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Resilient Landscaping

Resilient Landscaping that Looks Lovely & Ups Your Curb Appeal plus your selling price.

A lovely landscape is great for curb appeal and increases the value of your home while bringing joy to the gardener or the homeowner who plans, plants, and sits back, and enjoys their landscape bloom and flourish.

While no one can control Mother Nature, homeowners can make choices better suited for the strong, sunny climate of Central Florida. Smart landscaping choices can also reduce energy usage. The right trees and shrubs can block wind and provide shade in the heat. Do some research on your outdoor garden space, check the amount of sun and shade in different parts of your planned garden, and include in your research some soil knowledge, as your soil may be wet in some areas yet dry in others. This is the key to planting the right plant in the right space. Adding fresh Mulch once per year will help plantings retain moisture and prevent erosion. So, like real estate “location, location, location” is important for plants too. Example: Hydrangeas need lots of sun or they won’t bloom, and ferns need to be shaded to be happy.

When choosing your plantings know the animals that frequent your lawn and avoid plants that attract them. Example, deer love Hosta and roses, so if you have deer around avoid these plants. When adding hardscape to your garden consider which types will wear best in the Central Florida Climate. Look for materials that won’t fade and will allow water to seep into the ground.

When we first moved in we built a trellis from cedar, planted it, and enjoyed it for about 5 years. It was lovely, only to rot in this wet, humid climate, unfortunately we had to remove it. Our current trellis is steel and has held up well over time. A lesson learned.

During the Pandemic, while we were all staying in, gardening became a great passion and beautified our landscape and our life. Pick up a shovel, and plant something, it is fun to see your garden grow.

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Looking for a Change, Try a New Color

It appears that after six years, Cool Gray is fading out and warmer tones including warmer grays are coming back. Our entire office is painted in a Cool Neutral Gray, with warmer gray tones on the floor. I love this look and see no paint change in our future, but if I were moving in today, I would be choosing one of the warmer, deeper shades that is being shown in all the designer magazines. Modern farmhouse design and home décor will continue to be on trend, but from what I have read, the experts predict overall design will lean a bit more modern. Black window trim mixed with white exterior home colors continue to be popular, but more saturated colors are moving in. Darker richer, grays with undertones of green, blue, brown and violet are hot and dark shades of blue is still trending.

As realtors we do many home tours, and are starting to see lots of walls, and kitchen cabinets (especially the lower cabinets) painted in deep shades of blue, and they are stunning. Last week, I toured a home that installed shiplap on their headboard wall. After installing shiplap the homeowner painted the shiplap black. The completed bedroom had a touch of smart sophistication and was a relaxing space. A daring design choice and not a color I would choose, but after seeing it done, it may be time to rethink my color choices.

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Fall is Fix Up Time

Although the first section of homes constructed in Solivita are barely 20 years young, it is always fun to update your décor, redesign a room or even redesign your floorplan. Change up your space with a new coat of paint, add a feature wall, or update your flooring. Even small changes will go a long way in refreshing your home and making a positive impact on your life. My cousin Myriam has a powder bath in her home and, although it is only a small space, she felt it was time for a change. Together we have been devouring design books and powder bath ideas and she loves the look of Going Bold. We have decided on a wallpaper with a bold graphic print in black and white. I am excited to see how this look will fit her home. Wallpaper is back in a big way. From her research, wallpaper is one of the trendiest ways to add interest, color and texture to your home. Experimenting with this design idea in a small space is a win-win. If I love the look, I may consider testing it out in our home. If she can’t live with the look, the space is small, and she can close the door and redo the room when time permits. I am excited about testing out our design skills and she is looking forward to a change in design style.

Recently while showing a condo to one of our clients, we entered a master bedroom that had added a feature wall behind their headboard. I have seen feature walls using wallpaper, paint and reclaimed lumber, and have liked them all, but this homeowner had bricked their interior headboard wall. It made a huge design impact in the space. After bricking the wall, the bricks were painted gray and the room was warmed up with the addition of natural wood, chrome and leather. These homeowners were young and had designed their bedroom to be a warm and inviting space. In my design sense a brick wall leans industrial, but the look these two had achieved was contemporary and warm without a hint of industrial. Umm, it may be time to think about using brick in one of our redesigns, maybe the laundry room, or a wall in our office. It is always fun to create a new space, especially one that involves one of my favorite hobbies, shopping. Looks like it is time to get the credit card out and shop for new project ideas!!!

