Why Curb Appeal is So Important

curb-appeal-drivewayWhen it comes to selling homes, the old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is, if you want to sell your home, make the outside look great. Do an analysis of the outside of your home. Think of color, order, and utility. Look at what you would think if you were trying to buy the home. What distractions are there? To have a high resell value, make the house shine with a new coat of paint. Psychological studies show that humans are attracted to certain colors for different reasons. In painting your home, consider how the color of your home may invoke certain reactions.

If you are trying to market your home to male or female buyers equally, consider adding some blue. Blue is a color that has equal popularity with men and women. Comic books with purple on their covers sell better. Avoid using orange, because it has the strongest negative and positive associations with different people. Grey is neutral, but kind of grouchy. Good psychological choices for your home’s exterior paint job are white, blue, green, and purple shades.

The next thing to consider is your lawn. Sometimes, homeowners let their lawn go, with disastrous results for the curb appeal. If the lawn is in bad shape, it is quicker to tear out the existing lawn, and replace it with flower beds or a fruit garden. This will add significant value to your home, and it will make the prospective buyers want your home just so they can get some tasty fruit. The investment cost for putting in a garden is usually low compared to the produce you get from selling a home with a garden.

Lighting is also essential. Grab some inexpensive solar lights, which do not require wiring. Intersperse them at key areas around your house to highlight your delightful new paint job. This will help buyers feel welcome before they even step into the home.   If there are other homes for sale in your neighborhood, what is the competition afraid of? As Than Merrill of the real estate education company Fortunebuilders recently said, “No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door.”

So make the goal before the sale to make your home more attractive, not just inside but out. Using color, gardens, and lighting will serve as powerful tricks of the trade to help those who want to buy your home see its beauty.

Miami’s Buena Viasta Area Revitalization Draws Designers, Celebrities, and Tourist to the Area

The restoration and rebirth of the Design District in the Buena Vista area of Miami has been led by developer Craig Robins of Dacra Development. He began his work in the Design District eight years ago when he purchased warehouses and other decaying buildings covering an 18-block-area and restored and turned them into a retail centers and galleries. The area has blossomed since the revitalization, boasting more than 40 design firms and 50 show rooms and featuring a variety of shops, art galleries, and eateries.

Craig Robins Beach

If you love Hollywood culture and hope to spot your favorite actor or actress in the area, you are in luck. Many celebrities frequent the Design District. Elle Macpherson, Lenny Kravitz, Craig Robins, Zoe Kravitz, and Jesse Jo Stark were recently spotted at the opening of Chrome Hearts. While Madonna, George Clooney, and Beyoncé have been spotted in various locations throughout the district. Hot spots include: The Cypress Tavern, Adamar Fine Art, Ella, Gavanna, and Laduree.

There are many luxury boutiques and retail stores including Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, and Prada in the neighborhood. If you enjoy shopping, you will love this area which currently boasts more than 70 store currently open with another 60 opening by next year. Stores that will be coming by the end of next year include Saint Laurent, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Creed, and many more. It is sure to be a dream for any fashionista.

For those who love to view, purchase, and collect art, there are many art galleries in the area. The Design District includes Adamar Fine Art, Locust Projects, Opera Gallery, Maman Fine Art, and other art galleries. There is also an incredible display of public art including Jungle and Vortex by 2×4, Dash Fence by Marc Newson, and Fun by John Baldessari

Whether you want to sip on a cappuccino at the Bsweet Coffee Shop, eat a pizza with friends at Harry’s Pizzeria, or enjoy the cooking expertise of Chef Michael Shwartz at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or Cypress Tavern, the Design District offers a variety of dining options to satisfy your culinary cravings.
Soon to open is Paradise Plaza, which will feature four restaurants from Chef Joël Robuchon; L’Atelier, Le Bar, La Boutique, and La Terrace. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten of ABC’s Kitchen will also open a restaurant in the area later this year.

Vacation like a baller in Miami Florida

Buena Vista in Miami, Florida is a very hot, trendy place to vacation. It started as a small village in the 1890’s but quickly grew over the years. People began to move to the area when a railroad was built in 1896. It was easier to get supplies from the train than from the old docks in Lemon City. Buena Vista continued to grow and it soon became a highly sought after neighborhood for the wealthy.

Charles Deering was a millionaire who purchased a sizeable portion of land here. Deering was a conservationist and his influence helped to preserve the natural beauty of the land here. He would not allow roads to be built and it remained undeveloped for some time.

From the 1920’s to the 1940’s, things started to change. Art Deco was a very popular architectural style. It was popular all over the world. It originated in France and it was a style that represented an embrace of new technology but also incorporated decorative arts and industry.

While you’re visiting, you will have an exciting and unique array of entertainment options. If you are interested in the life of the rich and famous, you will be in heaven during this vacation. Celebrities love Miami and have been coming here for a very long time.

Celebrities like Lil Wayne love to party. There are nightclubs all over Miami but if you want to spot him and his squad, you can most likely find him at “LIV” on Sunday night, or at “Dream” on Wednesday night.
If you would rather go to an upscale restaurant, you could spot David and Victoria Beckham dining at “Lucali” in Sunset Harbour. After a gourmet meal, the couple loves to shop and sightsee in the Design District. It is filled with art galleries, upscale shops and boutiques, and a wide variety of trendy restaurants and nightclubs. “Harry’s Pizzeria” is a celebrity hot spot with great food and tasty, locally brewed beer. It was ranked in the top 25 Best Pizzerias in the U.S. by “Food and Wine” magazine.

I have only given a few examples of the fun things you can do on vacation in Buena Vista, Miami, Florida. There is so much to do here, you should plan to stay for a while. Just to warn you, you will see so many stars, you might believe you are one by the time you leave!

3 Project Ideas to Improve the Look (and Value) of Your Home

When considering options to improve the look of a home, whether in an effort to sell or simply to update it and make it more modern and appealing, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. The first is that, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report, replacement gives more bang for your buck than remodeling, so put down the paint and maybe consider calling in an expert. The second is that, if the home is going to be sold, sometimes the time saved in the selling process can trump a minor monetary hit.

1: Replace your doors
Replacing a house’s exterior doors is one of the best, and most cost-effective ways to improve the look, feel and value of a home. The doors are an entryway into the home, and are the first part of a home that a visitor or a buyer will get a close look at, and first-impressions are always important. This doesn’t only apply to the doors of the home, even, as replacing the garage door has also been proven to be extremely effective!

The type of door that gets put in is also important. Fiberglass doors with a faux-wood grain finish may look a bit better and have a more classic feeling, but replacing the doors with steel doors which match the color of the house is a cheaper option which generates a higher monetary return on average.

2: Touch up the siding
A house’s siding is arguably its most important exterior feature, as the type and color of siding dictates the style and color of the other features of the house. Complete vinyl siding installation is an option, but an alternative, cheaper option can be to replace the bottom third of the house’s siding with a stone veneer, which is about half the price and even more cost-effective!

3: Update the kitchen
A relatively cheap way to renovate the interior of the home is to replace just a few parts of the kitchen. Replace the cabinet doors, but just retouch the existing casing. Redo the countertops and flooring. Replace the faucets and stovetops with more modern styles but don’t mess with the gas or the pipes. All of these can increase the appeal (and function) of the kitchen.

Home Windows That Are Best Suited for Maryland Weather

Saving money on energy bills is unquestionably one of the most important things that a person can do to keep their monthly costs down when it comes to home ownership. Most people think that as long as they live in a home that is well-insulated, especially if it has recently been constructed, that there is nothing else they need to do in order to save money. However, this is not necessarily the case. The truth is, a lot of energy costs are directly associated with the windows that are installed in a home. With the right windows, the bills can go down dramatically and the home is more comfortable to live in. Otherwise, it may seem like it is always too hot or too cold inside and energy bills continue to rise no matter what else is done.

Dealing with Maryland Weather

Obviously, the particular location of a home is going to have a huge impact on the type of windows that should be installed. For homeowners that are living in Maryland, it is important to take into consideration how quickly the seasons can change. Maryland has some exceptionally cold winters that can be challenging for even the most dedicated homeowners. By the same token, it can become quite hot there in the summer, especially for those individuals that live near coastal areas, largely due to the humidity levels. As a result, it is necessary to purchase windows that are capable of standing up to the elements in a variety of temperature extremes. In addition, they have to be strong enough to handle some of the worst storms that the state can produce.

Choosing a Company

There are a lot of window companies throughout the state. This is good news for homeowners because it means there are plenty of different window companies to choose from and most of them are quite capable of helping homeowners figure out exactly what types of windows need to be installed. Some of the best companies in the state include Wheaton Door & Window, Thompson Creek reviews, and ClearView. Because there are so many companies in the state, homeowners can shop around until they find exactly what they are looking for, all for a price that doesn’t break the budget.


Windows can make or break a home as far as appearances go. However, they really serve a much more important function. When the right windows are installed, a home doesn’t just look inviting from the outside. It feels comfortable on the inside and it provides a safe haven for individuals who are inside the home, even when a storm is raging outside. The right windows help homeowners save on their monthly bills and make the atmosphere inside the home more comfortable. Therefore, making the right choice is easily one of the most important things that any homeowner will ever do, in Maryland or in virtually any other location.

