Guest Post By: Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq. – Architectural Advocate
Julia Morgan, renowned architect of the Hearst Castle, designed “Bow Bay House” in 1939 for Else Schilling, the daughter of August Schilling, the spice magnate. The house has only been cared for by two owners until this year, when it sold for $14M on March 10, 2014.
A charming vacation cottage, the house is beautifully sited against the backdrop of Lake Tahoe, with 400′of lake frontage, on 7.35 acres along the Gold Coast. Within its modest 4,400 s.f., the house includes six bedrooms and five bathrooms. Built with durable and sustainable materials, it is now 75 years old and is a monument to rustic simplicity and careful craftsmanship. It looks as good today as it did when it was first constructed.
So, how did such a small house, with such low tech appeal, generate such a large sum? Is it the larger lot size? Or is it the value of the design, resulting from the hiring of a top architect to make the investment an appreciating asset.
It had to be the value of the design. Though she died in 1957, Julia Morgan’s reputation has gone the distance. In 2008, she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2013, she was recognized by the National Women’s History Project as one of the top women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. And finally, in 2014, she was the recipient of the Gold Medal in Architecture – the top honor of the American Institute of Architects.
It seems there are various values to be attributed to any piece of real estate, but it is the value of the design, the quality of the architecture that made this investment a lasting one. Buying this house is like buying a piece of fine art. Bow Bay is truly a dream Tahoe property with a certain romantic, fairytale atmosphere, having been completed in the same time frame when Morgan was working on the Wyntoon property for the Hearst family. This house is a real testament to the beauty of Julia Morgan’s designs, including beautifully crafted trussed ceiling in the living room, lovely stone fireplaces, charming bedrooms, an orientation to light and views, and an entrance that transports you into another realm.
And, Bay Bow House is also a testament to the power of design to drive real estate values. There is a clear difference between this house selling for $14M and a neighboring property selling for $4M – and it is the investment value of architecture. It is more than the cost of the land the materials of construction. It is the qualities of the design that make this property a gem to inhabit, as well as a solid investment.
Just like Apple has shown us that design adds value and that people will pay extra for the best design, so does architecture continue to enhance our lives, adding value in the delight and enjoyment of space, light, and details, as well as the appreciation of our investment expectations. Great design delivers on all levels.
See more at: http://www.thenewsfunnel.com/blog/architectural-design-can-drive-real-estate-values#sthash.OdEtVY4j.IGxbqVKw.dpuf