Villa Varoise, Var, France

Could you do the minimalist lifestyle?


The angular 5,300 square-foot (492 sq.metre) Villa Varoise is a project that took its time to become a reality.

Boston-based architecture firm, NADAA, completed the initial plans for the residence in 2012 and broke ground on the site in 2013. The plans for the family retreat, then dubbed “Dortoir Familial” or family dorm, won several awards already at this early stage.


The now-completed Villa Varoise is located in the town of Ramatuelle in the Var area of southeastern France. Var is the meeting point of Provence and the French Riviera, known for its natural beauty and more than 80 museums. Saint-Tropez, Hyeres and the Port Cros National Park are all in this region.


The starting points in the design of Villa Varoise were the family’s wishes that included the need for sleeping quarters for anywhere between five and 22 members of the extended family – hence the early dorm moniker – and the need for privacy in the area that has numerous villas nearby.


For inspiration, the designers focused on the natural beauty and history of the site and the region, and on the demands of the sloping location. The area was once inhabited by farmers growing fruits, olives and grapes for wine.


From certain angles, the new two-story structure of raw board-formed concrete seems like a semi-pyramid of some sort; a slightly brutalist, monolithic and angular block.


Despite this angularity and monumentality, the house responds to the site and takes its place in it with confidence. It turns its relatively solid-walled back to its neighbours but opens up on the other side with windows overlooking the scenery and the courtyard with its swimming pool.


The ‘dormitory’ is now finally completed – after a long trek through a regulatory maze that delayed it. It has seven bedrooms in total; the master bedroom on the upper level and six additional bedrooms on the lower level. As a contrast to the exterior, the interior is warm and breezy, with soft wood and natural light permeating each space.


NADAA is a Boston-based multiple-award-winning architecture firm founded in 2011 by London-born Iranian American architect, Nader Tehrani.  NADAAA worked on this project with associate architects, Paris-based Bidard & Raissi, established in 2005 by Marie-Eve Bidard and Shirin Raissi.  

Source: T.Seipell

Hudson River Valley

Could you live the minamilist lifestyle?


New-York-based architect and developer Jared Della Valle, his artist wife Carolina and their two daughters fulfilled the couple’s more than two decade-long-dream of a ‘farmhouse’ by opting for something completely different. Through decisions based on serendipity and determination, they have created a brand-new, minimalist retreat that meets their needs and fulfills their dream yet isn’t a farmhouse at all.


Jared Della Valle is the CEO and founder of Alloy Development a 13-year-old company known for designing and building several notable buildings in the DUMBO neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York. The company office is also located in DUMBO (20 Jay Street) as are the homes of both Della Valle and company president A.J. Pires.


As a family, Della Valles are no strangers to unexpected solutions when it comes to their own residences. Their 2,300 square-foot (214 square metre) home in DUMBO is in a 1890s Brillo warehouse that Della Valle bought in 2012. His company developed the brick structure into eight luxury condos and two penthouses, leaving a large leftover space at the bottom with no windows. By 2014, the Della Valle family moved into the odd leftover space that now includes not just their home and a home-office for Della Valle, it also has a large inner courtyard cut into the centre of the building plus an adjacent studio for printmaker Carolina and a two-car garage.


But all through the years, they dreamed of a farmhouse in the country. They kept an eye on potential properties that they could convert and restore for their own use as a family retreat. And then Jared spotted a property, a sloping piece of land with no buildings, located in the Hudson River Valley.


They fell in love the land and the views and bought it without hesitation. Only 15 months later, their dream ‘farm” was ready. It appears to be just a minimalist, black box from the entry direction, giving no indication of the size of the full structure that includes the black wooden upper part and a concrete lower half. The goal was to make the house as invisible as possible, as indicated in the zoning conditions for the site.


The family was not looking for opulence or showy features. Instead they wanted a retreat that meets their needs without compromising the surrounding nature. As sustainability is important to the entire family, the house has, for example, solar panels for energy and a well-insulated building envelope. In addition to sustainability, time was also of the essence, so Jared Della Valle and family simplified the process by deciding what they wanted and then sticking to that plan. A situation most architects and developers can only dream about.


The result is a gorgeous combination of efficiency minimal and local materials, with maximum focus on the views. This seems to be a perfect counterpoint to the family’s windowless DUMBO home, and an excellent example of how to respect a site for all of its features. Tuija Seipell


Photos by Richard Barnes

7 things to do BEFORE your bike’s stolen

Daily Bike Theft….Rapidly becoming the norm

Choosing the best bike lock and learning how to use it properly are the most important steps you can take to protect your bike from theft.

