Where is the ‘Aspen of Asia?’

Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands, is a skier’s paradise. Its powder runs are so impressive, the practice of skiing them has its own name, “Japow,” and enthusiasts travel from far and wide to experience the season, which sees on average 600 inches of snowfall.

Until the late 1990s, Hokkaido was a well-kept national secret, its slopes populated by domestic tourists and a handful of adventurous Australians. It didn’t stay that way for long. Within a decade the Japanese were joined by affluent individuals across Asia, all of whom desired more luxurious lodgings than their budget-friendly forebears.

Local and international developers saw the potential and began investing in Hokkaido’s ski resorts, in particular those around the resort town of Niseko, which is often called the “Aspen of Asia” on account of its luxury offerings and global appeal.

Individual investors followed, aided by a lack of restrictions on overseas buyers, and this has cultivated a strong property market. A report by Nikkei Asian Review noted that the price of land along a major street had risen 88% compared to the same period last year, making it the fastest-appreciating land in the country.

The region’s proximity to the rest of Asia, meant that those who have already invested in Hokkaido property were already seeing a healthy yield.

According to C9 Hotelworks, factors including freehold ownership, a weaker Japanese yen, and high capital gains have boosted the real estate market in Niseko. C9 Hotelworks stated that the average price for a condo in the Niseko resort had soared 25%, compared to the previous year. Current projects for sale are set to top US$1 billion in transaction value.

Niseko’s connectivity is reflected in Hokkaido’s diverse buyer market. The majority of investors hail from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Taiwan, and that these demographics have not changed significantly in the past three to five years.

Buyers in Niseko have the luxury of choice among apartments, villas and houses. Plots of land also present the opportunity to design and build a dream ski home, which is an increasingly popular option.

A number of renowned architects—including Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma, who champions the use of natural materials and harmony with nature in his projects—have been commissioned to conceive properties in Niseko, both for developers and for private clients.

“Properties benefit from high quality Japanese construction and rapidly increasing yields on investment,” Mr. Lyon, a local real estate representative said. “It is the perfect place for investors to secure a spot for themselves in a world-class resort, and also enjoy strong returns from holiday rentals.”

Source: Mansion Global

Sprawling houses with tennis courts and indoor pools, among other ostentatious features, once constituted the benchmark for luxury properties. But not any longer. Luxury homebuyers now prefer smaller and manageable square footage with modern amenities based on wellness and technology.

Wellness has come to mean more than spas, pools and exercise rooms. The latest trend constitutes of green design and eco-friendly homes. Buyers are also willing to sacrifice square footage for in-town locations near all the action.

Here are the property types and features that the affluent seek based on a recent report by Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Modern and move-in ready homes

According to Coldwell Banker’s survey of 22 luxury real estate firms around the world, wealthy home shoppers prefer modern residences – both design-wise and in construction age.

While some may favor renovations of older or historic properties which tend to retain a higher land value, younger buyers prefer new builds with open-concept floor plans that support contemporary interiors.

Nearly 80% of the surveyed agents said buyers want flowing layouts with easy, informal transitions. Meanwhile, about 70% of respondents said that new-construction homes have risen in popularity over the past year.

Luxury homebuyers show little tolerance for outdated designs, even when it may have been built relatively recently. Existing condos, even built 10 years ago, are required to be extensively renovated for new interiors.

Home automation

When it comes to home technology, 81% of the surveyed agents said their clients seek smart homes.

The definition of a smart home in 2020, goes beyond automated lighting and smart temperature control. Homebuyers want every aspect of living to be seamless.

This may include smart security systems, wireless sound systems and electric car docking stations.

Smart home tech has evolved from the convenience-focused applications to experience-focused integration of components into daily living and energy efficiency.

“I think we’re seeing more multifunctional spaces because people want ease of living. With everyone working on laptops and being so mobile, I’ve found that many of my luxury listings must have home automation that calls for purpose and function.”

