DIGS Blog - Luxury Real Estate Info for Home Enthusiasts

Masterful Milestone And A Coastal Cool Home

Masterful Milestone

Created by world-renowned architectural designer Tim Morrison, this newly built home combines elements of Hollywood Regency style and the grand estates of Palm Beach to create a modern masterpiece that’s destined to become a Beverly Hills landmark. Imagine, if you will, shell stone walls, vintage lighting, soaring ceilings and a two-story skylight foyer complemented by a gourmet kitchen outfitted with stainless-steel appliances and an island with breakfast bar, along with a master suite boasting a sitting room, paneled closet and dual baths.

There also are plentiful amenities, including a mid-century bar, plush screening room, gym and wine cellar. And the outdoor environs? Even more spectacular, with formal gardens, an infinity-edge pool and spa, and jetliner views of the city skyline and beyond from its prime locale atop a promontory. “A haven for entertaining, the home welcomes guests with plentiful spaces and opulent finishes,” says listing agent Jade Mills. “It truly is an exceptional gem.”


11,000 SQ. FT

Offered by  Jade Mills DRE 00526877

of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

List Price $46.75 million

Coastal Cool

Found just a few short blocks from the beach, this new modern residence currently on the market in Pacific Palisades stuns with panoramic views from Catalina to Point Dume via walls of sliding glass doors that open to multiple decks, as well as a two-story glass atrium courtyard and rooftop deck. Designed by noted architect Colby Mayes, the five-bedroom home offers 6,000-plus square feet of living space boasting a Control 4 Smart House system, French oak and polished concrete flooring, designer lighting, book-matched stone and walnut slab doors.

Among the highlights: a master retreat with a fireplace, designer showroom closet, and spa-like bath with steam shower and soaking tub, plus a kitchen with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, double dishwashers and a sizeable island. There’s also a theater, gym and even a pet spa, while the expansive backyard showcases a saltwater pool and spa, shower, fire-pit and built-in barbecue. As described by listing agent Anthony Marguleas, “it’s a one-of-a-kind property, with views from almost every room.





6,876 SQ. FT

Offered by Anthony Marguleas

DRE 01173073 of Amalfi Estates

List Price
$9.2 million



Historical Home Tells The Tale Of Early Palos Verdes

In 1926, the country was in the midst of its boom years. Calvin Coolidge was president and Prohibition was still in swing. In Southern California, a swath of one of its most exquisite and untamed coastlines was slowly being fashioned into a residential subdivision by the Olmsted Brothers, who were famed for a prolific list of projects ranging from parks and neighborhoods to state capitols, libraries and universities.

Among the first homes built in fledgling Palos Verdes Estates was a Spanish Revival villa architected by Winchton Risley, a model residence completed in 1926 with a red clay tile roof, white stucco exterior and a spacious courtyard flanked by two wings. “Palos Verdes was originally envisioned by the developers as a Mediterranean-type enclave in Southern California,” says Todd Stanton, whose family, longtime Palos Verdes residents, purchased the home in the early 1980s.

“It was home number fifty-five, built for the city of Palos Verdes,” explains real estate agent Teri Hawkins. The model remains today, and in gleaming condition, a rare and unvarnished slice of an earlier time. Its neatly manicured front lawn, expansive and tailored with natural stone walls and boxwood hedges, make for an apt introduction, as does the graceful arched entranceway.

Inside the home, original details abound, from handmade and painted tiles to orange-hued terracotta to hand carved mahogany doors and moldings. There are also oak floors and earthy redwood ceiling beams, some with engraving. A few smart updates, notably a sunny farm kitchen, have been made in keeping with the home’s original vision.

“There’s such an understated elegance about the home,” notes Stanton. (Given its pedigree and early 20th hand-craftsmanship, the home should remain as is. “The seller wants to sell the home to someone who understands its historic value, and wants to keep the integrity of the place,” explains Hawkins.)

