PAINT IT BLACK

HOW TO USE THE DARKEST SHADE IN A WAY THAT’S CHIC AND EYE-CATCHING

Appeared in RESIDE Magazine.

Shading your walls in black may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re considering paint colors. But black has a daring all its own that can bring character and chicness to your space.

“The result is both unexpected and incredibly sophisticated,” says Andrea Magno, a Benjamin Moore color and design expert.

“Black has an interesting effect on the walls of a room because the corners and shadows are obscured more than if a midtone or pastel color is used,” Magno says. “This can be used as a visual trick to give the space a less-defined appearance and can make a room feel a bit more expansive.”

Black walls can also bring coziness. “Dark walls coupled with dramatic lighting create an instant air of luxury and sumptuousness,” says Karen Howes, CEO and founder of London-based interior-design firm Taylor Howes.

Choosing the Right Room

It’s important to consider the function of the room and also the time of day that you spend the most time there, Howes says. Great candidates for black walls include rooms used primarily as evening spaces or those that aren’t reliant on task lighting, such as home cinemas and dining rooms, she says.

In a media room, black walls help absorb the light and won’t distract from the room’s main function, Howes says. “We also find using darker tones in dining rooms helps create a luxurious feel in the evening when our clients are entertaining,” she says.

“Often the rooms that are most successful have a balance between light and dark—where black walls are paired with a light floor color or furniture done in neutrals and whites,” Magno adds.

A black accent wall in a bedroom
A black accent wall in a bedroom

Accent Versus All Four Walls

“Black can be a superb choice, as it allows you to play with contrasts,” says Nicolas Adnet of Studio MHNA, an architecture and design firm in Paris. “For example, if the rest of the room is done in pale or pastel palettes, painting a wall black can add drama and create atmosphere.”

A single black wall can also give character and structure to a space and be used to highlight furniture or a collection of art, Adnet notes.

If used as an accent, Magno says, it’s important that it creates a focal point and architecturally makes sense in the room. For instance, accent walls work well when a room has a wall with a fireplace or millwork, or when there is an alcove or other feature worthy of attention, she says.

Adding Dimension

Black walls can handle patterned accessories or upholstery. “The black will tend to recede, causing the pattern to advance or be more eye-catching,” Magno says. Repeating black in patterns also helps tie the look of the room together.

“For instance, many materials used for countertops—whether marble, granite, or quartz—have black running through them and can instantly create a visual connection between the walls and other features in the room,” Magno says.

A nearly all-black bedroom designed by Studio MHNA
A nearly all-black bedroom designed by Studio MHNA

Perfect Finish

The finish you choose for the paint can have different effects on the space. A matte black has a soft quality, while a high gloss will add reflection and drama.

“Using a semigloss or high-gloss finish works well in dark spaces, as it helps to bounce the light around,” Howes says. “We tend to combine different finishes in one space to get a nice balance.”

Using Trims Well

Often rooms with walls painted black have white or off-white trim for a clean look, Magno notes. “Black looks great when used in a space with neutral or white wainscoting or cabinetry because the contrast is striking and chic,” she adds.

For a sophisticated look, she recommends painting walls and trim or millwork in one black hue, and either using the same finish on both surfaces or using a lower sheen on the walls, such as a matte finish and a semigloss or high gloss on the trim.

Purple furniture pops in this black room by Taylor Howes
Purple furniture pops in this black room by Taylor Howes.

DIVING THE ECO-FRIENDLY WAY

A VARIETY OF SPOTS AROUND THE WORLD OFFER UNIQUE DEEP-WATER EXPERIENCES

Appeared in RESIDE Magazine.

Divers of all stripes—from those who travel with their equipment to novices—can select from countless destinations. While the busiest diving spots are often packed with leisure travelers and heavy boat traffic, an assortment of locales around the world provide unique diving experiences­—and many are environmentally friendly, too.

