Our edit of the most startling homes for sale in 2016 has something for everyone: film lovers, hedonists and history buffs – not forgetting architecture aficionados, of course.
Among this cache of extraordinary properties, there are still some opportunities to be found. But be warned, you’ll need deep pockets.
Elrod House by John Lautner in Palm Springs, USA
John Lautner built this Modernist home for interior designer John Elrod in 1969. It starred in James Bond flick Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, with the film’s legendary set designer Sir Ken Adam describing the reinforced concrete structure as ‘very modern and fabulous’. He added: ‘This is as though I designed it. I don’t have to do anything.’ After a price drop to $8 million, the house reportedly sold to a fashion industry ‘mover and shaker’ this summer for ‘very, very close’ to the asking price, according to Variety.
A modern home by John Pawson in St Tropez
John Pawson has had quite a year, earning plaudits for converting London’s Commonwealth building into a new home for the Design Museum, and a Berlin bunker into an art gallery – as well as designing a holiday home for Living Architecture in Wales. Now you can own a piece of his work. This St Tropez villa is for sale via Sotheby’s International Realty (price on application). Built in a simple palette of stone and wood, it bears all the hallmarks of the king of minimalism.
Malplaquet House, a 16th century London landmark
This house of curiosities on Mile End Road was built for a wealthy heiress in 1741. Despite surviving the Blitz, the four-storey London property was in a poor state by the end of the 20th-century. It was carefully restored by Tim Knox, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who drew on old photographs of the Grade II-listed building and fragments they unearthed inside its rooms. ‘Our philosophy was to try to keep the atmosphere and get it back to about 1800, its heyday,’ they said. Listed by Fyfe McDade for £2.95 million, it has now been sold.
Tom Ford’s New Mexico ranch, designed by Tadao Ando
Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s classic concrete curves abound at Cerro Pelon Ranch, the $75 million home of fashion designer Tom Ford. Its 20,000 acres hold a main residence – positioned next to a reflecting pool – and two circular riding arenas, staff quarters, two holiday homes, a landing strip and hangar. An added perk is its wild west movie set, originally designed for 1985 film Silverado and now transformed from street façades into usable structures. The property is still listed with Kevin Bobolsky Group.
Casa Seattle, a treetop home in Guadalajara, Mexico
It might look like a forest hideaway but this treetop home is actually buried deep in central Guadalajara. Sited on a slope, the urban villa makes the most of city’s dry climate, with sliding glass walls that open out onto the property’s leafy surrounds. ‘The main concept behind the house was to frame the views,’ explains its architect, Manuel Vizcaíno de la Peña. It’s still on the market for $980,000 via Boutique Homes.
A theatre designer’s former home in Gloucestershire, UK
When theatre designer Niki Turner bought a 19th-century cloth merchant’s villa in Gloucestershire, she decided to give it some drama of her own. She retained the Grade II-listed building’s Baroque features, while opening up its former billiard hall to create a double-height kitchen and dining room – the perfect stage for contemporary living. The house hit the market for £695,000 via The Modern House and sold earlier this year.
Midcentury Modernism in Christchurch, New Zealand
Masservy House is a perfectly preserved slice of Kiwi Modernism, designed in 1964 by local architect Allan Mitchener. He was a proponent of the Christchurch School of architecture, which fused Scandinavian notions of ‘straightforwardness’ and Modernist ideals governing the flow of space and natural light. The four-bedroom house’s previous owners – graphic designer and vet, Matt and Kate Arnold – restored and gently modernised its rooms, putting it up for sale privately for $630,000. It sold for an unknown figure.
Old finca in Ibiza, Spain
Architect Amélia Molina was tasked with turning a crumbling farmhouse on the hedonistic Spanish island of Ibiza into a holiday home. She rebuilt the structure’s original stone walls and beamed ceilings using traditional techniques, adding skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows across the six-bedroom villa to make the most of its sea views. After moonlighting as a holiday rental, the restored finca was listed via Sotheby’s for €5.35m and has now found a new owner.
Australian architect Richard Leplastrier designed this Japanese-inspired timber home, which unfolds as a series of floating pavilions, set among angophora trees in a nature reserve close to Sydney. Connected by an outdoor walkway, the six volumes are made from salvaged jarrah, pale hoop pine plywood and red mahogany. The house was completed in 2006 and features a three-storey tower, accessed via a spiral staircase. It was listed via Modern House and sold for an undisclosed sum.