Monday, August 31, 2009

Miami Real Estate Market Sees Spark Of Light

Miami real estate has undergone its share of turmoil in the past few years, and many homeowners have suffered as a result. However, there are signs that a bottoming out is taking place right now, at least with respect to the sale of single-family homes in the Miami area. The latest statistics documented by, showed a substantial increase in sales of single-family residences this July over July 2008. Last month 1,622 homes sold, as compared to 1,277 in July of 2008, a remarkable increase of approximately 27%. That is the good news. The bad news is that median home prices dropped considerably from a year ago. The median home price in July 2008 was $249,000, and last month, it was $206,000, a decrease in value of more than 20% from a year ago.

Miami real estate sales - market statistics

Condo sales tell a far different story. The overbuilding of condominium towers by greedy developers over the past several years, has taken its toll on thousands of Miami residents. In July of 2008 the median sales price of a condo in Miami was $348,000, and one year later, in July 2009, the median price dropped to $230,000, reducing the price of a condo to only 66% of its value just 12 months earlier. Sales have also dropped substantially in the Miami condo market. In July of 2009, only 1,524 condo units sold in Dade County, as compared to 2,441 sold apartments in July 2008, a drop of more than 40% in number of sales from the same month, a year earlier.

Lemons or Lemonade

A few months ago our sons reported that "something strange" was happening to the wall behind their toilet. I sent hubby downstairs to investigate. He discovered what can only be described as "blisters" on the walls, and being the manly man that he is, he popped one and found that it was full of water. Blistered, sagging walls meant only one thing, we had a leaky pipe somewhere above or behind that wall. Fortunately we found the leak without having to tear out the entire bathroom. The leak was repaired and we treated the ceiling and walls with a mold blaster and then we waited and waited and waited. Would the repair hold? Would we find another leak? How were we going to repair the ceiling to match the existing texture? Would we have to tear the walls off down to the studs? Would we let our misfortune drag us down to the depths of depression or would we rise to the challenge and meet it with a truckload of creativity?We choose the latter.
We covered the hole in the ceiling with inexpensive tongue and groove paneling.The original plan was to cover the damaged walls with strips of plywood, but when we found subflooring for two dollars a sheet we went with plan B.Sure it resembles a sauna right now, but wait until you see it with a few coats of paint.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Would you, Could you, in a Barn?

The handy man and I celebrated sixteen years of marriage on Friday, and in true form, we celebrated it surrounded by our family while we camped our last camping trip of the season. We are not fussy or complicated, nor has our marriage been; and that is just fine with us. Because we love to tease each other, the inevitable question always pops up each year: would we do it all over again...and my favourite way to pester him: discussing at length how I would plan our renewal of vows (because we really would do it all over again, except there will be no vow renewal...the handy man thinks that is just plain silly!!).
Now, we had a relatively modest affair - though it was as big as I'd ever want it - and it had its fair share of pomp and ceremony. Still, if I were doing it all over again, I think I would do it this way:
  • Outdoor venue: why not a barn? Of course make it one that has never housed animals and the resultant manure, of course!
Simple, homemade wedding favours and table decor:
Whimsical ways of involving the guests, like a simple string of photos of the happy couple. Don't you love this?
And what would I wear?
A simple cotton frock, with cowgirl boots underneath?
Nuh, uh!! No way!
I would pull me a Carrie Bradshaw and wear something like this:
After all, it's my fantasy wedding, isn't it?
all images: Martha
If you want to read about the best frugal, yet stylish, wedding of all time, check out those crazy kids over at Young House Love. Don't you just love them and their smokin' creativity?!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Rocky Before

I came across a photo of what our fireplace looked like when we moved into our home. How's this for a "before" photo.Yes, we had our own rock climbing wall. Our boys loved climbing those rocks! However, they weren't too fond of having to pull the rocks off the wall and haul them into our yard when I decided to remodel the fireplace. But thanks to my hubby and sons hard work, we have an "after" to be proud of.Joy @ JOYSOFHOME

