Surf, Sand & Sophistication

An endless coastline, rich heritage and spirit of imagination converge in Florida to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Fisherland Club

Fisher Island Club

 

Florida is a kaleidoscope of iconic images, from signature white-sand beaches and championship golf to Miami’s seductive skyline or theme parks encompassing much more than simply a Magic Kingdom. The entire world convenes on this alluring peninsula for every imaginable recreational experience, and its elite residents enjoy unparalleled luxury. 

Florida cannot be defined by a single place or attitude, as its communities represent an incredible spectrum of physical and cultural diversity. Some feel a bit like Savannah or Biloxi, others more spiritually akin to Havana, San Juan or Brooklyn with traditions, music and aromas to match the accents. The fourth-generation Pensacola fisherman and the South Beach fashion designer who recently emigrated from Brazil contribute equally to the state’s personality. 

Beachfront 

With its 1,350 miles of coastline, luxury residential and hospitality developers find Florida irresistible. South Florida, where the Atlantic Coast is almost continuously developed from Miami to Palm Beach, receives the most attention, but beautiful beaches are also found in less congested areas. 

Ideal for catching rays are Clearwater Beach outside Tampa and Atlantic Beach near Jacksonville, both offering wide expanses of white sand. The Space Coast’s Cocoa Beach is favored by surfers, while the dune-swept beaches of Amelia Island attract bird-watchers. The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is preferred by amateur ornithologists seeking maximum comfort.

Florida’s Panhandle, whose oceanfront is appropriately referred to as the Emerald Coast, features uncrowded beaches with sugar-white sand. “Distinctly more Southern than South Beach, the area is a throwback to the uncluttered and carefree beach lifestyle of years past,” reports David Merryman, manager of a premier boutique hotel called The Pearl, whose Rosemary Beach locale is reminiscent of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Photo courtesy of Venjhamin Reyes

The Penthouse at The Mansions at Acqualina

 

Tee Time 

It is impossible to overstate the significance of golf to Floridian culture and economics. The game is almost a religion here, despite competition from major league and high-profile university teams, not to mention watersports. Golf generates $11 billion annually to Florida’s economy, a figure surpassing the state’s portfolio of theme parks. With approximately 1,250 courses, Florida offers more opportunities for duffers than any other state, while touring professionals are attracted to the climate, amenities and absence of state income tax. 

Based in Palm Beach Gardens, PGA legend Jack Nicklaus is nearly as dominant in golf course design and development as he was on the links at the height of his career. The Golden Bear has designed courses throughout Florida, including King & Bear in St. Augustine, a collaboration with the late Arnold Palmer. The Bear’s Club in Jupiter features a 40,000-square-foot Tuscan-style clubhouse and $10 million estates line its fairways. In Naples, Nicklaus rival Greg Norman authored two courses at Tiburón Golf Club, paired with a Ritz-Carlton hotel. 

Luxury homeowners on the barrier islands — they trace Florida’s Atlantic Coast like a string of pearls — enjoy access to both championship golf and the water. Because it occupies a small island, the homes surrounding South Florida’s Indian Creek Country Club are both waterfront and golf course-adjacent, resulting in prices pushing $30 million. Less pricey is the real estate bordering Juno Beach’s Seminole Golf Club, but its membership is so exclusive it reportedly once turned down Nicklaus himself. 

 

State of Design 

While influences are imported from other regions, Florida has developed its own signature style, most conspicuous in its architecture. The charismatic skyline of Miami first gained attention during the opening credits of the iconic 1980s series Miami Vice, and things have only accelerated since. 

With flashy postmodern buildings and pastel-hued Art Deco jewels, Miami makes other American cities look gray and unimaginative. Celebrity architects from around the world — Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, to name a few — have contributed to the metro area’s skyline, which some experts consider the greatest design laboratory in the world. 

Much of Miami’s world-class architecture is driven by a competitive luxury real estate market in which developers use design to sell condos at a premium. In addition to those “starchitects,” residential towers are emblazoned with luxury brands — Aston Martin and Porsche from the automotive world, Armani and Fendi from the fashion world — to increase cachet value. Then-chairman/CEO Pietro Beccari stated at the project launch, “It fully expresses the codes, history and savoir faire that characterize Fendi.” 

Further honoring that creative spirit is the 18-block Miami Design District that combines luxury home furnishings (e.g. Bulthaup, Poltrona Frau) with legendary fashion labels Cartier, Versace and Hermès, as well as chic restaurants and the Institute of Contemporary Art’s sleek new digs. The Gulf Coast city of St. Petersburg has created multiple districts to promote local artists and artisans.

Photo courtesy of Bill Sumner

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay

Extended Stay 

Demand for luxury accommodations has fueled massive investments by premier hospitality brands, including a dozen-plus Ritz-Carlton properties throughout Florida. The Fontainebleau, an iconic landmark in Miami Beach since its debut in 1954, has been reimagined as a trendy, Vegas-style property for a new generation. More laid-back is Little Palm Island Resort & Spa on Little Torch Key, which will soon reopen after Hurricane Irma shuttered it for two-and-a-half years. Pat Colee, founding owner of Noble House Hotels & Resorts, states, “This restoration has been a true labor of love and we believe we’ve maintained the authentic character of Little Palm while ushering in added amenities.” 

Historic and stately are The Breakers in Palm Beach, a perennial high society retreat, and Miami’s Fisher Island Club Hotel & Resort, a former Vanderbilt estate located in America’s wealthiest ZIP code, a seven-minute ferry ride from the mainland. CEO Bernard Lackner says of the intimate hotel with private club privileges, 

“One of the few true private island sanctuaries, Fisher Island offers a lifestyle rich in leisure and recreational activities, yet just minutes from Miami’s world-class commercial, cultural and culinary offerings.” 

In Florida, luxury hospitality companies have experimented with their branding of condominiums, an increasingly popular trend. Fort Lauderdale, once famous for spring break, is the site of a glitzy Four Seasons Private Residences where a 3,965-square-foot unit commands $8.9 million. “Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale has captivated buyers with its beautiful, high-class design and comprehensive lifestyle experience in the yachting capital of the world,” states Nadim Ashi, founder of project developer Fort Partners. 

The Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, one of Greater Miami’s most exclusive hotels, offers luxury residences at the Mansions at Acqualina. A $38 million penthouse in that tower includes both a Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini.

 

Arts & Culture 

Most surf-and-sun destinations lack robust art scenes, but Florida’s cultural calendar attracts talent from around the globe. Even laid-back locales offer engaging opportunities such as Coral Springs Museum of Art near Pompano Beach, Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg and the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West. “Culture Builds Florida” is a statewide arts campaign designed to promote these assets. 

Art Basel is one of the world’s most prestigious art shows (and celebrity scenes), earning Miami the international stature usually reserved for much larger cities. Year-round, Miami offers the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the stunning Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay while performing arts enthusiasts gather at the César Pelli-designed Adrienne Arsht Center or Gehry-designed New World Center. 

