Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Raises Over $7 Million for Cancer Research

A local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fights cancer by setting sail on San Francisco Bay.

By Roger Grody

The Greater Bay Area chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently hosted the Pacific Union Leukemia Cup Regatta on San Francisco Bay, the centerpiece of a fundraising weekend that has raised more than $7 million for cancer research over its 12-year history.

In addition to the Regatta, the weekend of October 21-22, 2017 featured the third annual Perkins Challenge sailing competition launched from San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club, a Poker Run for non-racing powerboats and a $1,000 per ticket VIP gala. Yachting has become a major theme for LLS nationally, with more than 45 Leukemia Cup Regattas now held across the country, from St. Petersburg to Seattle. In the Bay Area, the prominent San Francisco-based luxury real estate firm Pacific Union International is the Regatta’s title sponsor.

Jennifer Daly, campaign director for the Greater Bay Area Leukemia Cup Regatta, reports, “Since Pacific Union plays such a large role in the Marin County community, they’re a natural fit to be the title sponsor.” Pacific Union CEO Mark McLaughlin reinforces the natural attraction of supporting an organization close to home. “This is a community event, and we’re part of the community,” says the chief executive, whose own sailing background makes this corporate sponsorship all the more rewarding.

McLaughlin was initially drawn to the LLS Regatta by a friend who was personally committed to the cause, which Daly suggests is representative of many volunteers and sponsors. “Our committee and all our volunteers feel a special connection to the LLS mission and sailing,” she says, explaining that organizing the Regatta weekend is a year-round effort. “It takes a small army of folks to make sure everyone has a great time and comes back year after year,” she says.

Approximately 100 yachts participated in the recent event, and the weekend’s activities were expected to generate about $700,000 in proceeds. After a decade of sponsoring the event at various levels, this was the second year that Pacific Union International was the title sponsor of the Regatta, and several executives from the company participated as skippers. Cancer survivors were named honorary skippers, including actress Brittany Daniel, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor who was joined by her husband Adam Touni, a Pacific Union real estate professional.

McLaughlin reports this collaboration with LLS is part of Pacific Union’s corporate culture of giving, represented by the company’s active Community Fund. “Each real estate professional donates to the fund from commission proceeds and each region has a team of real estate professionals that direct the fund’s donations,” he explains. Indicating a major milestone was reached this year, McLaughlin reports, “We celebrated $l million in total giving to local nonprofits since launching the Community Fund 25 years ago.”

Pacific Union and other contributors, large and small, are making a significant difference in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s pursuit of medical advancements, and the Bay Area chapter is a national leader. “We’re proud of the fact we’ve been the top fundraising regatta in the country for 10 years now,” says Daly.

Actress Brittany Daniel with husband Adam Touni

Pacific Union CEO Mark McLaughlin

Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey

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Magnificent Gems and Minerals for your Home Decor

Whether positioned on a pedestal, displayed in a library bookshelf, or situated on a coffee table, fine minerals and crystal specimens make for great accents in any luxury home.


By Alyssa Gautieri

Photos courtesy Astro Gallery of Gems

Located on 5th Avenue in New York City, Astro Gallery of Gems is the largest mineral gallery in the world. A favorite destination for top designers, the gallery embraces a movement that has skyrocketed within the last year — incorporating natural art into home décor. “Depending on the décor or style of the room, you have a world of different things to choose from,” explains Dennis Tanjeloff, the owner and president of Astro Gallery of Gems.



Depending on rarity, color, aesthetics, quality and perfection, Amethyst gems are available for a range of prices, starting as low as $30 and exceeding more than $75,000.


While Amethysts are more readily available than their counterparts, this is not the only reason for their popularity. “The purple color, size and shape of the crystals are so amazing to the eyes that even the most novice people are wondered by them,” Tanjeloff says. “People are so fascinated by the fact that this just comes out of the ground this way.”


Amethysts, uniquely crafted by mother nature, may resemble anything from a tree, flower or animal. “They are so unique,” Tanjeloff adds, “they are stand out pieces in any décor.”



From kitchen countertops and columns to jewelry and belt buckles, agate can be used for almost any purpose. “I would say the number one item right now in interior design is agate,” says Tanjeloff on the crystal’s growing popularity. “People have so many different ways of applying the product, it is almost hard now not to see agate everywhere.”


From bright pink to calming yellow, agate appears in a range of colors. The high desire for agate comes from its rich color, translucence, and the beauty of its striations and shape.

