What do Donald Trump, Barbara Corcoran and our very own Dean Jones have in common? They each offered expert opinions on the value of naming estates in The Wall Street Journal article called “A HOUSE BY ANY OTHER NAME” dated February 15, 2013. Among the famous property names showcased were “Mar-a-Lago” in Palm Beach, FL (once owned by Donald Trump), “The Manor” in Holmby Hills, CA (once owned by Candy Spelling) and “The Promise Land” in Montecito, CA (owned by Oprah Winfrey) – her homage to Dr. Martin Luther King , which she called “a fulfillment of the promise that Dr. King spoke of.”
The feature article also included reference to the “B2B Ranch” in Fall City, Washington. This was the namesake for Seattle Mariner’s outfielder Jay Buhner who was known as “The Bone” (derived from the song “Bad to the Bone”). RSIR broker Sam Cunningham of Citrone was responsible for the $5 million sale of this 9,500- sq. ft. home as blogged about last December among the top sales of the year (especially for non-waterfront). Crab-fishing mogul Tim Kennedy bought the property (and the property name) with plans to keep it, according to Cunningham.
“There’s no doubt The Bone will be forever associated with the legacy of this property and my client likes it that way – it’s a conversation piece,” says Cunningham. “Unique branding, a famous seller and distinctive property attributes combined with our global marketing platform to have a material impact on this record sale. It’s inspired us to leverage property names in other listings that we represent.”
Pictured above: A 9,500+ sq. ft. estate in Fall City was sold by RSIR $5,000,000 – among the highest price paid for non-waterfront acreage in King County since 2000. Photo courtesy of Jen Harper and Kara Wiper, listing brokers, Coldwell Banker Bain.
Jones generally supports property names provided the residence warrants that approach and the name is appropriate.
“I think (property) naming creates identify for the property and most importantly, a memory point for brokers, consumers and now for the media at large,” says Jones. “These all become part of the brand promise and can even evoke an emotional sense when referencing it and build pride of ownership – like a trophy. When you speak of the property it can make you feel something.”
However Jones thinks that a bad name could erode value. His pullout quote in the Wall Street Journal states “Tongue-in-cheek names should be reserved for boats and beach bars – not luxury real estate“.
One of Jones’s favorite property names is the Storybook Farm, yet another listing represented by Citrone at RSIR. The seller is Phil Condit of Boeing fame, who designed it as a “grandchild trap” and the name lives up to the fantasy. The sprawling estate features a life-size train and western village, a trout pond, waterfalls and a massive game room and theater. But wait, there’s more. Trap doors, hidden rooms, a vineyard, a perfectly planned snack garden (blueberries, peaches, strawberries along a winding trail lead to a playhouse), miles of hiking trails and quite possibly the world’s most beautiful chicken coop make this a great place to be a kid.
Such names can be highly effective for marketing purposes, agrees Andrea Savage, Marketing Manager for RSIR.
“Property names are much easier to remember than physical addresses or listing numbers – ideally the individual websites share the same name in their URL,” says Savage. “They can provide for excellent search engine optimization. If a property isn’t memorable or if isn’t found easily online, it may as well not exist in terms of selling it. In our global marketplace, the “curbside” appraisal has definitely been replaced by “armchair” appraisals.”
A favorite motto at RSIR is: “If you don’t ring true online, don’t expect your phone to ring,” Savage reminds brokers.
Below are a few select RSIR listings that feature unique property names:
Hidden Bay Retreat | Admiralty Island, AK (Coming Soon)
“Hidden Bay Retreat”
Discover your own private sanctuary unlike any other place on earth. A destination so remarkable – hummingbirds migrate thousands of miles each year to nest upon this natural haven. Perfectly centered between the conveniences of Sitka and Juneau in Southeastern Alaska, Hidden Bay awaits your discovery just three hours from major West Coast cities. A personal retreat gently sited upon more than 45 acres (8 fee-simple lots) behold nearly a kilometer linear feet of private shorelines protected by a National Monument that surrounds you.
Ocean Ridge | Seabeck, WA (Coming Soon)
Make this Fjord front contemporary your home or a peaceful weekend retreat. Western exposure 300 feet level, sandy beach waterfront and loads of seafood. Elegant living surrounded by natural beauty & privacy. Outstanding modern home on gated 5.46 acres. Enjoys commanding unobstructed vistas of Puget Sound/Hood Canal & Olympic Mountain Range. Spectacular Entry;3 bedrooms & office. Great space for entertaining. Architecturally designed for Northwest lifestyle at its Best! Heated boat house & rails.
