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More sellers than buyers for luxury homes

Michael J. Berens

Monday, May 13, 2019

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More sellers than buyers for luxury homes

Sales of luxury homes have been falling since the beginning of the year. In most areas of the country, the number of luxury homes for sale has increased while selling prices have declined. Among higher-end properties, demand has especially dropped off as tax changes and fluctuations in the stock market have made luxury home purchases less desirable.

Many luxury homes were put up for sale following the tax reform changes that took effect as of Jan. 1 this year. Although the wealthiest households receive substantial tax breaks under the new law, those living in states with high state and local income, property, sales, and other taxes ended up paying more taxes this year because of new limits to state and local tax (SALT) deductions.

Interviews conducted by wealth investment advisors the Spectrum Group found households with incomes between $500,000 and $749,000 and those between $750,000 and $1,000,000 felt the greatest impact on their personal financial situation.

Among those hardest hit were residents of California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York — states with a substantial number of high-end luxury homes. Spectrum says there is now a wave of investors moving from high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and Illinois to low or no-tax states, such as Florida, Washington and Nevada.

That exodus is reflected in the changes in the luxury home market in recent months. Web-based real estate brokerage Redfin reports that luxury home sales declined for the second quarter in a row during the first quarter of this year.

The average sales price for luxury homes nationwide fell by 1.6%, compared to the same time last year — the first annual decline in three years. Moreover, sales of homes priced at $2 million or more plummeted by 16% to their lowest point in nearly a decade.

In its Luxury Market Report for April 2019, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing states that it is a buyer’s market for luxury homes at present. The number of listings between February and March was up by more than 2,000.

On average, homes are selling for below list price. However, the report indicates there are signs the market may be beginning to normalize. The median sales price was up $25,000 in March compared to February, at $1,425,000. Some 1,800 more luxury homes sold in March than in February, and homes were on the market 16 days less than in the previous month.

Part of the reason for the uptick in sales is the high demand for housing in some highly affluent metropolitan areas.

Even though California is one of the SALT states, it is still very much a seller’s market for homes priced at $1 million or more in tech-intensive centers like San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sacramento. Other high-demand metro areas include Seattle; Arlington-Alexandria in Virginia; Los Angeles and nearby San Fernando Valley cities; and Denver and Boulder.

Those states with no state income tax that attract wealthy relocated households also have experienced higher-than-average sales of luxury homes. In Florida, for example, homes priced at $2 million or more have sold briskly in cities such as Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, according to local real estate website The Real Deal. Luxury homes sales in Miami have jumped 161% since a year ago. Other areas experiencing higher sales include Charleston, Boise, and Nashville.

All this shifting about will impact interior designers differently in different areas. Taking the longer view, with the luxury prices beginning to stabilize and the economy barreling along with no signs of slowing down any time soon, the market is likely to perform much better in the second quarter, leading to demand for designer services in the second half of the year.

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About the Author

Michael J. Berens

Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at mjberensresearch@gmail.com.

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Bentley Carries California Dreamin’ Into The 21st Century

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

1979 was a wild year in world history — the Iran Hostage Crisis, Three Mile Island, and the rise Thatcherism all marked the conclusion of the Disco Decade. Over in Los Angeles, the SoCal hardcore punk scene burst into the mainstream. Bands like Black Flag and Bad Religion vehemently decried the inauthenticity of their predecessors, the fashion-conscious Hollywood art punk bands like X and the Go-Go’s, in favor of a new gritty realism that celebrated a pared-down aesthetic and embrace of diverse voices. It was in this artistic, chaotic, and fecund melting pot that Bentley was born.

Photography courtesy of Bentley. 

Eschewing the traditional “carpet capital” (Georgia) for L.A. turned out to be a fortuitous choice for the 40-year-old brand. Today, they are the largest commercial carpet manufacturer in California. They haven’t forgotten their roots though — their products reflect a keen understanding of L.A.’s embrace of both grit and glamour. They also still prize the diversity of voices that call the City of Angels home.

“Looking back over the huge changes we’ve seen between 1979 and now, the one constant has been our Bentley family,” says Jim Harley, president of Bentley. “I truly believe that our people are the reason we’ve been able to maintain the integrity of our name and the loyalty of our customers.”

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

The people who power Bentley have elevated it into a multi-dimensional boutique brand with the stamina to keep pace with the larger mills while retaining the agility to cater to the evolving expectations of customers. Following on the 1982 success of Kings Road, the brand’s debut top-selling product, the company continues to deliver double-digit growth. This growth is bolstered by Bentley’s burgeoning portfolio of products, which includes broadloom, carpet tile, LVT, and modulyss flatweave.

