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Up, Up, and Away: Telluride Balloon Festival


telluride balloon festival

2016 Telluride Balloon Festival. Photo by Ryan Bonneau

Flying in the mountains is different than hot air ballooning across flat land. Even though the air is invisible, if you could see it, it would look a lot like water. And similarly to the way water interacts with varying terrain, swirling or “eddying,” currents rising and falling, so too does the wind when it travels across the rugged mountain landscape. So experienced pilots fly only in the very early hours after dawn, when the winds are still light and the passengers in the basket below the hot air balloon can enjoy a safe voyage. “Early in the morning, the winds are gentle and predictable,” says Gary Woods, the owner of San Juan Balloon Adventures and a longtime balloon pilot. “It’s a gentle adventure. We’re not riding the rapids.”

For most passengers, it’s an experience of a lifetime. It is sort of the opposite of the adrenaline rush of skydiving or bungee jumping—instead of falling out of the sky, you are floating aloft. There’s no steering wheel, so the only controls the pilot has is a valve and hot air to let the balloon go up or down, and the wind carries the balloon in whatever direction it’s going. Skilled pilots can read the winds and make small adjustments to the altitude to shift direction, but basically, the balloon is beholden to the sky.

A few passengers have a different kind of experience. Decades ago, Gary Woods was the sponsor of a balloon at a rally, and he was invited to take a flight with the pilot. He says it took about 30 seconds of that inaugural 10-minute flight for it to kick in, that obsession with the sport that inhabits certain people. “I was so captivated, I bought a balloon and started taking lessons immediately.”

Woods was indoctrinated into a tribe of enthusiasts, people who travel all across the country to balloon rallies, with crews of people to help them with the task of setting up and inflating the balloon and deflating and de-rigging it after the flights. They haul the baskets and the balloons, which can made up of 3,000 yards of fabric and weigh close to 1,000 pounds. But for the intrepid people who are fascinated by the sport of ballooning, the wanderlust comes naturally. Woods was the founder and producer of the Ridgway Balloon Festival, and was the “balloonmeister” of the Telluride Balloon Festival in 89-90, but he has participated in balloon rallies all over the San Juan Skyway and beyond: the invitation-only event in Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Phoenix, Gallup Red Rock Rally, and the world’s biggest ballooning event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He still travels to a lot of events in the fall and winter, but since he operates the commercial business out of Ridgway, he spends his summer sharing that special feeling he gets from flying with his passengers. “Everyone should at least see one of these festivals. They’re really special, so scenic, so photogenic. The pictures just don’t do it justice.”

Telluride Balloon Festival takes place June 2. 

Bill Fandel among select top Sotheby’s agents at Santa Barbara’s Market Leader’s Forum

The Belmond El Encanto Hotel was home this past weekend for 45 of the top Sotheby’s International Realty agents from across the U.S. who gathered here for the Market Leaders’ Forum, a two-day event focused on best practices, collaboration and strategic growth within the global real estate space.

The intensive meetings and networking events were co-hosted by Montecito’s own, Suzanne Perkins and Bill Fandel of Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty, and proved the perfect opportunity to showcase the beauty, history and culture of the Santa Barbara and Montecito Coast. Those in attendance represented luxury markets throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Texas, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

Paradise | Katharine Hepburn’s Former Waterfront Estate

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One of Hollywood’s legendary actresses and star of countless, classic films from the Golden Age of cinema, Katherine Hepburn’s name is a household one. A native “Connecticocian,” Hepburn had this bright, inviting waterfront estate built on Long Island Sound in 1939 and called it, “Paradise.”

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
-Katharine Hepburn


Made available once again earlier this year for $11,800,000 with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, the Fenwick estate was seamlessly renovated in 2005, creating light-filled rooms while preserving the historical integrity of all 8,400 square-feet of living space over three floors.


Set on one-and-one-half acres overlooking the sound, this home features 220 feet of frontage with its own private dock. Inside, this one-of-a-kind home features a gourmet kitchen, restored fireplaces, coffered ceilings, six bedroom suites and a screened-in blue stone porch – perfect for dining al fresco.


Outside more than three additional acres were designated by Hepburn to remain open and untouched; this conservation parcel is owned and maintained by Lynde Point Land Trust, forever assuring privacy and unobstructed views.


Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Howard Hughes landed his seaplane directly in front of the home, and today, the same opportunity awaits.