Spaces to support a lifestyle

Outdoor living spaces or multi-use interiors have maintained their sustained appeal with luxury home shoppers and millennial buyers.

72% of the respondents said outdoor living spaces are a necessity, while flexible spaces, such as home offices is a growing popularity among younger buyers who may need to run small businesses from home.

“I think we’re seeing more of these multifunctional spaces because people want ease of living,” writes Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties in Honolulu, Hawaii.

As for condos, family-friendly features are highly-favored additions to a home. Certain condo developments include washing stations, walking areas for pets and child care services with activities and excursions for kids.

Wellness amenities

While traditional features such as spas and gyms may promote well-being, luxury homebuyers want amenities that emphasize holistic health as well as environmental stewardship.

Think energy efficiency, air and water flow and lighting quality as wellness considerations that underline the design, function and location of residences. Today, there are different levels of eco-friendly certifications that buildings can obtain, an advancement that is a part of the growing global trend of wellness real estate.

Living in a “green” development often translates into 10%-20% premiums, the report states.

Source: Coldwell Banker

Trending: Pantone Blue.

From lush living room ideas to relaxing bathroom and bedroom sanctuaries, these fresh pantone 2020 interior ideas and settings are guaranteed to help spark some classic blue interior decorating inspiration suitable for every abode.

A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is a restful color that brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit. In applications related to home decor, Pantone notes that Classic Blue is a pervasive favorite, offering the promise of protection, a stable foundation, and creative confidence. The hue is easily applied across different materials, textures, and finishes, Pantone noted, and can express tradition and elegance as well as boldness.

Maybe time to swap for a sofa, repaint those walls or decorating your upcoming overseas home? These ideas are here to help.

Words: Interior Design, Insider

Days after Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos announced they had finalized the terms of their divorce, the Amazon CEO is reportedly apartment hunting in New York City. The Amazon CEO remains the richest person in the world with a net worth of US$115 billion, while MacKenzie Bezos is worth US$37 billion, making her the fourth-richest woman in the world.

Jeff Bezos is looking to spend US$80 million on a penthouse apartment and two surrounding units in a Manhattan building overlooking Madison Square Park. This would expand his enormous real estate portfolio.

It’s not known how the Bezos family will split up their real-estate holdings, which include six huge properties across the country. A 2017 Land Report named Bezos the country’s 28th-largest landowner.

From two neighboring Beverly Hills mansions to a sprawling estate in an exclusive Seattle suburb, here are the six estates the Bezos own in the United States. Jeff Bezos lives in a nearly 29,000-square-foot estate in Medina, Washington.

Bezos owns two homes in Medina spanning 5.3 acres.

According to The Wall Street Journal, he paid US$10 million for the property in 1998. One home is a 20,600-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom house, and the other is an 8,300-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom home rumored to have cost US$53 million.

Medina, located on a peninsula across Lake Washington from Seattle, is an exclusive suburb that is also home to Bill Gates, other Microsoft bigwigs, tech entrepreneurs and telecoms magnates.

Many of the neighborhood’s mansions are hidden away behind gates and protected by elaborate security systems.

Bezos also owns property in Beverly Hills, California, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. He bought this Spanish-style mansion in the ritzy neighborhood in 2007 for US$24.45 million. The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom Beverly Hills home is advertised having a greenhouse, a sunken and lighted tennis court, a huge swimming pool, four fountains and a six-car garage.

The Bezos family owns a 30,000-acre ranch about 30 miles from the town of Van Horn, Texas. Bezos grew up spending summers on his grandparents’ ranch outside Cotulla, Texas and bought the 30,000-acre Figure 2 ranch to give his family the same experience. Bezos bought the 30,000-acre property after the seller spent “millions” renovating it. Behind the home is a bunkhouse that sleeps 12. The property is also the base for Bezos’ private space company, Blue Origin.

Blue Origin made history in 2015 when it successfully launched and landed the reusable rocket, New Shepard. Its goal is to become a space tourism company, ferrying passengers up for weightless rides.