 50% of us will have our bikes stolen: so prepare in advance! But even if you do everything right, your bike might still be stolen. This is because no bike lock is unbreakable, there are thieves everywhere and they are utterly relentless in their thievery! Theft proof bikes don’t exist!In fact, 50% of cyclists will have their bike stolen at some point. And what’s worse, only 5% of those stolen bikes will ever be returned to their owners! Pretty depressing numbers eh? But the thing is: the police do actually recover almost half of those stolen bikes. It’s only because they can’t connect the bikes to their original owners that they’re never returned. So the first thing we should do is take steps to increase the chances that we’ll be re-united with our stolen bike. And then (in case that doesn’t happen), we can also try to reduce the financial cost of replacing the bike. With that in mind, We’ve  got 7 things we should all do before our bikes are stolen (in preparation for what to do when they are)…

The first three are about building up a file of information on your bike. This will enable you to distribute details about the bike once it’s stolen, prove it’s yours (should it be recovered) and make a successful insurance claim if it’s not.The fourth is the single most important thing you can do to increase your chances of being re-united with your bike.The fifth and sixth are all about reducing the financial blow of buying a replacement bike. While the last one enables you to be extremely proactive about getting your bike back once it’s stolen! The great bit is: most of them are free or cheap and they’re all easy. So what are you waiting for?

1. Save all your receipts

Keep all receipts that relate to your bike. Whether you’re buying a new or a second hand bike. Whether you’re getting it serviced or fixed. Even when you buy accessories. Always ask for a receipt.

Receipts are evidence of ownership This is regardless of whether you’re insured or not (although it’s even more important if you are). These receipts are a vital history and proof of your ownership. Keep them together in your file.

2. Take a photo of your bike

Take a photo of your bike when you buy it. Take more photos of any distinguishing marks. And take photos again as and when it’s appearance changes over time (for example when you add accessories).Photos are also evidence of ownership Again, these photos help to prove your ownership. But when your bike’s stolen, you can also distribute them to the police and various organisations that will hopefully help find it.

3. Record the make, model and serial number of your bike

Unless you’re a bike nut, there’s a good chance you’ll forget the make and model of your bike. So write them down and add them to your file.

But most importantly, find and record the serial number of your bike. This serial number is the most important piece of information you have.

Why? Because it’s the only way of identifying a bike beyond all doubt. You could have all the receipts, loads of photos and a full description.

But there’s no way to definitively prove a specific stolen bike is yours if you don’t have the serial number.

How to find your bikes serial number

All bikes have a unique serial number, usually engraved beneath the bottom bracket (the part of the frame that the pedals go through). Just flip your bike over, find the number and write it down.

Serial number: usually under the pedals

If it’s not under the bottom bracket, it might be on the head tube (the bit below the handlebars) or on a rear drop out (where the frame meets the back wheel)…

The serial number can also be beneath the handlebars or next to the rear wheel

It’s worth repeating this again: the serial number is the most important piece information you have. If you don’t know what yours is yet…

Go and find your serial number now!

Because you’re also going to use it to register with local and national bike databases, which is the most significant thing you can do to improve your chances of getting your bike back….

4. Register your bike

You can register your bike with a whole load of organisations that have databases of bicycles that the police (or anyone else) can access, so that if they recover your stolen bike, they can link it to you and return it.The problem is that there’s loads of competing services and it’s not clear which ones the police are using. Ideally, you should register with them all! However, that might not be convenient, so…First of all, register with the local option…Search for “bicycle registration [where you live]” on Google. They’re usually organised by your local police force, so you can be pretty sure that when they recover a stolen bike they’ll check their own directories These local schemes are almost always free and since most bikes are stolen by locals and recovered locally, this is really a no-brainer. However, some stolen bikes are moved considerable distances before being sold on. Plus, the local schemes are usually quite limited in their use of social media etc (which can be incredibly effective). For these reasons, it’s a good idea to register your bike with a national organisation too. But which one?

Bike Index is the new kid on the block. It’s completely free, has a rapidly growing user base and is increasingly used by police, city officials and cycling organisations.

Bike Index

Bike Index is the worlds biggest bike registration and recovery service It’s based in the US and is already the nations largest and most successful bicycle registration and recovery service. However, it’s actually an international service. So you can register a bike from whichever country you live in.Unlike most schemes, they make extensive use of social media to publicize stolen bikes and even have a promoted alerts service that generates Facebooks ads to specifically alert other cyclists in your area if your bike is stolen.Bike Index has a lot of traction, it’s run buy highly motivated cycling enthusiasts and is continually being developed and improved. Plus it’s free. You should definitely register your bike with Bike Index.

