Blog : New Listing

Basswood

Basswood

Large homes tend to have similar problems. When designing a custom home, there is one usual and obvious limitation. Budget. But this is when you’re designing a normal house, something you’re trying to make fit into a particular lot and a particular segment of a particular market. What if we throw out the limitation of market segment concern? What if there is no budget? Still, a singular problem exists. The design. If the wife sews and the husband smokes cigars, then a large house design would dictate that a sewing room and a cigar room be incorporated. Let’s put those at opposite ends of the house, the architect says. And let’s not forget about the children and their children. Those loved ones need space, too. And little Karen just loves to make beed necklaces, the kind that tourists buy when on FunJet vacations. Karen, your beed room is down this hallway, across from the twelve bedroom suites, opposite the cigar room and above the sewing room. This is the large house problem, and it’s an epidemic.

The home at 4396 Basswood Drive is large. Some 15,000 square feet above grade, large. That’s a big house. To enter it is to know it’s big. The gate is big. The guest house is big. The lawn is big. The circle driveway is big. The fountain? Big. The grand foyer is as grand as any foyer has ever been, outside of a building designed for members of parliament.  While we cannot ever mistake this house for being small, what’s important here is how logical the big is. The layout of this house is symmetrical. Nearly perfectly so. There’s a lakeside kitchen that spans the width of the lakeside pool. There’s a breakfast room, a formal dining room. The sunroom on the east end of the house takes in private views of lush perennial gardens. The great room is vaulted, soaring really, as high as it should be and not a penny higher. The fireplace in the lakeside great room is one of five that you’ll find here.  I always say if you think one fireplace is good then you’ve obviously never had five.

We have 3.28 acres here, which isn’t any particular feat on this lake. The level nature of the entire property from entry to water is what’s rare here, as most 3.28 acre parcels on Geneva will suffer from some variety of cliff or ravine or other slope. There is none of that difficulty at Royal Oaks, which is what this estate has been called since it was first constructed in the early 1990s. Royal Oaks. That has a nice sound to it, but it would be overwrought if we didn’t have a lot graced by so many large oaks. The frontage is as the rest of the estate parcel- level.  The 214′ of rip rapped shore line is level, but not so level that the water event of this week troubled its shoreline in any way. The pier is large, two slips worth, centered so properly on that wide frontage.  The lakeside patio holds an in-ground pool, just like you know it should. Any proper estate should have a guest house, and as we know, these are not all created equal. The guest house here is large, with three bedrooms and more garage spaces. You’ll find seven total garage stalls on this property, so please do bring your summer car and leave a winter one any stall you please.

So why would someone buy this home? What’s the market argument in favor of such a property, of such a large manor style home? To understand the answer, first consider the land. At present, the lot is easily worth $4.5MM. Perhaps as much as $5MM. To build a home of this size, a cost of $500-800 per foot would be expected. After all, this home cost all of that back in the 1990s when it was first built. The time to construct this home exceeded two years, which it would still today. The paint here might not be to your perfect palate. The kitchen would today want marble. The carpeted areas would now like hardwood, maybe stone. There are things here you might wish to change, things I’m guessing you’d want to change. But the change is easy considering the house itself is built. The scale is perfect. Those upstairs bedroom suites? Each bedroom measured 19 x 19, with some larger. They’re perfect, they’re lakeside, and there are seven of them in the main house.

Unlike homes built in the 1980s and before, homes built in the 1990s generally follow a nice pattern of scale. At least this home does. The layout is, as I said earlier, symmetrical and well thought out. There is nothing wasted here. No rooms for superfluous specific uses. There is just a large house that has been well taken care of, ready now for you to use immediately and enjoy, or ready for a tidy winter surface update.  The choice is yours.  Spare yourself the uncertain prospects of building a new estate. Spare yourself the years of construction. Spare yourself the unknown cost overruns. Buy this home. Enjoy your weekends here, in immense style, on Lake Geneva’s luxury lane. Basswood. $9,750,000.

New Elgin Club Listing

New Elgin Club Listing

It’s the word Club that throws people off. There’s some significant confusion in the market regarding the Elgin Club. Is it a Club? Well, sort of. Is it a co-op? Like the Harvard Club or the Congress Club? Not at all. The Elgin Club tends to get lumped in with these membership style co-ops, if for no other reason than the name. Elgin Club. Sounds like a club. Sounds like a co-op. But it isn’t. Do you know what it is? It’s a lakefront association with private lakefront homes. That’s it.