In 2016, Bezos bought a former textile museum in Washington, DC for US$23 million. The 27,000-square-foot space in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood is a former textile museum and dates back to 1912, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood, Kalorama, is a hotspot for Washington big wigs. The Obamas own a US$5.3 million home nearby, and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner moved in down the street.

In 1999, Bezos bought three condos in the Century building at 25 Central Park West in New York City’s Upper West Side under an LLC called “Jetima”. The purchase was from former Sony Music head Tommy Mottola for US$7.65 million. Bezos bought an additional unit for US$5.3 million in 2012, making him the owner of four condos in the historic building. The 32-story art deco building was built in 1931 and boasts a concierge, lift attendants and three separate entrances, on a prime location next to Central Park.

Penang’s Macalister Mansion is conceptualized as a quirky and sophisticated lifestyle destination where guests are treated to a series of experiences not unlike those found in the hospitality of an actual home.

Penang's Macalister Mansion is an innovation restoration

Grand and imposing, Macalister Mansion on Macalister Road in George Town, is a paean to what sensitive and innovative restoration and re-purposing can achieve. From the modern fibreglass bust of Colonel Norman Macalister at the entrance to this century-old mansion, to the Cellar bar which showcases original architectural details of this heritage hotel, Macalister Mansion is the poster child for restoration, with a nod to heritage yet flirts with modernism.

Penang's Macalister Mansion is an innovation restoration

Penang's Macalister Mansion is an innovation restoration

Built in 1880, the mansion was originally owned by an Indian moneylender or chettiar. A China-born property tycoon Choong Lye Hock bought No.228 Macalister Road in the late 1800s and lived there with his family and his mother together with an entire retinue of staff including gardeners, cooks and 20 servants. The boutique hotel however, now pays tribute to Sir Norman Maclister, one of the first British Governors of Penang from 1808 to 1910.

European in design but Asian in decoration, it was the office of the Consumer Association of Penang for a decade before it was acquired by the present owners. Present owner Datuk Sean H’ng worked closely with architect Colin Seah from the Ministry of Design, an architectural firm based in Singapore. They worked to rehabilitate this outstanding building to its former glory, paying minute attention to conserving significant architectural details whilst infusing the property with contemporary design elements.

Penang's Macalister Mansion is an innovation restoration

Penang's Macalister Mansion is an innovation restoration

The original columns were reinforced, staircases and archways repaired, plaster was removed to reveal original brick walls and cornices, and the windows soundproofed. With specially commissioned artworks from Malaysia and Southeast Asia, this is a quirky yet sophisticated eight room hotel. The two restaurants and two bars at Penang’s Macalister Mansion are decorated with whimsy and imagination, a well-balanced juxtaposition of the old and new living harmoniously together.

Source: Unreserved

The Ford’s post-White House desert getaway was a true reflection of their personalities—cozy, comfortable, efficient, and completely of the moment.

Desert Getaway of President Ford - Ashton Hawks

Once upon a time, exiting Presidents helicoptered off into the sunset bathed in a nostalgic glow of self-sacrifice and a well-deserved return to the private sector. Their dwellings in the US remain to be quite a mystery to the public.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan returned to their California ranch and ultimately a gracious but low-key 7,000 square foot home in Bel Air; George and Barbara Bush took refuge in a Houston condo along with their seaside family compound in Maine; and Bill and Hillary Clinton moved into a discreet Dutch colonial in New York, while Barack and Michele Obama  bought a gracious Tudor-style manor house in Washington DC.

Desert Getaway of President Ford - Ashton Hawks

President Gerald and Betty Ford, accidental occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue following the resignation of Richard Nixon, were the definition of low-key Midwesterners who brought their Ann Arbor candor and charm to the American people. Their White House was all about a national healing, followed by an open and honest baring of their souls as they demonstrated that they were.

