The coolest home ever – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

In 1935 the Kaufman’s, a prominent, well to do family in Pittsburgh, enlisted the help of famed architect  Frank Lloyd Wright to help design a new summer home.  The Kaufman’s wanted to be able to see the falls from their summer home, but had no idea that they would soon be a part of them.  With only two hours left in his deadline, Frank Lloyd Wright, sits down at his table and calmly begins the design.  As his team watches in absolute disbelief, Wright completes the entire design for the home in plans and sections on blank pieces of paper in one sitting.  In 1938 and for $155,000 (including $8,000 architect’s fees, and $4,500 for installed walnut furnishings) Fallingwater, a masterpiece of twentieth century architecture is complete.  One with the landscape, Fallingwater doesn’t even appear to be on solid ground, but looks to sit atop the 30′ wide waterfall.

For more photos and the complete story, visit


Laird’s Pick of the Week: 646 Cummings Ave – $169,900

East Central features contemporary open concept condos, at an unreal price. Located in Ottawa’s East end, enjoy being close to shopping centers, restaurants and movie theatres. This bright, open concept, condo includes hardwood flooring, ceramic tile, 5 appliances and PARKING!! It’s the ideal community which provides upscale living 5 mins from downtown.

How using RRSPs can save you thousands when purchasing your first home.

While saving for the purchase of one’s first home may seem daunting to many of you, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the government has many incentive programs available that you can take advantage of. Specifically, the RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) first time home buyers plan is an excellent way to save for that purchase.
If you have never purchased a home, the Home Buyers Plan allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP savings to use towards a down payment towards the purchase of your new home. The key is that these funds can be withdrawn tax free without penalty provided they are re-paid over the next 15 years. Repayments are to begin in the second year after withdrawal. If you have a spouse, they are also eligible to withdraw $25,000 for a total contribution of $50,000.

The funds must be in your RRSP account for a minimum period of 90 days before they can be used towards the Home Buyers Plan. These funds can be used to provide your entire down payment or simply to increase the amount you have already set aside. If you already have your minimum required 5% down payment saved, you may want to consider topping up the down payment to lessen the CMHC premium. Typically lenders will require mortgage loan insurance if a borrower has a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price of the home. The more you put down, the lower the premium.

You may think that unless you currently have funds invested in an RRSP, this plan isn’t for you. However let’s examine how you could benefit from this program even if you have yet to make any RRSP contributions.

Let’s assume you and your spouse both have $25,000 in unused RRSP contribution room and currently have a down payment of $50,000 set aside in your savings account. The both of you should contribute $25,000 to your RRSP account prior to the contribution deadline (March 1st). This will allow you to claim the amounts on your 2010 tax returns.
Let’s assume both you and your spouse both belong to the 35% income tax bracket, you could each receive income tax refunds of up to $8,750 for a total of $17,500. As previously mentioned, once the funds have been in your RRSP account for 90 days, they can be withdrawn to use towards the purchase of your first home. However, keep in mind that you now also have an additional $17,500 (the tax refund). Rather than having your original $50,000 to put towards your first home, you now have a whopping $67,500 to put down! This will save you thousands of dollars in interest costs on your mortgage and also get you started on saving for retirement! Best of all, it can all be accomplished in only 90 days!

Lansdowne Park will finally get a new look!

Ottawa City Council  approved once and for all to move a head with plans to gentrify one of Ottawa’s biggest eye sores, Lansdowne Park. This has received mixed reviews amongst city councillors and community members a like.  Most who are opposed to the project are concerned about the obvious costs that the city will have to bare and the inevitable increase in traffic to the already very busy Old Ottawa South and Glebe communities. It is clear that something has to be done with the 16 hectares of concrete next to arguably Ottawa’s greatest attraction, the Rideau Canal, but it is this best solution?  Let me know what you think.

Below is an outline of what will be done over the next three years:

  • a controversial relocation of the historic Horticulture Building slightly to the east-side of the property
  • Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre will be renovated
  • new retail buildings will be constructed just north of the stadium.
  • an urban park will be constructed on the east side of the property
  • condos, townhomes, offices and a cinema will be built on the northwest side.
  • an office tower, where the Ottawa Art Gallery will be relocated, will be constructed beside the stadium, near the Bank St. bridge.
  • the Ottawa Farmers Market will have a home in the Horticulture Building

This week’s dream property – 800 Melwood Ave, Ottawa

A stunner!  In Ottawa’s west end, this luxurious, urban chic, modern, urban townhouse is perfect for the professional who works hard and plays hard!  Entertain friends and take in the amazing view of the Gatineau Hills on your hot tub ready, roof top terrace. This unique home includes a private elevator, geothermal heating, a fully upgraded kitchen with Brazilian granite counter tops, a huge master bed room with custom designed ensuite and much much more.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

The first post of a blog is supposed to give an adequate explanation of its intentions, which can be the most daunting part of getting started. The best way to describe what I am attempting to do with this blog is to target everything the modern real estate investor is looking for, but may not even be aware. Regardless of whether the person is buying or selling, living in the space or renting it out, there are more factors involved than what lies within the 4 walls (but let’s get you more than just 4).

The title of this post is a perfect description of what looking for a home is about. It’s not just about the listing descriptions, market trends and how many square feet you will have. Finding your perfect home is not formulaic because there’s something unquantifiable about discovering a space that fits perfectly, beyond the grocery list of must-haves everyone thinks they need in their dream home.

So, essentially I will be filling you in on listings and market trends of course, but I will also be updating you on the latest interior design trends, restaurants, and local businesses including photos of unique spots and spotlights on upcoming special events. Consider me to be your host of Ottawa while you search for a spot to call your own.