Luxury Real Estate Marketing: America’s Luxury: Localvores

Localvores, a word coined in 2007 in San Francisco, defines a growing trend of eating foods grown in one’s geographical area.   The numbers of farmers selling directly to consumers has doubled in the years between 1997 and 2007, and is continuing that doubling trend according to the US Department of Agriculture.  This trend has enhanced the economy of local communities. Eating local is considered important as part of a healthy diet.

Part of our luxury real estate marketing research, as we travel to our clients’ marketplaces, includes exploring the local foods.  In Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay our clients took us to lunch at Merroir which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay.  Merroir (smart branding) is a play on the word “Terroir”. This is a French word term used in wines, chocolate, and coffee to describe the unique attributes of the area’s soil and climatic conditions which gives a distinct taste to that particular wine or food. And, "Mer" means sea in French, as "Terre" means earth.

Merroir is a tasting room for oysters grown locally in different areas of the water.  According to co-owner Travis Croxton, “Every oyster is influenced by its marine surrounding, and you can taste those differences.”   Three types of oysters are on the menu: Rappahannock River Oysters, Stingray Oysters and Olde Salt Oysters.  The Rappahannock River Oysters are raised in the tail end of the river of the same name, where the freshwater meets the saltwater of the bay and are sweeter. Stingrays grown in Mobjack Bay are saltier. The Olde Salt Oyster from the Chincoteague Island is the saltiest of the three.  The limited menu includes steamed clams, crab cakes, salads and fried green tomatoes.

We loved the Rappahannock River Oysters.  We also ordered crab cakes (grown locally and fresh that morning) and sampled fried green tomatoes.  It was gourmet heaven.   So if you ever find yourself anywhere near the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, make sure you stop at Merroir‘s.  They are open Wednesday through Sunday.   We are thankful for all the localvores in America.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 7/3/2012 at 3:20 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: America’s Luxury: Warm, Welcoming People

It is a luxury to live in America, and in the spirit of celebrating America’s birthday, we are sharing with you some of the most quintessential places and people we have experienced in our recent travels to our clients marketplaces.  The definition for quintessential: is representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.  This is also in our opinion one of the facets which defines luxury.

Captain Stannard House

Country Inn in Westbrook, Connecticut

This is where we learned from Jim and Mary Brewster (the owners of this wonderful bed and breakfast), this sentence, “We cannot wait to spoil you”.  And they were true to their words.  If you read our blog, you probably saw   the picture of the tasty brownies treats on the dresser.  Breakfasts were delicious, and the common areas comfortable and inviting.  The House has been lovingly restored, and the work was done by an architect who specializes in restoring and building homes that are a 100 years old. 

After dinner, we spent the evenings in the living room on comfortable leather couches catching up with our correspondence.  We felt completely at home.  The Stannard Inn is located one block from the beach, where the Atlantic meets the river.  We came in strangers and we left as friends, and that is one of America’s luxury traits—warm and welcoming people.  We are looking forward to our next visit.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 7/2/2012 at 3:16 PM
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5 Wood Creek Court in Las Vegas, Nevada

Warm, lavish interiors blended with timeless architecture define this custom residence.  This spectacular custom estate is perfectly suited to the breathtaking natural setting of The Estates at Southern Highlands. Tree-lined streets, cascading waterfalls and lush fairways lead you to the private gates of The Estates at Southern Highlands.

Situated on 1.52 acres is 5 Wood Creek Court, a Tuscan-style custom residence offering exquisite craftsmanship and unprecedented attention to details. With 11,677 square feet of interior living space and 5200sf of outdoor living space, this Mediterranean masterpiece offers the ultimate luxury living in Las Vegas.  Located just 10 miles south of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, but worlds away once you enter through the guarded gates to this one-of-a-kind estate property.

Stepping into the grand foyer it’s easy to see why this stunning home has been featured on MTV Teen Cribs and soon to be featured on HGTV  Million Dollar Rooms.  French limestone flooring and Coronado stacked stone line the gallery walk with views of the magnificent backyard as you enter to the kitchen and great room.  Extensive custom built-in cabinetry, three televisions are adjacent to the kitchen area and perfect for entertaining.  The kitchen is equipped with the ultimate in Viking appliances including built-in refrigerator/freezer, professional range, warming drawer, three ovens, microwave and two dishwashers.  The home features five bedrooms, two of which can be used as separate casitas, as well as an office, ten-seat private theater with 120-inch projection screen, full wellness room/gym and the finest design details and finishes.  

