Santa Fe is one of my favorite rubber-tire escapes. I can get there in about 9 hours (10-plus if we make a stop in Amarillo and Cline’s Corners), and it’s worth every minute in the car. The thought has struck me lately that maybe it’s a good idea to consider a vacation home in Santa Fe …

Of course, it’d have to be close to the plaza, near shopping and restaurants, and have great amenities. Fairmont Heritage Place El Corazon de Santa Fe fits all the criteria in a gorgeous package. Seriously, this fractional second home development has some of the most beautiful units, and you can purchase a 1/8 undivided deeded interest in one of these gorgeous condos.


Alpine Dan NelsonPorchatSunset2a_edited-1.jp gIt’s that time of the year where I want a second home so much I could scream! After being in Albany last weekend, now I have Alpine to drool over: Dallas-based designer extraordinaire Dan Nelson has created an oh so comfy retreat inside a real log cabin in Alpine for a Dallas family. I honestly never thought I would want a log house — stone and metal-roofed Fredericksburg casita or clapboard Seaside bungalow, yes.

But now methinks I have a new house heartthrob: the sexy log cabin. Check out Dan’s handiwork (and a whole lot more) over on SecondShelters.com… (more…)

270 Van Buren Ridge ext GreenbrierI happen to be checking out the luxury real estate offerings at The Greenbrier Sporting Club in White Sulphur Springs, West Virgina. Whole story coming up on SecondShelters.com. This place is exploding with growth and fun. Thought you might want a sneak peak to see what five and a half million buys you in the form of a rugged mountain home here at The Greenbrier. We toured this home Friday and I was so blown away by quality of construction and ideas I had not seen in some Dallas mansions. Like: a meditation room facing the mountain for the ultimate “ahhhh”. Redwood steam sauna. Separate his and her commodes with little vanities right in there next to the potties. Iroko wood Swedish butcher block island in a kitchen with more mountain views. Come on in this place, you just have to see! (more…)

IHOTW 4337 WestwayIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we kind of like us some vacation homes. In fact, we are doing the happy-dance over at SecondShelters: vacation-home sales in the U.S. are rebounding. The National Association of Realtors tells us sales rose 10 percent in 2012, after tumbling — no make that, free-falling — 56 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Well, it’s all coming back big time. I had lunch with Phillip Day, who is marketing the beautiful BahaMar in the Bahamas, and he told me sales are really picking up, especially with foreign buyers in the international resort areas. They are paying cash.

Hawaii is totally hot and almost back to pre-recession madness. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hualalai Resort, which is half owned by fellow Texan and Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell, sold more second homes and lots in 2013 than any year since 2007.

And even the Journal says prices are back, too, up 24 percent, making up almost half of what they lost:

“I expect close to double-digit gains in second-home prices this year,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. He thinks primary homes will appreciate by only about 6%.  The median sales price for a vacation home in the U.S. was $150,000 in 2012, up 24% from 2011, according to the Realtors association. The increase reflects greater sales of higher priced properties. Their pricey amenities range from movie-screening theaters to wine cellars, private boat docks and golf-cart garages.

Still, you have to pack and get to a second home, so why not live in the Hamptons year-round, 24/7, right here in Highland Park? Fresh to the market is this beautiful new home built by Jennifer Duncan Designs, 4337 Westway,  that caught my heart over at Mathews/Nichols. David Nichols tells me Lloyd Lumpkins is the architect; he was with Robie Fusch before he went out on his own. I am so in love with that back yard — totally makes me feel like I’m on vacation in Maine — I may just go camp out!

4337 Westway foyerThe 8,960-square-foot home has a Highland Park address but more than 146 feet of frontage with a gorgeous backyard, pool, outdoor fireplace, and screened porch with electronic screens that come down at the touch of a button to create an entire outdoor room protected from the elements. Did I say Highland Park? Yes, that means Highland Park Schools. Enter to floor-to-ceiling white paneled walls, coffee-colored hardwood floors, beautiful crown moldings and windows, windows, windows. There is an incredible kitchen with all the trimmings: marble countertops, deep sink, abundant storage with Bosch, Sub-Zero appliances and a Wolf range with pot filler. Adjacent is a walk-in pantry, and a breakfast room that opens to the den. Also on this floor, and very smart: a guestroom in the opposite wing with full bath that could be a master should you want or need one downstairs. This one has a walk-in closet, a soaking tub, and a shower. Then there is the study with the adjacent “hide the mess” office across the hall.

4337 Westway kitchen 4337 Westway LR 4337 Westway his bath 4337 Westway her bath 4337 Westway bedroom 4337 Westway laundry roomUpstairs is the master suite with a ginormous bathroom, separate his and hers closets, soaking tub, steam shower and laundry facilities. There is another full-service utility with sink down the hall. Up here, too, three lovely bedrooms complete with window benches, built-ins, and en-suite spa baths.

I like the 12-foot ceilings down and 10-foot ceilings up — that is the trend: not too high, not too low, but just right. Also trending: the clean-lined finish-out throughout the home.

The home is about as walkable as you can get: located between Highland Park Village and the stores at Lomo Alto, you can leave the Porsches in the three-car garage and hoof it off for groceries or a latte.

I love it! Second home style for your first for only $4,950,000. I am sure the good folks at Inwood Mortgage will tell you that’s very smart investing…

4337 Westway back 4337 Westway porch

Breck Cannabis AP


Kathryn Olson/AP

If the lines out the door of the Breckenridge Cannabis Club are any indication, the new Colorado laws legalizing recreational marijuana sales are making ganja a golden commodity.

But will the new trade in Mary Jane mean more sales for Colorado Realtors? We break down the news from around the state to see where getting your Rocky Mountain High will mean higher sales on SecondShelters.com.


La Fortuna front  (2)Don’t know if you read our sweet sister blog, SecondShelters.com, but you may not want to miss this piece on a company call 3RD Home. How best to explain it? Let’s say you already have a second home, and you would like a change of pace from going there all the time, just a one-time stand so to speak. Yeah, it’s really like cheating on your house. 3RD Home is a web site for second home owners that expands second home ownership by creating a home swap of vetted vacation home owners and properties. It’s like belonging to your very own Exclusive Resorts, only more exclusive. You can exchange your home (home, condo or ranch) to stay at a THIRD home for — are you ready? $495 a week. That is not a typo. It costs you $495 to join 3RD HOME, and then $495 per week per stay at a home that matches the value as your’s, categorized as keys. I might add this must be full home ownership on your part, no family timeshares like our beach house. All the homes and owners are scrutinized so you know you are not just getting a five star location, you are putting nice people just like yourself in your property.

So, who feels like staying in this home in Argentina?La Fortuna Trees (2)

dogs on porch 7.2013I am talking about how vacation homes give you and your family legacy and a place to gather and enjoy each other away from the hustle and bustle. Like, this is the first time I’ve blogged today! And I’m getting a little teary-eyed… discover the whole story over on SecondShelters.com

Tourism is up in Hawaii, which is a very good sign for Hawaiian real estate. The number one reason buyers purchase a vacation home in any location is because they love it. It goes like this: visit the location, love it, feel like you never want to leave. This is the point where buyers start perusing the real estate and actually, finally, pulling out the checkbook.