across as a little bachelor pad-y) but all in all, this contemporary is flippin' awesome.

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    The 4,061-square-foot home features three bedrooms and 3½ bathrooms.

    Tom Scrocco of Coldwell Banker has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Los Angeles.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.


    Identifying a Contemporary Style Home

     

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    Here's an Independence Day-worthy home to kick off your Fourth of July! Located in Dover, Del., this beautiful ranch-style home embodies everything that's good about America. (Fun fact: Delaware was the very first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, hence its nickname, "The First State.")

    It's nestled in a forest of oak trees, built right on the water, and it is wonderfully, gluttonously luxurious. It has a double jacuzzi, sauna, wet bar, game room, private gym and your own private boat dock. And despite it's apparently secluded location, it's actually only three miles from Walmart! Plus, at $749,900, the price is right, too.

    It's also Independence Day party-ready. With an incredible upper deck boasting a natural gas barbecue, it's great for spotting fireworks over the river, Bud in hand.

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    The Continental Real Estate Group has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Dover.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.

    From coast to coast -- and everything in-between -- we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation.

    Pacific Palisades, Calif.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $14.9 million
    Property details: This magnificent Mediterranean is fit to be a celebrity's hideaway home! It's located on a quiet lane and sits on more than 2 acres of park-like, grassy lawn. Relax by your tropical pool with cabana, soaking up that glorious California summer sun while nursing a mojito (cabana boy not included). The stunning home is sprawled across 10,000 square feet and features nine bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and an outdoor gym.

    See inside this property.

    See more Pacific Palisades homes for sale.

    Pinecrest, Fla.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $4.65 million
    Property details: Clearly, we love the Mediterraneans! This Mediterranean in idyllic Pinecrest boasts marble and wood floors, as well as stunning Chicago brick. Mixing old-world charm with modern luxury features, the 13,157-square-foot home boasts a 12-seat theater, a wine cellar and a custom bar. The luxurious house features 10 spacious bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and expansive terraces with incredible nature views. And don't even get us started on that pool....

    See inside this property.

    See more Pinecrest homes for sale.

    Chevy Chase, Md.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $2.6 million
    Property details: This charming home nestled in Chevy Chase's West Village is perfect for those who love nature. Flanked by trees, bushes and greenery, this flawless Victorian feels more like a country getaway. Close to a golf course and great schools, the six-bedroom home is perfect for sports lovers and growing families alike. Plus, it just got a $200,000 price reduction! What are you waiting for?

    See inside this property.

    See more Chevy Chase homes for sale.

    Paradise Valley, Ariz.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sat.-Sun., June 23-24
    Price: $1.175 million
    Property details: Now this home is something else. With polished walnut wood flooring, 16-foot coffered ceilings, wood beams and stone accents, this place is easy on the eyes. Plus, there are luxury features to boot: a wet bar with wine fridge, a theater room with surround sound, and a marble-and-limestone bath retreat. Throw in five huge bedrooms, a pool and spa, and a 600-square-foot guesthouse, and you couldn't possibly want for anything else.

    See inside this property.


    See more Paradise Valley homes for sale.

    Great Falls, Va.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $1.399 million
    Property details: This Colonial, according to the listing, "combines the best of traditional design with contemporary flair." And we couldn't agree more. With massive multiple windows flooding each level with light, gorgeous wood floors, soaring ceilings and flawless details, we'd say it's one of the finest homes in Great Falls. The home features five bedrooms, five bathrooms and is set on more than 2 acres.

    See inside this property.

    See more Great Falls homes for sale.

    Austin, Texas

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $1.225 million
    Property details: Nestled on a quiet cul-de-sac dappled with mature trees, this majestic six-bedroom home is wonderfully private, yet close to shops and the neighborhood park. Inside, you'll find a media and game room, ample living spaces and a spacious gourmet kitchen. We love the abundance of entertaining areas, particularly that gorgeous pool area with custom veranda -- perfect for summer parties!

    See inside this property.

    See more Austin, Texas, homes for sale.

    Greenwich, Conn.

    open houses of the week
    Open house: Sun., June 24
    Price: $3.395 million
    Property details: We love this classically beautiful home boasting stunning private gardens on more than 2 acres -- perfect for those green thumbs! The gorgeous five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home features an oversize living room with fireplace, panelled library with wet bar and the most elegantly marbled entrance hall you'll ever see! In the backyard, you get a luxurious in-ground pool with natural stone waterfall and diving board. Heavenly.

