Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty
Here in the English Cotswolds, where my wife, my daughter and I have spent the weekend, ancient villages consist of two and three story buildings built from rough cut local stone. The stones, hewn into squares and rectangles of various sizes, adjoin each other so tightly and variously that there is barely room for the mortar which adheres them. The roofs are gabled but low, made of slate shingles; the buildings seem as eternal as the rolling sheep-dotted fields which surround them.
In New York City these days, scaffolding abounds. It seems that half the buildings in Manhattan are busy with Local Law 11 work (which provides that, at least once every five years, buildings of over six floors in height shall have their “exterior walls and appurtenances thereto” inspected for safety and structural soundness by an architect or engineer, and that any necessary repairs then be made), and that work seems deeper, more time consuming, and more costly in each iteration. So the whole question of construction, of what works and what doesn't, is much on my mind.
For better or worse, limestone and brick are porous materials. And while the two story, low-roofed stone Cotswolds house provides an excellent barrier against wind and rain, the twenty or thirty story, flat-roofed brick apartment building does not. Exposed to a force of weather unknown to the lower buildings here in England or even, for the most part, in London, these New York behemoths have multiple moisture entry sites: lintels, tarmac rooftops, and the aging brick and mortar on the upper floors, especially on the upper north corners where the wind is most fierce. In spite of the expertise and best efforts of our engineers, leaks and loosening masonry are simply a reality inherent in the size and materials of our housing stock.
Scaffolding isn't pretty, and the recurring expense of it kicks up maintenance, common charges, and rents. Here in the south of England homes have stood, more or less impermeable, for centuries. But the verticality of our city, and the building materials which make those dizzying heights possible, are not so dense and indestructible. So as we look around at the rigs and netting that drape the scaffolding our city, let's acknowledge that they are probably here to stay. This is the price we pay for what, and how, we build.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
Courtesy of Rimontgó
Though he travelled far and wide, and was to become one of Spain’s leading exponents of the impressionist genre, Joaquín Sorolla always remained true to his origins. Born in Valencia in 1863, this highly versatile artist became known in equal measure for the landscapes and portraits he painted – in which he recorded not only the faces, dress and social customs of the time, but also many an iconic Spanish landscape.
As a budding young artist absorbing the atmosphere of lively Valencia for inspiration, he was often drawn to the docks, where the detail needed to accurately capture the proportions of ships and convey the mood to the canvas did much to develop his technique. Though he left to pursue his career in Madrid when just eighteen, Valencia and its rugged coastline would always travel with him.
Ever keen to learn more and expand his horizons, the young artist obtained a scholarship that took him to Rome, Venice and eventually Paris, where he was to come into contact with leading artists of the time. These travels through Europe would do much to develop the talent in him and open up new worlds. A pivotal moment in his career came when he returned to the city of his birth to marry Clotilde García del Castillo, a young lady he had first met some nine years before.
Maturing into fame
It was while working in his father in law’s studio that he created most of the portraits that now make up such an important part of his oeuvre. When he next moved to Madrid it was already as an artist of stature whose work was much in demand. This national reputation gradually evolved into an international one, and before the century was out he had featured in high-profile exhibitions in Paris, Berlin and Chicago. Awards and praise started coming his way, and his finest works began to populate the halls of the world’s important art museums.
Though he increasingly returned to landscapes and seascapes populated with nymph-like women and children, highpoints of his career included the portraits of President Taft of the USA and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Above all, however, he is remembered for the silk-like elegance of his brushwork in paintings of young ladies, as in My Wife and Daughters in the Garden (1910), and the way in which he captured the sights and way of life of turn-of-the-century Spain.
Though already inducted as a ‘Favourite Son’ of the city in his lifetime, Valencia has until now had a remarkably small collection, with most of his work finding its way to France, the United States and other parts of Spain. In recent years efforts have been made to rectify this situation, and the Museo de Bellas Artes in particular has been acquiring a growing collection that is now big enough to occupy a dedicated section of this fine museum on the banks of the former Rio Turia.
