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Filtering by Category: Real Estate

The Art of Living

fairweather enterprises

By Alexandra Fairweather & Lisa Graham

As real estate experts, we regularly visit the beautiful homes of tastemakers and movers and shakers. We have learned that there is truly an "Art of Living" that should be explored, studied, and ultimately mastered. Recently, we spoke with the beautiful Yesim Philip, former professional Turkish basketball player and founder of the luxury sport clothing line, L'Etoile Sport, at her gorgeous Upper East Side home to discuss how her lifestyle is a direct expression of who she is.

How did L’Etoile Sport come about?

Sports have been part of my life since I was six years old. I started playing tennis actively about five years ago and I couldn’t find clothes that were stylish enough to wear on and off the court. So L’Etoile Sport was born in November of 2011 before fitness apparel had become the new “sportswear.” Now sports are having a huge influence on women’s fashion.

Do you find that your experiences as a professional basketball player in Turkey have influenced your line?

I guess, playing basketball professionally made me aware of athletic clothing and what I need to perform better. I lived in these clothes 24/7, so it was important to create something feminine, functional, yet still elegant and classic.

What are the inspirations for your line?

I take things that are basic, integral parts of everyday life, then mix and mold them together so they are simple but at the same time completely different. So everyday clothes inspire me.

What are you most looking forward to with your new line?

Every season is exciting but I am most ex- cited completing a collection and finding perfection. I design for tennis, golf, launching activewear and cashmeres to complete the collection. Having all the parts of the collection in sync with one another is the fun part of it. My ultimate goal is to continue creative work and build a collection that stays true to my brand identity.

How do you define “The Art of Living ” and how have you expressed it in your home?

I believe in simplicity, timeless elegance, and perfection. I try to create that in my apartment with simple decor but jazz it up with my art. I want my art to pop out, not to disappear in a jungle of furniture. I try to balance the values of innovation and tradition, if that makes sense.

Do you have a favorite feature of your apartment?

Benches under Jenny Holzer photographs. My husband thought at first they were mismatched, but he loves them now.

How would you define your style?

I think my style represents simplicity with timeless elegance.

Do you find that your line, L’Etoile Sport, influences your design at home?

I feel like they are the same. I like simplicity with a modern twist yet still classic.

Do you have a favorite piece of art in your apartment?

I love a Louisa Fishman painting in our living room and Jenny Holzer photographs.

Do you have advice for people who are designing their home?

It is important to have your own touch in every aspect of the design of your home. Even though you may get help from a designer, make sure that designer shares the same point of view as you.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood in New York City?

It will sound like a cliché and not cool, but I love my current neighborhood and love being close to Central Park.

Why did you decide to live on the Upper East Side?

We used to live in the West Village, but when I got pregnant with our second child and found out it was going to be boy, we decided to move closer to the park so he can enjoy the free space it offers.

What are your favorite spots on the Upper East Side?

Central Park, Central Park, Central Park. I am heavily involved with the Central Park Conservancy and without the park I'm not sure if many of us would still be living in the city.

Rise & Shine

fairweather enterprises

By Lisa Graham and Alexandra Fairweather

With their crowd- funded real estate investment company Fundrise, brothers Daniel and Ben Miller are revolutionizing real estate development and showcasing a model that very well may be the future of investing.

Growing up in the real estate world, Daniel and Ben Miller gravitated to- wards real estate as they watched their family’s company, Western Development Corporation, develop more than 20 million square feet of real estate in its 46-year history. We spoke with Daniel about how their company, Fundrise, is changing the business—and having a positive impact on communities.

Daniel and Ben started their careers as urban retail developers, focusing on building unique real estate projects in Washington, DC. “I love the development side,” explains Miller, who gets particularly excited about historic preservation projects. However, as they raised funds for their real estate deals, they noted that the traditional model of raising money from investment funds in New York City and abroad was antiquated, as many funds were not aware of the neighborhoods where the projects were, nor did they have a meaningful connectionto the project. In contrast, their friends and neighbors, who did understand their visionfor a particular neighborhood, did not have an economical process or feasible mechanism to allow them to invest.

“Real estate is one of the best investment classes there is,” explains Miller. Even though real estate has historically proven to be an extremely lucrative investment, and while private equity investment in real estate has grown in excess of $100 billion, the majority of real estate investments have been limited to a small, select number of institutional investors. Daniel and Ben set out to give everyone the opportunity to invest in real estate. “Fundrise allows people to invest,” he explains. Moreover, the democratic process “changes the dynamics of real estate and what can be built.”

