Posts Tagged real estate

From an old missile tower to an oceanfront vacation home, this is now one of many beautiful Topsail Island rentals. It was once used by the U.S. Navy in Operation Bumblebee.

 

Topsail Beach Rentals: Tower Four renovated into a vacation rental home

 

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Martin Luther King, Jr.  

History isn’t just words on the page of a textbook. It comes alive in North Carolina. And now, you can spend the night in a piece of history.

A former missile tower on the beach called Tower Four is ready for vacationing renters! 

Originally built in 1947 by the U.S. Navy, this stunning home was first used for Operation Bumblebee.  There were eight original missile towers. Only two are available to for vacationers to rent. And this is one of them.

 

From Operation Bumblebee to Topsail Island oceanfront vacation rental

 

The operation began in secret, but the U.S. Navy eventually gave the public the inside scoop. They sent out a press release to inform residents about the amazing rocket tests. They had already been testing and developing supersonic guided missiles for months.

The supersonic flights we have today were made possible through the controlled ramjet engine. These engines were tested and checked at the Operation Bumblebee towers. 

One day in 1998, a Southern entrepreneur was cruising down Topsail Island’s South Shore Drive with his real estate agent. They were looking for the perfect piece of oceanfront real estate. The agent casually pointed out Tower Four, which had been on the market for a while. John West dismissed the idea quickly because it would take so much work, but the seed was planted.

Through the following weeks, John West couldn’t shake the thought. Turning Tower Four as a vacation rental would take an incredible amount of work. The lot was overgrown with shrubs and vines. The pillars and ceilings of the tower were still standing strong. Hurricane Hazel had destroyed so much of Topsail Island in 1954, but the tower remained, unfazed by 100+ mph winds.

Best of all, the location was fantastic. Oceanfront. Near the Surf City Swing Bridge. Breathtaking views. Close to Surf City and Hampstead. Wilmington was just a short drive away. It had it all. Except walls of course. But those could be built.

 

Oceanfront Vacation Home Rental

 

The history buff with a strong work ethic couldn’t ignore the captivating historical significance of the missile tower. This was just the sort of project to merge his passion for history with his love for Topsail Island.

A local guy, John West had moved inland for his career, but he couldn’t get the sound of the ocean out of his mind.

“You get Topsail in your bloodstream and it’s hard to get out. It’s just the best place to be,” John West explained. “It was the childhood family memories of Topsail Island that brought me back.”

 

pre sunrise topsail beach

Topsail gets into your blood and you just can’t get it out.

 

John West set to work and quickly discovered the many challenges that would come with the investment. Turning a neglected piece of history into a relaxing vacation home was no easy task. Especially with the task of preserving the remaining elements and the look of the missile tower that once was.

The walls were long gone, but the corner pillars and ceilings were solid. Imagine installing light fixtures and such into a rock. A very tall, very solid rock. A rock full of rebar and chunks of granite.

“From day one, it was a difficult process. Projects like these  always takes more time than planned and things come up that you never would anticipate,” he recalled.  

But it was all worth it.

AFTER THE RENOVATION

Finally, the renovation of the former missile tower is complete. Now, Tower Four is available to rental on Topsail Island! From the remnants Operation Bumblebee to a stunning Topsail Island rental. 

He placed the care and management of Tower Four Vacation Home into the very competent hands of Ward Realty. They are a company that manages Topsail Island vacation rentals, located on the island.

Rachel Carter Images took photographs of the newly renovated beach home, beautifully capturing the unique design and oceanfront views.

Among the pastel, siding covered beach retreats, Tower Four is easy to spot.
Deep brick red colored stucco.
Massive windows.
Swaying palm trees.
Crisp, white trim that highlights the elevation and shape of the missile tower pillars.
And tall. It is so tall!

The integrity of the original silhouette was maintained handsomely, even through the incredible transformation.

TAKE A TOUR

The side entrance deposits you into a dining room. There are chairs and a table and everything, I promise….

But you won’t see them!
Because the jaw dropping view of the Atlantic Ocean will overwhelm all your senses.

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows span across all three walls. The sound of crashing waves and the soul-quenching hum of the ocean plays in the room like sweet background music.

Sky, ocean, and sand. It’s all you can see and it’s breathtaking.

 

This Topsail vacation has oceanfront views that obliterate anything around you.

