The Mystery Behind the Winchester Mansion

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is one of the most beautiful mansions in the world.

It’s also one of the most bizarre. Windows in the floor. Doors that open to a two-story drop. Secret passageways. Stairways to nowhere (which could have been a famous song by Led Zep had they ever written it).

Why such an odd construction? It was built by ghosts.

The mansion was the brainchild of Sarah Winchester, the wife of William Wirt Winchester, who was the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. After her infant daughter and husband died, Sarah Winchester sought the guidance of a spiritualist.

The Boston Medium explained to her that her family was cursed by the ghosts of all those who died by the “The Gun That Won West.” The only way to appease the spirits and save her life was to move west and use her blood money to build the spirits a house.

Legend has it that Mrs. Winchester literally let the spirits design the house. She would conduct nightly sances where good spirits would give her instructions that she passed to her foreman every morning.

That turned the mansion into a sprawling 7-story maze of 160 rooms, 47 stairways, and 13 bathrooms. In fact, the number 13 appears quite a bit in the house: rooms with 13 windows, walls with 13 panels, chandeliers with 13 candles, even walls with 13 coat hooks.

The unusual design of the mansion was also spawned by Mrs. Winchester’s attempts to disorient evil spirits that were stalking her. She allegedly never slept in the same room two nights in a row and would often sneak through secret passages to deter ghosts… because ghosts can’t pass through walls or anything.

Mrs. Winchester also believed that if construction never stopped, she would live forever. So her crew worked around-the-clock, even on weekends and holidays, for 38 straight years, until Mrs. Winchester died of heart failure in 1922. Today, her eccentric $5.5 million construction (that’s around $20 million in today’s money) still remains in an unfinished state… which I’m sure didn’t look good on the architect’s resume.

The tour of the house was an informative and entertaining look inside the mind of a woman gone mad. And you have to stay with the group because if you get lost, they literally have to send a search and rescue team to find you (if the bad ghosts haven’t gotten you yet). I always had the feeling that one wrong turn would lead us into a portal to nowhere; after all, the mansion is basically a mirror maze away from becoming a carnival funhouse.

Unlike the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, however, when you leave you don’t hear a man say, ” a ghost will follow you home!” Bummer – that would have been a cheap souvenir.…

Elite Modular Mansion Homes

Modular mansions come in sizes that might startle the average home buyer. Elite modular homes are available in five, ten and sometimes fifteen thousand square feet. These homes are the latest trend among the financial elite. To the wealthy, modular mansions make sense because you get more home for less, receiving all the extras they expect without any sacrifices.

The general public takes longer to catch up with new trends. Some still believe modular homes are just fancy trailers, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just like trucks were once considered just a work vehicle, some trucks are now considered luxury vehicles. The same can be said for modular homes, they are now available in every size with any floor plan that the customer desires.

From their humble beginnings modular homes have evolved to become high precision homes, with built-in fixtures that incorporate the latest advances in automation, cad-cam design, and quality control. From a construction standpoint, the accuracy and strength excels over the traditionally stick-built home. The average modular home contains 17-20% more material compared to the same home built on location.

The additional material comes from the need to strengthen the home for shipment and the crane assembly once it reaches the building site. The added strength and rigidity helps maintain a solid home for generations to come. At the site, most homes are set in place in two to four days, and the finish work which includes electrical, mechanical, septic, garage, driveway, and other architectural details, are normally completed in a 60-120 days. The shorter completion time is an added attraction for many buyers, waiting to see their dream home.

Size has no limit as attested by the 12,700 square foot Cape Cod modular mansion built in Massachusetts that was comprised of 26 individual sections. The owner achieved the appearance of a traditional “period home”, using modern materials giving the feeling of warm and cozy, new antique. The home was designed for its ocean front site, with all the rich details you would expect in a custom high-end home. Skeptical buyers can take a virtual tour of their home plan, room-by-room before it is ever built and see every detail, right down to the placement of their furniture through the use of modern computer technology.

From a financial standpoint, there is an average savings as much as 10-20% for the same floor plan compared to a stick built home. If wealthy buyers are reaching to the modular format to build their dreams, they understand the value in using modern automation for a quality built home, and perhaps the average home buyer should look closer at the modular option when searching for a home builder.…

Designing and Building a Luxury Mansion: Things to Keep in Mind

Building your own home means you are the one who is in charge of the design and the outcome, allowing you to make that dream home a reality. If your plans are to build a luxury mansion, then you’re dealing with a lot more space to design, challenges that can pop up, and decisions to be made. Obviously, you want the end result to be everything you had dreamed it would be, getting there is a process and it’s one that can be quite stressful at times.

Before you start the process of designing and building your very own luxury mansion, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind. These tips can help you to nip those challenges in the bud before they even pop up and cause problems.

Choose a Reputable and Experienced Builder

Few tips are as important as this first tip. The builder you choose can literally make or break the project, as they will be with you from start to finish making decisions with you, offering you advice, and bringing in their own crew.

A great place to start is by asking around with friends and family who may have experience in their own builds. Ask about who they have used and what their personal experiences were – both good and bad. You will also want to do your own research, which can often be done online. Once you have a few builders in mind, look up customer reviews and ensure there are no issues that you should be aware of.

