HIKING IN STYLE

COMMUNE WITH NATURE WITHOUT SACRIFICING CONVENIENCE

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Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

In a digitized world, more global travelers want to take a break from technology while enjoying close contact with nature. Few activities guarantee Zen moments like hiking; fortunately, there’s an ever-growing variety of inviting destinations where expert-led hikes are among the most popular activities.

Better yet, an assortment of upscale resorts and tour providers are offering opportunities to hike in style, with gourmet treats, relaxing spa services, and comfy accommodations taking the sting out of a lung-busting, yet rewarding, hike.

When you’re looking to commune with nature, yet don’t want to sacrifice any conveniences, seek out these opportunities to enjoy some of the best hikes in the world.

NEW YORK STATE

Considered a hiker’s paradise, the Adirondacks cover more than six million acres and have 2,000-plus miles of marked hiking trails, making this America’s largest trail system. Whiteface Lodge, an all-suite luxury resort tucked into the woodlands above Lake Placid, evokes the Gilded Age style of the Adirondacks’ historic Great Camps. The property, which features striking design elements of stone and timber, provides easy access to signature hiking destinations, such as the High Falls Gorge and Whiteface Landing. Families are well-served, thanks to complimentary resort amenities such as a 56-seat movie theater, a game room with a two-lane bowling alley, a fishing pond, and a kids camp.

Mohonk Mountain House, a historic resort in the famed Hudson Valley (some 90 miles north of New York City), is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, making it one of the oldest family-run hotels in the U.S. Situated in the center of the Shawangunk Mountains, the property sits next to the glacier-formed Lake Mohonk, providing guests of all ages with ample opportunities to engage with nature. Options range from a relaxing mindfulness hike, to an intense survivalist hike during which participants learn valuable tools and techniques, to a “foods of the forest” hike that teaches guests how to sustain themselves with nature’s bounty.

SAINT LUCIA

Health-minded Caribbean travelers flock to BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive wellness resort that offers a pair of exhilarating hiking experiences as part of its luxury services. The Mount Gimie hike encompasses a 3,117-foot climb to the summit of the tallest mountain in the West Indies, with breathtaking views of lush tropical rainforests. Those looking for a less-demanding experience opt for the En Baus Saut hike, in which guests venture into the interior of the island and through the Edmund Rainforest, where they hike into a waterfall to enjoy a refreshing swim.

JAPAN

Japan’s first glamping retreat, Hoshinoya Fuji, offers individual cabins carved into the mountainside, with ample opportunities to detach from the modern world, as epitomized by its “digital detox” program. When not spending time on the Cloud Terrace—a series of connected platforms positioned along the red-pine slope that extends from the cabins—guests can enjoy mountain-trekking tours in which expert guides lead the way towards panoramic views of imposing Mount Fuji and scenic Lake Kawaguchi.

The Alila Experience’s Cave Adventure Via Ferrata in Oman is for the adventurous Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

The Alila Experience’s Cave Adventure Via Ferrata in Oman is for the adventurous
Credits: Alila Jabal Akhdar

OMAN

Adventure travelers and nature lovers looking to visit Oman in style flock to Alila Jabal Akhdar, a luxury resort nestled 6,000 feet above sea level in the Al Hajar mountains. Guests are encouraged to explore nearby hiking trails, which extend past farmlands filled with walnut trees and pomegranate bushes. Thrill seekers opt for challenging via ferrata treks that lead to jaw-dropping scenery, such as Al Khutaymi, the site of a hidden village within a cave.

INDIA

For such a densely populated country, India offers a surprising number of world-class hiking destinations, perhaps none more notable than the Himalayan city of Shimla. Well-heeled travelers gravitate to Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi Resort, the stately former residence of a British lord, where guests lose themselves in nature via guided walks through the surrounding landscaped hill slopes.

Nearby, The Oberoi Cecil presents guided nature walks in the village of Annadale. After descending through rhododendron and cedar forests, hikers pause for a relaxing picnic lunch beside a bubbling stream.

Exodus Travels takes travelers to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas Credits: Exodus Travels

Exodus Travels takes travelers to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas
Credits: Exodus Travels

MEXICO

Spread across more than 4,000 acres in Tecate, Rancho La Puerta—one of Mexico’s most acclaimed wellness resorts—offers hiking-focused activities for all fitness levels, and employs a concierge with whom guests can take hiking lessons. In addition to challenging hikes, serious trail runners and marathoners can take to the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa to train across numerous trails at different altitudes.