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

“I’ve seen many brands come and go over the years,” says Richard French, Bentley’s vice president of global sales and marketing. “I’ve also seen them survive, only to lose sight of their identity as well as the attributes that made them specifiable. The fact that Bentley has been able to hold strong to our core and yet still be flexible enough to evolve with market demands is a testament to how solid our foundation truly is.”

Looking into the future, Bentley has turned their eyes to innovation, particularly with regard to sustainability. They’ve already set a good precedent — the brand has been monitoring greenhouse gases since 1994 and was the first carpet manufacturer to earn LEED-EBOM Silver and LEED-EBOM Gold accreditation. Today they are investing in sustainable energy sources, challenging other manufactures to match their Cradle-to-Cradle accomplishments, and diverting more waste away from North American landfills.

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

Not so bad for a solid middle-ager in a market that prizes youth and vitality! Bentley will surely keep the design industry on its toes for the next 40 years.

Continue reading Bentley Carries California Dreamin’ Into The 21st Century

Photographer Ben Rahn Explores the Resilience of Triangular Houses

Born of a neolithic search for shelter, the triangular building was utilized as storehouse, stable, and shrine. Mostly forgotten by the early 20th century, enough precedents survived to trace the lineage of a revival. Finding new use as a base for recreation, the A-frame became one of the most recognizable (and malleable) building forms of the 1950s–70s, typifying an era of optimism, abundance, and play.

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NATIONAL PARKS NEED DESIGN LEADERSHIP AND CREATIVE SUPPORT

Posted on 03/20/2018Tom Dufurrena

Recent experience by Page & Turnbull and other firms confirms architects and other design professionals can help the U.S. National Park Service through this challenging and evolutionary period in time. Among the biggest needs are finding creative ways to better accommodate increasing volumes of visitors, protecting historic structures used as amenities, and supporting concessioners—the private companies that operate most of the visitor services and accommodations—all while continuing their stewardship of America’s great resources for future generations.

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When a Vacant Department Store Becomes a Creative Workspace

Department stores have been closing up shop as people spend more money online than in actual stores, leaving abandoned buildings ready for the taking. Instead of these empty shells going to waste, people are going in and converting them, like Retail Design Collaborative and their sister company, Studio One Eleven. They recently reimagined a vacant Nordstrom Rack in Long Beach, California, into the RDC-S111 Urban Office, a creative workspace that also performs as a hub for community engagement.

The vacant space offered up 34,100 square feet of potential for the two architectural firms that had previously inhabited the 21st and 22nd floors of a high rise. Longing to be better connected to the community, they set out to design the empty department store and create an “Urban Gallery,” a flexible and evolving workshop.

The flexible layout affords the companies to work within a large, open space, with three raised sections that work as smaller gathering spots for private meetings.

The furniture is custom and allows for reconfiguration as needed, along with drawing surfaces and adjustable height desks. They designed the furniture with raw, industrial materials that work seamlessly throughout the space.

The primary gathering spaces are laid out near the windows so they face the streets, allowing a connection with the people passing by.

The project features sustainable design, like natural ventilation, lighting controls, low water consuming fixtures, etc., helping to certify the project LEED Platinum and WELL Gold Certification.

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TOUR KATHRYN M. IRELAND’S SANTA MONICA HOME THAT’S BIG ON BOHEMIAN DECOR

The former Million Dollar Decorators star plays and works amid her boho “mishmash” — complete with a garden straight out of a Moroccan riad.

“I spent so much time going to work when my kids were younger that the only person who got to enjoy my house was my housekeeper,” quips British-born designer of textiles and interiors Kathryn M. Ireland.

After 25 years in Santa Monica, California, she has finally committed to the city’s work-from-home ethos with her new micro-compound, purchased last year from the actor Tobey ­Maguire. “I wanted to be able to cross the courtyard to go to the office,” she explains.

Kathryn ireland

Ireland cools off in her pool, framed by the back of the main house, a 1990s addition by architect Ruben S. Ojeda to the original 1920s Spanish-style cottage.

Known for her boho spirit and exuberant use of color, Ireland has warmed up the 1920s Spanish main house and made it feel more cohesive with the property’s two other structures — a guest cottage and a modern back studio.

And she’s done it using a “mishmash” (as she likes to call it) of her brand’s signature textiles, English and French antiques, patchwork rugs, and eclectic accents, from a hand-painted Sicilian table to the whimsical photograph of a horse having tea that hangs in one of two kitchens. (“Yes, I use them both,” she says.)

bohemian decor santa monica homes
Trevor Tondro

In the living room, the custom sofa is in a linen velvet from Ireland’s fabric collection, and the armchairs are covered in an Otis Textiles linen slipcover (left) and a fabric purchased in Marrakech (right). The rag rug is from Amadi Carpets, the steel-framed sliding doors are by Chateau Domingue, and the wall hanging is a 19th-century suzani.

