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Luxury Market Report - March 2018

by The Prestige Properties Team

As a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and living on Miami Beach, I keep my eyes on the market locally, nationally and internationally as many things such as interest rates, exchange rates and market rates have a large impact on the Luxury Real Estate Market.  If you have any questions my hope is that you will reach out to me directly, it is my pleasure to be of service to you.

Best regards,

Agnes Gray

Email: agness@remax.net

Phone: 954-559-7273

Fluent in Russian, Spanish, German and Polish as well as English!


Welcome to the Luxury Market Report, your guide to luxury real estate market data and trendsfor North America. Produced monthly by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, this reportprovides an in-depth look at the top residential markets across the United States and Canada. Within the individual markets, you will find established luxury benchmark prices and detailed survey of luxury active and sold properties designed to showcase current market status and recent trends. The national report illustrates acompilation of the top North American markets to review overall standards and trends. 

LUXURY REPORT OVERVIEW

The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing has analyzed a number of metrics — including sales prices, sales volumes, number of sales, sales-price-to-list-price ratios, days on market and price-per-square-foot – to provide you a comprehensive North American Luxury Market report.

Additionally, we have further examined all of the individual luxury markets to provide both an overview and an in-depth analysis - including, where data is sufficient, a breakdown by luxury single-family homes and luxury attached homes.

It is our intention to include additional luxury markets on a continual bases. If your market is not featured, please contact us so we can implement the necessary qualification process. More in-depth reports on the luxury communities in your market are available as well.

Looking through this report, you will notice three distinct market statuses, buyer's market, seller's Market, and balanced market. A Buyer's Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.

By contrast, a Seller's Market gives sellers greater control over the price point. Typically this means there are few homes on the market and a generous demand, causing competition between buyers who ultimately drive sales prices higher.

A Balanced Market indicates that neither the buyers nor the sellers control the price point at which that property will sell and that there is neither a glut nor a lack of inventory. Typically, this type of market sees a stabilization of both the list and sold price, the length of time the property is on the market as well as the expectancy amongst homeowners in their respective communities – so long as their home is priced in accordance with the current market value.

REPORT GLOSSARY

REMAINING INVENTORY: The total number of homes available at the close of a month.

DAYS ON MARKET: Measures the number of days a home is available on the market before a purchase offer is accepted.

LUXURY BENCHMARK PRICE: The price point that marks the transition from traditional homes to luxury homes.

NEW LISTINGS: The number of homes that entered the market during the current month.

PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT: Measures the dollar amount of the home's price for an individual square foot.

SALES RATIO: Sales Ratio defines market speed and determines whether the market currently favors buyers or sellers. Buyer's Market = up to 14%; Balanced Market = 15 to 20%; Seller's Market = 21% plus. If >100%, sales from previous month exceeds current inventory.

SP/LP RATIO: The Sales Price/List Price Ratio compares the value of the sold price to the value of the list price.

NORTH AMERICAN LUXURY REVIEW - FEBRUARY 2018

February 2018 figures reveal that overall the luxury real estate market throughout North America continues to remain stable, settling into a “new normal”. In general, luxury home prices have leveled off mainly due to inventory constraints easing as demand decreased after the postrecession housing boom.

Diane Hartley, General Manager for The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, stated during a recent interview that “the luxury real estate market led the general housing market out of the global recession, and during that explosive upswing, we saw some of the largest year-over-year price gains ever; now we are simply seeing a return to a more typical pricing and sales paradigm — especially for single-family-detached properties.”

Looking at both listing and sold prices, there continues to be very little change in the single-family luxury market. In February 2018, single-family luxury home sales prices rose 2.2% over the previous month but fell 1.7% over February 2017. Attached luxury home sales prices saw a dip; the median sales price decreased 3.6% over last month and decreased 4.3% over February 2017.

It is, of course, still important to understand that within the luxury market there can be large swings in median prices and average days on market, especially in smaller geographic markets, where one listing or sale can dramatically affect statistics.

Further to last month’s report, statistics still show that the majority of luxury single-family markets are trending towards buyer’s markets. Despite slight increases in median list and sale prices, inventory and sales, and marginal decrease in the days on market, last month buyer’s markets equaled 39 out of the 50 showcased. For the attached luxury markets, the trend is not as dramatic, with 20 of the 40 markets reporting buyer's markets in February.

New listings and total sales rose in the single-family home market. Compared to January, February's new luxury listings climbed 1.6% to 8,734 and sales rose 5.6% to 3,326. By contrast, the number of attached luxury listings fell 4.3% to 2,844 and sales rose a marginal 1.8% to 1,331.

Both the single-family and attached luxury home markets are showing a stabilization in median days on market. The last 3 months have seen single-family homes hovering between 58-61 days on market and attached homes between 41-42 days. Both markets have seen a year-over-year decreases, single-family homes have dropped 10% and attached homes have dropped 14%.

On the local level, some cities saw large positive swings this month. Last month, the Denver luxury single-family market was reported as a balanced market with a 20% sales ratio, and this month it just misses our list of top sales ratios at 24%. Miami had a great month with their luxury single-family sales price increasing 34% to $1,175,000. Seattle's median attached luxury sales price also rose 23% to $1,221,180.

For more information on a particular luxury market, please refer to its corresponding individual report where trends can vary depending on population, location, seasons, and other local factors. 

13-MONTH MARKET TRENDS FOR THE LUXURY NORTH AMERICAN MARKET

LUXURY MONTHLY MARKET REVIEW

A Review of Key Market Differences Month Over Month

January 2018 | February 2018

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES MARKET SUMMARY | FEBRUARY 2018

Official Market Type: Buyer's Market with a 10.18% Sales Ratio.

• Homes are selling for an average of 96.8% of list price.

• The average luxury threshold2 price is $975,000 the median luxury home sale price is $1,436,594.

• Markets with the Highest Median Sales Price: Vail ($5,300,000), San Francisco ($3,630,000), LA-Beach Cities ($3,594,138) and Vancouver ($3,594,138).

• Markets with the Highest Sales Ratio: Silicon Valley (104%), Seattle (50%), San Francisco (42%), and Sacramento (25%). 

LUXURY MONTHLY MARKET REVIEW

A Review of Key Market Differences Month Over Month

January 2018 | February 2018

ATTACHED HOMES MARKET SUMMARY | FEBRUARY 2018

• Official Market Type: Buyer's Market with a 12% Sales Ratio.

