Homefront - February 2004

By staff February 1, 2004

Heavyweight Realtors Unite

There's a new star on the local real estate horizon, and it's got double wattage. Annette Rogers and Michael Moulton, top-producing associates at Michael Saunders & Company's Longboat Key South office, have merged their talents and 50 combined years of real estate experience into a residential real estate sales partnership.

Consistently the top producer at Michael Saunders & Company, Rogers has won numerous awards for sales and service achievements during her 30-year-plus career in Sarasota. Moulton started his real estate career in the commercial division of Michael Saunders & Company in the early 1980s. He moved on in 1987 to serve as the executive vice president at The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. He returned to Michael Saunders & Company early last year.

Lighting Beauty

A beautiful crystal chandelier will never go out of style, but at The Lamplighter, they've found ways to reinvent the old classic without detracting from its grandeur.

Store manager Lorie Parker explains that many companies are scaling down their chandeliers so they can be placed in smaller rooms without overpowering them. People with traditional homes, says Parker, like using the smaller chandeliers in powder rooms or above kitchen islands.

Parker says chandeliers are also available now with icicle-like crystals, rather than the traditional pendulum style.

Hand-Picked Treasures

Over the two years it has been in business, the Blue Pineapple in Englewood has attracted a huge following from interior designers all over the country.

Each summer, owner Peter Matson heads off to Europe, where he and his wife take a house in southwest France and hunt for antiques and crafts in the surrounding areas and in parts of Spain. They explore villages where craftspeople live and work and fill up a large truck container with their handpicked finds. The container usually arrives in Florida in October, and within weeks, buyers descend, says Matson. In fact, they've doubled the size of their shop.

"People are coming in and just buying," says Matson. "There's a new mood in the country. People are spending money again on high-end luxury items."

Beach Club Preview

A handful of happy buyers got a sneak peek at the spectacular views and amenities they will soon enjoy when they previewed The Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club as part of developer Taylor Woodrow's private owner preview beach party.

Buyers at the Beach Residences, which will be managed by the Ritz-Carlton Company, will share the same gated location with the Beach Club and will enjoy club and spa benefits. The condominium project will feature 88 luxury residences, including eight penthouses, with views of the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay and downtown Sarasota. Occupancy is scheduled for 2005.

Also slated to open in 2005 is Beleza, Taylor Woodrow U.S. Tower Division's resort-style 26-unit condominium project on Venice Beach. Three-bedroom units averaging 2,400 square feet will start at $1 million.

Remodeling Smarts

When remodeling or designing your kitchen, it's important to hire an expert, says David Asher of EuroTech Cabinetry.

"Just as an experienced chef might create a great meal using leftovers and a few pantry staples, a good design and installation team can make even the most ordinary products appear extraordinary," says Asher.

When hiring a consultant, check references and make sure any licenses they hold are current, he says.

"Before consulting with a designer, collect brochures and pictures from magazines of spaces that you like: color schemes, storage ideas, etc. It's also helpful to shop with a plan or sketch of the area that you are working on," he says.

Establish a budget and prioritize, Asher advises. He recommends setting aside 10 percent of the project budget for surprise expenses. "Home renovation is an inexact art and science."

Aid and Accolades from the HBA

The Home Builders Association has been active bestowing accolades and lending a helping hand. One such award went to John King of Rampart Homes in Sarasota County, for Remodeler of the Year.

The HBA also reached out to the family of a former member by presenting a $10,000 check to the Jonathan Olliver Children's Education Fund with proceeds from the association's 2003 fishing tournament. In February 2002, Jonathan Olliver, of Precision Homes, joined the Home Builders Association as a builder member. In March 2003, he was tragically killed in a boating accident. Jonathan, who was 23, was survived by his wife Tiffany and young daughter Jayde Alexis. His wife was pregnant and gave birth to Kianna Grace Olliver in September.

East Meets West

Here's something new: Angsana on Main Street, a fusion of contemporary and Asian design.

Owners Dean and Patty Miller and partner Mike Lipkowitz offer products from Bali, Java and Thailand with a mantra of combining Asian elegance with casual Western lifestyles. Check out the striking Lotus Bed displayed in Angsana's front window. It's named for the lotus flowers delicately carved into the posts, and exemplifies the belief in rebirth and renewal. The teak, which was gathered from Indonesian villages, is at least 100 years old. The Lotus Bed was built using no hardware: each bed is composed of 55 pieces of wood, which fit together without nails or screws.

Grand Beginnings at Beau Ciel

Future residents, realtors and VIPs mingled at the Beau Ciel grand opening bash at the luxury waterfront residences in downtown Sarasota. Nearly 300 guests got a tour of the 17-story building, including a model decorated by ASID designer Anne Folsom Smith. The crowd enjoyed living sculptures, an ice sculpture of the signature building, music and a performance by the Sarasota Ballet.

By year's end, almost all the 44 units had been sold. Each boasts marble flooring, faux walls and ceiling details, granite countertops and twin terraces. Prices range from $1.054 million for 2,335 square feet to $2.25 million for the furnished model on the 15th floor.

Window Style

Get prettier windows that work harder with the new Weather Shield Legacy Series Lifeguard from Forest Products Supply.

These are sturdy tilt direct-set casement windows that offer improved sight lines, high resistance to strong weather and greater sash and frame thickness for higher performance. Developed for luxury homes, the Legacy Series features 36 percent more mass to tilt double-hung windows, upgraded hardware and thicker frame on casement windows. They are available with a variety of glazing options, custom color options and wood interior options.

Color trends

Alison Bishop of Living Walls has a tip for decorators: "Watch for white lacquer, which has started making its appearance in Italy," she says. "It shows up with darker woods of wenge and natural cherry as well as maple and beech. Woods are often mixing on the same piece (like our fabulous Zoe Wall Unit) for an eclectic modern look. The 'hot' colors are bright colors from nature, turquoise, leafy greens, pinks, reds and violets."

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