Tampa’s Straz Center — it is the largest performing arts venue in the state — has been a catalyst for downtown development. “The slogan ‘Culture Builds Florida’ is true and true for us in the Tampa Bay area as well,” reports Judith Lisi, president & CEO of the Straz Center. “The arts renaissance throughout Florida reflects a statewide sense of wanting more authentic, more alive experiences in local communities,” she says.

Photo courtesy of Bazaar Photo © 2013 Ryan Forbes

The Bazaar on South Beach

Culinary Clout 

With multiple cultures converging in a resort setting, it should be no surprise that the state’s culinary scene is diverse and imaginative. Pioneering chef/activist José Andrés draws inspiration from many sources at The Bazaar South Beach, incorporating foie gras into an elegant riff on Cuban coffee or winking at the Big Apple with a sophisticated, artfully presented interpretation of bagels and lox.

“Another day, another country,” is how Anthony Bourdain once described Miami, citing flavors from Africa, across the Caribbean and throughout Latin America. Florida is a Southern state, so a satisfying bowl of shrimp and grits is never far away, and regardless of cuisine, chefs proudly showcase the bounty of Florida’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. 

The food hall craze has arrived in Florida, with Heights Public Market occupying a former streetcar facility in Tampa and the 50,000-square-foot Central Fare part of a six-block development in Miami incorporating a hub for high-speed Virgin Trains. Those trains are intended to make it easier for Floridians to traverse their state, akin to Europeans whisking through the French countryside on the high-speed TGV. In Orlando, a future Virgin destination, dining options include Bull & Bear, an elegant steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria, and acclaimed Luma on Park.

Celebrity chefs like Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina are flocking to Florida. Joining them is New York’s Michelin-starred John Fraser, who is bringing The Loyal, his American brasserie concept, to an ambitious new development in Miami. “Esplanade at Aventura felt like the perfect fit because they’re creating an approachable upscale culinary experience that not only captures the essence of what I try to do, but also allows me to present my craft to an entirely new audience,” reports Fraser. 

The Aventura Mall was already one of the premier shopping/dining destinations in Miami, and the adjoining Esplanade demonstrates the confidence its developer, Seritage Growth Properties, has in the local economy. “Esplanade’s exciting and diverse offerings will truly resonate with both the local population and the large number of international visitors in this market,” says Meghan Kruger, senior vice president of leasing for Seritage.

Photo courtesy of José Andrés

José Andrés

 

Open for Business 

Florida is big business, and if the Sunshine State was a nation, its $1 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) would be eclipsed by only 16 countries. Tourism has an annual economic impact of more than $85 billion, but the Florida economy is much more diverse than manicured fairways, white-sand beaches and theme parks. 

Aerospace, which arrived with the Space Program, continues to be an economic engine, with aircraft and related parts now being the state’s number one export. With long growing seasons, agriculture contributes even more to the state’s economy than tourism, and it is not just citrus (in fact, Florida’s most exported commodity is meats). Greater Orlando’s economy is no longer dominated by Mickey and Minnie, and its burgeoning technology community contributes $12.5 billion per year to its economy. 

Another accelerating business sector statewide is health science, best represented by the world-class Scripps Research Institute in Palm Beach County. Florida’s growing economic influence naturally translates into greater demand for luxury amenities and residences.

     

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Winter 2020.

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Under the Radar: North Cyprus and Canada

By Jessica Ganga and Marlene Ridgway

North Cyprus 

“With 300 days of sunshine,  golden beaches, friendly people, and stunning countryside, it’s no wonder that many visitors seriously consider buying property in North Cyprus,” explains Aylin Pelin Onar, Broker/Owner and Global Luxury Ambassador of Coldwell Banker Maximum.

Cyprus consists of 480 miles of stunning coastline, attracting buyers from all over the world. ©iStockPhoto.com / Mindstorm-Inc.

As the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus boasts 480 miles of coastline, citrus groves, gorgeous beaches and has a capital growth average of 20 to 40 percent annually over the past three years, making it a prime opportunity for luxury buyers, according to Onar. There’s also a certain mystery surrounding the island that is appealing. “It’s no surprise that according to legend, Julius Caesar gave the island to Cleopatra as a token of his love.”

 

With the highest-priced listing in the area being an $8 million, 150,000-square-meter villa built on a private hill, it’s clear that there is an expanding demand for luxury properties. “Our market is growing due to improving local and international economic conditions,” says Onar. Situated between three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the location has contributed to the growing international market. “We are receiving clients from Turkey, Russia, Scandinavian countries, the Middle East, England, Israel and Australia,” notes Onar.

 

With the continuing development of new constructions and homes, the luxury market is expected to keep expanding to sustain the demand. Up and coming areas such as East of Kyrenia can provide the 5-star accommodations that luxury buyers now expect, including social facilities such as gym centers, spas, pools, and high security. “East of Kyrenia is the shining star, especially with its seafront luxury sites. The natural beauty, beautiful beaches, amazing mountain views, 18-hole international golf course, and 5-star hotels with casinos are the attraction points of this area,” says Onar.

Aylin Pelin Onar

Aylin Pelin Onar

Broker/Owner, Global Luxury Ambassador

Coldwell Banker Maximum

AylinPelin.Onar@CB.com.TR

www.MaximumVelver.com

Page 30

Luxury properties in Esentepe, Kyrenia, North Cyprus embrace the island’s natural beauty, such as this home with gorgeous ocean views that sold recently for $900,000 USD. Photo courtesy of Sadi Yolgecen.

Recently sold for $7.7 million USD in Kyrenia, North Cyprus, this house examplifies the ultra-luxury listings available. Photo courtesy of Sadi Yolegecen.

Canada

With its diverse landscape and abundance of land, Canada is an ideal location for luxury buyers seeking a new place to call home. Of Canada’s many cities, Toronto is one that is family friendly and among the safest in the country. “People see Canada as a safe place to invest their money and raise their family. Toronto is the biggest city in the country and the financial centre of the country,” says Barry Cohen, Broker at RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage in Toronto.

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto has grown to be a rich metropolis with no shortage of things to do. “It’s a very cosmopolitan, multicultural city,” says Susan Macarz, Broker at RE/MAX Ultimate Realty Inc. Brokerage. Toronto boasts picturesque parks and playgrounds, country clubs, a theater district and nightclubs, to only name a few. Toronto also features some of the best schools in the country, attracting families seeking to provide their children with a top-notch education, according to Macarz.

Toronto, the largest city in Canada. ©iStockPhoto.com / PGIAM. 

Toronto’s real estate market is diverse and continuously changing. “What’s happening is that there is very little land left in Toronto, so what people do is they buy big properties with an older house on it and they tear it down because they are buying it for land value,” says Macarz … Another trend that Macarz noted was the increase of townhomes and condominiums in the area, specifically Central Toronto, adding to the variety. “What I’m finding more often now is … there’s townhomes that are being built along the major streets. These townhomes start at about $1.5 million CAD and up,” says Macarz. Tall high-rises are being built that feature luxurious condominiums that have sizeable square footage, according to Macarz.

