The most expensive house in America

While Hubs and I are focusing on getting the most bang for our buck in our build, I thought I’d take a look at what’s on offer if the budget was unlimited – and came across the most expensive house in America that is currently on the market.

Introducing Gemini – the $195 million tropical compound. Yes, you heard that correctly. $195 million compound.

The estate listing calls it a 15.65 acre crown jewel tropical compound, and a once in a lifetime offering of one of the world’s truly great and rare estates.

So what does $195 million get you?

  • 1 x large, elegant yet invitingly formal coral-clad 12-bedroom main residence, comprising large wings on both the ocean and Intracoastal sides, joined by a unique and irreproducible 15 foot wide residential gallery
  • 1 x 7-bed, 7.5-bathroom guest house
  • 2 x 4-bed guest cottages
  • 1 x manager’s office with work spaces and garages
  • There’s also a bird sanctuary, a botanical garden, and a butterfly garden
  • If you’re into sport, the sports complex features a regulation tennis court, half basketball court, Robinson Crusoe-style tree house and playground, miniature golf course and large-scale model train
  • For the boaties, there’s a private beach and a pier, too.


Sounds like…. a lot of maintenance. But I suppose, if you can afford the price tag, you can afford a couple of cleaners and groundkeepers!

It looks like it’s been on the market for at least a year, so who knows what it will actually sell for, and if it will actually sell. Let’s just hope it’s built to withstand the weather, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down in the next few days. My thoughts are with all those in the path of Matthew – some of my favourite cities in the world are going to be effected and I can only pray that they come out with minimal damage. I’m keeping a close eye on the weather reports and hoping for a miracle.



We’ve settled! Now to get to contract stage…

So we settled on the land yesterday! After 10 long months we can finally say we actually own the land, yay! But now the hard work starts!

Hubby met with the builder during the week as we try to work towards our final building contract. While we don’t have to make complete final decisions, we do need to have a pretty certain idea of what style we want, so the different trades can quote on it. Hubby has a strong opinion on details such as windows, window frames, skirting boards and cornice, so I’m happy to leave him to make those decisions. But I have the strong opinion when it comes to the kitchen and bathrooms – these are actually my most favourite areas to work on, as there are so many elements to come together. And so the sketching begins!


Yes, yes, I am by  no means an artist! But at least hubby understands my rough sketches and can do something with it (the toilet looks weird, but it is very specific – I only like completely flat backs that can go against the wall!).

But anyway, I digress. So now we’re at the stage of working out what cabinet style we want, so the cabinet maker can quote on it. What tiles we might want, so the tiler can quote on it. What shower, bath, toilet and vanity we want, so the builder can quote on it. Lots and lots of quotes!! So hubby and I have been trawling through our inspiration pictures and Pinterest, picking out our number 1 pictures that give a strong indicator of the style we want. Here’s a snapshot of our ensuite, laundry and kitchen inspiration (in order).




Once we’ve put together the more detailed photos and requests, the builder thinks we should be at a point to sign a contract in the next two weeks, which is so exciting! Here’s hoping it all goes to plan!

Have a good weekend!

Project Build: Ready for settlement!

After what seems like forever, the developer is finally ready to hand over the land and we can get on with the process of BUILDING! We received notice the other week that everything is good to go, and thankfully at the same time our finance came through so according to the solicitor and mortgage broker, we are all ready for D-Day!

There’s been a little bit of progress with the site over the past 6 months and I thought I’d share some photos of the changes as they happened little by little. In case you missed it – here is my post on when we purchased the land! Probably the most exciting part was when we got the roads in – that’s when things really got real. Now the construction gates are down and we can come and go as we please which is really exciting.

September 2015

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December 2015


February 2016


March 2016


June 2016



July 2016


In other news, we’ve also settled on a builder and are trying to finalise our plans as much as possible before signing the contract. I know a lot of builders are happy to do variations to the contract as the build progresses, but we’re really keen to have everything locked down as much as possible. With hubby being an Engineer he is very detail-oriented, and we have a meeting this week with the builder to raise a number of smaller points that we want finalised. Here’s an updated floor plan to have a look at, although there are still a couple of small changes to come.

ElevationFloor plan

Well hopefully everything goes smoothly this week and we become proud new land owners!