 

Enormous decks create a space to breath in the salty ocean air. A private beach entrance will lead you directly onto the sand. And at the end of a surf, tan, and sandcastle filled day, you can rinse the sea and sand away in a private, outdoor bathroom, complete with a bathtub and shower.

Sharing the dining room views, the living room and kitchen are equipped with everything you need to make yourself at home for a week. Near the kitchen is a vertical, spiral staircase, made of wood and iron.

 

Tower Four just upped the game for Topsail Island rentals.

Winding staircase in the vertically structure old Operation Bumblebee missile tower on Topsail Island

 

Just like the original missile tower, the footprint of this dream vacation rental near Wilmington is vertical. That doesn’t leave space for traditional staircases, and the creativity John West employed to that challenge makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.

If the spiral stairs are too much for you to navigate, there is a second, wider entrance through a traditional staircase from the deck outside.

 

Alternate staircase at Tower Four through the oceanfront decks

At the top of stairs is the master bedroom with all the amenities one would expect from a vacation home, like a king size bed, Jacuzzi tub and towel warmers. The ocean will beckon you through the glass doors and onto the deck.

 

Luxury retreat at Tower Four, with unique surprises and historical delights on every floor.

 

The history buffs in the group will want to scale right up the captain’s ladder that’s perched near the window in the master bedroom. It leads to an enticing little cupola at the top of the tower. On the floor is an original brass stamp that reads, “1947 – Tower Four.”

Glass panes embedded in the ceiling for stargazing create an unforgettable space.

From an old missile tower without walls, Tower Four has been transformed to a delightful three bedroom, three bathroom, oceanfront vacation home.

 

Views so captivating, air so fresh, and an incredibly fascinating piece of history to rest in at night.

 

Beach lovers, surfers, paddle boarders, and those who love an ocean sunrise will argue that the location is the most exciting feature, while those with a passion for antiquity will argue the structure itself is the most exciting aspect.  

One thing is for sure: an old beachfront missile tower turned into a vacation rental home on Topsail Island, just can’t be beat.

 

If you think every home I walk into is ready for pictures, you are wroooooong. Of course, by the time I have worked my magic (by magic, I mean hard work and carefully crafted skills and talent) they all look photo ready.

But if you want your home to have more visits, your pictures need to be amazing. The photos you post of your home online are the first piece of marketing. The photos will either catch the eye of a potential buyer or they will keep on scrolling.

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

Now what should you do to prep your home for amazing pictures?

HIDE ALL THE CLUTTER

  • The kitchen counter tops should be nearly bare. Stuff things in the pantry. No knife blocks. No toasters. No dish drying racks. A fruit bowl is okay. No coffee maker. No salt and pepper. Bare.
  • Take three-quarters of the decor on your shelves, and put it in a box. Take down all personal photos.
  • Hang pictures over terrible wall blemishes (like the spot on the wall your toddler tested out some new markers). Strategically positioning furniture and decor to cover blemishes for the photos is perfectly acceptable.
  • If your closet is a mess, organize some of it, then stuff the rest in boxes and put in the garage. People love to see photos of closets, but a closet of chaos is a turn off. If you can’t keep it tidy, how is ALL their stuff supposed to fit? So thinks a potential buyer anyway.
  • Leave nothing but the lamp and a decorative item on your bedside tables.
  • Remove small pieces of furniture that are there for convenience but not for decorative reasons (like the comfy ottoman that you love to put your feet on, but it’s seen better days or the over-the-sofa end table where you put your hot tea and computer).
  • Hide dog bowls, kitty litter boxes, and other traces of animals. Someone with an animal allergy could write off your entire home, sight unseen, just because they saw a litter box.
  • Tuck away cords and extra electronics.
  • Remove trashcans. Because nobody wants to see a picture with your trash can.

Real Estate Photography Kitchen Rachel Carter Images

SHOWCASE THE INSIDES

  • Do you have nice cupboards with pullout shelving? Stage it with just a few bowls or pans so potential buyers can see how spacious it is.
  • Are your closets spacious? Pack up the junk. Pull out extra clothes so the racks are spaced evenly.
  • Do NOT showcase the inside of your toilet. Put all the toilet seats down.
  • Open your shower curtains. Buyers want to see the bathtub.
  • Razors, loofahs, soaps, etc. should all be removed from the shower. Stash them under the sink and leave only shampoo and conditioner, unless the bottles are obnoxious (huge or brightly colored).

