Ask a luxury agent about their most memorable real estate experience, and they’ll likely tell you about one of the extraordinary residences they’ve had the opportunity to sell. Such exclusive homes rarely come on the market, and when they happen to make an appearance, it’s the lucky few who walk through their halls. Here are five highly unique properties that Sotheby’s International Realty agents are particularly excited about.
A Spectacular Ranch Near Kremmling, Colorado
When it comes to lodges with mountain views this retreat in rural Colorado handily exceeds expectations. The property features a master suite with wood-burning fireplace, two guesthouses for visitors, and a private bowling alley. Set against a backdrop of breathtaking mountains, the property is connected by picturesque bridges that follow creeks, ponds, and waterfalls across its lush valley landscape. “The Homeowner’s Association maintains a master grazing lease on the greater ranch area,” notes Jack Wolfe, with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “This provides landowners the opportunity to run cattle on their property, maintaining agricultural status—with the related favorable property tax rates. The acreage is also the perfect setting for hiking, horseback riding, hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.”
A Different Kind of Dreamboat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
A residence on the romantic Amstel River seems almost like a fairytale, but this dramatic floating houseboat makes it a reality. “Named De Friese Franje, this dreamboat is situated at a prominent place in front of the Stopera in the center of Amsterdam,” says Jocelyn Kotvis of Amsterdam Sotheby’s International Realty. “It puts you right in the middle of the city, while still being apart from it.” In what other home does a former wheelhouse serve as a living room with views out over the water to the historic Dutch capital? Renovated by notable design firm Amsterdam Kromhoutwerf, the houseboat’s state-of-the-art kitchen and two bedrooms will make any land lover feel comfortable at sea.
A Cultural Artefact in Sydney, Australia
Few homes can truly be classified as fine art, but this circular property in New South Wales certainly qualifies. “It’s known as Oculus,” says Michael Pallier of Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty. “It was originally Frank Fox house, a masterpiece of 1960s modernism that was recognized at the NSW Australian Institute of Architecture Awards. But the most recent owners brought together a team of internationally acclaimed architects, interior designers, and landscapers to breathe new life into it.” The result is a domed gallery of striking geometries and curving, retractable glass, guaranteeing that visitors to Oculus can appreciate the sun-soaked panorama of the pool and gardens.
A Refined Spanish Colonial in Dallas, Texas
“Exemplary” and “timeless” are just two of the laudatory words used by leading architects and critics to describe this art showcase in Dallas, Texas. Like the masterful Oculus in Sydney, this mansion was conceived with the highest artistic aspirations in mind, but instead of being the artwork, this home was built by acclaimed architect Edward Larrabee Barnes—the same Larrabee Barnes who designed the Dallas Museum of Art—in order to display artwork. “The entry to the main living area is one of the most breathtaking in Dallas,” says Faisal Halum with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “The grounds are also extraordinary. The property unfolds beautifully, and certainly surprises at every turn.”
An Island With History Near New York City, New York
Nothing suggests luxury living like a private island, but real estate of this caliber is more traditionally found in the tropics—not on the outskirts of New York City. Columbia Island is an exception in every way. It has a storied history: originally known as Little Pea Island, the land was purchased by Columbia Broadcasting Studios—CBS—in 1941 for the site of a new radio tower. Soon after, Mary Healy and Peter Lind Hayes, mid-century Hollywood and Vaudeville celebrities, made the newly minted Columbia Island their home, and would broadcast their breakfast radio show from their own property. Today, no one is listening in on the island; its seclusion is one of its selling points. “The property is completely self-sustaining,” says Patricia Anderson with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. “All the floors have radiant heat. It has a reverse osmosis desalination system which turns the sea water to fresh water. It has solar panels that provide energy for the entire home, and there are two diesel generators for backup.” Plus, the owner of Columbia Island also has access to neighboring Pea Island, a private five-acre nature preserve of native plants and sandy beaches.
There are homes that are truly in a league of their own, and even high-end markets have a select few listings that stand apart from the rest. These unconventional properties present an auspicious opportunity to take up residence in a home unlike any other.
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