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Frye General Contracting and Breckenridge Construction are building
more than homes in this area--they're building futures. Each
semester they sponsor a $1,000 scholarship at the M.E. Rinker Sr. School
of Building Construction at the University of Florida, says company
spokesman Alan Anderson. The company has recently hired two of the
school's graduates--Shane Rogers and Jennifer McAlister. Rogers,
who worked for Frye as an intern last summer, will be an assistant
project manager on several of its projects at IMG Bollettieri in
Bradenton. McAlister will be a project administrator for Frye General
and Breckenridge Construction projects at Dr. Maurice Healey's
office building in Bradenton, Southwood Community Pool in River Club,
Ranch Lake Office Park and a custom home in Gator Creek.
The companies have a vested interest in UF's School of
Building Construction. Kelly Frye, president of Breckenridge
Construction and Frye General Contracting, is a 1990 graduate of the
school. While attending, he was also a student tutor and provided
additional instruction in structural engineering. Frye and Breckenridge
recently participated in the spring semester job fair in Gainesville and
selected another intern who will start this summer.
Glen Trotta, president of DiVosta Homes, Inc., announced that the
company has recently opened a new gated community of single-family and
patio homes at the Palmer Ranch in Sarasota. All of the homes
constructed at DiVosta's VillageWalk of Sarasota will feature the
company's building method, which utilizes steel forms and poured
solid concrete construction. "DiVosta home buyers have appreciated
the quality and methods of our unique building system in the 24,000
homes we have constructed in Florida," says Trotta. "They feel
confident the built-solid construction and storm panels provided for
every DiVosta home at VillageWalk will protect them in the event of a
hurricane or tropical storm." DiVosta will begin construction of
new models this summer and plans to have homes ready at VillageWalk
before the end of the year. For further information visit DiVosta's
Web site at www.divosta.com.
Michael Falkenstein, broker/Realtor with Re/Max Properties, says
that although we may think we are in "somewhat of an economic
turmoil," he and partner Nancy Falkenstein are still advising
clients not to hesitate to buy good quality real estate in the Sarasota
market. "Too often we see buyers hesitate only to learn that the
property they were considering has sold," he says. "We work
with many sophisticated investors who are diversifying from their stock
portfolios. These investors are looking for the 'tax deferred
appreciation' they believe they will enjoy as the property
increases in value, while other investors are building their real estate
portfolios using the 1031 Exchange to grow their investment and have a
longer tax deferral period."
Mark and Danielle VanZorn of Re/Max Properties say the key to the
continuing popularity of the south Sarasota area is the fact that the
area has the luxuries people want: championship golf course communities,
waterfront properties and nature preserves with bicycle and walking
trails. Mark observes that one of the fastest-growing trends in the area
is the desire for more space. "Couples are coming to us intent on
larger and larger homes, four-and five-plus bedrooms--with one or two to
be used for dual home offices--private work-out facilities, media rooms
and more." Their best tip for this summer's real estate market
is to visit their Web site at www.SarasotaSafari.com for profiles of
these neighborhoods and "a wealth of information on the current
Sarasota real estate community."
Xavier Garcia Sr. of Las Casitas Architecture and Planning, Inc.
sees the luxury condo and luxury waterfront subdivision as a quickly
growing trend here in our waterfront community. "Since there is
only so much beachfront property and a large demand, highend residential
design is heading toward high-rise buildings as well as gated waterfront
communities," says Garcia. "Las Casitas' involvement in
these projects includes design features such as private beach access,
deluxe finishes including pre-cast stone and marble, fully automated
mechanical and electrical systems and casual TV audio rooms."
Charlotte Hedge of Michael Saunders & Company says,
"Downtown, where we live, continues to sizzle. We've got the
near completion of the Ritz, the Phoenix and Marina Towers; the near
sellout of Renaissance; and four new high-rise condominiums starting
soon--the Residences at the Ritz, Beau Ciel on the Boulevard of the
Arts, and Golden Bay and Casa de Mayo on Golden Gate Point." Along
with husband Tom, son Tom Jr. and associate Monica Barth, "The
Hedge Team" predicts that the renaissance of downtown Sarasota will
continue and that we'll see more exciting changes (of the kind that
helped Money Magazine select Sarasota as "Best Small City in the
U.S.") as Andres Duany's plan is put into effect.