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Interior Design Styles – What is Yours?

Looking to change up your home design, what is currently in vogue, and what is your style?

As I have matured, I have watched not only my hair color change, but my personal sense of style too. My home design has evolved from classic, to modern, to mid-century, and candidly I still retain pieces from each of my design styles. Rather than put furniture into storage, I find it fun and creative to blend all my design styles into one cohesive decorating style that I affectionately have labeled Florida eccentric.

I love the refined lines and natural shapes of mid-century design when paired with the classic, comfortable feel of an upholstered piece, combined with the beauty of hand rubbed and masterly designed antique furniture. It sounds good and frankly looks good too. The look works when woven together, by keeping the color palette similar and fresh, and the accents simple and timeless. At this stage in our lives, most of us have maintained a few vintage items, mine gathered during our travels, and I find these items add a spark of urban modern to my style with a well-worn international flair. I love my new look and feel inspired each time I walk through my home. I hope you too find inspiration in items you love from earlier years and find fun in incorporating new, or new to you, items into your look. Next door Solivita, our thrift shops, the habitat restore, local flea markets, and our antique shops are all great sources for inspiration and a new look to you and to your home.

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Hooked on the Home Improvement Craze!

I am seeing lots of clients following the home improvement craze and re-doing a room or two in their homes. I have been keeping track of the re-dos, and the room leading the pack for the most renovations seems to be the Master Bath. The beauty of our homes in Solivita is every model has a generous master bathroom that lends to an easy renovation. Some of the renovations I have seen are simple – a tile change, a lighting update, or a shower door or mirror change, but I have seen a few extensive remodels. My informal survey tells me that every resident who has changed their master bath loves their redone space. Proving that whatever you decide to do, chances are you will love it. That is, once the dust has cleared.

Gray seems to be the color this year; from gray walls to gray cabinetry, this color is still hot. Some of the changes that are quite popular are premium features such as dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks and floating built-in vanities. I personally love the look of the built-in floating vanities as this style also visually enlarges the size of your space. Seems that lots of mixed metal are currently in style, with gray mixed with matte nickel and polished chrome, shimmering glass and stainless light fixtures being not only popular, but stunning. Contemporary seems to be the way my homeowners are going with their renovations.

After meeting with a few homeowners, their advice is to simply add or change your master bath to meet your wants for now but plan for your future requirements. Some homeowners have removed their bathtubs and replaced them with enlarged showers, some have added dual shower heads, rain showers, plus, I have seen one or two steam showers. The other change I see is the bathtub area being replaced with a linen closet, cabinetry, or a dressing table area. One of my homeowners replaced their built-in tub with a free-standing statement tub. Nearly one quarter of my homeowners have changed their bath layout, but every homeowner incorporated accessibility features into their new master bath.

Some of the accessibility features include the installation of seats in the shower, grab bars in the showers and tubs, the installation of non-slide floors, and adult height toilets. These changes will not only enhance your daily life but will also increase the value of your home. The cost to renovate a bath depends upon the type of renovation done. The industry estimates you can expect a ROI of about 60% of your renovation cost therefore; do not renovate your master bath to sell your home but rather for your enjoyment now and the ROI later.

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Decorating Fun for the Holidays Florida Style

