Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

2007 has certainly been a very eventful and exciting year here at Vintage Home. February saw the launch of our vintage website and the response has been wonderful! Living a 'vintage' lifestyle has always been a true passion of ours and running the website is the perfect complement to that lifestyle.

Thank you to everyone who has made Vintage Home possible - we are currently working on new ideas for the website so 2008 should herald even more exciting times!

All the very best to you and your loved ones for 2008 - Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Real Estate, Miami & Tourists

Lincoln Road Theater on Miami Beach

On Miami Beach, there is a stretch of land .80 miles long, known as Lincoln Road Mall. It's a fabulous place to walk, eat or shop. Some of Miami's excellent restaurants can be found along this strip, and the casual stroller can find anything from clothing to jewelry to computers to incense in the wonderful shops that line Lincoln Road.

This weekend Lincoln Road Mall was packed from end to end with Miami Beach's latest visitors. The tourists are here and that became obvious by the various languages which could be heard, as people walked along the over-crowded mall, some with family members, others with lovers holding hands and chatting. The many restaurants were packed with diners.

Lots of Europeans are in Miami now, and the dollar is so low against the euro and the pound, that everything seems like bargain basement prices to Europeans who come here each winter to escape the cold European climate and enjoy the warm Miami weather and the beaches. As everyone following the real estate market in Miami knows, there are plenty of homes and condos on the market for sale these days. One thing for sure is that real estate in Miami Beach is some of the best property that money can buy.

To a European visitor looking to invest in a winter condo or home, property in Miami is quite a bargain already, and as the real estate market is heavily in favor of the buyer, great deals can be made in this present marketplace. Will this translate into more homes and condos selling this winter than in previous months? We shall soon see, so stay tuned.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Housing Report - The Best & Worst

According to a report by CNN, the 5 most expensive housing markets in the USA in 2007 along with average home prices were Beverly Hills, CA $2,206,883, Greenwich, CT $2,018,750, La Jolla, CA $1,800,000, Santa Monica, CA, $1,785,000, and Palo Alto, CA $1,687,000 .

The 5 least expensive housing markets in the USA in 2007 along with average home prices were Killeen, TX $136,725, Minot, ND $139,033, Arlington, TX $139,175, Canton, OH $146,333, and Muncie, IN $150,000.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the 5 cities with the biggest drop in home prices in 2007 were Palm Bay, FL $182,400 (median price) 12.4% (price drop), Sacramento, CA $335,700 (median price)10.5% (price drop), Sarasota, FL $287,400 (median price) 10.4% (price drop), New Orleans, LA $160,200 (median price) 8.2% (price drop), and Hagerstown, MD $208,400 (median price) 8.0% (price drop).

The 5 fastest appreciating housing markets were Bismarck, ND $161,600 (median price) 15.3% increase, Salt Lake City, UT $246,700 (median price) 14.1% increase, Yakima, WA $163,200 (median price) 13.6% increase, Binghamton, NY $119,600 (median price) 11.4% increase, and Charlotte, NC $220,100 (median price) 11.0% increase.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Key Biscayne Home For Sale $38,500,000

485 W. Matheson Drive in Key Biscayne For Sale $38,500,000

One of the most beautiful contemporary homes in the Miami area is on the market for sale at an asking price of $38,500,000. Located at 485 W. Matheson Dr., this magnificent Key Biscayne property boasts approximately 500 feet of frontage, and it's own helipad. The 10,800 square foot home can accomodate a large family, with its 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. Sweeping vistas of the Miami skyline enhance the beauty of this marvelous estate.

Real Estate Market Worst Since World War II

A report by USA Today stated that record declines in home prices took place this October in 11 large metro areas. Miami, Tampa, Detroit, and San Diego led the list of cities whose home prices slid 6.1% in October as compared to October 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Schiller composite index. The data points to evidence that the present real estate market is one of the worst since the United States entered World War II.