Along with urban-styled living spaces, Toronto is home to spectacular estates and mansions. According to Macarz, luxury buyers can find homes priced from about $4 million CAD to $30 million CAD. The most expensive listing in Toronto is located in the Bridle Path area, on the market for $32 million CAD by Cohen’s team. “It’s a magnificent multi-generational estate with a completely separate two story in-law apartment with its own entrance, elevator, and garage,” says Cohen. The 35,000-square-foot home also features an indoor pool and tennis courts.

Overall, both Macarz and Cohen made clear that Toronto is a premier location for people seeking to find their dream home.

In the St. Andrew-Windfields area of Toronto, elegance and contemporary blend in this listing recently sold for $7.1 million CAD by the Barry Cohen Team. Photo courtesy of Barry Cohen.

Barry Cohen

Barry Cohen

Broker, RE/MAX Realtron, Barry Cohen Homes Inc. Brokerage

Susan Macarz

Susan Macarz

Broker, RE/MAX Ultimate, Realty Inc. Brokerage

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Global ’19 Issue.

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The Southwestern Spirit

Photo courtesy of Troon North Golf Club

With art museums, golf courses and luxury architecture, Scottsdale, Arizona is more than just a desert town. 

Known as The West’s Most Western Town, Scottsdale, Arizona, is certainly more than just a desert town as it is annually rated among the nation’s most desirable communities to live in, visit and conduct business. Three focuses in particular are art, golf and architecture, each a key draw for the luxury sector and ones that have shaped the culture of the city. 

Among Scottsdale’s 80 art galleries are museums that not only showcase fantastic creations from artists, but also provide an insight to the city’s past. One in particular is Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, located in Old Town, which offers high-quality exhibitions reflecting the arts and dynamic cultural exchanges in the city’s history. Dr. Tricia Loscher, assistant director of collections, exhibitions and research at Western Spirit, says that the Scottsdale art scene started at the Arizona Craftsmen Center in the 1940s, where skilled artisans could work and collaborate together, and customers could watch art being created in front of their eyes. These artists in turn helped to elevate Scottsdale’s cultural standing by showing and selling their unique creations. 

 

Photo courtesy of © Loren Anderson 2018

Museum of the West

Today, artists are continually drawn to Scottsdale, a place that is recognized worldwide as a destination for art collectors and enthusiasts. The diversity of the city’s artistic community, says Loscher, leaves visitors remarking on how much there is to see, and that it cannot all be viewed in one trip. “You’ll want to come back again and again because you can’t possibly do justice to what Scottsdale has to offer.”

Photo courtesy of © Jill Richards Photography

Taliesin West

The distinctive landscape of Arizona, punctuated by giant granite boulders strewn across the rugged Sonoran Desert, is the perfect playground for those who live and breathe the golf lifestyle. There are several key points as to why Scottsdale is such a popular golf destination, according to Mike Friend, director of sales at Troon North Golf Club, from wonderful weather to the beautiful desert itself. “The unique desert layouts are so different from typical tree-lined golf [courses],” he notes, adding that players love how the green grass contrasts from the desert browns. 

This culture began in the 1990s as many courses over the last 30 years were built around luxury residential developments and communities, which also stimulated the growth of resorts and travel interest overall. “The growth of this type of traveler created a need for more golf,” Friend says. The travel fever has not stopped since, and from the variety of activities and sights, Scottsdale is bound to experience growth and diversity for years to come.

Also nestled in the desert, along the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, is an architectural mecca — Taliesin West, known to historians as Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert laboratory in Arizona. Taliesin West was Wright’s beloved winter home and the headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, an architectural marvel that has since become a National Historic Landmark, as well as the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin. 

“[Wright] found the site in 1937 and with his apprentices began experimenting with new materials and building techniques to create a desert camp that embodied his principles of organic architecture,” according to Foundation president and CEO Stuart Graff. The Foundation works to preserve the site and Wright’s legacy through programs that bring more than 110,000 visitors to Scottsdale. Here Wright’s experimental camp is open to the world as a living expression of his ideal vision for how he wanted humanity to live in harmony with the world around us.

Photo courtesy of © 2016 Andrew Pielage

Taliesin West

     

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Winter 2020.

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The Perfect Balance

The perfect home finds a balance between style and substance.

Style or substance? The perfect home finds a balance between both of these concepts, and this newly built mountain residence is no exception. 1548 Explorer Peak Drive, located inside the Red Ledges residential development in Heber City, Utah, was carefully sited on a dynamic hillside to optimize unobstructed views of Mt. Timpanogos. Its architectural design pairs with hand-selected materials and luxury finishes, perfect for retreat seekers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. 

Every detail of this home creates a seamless transition from indoors to out. Abundant natural light is cast through the home’s soaring windows, while the vast outdoor living areas are situated to connect the home to nature’s beauty. The expansive indoor/outdoor living spaces, featuring a custom spa, fire pit, fireplace, and more, make this home perfect for both entertaining and relaxing, with stunning mountain views as the ideal backdrop. Interior features that capture attention as much as the surrounding beauty include French oak flooring, a gourmet kitchen with a waterfall quartz island, and a large main-floor master suite.

With its coveted location in the Heber Valley in the heart of Utah’s Wasatch Back mountain recreation mecca, Red Ledges offers an active outdoor lifestyle, according to Mitchel Burns, Red Ledges chief operating officer. “Members come together and immerse themselves in some of the most beautiful — and accessible — natural habitats in the world.” Red Ledges offers such outdoor attractions as world championship mountain biking, world-class fly fishing, boating, hiking trails and more. 

Management at Red Ledges agrees that those who find a place at Red Ledges not only share in the coveted mountain lifestyle, they also form close kinships with their neighbors. “Lifelong friendships develop as members laugh and play together and create the real personal connection for which Red Ledges is known,” says John “JJ” Johnson, Red Ledges Club general manager. For $3.595 million, one can find peace of mind at this contemporary mountain haven with enough style and substance for all. 

     

 

This editorial originally appeared in Unique Homes Winter 2020.

 

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Home Away from Home

PHOTO COURTESY OF VRBO

More travelers than ever seem to be eschewing traditional hotels and considering lavish vacation rentals for more authentic and comfortable experiences.

Vacation rentals, from cottages to castles, can elevate the overall experience of traveling while avoiding that unsettled feeling of being away from home. Travelers can relish in the privacy of their own space and choose a rental that offers the peace and downtime traveling requires, all the while taking advantage of the same amenities and luxuries offered at a hotel or resort.

“The best luxury rentals can offer fine architecture, artwork, and furnishings that can rival the decor of any 5-star hotel, but without the transient feeling of being in a hotel. It’s as if you’re living in a place that is meant to be lived in, which can emphasize the sense of a place,” says Carol Perehudoff, an award-winning travel writer based in Toronto for the travel site Wandering Carol.