• Attached homes are selling for an average of 98% of list price.

• The average luxury threshold2 price is $750,000, the median attached luxury sale price is $940,000.

• Markets with the Highest Median Sales Price: Vail ($3,400,000), Santa Barbara ($2,862,500), Park City ($2,645,000) and San Francisco ($2,175,000).

• Markets with the Highest Sales Ratio: Silicon Valley (578%), LA-The Valley (36%), Fairfax County (35%) and Toronto (34%).

LUXURY MONTHLY MARKET REVIEW

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

ATTACHED HOMES

Tools of the Trade

by The Prestige Properties Team

 

How to Pick the Best Gardening Tools for You
The old adage that a workman is only as good as his tools makes a lot of sense. Tools leverage your labor, and choosing the right one for the job will save you time and effort when it comes to preparing and maintaining your garden this year.
Whatever the tool, it will last longer and be more enjoyable to use if it’s well made; buying cheap, low-quality tools rarely pays off. Look for excellent workmanship and materials, including handles made of hardwood (preferably ash or hickory), a carbon or stainless-steel blade forged from a solid piece of metal, and a solid (rather than wrapped or welded) handle socket.
Before you buy anything, handle the tool to make sure it is a good size for you; petite people often find that tools scaled for children are more comfortable. It should be comfortable to use and not too heavy or too light.
THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Using the right tool is key to successfully completing a project. For example, a four-tined pitchfork makes moving mulch much easier than using a shovel. A long-handled shovel is the best tool for digging deep, round holes; a short-handled spade with a square blade is best for digging trenches, edging, and other applications where a straight, square cut is desired.
Rakes can be designed for different tasks. A leaf rake is made from flexible metal, bamboo, or plastic tines, and fans out to collect the leaves. A bow rake has short, rigid metal tines for smoothing or scratching up the soil surface. The narrow design of a shrub rake makes it ideal for reaching into tight spaces.
CARING FOR YOUR TOOLS
Tools will last longer, look better, and be a greater pleasure to use if you look after them properly. Dedicate a little time at the end of the gardening season to service your tools. Once a year, preferably just before winter, wipe the wooden handles of all your garden tools with warmed linseed oil to prevent them from becoming brittle and splitting.
A sharp shovel or spade edge will cut through dirt and plant matter more easily than a dull one. To sharpen, clamp the spade in a vice so it is horizontal to the ground, or lay it on the ground with the blade facing away from you. Push a file or abrasive stone forward along the inside edge of the blade in even passes. Lift the file at the end of each sweep so you always move it in the same direction. Follow the angle of the existing blade as a guide (or a 45-degree angle if the bevel is too worn to tell). Because a shovel is a single-beveled tool, do not sharpen the opposite side of the edge. About one-eighth inch of the blade will be visibly shiny after sharpening.
To prolong the life of your pruning tools, clean the blades and lubricate the moving joints and springs at the end of the season. To prevent rust, finish the overwintering job by spraying all the metal parts with penetrating oil.
Tools of the Trade
Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/cjp.
Electric and gas-powered rotary lawn mowers need servicing once a year. The oil should be changed to protect the engine from undue wear, the spark plugs checked, the oil filter cleaned, and the blade cleaned and sharpened or replaced. The owner’s manual will provide detailed directions for your specific model. If you decide to have the job done professionally, take your machine into the shop in winter to avoid the spring backlog.
Great Garden Clippers
Take advice from a pro. Fran Boninti of Charlottesville, Virginia, is renowned for her native plant garden and her expertise in all matters pertaining to gardens, and she has some strong opinions on the best garden trimming tools. Here’s what she recommends.
Felco Pruners: The Swiss-made tools have hardened steel blades that do not distort when cutting thick branches. All the parts that experience wear and tear are replaceable.
Saboten Thinning Shears for cutting flowers and bonsai: The Teflon-coated blades are made of high-quality carbon steel and are very sharp. The contoured grip is shock absorbing, and the closing safety latch secures firmly.
Bahco Loppers: These can ring up at around $150, but they are worth the investment. The thirty-two-inch-long, commercial-grade, bypass lopper is ideal for cutting thick, strong branches on mature trees. The lightweight tubular aluminum handles make the tool easy to use, especially if you need to reach overhead for high branches. The cutting head has a double radii blade so the cuts are smooth. Replacement parts are available for Bahco tools.
Blade Sharpener: Speedy Sharp carbide knife sharpener is an easy-to-use, compact device that fits in a pocket. You can use this device to sharpen knives and scissors in addition to clipper blades. Visit speedysharp.com for an instruction video.
Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler.

 

How to Pick the Best Gardening Tools for You

The old adage that a workman is only as good as his tools makes a lot of sense. Tools leverage your labor, and choosing the right one for the job will save you time and effort when it comes to preparing and maintaining your garden this year.

Whatever the tool, it will last longer and be more enjoyable to use if it’s well made; buying cheap, low-quality tools rarely pays off. Look for excellent workmanship and materials, including handles made of hardwood (preferably ash or hickory), a carbon or stainless-steel blade forged from a solid piece of metal, and a solid (rather than wrapped or welded) handle socket.

Before you buy anything, handle the tool to make sure it is a good size for you; petite people often find that tools scaled for children are more comfortable. It should be comfortable to use and not too heavy or too light.

THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB

Using the right tool is key to successfully completing a project. For example, a four-tined pitchfork makes moving mulch much easier than using a shovel. A long-handled shovel is the best tool for digging deep, round holes; a short-handled spade with a square blade is best for digging trenches, edging, and other applications where a straight, square cut is desired.

Rakes can be designed for different tasks. A leaf rake is made from flexible metal, bamboo, or plastic tines, and fans out to collect the leaves. A bow rake has short, rigid metal tines for smoothing or scratching up the soil surface. The narrow design of a shrub rake makes it ideal for reaching into tight spaces.

CARING FOR YOUR TOOLS

Tools will last longer, look better, and be a greater pleasure to use if you look after them properly. Dedicate a little time at the end of the gardening season to service your tools. Once a year, preferably just before winter, wipe the wooden handles of all your garden tools with warmed linseed oil to prevent them from becoming brittle and splitting.