New Zealand

Divers undeterred by cooler water temps often rave about New Zealand’s diving spots, especially the Poor Knights Islands, a marine reserve roughly 15 miles off the northeastern coast that Jacques Cousteau called one of the world’s top dive sites. The islands’ volcanic origins—which reputedly date back 11 million years—provide spectacular drop-offs, caverns, lava arches, and tunnels. Due to their location, the islands receive warm subtropical currents from the upper reaches of the South Pacific, which explains the presence of many fish species normally only found much further north.

After tackling the Poor Knights, adventurous divers head farther north up the coast to the Cavalli Islands and the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, a controversial Greenpeace ship sunk by the French Secret Service in 1985, then turned into a dive site off Matauri Bay in 1987. The location is home to an ever-growing artificial reef of marine life, which attracts schools of golden snapper, kingfish, and John Dory.

Such is New Zealand’s commitment to the environment that the Department of Conservation reminds divers to ensure their gear is trimmed to avoid entanglements, and to maintain good buoyancy control while avoiding collisions with marine life.

The isolated marine park of Cabo Pulmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The isolated marine park of Cabo Pulmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

French Polynesia

The Islands of Tahiti offer some of the best diving in the Pacific. Rangiroa, the second-largest coral atoll in the world, is home to more than 25 shark species and offers picture-perfect drift diving through Tiputa Pass and Avatoru Pass. The nearby island of Fakarava, a designated UNESCO Biosphere, attracts divers every June or July, when hundreds of sharks come to feed during the annual spawning of groupers.

Environmentally conscious travelers appreciate the destination’s long tradition of eco-friendly practices. The Polynesian tradition of Rahui is an age-old technique of rotating fishing grounds, which allows stocks to rebuild and diverse fish populations to form, all while attracting lots of large prey animals. Big resorts, such as Hilton and Intercontinental Hotel Group, maintain coral-protection initiatives, which guests can visit and learn more about.

Cabo Pulmo is home to one of only three hard-coral reefs in the Sea of Cortez
Cabo Pulmo is home to one of only three hard-coral reefs in the Sea of Cortez

 

Thailand

The most visited country in Southeast Asia offers hundreds of diving sites appealing to all skill levels and sensibilities. Koh Lipe is a small island in the Strait of Malacca’s Tarutao National Marine Park, home to more than 20 dive sites and around 25% of the world’s tropical fish species. Located near the country’s southern border with Malaysia, the park displays jaw-dropping rock formations, pinnacles, and boulders.

Koh Tao, an island in the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, is heavily involved in marine conservation and education. Novices select from numerous diving schools, and the island’s calm, clear waters contain attractive coral reefs and marine life. Conscientious divers tap into conservation efforts and initiatives, such as the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program, which aims to preserve and protect the island’s marine environments.

Deep-sea diving in Mexico is heavy on coral reefs and colorful fish
Deep-sea diving in Mexico is heavy on coral reefs and colorful fish.

Hawaii

The U.S.’s premier diving destination, the Hawaiian Islands offer many notable diving sites. The Sheraton Caverns, located on the island of Kauai near the Sheraton Kauai Resort, are popular with honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), while Brennecke’s Ledges are home to a sizable lava shelf, with coral trees growing from the lava rock face.

A few miles off the coast of Hawaii Island, daring divers enjoy blackwater night dives during which they hang, suspended from a 50-foot tether with a dive light in hand, over 4,000 feet of water to watch pelagic creatures drift by—from clear larval-stage critters to squid, octopus, hunting dolphins, and sharks. To amateur marine biologists, the opportunity to witness diurnal vertical migration (when animals from the deep sea come to the surface) is priceless.

Visible from Maui’s southwestern coastline, the Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater that was declared a Marine Life Conservation District in 1977. Advanced divers drift dive off the 300-foot sheer outer wall, using channel currents to carry them along while exploring cauliflower coral and keeping an eye out for manta rays and whitetip sharks. Given its long history as a conservation district, Molokini’s marine life is comfortable with the presence of nearby divers, who enjoy unhurried views of the approximately 250 species that call the crater home.

