First Restoration Hardware Residence” for sale in Napa Valley

If you were the head of Restoration Hardware, you’d naturally be tempted to do a home remodel that was RH top to bottom. The company’s CEO, Gary Friedman, not only did just that with a home in wine country, he personally led the RH design team throughout the two-year process. The result is pure Restoration Hardware, from the linens to the landscaping.

Listed for $10.5 million by Hillary Ryan of our Pacific Union Napa Valley office, Eight Palms in St. Helena features a 5,140-square-foot main house and 630-square-foot guest house.

Friedman describes the walled compound as “a study in balance, symmetry and perfect proportions.” The creative site plan placed the home on a diagonal axis across the property, expanding the vineyard views and allowing for an estate-sized pool and a guest house. “Every aspect has been personally redesigned by Friedman to capture a quintessential Napa Valley experience,” says Ryan. “For example, the living room opens to the loggia overlooking the pool and the beautiful surrounding vineyards and mountains — creating an ideal setting for indoor/outdoor entertaining. The whole project has been so perfectly executed that the new owners could move in and host a party the same day; it even comes with a fully stocked wine vault.”

From majestic entry courtyard to multiple private gardens off the bedrooms, Eight Palms embodies the ultimate in privacy — and luxury. In the master suite, expansive dual curbless showers are positioned under a large clerestory skylight, separated by floating glass walls. Four of the home’s baths have outdoor garden showers. One of the garages has been converted to a wellness center with gym, yoga studio and outdoor massage room.

While Friedman isn’t promising Restoration Hardware will launch a luxury home division anytime soon, he sees this project as much more than an upscale remodel. “Eight Palms demonstrates that our brand can deliver value that transcends just creating and selling products, as we evolve towards conceptualizing and selling spaces,” he says.

To see more of the home, visit Eight Palms | St. Helena

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Amazing Architecture |

Housing Challenges For An Aging Population


Posted on January 24, 2017 at 4:27 am
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Home Buyer Tips |

Thank you for an AMAZING 2016 ~ Let’s work together in 2017

Grateful for wonderful clients who I am proud and honored to call friends. A few 2016 favorites that inspire me for 2017 ~ moving forward, building new relationships and reaching goals with confidence.
Real estate is about getting all the details right.
Contact me for a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis or to discuses your real estate needs.                 cell# 626 818 3534

Posted on January 17, 2017 at 6:37 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Uncategorized |

Before + After ~ A Stunning California Kitchen Makeover in Brentwood, California

Originally posted in Architectural Digest  ~  December 31, 2016


Natasha Baradaran reconfigures a crowded series of rooms into an airy indoor-outdoor entertaining space

When a young couple and their two children moved into a 1929 Spanish Colonial home in Brentwood, California, they envisioned a space conducive to their love of entertaining. But the rooms were conventional and formal, with “the original kitchen and surrounding rooms, just a collection of smaller spaces, reflective of the 1920s designs,” says West Hollywood designer Natasha Baradaran. The clients’ main request: to create an open space where the entire family could host frequent dinner parties—the husband is in the music industry—lounge, cook, and enjoy the newly designed outdoor space. Baradaran set out to create a modern open floor plan, to include the kitchen, breakfast room, and family room, while staying true to the historic architecture. To accomplish this vision, she and Culver City’s Abramson Teiger Architecture devised a great room, incorporated a nod to vintage design, and established the indoor-outdoor lifestyle essential to Angelenos. Read on for some of Baradaran’s design ideas for the family.



For a seamless look, Baradaran installed a high-gloss, Italian-inspired finish on the cabinets, which conceal some of the appliances behind panels. Waterworks brass fixtures add a vintage touch, while dark floors and stools from Design Within Reach provide grounding and sense of place for the Spanish Colonial home.


The kitchen before

Photo: Courtesy of Natasha Baradaran

The outdated cluster of rooms encompassed a kitchen, a small den, and a nook with a TV. Baradaran removed the partitions, creating a sophisticated yet casual living area conducive to family living.


By designing a great room, Baradaran provided the family, with children ages five and eight, a space to spend time together. “They spend 80 percent of their time in this part of the house,” she says. “In fact, it’s the space where they regularly entertain friends, who have their own young kids.”


A sliding door allows the craft room to become part of the great room or tuck away during more formal entertaining. It functions as the perfect storage spot for the kids’ toys and art supplies. A Tom Dixon brass pendant hangs above a vintage stool. A seating area not only offers a spot to read but softens the lines of the kitchen cabinets. A Baradaran-designed sofa and textured Moroccan rug complete the space.