UTAH

Located in Park City, the Montage Deer Valley resort presents a variety of easily accessible hikes. And visitors looking to take their brushes with nature to another level can opt for a Montage Expedition. These intimate, personalized adventures see resort guests take a private plane to Yellowstone or Canyonlands National Park, where expert tour guides lead hikes past myriad highlights.

Nature lovers flock to the city of St. George for the outdoors-focused Red Mountain Resort. Positioned in the heart of southwestern Utah’s Red Rock Country, the resort sits in close proximity to neighboring Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. It offers a range of customizable hiking experiences, as well as spa treatments and wellness workshops designed to help recovery after a long day on the trails.

Hiking through Uganda with Intrepid Travel Credits: Damien Raggatt - Intrepid Group

Hiking through Uganda with Intrepid Travel
Credits: Damien Raggatt – Intrepid Group

CALIFORNIA

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the adults-only Ventana Big Sur resort sits on 160 acres of rolling meadows and towering redwoods along California’s scenic Central Coast. Guests revel in daily guided walks, plus dedicated adventure hikes and Big Sur excursions.

Devotees of The Ranch Malibu—one of America’s most lauded and influential wellness retreats—swear by its daily regimen that pairs nutrition-focused, plant-based meals with rigorous fitness classes and guided mountain hikes. The knowledgeable staff and revitalizing atmosphere attract visitors from around the world, and for those who have already had the signature Malibu experience, The Ranch offers similar retreats in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, where guests hike along alpine trails with professional guides.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Accessible only by boat, seaplane, or helicopter, the Sonora Resort attracts nature lovers to its home in B.C.’s Discovery Islands. Guests hike alongside the property’s ecological guide and pass through old-growth cedars—some more than 800 years old—while learning about ancient remedies and local history. Once back at the resort, vacationers keep an eye out for orcas, dolphins, sea lions, and more.

Adrenaline junkies looking to take their hikes to another level are attracted to the famous granite spires of the Bugaboos, found in the Purcell Mountains of southeastern B.C. CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures delivers hikers by helicopter; for takeoffs and landings, participants huddle as a group and hold on tight, due to hurricane-force winds created by the rotor. Hardcore types tackle the Skyladder Via Ferrata, a half-day vertical journey up Mount Trundle (no climbing experience necessary), while others can simply admire shale ridges and alpine meadows.

CHILE

Tierra Hotels—a trio of boutique, all-inclusive lodges, each inspired by nature—provides guided hiking excursions through some of Chile’s most scenic locales. Located on the edge of the famed Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra Patagonia offers guided hikes both inside and outside the park. From its base in the northern Atacama desert, Tierra Atacama lets guests hike through the striking Valle de la Luna. Situated off the coast of northern Patagonia, Tierra Chiloe—the newest of the three—delivers a quiet environment for peaceful hikes, not to mention penguin and dolphin spotting.

SCOTLAND AND IRELAND

Wilderness Scotland and its sister company, Wilderness Ireland, offer guided walking trips with highlights such as Scotland’s North Highlands Coast, West Highlands Way, and Speyside Way, and Ireland’s Dingle Way and the mountains of Connemara and Mayo. Participants choose between hill walks, coastal walks, and valley hikes, and a grading system ensures the right difficulty level. Wilderness Scotland also offers self-guided walks in which guests go at their own pace with the freedom to explore along the way, while being assisted via baggage transfers and 24-hour support.

A Wilderness Scotland tour through beautiful scenery and ruins on the North Highlands Coast Credits: Wilderness Scotland-Rupert Shanks

A Wilderness Scotland tour through beautiful scenery and ruins on the North Highlands Coast
Credits: Wilderness Scotland-Rupert Shanks

Stuttgart’s Finest: Swiss Collection Encompasses 25 Years of Modern Porsche

A special capsule sale from RM Sotheby’s offers unrepeatable examples of Stuttgart’s greatest hits.

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An unwritten rule about buying cars from Stuttgart is to search both ends of the timeline; chasing down either Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche’s earliest efforts or sourcing the most modern examples one can find. Unlike lesser companies, the team of engineers and designers who carried the torch of performance motoring after the elder Porsche’s untimely death in 1951 and his son Ferry’s retirement in 1989 proved that the performance-oriented spirit of the company’s namesake did not dissipate.