Once awarded the Art Jury’s Certificate of Honor for the most notable residential architecture of 1926, the original developers were keen to place this six-bedroom, five-bathroom model where they did—it sits on one of the most prized lots on the peninsula, and on Paseo del Mar no less—and enjoys front-row views of the water. (Views that are sweetened by the fact that they’ll always remain this way.) “It sits across the bluff from Haggerty’s and RAT Beach,” says Hawkins of the home.


“The view is unblockable. Nothing can ever go on that bluff.” From oversized windows in the formal dining room, and large living room, one looks out at a California scene—pale turquoise skies and an endless, royal blue ocean. It inspires now as much as it must have nearly a century ago, when the home was built as a model place from which to enjoy this Mediterranean-like paradise.

These days the view includes the Queen’s Necklace, named for the sparkling nightly visage of lit-up coastal land. Recalls Stanton: “My mother used to say, ‘Your father doesn’t need to give me diamonds because I have my own strand right here.’ ”

Presented by

Teri Hawkins | 310.251.3850

DRE 01195117

RE/MAX Estate Properties

List Price $5.695 million



A Dreamy Beach Getaway

Imagine a turnkey vacation or second home with all of the amenities of one of SoCal’s top luxury oceanfront resort destinations right at your fingertips. Such is the case with this charming, fully furnished “Casita” now on the market for $2.095 million, complete with a tranquil, garden-like atmosphere complemented by sweeping views of the Pacific, Catalina Island, Abalone Cove and Portuguese Bend, along with the requirement to occupy the fee-simple property up to 60 days a year and rent it out as a vacation spot the remaining days.

“This home is located in one of the most sought-after locations on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, situated on the Terranea Resort overlooking the bluffs of Rancho Palos Verdes along Palos Verdes Drive South,” says listing agent Brok Butcher of Butcher Realty. “Terranea offers one of the most serene and virtually unparalleled settings in the nation. The site was carefully planned to protect the valuable coastal resources that define the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Of the resort’s 102 acres, 14 are preserved as natural landscape to maintain the indigenous vegetation and to support ecological balance in the area by reinforcing biodiversity.”

Found at 100 Terranea Way—amid the Mediterranean-inspired retreat built in 2009 using only the highest quality finishes and craftsmanship—Casita 21-301 features more than 2,000 square feet of living space punctuated by designer lighting and furnishings, beamed ceilings, hardwood flooring, custom cabinetry and Toto soaking tubs in each of the three baths.

Among the highlights: an eye-catching entryway consisting of a private outdoor living room warmed by a fireplace, and a trio of bedrooms with separate entrances and patios (including a guest suite with a full kitchen, and living and laundry rooms). A professional chef’s kitchen with granite countertops and high-end appliances opens to a great room with a fireplace and sliding French doors leading to a secluded covered patio, while a storage closet can be locked when the owner is away.

Both owners and guests also are privy to plenty of upscale resort amenities and services. Think nine restaurants; four heated pools; a 50,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; hiking trails; and a 9-hole, par-3 golf course. In addition, Casita owners have access to a 24-hour owner’s concierge, as well as priority dining reservations, spa privileges and more. The nearby Golden Cove Center, meanwhile, offers a Trader Joe’s, Admiral Risty and Avenue Italy restaurants, Starbucks and pharmacy.


“The Casita is a great investment and a rare opportunity to own a piece of the renowned Terranea Resort,” says Butcher. “Because you can rent out each bedroom individually, there is a higher potential to keep the Casita occupied. At the moment, Terranea is not selling any more of their Casitas, and as the word spreads about this superb destination, I believe it will become harder and harder to book a room at this award-winning luxury resort.”

Presented by

Brok Butcher | 310.710.6387

DRE 01880217

Butcher Realty

List Price $2.095 million



The Proper Hotel Echoes Eras Past And Present

With its new project located at 700 Wilshire Blvd., only a few blocks from the beach, high-end lifestyle brand Proper Hospitality combined historic and contemporary architecture. One building dates back to circa 1928 and was originally designed by American architect Arthur E. Harvey in Spanish Colonial Revival style with Moorish and Art Deco ornamentation; the other is new construction featuring a completely different, contemporary look. Both structures are linked by a suspended bridge and constitute the Santa Monica Proper Hotel.

