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Climate House Hunting: Clarence Thomas Edition

The week’s hottest real estate listings, ranked by climate risk.

Clarence Thomas and Bradley Cooper.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Spaces, The Modern House or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable. Every Friday, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news this week and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

For today’s column, I apply the Habitable Index to this week’s headline-generating real estate to find out: What’s the climate risk for Clarence Thomas’ hidden asset?? And will Bradley Cooper’s Venice bungalow flood? Read on for the verdict on the most habitable homes in the news this week, from best to worst:

1. Stellar mid-century will easily last through the next one.

Portland house.RMLS Central

This 1954 artisanal beauty is so well preserved and at low risk of fires or flooding. Roomy, renovated and resilient. Who knew Portland could be so habitable? Featured in Dwell and listed by (W)here Realty for $1,175,000.

2. Pre-Ye Kanye bachelor pad up for sale.

Kanye house.OFFICIAL and The Alexander Team

Kanye’s former Soho apartment is a minimalist sanctuary at super low risk of climate disasters other than the moderate heat risk typical for New York’s Soho. Ye might regret not spending more time in this tranquil white house since his chances of getting into the other one are even lower than this home’s risk of flooding. Featured in New York Postand listed for $5.4m.

3. Modern ‘60s New Jersey farmhouse will stay cool and dry.

Richard Meier house.Zillow

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier was born in Newark, which might explain why his first commission — for his parents — was this awesome house in Chester, N.J., with curved white stucco walls. The house has barely a climate risk over all its five rolling acres of farmland. Featured on The Creatives Agent and listed for $2.3m.

4. Clarence Thomas’ mother in the hot seat.

Leola Williams' house.Zillow

While this house is not for sale, it’s been in the news all week as a key ”witness” in the Clarence Thomas missing assets investigation. Yes, it’s his mom’s house, the one that Thomas’ billionaire ‘booster’ Harlan Crow bought and renovated for Clarence’s mom, and that Thomas failed to mention.

Fortunately for Leola Williams (Clarence’s mom), the Habitable Index finds her Savannah home to be at an extreme heat risk typical for the region but low to minimal risk for flooding, drought, or fire. She can probably keep living here. Featured in ProPublica.

5. A Silver Lining for Bradley Cooper’s Leafy Venice Beach Bungalow

Bradley Cooper house.Compass

Bradley Cooper’s cute first home is for sale in Venice Beach. A proper hideaway with luscious landscaping and an indoor-outdoor feel, the property has surprisingly low climate risk for L.A., other than extreme drought, which will make it hard to maintain the gardens. Offered by Compass for $2.4m.

6. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tulsa Masterpiece. Just watch out for the tornadoes.

Westhope.Sarah Strunk/Sage Sotheby's International Realty

Here is a rare opportunity to own Westhope, a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright home. Built in 1929 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the five-bedroom house has been restored to its original condition.The climate risks for this property include moderate fire risk and high heat, but the house is built out of cement with an alternating pattern of glass windows which will keep it cool inside. The real worry is the twisters. Tulsa County has a 40.5% annual risk for tornadoes. This bunker-like fortress has stood the test of time so far, but scientists can’t yet predict if climate change will make tornadoes more or less common in the area. Fingers crossed. Featured in WSJ and listed at $7.995m.

7. A Texas Castle besieged by climate risks.


Even for Texas, this seven bedroom, 10 bath castle is over the top, but you have to give it points for consistency. It sticks to its theme throughout the house — even in the screening room where knights in armor will join you for movie nights. Its climate future is equally frightening — high heat and drought risks and decent fire risk. Featured on WSJ. Listed for $7,850,000.

Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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