RM Sotheby’s is proud to celebrate this continued dedication with a Swiss-based, stand-alone single-owner collection of some of Stuttgart’s finest sports cars from the modern era as the exciting climax to our Online Only: Open Roads, February auction, with a staggered closure over 19-28 February:

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REMI DARGEGEN © 2020 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY’S

1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Starting off with an air-cooled, turbocharged bang, this open-top 911 existed so far above other 993-generation Porsches as to be essentially nonexistent: Merely 14 were constructed by Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur at the request of Fitz Haberl, one of Porsche’s most influential dealers in Munich. With widened rear wheel arches and a factory-optional spoiler fitted, the black-on-black theme of this ultra-rare 911 is broken only by its Maroon-colored cloth top. Originally priced with an 89,500 DM premium over the non-turbocharged variant (the approximate equivalent of a $110,139 surcharge today), this example sets the tone for the rest of our list: Unapologetically extraordinary.

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REMI DARGEGEN © 2020 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY’S

2004 Porsche Carrera GT

Unveiled in spectacular fashion on the eve of the 2000 Paris Motor Show, the concept Carrera GT was a statement that Porsche was not beholden to the rear-engine, six-cylinder formula that built the brand’s reputation. Instead, when the production version of the Carrera GT supercar was released in 2004, it marked many milestones not simply in the history of Porsche, but in the automotive world writ large: The Carrera GT was the first production vehicle built around a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, a foundation that makes up nearly every serious supercar today. Unlike the offerings of today, however, this U.S.-spec Fayence Yellow-over-Dark Grey Carrera GT is shifted by its driver.

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2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic

Sometimes, a look back can provide an opportunity for reinvention. The “Classic” in this Sport Classic can easily be observed in this example’s timeless silhouette, echoing some of the dramatic highlights from the brand’s history, right down to the headline-grabbing “ducktail” spoiler. And yet, factory-equipped with a ‘Power Kit,’ the Sport Classic’s 3.8-litre, horizontally opposed, six-cylinder engine comfortably produced 408 horsepower—nearly double the 210 horsepower produced from the 2.7-litre, air-cooled engine under the original “ducktail”: The 1973 Carrera 911 RS 2.7. This example was only the twelfth ever built out of a limited run of 250 ever made. As such, the desirability among Porschephiles for the few Sport Classics released has been strong from the time it was announced. A modern icon.

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REMI DARGEGEN © 2020 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY’S

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

As truly old-school Porsche followers will no doubt recognize, hybrid power has flowed in the brand’s blood since the Lohner-Porsche of 1900. Though Ferdinand Porsche’s first effort was driven by electric motors mounted in wheel hubs (a true innovation, spawningseveralmodernimitators), the elder Porsche could scarcely have conceived of the levels of power and refinement achieved by the 918 Spyder. Showing under 5,500 km from new, this tasteful, hybrid hypercar has been optioned with Porsche’s Liquid Chrome Blue Metallic over Mocha Brown leather with Silver accents—one of only three ordered in this exact specification. The perfect counterpoint to the raw emotion from the Carrera GT supercar, this 918 is proof of Porsche’s evolution into a world-class OEM that can offer both exhilarating performance and unparalleled refinement in the same forward-thinking package.

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REMI DARGEGEN © 2020 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY’S

2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Not the first model overseen by this individual, but the first on our list, this 2010 Porsche 911 GT2 RS marks for us the introduction of a name that will no doubt one day be added to the list of greatest-ever automotive engineers: Dr. Andreas Preuninger. Reputed among the motoring press as the person who nearly single-handedly re-established Porsche performance, Dr. Preuninger has overseen every GT-branded model but one (if you have yet to see it, this recent Top Gear segment is illuminating). For this 2010 example, Dr. Preuninger achieved outright domination of the leaderboards, not only on paper, with the GT2 RS earning the title of “fastest and most powerful 997-generation 991” upon its release, but on the track as well, with the model setting a 2010 record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife that remained unbroken internally until the 991.2 Turbo S in 2017. Deeply impressive.

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REMI DARGEGEN © 2020 COURTESY OF RM SOTHEBY’S

2017 Porsche 911 R

In almost a year of compiling this semi-regular blog for RM Sotheby’s, your humble writer has tried to keep his personal preferences private, but with this example, he must confess an undeniable bias. Since serving as an editor on the English-language translation of the definitive book on the making of the modern 911 R, this writer was struck by the sincerity of the true believers within Porsche who balance respect for the brand’s history while understanding the necessity to reinvent it. Practically covered with grace notes and “Easter Eggs” instantly recognizable to Porschephiles everywhere down to the “pepita”-patterned inserts on the brown leather seats, this model was a nod to the original motorsport-inspired 911 R from 1967. For many other brands, the hint at history would be merely aesthetic, but underneath the skin existed the same GT3 RS-spec suspension and 4.0-litre powerplant that made all of Dr. Preuninger’s other output so exemplary. The most critical addition was a six-speed manual gearbox; no spoiler necessary. This example, the 401st constructed out of 991 total, is made even more extraordinary by its Paint-to-Sample Gulf Blue exterior.