Here, among important local, national and international pieces dating from the early middle ages to the present time, it is possible to admire some of the key paintings by Joaquín Sorolla. There is a firm commitment to expand this collection further, in addition to which the regional authorities also recognise the many other parts of the Comunidad Valenciana that together complete his legacy.
A special characteristic of Sorolla was his ability to portray the rich golden light of the region, and particularly the idyllic glow along the coastline from Valencia to Alicante, a region he visited frequently and which now forms part of a travel itinerary dedicated to the sights and places that form such an important part of Sorolla’s life and work. The Ruta Sorolla has in recent times been extended from the city of Valencia to include the surrounding countryside and coastal regions, and now counts almost thirty points of interest where visitors can admire natural beauty, classic architecture and iconically Spanish sights that lovers of Sorolla’s work will recognise from his paintings. These include the coastline of Javea, Cabo de San Antonio and the Palmeral de Elche. Suddenly, you will understand the inspiration for much of his work.
Santa Barbara enjoys some of the most beautiful luxury homes and real estate opportunities on the west coast - and last weekend, guests were invited to view some of the most prestigious luxury homes in the area during the Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour. The Pearl Chase Society is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the historically important real estate of Santa Barbara, consistently striving to educate the public and share the enjoyment and appreciation of these historic homes.
Participants ventured through the Santa Barbara Bungalow Haven to view a series of eight extraordinary houses built between 1888 and 1923. This area is located in Santa Barbara's prestigious Upper Eastside, which presents many fantastic real estate opportunities for those seeking luxury homes which also offer the convenience of being mere moments away from downtown Santa Barbara. The Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour included a delightful variety of California Bungalows of all types, each a historically important real estate property.
One exceptional and unique stop on the tour draws its inspiration from the other side of the world. A favorite year after year, the Pagoda House (1902) is situated on a hillside with sweeping views of Santa Barbara. This exotic home draws its inspiration from the elegant pagodas of the Far East, featuring tapering stories, natural redwood paneling, and the unmistakable pagoda-style roof with slightly upturned corners.
The more traditional 1921 Spanish Bungalow is reminiscent of some of Santa Barbara's first luxury homes built by affluent Spanish settlers in the early 1800's (such as the Casa de la Guerra). Featuring the characteristic elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival style such as a bright stucco exterior and a terra cotta tile roof, this historic home pays homage to Santa Barbara's elegant architectural traditions .
The variety and beauty of the homes on this tour are unparalleled - For a complete description of all the Santa Barbara homes included in the Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour, click here .
The Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in luxury homes and real estate to find inspiration, discover modern interpretations of classic styles, and appreciate Santa Barbara's commitment to preserving historic sites .
Courtesy of Telluride Properties
Upon first glance, visitors are immediately enchanted with the breathtaking setting of the historic town of Telluride. While the grand snowcapped peaks of the San Juans and imposing Box Canyon waterfalls ensnare the senses, the real allure of Telluride lies much deeper than scenic beauty – in the warm embrace of its community.
And that is just what Telluride Properties aims to capture within the pages of its signature publication, Truly Telluride. “The Telluride lifestyle is so unique and exceptional, we want to express that through the stories of its people and places. It’s a great compliment to all of our properties and something our clients feel proud be a part of,” says Albert Roer – Managing Partner.
In the newest issue just released, local writer Susan Viebrock of the blogozine Telluride Inside and… Out pens three engaging articles exploring Truly Telluride’s people and places. Wilkinson Public Library: No Institution More Truly Telluride, pays homage to the heart of the Telluride community for all ages and imaginations. Telluride’s five-star library is what Telluride itself is all about, small in size only – big WOW factor. Mountain Village steps into the spotlight and out of Telluride’s shadow in Mountain Village: How High Is Up? Perfecting the “on mountain experience”, Telski collaborates locally to create a cultural and retail mecca in a European-style setting. Truly Telluride’s signature series, Full Time Change Makers – Part Time Telluriders, profiles Joanie Schwarz and Don Rosenthal: Life Doesn’t Get Better Than This. A gifted photographer and steadfast wealth manager, Joanie and Don found their spiritual home in Telluride through their lifelong friend Albert Roer.