Learn more about Katharine Hepburn’s “Paradise” in Connecticut

Significant Sales – Best of Volume I

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From captivating waterfront retreats and soaring metropolitan penthouses, to vast, sprawling ranches and everything in between, many remarkable properties were featured in Volume I of Significant Sales. Here are five of the top homes from Significant Sales – Best of Volume I.


Price Undisclosed | Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty | Texas, USA

The largest sale in the history of the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand, The W.T. Waggoner Ranch is one of the largest and most famous ranches in the United States and was established in 1849. Never before o ered for sale in 165 years of ownership prior to this sale, the sprawling Ranch estate includes more than 535,000-contiguous acres spread over six North Texas counties, incorporating two main compounds, many homes and signi cant infra- structure, including a 65,000-square-foot Ranch o ce headquarters in nearby Vernon, Texas.


$45,000,000 USD | HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty | California, USA

Twin Points is an over two-acre landmark oceanfront estate on the coast of Southern California. Majestically situated, its 1,400 lineal feet of waterfront include two massive landforms projecting into the ocean. Together, these “twin points” shelter the private cove that lies between. Atop the rock, magnificent gardens and lawns transform the site into a paradise. Behind its gates, improvements include a motor court, a Polynesian-themed main residence, and a guest house. A pool and terraces await repose. Meticulously kept, these elements complement the setting and subtly bring order to an environment directed to the out of doors. A private white sand cove further distinguishes the uniqueness of this estate and adjoins a man-made lagoon.


$35,000,000 USD | Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage | New York, USA

This stunning high oor apartment at 101 Central Park West between 70th and 71st Streets was impeccably renovated by Shelton, Mindel & Associates, featured in Architectural Digest and o ers the rare combination of contemporary living in a venerable pre-war co-op. Approximately 7,000 square-feet with more than ve bedrooms and boasting a vast expanse of 100 linear feet directly on the Park. The en lade of entertaining rooms includes a dramatic living room with wood burning replace, a wonderful dining room and a sun- ooded corner library with lovely views to the Midtown skyline.

Browse past editions of Significant Sales

Top Noteworthy Sales from Around the World


$35,000,000 USD | Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty | Bahamas

Located in the exclusive community of Lyford Cay this spectacular family home is on a fabulous beach in the most private and secure of settings. Los Pastores has a total of 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, ve dressing rooms, dining room, games room, TV room, study/library, family kitchen and commercial kitchen, a large wood paneled Plantation drawing room and elevator all on nearly three acres of private tropical landscaped grounds. Complete with spacious verandas and a beachfront Tiki bar with sundeck overlooking the sea and the over ow swimming pool, experience spectacular sunsets, morning swims or a jog on the beach all at your ngertips in a beautiful setting. Amenities include a gym, grass tennis court, sta accommodation, three-car garage and stand-by generator.

02-Turks & Caicos

$22,500,000 USD | Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty | Turks & Caicos

Oliver’s Cove is perfectly positioned with nearly 800 feet of beach frontage on over six acres, including 357 feet of frontage for future expansion. Oliver’s Cove is the premier estate amongst only 12 private homes on this private island paradise. The Main House, with four bedrooms, ve-and-a-half bathrooms and 9,153-square-feet under roof boasts an in nity-edge pool set directly in the sand. The ultra-high quality interior is functional, elegant and exquisitely crafted, featuring approximately 20,000-square-feet of hand-troweled Venetian plaster walls and ceilings with aged, exposed wooden beams and hickory wood ooring throughout.

Discover all of the homes in our Best of Volume I issue of Significant Sales

Gluckman-Tang, LTL, and NADAAA selected as finalists for arts center in Telluride, Colorado

From The Architects Newspaper

By • April 11, 2017

Gluckman-Tang, LTL, and NADAAA selected as finalists for arts center in Telluride, Colorado. (Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

Gluckman-Tang, LTL, and NADAAA selected as finalists for arts center in Telluride, Colorado. (Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

A tiny mountain town nestled in the Rocky Mountains is bringing in the big guns for the adaptive reuse of a beloved crumbling warehouse in its burgeoning arts district.

Already a destination for the outdoorsy, the former mining village of Telluride, Colorado, decided to add ‘thriving arts community’ to the list of reasons to come and visit. Local non-profit Telluride Arts was instrumental in the push for more cultural programming and is responsible for the adaptive reuse of the dilapidated, but adored, Telluride Transfer Warehouse.

The 6,000-square-foot sandstone warehouse stands at the heart of the arts district, making it an ideal spot for a center for the arts and a good candidate for restoration. After gaining approval for restoration, Telluride Arts launched a national design competition earlier this year. “Key elements of the program include a Kunsthalle for exhibitions, flexible spaces that transform to host a multitude of events, and a small, museum-style bar/cafe that invites a constant flow of people and casual gatherings into a living-room atmosphere,” said the arts organization on their website.

(Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

(Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

Thirty firms put their names forward and, after careful selection, three finalists have been chosen: Gluckman-Tang and Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis of New York, and NADAAA of Boston. The finalists will now have two months and a $10,000 stipend to put together a conceptual plan ready to present to the community on May 30.

During that time, the teams will visit Telluride get to know the town and the little warehouse that could. The building is listed as a National Historic Landmark and has stood for over 100 years. Originally built in 1906, it was in use until its roof collapsed in 1979. Since then, the building has stood vacant and decaying, a period that has become as much a part of its history as the life it had prior to 1979.

(Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

(Courtesy Aurelie Slegers)

NADAAA touched on this relationship of crumbling historic landmark and contemporary cultural hub in their statement to Telluride Arts.

“Rare is the opportunity to both preserve an important historic landmark and create something wholly unprecedented,” said Katie Faulkner and Nader Tehrani of NADAAA. “The Transfer Warehouse stands as a monument to Telluride’s history of perseverance. The fundamental challenge of the project will be to maintain the power of the ruin while sponsoring the vision and opportunity through architectural speculation for the Arts District.”

The final presentation will occur in Telluride on May 30 and Telluride Arts anticipates construction on the project to begin in 2019. To learn more about the Telluride Transfer Warehouse visit the Telluride Arts website here.

Bill Fandel’s Recent Significant Sales

Bill Fandel has closed three significant sales at $6 million or more in the last 4 months!

SOLD! 427 Benchmark Drive – $7,850,000 – Represented Seller


SOLD! 137 Touchdown Drive – $7,000,000 – Represented Seller & Buyer


SOLD! 710 Mountain Village Boulevard – $6,000,000 – Represented Seller



New & Notable Luxury Properties for Sale | March 2017

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From the sprawling Owl Mountain Ranch in Aspen, Colorado to a modern designer villa in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, this month’s collection of exceptional properties for sale feature homes from some of the world’s finest locales.


$50,000,000 USD | Aspen, Colorado | Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty

Located adjacent to the West Buttermilk Ski Area on 61 private acres at the end of the road, the Owl Mountain Ranch includes a 15,664-square-foot main home with seven bedrooms, seven full-baths, and three half-baths, as well as a 2,000-square-foot caretaker’s home with three bedrooms and three full-baths and a 7,500-square-foot barn that includes a 3,000-square-foot heated vehicle maintenance center with lift. Additional features include an inviting great room, chef’s kitchen with two ovens, study, theater, pub room, wine room, billiards room, vaulted ceilings, rich wooden accents, private ski run and amazing views.


Price Upon Request | Croatia | Croatia Sotheby’s International Realty

The beautiful Croatian coast hides a world-class rarity, a unique property at 220,000 square-meters located in a Nature Park. Adria comprises five buildings with sea water swimming pools, a heliport, a private beach and marina, bowling, tennis and basketball courts, a paintball field, a four-kilometer promenade, an orchard and olive groves and a smart golf course are only some of the features of the property. It is located on a peninsula, which makes it easily accessible while providing the complete isolation of a private island.


Price Upon Request | Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty

With over 15,000 square-feet of built-up area, this luxurious property sits as Dubai’s largest five-star hotel penthouse. The lavish six-bedroom duplex, located in world-renowned Palazzo Versace hotel, has no equal. Vastu compliant, this ground level duplex with an in-house elevator boasts six en-suite bedrooms, private pool, garden and terrace, two staff accommodation rooms, 10 parking spaces, and panoramic views of the Canal, the Marina, the central lagoon pool, and gardens.


$13,950,000 USD | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty

Occupying a commanding position atop the Pittsburgh skyline, this three-story penthouse offers the ultimate in sophisticated urban living. The culmination of exceptionally curated materials, custom craftsmanship and peerless design, this one-of-a-kind residence features inlaid maple, white oak, and merbau wood floors flowing past walls of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city below.


10.900.000 € EUR | Palma de Mallorca, Spain | Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty

A newly built designer villa in Son Vida, this breathtaking home features views of the bay of Palma. The house measures 760 square-meters and features six bedrooms and six bathrooms. The entrance hall showcases a piano as a striking centerpiece and the open kitchen, living and dining area flows naturally onto the terrace and swimming pool with its beautiful views and wonderful Mediterranean ambience. On the lower level, there is a fitness room, sauna, lounge, home cinema, kitchenette and a wine cellar with tasting area on this floor.

Discover New & Notable homes from around the world on

Significant Sales | Volume I – Issue XII

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From a sprawling ranch in Colorado, to a coveted estate in California, this issue of Significant Sales also showcases homes from throughout the United States, Czech Republic, Malta, South Africa, and Australia.

$16,250,000 USD | Colorado, USA | Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

The sprawling Vista Verde Ranch in Clark, Colorado, built in 2010, is an 83,000-square-foot property most recently used as a guest ranch. Earning a AAA Four Diamond rating in the United States garnering its premier status, its shadowed by the rugged peaks of the snowcapped Zirkel Range at the headwaters of the Elk River; Vista Verde Ranch consists of 587 acres.

4a. 66 Seafield Lane B0030163

$15,000,000 USD | New York, USA | Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage

This 16,000-square-foot waterfront estate was designed in 1903 for coal baron William Atwater by architect Henry Bacon, best known for his design of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Overlooking scenic Quantuck Bay with 620 feet of water frontage, the manor house boasts 24 rooms including, nine bedrooms, six fireplaces, nine-full and two-half-baths. The exceptional property includes a charming carriage house with century-old grape vines, and stand-alone four-car garage.

05. Pacific

$15,000,000 USD | California, USA | Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

This oceanfront masterpiece is nestled on a blu overlooking a scenic cove in La Jolla. Guests rst enter the home through a spacious courtyard with a welcoming replace and carefully designed details. At nearly 8,700 square-feet, this three-story home has ve bedrooms, 10 baths, an o ce, wine cellar, and a 12-seat movie theater. The oceanfront patios and lawn area provide the perfect ambiance to enjoy every sunset.

Browse past editions of Significant Sales

Noteworthy Sales from Around the World


R120,000,000 | South Africa | Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

An estate of incomparable grandeur and palatial elegance, this gated residence sits on over 1,600 square-meters in one of the most coveted streets in Clifton. Magnificent in scale and unstinting in luxury, the home is created for living and entertaining on a grand scale. The property includes six bedrooms – four upstairs, two on the guest floor and two staff quarters. Additional amenities include a wine cellar, indoor gym with pool and spa and a commercial elevator. Modern contemporary finishes include marble slabs, wooden floors and smart technology. A Lutron lighting system, touch screen alarm, and CCTV all add to the home’s beauty and livability. A detached guard house with security room services this community.


AUD 9,250,000 | Australia | Melbourne Sotheby’s International Realty

Commanding spectacular views across the Fitzroy Gardens to the city, as well as distant views of Port Phillip Bay, this stunning world-class apartment represents the ultimate luxurious Melbourne lifestyle experience. Enviably positioned within the premium 150 Clarendon Street development and enjoying house-like proportions, this exquisite domain delivers a flawless array of living and entertainment spaces. Only moments to local shopping, cafes, restaurants, The Fitzroy Gardens, The MCG, Melbourne Park, the CBD and transport.

Discover more in Significant Sales | Volume I – Issue XII

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi List Montecito Villa for $45 million

From The Hollywood Reporter:

3:40 PM PDT 3/20/2017 by Peter Kiefer

Since purchasing the home in 2013 for $26.5 million, the couple has acquired two adjacent properties that pushed the size of the current estate to 16.88 acres.

In her continued (unofficial) pursuit to become one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful house flippers, Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, the actress Portia de Rossi, have listed their Montecito villa for $45 million.

Since purchasing the home in 2013 for $26.5 million, the couple has acquired two adjacent properties that pushed the size of the current estate to 16.88 acres. The stonework, landscaping with olive and eucalyptus trees and the rustic-chic interior are clear evocations of a home that could have existed on the Appian Way centuries ago that was owned by a Roman senator.

The 10,500-square-foot home sits atop a winding, secluded street with ocean views on one side and mountain views on the other. Designed and built in the 1930s by architect Wallace Frost, the home has six bedrooms, six baths, nine fireplaces, a media room, multiple libraries, a living room, a formal dining room, and a modern kitchen with marble-wrapped surfaces. In the photos below, note the walls of locally quarried stone, the barrel-tiled roof, terra-cotta surfaces, and exposed ceiling beams, all complemented by 18th century Italian tiles.

The grounds feature several fountains, statues and gardens, along with an outdoor dining area. The most modern addition is an indoor-outdoor entertaining area with an infinity pool, a tennis court and a Japanese soaking tub.

The listing agent on the home is Sotheby’s Suzanne Perkins. To visit Suzanne’s website click here

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