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2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Proving exactly the ethos of individualism that has from the beginning been integral to the Porsche brand, this RennSport-spec, Paint-to-Sample Porsche 911 GT2 RS was ordered new in this striking shade of Azzurro California Metallic with contrasting gold-colored center-lock wheels. The outspoken exterior of the GT2 is balanced by its straightforward, motorsport-inspired interior, with adaptive sport seats trimmed in two-tone, light blue-over-black leather. Underneath the skin, Dr. Preuninger’s lightening regime truly shines, with the roof of this 911 GT2 RS fashioned from the ultimate natural material for lightweight strength: Magnesium. With carbon-fiber components used throughout this example, it is clear this colorful car makes a modern statement that the future of Porsche performance is bright.

 

Blog Author:Forest Casey
Casey is the Editorial and Marketing Content Developer at RM Sotheby’s.

Introducing The New Reside Magazine

It is with great excitement that the Sotheby’s International Realty brand announces the launch of the new, luxury home & lifestyle magazine- RESIDE!

RESIDE is a celebration of the creative imagination between home, art and living.  Scroll through these beautiful pages here.

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Art & Home – January 2017

A new issue of Art & Home has arrived, fresh from the printers! Take a moment to scroll through these beautiful pages! http://bit.ly/2jw95Cj

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Country Life

We are proud to announce that the reach of the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand continues to grow, promoting our properties through the most prestigious real estate channels worldwide. And now we’re expanding that presence in the United Kingdom, which represents the 4th largest source of traffic to sothebysrealty.com. To meet that demand among UK consumers, now qualified property listings on sothebysrealty.com will be promoted through countrylife.co.uk.

The website has recently launched a new stylish, user-friendly search engine which showcases properties from the Sotheby’s International Realty brand among other homes from around the world. Countrylife.co.uk reaches a highly affluent, motivated group of consumers mainly from the UK (65% of all visits), as well as the U.S., Australia, Germany and Canada.

For more information, please visit their website at www.countrylife.co.uk.

Homes & Land of the Adirondacks


Select Sotheby’s International Realty is excited to announce that one of our unique and distinctive properties in the Adirondacks has been featured on the cover of Homes & Land of the Adirondacks. This private mountain, represented by Associate Real Estate Broker Keir Weimer, boasts 180 acres of prime land with stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains. Sitting 2300 feet above sea level, this mountaintop setting is an architect’s dream with endless possibilities. The land also includes 1000 feet of waterfront on 5th Lake, which provides access to all lakes on the Fulton Chain of Lakes through the channel.

To learn more about the property or to schedule a showing, please visithttp://privateadkmountain.uniquenyhomes.com

To view the issue of Homes & Land, please visit http://www.homesandland.com/FlipBook.cfm?MagId=2271&Volume=08&Issue=01#1

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Home Luxuries: What’s In, What’s Out

Which amenities can luxury homebuyers expect to find in today’s market? For our latest Real Estate Lab report, we combed through two years’ worth of luxury listings to see which words and phrases are trending up and down. We defined luxury listings as homes for sale that are priced at least four times above the median asking price for a given metro area: that means a million-dollar home in Rochester, NY, is a luxury listing, while a million-dollar home in San Francisco is not. We compared luxury homes listed between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, with those listed in the previous year, between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012.

What’s In: Marble, Windows, and Booze
Looking at all of the words and phrases that appear in luxury listings, we identified twenty phrases that trended upward most strongly in the past year compared with the previous year. Luxury listings are now 78% more likely to mention a marble bath than one year ago, and 30% more likely to mention marble floors. Outdoor space is also on the rise: roof deck and terrace were 63% and 42% more common, respectively, than they were a year ago.

Luxury listings were also more likely to mention windows in the past year compared with the previous year. Oversized, floor-to-ceiling, ceiling, and large windows – as well breathtaking and ocean views – all trended upward, which suggests that buyers of luxury homes are increasingly paying for what they see when they look outward.

Trulia_Home-Luxuries_MarbleBath

Home Luxuries: What’s Trending Up

# Phrase Change
1 marble bath

78%

2 roof deck

63%

3 oversized windows

56%

4 storage space

42%

5 terrace

42%

6 floor-to-ceiling windows

39%

7 ceiling windows

37%

8 marble floors

30%

9 wine room

30%

10 gym

28%

11 tennis court

24%

12 private elevator

24%

13 large windows

23%

14 wood burning fireplace

22%

15 outdoor kitchen

22%

16 summer kitchen

20%

17 pond

19%

18 panoramic views

18%

19 ocean views

18%

20 walk-in closets

17%

Finally, more luxury listings mentioned fitness amenities like gyms (up 28%) and tennis courts (up 24%). But residents should remember to use those before they hit another upward-trending luxury amenity: wine rooms (up 30%).