Robert Schiller, a Yale University economics professor and co-developer of the index, said, "When was the last time we had a bigger drop than this? It looks like 1941." He was speaking of the time before the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7. "The U.S. wasn't in the war yet, but it sure looked bad. Hitler was raging in Europe. … You didn't want to be buying a house then."

Today's real estate recession is marked by almost a year's supply of homes for sale, nationwide, with many properties being discounted by lenders, builders and speculators who have become owners via the foreclosure process. Professor Schiller forcasts prices to fall an additional 5% to 7% in 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Relocating? High Schools In the Miami Area

Ida M. Fisher High School on Miami Beach - 1927

Below is a list of High Schools in the Miami area:

AMERICAN 18350 NW 67TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33015 Ph: (305)557-3770
BARBARA GOLEMAN 14100 NW 89TH AVENUE MIAMI LAKES, FL 33018 Ph: (305)362-0676
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON 1200 NW 6TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33136 Ph: (305)324-8900
CORAL GABLES 450 BIRD ROAD CORAL GABLES, FL 33146 Ph: (305)443-4871
CORAL REEF 10101 SW 152 STREET MIAMI, FL 33157 Ph: (305)232-2044
DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE 4001 NE 2ND AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33137 Ph: (305)573-7135
DR MICHAEL M. KROP 1410 NE 215 TH STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33179 Ph: (305)652-6808
FELIX VARELA 15255 SW 96 STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33196 Ph: (305)752-7900
G. HOLMES BRADDOCK 3601 SW 147TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33185 Ph: (305)225-9729
HIALEAH 251 EAST 47 STREET HIALEAH, FL 33013 Ph: (305)822-1500
HOMESTEAD 2351 SE 12TH AVENUE HOMESTEAD, FL 33034 Ph: (305)245-7000
JOHN A FERGUSON 15900 SW 56 STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33185 Ph: (305)408-2700
MIAMI CAROL CITY 3422 NW 187TH STREET OPA LOCKA, FL 33056 Ph: (305)621-5681
MIAMI CENTRAL 1781 NW 95TH STREET MIAMI, FL 33147 Ph: (305)696-4161
MIAMI CORAL PARK 8865 SW 16TH STREET MIAMI, FL 33165 Ph: (305)226-6565
MIAMI EDISON 6161 NW 5TH COURT MIAMI, FL 33127 Ph: (305)751-7337
MIAMI JACKSON 1751 NW 36TH STREET MIAMI, FL 33142 Ph: (305)634-2621
MIAMI KILLIAN 10655 SW 97TH AVENUE MIAMI-DADE, FL 33176 Ph: (305)271-3311
MIAMI NORLAND 1050 NW 195TH STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33169 Ph: (305)653-1416
MIAMI NORTHWESTERN 1100 NW 71 STREET MIAMI, FL 33150 Ph: (305)836-0991
MIAMI PALMETTO 7460 SW 118 STREET PINECREST, FL 33156 Ph: (305)235-1360
MIAMI 2450 SW 1ST STREET MIAMI, FL 33135 Ph: (305)649-9800
MIAMI SOUTHRIDGE 19355 SW 114TH AVENUE MIAMI-DADE, FL 33157 Ph: (305)238-6110
MIAMI SUNSET 13125 SW 72ND STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33183 Ph: (305)385-4255

NORTH MIAMI 800 NE 137TH STREET NORTH MIAMI, FL 33161 Ph: (305)891-6590
RONALD W. REAGAN/DORAL 8600 NW 107TH AVENUE MIAMI, FL 33178 Ph: (305)805-1900Fx: (305)805-1901
SOUTH DADE 28401 SW 167TH AVENUE MIAMI-DADE, FL 33030 Ph: (305)247-4244
SOUTH MIAMI 6856 SW 53RD STREET MIAMI-DADE, FL 33155 Ph: (305)666-5871
SOUTHWEST MIAMI 8855 SW 50TH TERRACE MIAMI-DADE, FL 33165 Ph: (305)274-0181
WESTLAND HIALEAH 4000 WEST 18TH AVENUE HIALEAH, FL 33012 Ph: (305)818-3000

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas to You All!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Happy New Year! It's certainly looking very festive here and as soon as we'd finished putting our decorations up I grabbed the camera and snapped some seasonal photos to share with you.