“We’ve thoughtfully restored the historic building to its original glory, from the exterior details to the rich materials we kept inside,” said Brian De Lowe, president and co-founder of Proper Hospitality and The Kor Group. Responsible for designing all the interior spaces, design star Kelly Wearstler drew inspiration from the beauty and hues of the coastline. Both in the public areas and the 271 guest rooms and suites—ranging from 325 to 925 square feet—the color palette is neutral and sandy.

Materials such as wood and stone are mostly natural, the textures are organic and the patterns bold, adding visual surprises. Furnishings of different styles (custom and vintage, raw and refined) impart a feeling of elegance and comfort, while reflecting the relaxed California lifestyle in a timeless manner.

“As with the design for all of the Proper properties, we were intentional about working with local artists to bring a truly authentic and localized experience to Santa Monica Proper,” says Kelly Wearstler. “Earthy, raw materials, organic textiles and a layering in of art and landscape bring a rich sensory feeling into the hotel.” Ben Medansky, Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga, Len Klikunas and Bradley Duncan are some of the artists whose works adorn the spaces.

Helmed by chefs Jessica Koslow and Gabriela Camara, who mix the flavors and techniques of Mexico and California, the ground floor restaurant-bar Onda is one of three dining options at Santa Monica Proper Hotel. Situated on the same level is also the lobby lounge Palma. On the seventh floor, the indoor-outdoor seafood restaurant, bar and lounge Calabra—led by Executive Chef Kaleo Adams—and the only rooftop pool deck in Santa Monica offers panoramic views with spectacular sunsets.

To complement the experience, the hotel comprises a 2,500-square-foot gym, more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space and the first-ever Surya Ayurvedic hotel spa—a 3,000-square-foot space created in collaboration with Ayurvedic expert and founder of Surya Spa Martha Soffer. Opening in November, the spa will provide physical, mental and spiritual programs including massages and treatments, as well as cooking, yoga and meditation.

Through its soulful interior design and atmosphere bathed with natural light and ocean breezes, this new hotel is an ode to Santa Monica history, landscape and way of life. properhotel.com



Designer Jeff Andrews Puts Lifestyle Front and Center

So starts Los Angeles-based designer Jeff Andrews new book, The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality, just released by Rizzoli. With A-list clients like Kris Jenner, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and Kaley Cuoco, Andrews is used to adapting his work to different personalities and needs. The philosophy he follows, however, is always the same. “Glamour is achieved not only through extravagance, but also restraint,” he says. “From the smallest details to the grandest gestures, from the mix of elements to the simplicity of selection.”

Designed for a family with three young kids, this Beverly Hills home features a contemporary Mediterranean style. Having carte blanche for this project, Andrews only had one stipulation from the owners: that the home have a European and personalized feel. The designer started with reimagining the layout and flow, especially on the first floor. He added large windows to create an airy atmosphere.

The theatrical entrance, where the staircase with a Spanish-style rail was relocated from the center to one side, features a geometric floor pattern in marble, granite and limestone customized by Andrews, a hand-painted wallpaper by Maya Romanoff, a table by Jerry Pair for Formations, and a sculptural, large-scale, custom smoky-quartz chandelier. In the dining room, where the family spends a lot of time, the Hobart table from Woodland Furniture can accommodate up to 18 people.


Two big light fixtures—which originally came from an old bank building and date back to 1910—combine with a gold metal sculpture by Peruvian contemporary artist Aldo Chaparro on the wall above the antique fireplace. Throughout the home, Andrews mixed and matched different periods and styles in a neutral palette with metallic accents, adding surprises and personality to every nook.

Adjacent to the dining room is the comfortable den, furnished with two custom L-shaped sofas from A. Rudin. In the large kitchen—now in the center of the house—with French oak floors and two islands, Andrews used shades of gray and cream, which contrast with gold pendant lights suspended from the coffered ceiling, with Volpi wallpaper from Quadrille.