But is that really it? Is that all the Elgin Club is? A group of homes, each owning private frontage and nothing more? Well, no. That’s not at all what it is.  The Elgin Club also offers 16 wooded acres that are collectively owned by these lakefront owners. This land offers a beautiful tennis court, a private wooded drive, and land for garages. There’s also a full-time on site caretaker who handles the lawn and road maintenance.  That’s what helps make the Elgin Club a unique place on Geneva Lake. Sure it’s private frontage and private piers and that lovely north shore exposure, but it’s also a caretaker and tennis and convenience that other lakefront homes just can’t offer.

My new listing isn’t too difficult to understand. It has five bedrooms and five baths. It has hardwood floors and a fireplace. It has a lot of things that you’d expect, but that’s not the rare bit here. What’s rare is what you can buy here for $1.975MM. This is an entry level price in our market, and what you’re buying here is far from entry level. You get 50′ level frontage. There’s no hill to descend- not from the road to the house or from the house to the lake. There’s a two car detached garage. There’s at least 3600 square feet.

There’s also a new roof for this season, but now it just sounds like bragging. The Elgin Club isn’t like every place on the lake. But it isn’t unlike every other place, either. That’s why my newest listing will sell quickly. It’s everything a lakefront buyer could want in this price range, but it’s also more.

 

Jerseyhurst

Jerseyhurst

As an agent, there are certain streets around this lake that I revere. The streets that don’t encourage visitors. The streets that don’t offer up their homes with any version of regularity. The streets that are better than the others. Some of these streets you already know, but others you don’t. You don’t know them because they’re not like Snake or Basswood or one of the streets we know we should respect. These are the other streets, the short ones, the curvy ones, the ones that you don’t even know because why would you?  Welcome to Jerseyhurst Lane. The street so polished that you should always call it a Lane.

When the original caretakers cottage for the Crane Estate was built in 1885, it was long on charm and low on space. It wasn’t meant to be a lake house, a mini-estate, it was just intended to serve as a resting place for the family charged with overseeing the day to day at the large Crane estate. A place to eat dinner and a place to sleep.  Each room with a view of the lake, but, alas, there was no time for contemplation in this cottage. There was work to be done.

This original cottage was restored some in the late 1990s, and then in 1999 it sold to the current owner. This new owner had designs for this special location, and so a meticulous renovation with sizable addition was undertaken. Chris Hummel would be the contractor to oversee this work, and when the last wide-planked oak board was polished, the new owners had found themselves extra bedrooms, a large kitchen and attached garage, a large office,  and an ample great room with lakeside screened porch. The renovation was complete, the home perfect, or so the new owners thought.

More than a decade later, another idea, another plan to fix something that the house lacked: A first floor master bedroom. Sparing no expense, a spacious master suite was added, blending perfectly with the prior addition, which blended seamlessly with the original cottage.  The landscape here is Midwestern perennial perfection, fully irrigated and wonderfully large (nearly one acre). The lakeside porch has those incredible views and a steady breeze, while the brick patio is tucked privately into the lush backyard. A two car attached garage is augmented by a two car detached garage, leaving plenty of room for any car or toy you’d like to store.

The first floor master bedroom is luxurious, with separate tiled shower and soaking tub, double vanities and his & her closets. The are four other bedrooms here, each large and all but one possessing an en suite bath. The first floor den has it’s own bath, too,  and while the current owner uses this as a study, you’d be forgiven if you turned it into a TV room or an extra bedroom.  There are four fireplaces here, those wide planked oak floors, and character that you rarely find in such a unique location.

The house sits up away from the lake a ways, allowing rare privacy and continual quiet. The 50′ of lake frontage and private pier is shared with just one neighbor, though this home has exclusive rights to the canopied slip. There’s a 26′ Chris Craft Continental that calls that slip home, and though you’re allowed to put a new Cobalt into that slip, there’s something about the Chris Craft that perfectly matches the laid back style of this large lake house.

Today, this home has found its way to the open market, with an asking price of $2.895MM. It will be sold quickly, I do believe, so you’d do well to consider a tour of this home if you have any interest at all.  Streets like Jerseyhurst have been lining this lake for over a century, but rarely does a street like this extend to the public an invitation to ownership.

New Lake Geneva Club Listing

New Lake Geneva Club Listing

There are certain houses that are, for one reason or many others, better. They might not be gilded with gold, or polished to the highest diamond shine, but there’s just something about them. They’re welcoming. They’re cozy. They aren’t big but they certainly aren’t small. They have a presence, which is something that most homes lack. Most homes are houses; wooden or stone structures with some walls and a roof, capable but not endearing. My newest listing in the Lake Geneva Club is the sort of house that you remember, because it’s a special house on a special street and everyone knows it.

