Masayoshi Son has run almost all the way through $23 billion allocated to buy back SoftBank Group Corp. shares, raising concerns that his stock’s bull run will end without rapid intervention.
The Tokyo-based company purchased more than $20 billion worth of its own shares over the past year through March, according to SoftBank filings, an unprecedented effort that more than doubled the value of the stock. Now, with only about 10% of the committed capital left, the program may run out as soon as next month, Bloomberg’s calculations show.
Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalisation, touched a new peak on Wednesday, with participants citing media reports about the European Investment Bank’s plans to launch a “digital bond” sale on the ethereum blockchain network.
Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, that the EIB plans to issue a two-year 100-million euro digital bond, with the sale to be led by Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, and Societe Generale, according to analysts.
Ren Zhengfei, the leader of embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co, hinted in a letter to employees on Sunday that the company may be exploring the capital market, marking a subtle shift from previous statements that it has no plans to go public.
The letter, published on Huawei’s official employee website, tackled the uncertainties the company is facing as US trade sanctions continue to affect its business. Ren issued a warning to staff not to falsify accounts, or else they will face dismissal.
While Ren was not explicit on whether Huawei has such a plan, the suggestion was a marked difference from the Shenzhen-based company’s previous statements, which have said it is not considering an IPO.
Read the full story on South China Morning Post here.
Revlon billionaire Ronald Perelman has publicly listed his Lenox Hill townhouse at 36 E. 63rd St. for $60 million.
Last fall, Perelman unofficially shopped the property with a few “quiet” showings for around $65 million, along with a smaller, connected townhouse for a total of around $75 million.
That was part of an extraordinary sell-off that included art, one of his Gulfstream jets and a yacht — part of a strategy to “simplify” his life, Perelman said at the time, all while his business had to react to the pandemic-stricken economy.
Say the words “top-to-bottom home renovation” and an additive approach often comes to mind: more and bigger rooms with of-the-moment finishes, fixtures and furnishings adorning every inch. But when designer Andrea Henzlik learned that a colonial cottage—located just down the street from her own Buckhead home—would soon be for sale, she had something different in mind: a reductive approach that would strip away many of the embellishments that had been added to the Georgia home since its construction in 1978, focusing instead on the structure’s pleasing symmetries and scale.
Something else Henzlik had in mind was potential buyers—a pair of longtime clients looking to move from the Atlanta home she had previously designed for them into a Buckhead residence that would place them in close proximity to family. Upon viewing the house, the couple was immediately taken with its comfortable size, gracefully arched doorways and walkout backyard shaded by old oaks. “When our two sons heard that we were buying the first house we looked at, they didn’t believe it,” the wife recalls. “But when we saw it, we said, ‘We think this is the one.’”
The couple was equally decisive about beginning a renovation that would encompass architecture, interiors and landscape design—to Henzlik’s delight. “It’s so important to have a good architect to get the bones right and to have the landscaping in place,” she says.
Architect Greg Busch agreed with Henzlik’s assessment that the cottage was beautiful but overdressed. “Almost every room had paneling, and a lot of it didn’t match,” he recalls. “So, the project started with making it feel bigger and cleaner and more tailored by just stripping everything out.” Bulky fireplaces were redesigned with simple, elegant surrounds. Subtly textured wall plaster took the place of heavy millwork. Archways were enlarged and aligned to create seamless sight lines through the house. And the narrow entry’s massive mahogany front door was replaced with a custom, modern iron-and-glass version that floods the space with light.
In the absence of embellishment, “you have nowhere to hide,” Busch says of the home’s new aesthetic—which owes much of its success to builder Lindsey Potts. “A builder who’s paying attention leaves no gaps that need covering with trim; because of his attention to detail, we were able to create a much more tailored interior.”
Outside, the design team streamlined the look by removing brackets and columns, choosing a tonal scheme of warm white paint colors for the brick walls and new shutters and incorporating a tall, modern bay window to frame views of the reimagined front yard.
Before landscape designer Carson McElheney’s intervention, the property had been dominated by a large circular driveway with a concrete parking court. Replacing that hardscaping with a broad fescue lawn and pea-gravel drive made the house appear more established and refined, McElheney says, while new groupings of sculpted boxwoods—along with pachysandra, autumn ferns and large specimen trees—“balance and respect the architecture and tie this property back to the land.” A classic palette of gardenias, hydrangeas, popcorn viburnum, styrax and Southern magnolias “offers wonderful layers of green and white,” he adds, “creating a succession of flowers from early spring through fall.”
A layered approach also drove the interior design: a masculine-meets-feminine mix of traditional furnishings, finishes and fabrics combined with transitional and modern accents. “I like to be intentional about a design not being predictable,” Henzlik says. “I don’t even mind if it takes people a minute to decide if they like it or not. I don’t want their eyes just to move right through and not be caught off guard by something.”