A breakfast table by Marmol Radzinger and Kartel chairs sit under a Jonathan Browning pendant. “It’s situated five feet from the yard, and, when the weather permits, the metal folding doors are left completely open,” says the designer.

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 12:37 am
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Amazing Architecture, Before + After |


Happy first day of 2017!
In the new year, I hope we can choose action over apathy, reason over ignorance, kindness over cruelty, truth over fiction, courage over fear and strength over weakness. Let’s live big, dynamic lives full of purpose and conviction. Breathe in. Here’s to a great 2017!

Warmest Regards~



Posted on January 1, 2017 at 9:45 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Holidays |

A House From the 60s Becomes Modern While Keeping its Soul~ Posted by Caroline Williamson

The Du Tour Residence is a project led by Architecture Open Form who renovated it for a family who had owned the 1960s home for decades. Located in Laval, a city just north of Montréal, the house needed a more modern interior but it was important to the family to keep the heart and soul of the original design. The architects collaborated with interior design firm FX Studio par Clairoux to come up with a concept that highlighted the horizontal nature of the prairie-style architecture.


At each end of the structure, covered terraces extend the roof line and adding usable square footage.


One of the terraces houses an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace, a dining room, a lounge area, and a spa, slightly hidden by cedar shutters and vegetation.



In keeping with the original house, they mixed stone, masonry, and wood on this particular terrace, including the warm cedar ceiling.





Floor-to-ceiling windows around back make way for views of the river and the surrounding greenery.





The interior features light materials giving it a fresh, open feel that highlights the mid-century bones of the house.



Minimal details preserve the feel of the original home.



The original chimney of natural stone was saved and remains a prominent feature.






Photos by Adrien Williams, courtesy of v2com.

Posted on January 1, 2017 at 7:23 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Amazing Architecture |

How to Navigate a Multiple-Offer Situation When Buying a Home c/o Sally Forster Jones

Avoid getting caught up in the drama of a bidding war as you compete with other buyers for a home.



The real estate market is competitive right now, especially in larger markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco. A lack of inventory over the last several years has pushed prices higher and created a challenging environment for buyers who are often up against five, 10 or even 20-plus buyers all bidding for the same property.

For buyers who are just entering the market or for those who have lost out on one or several properties, here are a few tips for putting your best foot forward and successfully navigating a multiple-offer situation.

Work With a Professional and Know the Market. Working with a real estate professionalwho is experienced and who is an expert in the market can be a crucial factor in determining whether you will be on the winning or losing end of a multiple offer situation.

Follow what is happening in the market. Are homes selling over asking price? Are seller’s underpricing to encourage multiple offers? What are similar properties selling for? An experienced agent, who you trust, can help to determine appropriate value based on the current market trends and can assist in negotiations and advice throughout the process.


Come In Strong Upfront. If you know, or suspect, that you’re entering a multiple-offer situation, you’ll want to come in strong from the very beginning. Some buyers try to come in low initially as a negotiation strategy; however, if the property is priced well and is expecting multiple bidders, you may not want to risk having the seller disregard your offer immediately for not being a serious contender.

Many agents suggest their sellers counter all of the offers in a multiple-offer situation, but that decision is ultimately up to the seller. They may choose to counter all offers, they may only counter a portion of the best offers, or they may decide to choose an offer after the initial submission with no counters at all.

One of the most important factors when a seller is considering multiple offers is their belief that the chosen buyer is serious about buying the property, and that they have the ability to meet the terms and close the sale. One of the best ways to do this is to come in strong right from the start.

Come In Clean and With as Few Contingencies as Possible. Make your offer as clean as possible and package everything to be submitted together in a coherent way. You don’t want the seller or their agent to have to chase you for paperwork, signatures or proof of funds.

Unless you’re paying all cash, it may be difficult or impossible to come in completely non-contingent, though there are ways to make your offer more appealing.

If you need financing, are you able to put more money down? Is it possible, or are you willing, to inspect the property prior to having an accepted offer so that you can come in with no physical inspection contingencies? Talk with your agent about what works for you so that you can come in with your strongest possible offer.

Be Flexible With the Seller’s Needs. It sounds simple, but many agents and their buyers don’t take advantage of this simple step. Another easy way to make your offer stand out above the others is to have your agent find out what terms the seller is looking for and meet those needs.

For example: Do they want a long escrow period because their next home won’t be ready yet? Are they requesting a leaseback? Do they want to close quickly because they have already purchased and closed on a new property? Price and financing are not always the number one concern to a seller, so meeting their other terms is another way to make your offer more attractive.


Create a Personal Connection. Can a personal letter really work? The answer is yes, depending on the property, adding a personal touch to your offer can have an impact.

