Sotheby’s International Realty Lists Ellen Degeneres & Portia de Rossi’s Romantic Villa (Video)

The Wall Street Journal recently announced that beloved stand-up comedian, television show host, bestselling author, and Emmy Award winner Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Australian–American actress Portia de Rossi, have listed their storied Santa Barbara, California estate for $45 million USD.

When Ellen and her Portia first saw this elegant stone villa in the hills of Santa Barbara, they were immediately enchanted by the pure pastoral ambience of the Tuscan countryside that pervades it — the gentle sunlight, the rugged stone, and the reverence for the natural surroundings.

The property, known as ‘The Villa,’ is prominently featured in Ellen’s 2015 book Home and was purchased by the couple in 2012; the estate was expanded through the acquisition of two adjacent properties and now totals 16.88 acres.


“The surrounding gardens and olive trees are almost as wonderful as the interior. The house truly feels like it was built out of the landscape, rather than plopped on a plot. It feels ancient, like it’s been there forever. Like that hill was never without the house. This is a home that honors nature, and I love that.”
– Ellen DeGeneres


See the full Extraordinary Living Blog by Natalie Hernandez.

10 Easy Improvements To Enhance Your Home

There is something awesome about buying a fixer upper and doing the renovations yourself. Some people fix them up a bit at a time, using cash as they have it available. If you want to make a big impact by doing small things, here are 10 things you need to include.

1. Change Out the Lighting
Nothing says outdated like an old-fashioned gold chandelier. Lighting is something that can be updated easily and won’t cost a bunch of money. It is one of the smallest things you can do that will have the biggest impact.

2. Paint
There is an old saying that states “if a barn needs to be painted, slap some paint on it.” You will be amazed at what some paint can do to your home. A new hue can cover imperfections and give the room the blast of color it needs. Forget drab, white walls that are lackluster. Give your home a color makeover.

3. New Fixtures
Just like the lighting, the fixtures in the home become outdated quickly. Start with the kitchen faucet and then move on to the bathroom. You can update and upgrade a fixer upper by just adding these small touches.

4. Paint Cabinets/Add New Hardware
If you have new cabinets in the budget, then you should go for it. However, if your budget is limited, then you may want to try to paint them. Painting old cabinets and installing new hardware will give the kitchen a facelift. If the cabinets are old but sturdy, then you can bring them back to life. Painting is inexpensive and has a huge impact.

5. Rip Out Old Carpeting
Carpet is great when it is new; however, when it is old and dingy, it can really have a negative impact on a space. Hardwoods are the best option, followed by laminate floors. However, if you are stretched for money, you may try a bag floor or a penny style one. There are creative options online that allow you to do great things with your floors for less.

6. Add Curb Appeal
The curb appeal of the home is everything. It does not matter how great the inside looks if the outside is in shambles. Clean up any dead plants and add some new. Be sure to pick flowers and shrubs that bloom at different times. This will allow you to have color year-round. Add some shutters and a fresh coat of paint to the porch. Use decorative numbers to display the address. Finally, replace the mailbox if necessary.

7. Repaint Ceilings
Ceilings are often overlooked. They are usually white and the color is reserved for the walls. However, people do not realize how dirty these ceilings can be. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling can really enhance the whole room. The walls are not the only thing that needs to be painted.

8. Upgrade the Exterior Façade
The biggest impact you can have on the outside of a home is to replace or paint siding. If you have it in the budget, you can add brick and stone accents. Most fixer upper homes have chipping paint and worn out siding. Splurge for some nice siding or paint a great color to update the home’s look.

9. Replace the Windows
New windows are expensive, but they are important. If you have old windows in your home, you need to spend the money to upgrade them. Windows are great for keeping the elements at bay. You will save yourself money in the long run by sealing off old-drafty openings.

10. Update the Heating and Cooling Unit
To help the process of heating and cooling a home, you need to make sure the home has an updated HVAC unit. The air filters are just as important as the unit. Filters with a rating of Merv 11, have “astro pleating” to help ensure no dirt or dust gets into your system. Extend the livelihood of your unit by selecting quality air filters.