Blue Coral


Bring the atmosphere of the sea into your home with aquatic fossils. “Sea shells and corals have always been very popular in summer homes,” Tanjeloff explains, “but now it seems that they have been incorporated into almost any type of room. Now you see corals almost anywhere.”


Crafted by the ocean, no two aquatic fossils are alike. “They really can open up a room because no one has two of the same,” Tanjeloff says. “They are really unique conversation pieces.”

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Artist Lissi Kaplan’s Delicate Porcelain Pieces

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of The High End magazine. For more information about The High End, click here.

Kaplan brings color and life to her fragile masterpieces, taking high tea to new heights.

By Roger Grody

Photos by Lindsey Baumsteiger

While most painters work with canvases, some apply their skills to wood or metal and others, sometimes controversially, transform buildings. Artist Lissi Kaplan’s work is preserved on fragile porcelain, often contemplated over tea service in opulent salons. She is one of the premier porcelain painters in America and her work is coveted by collectors and exclusive hotels.

Born into an artistic family, Los Angeles-based Kaplan was once an aspiring opera singer who studied voice in college but eventually embraced her creative spirit as an interior designer. With the passing of her mother in 1997, however, she found herself searching for a more personal form of expression, and when she discovered the porcelain collection her mother left her, she knew she had inherited much more than just table settings. 

When Kaplan began painting, it was not only therapeutic during a period when she needed healing, but was also a tribute to her late mother. “I had so many memories of sipping tea with her, so I was happy to be able to create artwork around that ritual,” says Kaplan, explaining that her mom was her first voice coach and they would warm up their vocal chords over cups of tea.

“That art form spoke to me… a little painting under glaze forever. I was attracted to porcelain painting because it’s functional art and an heirloom that can be passed from generation to generation,” explains Kaplan. “There’s something about applying a brush to that smooth surface that is very soothing to the spirit.… You almost become one with the porcelain,” says Kaplan, who notes the use of fire adds another layer of magic to the process.

Artist Lissi Kaplan

(Photo by Steve Reisch)

Kaplan has been in constant demand for two decades, commissioned by a wide range of celebrities and institutions. She created a collection for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, but her bipartisan career also included an exquisite set of porcelain designed for Hillary Clinton. Kaplan prepared hand-painted gifts — porcelain emblazoned with poppies, the State Flower — for visiting dignitaries to California Governor Gray Davis, and her work can be found in the collections of Deepak Chopra, Tony Blair and Madeleine Albright.

When creating tableware for individuals, Kaplan’s artistic approach is informed by personal characteristics observed through one-on-one interactions. The bold colors used for Secretary Clinton reflect her strong personality and convictions, while Mrs. Reagan’s collection features softer tones expressed through peonies, a flower beloved by the late First Lady. Kaplan continues to be commissioned by clients seeking table settings with family crests or initials incorporated into ornate designs. In the vanishing art of porcelain painting, a five-piece set can take four months to produce.

Nature has always been one of Kaplan’s greatest inspirations, but the flowers and butterflies that populate her table settings are not precise scientific representations. “I think my work resonates with people because the designs are more whimsical and ethereal,” explains Kaplan, who suggests that like Chinese brush painting, her art is more about the spirit than science. 

An exquisite hand-painted California wildflower collection elevates the elegance of tea service.

Roses, which Kaplan reports are among the most technically challenging images to create on porcelain, appear on a fluted dessert plate with 24-karat gold accents, an ornate Limoges tea table or even a whimsical hand-painted piggy bank that makes a unique baby shower gift. Images of tiger orchids create a dramatic effect and a leopard skin pattern appearing on vases and tea sets is created with gold leaf. Kaplan says this design, originally produced for actress Fran Drescher, is particularly labor-intensive as each of five separate layers of painting must be fired in the kiln separately.

Kaplan applies her art to a three-piece tea set with matching Limoges tea table.

Grand hotels are among Kaplan’s biggest patrons and she was recently commissioned to create a new silver-laced tea collection commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Other hotels that have served high tea on Kaplan-designed porcelain include The Montage in Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara’s El Encanto resort. Today, many renowned hotels opt for mass-produced porcelain, concerned with breakage of the more precious handcrafted items.