If the home you are writing on is a new construction or remodel being sold by a developer, a personal letter may not hold as much weight as the offer amount and terms. But for someone who is selling the home their family grew up in, there is often a strong emotional connection.

You definitely can’t deny the emotional involvement of residential real estate. A home is an incredibly personal purchase and for a seller, letting go can be a difficult process. A personal letter to the seller letting them know how much you love their home and how much you’ll enjoy it and will take care of it may be just the edge you need to overcome another prospective buyer.

Taking the time to write a thoughtful note also shows your dedication to the purchase and ensures the seller that you are a serious buyer.

Don’t Get Too Caught Up in the Bidding War. It’s easy to get caught up in the process when you’re vying for a property with 10 other buyers. Try to stay level-headed and make sure that you are completely comfortable with your offer and terms.

Talk with your agent and be sure that you’re not over-bidding just to win the property, only to feel you’ve overpaid once you enter escrow. You want to come in with your best offer possible, as long as it still complies with your needs and goals.

Get in Backup Position. You’ve done everything you can. You came up to your highest price and your best terms and you still don’t get an accepted offer.

If you’re one of the top contenders, the seller may offer you a backup position. As first backup, you are first in line to get the property at your final offer terms if the first buyer falls out of escrow or does not perform. If you still want the home, backup position can be a great option.

Photo credit:  Eduardo Perez

Photo credit:
Eduardo Perez

Stay Positive. It can be incredibly frustrating to buy a home in a competitive marketplace.Inventory levels are low and prices are high. It’s normal for buyers to lose out on several homes before one sticks.

Sometimes it takes a few times around to fully understand the process and what is necessary to win in a multiple-offer situation. Working with a professional who you trust and respect can help the process feel less daunting.

Give yourself a break if things get too overwhelming. It can be emotionally draining to lose out on a home you had your heart set on. Give yourself time to reset before taking the plunge again. Stay positive, focus on the big picture, and keep your end goals in mind.

Posted on December 25, 2016 at 12:38 am
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Home Buyer Tips |

Love and Light this holiday season ~ a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year to you all ~ with gratitude.

Breathe in.... Love, Peace and Kindness to yourself and others.

Breathe in….
Love, Peace and Kindness to yourself and others.

Posted on December 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Uncategorized |

Christmas Tree Lane: The Origins of a Southern California Tradition ~ Altadena, CA

Story c/o Nathan Masters


Woodbury ranch superintendent Thomas Hoag had no idea the three-foot seedlings he was planting would someday become a major Yuletide attraction. It was 1885, and Hoag and his Chinese American ranch hands were building a driveway that climbed a steady grade from the Pasadena city limit up to the ranch house of Altadena founders Frederick and John Woodbury. Sweating under the June sun, Hoag and his workers dug ditches on each side of the drive and lined them with granite stones transported by mule from nearby Rubio Canyon. Behind the ditches they planted roughly 150 young deodar cedars, which Hoag had grown from seed in the Woodburys’ greenhouse over the previous two years.

Thirty-five years later, in 1920, the Woodburys’ driveway had become Santa Rosa Avenue, the ranch had evolved into now-suburban Altadena, and the fragile seedlings had matured into robust cedar trees. Their conical shape and low-slung branches inspired Pasadena merchant Fred Nash to transform the Himalayan conifers into Christmas trees. Enlisting the aid of the Pasadena Kiwanis Club, Nash festooned the trees with red, white, blue, and green electric lights, and an annual holiday tradition was born.

In Christmas Tree Lane’s early years, pedestrians strolled in the soft glow of 10,000 electric bulbs. But it soon became an attraction to be seen from the seat of a car, as an endless nighttime procession of automobiles, their headlights dark, crawled up the one-mile stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue. In 1935, the display drew more than 20,000 people on a single Christmas evening. The glittering trees fell outside Pasadena’s corporate limits, but for several decades Crown City workers strung the lights while Southern California Edison provided the electricity for free.

In 1930, Hoag returned for the attraction’s annual dedication ceremony. The former ranch foreman might have felt some ambivalence about using a tree considered divine among Hindus as a decoration for a Christian holiday. Hoag recalled hearing Frederick Woodbury remark, he told the Los Angeles Times, that “the seeds were from a heathen land, but the California sun would civilize them if anything could.” Pulling a switch that Christmas Eve, the 79-year-old Hoag closed an electric circuit and illuminated the trees he’d once planted to shade a rural ranch road.