In addition to Susan’s articles, an eye-catching photo essay entitled Telluride’s Big Backyard, written by Telluride Properties broker Damon Demas, follows the unique recreational opportunities and inspiring landscapes from Telluride’s majestic peaks to the red rock canyons and desertscapes of southern Utah & Arizona.
Truly Telluride also features beautiful photos and information on some of the finest properties available in the Telluride region. The first home to grace the cover in 5 years, the Conovitz residence at 236 Pandora Lane bucks traditional Telluride Victorian for a refined contemporary design that draws the magnificent panorama of the Box Canyon indoors. This and many more homes, condos, and land await the Telluride real estate connoisseur on the glossy pages of Truly Telluride.
Telluride Properties is located at 237 South Oak Street, across from the gondola in the town of Telluride. Truly Telluride is available at their office, online at www.TrulyTelluride.com, or by mail upon request (970.728.0808).
Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty
At 10 PM on Sunday night in Sharon, CT the world is completely still. Other than the crickets and the peepers singing their songs, no noise penetrates the darkness. The stars blaze overhead; the few constellations I have learned to recognize, city boy that I am-Orion, the Big Dipper-prominent in the spring sky. The beavers we have been watching all weekend as they laboriously build a second lodge in our pond seem quiescent; even they, the great and indefatigable architects of the animal world, working without tax abatements or a union shop, have to rest sometime. In the quiet, I can think. Think about what is best for my agents, our business, my clients, my employees, think about what to write in this blog: if I can allow myself a little time in a quiet space, it's remarkable what bubbles to the surface.
Tomorrow morning early we will load up the car with suitcases, food, an armload of peonies, and head back to New York. Every week end it feels like we are the Joad family cramming our earthly possessions into the truck to head for California. But what a gift this ritual is! I have made my life in the city, and life in the city is what I sell. The city is always vibrant, always exciting, always filled with possibility. But it is not an easy place for contemplation. In addition to shelter, that is what a home can provide. A quiet room, a serene color scheme, an hour or two with few distractions-then there is the opportunity to feel yourself outside the hustle of the urban experience and let the external noise dwindle.
One way or another, in one place or another, we all need time and space to reflect. Our customers need it to make sure they are buying what they really want; our sellers to make sure they are not walking away from offers they should actually accept. My agents need it to assure that they can come to their jobs each day clear-headed and committed. As high achieving, adrenaline surging New Yorkers, we go go go, we manage stress, we always need another hour in the day. But when my clients reach a negotiating impasse, I always urge them to take a day off. Walk in the Shakespeare or the Conservatory Garden. Look for migrating warblers in the trees in Riverside or Battery Park (this is the time for that). Or just retreat to that spot in your home where the world drops away. When we sit still and let go, we tend to make the right decision.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
Imagine gazing out the window of your luxury real estate property, your eyes falling upon a lush garden filled with butterflies - and imagine enjoying this spectacular sight year round! In Santa Barbara, this dream becomes a reality. Santa Barbara is not only a paradise for luxury real estate opportunities, but butterflies as well (we even have a Butterfly Beach!). This weekend The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will be aflutter celebrating the opening weekend of the "Butterflies Alive!" exhibit. This special exhibit gives visitors the rare chance to enter a magical world full of these beautiful, delicate airborne creatures in an intimate garden setting.
The "Butterflies Alive!" exhibit at The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which is nestled in the foothills just north of downtown Santa Barbara, allows guests to walk through a garden filled with more than 30 species of butterflies. A grand total of over 1,000 butterflies will be flitting around at any given moment, gently drifting past visitors or resting upon the lush array of plant life in the sanctuary. As you walk through this ethereal paradise, enjoy the unique experience of hand feeding the majestic creatures fruit. Each week through mid-September, The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will receive shipments of pupae from across the nation and carefully nurture and protect them until they emerge with wings, providing a chance to enjoy species from all around the US in addition to Santa Barbara's native varieties.