What’s Out: Kitchens and Formality


Many kitchen and cooking amenities trended downward over the past year. Luxury listings were 16% less likely to mention a BBQ, compared with the previous year. Additionally, phrases that were kitchen-related (custom cabinets, center island, granite counters, breakfast area) and appliance-related (double sinks, stainless appliances) were less likely to appear in luxury listings over the past year than in the previous year.

Also decreasing were mentions of formal rooms: formal dining and formal living room were both down 4%.

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Home Luxuries: What’s Trending Down

# Phrase Change
1 BBQ -16%
2 hardwoods -13%
3 plantation shutters -13%
4 covered patio -11%
5 lush landscaping -9%
6 custom cabinets -9%
7 fireplaces -9%
8 double sinks -8%
9 stainless appliances -7%
10 pool -7%
11 gated community -6%
12 center island -6%
13 bonus room -6%
14 granite counters -5%
15 formal dining -4%
16 formal living room -4%
17 surround sound -4%
18 large master suite -3%
19 gourmet kitchen -3%
20 breakfast area -3%

What’s behind these trends in luxury listings? One factor is a shift in where luxury homes are for sale. Luxury listings increased in the New York and Washington D.C. metro areas, and where many high-priced homes there are fancy condos or co-ops, which are more likely feature urban luxuries like roof decks than suburban luxuries like BBQs, covered patios, or pools. Still, many of the upwardly trending luxury features like tennis courts, ponds, and outdoor kitchens aren’t found in urban condos, so these trends aren’t ONLY about geographic shifts in luxury listings.

Overall, there seems to be a move toward luxury listings calling out expansive windows, great views, and fitness amenities – and a move away from indoor cooking and eating. The real winner of these recent trends in luxury homes could be fancy restaurants: luxury homes aren’t emphasizing kitchens as much as they used to, but buyers of those homes still need to eat. For some of those luxury-home buyers, the most desirable view out of those floor-to-ceiling windows might be onto a lively neighborhood full of good restaurants

The Luxury Log Cabin


The new log cabin: so large, so luxe and so loaded with amenities that Daniel Boone would hardly know where to hang his coonskin hat.

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The rise of the high-end log cabin: so large, so luxe and so loaded with amenities that Daniel Boone would hardly know where to hang his coonskin hat. Photo: Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal.

William Raphael spent $12.5 million on his vacation log home in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The 15,000-square-foot residence, completed in 2011, has six bedrooms with attached bathrooms and two half-baths. It includes a 3,600-square-foot playroom with a table shuffleboard, a ping-pong table, three hanging TVs, a media room and a bar. The great room has a 38-foot-tall tongue-and-groove ceiling, wide-plank, hand-hewn walnut floors and a 10-foot-wide fireplace.

Despite its size, the spaces include rustic touches: The staircase railings still have bark on them, and the treads are made of logs cut in half.

“I know it’s going to be there for 100 years,” says Mr. Raphael, a retired manufacturing executive who primarily lives in Ridgewood, N.J.

By the Lumbers

 

Jim McKinney’s nearly 7,000-square-foot vacation home in Jackson, Wyo., which cost about $3 million to build.

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To create his dream cabin, Mr. Raphael traveled the country, taking photographs of log lodges at a number of national parks because he was enamored with the architecture. He then met with Jay Pohley, president of Pioneer Log Homes in Victor, Mont., and together, they came up with a design for the home, located in Windham, N.Y. The exterior features native stone and hand-peeled standing dead timber—trees that were killed by wildfire or disease and then harvested from their setting.

Once an icon of humble Americana, evoking images of Abe Lincoln, log homes are getting larger and more elaborate, with intricate truss work, expansive windows and even contemporary, curved elements. Instead of dark, low-slung cabins, homeowners are opting for airier, lighter versions with open layouts.

Advances in log-home building have also been driving luxury construction. The chinking, used to fill the gaps between logs, is commonly synthetic in the newer homes. The acrylic polymers adhere to wood better than the traditional sand-cement chinking, which pulled away from the wood as it expanded and contracted, allowing cold drafts, rain and bugs inside. As Mr. Pohley puts it, “synthetic chinking saved our industry.”

 

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Some builders also use logs reinforced with steel rods to minimize sagging as the house settles over time—a common side effect of log homes. The technique also allows architects to create more complex designs.