Art http://www.yourdictionary.com/mirror in the Park, the second juried art show by University Park
Country Club residents, was a huge success, with an artists'
reception and judging held on opening night, according to Linda Page,
director of sales. "Based on the enthusiastic response and the
talent exhibited, this is sure to become an annual event," she
says. "The newly opened Club Room, a social venue where members and
guests enjoy small or large gatherings, is the natural beginning to the
day with croissants and cappuccino or the perfect ending with whatever
your favorite beverage happens to be. The interior design took its lead
from the East Indian colonial style evident at the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore." Page adds that the first quarter proved to be
another record setter with sales up from last year, making for
University Park's best sales year ever. The community's first
$2-million model broke ground and three new models--by Neal Custom
Homes, Pruett Homes and Todd Johnston Homes--debuted; Marc Rutenberg
Homes' model is expected to open soon as well.
University Park's Linda Page, by the way, recently won another
prestigious award--a national silver award for "Sales Manager of
the Year" from the National Association of Home Builders.
She'd already won the association's Florida "Sales
Manager of the Year" and then the regional "Sales Manager of
John Cannon of John Cannon Homes reports that keeping up with
innovative interior and exterior architectural design trends has become
a necessity for today's home builders. "Our customers are
searching for features that will make their homes more unique,"
says Cannon. "Six of our models entered in the recent Parade of
Homes won recognition during the onsite judging because they included
very stylish architectural details. Our Allora IV at the Hammocks is an
exceptional model that features an abundant use of crown and dentil molding accentuated with dramatic lighting. Our New Crawford, a Southern
Living custom home, won in the 'Best Entry and Foyer' category
because its impressive architectural columns make a very elegant
statement." The Marinna III and the Nioka II, John Cannon
Homes' models at Lakewood Ranch, also received special feature
awards as did the Talia at Silver Oak on Palmer Ranch and the Taronga II
at the Preserve at Panther Ridge. Cannon is also building in the new
Lakewood Ranch communities of Twin Hills and Quail Creek.
When you take out a loan--any kind of loan--you agree to pay back
the amount borrowed plus interest. However, if you pre-pay, you can save
tremendously on the total interest, says Penny Hill of Chase Manhattan
Mortgage. More importantly, you increase the equity in your property.
For example, a $500,000 loan at 7.5 percent on a fixed 30-year mortgage
will pay back $758,585 in interest after that 30 years. By sending in an
additional $25 to $100 each month, you will save from $19,000 to
Colorful advice for all seasons.
Linda Griffin, owner of Fanciful Furnishings, says that if you want
to increase your business you should try painting your building an
eye-catching color. "We had done everything but lie down in the
road to try to increase our (in-store) traffic," laughs Griffin.
"Then we painted the exterior a bright lime green trimmed in hot
pink with even darker-pink doors, and added a flock of pink flamingos as
the crowning touch." The results were immediate and obvious.
"We doubled sales in January and tripled them in February,"
says Griffin. "Even neighbors who have driven by on a daily basis
are stopping in now and asking if we're new here, and people stop
in on a steady basis all day long on their way to adjacent facilities.
The first day I looked out front to see if there was a bus in the
parking lot!" Is there something hypnotic about the color or are
the birds too funky to resist? "Visitors tell us they figure if the
building looks this interesting on the outside, there's got to be
something exciting inside."
Jaren Levitt of Stone Trend International is enjoying a business
boom based on savvy European investors sticking with the traditions of
their homeland. "Europeans use a lot more stone in their homes than
Americans do," explains Levitt. "They consider it a basic,
traditional material while Americans tend to think of it as an
upgrade." A particularly hot market this summer, says Levitt, is
the old Bay Isles section of Longboat Key where these investors are
buying and immediately razing old homes, having local builders put up
new houses with an abundance of stone and selling the properties before
the work is even finished. With all the marble and granite work
involved, Stone Trend is being called upon by several local builders for
these projects. Levitt says John Cannon Homes has been especially active
in this market, creating new residences for investors from England and
It's a family affair at the new Gaylord Gallery in the Towles
Court area, where fine art and sculpture created by Dee, Beth and John
Gaylord--mother, daughter-in-law-and son, respectively--are featured.