Kaplan’s first book deal was the direct result of tea service at The Peninsula, when influential literary editor Judith
Regan admired the hotel’s porcelain, part of a 600-piece original collection Kaplan created for the Beverly Hills hotel. “She looked at my teacups and said, ‘This artwork is speaking to me’,” reports the artist, whose book The Power of a Teacup (William Morrow, 2003) is personal and heartfelt.

In an era when many of the world’s porcelain manufacturers make concessions to mass production — even some producers in the revered village of Limoges, France’s capital of artisanal porcelain, now use decals — hand-painted porcelain is truly appreciated. Artists like Kaplan are increasingly rare and their work viewed as exquisite treasures.

Kaplan is moving into new territories, with her delicate brushwork appearing on textiles and wallpaper. Her most recent book Light as a Feather (Little Finch Press, 2016) is an endearing coming-of-age fable whose illustrations create a world of Kaplan’s signature pastel etherealness. If the pages look like they were lifted from an opulent tea room, it is because they were, in a sense. Each image was painted onto a porcelain tile, the medium this artist has mastered with great intimacy, then transferred to paper for publication. “When you put your heart into anything you love, it will be felt by others,” says Kaplan, an alchemist and dreamer whose passion elevates a cup of tea.

Contact: Lissi Kaplan

lissikaplan.com | 818.517.5293

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Fashion Meets Food In These 3 Designer Restaurants

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of The High End magazine. For more information about The High End, click here.

Some designer labels have successfully expanded their style to include branded restaurants.

By Samantha Myers

Photo courtesy Burberry

In recent years, high-end fashion houses have begun expanding their brands into fashionable food ventures, ranging from fine dining locales to cultivated cafes and refined bars.

One of the most notable fashion designers to establish contemporary food businesses as a direct extension of a signature brand is famed American designer Ralph Lauren. In 1999, Lauren opened his first restaurant, RL, adjacent to the world’s largest Polo store in Chicago. Similar to his fashion ideology, the restaurant focused on American classics — but traded in its collared Polo shirts, cashmere sweaters and neckties for steaks, seafood, chops and sandwiches.

RL, along with his subsequent restaurants, The Polo Bar in New York and Ralph’s on Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris, all have found ways to embody aspects of his iconic style.

Lauren’s newest venture is Ralph’s  Coffee & Bar in London, located just next door to his flagship European store — a space that spans over 3 floors of product — on the iconic shopping stretch of Regent Street. The club-like atmosphere offers a decor that fits the designer’s equestrian aesthetic, and utilizes materials such as leather, brass and dark wood paneling.

“Ralph’s Coffee & Bar is a natural extension of the heritage of Polo and will add yet another dimension to the worlds we create,” said Lauren of the bar’s opening in January 2017. “I’ve always imagined our stores as a place for customers to experience a world. [This location] will add to that experience by offering a warm, friendly place to sit cozily with friends and family to sip a cup of our distinctive coffee or toast a special moment with one of our unique cocktails.”


Ralph’s Coffee & Bar

Photo courtesy Ralph Lauren

173 Regent Street
Mayfair, London W1B 4JQ

Jonathan Hatchman, food editor for The London Economic, believes Ralph’s Coffee & Bar meets its intent and holds up the Ralph Lauren image. “The bar completely epitomizes everything expected from Ralph Lauren: from the equestrian and polo themed accents, brass-topped bar, saddle leather seats and a palette of rich browns and bottle green,” he says.

While the menu follows suit with American classics, it has also embraced European elements. The bar sells three signature cocktails specifically created for the London location: Regent Street Sour, Ralph’s Winter Punch and Ralph’s Evening Roast.

During his visit, Hatchman indulged in the bar’s beverages and complementary snacks — especially the “ludicrously delicious” breaded and deep-fried olives. “I particularly enjoyed ‘The Chairman’ — a rye whiskey cocktail with an absinthe rinse, both typical Sazerac components and one of my favorite cocktails,” he says. “The bar’s take on an ‘Old Fashioned’ was good, too, served in a huge polo-etched glass, made with woody Eagle Rare bourbon.”

Photo courtesy Burberry

Thomas’s at Burberry Regent Street

5 Vigo Street
London W1S 3HA

A few minutes down Regent Street, another famed fashion brand has quite literally broadened its label into a culinary eatery. Known for its iconic trench coats and classic trademark tartan plaid, British luxury fashion house Burberry is also giving its clientele an equally posh spot to dine as their clothes have given them to wear.