Santa Barbara is not only a paradise for luxury real estate opportunities, but for butterflies as well. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History isn't the only place in town to spot butterflies – each year during late winter, our area attracts thousands and thousands of Monarch butterflies during their annual migration south. The Monarchs flutter along the waterfront, through Montecito where they make visits to the grand gardens of the many luxury real estate properties in the area and nearby Butterfly Beach (adjacent to the Santa Barbara Biltmore), and rest for a few weeks in Goleta. Each year, the butterflies seek shelter in the same eucalyptus grove in the Coronado Butterfly Preserve on the scenic Ellwood bluffs. In addition, the Alice Keck Memorial Gardens has a section specifically designed to attract butterflies, with plants such as milkweed and the California Lilac, which is only found along the central coast. Santa Barbara residents enjoy the luxury of living in an area that has a great array of native plants which are both pleasing to the eye and attract butterflies of all sorts - and our ideal climate allows us to enjoy this luxury year-round!
Courtesy of Rimontgó
Berklee College of Music, whose headquarters is located in Boston, Massachusetts, recently announced that its new Valencia campus would be opening its doors in September 2012 in order to welcome students enrolled for the Master’s Degree Programme.
Berklee College was founded in 1945 by Lawrence Berk with the aim of preparing students for a career in the music business. Naturally, in the intervening years the amount of technology available to both musicians and technicians has increased greatly, and Berklee has responded by remaining abreast of all the latest trends.
Now the college is a notable presence in Valencia, based in the superbly futuristic Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, which has been chosen as Berklee’s first overseas venture; no doubt this breath-taking building will provide some added inspiration for the first postgraduate intake.
Apart from the formal Master’s programmes, Berklee Valencia will also offer summer schools and special courses, which will benefit talented students not only from Valencia but the whole of Spain. Berklee’s President, Roger Brown, says: “Valencia was selected for our new campus since not only is it one of the most popular destinations for students in Europe, but the city has a strong musical symphonic band tradition and is also connected to some of the richest musical cultures in the world, including Latin America, the Mediterranean and Europe, making it the ideal location.”
Students will be able to enjoy fantastic facilities at the new college, including the Music Technology Complex, with its state-of-the-art acoustic design courtesy of the Walters-Storyk Design Group, which houses a recording studio, project production studios and technology laboratories. There are also several impressive auditoriums for live performances, seating a total of 1,490 spectators. The Teatri Martín i Soler is a 400-seater theatre suitable for opera performances, including a full orchestra pit and the latest in stage equipment.
Berklee College has produced some illustrious alumni in its time, including Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Aimee Mann, Branford Marsalis, John Mayer and Howard Shore, probably best known as the composer of the scores for The Lord of the Rings. Apart from offering Valencia’s musically talented youngsters a fine education, Berklee College plans to contribute to the city’s cultural life, so there will be plenty for valencianos to look forward to in 2013.
Courtesy of LandVest
Brunswick & Harpswell are neighboring towns in Cumberland County along the Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Scenic and historic they also have a thriving arts and cultural scene inspired by their coastal charm. Accolades for this area have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Where to Retire Magazine and MSN’s House & Home. Most recently, based on a search of cultural assets in towns with populations under 25,000, the Smithsonian Magazine recognized Brunswick, Maine as one of the best small towns in America.
Click here to read Smithsonian’s article about Brunswick.
Courtesy of Amat Immobiliaris
This phrase, read in a book by Paul Auster, struck me as the perfect title for this month’s diary, because everything really is very strange.
We have rulers in Madrid who one day say things are white and the next black, who distort data any way they please.
We have the problem of big companies and the multi-million salaries that their managers and executives are paid even today. Only this last May 1st we read in the newspapers that Mr. Martin, CEO of the Martinsa company, was raising his salary!