And builders are increasingly constructing what are called hybrid homes—log homes with a traditional lumber framework that is covered by a veneer of half-logs, half-cut timbers or stone on the outside and inside. This method makes it easier to install electrical, plumbing and insulation in the home, says Ellis Nunn, an architect in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Mr. Nunn and his wife, Sharon, recently designed a 25,000-square-foot hybrid home for a client in Chattanooga, Tenn., with 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, staff quarters, mood lighting and automated doggy doors. The 10-acre estate includes a log sports pavilion with tennis courts and an outdoor entertainment area where the owners host charity events, and a log guesthouse.

Still, the downturn in the economy has put a dent in the log-cabin market in recent years. Murray Arnott, a log-home designer in Ontario, says he saw a steep drop in demand starting in 2009. And even with the real-estate rebound, log homes remain a niche market.

Mr. Raphael put his log home on the market for $12.5 million a year and a half ago; it has already had a price drop and is now listed at $9.75 million. He says he “put his heart and soul” into the home, but that he’s selling because he’s ready to move on to another project.

John A. Burke Jr., a broker who sells homes in New York’s Adirondacks, says there is a market for handcrafted log homes, albeit a small one. That results in more inventory than demand. “Log homes have so many unique characteristics that sometimes people say, ‘Let’s just build our own,’ ” Mr. Burke says, which compounds the surplus.

Jim McKinney, an investment banker in Chicago, worked with PFB Corp.’s PFB.T +0.99%Precision Craft Log & Timber Homes in Meridian, Idaho, on his nearly 7,000-square-foot vacation home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which cost about $3 million. By using steel-reinforced logs, Mr. McKinney was able to get a 27-foot-wide floor-to-ceiling window framed between cedar logs, giving him sweeping views of the Grand Tetons in his great room. “It looks like the trees are coming out of the ground,” Mr. McKinney says of the logs that hold the window.

“I wanted it to be really, really old looking,” says Mr. McKinney, who built a master bath with wood reclaimed from Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone National Park and hung a “Bath 25¢” sign outside the steam shower.

He had the walnut floors on the main floor hand-scraped and the granite countertops in the kitchen torched and sandblasted to make them look rough. Finishing touches include a wood-paneled icebox, silver dollars imprinted in the bar with an old brass cash register sitting on top and a great room that has an 18-foot canoe perched in the corner.

Building a luxury log home takes about six to eight months longer than a traditional timber-framed home and costs 10% to 40% more because of the labor involved in hand-crafting elements of the home. Typically, the bark is hand-peeled off the logs with a drawknife to give it a rustic, uneven look. Logs often are notched, another time-consuming task, so the corners can be fitted together.

Delivery costs typically comprise 2% of the overall project cost because most handcrafted log-homes are constructed on a factory or logging site and then disassembled and numbered for shipping. For a $5 million log home recently completed in the mountains of Cyprus, Jim Banner of Precision Craft estimates the fees for 25, 40-foot-long shipping containers cost about $100,000.

Prices for logs have increased about 15% in the past five years, in part because fewer mills are logging. At the same time, the amount of standing dead timber that is available is increasing as forest fires and infestations such as pine-beetle kill become more prevalent, which has kept prices from rising faster, Mr. Pohley says.

The most popular type of log used is the Douglas fir because of its strength, followed by lodgepole pines, which are about 10% to 20% cheaper. Other high-end choices include Western red cedar and Engelmann spruce.

There are unexpected challenges. For example, Judith Carpenter was asked to decide the placement of every light switch and electrical outlet before her 9,000-square-foot farmhouse in Norwood, N.C., was completed in 2008. Unlike homes with Sheetrock over wall studs, it’s hard to cut openings in the logs and pull wiring through after the home has been assembled. Five years later, Ms. Carpenter says there are one or two places where she wished she put in outlets—particularly in the bedrooms.

Ms. Carpenter, a former state champion in trap shooting, runs the property as a retreat that includes trap shooting, a tilapia farm and a soon-to-come shrimp farm. The $3 million main home has three bedrooms and six bathrooms and includes a downstairs game room with a pool table and home theater and nearly 1,000 square feet of outdoor porches.

Ms. Carpenter wanted a log cabin because it stands apart from the brick- and vinyl-sided homes in the area. “It’s unlike anything else around here,” she says.

Log cabins can stand the test of time, lasting a century or more, with regular maintenance. Most log homes should be restained every three to five years, builders say, to prevent sun damage, and rechinked as needed to prevent air infiltration. Mr. McKinney, the Jackson Hole homeowner, is currently rechinking and touching up a few spots that have been worn down from the sun and from when the sprinklers hit the home, even though it is only a couple of years old.