Named for its founder, Thomas Burberry, Thomas’s is described as an “all-day dining destination” within the company’s flagship London store. This particular location offers a special gift area, as well as in-store monogramming services so that leather accessories and luxury goods can be embellished with one’s initials.

With a menu ranging from lobster to finger sandwiches and English cakes, Thomas’s is a sophisticated cafe for both a shopping break or a social meal. What’s better than concluding a Burberry shopping spree with a fine cup of tea and a locally sourced lunch?

“All of the produce is sourced from British small farms and artisan suppliers, while the decor is quite simple with marble-topped tables, dark-wood chairs and plenty of natural light that floods the room,” says Hatchman. “Inside, the cafe is, essentially, a continuation of the store, with friendly, unthreatened service, as expected from a high-end retail space.”

“Thomas’s is very much an extension of the store,” says Hatchman. “It would appeal most to central London shoppers — either customers of Burberry, or surrounding Regent Street shops.”

Hatchman visited the store-cafe for Breakfast at Burberry. “For me, the quality of carefully selected produce really stood out,” he says. “In terms of food, the full English breakfast is a million miles from the greasy spoon classic, but it’s a fair, refined version that doesn’t skimp on quality or on the meat. I remember the black pudding being particularly delicious.”

Yet, aside from the cafe’s quite literal connection with its store, the restaurant refrained from becoming a physical manifestation of its iconic Burberry clothes. “Thomas’s is very much an extension of the store,” says Hatchman. “It would appeal most to central London shoppers — either customers of Burberry, or surrounding Regent Street shops.”

Rather than extend its brand, Burberry has extended its store’s space into the realm of nourishment. “I wouldn’t say that the cafe is a complete embodiment of the brand’s style,” he says. “But — like Burberry — the cafe is staunchly British and proud.”

Jonathan Hatchman

Photo courtesy Burberry

Armani / Ristorante 5th Avenue

While Ralph Lauren and Burberry have effectively incorporated restaurants into their brand’s empire, others have been unsuccessful, with their restaurants disappearing quickly after the initial buzz diminished. Take Marc Jacobs Café in Milan or Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge.

Armani, however, has not had a problem.

Across the sea, immersed in the heart of Manhattan overlooking New York’s own shopping stretch — 5th Avenue — is Armani/Ristorante, one of the slew of restaurants bearing the name of the Italian mega-designer. You don’t have to travel far to find a Giorgio Armani restaurant venture — Armani Restaurants have been steadily popping up across the Americas, Europe and Asia for years, and now have over a dozen locations.

Photo courtesy Giorgio Armani


717 5th Avenue
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10175

This particular Armani restaurant can be found on the third level of the Armani/5th Avenue store. Designed by Fuksas, the heart of the building is the sculptural steel staircase that leads customers to and from Armani-curated shopping and dining. The restaurant incorporates an Italian-inspired trendy style through a commanding backdrop of black and white, sleek curves and straight lines and furbished LED lights that give it the edge it needs.

Armani/Ristorante is structured in true Italian fashion — antipasti, primi piatti, secondi, and also offers breakfast and lunch, most likely for visitors to its bustling store.

Although epitomizing Armani’s sleek, hard-edged style, Armani restaurants are beyond a re-creation of his style in restaurant format. In fact, his locations have bolstered into culinary expeditions and have seen partnerships with some of the world’s top chefs, such as Milan’s Armani/Nobu, where he created a restaurant with celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The polished restaurant is unmistakably Armani, yet has a warm Japanese influence in both the design details and of course, the food.

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On Location: Hualalai on Ka‘upulehu, The Big Island of Hawaii

Hualalai’s individual communities each possess unique character and ambiance, all offering spectacular vistas and cooling tradewinds.

By Camilla McLaughlin

All photos courtesy Hualalai

An old Hawaiian saying is, “You don’t choose the island, the island chooses you.” After a recent visit to Hualalai on the island of Hawaii, I left completely smitten by the magic of the place, and in my wildest dreams I tend to think maybe I am one of the chosen.

It doesn’t take long to fall under the spell. Arrive at Hualalai and you’re greeted with a mai tai and a lei. Check-in takes place in a comfortable open-air space with the ocean shimmering under the moonlight in the distance. In a region awash with five-star properties, Hualalai is a standout, and what makes it so exceptional is passion — passion for the property paired with a reverence for the land and the Hawaiian culture that is shared by everyone who works there. It permeates every aspect of the resort from architecture to food to the Alaka‘ i Nalu, explorers of the waves. Very few places are able to orchestrate such a fine balance between authenticity, a connection to the land and a superlative guest experience.