A sharp shovel or spade edge will cut through dirt and plant matter more easily than a dull one. To sharpen, clamp the spade in a vice so it is horizontal to the ground, or lay it on the ground with the blade facing away from you. Push a file or abrasive stone forward along the inside edge of the blade in even passes. Lift the file at the end of each sweep so you always move it in the same direction. Follow the angle of the existing blade as a guide (or a 45-degree angle if the bevel is too worn to tell). Because a shovel is a single-beveled tool, do not sharpen the opposite side of the edge. About one-eighth inch of the blade will be visibly shiny after sharpening.

To prolong the life of your pruning tools, clean the blades and lubricate the moving joints and springs at the end of the season. To prevent rust, finish the overwintering job by spraying all the metal parts with penetrating oil.


Electric and gas-powered rotary lawn mowers need servicing once a year. The oil should be changed to protect the engine from undue wear, the spark plugs checked, the oil filter cleaned, and the blade cleaned and sharpened or replaced. The owner’s manual will provide detailed directions for your specific model. If you decide to have the job done professionally, take your machine into the shop in winter to avoid the spring backlog.

Great Garden Clippers

Take advice from a pro. Fran Boninti of Charlottesville, Virginia, is renowned for her native plant garden and her expertise in all matters pertaining to gardens, and she has some strong opinions on the best garden trimming tools. Here’s what she recommends.

Felco Pruners: The Swiss-made tools have hardened steel blades that do not distort when cutting thick branches. All the parts that experience wear and tear are replaceable.

Saboten Thinning Shears for cutting flowers and bonsai: The Teflon-coated blades are made of high-quality carbon steel and are very sharp. The contoured grip is shock absorbing, and the closing safety latch secures firmly.

Bahco Loppers: These can ring up at around $150, but they are worth the investment. The thirty-two-inch-long, commercial-grade, bypass lopper is ideal for cutting thick, strong branches on mature trees. The lightweight tubular aluminum handles make the tool easy to use, especially if you need to reach overhead for high branches. The cutting head has a double radii blade so the cuts are smooth. Replacement parts are available for Bahco tools.

Blade Sharpener: Speedy Sharp carbide knife sharpener is an easy-to-use, compact device that fits in a pocket. You can use this device to sharpen knives and scissors in addition to clipper blades. Visit speedysharp.com for an instruction video.

Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler.

Elegant Extension

by The Prestige Properties Team

Toronto-Based Terrace Designer Rejuvenates Outdoor Space for City Dweller

Though Lisa Aiken offers interior and exterior design services, terraces are her forte and it shows in the special touches that brought this Toronto, Ontario condo garden to life. Aiken, the owner of Terra Firma Design, delivered an alfresco treasure to her client in the form of a glorious outdoor living space.

With its Yorkville location, known as one of the poshest neighborhoods in town, the urban residence sits above the upscale Hazelton Lanes shopping center. Because the interiors were being renovated at the same time, Aiken gave the outdoor space new flooring for a cohesive feel. “It’s a very small condo, so when you open the door you see the continuous flow of wood,” says the talented terrace designer. “It makes the entire condo look bigger.”

Aiken had a clever solution for the condo regulations that require access below the eighteen-by-twenty-four-foot terrace should the need arise. The exotic Ipe Brazilian hardwood floor features sections that run in different directions, so the large rectangles can be removed individually instead of ripping out the whole floor.

The outdoor living areas were also divided into sections, like the lounge area with an L-shaped wicker sofa covered in Sunbrella fabric and a pair of chairs the client had that were refurbished. In a separate dining area, a teak table and chairs joins a coordinating sideboard that opens for storage and can easily be converted into a buffet or bar. “Because she has a dining set, she can have people over for dinner or she can lie down and read in the lounge area or entertain a lot of people,” says Aiken.

Winterized containers that won’t crack or fade can remain outdoors year-round. Aiken was careful to make the container selection when choosing plants for her client, who is an avid gardener. “This gave her the opportunity to actually have trees grow,” she says. “There are a lot of perennials, accent plants, and herbs. Everything she could possibly put in a garden is on the terrace.” Shapely containers filled with Kimberly ferns, hydrangeas, cascading petunias, and ivy flank the sliding doors that lead to the terrace, while a birch tree in a substantial planter is surrounded by hostas and herbs.

This luxurious outdoor living space gives a Toronto condo owner a bonus room for much of the year. Divided into sections, her impressive terrace works just as well for quiet time as it does for dinner parties.

Neutral furnishings and sturdy containers join pops of colors found in plantings and pillows in this outdoor extension of an urban residence. Sophisticated wood flooring sets the tone for the charming terrace designed for an avid gardener. A storage sideboard pulls double-duty as a buffet while the greenery softens the surroundings.

Other classic elements include a soothing fountain right outside the client’s bedroom. “When she opens the door, she can hear the water running and see all the greenery for a spa-like atmosphere,” says Aiken, who explains the opportunity for outdoor living begins as early as April. “By May there are full flowers, and with some blankets she can still be sitting out until October if the weather is good.”

Distinctive details fill the modest space, like an iron wall planter and the angled dividers on either side of the terrace that were designed by Aiken and made of Ipe. “A lot of people just put up a piece of lattice, but she wanted full privacy,” she says. “Done at an angle, it becomes an interesting architectural feature.” The hand-forged iron railing also contributes to the timeless environment while following the guidelines that prevent it from being attached to the exterior wall of the building. Although the railing that protects the homeowner’s cats is latched and secured, it can easily be removed if needed.

Hurricane lanterns and candles further enhance the scenic surroundings in the evening. “She wanted it to be subdued with very soft light. There are a lot of candles and there is light from the bedroom and the living room,” says Aiken.

The end result is a bona fide bonus room. “The terrace is a huge extension of her indoor space. It increased the condo not only visually, but usage-wise with two different living rooms,” says Aiken. “Without it, she would have a very stylish, very small box, which is the norm when people purchase in this area. Extending her 830-square-foot condo not only makes use of the outdoor space, but [also] increases the real estate value.”

Article written by guest blogger Jeanine Matlow.