In the study, for example, bold modern art and a sapphire-blue sofa pop against subdued white-oak wall paneling. In the living room, vintage seats by modern design master Paul McCobb mingle with Swedish antique chairs. And in the dining room, a sculptural chandelier and custom furnishings provide a contemporary counterpoint to a traditional coffered ceiling.
The home’s original details shine in other rooms, including the kitchen, which retains its floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and coffered ceiling. Though Henzlik refreshed the space with new lighting, hardware and a marble-topped island, she was judicious with her additions. “I don’t like to clutter a project,” she says, “but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of layers. The clients appreciate attention to every single detail, down to the color of a screw going in a hinge”—and for this home’s new iteration, it’s those subtle touches that make the design.
After a year-long renovation led by Gachot Studios, Waterworks reopened its newly expanded, 12,500-square-foot Manhattan flagship showroom on 58th Street this fall, home to their complete line of luxury bath and kitchen products.
With Carrara marble and white millwork, the gallery-like ground level displays faucets in shadow boxes and jewelry case-style vitrines, while shower fittings are tucked away inside drawers. A central open staircase leads shoppers downstairs to the minimalist cellar where tubs, washstands and mirrors are showcased, including the brand’s new Bond bath collection in collaboration with Gachot.
The new second level is home to color-coordinated collections of kitchen cabinetry, surfaces and hardware, in a setup reminiscent of fashion merchandising. To honor their reopening and celebrate Manhattan’s resiliency over the last year, Waterworks donated $25,000 to City Harvest to feed nearly 70,000 New Yorkers in need.
For a second, it’s easy to believe the pale yellow estate with green shutters is perched along the Caribbean shores of Barbados or Jamaica, rather than the Intracoastal Waterway in the town of Gulf Stream in Palm Beach County, Florida. But that was exactly the intention of the homeowners, who desired a residence that alludes to the exotic lands associated with their line of work. “They’re in the spice business,” explains architect William Wietsma, who designed the home. “It’s a family business that began 100 years ago, and their house is meant to reflect that history but also project into the future.”
A waterfront lot bordering two bird sanctuaries offered the ideal setting for Wietsma and general contractor William Lippolis to create a house inspired by the islands. Reflecting a British West Indies style, also known as Anglo-Caribbean, the two-level structure is flanked by one-story wings, embellished with shutters and balconies, and rendered in a soft pastel palette. “The exterior’s primary yellow color appears to be slightly sun-bleached,” Wietsma observes. “And the green shutters are powder-coated aluminum with a matte finish to give an illusion of painted wood.” But its outward appearance isn’t purely for aesthetics. “Anglo-Caribbean buildings are designed for the harsh tropical climate, with eaves and hipped roofs able to repel rain and wind,” Wietsma says. “The details tend to be more ‘shipwright’ than ornamental.” And stone, stucco, concrete roof tiles and aluminum casement windows treated with salt-resistant Kynar paint are just a few of the durable materials showcased on the home.
The tropical touches become apparent as visitors approach the property. They are welcomed by a gate Wietsma had fashioned after one he had admired in Bermuda. A brick driveway with a cut-coral border then leads to a graceful circular turnaround. “We used two different species of date palm to give the property a grand entrance,” says landscape architect Joe Peterson. “It’s a formal design with three tiers of plantings across the front. There’s lots of color at two levels, while the plants set against the house are dark green to contrast with the yellow exterior.”
Lively hues from outdoors flow inside, where interior designer Ellen Kavanaugh made a splashy statement in the foyer, pairing lime-green-striped wallpaper with black-and-white tile flooring. “The homeowners wanted an interior that has kind of a resort feel,” she says. “It’s very colorful–when you walk in, it feels like you’re on vacation.” The foyer opens to the living room, where Wietsma and Lippolis incorporated more hallmarks of Caribbean architecture such as mahogany flooring, a cypress ceiling and a grand window that offers views of the water and the verdant landscaping. Kavanaugh continued the theme by introducing elements that coincide with the style. “We wanted to select furniture commonly found in the beautiful old British West Indies homes in the islands,” she says. “A lot of the pieces are dark mahogany or teak. Then, we mixed in fabrics that are very tropical and colorful.” The sunny elegance that pervades the house is evident in the living room, where the classical white fireplace and teak furnishings combine with yellow damask wallpaper and floral-print seating.
The adjoining dining room also boasts water views as well as access to the home’s loggia. Kavanaugh animated the surroundings with green patterned draperies and a chandelier decorated with a gilded-leaf motif. The nearby kitchen offsets the home’s dark flooring with white painted cabinets and brushed Calacatta marble countertops, while the office is a study in mahogany enlivened by green botanical-print draperies and a pair of cozy armchairs. “It’s formal, but it’s also inviting and it’s very comfortable,” the interior designer says of the room.