Do you have rosemary growing in your garden? Rosemary is growing like a weed in my garden. Lee and I love rosemary in chicken, pork, and in roasted potatoes, but how much rosemary can one cook use? If you have too many branches to cook with, then decorate with rosemary. Build a wreath to surround candles on your table or sideboard. Layer rosemary with flowers in a vase, weave rosemary into your table decorations, place rosemary in a sachet to add a touch of piney fragrance to your living space; but most of all, enjoy the season and the bounty of the garden. This year I decorated my server with a combination of citrus leaves, oranges and limes, and rosemary sprigs. So far, I have enjoyed my display and the fragrance wafting through our home. Fragrant, beautiful, and inexpensive; I picked my decorations in my Solivita Central Florida Lanai Garden.
I am planning to use the same type of display when decorating for Christmas with the addition of a few pinecones and some glass balls for sparkle; I am going to add green and silver to my Christmas Design this year. Be creative, you can also add some of the new battery-operated strands of lights to your display. Decorating can be fun and inspiring when we let our creative side guide us.
I also stud oranges with cloves during the holidays. This is a unique way to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of fresh Florida citrus. In the medieval period, a pomander was carried as protection against infection in times of pestilence. Today, just pick a few oranges up at the roadside stand or a few from your tree, stud them with cloves, and place them in a lovely bowl. This makes a fragrant decoration and lends a touch of history to your home. A nice way to bring tradition into your celebration.
We have company coming in for the holidays. Lee’s brother will be here, and it looks like Mom’s brother Joe may be here too. With company in the house, we are planning an easy holiday. A nice dinner, some laughs, and some shared memories. What more could we ask for then to share a holiday with our loved ones.

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Spruce Up a Room in A Day

Add a statement tablecloth. Pick a color that will coordinate with your décor but will create a different look in your room. For a traditional room, add a table cloth that is bright and patterned, but blends with the surroundings. If you have a beige room, try adding a patterned orange tablecloth for a pop of color or a black patterned cloth to create drama.
A simple fix – Reorganize your bookshelves. Restack the books in a non-traditional fashion. Perhaps arrange them by color and add a few green plants in white pots for interest.
Board with Your Built-ins. If so, add a dramatic color. Paint the back wall of your built in with a color that will pop, then stand back and wait for the compliments. Or, if you are not ready to get out the paint can, purchase some contact paper in a color you love and paper the back of the shelves for a new look.
Switch Up Your Vibe – Replace one piece of furniture in a traditional room with something modern, perhaps two acrylic chairs or a modern glass or acrylic coffee table.
Add a playful pattern to your bedding. You can mix and match patterns, colors, and textures, or you can add a collection of old textiles to your bed. Have fun with it and be inspired by the decorator lurking within.
Add a Turkish Rug Runner to your hallway. A new floor covering will add drama and interest to the area; and will be soft on your feet.
Designing and redecorating your home should be fun and will bring out your creative side. As you make small changes, you will become more comfortable and begin to experiment with color and design. It is fun to change up your look, embrace the change and enjoy your new look.

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Freshen Up Your Look With Houseplants

Houseplants are good for lots of reasons. They embellish your interior spaces by adding beauty to your home, but that is not all they do. Plants remove toxins from the air, making the interior air in your home better for you to breathe. I just read a study commissioned by researchers at Kansas State University and they found that adding plants to a hospital room speeds recovery rates in surgical patients. A workplace study done by Dutch researchers discovered that employees in offices with indoor plants have a decreased rate of fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, and sore throats. So, with these findings, we thought we would buy some beautiful pots and plant some lovely greens around our home and office. If you are a regular reader of our newsletter, you already know that we grow lots of herbs and tomatoes on our lanai, but we have never really added plants to our interior space. This week we took a trip to the Outdoor Store, found some great pots, Lee and I picked up some plants from Lowes, and we spent an afternoon potting. We added English Ivy and Boston Ferns to our living room, a peace lily to our bath and orchids and succulents to our bedrooms. We will let you know how our indoor garden grows and our experiment turns out in a future newsletter.

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Make a Big Impact with a Small Investment

Want to freshen up the look of a room, but don’t want to spend lots of cash?  Add texture and style to your Central Florida home by adding a few beautiful pillows to your den, living room or lanai. If you have a solid sofa or solid chairs, add a delightful flower print with tassels. Pillows are available in a gorgeous array of colors. If flowers are not “your thing”, add luxurious velvet monochrome geometric design pillows to your look, or add bold black and white pillows, and make a real statement in your room. Our Central Florida discount stores have a large assortment of rich looking pillows at reasonable prices on their shelves and the right pillows really can change the look of a room. Shop around some of the discount stores for a look you love. If your furniture has a print, look for some pillows with a solid pop of color to change up your look. Experiment, because you can always return any pillow you purchase if you are not thrilled with the look.