Spring Greens

by The Prestige Properties Team

 

Flavorful Recipes from the Garden
PEA AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD WITH SHAVED PECORINO AND FRESH BASIL
A salad of spring peas and prosciutto is a delightful first course for any spring meal. It’s light and fresh and looks like a perfectly tended garden on a plate. You can certainly use fresh peas in this salad, but if you can’t find them in your market, frozen spring peas are also a good option. Many salads fry the prosciutto. Here, I’ve left it chilled and simply torn. I prefer a naturally presented prosciutto on this salad and the texture complements the greens as well as the peas. Keep the prosciutto very cold until it’s time to use it as that will make it easier to tear and extra yummy on the salad.
Serves 4
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups fresh spring greens
1 cup spring peas (steamed and cooled) or frozen peas (thawed)
4 thin slices of prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
⅓ cup shaved pecorino cheese
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper to create a lemon vinaigrette.
Place the spring greens in a large bowl and drizzle with half the lemon vinaigrette. Then divide the dressed greens among four plates. Scatter the peas over the dressed greens, then scatter the torn prosciutto and shaved pecorino. Top with fresh torn basil leaves.
Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over each salad and serve.
PEA AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD WITH SHAVED PECORINO AND FRESH BASIL
SPRING GREENS AND RICOTTA TORTE
This beautiful spring torte is like a quiche, but without the crust and prepared with ricotta cheese rather than heavy cream. This torte is light and lovely and makes an enchanting spring brunch, lunch, or breakfast. On occasion, I’ve been known to make this torte for dinner and serve it with the pea and prosciutto salad.
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, diced
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (5-ounce) bag spring greens like baby kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, and collards (or, if you grow your own spring greens, about 3 to 4 cups)
1 (16-ounce) tub whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained of any excess liquid
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
½ cup grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan
Crème Fraîche, for garnish (optional)
Buttered 9-inch round baking pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the leeks and shallots and sauté just until wilted. Then stir in the garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
Slowly add in the baby greens and then take the pan off the heat. Toss the greens with the shallots and garlic until the greens are lightly wilted and distributed with the shallots. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, dried thyme, and red pepper flakes.
SPRING GREENS AND RICOTTA TORTE
Fold in the swiss and pecorino cheese. Drain any liquid from the greens and then fold the greens mixture into the ricotta mixture.
Pour the mixture into the buttered 9-inch baking pan or 9-inch-deep pie plate and then place the pan on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the torte bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When the torte is done, firm to the touch in the center, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.
Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraîche if desired.
Lemon Thyme Gin Lemonade
I’m always game for a lovely little cocktail—especially one that involves gin. This spiked herbal lemonade feels a little fancy but it’s super easy and makes an impressive “splash” in a pretty glass.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 (3-inch) sprigs of lemon thyme
2 slices lemon
1 to 2 ounces good-quality dry gin
8 ounces of your favorite lemonade
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle together 1 sprig of lemon thyme and one slice of lemon. Add ice, then the gin, and then top it with the lemonade. Give it a shake or two.
Then pour it into a pretty glass and garnish with the additional lemon slice and sprig of lemon thyme. Enjoy!
Article written by guest blogger Karista Bennet.

 

Flavorful Recipes from the Garden

PEA AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD WITH SHAVED PECORINO AND FRESH BASIL

A salad of spring peas and prosciutto is a delightful first course for any spring meal. It’s light and fresh and looks like a perfectly tended garden on a plate. You can certainly use fresh peas in this salad, but if you can’t find them in your market, frozen spring peas are also a good option. Many salads fry the prosciutto. Here, I’ve left it chilled and simply torn. I prefer a naturally presented prosciutto on this salad and the texture complements the greens as well as the peas. Keep the prosciutto very cold until it’s time to use it as that will make it easier to tear and extra yummy on the salad.

Serves 4

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups fresh spring greens

1 cup spring peas (steamed and cooled) or frozen peas (thawed)

4 thin slices of prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces

⅓ cup shaved pecorino cheese

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper to create a lemon vinaigrette.

Place the spring greens in a large bowl and drizzle with half the lemon vinaigrette. Then divide the dressed greens among four plates. Scatter the peas over the dressed greens, then scatter the torn prosciutto and shaved pecorino. Top with fresh torn basil leaves.

Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over each salad and serve.

PEA AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD WITH SHAVED PECORINO AND FRESH BASILSPRING GREENS AND RICOTTA TORTE

This beautiful spring torte is like a quiche, but without the crust and prepared with ricotta cheese rather than heavy cream. This torte is light and lovely and makes an enchanting spring brunch, lunch, or breakfast. On occasion, I’ve been known to make this torte for dinner and serve it with the pea and prosciutto salad.

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium leek, diced

1 small shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (5-ounce) bag spring greens like baby kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, and collards (or, if you grow your own spring greens, about 3 to 4 cups)

1 (16-ounce) tub whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained of any excess liquid

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes1 cup shredded swiss cheese

½ cup grated pecorino Romano or ParmesanCrème Fraîche, for garnish (optional)

Buttered 9-inch round baking panPreheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the leeks and shallots and sauté just until wilted. Then stir in the garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.

Slowly add in the baby greens and then take the pan off the heat. Toss the greens with the shallots and garlic until the greens are lightly wilted and distributed with the shallots. Set the pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, dried thyme, and red pepper flakes.

SPRING GREENS AND RICOTTA TORTE

Fold in the swiss and pecorino cheese. Drain any liquid from the greens and then fold the greens mixture into the ricotta mixture.

Pour the mixture into the buttered 9-inch baking pan or 9-inch-deep pie plate and then place the pan on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the torte bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the torte is done, firm to the touch in the center, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraîche if desired.

Lemon Thyme Gin Lemonade

I’m always game for a lovely little cocktail—especially one that involves gin. This spiked herbal lemonade feels a little fancy but it’s super easy and makes an impressive “splash” in a pretty glass.

Makes 1 cocktail

2 (3-inch) sprigs of lemon thyme

2 slices lemon

1 to 2 ounces good-quality dry gin

8 ounces of your favorite lemonade

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle together 1 sprig of lemon thyme and one slice of lemon. Add ice, then the gin, and then top it with the lemonade. Give it a shake or two.

Then pour it into a pretty glass and garnish with the additional lemon slice and sprig of lemon thyme. Enjoy!

Article written by guest blogger Karista Bennet.