Some log-cabin homeowners invoke nostalgia and childhood fantasies in their designs. Race-car driver Tony Stewart recently completed a more-than-15,000-square-foot home with six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms in Columbus, Ind., that is reminiscent of Bass Pro Shops, a company that is one of his sponsors and that uses the same supplier of logs in Mr. Stewart’s home, according to people familiar with the project. The residence has a 1,600-cubic-foot aquarium, two trout ponds and a two-lane bowling alley, according to a brochure by the home’s builder. A lower level includes a game room and two racing display cases, plus an actual Indianapolis 500 car hung on the wall. Mr. Stewart declined to comment, but people familiar with the project say the home is, as one person put it, “a far cry from a cabin.”

In the end, Mr. Raphael hopes his passion for his log home rubs off on potential buyers. He has enjoyed spending Christmas there, inviting friends over to play ping pong in the game room and gather in the kitchen to watch hockey games while food is prepped.

“Sometimes, I live there for weeks on end,” Mr. Raphael says. “It’s a great place to have hot chocolate and burn a fire.”

 

Lakeside Vacations That Have It All

 

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Lavaux Vineyards at Lake Geneva, Switzerland (Photo: iStockphoto)

It’s the shimmer of the water, catching shadows from the surrounding trees. It’s the opportunity for discovery—perhaps a hidden cave at water’s edge, or maybe a fabulous waterfront nightclub—it all depends on what you want. It’s a way to play where Hollywood superstars vacation, or to be stone alone deep in the wilderness.

Whatever your vacation dream is, click through this slideshow to find a lakeside vacation for you.
Lac Léman, France/Lake Geneva, Switzerland
For: A two-country experience paired with fine wine

Call it Lac Léman in free-wheeling France. Rename it Lake Geneva when you are in prim and pretty Switzerland. Either way, you will see lovely scenery. This crescent lake is backed by towering snow-capped Alps and fronted by pretty vineyards (including the historic Lavaux Vineyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Don’t miss the thousand-year-old Chateau de Chillon, rich in history. Go out on a CGN boat for great photos. Perhaps treat yourself to a night in the five-star Beau Rivage Hotel overlooking the lake in pretty Lausanne, Switzerland, and dine at its Michelin two-star restaurant, Anne-Sophie Pic.

Next: Relax where the Midwestern magnates used to go in Wisconsin.

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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
For:
For relaxing away from it all

A favorite retreat for residents of the Midwestern cities, including folks whose last names were Wrigley and Schwinn and Maytag, Lake Geneva also welcomes non-billionaires to its pretty shores. Book rooms in the lovely Abbey, which combines good opportunities for kids to have fun with the elegance and fine dining that will delight solo couples. Explore the shops in the village of Lake Geneva, and walk the Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path, for a glimpse of the magnates’ mansions. Kick back for some fun on the Ice Cream Social Tour aboard the old-fashioned Grand Belle of Geneva. Star gaze at Yerkes Observatory.

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Lake George, New York

For: Forts and family fun

Kids love pretty Lake George, packed with all of the souvenir shops, factory outlets, and fudge stores that make vacations fun. Take the family to tour Fort William Henry, right in town. It played a pivotal role in the French and Indian War, and now it even offers spooky evening ghost tours between July 4 and Labor Day. Fort Ticonderoga, north of the lake, is another popular family stop. Those in search of a more sophisticated experience should book into the Sagamore Resort, a classic grand hotel on an island in the lake. Folks in search of true tranquility will find it on the lake’s far less developed eastern shore.

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Lake Como, Italy
For:
Playing where celebrities play

Fly into chic Milan. Shop, or simply admire, the fabulous fashion scene, and book well ahead to catch an opera at La Scala and also reserve in advance to see da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Head out some 40 to 50 miles to Lake Como, where the beautiful people—George Clooney, for one—play. The lake’s 145-mile shoreline is dotted with fabulous villas and the occasional grand hotel. The backdrop: The snow-capped Alps. Explore Bellagio, best visited in less-busy spring or fall. Take the funicular up from town, to hike mountain trails with vast views. Treat yourself to a night at the posh Villa d’Este.

 

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Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

For: For enjoying nature in a luxurious setting

This perfectly situated glacial lake, ringed by towering mountains topped with tall evergreens, and capped by an icy glacier that shimmers in the summer sun, is probably the loveliest place you will ever find to paddle your own canoe. Visitors get double the scenery for their money, since the glorious setting is all reflected again in the green-blue waters of the lake. Treat yourselves to a lakefront room at the classic Chateau Lake Louise. But don’t linger too long there. This is a place custom made for hiking and biking and (and in winter for skating). Drive to nearby Banff for restaurants and nightlife.