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

STAGE IT

  • Channel your inner HGTV star. Small bouquets of flowers throughout the home (dining table, kitchen island, bathroom counters) go a long way for setting the tone.
  • Make your bed. Make it fluffy and cozy looking with lots of pillows. Put a tray on it with a stack of books and a vase with a flower. Practical? Absolutely not. But buyers will look at those photos and imagine they too were spending their mornings waking in such a cozy, romantic, luxurious space.
  • Pull furniture away from walls. Arrange it in a conversational manner, even if that means you can’t view the TV from any of the angles.

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

THROWS, BLANKETS, & PILLOWS

  • Fabrics (blankets, pillows, drapes) create an ambiance of luxury and beauty.
  • Colors help the pictures to pop. Try to stick with solids or bold patterns. Pin stripes and small patterns can photograph weird.

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

ADD ART

  • You don’t want bare walls, but you also don’t want your face on the wall. Large pieces of simple art make great statements. Canvas prints from Rachel Carter Images are the perfect way to spruce up your walls and showcase the beautiful area.

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

FOCUS ON THE GREEN TO GET MORE GREEN

  • See what I did there? Green grass… green money… haha 😉
  • If you don’t have a perfectly manicured lawn, there are still ways to add greenery. Potted plants on the stairs, porch, and deck create a feeling of care.
  • Put out chairs on the porch, put pillows in the chairs

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

ALL THE DETAILS

  • Thoroughly clean everything, duh.
  • Open all blinds and curtains.
  • Replace all light bulbs.
  • Make all beds.
  • Remove all small rugs.
  • Turn off TVs and computer monitors.
  • Clean all magnets off the fridge, all notes off the peg boards, all words off the chalkboard (unless you want to write your address and your broker’s name)
  • Hang up clean towels, neatly.
  • No dishes in the sink.

Real Estate Photography Rachel Carter Images

 

Basically, you want your house to look like a staged home, void of your personality and mark. It should be neutral and generic in decor so the photographs highlight the tall ceilings, hard wood floors, and beautiful chandeliers. Not the espresso machine in the kitchen or the goofy family photo on the fridge.

The little preparations can go a long way. Some people think I can just fix their house blemishes with Photoshop, but that’s not how it works. I can’t create photos that don’t represent the reality of the house. It’s unethical.

I’m happy to change out the sky to give the outside a cheerful appearance. You can’t control the weather after all. But if your banister is broken, I’m not photo shopping it fixed. So before I arrive, go through this list. It takes a little time but I promise you, the photos will be worth it.

Are you getting ready to sell your home or know someone who is? Email me today to schedule real estate photos for your property. 

rachel@rachelcarterimages.com

Follow me on Facebook.

No Furniture? No Problem With Virtual Home Staging!

By: Kelly Presbrey

Virtual Staging Rachel Carter Images Topsail Island Real Estate Photographer

When preparing to sell your house, home staging is a must! If furniture is out of the question, consider virtual home staging.

Your photos are the first thing home shoppers will see. Furniture and decor will be digitally and realistically placed into photos of vacant or furnished properties. Give buyers a reason to love your photos and you’ll be on your way to selling or renting faster and for top dollar.

read more

DESIGNING, INTERPRETING AND HIGHLIGHTING MODERN ARCHITECTURE + HOUSES

Scandinavian House  |  NC Modernist Houses  |  B+O Design

Written By: Scott Ogden

“Architects live and die by the images taken of their work; as these images alone are what people see.  For every one person who visits a private house, there may be ten thousand who only view it as a photo.”

-Julius Shulman, father of modern architectural photography in LA throughout the 40’s to the 80’s.

This sentiment couldn’t be more true with Pinterest, Houzz, and design blogs and plan websites as the prime way many people ‘shop’ for home ideas, be they full residential designs, spatial ideas, new materials/colors, or objects such as furniture, appliances or lighting.

Many of Shulman’s images are the reason that architects like Charles & Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, Rudolf Schindler, Pierre Koenig and others became household names after WWII.  There’s a great documentary about him; (Visual Acoustics; The Modernism of Julius Shulman– which is available on AmazonPrime and sometimes shows on PBS and Sundance Channel)   http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/
julius shulman black white modern architecture photographer

B+O Design Studio

In eleven or so years here in Wilmington, our office, B + O design studio, has developed a specialty of designing custom, contemporary, ‘green’ houses and buildings.   As an architect and landscape architecture firm on the coast, we get to work on some wonderful, unique sites and neighborhoods in North Carolina.  These are one-off, special residential buildings that need some planning and thoughtfulness in terms of capturing those photos that take it from the owner’s day-to-day, intimate use and understanding to sharing as spaces that communicate & encourage others to think ‘outside the box’- even if it is in actuality still a rectangular volume.