The Power of Scent

by The Prestige Properties Team

 

Using Essential Oils to Improve Your Health and Mood
There are certain things that trigger memories in your mind. Sometimes it’s a song or a piece of clothing. But more than likely, it’s a scent; the olfactory system has the strongest link to memory. This correlation can trigger memories of experiences and places, but it can also trigger your body into a specific state of being. Encourage restfulness, healing, increased energy, and more with essential oils.
Determining how to best incorporate essentials oils into your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. How do you use them? What does each scent do? And why do they work so well? Ultimately the oils might help ease the stress of it all. But in the meantime, here’s a quick-start guide to using essential oils at home.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from plant parts such as leaves, flowers, needles, roots, seeds, resin, bark, rinds, berries, wood, and grass. “It takes nearly eight million small jasmine blossoms, handpicked on the day the flowers open, to produce just over two pounds of superior essential oil,” says Stephanie Tourles, a certified aromatherapist and holistic esthetician among other designations.
HOW DO I USE THEM?
“To capture the aromas of nature—whether it be the fresh scent of the ocean or sparkling citrus to freshen the bathroom, or heady jasmine or distinctive gardenia in the living room or bedroom—you can purchase a wide array of essential oils, which can be diffused into different machines or diffusers,” says fragrance expert Sue Phillips, founder of the Tribeca, New York City–based The Scentarium. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls with the essential oils and apply them to cold lightbulbs, she adds. “Then when you switch the light on, the heat from the light bulbs will diffuse the fragrance and will waft in the air.”
WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WITH THEM?
“Always dilute the oil if you’re going to apply it to your skin or someone else’s skin,” explains herbalist and aromatherapist Lisa Akers. “About 1 to 2 percent essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, olive, or jojoba is best. Water won’t dilute the essential oils, because they don’t mix. Use an oil, glycerin, or milk to get a good, diluted oil.” And most importantly, do not ingest the oils. “Don’t take essential oils internally unless under the direction of a physician or trained aromatherapist or herbalist. Most essential oils are corrosive and can cause liver damage. The damage isn’t seen for months or even years later, which makes this a real concern that people aren’t considering when they drop that lemon essential oil in their morning water.”
WHAT ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EVERYDAY USE?
Lavender. This do-all essential oil is a powerhouse when it comes to helping your body inside and out. Research shows that lavender is the go-to aroma for relaxation as it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—but that’s not all. Studies also suggest that it helps alleviate insomnia as well as eczema. “A few drops of [diluted] lavender sprinkled on your pillow or applied to your temples will help relax you and cause a good night’s sleep,” says Phillips. “I love lavender-filled eye sachets, which can be placed over your eyes and you will immediately drift off to sleep.”
Peppermint Oil. Headaches be gone! “A few drops of peppermint oil applied to the temples, wrists, and forehead will alleviate headaches,” says Phillips. Another unconventional use for peppermint oil is to get rid of spiders. “Take about fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil and add a cup of water in a spray bottle,” she says. “Shake well. Gently spray around the corners, window frames, and doorways and the spiders will disappear. They hate the smell of peppermint!”
Eucalyptus Oil. The common cold is no match for eucalyptus. “Eucalyptus is used for treating the common cold and all its side effects like coughing, mucous, sinus infections, and a sore throat,” says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. “Eucalyptus oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacertial effects. My favorite use for eucalyptus is during a cold. I like to take a bowl of hot water and create a tent with a towel over my head draped around the bowl. I will put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in and inhale the steam. It works wonders for any cold or virus and opens my respiratory passages. I would use this oil in a diffuser or a few drops in a bowl of hot water.”
Article written by guest blogger Blake Miller.

Using Essential Oils to Improve Your Health and Mood

There are certain things that trigger memories in your mind. Sometimes it’s a song or a piece of clothing. But more than likely, it’s a scent; the olfactory system has the strongest link to memory. This correlation can trigger memories of experiences and places, but it can also trigger your body into a specific state of being. Encourage restfulness, healing, increased energy, and more with essential oils.

Determining how to best incorporate essentials oils into your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. How do you use them? What does each scent do? And why do they work so well? Ultimately the oils might help ease the stress of it all. But in the meantime, here’s a quick-start guide to using essential oils at home.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from plant parts such as leaves, flowers, needles, roots, seeds, resin, bark, rinds, berries, wood, and grass. “It takes nearly eight million small jasmine blossoms, handpicked on the day the flowers open, to produce just over two pounds of superior essential oil,” says Stephanie Tourles, a certified aromatherapist and holistic esthetician among other designations.

HOW DO I USE THEM?

“To capture the aromas of nature—whether it be the fresh scent of the ocean or sparkling citrus to freshen the bathroom, or heady jasmine or distinctive gardenia in the living room or bedroom—you can purchase a wide array of essential oils, which can be diffused into different machines or diffusers,” says fragrance expert Sue Phillips, founder of the Tribeca, New York City–based The Scentarium. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls with the essential oils and apply them to cold lightbulbs, she adds. “Then when you switch the light on, the heat from the light bulbs will diffuse the fragrance and will waft in the air.”

WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WITH THEM?

“Always dilute the oil if you’re going to apply it to your skin or someone else’s skin,” explains herbalist and aromatherapist Lisa Akers. “About 1 to 2 percent essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, olive, or jojoba is best. Water won’t dilute the essential oils, because they don’t mix. Use an oil, glycerin, or milk to get a good, diluted oil.” And most importantly, do not ingest the oils. “Don’t take essential oils internally unless under the direction of a physician or trained aromatherapist or herbalist. Most essential oils are corrosive and can cause liver damage. The damage isn’t seen for months or even years later, which makes this a real concern that people aren’t considering when they drop that lemon essential oil in their morning water.”

WHAT ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EVERYDAY USE?

Lavender. This do-all essential oil is a powerhouse when it comes to helping your body inside and out. Research shows that lavender is the go-to aroma for relaxation as it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—but that’s not all. Studies also suggest that it helps alleviate insomnia as well as eczema. “A few drops of [diluted] lavender sprinkled on your pillow or applied to your temples will help relax you and cause a good night’s sleep,” says Phillips. “I love lavender-filled eye sachets, which can be placed over your eyes and you will immediately drift off to sleep.”

Peppermint Oil. Headaches be gone! “A few drops of peppermint oil applied to the temples, wrists, and forehead will alleviate headaches,” says Phillips. Another unconventional use for peppermint oil is to get rid of spiders. “Take about fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil and add a cup of water in a spray bottle,” she says. “Shake well. Gently spray around the corners, window frames, and doorways and the spiders will disappear. They hate the smell of peppermint!”