You’ll may remember this house from when I sold it several years ago. I sold this house quickly, likely because of the intangibles that the home possesses but also due to the tangibles. There are three bedrooms here, with a room that functions as a fourth. There’s a screened porch and two ample patios. There’s a double lot with loads of parking. There’s a deep water, fully transferable boat slip. There’s a wood burning fireplace. Yes, for all of the intangibles of style and grace wrapped in a lovely vintage bow, there are fundamentals here that make this a terrific lake house.

I’m not going to write much more today. This house will sell, and it should sell quickly. At $609k, there’s nothing else on the market that competes directly with it. There are no other homes for sale in the Lake Geneva Club. If you’re a buyer who wants to feel something towards the lake house you buy, then come see this house with me, and make it snappy. This won’t be available in the MLS until Tuesday, so you’re getting a first look, and I do hope you’ll let me know if you have any interest.

New Geneva Lakefront Listing

New Geneva Lakefront Listing

The thing about entry level lakefront is that it’s entry level lakefront. It’s not fancy. If it were fancy, it wouldn’t be entry level.  Entry level exists in increasingly fewer locations on Geneva Lake, due largely to the fact that often times buyers of entry level lakefronts transform those once modest, affordable homes, into something entirely different.  If you’re a buyer for an entry level lakefront, this generally means you’re on the hunt for something priced below $1.5MM. In that segment, there are things you can expect but mostly things you shouldn’t expect. Like garages and level frontage. Entry level buyers rarely have a chance to buy those.

W3298 Park Drive in Linn Township isn’t going to win any design competitions. It’s a nice house, with nice enough things, but fancy it is not. There’s a concrete driveway, fresh landscaping, and a beautiful lakeside paver patio. There’s a terrific H-slip pier, traditional and sturdy. There’s some new siding and a newer-ish kitchen and three bedrooms and two baths. There’s plenty to like. But the rare bits are not those bedrooms or the bathrooms or the stack washer/dryer in the hallway closet. The rare bit, if we’re looking for entry level lakefront, is the 60 feet of dead level frontage and the existence of a two car garage. These are, in the context of entry level lakefront homes, among the most rare amenities.

The house should sell rather quickly in this current market. The renovation of this house, should a buyer choose to improve upon what it is today, would be fairly painless. It’s a simple house without a lot of moving parts. The layout is normal, which, if you’ve looked at entry level lakefront homes for some amount of time, you’ll recognize as being unique for its plainness. There are no spiral staircases here. There are no rooms that you’re not sure what to do with. There’s nothing here that doesn’t make sense. It’s just a house with a big garage and a completely level lot, with 60 feet touching Geneva Lake. The views, as an aside, are among the best on this lake. Facing towards the City of Lake Geneva, the lake here is wide and round, lovely.

If you’d like to tour this home, just let me know. But if you do want to see it, you should probably do so sooner rather than later.

New Glenwood Springs Listing

New Glenwood Springs Listing

In the world of collector cars, an untouched car with original paint, matching numbers, and original factory features is a very desirable car indeed. The car is valuable because it hasn’t been molested at some point in its long life. It wasn’t repainted in the 1980s, or outfitted with a new engine in the 1990s. It never had new upholstery stitched into it, or an MP-3 player cut into the dash. It’s a perfect example of the intended appearance and function, preserved. The car is worth more not because of what was done to it, but because of what wasn’t done to it.

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640 Linden Avenue in Fontana’s Glenwood Springs doesn’t have a lot of new paint. It doesn’t have a shiny new kitchen and the bathrooms are basic. The house has original wood floors throughout. The screened porch is as built, large and wide and perfect for lounging.  The exterior is still the original stucco, strong and thick, never having been stapled through with the cheap aluminum of the 1960s or the vinyl of the 90s. It’s an original home, with five bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a two car garage and plenty of off-street parking.  The fireplace of cut granite is rare here, like finding the classic car with the fuel injected engine. Sure, we know fireplaces like this exist, but rarely in off-water homes. This home shows its pedigree through two clues- that fireplace and the ample, generous width of the staircase. Two features not common in typical Lake Geneva cottages.

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But this isn’t a typical home, and the location just one home from the lake isn’t typical either. The views, they aren’t typical. And the private, transferrable pier? Well that’s so far from typical that it’s not even fair to mention in the same stanza. That pier isn’t a straight little pier, just able to hold a tied up boat. It’s a traditional H-slip, Lake Geneva style pier. It’s white and it’s big and you’ll love it, assuming you own it. In fact, you’ll love everything about this house, but that will require some motivation on your part. It’s November, sure, but it was 77 yesterday and this house is just available this week, so gather your Lake Geneva summer dreams and drive to the lake. Come see this house with me. For $899k,  it’s a substantial house that the last handful of decades never wrecked, and in that, there’s value.