By Cary Teller –

Montana Mansions “You have to see it to believe it.”

“Try explaining the towering mountain ranges, the wild forestlands or the sweeping ripples of Flathead Lake without infusing some level of hyperbole. You have to see it to believe it. The same goes for Shelter Island Estate.”

(Video credit GravityShots)

Currently, featured in the 2017 Spring edition of Flathead Living Magazine, “Montana’s Most Expensive Mansion” is an account of the history of Montana’s Shelter Island, the challenges it has faced and the prospect of a new owner.

“Construction of the grand estate began in 2001 and materials started arriving by the barge load, from African mahogany to Carrara marble. Every aspect of the three-story, five-bedroom main house, from the copper observatory overlooking the lake to the great hall with its 45-foot ceilings, was custom designed with craftsman skill.”

“While Shelter Island awaits a new suitor, several other high-end properties that emerged in the Flathead’s boom years of the 90’s and 2000s are also for sale. Including Shelter, five of the seven most expensive listings in the state are in the valley. Four are tucked along Whitefish Lake.”

It is Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty’s great honor and pleasure to represent the majority of these exceptional properties.

“Bill Foley, the majority owner of Whitefish Mountain Resort, Glacier Restaurant Group and a new NHL franchise, the Vegas Knights, has listed his 21-acre ranch with 11,500 -square-foot lodge-style home along the northern end of Whitefish Lake.” See video below! Click here for more property details & photos.

(Video credit Birds Eye of Big Sky)

“Next to Foley’s estate the Swift Eagle Ranch is listed for $20 million and boasts more than 500 feet of lakeshore frontage. The 35 acre enclave includes 4,868 square feet of living space surrounded by a mountain spring that feeds into ponds on the property.”

Swift Eagle

To view the digital copy of Spring 2017 Flathead Living Magazine and “Montana’s Most Expensive Mansion” article by Dillon Tabish click the image below.

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Contemporary Waterfront Living In Whitefish

Wake each morning to a serene setting surrounded by fresh water and stylish contemporary living. Enjoy unobstructed views to the east of the mountains in Glacier National Park, Badrock Canyon and the Swan Mountains. Views to the north of the Whitefish Range and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Leave your kayak resting on the beach and go out on the waterways in “The Lakes” anytime you desire with 60 feet of your own waterfront beach. Kayak, stand up paddle board, ride your bike or walk to town on the Whitefish trail system for miles of adventure.



This Kevin Treece Custom Residential Design home built by Big Mountain Builders, features an open concept floor plan ideal for entertaining indoors and out. The covered screened porch has natural gas hookup to your BBQ for year-round outdoor cooking.

Master 2


This quality home offers 3 bedrooms plus an office, 3 baths and a vaulted ceiling with expansive windows to enjoy the beautiful views of the Flathead Valley. An oversized, finished 2 car garage, wine room, double sided see-through gas fireplace, central vacuum and security system complete this package. Master bedroom on the main floor with laundry facility in the master closet. No detail has been overlooked and no expense spared. The property includes membership at the Canoe Club to enjoy the swimming pool, hot tub, gym, media room and clubhouse.

Offered at $675,000

Exclusively by Cynthia Dearing 406-260-1201 & Hunter Homes at 406-314-1417 of Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. Click here for more photographs and property details.



Shop Talk With Sonja Burgard


Sonja recently sat down with the team over at Western Home Journal and shared her journey about becoming a real estate agent in NW Montana.


I grew up in Kalispell and left to earn degrees from MSU in Bozeman and BSU in Boise. It wasn’t a tough decision for me to move back to the Flathead Valley in 2004. My husband and I had lived in Bozeman, Boise, and Choteau, and we were ready to return to the Flathead Valley and raise our family. I can’t get enough of the Flathead Valley.
I knew returning to my roots meant being surrounded by mountains, lakes, rivers, family, and great communities. I love spending time
in Glacier National Park. Sharing this love with my 12-year-old daughter is now even more joyful.


