By staff June 1, 2007


Kick off the summer entertaining season in style with new cabinets from Design Works at West Florida Distributors. The Design Works Studio features a wide selection of premium and designer cabinets, from traditional to contemporary, ready to transform your kitchen and bathroom into functional showplaces. A complete source for luxury cabinets as well as fine flooring—including ceramic tile, marble, stone, and premium wood flooring—Design Works carries products from notable brands like KraftMaid, Yorktown, Wood Harbor and Old South.

Design Works also offers one of the most distinctive selections of countertops in the Sarasota area. From granite to Silestone to stainless steel, the studio specializes in creating an elegant look for any project, matching back splashes, countertop tile in beautiful new granite patterns to a homeowner’s décor, and even supplying stunning pool tile for both pools and decks.

A pioneer in ceramic tile, Design Works at West Florida Distributors was founded in the 1950s, providing services to the building and tile contractor industries. Today, WFD supplies flooring, kitchen cabinets and granite counters throughout the region.

PLAN THE LAND Landscaping today is an art as well as a science, say the green-thumbed artists at Pine Hills Landscaping. Not only will a good landscape design accentuate attractive features of a home and extend the living space to the outdoors, well-planned landscapes can control rainwater runoff so the plants and grasses can survive extended dry periods.

Today’s landscape industry is much more environmentally aware than it was in the past. Pine Hills aims to integrate new technologies and philosophies—like green buildings and water-wise landscapes—with tried and true design principles. For example, roofs and walls can be covered with plants to conserve energy, and landscape designs can be created to conserve water—helping the environment and cutting maintenance costs. In the end, saving the environment means saving homeowners a lot of green.

PAPER WALLS Faux finishes are declining in popularity in the face of increasingly stylish wallpaper choices, according to the experts at Sarasota’s The Wallpaper Store. With recent improvements in design, color and texture, today’s wallpapers are on the cutting edge of interior design—far removed from the wallpaper of previous generations. And even upper-end wallcoverings have become both more prevalent and more affordable.

As for specific trends, designers from The Wallpaper Store point to wallcoverings with natural textures now making a huge impact on the decorating scene. Traditional grasscloth wallcoverings have never been out of style in tropical or South Seas décor, but now woven textures are finding their way into transitional and contemporary interiors as well. Bamboo grasses, corks, washable strings and other textiles offer interesting textures, and improved printing processes can create subtle effects like damasks, fretwork and foliage on those cutting-edge natural fibers.

TIP-TOP ANTIQUES Integrating your own unique style into your dream home doesn’t mean investing in brand-new furnishings. Osprey’s House of Lords specializes in upscale, elegant consignment items—including collectibles, antiques and jewelry—that can bring unique personality to any style of interior design. The Osprey antique shop is earning fans near and far. “Many of our clients, both buyers and sellers, use the word ‘addictive’ to describe their frequent visits,” says Nancy Abend of House of Lords. And those frequent shoppers are spreading the word. “We’re receiving phone calls from individuals in other states making inquiries on specific items like paintings, sculptures or antiques,” says Abend. In fact, she adds, the selection is so standout that snowbirds are looking to House of Lords not only for their Florida vacation homes, but for their residences up North, too.

INSIDE INSPECTIONS The homes listed by Carol and Paul Clark of SKY Sotheby’s International Realty don’t take any secrets to market. “As part of our listing process, my husband and I pay to have each home inspected to ensure it’s in great shape before it comes on the market,” says Carol. If, perchance, the agents’ inspector turns up trouble, the Clarks make sure everything is remedied, so buyers’ inspections always result in a clean bill of health. “We assist our sellers in getting repair work done so that the buyers will find the home in perfect shape when they do their inspection,” she says.

SKY Sotheby’s 2006 business year has also undergone a thorough inspection, and it passed with flying colors: Despite last year’s market downturn, the company increased its earnings by 21 percent, achieved a 21 percent market share, added 22 new sales associates and opened three new local sales offices. SKY Sotheby’s was also responsible for Sarasota’s highest single-family home closing and the highest condo sale in 2006.

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