Celebrity Homes

Just Listed: Gorgeous Saratoga Estate

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I was packing my bags when I realized, I didn’t have enough $$$ in my check book. This Saratoga dream is perfect for California entertaining.
Kitchen, dining and family rooms are open to each other. The french doors on either side open to the front or back of the home.

Love those draperies in the dining room. They look like elegant ball gowns!

The backyard has a pool, a lawn area and a large outdoor kitchen with a fireplace. So, if you decide to buy, could you please invite me to a party??? Check out the entire virtual tour here.

PS. Earlier our Facebook followers heard that this home is owned by a celebrity—all I can say is it’s a sports figure who has been “transferred”.

Low Key Wedding—Are You Ready?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

So, have you been bit yet? You know by the Royal Wedding Bug? My friends are dropping like flies. Facebook profile pics have been changed, apps have been downloaded and alarm clocks have been set. I have to admit when Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, I was all over that. We didn’t have the internet and my parents didn’t even have cable. Do you know how hard it was to get my information?

I’ve gotten some photos of the of Buckingham Palace and thought I’d share. The opulence of the rooms is breathtaking—further confirming I had to have been switched at birth.

Using red silk damask, the walls of the State Dining Room make a proper background for the portraits of sovereigns from throughout history.

A portrait of Edward VII’s wife Queen Alexandra hangs in the White Drawing Room, apparently it is the grandest of the state rooms and it has views of the gardens. There is a secret door leading to private rooms to allow for a discreet Royal entrance. I’d like one of those—no more awkward entrances. The main focus of the reception will be the picture gallery, where the wedding cake a traditional multi-tiered fruit cake will be on display surrounded with works by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Rubens.

The lavishly appointed White Drawing Room will be one of the rooms used during the wedding reception. Can you imagine standing in the middle of it all?

The finest crystal chandeliers hang from the ornate ceiling of the Blue Drawing Room. I believe I’m going to start refering to the rooms in my own home this way—”Get that skateboard out of the Gold Living Room”! It works—doesn’t it?

Unreal Estate: Luca Brasi Sleeps with the Fishes

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011


Here’s an offer you can’t refuse—The Godfather house is on the market. For $2.9 million you can own a piece of Hollywood history. Along with the sale you get one of Marlon Brando’s cue cards and a piece of the stone wall the studio created out of canvas. This home needs some updating, but c’mon to say you live where the Corleones’ once did? I say pretty darn cool.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Inside Pioneer Woman’s Lodge

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Pioneer Woman front porch.jpg

Last week I had the honor of getting to stay at guest lodge of New York Time’s Best Selling Author’s Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman herself in gorgeous Oklahoma. I was filming a webisode of Putting it All Togethloralee ree and sheila.jpger Series produced by BlogHer and sponsored by Macy’s. Loralee Choate, Ree and I chatted mostly about fashion for real gals. (though they looked like models!)  While we coulda chatted for days, I have to admit to being distracted by the pure gorgeous-ness of Ree’s Lodge.

Luckily, you can find the full back story on how she and her husband, Marlboro Man renovated the place in 2009 from choosing the countertops to building the deck. As a home renovation junkie, I have loved reading all about it. I am sure you will too!

My pictures did not do this place justice. I was too busy and floored by the whole experience that I didn’t remember to ask her anything about what vendors she used or where she bought things.  Aack. (Bad blogger!)  But you can find all that on her site, where she chronicled the Lodge transformation.   Some of my favorite parts included:

  • Entertainer’s Paradise: The four bedroom, five bath Lodge is where guests stay. I expect it is where Ree and Marlboro Man, throw a pretty mean BBQ!  The deck is gorgeous and has simply an amazing view.  The whole lay out is open and yet comfortable – a perfect setting for a family dinner or a party for the entire ‘hood.   The palette was simple, modern, and distinctly cowboy.  I loved their wet bar, casual so you felt you could pour your own glass of wine.  Yet, modern enough to have both a wine fridge, ice maker and soda chiller all built in and at your fingertips.


  • Kitchen Nirvana: PW has a best selling book, so you can guess here kitchen is picture perfect. It is state of the art with an ample pantry complete with an HUGE sub-zero freezer for storing meat in the winter and prepping food for parties. There was a mix of granite, and stainless steel. Ree said, she “got the best of both worlds!”  The kitchen had a multitude of great little touches from the huge amount of counter space that could double as buffet stations to bar stools set up so you could pull up for a chat with the chef and help with cooking.

living room flowers

  • A Cozy Fireplace: Imagine a cold winter night with a raging fire going on in the middle of this space.  No matter where you are you are sure to feel its warmth.  Perfect.


  • Intelligent Seating: I also was impressed by her mix of sofas and chairs ranging from a pair of zebra printed chairs to deep chenille sofas placed near the kitchen, positioned to survey the delicious cooking and feel the warmth of the fireplace.   Every piece of furniture was easy, set up for guests to relax and all moveable so it would be a snap to host game night for a large crowd or a cozy conversation for two. Notice the animal print floor covering?  They were all over the Lodge unifying the look throughout.


