By staff July 1, 2008


Any host knows that dinner guests gravitate to the kitchen. But with Southwest Florida’s Gulf breeze, beautiful skies and stunning flora, why not draw your guests out to the fresh air with an outdoor kitchen? At The Lake Club in Lakewood Ranch, outdoor kitchens have become an art form: Sub-Zero refrigerators, full-size sinks, gas grills, high-definition TVs, fountains, fireplaces, ceiling fans and all-weather rugs make cooking outside a must-have amenity in any luxury home.

Landmark Development Group’s Grand Cayman model at The Lake Club won a 2007 Grand Aurora Award for its 1,000-square-foot outdoor living area. Weatherized cabinetry and stainless steel appliances are kept bug-free by retractable, see-through screens that can automatically descend from columns around the lanai.

Costing anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000, outdoor kitchens have become more popular than home theaters and workout rooms. “A summer kitchen and pool are now prerequisites,” says Art Paterson, regional director for Landmark Development.

And it looks like those outdoor kitchens are going to be getting a lot of use in Lakewood Ranch this summer. The master-planned community is seeing accelerated home sales in all price points this year. Nearly 40 Lakewood Ranch homes at or above $1 million were sold in the past 12 months—including a $3.3 million home in The Lake Club.


When it comes to color trends, Kathy Forinash is in the pink. The design director for Neal Communities Design Gallery recently attended the “World Colour” seminar and returned with the tidbits for 2009.

European interiors, inspired by Milan fashions, recently trended toward contemporary styles emphasizing white spaces with few furnishings and little clutter. U.S. color trends are always a step behind those in Europe, so it’s easy to predict that Americans will soon be creating clean, white rooms, too. Gray is also gaining popularity as a neutral color. Despite a somber reputation, gray shows off its potential when paired with bright accents.

Along those lines, draperies are moving away from black mini prints to white linen. Prints will still be around, just bigger than before, with brown macro patterns accenting those white rooms. Jewel tones will be a big part of those accents, along with bronze and brass fixtures. Darker colors are looking up: The seminar demonstrated that dark-colored ceilings can actually create the illusion of a taller room. 


That’s right, even toilets are going green these days. Toto’s Aquia toilet, available at Hill’s Showcase of Designer Plumbing in Sarasota, eliminates waste in more ways than one. Toto set out to optimize water conservation while maximizing flushing performance. The result is the Dual-Max flushing system featured in the Aquia toilet, which received a top 10 award from Building Green magazine for its superior water efficiency and stylish design. At the push of a button, homeowners use as little as one gallon per flush without sacrificing flushing effectiveness.


Cindy Morton, sales associate with Premier Properties of Southwest Florida, has been awarded the Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) professional mark as a standout in helping clients buy or sell real property outside their own country. Awarded by the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA), the TRC helps real estate professionals to perfect the mechanics of cross-border client referrals.


Tom and Pat Hanly have joined Michael Saunders & Company in its St. Armands office. The former owners of Hanly & Associates Realty sell properties throughout Sarasota, specializing in luxury waterfront properties on Longboat and Bird keys. Both ranked among the top 1 percent of realtors in the U.S., the Hanlys started their St. Armands company in 1999 after more than a decade of experience with Re/Max in New Jersey and Sarasota. Previous careers in New York City’s fashion industry allow the Hanlys to offer top-notch marketing to their clients. 

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