Evening approaches and the lights twinkle softly...

...draw a chair up to the fire where we will sit and reminisce awhile ... yourself to a tasty treat!

It has also been looking very seasonal outside. Alas, we have had no snow but the heavy frosts have been the next best thing! Here is a recent spectacular sunrise... neighbour's frosty mailbox - yes, it is situated down a leafy lane in the English countryside!

Thank you all for your wonderful and entertaining blogs. We each have very busy lives and it is just brilliant that we take the time to share the moments of our lives throughout the year. Have a wonderful time wherever you are in the world!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Indian Creek Mansion Sold For $20,000,000

23 Indian Creek Drive sold for $20,000,000
A beautiful estate home just sold on Indian Creek for $20,000,000. 23 Indian Creek Drive was listed for sale at an asking price of $23,500,000 and closed 3 days ago. The 80,000 square feet property is an urban oasis bordered by 200 feet of water in the rear, and an 18 hole golf course in the front. Indian Creek is located on Miami Beach, but is actually an incorporated city with its own police force.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fort Lauderdale Real Estate For Sale - Palatial Mansion

Fort Lauderdale real estate - luxury home in Fort Lauderdale Florida
1818 SE 10th St in Fort Lauderdale is priced at a kool $28,500,000

One of the finest homes in Fort Lauderdale is on the market for sale at an asking price of $28,500,000, down from the $35,000,000 the owners were originally asking for this ultra luxurious estate. Sitting on a lot of 60,852 square ft., almost 1.5 acres, this wonderful home boasts 20,619 square feet of living space, including 11 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and 5 half baths. Check out the virtual tour of this magnificent home to view some of South Florida's most luxurious real estate. The 817 feet of waterfront around this property should accommodate even the most discriminating yacht owner. For anyone interested in in this home, call 786-344-8776 for more information.

A Sign Of Things To Come?

This morning, a report by RealtyTrac stated that foreclosures were down nationwide 10% in November 2007 as compared to October 2007. It was the first month-to-month, double-digit drop since April of 2006. That may be a good sign, but there is obviously a long way to go for this real estate market to recover.

Although it's great to see a reduction in foreclosure activity, it must be noted that foreclosures in November were still up a whopping 68% vs. November 2006, according to the same report. Hardest hit were Florida, Nevada, and Ohio which had the highest foreclosure rates among the states.

Florida recorded a 212% increase in foreclosures this November as compared to November 2006. Three medium sized California cities were among the top 10 in foreclosure filings, namely Stockton, Modesto and Merced. Stockton, located in California's Central Valley, had the highest foreclosure rate in the country with 1 foreclosure filing per every 99 households.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flipping Properties - Is It Still Going On?

Buying properties and quickly reselling them at a profit is commonly known as "flipping". Believe it or not, attempts at flipping are still going on in the Miami area, even in the presently depressed residential real estate marketplace. Last week, a post on this blog referred to a great lot that sold for a great price. That was 1 Palm Ave. on beautiful Palm Island, (one of a number of Miami Beach Islands), which sold at the beginning of December for $3,695,000. The new owners just listed it for sale again, at an asking price of $5,900,000. It may be that they feel that the property is worth more than the $4,495,000 the previous owner was asking, when they recently purchased it. It will be very interesting to see whether this property is sold once again in the near future. Check this blog for any updates.