  • The best reminder that you are on a working ranch: There was a wall of more than a dozen pairs of boots. Enuf said.


As a city girl, I have to admit, this place made me want to pack my bags and head to OK, ’cause if this is what it is like to live in the MidWest, I am ready to go.

Photos by Loralee Choate and Sheila Dowd.

Sheila Looking Left - Lookiloos

Here’s the complete slideshow:

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Zem Joaquin’s House is Ecofabulous — Take a Green Tour with Us

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Green ChairsLookiloos and Scene Magazine,  produced by the San Jose Mercury News, teamed up to profile Ecofabulous founder Zem Joaquin. Here’s  the story of Zem’s fascinating life  written by Julia Prodis Sulek, and photos and slideshow of her own sexy, sustainable house by Desiree Northend:

She was born in 1970 with a name that means “earth” in Czech on a commune in Palo Alto called “The Land.”
Zem Joaquin was a dark-haired pixie with patchwork pants who played with chickens, danced in the central longhouse and sang with Joan Baez in the squatters camp off Page Mill Road.
The darling of the draft resisters back then, she became the subject of their illustrated fairy tale about  “Zem, the little queen” who unites a strife-torn world. Even Baez, who founded the commune and lived there for a time, included “Zem Zem” in her 1975 song, “Children and All That Jazz.”
Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that she was destined to make a name for herself in the environmental movement. Unlike her parents’ generation that reveled in the counterculture fringe, though, she is helping create a modern movement in the mainstream.
And she’s doing so with her own sense of rebellion: She’s making green glamorous.Blue Dining Chair
Founder of Ecofabulous, she created a Web site that gives readers eco-friendly lifestyle options, from modular furniture made from recycled paper to chic throws made of hemp and flax. Going green needs to be less about sacrifice, she realized, and more about motivation. (The site’s motto: “sexy.sustainable.style.”) After all, she muses, “People weren’t too interested when organic cotton looked like oatmeal and felt like a burlap sack.”
Step inside the 1960s-era home in Marin County that she remodeled for her family and you’ll see what she means.
At 39 years old and just 5 feet tall, she opens the front door with bare feet and a big smile. Behind her, vintage black-and-white curtains she found at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire frame a pair of chairs she recovered in remnant lime green silk. Sleek kitchen counters are made from newspaper wood pulp and fly ash. Her vintage Laszlo dining room chairs are refilled with natural rubber.
“Being fabulous is feeling like you’re getting what you really want,” she says. “At the same time, you’re not taking more than you need and you’re giving back.”
Hall ArtSo how did this commune kid become such a design diva?
She may have been raised on granola, but she came of age living in London for two-and-a-half years in her early 20s with her godmother – a stylish critic for the Evening Standard who took her to theaters, boutiques and Paris for weekends and “taught me everything I know about design.” Joaquin (then Spire, her maiden name) finished her degree in organizational communications at Pepperdine, where she started a recycling program. And after a stint managing male models in Italy (she followed a boyfriend there), she returned to San Francisco in the late 1990s to help her best friend, Gina Pell, start Pell’s fledgling fashion and beauty Web site, Splendora.
“She was my VP of business development because she’s so good with people. She has a way of developing and nurturing connections,” Pell says. “I always told her that if she was a superhero, that would be her superpower – the ultimate connector.”
It was Pell, though, who connected Zem with her husband, tech entrepreneur James Joaquin.
They met at a cocktail party in 1999 in San Francisco, married and had two children. She was volunteering for homeless causes and political campaigns when her children were diagnosed with severe asthma. The family was living in an old Craftsman in San Francisco at the time, spending many a night in the emergency room when she decided she had to “save my children and create a healthy home.”Girl's Dressing Area
The Marin County house, tucked among blackberry bushes and towering trees, became her eco-incubator. Old painted beams were stripped with beeswax, wall-to-wall carpeting was replaced with recycled wine-cork flooring and solar panels were added to the roof.
But finding sustainable products, and stylish ones at that, wasn’t easy. “I realized there was this enormous gap,” she says. “There were no resources for eco-design and people interested in design.”
It was her husband who handed her a copy of “Cradle to Cradle,” the environmental manifesto of architect William McDonough, whom James Joaquin had heard speak at the 2004 TED conference for technology, entertainment and design in Monterey.
“This is what you’ve been talking about,” he said at the time to his wife, “what you’ve been spiraling in towards.”
She was so enthralled by the book, which professes ecologically intelligent design, that she invited McDonough to lunch with “some of my friends that I think can change the world.”
The guest list included her husband’s good friend, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar; Segway inventor Dean Kamen, whom she had met at a dinner party; and inventor, entrepreneur and Disney “imagineer” Danny Hillis.
This time, it was McDonough’s turn to be impressed. He invited her to attend his annual eco-summit in Iceland the following year with some 20 “thought leaders” and activists.
ZemUnlike some in the environmental movement who preach doom and gloom, he says, Joaquin takes a positive approach.
“It’s a big dark world out there, and we need brightness,” he says in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi where he was talking to real estate developers about green design. “Zem is a sparkle.”
And she knows how to throw a party. Over the past several years, she has raised nearly $1 million dollars for Global Green, an L.A.-based nonprofit that activates its Hollywood base to bring attention to green issues, including the sustainable rebuilding of New Orleans and Haiti. At her first party she threw at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco several years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio showed up. Salma Hayek and Orlando Bloom came to the second.
“She actually seduces people into doing the right thing,” Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post said when she presented Joaquin with Global Green’s Founder’s Award last year. “She always makes people feel that the right thing is the fun thing.”
Plus, she added, “she’s adorable.”
While Joaquin founded Ecofabulous in 2006 to chronicle her environmentally friendly remodeling resources, she has since expanded it to include organic beauty, fashion and lifestyle choices. She consults with such companies as eBay and Safeway and has been a frequent “green” guest on radio and TV shows. She raises chickens in her side yard, grows tomatoes and herbs, and even has her 6-year-old daughter weighing in with her opinion about kids’ green products. And over the past few years, she’s convinced every one of her closest friends to drive a hybrid.
So what’s next?
“I never thought in a million years I would want to have a commune,” she says.
But lately, she’s thinking about it, maybe bringing her closest friends together, living sustainably off the grid. She doesn’t have the details worked out yet, but one thing is certain: Unlike the A-frames and outhouses she grew up with, she says, “this commune would be stylized.”