Whether you’re staying for the weekend or a few weeks, skip hotel rooms that can feel secluded and away from the excitement and embrace the idea of your own schedule and space.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF VRBO

An Authentic Experience

Luxury travelers are looking for a more authentic adventure when they visit a new place. They want to experience profound architecture, personalized activities, and the overall culture in an area. “Travelers can have an all-inclusive resort-like experience with the added bonus of space and privacy to completely relax and spend quality time with their loved ones,” according to Alison Kwong, travel expert for Vrbo (Vacation Rental by Owner). Renting a vacation home immerses you in the surrounding culture to create your home away from home. “Oftentimes a vacation rental can be a better all-around experience. We use high-end vacation rentals as a base of operations for custom-built adventures,” says Dan Austin, the president of Austin Adventures.

Vacation rentals make authentic travel seamless. Visit hard-to-reach places or lesser-known destinations in a home rather than a hotel. Easily submerge yourself in a residential area rather than skim the surface of the commercialized options typically available for tourists. “You’re often staying in neighborhoods where residents live, rather than in tourist zones,” says Perehudoff. She describes one luxury vacation rental in Venice as being “as much of a cultural thrill as visiting a famous museum or palace.”

 

Space and Privacy

Space is a significant component to consider when vacationing with family and friends. There are endless rentals that sleep large groups comfortably, which means your party can stay together without feeling crowded or overwhelmed. “Vacation homes are ideal for traveling with family because they allow everyone to stay together under one roof,” says Kwong. Similarly, Austin says, “you can create a better “gather” type of environment … to create bonding moments.” He notes, “one of the biggest benefits is privacy.”

Lounge by the pool, fit in your morning workout, enjoy an afternoon snack, or take a midnight swim all in the privacy of your own space. Forget overcrowded hotel pools, spas, and restaurants when you have easy access to your own private pool, at-home theater, sauna, and other amenities.

Freedom with Amenities

Forget dining on a schedule or mid-morning interruptions. Renting a home offers the desired freedom on a vacation that runs on your own schedule, without sacrificing any of the luxuries. “Travelers can still enjoy special amenities, like private chefs, daily housekeeping and concierge services that organize itineraries full of activities personalized for guests and their families,” says Kwong. Everything from welcome baskets to day excursions and transportation are available.

The Right Choice

Vacation rentals can provide accommodations for groups without the financial strain of booking several hotel rooms. Family and friends can split the cost of a home with the added bonus of endless amenities at your fingertips. “Travelers are increasingly drawn to vacation homes instead of hotels or resorts when going on family or group trips because vacation homes provide the same value at a compelling rate. When renting an entire vacation home, travelers also have access to more space and privacy, better amenities, and the chance to stay in some truly unique properties that aren’t available just anywhere,” according to Kwong.

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV

Vacation rentals are perfect for large parties who want to create gather experiences without feeling crowded.

 

 

 

Hotels can become a necessity rather than a welcome addition to your travels. Vacation rental companies have their own special niche, while the overall goal of each is to craft a unique, authentic experience for travelers.

Companies with a Purpose

Vrbo is based on the more traditional sense of a vacation rental. Families and friends are offered the privacy that large gatherings crave. Forget overloaded resorts and stuffy hotel lobbies. Instead, stretch out in front of your own fireplace with a book, make a cocktail in your private kitchen, and head out to the pool or spa where you and your guests can relax in privacy.

“Over the last 25 years, Vrbo has grown into a global community of homeowners and travelers with more than 2 million unique properties around the world, ranging from cabins to beach houses and every kind of space in between,” says Kwong. The site began in 1995 and has only expanded over the years, now offering easy-to-use technology to plan a dream vacation.

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV

Rental sites offer the opportunity to stay in one-of-a-kind homes all over the world for a unique experience.

“One of the newest features Vrbo has added to the site are virtual tours, which pro-vide immersive, 360-degree views of vacation rental properties directly from the listing page,” according to Kwong. “Vrbo makes planning a trip together feel as effortless and enjoyable as being on one. Recently introduced, trip boards is a collaborative tool that allows multiple people to share, vote and collaborate about their favorite properties. That way, everyone is involved in the decision-making process and travelers feel confident that the vacation rental they choose is suitable for everyone.”

The trusted brand Airbnb is one of the more well-known services when renting a space, whether it’s for vacation or business. The luxury facet of the company, Airbnb Luxe, offers a trip designer for personalized activities that are specifically crafted for you and your guests. In tandem with activities and amenities, these ultra-luxury properties appeal to those with an interest in design and have been carefully chosen for that very reason.

PlansMatter is a platform that provides architecturally significant hotels and vacation homes for rent. For those with a special interest in spectacular architecture, travelers can choose from the likes of Pole House, a home in Australia that is suspended 40 meters above Fairhaven Beach; Vila Vals in Switzerland, which is built directly into the mountain scenery; the circular Solo House in Spain, and many more. “One of the highlights of a vacation rental is being able to get away from the crowds and enjoy more natural surroundings,” says Perehudoff. This is a component that can be overlooked when the simple convenience of a hotel is presented.

PlansMatter provides comprehensive information about architects and the properties that will boost the overall experience from the very start of a trip. Everything needed to decide, from photos and customer reviews to blueprints of the home, even a chance to read about the architects, is available.

Vacation rentals are growing in popularity today as a smarter way to travel for groups and for those searching for an authentic experience, but the concept has long attracted savvy and avid travelers. Founded in 1986, Windows on Italy carefully selects prestigious villas and apartments throughout Italy. From Florence to Rome, the countryside to the seaside, rentals with private pools, frescoed lofts, antiques and more will enchant travelers. The brand is another that focuses on one-of-a-kind, top-tier properties that heighten the overall travel experience.

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / SHIRONOSOV

Experience profound architecture when staying in homes such as this gorgeous Scottsdale, Arizona property.

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.

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On Location: Haig Point, Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

3 ocean watch photo courtesy of Haig Point; all others ©Dennis burnett photography

Daufuskie Island offers Southern charm and comfort that can only be found on an island with no bridges. Accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride, my journey to the Haig Point community began and ended with relaxation. Catching a glimpse of diving dolphins as I left the mainland behind was a warm welcome into the exclusive area. The sea island just off the coast of South Carolina, which is easily accessible from Savannah, is one that wholeheartedly embraces the easy pace of the Lowcountry.

“As soon as people step off the ferry they
typically fall in love with the island lifestyle,” says Lauren Hunt, the programming and communications manager at the private, member-owned Haig Point. “Their genuine commitment to the island is why they choose to build and live here.” Members welcomed me with open arms and shared the island’s charming attributes, all with similar stories of visiting and deciding to stay for the long haul. 