Flipping is oftentimes just good business. For example, Mr. X buys a property at a great price, with the intention of renovating the existing structure, or perhaps rebuilding on the lot. He knows that this process is not going to happen overnight. He may feel that he made a great deal, and that there is still some profit to be made from the property as it exists. He decides to put the property up for sale during the time it takes to obtain the necessary documentation (permits) to make changes to the property, because he may be thinking that there is someone out there who might want to pay more than he did, and still get a good value. He thinks that if a new buyer comes along and offers him a profit, he will forego his plans, and move on to another property.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Miami Beach Closings of Homes & Condos

271 N. Hibiscus Drive sold for $9,000,000
In the past 30 days from November 15, 2007 to December 15 2007, a total of 9 listed homes closed on Miami Beach, in the area extending from Palm and Hibiscus Islands all the way up to Bal Harbour. Of those, 2 luxury waterfront homes closed, 1 Palm Aveneue on beautiful Palm Island, for $3,695,000, and 271 N Hibiscus Drive on adjacent Hibiscus Island for a hefty $9,000,000. During the same period, a total of 83 listed condos/townhomes sold on Miami Beach ranging in price from $95,000 to $8,300,000 for a Fisher Island oceanfront condo. Of the condo/townhome closings, 13 units were sold for more than $1,000,000 each.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mystery Ladies!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have a penchant for 'mystery ladies' in the form of old paintings and photos, which I find on my travels across the country in search of website treasures.

Here are two more mysterious ladies for you! The first is a spectacular and huge oil painting of a beautiful young lady - perhaps a debutante - painted in 1965. I spied this painting (how could one miss it?!) at one of my recent buying trips. It was propped up against a tree, its custom built frame leaning alongside it. I simply could not resist her and without even questioning whether both frame and painting would fit in the car with all my other purchases, I told the stallholder I'd take her! The frame is nearly five feet tall and is a work of art itself. But my mystery blonde lady in her pretty blue roses on silver dress with matching shawl and delicate pearls is a true work of art.

I have christened her Maggie - but I wonder who she actually is. I quite like the way she sits waiting to be placed within her frame and have decided to leave her that way for now!

My other mystery lady is a very charming young woman of some considerable years! Although a young lady in the painting, she was painted well over a 100 years ago.

I was instantly drawn to this delicate and entrancing watercolour; the white lace and pearl smothered hat is just beautiful and the delicate frilled shawl of her dress frames the pretty pearl chain and cross around her neck.

One of these delightful ladies has been added to the Vintage Home online shop today - along with some very special and beautiful items - find out which one when you pop along for a visit.

We also have a special treat for you - we are now playing a particularly famous piece of music on the home page, I hope you enjoy it! Plus we have switched the Christmas lights on at Vintage Home and there is a special Christmas message to you all!

I hope you enjoy your browse - I'm off for some festive refreshments - I think a mince pie would go down a treat - any one for a glass of mulled wine?!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ultra Luxury Home For Sale On Fisher Island

$15,500,000 can buy this ultra-luxury Fisher Island home. Completely renovated with 5 bedrooms and 6 and one half bathrooms, this marvelous home boasts 8,900 square feet of living space, along with amazing direct oceanfront views, as well as views of Government Cut, and the Fisher Island golf course. Fisher Island is one of the most exclusive zip codes in America, and can be reached from Miami Beach, by taking a ferry to the island. Fisher Island has a full service marina, a private beach club and golf course, 7 restaurants, and a gourmet market. For anyone interested in in this home, call 786-344-8776 for more information.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hidden Lake - Tucked Away for Exclusivity....

Hidden Lake is an astonishingly beautiful location with only a few select homes within a gated community. Hidden Lake offers a 75-acre, spring fed private lake and the community itself is situated on 600 acres.

Hidden Lake features:
  • The 100-acre Audubon Preserve

  • More than six miles of paved and soft-surface trails

  • Seven miles of bike paths

  • Canoe and kayak launches

  • A fishing pier

  • The Lake House, the community amenity center with two fireplaces and a lakeside veranda

  • The Boat House with canoes and kayaks available for resident use

  • The Pavilion for community and family events

  • A full-time caretaker who will plan community activities, manage the amenity park and can even pick up residents' mail when vacation calls
The homes are built by some of the areas premier builders such as Bost Construction Company and Specialty Builder, Inc..