Eucalyptus Oil. The common cold is no match for eucalyptus. “Eucalyptus is used for treating the common cold and all its side effects like coughing, mucous, sinus infections, and a sore throat,” says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. “Eucalyptus oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacertial effects. My favorite use for eucalyptus is during a cold. I like to take a bowl of hot water and create a tent with a towel over my head draped around the bowl. I will put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in and inhale the steam. It works wonders for any cold or virus and opens my respiratory passages. I would use this oil in a diffuser or a few drops in a bowl of hot water.”

Article written by guest blogger Blake Miller.

 

Privacy Among The Palms

by The Prestige Properties Team

An Overgrown Lot Transforms into a Tropical Winter Vacation Spot

“I roll a design in my mind over and over again until it feels right,” says Craig Reynolds, owner of his eponymous landscape architecture firm based in Key West, Florida. “I believe there’s a fingerprint or a pattern on every property that makes sense and feels natural. I keep designing until I find that.”
That was Reynolds’s approach to this tropical retreat, which began as two empty adjacent lots. The owners envisioned their vacation home on the property and engaged both the landscape and structural architects at the start of the project. The gardens were to be a central focus of the property, so the owners wanted both professionals involved with the siting and design of the house.
“It’s not typical to work in tandem with the architect in placing the house on the site,” explains Reynolds. “This project was unique because the owners were focused on the garden. I worked with the architect and was able to say things like, ‘Don’t put any rooms here. Make this side bigger. Make that side smaller.’” That input ultimately led to an L-shaped house built to the sides of the property, allowing the pool and gardens to take center stage. The owners wanted a guest wing and a main wing. The L shape and subsequent plantings give the illusion of two separate residences. But both wings maintain their privacy while still retaining views of the swimming pool.

“I roll a design in my mind over and over again until it feels right,” says Craig Reynolds, owner of his eponymous landscape architecture firm based in Key West, Florida. “I believe there’s a fingerprint or a pattern on every property that makes sense and feels natural. I keep designing until I find that.”

That was Reynolds’s approach to this tropical retreat, which began as two empty adjacent lots. The owners envisioned their vacation home on the property and engaged both the landscape and structural architects at the start of the project. The gardens were to be a central focus of the property, so the owners wanted both professionals involved with the siting and design of the house.

“It’s not typical to work in tandem with the architect in placing the house on the site,” explains Reynolds. “This project was unique because the owners were focused on the garden. I worked with the architect and was able to say things like, ‘Don’t put any rooms here. Make this side bigger. Make that side smaller.’” That input ultimately led to an L-shaped house built to the sides of the property, allowing the pool and gardens to take center stage. The owners wanted a guest wing and a main wing. The L shape and subsequent plantings give the illusion of two separate residences. But both wings maintain their privacy while still retaining views of the swimming pool.

The shallow shelf at one end of the pool invites homeowners to cool their heels away from the tropical Florida heat.

House placement was only the first piece of the puzzle. “In any design, there are elements you must balance: house size, access points coming out of the house, property size, off-site views you want to hide, setbacks . . .” says Reynolds. “You take all these things, synthesize them, and then start moving the puzzle pieces to find the right fit,” he says.

Those large elements place certain limits on the design, but within those constraints, the landscape architects must discover and then create what the owners envision. This includes learning what design styles they like as well as their must-have features. Reynolds gleans this information in three ways. “When I meet with clients, I ask as many questions as possible. Then, I show them picture books of my past work. We flip through them and I ask them to tell me both what they like and don’t like, because knowing what doesn’t appeal to them is just as important. Finally, I ask them to send me images they like.”

From these Q&As and image reviews, Reynolds discovered that the couple wanted a casual garden. “They didn’t want something highly designed. They wanted it to feel homey,” he says. Privacy is a major component to creating that homey feel. “I design from the outside in,” he says. “I take care of privacy first and then work my way in toward the house.”

True of most Key West properties, the pool is a central feature. Part of the couple’s must-have list was a temperature requirement for the pool. “The husband is a member of a polar bear club so the pool had to be 62 degrees [Fahrenheit] all the time,” explains Reynolds. A gray aggregate finish covers the pool’s interior. Ming green marble tiles line the shallow shelf, where the couple can place plastic Adirondack chairs, allowing them to enjoy the coolness of the water without being fully immersed in the pool. Coral coping outlines the pool’s shape. Oolitic limestone, native to Florida, serves as stepping stones around the pool’s perimeter and leads away to various entry points around the house. Heat- and drought-tolerant zoysia grass grows between the stones.

An outdoor shower was another request. The direction from the couple was to keep it utilitarian rather than fancy. “I made it as simple as possible,” says Reynolds. “It’s just a copper pipe running up a palm tree. It operates with a simple pull chain.” A relaxing hammock was another customer request, so a teal hammock sways between two coconut palms.

One of the more challenging homeowner requests was installing an edible garden with citrus and mango trees. “Those trees are messy, so they couldn’t be near the pool. But they also had to be in a spot that got sufficient sunlight,” explains Reynolds. He ultimately planted key lime, Valencia orange, Meyer lemon, and mango trees in an out-of-the-way yet sunny spot near the master bedroom.

An abundance of palms—coconut, Christmas, sugar, lady, cabada—encircle the property. Their spiky green thatch stretches up to the welcoming sun while their sand-colored trunks root into the sandy soil. The garden is a sea of green, interrupted every so often with an eye-catching color from variegated croton, purple crinum lily, and pink muhly grass. Gardenia, jasmine, and bougainvillea provide fragrant reminders that you’re in the tropics.

“My design process is largely intuitive, so it’s hard for me to explain. I don’t go to the client until I’ve thought everything through.” From thought to plan to execution, Reynolds transformed an overgrown jungle into an ideal oasis.

Article written by guest blogger Ronda Swaney.

 

Shear Delight

by The Prestige Properties Team

Rejuvenating Overgrown and Aging Shrubs

Don’t be so quick to uproot and throw away those shrubs that have outgrown their space or become leggy and unattractive. In many cases, with some pruning and fertilizing, you can give those venerable troopers a new lease on life. Unless the plant has reached the end of its natural lifespan, most older yet healthy shrubs can be brought back into scale with the rest of the garden.