If the 29-hole Rees Jones golf course, equestrian center, award-winning tennis facility, and beach club don’t entice you, the real estate will. It ranges in size and price, creating a diverse community with something to offer everyone. Haig Point goes beyond vacation and second homes. Permanent residents are enjoying the influx of younger residents. “More families under age 55 joined in the past three years than the previous 10 combined,” says Hunt. An island destination with no traffic — the island runs on electric golf carts — is an ideal opportunity for those hoping to enjoy a smaller, safer environment for their families.

Homesites for building your dream home and a collection of existing properties make up the variety of real estate within the current 270-home development. On the market for $2.995 million, 3 Ocean Watch in Haig Point was designed and built to the highest standards with stunning heart pine and woodwork soured from a 200-year-old house. Other properties range in price from the mid $300,000s to $3 million.

The island won’t be threatened by commercialization or overcrowding, due to building restrictions, according to Hunt. The community’s Architectural Review Board ensures the nature and integrity of the island remain intact alongside development. Across the water, Hilton Head Island is visible. “Hilton Head Island has 2 million visitors annually. That means easy accessibility to great restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. And with only an eight-minute commute, our hourly water taxi makes it easy to escape back to the solitude of Haig Point,” says Hunt.

3 Ocean Watch offers Calibogue Sound views.

Enjoy uncrowded, pristine beaches.

Haig Point offers a private Equestrian Center.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

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Perfecting the Imperfect

PHOTOS FROM WABI-SABI: FURTHER THOUGHTS BY LEONARD KOREN

The ancient Japanese design philosophy of Wabi-Sabi turns “the not-beautiful into the beautiful.”

What happens when a new design trend highlights the beauty of imperfections?

The aesthetic of wabi-sabi was originally related to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, but has since been developed into a design style, highlighting all things “opposite of perfect.” Unique and striking by nature, this style derives from a deep understanding and respect for time and recognizing the beauty in the understated.

Author Leonard Koren describes this distinctive philosophy in multiple ways, from the “antithesis of the Classic Western aesthetic notion of beauty,” to the “beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete; of things modest and humble; of things unconventional.” Before writing two books on wabi-sabi, Koren first learned the term during his youth in the 1960s. As he describes in his book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, to him the term initially seemed to be “a nature-based aesthetic paradigm … a perfect antidote to the pervasively slick … corporate style of beauty that I felt was desensitizing American society.”

Koren notes that when physically manifested, wabi-sabi is related to the “entropic processes that all living things are subject to,” meaning that it embraces the method of showing objects that are worn or time-weathered. Antiques, for example, are generally imbued with qualities of wabi-sabi, Koren says. “An 18th century Italian desk, for instance will have evidence of hundreds of years of human use and misuse — along with the discoloration and natural deterioration that comes with age.” Further, he reminds us that despite its appearance, the character and merit of the desk “is not diminished by these ‘imperfections.’”

Another aspect that Koren stresses is that wabi-sabi art or design pieces are often initially perceived as ugly. “It is the transmutation of the not-beautiful into the beautiful that is part of the magic of wabi-sabi,” he affirms. He adds that every person perceives this aesthetic in different ways and applies it where they think it best. Though not as well known as styles like Modern or Contemporary just yet, designers and artists are appreciating the freedom and creative liberties of wabi-sabi and are finding ways to apply it in various ways.

Passionate about Japanese culture for over 10 years, Ukranian designer Sergey Makhno calls himself a devotee of minimalism and wabi-sabi, calling it a “manifesto of nature and tradition, simplicity [and] tranquility.” Makhno, like Koren, relates the philosophy to the impermanence and imperfections of man, asking that if man is imperfect, why should the place he calls home be perfect? As the founder of Makhno Studio, Makhno works on a multitude of projects, but his first venture in applying wabi-sabi principles into a physical space was in his own home.

“I had to make sure that the design philosophy was practical,” he says, and from its first installation it was a success. The project, titled Wabi-Sabi Apartment, has won multiple interior design competitions and showcases qualities that Makhno chose to highlight: honoring nature, remembering history, loving art and showing courage.

From the moment you walk in, the Wabi-Sabi Apartment boasts a carefully designed interior that is in stark contrast with the concrete cityscape outside. The walls are finished with clay, in a technique seen in older Ukrainian homes, while the wooden beams that support the ceiling and doorways are left looking rough and rustic. Nature is also represented in bonsai trees and a small roof garden.

PHOTO FROM WABI-SABI: FOR ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, POETS & PHILOSOPHERS BY LEONARD KOREN

Much of the furniture and art also display the aesthetic in simple yet functional ways. For example, the metal lampshades hanging in the home help integrate a contemporary element to the overall earthy, natural interior. “Their own imperfections also demonstrate how the ancient philosophy of wabi-sabi can find new applications in contemporary design, making us appreciate the beauty of handmade objects through the use of natural materials,” according to Makhno Studio.

Makhno says wabi-sabi provides simple principles that anyone can follow. From the use of natural materials that show signs of wear, as well as colors that tie closely to the earth, to incorporating nature itself, Makhno stresses that “things live with and for the person; a person does not live for the sake of things.”

Another design choice Makhno mentions is the incorporation of kintsugi pieces, or kintsukuroi, which roughly translates into “golden joinery.” These pieces are created through the traditional Japanese practice that joins broken fragments of ceramics together with gold, which according to ceramic artist Tomomi Kamoshita is viewed almost as a reincarnation of the original object. “When cherished pieces are broken, we save them and transform them into keshiki (the restored piece),” she says, giving the ceramic a “new life.”

PHOTOS BY ANDREY AVDEENKO

Kamoshita agrees that kintsugi is similar to wabi-sabi, as both practices aesthetically represent imperfect beauty that prevails despite wear and time. “All things continue to change. Even ceramics,” she says. “Anything can break for any kind of reason. It’s sad, but you can revive it with your own hands,” giving it back a sense of adoration and cherishment. This new life further continues an object’s story and embodies beauty in simple things, which encompasses wabi-sabi. As Makhno himself notes, “the story is that things can be repaired, not thrown away.”

PHOTO BY ANDREY AVDEENKO

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.

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Footloose Fortunes

©istockphoto.com / ClaudioVentrella

While the pace of wealth creation may be slowing, the story now is how it’s spreading around the globe.

“The increasingly footloose nature of wealth.” That’s how global consultancy Knight Frank characterizes today’s trend in affluence. When it comes to real estate, all it takes is a quick look at the worldwide activity of major brands to see a clear illustration of this concept.

The locations of new affiliates of Sotheby’s International Realty in recent months include Oklahoma City, Arkansas and Kansas, along with Cyprus, Slovakia and Qatar. Qatar is the second location in the Middle East for Sotheby’s. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has extended its reach to global hubs, partnering with major firms in Europe and the Middle East. Now, they count Berlin, London, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Dubai and Frankfort in their network. Coldwell Banker has offices in 49 countries. Luxury Portfolio International, the luxury arm of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, has affiliates in more than 70 countries.