5. Consider insurance

Insurance is a complicated topic which deserves it’s own post. All I’ll say here is: have a think about it! Does your household insurance cover your bike? If it does, under what circumstances? And to what extent? If your household insurance doesn’t cover your bike or you consider the coverage inadequate, then specialized bike insurance is an increasingly popular option.If neither of these work for you then how about “self insurance” This is where you put a small amount of money aside each month, so that when your bike is stolen, you’ll hopefully have enough money to cover the cost of (or at least contribute towards) a new one.

6. Consider “anti-theft protection” from the lock brands

If you’ve bought a Kryptonite or OnGuard bike lock, then you may be eligible for one of their “anti-theft protection” programs.Under these schemes, if you register your bike with Kryptonite or OnGuard and it’s subsequently stolen (while secured with their lock), they will pay you an amount of money based on the value of the bike.


7. Install a tracking device?

If you’ve got a particularly expensive or desirable bike, then it might be worth fitting it with a tracking device.That sounds a bit James Bond doesn’t it? But these devices are increasingly affordable and increasingly popular.They’re all based on the same idea: they allow you to remotely track the location your bike, so if a thief steals it, you’ll know where they take it!How do they work? Well, there’s a small transmitter that emits a signal which you attach to your bike. And a phone app that’s able to receive that signal. As long as your phone is within range of the signal, you’ll know where your bike is.However, while they’re all based on the same idea, they don’t all use the same technology which means they don’t all work in the same way. Some use GPS, some use Bluetooth.At the cheaper end of the scale are the Bluetooth trackers, (the best of the bunch being Tile Mate). Because they use Bluetooth, they’ve got a very limited range.For example, Tile Mates range is around 100 – 400 ft. So once your bike is further than 100 or 400 ft from your phone, you won’t be able to track it.Bluetooth trackers are economical but short rangeNow clearly this isn’t much good in a bike theft scenario where a thief and your bike will very quickly be further away than 100 ft! But this is where the power of the crowd comes into play…When your bike is stolen, you record it as lost on the app and from then on anyone else with the app that comes into Bluetooth range of you bike will automatically connect to your tracker. Then their app talks (indirectly) to your app and you’re informed of your bikes location! Neat! But there’s got to be a pretty big community of other people using this device themselves for it to work. If you want something more dependable, something more within your control, then you need to use GPS. GPS trackers are more expensive but their range is much largerGPS trackers are more expensive but they have a much bigger range. More of these devices are being launched every month. And I’ll be doing a full review of the available options soon.

Wrapping up

So that’s 7 things I think we should all do before our bikes are stolen, in preparation for when they are actually stolen. Well 4 things we should all definitely do and 3 things we should think about.

I feel like there’s probably more though! If you can think of anything else, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list!

Less is more in this Atherton, CA home


Atherton is regularly ranked as one of the most expensive residential areas of the United States. San Francisco-based Leverone Design has completed several exclusive projects in the area including Atherton II that the designers describe as a close collaboration with the client.



The large house to be renovated was initially uninviting and not what the client needed in their main home. Rooms were rearranged and reconfigured to accommodate the client’s lifestyle and to give the owners’ collection of furniture and objects their well-deserved prominence.



The designers helped add art and accessories and gave the collection a tactile and calm backdrop of textured fabrics, polished metal details and various hues of stone and wood.



Avoiding the extreme of being harsh or brashly minimalist, there is an assuredly elegant lack of excess and unnecessary ornamentation.


Among the custom desks, chairs and consoles, the lighting fixtures are a special attraction. The selection includes pendants by Eva Menz Design and by the Studio of Billy Cotton who is also the Creative Director of Ralph Lauren Home. The golden sun disk sconce of Mydriaz is another striking light fixture that, although highly prominent, fits perfectly within the eclectic yet harmonious whole.





source: BI/C.Hunter

Matt Holliday Former MLB Big Hitter sells Exceptional Waterfront Estate in Jupiter, Florida ~$8.5 million


Matt Holliday’s estate boasts a Mediterranean-style main house and guesthouse.

The estate spans about two-thirds of an acre in Jupiter, a bustling beach town where multiple major league baseball teams hold their spring training — including the St. Louis Cardinals, with whom Holliday won a World Series title in 2011.

Overlooking the Loxahatchee River, the property boasts 105 feet of water frontage. The backyard takes advantage of the prime setting with a custom pool, spa, cabana, fire pit, lush landscaping and a lanai with an outdoor kitchen. Down by the water, there’s a private dock with two boat lifts.