Shrub renovation is not for the faint-hearted. You must be prepared to do some heavy pruning, in some cases cutting the plant right back to the ground or to a few bare stubs. It also requires patience. It can take several years for a tired, overgrown shrub to be restored to a youthful looking thing of beauty.

There is always the possibility that the shrub you try to revive will not survive. If you plan to work on an unusual or hard-to-replace specimen, propagate new plants as a backup before you begin work. To enhance the chances of severely pruned shrubs making a good recovery, feed and water them well the following growing season. With the what ifs in place, you can safely get started.

REJUVENATING DECIDUOUS, FLOWERING SHRUBS

The best time to prune flowering shrubs is shortly after they’ve bloomed. While some shrubs, such as red twig dogwood (Cornus alba) can be completely down to the ground and regrow, a general safe rule of thumb for most deciduous shrubs is to cut one-third of the branches down to the ground or the main stem the first year, another third the second year, and the final third the last year. Choose the oldest and least desirable stems to remove the first year, but also remove stems from all sides of the shrub so you maintain a balanced form. While you are pruning in the second and third years, remove new growth that is weak or that will spoil the shrub’s form and balance.

To reduce the size of an overgrown shrub, cut the oldest stems right down to the ground as described above. Also remove all dead branches. Be sure to leave enough stems to provide energy to the plant. Then trim back the remaining stems to just below the ideal height you have in mind. Once the shrub grows back enough to cover the pruning wounds, establish a maintenance pruning routine to keep the shrub in shape.

RENOVATING BROADLEAF EVERGREEN SHRUBS

In warm, southern climates, you can renew shrubs such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and mountain laurel by cutting them back to the ground. Old boxwood, which can live for hundreds of years, also has a good chance of living when treated to this drastic measure. Survival is enhanced if the plants are given a heavy dose of cottonseed meal and manure at least a year before the radical surgery, and are kept well fed and watered afterward.

For plants you absolutely don’t want to put at risk, rejuvenate the shrub gradually by cutting back about a third of the branches at a time, spreading the operation over three years. Choose the longest, most ungainly branches first, cutting them back to their point of origin.

Whether you cut the plant down to the ground or remove the old growth in stages, do the job in late winter or early spring when the plant is bursting to send out new shoots.

RENOVATING HEDGES

Some of the best hedging plants include boxwood, holly, hornbeam, and yew because they are slow-growing and long-lived. If you have an overgrown hedge comprised of any of these plants, it is well worth your time and trouble to restore it. While the hedge will look odd for several years while the restoration is going on, you’ll have an attractive hedge again much sooner than if you start over with young plants.

Begin in late winter by cutting the top back to the height you want, cutting back to bare branches if necessary. Next, severely prune just one side of the hedge, cutting it back to the main stem or stems. Leave the other side untouched. Feed the shorn plant with a balanced fertilizer and top dress with compost or manure. To protect the now-vulnerable shrub, water deeply if the weather gets dry, then add a thick layer of mulch to help maintain even moisture.

Wait until the pruned side of the hedge is showing vigorous growth before you cut back the other side. You may need to wait two or three years to insure that the plant is strong enough to take another shock. Once you think it’s ready, cut back the second side, following the same procedures as you did for the first.

Rejuvenating old shrubs is well worth the trouble for mature plants that still have good years left in them. Give it a try.

Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler.

Filing for Homestead Exemption 2018

by The Prestige Properties Team

The TIMELY Filing Deadline is Approaching!  

Realtors, this may be a good opportunity to contact your buyers who closed on their properties in 2017 to confirm they have applied for their 2018 Homestead exemption.  

The timely filing deadline for Homestead and all other exemptions is March 1, 2018 and the absolute deadline to LATE FILE for any 2018 exemption -- if you miss the March 1 timely filing deadline -- is September 18, 2018. 

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence.      

The basic homestead exemption saved a Broward homeowner in 2017 anywhere from $615.43 to $1030.61 (depending upon the city's millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher.  

Homeowners are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, they have made the property their permanent home.  By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.   

Homeowners may file for Homestead ONLINE by going to BCPA.net, in Broward County, and clicking the large yellow button in the navigation menu on the top left side of the page.  Homeowners  may also file by visiting the Property Appraiser's office at 115 South Andrews Ave, Room 111, Ft. Lauderdale or at one of the County's community outreach events, (visit BCPA.net website for calendar dates and locations).

What You Need When Filing for Homestead

When filing an application you must bring the following items listed below. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife ("Tenants by the Entirety") or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship ("JTRS"), any one owner may qualify for 100% coverage -- although it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to file.

  1. Proof of Ownership:  In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. You do not need to bring a copy of the deed or co-op lease if the document has already been recorded in the Official Records of Broward County. If the PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, WE ALSO NEED EITHER A NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF TRUST OR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT. Note: Most taxpayers prefer to use the simple Certificate of Trust form, instead of submitting the entire trust for our review, as it better protects the privacy of your estate planning and other financial matters.   
  2. Proof of Permanent Florida Residence:  preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing -- is established in the form of:
  • FOR ALL APPLICANTS: Florida's Driver's License (or -- for non-drivers only -- a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED. Note: You must surrender to DMV any out-of-state regular driver's license. You MUST also have either of the following:

1. Florida Voter's Registration; or

2. Recorded Declaration of Domicile.

  • FOR NON-US CITIZENS, you MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other "PRUCOL" status); OR proof you are the parent of a US-born (US Citizen) minor child who resides with you.  

     3. If you or your married spouse have a Homestead Exemption in any other county, state or country(or an equivalent permanent residency-based exemption or tax credit, such as New York's "S.T.A.R." exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will NOT be eligible for a homestead in Broward until after you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction. If you maintain an exemption on another property elsewhere it is FRAUD!

The State-approved application form requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and filing: 

  • Current employers of all owners. 
  • Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns. 
  • Date of each owner's permanent Florida residence. 
  • Date of occupancy for each property owner. 
  • Social Security numbers of all owners filing.
  • Social Security number of any married spouse of the applicant, even if the spouse is not named in the deed and is not filing).

Note: The amount of the homestead exemption protection granted to an owner residing on a particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person's interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner's interest in the property being $20,000, then $20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full exemption.