    See inside this property.


    See more Greenwich homes for sale.

    Inside Look: Steampunk Apartment
    See also...
    %Gallery-154246%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    curb appeal landscaping tips

    A minimalist curb-appeal landscaping plan can revitalize any yard that's not in serious trouble. You'll have bright color, lush greens and a well-manicured yard that says, "I'm easy and neat." It turns out, sellers don't need landscaping skills or a fat wallet to win on curb appeal.

    Here are some quick and simple landscaping fixes that enhance curb appeal and deliver a low-maintenance yet high-class look.

    1. Remove debris every day. "You don't want your yard to look like a lot of work to keep up," said Annette Weese, manager of Cold Creek Nursery in Aiken, S.C. She advised homeowners to be mindful of keeping the grass raked and free of pine needles, pinecones and leaves. A yard full of leaves only shows the amount of work awaiting new homeowners -- and for some, that's a deal breaker.

    2. Trim everything back for a just-planted look. Weese advised keeping bushes neatly trimmed below the windows. In addition to a groomed appearance, trimmed shrubs look easy to care for and suggest slow growth -- another important element in a low-maintenance look. Also, windows and natural light are big assets, so letting shrubs grow to block these detracts from exterior curb appeal as well as the interior of the home.

    3. Make a splash with annual color. "It's amazing what a little color can do to change the look of a house," said Brad McLean of McLean Landscapes in Northern Virginia. He recommended adding 15 to 20 pots of an inexpensive, easy growing seasonal bloom. Keep it simple and choose one type, such as impatiens, pansies or, depending on the season, even mums. You can break out a little and try alternating colors. Be sure to select a long-blooming variety so your landscaping efforts will carry you through the entire season.

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    4. Top off the flowerbeds. Refresh flowerbed mulch and re-edge for a clean look that pops. It's a classic approach to enhance curb appeal and will slow down weed growth, so there's one less thing to worry about. If you are doing this yourself and live in a termite area, remember to keep wood-based mulch pushed away from the side of the house. Other mulch choices include pine needles, pea gravel, bark and shredded hardwood mulch.

    5. Get the golf course green. It isn't easy to green your yard in a pinch if your grass is dry, dull or has brown patches, but who wants to inherit a sickly yard? In this case, McLean suggested a little-publicized quick fix: turf paint. The result is instantaneous, lasting and affordable. It's commonly used on golf courses to maintain year-round greens and can add luster to any dull yard without damaging the grass.


    For more landscaping and home-staging help see these AOL Real Estate guides:
    o. Xeriscaping: 6 steps to Natural, Low Maintenance Lawn
    o. Best Landscape Design Options
    o. Home Staging for Every Season
    o. How to Stage a Home Yourself

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.


    How to Choose Plants for Landscaping

     

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    Is there a better way to kick off your Monday morning than with a bit of good old-fashioned house porn? This exorbitantly pricey ($58 million!) Beverly Hills manse is way out of most people's price range, but let's call it inspiration, shall we?

    It's certainly a cut above the vanilla McMansions out there with its vibrant Middle Eastern theme: colorful tiles, richly-hued marble, deep, glossy wood detailing. It was designed by Mohamed Hadid, a real estate developer who built Ritz-Carlton hotels in the 1980s and is now known for creating lavish, billionaire-ready estates. (He even had a cameo in "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"!)

    All that jazz aside, his newest creation is a gem worth the publicity: crystal chandeliers, hand-finished wood floors, grounds flanked with lush foliage, olive trees and specimen plantings. It's 48,000 square feet and is built on an acre lot. There's even a swan pond! See for yourself. (And thanks to our friends at Curbed for the tip!)

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    Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Previews International has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Beverly Hills, Calif.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    If you weren't prepared to shell out $15 million for a home built for Jesus Christ, you can still live in a "divine" home in New York City for significantly less. For $25,000 a month, you can find a haven in a former synagogue in Manhattan's East Village.

    The re-purposed structure isn't exactly shy about its spiritual past: It boasts a huge custom-made stained-glass window, with a Star of David. But that aside, the rest of the four-story space is pretty standard (well, for a moneyed New Yorker).

    The property features three sprawling bedrooms, three terraces (one with security cameras!), a private roof deck, a hot tub and a humidity-controlled wine cooler. A floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed hallway will lead you to one of the home's 2½ luxury baths, where you'll find a sumptuous rain shower.