The former Million Dollar Decorators star — her clients include Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Steve Martin — turned the courtyard into an oasis. The outdoor lounge, with its wicker pendants and striped banquettes, is now the perfect vantage point for watching watercolor sunsets. Newly planted succulents and a freshly installed swimming pool create, she says, an “Ibiza-meets–Luis Barragán” vibe.

She hosts dinner parties in the back studio, roasting chicken in her cherry-red AGA stove. Instead of cabinets, she uses her own textiles as curtains to disguise shelves of pots and pans. Defining the dining area is a monolithic, floor-to-ceiling 18th-century English wooden cabinet that’s filled with design books, several of them written by Ireland herself. The table, which seats up to 26, is also antique and “very important,” she observes, adding, “I like to use that word when an antique’s good.”

bohemian decor santa monica homes

Artworks by Hugo Guinness, Martin Mull, Thomas Hart Benton, and others hang above a Mexican console.

Keeping watch over guests is a photo of Ireland in the style of an odalisque taken from an old Scalamandré advertising campaign. “It’s kind of cheeky,” she says. There’s also a piano (“because someone can always play”), and when she’s ready to scamper off in her Birkenstocks across the courtyard to bed, the revelry will often continue into the night.

bohemian decor santa Monica homes
Trevor Tondro

The built-in stucco sectional in the outdoor lounge is topped with cushions in a custom Kathryn M. Ireland outdoor fabric. The table is from her French Finds collection, and the chairs are by Consort.

When it’s just her, she eats in the combined kitchen and TV room in the main house. Under a vivid landscape of the Santa Monica Pier by photographer Stephen Wilkes, she settles into the oversize L‑shaped sofa, which is topped with pillows in beach-glass hues.

bohemian decor santa monica homes
Trevor Tondro

At Kathryn M. Ireland’s live-work compound in Santa Monica, a studio building designed in the 1970s by the firm Koning Eizenberg serves as both an office and entertaining area. The vintage Willy Guhl fiber-cement chairs and planters are from Inner Gardens.

The stonewashed linen fabrics are from her son Otis Weis’s new textile line, Otis Textiles, which he describes as “a contemporary collaboration of both our tastes.” (Also launching this spring is her new online site, the Perfect Room, which will offer room bundles curated by Ireland and other designers, including Michael S. Smith, Barry Dixon, and Beth Webb.)

In the living room, a 19th-century Uzbek textile hangs over the red linen-velvet sofa as a symbol of Ireland’s design empire. “This I bought many years ago, and it was the inspiration for my Safi Suzani print,” she says of her iconic textile pattern. “You mix things up with old and new,” she says in a room where the furnishings include 17th-century French chairs, an 18th-century Mexican console, and a cocktail table from her furniture line.

bohemian decor santa monica homes
Trevor Tondro

Ireland designed the hand hammered–iron canopy bed and the sofa in the master bedroom. The cocktail table is African, and the bed-curtains are in one of her fabrics.

The latter, a simple wood piece, is covered with objects both precious and not. “I’m always picking things up,” she says, “whether it’s an Indian cowbell, a flea-market Buddha, or that little tartan chair in the corner. Things just speak to me.”

The powder room is covered in a pale paisley wallpaper, and in her son Louis’s bedroom, Indian blankets from the Santa Monica flea market reflect Ireland’s lifelong love of needlework. “I won a prize when I was seven years old for my patchwork quilt,” she muses. “I used to do perfect hexagons, but now you can do it so rustically.”

bohemian decor santa monica homes
Trevor Tondro

Below: Ireland’s Barley Twist bed is topped with Indian bedding from her collection. The pillows and curtains are in her fabrics, the chair is by Sika Design, the lamp is from Hollywood at Home, and the rug is by Woven.

Upstairs, there’s a reading nook with an upholstered chair and ottoman in a new pattern — her first foray into digital printing — inspired by a summer trip to Maine.

“I’ve always been a hand printer, but when my mentor, Robert Kime, said he was doing digital and I realized what it could do, especially this painterly look, I had to try it,” she says. “There’s a movement back from beige and plain to color and pattern again—whether it’s on fashion models or on the walls.”

bohemian decor santa monica homes

In the powder room, the sink and stand are by Kreoo, the fittings are by Fantini, the mirror is by Arteriors, and the wallpaper is from Ireland’s line.