Desert Getaway of President Ford - Ashton Hawks

Located on the 13th fairway of the lush Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, the sprawling Southern California midcentury desert getaway was designed in 1977 for the Fords by Welton Becket & Associates.

For the interiors, they engaged Beverly Hills decorator Laura Mako, a favorite of Hollywood luminaries Mako fulfilled the Fords’ request for a home that, while embracing the desert modern aesthetic, was also comfortable, colorful and, most importantly, happy.

Fast forward 35 years to 2012, the Ford family estate put the house on the market a year after Betty’s death. At that same time, two Los Angeles entertainment executives had commenced a search for a weekend getaway. They were immediately drawn to the Ford desert getaway’s pure, clean lines and gracious layout. The end result is hardly a time capsule, but a wistful reminder of another era’s stylistic expressions and defining values, updated for today’s lifestyle while still reflecting the gentle, post-Presidential journey of Gerald and Betty Ford.

Desert Getaway of President Ford - Ashton Hawks

 Source: Town & Country

When technology and the bedroom meet, the end creation is a rotating bed.

Savoir Rotating Bed - Ashton Hawks

Nicknamed the ‘Three Sixty,’ this rotating bed by English Savoir, can be controlled and rotated 360 degrees with just a quick touch on a smartphone.

This rotating bed was produced from 300 hours of skilled labor, from the making of the mattress to the construction of the curved headboard and frames. Savoir teamed up with world’s foremost turntable maker, Bumat, which produces the turntables for the Geneva Motor Show, for the seamlessly rotating platform that supports the bed.

Savoir Rotating Bed - Ashton Hawks

Cotton velvet was used in the headboard and an exclusive topper made from the fibers of a Mongolian yak were sourced from Dedar. Savoir embedded reading lights and USB outlets to the bed to give the owners their utmost convenience. The bed was paired with additional sheet sets made with premium Egyptian cotton.

Savoir reveals that their legendary design sprang from a custom request last year, “when a chateau owner couldn’t decide if they wanted their bed to face the window or the fireplace.”

Savoir Rotating Bed - Ashton Hawks

Savoir Rotating Bed - Ashton Hawks

Savoir traces its roots back to London‘s Savoy Hotel, whose founder, a theater impresario, hotelier and traveler, Richard D’Oyly Carte, found that when no beds matched his standards, decided to make his own. Savoir beds begin from USD 10,000, which can include bespoke designs: headboards made from horsehair to vegan leather alternatives. Each bed takes at least 10 hours in the making. And no more than 1,000 beds are made each year.

The ‘Three Sixty’ is one that combines aesthetics, ultra-luxury and technology. Would you be willing to pay half a million dollars on this rotating bed?

Source: Trend Talker

For some, the most expensive elements of their homes are rather underwater. Extraordinary home aquariums are now the trendiest additions to million-dollar-homes.

Home aquariums add a sense of relaxation to a living space. It’s an art piece, merging indoors and outdoors together to create a vibrant homescape.

For marine lovers, having a small tank with a few fish can really make a difference in the home. For those who are also billionaires, they prefer a stunning, usually quite large, home aquarium that can host the most exotic tropical fishes ever found. We’ve rounded up the world’s most extraordinary home aquariums that sure do have a wow factor.

Kolenik’s sensational kitchen island is a giant fish tank that resonates in blue lights.  This dazzling addition to the kitchen is not only quite a view, but functional, with cabinets and drawers hidden on the back of the aquarium. To be exact, there’s also stoves and a sink embedded into the counter top, making it the ultimate kitchen gadget. Kolenik has integrated storage and asthetics seamlessly in this kitchen island design.

If an aquarium kitchen island is not large enough, an aquarium fence is determined to take your breath away. Spanning 50 meters around a home of a Turkish billionaire, this one of a kind fence has been a sensation in town, besides setting a new tourist attraction in Cesme. There are over 100 sea breams, eels and octopuses circling around the fence, which sometimes, attracts over 1,000 tourists per day. One thing we’re sure of, the owner will never go hungry.