A diver explores Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo.
A diver explores Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo

Costa Rica

With 800 miles of coastline, Costa Rica is an aquatic playground. Isla del Cocos (Cocos Island), long ago a hideout for treasure-seeking pirates, was once deemed “the most beautiful island in the world” by Jacques Cousteau. It sits 340 miles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and is one of the country’s most renowned national parks as well as a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. (The Costa Rican government forbids inhabitants other than park rangers.) Situated on top of an ancient volcanic mountain covered with lush tropical rainforest, Isla del Cocos is home to species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The island is surrounded by deep waters, with counter-currents that attract hammerhead and tiger sharks, rays, and dolphins, as well as adventurous divers.

Much closer to shore are the Islas Murciélago (Bat Islands), where divers enjoy seasonal sightings of dolphins, turtles, and whales. Thrill-seekers flock to the “Big Scare,” a site teeming with intimidating bull sharks, plus marlin and sailfish. Santa Rosa National Park, which serves as the departure point for the islands, is home to numerous eco-friendly hotels that hold Costa Rica’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism.

Situated on top of an ancient volcanic mountain covered with lush tropical rainforest, Isla del Cocos is home to species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world
Situated on top of an ancient volcanic mountain covered with lush tropical rainforest, Isla del Cocos is home to species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world

 

Mexico

Among Mexico’s numerous lauded diving destinations, the isolated marine park of Cabo Pulmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands out. Situated 60 miles northeast of tourist-clogged Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo is home to one of only three hard-coral reefs in the Sea of Cortez. In addition to the reef’s impressive assortment of colorful fish, divers might spot sea lions, groups of rays leaping from the sea, majestic whale sharks, and sea turtles making their way to shore to dig their nests.

British Virgin Islands

Those looking for a truly out-of-the-ordinary diving experience head to the British Virgin Islands, where Virgin Gorda’s Mountain Point is home to the BVI Art Reef. In 2017, the Kodiak Queen—one of only five surviving ships from Pearl Harbor—was intentionally sunk with a large-scale sculpture of an 80-foot kraken attached. The project was created by a group of artists, engineers, scientists, and donors (including Sir Richard Branson) to raise awareness of ocean conservation across the region. Divers can feel good, given its role as a coral out-planting platform, facilitating a thriving new reef habitat while rehabilitating vulnerable marine life, such as the goliath grouper. The project also maintains swimming, diving, and educational programs for local youth.

Barbados

Sometimes known as the “Shipwreck Capital of the Caribbean,” Barbados is home to stunning dive sites, many of which have incorporated artificial coral reefs. The island’s largest protected marine park, Carlisle Bay, is home to rare frogfish and seahorses. And it’s one of the few places in the world where visitors can experience six shallow-water shipwrecks—including a tugboat and freighter—in a single dive.

 

With its 800 miles of coastline, Costa Rica is considered an aquatic playground.
With its 800 miles of coastline, Costa Rica is considered an aquatic playground

THE A-FRAME REIMAGINED

THE CLASSIC STYLE IS UNIQUE, BRIGHT, AND MAKING A COMEBACK ON THE HIGH END

Appeared in RESIDE Magazine.

Few building styles are as distinct as the aptly named A-frame.

Starting in the 1950s, these triangular homes became staples in ski towns and other resort areas around the U.S. and Canada. Although interest faded for some time, the efficient design wasn’t lost on modern architects and homeowners, and the A-frame has seen something of a renaissance over the past decade.

“There’s a lot more interest in postwar design in general,” says Chad Randl, author of the book A-frame and a visiting professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture & Environment. “The quirkiness appeals to people.”

In Victoria, British Columbia, Sotheby’s International Realty agents Winston Chan and Logan Wilson are offering an almost 4,500-square-foot double A-frame for 6 million Canadian dollars (US$4.6 million).

The structure was recently updated, keeping the old-school look while adding modern amenities. It has the same footprint as the original home, but was brought down to the studs for the renovation, Chan says.

The current owners didn’t want to lose the historic A-frame shape, he adds. “It’s of an era. It’s almost like a vintage watch.”

A-frames, with their soaring ceilings, allow natural light to flood the home. The Victoria home is no exception, and there are views of the Satellite Channel, with Salt Spring Island in the distance. “It allows for some beautiful sunsets,” Chan says.