700 South Lakeshore

700 South Lakeshore

There are homes that you know. Stone Manor. You know this place. You know the Driehaus property and the Wrigley cottages. You know where the Pritzker’s live at their Casa. You know lots of houses, and you know this house, too. It’s big and it’s white and it’s by Stone Manor and if you’ve walked the shore path, well then you know it. There’s nothing wrong with knowing houses, because we all know them and we all pride ourselves on that knowledge. It’s hard for me to break this to you, but I know more houses than you. And I know this house, because I’ve been in it and I’ve seen it and it’s been for sale before. That’s why I’m not going to introduce this new listing to you today as a house that you don’t know. I’m introducing it to you as a house that you already know, but you likely don’t understand.

To be fair, I didn’t understand it either. It’s a huge house, massive, really. Too big for most, but somehow probably too small for some. The lot is big, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s just under 4 acres, with 160′ of frontage, so it’s large enough to be estate sized but not so large that you’re left wondering what to do with all that land. It’s close to town, so close you can walk there without first considering your footwear, but not so close that you hear the busy hum of the tourist choir. It’s private. Exceedingly so. Terrifically so. Yet it’s close. The sun sets in the West, this we know, and this house faces west, this we still know. The pool is lakeside, facing west, which is how a photograph like the one above can happen. The thing is, it’s not a rare picture. It’s not hard to take or hard to time. You just need spend any old evening at this house and wait for the shadows to grow long and the sun to dip over that western shore. 700 South Lakeshore doesn’t have to try very hard to be unique, it just is.

But of the house, past the gate and past the tennis court and not yet to the pool and the pier, the house. It’s a big house, big enough. It was built in 1996, and judging from my Senior Year yearbook the style in 1996 wasn’t exactly what you see today. The house is somewhat dated, with cherry where there would now be oak, and tile where there would now be marble. The thing about this house is that someone could buy it today and move in tomorrow and be remarkably happy. Or, someone could buy it today and do a surface remodel tomorrow and by next summer they’d be even happier. Would you rather remodel an old house, or a newer house? The question is as most of the questions here, not specifically meant to be answered.

This is a special property in a special location, and I know it now more than I ever did before. I know it because I spent three hours at the house last week with the videographer, making this video that you see here and watching that sun fall to the west. I sat on the covered porches, which are among the finest covered porches on this entire lake. I lounged on the poolside chairs, delighting in a pool that faces the lake in such an unavoidable way. I thought about how that walk into town is so short, so easy, and how the pier is sturdy and white and the landscaping a mirror of perfection. I thought of the gate and the tennis and the densely wooded grounds, and how the privacy was equal to the privacy I might find off some skinny drive in some middle section of Linn Township. And then I thought about this house, how I thought I knew what it was all about but that I really had no clue. It’s $6.495MM, it’s light years below replacement cost, and it’s available today as my newest lakefront estate listing.

Pleasant View

Pleasant View

When you see a wolf, it’s best to tell someone. See something, say something, they always say. That’s why that little boy cried Wolf! Except that he didn’t actually see one. He did this several times, and at first there was great alarm. Run inside and save the children! But each time the boy was lying because he was a liar. And so it went, until after some length of time the people stopped listening to his warnings. Wolf! He’d cry. And no one would even listen. Then one day the boy cried, Wolf! And no one cared. Except this time there was a wolf and as I recall the little boy was eaten and no one was particularly sad.

If I told you every house was a gem, I would be as that boy. I would be as every Realtor since the invention of the gold jacket and the end of year watch giveaway (You’re all top producers! You get a watch, and you get a watch, and you- well, not you, Leroy). But I don’t tell you that every house is special, because not every house is. Most houses, as a matter of fact, are quite terrible. They all work for someone, and in that a raised ranch by the interstate can be content. Someone will buy you. Most houses are boring, honestly. They are plain and they are utilitarian and there’s a kitchen and some baths, also bedrooms. They function, but they lack sizzle and sex appeal and there’s little to them beyond their ability to keep you dry and warm on a rainy November night. Most houses are boring.

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With that in mind, you can imagine the delight I feel when I bring a house to market that is special. A house that not only will keep you dry on that rainy night, and warm on the cold January morning, but will also inspire you and deliver you to another place the moment you walk under the covered porch and in through the front door. I’m aware of how hyperbolic that sentence sounds, and in most cases, it would be simply that- Realtor fluff. But this house can receive the accolades and then hold up to the scrutiny. This house, my newest listing, is worthy of every bit of praise I can muster. This house, in a sea of boring houses that serve only the most basic of functions, is a standout.