Bost Construction Company built a 2007 Golden Parade of Homes winner and it is now available for sale. It is an exquisite Tuscan inspired estate with over 7800 square feet.

Waterfront homesites are still available and range from $361,000 to $500,000.

If you would like a private tour of the community, some of the homesites and or completed homes that are available please contact me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Beautiful Lot On MIami Beach's Palm Island Sold

A wonderful Palm Island lot sold recently for $3,695,000. Although there is a 3,500 square foot house sitting on the property located at 1 Palm Ave., which boasts 110 feet of waterfront on a 17,674 ft lot, it was sold for lot value. Priced at $4,495,000, it closed at $800,000 below the asking price. Palm Island is a very prestigious location on Miami Beach. Think you can't make a great deal in today's real estate market? Think again.

Miami Home Sales Statistics

Miami home sales are suffering according to the latest statistics. This past October there were 15,422 single family homes for sale in Dade County, according to information supplied by the Coral Gables, Homestead-South Dade, Kendall-Perrine, and Northwestern Association of Realtors or their MLS. Only367 homes sold during that period. In contrast, in October of 2006, when home sales were already under heavy pressure, there were 11,103 single family homes for sale, with 826 closed sales. The statistics are alarming. There is more, because we also should take the condo market into consideration. This past October saw 25,267 condos on the market for sale in Dade County, of which the City of Miami is a large part, with 406 closed sales. In contrast, just one year earlier, in October of 2006, there were 18,974 condos on the market for sale, with 907 sales. It looks like things are beginning to bottom out in the Miami area. Buyers should be focusing in on making great deals right now, and picking up properties they could have never bought just a few years ago.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

One of Wake Forest's premiere communities...HASENTREE

Have you had the chance to explore Hasentree? Not just on paper but have you taken a drive through the community? Outstanding design, magnificent homes and an unrivaled Tom Fazio designed golf course...

Many of the areas elite custom builders such as Jayco Construction, Stephen Dilger, Bost Custom Homes, and Pinnacle Construction Group have homes showcased in Hasentree. Several of 2007's Parade Homes were located in Hasentree and are now offered to the public for sale. If you would like any information regarding some of the area's most exquisite homes please feel free to call me or email me; I will be happy to help in any way that I can.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cash Back At Closing And The Banking Industry

Cash back at closing has been around for many years. One reason that it is popular among some people is because almost no one minds ripping off banks. The banking industry for the most part is one of the biggest rip-off industries existing in this country. If you loan money at 18% to people, and if you borrow money at 3% from people, it seems that if you get ripped off, you probably deserve it. Banks lend and borrow money in that manner as a matter of practice, so there are very few people who will either sympathize or empathize with banks.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to deposit your money into a bank? Try getting it out. You may have to stand in a line for an hour, because the banks want to save their money so they hire as little help as they can get away with. Everyone knows this, and just about everyone has experienced it at some point.

Banks also charge very high fees if a check is bounced, inadvertantly or not. For example, a person may deposit a check in the bank, and write a check to someone. The banks want to collect interest for free, so they put a hold on the check you deposited until they clear the funds, and collect interest on your money in the meantime. If the check that you wrote to someone is deposited or cashed, and reaches your bank before the check that you deposited is cleared, you will receive a penalty of $30 or more as a processing fee charged to your account.

Now that the banking industry has suffered a blow, because of all of the defaulted home loans, they want the government to bail them out. That means you and me. They want the American people help them recover their losses. It is our money that supports the government, after all. Is that how you want to spend your money?

The 1950s Home

We recently found this amazing book at one of the many antique fairs we regularly attend. Whilst on the hunt for new stock for the website, Mike stopped to browse at an antique bookstall and couldn't resist this 1950s pop-up book. Although it is a child's book, the pop-up illustrations of a typical 50s house are just amazing so I thought I would share it with you. Here is the kitchen - I love those Rose kitchen units which were all the rage then - and how about that mangle?!