The 1.21-acre gated estate also features a second, newly built modern guest house, a fully finished tile garage perfect for showcasing several automobiles, and state-of-the-art technology to control and monitor the home from near or far.

Nearby, in Sooke, British Columbia, a 2,907-square-foot original A-frame home is being offered at C$6.75 million by Sotheby’s Glynis MacLeod. The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home dates to 1969, and both the home and the extensive acreage surrounding it have been meticulously cared for by the original owners.

“This is one of those rare properties preserved by a family who care for the land and respect the environment,” MacLeod says. The home sits on 150 acres of virtually untouched forest, with waterfalls at the ocean and access to a dock in a sheltered bay.

Designed by German architect Tony Burkhart and built by European craftsmen, the home has a 1,360-square-foot deck cantilevered over the water and almost 2,000 feet of ocean frontage on Sooke Basin, plus a protected dock.

The double A-frame has floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, providing an ever-changing light show that is the source of constant entertainment, says co-owner Virginia Wyman, whose father had the home built. “It’s a cathedral of light,” she says. “Every hour of the day brings a subtle difference.”

Tall ceilings and efficient design are drawing homebuyers to A-frame houses

 

Most potential buyers are keen to update the historic abode, rather than scrapping it to build anew. “This home is sited closer to the water than current zoning would probably permit, so it is definitely worth keeping,” MacLeod says. “Instead, potential buyers have talked about keeping the existing footprint, and extending the house behind it.”

A-frames, with their severely pitched roofs, make great vacation houses in wintry areas like Canada. “Snow is unlikely to collapse the roof,” Randl points out.

Ski resorts—Squaw Valley and others near Lake Tahoe, for instance—are known for A-frames for this reason, as well as because the peaks of the roofs echo the peaks of the nearby mountains. But Randl says they were popular at other resort areas established after World War II, including places in Oregon and the Adirondacks in New York.

“They were playful and whimsical. They were different than the everyday,” he says.

An elegant home with an A-frame focal point is for sale for C$6 million in Victoria

 

The design was out of favor by the 1990s, but now that playfulness is popular again.

Kim Schneider and Tracey D. Clarke of Sotheby’s Sunset Strip sold a three-bedroom A-frame in Hollywood Hills, Calif., built for swimwear designer Fred Cole. Constructed in 1958, architect Harry Gesner also made good use of glass and the soaring ceilings to let light into the almost 3,500-square-foot house. Just minutes from the Sunset Strip, it was recently restored by the seller and features Brazilian cherry wood floors, a pool, and expansive views of the city.

The home was listed for US$3.5 million, and was sold in an off-market deal earlier this year.

 

The house in Victoria, shown in the top two images, has lots of garage space, and lots of windows.

 

Meanwhile, Davinci Haus, a German company, is bringing A-frames to the Hamptons with its custom-designed four-bedroom, four-bathroom homes starting at US$2.5 million.

Working with local architects and homeowners, the company promises a modern A-frame that is energy efficient and features amenities like standard triple-glazed glass and optional Wolf, Viking, and Miele appliances and Ciuffo cabinetry. Sotheby’s John Healey works with the Bridgehampton, N.Y.–based team to bring these contemporary A-frames to the Hamptons.

The quirkiness many enjoyin A-frames can still be found. David Benford of Landmark Sotheby’s International Realty is marketing a 2,800-square-foot A-frame in Hampstead, N.C., with a decidedly Polynesian look.

Sitting on two acres, the home overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. Palm trees outside and dark wood inside add to the island vibe, and the distinct triangular home also features a Jacuzzi in the master suite, an outdoor kitchen, and a private deep-water dock. It’s being offered at US$1.3 million.

NOTABLE WILDLIFE-VIEWING DESTINATIONS AROUND THE WORLD

Appears in RESIDE Magazine.

Rare is the global traveler’s bucket list that doesn’t include a safari. And while many nature lovers associate world-class wildlife viewing with Africa, a growing number of international operators and destination resorts offer compelling alternatives. Here’s a look at notable options around the globe.