I have a master’s degree in art education, and I have taught, owned
a photography business, and owned and operated two successful restaurants.

Real estate is a perfect fit for me because I love helping people and I have a natural habit of connecting people with things they are looking for. I am fascinated by the real estate market, and I started buying and selling properties early. Truly, real estate is the ideal combination of my work and life experiences.


Families are typically looking for move- in-ready properties. Bonus rooms, two- or more-car garages, and a location close to schools top their wish lists.

Second homebuyers seem to desire privacy and views. They look for newer construction and often a waterfront location or large acreage. There is also a healthy segment of buyers who are looking for vacation condos for personal retreats or as a business investment.


A spirit of adventure, the overall quality of life, and the ability to get away from it all and find a slower pace—all these qualities are desirable. There is no doubt that the nearby millions of acres of undisturbed wilderness and Glacier National Park add to the area’s distinctive appeal. We have all of that, plus phenomenal city-like opportunities such as theatre companies, art galleries, and fine dining.

It is also a great investment. There are plenty of choices for real estate investment for all lifestyles and price points.

Our communities have craft breweries and distilleries, and we have boutique shops and farmers markets. All of these characteristics keep entrepreneurs wanting to invest.


I see myself as a source of information, and a local guide. Because I am from the Flathead Valley, I know the area very well and can help clients understand the differences between the areas, as well as the current state of the market. Like my other preceding jobs, I am in the service industry and I want the buying and selling process to be exceptional. I want to help people make connections. It’s just how I am.


One trend in building is that we are seeing smaller building footprints. There are new subdivisions being offered with covenants allowing for smaller totals of square footage. Whitefish Hills Village is a good example of this new trend.


Our inventory is smaller, making for fewer homes
to choose from. Narrowing down properties and finding the perfect place is the ultimate scavenger hunt!

– Sonja Burgard, Real Estate Agent, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty

See complete Western Home Journal Publication online.

Want to know more about Sonja Burgard and her listings? Tour her profile and contact her today at 406.871.0372

Snowmobile Hill Climb Returns To Lost Trail

For the first time since 2011, the fast and furious sport of snowmobile hill climbing will return to Lost Trail Powder Mountain March 11-12.

The event, sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hill Climb Association, is expected to draw racers from as far as Canada, Minnesota and Colorado.

“There will be a lot of local racers there, too,” said Heidi Peterson of Wisdom. “It should be really exciting.”

Peterson and her husband, MD, helped establish the first snowmobile hill-climbing event several years ago as a memorial to their friend David Shepherd, who died in an avalanche.

That event ended in 2011.

Poor snow conditions further south offered an opportunity for the Lost Trail ski area to consider hosting another hill climb this year. A race at Cherry Peak, Utah was cancelled due to a lack of snow for that March weekend.

Snow certainly isn’t an issue at Lost Trail. The ski hill’s summit currently has a 55-inch base and there is 47 inches at the lodge.

Those snow conditions should provide for a very steep, technical course with deep trenches by the finals on Sunday, Peterson said.

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There will also be an amateur race if locals want to compete. There is a temporary membership fee to participate.

Races are scheduled to get underway at 8 a.m. both days. There is a $5 gate charge fee. Qualifying rounds are scheduled on Saturday with finals set for Sunday.

People can go online to for race information. Anyone with questions can call Peterson at 406-660-0641

Read complete article.

Photo cover credit Real Estate Professional Kelly Laabs.  Kelly is a native Montanan and lifelong outdoors man, Kelly satisfies both buyers and sellers with his tireless work ethic and attention to detail. After graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration, he combines more than 15 years of proven sales and marketing experience to effectively engage with his clients. Kelly affably shares his passion for the Flathead Valley and all the joy it brings to each family living here.  Additionally, from growing up on the picturesque Swan Lake, to spending time in the great town of Whitefish where he currently resides, Kelly utilizes his intimate knowledge of the areas diverse real estate landscape to connect buyers with the property that best suits their particular needs.  Contact Kelly Laabs for a private consultation 406.890.5451