Oh look, the ironing board is out - anyone for an afternoon of ironing?!

Here's the living room - this would have been considered very 'with-it' for that era!

The 'modern' bedroom - looks like a nice cosy eiderdown on the bed! Can you see the 'party frock' hanging in the wardrobe?

It's all mod-cons in the bathroom - they even have a shower!

This is not only a wonderful piece of social history but a really fantastic example of a vintage children's book - I hope you've enjoyed having a peek inside!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How Cash Back at Closing Works

Cash back at closing schemes have been the cause of many of the foreclosures happening today. Ralph Roberts of describes it like this...

Here’s how a cash-back at closing scheme works: The buyer pays more for a property than it’s worth, and the seller agrees to kick back the surplus cash to the buyer at the closing. On its surface, cash back at closing seems to benefit everyone involved. The buyer pockets some extra cash. The seller unloads his house at or near the asking price. The real estate agent gets a bigger commission. The loan officer chalks up another successful loan. And the lender stands to earn more interest over the life of the loan. Everybody wins. Or so it seems.

Unfortunately, as with most deals that seem too good to be true, cash back at closing schemes are just another way of scamming someone-in this case, the lender, who’s fooled into loaning more money than the collateral used to secure that loan is worth. If the borrower defaults on the loan (which is almost a sure thing in cash back at closing schemes), then the lender can’t recover the money by selling the property.

Cash back at closing also:
1. Inflates housing values, making housing less affordable.

2.Artificially raises property taxes.
3.Stimulates foreclosure and destroys neighborhoods that begin to buckle when homeowners default on the inflated loans.

With cash back at closing, what may have seemed like a win-win situation leaves plenty of losers in its wake.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good & Not So Good Real Estate News

Palm Island home sold for $16,400,000

There is good news and bad news in real estate today. Here is the good news; on Miami Beach, there are 2 adjacent islands, namely Palm Island, and Hibiscus Island. Recently 2 ultra-luxury homes on those islands sold for $16,400,000 and $9,000,000 respectively. That is great news, because it demonstrates that people are still willing to spend big bucks for Miami luxury homes, regardless of all of the news reports about the dismal real estate market. Now for the not so good news. A report on CNN stated that foreclosures nationwide were up again in October ( 2% from September), and were up an amazing 94% in October as compared to October of 2006. Last month 50,000 (people/families) were forced out of their homes due to foreclosures. I guess all of this goes right along with the adage, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today's Real Estate Report

Home prices are falling all over the country. According to the NAR, prices continued to fall during the 3rd quarter of this year, accompanied by declining sales. The biggest declines in home sales are in those areas where the most significant speculative investment took place, including Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. Hardest hit is the Melbourne and Palm Bay area, where the steepest decline in prices was recorded. Median home prices fell in this part of Florida 12.4%. Sacramento California comes in 2nd, with median home prices plunging 10.4%. In stark contrast is the Northeastern part of the United states, where the median home price rose 3.2% during the quarter ending September 30.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Corbin Crossing - time to revist...

I posted a few months back about a wonderful new community, Corbin Crossing, that is coming to Orange County, North Carolina. More specifically, the site is located just north of historic Hillsborough. I am happy to report that there is additional infomation now available and it seems as though plans are progressing nicely.

As a recap, Corbin Corssing will have 10+ acre lots with homes built by the best custom builders! Only 39 home sites will be available making this truely an exclusive enclave.

Here is a tentative map of Phase 1:

For more information regarding this unique and choice community please send me an email or give me call. I will be happy to help you with your query.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Miami Beach Real Estate - North Bay Road

For a cool $18,900,000, anyone can buy this gorgeous home on Miami Beach.
North Bay Road has some of the most luxurious estates in Miami and all of Florida.
Many celebrities, including the Bee Gees, Jennifer Lopez, and Hulk Hogan have owned homes on North Bay Road. For anyone interested in in this home, call 786-344-8776 for more information.