In addition to satisfying the owners’ desire for interesting architecture, Wietsma and Lippolis devised a layout to suit the couple’s lifestyle. “They have four grown children and wanted a house that would accommodate them at holidays but also be intimate when no guests are there,” the architect says. “We ended up putting all of the guest suites upstairs and the master downstairs. This way, the house works as a one-bedroom when the owners are alone and gives everyone privacy when the house is full.” Sunny and airy, with a high ceiling and ivory tones, the private main sleeping quarters provide a tranquil oasis. Facing the Intracoastal, the room’s curved sitting area holds a loveseat, an ottoman and a pair of upholstered chairs, offering another spot to relax and unwind.
“The amount of detail that went into this project is what sets it apart,” Lippolis says. “Every tile layout, trim carpentry and cabinet was perfect.” For clients in the spice trade who longed for Caribbean bliss, it was the recipe for success.
Shared experiences often forge relationships that one can turn to, no matter how much time has passed. Such was the case for a Chicago couple looking to move back downtown after a long suburban sojourn. So, they called on some old friends: architect Thomas Shafer, whom they had met when their children were younger, and designers Thomas Riker and James Dolenc, veterans of a previous project with the couple.
The clients had secured a space in a new high-rise, but they soon realized something wasn’t quite right. Partially built out with an emphasis on individual rooms, “The unit was more traditional,” Shafer reports. “They didn’t want to feel boxed in.” Starting from scratch, they took another unit in the building—this time completely unfinished. The switch meant the team could think in terms of an open plan and, of course, the views, which, says the architect, “We used as the engine that drove everything.”
While Shafer and the homeowners embraced an open, light-filled concept, “We didn’t want a one-liner,” the architect says. So he devised a tightly controlled entry sequence to introduce the vistas capturing downtown and the lake. The elevator leads to a jewel box of a foyer and, from there, to the front doors. “Once you open them, there’s a screen wall that serves as the spine of the apartment and makes you contemplate your next move,” explains Shafer. “It’s mysterious and beautiful.” Comprised of vertical wood pickets, the structure creates a peekaboo effect, offering up slivers of the view until the dramatic window wall is fully revealed.
Making that move “was a real trick,” notes Shafer, who worked with builder Ryan Quid. “We had to make sure wherever you were you’d have long vistas through the unit.” His plan allows one to circumnavigate the apartment 270 degrees around the perimeter so that no one feels trapped in a room. It is, however, openness within reason. “With a simple close of a door, the homeowners can shut down the unit,” he notes, thanks to a layered program where public spaces give way to more transitional, semi-public spaces and then the bedrooms.
When it came to the interior design, the husband presented Riker, Dolenc and project lead Erin Humphrey with three words they wished their home to convey: warm, welcoming and timeless. “They were receptive to ideas, and that led down a path of newness,” says Riker. “They wanted modern, but not super trendy.” Adds Humphrey, “We didn’t choose anything that would date itself.”
With those watchwords in mind, the designers opted for furnishings that had classic, crisp profiles but also a subtle flair. Chairs by the wine room have a familiar club feel but stand on bases with brass-toned legs near a cabinet with eglomise door fronts, while the sofa in the family room balances on a chrome base. In the living room, a pair of chairs hints at a klismos form, but overstuffed profiles lend them a funky twist. And the homeowners did bring a few family favorites into their new digs, like a Philip and Kelvin LaVerne coffee table and a pair of Platner chairs. “The wife likes pieces with heritage,” notes Riker, “and we embraced that.”
The designers favored neutral hues with the occasional dash of blue, taking a cues from the sky outside and the Michiko Itatani painting in the living room. Along with the artwork, the team relied on finishes and lighting to serve up big textural and visual moves. They begin in the elevator lobby, which is papered with a scenic de Gournay print and features a book-matched marble floor. Nearby, Riker and company finished a plaster gallery wall for richness. And, knowing that the layout of the living and dining areas couldn’t support a chandelier over the dining table, the team instead centered a fixture over the living area’s coffee table. “It’s quiet but dramatic,” says Riker, “and doesn’t interfere with the art or the views.”
The team upped the ante with yet another touch: a NanaWall that opens up the kitchen to the terrace. “It feels less like apartment living because it affords the ease of going outside,” notes Riker. “It creates a break-out-of-the box feeling.” Which, one could say, is more necessary now than ever before. The flexible layout and nearly panoramic views make for an ideal home during times of quarantine. “Everyone has a place here,” says Riker, adding with a laugh, “so they’re not driving each other crazy.”