“The fact that the world is becoming smaller and smaller, the speed of information flow, and travel contribute to people’s interest in owning properties elsewhere, both for Americans and foreign nationals,” explains Joyce Rey, executive director, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Markets may go through cycles and new partnerships emerge, but the foundation of global real estate hasn’t changed. “The luxury buyer understands that one of the best, if not the best, investments they can make is property,” explains Michael Jalbert, executive vice president, Global Field Operations for HSF Affiliates, the parent company of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Chatter regarding a potential recession might form a smokescreen, but wealth creation will continue to be a constant, according to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report, which forecasts a rise, over the next five years, of 22 percent in the number of individuals whose net worth exceeds $30 million, a group often classified as Ultra High Net Worth, UHNW. Over the next year, existing UHNW, especially in the U.S., expect their wealth to increase.

When Rey began her career in the 1970s, foreign buyers were a rarity, especially in Southern California. Today, she says, the percentage of foreign buyers purchasing ultra-luxury properties, those priced above $20 million, has remained pretty steady. “Usually it waffles between about 20 percent to 25 percent. And that hasn’t changed over the years.” For the first nine months of 2019, foreign buyers accounted for 31 percent of purchases of $20-million plus residences in Los Angeles’ tony west side.

Rey was one of the first to reach outside U.S. borders to forge connections. After the increase of Japanese buyers in 1980s, she traveled to Japan to meet one-on-one with agents and potential buyers. “I feel if a quarter of your buying population is foreign, you should be reaching out to the foreign market,” she says.

Bob Hurwitz, founder and president of the Hurwitz James Company (HJC), was also on the leading edge of the global outreach. “In the early 90s, I recognized that the buyers for my highest-priced properties were more and more often originating from overseas. This was actually before the Internet was even a reality for marketing purposes. As a result, I started focusing a significant percentage of my marketing to exposing my listings here in the states to affluent foreign buyers.” He also created a network of HJC representatives to promote his listings overseas. Currently, Hurwitz represents nearly $3 billion in luxury properties and developments worldwide.

Even those who work in the global arena today are occasionally surprised by the geographic diversity of investors and buyers. “One stat that recently jumped out at me is Aruba is home to 90-plus nationalities and ethnic groups, which I thought was fascinating,” shares Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International. “One of our affiliates there also pointed out that many of their buyers are coming from India.”

And this isn’t an isolated instance. Indian buyers are cropping up in many other primary and second-home locations, including Portugal. Among foreign buyers in the U.S., India ranks third after China and Canada. India is expected to lead the five-year growth in Asia’s ultra-high net worth population with a 39 percent increase, followed by the Philippines (38 percent) and China (35 percent).

Increasingly, the ultra-wealthy are not necessarily tied to one country or one region. Approximately, 26 percent plan to emigrate in the next year. Already, more than a third hold a second passport and 22 percent plan to buy outside their country of residence, according to Knight Frank.

However, 2018 saw only a marginal increase (0.8 percent) in the size of the ultra-wealthy population, which Wealth X describes as a “marked slowdown” from the year earlier. The combined net worth of the ultra-wealthy declined 1.7 percent, the first annual fall in three years, according to Wealth X. However, it’s important to view these changes in context, because 2017 saw dynamic wealth creation with double-digit growth in the number of ultra-wealthy and impressive gains in asset markets.

The global outlook this year is nuanced. Rising interest rates and the end of quantitative easing means we are reaching the end of super-charged returns on everything from classic cars to art and property, according to Knight Frank. Government policies continue to transition as some countries seek to attract wealth, with a record number offering citizenship and residency through policies regarding investment, while others restrict outflows of capital. Others, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK will continue to make it more difficult for wealthy non-residents to purchase properties.

Looking ahead, expectations are for slower price growth in key markets. But, as with any correction, a shift in values is an opportunity to which buyers respond, something that is already happening in London, where agents see a potential turnaround, particularly for higher-priced properties, underway.

“London’s general property market has experienced a slowdown and fall in housing prices. That said, the luxury property market is certainly bottoming out and we are experiencing buyers returning to the market, which is demonstrated by our revenues being up 146 percent year on year,” says Martin Bikhit, managing director at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co.

“Given all the uncertainty of Brexit, values in London have come down significantly. It’s a buyers’ market,” says Jalbert.

The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to sterling makes the value equation even more appealing. “American buyers have been able to take advantage of savings up to 45 percent compared to the 2014 peak of the market. U.S. buyers believe that the market is going to spike post-Brexit and there is now an opportunity to buy competitively. Indeed, this is illustrated by the fact that American hedge funder Ken Griffin was the buyer behind two of London’s most expensive property transactions within the past year,” according to Bikhit, who calls this surge a “pre-Brexit boom.”

Hurwitz sees luxury penthouses in many traditional hot markets, including London, as good opportunities for buyers, since those prices have seen a big decline. Other recommendations in Europe include France as well as Tuscany, which, he says, has an appeal that transcends the strictly financial. “Finding something totally renovated in an authentic manner is key.”

A flat or pied-à-terre in Paris has become a rite of passage for Americans, says Anton, noting reports of particular interest coming from Silicon Valley. Paris is one of the bright spots in Europe, placing third on Knight Frank’s list of the

fastest-growing luxury markets.

“France and Italy are still two of our top locations and our offices are expanding in numbers and experiencing a very solid claim in the market,” says Craig Hogan, vice president, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Berlin is Europe’s rising star. It has topped Urban Land Institute’s list of markets to watch in Europe for four years in a row, and currently ranks second after Madrid on rankings of the fastest-growing luxury real estate markets. Luxury residential here is a small but vibrant niche, with the number of privately owned apartments selling above 1 million euros growing by 17.5 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Stefan Schulze, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate, says, “If Berlin succeeds in further expanding its potential in scientific and culture fields and remains one of the influential centers in Europe, it can be deemed certain that not only the number of premium new development projects but also the quality of luxury real estate will continue to grow sharply.”

Global Buyers in the U.S.

From the perspective of foreign buyers in the U.S., Hurwitz says, the market has changed multiple times over the last few years, fueled by factors as diverse as the attitude and oversight of a foreign buyer’s own government regarding money leaving their country, to crushing economic changes in their country of origin, to U.S. government restrictions on shell companies buying, to various others. Hurwitz says, “I still believe the U.S. is a safe bet and I am telling my clients to buy here.”

During the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, global purchases of U.S. properties fell sharply, with purchases declining by 36 percent. The dollar volume as well as the average price also declined. Rather than lack of interest from potential buyers, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cites what he calls “a confluence of factors — slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale.”

John Smaby, NAR president, adds, “There is still significant interest in U.S. properties across the globe, and the U.S. is still seen as a safe, secure place to invest.”

London

©istockphoto.com / _ultraforma_

Tuscany

©istockphoto.com / mammuth

Paris

©istockphoto.com / Givaga

Madrid

©istockphoto.com / SeanPavonePhoto

Global Bright Spots

Along with real estate professionals from over 27 countries, Stephanie Anton recently returned from her company’s international conference in Athens. “It was thrilling to hear and see firsthand about so many bright spots in the market,” she says, including places where property markets were hard hit by political and financial turmoil during the recession. “One that was particularly obvious was our host city itself. The optimism of the Greek people was palpable.”