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    Also, it's gorgeous: Brazilian hardwood cherry floors, hand-poured Brazilian glass mosaic tiles, Wenge wood paneling, floor-to-ceiling steel-cased windows and doors ... you know, the usual.

    Vladimir Luzader and Danny Davis of Town Residential have the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in New York, N.Y.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    %Gallery-158619%

     

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    house of the day

    Here's another floating piece of paradise we can add to our list of private islands we'd like to buy when we win the lottery.

    Located in the glistening azure waters between Sarasota and Naples in Florida, Little Bokeelia Island is the idyllic island resort you dream of escaping to when you're sitting at your 9-to-5 desk job.

    It offers 100 glorious acres of land, including a stunning Spanish-style estate built in the 1920s. The four-bedroom house boasts soaring, wood-beamed ceilings, arched entryways, elegant columns and classic wood detailing throughout.

    Outside the 6,486-square-foot home, you'll find acre upon acre of lush, wild greenery, a smattering of tropical palms and an incredible waterfall (pictured at left).

    If you thought the coolness ended there, you're so very wrong. The island heaven that is Little Bokeelia also offers a stunning 3½-mile beach that looks like it could've been lifted right off the coast of Guanacaste in Costa Rica.

    And it can be yours, all yours -- if you have a spare $29.5 million lying around. Thanks to our friends over at Business Insider for the tip.

    %Gallery-159074%
    Rick Moeser of Christie's International Real Estate has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale near Sarasota and Naples, Fla.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Aol Real Estate's Inside Look: Slide Home

     

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    House of the Day Kihei Hawaii

    Now this, this is the type of view you daydream about while you're sitting at your 9 to 5 desk job -- and we're right there with you. Located on the idyllic coast of Kihei, Hawaii, it's the perfect weekday escape (even if it's only in our minds!).

    That is, unless you're sitting on $9.5 million. Then you can afford to snatch up this sweet slice of Maui paradise and call it home. It boasts a charming "Old Hawaii" theme (wood detailing, tropical plant motifs, pillows with pineapples embroidered on them, coconut tree-adorned bedsheets, an earth-toned color scheme) and picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the West Maui Mountains and Pu'u Olai Beach from almost every room.

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    Inside, you get five sprawling bedrooms, 5½ bathrooms and a media room. Plus, there's a luxurious pool and spa -- in case being minutes from some of the world's finest beaches isn't enough for you.

    Josh Jerman of the Wailea group has the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Kihei, Hawaii.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    House of the Day Tuscan Santa Monica

    We love a Tuscan-style home, but one in Santa Monica with this kind of view? Talk about dream home!

    This stunning $4.45 million Italian beachfront beauty boasts massive open living spaces and huge floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the entire space with natural light. It not only has four huge bedrooms -- including a luxe master suite with fireplace and private patio -- it has a private screening room and a gorgeous rooftop sanctuary overlooking the ocean.

    Fancy yourself a bit of a Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay? You'll love the gourmet chef's kitchen. If you're more of an outdoors kind of person, then the home's perfect for you, too. It's steps away from the ocean and a "world-class pier."

    %Gallery-159081%
    David and Anna Solomon of the Solomon Team have the listing.

    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Santa Monica, Calif.



    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    For $3.555 million, you can get this feature-packed house with stunning views of the Puget Sound in Des Moines, Wash. Enter the estate through the gated entrance, drive over the private covered bridge and park in front of this artistically designed waterfront retreat. More than 7,800 square feet may sound excessive -- until you've seen what's packed inside this custom five-bedroom, four-bathroom house.

    %Gallery-159509%

    To start, it has a spa room with hot tub, a pub and a walk-in wine cellar. Its catering kitchen is perfect for entertaining guests, who can then stay in the self-contained guest apartment. The lodge-like home also features a media room, an office, a playroom, and a sunroom. Outside, there's more than 160 feet of waterfront property and tidelands. It might not be hyperbole when the listing agent describes this property as "a unique opportunity & rare find."

    See the listing for more details.


    Click on the images below to see more homes for sale in Des Moines, Wash.





    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.

    From coast to coast -- and everything in-between -- we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation.

    Paradise Valley, Ariz.