“Each room in this home is a tribute to the transformative power of light,” Andrews says. Upstairs, the master bedroom comprises a sitting area and a four-poster bed. At each end of the room, there is a bathroom: one with a masculine aesthetic (dark stone and hard lines) for him; the other reflecting feminine touches (mother-of-pearl inlay and gilded wallpaper) for her.

“The look is evocative of a luxury hotel, yet it feels like home,” Andrews says. With the perfect balance between old and new, ladylike and manly, dramatic and restrained, this project is also timeless. jeffandrewsdesign.com

Hammer and Spear Success Takes Two

The idea of mixing one’s personal and professional lives is not the rarity it once was. Many partners are coupling interests and combining talents as seamlessly as a signature indoor-outdoor living space in Los Angeles. Not unlike the minds behind burgeoning L.A. design brand Hammer and Spear, spouses Scott Jarrell and Kristan Cunningham.


After separate trajectories in the television business (Cunningham hosted HGTV’s Design on a Dime and was a correspondent for Rachel Ray), the couple made a significant life pivot, joining forces to launch Hammer and Spear in 2013. Since that time, they have watched the brand balloon, stimulating an expansion to bring its multidisciplinary design studio and subsequent showroom under one roof, that of a historic brick building in the L.A. Downtown Arts District, a substantial 5,000 square feet of curated environs that speaks especially well to the currents of the resurgent neighborhood.

Featuring fluidity between settings, Hammer and Spear has a kind of whole-house feel, as if one could move into the showroom and never really know they were in a retail environment.

Certainly it’s tempting. The stylistic direction is quite sumptuous—moody and industrial, with a masculine sense and near-perfect understanding of how to mix accents with ease. It is edgy and atmospheric, the urban-cool reflection of DTLA. All is the result of the artistic alchemy and thoughtful collaboration at the core of the company.

Although best-known as a brand that bridges different aesthetics and centuries in a contemporary way—an exceedingly smart approach in a town with myriad architectural styles—Hammer and Spear also leans quite local, representing and collaborating with L.A. makers.

Look past the curated merch and more than a few creative types milling about and one senses a salon-like feel permeating the space, which is filled with furnishings and apothecary items that are stylistically symbiotic, with the likes of vintage rugs from Morocco, a traditional leather Chesterfield sofa and other pieces. It’s a layered, collected aesthetic that looks a lot like how one actually wants to lives—comfortably, with perfection-is-in-the-imperfection idea.

As effortless as Jarrell and Cunningham make it all look, the business they continue to build is backboned by a great deal of refining work. The name “Hammer and Spear” suggests nothing less, but in reality, “Hammer” speaks to Cunningham’s nickname (“The Hammer”) and “Spear” references the name last Jarrell, which means “man with the spear” in the Norse/Scandinavian language.

All helps to establish a narrative, which is a big part of the Hammer and Spear ethos. For Jarrell and Cunningham, curating, community building and conceptualizing environments is simply the story of their lives.





Successful Real Estate Agents vs Unsuccessful Ones [26 Habits That Differentiate Them] - Written by Warren Dow of DIGS

Successful Real Estate Agents vs Unsuccessful Ones [26 Habits That Differentiate Them]

1.3 million Real Estate Agents in U.S.

The real estate industry is fascinating to me on several levels – 
1.) It’s a commission-based industry that has super competitive real estate agents
2.) It involves the largest and most significant emotional and financial purchase of peoples’ lives.

According to the National Association of Realtors member report, there were 1.3 million Realtors in the U.S. in 2018, all fighting it out for their share of the roughly $60 billion in annual real estate commissions distributed annually.

It’s an industry I’ve spent the last nine years in as an advocate for real estate agents – call me crazy, but as a career salesman myself, I’m passionate about the challenge agents have in differentiating themselves in this hyper-competitive and crowded space.

The real estate industry is truly “feast or famine” and survival of the “marketing fittest.”

It’s a big challenge and getting bigger by the day.