Miami Design District: From Ordinary to Luxury

Christian Louboutin. Louis Vuitton. Prada. Just some of the high-end stores that call the Miami Design District home. But, the Miami Design district did not always have this distinction. In the 1920s, the area was originally neighborhoods where many immigrant business owners called home and was not actually part of the Miami proper. Eventually, the Buena Vista neighborhood was appropriated into the City of Miami and became an official part.

Historically, a part of the Buena Vista neighborhood, the Miami Design District, is located within the city of Miami, Florida. The Miami Design District can be found just a couple miles from Downtown Miami, few miles from Miami International Airport and close to the center of South Beach. The Miami Design District had fallen to disarray in the 1980s to the early 1990s. In the 1990s, and early 2000s, Craig Robins, entrepreneur and Miami native, who purchased many dilapidated buildings and convinced leading designers to transplant themselves to the Miami Design District. Following Robins neighborhood investment, the Miami Design District grew in attractiveness, and with heavy public and private participation in the neighborhood, curb appeal was appointed, and new greenery was added. Upscale shops, savory restaurants, eclectic art galleries soon followed and popularity ensued. Even though much of Buena Vista has been revamped, there are still glimpses of the old neighborhood such as the Buena Vista Post Office, and Buena Vista School. The Miami Design District continues to evolve which maintains its desirability to all, from everyday tourists to celebrities.

With the extravagant and diverse lifestyle in the Miami Design District, many celebrities come for shopping and entertainment. It’s an ordinary occurrence to spot celebrities in the Miami Design District, such as Kate Hudson, Elle Macpherson, and Zoe Kravitz at Art Basel at the Miami Design District. Overall, there is a plethora of things to see and do in the Miami Design District.

Even though the Miami Design District boasts cutting-edge fashion, eclectic art, and delicious eateries, the old neighborhood of Buena Vista ambiance of a relaxed, friendly environment attracts a variety of visitors. What began as a small neighborhood called Buena Vista, has transformed to the ultra-luxury haven of the Miami Design District.

Best Places to Live If You Collect Art In Miami

Miami is an excellent place for new and established art collectors to live. Its rich environment and culture attract people from all over the globe who take advantage of the city’s many attractions and diversity. Currently, Miami is the emerging art capital of the country. Some of the areas that are most attractive to art collectors are:

1. The Design District

This place is known as Miami’s center for both art and design. The neighborhood went through some difficult times in the 1980s and is now undergoing a renaissance. It is home to lots of artists, art galleries and workshops. The area boasts home decorating shops and antique stores, and features businesses which are devoted to design and architecture.

Craig Robins, a real estate developer, revitalized this area. His work in the Design District demonstrates his passion for design and art, and he keeps his collection housed on public display there. Robins owns the artwork of more than 200 artists, so the art pieces displayed revolve through the year, though some like John Baldessari and Richard Tuttle remain on permanent display.

2. Wynwood Art District

Some of the most prominent art collectors in Miami such as George Lindemann, Martin Z. Margulies, and others resides here. In The Wynwood Art District Warehouse, he displays the videos, photographs, and sculptures he collected for the last 30 years. Sprache der Vogel by Anselm Kiefer sits inside the entrance. The outstretched wings of the sculpture span 17 feet. The whole sculpture weighs about three tons.

3. Art Basel Miami Beach

Due to the efforts of Mera Rubell, Art Basel, which originated in Switzerland, was established in Miami Beach in 2002. This giant art show has helped make the entire area more interested in local and international art. It also enabled art galleries to exhibit their best work to large numbers of people. It has increased visibility and awareness for a lot of artists and galleries and more curators, museum directors and collectors are noticing them. The art show occurs in December of every year at the Miami Beach Convention Center and other venues.

4. North Miami

This area also has its fair share of art enthusiasts and is home to the Contemporary Arts Foundation and the Rubell Family Collection. In the 1990s, George Lindemann started to purchase art, and now they share his passion with the world. These areas have helped elevate art in Miami and continue to attract collectors and artists alike.

Urban Design Transforms Miami’s Buena Vista Into A Worldwide Destination

Captivating the interest of real estate developers across the country is urban design. Urban design molds an area’s allure, purpose and sustainability and viability. Presenting the appropriate balance of urban design incorporates the talents of real estate developers, urban planners, architects and landscape engineers.

A stellar example of how contemporary urban design works, real estate developers need not look further than the Buena Vista community in Miami, Florida. Situated on the Biscayne Bay waterfront, Buena Vista historical charm dates back nearly 100 years and blends with the Design District offering plenty of green public space, upscale retail merchants and attractive, contemporary dwellings.

Renowned and revered real estate developer Craig Robins acquired dilapidated structures and real estate parcels, over the past 30 years, and redeveloped Buena Vista into a creative community, blending architecture, design, and art, to foster enhanced value and promote an urban lifestyle.