The Birdhouse | Seattle, WA
The Birdhouse, a home designed by artist/sculptor Philip Stewart, is uniquely modern and definitely not your grandmother’s Victorian. This thoughtfully crafted structure is dedicated to sustainable/passive solar design, healthy living, and future adaptability. Having traveled the world as welder/sculptor and working closely with Dale Chihuly on numerous art glass installations, Philip turned his passion for sculpture into a livable work of art. Interior features include expressed steel moment-frame construction, finely crafted details composed of wood, metal, stone and glass. Julie Biniasz of Realogics Sothebys Realty, Citrone-partners team says: “This design of this lovely home is bold and modern, but very warm and liveable. The finely crafted hand rails, sandstone benches that double as radiators, and sculptural touches are delightful, and you can see Philips influence from working on Luxury yachts throughout.” There are elements of delight around every corner, one of which is a glass sculpture in the entry hall called ‘One Bad Apple’ — a cluster of glass apples, one of which of course has a worm. Why live in a cookie cutter when you can live like an artist?
Lakehaven | Seattle, WA
Rarely does a property of this magnitude become available in Seattle. Sited on 2.35 acres on 131 waterfront feet with an exquisite contemporary main residence of 11,400 sq. ft., secondary home, cabana and the largest dock and boathouse on Lake Washington.
Villa a Lago | Hunts Point, WA
“Villa a Lago”
As you wind your way through the gates of this pristine estate, you step into a state of grace. The impeccably manicured grounds hold a bit of artistry at each turn. The inner sanctum courtyard greets your senses with the splash of fountains and lush, fragrant foliage. Tranquility reigns supreme on this shy one acre parcel with 90+ feet of level waterfront and a yacht sized dock. A large auto court provides ample parking for guests.
George Washington Inn I Port Angeles, WA
“George Washington Inn”
The George Washington Inn sits majestically along the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a lavender farm at the foot of Washington’s snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Enjoy the best views and spacious lodging at this luxury oceanfront Bed and Breakfast, just minutes from Sequim and Port Angeles. From Seattle, Vancouver or Victoria, make your getaway to this most romantic bed and breakfast near Port Angeles and the million acre Olympic National Park. The Inn was inspired by Mount Vernon and built as a replica of George Washington’s home, in honor of our first president’s faith and legacy. As a luxury inn fit for a president, enjoy its waterfront panorama and breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, all in a rural setting similar to Mount Vernon.
Brandes Usonian (Frank Lloyd Wright) | Sammamish, WA
Ever dreamed of living in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? If so, here’s your chance. One of only three such homes in Washington state, this “Usonian” house was built-in 1952 and is listed on both the National and State Register of Historic Structures. Situated on 3.2 natural woodland acres, the home is setback 300 feet from the road for exceptional privacy and security.
The Firs | Lake Holm, WA
Tucked into a rare stand of soaring old growth trees on 53 lakeside acres, The Firs is one of Washington’s last unique waterfront estates. This lakeside residence is a classical 5,000 sq. ft. farm-house constructed of reclaimed logs from the property at the turn of the last century, with tennis courts, manicured gardens and room for horses, hobbies and lakeside living on Lake Holm, annually stocked with Trout and Bass and a regular resting place for Bald Eagles minutes from shopping, airports, world class golf and downtown Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma.
The Merrill Estate | Seattle, WA
“The Merrill Estate”
Welcome to Merrill Estate, in the Belmont Harvard district. A historic manor built by one of Seattle’s founding families. Situated in a park like setting, the home features lovely classic features; beveled glass, walnut floors and banisters, large formal living and dining rooms w/ French doors for entertaining on a small or grand scale. The chef’s kitchen is complete w/ AGA stove, Sub-Zero, Miele and Braun appliances and landscaping is professionally maintained by the HOA. A perfect in-city estate.
Storybook Farm | Redmond, WA
This gracious, private estate is sited on 68 acres; a lush expanse of stately trees, impeccably maintained mature gardens, a vineyard, orchards, trout pond, scenic waterfall and hiking trails. Tucked into the landscaped site, a 5,680 sq. ft. country home with a wide plantation porch that’s perfect for naps on a warm afternoon. And while the setting is rustic, the interior is all about casual sophistication: a magnificent kitchen, expansive wine cellar, solarium, library, game room, and gym.
The Beach House | Olympia, WA
“The Beach House”
As seen on HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms. The featured space for the show, the Grand Venetian ballroom draws you in with breathtaking opulence of a room fit for a King. The two grand chandeliers featured in the show are antique pieces delivered from Czechoslovakia. Each piece of furniture has a story, and the beautiful Bosfndorfer grand piano with Ivory keys once toured the world with the previous owners Ken Broadway only adding to the allure of the space. The design stems back from the “old world” masters and most notable craftsman. Throughout the entire estate lies significant artifacts, artwork and hand selected pieces from all over the world, all worth notable mention. Taking nearly a decade to complete construction, every detail perfected throughout the entire property. Not a room or space spared, and the furniture and pieces throughout continue to tell the same story.