During a recent visit, anticipation of an annual food and wine celebration with visiting celebrity chefs, was full on. An herb garden was being readied for a pop-up cooking academy. Chefs worked with David Choi, director of natural resources, to gather salt from a nearby stretch of beach. Also at the ready was a stock of oysters grown onsite in a lake fed by a subterranean aquifer and drawn through lava wells, only one of a couple sites verified by the state for this cultivation. These oysters are only available to residents and guests at the resort.

In addition to a Four Season’s resort, Hualalai includes residences ranging from villas to custom homes. Outdoor shower gardens, walls that disappear to open homes to the tradewinds, and designs that uniquely align with today’s lifestyle preferences are hallmarks, as are views of distant mountains and Maui. Almost everywhere, the ocean forms a backdrop thanks to changing elevations. Owners have extensive private amenities, including a clubhouse and restaurants. One of the resort’s two golf courses is private. Also reserved for residents is a beachfront restaurant, a prime place for dinner and sunset cocktails. Chefs at all the restaurants are masters at coaxing the best from the local bounty.   

Rather than buildings, the most prominent feature here is the landscape — miles of coastline and lava rocks, an iconic signature of the island. The grounds are extensive with pathways that meander past low-slung bungalows embraced by a jungle landscape. Locals like to say the resort sits lightly on the land, and that’s only possible when development is guided by a commitment to stewardship.

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What Will Happen to Your Shopping Center?

By Camilla McLaughlin

What’s on the horizon for retail?

Everything from enhanced technology that will point customers toward stores, sales or experiences based on past behavior, to a menu of ever-evolving, engaging venues including theaters, art galleries, craft brewers and distillers, luxury motoring, spas, yoga and fitness, rooftop restaurants, farmers’ markets and concerts.

Photo courtesy of the Taubman Company LLC

In January, Macy’s released a list of 68 stores to be shuttered, a number that later grew to 100; the next day Sears announced the closing of 150 stores, a number that later swelled to 250. A month later, J.C. Penney announced plans to close 138 stores. It seemed that a “retail apocalypse” might be at hand as if one of the largest industries in the U.S. was going to suddenly disappear. But commercial developers, contractors and planners have an entirely different take on the situation. Instead of sudden death, they see a metamorphosis into something more experiential, authentic and consumer- and community-oriented.
“Headlines might make it seem every shopping center is going to be vacant, but that’s not the case. We are in a period of evolution. If you can’t adapt, you can’t evolve. The one constant in this industry is change,” said Jeff Kreshek, senior vice president West Coast Leasing, Federal Realty Investment Trust, speaking on a panel focused on retail at a recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) conference.
Even though industry observers acknowledge change and recognize the need for further change, a scenario in which brick and mortar stores will fade as the preferred outlet by consumers is unlikely, according to ULI’s 2018 retail outlook. “Retail itself is alive and well,” says Brian Andrus, president of the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of Realtors. Spending might fluctuate with the economy, but the long-term average growth for retail sales is 4.18 percent, significantly higher than the U.S. GDP. The National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending forecast expects holiday shopping in November and December to increase retail sales between 3.6 and 4 percent.
Overall, online only accounts for about 10 to 11 percent of all yearly retail sales. Surprisingly, this number is equal to the amount captured by catalog and mail-order sales in 1995.

Online shopping often takes the blame for empty retail spaces, but that’s only one of several factors at play. Another is simply an overabundance of space. A study by Cowan and Company estimated the U.S. has 40 percent more shopping space per person than Canada, five times more than the U.K. and 10 times more than Germany. Expectations are that some portion of this excess capacity will be refocused. One example is The Mark 302, which is an old Sears building in Santa Monica being redeveloped by Seritage Growth Properties. Reconfigured from the inside out, the new building is infused with light. Green walls and the use of wood lend an organic feel. Half of the space is devoted to creative offices. Lower levels include small retail shops as well as a diverse food hall.

Photos courtesy of Santana Row


“You have to engage with people on a sensitive level and give people a reason to be there without being crammed down by shopping. It’s not the shopping, but the experience,” explained Kreshek, using the example of Santana Row in San Jose.