When is a chair not a chair..?

...When it has been transformed into a truly beautiful, one-off gorgeous piece of vintage furniture!!!

Earlier this year, I asked Niki if she would consider making me a slip cover for an old chair of ours. It's a 1930s armchair which had been re-covered in recent years, but was now rather drab, dreary, tattered and torn (thanks to the cats!) and more than a tad grubby in places! I had a vision of a patchwork of rosey vintage fabrics and having some fabrics that I thought would be perfect, I went on the hunt for more. Of course, I regularly changed my mind with regard to colours, styles etc! So, after a few months, I decided to stop dithering and took what I had to Niki. She gathered together some of her own gorgeous fabrics, mixed them with mine and voila! this is what she created!! How beautiful is this?!! She asked me if it's how I imagined it; Niki, it is even better! I know how busy she is with her website so I am really grateful that she made time for this one-off project.

There is such a lovely variety of fabrics here; old Sanderson linen; 50s roses cotton; French florals; rosey barkcloth - all stitched together in a charming patchwork!

There's even a sweet little cushion - an added extra! I am so pleased with it - thank you Niki! The chair will live in the clock house which means there is the temptation to sit back and relax every day!

But the relaxing will have to wait - first I have to update the website with more vintage goodies!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

15% Recent Home Buyers Have Negative Equity

This is the fourth consecutive quarter that home values have declined nationwide, 5.7% year-over-year, according to a third quarter 2007 home value report released by Zillow earlier this week. That is the largest year-over-year decline in more than a decade. In addition, as of the end of the third quarter, 15.6% of homeowners nationwide who purchased a property in the past 12 months, and 17.5% of buyers who bought two years ago have present home values that are less than the original mortgage amount. In contrast, 1.8% of those who purchased a home five years ago have seen their equity slide into the negative.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Signs Of What's To Come?

Realtors, sellers, and just about everyone else, wish that this real estate crisis had never happened, but it did, and more reports came out today. Last month, applications for building permits dropped to a 14 year low. Furthermore, construction of single family homes shrunk to its lowest level since 1991. That's 16 years. That's not all though. Freddie Mac reported a 2 billion dollar loss amid a worsening real estate mortgage crises, partially created by unscrupulous and greedy lenders looking to make a quick buck. It all sounds so bad, but then again the darkest hour comes right before dawn, and it does seem that people are still spending dollars in Miami. Miami Beach's Lincoln Road Mall was packed with out of towners this past week, and more people are coming for the warm weather and sunny climate. Will that translate into more real estate sales this winter? We shall soon see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

International Spending on the Increase

According to a report on CNBC, international spending is expected to increase in the USA, by 12% in the coming year, due to the shrinking dollar. Europeans are coming here in droves just to shop, because everything is so cheap. One euro buys $1.50, so it's bargain basement time for the Europeans visiting the USA this holiday season, and in the coming year. This is going to hopefully also boost home sales, especially in the Miami area, because Europeans love to come to Miami for vacation, and they are famous for buying up homes and condos during the tourist season. For sellers of real estate, this may well be a good time to bring asking prices down, and in line with present market conditions.

Frosted Roses and Autumn Colour...

I awoke this morning to another glorious day of sunshine and heavy frost! Many of the roses are in bloom, so they're now covered in a beautiful frosting! Only last week, we took these photos of autumnal colour in the garden...

Here are some photos taken this morning...

More pretty, frosted roses...

The beauty of nature...

The view across from our cottage...

I think we're due for a change in the weather at the weekend - apparently we have wind and rain to look forward to. What brilliant timing; I'm off to an antiques fair tomorrow - with outside stalls! So instead of gloves and scarves, it will be wellies and brollies! Enjoy your weekend wherever you are!