Get the look – Cape Cod living

I’ve been scouring the internet and magazines for images of interior styling that I like, trying to get a feel for how we’ll decorate our new home. As you’ll see when I begin documenting our build on here, I’m a HUGE fan of the Hamptons/Cape Cod style home. Being that we’re building on acreage on the Gold Coast, I think we’ve got the perfect spot to combine these styles and achieve a beautiful family home.

It’s all well and good finding pictures for inspiration, but what about finding the actual goods!! Often suppliers aren’t listed in magazine articles, or items were purchased many years ago or overseas, which makes copying them almost impossible. So, I’ve got my detective hat on and I’m on the look out for practical and budget friendly pieces to replicate these looks myself! Today I’m starting with these stunning images of a Cape Cod style living room… take a look.

Images via

Isn’t it just divine!! Here are some options to get this look from Ikea, Freedom and Pottery Barn, hopefully covering a few different budgets!! Those with a heart are my top picks!


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Project Build: In the beginning

As many of you will know, hubby and I purchased our first home 6 years ago. In that time we got engaged, got married, have travelled to Europe and been on many a cruise. At the same time, we’ve slowly but surely been carefully renovating every part of our house. It wasn’t a small project that we took on, but we knew we could do it if we had the patience and stamina. I won’t lie, it’s tested our relationship some times, but what’s that saying – if you can survive a renovation, you can survive anything?? We can survive anything! We’re nearly finished now and in the end we will have completely gutted and rebuilt our living, dining and kitchen area, terraced our front yard including a new retaining wall and garden beds, redone our entertaining area and decked our pool, gutted and re-did our main bathroom, master bedroom and ensuite, and refurbished the remaining bedrooms with new carpets, paint jobs and replaced the lovely amber glass windows with modern ones. It’s been a big job but the results have been very satisfying.

Along the way, we’ve often been asked “what are you going to do when you finish?”. We’ve always said we would sell and many people didn’t believe us, after we’ve put so much hard work into this house, and it does look beautiful now. The truth is, we never had any intentions of this being our “forever home”. This was pure and simple a business decision. Buy what we could afford to enter the market, renovate as much as we could without paying others to do it, sell for a great profit and move on. The move on part was what we weren’t sure about. Do we renovate again? Do we build? Where do we want to live? Near the city, or the country? We both agreed that if we decided to renovate again, we would be doing it to stay put and we would probably pay people to do it for us now. Hubby’s job has improved greatly since we began this journey and now our time is worth more than what we can pay someone else.

One day, I was scrolling through my alerts (like any savvy home buyer, I have a number of these set up to come through daily!) and I happened across some land that grabbed my attention. I flicked it to hubby and we decided to go and have a look at it. At this stage we were leaning more towards building, but land is expensive and we weren’t sure we could get it in an area we liked, so we were still seriously considering a major renovation. When we saw the land, we fell in love. It was perfect, exactly what we were looking for, and crazily enough, within our price range. Suddenly, it was on. Meeting with our mortgage broker, figuring out what we had left to do on this house, how we would finance a build, what kind of house we would build, how much it would cost us, time frames…. the list was endless. We did all of this in about a week, and decided to go for it. We found the block that was the smartest buy (we buy with our heads, definitely not our hearts) and rung the agent to put our deposit down. And it was sold. Yep, it sold 5 hours earlier. I was gutted. Mentally it had been a huge week and I had finally come to terms with what our financial position was, the fact that we would be moving (increasing my work commute by 20 minutes each way) and what it meant for the next year as we built. I was exhausted and gave up.

During the week, hubby couldn’t let go of it. He kept looking at the maps, studying the contours and trying to find us another block that suited our needs. On Friday morning he told me he wanted to go and have a look at another block. I was over it, and told him he could do what he liked and what he needed. If he thought it was good, I was happy for him to buy it. So off he went, taking his dad to have a look while I was at work. I got a phone call a couple of hours later telling me I was the proud owner of a block of land!

And so there we have it. The beginning of our Project: Build. Settlement isn’t until around May 2016 so we’ve got plenty of time to tie up lose ends at our current house and prepare for the building process. Then we’ll be selling up, renting somewhere short term and building our forever home. I’ll be documenting the process along the way, so I hope you’ll enjoy coming on this ride with me! In the meantime, here are some pictures of our land. There are a fair bit of earthworks to happen before May, which will mean that it is significantly levelled out, particularly at the front of the block, but we are happy with this and that is one of the reasons we bought the block.

Til next time, check out the pictures below of our purchase!!

L xxx