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garden Architecture

Ever since we moved into our home, we've been adding architectural elements to give it more style and character. We've been doing the same with our yard and garden. We've bought and built simple structures to add character and height. They look beautiful from spring to fall surrounded by blooming vines and bushes. During the winter months when the yard and gardens are so gray and barren the structures give a charming visual interest and stand as a monuments to natures life and beauty.
A few years back we built this rose arbor using doors.
Then we added this trellis and door that leads into our vegetable garden.Recently we used scrap wood, found next to a dumpster, to build two seven foot tall obelisks. Once we figured out how to cut those pointed tops (thank you internet), they were a fairly easy build.
Son #3 painted them with a mis-tint exterior paint.
We placed them in our vegetable garden. They serve as tall, fancy tomato cages. There's only one problem---I want at least three more of these beauties!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Non-Traditional Portraits...

I love taking photos, especially of my kids. Who doesn't? But, the photos I enjoy best are those taken of spontaneous moments, in casual settings, and I am less likely to stage the kids for a posed photo, unless it is a special holiday or event.
My sister sent me some photos of our children from several years past, taken at one of my previous homes, and it was a nice walk down memory lane. Here are a few, and yes, my house was yellow (as every one has been!) and was a Colonial style, for those interested in such details:

My niece, Ella, and my little Sophie (camping as toddlers). Aren't they adorable?

But this?

This "portrait" has become a new summer family tradition because it best represents the dry wit of my boys, actually of all of us. It was taken on our summer camping trip to Maine in July, and shows Sophie, mouth slack with sleep, and her brothers mocking her, just like last year. This photo was unplanned, but you can be sure I will be primed and ready to take a similar photo next year. I figure, as long as she still falls asleep in the car, this tradition will remain!!

Last year's version:

MODERN TECHNOLOGY......good when it works, rubbish when it doesn't.....

This is to inform you that the laptop belonging to Jackie has been taken ill and rushed to the Computer Hospital. Everything possible is being done to get said computer up on it's feet again. There will be further bulletins as we get more news.
Comments on other blogs may be few and far between for a few days as Jackie only has access to her daughters computer and said daughter keeps snatching it away !!!!
I have nothing more to say at this time.........hopefully, there will be a new post soon.
More information when we get it.!!!!!!!
This is Jackie, reporting from England, BBC News.

A Give-away, a la "cart" !!

Would you like to win this?

If so, head here.

Does It Make You Smile

I recently changed out the accessories in my bathroom. A while back I had placed a weathered blue lantern on the counter with a candle and a pencil starfish inside. It was simpe, beautiful and beachy.But I found myself looking at it and thinking, "Blaaaahh." Maybe it was because, with the kids going back to school, I'm not in a beachy mood. Maybe it was that it had been sitting there long enough that I had begun to look at it as clutter instead of beauty. Or maybe it just didn't have enough layers as I find myself being drawn to in my accessorizing these days. Whatever the reason, it no longer made me smile. So it was time for a little change.
I pulled together a collection of white soap dishes, added in some wonderfully smelling decorative soaps, fake pearls, faucet knobs and a delightfully fragrent candle. Then I placed them a top an old china platter, layered on a tarnished silver tray.
Now that makes me smile.What about you? Do you have accessories that you feel Blah about? If so it's time to make a change. Rearrange items, pull things from other rooms, give them a new coat of paint, or live without any accessories in that spot for a while. Whatever it takes,
give yourself another opportunity to
smile about your home

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take a Bow Tuesday...

After a brief break, Take a Bow Tuesday is back, and on time for a change!!