Both Spain and Portugal are seeing an influx of buyers and a surge in sales. Both suffered during the recession and are experiencing a strong turnaround.

“I think there is a sentiment of Europeans kind of holding their breath and waiting to see what happens with Brexit. But yet, there are also bright spots and the bright spots are more of those second-home markets because they’re lifestyle purchases. And so people are less concerned about the economic impact of Brexit because of making decisions on purchasing second or third homes,” Anton observes.

Some of the strongest luxury markets this year have been in resort locales. San Miguel de Allende continues to rank at the top of best cities and second-home destinations. “Our typical luxury buyers are investors looking for properties to take advantage of the lucrative vacation rental market, or shopping for their second or third vacation homes,” says Nancy Howze, with CDR San Miguel.

“Upscale consumers tend to have a broad world view,” says Jalbert. “They understand markets and are attracted to a range of places. Buyers in different parts of Europe are looking for a weather change, so it’s no surprise to see the resurgences of locations along Costa Del Sol and Portugal.” Jalbert adds that almost 100 percent of the luxury transactions in their eight offices in Portugal are from buyers outside the country. “It’s just an incredibly enchanted place where they have beautiful properties, but where there has also been significant investment in infrastructure,” he says.

One thing that has remained constant across the globe is the attitude of the elite regarding buying. Some of the highest sales in the last year can be tracked to global buyers, according to Hogan. “They will spend the money but need to know it’s a wise decision.”

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

Under the Radar: North Cyprus and Canada

In honor of our annual Global issue, we highlight areas not always thought of at the top of the luxury real estate list — but they should be.

A Sunset Paradise

This exquisite new construction estate will excite the discerning buyer who is looking for quality, uniqueness and all the beauty of the Florida Keys.

Destinations of Interest: Panama

From tropical escapes to spectacular biodiversity and marine life, Panama has great appeal to buyers interested in luxury real estate.

Live Like Royalty in Cyprus

The Villa Diva estate, listed for $3.185 million, spreads across 6,000 square meters of land with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and mountains.

Featured Agent: Kathie Robidou of Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties

Listed by Elite agent Kathie Robidou, this custom-built home on 20.2 acres offers stunning views, a gated entry and privacy.

Tamarack Resort is More than Just a Destination

The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County.

An Italian Masterpiece

Formerly owned by tenor Titta Ruffo, this penthouse in Rome, Italy was recently redesigned by “starchitect” Dante Benini to grant the comfort of a yacht.

Featured Agent: Sisi Takaki of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty

Close to Waikiki business and Kakaako attractions, this luxury listing offered by Elite agent Sisi Takaki boasts a modern design set in a tropical landscape.

Elegance in St. Croix

In a quiet, gated community in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, this grand home offers comfort and space for grand entertaining.

Featured Agent: Kim Martin-Fisher of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Listed by some of the top producers in Northeast Florida, this Ponte Vedra Beach home offers 2,404 square feet and waterfrontage.

A Castle in Tuscany

Located approximately 25 kilometers from Florence, this magnificent castle for sale is one of the most spectacular castles found anywhere in Tuscany.

A Sunset Paradise

This exquisite new construction estate will excite the discerning buyer who is looking for quality, uniqueness and all the beauty of the Florida Keys.

Luxury Living on the Lake

This unique lot in St. Clair Shores is positioned to enjoy dazzling sunrises, fishing off the dock and watching boats, all in a tranquil environment.

Elegant and Opulent Waterfront Estate in Sarasota

Grand estate features extravagant design and dazzling views of Sarasota's Intracoastal Waterway.

Waterfront Bliss in Florida

Make your waterfront living dreams come true with this Punta Gorda, Florida property! Sparkling views won't be missed from your own indoor pool.

Featured Agent: Kathie Robidou of Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties

Listed by Elite agent Kathie Robidou, this custom-built home on 20.2 acres offers stunning views, a gated entry and privacy.

Tamarack Resort is More than Just a Destination

The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County.

Sprawling Estate with Incredible Views and Amenities

A stunning showplace of architecture and craftsmanship, this sprawling estate offers an elevated living experience in Kauai’s most desirable enclave, “Anini Vista.” Featuring incredible views: epic ocean, white water, Anini Reef, Hanalei mountain range and Bali Hai sunsets.

Crystal Clear Water Views in Nevada

Stunning views from this picturesque condominium await! Stillwater Cove in Nevada is full of luxurious amenities and wonderful entertainment.

An Italian Masterpiece

Formerly owned by tenor Titta Ruffo, this penthouse in Rome, Italy was recently redesigned by “starchitect” Dante Benini to grant the comfort of a yacht.

Who’s Who Luxury Real Estate Retreat Announces World Record Holder As Keynote Speaker for Spring Retreat

Want to learn how to become the real estate industry's go-to professional? Ryan Avery is the expert you've been looking for.

Tamarack Resort is More than Just a Destination

The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County.

New Luxury Residence Begins Sales

Pendry Residences West Hollywood features stunning interiors and high-end amenities.

Stacy Gottula joins Celebrity Team Eklund-Gomes

Stacy Gottula, one of the premier luxury real estate brokers with the Agency, has officially redirected her career toward working with Eklund and Gomes.

Engel and Völkers Snell Announces New Partnership

Luxury real estate company, Engel & Völkers Snell Real Estate, recently announced its newest partnership with Lifestyle Asset Group, an exclusive vacation home company.

New report affirms the allure of a second home

Luxury Portfolio International's newest report discusses "The Allure of the Second Home" and how affluent buyers are showing interest in resort markets.

Chinowth and Cohen Realtors to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

With more than 65 years’ experience between them, Sheryl Chinowth and Lee Cohen, co-founders of Chinowth and Cohen Realtors, have proven to be leaders in the luxury real estate industry.

Home of Dean Martin for Sale

Totaling approximately 27,500 square feet, the massive concrete home with a modern museum-style aesthetic was completed in 1995, and has since replaced the longtime home Dean Martin originally purchased in the 1950s.

Renowned Chef Gastón Acurio is Joining Atlantis, Dubai, in 2020

One of the world’s leading Peruvian restaurants is announced as the latest culinary addition to The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, set to open late 2020.

Pimar Wins Award for Restoration of Ancient Italian Walls

The Italian limestone manufacturing company Pimar won first-place for its restoration of Parco delle Mure Urbiche in the city of Lecce.
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Dressed for Success

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

David Meister’s journey to become a fashion designer to the stars is based on “no rules” and creating timelessness.

A fashion designer or a brain surgeon. As a kid, the “very opinionated” David Meister already decided he was going to be one or the other. It was Cher who convinced him to choose fashion. Or actually, her dress.