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Pleasant View is in Glenwood Springs, just one home from the water, perched in the tall Oaks and Maples that rise high above the lakefront park.  If this home were in its original condition, we’d applaud it for being vintage, for being a survivor, for being cute and charming. But we’d also ridicule it for what it lacks, because old houses lack. That’s why the owner of this home undertook a significant and all encompassing renovation in the mid 2000s and finished in the year 2008. During this renovation there was no stone left unturned. Nothing was ignored. Every detail was completed. The foundation was old, and so the house was elevated and a new foundation poured. As we all know, new foundations allow for new radiant heat in the floor, and so that’s what was done.  What is unique here is not the renovation, what is unique is the attention to high end detail that was poured into every fit and finish. The end result is perhaps the most stunning Lake Geneva cottage I’ve ever seen.

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And I’ve seen a lot of them. Inside this four bedroom home you’ll find bath fixtures by Kallista, Shaw, and Hans Grohe. Waterworks tile abounds. Built ins and wood paneling and so many custom crafted bits of millwork and wall treatments, indeed there are too many to list. The kitchen is as fine as any lakefront kitchen on this lake- Shaw and Wolf and SubZero.  The upper level features two bedrooms- a guest room with an en suite and a master bedroom. This is no ordinary master bedroom. It’s complete with soaring ceilings, an en suite bath outfitted with the finest and most stylish fittings imaginable, and a lakeside sun porch with full view of Geneva Lake.

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Downstairs, two more bedrooms, another full bath (Waterworks, of course), a full wet bar (with SubZero refrigerator, of course), a wood burning fireplace and walk out to the patio. The house is controlled by a Lutron lighting system with remotes, a Crestron whole house audio system, and low voltage exterior landscape lighting that artfully illuminates the perennial gardens that surround the home. Speaking of outside, the lakeside outdoor shower is a hit with guests of all ages.  Lest you assume this is just a perfect house in Glenwood Springs, we have that lake view from several rooms, that ideal proximity to the water, and at the lakefront our own private pier. Access to the association swim piers are yours, but that white, wooden, private pier is yours exclusively.

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There you have it. The most idyllic lake cottage that Lake Geneva can offer, and it’s yours for $1.275MM. In this market, buyers have paid far more for far less. And that brings us to this whole idea of a lake house. What are we looking for? Why are we drawn to the lake? Why do white cottages with hydrangeas make us feel like things are going to be okay?   The answer to each question is the same. We’re looking for an escape. For a chance to live a few days each week in a manner and way that’s completely opposite from all of the other days. We’re looking to be transported to another time, to another emotion, to another way of living. At Pleasant View, the escape isn’t something you have to strive for. It’s unavoidable.

New South Shore Club Listing

New South Shore Club Listing

Within the South Shore Club, there are several market segments. First, the homes up front. The homes on the water. Those are the kings of the SSC. There are four homes that play that way, and those homes have demonstrated that they sell at premium prices. Then, the second tier homes, those from the lake to the pool, but not behind the pool. Too close to the pool isn’t ideal, so you’d like to be close but not too close. The difference is subtle. Then, behind the pool. There are normal lots, and one special lot, but mostly the behind the pool properties fall into their own segment. Then, finally, the homes on Forest Hill Circle. Those homes lack lake views of any real variety, and so they generally sell in the $1.5-1.9MM range. I have the only vacant lot available in the SSC listed there, and I just dropped the price to $598k. If you’re interested in building in the SSC, that’s your chance. G6

But if you don’t want to build and you don’t want to have a limited lake view, and you don’t want to be right on top of the pool, you’re in luck. N1592 Lakeside Lane is on the market as of yesterday, and my newest vacation home listing offers a multitude of benefits for the $2.99MM asking price. First off, you’re in front of the pool so the view is rather divine. Secondly, you’re close to the pool, but you’re not too close. This matters. Thirdly, the house is pretty huge at 7700+ square feet. It’s wide and it’s deep and there are all of the rooms you’re expecting and then a few extras. It’s long been known that the South Shore Club offers superlative finishes, but there are several homes that do not stack up to the original, more ornate, more luxurious builds. This home is as ornate as it should be, as luxurious as you want it to be, and positioned in exactly the right spot to find some favor with the market.

If you’re unaware of the South Shore Club’s rich list of amenities, a recap for you. Boats, they’re included. There are lots of them and they’re nice and when you’re an owner here you just reserve one for the day and time you’d like it, and then you go for a boat ride. There are dock hands (the only context that calling a pier a dock is acceptable, by the way), so if you’re a novice boater you have plenty of help with the process. There is a swim pier, a dedicated, quiet pier, far away from the boats, so if you want to indulge Geneva Lake in the way that it prefers, you can jump right in and swim. If you’re less inclined and need the chlorinated comfort of a pool, the South Shore Club has you covered. There’s also a fire pit with grill area for parties, a tennis court and playground, and in the winter if the weather is right you can ice skate on their association rink.  Also included in the dues is your lawn and driveway maintenance, making ownership here an absolute breeze.

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The market has, over the past 24 months, eliminated any doubt about the future of the club, leaving behind a normalized market that lines up nicely with lakefront inventory. In the SSC you can buy a home for $2.99MM that would cost $4MM or more if set on even a 100′ lakefront lot. If you’re in search of a lakefront home and you’re disenchanted with the inventory in the $2-5MM price range, consider this new listing. High attention to detail, enough space for everyone, and a view that rivals that of most private lakefront homes. Pack this into the amenity blessed environment of the South Shore Club and you’re set.

New Lakefront Estate

New Lakefront Estate

This lake is lined with $15MM houses. There are others at $20MM. Some, still at $12MM. Several at $17MM. There are estates that the owners likely value at $30MM. Some will say they are priceless, which we know is untrue even if it is a nice thing to say about something. Everything has a price. And on Geneva Lake, the trend has been cemented: Build for $20MM, but rarely buy for more than $8MM. Buy land for three or four or five or six, and then build without restraint and without pause. The while we’re at it numbers add up and the time wears on. Summers are lost. When the house is done, the grounds landscaped, the last hydrangea dropped into the last hole, the tally feels immeasurable. But it isn’t. It’s measurable, it’s quantifiable, and it’s a number that would make every personal accountant cringe. While it makes sense to buy vacant land and build with some measure of restraint, this has not been the trend. The trend is to fill a lake with $15MM homes even though the lake cannot, and likely, will not, ever support that value.

On Pebble Point, there is a home. It was build just a few years ago of slate and stone, the exposed timber and gas lanterns lending an architectural style rarely executed with this level of perfection. Inside, quarter sawn oak has been made into floors, trim, doors and so much custom cabinetry. Onyx and marble and quartz grace the counters and floors. Fireplaces, seemingly too many to count, each of limestone and formidable masonry. The house is a beautiful house, no one could argue this.  But this isn’t a big house built on some normal property- this is a beautiful custom home built on 3.3 wooded acres culminating with 224′ along the water’s edge.  This is the rare combination of estate land with an estate home, and it’s available today as my newest listing for $9.95MM.

There is little in this home that isn’t pleasing. The layout, it’s divine. The exterior spaces- those  bluestone patios and that lakeside screened porch- scaled exactly and as comfortably as they should be. The finishes are the new luxe, that mix of traditional and modern that lends a freshness to an otherwise traditional aesthetic. Think sleek finishes in natural materials, decorated simply but with high quality everything. The light fixtures are playful yet bold, fun and modern and appropriate at once. The house is the brain child of renowned Chicago architects- a group that has drawn this and two other marquee homes on Geneva Lake.  But I’m not going to go on and on, even though this is admittedly my tendency, I’m just going to leave this video here for your viewing pleasure. The home fits this lake, it fits the market, and it makes perfect sense for any buyer seeking to build new. Why build new and spend $15MM on something that won’t be as nice as what I can sell you for $9.95MM?

Woodhill

Woodhill

By now, everyone knows Basswood. It’s a street on the lake, or it’s the street on the lake, either position is acceptable though the latter is preferred. On a  lake where there’s little uniformity of parcels, it’s obvious that there would be little uniformity of value. A large home here, a small home there. Some giant estate here, a small house next to it, on top of it. There’s not much by way of consistency here, and in that lack of consistency there is character. Like finding anonymity in a crowd, Geneva is a group of different things that all make up a rather magical whole.

But Basswood is one of the last few enclaves of near perfection in design, perfection in purpose, and perfection in execution. The large lots have, for the most part, been spared the subdivider’s stakes. Subdivisions like Oak Shores never broke up the expanse. It’s just a street with large lots, most in the 150-200′ range, and impressive homes. It’s also the street that’s anchored on its Eastern edge by Woodhill.

You likely don’t know this estate. It isn’t in the guide book and the captain of a slowly chugging tour boat won’t point it out. The family that owns Woodhill isn’t named Wrigley or Schwinn or Maytag. They’re just a family that decided many decades ago that this 4 acre wooded parcel on Basswood was a great place to call home. And so it went, a generation raised summering on this shore, on that Basswood shore. A generation spent playing in the woods, slopping through the stream, catching frogs and fireflies and diving from the long, white pier. Life was good at Woodhill for all who had the privilege of calling it home.