For information on other exemptions, please contact Customer Service & Exemptions Division:  954-357-6830.  Please feel free to copy this email and give it to your clients at their closing. This information was taken from the BCPA.net website.    

NOW YOU KNOW!!!

It’s All In The Details

by The Prestige Properties Team

Thoughtful Design Brings Harmony to This Beachfront Beauty

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.
Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.
The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.

Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.

The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

big and bold.

A home with a large footprint, such as this featured design, can be intimidating. Here, Kelly Deck shares her secrets to making the most of big spaces.

Go big. “When you have that much volume, you need to take up space. Making big moves actually makes your space feel more cohesive and whole,” Deck explains. Large rooms can handle large pieces. Consider the eighteen-foot-long headboard in the master bedroom or fourteen-foot long island in the kitchen. Neither looks out of place because both are proportional to the dimensions of the rooms they are in.

Be bold. If you want your rooms to make a statement, choose materials that make you somewhat nervous. Designers shy away from marble because it can etch or stain. Deck says to look overseas to overcome that nervousness. “In Europe, marble floors and counters have been in buildings for centuries and they look spectacular,” she says. “They’re not in perfect condition, yet the forms and overall look is beautiful because those materials tell a story.”

Even without textiles, the master bath celebrates texture through wood grain, marble veining, and matte (versus iridescent) tile.

Deck first focused on the atmosphere and mood that she wanted to create. “My approach to modern is about using materials that are sensuous and have strong texture,” she says. “I want people to want to touch them.” Natural materials appeal to the sense of touch, as does the variety of textures. The home is filled with wood, marble, and natural textiles like cotton, linen, velvet, and wool.

Learning to balance varied textures takes practice and a reliance on gut instinct. “There’s no prescriptive recipe. It’s more of a feeling,” says Deck. “You need to focus on framing, blocking, and sight lines.” The master bath provides an excellent illustration. Each material is used with precision, training the viewer’s eye where to look next. Dark stained quartersawn oak starts at the vanity cabinets and continues to wrap around the bathtub, drawing the eye to the beachfront view. Elongated marble slabs top the vanity and show up again in the shower seat and base footing. A wide swath of iridescent glass tile shimmers between the vanities and flows from the wall to the floor spanning the length of the room. A velvety ottoman sits beneath a sparkling chandelier that is reflected in both the mirrors and shower glass.

Even with varied materials and textures, the design feels harmonious. How does Deck create that harmony? She compares the process to smart entertaining. “If you plan a dinner party, you’re not going to invite twelve people with gigantic personalities. If you do, no one will get to say anything. When you design, you have to choose pieces that command attention and then support them with those that are quieter and more contemplative,” she explains. “If you want one thing to stand out as special, then other things need to be quieter and command less attention.”

Dramatic focal points command attention in each room, but it’s the smaller details that make the home feel cozy. “With accessorizing, there’s a fine balance between having just enough so that it looks collected, but not so much that it looks cluttered. Each vignette should tell a story,” she says. Books, photos, and plants accessorize each room and provide the narrative. “Books are a very critical component of any styling. They instantly soften a space and give you a sense of feeling at home,” Deck explains. For artwork, she relied on photos. “I like the subtle graphic quality of black-and-white photos. They capture a specific moment in time better than a painting does.”

From a room-spanning headboard to how books are arranged on a nightstand, nothing is overlooked. “When you walk into a home and the whole thing just feels good; that’s the magic of well-executed details.”

Article written by guest blogger Ronda Swaney.

Soup's On

by The Prestige Properties Team

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

Wintertime calls for comfort food. The chilly temps drive me indoors and I crave the combo of warm soup and a hearty sandwich. A bowl of soup, a sandwich, and a soft blanket make the day feel a bit cozier. Soups and sandwiches have always been a family favorite, but I’ve elevated my recipe game with these distinctive and satisfying pairings. To maintain some childlike simplicity to these staples, I’ve also designed them for dunking. Whether you dunk artisan croutons into tomato bisque or dip the edge of a pita-wrapped curried chicken salad into a hot bowl of Mulligatawny, settle in. Soup’s on.


RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER

Pureed cauliflower and red curry paste come together to make a smooth, silky soup. It becomes a bit heartier when paired with an arugula, apple, and hummus wrap. This soup and sandwich makes a tasty combination for a quick and easy meal.

 

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 to 2½ pounds) stemmed and chopped

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground coriander

2 cups vegetable broth

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)

1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste

½ teaspoon turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze of lime juice to taste

Sliced green onions or fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

 

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, fresh ginger, ground coriander, and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5 to 10 minutes to bring all the flavors together. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or Vitamix and puree.

Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.

Season with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.

Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.

 

ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

I like to use spinach wraps for this sandwich, but you can use any kind of tortilla wrap you like. When sliced into smaller pieces, this wrap also makes a festive nibble for guests or a delicious after-school snack.

Makes 1

1 large tortilla or sandwich wrap, slightly warmed so it’s pliable

1 to 2 tablespoons hummus

8 to 10 arugula leaves (or a good handful of baby arugula)

4 to 5 slices of your favorite apple

 

Place the warmed tortilla on a flat surface and spread the hummus on the half closest to you. Layer with arugula leaves and then the sliced apples.

Fold in the sides of the tortilla and then roll away from you. Cut in half or in quarters and enjoy.

 

MULLIGATAWNY

Mulligatawny soup originated in England and is inspired by Indian cuisine. You will find many different versions of this beautiful soup; however, this one is my favorite. I added coconut milk and diced apples to give just a hint of sweet, which deliciously complements the savory flavors.

 

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee

1 yellow onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1½ cups diced sweet potato

¼ cup jasmine or basmati rice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 to 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, optional (I often make this soup vegetarian)

½ diced fresh apple

1 cup coconut milk (not light or low-fat)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large soup pot, add the oil and place over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until soft. Then add the garlic and ginger, stirring for another minute.

Next stir in the flour and curry powder and when it’s nicely combined with the vegetables (about 30 seconds or so) slowly stir in the broth.

Bring the soup to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Add the diced sweet potato and rice. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the rice and sweet potato are soft, stir in the fresh thyme, diced apple, and chicken if using. Then stir in the coconut milk until combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup sit for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

This soup is excellent the next day and can be held in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days.

Article written by guest blogger Karista Bennett.

 

 

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