So successful is Craig Robins vision of urban design for Buena Vista, fine restaurants, and apparel retailers are finding the community good for business, which is attracting notables, dignitaries, and celebrities. The redevelopment area takes in 18 square blocks and is known as a “playground for the celebrities.” Fine dining, cafes, and art galleries bring together many of the surrounding neighborhoods as well.

Included in Craig Robins vision is a pedestrian promenade and other innovative urban development plans for Buena Vista. Private investment and taxpayer contributions subsidized infrastructure work, such as sidewalks, environmental re-beautification, and street reconstruction. So well thought out and enhanced, Buena Vista now garners worldwide attention from the business, art, and private investment sectors.

A vision and a very well-crafted strategic plan enabled the community of Buena Vista to go from just another run-downed, neglected urban community, to a desired globally recognized destination for entertainment, nightlife, dining, and shopping in Miami, Florida.

On any given day, celebrities, artists and athletes such as Justin Bieber, Gloria Estefan, and Shaquille O’Neal are often seen in Buena Vista, enjoying all that the redeveloped community has to offer. The Buena Vista community of Miami, Florida is a living, real-time,testament that urban design is an effective means of redevelopment.

College Advice for Incoming Freshmen

College is an exciting time and a period in your life where you will learn quite a bit, both in the classroom and about life. While it’s great to discover new things along the way, there are a few tidbits you might want to have before the fun starts. This is particularly true about matters of safety. Here are some things those who have gone before you wish they had known about college before they got there.

Spend Time On Campus
Movies and television shows make campus life look easy, but it may actually take you awhile to make new friends. One of the best ways to find new friends is to stay on campus. It will be tempting to go home to your old friends and comfortable life every weekend, but you won’t make friends at school if you’re never there. Don’t expect your new social life to form overnight and don’t underestimate the importance of making friends who can watch your back and help keep you safe.

Trust Your Gut
You’ll meet a lot of new people at college, and not all of them will be nice. Use the buddy system rather than going out alone and always trust your instincts. Try to arrange double dates or go out in a group when getting to know a new romantic interest and always watch your drink at bars and parties. Never leave a drink unattended and consider products like Undercover Colors. When used, this nail polish sticker changes colors when exposed to drugs commonly used to facilitate date rape and provides a discreet way to verify that your drink is safe to consume.

Stay Connected
While you need to invest some time and effort into making new connections at school, it is a good idea to stay connected to someone you can trust back home. Make sure a family member or close friend has a copy of your class schedule and knows what activities you participate in. Apps like SafeTrek can even notify police and send them to your location if you find yourself in an unsafe situation while walking home alone. Share contact information so your friends and family can get in touch with each other if there is any concern about your location or safety.

Headphones and cell phones are a great way to tune out the world, but there are times when you shouldn’t zone out. Headphones may help drown out background noise when you’re studying in your dorm or the library, but don’t use them when walking across campus alone. There are times when it will be safer to be aware of your surroundings. While most college students would rate their iPod or cell phone quite high on their must-have list when packing for school, these items may be distractions you should try to minimize your dependence on.

Solutions offered in home window companies

Windows are an important part of a home. It allows sunlight to come in to illuminate the interior while it keeps out the elements. Residents in Maryland that are looking for a window company that is local and that offers superior products can find what they are looking for within the state’s borders. Companies such as Thompson Creek Reviews, Quality Window & Door Inc., and Window World of Baltimore offer Maryland residents the convenience and ease of shopping for windows locally so that they can get the windows that they want at a price that they are willing to pay.

Why choose a Maryland home window company

The choice for a Maryland resident to choose a local company is pretty easy. A local company gives a better buying experience than a company from across the country. A local showroom allows prospective buyers to browse face to face instead of online. They can see the window in its actual size, and they can talk face to face with a customer service representative in order to have all of their questions answered as well as any of their concerns put to rest. A growing number of Maryland residents also like the fact that they are putting money back into their local community instead of giving to a company that is not local. People feel better when they give to their local community because they feel as if they are taking pride in their locality and that is important to them.

There are many choices for Maryland residents when it comes to purchasing windows. Some people may feel as if they can get a better deal over the internet. Many times, that is simply not the case. Local window companies offer the advantage for the customer of not having to pay to have the windows freighted cross country. They can simply pick them up locally or have them delivered. They can also build a face to face relationship with the company’s representatives and that is important for many residents that are considering updating their existing windows. While they talk to them, they can ask about installation, warranty information, and color selection. Although the internet is a great source for information, many Maryland residents feel as if purchasing windows from an out of state window provider is too disembodied and they would rather stay true to their hometown values and choose local.