The raffia sheers floating around her iron canopy bed are another of her designs, and the bedspread is an antique Indian textile in vivid oranges and reds, a pair of hues (“They are just so uplifting”) that recur throughout the compound.

By contrast, the master bath — which sports a contemporary look with its quartz floors and modern glass shower — might just be the most understated room in the whole place. “I like to hide the loo, so I’m a big believer in a little pony wall,” she says.

Back to Ireland’s reality in the bedroom, where a quirky red Sicilian mirror has a prominent place. “It’s Persian candlesticks living well with Chinese nightstands, an African table, and a French piece,” she says, describing her beloved mishmash. “If only people could live so effortlessly together.”

This story was originally published in the April 2018 issue of ELLE DECOR.

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The 15 Most Expensive Zip Code In The United States

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11962: Bridgehampton, New York

This nine-bedroom home, which sits on 20 acres and is reportedly owned by Christie Brinkley, is being offered for $29.5 million. (The market for luxury Hamptons real estate is so strong that last week Zillow Group launched Out East, a website devoted to the region with listings and town guides.)

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94027: Atherton, California

The suburb is the most expensive place to live in Silicon Valley. Here’s what $17.5 million will get you there (spoiler alert: five bedrooms).

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90210: Beverly Hills, California

This $70-million estate includes a 20,000-square-foot main house, a 7,000-square-foot guest house, stables, riding rings, and a tennis court.

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33109: Fisher Island, Florida

Located three miles offshore from Miami, Fisher Island was once the private home of William K. Vanderbilt. In the 2000 census, it had the highest per-capita income in the United States.

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94301: Palo Alto, California

An empty lot on less than 3/10 of an acre? That’ll be $5.4 million.

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11976: Water Mill, New York

A 42-acre estate originally built for the Ford family could be yours for $175 million.

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94022: Palo Alto, California

94022 includes parts of Palo Alto and Los Altos including Westwind Community Barn, shown here.

94028: Portola Valley, California

“Portola Valley generally attracts the affluent of Silicon Valley who prefer open space, country living, expansive lots, and stunning views,” according to the locally based DeLeon Realty.

90402: Los Angeles, California

This zip code incorates parts of Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

94305: Stanford, California

Stanford University sits on some of the priciest land in the country.

10013: New York City (Parts of Tribeca and Soho)

Move over, Upper East Side mansions. This downtown area is Manhattan’s priciest.

90265: Malibu, California

The celebrity beachside hangout currently has five properties available from $50 million to $85 million.

93108: Montecito, California

Fires and mudslides hit this Santa Barbara suburb in recent months; even Oprah Winfrey’s 65-acre estate was damaged.

92067: Rancho Santa Fe, California

A suburb of San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe is home to a 23,500-square-foot estate listed for $44.975 million. (The seller “will entertain offers between $39,900,000 [and] $44,975,000” though.)

11930: Amagansett, New York

Rounding out the list is another Hamptons hamlet. Located between East Hampton and Montauk, low-key Amagansett has been home to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, and Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

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94028: Portola Valley, California

“Portola Valley generally attracts the affluent of Silicon Valley who prefer open space, country living, expansive lots, and stunning views,” according to the locally based DeLeon Realty.

gettyimages-642614272-1518473171

90402: Los Angeles, California

This zip code incorates parts of Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

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94305: Stanford, California

Stanford University sits on some of the priciest land in the country.

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10013: New York City (Parts of Tribeca and Soho)

Move over, Upper East Side mansions. This downtown area is Manhattan’s priciest.

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90265: Malibu, California

The celebrity beachside hangout currently has five properties available from $50 million to $85 million.

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93108: Montecito, California

Fires and mudslides hit this Santa Barbara suburb in recent months; even Oprah Winfrey’s 65-acre estate was damaged.

gettyimages-567374079-1518473655

2067: Rancho Santa Fe, California

A suburb of San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe is home to a 23,500-square-foot estate listed for $44.975 million. (The seller “will entertain offers between $39,900,000 [and] $44,975,000” though.)

gettyimages-583645500-1518473802

11930: Amagansett, New York

Rounding out the list is another Hamptons hamlet. Located between East Hampton and Montauk, low-key Amagansett has been home to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, and Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

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Kelis Takes Us on a Tour of Her Renovated 1920s Glendale Home—on the Market for $1.885 Million

The singer talks about the customized details (including Roberto Cavalli wallpaper) of her home of 6 years and tells us where she’ll be moving next

Kelis, who became famous for 2003’s “Milkshake,” is now hoping to bring all the buyers to the yard. The music artist—now, a Le Cordon Bleu–educated chef with a book (My Life on a Plate) and a sauce brand (Bounty & Full)—has decided to sell her Spanish-style home in Glendale, California.