ALTHOUGH THEY FACED SKEPTICS and challenges, spending a year working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), they crowdfunded the first online equity offering for a real estate property, raising $325,000 from 175 individual investors in 2012. “We opened, in our view, to the broader population who historically has had no way to invest in commercial real estate. Over time, you can have people take part in shaping their communities,” explains Miller. Whereas the traditional process took months to raise capital, they were able to secure financing in hours. After their initial success, they kept successfully raising funds for their real estate properties and they had hundreds of people from across the country starting to reach out to the Miller brothers. “There’s a new generation of real estate developers who are more inclusive who can use technology who are viewing development in a more inclusive way,” remarks Miller. “It will be the norm. It will be creating an efficient and transparent way of making investments,” explains Miller. Currently, Fundrise has 22,000 people on the site and 10,000 non-accredited investors. Fundrise carefully reviews and selects the deals presented on their site and less than 5 percent of the applications received are accepted on the platform.

Fundrise is currently active in 15 cities and is looking forward to becoming a national plat- form. “We see this taking a long time to roll out; a lot of infrastructure has to be built out. People have never invested in real estate and there is going to be a real shift. It is going to allow people in 5-10 years to feel very comfort- able with investing,” notes Miller. “Real estate exists in every community; it works in every market,” continues Miller. After their national rollout, their next focus will be Europe. “It is just a matter of resources and focus. You are going to see a lot of global capital flow through the platform,” explains Miller.

Prior to Fundrise, Ben and Daniel founded Popularise, a real estate crowdsourcing web- site that serves as a consumer marketing tool. “When we were doing our real estate developments, really building projects that impacted local areas, we realized we were deciding who to lease to, so we asked people online, to gauge consumer sentiment,” notes Miller. “Now, it’s a consumer marketing tool across the country,” whereby people have a say in how their com- munities are shaped and defined. Not surprisingly, local governments have also gravitated toward the Millers’ ventures, recognizing their potential to rejuvenate cities and towns as well as prompt innovation, fostering creative, distinct development projects in their cities.

“We have a unique opportunity; there is a much broader transformation happening with capital investment: We see how technology has entered the media and publishing world, but it has not entered the investment world, mostly because of regulation. We spent over half a million dollars on one deal so the public could invest in it, but with the JOBS Act, regulations are changing. We think we are going to see huge shifts in who can invest, which will allow for smaller investors. We want to be the largest and most innovative platform for financing real estate projects and make people feel that they can control and be a part of a development.”

The Art of Living

fairweather enterprises

As real estate experts, we regularly visit the beautiful homes of tastemakers and movers and shakers. We have learned that there is truly an "Art of Living" that should be explored, studied, and ultimately mastered. Recently, we spoke with Gagosian Gallery's power gallerist, Kara Van Der Weg, and the executive director of The Drawing Center, Brett Littman, at the couple's gorgeous NYC home to discuss how their lifestyle is a direct expression of who they are.

By Alexandra Fairweather & Lisa Graham

Photographs by Carrie Buell


How do you define “The Art of Living” and how have you expressed it in your home?

We’ve tried to create a living space that reflects who we are—our tastes, our friendships, the fact that we are both creative people—and feels special, so that it is a pleasure for us to come home.

Do you have a favorite feature of your apartment?

The leaded glass windows really convinced both of us that it was the apartment for us.

How would you define your style?

Eclectic and concise—living in New York, we don’t have lots of things because there is never enough space, so what we do have around us really matters.

As leading figures in the art world, do your passion and expertise infuence your design at home?

Our friendships with artists really infuence what we have in our apartment. That and our travels—we love a good souvenir.

Do you have a favorite piece of art in your apartment?

Everything has a meaningful story. But the pieces with some personal history are especially important to us. We have Turkish tables and shelving from Brett’s grandmother, who sold antique replicas, and on the shelves are a few pieces of my father’s pottery.

Do you have advice for people who are interested in building an art collection in their home?

Always be on the lookout for pieces that you love. Also, you can build a great collection with a very modest budget. Some of the artworks we own have been acquired at charity auctions and from memberships where you pay a fee and get a new artwork once a year. Brett used to be the director of Dieu Donne, and they have a wonderful program that promotes emerging artists.

Could you talk about your extensive pottery collection?

That collection is always evolving, and growing. Building it is something that we really enjoy doing when we are traveling and at antique stores around the U.S., especially. It started with Brett’s interest in mid-century design, and now we have plates to feed at least six dozen people. Russell Wright’s American Modern series, Tamac, and Raymor are a few of our favorites. We both enjoy cooking, and when we have dinner parties we select the plates to suit the food.

What year was your apartment built?

How did the year it was built infuence your design choices? 1929 by Rosario Candela. Previously we lived in a factory building that had been converted to condos in the 1980s, and our style was much more modern. Here we felt that we had to fit the era while not making it feel like we were living in a time warp.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood in New York City?

That is tough to answer! We are really enjoying getting to know our neighborhood, which is variously defined as Lincoln Square and Upper West Side. Downtown, in Soho, is where The Drawing Center is located, so Brett spends a lot of time there. And we lived in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, for 10 years— that neighborhood evolved tremendously during the time we were there. There are so many small local restaurants and shops there that are fun to explore.

Why did you decide to live on the Upper West Side?