Woodhill Basswood Lake Geneva

In the early 1980s it was decided that the old cottage that had played host to so many family weekends for so many years would need to be replaced with something bigger. Something modern. Something better, perhaps, but mostly just something, more. The new house was designed by the owner and his architect, an owner it should be mentioned, who was a contractor and real estate investor who knew his way around a set of plans and a job site. In 1984 the new Woodhill was born of brick and concrete and that cedar shake roof.  The four wooded acres and 205′ of lake frontage now played host to a brand new family home.

The new home was ample, with more than 6000 square feet of living space spread out over three finished floors. There were five bedrooms, five fireplaces (all masonry, all woodburning, of course), and an expansive lakeside patio made of the finest bluestone the owner could find. The house was built to last of flexicore and brick, with two kitchens and two wet bars, and a cherry wood library. Today, the Walnut and Oak floors glisten as new.

Basswood Woodhill Estate

Over the years, another savvy purchase. Lot 12 in the Lindens was available, and adjacent, and 1.5 wooded acres with a transferable boat slip. The lot was purchased to maintain privacy and future opportunities for Woodhill, and today, it might be the only lot of its kind that exists in the Lake Geneva market.  Off water vacant lots exist, but this lot is barely off water, with lake views and that slip and a most exclusive Lindens membership.

Woodhill Basswood Library

Today, it has been decided that Woodhill will be sold. The decision has not come easily, nor has it come joyfully, but it has come. Today, you can be the next steward of Woodhill, a sale that now includes the two tax keys of W4350 Basswood (1.93 and 2.22 acres, respectively), and the 1.49 acre Lindens lot. With 205′ of frontage, 5.65 total acres, and the ability to build another home (possibly two), this is the most compound-ready property to hit the market in years. $6,950,000 is our ask, and for that sum, your family can be the next to own Woodhill. If your ownership turns out to be even half as memorable as the current owners’,  your future generations will thank you.

New Lakefront Listing

New Lakefront Listing

When I was a kid, I’d walk to Gage Marine. It wasn’t far from my house, and so I’d walk down the shore path, across those green lawns, up those few rail road ties that worked as stairs, and I’d be at Gage Marine. The thing about Gage Marine then is that there wasn’t anything to do there. The pro-shop wasn’t so much a pro-shop as it was a place to buy those little leather pieces that hold together the eye of a buoy lead.

Today, walking to Gage Marine is entirely different. Do I like the food at Pier 290? Not particularly. Do I wish the menu was better, the food better, the burger served on a burger bun? Of course. But for those wishes it would be hard for Pier 290 to be a better place. The restaurant space, the finishes, the scene, it’s all so very nice. And so walking to Gage Marine now is a worthwhile stroll, because there is food that can be eaten and a vibe that can’t be beaten.

New Lakefront Listing Lake Geneva

The other direction, I would walk to George Williams. The camp when I was a kid was old, neglected, uninteresting. There was the ability to order ice cream from some building on campus, as there is today, but that was about it. There was nothing else to do there. My brothers and I would explore the hills of Conference Point camp, digging into the earth that was exposed when the hillside gave way to erosion. We would find gold, or some rocks that were gold in color, which one we were never certain. But George Williams was there and it was boring even though the hills were full of gold.

Today, I can walk to George Williams to listen to the Music By The Lake series, an outdoor lakeside venue where you’re just as likely to hear Some Guy And His Trumpet as you are Tony Bennet or Peter Frampton. The campus has been revitalized, completely and entirely, and I believe you can still get ice cream somewhere.

138 Conference Point New Listing Lake Geneva

My new lakefront listing at 138 Conference Point Road is close to both of these newly reborn attractions, an easy flip-flopped stroll to either, within minutes. Think that’s not important? Try strolling to restaurants and musical venues from most lakefront homes- you’ll  find the task nearly impossible. The house has 103′ of frontage, a large two slip, canopied pier, and a very well maintained three bedroom ranch with a two car attached garage and a walk out lower level. But it’s less about the house here and more about the views. I’ve sold many lakefront homes with fantastic lake views, but the general rule here is that the better the view, the higher the frontage. The reason is obvious. The magic of 138 Conference Point is that the frontage is gently sloping, nearly level, and yet the lake views are absolutely second to none. The views are to Cedar Point, Black Point, Majestic Ski Hill, and points beyond. It’s a peninsula view without the peninsula, it’s tree top view without the hike. It’s a perfect view and the view, house, 103′ of frontage, and the two fireplaces are yours for $2.385MM.