The 3,850-square-foot residence is on the market for $1.885 million, listed with Jennifer Winston, and James Harris, and David Parnes, directors at Beverly Hills–based real estate firm The Agency, who are featured on Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. The five-bedroom property boasts a heated saltwater pool and two fireplaces inside. Harris enthuses, “You don’t always have to sell a $20- or $30-million property for it to be a very special home. This 1920s classic house is in an area where you don’t typically see this type of house with this type of design. It’s a warm, cozy, gorgeous, original family home and there are just not many of those that exist in L.A. anymore.”

When she first purchased the property, in 2012, Kelis was attracted to the classic 1920s architecture and entertainment areas. “The architecture inside the house was amazing, and it had a very dramatic, old Hollywood feel,” she remembers. “The backyard was so glamorous, and really, for me, that felt great. It was so nice for entertaining, and I pictured all the things I could do back there.”

 

The exterior of Kelis’s Glendale home

Unlimited Style Real Estate Photography

She has since restored the residence to its 1920s-era greatness with the astuteness of an Architectural Digest reader (which, she notes, she is): For example, decorative arches were constructed on the third floor (which was added in the 1980s) to continue the aesthetic of the other floors, and the wood features were restained to match.

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Inside Ricky Martin’s Serene Los Angeles Home

But it has been modernized, too. Unsurprisingly, Kelis has focused on the food-preparation spaces: There are two kitchens with attractive fixtures and new amenities (one inside and one outside). The indoor kitchen has been enhanced with Italian marble and an old wheel (which she sourced from the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, California) that functions as a pot rack. “We smoke meat, so we have a BBQ smoker. We can do great grilled vegetables and steaks and sit outside with a glass of wine. It’s so nice,” she shares.

One of the most unique features is the exclusive, Roberto Cavalli–designed wallpaper in the entrance: a bold-colored, flamingo print that was created for the costumes in her Jerk Ribs music video. Kelis, a world traveler, has also outfitted the house with custom cabinets from Morocco and a gold-accented bathtub from Indonesia. “I live in the bath,” she says.

So, why has this renaissance woman decided to move? She explains, “Now that I’ve got these two boys, I want to control a little bit more how we eat. We’re buying a farm, so that’s why we’re moving: so that we can grow everything and sustain everything that way.”

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7 Beautiful, Family-Owned Wineries That Are Working to Save the Planet

With an ever-growing interest in the field of architecture to go green, it should come as little surprise that agricultural architecture—specifically that of wineries—has seen a surge in promoting sustainability. From tasting rooms to storage facilities to offices, new buildings at wineries across North America are being constructed with eco-friendly technology to reduce the impact of the wineries on the natural environment. And, impressively, many of these wineries are family-owned. Here are seven of our favorite wineries that have structures with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

 

Photo: Damion I. Hamilton / Courtesy of Silver Oak

Silver Oak Winery, Oakville, California

Founded by friends Raymond Twomey Duncan and Justin Meyer in 1972, Silver Oak, which is still owned and operated by the Duncan family, was the first production winery in the world to receive LEED Platinum certification—the highest level of sustainability recognition by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to features like solar panels and night-air cooling, the winery has replaced its lawn with turf, which saves about one million gallons of water a year. Silver Oak is also working on opening a second, even “greener” location, which might become the first net-zero energy, net-zero water production winery in the world (pictured here).

“As an American heritage winery, we care about the message our product sends and so do our loyal Silver Oak fans. Our goal in building green was to create sustainable methods that could be replicated moving forward, to advance the green methods wineries have at their fingertips,” Silver Oak CEO David Duncan tells AD.

Photo: Joe Reeder

Hall St. Helena, St. Helena, California

The Hall family’s St. Helena winery became the first in California to receive LEED Gold certification in 2009, following up with additional LEED Gold certifications for its tasting room and production facility. Its sustainable elements include renewable energy systems (like solar power), an advanced stormwater runoff catchment process, and the use of recycled material in its shipping boxes, among many others.

Photo: Courtesy of Shale Oak Winery

Shale Oak Winery, Paso Robles, California

Owned by Al Good, a California transplant by way of Virginia, Shale Oakreceived LEED Silver certification for its tasting room, which has an impressive stained-glass facade and adjacent processing facility. Natural sunlight helps illuminate the interiors during the day, thanks to sun tubes and large windows, a rooftop solar array provides renewable energy, and a rainwater catchment and graywater systems help reduce the winery’s water usage.

 

Continue reading 7 Beautiful, Family-Owned Wineries That Are Working to Save the Planet

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