Cheaper Than Colorado Vol. I
6 houses under $500k: CA, MX, VT, Mallorca, Sicily, Sardinia.
We scroll over real estate for the same reason we scroll through social media — so that we may travel.
Life on UNESCO-preserved southern Sicily. A whole season on (also UNESCO-preserved) northern Mallorca. The family retreat in Vermont’s woods. Someplace else, aside from the overpriced coast, in California.
My sisters and I have lived abroad together and separately, and each time I wonder, could we do this forever?
For those also dreaming and scrolling, here is a more personal alternative, a little love letter to beautiful architecture, distinct character and accessible nature. The houses featured in this newsletter will always be somewhat attainable (that is, less than the median home price in Denver).
We’ll start with six properties from the West Coast all the way to the Mediterranean. And if you want more, click the links to see real estate pages with photos.
Have another place you’d like to see cool properties from? Send me a note, so I can add it to the house hunt!
1. I love the sun-kissed stone walls, the patio entrance and top-floor dining terrace. It’s a free-standing home, nearly 2,000 square feet across two levels, tucked into a pedestrian street off Corso Umberto, the main drag of Modica Alta. This house is located within the higher and older of two Modica town centers, carved into a hillside and with views for miles. $290k
2. This drenched canvas comes with two ponds and one covered bridge, seemingly going nowhere (a little creepy, but fine). Sliding glass opens to a waterfront deck, wide wood-plank floors lead to a large stone fireplace, and at least 9.5 acres surround the (for now) humble house with adjacent lots also available. $289k
3. Wait till you see the pastels in this kitchen. Set in the fantastical-sounding Pine Mountain Club within Los Padres National Forest (90 miles NW of Los Angeles), this multi-level treehouse was designed by postmodern master Charles Moore and built in 1982. Once you’ve taken in the decor, look for the wraparound deck and awesome colorblocking. The parties here would really be something. $350k
4. This is a B&B-zoned country house *project* on Sardinia. Swoon! Just look at the patterned tile floors, the traditional 18th C wood-beam and reed ceilings, and that loggia. Let’s talk about it. Spanning the length of the L-shaped structure, it features seven arches framing the garden (with a well) and access on the other side to living and bedrooms, lodge-style. This is an original mud and straw construction that has been *restored* thoughtfully. $394k
5. Here, a first-floor flat fashioned from a former townhouse steps away from the Plaza Major. Nearly 3,000 square feet inside with another 650 outside on the terrace. The main hall, the grand staircase, the archways… a kitchen opening to outdoor dining, a cobblestoned old town and then Mallorca’s northernmost beaches and mountains, all at your island doorstep. $440k
6. Last but not least, a modern jewel box in the heart of the Yucatan capital. Traditional pasta tiles made new, the most indoor-outdoor living room ever and floor-to-ceiling windows looking over the private pool from a lofted dining area and upstairs bedroom. But how is so much packed into just 1,000 square feet! There’s even a little bath house right off the plunge pool. Someone buy it, please? $175k