    Open house: Sat., July 7
    Price: $1.999 million
    Property details: Located at the base of Phoenix mountain, this stunning "soft contemporary" home is a desert dream. From its stunning mountain views to its resort-style aesthetic, this home mixes nature with luxury. The 5,760-square-foot stunner, built in 2012, features four bedrooms, five bathrooms, generous indoor and outdoor living spaces (including a sprawling patio by the pool and spa), and a wine room.

    See inside this property.

    See more Paradise Valley homes for sale.


    Pinecrest, Fl.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $3.679 million
    Property details: This exquisite Country French estate is the epitome of old-world glamor. With its dramatic, curved staircases, cavernous foyer entrance, spacious, light-filled symmetrical gallery hall, cherry wood floors and intricate chandeliers, it's a home that's so very easy on the eyes. Plus, at 8,651 square feet and boasting six bathrooms, six bedrooms and a stunning luxury pool, it's ideal for growing families and perfect for entertaining.
    See inside this property.

    See more Pinecrest homes for sale.


    Pacific Palisades, Calif.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $14.9 million
    Property details: This is a truly spectacular 10,000-square-foot Mediterranean just minutes away from Palisades Village and Montana Avenue. Featuring that incredible tropical pool with cabana (pictured), a whopping ten bedrooms, a gym, and park-like, grassy lawns, this home leaves you wanting nothing else. It's also one of the most beautiful we've seen yet: French doors, fireplaces, wood-beamed ceilings and curved staircases -- quite simply, a beauty.
    See inside this property.

    See more Pacific Palisades homes for sale.


    Mount Kisco, N.Y.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $1.799 million
    Property details: This custom-built Colonial is built upon a whopping 1.7 acres and fuses classic charm with the necessary modern amenities. We're talking a grand, two-story foyer with a gracious circular staircase, medallion chandeliers, Venetian plaster walls and cove crown moldings. Luxury features include a carrara marble jacuzzi tub with oversize windows, and an antique bar and games room seal the deal.

    See inside this property.

    See more Mount Kisco homes for sale.

    Austin, Tex.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $1.2 million
    Property details: For a break from all the cookie-cutter, vanilla McMansions taking over Austin, we'd like to present this beautiful home with character to boot. Featuring travertine wooden floors, beedboard ceilings, coffered ceilings and walls painted in striking golden hues, this home boasts flawless attention to detail. Perfect for summer parties, the 4,097-square-foot home has a huge pool, a 12-person spa, a waterfall and a huge stone patio with Viking grill.

    See inside this property.

    See more Austin homes for sale.


    Mclean, Va.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $1.449 million
    Property details: This home is classically elegant and sophisticated, yet down-to-earth. Flanked by trees all around, the pretty home is perfect for those who love the great outdoors but don't want to sacrifice their creature comforts. Featuring leafy views from every window (and we mean every window), paired with luxury features like a spa bath with jetted tub and separate shower, you'll easily fall in love with this sweet four-bedroom home.

    See inside this property.

    See more Mclean homes for sale.


    Atlanta, Ga.


    Open house: Sun., July 8
    Price: $1.079 million
    Property details: Here's a beautiful brick traditional in the prestigious Kingswood neighborhood of Atlanta that is just perfect for growing families. Located on a quiet, leafy cul-de-sac, the five-bedroom property is not only stunning, it's in a spectacular location: right in the Jackson School District and close to various shops and eateries. We love the sprawling lawns and verdant greenery abundant throughout the property.

    See inside this property.

    See more Atlanta homes for sale.


    See more AOL Real Estate galleries:
    Charming Homes You Can Score for 150,000
    Gayborhoods
    Best Beach Towns for Buying Foreclosures


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    AOL Real Estate's Inside Look: Steampunk Apartment

     

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    When did summer getaway homes become so generic? It's like there was some sort of unwritten rule that demanded that all luxury beachfront rentals be so communally... vanilla. That is, until we got tipped off to this kaleidoscopically-hued summer contemporary named "Maison Plastique" in Shelter Island, N.Y.

    With candy-colored exteriors -- "It looks like some sort of toy," our editor raved -- and equally eclectic insides, we were sold even before we saw the vacation home in person. You wouldn't believe how fast we hauled ourselves out of Manhattan and onto that ferry.

    Cool facts: The owners of the home are New York-based architects and designers Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, of the internationally-renowned architecture firm Stamberg Aferiat. The home is the epitome of their signature euphoric color palette (neutrals, be gone!), paired with sleek lines and untraditional construction materials. The result? Architectural alchemy. See for yourself!