Australia

A walaroo in Northern Territory, Australia

Australia’s Northern Territory lures adventurous types with untouched nature and close, respectful access to aboriginal culture. A pair of environmentally friendly safari operators provide a range of wildlife-viewing experiences in the northern, tropical Top End region.

Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris focuses on Mount Borradaile, an aboriginal sacred site owned and managed by its custodians, the Amurdak people. Options include bird-watching expeditions and a wetlands cruise with crocodile spotting. Guests can also spend the night in an eco-lodge or cabin located in a natural bush setting.

Bamurru Plains is an eco-friendly, luxury safari lodge with exclusive access to 74,000 acres of floodplains and savanna woodland around the Mary River, on the edge of Kakadu National Park.Ten bungalows overlook the floodplains and feature mesh walls, providing close access to ever-present wildlife.

A safari in India’s Baghvan

India

Taj Hotels—India’s most iconic luxury hotel brand—maintains four safari lodges, each offering twice-daily safaris and unique, culturally minded guest experiences. Each is dedicated to conservation and eco-friendly behavior.

Mahua Kothi offers a variety of nature-spotting experiences. Animal lovers hop into open 4×4 vehicles to cruise around looking for Bandhavgarh National Park’s famous Royal Bengal tigers, white tigers, and leopards.

Baghvan attracts travelers drawn to Pench National Park, which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s iconic The Jungle Book. Guests explore Pench’s teak-filled jungles in search of tigers and other elusive creatures.

Tucked into a rocky outcrop near Panna National Park, Pashan Garh offers views of the Vindhya Hills and 200 acres of private jungle. When not relaxing in the dozen well-appointed cottages, safari-goers enjoy sightings of tigers, crocodiles, and wildly colorful birds. Cultural-minded travelers take a break from nature to visit the Khajuraho group of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples, one of India’s most fascinating Unesco World Heritage sites.

Banjaar Tola overlooks Kanha National Park and offers an opulent glamping experience in one of 18 tented suites. Kanha is one of the largest and best-maintained of India’s national parks, as well as one of the first Indian tiger reserves aimed at protecting the fierce felines and their ecosystems.

A view of Intrepid Travel’s Borneo safari

Borneo

Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest adventure-travel company, offers a 12-day Sabah Adventure, which packs in the many natural wonders found in Sabah, a Malaysian state located on the northern portion of Borneo. Besides visiting some of the region’s hot springs and tribal villages, participants catch glimpses of rainforest wildlife, such as tigers, elephants, and orangutans. Also included is a visit to Turtle Island Marine Park, where sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs every night.

Norway

Intrepid’s Spitsbergen Explorer thrills adventurers who jump at the chance to visit arctic Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Beyond exploring windswept polar deserts, cliff-lined shores, and imposing fjords via hiking, snowshoeing, or kayaking, participants keep an eye out for polar bears hunting along the ice sheets, plus walruses, reindeer, Arctic foxes, and vast colonies of rare seabirds.

Angama Mara in Africa

Kenya

Towering above the Maasai Mara—arguably the most famous safari destination in Africa—Angama Mara contains two separate camps, each with 15 tented suites, on the edge of a scenic escarpment, where some of the most famous scenes from the 1985 film Out of Africa were shot. Suites feature 30-foot-wide, floor-to-ceiling windows, and guests can use binoculars to view elephants and water buffalo. And guests rest easy knowing that part of their payment goes toward conservation.

THE ‘BRILLIANCE’ OF RANCH HOMES

THE SINGLE-FLOOR HOUSES HAVE A CASUAL AIR, AND MELD THE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE SEAMLESSLY

Appears on  sothebysrealty.com

Ranch living keeps it on the level. Spread out over one floor, these homes are more casual than other styles, often lacking the symmetry of more classic designs. Buyers are attracted to that casual air, and the style maximizes indoor-outdoor living that adds to the feeling of ease. The homes can also allow for privacy, with clever layouts and landscaping.

Modern examples incorporate features like open-floor plans, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the latest technology into the build, but they are still centered on indoor-outdoor living.

The style flourished in places like California, where the weather allows for the outdoors to be an extension of the home most of the year. Many of these were built as suburban developments in the years immediately following World War II.