Julia Looking Left - Lookiloos

Here’s the complete slideshow:

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Pop Diva Christina Aguilera’s House

Sunday, March 7th, 2010


christinabhillshomekitchenChristina Aguilera is unquestionably one of today’s hottest pop stars.  Her style on stage is a mix of cutting edge, classic and vampy all at once.  I wondered what that meant for her home.  Would it reflect her performance costumes or something totally different?

Her 5 bedroom bedroom, 11,000 square-foot Beverly Hills home was previously owned by the Osbourne’s. Yes, Ozzy Osbourne! Aguilera reportedly fell in love with the kitchen while watching the Osbournes’ reality show on MTV, so when it hit the market after the show was cancelled, she swooped in. In pure rock star fashion, the home is a mix of Mediterranean, Chinois accents and Gothic. It is as spunky and eclectic as she is.

Some highlights:

Shoe closet: “Everything on my shoe wall is grouped by designer — Louboutin, McQueen, YSL — all in their own little family,” notes Aguilera. “And there’s room for boots up top.” You have to love that it also features a chandelier and leopard-print rug.

Game Room: Pink and black pool table, full size arcade games and bright rugs bring FUN to this play room for adults.


Baby Room: Christina showed off where the real master of the house slept, Baby Max.  That is one big Moon! (Photo from people.com)

christina_aguilera. baby room

Bedroom: “I wanted a grand bed — to feel like a queen on a throne,” says the singer of her extravagant four-poster bed. I think you got that.


These photos are from a shoot she did for InStyle Magazine in 2009.  Photos by Douglas Friedman.

Sheila Looking Left - Lookiloos

Ellen DeGeneres’ Santa Ynez Country Home Tour

Friday, February 12th, 2010

ellens house SY

Comedienne and the newest judge on American Idol, Ellen DeGeneres gives viewers a tour of her country home in the tiny town of Santa Ynez, CA.  According to other online sources, Ellen and Portia (her wife) are huge real estate fiends, so it is a bit unclear if they still own it. Regardless, this weekend spot seems perfect for time away from the chaos of Hollywood.

Ellen shares where she’d hide out in case of nuclear war and gives advice on looking at the potential of homes before you buy. Hilarious.

Photos from RealEstalker.com

Sheila Looking Left - Lookiloos

Celebrity Home Tour – American Idol’s Simon Cowell Bachelor Pad

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

American Idol’s 2010 season has begun. So in honor of one of my favorite guilty pleasures, here are a few sneak peaks into the home of everyone’s “favorite” AI judge Simon Cowell.

This $27 million ultra modern home took five years to build, according to an Extra show interview.  Decorated primarily in black and white, it is the ultimate bachelor pad.  The 12,000 square foot home has 5 bedrooms,  a state of the art gym, cinema, lap pool,  and a  garage full of luxury cars.  It is rumored that he has also installed his own tanning bed. (Of course he would, why not?! )

During his MTV Cribs interview, Simon shares his thoughts on the various artwork he hates in his own home (described as “flowers and strips of bacon” by Simon), the contents of his fridge and his vitamin collection. (Why didn’t this place come with a medicine cabinet?)

The home is gorgeous with soaring ceilings and clean lines.  I think America would vote that it was well worth the money.

This video is from Simon’s appearance on MTV Cribs.

Sheila Looking Left - Lookiloos