    Like what you see? You can rent the home for $14,000 a month year-round, or $19,000 in August. Gina Surerus of Corcoran has the listing.

    Got a tip for our Inside Look series? If you know of any exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale that's video-worthy, please email krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.com with your suggestions. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find homes for rent in your area.
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.


    Follow AOL Real Estate reporters Krisanne Alcantara (@krisannetraz) and Teke Wiggin (@tkwiggin) on Twitter (@aolrealestate).




     

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    People must think that living in a former sacred space brings them closer to the divine, because we've seen a lot of churches and synagogues turned into homes lately. Not that we're complaining: We're huge fans of the whole thing, especially after laying eyes on this heavenly piece of real estate.

    The First Church of Christ Scientist, which was built in 1917, has been converted into a luxury townhouse building, aptly named The Sanctuary.

    Located in Seattle's Capitol Hill, the church-turned-luxury residence has been landmarked by the city, which ensures that -- unlike other abandoned places of worship -- it cannot be torn down.

    It's been fashioned into amazingly sleek, contemporary living spaces that pay homage to the structure's spiritual past (much like New York City's famously re-purposed synagogue).

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    The Sanctuary features stained-glass windows, soaring cathedral ceilings (38 glorious feet high) and an ethereal stained-glass dome.

    The stunning units range in size from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet and all boast original pilasters, reclaimed pew stair risers and exposed brick. Organized religions may not make you a believer, but boy, these apartments will. See for yourself. (Note: The Sanctuary recently sold out of spaces).

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    Delaware peach plantationTalk about a home with history! Though Okolona Plantation in Middletown, Del., looks like your typically beautiful Italianate Victorian, it's not just a pretty face. This stunning home was once a 19th century "peach mansion," where the owners grew peaches and sold them on the property. But it now functions as both a certified thoroughbred farm and -- get this -- an airport.

    Yup, that's right. The home sits on an FAA-approved airstrip, meaning that you can literally fly in and out whenever you like (assuming you have your own private jet, which is quite possible if you can afford this $1.2 million plantation to begin with). Unfortunately the listing doesn't have a picture of this airstrip, but reportedly the runway is 1,300 feet long and 70 feet wide.

    After your aerial jaunt, you can go bareback riding across your immaculate 15 acres of land, which includes five pastures and a 20-by-60-meter dressage area. Very "Gone With the Wind." There's also a three-bedroom guesthouse.

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    Inside the 5,500-square-foot mansion, built in 1860, you'll find grand, 11-foot-high ceilings, crown molding, dripping crystal chandeliers, fireplaces, gilded mirrors and flowered wallpaper. (We don't think the last one is so appealing). But if you love that whole vibe of Old World affluence, then this home is perfection. If not, then there's always this modern Southern belle of a home in South Carolina.

    See the listing for the Okolona Plantation here.

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    Aol Real Estate's Inside Look: Missile Silo

     

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    There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.

    From coast to coast -- and everything in-between -- we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation.

    Carefree, Ariz.


    Open house: Sat., June 30
    Price: $2.399 million
    Property details: This contemporary is the perfect fusion of L.A. luxe and European chic, with views that will blow your mind. Located on the south rim of Black Mountain, the home boasts unobstructed views of the valley below, from Four Peaks in the east to the White Tanks in the west. The stunning 5,001-square-foot three-bedroom also offers an additional 2,500 square feet of outdoor living space, including that incredible pool (pictured above). Perfect for entertaining!

    See inside this property.

    See more Carefree homes for sale.


    Los Angeles


    Open house: Sun., July 1
    Price: $4.295 million
    Property details: This incredible, 4,559-square-foot home is fit for a movie star and has luxury features to boot! It boasts four huge bedrooms, six bathrooms, a fully-equipped theater with an in-ceiling, automatic, 110-inch movie screen, and a wet bar. And those are all directly off an outdoor living room with a 40-foot-long, infinity-edge pool and spa. Talk about A-list treatment! The home also boasts a generous gym and two-person custom Jacuzzi tub. Plus, it's absolutely gorgeous with its sleek details and high ceilings -- leaving you wanting for nothing.
    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.


    Harding Township, N.J.


    Open house: Sun., July 1
    Price: $2.495 million
    Property details: Located in one of the most desirable areas of Harding Township, this special home is beautifully sited on a cul de sac street, with a circular gravel drive. The classic, four-bedroom, five-bathroom Colonial boasts beautiful dark oak floors, a graceful foyer and staircase, fireplaces and stunning wood detailing. With its spacious, rolling green lawns and huge backyard (with a bluestone-surrounded gunite pool), it's perfect for growing families.
    See inside this property.

    See more Harding Township homes for sale.


    Santa Fe, N.M.


    Open house: Sun., July 1
    Price: $1.825 million
    Property details: A classic "old Santa Fe" beauty with all the modern touches you'd need, and then some. The stylish 6,219-square-foot home also boasts spectacular east and west views, and gorgeous outdoor living spaces to enjoy them from. Inside, you'll find a stunning, natural aesthetic: exquisite white plaster walls, brick floors and antique wood beams. A traditional, truly exceptional, New Mexico gem.

    See inside this property.

    See more Santa Fe homes for sale.

    Great Falls, Va.


    Open house: Sun., July 1
    Price: $1.55 million
    Property details: A magnificent Colonial mansion that boasts a wonderful "Renaissance" feel. Boasting curved staircases, soaring double-height ceilings, columns, huge windows and sprawling living spaces, this five-bedroom home is a standout. Plus, it's great for parties, with its screened-in porch, extensive outdoor deck and that luxurious pool with spa. Dreamy!

    See inside this property.

    See more Great Falls homes for sale.


    Cabin John, Md.


    Open house: Sat.-Sun., June 30-July 1
    Price: $1.895 million
    Property details: Though this idyllic, six-bedroom, six-bath "farm home" is flanked by towering mature trees and grassy, parklike grounds -- making you feel like you're on a country getaway -- it's actually located just minutes from the bustling towns of Georgetown and Bethesda. Perfect for those who love the great outdoors, this classic, shingled country-style home offers over half an acre of gorgeous greenery, and a country-living feel, while offering all the creature comforts you need!

    See inside this property.

    See more Cabin John homes for sale.

    Arlington, Texas


    Open house: Sat., June 30
    Price: $689,000
    Property details: This custom, single-story waterfront stunner boasts expansive lake views from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The four-bedroom, 4,714-square-foot New Traditional sits on a rare waterfront lot scattered with huge native trees along the shoreline. Inside, you'll find a split-bedroom arrangement, walls of custom built-ins, fireplaces and sprawling living areas. And don't even get us started on those flawless, waterfront views from almost every room.

    See inside this property.


    See more Arlington homes for sale.

    See more AOL Real Estate galleries:

    Charming Homes You Can Score for 150,000
    Gayborhoods
    Best Beach Towns for Buying Foreclosures


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.


    Inside Look: Colors

     

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    Ryan Phillippe

    Actor Ryan Phillippe has re-listed his Hollywood Hills home for $6.995 million. He purchased the home, called "Raising Zen," in 2008 after his divorce from actress Reese Witherspoon, but tried unsuccessfully to sell the house in 2010. Phillippe listed the home for $7.45 million but took it off the market in 2011 when it failed to sell.

    Now with a new agent and a 6.1 percent price cut, Phillippe is ready to try to sell again.

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    The Los Angeles home was given its nickname because of its Asian architecture and modern flair. It features five bedrooms and 6.5 baths, including a separate private master suite with maple floors and its own balcony. There is a two-story gym off the master, as well as an office, a media room and a step-down bar with an aquarium backdrop. In addition, there's an art studio and a music room that could be used as an office or staff quarters, and ample skylights draped with window treatments. Outdoor spaces include an outdoor kitchen, a sauna, canopied firepit, a 60-foot pool (with built-in speakers), an outdoor shower, a spa, and walls of flowing water. There is an automatic gate leading to the property, and there's a media room and a bar.

    And as the listing agent explains, the house is equipped with "stoperrazzi," or features that help keep away the prying cameras of the paparrazzi.

    See the listing for more details.

    See also:
    10 Celebrity Homes That Have Stolen Our Hearts
    Why Won't Anyone Buy Walt Disney's Childhood Home?


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    In case you haven't heard (and if you haven't, are you living under a rock?!), Hollywood power couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have called it quits. But here at AOL Real Estate, what we want to know is: What's going to happen to all of their homes? Only time will tell, but thanks to the crack team at Trulia, we can at least gawk at the multi-million dollar properties that Suri's mom and dad used to cohabitate.

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    While it was recently reported that Holmes is renting a new apartment in New York City, none of the properties have yet been listed for sale. But if they wind up on the market, you can be sure we'll be here to tell you all about it.

     

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