I had oodles of great bloggers and posts to choose from for this week's feature, so be prepared to be wowed by your peers:

  • After a long but worthy wait (and a whole lot of work on her and her hubby's part), Jennifer at The Old Painted Cottage finally unveiled her new home, Cottage 8, renovated from dated and dirty (her words, not mine!) to shabby chic elegance par extraordinaire! I am not kidding. Go see for yourself...!!
  • A reader sent me this link quite a while ago, and I stumbled upon it recently and decided to share it. For those of you who are Twilight fans, you will enjoy the fun party this blogger created to celebrate her love of the books. No detail was too small, and the party is a great example of how the little things in life should be celebrated and enjoyed. And really, what's better than a great book?
  • It's that time again: Back to School! If your little ones aren't all that excited, introduce some fun to the planning with these adorable (and free!) printables from Amy @ Living Locurto. While you're there, have a good look around. Amy's site is full of fun stuff like that!!
  • Now, this is an oldie, but a goodie: this resourceful blogger gave new life to a tired sun lounger using a couple of vinyl tablecloths! Check out the transformation. It involves a little sewing, so I probably won't do it, but you might be able to handle it!!
  • Do you have a tired, dated chandelier that could use a make-over? Well, check out this great project, designed to add a drum shade to a chandelier for a look that normally pushes the budget. A little patience and skill, and a beautiful light can be yours!!
  • Now, I love miniatures. There is something so incredibly appealing about them, but so far my penchant for smalls has only translated into some fairy doors and my soon-to-be miniature garden. Not so for this creative lady and her blogging pals! Saucy belongs to a club of fellow miniature collectors and particiapted in a swap early this year where she received some AMAZING surprises. I really can't explain'll just have to go see for yourself!! Amy, from Inspire Co. , is the brainchild behind this fun club!
That's all for now. I cleaned out some of my archives, and will return next week with more great inspiration. I still marvel at the bucket-loads of talent that abounds in this community of talented bloggers!!

Sunset Islands Miami Beach House Sold For $6,000,000

Miami Beach real estate homes on Sunset IslandA Sunset Islands Miami Beach house located at 1727 W 27th St. on Sunset Island 2, sold and closed this past Friday for a remarkable price of $6,000,000. If you use square footage as a measure of value, that translates into just about $961 per square foot of living space, making this one of the best sales on Miami Beach in sometime, if you are looking through the eyes of a seller. The sale is another signal that the bottom of the real estate market may well be upon us in the Miami area, at least with regards to single-family homes.

The 6,244 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms house is situated on a 20,000 square feet lot (just short of 1/2 acre), with Sunset Island Miami beach house100 linear feet on the intercoastal canal, separating Sunset Islands 1 and 2. The contemporary, spacious, open, luxury home was listed for an asking price of $8,250,000 and remained on the market for 310 days, before closing last week.

The exclusive Islands off Miami Beach's western shoreline, in Biscayne Bay are the Sunset Islands. They can be reached from North Bay Road at 20th and 29th streets. The Sunset Islands real estate community is made up predominantly of single family homes. While there are a few more moderate inland homes, the emphasis is on luxurious bayfront homes with unobstructed views. No matter how large your yacht, there is a home to accommodate it. The close proximity and ease of access to both downtown Miami and Miami Beach, combine to make a property on these Miami Beach islands, a dream home for those who love luxury living.

Wakefield Estates Market Report for July 2009

Wakefield Estates is located in Wake Forest NC and boasts some of the most gorgeous estate homes in the area! Estate homes are situated among gently rolling hills and most have generous 2acre + lot sizes! There are a variety of architectural styles available from Old World to French Provincial.

There are curently 10 estate homes ACTIVE on the market with a price range of $899,998 - $3,650,000. Each estate offers unique appointments! Some of the refinements that are offered are Outdoor Kitchens, In-Law Suites, Wine Cellars and Outdoor Fountains just to name a few! Eash estate home has it's own flair!

If you have any questions regarding estate homes in Wakefield Estates or any Wake Forest NC Homes For Sale please don't hesitate to give me a call! I am your Wake Forest NC Real Estate Agent!

Life in Wake Forest NC is breath-taking!

Unfortunately Fortunate

We had a busy weekend, unfortunately it did not include working on our current home improvement project. But fortunately, I did manage to get a little thrift shopping in (I can always manage to squeeze thrifting into a busy schedule).
Here are some of my finds from last week:
Two framed botanicals for two dollars each. The frames need a little care but I love how large and beautiful they are.
A four dollar, perfectly primed and ready to paint, plant stand. Isn't it gorgeous? Can't you just see it topped with a luscious fern, or for fall, a large pumpkin with autumn leaves draping down.And last the best of all the game, this Honey-I'm-not-sure-where-we'll-put-it-but-how-could-I-pass-up-this-gorgeous-Ralph-Lauren-twenty-five-dollar-sofa.Actually I'm thinking of cleaning out an area of our unfinished basement for a "reading room". Being the only female in a house with a hubby who likes talk tv and three sons who love guitar hero, I need
a pretty, little quiet place of my own.


I've been tagged by Lori at Wildflowers to do the following:
1. Open the 4th file where I store my pictures.
2. Pick out the 4th photo and publish it to my blog.
3. Explain a bit about it.
4. Pass challenge on to 4 other blogs. it is in all it's glory..... and isn't it a coincidence that it's happens to be a photograph of a flower and it was Lori from Wildflowers who tagged me ?
A photograph that I took of my Oak leafed Hydrangea.......' hydrangea quereifola 'flemygea' SNOWQUEEN !!!!!! How about that then......even the Latin name, although there are probably some experts out there that will tell me I'm wrong but, I think that's it's name !!!!! Apologies if it's wrong, but I know that the oak leafed part is right.
We put this in our garden about 10years ago. We found this wonderful Hosta Nursery (long gone now, unfortunately) when we were taking our son to his University. We stopped on the way back and bought loads of Hostas, which are still prolific and MASSIVE in our garden. We did buy so many, that I gave my friends some, and they are all thriving and look magnificent. What a shame that Nursery isn't there anymore, as I certainly think that they knew a lot about Hostas (and Hydrangeas). Looking around, I came across this little Hydrangea and bought it. Well, I think that it is my favourite plant in the garden. It is covered in these beautiful white flowers that (at this moment) turn to palest pink and then green. Every year, I think that I will cut some and dry them off, but I can't bring myself to do it , so magnificent are they, in the garden. Also, my son got married last October and my daughter-in-law had hydrangeas in her bouquet so this hydrangea always reminds me of that special day.
Right, well my next job is to pass the baton onto 4 other blogs so here goes:

1. Green and Pretty

2. Life with Lia

3. Being Ruby

4. Dumbwit tellher job is done, mission accomplished. Thanks to Lori, for tagging me and because of which, brought back a few old memories.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Heading to Minnesota, Don'tcha know...

Head on over to here to see what I am up to next. Oh, and thanks for pretending not to notice that I skipped Take a Bow Tuesday, two weeks in a row. You are good people, all of you...
To make it up to you, I have a great line-up of talented folks ready to take their bow this Tuesday. You might be one of them!

Now, come on over here!

Friday, August 21, 2009

La Lighting...

So often when I go to a client's house, they are looking for help with choosing paint colour, furniture placement, and accessories. As I always do when I enter a client's home, my eyes always travel upwards towards the ceiling, to see what style of lighting they have. I believe you can often tell what a client's style is by their choice in lighting. This is not a fool-proof guide however; because some home-owners give very little thought whatsoever to their lighting choices.

As someone who believes the right lighting can make or break a look, I make it my personal mission to "enlighten" my clients on the value and merits of having great lighting in their home. I always bring it up, especially if I feel they could benefit from a change, but also realize that if I recommend something they weren't planning, it is only kind to have some affordable sources at my ready to pass on.

While browsing the lighting section of the Sears (Canada) website for a client the other day, I was amazed at the selection and great prices they were offering up. I could not believe the variety of styles and prices they offered and thought I would share some of the fixtures with you:

price: $127.50

Aren't these great?!!
As you can see, I'm obviously hooked on lighting! If you want to see what others are hooked on this week, check out Julia's "Hooked On" party, where she so kindly wrote about our new Flea Market Style magazine blog. Be sure to check it out and Ki, Matthew and I and the rest of the team wish to thank everyone who has taken our blog button, befriended us on Facebook and Twitter, became a "follower"/friend and/or wrote a post about the new blog. We are so grateful and inspired to create the best magazine and blog for those who share our love for vintage style!