A more modern, and less over the top option goes to Aquarium Architect’s Space-age aquarium. At 4 meters wide, the miniature aquatic center is sleek and impressively futuristic. The curved tank and dark backdrop adds contrast to the colors and life brought by the fish. The result is a striking wall feature that replaces a traditional art piece on the wall.

If a glass staircase doesn’t already add to a statement home, imagine adding a floor to ceiling home aquarium in the center of a spiraling glass staircase. BWNCY has designed a oceanarium design standard fish tank for a townhouse in London, UK. At two floors high, the aquarium has probably revolutionized the definition of a home aquarium to now, an home oceanarium.

The most extraordinary home aquariums on the list goes to RedFin Aquarium Design’s concept of an aquarium-encased dining area, fit for royalty. The circular aquarium featuring pristine blue waters and topical fishes could be a vibrant canvas for a watch-party during dinner. They say aquariums create a window to bring nature close to home and is a form of meditation, but we wonder how meditation would work along with dinner?

Source: Trend Talker

The Mandarina development is a massive endeavor in the coastal jungle in Riviera Nayarit.

Taking over two mountains, the flatlands and one-mile-long beach in between, the 640-acre Mandarina development will include two luxury hotels and private residences. Amenities include a polo and equestrian club, a farm to provide much of the ingredients used at the restaurants, an adventure outpost, a beach club, a preserved estuary, and more.

Mandarina has been a long time coming.  Ricardo Santa Cruz, the founding partner of Mandarina, had to strike a deal with each landowner one by one. This mission took him over the world and lasted nearly a decade. Thankfully Santa Cruz is no stranger to the process. He has negotiated thousands of acres collectively worth more than $90 million in capital.

The Villas

Yet, the Mandarina development team has cherished the natural landscape at Mandarina. Staff archeologists have helped create detailed plans to preserve the area’s landscape.  Moreover, the buildings will blend in seamlessly that they will be hard to distinguish from the lush greenery. Although only a handful of model rooms are available to viewing, 18 of the 55 villas have already been sold.

Mandarina will be one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. Designed by Rick Joy Architects, the villas are carefully built into the green mountainside, to disturb Mother Nature as little as possible.

The two-story four- or five-bedroom villas are designed to focus on outdoor living space. The estate villas feature eight bedrooms designed for multi-generational and large-scale living. Residences will blend with the outdoors with feature details like suspended infinity pools, sky-high ceilings, indoor & outdoor showers and bathtubs, retractable skylights and glass walls. Each will have different structural designs depending on its topography.

The One&Only hotel at the Mandarina development will be opening in 2020. Rosewood is to follow after. One&Only Mandarina Private Homes are currently for sale, ranging between $4.5 million and $12 million.

Source: Just Luxe

On the occasion of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Dior Maison has collaborated with Dimore Studio on a 14-piece capsule collection including vases, trays, place settings, and frames, all beautifully crafted with the clear influence of contemporary design and cannage, the House of Dior’s iconic code. Dimore Studio, an architecture and interior design studio founded in Milan in 2003, is known for their expertise in furniture design, lighting, and textiles.

Entrusted with the task of creating a series of precious objects for the Dior Maison, they made sure not to disappoint. As the minds behind Dimore Studio, Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, put it, they have created objects that “are truly timeless, that transcend any particular era.” Beautifully interweaving sharp geometric forms within an array of metals (gold, silver, bronze) and Plexiglas, the line has managed to make even an umbrella stand drool-worthy. Topped off with luxurious silver-lead work and golden details, they truly are a sight to behold.


The collection—spanning vases, trays, a candelabra, a lighter and an ashtray, place-settings, frames, and an umbrella stand—is previewing from April 9th to 11th at the Casa degli Atellani in Milan. As for the matter of purchasing, the pieces will be available exclusively by special order for only a one-year period, Place your order while you can.

Source: Flaunt