Extreme Real Estate: Cliffside Living


Properties that cleave, seemingly precariously, to cliffs that plunge precipitously to the waterside not only provide panoramic and meditative views but also a particular kind of thrill. These houses provide a soupcon of danger that radiates up and down the spine when standing in a room or sitting on a terrace that feels like it’s cantilevered out over the edge of the cliff.

High and Dry in Austin

On the outskirts of Austin, Texas, sits the lakeside community of Spicewood where a perfectly private cliff-top property is listed with an asking price of $399,999.

A rutted driveway winds across the flat, wooded and grassy 1+ acre property to a two-bedroom and two-bathroom house perched on the precipice of a spine tingling and booty clenching 100-foot cliff. The house features a living room with a fireplace, rustic vaulted wood beamed ceilings and saltillo tile floors and there is an additional room above the detached two-car garage for storage or stashing guests.

The living room opens to a large covered, cliff side deck with panoramic views across the lake and a second terrace hovers over the edge of the cliff like an acrophobic’s worst nightmare. By far the most extreme and unique feature of the property is a four-person elevator that descends from the top of the cliff to the water’s edge where a large dock and jetski ramp extends out into the deep water.

For additional information, contact Jay and Martha Johnson (512)626-5222 or (512)751-1705 at 5 Austin Realty in Austin, Texas.


Be the Cliff in Laguna Beach

The rugged and formidable cliffs that make up the dramatic coastline of Southern California claim some of the most exclusive and expensive real estate in the world but few homes rival the electrifying tension of Villa Rockledge in arty-farty but wildly expensive Laguna Beach, Calif. The cliff-clinging compound, currently listed with an asking price of $29,900,000, measures 8,000 square feet and includes a total of 12 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

Rising like a phoenix from the crags and creases of the rocky cliff that tumbles down to a private beach and the roiling Pacific Ocean, Villa Rockledge was built in 1921 as an elegant extension of the escarpment. Laguna Beach has always attracted leading lights from Hollywood and Villa Rockledge has hosted famous folks like Robert Mitchum, Errol Flynn and Bette Davis who reportedly met the second of her four husbands while visiting the estate.

The massive mansion is both rustic and luxurious with heavy wood-beamed ceilings, hand-sanded mahogany floors, leaded glass casement windows that open to staggering, unimpeded views of the ocean and balconies that hover over the crashing coastline below. The fully and meticulously restored cliff side compound is comprised of a four-bedroom and four-bathroom main house that includes two kitchens, two balconies, two libraries and nine fireplaces. Additionally there are six smaller villas/guest houses with a total of seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, three fireplaces and three kitchens.

For additional information, contact Susan Weir (949)566-1122 at Weir Properties in Corona Del Mar, Calif.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.


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