The spacious master suite includes French doors to the upstairs outdoor living area with fireplace, additional outdoor kitchen and views of the extensive water features.  Custom built-in furniture, fireplace and furnishings by Henredon complete the master suite sanctuary.  The master bath rivals the finest spa and includes jetted tub, steam shower, dual vanities, separate walk-in closets and even televisions that appear through the mirror at the his and hers vanities.  Take advantage of year-round outdoor living via the outdoor catwalk access to the 3rd-story Loggia with unobstructed views of Las Vegas and the Strip.

The residence also boasts incredible indoor/outdoor living.  Four stone waterfalls and a two-level outdoor loggia offer the perfect vantage for enjoying the award-winning OzzieKraft pool with its own lazy river, swim up bar and beach island in the center.  The outdoor kitchen includes all Viking appliances with grill, warming drawers, refrigerator, serving bar, beer keg server, bar seating and a central fire pit to enjoy evenings of entertaining or an intimate gathering. 

The party isn’t complete until you have danced the night away in the double-bay climate-controlled garage with modified basketball court featuring flooring, a scoreboard, a sport tickers and flat screen TVs and your very own disco ball. 

The Estates at Southern Highlands offers the best of luxury living in Las Vegas.  The exclusive Southern Highlands Country Club is one of four golf courses in the world co-designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son and continues to rank among the best in the world. 

For more information about 5 Wood Creek Court, click here.


Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: "Real Books" In Luxury Home Design

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important to keep up with the trends of luxury home design.  Although kitchens, man/woman caves, master suites are still considered as leaders in exceptional home designs, the home library is emerging as a “must have room” in luxury homes and apartments.   Architectural Design magazine has dedicated a large portion of their recent issues to library designs, featuring many luxury homes with exceptional libraries.

The idea of having a home library can be traced to Roman times.  A sign of a well respected Roman was demonstrated by his library regardless of whether he could read or not.  It was a symbol of status and intelligence.  Today’s home owners are designing llibraries as an expression of their personality, a retreat from all the usual home noises, a way to display  their book collections, and a  comfortable place to curl up to read a book. 

With the advent of digital readers, and the closing of many of the larger book chain stores (Borders and Barnes & Noble), it seemed that “real” books were doomed to extinction.  However, used book stores are reporting a large uptick in sales to a new customer base: 30 plus years old.  These young homeowners are walking in to buy books by the foot, or specific collections to display in their newly designed libraries.  They want their children to experience “real” books. Rare book dealer Donald Heald a 40 year old New York company has noticed that his clientele now also includes  a growing number of individuals in their 30’s.

"If you want to own a great atlas of London from the 18th century, that when you hold it in your hands you're transported, there is no app for that," Mr. Heald says.

The trend for a library in the home is also appearing in median home prices. Many home owners are building shelves for books.  DIY shows and magazines are giving detailed instructions on how to build shelving and library nooks.  From a book lovers’ perspective, it is reassuring that all things digital do not always rule the home roost.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Keep Your Message Brief

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to communicate who you are and what you do with words and imagery.  Your collateral materials and web site should articulate the essence of your brand in a nanosecond.

We often attribute the quote of “A picture is worth a 1000 words” to Confucius.  However, research shows that this attribution to Confucius was given by an advertiser named Fred Barnard who said he called it a Chinese proverb, so that people would take it seriously”. As time went on, Confucius was credited with this adage. Mr. Barnard promoted the use of images on the sides of streetcars as part of an advertisement.  His sentence was “One Look is Worth a Thousand Words (1921 trade journal, Printer’s Ink.)  In another ad in 1927, Mr. Barnard used the phrase, “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words”

More research reveals that in the novel Fathers and Sons written in 1862, the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote, “A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound.”

Here is an example of a picture is worth a thousand words.  The entrance to the small 6 acre Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Virginia is flanked by two corkscrew sculptures each measuring 40 feet.  There are no signs needed to express what is happening here.

So keep your message brief, your pictures bright and expressive so you don’t need 1000 or 10,000 words to say it.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/27/2012 at 12:32 PM
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The Ultimate Man Cave

At the surface level, the concept of a man cave can evoke a lot of questions. Why does a man need a refuge from the rest of his home? What’s the female equivalent to a man cave? (Hint: don't say the kitchen.) If a guy doesn't care about the decor or fixtures of his home, why does he suddenly place so much value on having a personal space in which he can do whatever he wants? Even though this unexplained need for personal space is not unlike the teenager who demands his or her own room and the creative freedom to decorate said room however possible, the fact remains that many men want -- and get -- a room in the home they can call their own.

