Homefront - July 2006

By staff July 1, 2006

JUST SIT RIGHT BACK Soon, many residents of Palmetto's Rivé Isle will be able to embark on idyllic boating excursions simply by stepping out of their own back doors. The 255-acre gated island community, currently being developed along the Manatee River, will offer 157 home sites with private docks prime for exploring inland waterways or cruising to the Gulf of Mexico.

"Whether enjoying a sunset, cruising on your boat or launching a kayak, having a dock where you live is truly one of life's great pleasures," says Rivé Isle spokesman Richard Moody. And home site boat docks are just a part of what makes Rivé Isle unique.

Expected to open its model center in the spring of 2007, the community will comprise 178 estate-size home sites with views of the Manatee River, inland harbors and undisturbed nature preserves. Memberships to River Wilderness Country Club will be available, and all residents will have access to Rivé Isle's River Lodge, public boat ramp and a variety of sports areas. "Rivé Isle provides the choices we all dream of: relaxing sunset cruises, a challenging round of golf, an evening game of tennis or a magnificent meal at the country club," says Moody.

CONCESSION WITHOUT COMPROMISE Southwest Florida is all abuzz about The Concession Golf Club and Residences especially now that the ultra-luxury community and its Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course are open for business and living up to the hype. Located east of I-75 off S.R. 70, the gated community's three neighborhoods-Birkdale, Lindrick and Nicklaus Manor-feature a total of 236 single-family homes incorporated into the area's natural landscape. Maintenance-free living and an array of amenities are available. In fact, Nicklaus Manor residents can even enjoy concierge services.

Of course, the golf course is the ultimate amenity. At 520 acres, it spans three times more land than most courses and includes a 23-acre practice area with two practice greens, a short-range practice area with three bunkers and seven target greens. One luxurious clubhouse serves golfers while another is available with fitness facility, spa, pool and Har-Tru tennis courts for other sports enthusiasts. Most of the club's 300 memberships will go to residents of the community, which is being sold from its sales gallery in downtown Sarasota.

WELL FOUNDED On May 6 and 7, The Founders Club debuted two new models to be added to the luxury community's exclusive collection of homes located three miles east of I-75 off Fruitville Road. Both the Mar-A-Lago by Pruett Builders and the Wilshire II by Todd Johnston Homes offer four bedrooms and more than 5,000 square feet of total living space overlooking the 14th, 15th and 16th fairways of The Founders Club's world-class golf course. Both homes are priced upwards of $2.7 million.

Receiving numerous accolades at the 2006 Parade of Homes, The Founders Club's award-winning builders also include John Cannon Homes, Lee Wetherington Homes and Taylor Woodrow. When complete, the community will contain only 262 homes.

WARMING TRENDS As the summer entertaining season hits its stride, Sarasota designer Catherine Kerr has the dish on the cool decorating trends for the hottest part of the year. Start by setting your summer party area with the right fabrics, which in 2006 include a variety of bold, fun styles: "Stripes and embroidered and mohair and large polka dots and shimmering and textured and all sorts of cool sheers," says Kerr, adding that metallics and plisse are also among this season's top looks.

Trends underfoot call for hardwood floors in exotic colors and materials like black ebony, reed and magenta. Then, once the floors are done, make sure your furniture keeps your head in the clouds and your feet off the ground: Steer clear of heavy dining areas and low-slung patio furniture; you and your guests should be checking out the view from high-top dining tables. "The trend is tables 40 inches high with high benches and chairs," says Kerr. Those tall tables look especially nice in breakfast rooms, she adds.

BIGGEST AND BEST After merging with a neighboring franchise and receiving statewide honors from the mother ship, Sarasota's Re/Max Properties is celebrating a banner first half of 2006 by opening a new state-of-the-art office this summer. The 17-year-old Sarasota company merged with North Port's Re/Max Executives in May, bringing Re/Max Properties' numbers to more than 340 associates in six locations and making it the only full-service Re/Max office in the area offering in-house mortgage and title services, state-of-the-art marketing services and in-house legal counsel.

As an added bonus, Re/Max International named Re/Max Properties the largest Re/Max in Florida based on active associates. It's also the company's No. 1 office in Florida for transaction and sales volume, and the No. 2 office in the country for sales transactions.

"Our company has come a long way since opening the business in 1989," says Re/Max Properties president Peter Crowley. "We've been on an upward trend from the beginning, and we don't see that trend changing." The new 6,000-square-foot office will be located near U.S. 41 and Sumter Boulevard.

ICH BIN EIN BERLINER Real estate attorney Evan Berlin is enjoying getting to know his clients and earning their trust. Having practiced in three of the area's larger law firms, Berlin now prefers the personalized service afforded by his own firm, Berlin Law Firm, P.A.

Since 2004, Berlin has focused exclusively on residential and commercial real estate law-including real estate closings-and finds the intimate setting of a smaller firm beneficial to establishing and maintaining superior client relations. A smaller firm, says Berlin, permits a higher level of client interaction, with an emphasis on tailoring services to each client's specific needs.

Berlin Law Firm, P.A., is a full-service real estate transaction firm, offering legal, settlement and title services; its driving focus, however, is client-oriented. With the philosophy that clients should believe unequivocally that their matters are being handled in a competent, professional manner, Berlin has assembled a dedicated and knowledgeable support staff well versed in the details of real estate closings.

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