Differentiating a commodity.

Simply stated, real estate agents perform the same exact basic function in the marketplace – they act on behalf of buyers/sellers as an “agent” in the real estate transaction.

To better understand, there are approximately 200,000 active and about 95,000 active brokers agents in California in 2019.

So, what differentiates successful agents from unsuccessful agents?

Are they all the same, are some better?

Let me answer that question with a question. 

Are all Plumbers, Electricians, Physicians, Surgeons, Car washes, Dry cleaners, Coffee shops the same?

Of course not.

That’s why to me, working with realtors is a marketer’s dream.

DIGS was created for the sole purpose of helping top agents differentiate themselves:
Helping uncover their unique value-proposition
Building a strong personal real estate brand in the local communities they serve.

While I have your much-valued attention, let me share:

26 key differentiators between successful real estate agents and unsuccessful agents

  1. If you go-to-market like a commodity, then you’re a commodity.
  2. If you’re out of sight in the local community, you’re out of mind.
  3. Who are you? Why are you doing this? What’s in it for me? Know thyself, be thyself.
  4. Value, consistency, frequency, relevance, audience & story – marketing 101.
  5. Stop interrupting, soliciting, and spamming – it’s the best way to destroy your brand.
  6. The goal is to be sought, not found.
  7. Remember that knowledge is your real source of income – transfer it.
  8. You’re not in the transaction business, you’re in the “relationship for life” business.
  9. Don’t fall prey to the “this” or “that” marketing trap (i.e. “print” or “digital”?).
  10. Don’t start with the marketing channel/distribution, start with your customer.
  11. If you have listings (active or sold,) keep them visible in the community you serve, it’s the best “call to action” marketing content you have and demonstrates performance.
  12. Marketing your brand is an investment, not an expense.
  13. Don’t litter every social media channel with content for the sake of content – make sure your content has purpose and adds value.
  14. Before you ask, give.
  15. Don’t be a marketing island, go to where the real estate attention is being paid.
  16. You’re not smarter than the market, your consumer, or your competitors.
  17. Don’t send out the same bad template email newsletters that every other Realtor sends out, unless you want to stay a commodity.
  18. Don’t be “all things to all people” – stand for something, be authentic, have a point of view & remember it’s okay to be vulnerable.
  19. It’s not about you – in fact, nobody cares about you! It’s all about them.
  20. There are no shortcuts, slow and steady wins the race – stop chasing.
  21. Practice permission marketing (see Seth Godin).
  22. Start with the Why (see Simon Sinek).
  23. Clarify your message, build a StoryBrand (see Donald Miller).
  24. Become a “real estate mayor” of your community (see Gary Vaynerchuk).
  25. Don’t chase shiny new objects (see Warren Dow on LinkedIn). 😉
  26. “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.” ~ David Ogilvy

An Architectural Rethinking

Sun-filled sky and cerulean seas as far as the eyes can see, Hawaii has a lot on the horizon. Including shore after shore of the ubiquitously branded “luxury lifestyle resort,” whether or not it actually qualifies for the title. One property that does: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection.

When the Kohala Coast resort opens later this year—to hallelujahs far and wide—the refined distillation of its stunning natural environ, one with its own sandy beach, a calmer bay nearby, and the five-star attributes of its class, it will restore a true-to-Hawaii vibe to an increasingly developed strand.

Image by Steelblue

“We wanted a modern, residential-feeling resort that has Auberge’s signature sense of approachable luxury and quality, but respects Hawaiian culture and stories in every way,” explains Kemper Hyers, chief creative officer, Auberge Resorts Collection.

The brand spared no expense to do it, pumping $100-plus million into the project and appointing a team to meticulously attend to every element of the design, ensuring that it met the scale and texture of the island and express an authentic Hawaii aesthetic, thanks to architecture firm Hart Howerton and interior designer Meyer Davis.

Designing an Auberge resort in the bold architecture of Mauna Lani required what Hyers describes as a “perfect blend of contemporary residential design, over-scaled West Coast style, Hawaiian culture and palette, and an approachable but luxurious take on what a Hawaiian hotel can be.”