 

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Lakes of Killarney, Ireland

For: The great outdoors combined with rich history

This lovely chain of three lakes—Lough Leane (also known as Lower Lake), Muckross Lake (sometimes called Middle Lake), and Upper Lake, in Ireland’s Black Valley—offers both natural beauty and superbly built structures. Start with a visit to lakefront Ross Castle, proudly independent into the 17th century, when it fell to Oliver Cromwell. From there, it is possible to board a boat that will take you along the 14-mile-long Chain of Lakes, for touring or fishing. Your journey will take you past a ruined abbey, under ancient stone bridges, and past waterfalls and mountain vistas, as well as 4,000-year-old copper mines.

 

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Lake Tahoe

For: Big vistas, raw nature, and a little gambling

Postcard-perfect Lake Tahoe—the second-deepest lake in the United States—straddles the California and Nevada border at more than a mile above sea level. Summer visitors get to hike the high ski trails far above the glimmering blue-green water below, and can mountain bike up steep trails, with a return zoom down straight to the lake. Sand Harbor State Beach in Incline Village is a great place to take a dip in the chilly lake waters, or simply to chill out. In July, you can book tickets for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. And of course, you can hit the casinos on the Nevada side of the lake every day.

 

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Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

and Manitoba and Ontario, Canada
For:
A true wilderness experience

While many Americans (as opposed to Canadians) may not know Lake of the Woods, it is, in fact, both massive—we’re talking a 65,000-mile shoreline— and magnificent, as well as far enough off the beaten path to delight folks who really want to be alone. It also boasts an epic 14,000 islands, perfect for romantic picnics, and is a definite paradise for those who love to fish—imagine fresh bass on the grill after a hard day of play. (You can hire a guide who knows where to find the big ones.) The town of Kenora, on the north shore, has a good weekly farmers market, plus shops, galleries, and restaurants.

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The Finger Lakes, New York

For: Wineries, pretty villages, and the great outdoors

Oenophiles can explore the more than 100 wineries that line the shores of these 11 long, slim Finger Lakes, created by glacial activity more than two million years ago. Wine tour maps are available, or hire Finger Lakes Winery Tours to take you around. Don’t miss the village ofSkaneateles, so pretty that Norman Rockwell might have created it. Book rooms at the nearby Mirbeau Inn and Spa, which has an excellent restaurant. Visit the Corning Glass Museum, where you may also make your own glass object. Save time to hike in Watkins Glen State Park in Ithaca, where you can climb past 19 waterfalls.

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Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia

For: Floating islands and rich culture

Surely one of the world’s most exotic lakes—as well as the world’s highest navigable lake, at 12,500 feet—Lake Titicaca offers rich scenery. The lake crosses the border between Peru and Bolivia, with its shores ringed by the towering Andes Mountains. Titicaca’s floating islands, built of straw, and occupied by groups of Uros Indians who live out their lives in this squishy setting, is a must visit. Larger islands include pretty Taquile (it resembles Tuscany), which boasts serious pre-Inca ruins, and is known for its handicrafts. The men knit, starting as kids, and the women do museum-quality weaving.

14,272 Hall Design Photos

Halls are pathways between living spaces, but they can be much more than this. Instead of seeing your hallway as just a way to get from one room to another, look at it as a gallery to display all that you love. Displays of treasured and found items bring vibrancy to a home. They give guests a glimpse into your life and remind you of your history. By effectively using shelving, narrow or demi-lune tables and wall space, you can display the objects you love most. The hallway is a key place to do this. A key to successful hall gallery display is using a common denominator, such as color, a material, a shape, or a theme, to unify the pieces. Grouping elements in odd-numbered groups, usually three to five pieces, creates an eye-pleasing display. Varying the heights of the elements adds interest. Display collectibles by creating small groupings on an art shelf or within shadow boxes; you can frame a letter for display or place items in glass hurricanes or jars. Choose items in the same color family to create unity within the display area in your hall. But remember, less is more. Don’t clutter your hall display by trying to showcase everything. Bring out cherished items and rotate every so often. Others will enjoy them more if they aren’t overwhelmed by all the other stuff. If you choose a more crisp and clean aesthetic in your hall areas, use wallpaper to create sophisticated interest. A subtle stripe or woven seagrass may be enough personality and texture for your hall, even without all the other details. Layer on classic sconce lighting to further develop the mood as you travel from room to room. Whatever look you choose, don’t skip over the hallway when designing your home. It can prove to be the unexpected gem of your personal space.

Find hall design ideas here.