For amenities, there’s an elevator, wine cellar, air-conditioned eight-car garage and a movie theater with a wet bar. The master suite tacks on a custom bathroom with a steam shower.




BE AWARE…..COVID-19 Related CyberScams are on the rise

If you received an email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization about the coronavirus outbreak, would you read it? Would you click on a link? Cybercriminals are counting on it.
It is important for you to know that hackers are already sending phishing emails and running disinformation campaigns that incorporate content about the coronavirus to better trick targets and add urgency to their schemes.
Since January 2020, there have been over 4,000 coronavirus-related internet domains registered globally. Coronavirus-related domains are 50% more likely to be malicious than other domains registered.  Many of these domains will probably be used for phishing attempts.
While we are all interested in the latest updates regarding this crisis, remember that links supposed to go to news or educational sites may infect your computer. Verify first!
Security Best Practices:
Attackers attempt to exploit email every day, but you can reduce risk for everyone by following these security strategies:
  •    Do not open suspicious emails – When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
  •    Approach email links with caution.
  •    Take care with email attachments.
  •    Make sure you have setup multifactor authentication to protect your accounts from compromise.
  •    Use strong passwords that are changed frequently and do not reuse passwords across different systems and platforms.
  •   Beware of “special” offers. “An exclusive cure for Coronavirus for $150” is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity but most likely fraud.
  •   Beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.
 How Do I Get More Information?
County of San Mateo’s Information Services Department recommends the following resources:
National Cyber Security Alliance:

Epic Oceanfront Estate Santa Barbara



Barry and Sheryl Schwartz’s retreat by the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara would be stunning even if it were completely unfurnished. The spectacular openness of the structure and the tangible presence of the ocean would suffice. But the luxurious touches added by Barry, the 77-year-old renowned luminary of thoroughbred racing and co-founder of Calvin Klein (in 1968), and Sheryl, his wife of more than 50 years, take this tranquil getaway to the level of magnificence.

All we can do is sigh and imagine how our lungs will fill up with the fresh Pacific Ocean air, and how our senses heighten with the ever-changing views, the scent of salt and wood, and the calling of seagulls. Loving all of this, the Schwartzes had rented a house at the beach for about a decade but when the neighbouring plot became available, they decided to create their own version of a surfside haven.

To design the house, they hired California-based architect Howard Backen of Backen & Gillam known for designing, for example, the Disney’s Sound Studios, MGM Studios Theme Park, Skywalker Ranch and the Sundance Institute, and more recently, numerous wineries.

In charge of interior design were mother and son interior designers, Kathleen and Tommy Clements of Clements Design whose client list includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston and other Hollywood celebrities.The exterior and gardens are understated and inconspicuous. The landscapers brought in fully grown ficus and olive trees and selected only plants that belong in the local landscape.

The architects used unassuming materials such as reclaimed teak on the walls and titanium on the roof. Everything aims to help the structure seem a long-time part of the spectacular site and its landscape.

The conspicuous drama intensifies at the enigmatic entry gate designed by France-based French-Swedish sculptor and furniture designer Ingrid Donat. This was her first commission of this kind but it echoes her previous dramatic wood and bronze creations inspired by African tribal art, Art Deco, Art Nuveau, Gustav Klimt and Gustave Eiffel. The grand gate, clad in bronze panels was the Schwartzes’ 50th wedding anniversary gift to themselves. The handle is subtly inscribed with “50 years.”

Inside, the drama of the magnificent Pacific Ocean truly unfolds through an open and grand 40-foot-wide, column-free common space. And although the ocean is the main attraction in nearly every room and the overall tone is minimalist, each space includes remarkable examples of vintage, midcentury modernist and contemporary furniture, and both ancient and modern pieces of art.


Photography: William Abranowicz
source: T .Seipell

Electric pickup truck with a longer range than Tesla’s Cybertruck will beat the hotly anticipated EV to market — check out the Badger

Now This is  an EV  pick-up I could get behind
Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck6

Nikola Corporation has unveiled the Badger, the automaker’s first electric pickup truck. It has a maximum range of 600 miles by using its fuel cell — hydrogen — and battery power sources.

Nikola traditionally manufactures electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles for “heavy-duty” use, including semi-trucks, off-roading power sport vehicles, and jet ski-esque watercraft. This is the company’s first time entering the soon-to-be crowded electric pickup truck market. “I have been working on this pickup program for years and believe the market is now ready for something that can handle a full day’s worth of work without running out of energy,” CEO of Nikola, Trevor Milton, said in a statement. Customers will have the option to purchase a battery-electric (BEV) or joint battery and fuel-cell electric (FCEV) hydrogen-powered pickup truck. The Badger can operate on FCEV and BEV at any time, and the combination of both allows the pickup truck to have a range of 600 miles, according to its maker.