Dee Gaylord says they have been "phenomenally lucky" so far
with their recently opened gallery in the newly developed annex in
Towles Court, and are having great fun being in the vibrant and exciting
downtown area. Dee paints in mixed media, Beth is a pastelist and Jon is
a sculptor. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. plus the third Friday of each month for the Evening Art
Walk. For small groups or individuals, evening hour appointments can be
The furnishing trends in the Southeast, including Florida, continue
to lead the rest of the country, according to Donald Steele, owner of
Norwalk the Furniture Idea in Sarasota. "Color and contrast lead
the trends, and bold animal prints with Caribbean and African motifs are
continuing to increase in popularity." Steele also says that they
continue to see clients interweaving their favorite pieces and
accessories with the new styles and colors. "As people arrive in
this area of the South, whether in retirement or still working, they are
intent in looking for lasting value in both product and design."
Amy Baldwin and Terrance Leaser, designers at Norwalk, add that
today's client is very sophisticated and expects excellence in
knowledge of products, industry trends and especially design concepts.
Both feel that the Florida market holds much higher expectations than
does much of the rest of the country.
Most of us spend a great deal of time, talent and money choosing
the home we live in, says Suzi Trubitz of Serendipity Gallery. Just as
much thought should go into choosing the art that fills these homes.
"My advice to you as an artist is not to buy art or decorative
items just because they match your color scheme," she says.
"If you want your home to have some distinction from the mundane,
choose items because they are interesting and provocative. These items
can be found in any price range and from all different sources.
Fred Hind of Fred Hind Interiors Inc. says it's that time of
year again: time to open up that extra room we call the lanai.
"Most come complete with pools and spas," notes Hind,
"and it's up to the owners to provide the ambience that is
tropical Florida. As designers, we seem to have a difficult time
convincing our clients that trees and plants around the pool provide the
look and feel of resort living. Lush vegetation such as the white bird
of paradise rewards you with its beautiful flower. Areca palms and
Christmas palms clustered around a brightly colored market umbrella and
well-appointed chaise lounges and a cozy hammock could create a lovely
romantic setting." Foliage can block an unattractive view,
providing a canopy of privacy for bedrooms opening to the lanai. For
maximum lanai enjoyment, Hind suggests breakfast in this setting or an
intimate dinner. "For a magical evening, try adding candles in your
plants and float some in the pool. You have all the tools you need to
create your own five-star resor t," says Hind, "all it takes
is your imagination. Enjoy!"
"Coastal living is truly coastal living in Sarasota,"
says Tre Michel, an interior design specialist at Robb & Stucky. One
of Michel's favorite waterfront design projects includes an entry
with inlaid wood compass in the floor (complete with true coordinates
pointing North) and porthole windows in the wood front doors. Michel
says she enjoys working with clients on waterfront properties--both new
home construction and renovations--as part of Sarasota's waterfront
renewal. "Boating clients of all ages are attracted to classic
boating themes and elements as they furnish their homes," she says.
"Nautical inspirations include wood of all finishes, primary colors and crisp canvas upholstery. Nautical accessories such as round porthole
mirrors, fish-related art and barometers lend nautical charm."
Michel's resources include Robb & Stucky furniture collections
Compass Point and Nautica, which utilize marine themes like rope,
compass patterns and sailing vessels to really impart the maritime
Debbie Stevens, interior designer with Clifford M. Schulz
Architects, Inc., says that the Internet-driven Information Age puts
information at the fingertips of anyone with the determination to find
it. "Most of our clients are becoming very sophisticated when it
comes to design and material selection for their homes," explains
Stevens. "Because of this, they have a great appreciation for
highly educated creative interior designers. The relationship between
architecture and interior details has become extremely important, as
well as maintaining the integrity of correct proportions and style. We
are finding that our clients are striving for interiors that are
comfortable and inviting yet elegant, with a richness that sets them
apart from the rest. They realize that creating spaces with styles that
are based on timeless elements as opposed to current trends allows them
to achieve this goal."
From May 4 through July 5, Galleria Silecchia will be showing
"Reflections of the Mind's Eye," featuring the original
oils-on-linen works of Colombian surrealist painter Homero Aguilar. Born
in Pasto, Colombia, in 1953, Aguilar received his art training in Cali
and at age 25 left his homeland to live and study in Paris. His talent
was quickly recognized and he was accepted into prestigious exhibitions
throughout France. In 1980, Aguilar began exhibiting his art in
Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Venezuela and the United States. His
work was also an important part of the "Nuevas Figuras"
exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota. Over the years,
Aguilar has received such prestigious awards as the coveted Medallion of
the City of Paris and the first prize in the Symbolic Surrealism Competition.