Monday, May 31, 2010


"The upswing in April sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback" ahead,” says National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. He further states that  “Not only do consumers have growing confidence in the economy and their own incomes, but home buyers no longer fear further price declines -- and that's a crucial turning point in the cycle.”

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Have you heard that STAGING can make a difference and may help sell your home?

Learn all about it at Robb & Stucky by attending one of their seminars, “Staging to Sell”.  Robb & Stucky Design Consultant Ron Hammond will tell you how to “prep” your home for a faster sale and make it stand out from other homes on the market.   

Your real estate agent can also be helpful, e.g. convincing you to remove clutter, open up spaces… after all, “it is all about the buyer,” and they are not interested in the sellers collections nor family photos, but rather, how their collections and furniture will fit in your home if they buy it.  It may be hard for sellers to understand that, but can make the difference for a faster sale.

The seminars will be held in the Boca Raton store in Mizner Park on May 27th and June 24th at 2 pm.  Reserve by calling 561-862-5597.

Saturday, May 29, 2010




Old School Square members have lots of goodies in store.  You and the family can visit 17 museums, attractions and cultural centers free during June 2010. 

This includes the BAMM program which gives free June entry to 20 organizations including the Boca Raton Children’s Museum, Cornell Museum, Cinema Paradiso, Flamingo Gardens, IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame, International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum, and many other interesting facilities.

The Cornell Museum of Art has developed a reciprocal partnership with the Boca Raton Museum of Art, allowing OSS members complimentary admission from June 22 through August 8, 2010 to the Boca Museum of Art 59th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition and the Boca Museum Artist’ Guild Exhibition and permanent collection.
Collectors should head over to the Cornell Museum for their STUFF II: The  Joy of Collecting exhibit.  Treasured items have been loaned by local collectors including glass, vintage household items, comic books, antique tools, women’s accessories, photographs, baseball cards, duck decoys and home décor which have wonderful stories accompanying the collections. 

Old School Square Membership starts at $30 for up to 2 adults and children under 18 in same household.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Focusing on Oprah Winfrey’s starting a family office by hiring a Family Manager who is with a full investment organization, recommended by her law firm, for her estimated $2.4BB net worth holdings, the WSJ states that, “Wealthy investors typically hire mangers at banks and brokerage firms to handle their financial affairs.  A family office is considered a step up from such an arrangement, with a team of advisers working exclusively, and directly, for the client.” 

The article also mentions that Michael Dell, with more than $10BB worth of personal assets, has a team of 80 people working on Money Management for him at a Family Management Firm.  WSJ further states that, “the billionaire Bass brothers in Fort Worth TX created an operation that became a model for family-office investment vehicles around the US.”  

Saturday, May 22, 2010


 City Council, recognizing that other local and state governments are giving out funds and other assistance to attract businesses, has approved $1,000,000 to provide local matching dollars to business receiving state money or moving to the city, or to expanding local businesses that are creating jobs.  Some state, city and county grants require a local dollar match. The amount may increase to $5,000,000.  The City Council’s focus is to create jobs and expand the tax base.
Under the plan, a local business could receive between $1000 and $500,000 to create a certain number of jobs, provide a salary level that is 120% of the average county salary, and have the potential to create significant economic growth in the city.  The target is office-based and industrial businesses, not restaurants or retail businesses.
Eleven programs include workforce training assistance and grants, low-interest loans to start up small businesses, façade improvement grants and building renovations that will make energy use more efficient.  Economic development funds have also been created in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


If you enjoyed finger painting as a child, you will understand why Tim Ellis has such a good time doing the beautiful faux painting work that he does.   Tim showed us samples of fabulous marble, wood, granite, leather, suede, Venetian plaster and fabric finishes that he made. 

His grandfather started the faux painting business in Florence, Italy, and now a 4th generation is also involved.   He explained that faux painting is an absorbing business and told us about the process. 

He showed us a marble finish he did that had 9 layers… took several days.  Many finishes can be done in one day in one room.  He uses a water base primer that, vs. oil based, is not toxic and does not smell.  Wipe the surface first with primer, sand, apply finish(es) and then glaze.  He suggested using Old Masters glaze and has experimented with most glazes, if not all.  Tim said that glazes seal the paint and give a nice luster, and best of all they can be scrubbed.  He showed us that you can put a strong color in the back ground, striae (stripe) at random over it in white and the background will be there, but not strong.  Tim described various brushes he uses, and he also uses sponging and other methods.

A leather sample he did went up on a coffered ceiling, matching the furniture in the room.  Wood finishes match actual wood pieces and look exactly like them.  Marbles were beautiful colors and he compared using the same colors with darker or lighter results.  The black granite sample, he said, was okay for formica cabinets but not for counter tops. 

I found myself thinking how closely his work resembled faux work done on pillars and in architectural niches in a listing of mine.  The pillars are painted to match the floor and "fade out," and are not intrusive.  When he showed the crushed tissue paper samples, I got very excited, as the listing's master bathroom had it on the walls.  I raised my hand and asked, “Back in about 2002 did you do a builder’s model in Polo Trace?”  He said he did. I said, “I KNEW IT and want to tell everyone here that it looks as good today as when he did it.  The house looks fabulous because of those touches.” To see more pictures featuring Tim's faux painting, scroll down page to the listing for this property in Polo Trace.

If you want to reach Tim, call Robb and Stucky Design Consultant Ron Hammond at 561-445-7190.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Stockholders gathering in Omaha for Annual Meeting were told by Warren Buffet that the economy is showing “significant” and persistent improvement for the first time since the financial crisis broke in 2008.

Other indications to back this up include new loan applications going up 13% in a week according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the FHA and VA share of home purchase applications soared above 50%, highest amount in twenty years.   The PMI Risk index (tracks price decline potentials for two years out) found that out of the 50 largest markets in its latest survey, 42 showed less risk.  Jumbo loans are roaring back with one major lender announcing for credit-worthy applicants, rages are dropping on jumbos to 5.7% for 30 years – the best rate ever.

The current jobs recession might take 2-3 years to change, and then it is predicted there will be shortages in labor markets.  Government analysts expect 14.6 new nonfarm payroll jobs by 2018 and 15.3 MM new jobs for self-employeds, family members working in family businesses and farm jobs.   

One field where shortages are expected is health including registered nurses, and home health aides, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants.  Many jobs in the social sector (industries covering health care and social assistance, educational services, nonprofit community and religious organizations, the performing arts, museums, libraries and government) do not require enormous physical exertion, but requiring people with commons sense and experience.  Older workers might “fill the bill.”  Social sector jobs represent 47 percent of total projected nonfarm payroll employment growth, according to the MetLife/Civic Ventures report.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Ordinary surfaces can be transformed to look like Venetian plaster, leather, wood, onyx or marble and add drama and new interest to your surroundings, adding a sense of history and artistry.  

Robb & Stucky presents Tim Ellis, faux artisan and painter, speaking on Revisiting Faux Trends on Tuesday, May 8 at 2 pm in the Boca Raton store in Mizner Park.  Faux effects, from faux gold to faux marble, can add fabulous finishing touches to your interiors.  

Come and learn all about it and see beautiful examples.  Reservations requested – call 561-862-5597.  

You can also request a complimentary design consult.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


The New York Times offers pix of 30 finalists with classics from different eras and countries to vote for.   

Pictures and information on each car are available.  Voting ends May 17, 2010.  Winner to be announced July 24, 2010.   

Photos also available on the site for previous winners.