If you’re looking to rejuvenate in the new year—and who isn’t?—head to wellness mecca Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences on Palm Beach’s swoon-worthy Singer Island. Set to open in March, Amrit spans more than seven beachfront acres and offers a mix of residences and resort guest rooms between two sleek towers aptly named Peace and Happiness.
A stone moon gate flanked by urns overflowing with water and illuminated by fire makes for a dramatic entry to the property, while inside textured patterns inspired by sand dollars, sea urchins and driftwood reflect the feel and colors of the ocean. “A key feature of the lobby is the spiral grand staircase inspired by the shape of a seashell,” says Mauricio Salcedo, principal at Bilkey Llinas Design.
Guests and residents can expect cutting-edge, individually customized programming that marries Eastern well-being philosophies with Western technology (think everything from acupuncture to sound and light therapies) while enjoying a sculpture garden, a 40,000-square-foot Ayush hydrothermal therapy experience for alternating between hot and cold pools and a salt chamber, and a plant-centric spa restaurant.
It’s pretty unusual to have a designer take the first outfit he sees you in and create an entire home around it,” says the owner of a 1907 Ukrainian Village townhouse. But given that designer Gil Melott’s knack for narrative spaces is what drew the homeowner to his work, it makes sense. “When I first met her, she was wearing this amazing pencil skirt, an intricate blouse and a pair of black-and-white Dior heels,” Melott recalls. “This told me who she was: in control and highly feminine.”
It’s a style that his client developed as she built a career that sent her all over the world. Now, however, she was ready to focus not on jet setting, but on creating her dream home. Melott, with his distinct brand of eclectic chic, was just the man to help her conceive that home from scratch. “We’re accustomed to blank canvases,” says the designer. “We enjoy creating a curated story.”
A first matter of business was re-instilling character in the historic dwelling. Originally a single-family residence, the structure had at one point been converted to individual apartments, and later, back to a single-family home with basic finishes. Over these iterations, anything original had been replaced with drywall. For the designer, who describes himself as “not a restoration-guy” and instead “a nod-to-history-guy,” the idea was to bring in an air of patina, as opposed to recreating the home’s provenance as it were. “People don’t necessarily wear vintage clothing, but they’ll wear something emblematic,” he says. Led by this approach, Melott embarked on a renovation alongside general contractor Steve Gonczi.
As a starting point, layers were added to the home’s simple moldings as “a forward-looking take on ornate,” Melott says. To distinguish the foyer, he replaced standard-issue doors with antique wooden pocket doors found in New Orleans and swathed the walls in a rich coat of chocolate brown to strike a traditional chord. Envisioning the original turn-of-the-century layout prompted such additions as the custom-molded honed Nero Marquina marble fireplace surround and airy takes on classical built-in bookshelves, which Melott designed with local fabricator Joel Fisher of Lazuli Studios.
A radical character transformation took place with the high-octane kitchen, which was inspired by the client’s fashion sense. Taking cues from her closet, Melott replaced the existing white Shaker-style cupboards with a glossy black design, which opens onto equally swank living spaces. At the adjacent dining table, chairs with leather stitching pay homage to the client’s love of Chanel, while subtler sartorial strokes continue in the nearby drinks area. There, the sinuous shapes of two creamy velvet club chairs play to the feminine curves of the new fireplace.
As a self-made executive who grew up in a family of tradesmen and tradeswomen, another high priority for the client was championing local talents. “The idea of having things made by passionate, local hands felt right for my home,” she explains. “There’s the piece of supporting families in the community, but there’s also the matter of sustainability and doing right by the environment.” Melott responded enthusiastically, hitting the town for vintage pieces, peppering in contemporary furnishings and lighting, and finalizing the details with a chorus of local ceramicists, painters and makers. “Ninety-nice percent of the art in this home is local,” he confirms.
As with all great design, here, aspiration merges with function, pretty with practical.Upholstery fabrics chosen for their high durability score and a lack of rugs throughout cater to the client’s two cats, while amenities like personalized lighting solutions and discreet charging ports make working from the home’s many comfortable perches a breeze, especially in the COVID-19 landscape.
“Everything we do is a reflection of the people we do it for,” Melott says—a philosophy carried through from initial sit-down to final flourish. Case in point: Over one margarita-fueled meeting, the client shared that her grandmother—who had 10 children and never finished high school—avidly read National Geographic. When she walked into her newly designed home, the client found a tidy stack of antique issues sourced from near and far. “He brought me gorgeous, high design, but somehow, he brought my roots to me, too,” the client shares. At the walk-though, she adds, “I felt like I was walking into my house, my parents’ house, my grandparents’ house. It was the most unbelievable feeling of coming home.”