This surpasses Tesla Cybertruck’s most expensive tri-motor pickup range by 100 miles.

The truck is now open for reservations and is expected to be available in September, although pricing has not been announced yet. Keep scrolling to see the five-seater electric pickup truck:

The truck will have an estimated range of 600 miles using both FCEV and BEV. For those who don’t want the hydrogen option, the 160-kilowatt-hour battery-powered pickup truck will have a range of 300 miles.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck1

The automaker’s president Mark Russell claims the option for customers to select a FCEV or BEV option will allow costs to be lowered for everyone.

The pickup truck can reach 60 mph in about 2.9 seconds and tow over 8,000 pounds. Its powerplant is rated at 455 horsepower but peaks at 905.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck2

The Badger was designed to be heavy-duty enough for a construction company to utilize. To optimize it for such use, its maker included a power outlet on the truck for plug-in tools that can last 12 hours without an external generator.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck3

The Badger can also operate in a negative 20-degree Fahrenheit climate. Milton claims there isn’t any other electric pickup truck that can operate in the same “temperatures and conditions.”

The truck has 980 foot-pounds of torque. It can also start on a 50% incline hill without any stalling.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck4

The truck is 9.36 feet long, 6.07 feet tall, 7.09 feet wide, and has a bed width of 5.12 feet.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck5

Nikola partnered with reality TV personality Heavy D from “Diesel Brothers” for designing and testing, and another manufacturer — which is set to be announced soon — for parts and facility use.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck6

The Cybertruck isn’t the Badger’s only competition.


Nikola also announced that it is creating 700 hydrogen stations in North America, with the first few planned to be introduced by this quarter. However, its pickup truck won’t make its first public showing until Nikola World 2020, which is set for September.

Nikola Badger Electric Pickup Truck8
SOURCE:  Brittany Chang B.I.

$115 million Opulent Malibu Beach Home with an 18-foot crystal chandelier and its own beach. Here’s a look inside.


malibu mansion

It’s the most expensive current listing in the ritzy Los Angeles county beach town, Malibu is no stranger to lavish, extravagantly priced mansions. At least 45 homes are currently listed for $10 million or more in Malibu, which the median listing price is almost $3.3 million, The newly-listed home spans 10,646 interior square feet and sits on 2.6 acres, making it one of the largest beachfront homes currently for sale in Malibu


malibu mansion

malibu mansion

It has 12 bedrooms and 14 full bathrooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the ocean and coastline from every floor.

The home has wall-to-wall white Italian marble floors.

malibu mansion

And security is clearly a priority: the home comes equipped with 40 security cameras.

An 18-foot crystal chandelier sits in the center of a circular stairway.

malibu mansion
malibu mansion
malibu mansion
malibu mansion


malibu mansion
malibu mansion
malibu mansion
malibu mansion
malibu house
malibu mansion
Listing broker:  Sotheby’s

Your Own Private Wyoming! Epic Ranch in Jackson, WY $35Mil



A 226-acre ranch in Jackson, WY, that includes a recently completed “architectural masterpiece” hit the market with an asking price of $35 million. Formerly known as Puzzleface Ranch, the property was purchased in 2010 for $7.8 million, which represented a huge price cut. The property originally landed on the market in 2006 for $25 million, according to local news reports 

Although the home was just finished and built exactly to his specifications, Ryan has moved out of state for work reasons and placed the property on the market.

The former Puzzleface Ranch covers 226 acres.
"Architectural masterpiece"
Walls of windows
Living room and open kitchen
Lower level with wet bar


With seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, the huge layout features nine fireplaces, an elevator, a four-car garage, and multiple patios. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for abundant light and bring the natural beauty of the outdoors inside.With so much indoor and outdoor space, “It’s almost like a country club,” Evans says. “It’s a building where you can entertain many, many people.” Other luxe features include a movie theater, wine cellar, gym, large kitchen, and living room centered around a glass wood-burning fireplace.Each of the three bedroom suites includes two baths and a private living area. The finished basement boasts a wet bar. Smart home features allow for remote operation of heating, lights, and drapes. The spread also includes a caretaker’s home, two barns, a workshop, and a toolshed. Two additional adjoining parcels include a three-bedroom guesthouse and an “unimproved building site.” The grounds offer wide-open spaces with ponds, a variety of wildlife, and Grand Teton and Snake River Range views.

Property is being offered through Sotherby’s


Source: /Claudine Zap