Demographics and shifting consumer priorities require retailers to give consumers a reason to go to a mall. “You have to engage with people on a sensitive level and give people a reason to be there without being crammed down by shopping. It’s not the shopping, but the experience,” explained Kreshek, using the example of Santana Row in San Jose.
“Malls are dying, but not all of them. The demise of the department store contributed to that. Retail is changing, but it’s not broken, it’s not dead. We’re seeing a lot of new projects coming out,” said Steven Siegel, executive vice president, Sagamore Development Company. Increasingly, he says, new retail entails meeting the consumers where they are and being responsive to their needs, a challenge he expects technology to augment.
New projects are likely to extend beyond the traditional concept of a mall as a separate contained entity. Rather, they are connected to the community and often incorporate a carefully calculated mix of spaces, including residential and office, as well as places for community gatherings and events.

Meeting Consumers on Their Terms

Look for omnichannel, which refers to a seamless shopping experience across multiple outlets, to be retail’s buzzword of the year, as Amazon and others explore ways to integrate multiple modes of purchasing and delivery. Amazon has moved away from pure-play distribution, opening pick-up centers near college campuses as well as actual bookstores in Boston, San Diego, Portland, San Jose and Seattle. Savvy companies from Nordstrom to Walmart to Chico’s already sync online with bricks and mortar, so one enhances the other. A strong online component also augments in-store inventories.
For luxury, omnichannel is expected to be a top 2018 trend, according to the Luxury Client Experience Board and the Luxury Institute. Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute explains: “There is a digital transformation that’s required across all channels as companies realize that the consumer experience is non-linear. They may research products in one place,obtain pricing information at another, and then choose to make the final purchase either in-store or online.

“They may purchase online, and bring returns to the store. A seamless channel goes beyond having access to products either in-store or online. Consumers should be able to transact in any way they choose via any channel that the brand offers, and 2018 is a critical year for this objective to be met.”
Chuck Taylor, director of operations for Englewood Construction and Management in Chicago, says the move from online to bricks and mortar also reflects a growing recognition among online brands that “the one thing missing from the shopping experience is the experience itself.”
The hottest retail outlets today, according to Taylor, incorporate an experience. To illustrate, he points to an Englewood project — American Girl Place, the brand’s flagship store, in Chicago. Here shoppers can immerse themselves in the brand experience that includes creating one-of-a-kind outfits, a salon visit with expert in doll hairstyles, even doll pampering and spa treatments.
While innovative retailers are important to attracting visitors to a mall, a number of other factors ranging from authenticity to local flavor to the physical setup and a carefully curated mix are equally essential. Wellness is also growing as a mall addition, and these features offer a way to engage with consumers who increasingly want to do something important with their lives.
Taylor also sees a growing presence of high-end automotive brands like Tesla and motorcycle manufacturers, whether as pop-up shops or full-on sales galleries. “These luxury motor brands are being considered by developers as unique and creative additions to their tenant mix,” he says.

Outward Orientation

Traditional malls were typically inward focused; new power malls connect with the outside with light-filled atriums, green walls and water features enhanced by well thought out connections between retail outlets, restaurants, other experiences, parking and the outside. Many, both open and enclosed, are organized around the concept of a main street, whether this entails turning several streets into an iconic shopping district or creating one in an entirely new setting.
Built during the recession, City Creek Center in Salt Lake City (pictured at top and below) covers several city blocks. A retractable roof turns the enclosed space into an open-air venue. A creek runs along the main walkway, and there are multiple entrances from adjacent streets. Like many new malls, this project includes a mix of residential and office space with local and national retailers.
“The appeal of the surrounding shopping center or village is rivaling the importance of the individual store in attracting traffic drawn to a retail destination for the quality of the overall experience. The entire shopping center, or the mall, has to create a great experience, and those on the leading edge of luxury offer shoppers spas, art exhibitions, music and other entertainment to enhance the shopping experience,” says Pedraza.
Already, landlords and developers are drawing on local communities to provide input into new retail developments, and the local synergy lends more authenticity.