And we have some government departments hiring staff, and they are hiring at prices way above the market levels, people without any kind of educational qualifications, earning the same as a good salesperson or a tax advisor with a masters degree. Who can explain such things?
There are the speeches given by leaders of the Catalan left parties, bitterly criticising the measures of the Catalan Government, as if the history of the region had nothing to do with them, when only yesterday they were the ones in government! Are they not part of the disaster, as we all are?
And while this strange world moves onward, most mortals have to work magic just to carry on. A company like ours, with so many clients, and close to its clients, sees the daily miracles that people and companies work in order to survive. A few examples:
- Over 50% of those who leave rented flats tell us, when asked, that they are going to live with relatives. The sociologists are right when they say that families are showing more solidarity than ever.
- Promoters who find themselves forced to sell off the last personal possessions left to them in order to pay the bank re-financing agreements they have had to take out over recent years.
- Industrialists, from whatever sector, with good orders portfolios, with impeccable banking records, who in order to be able to survive find themselves obliged to use their own personal assets as surety for the renewal of loans, doubtless for smaller amounts then they had before and under worse conditions. And that is only the ones who can manage even that, for the majority find themselves forced to close.
- Many lawyers and tax advisors who have had to join together to share offices, reinvent themselves, for many of their clients (companies) have disappeared.
All of us, or nearly all of us, have had to reinvent ourselves, but seeing as life goes on we do just that, move onwards without looking back... and precisely as life goes on, we never tire of saying “Investors, now is the best time, invest in the real-estate sector, it is full of opportunities!” Ifyou don’t, then in a few years — I don’t know how many — you will regret that you hadn’t!
Courtesy of Windsor
Vero Beach, FL (May 14, 2012) The Gallery at Windsor is pleased to present Christo & Jeanne-Claude, A Visual Study. On view will be original preparatory works by Christo (Javacheff) and Jeanne-Claude (de Guillebon), husband and wife artists who together created environmental artworks in urban and rural sites around the world. The study derived from the Weston Collection at Windsor, Vero Beach, bridges the gap between the artists and their projects, offering an account of the creative process involving some of the monumental projects undertaken between 1971 and 1998.
Christo, originally from Bulgaria and Jeanne-Claude, originally from Morocco of a French military family, seemed destined to live and create together, as they were born on the same day in 1935. Christo studied art in Sofia and in Prague. Jeanne-Claude studied Latin and philosophy in Tunis. They met in Paris in 1958 and went on to create an impressive body of large scale, deliberately temporary works together.
Throughout their 51-year relationship, they paid all expenses associated with their artworks, including planning, construction, and de-construction, partly from the sale of Christo's preliminary drawings, early works from the 1950's and 1960's, and lithographs. They accepted no contributions, grants or other financial assistance, preferring to make their decisions separate from any potential influence of financial backers. Their works involved years of planning, meetings and hearings held by governments and communities for approval of their projects.
The collection is available for viewing by appointment from May 15 through the end of July, 2012.
Christo and Jeanne Claude, A Visual Study
Dates: May 15, 2012 – July 31, 2012
Venue: The Gallery at Windsor, 3125 Windsor Boulevard, Vero Beach Florida, 32963
Visiting Times: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM by appointment
Entry: Visitors to contact 772 388 4071 to arrange their visit or email@example.com
Founded in 2002, The Gallery at Windsor is an independent art space. The Gallery, which is home to important works from the George Weston Collection, invites curators to respond to the space with museum quality shows of contemporary paintings, works on paper and photography. The Gallery has exhibited works by leading contemporary artists including Peter Doig, Bruce Weber and Nan Bush, Ed Ruscha, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Alex Katz, Tony Scherman, and most recently Beatriz Milhazes, the first exhibition in the Gallery’s curatorial partnership with the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Windsor (www.windsorflorida.com) is a private residential community spanning 416 acres of lush barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean in Vero Beach, Florida. Established in 1989 by Hilary and W. Galen Weston of Toronto, Canada, Windsor was designed by renowned town planners Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk following the New Urbanism principles of urban design.
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