Schedule an Interview with the Builder

Before you actually hire a builder, you will want to schedule an interview with them. Think of it as a “getting-to-know-you” type of session. This is your chance to ask important questions, such as what services they offer, how they deal with building codes and permits, what they do when an obstacle pops up, if they will contact you if changes to the design or budget need to be made, what their timeline is, etc.

You may also find it easier and more streamlined to pick a builder that also offers design services. Take, for example, the Chicago engineers with NewYork Engineer, experts in the Chicago building process. Not only are they able to do the entire build, follow building codes, get the required permits, and manage the project along the way, but they can also work with you on the design.

Remember that the Home Needs to Be Functional

One mistake that is common with luxury estate homeowners is that they are thinking about how luxurious and opulent they want everything to look and feel, and forget that the home still needs to be functional. Rooms need to be laid out in a way that promotes functionality and efficiency, the comfort of the homeowners and guests needs to be front and center, and the space has to flow.

The Luxury Home of Your Dreams

By using these tips, you’ll be able to …

5 Things to Consider While Shopping for Vacation Property

Many people consider buying a second home to be close to their favorite vacation spot, making weekends and unexpected visits much easier to organize. Still, no matter how appealing the joys of Lake Carroll real estate might be, the decision to buy a vacation home should be taken very seriously. Let’s look at several things to consider before making the decision to buy.

Costs

A vacation home should be managed like any other property. Owners still need to pay property taxes, insurance, gas and water, and all the other miscellaneous expenses associated with property ownership. Remember that these costs will still accrue even when the house stands empty, so your budget needs to take them into account.

Location

Ideally, a vacation home should be accessible. If it takes a day or more of traveling to get to the property, you may find yourself dwelling more on the origins of the phrase “busman’s holiday” than anticipating your relaxing getaway, and chances are it won’t get much use. Something within easy “striking distance” of your first home will give you more value and satisfaction. It will be convenient to get away quickly and enjoy more time on holiday. Lake Carroll is an example of the right setting, since it’s roughly two hours from Chicago and a short drive from a much of the Upper Midwest.

Ease of Use

A lot of factors fall under this category, but the idea is to examine how easy—and how enjoyable—it is to be onsite at your vacation home. For example, some homes might be fine for a weekend, but are in such an isolated area that shopping and access to needed services becomes an issue. When getting the groceries becomes an expedition and the plumber’s bill is already high before he steps foot in the door because he had to drive from the next county, your vacation could become another source of stress.

Another factor to consider is what recreational amenities are available. Almost any place can let you decompress for a weekend, but will you be shooing bored children out of the house for the rest of the week or the rest of summer? Be sure you choose a home in a community with diverse options for activities so there’s plenty of recreation mixed in with your relaxation.

Know the Local Rules

Local ordinances and rules can impact the way you use your vacation property. Some local housing authorities will limit pets or motorcycles, while others might have equestrian zoning options and ATV/UTV-friendly road rules. Use your real estate agent as a resource and make sure you understand the local rules—and how they might impact you—before buying.

Don’t Make Emotional Decisions

There’s an old saying: Marry in haste, repent at leisure.  It applies to real estate, too. Sometimes it’s love at first sight; many potential owners find their ideal property while on holiday and are unduly influenced by the rush of good feelings they’ve had there. But when searching for vacation real estate, keep in …

The Advantages of Using Fireplaces

There are many reasons why a fireplace is a great asset to your home. Not only does it keep you warm, but it is also essential and can make a huge difference to your home and lifestyle. They are not just an architectural addition, but it also gives you the added touch to make your place feel like home.

1. Provides Much-Needed Warmth

Having a fireplace in Stockport carries a big advantage especially during the biting cold months of winter. There is nothing that can match the ambiance that crackling logs and woodsy aroma can give you. The fireplace gives you with the means of staying physically warm and emotionally at ease.

What says warm and cozy better than a fireplace in your living room and kitchen? Just the thought of curling up with a book or watching TV in front of the fireplace makes long for that feeling of warmth and comfort. It’s no wonder why the fireplace serves as a place in your home that brings everyone together.

You can huddle near the fireplace t escape the cold from the outside and spend quality time with everyone. Even your pets would greatly appreciate it.

2. Intimate Mood and Setting

A fireplace is something your family and friends could very much enjoy. It also provides a sense of intimacy, just as a candle can set the mood. Simply sitting in front of the fireplace while sipping some wine gives you an effortless romantic setting you and your loved one will surely appreciate.

The warm light from the fireplace with its trade oak frames gives out a dreamy and romantic scenery that draws people close. You don’t have to go anywhere far, with a warm fireplace you can have your romantic escape inside your home.

3. Reliable and Independent

Natural disasters can cause massive devastation, and with it comes a series of power outages. When you have a fireplace in your home, you not only have a source of heat, you can use it for cooking and lighting as well. You don’t have to wait to freeze in the cold for the utility company to get the power back, because you have a fireplace.

Your fireplace can help you become less dependent on utility companies for energy. As a fireplace owner, you have the freedom and responsibility to choose which fuel source you prefer. There are various options on how and where you can get firewood. The only maintenance you’d need is a cleanup and inspection from a professional chimney sweep once a year.

4. Cost Effective Alternative Means of Cooking

It is not new or unusual to use your fireplace as an alternative mean to cook your food. What’s even great about this is, you don’t need extra fuel for it. It would be fun to roast marshmallows or hotdogs on skewers while hanging out in the fireplace. Or, if you have a big enough fireplace, you can fit a kettle in there to heat your coffee or tea.…