Photo courtesy of the Taubman Company LLC

Big Box Business

The discount sector continues to resonate with consumers with Ultra, T.J. Maxx and Dollar General opening new stores. Big Box retailers such as Target are also experimenting with new formats and smaller spaces.
“Landlords and developers are finding they have to be creative in what they do with a space,” says Taylor regarding renovations and repurposing. Suggestions for large spaces from shuttered stores include a theater, night club or rock-climbing spaces. Another consideration for a shuttered store, part of an existing mall, was to demo the building and create a large outdoor gathering space. Outdoor or indoor spaces for everything from concerts to farmers’ markets are becoming a mall essential.
Restaurants continue to be a focus for landlords and developers, and many see food along with local breweries and craft distillers as a magic bullet. Food and a connection to the local community are central to the revitalized Packing District in downtown Anaheim, which turned a former citrus packing facility and Packard showroom into a food-oriented venue that includes a food hall, a large central atrium surrounded by café and kiosks for communal dining, an outdoor garden and a long outdoor porch for dining.
“It’s not about the food, but more about the community and what these spaces do for the neighborhood and bringing people together,” shared Chris Bennett, director of development for LAB Holding.
For most retail spaces, food is only one element in a successful mix. “Good food is really important, but it is not the panacea,” adds Kreshek. Still, food, wellness and fun events might be the secret sauce that will convert more e-commerce entities to bricks and mortar. And overall, look for the new retail to increasingly become a place for community connections.

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Going Green 101

Creating the greenest of green homes is an art form.

By Sarah Binder

Certified LEED Platinum, the Edge House was awarded “2009 Green Home of the Year” by the Colorado Home Builder’s Association.

Colorado is well-known for being a leader in green residential building in America. In Boulder, the professional building community (engineers, architects, builders, et cetera) passionately adheres to one of the most progressive and strict energy building codes in the country. Here, the bar for sustainability in luxury homes is reached, and raised, regularly — without compromising on beauty and livability.

Architect Scott Rodwin, founding principal of Rodwin Architecture and president of Skycastle Construction, is an ambassador for this art form, educating everyone from his clients seeking the green homes of their dreams, to architects, builders, and Realtors across the country.

While environmental issues such as global climate change can be polarizing, Rodwin has found throughout his 25-plus-year career that nearly all clients care about creating a healthy living environment at home for their families.

“Nobody wants a toxic living environment, and nobody wants to pay more energy bills than they have to,” he says. “We talk to our clients to learn what level of energy performance they desire in their home, and then we thoughtfully and carefully design it.”

Almost any architect or builder can construct a home that uses 50 percent of the allowable amount of energy by code, Rodwin notes. But, creating a luxury home that is highly energy efficient or zero-energy, meaning on an annual basis that it produces as much energy as it consumes, requires a deeply experienced and knowledgeable team. He recommends utilizing a design/build team wherein the project is managed and executed by a single entity. 

Scott Rodwin, LEED AP, is founding principal of Rodwin Architecture in Boulder, Colorado. In 2006, he was named American Institute of Architects’ “Young Architect of the Year” for the U.S. Western Mountain Region.

The design/build process is fully integrated, has a single point of responsibility for any issues that may arise during a project, and leads to high-quality, detailed work that results in increased client satisfaction. “When you’re looking to create a net-zero building, the performance level that you are aiming for is so high that you have to have complete cohesiveness among everyone involved,” Rodwin says.

His favorite residential design/build project is net-zero energy, and also was his firm’s most challenging undertaking to date, taking four times as many hours of design to complete than an average project. An entrepreneur and CEO moving to Boulder from Germany challenged Rodwin to build the greenest home in America. Built in 2007, the 6,200-square-foot, $3.5 million Edge House is certified LEED Platinum.

“[The client] asked us to pioneer a number of technologies, including the first legally permitted grey water system in Colorado. He designed a brand-new grey water system for this house, which he got patented,” Rodwin explains.

Green building has progressed significantly since 1999, when Rodwin launched his firm. Today, to obtain a building permit in the United States, the plans must be farily energy efficient.  The energy section of the International Residential Code has advanced farther and more rapidly than any other section of the code in the past two decades, he notes. Each municipality then adopts and can modify that baseline code.

“In order to get a building permit in Boulder, if you are building a 5,000-square-foot house, the home is required to be net-zero energy,” says Rodwin. “You have to do everything right — renewable energy on the roof, exceptionally high-quality construction, and passive solar.”

Nestled into a forested hillside glade, the Dineen Residence combines old world materials with clean contemporary lines.

The only sustainable technology that is completely free, passive solar design is the “starting point” to achieving a net-zero house. It involves strategically designing a home’s orientation, windows, walls, and more, so that the home distributes solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and rejects solar heat in the summer.