 

 

New Lake Geneva Listing

New Lake Geneva Listing

There are many reasons to frequent this blog. If you wanted to know what my latest hobby is, for instance. How else could you know? You could call me and ask, but what a ridiculous precedent that would set. After all, the internet was invented to connect us without forcing the awkwardness of connection on us. You could read this blog to understand the Lake Geneva real estate market, to know the nuanced movements of pricing and to dispell the concept that every home is a value, every sale a good one.  That’s probably the primary reason to read this blog, though if you’ve been reading along for a while you’ll know that maple syrup season is upon us, which is followed closely by morel season. Still, the markets.

Today, there is no talk of skiing, or of fungus or of fish. Today, just new inventory for you to peruse. One of the terrific things about private frontage is that every variety of private frontage is generally good. Now, there are good spots and bad spots, but even the bad spots on Geneva are better than the good spots everywhere else, so that’s somewhat of a nuance. The other thing about private frontage is that it’s varied. Some lots are wide, others narrow, some deep others shallow. There is no pattern to the frontage until we confine certain types of properties into segments. If we’re talking entry level lakefront homes, we’re talking about smaller lots (60′ or less) and we’re talking about neighbors. Lots of neighbors.

 

Dartmouth Distance

 

Consider the map above. This is Dartmouth Woods. I love Dartmouth Woods. It’s a quaint lakefront association with nice homes and terrific proximity to Fontana and Williams Bay. It’s also tight. The home that just sold last week (a home I really like) for $1.226MM is shown here, with the approximate distance from that home to the neighboring homes. The homes are close, but that’s what entry level lakefront usually looks like on this lake, and that’s absolutely fine. Now consider the map below:

 

South Lakeshore Distance

 

That’s the location of my new listing on South Lakeshore Drive. It’s a five bedroom modern house listed at $1.395MM. It sold for $1.515MM in 2007, and it’s rather nicely updated with new bathrooms and a very flexible layout. It has a slip on a pier that is share by only seven total owners, and this house functions as the lakefront house in the association. But that’s not what’s especially rare here. Consider the proximity to the neighbors, and the quality of the neighbors. To the East, Casa Del Sueno, to the West, a fabulous newer build on a massive lakefront lot. This is a setting that is, quite literally, unavailable to any other entry level home anywhere on this lake. It’s special.

South Lakeshore 2

 

I’ll be available to show this home this weekend, so just ask if you’d like a private tour. I’ll be skiing tonight, but you didn’t read this blog today to find out about that. You read this blog today to find out about this listing before the rest of the world new about it.  You’re welcome.

 

Pikewood Estate

Pikewood Estate

My grandmother was not necessarily a memorable fashionista. The was too old by the time I was old enough to recognize style, and by then I recognized that she veered towards the loud, and the sparkly. She wore bright red lipstick often, and later in life she would generously apply it in the general area of her very old lips. She was a lovely woman, but she was not a style maker. This is why it was curious that her favorite house on the lake was the understated Pikewood Estate on Pebble Point.

Pier 162 was never the loudest house on the lake. In fact, it looked under built compared to the behemoths both of very old and of very recent. The house was built in 1923 for the family of a barbed wire magnate, which, coincidentally enough is something that I’ll be buying a lot of in the coming years (see here). Later, it was owned by the well known Goes family, of Chicago. It was a classic home, perched confidently in the deep woods of pebble point, with 181′ of level frontage and a view to Black Point, Majestic, and beyond. It was a fantastic house, one that my grandmother admitted often was her favorite house on the lake.

Pikewood Gardens
Hardscape and Perennial Gardens

 

The site, all 181 level feet, all four wooded acres, rests just to the East of Pebble Point. On one side, the magnificent home that is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Falling Waters , on the other, an incredibly beautiful dutch colonial that was built just a few years ago. Behind, off the lake, a huge tract of deep woods where a conservation project is underway to restore those woods to their natural glory. This site is insulated from some of the things that plague other sites. High density nearby, there’s none of that. Associations within ear shot, of course not. Just beautiful land that has been remarkably improved over recent years. And by now you’ve guessed it, Pikewood is for sale.

 

Four Acres of Manicured Gardens
Four Acres of Manicured Gardens

But it hasn’t been without much deliberation. The owner purchased this property years ago with the intent of building his lakefront masterpiece. That is why the impeccable landscaping was done. The bridges were built of stone by meticulous masons. The site designs were completed, the engineering done. Permits were applied for and received, irrigation was installed. Landscape lighting, too. The septic field was installed, subtly, out of the way, where it needed to go. Trees were cleared, and the stream were cleaned. This is a site that has been the subject of intensive work, and now that the work is done, it’s time for someone to build a home here.