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Home for sale: Most expensive in the U.S.

Finally, a home that makes Boston single-family home prices look affordable: Le Palais Royal has just been listed with Coldwell Banker for $139 million. This mansion is 60,000-square-foot and is currently the most expensive mansion listed on the market in the United States.

Here are a few features of Le Palais Royal:
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Thank goodness: Housing has fully recovered on the Hamptons

America can now breathe more easily:

Sales activity in the Hamptons is now on par with, or even higher than, the mid-2000s peaks. While prices are still below boom-time levels, most of the inventory from the recession has now been absorbed. And in some areas, “there are more buyers than sellers,” says real-estate broker Andrew Saunders of Saunders & Associates.

As a result, buyers and renters are widening their search to areas previously viewed as less desirable. Even the once-titanic divide between north and south of Montauk Highway is less pronounced. Because of their proximity to the ocean, homes south of the highway have long been the most expensive, but houses to the north are now seeing more demand than in the past.

OK, maybe not fully recovered, if we’re talking prices. But it’s close enough, damn it. … America needs good news like this.

Controversy at Newport’s The Breakers: A visitor’s center!

There’s controversy in Newport over an attempt to build a visitor’s center outside the opulent Breakers mansion – and it has some people in a tizzy:

(They’re) not happy now that the local preservation society, in the name of progress, has proposed a visitors center — with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and prepared food — on the grounds of the most visited mansion, the Breakers, where the Vanderbilt family’s carved oak dining room table could seat 34 and at least one daughter changed her outfit up to seven times a day.

OK, it sounds like a cute story, one that could only occur in Newport and among the remaining uber-rich still living in their Dowton Abbey fantasy world and calling their dads papa, etc.

But then you read that the proposed visitor’s center would actually be a “3,650-square-foot glass pavilion” with what sure sounds like a restaurant, not just a place for dispensing “prepared food.”

Suddenly, it’s not as simple a story as one might think.

Btw: Members of the Vanderbilt family still live in the “cottage.”

Home Décor: ‘From Gatsby to Mad Men’

At first glance, this photo gallery of home décor from ‘Gatsby to Mad Men’ seemingly had a lot of fun potential.

But it was ultimately a lazy effort. Though they included some true blasts-from-the-past items (such as tin ceilings and those ugly glass blockwalls), do A-frame homes and outdoor carports really fall into the category of ‘home décor’? C’mon. Might as well include outhouses and bungalows if you’re going down that road.

Still, it got us to thinking of that craziest decade of all crazy decades – the 1960s – and its often hilarious attempts at being cool and hip, especially after Madison Avenue tried to glom onto the hippie culture and the ad men of Mad Men ad men strove to come across as groovy as their kids.

We found one excellent site on Pinterest highlighting ‘60s home décor. We especially liked the shots of the mod-looking fireplaces.

But there’s still so much more: Shag rugs, waterbeds, electric-coil stove ranges, rounded plastic chairs, yellow kitchen cabinets, Beatles floor beds, Formica countertops, bong tables (or was that the ‘70s?).

If you remember other ‘60s home-décor items of note, please pass ‘em along. And, please, no cheating by taking notes while re-watching Austin Powers.

It’s not nice to tempt Mother Nature

Martha’s Vineyard residents weren’t too happy when a private equity financier and his wife recently built an 8,300-square foot mansion along an island cliff.

Mother Nature also wasn’t apparently pleased.

The cliff where the mansion is built is seeing some serious shoreline erosion these days, suggesting it’s only a matter of time before it’s swallowed up by the sea unless the abode is moved. And, yes, they’re moving it.

You’d think they would have more thoroughly investigated the site before building.

File under: Location, location, location

Greater Boston’s most expensive homes over past 7 months

The BBJ has a list of the most expensive single-family home sales between June 1, 2012 and Jan. 15, 2013 (sub. required).

The top position goes to 115 Commonwealth in the Back Bay, selling at $10.6 million for 7,461 square feet, seven bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. Next on the list is 333 Lee Street, in Chestnut Hill, at $10.5 million, for 6,703 square feet, nine bedrooms and 7 bathrooms (see above photo).

The other top homes sales were, in order, in Brookline, Concord, Osterville, Woods Hole, Weston, Weston, Beacon Hill and Osterville.

The Beacon Hill home was at 6 Otis Place, fetching $5.6 million for 5,700 square feet, four bedroom and five bathrooms.

Update: The paper also has a top condos sales list for the same time period. No. 1 is 310 Beacon Street at $9.2 million. The Back Bay simply dominates the list in general, including the entire top 10.

Tom and Giesele’s small little cottage

Oh, it’s just a small little cottage for the family of Tom Brady and his lovely bride — at 22,000 square feet and with a moat.

We’ve seen better.

File under: BungalowRanchCapeColonialTownhouseCondoPenthouseMansion PalacePlantationCottage!

Sold! A bargain-basement deal at $19.5 million

Bill Koch, of the legendary Koch business and political family, has purchased a 26-acre compound on Oyster Harbor island in Osterville on the Cape.

The seller was Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon (yes, of that other legendary family). She originally wanted $28.7 million for the compound, but had to come down to $19.5 million, for a nearly 33 percent cut in the asking price.

This is how the BBJ describes the compound: “The property at 17 Indian Trail includes nearly 1,000 feet of shoreline, a main house measured at about 7,000 square feet, a beach house, a detached studio, a tennis court and greenhouses, according to a website put up by the realtor, Sotheby’s International. The website called it “one of the most significant parcels on the entire East Coast.”

File under: Pure unadulterated envy

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