The Upper West Side found us. It just happened that this was where we found an apartment that felt right, but it seems that it is, in fact, a perfect area for us. We are both within a short distance of our jobs—I walk across Central Park every morning to Gagosian Gallery on the Upper East Side. It’s a pretty fabulous commute. And we love being within walking distance of half a dozen major museums.

What are your favorite spots on the Upper West Side?

The Leopard, which is across the street from us in the Hotel des Artistes, is a restaurant with really delicious Italian food in a beautiful, atmospheric setting. They have the original Howard Chandler Christy murals that he began painting for the Cafe des Artistes in the 1930s—Marcel Duchamp and Isadora Duncan used to eat there! Epicerie Boulud is great for a quick coffee or a glass of wine, and the pastries are delicious. Having Lincoln Center in our backyard is a huge luxury—we can walk to world-class opera or symphony performances in a matter of minutes. And I could go on all day about all the things I love about living near Central Park. It is one of my favorite places in the city.

Inspiring Spaces

fairweather enterprises

by Evan Hughes    

From luxury home design to high-end commercial development, the award-winning visionaries at workshop/apd are remaking the way New Yorkers think about design. 

NYC-based design firm workshop/apd made a splash in 2006 when it won the Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans, sponsored by Brad Pitt and Global Green USA. The firm’s founders, Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman, not only helped bring affordable, sustainable living options to the Crescent City in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but also caught the attention of all of us who care about contemporary architecture and design. Their crafted modern aesthetic continues to shape the way forward-thinking New Yorkers choose to live, and the team has been named one of the Top 15 Architects to Watch by Residential Architect and one of the Top 50 Architectural Designers by New York Spaces.

The firm continues to break exciting new aesthetic ground: Its latest venture into hospitality, L’Apicio Restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village, welcomes diners with a warm atmosphere; Casa Moderne is an eye-popping 10-story ground-up luxury residential condominium project on the High Line; and City Beach seeks to make a decidedly more literal splash—conceived by Blayne Ross and designed by workshop/apd, it is a floating beach barge with a Kickstarter program in place to bring the innovative project to the Hudson River. In addition to luxury residences and commercial developments, workshop/apd also brings a playfully crafted aesthetic to custom and signature products, such as The Birdhouse, designed as part of a fundraiser for Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack.

With luxury residences representing a major portion of the company’s many projects, I asked Kotchen how they get started “collaborating” with apartment- and homeowners on a renovation. “We cultivate information from a visual process with each client, which ends up being very revealing not only for us, but also for our clients,” he says. “We try to understand both what they desire in a new space while also establishing what their needs are.” 

To learn more, visit    

Praising Paradine

Mira Dayal

Palm Beach native and real estate broker MADISON COLLUM shares an insider’s view of life in one of the world’s favorite destination cities 

Fairweather: People consider Miami to be Manhattan’s playground. Would you say the same of Palm Beach as compared to the Hamptons?

Madison Collum: After spending much time in the Hamptons the
last three summers, it is my opinion that the Hamptons are more of a weekend commuter spot. Most of Palm Beach’s seasonal residents come into town and stay for most of the winter.

F: As a Palm Beach native, how has Palm Beach changed since you were a kid?
MC: When I was a kid, history or lineage to Palm Beach was everything, and was almost like a status symbol that couldn’t be bought. As new generations of Palm Beachers grow up, the historical tie isn’t as heavily weighed.

F: How did you know that you wanted to have a career in real estate?
MC: I didn’t. My background is in corporate fnance and accounting. My frst job out of college was at the corporate headquarters for a publicly traded company in Palm Beach. I was with them for 3.5 years and temporarily moved to New York City. After returning to the Palm Beach area in 2004, I was urged

to start my career in real estate. People live their lives, create memories, build businesses, raise children and entertain their friends and families, all in the places that I help them fnd. What other industry does that?

F: What misconceptions might people have about Palm Beach?
MC: That it is a stodgy, old and boring place to live. There is always something to do here.

F: Does Palm Beach offer any unique tax advantages for real estate investors?
MC: The Town of Palm Beach doesn’t; however, the State of Florida does. We
are also beginning to see a trend of people moving from California to Florida to avoid the exorbitant taxes. Having said that, I am not a tax accountant, so please contact your tax advisor for further details.

F: What are the recent real estate trends in Palm Beach?
MC: Tear downs and major renovations. Most home shoppers looking in the million-plus price point either want a brand new house or want a home that has been completely renovated.

F: What would you say Palm Beach has that cannot be found anywhere else?
MC: Other than the world-renowned shopping, there are amazing beaches, incredible restau- rants, docking capabilities for most large yachts and easy access to the airport for commuters.

F: What are your favorite cultural offerings in Palm Beach?
MC: The Henry Flagler Museum and the Society of the Four Arts are great places to learn about Palm Beach’s cultural side.

If you are considering properties in Palm Beach, please visit MADISON COLLUM at Coastal Sotheby’s International Realty: