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Homes for Sale South Florida: Interior Design Expert Advice - Part Four of Four Part Blog

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (19)
Interior Design Expert Advice - PART FOUR of Four Part Blog Series
Welcome Back! This week, we wrap up our interview with award-winning interior designer, Stephanie Holdren and move to the subject of trends in accessories. Like jewelry in your home, accessories add personal style and impact to your home. Accessories are an exciting avenue to express yourself without making any long term, expensive commitments.
Q: What do you see as a prevalent accessory trend in2013?
A: Nature. I am working with everything from feathers, to roughly-hewn wood elements all the way to mottled pebbles and twigs, both painted and natural. Nature is IN  for inside your home in 2013. It can add considerable drama like the table setting shown here.
Or, a bright punch of color to a room’s sunny white canvas. Bringing nature indoors not only sets a home on the style forefront, it also lends a familiar, comforting statement to any décor.
Q: What about less dramatic, smaller touches with natural objects?
A: Absolutely. Natural accessories can also be soft,in muted colors and smaller in scale. A few tucked here and there will soften any room.
When working with smaller accessories, remember less is more. You don’t want clutter, you want style.
Start with a few small accessories, you can add more later or, even swap them out from room to room to enjoy changing vignettes throughout the home.
Q: Is there anything you are especially excited about in 2013 as far as accessory trends?
A: Gold and brass are making a big come back! It’s been some time since we’ve seen gold and brass used prevalently in home décor;  I am enthused to work with these metals again. Nothing adds pop like the shimmer of golden tones to a room. The glimmering accessories used in the room below add a sleek sophistication to an otherwise neutral-toned room. 
Q: What about the black and white rooms, are those still in style?
A: Yes, always. The way designers represent a black and white pallet will change from year to year but, it always manages to find its way into style savvy homes. A tried and true color scheme, black and white rooms can be pumped up or toned down, dependent upon the use of contrast; this is an essential key. A room done primarily in white from walls, to floors to larger furnishings with a subtle appearance of black on smaller accessories, artwork or lighting can portray a traditionally elegant mood. Yet as seen here, a room done primarily in darker shades, with shocks of white making an eye catching pop, offers unadulterated drama. Always versatile, always in style, black and white is an adaptable, ever-stylish color scheme. 
I want to express me thanks to Stephanie Holdren for allowing us to read her take on 2013 design trends. It has been both informative and exciting to learn what Stephanie is employing in today’s most highly styled homes. Don’t forget, if you want to contact Stephanie Holdren directly, you may do so via email: [email protected] or a
by phone at 561-542-0001.
Copyright 2013: Valerie Anne Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Interior Design Expert Advice - PART THREE of Four Part Blog Series

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM Comments comments (129)
Interior Design Expert Advice - PART THREE of Four Part Blog Series
Welcome Back! This week, wecontinue our discussion with award-winning interior designer, Stephanie Holdrenand move to the subject of trends in interior paint:
Q: Where do I start?
A: You can find inspiration from design magazines, paint manufacturer websites, home improvement showrooms or visiting model homes. You can also start with the color wheel. When using a wheel, the colors next to one another or, directly across from one another, will compliment successfully to set the basis of a color scheme.
Q: What are some new trends in paint?
A: Patterns created with paint are being used to add an element of design by many of today‘s design savvy home owners.  Versatile and cost-effective, patterns can be used to bring dramatic impact to a room’s décor or, just to add a touch of subtle contrast to a particular wall or architectural feature. In the repeated pattern here, metallic paint was used to reflect light and bring both design and brightness to the space.
Q: Other than merely using color, how can paint add drama or dimension?
A: Subtle interest can be created by layering stripes of the same width, in deeper or lighter hues of the same base wall color. This elegant application adds interest to a room while still keeping the color scheme soft and versatile.
More adventurous homeowners may like higher contrasting colors and graphic patterns such as the Chevron design shown in this photo. This striking addition of vivid pattern and contrasting color will add interest to any interior space. 
Q: What about a treatment on the wall, instead of merely paint, what is most prevalent in homes on the leadingedge of design?
A: Venetian plaster is front and center in some of the most exquisitely designed homes today. It is tremendously versatile, each application unique not only in color and design but, also with qualities inherent to the particular artist. The application and variation toVenetian plaster are truly limited only by a homeowner’s imagination. However, be aware that Venetian plaster can be costly and susceptible to damage. As such, I recommend Venetian plaster be used in rooms where it is not subject to excessive wear or damage from weather elements.
Catch up with us next week for our 4th interior design post, when we discuss South Florida trends in Accessories!
You can contact Stephanie Holdren directly at [email protected] or 561-542-0001
Copyright 2013: Valerie Anne Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Interior Design Expert Advice - PART TWO of Four Part Blog Series (Flooring)

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM Comments comments (144)
Interior DesignExpert Advice - PART TWO of Four Part Blog Series
Welcome Back! This week, wecontinue our discussion with award-winning interior designer, Stephanie Holdrenand move to the subject of trends in flooring:
South Florida homes flooring trends
Q: What’s new in floor trends these days?
A: Ceramic tiles that look like wood flooring are a hot design trend. They are manufactured in every color, grain style, size andshape to mimic the look of a real wood flooring. The Herringbone or Chevron pattern is particularly popular as seen here.
These products are more than just magnificent in appearance; they are also cost-effective, easy to clean and abreeze to maintain.
Q: Is flooring an essential design element or one best left neutral?
A: It is all about personal choice. A soft, neutral palette can be established with flooring to create a room that is versatile and timeless. You can also use flooring as a bold design element. For instance,consider a brave flooring choice for your guest bath, especially since it isoften a statement room, used primarily by visitors; why not give itextra panache? Bringing in exotic colors or finishes in flooring, using abold pattern or even animal prints, can give your guest bath a spectacularsplash.
Q: What about new flooring processes or finishes? Is there anything innovative in home flooring?
A: Absolutely. Acid washed cement is the most fresh,new flooring trend. This process is truly limitless in design style and used both indoors and outdoors. An environmentally-friendly process, acid washing is available in an endless array of colors, textures and finishes. The photo below shows an acid washed floor that makes the concrete appear marbled; with inlays providing a rich yet, neutral pop of color and added architectural detail. 
South Florida Homes flooring trends
Q: What about plush flooring, like rugs; are they out of style?
A: No. Rugs are definitely not out of style. These days, we are more likely to see them used as a central design element, rather than wall to wall, especially in higher traffic and living areas. They serve to anchor furniture and add a soft style element to any room of the house. Area rugs are tremendously versatile and can instantly change the style of a room. I recommend that you choose your area rug with its potential use in mind. If you have younger children or pets, choose rugs that are easy to clean or replace in high traffic areas. Install your more expensive rugs in rooms of the house which are subject to less wear and tear. From the clean, natural look of sisal to throw-back shags in today’s hottest and most vivid shades; area rugs add a sensational design element to any room of the house.
Q: Sum it up for us, please. When it comes to flooring, give us a few lines of good, general advice.
A: Okay, some general advice… Flooring can truly be everything from an impressive architectural element to a neutral backdrop for your furnishings. My advice is don’t overlook the impact of flooring. Flooring, even merely a new area rug, can change the look of a room overnight. There are flooring choices available today to satisfy all design styles, maintenance preferences and of course, budgets. Well chosen flooring can add substantial impact and genuinely increase the value of your home.
Catch up with us next week when we discuss SouthFlorida trends in Paint and Wall Coverings!
You can contact Stephanie Holdren directly at [email protected] or 561-542-0001
Copyright 2013: Valerie Anne Martinettine Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Interior Design Expert Advice - Part ONE of FOUR Part Blog

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (5)
Interior Design Expert Advice - Four Part Blog Series
Join me for four installments with award-winning designer, Stephanie Holdren. Working in the design industry for over 25 years, Stephanie has worked in many different aspects of design from sophisticated Traditional and cozy Country French to striking Ultra Modern and retro Post Modern. Designing both indoor and outdoor spaces in primary residences and vacation homes, Stephanie’s expertise is both varied and extensive. A seasoned expert in Coastal-look design, Stephanie knows exactly how to tastefully bring this trend into your South Florida stylized home.
We will focus on South Florida design and how you can bring the feeling of our brilliant skies and balmy breezes indoors by using specific colors, textures and design elements. The lush landscape of sultry South Florida creates the perfect backdrop for every facet of Coastal-look, which can range from Coastal Glam to Coastal Modern Traditional and every imaginable style of interior design in between. Soft, sun-washed Caribbean hues, salvaged woods mixed with crisp linens create a casually elegant pallet to enhance any style of home décor.
If you’re moving to South Florida or, already own a home in the area, you’ll enjoy this Florida-specific design series. Catch up with Stephanie and I each week in January as we discuss trends in design, including which specific products are making a splash in the most highly styled homes of 2013.  
This first week, we are discussing Window Shades: 
Q: What is the most prevalent trend in window shades?
A: The vertical blind industry is being edged out by a new line of products offered by both Phifer and Hunter Douglas. Phifer calls the product a sheer weave shade, Hunter Douglas offers it as a designer screen shade. These products are available in everything from sheer to black out, motorized or manual and are dominating the market.
Q: What makes this product so desirable?
A: They were originally used in museums to protect art where they needed a high degree of protection from sun damage but with minimal design impact. They clean easily with any solvent, protect furniture and flooring from sun damage, along with electronics from glare and last but not least, reduce energy costs.
Q: What type of customer would like this product?
A: These products offer versatility limited only by your imagination. Both the Phifer and Hunter Douglas versions are what I refer to as the first layer. Their minimal appearance can stand alone as window treatment in more modern homes yet be easily augmented by another of layer of treatment in more stylized homes. For instance, adding a cornice, panels or draperies can significantly soften the edge between the wall and the shade and offer an endless array of design elements.
Q: When do you recommend home owners consider window shades?
A: Truly, as soon as they buy the home. This should be one of the first investments not only for obvious reasons like sun and glare protection but also, in those initial weeks of residency, a home owner may not be ready to make definitive design decisions but, they still need privacy and security. These shades install easily and significantly reduce energy costs, especially in homes along the shore or with a high degree of sun exposure. I suggest choosing a neutral color to match the walls and floors. If need be, homeowners can stave off making design choices for additional layers of window treatment until after they are settled into their home and begin choosing furnishings.
Remember, keep your first layer of window shades neutral in color, versatile in design and in our warm South Florida climate, be sure they are energy efficient.
Catch up with us next week when we discuss South Florida trends in Flooring!
You can contact Stephanie Holdren directly at [email protected] or 561-542-0001
Copyright 2013: Valerie Anne Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Real Estate New Year's Resolutions

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM Comments comments (210)
New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers, Sellers & Renters in 2013
You want to set yourself up for an efficient and successful home search. You can shorten the amount of time it takes to find and buy a home by considering a few suggestions.
To start, make your first stop your lender. This will save time once you‘re ready to make offers and indicate you are a serious buyer. An offer from a pre-qualified buyer sends a favorable message to the seller you are ready and able to close; an asset that will bode well for you especially when offering less than list price. Working with a lender first also helps clarify what you can afford before you begin to search for homes.
Make sure all funds you need to close are liquid and easy to access. This will assure you can move fast on submitting an offer when you find just the right home.
Before working with a realtor, test the waters by searching for homes on the internet to establish what type of home and area best suits your needs and budget. You can find out crucial information about area schools, amenities and services that are likely to influence where you want to live.
Start some initial packing. You are going to have to pack up your belongings anyway so, whatever you can do without in the short term, pack it up. This will lessen your load and reduce stress when it comes time to make your big move.
You want to put your best foot forward when potential buyers begin to tour your home. The better your home shows, the more interest it is going to receive. Word travels fast among realtors when a home is easy to show and draws favorable attention from potential buyers.
First, tackle those easy-to-fix projects like squeaky hinges, torn screens or light touch up paint. If you have more substantial issues that need to be fixed but, you choose not to repair before moving, get three bids from area contractors to educate yourself on what it will cost the next homeowner to resolve. For instance, if a major appliance such as your water heater or air conditioner is likely to fail the home inspection, be prepared to offer a credit to your potential buyer. Those few bids will give you the knowledge you need to negotiate a reasonable and fair credit and eliminate any concern that could obstruct a successful sale.
Potential buyers like to see homes that look clean, uncluttered and smell fresh. Thorough and frequent cleaning is cost-effective and will help your home stand out as one that appears well cared for and buyers can imagine as their own. Invest in a few inexpensive air fresheners to add a pleasant scent and continually remove any clutter.
Empty closets of any items you don’t need in the short term. Over-crowded closets and storage areas give the appearance of less than suitable storage; which is not a message you want to send to a potential buyer. Besides, packing extraneous items up makes for a few less boxes to worry about when it comes time to move.
De-personalize. Buyers need to imagine your home as their home. Try to pack away overly personal items like family photos so your home offers a less personalized appearance. This small effort will help your buyers see themselves in the rooms of your home.
Make a “Show Plan” with any family or friends living in the home. This means, have a game plan when you know potential buyers are headed to your home. This should take no more than 5 minutes time and will help keep everyone cooperating to keep your home show-worthy. Ideas include, putting away all toys or at least isolating them to one area. Put away anything lying around like clothing, magazines, hobbies or sports gear. If there are dishes in the sink wash them and clean any surrounded counters. If larger or noisy animals are part of the family, consider taking them for a relaxing walk once you see the potential buyers arrive.
Like buyers, you are best served to begin your search on the internet so by the time you contact a realtor, you have a good idea of the exact type of home, area and budget that best suits your needs.
Good specifics to address with your realtor include:
-Your intended time frame to lease;
-What amenities are most important to you (i.e., pool, golf, proximity to highways, etc)
-Whether or not you need to accommodate pets;
-Let you realtor know the age of all occupants;
-Share issues such as if you own a recreational vehicle you will need to park or a car
     that due to size or commercial lettering, may cause an issue with HOA regulations.
The more your realtor knows about you and the other occupants, the quicker they can hone in on a productive search and find you just the right new address.
Isolate all funds needed for deposits into one, easily accessible account.
Consider getting a professional credit check done which can be presented with your offer to lease, this will bode very well for you as a potential tenant.
Get three written personal reference letters from colleagues at work, neighbors or if possible, your current landlord. Along with a credit report, reference letters present a very favorable picture to your potential new landlord.
Research the cost and coverage of renters insurance. You may not need to protect the home itself but, as a renter you need to protect the contents.
The New Year is nearly upon us. A few resolutions can help all of us buying, selling or renting in 2013 experience a more productive and successful real estate transaction.
Best of health and happiness to you at your new address in 2013!!
Copyright 2012: Valerie Anne Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Holiday Home Sellers