Meister couldn’t help but notice how great Cher looked on “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.“ “I watched the credits where it said ‘Cher’s Gown by Bob Mackie,’ and that’s how I realized that people could really do that,” he says, meaning design celebrity evening wear. From that point on, Meister put himself on a path toward fashion stardom.

Meister went on to study Fashion at the University of Cincinnati College of Design. He would later move on to New York City where he worked at Danskin, a fitness and body wear company. There, Meister learned to work with all types of fabric and how it can be used to effortlessly accentuate and flatter a woman’s form. It wasn’t long before he had his first collection of evening wear in 1998, followed closely by his first fall line, which was composed of the more modern evening wear that came to be the beginnings of his brand and signature style. His career has only grown since the 1990s, as he’s gone on to create a daytime dress collection, a line of bridal dresses, and numerous pieces that can be found in top luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as top boutiques across the country.

Apart from his overall love for all things fashion, Meister notes that the aspect of fashion that appeals to him is that it’s always moving. “I love it because it’s never static or ever the same — it’s always different and it’s always changing, and it’s quick. There are no rules, there are no formulas.” He also says that design itself is just another form of creative problem solving — “problems” he continues to solve by creating beautiful pieces in a style that offers a “sense of timelessness” so they will stay fashionable no matter the decade. This style not only makes him stand out as an iconic designer, but as a master of his craft.

What keeps people coming back to Meister’s style is his judgment in terms of design, particularly with fit. “I think a great fit is key, something beautifully made that fits beautifully,” which helps him remain inclusive of all sizes. This is essential, especially for his clients who are walking the red car-pet, noting, “once you put a dress on and go on the red carpet, you should not be thinking about anything except smiling and feeling good you shouldn’t have to worry about anything else.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Meister’s pieces have become staples on the red carpet, as his star-studded list of clientele continues to grow along stars such as Diane Lane, Sofia Vergara, Tina Fey, Sigourney Weaver, and many others. Some of his favorite dresses include a hot pink piece worn by Felicity Huffman at the Emmys in 2007, as well as Valerie Bertinelli’s sky blue chiffon dress for her New Year’s Eve wedding, a personal request made to Meister only a week before the wedding. Even with the razor thin deadline, he and his team finished the dress in time for the wedding, a lovely gown worn by Bertinelli that was also featured on the cover of People Magazine in 2011.

Another strong passion of Meister’s is giving back to others. Now residing in Los Angeles, he frequently works with philanthropic groups in his free time. For example, with The Art of Elysium, Meister goes to communities in Los Angeles to support individuals in the midst of difficult emotional life challenges such as illness, hospitalization, or crisis. He does this by spending time with children or young adults, doing fun projects and helping them to be creative and expressive with art. Meister is also very involved in Dress for Success, having donated dresses and supported the organization as a whole.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

“I’ve always been a big supporter of this organization that works so hard to help people who are trying to put their lives back together and get back into the workforce,” Meister says, noting that it’s especially important for people to give back.

No matter the facet of life he sets his mind to, Meister showcases unwavering determination to succeed. When discussing his goals for the future, he humorously yet seriously says, “Simple: global domination.” Though these plans might take some time to reach their full effect, he adds that “if there’s something I want to do, I’ll do it.” He also recommends to anyone else interested in pursuing a career in fashion that this field is not for the faint-hearted.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

 

Helen Mirren

©2013 JON KOPALOFF

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

PHOTO BY JOHN SHEARER / ©2009 WIREIMAGE

Viola Davis

PHOTO BY MATT BARON / BEI / SHUTTERSTOCK

Delilah Hamlin

PHOTO BY DAN MACMEDAN / WIREIMAGE

Diane Lane

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID MEISTER

Emmanuelle Chirqui 

“Fashion is one of those professions where if you’re talented and you just keep going, there’s no limit to where you can end up … You’re the master of your own destiny, but only if you want it, you have to work hard for it.”

 

     

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Winter 2020.

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The Aloha Spirit

Photo by Charles Roach / aloha films

Experts say it’s the perfect time to buy in Hawaii. But when isn’t it?

Aloha is much more than a salutation or expression of farewell in Hawaii. The “Aloha Spirit” is a way of life. This philosophy of mutual regard and compassion for others was a gift from native Hawaiians and is still practiced today to contribute to the overall experience on the islands.

The relaxed nature combined with pristine beaches, luxurious homes, and natural beauty make Hawaii a dream location for a second or permanent home.

“Oahu, known as ‘The Gathering Place,’ offers a wonderful combination of the amenities you would find in a vibrant metropolitan city as well as easy access to the tropical environment, including beaches, trails, and spectacular scenic ocean views,” according to Tracy Allen, the vice president and global luxury ambassador for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties in Honolulu. The Hawaiian Islands are a true place for gathering, from outdoor enthusiasts to business professionals, with the surrounding Central Pacific Ocean offering added benefits for all.

“Oahu is truly magical in that it has all of the beauty of Hawaii while offering the ultimate lifestyle in paradise — outdoor activities, dining, and culture,” says Tracy Bradley, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Realty. Similarly, Dannette Andrews, at Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty, says, “moving to Kauai is a lifestyle choice for people who appreciate the natural beauty and laid back lifestyle.”

Ideally located at almost the mid-way point between the United States and Asia, Hawaii is an oasis with easy access to flights in both directions. Although, visitors may never want to leave the world-renown beaches, gentle waves for canoe surfing or the more extreme Pipeline, gorgeous waterfalls, hiking, ziplining, luxurious homes, and high-end restaurants. “Year-round we are able to surf, play tennis, hike, snorkel, sail, bike, and enjoy paradise,” says Bradley.

Whether buyers are relocating or hunting for a second home, “it’s the perfect time to buy,” says Andrews. “Luxury real estate on [Kauai] used to be considered anything over $1 million, but I would now say it’s pushing closer to $1.5 million. And the ultra-luxury for high-end gated estates start around $4 million and go up.” According to Allen, Oahu is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the U.S., with a strong influx of foreign buyers. “The leading foreign investing is still from Japan, followed by Canada and Korea. U.S. West Coast buyers are also a dominant force in our market and make up a large segment of our second-home buyer market.”

Hawaii Luxury Experts

Hawaii

Tracy Allen

Vice President, Global Luxury Ambassador

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

D. 808.593.6415  C. 808.927.6415

Tracy@cbpacific.com

www.TracyAllenHawaii.com

PageS 142-144

Hawaii

Tracy Bradley, R

President, RB-15189

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Realty

D. 808.282.3264

tracyb@bhhshawaii.com

www.bhhshawaii.com

Page 42

Hawaii

Dannette Andrews

Realtor (S), CRS, CLHMS

Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty

C. 808.635.7019

Danette@KauaiLuxuryLiving.com

www.KauaiLuxuryLiving.com

PageS 44-45

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE GLOBAL 2019 ISSUE OF UNIQUE HOMES. TO SEE THE DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.

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