This meant the team worked with large shutters and screens—some 30 feet high—lashed like canoes to make rooms within the larger open spaces. “This delicate wood inner ‘skin’ is a beautiful counterpoint to the strong architectural presence of the original structure,” describes Hyers, noting that spaces are focused on comfort and how guests actually live.

To this end are sofas, daybeds and roomy chairs. Some of the rich teak architecture is original to the hotel, but with a fresh feel courtesy of Meyer Davis’ design and art, along with custom touches.

Most Hawaii resorts are appraised as extensions of the natural environment for which the islands are rightly and consistently celebrated, drawing throngs of travelers and second-home owners for the vibrancy and diversity of the landscape. The same is true of Mauna Lani. “In color, in texture, in simplicity, we have looked to nature for all of our inspiration,” offers Hyers.

Image by Steelblue

Only “this hotel is distinctly modern and the interiors are filled with landscaping, therefore the furniture and details have a simple clean line that lets the adjacent nature speak.” Another dialogue with the environment is the way the team reoriented the main functions of the hotel—reception, pools, suites, bars, and more all open up to views and landmarks. “We are also designing experiences, not just interiors,” reminds Hyers, noting that places such as the Canoe House and Surf Shack will be “magical spots” on a property that is shaping up to be magic itself.


Craftsman Melds With Endless Ocean Views

Head to the South Shore of Kauai and one finds a sunnier and drier climate than the North. Also here is Kukui’ula, a private club community that sits on over 1,000 acres of the former McBryde Sugar Company plantation. At the top of the community, elevated above a green sweep of island land and unbridled blue ocean views is a custom Plantation-style home, a welcoming and well-appointed perch to immerse oneself in the heavenly island atmosphere. “It’s near amazing beaches and has 270-degree views of the ocean, mountains and golf course,” says real estate agent Neal Norman of the home’s charms.

The structure has been designed to open plentifully to the outdoors. From a peaceful stonework courtyard with a tranquil koi pond and menagerie of palm trees and natural landscaping, one enters an ornate lanai, open to the outdoors on two sides and filled with visual texture: There’s a raised ceiling and exposed white ceiling trusses; rustic stonework along the walls; and rich-hued wood plank floors. It’s an elegant room where one can ponder the nearby infinity pool and pleasing vista of blue sky and ocean.

It’s this breezy heart of the home where one can see friends and family gather during fun-filled getaways, which are bound to be frequent when one considers the luxurious amenities minutes away. Membership in The Club at Kukui’ula is required of homeowners, and gives one access to the $100 million Clubhouse, just a four-minute drive, along with a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, exquisite 20,000-square-foot spa and more.

There are four bedrooms in all, including a one-bedroom guest house that’s nestled in the home’s courtyard. Also detached from the main residence is a sunny media and game room with a plum location on the northern tip of the property, with sweeping views of the ocean and mountains. The master suite is in a wing of its own—an elegant retreat with white walls, multi-toned wood floors and plentiful ocean views.

Adjacent to the bedroom is a lanai that’s enclosed and surrounded with large-paned windows that are ideal for taking in early morning views of breaking waves. One can walk through the master bathroom, adjacent to the two walk-in closets and dressing lounge, then step outside to the private stone courtyard and take a fresh-air shower amid white orchids and green palms.


Of note is the kitchen, a cheerful white room decked with marble countertops and custom cabinetry. Spacious to accommodate what is certain to be a frequent family gathering spot, the kitchen has farmhouse sinks, plenty of sunlight and garden views from ample windows, and a charming built-in banquette made of native koa wood.

The craftsmanship of the kitchen is testament to the home as a whole—a tasteful showcase of high-end carpentry done in the classic Plantation aesthetic. When mixed with its luxury club setting, charmed hillside location and blue-water panorama, it’s hard to fathom a better spot for fine Kauai living.


Presented by

Neal Norman, RB-18048


Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

List Price $11.5 million



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