The contents of these man caves can vary from one to the next, but common fixtures include ample comfortable seating, entertainment in the form of a television, a video game system or gaming table supporting billiard, ping pong and/or air hockey, and -- perhaps more importantly -- no trace whatsoever of the feminine touch that in many cases pervades the rest of the home.

And even though guys might shudder when interior decor is brought up, it's just as likely that they'll get highly territorial and opinionated when it comes to dressing up the walls of a man cave. With that in mind, it's wise to approach a man cave's design both practically and systematically to make sure it becomes everything he wants.

Choosing a focal point

The focal point of a man cave should be whatever the man considers to be the most important fixture. In most cases, that's a flat-screen television, but alternatives include a foosball or gaming table computer or even a bar. The rest of the room's trappings can be built around this centerpiece, letting you arrange furniture and choosing complimenting entertainment features.

Establishing a theme

Is the guy in question a big sports fan? Does he own some sort of collection he’d like to display? Does he want his man cave to be an homage to a certain person or entity? In this case, the best approach is to let the man exercise his own creative muscles. If that means walls littered with Spiderman posters, so be it. If one corner is devoted to an extensive trucker hat collection, that's his choice.

Man caves often depart from the decor of the rest of the home, and in a fair number of instances that decor may lack consistency itself. But if the goal is to provide a man with a space that is all his own, then the best approach is to let him make all the decisions -- and live with the results.

Rounding out the offerings

Once the basics are in place, the rest of the room can be filled in with smaller furniture and accessories. For the female in a shared living situation, this can be a good opportunity to move that Die Hard collector's set from the main living room into the man cave, where it’ll be better appreciated and less visible to the casual visitor. In many cases, this work can be done on the cheap by simply arranging furniture and installing some basic features into the room.

For more intensive man cave projects requiring renovating a room, such as to install a bar area, higher costs and greater planning may be involved. In these cases, it’s wise to talk to a contractor ahead of time to get a sense of the estimated costs of these plans.

In the end, the ultimate man cave is simply one that provides an entertaining respite for a man and his friends. Such a setup can cost as much or as little as you want depending on what you want and what you already have to outfit the room. Some people choose to sink a considerable amount of money into having a multi-purpose entertaining room, but if you decide to do that, don't expect the women to politely bend over backwards and give you full reign of your domain.

This article was provided by Jessica Stark. Jessica is interested in gardening and DIY projects. She enjoys spending time outdoors and blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves. Image via atgcustom.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/26/2012 at 3:41 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: What is your “VA” (Value Added)--Part 2?

To distinguish yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional you must be able to instantly articulate how you stand out from your competition You must be able to answer the question: What is your “VA” (Value Added). 

Most of what used to differentiate you,  such as  integrity, competence and local market knowledge is simply not enough. These attributes have become the commodities of the trade in the same way MLS search, via IDX, has become a commodity on any broker or agent website. 

For purveyors of luxury goods and services the #1 challenge is commoditization.  Sooner or later, without offering a strong Value Added service, you will have to resort to competing just based on price.  Look what is happening in retail!

An increasingly large numbers consumers are doing their shopping research at retail stores but do not actually buy there. Instead, they comparison shop for the best prices online (sometimes right in the store with their smart phones).  At sites such as Amazon, they can purchase the same product for less in one click and also get free 2-day shipping. Or, perhaps, the consumer discovers that the same item is on sale at a competing store just a few blocks away.  

BACK TO THE FUTURE

During a recent business trip to the East Coast we were able to spend some time  checking out the specialty shops and boutiques in Georgetown, Washington D.C.. There, we discovered the Keith Lipert Gallery who specializes in contemporary, affordable fashion jewelry and decorative art. Lipert travels the fashion and cultural capitals of the world to find distinctive pieces that are often crafted by small family-owned businesses.  His clientele is both sophisticated and international, people who not only appreciate his adroitness at discovering unique hidden treasures, but also appreciate his extraordinary personalized service.

As customers peruse the displays of fashion jewelry, Lipert will approach them with an item that he feels would suit them and insists they try it on with his assistance.   There is no pressure here. He just wants to make your shopping experience extraordinary, like it used to be in Europe and still is in some cases.  It allows him to engage his customers in a dialogue that does well beyond self-service. 

This “back to the future” customer service approach plus his offering of unique items that cannot be found elsewhere is his VA.  What is yours?

To read what is your value added, Part 1, click here.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/26/2012 at 1:49 PM
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Luxury Outdoor Sanctuaries

An outdoor sanctuary offers a welcome retreat at the end of a busy day. With the stars or clouds as the ceiling and the quiet sounds of nature as the soundtrack, outdoor sanctuaries simply invite the visitor to relax. They can also improve the value of a property, making the decision to create a relaxing space a sound investment in a challenging real estate market.

Create A Design

To build an outdoor sanctuary, the homeowner must first create a design. Typically, outdoor living spaces focus on a particular architectural element, which ties into the design and look of the home itself. For example, a home that has features pillars in its design may be complemented by an outdoor sanctuary built with similar supports. A home with a more whimsical look may be complemented well by an outdoor sanctuary designed from trellises and draping fabric.

In the design, the sky and weather need to be considered. While leaving the ceiling open to the sky allows the user to enjoy starlit nights, it can also allow harsh sunlight into the space during the day. An alternative is a fabric cover that pulls back when the sun sets, yet provides shading during the day. All covers should be weatherproof to allow the space to be used even if it rains.

Lighting is a vital element to these spaces, especially when they are used at night. Incorporating the lighting into the overall design allows for subtlety, making the surroundings more appealing while also providing a measure of safety to the homeowner. Natural lighting should be embraced during the daytime, with ambient light used during the evening and night.

Consider A Few Surprises

To make the space truly luxurious, homeowners need to think outside of the box. They can add unexpected elements, like a full outdoor wet bar or kitchen. Another option is to make the outdoor space into a garden retreat rather than keeping it separate from the foliage. Surprising additions, like throw rugs or table lamps, bring a taste of the indoors to the outdoor space.

Furnish The Space

Once the basic design is laid out and built, the next step in creating an outdoor sanctuary is adding the furnishings. In addition to comfortable seating and tables, these spaces lend themselves well to a personal fireplace, outdoor kitchen and even outdoor daybeds.

The design of the furniture should complement the design of the overall space. Accents like throw pillows and art add color and interest to the space as well. More functional pieces, like outdoor heaters or shade umbrellas, complete the design by adding a few comforts.

Outdoor Spaces Make Sound Investments

Creating an outdoor sanctuary improves the value of a home, which is vital for surviving current real estate trends. The more that homeowners can do to improve the value of their homes, the better their position will be if they consider their home a financial asset. Today’s home buyer will find themselves in a buyer’s market. An outdoor sanctuary can help seal the deal on a sale while improving the overall price the seller receives for the house. In the end, the investment simply makes sense.

Everyone needs a place to relax and unwind and an outdoor living space is just that. With an outdoor sanctuary, the homeowner creates a relaxing place to enjoy the outdoors while improving the value of the property. This double benefit makes remodeling a valuable project to tackle.

Jessica is interested in interior design and luxurious living. She enjoys spending time outdoors and blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she trusts. Catch up with her on Twitter: @jessstark9

[Image via ARNOLD Masonry and Concrete


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/25/2012 at 4:42 PM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate Tip: A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words!

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to communicate who you are and what you do with words and imagery.  Your collateral materials and web site should articulate the essence of your brand in a nanosecond.

Here is an example that was pointed out to us by our clients in the Virginia Chesapeake marketplace.   Notice how the building columns are designed.  What a wonderful way to capture the attention of your target market with humor and bring a smile to everyone's face.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/25/2012 at 9:23 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: What Is Your “VA” (Value Added)?

As you approach the realm of market leadership the difference between good and great service in the field of marketing luxury real estate cannot be measured by the degree of competency and integrity. The fundamentals of successfully engineering real estate transactions are the same; you cannot get away with incompetence and lack of integrity for very long.  So how do you differentiate yourself from your closest competitors if market leadership is your quest? 

The answer is the value that you add.  Added value is the extra service that you offer that your competitors do not include in their winning formula.  Here is an example. 

There are many aviation brokers who provide the service of buying, selling or leasing private jets. We recently met an aviation broker who put his company in a class unto itself by offering his clients an extra service that they cannot find anywhere else. His firm   targets Fortune 500 companies exclusively and offers them a consulting service to help them analyze the most cost efficient way to allocate their resources for private aviation 

As expert number crunchers in this very narrow niche they position themselves as trusted advisors rather than mere brokers and immediately set themselves far apart from their competition who just broker planes. They basically break even in terms of being compensated as consultants. But, they are awarded the business as brokers because they thoroughly understand the specific needs of their corporate clients. As a result, they can represent their clients’ interest far better than their competitors.  At the Fortune 500 level the rewards are obviously worth it.  This formula simply would not work for the private aviation needs of small to mid-sized firms. 

This aviation brokerage firm identified an uncontested market niche that they could satisfy better than anyone else in the world of private aviation for Fortune 500 companies.  As a result they create added value as consultants by saving these large companies  a significant amount of time and money. Their analysis provides an objective criteria for making private aviation decisions to buy, sell or lease planes. 

They do not need a clever “sales pitch” to ace out their competition.  They do not need to lower their brokerage commission rate to win business.   Nor, do they need to know the right people who can get them “in the door”. Their consulting service is the answer to the prayers of their clients.  They are the perfect match to the real needs of their clients. 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional can your “VA”,or added value,be?

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/21/2012 at 8:22 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: We Cannot Wait to Spoil You

In our travels to Connecticut to work with one of our clients we stayed at a charming Bed & Breakfast Inn.  Before we arrived we received a welcome letter that said, “We cannot wait to spoil you”. And, indeed we were spoiled in so many ways!  Let this be your mantra for providing extraordinary service with exceptional care as a luxury real estate marketing professional.  

One of the many ways in which we were spoiled was a plateful of little “mid-night snacks” that awaited us when we returned to our room at night, with a personal note. The first night it was some nibbles of rhubarb crumble.  The next night it was tiny morsels of brownies.  The husband and wife proprietors were extremely gracious and made us feel very much at home. 

The last night we were there we went to a great seafood restaurant that was located within a seaside hotel (not ours).  Before our entree was served, a fire alarm sounded and the entire restaurant had to be evacuated.   

The “fire drill” was not a bad experience; nothing serious actually happend.  Instead we had the opportunity to meet some of the other patrons of the restaurant who were delightful.  For our inconvenience, however, we were comped coffee and dessert.  

Think of running your luxury real estate marketing practice like a B&B or a great hotel How can you provide this level of extraordinary service, in your practice?  Think hospitality vs. real estate.  Then let your clients know that you cannot wait to spoil them.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/20/2012 at 9:52 AM
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Sagee Manor

“Before you can truly appreciate Sagee Manor, you have to know about Highlands, North Carolina, where the property is located,” says Bob Fisher, current owner of the Sagee Manor. “Highlands is like the watering hole in the African Savannah in that it has attracted sophisticated, successful people from all over the South for generations, and now people beyond the South are discovering it.”

Recently rated by Barron’s as one of the best second home communities, Highlands is surrounded by National Forest with summer temperatures averaging in the mid-70s. Bob believes that the quality of life is what makes Highlands so extraordinary. “People come here to seek respite in a stressful world,” he says. “We have a great climate, a clean environment, friendly people, and sophisticated amenities in a laidback atmosphere. It really is a remarkable place.”

Perched atop a mountain conveniently located inside the Town of Highlands is Sagee Manor, a true work of art when it comes to architecture, interior design, craftsmanship and landscaping. “When my wife and I bought this incredible property in 1999, we wanted to do the right thing with it,” Bob says. “We wanted to create something of permanence, something that would be recognized nationally and internationally for its extreme high quality of design and craft, and something that would last for generations.”

Bob and his wife did just that. The rustic, Tudor-style estate sits on a portion of the 50 pristine acres of woodlands, comprised of its own mountain, with 360-degree vistas. With seven bedrooms, eight full baths, and five half baths, the estate is perfect for hosting guests, especially with three outdoor patios. The grounds of the Sagee Manor are also extremely impressive, with 13 gardens around the house, several designed by famed English designer, Rosemary Verey.

“Between the quality of the location in Highlands, of the site atop an in-town mountain, of the design of the Manor and gardens, of the millwork from local artisans, the result of our and our team’s efforts is unmatched in the modern era,” Bob says.

Sagee Manor is currently listed at $17.9 million for the Manor, and 22 acres with additional acreage are available as well.

For more information about Sagee Manor, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/17/2012 at 9:19 AM
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Categories: duPont Marketplace | Luxury Real Estate
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Winston-Salem, North Carolina

“Winston-Salem is the center of the East Coast, which attracts northerners and southerners,” says John-Mark Mitchell, Principal Broker with eXp Realty of the Carolinas. “We have northerners who want southern hospitality without going too far south, and we have southerners who want the cooler weather of the north without the extremes.”