It’s also fun to document the process.  Working with an architect is much different from that of a design/build/development or buying stock home plans; the process creates the product and each result is as different as the specific site and the arrangement of rooms & spaces of the program.  This image is a GIF of an early rough perspective rendering of the house, bled into the house as finished.

scandinavian house rendering

1. CONTEXT FOR CONTRAST.

Scandinavian House West Exterior facing channel

West Exterior- facing channel

Shulman had the luxury of LA’s mountains & Palm Springs deserts for the contrast of houses with clean lines to jagged mountains, exotic landscapes & sandy vistas.  We’re in a flat relatively urbanized coastal plain with less distinctive natural topography, but when the subject, a simple grey & white box (that’s been nicknamed the ‘Scandinavian House’) is juxtaposed to the surroundings, the uniqueness of the architecture can stand out.  Given that Wrightsville Beach is known for simple salt-box & mid-Atlantic vernacular forms, having the two adjacent houses in this shot shows contrast and difference at all levels.  Windows (black vs. white), (big vs. single), trim (none vs picture framing), siding (lines/texture vs. flatness), accent color (grey vs white), Roof (flat vs. pitched), etcetera.

read more

5 Tips for Home Staging

Written by: Christy Teachey

I am a mom, military spouse, and my family and friends call me their part-time decorator. I have always loved helping those around me spruce up their homes whether for a special holiday, a party they are hosting, or just because they want a change. I am completely self-taught and have learned over the years how to make big changes on a small budget. My husband and I have moved 11 times in 19 years so I learned how to make a home that is not so perfect feel cozy and inviting and stage furniture even when it is not made for a space. Therefore, as we are preparing to move -yet again- I thought I would share some of my home staging tips with you to get a home ready to sell FAST!

1. CLEAN AND DE-CLUTTER

kitchen island staged real estate

This is probably the most obvious advice for your home staging efforts, but it is also one of the most important things to do when staging a home. First, do a thorough deep clean of your home. Clean the carpets, scrub the baseboards, even clean the oven and clean out the fridge…you get the idea. Make sure your home is squeaky clean. Once you tackle the cleaning, you need to simplify and de-clutter. Clearing the clutter allows your home to look larger and well maintained. It also allows the potential buyer to visualize their stuff in the home. Do you have smaller pieces of furniture, toys, or appliances that are causing your home to look chaotic? Take it to storage or get rid of it. You are moving anyway. Remove some of the smaller appliances from the kitchen counter-tops (think toasters, butcher blocks, blenders, etc.) Take out the small furniture to open up the floor space. Put away the toys. Keep it simple and clean.

read more

WATERFRONT HOME!  GORGEOUS VIEWS OF NEW RIVER!

Over 4,000 square feet of living space in beautiful Stone Bay Plantation!  This home is located close to the Intracoastal Waterway, the Atlantic Ocean, and Topsail Island!

This home offers a first level Master Suite with a gorgeous bathroom.  The living room boasts wall to wall windows for amazing views.  The large, eat-in kitchen is every chef’s dream with an abundance of solid oak cabinets, granite countertops, an island, a microwave convection oven, and stainless steel appliances.  The kitchen has an abundance of solid oak cabinets, tiled backsplash, and recessed lighting which provides a classy, yet cozy ambiance.

A formal dining room perfect for entertaining is not far from the kitchen!  The first level also has an office with built-in mahogany bookshelves and cabinets, a laundry room, as well as a pantry.  Built-in cabinets can be found on either side of the fireplace.

There are 2 additional bedrooms, a large game room, and a bonus room (which can be used as another bedroom ) on the lower level.  The large game room overlooks New River and offers plenty of room for a pool table and seating area, and also has a kitchenette perfect for entertaining your guests!

This gorgeous home has floor-to-ceiling windows, 9 foot ceilings, topped off with double crown molding which allows for spectacular views and an open and airy feeling.

This home comes equipped with energy efficient geo-thermal heating and A/C, double pane Pella windows.  All appliances convey.

128 Gemstone Sneads Ferry tree lined driveway

This long and majestic driveway paves the way to the home of your dreams!

 

128 Gemstone Sneads Ferry Master Bathroom

read more