Altadena's Santa Rose Avenue, perhaps before it had become Christmas Tree Lane. Courtesy of the Pasadena Public Library.
Altadena’s Santa Rose Avenue, perhaps before it had become Christmas Tree Lane. Courtesy of the Pasadena Public Library.
An automobile drives down Santa Rosa Avenue in 1925. Courtesy of the USC Libraries - California Historical Society Collection.
An automobile drives down Santa Rosa Avenue in 1925. Courtesy of the USC Libraries – California Historical Society Collection.
A Pacific Electric interurban car crosses Santa Rosa Avenue. Courtesy of the Photo Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.
A Pacific Electric interurban car crosses Santa Rosa Avenue. Courtesy of the Photo Collection – Los Angeles Public Library.
Christmas Tree Lane in 1929. Courtesy of the Security Pacific National Bank Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.
Christmas Tree Lane in 1929. Courtesy of the Security Pacific National Bank Collection – Los Angeles Public Library.


Posted on December 24, 2016 at 5:28 am
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Eastside BUZZZZZ, Holidays |

Pacific Union International and John Aaroe Group Announce Merger Strategic West Coast Expansion Focuses on Firm of the Future c/o

SOURCE Pacific Union


SAN FRANCISCO and LOS ANGELESDec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —  San Francisco’s Pacific Union International, Inc., the ninth largest real estate brokerage in the U.S. by sales volume, and John Aaroe Group, a leading Southern California luxury brokerage, announce their merger. This strategic business collaboration links two of the strongest residential real estate firms on the West Coast, supporting combined 2015 production of $10.5 billion.

Pacific Union has been aggressively looking to partner with a top-tier brokerage with clear momentum on the West Coast,” Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin says. “John Aaroe Group is a premium brand that embraces our culture of teamwork, trust and innovation. The combination will permit Pacific Union to continue to invest in marketing and technology programs to support our real estate professionals in this highly competitive market.”

“This strategic collaboration with Pacific Union delivers on our brokerage’s mission to expand our international reach and accelerate the adoption of the most advanced technology and innovative thinking for our real estate professionals in the industry today,” John Aaroe, president of John Aaroe Group says.

The combination of Pacific Union, The Mark Company, John Aaroe Group, and Chartwell Escrow seamlessly link the Northern and Southern California offices of these two brokerages. The combined organization results in 1,100 real estate professionals operating in 38 offices. Northern California markets include San FranciscoMarinContra CostaAlamedaNapa, and Sonoma counties, Silicon Valley, and the Lake Tahoe region. Greater Los Angeles markets include Beverly Hills, the Westside, Downtown, and the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.

Pacific Union vigorously executes against a unique, high-performance vision for the development of the real estate firm of the future. Key to this vision is its Innovation Lab, led by 25 agile real estate professionals who accelerate technology development unsurpassed in the industry. The technology stack created through this initiative includes a robust array of proprietary tech tools that connect the cloud to the street, putting faster business analytics into the hands of elite real estate professionals and creating the ideal road map for the ultimate client experience.

Pacific Union’s international reach includes an award-winning Chinese Concierge program established in 2013 in Beijing, with extensive marketing outreach to Chinese investors — a key success driver in the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.

Through this merger, John Aaroe Group, noted for brokering the largest sale in Beverly Hills, at $70 million, will extend its strength into Los Angeles’ highly competitive new-condominium market with urban sales and marketing authority, The Mark Company. The Mark Company was acquired by Pacific Union in 2015, and leads the West Coast in the development of new, luxury high-rise residential condominium projects, which are powerfully transforming downtown residential markets in San FranciscoLos Angeles, and Seattle.

About Pacific Union

Founded in 1975, Pacific Union is the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier luxury real estate brand operating in nine regions. With more than 25 offices and nearly 700 of the region’s top-performing real estate professionals, Pacific Union is the ninth largest residential real estate brokerage in the U.S. based on 2015 sales volume of $8.22 billion. The company offers a full range of personal and commercial real estate services, including buying, selling, and relocation, and it founded a unique concierge program for Chinese homebuyers. In addition, the company operates joint-venture businesses that provide rental and commercial property management, urban residential marketing and sales, and insurance services. Locally owned, Pacific Union operates with an entrepreneurial mindset and unwavering commitment to deliver exceptional service and expertise. For more information, please visit us at

About John Aaroe Group

John Aaroe Group is a leading real estate brokerage specializing in high-end property in the greater Los Angeles area. The company has represented some of the region’s most prestigious properties, including the highest-priced sale in the history of Beverly Hills. John Aaroe Group offers in-depth knowledge through its nine offices in Beverly HillsBrentwoodDowntown Los Angeles, the Sunset Strip, Baldwin HillsToluca LakeSherman OaksStudio City, and Pasadena. It also serves an international clientele through Aaroe Estates. In 2015, the firm participated in 2,834 closed transactions with a combined market value of over $2.3

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm
Colette Dornblum | Posted in Eastside BUZZZZZ |