Winston-Salem was the first city in the United States to have an arts council, which led to the nickname “City of the Arts”. Multiple galleries and artisan workshops, as well as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, are located in Winston-Salem, and the city hosts many theater and film festivals throughout the year. Many notable artists call Winston-Salem home, like Jon Kuhn, a glasswork artist whose artwork has been featured in the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the permanent collection in the White House.

In addition to notable things about the area, Wake Forest University, N.C. Baptist School of Medicine and Forsyth Hospital, all located in Winston-Salem, offer some of the best hospitals in America. Old Salem is a major tourist attraction, and Winston-Salem’s sweetest claim to fame is that it’s home to Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

One property in the area that John-Mark is currently representing is NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson’s 150-acre ranch estate. “Junior’s estate could continue to function as a ranch, or it could be turned into a winery,” John-Mark says. “It’s a very unique property and one of the most outstanding homes I’ve ever seen.”

The best part about Winston-Salem, John-Mark notes, is the feeling of community in Winston-Salem. “I’ve traveled a great deal, but nothing quite compares with the residents of Winston-Salem, the opportunities people have here, and the amount of support our community gets.”


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/16/2012 at 5:13 PM
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Categories: duPont Marketplace | Luxury Real Estate
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Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Known as a premier vacation destination and perfect spot for relocation, Smith Mountain Lake is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia. Located a few hours from Washington, D.C. it is a picturesque rural landscape of mountains and lake. Dubbed the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge,” the area is home to families, business moguls, and retirees, attracted by both its beauty and accessibility.

Diversity of home styles and a wide array of cultural offerings give Smith Mountain Lake a decidedly European-like flair. In fact, many of the area’s year round residents hail from around the world. “People know that you get great value and high quality of life here,” says Leslie Becker, broker/realtor at Smith Mountain Lake Properties and owner of Premier Vacation Rentals at Smith Mountain Lake.

A low-key yet active lifestyle is one of the area’s main draws. Popular recreational offerings include signature golf courses, equestrian centers, and sailing regattas. “You can go full-throttle all year long with any activity you want,” says Becker.

Blessed with a 22,000-acre lake and 500-miles of shoreline, Smith Mountain Lake provides ample opportunities to purchase the perfect waterfront home to suit any lifestyle – whether it’s a luxury condo, vacation retreat, or year-round home. A “controlled” deep water lake, Smith Mountain Lake never loses more than three-feet of water, which protects the shoreline and beaches. “Savvy homebuyers know this fact,” Becker says. “It is one of the reasons people from around the world buy lakefront homes here.”

A beautiful example of the area’s waterfront properties can be found at the Love Stone Inn, a $995,000 or turn key  $1,250,000 French country lakefront estate with breathtaking views of the mountain and lake. Its Peaks of Otter stone exterior is a rare find on the lake.   

Additional features of the over five-acre property include a private dock and terraced beachfront as well as a separate guest cottage.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/15/2012 at 5:12 PM
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Categories: duPont Marketplace | Luxury Real Estate
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Sarasota Waterfront: A Floridian's Sanctuary

“Some days you celebrate and the water celebrates with you. Other days when you need comfort, the water is rhythmic and reassuring. There is something about it that is a sanctuary,” says Candy Swick, realtor and owner of Candy Swick & Company in Sarasota.

Living on Sarasota waterfront offers an endless spectrum of lifestyle and recreational possibilities. Enjoy fishing, sail boating or swimming. Living in Florida also presents the benefit of snorkeling and observing tropical life under the sea as well as dolphin and manatee watching. After gazing at one of Florida’s magnificent sunsets, head into downtown Sarasota, rich in culture and art. Enjoy a wonderful meal and then a night at the theatre.

“Life on the Sarasota waterfront is constantly changing. It’s never the same, never ho-hum. It’s always electric,” says Swick.

It is currently the perfect time to buy in the Sarasota waterfront market. While interest rates are low, market inventory still has good values and interested buyers still have plenty of choices.

A premiere property on Sarasota’s market is at Vista Bay Point, luxury condominiums at the entrance of Golden Gate Point that exude prestige and architectural style. Drive into your 2-car garage and take the private elevator right to your front door. This 3,300-square-foot, three bed, three bath residence offers a 180-degree view of the bay front, the perfect place to watch Florida’s beautiful sunrises and sunsets. In addition to the pool, spa, athletic center and state-of-the-art theatre room, Vista Bay Point is within walking distance from all of the shopping, restaurants and theatres that downtown Sarasota offers.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/14/2012 at 5:09 PM
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Categories: duPont Marketplace | Luxury Real Estate
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