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (139)
Holiday Home Sellers
Buck the trend, don’t wait for spring to list your home. Although home sales are customarily robust in the spring, there are no hard and fast rules in today’s unpredictable real estate climate.
As a seller, you need to consider every avenue for a successful sale. Home sale listings generally dip in the fall and winter months as sellers are busy this time of year with holidays. Assuming buyers are busy, sellers often opt to stave off listing until the spring or, suspend their active listing. This means the inventory is lower during the holidays and if you list your home during this time, you’ll have less competition. Why follow the pack and wait for spring? Take advantage of the drop in inventory and invite buyers into your home during the holidays.
Buyers who are looking during the busy holiday season tend to have a reason for doing so; something has accelerated their need to find a home. Whether it is an out of town job transfer or, the sale of their own home, buyers who shop for homes during the holidays tend to be more serious about their purchase.
Buyers often have more free time over the holiday season because they are taking their seasonal vacations. This means more free time to view what listings are on the market so, why not make your home available for buyers with more free time.
Out of town visitors who are interested in your neighborhood have a limited time window to see homes. You can catch the attention of this unique buyer by keeping your home available during the holidays.
Many of us decorate for the holidays and keep our homes in shape to receive seasonal
guests. This will bode well for you as a Seller as your home is looking particularly show-worthy this time of year. Buyers will enjoy tasteful festive touches and appreciate the fact you are willing to allow them access to your home during the holiday season.
As a holiday home seller, you’ll have less competition and get a jump on the market before the rush of spring listings. If need be, your agent can help make things easier for you by limiting showing times or removing the lock box and showing by appointment.
Buck the trend and keep your house on the market over the holiday season.
Copyright 2012: Valerie Anne Martinetti

Homes for Sale South Florida: Showing Your Home during the Holiday Season

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (209)
Happy Home Sales During the Happy Holidays! 
The holiday season is upon us, again. Time for hustling, bustling and all-things-merry. So, how do you contend with having your home on the market during the holiday season? First of all, relax. The holidays can be stressful enough, don’t be anxious about your home’s marketability during this time of year. Your holidays need not be compromised because you choose to keep your home available for showings. Here are a few tips to ease your concerns about how you can maintain a show-worthy home throughout the holiday season:
- Communication is key: Let your realtor know if slight changes need to be made to your showing schedule. It is better to communicate this up front and make adjustments than to risk unproductive showings. Slight changes can be easily accommodated by buyers. For instance, if your home is available to show between the hours of 9am and 8pm on the weekends, consider bumping your morning hours up a bit, from 9am to 12pm. Those three extra hours may be just what you need to accomplish holiday errands, while not compromising buyers ability to see your home;
- Holiday decorations: Have fun, you can still get in the spirit even though your home is on the market. Helpful hints: Be mindful to safeguard visiting buyers from tripping over decorations or wiring, both inside and outside your home. Make sure your decorations truly enhance the beauty of your home and don’t allow them to obscure valuable selling features like those lovely views buyers clearly need to appreciate. Don’t hide fine architectural details or allow your decorations to remain in place too long, once the holiday has passed;
- Holiday House Guests: If you have guests staying with you, ask for their cooperation in maintaining an orderly guest room and keeping that guest bathroom buyer friendly. Nobody needs to walk on egg shells however, explaining how to be a polite and accommodating resident when buyers are walking through will go a long way;
- Holiday Showings Indicate a Cooperative Seller: It isn’t easy juggling the holidays, family and friends, along with maintaining a show-worthy home. Buyers will appreciate you accommodating their desire to see your home during the season. If you cannot leave the house entirely, greet them with a smile and share a sugar cookie or two. Your willingness to open your home to buyers during a time when everyone is exceptionally busy will bode well for you and make you stand out from competing homeowners who suspend showings during the season;
- Party Time: If you are planning to host family dinners or larger parties, consider asking your agent to end showings in the early afternoon the day of the event so you’ll have time to prepare for the event. If your party is going to run a bit late, arrange for showings later the following day, to assure you’ll have plenty of time to get your home spic and span before the first potential buyers arrive. The holidays are a wonderful time of the year and with a bit of extra care and cooperation, you can enjoy successful showings throughout the holiday season! 
Copyright 2012: Valerie Anne Martinetti