0593275

$4,995,000

Property ID: 0593275 | sothebysrealty.com

Sotheby’s International Realty | Santa Barbara Brokerage

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“In the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, most of the very good residential architects here in California were designing ranch houses; it was just part of their portfolio,” explains Irvine, Calif.-based architect Alan Hess, author of The Ranch House. “They are just excellently designed.” Architect Cliff May popularized the style, inspired by the adobe ranch houses owned by his family near San Diego, according to a 1986 New York Times article.

“I rebelled against the boxy houses being built then,” May, who died in 1989, told the Times. “The ranch house was everything a California house should be—it had cross-ventilation, the floor was level with the ground, and with its courtyard and the exterior corridor. It was about sunshine and informal outdoor living.”

$5,800,000

Property ID: Y7M5JS | sothebysrealty.com

Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

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Y7M5JS

 

May built the first home in this style in 1931, and, over his career, designed more than 1,000 custom houses. The bulk of them were in California, but he also had projects as far away as Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland.

Modern architects are also melding cutting-edge design with one-level living. In Santa Barbara, Calif., local architect Ken Radtkey and his team at Blackbird Architects created a ranch-style home there in 2016. It incorporates a modern kitchen, dining, and living area as the center of the home, with the master suite and office separate from the additional bedrooms. Guests and residents can access the outdoors from almost anywhere in the home.

The home has modern sliding doors and floor-to-ceiling windows, and its curved roof creates a shaded outdoor living space. And the outdoor areas are just as well planned, with native and drought-resistant plantings, grass terraces, an orchard, a pool, gardens, and a koi pond with a stone waterfall.

The owner’s imported Moroccan doors have been incorporated throughout the house, creating a unique contrast to the home’s clean lines, according to the architect. There’s also a separate garage with an artist’s studio. Recently listed for just under $5 million, Montecito-based Sotheby’s International Realty agent Joe McCorkell is representing the property.

The Rancho Santa Fe home, has an open-foor plan
The Rancho Santa Fe home, has an open-floor plan.

Homes by May are still in demand, as well, according to Clara Yang, an agent with the Beverly Hills Brokerage of Sotheby’s International Realty. Yang is currently marketing a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home designed by May in 1948. Located in the lower Mandeville Canyon area in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood, the home is listed for $3.6 million.

The kitchen and bathrooms of the 2,322-square-foot home have been updated, but much of the design remains the same, Yang says. “Wherever you are, there’s a door to walk outside,” she notes. “And there are windows throughout to let the light in.”

The home, built in a U shape, surrounds a courtyard with a firepit and mature landscaping. There are also two patios with fountains, a pool surrounded by a glass fence, and a pocket garden.

“It’s not like a modern house with an open-floor plan. It’s like a treasure hunt; there’s something different around every corner, ” Yang says. “It’s perfect for staying home, because each person can have their own space and everyone can meet up in the middle.”

Other May-designed properties do offer that open plan, however. A four-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., boasts a flowing layout, as well as abundant natural light and a central courtyard that connects seamlessly to the indoor living areas.

Landscaping is key to ranch homes, and May is known for having brought in mature trees to plant on the grounds of his projects. This property is no different, note agents Eric Iantorno and Beth Van Boxtel of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. The home, built in 1973, sits on almost three acres and is currently on the market for $5.8 million.

“Cliff May used adult trees and plants at the time, and these days they are giant,” Van Boxtel explains. They include olive and pepper trees, plus a small fruit tree orchard, a vegetable garden, several kinds of berries, and a variety of tropical plants.

“The olive trees make it feel so romantic,” Iantorno notes. “And the details of the space—things are small and then expand, and that play on proportions makes it feel very special.” Single-level houses have gained in popularity as the baby boomer generation looks to retire and relocate to places without stairs. But Yang says she’s seen more interest in ranch-style homes from buyers of all ages.

People are attracted by the informal ease of living there, as well as the integrated indoor-outdoor experience. Others are drawn to the deceptively simple architecture. “They’re just brilliant little designs, and people are appreciating them,” Hess says.