While his firm’s specialty is creating brand-new, high-end custom homes, Rodwin suggests a few strategies owners of existing homes can implement to improve the thermal comfort and energy efficiency of their properties. Weatherization (caulking and sealing) can cost just a few thousand dollars, yet will pay for itself over a few years. After weatherizing, owners should consider adding new insulation and upgrading their windows, especially single-pane or metal windows, which are significant weak spots.

A number of upgrades, such as adding solar panels, generate value through rebates or the opportunity to sell excess energy back to one’s utility company, in addition to increasing the value of the home.

“Upgrade your mechanical system,” Rodwin recommends. “Old, open combustion mechanical systems are only about 70 percent efficient. They also lead uncombusted gases into the house. Most states and utility companies offer energy-efficiency rebates to their customers, and you can usually get a subsidized system.”

Whether going green from the ground up or through updates, homeowners do not need to compromise on beauty, quality, size, views, or any other aspect in order to achieve a highly sustainable home, Rodwin notes. “Green building pays back over time and creates a more valuable house. You’re getting a better building. You’re getting a Tesla.”

In Boulder, where everyone “speaks fluent green building,” says Rodwin, the mission is to continue pushing the envelope. His team already has a high level of knowledge of what the next level of green building entails, including larger and more solar arrays, triple-paned windows, and full-foam insulation packages.

“Our goal is no longer net-zero energy. Our new goal is regenerative design, wherein you produce more energy over the course of a year than you consume. Regenerative housing is Olympic-level green building — only a handful of these homes exist in the whole country.”

Photos courtesy Rodwin Architecture + Skycastle Construction

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Unique Homes Cover Showcase: Architecture as Art

A fantastic location demands visionary architecture. Few properties illustrate this concept better than the residence featured on our Unique Homes Global 2017 cover.

By Camilla McLaughlin

After searching for an ideal mountain setting in prime resort locations in western states, the owner settled on a mountaintop in Promontory, which offers some of the best views in Park City, Utah. An added incentive came from Promontory’s extensive amenities and services, including two 18-hole golf courses as well as the privacy afforded by the setting. To ensure that this level of privacy would not be disturbed, an additional 35 acres of ranchland near the site were added to the property. “You never need to put the shades down except to block the sun,” shares Alan Long, president of Rising Star Realtors in Park City, who is listing this estate.

Such a singular site also calls for equally significant architecture, and designer Walter Cunningham, who is noted for a cutting-edge aesthetic, was brought onboard. The end result is a dramatic geometric composition that unfolds organically along the mountaintop setting. The intricate design has 30 to 35 different elevations that interrelate, something Cunningham has deftly executed. But what transforms this residence from architectural masterpiece into a work of art are the materials. Serpentine Verde Stone from a quarry in Italy was used extensively throughout, appearing in three different finishes — rough on the walls, brushed on the floors and polished for the countertops. Long says the stone was prized by the Romans, who believed it had healing powers. The use of the same material throughout also creates a subtle continuity.

Expanses of glass under the roof create an interior panorama of sunlight and moonlight. “Every time I walk through the house, I notice something different and that doesn’t happen with other houses. It is more a piece of art than it is a structure,” says Long. Another important facet is proportion, which makes this home eminently livable. The home is listed for $19.5 million.

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6 Components That Are Essential To Hygge

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of The High End magazine. For more information about The High End, click here.

Hygge: This philosophy of relaxation is gaining traction in the U.S. and around the world.

By Alyssa Gautieri

Photo ©iStockPhoto.com/Ulzanna

“Hygge so perfectly describes what it means to be happy. It’s not material items that make us happy — it’s taking time to discover what really fills up our tank internally,” says Samantha J. Vander Wielen, health coach and owner of Philadelphia-based Hygge Wellness.

The taste of cake and hot tea, the sound of fire crackling, the scent of fresh bread in the oven, the sight of flickering candle flames and the feeling of total contentment — this may describe your ideal hygge moment.

“Hygge” (hoo-gah) is a Danish term used to describe an atmosphere of coziness and calmness. It isn’t about spending money, but instead, it’s about taking a step back and enjoying the smaller things in life. Hygge is about togetherness and sharing a pot of coffee among friends or family. But, it also may be about grabbing a good book, snuggling up with a blanket and enjoying some “you” time.

While the perfect hygelig evening — complete with a hot beverage, fireplace, thick blanket and sweatpants — may seem ideal for the fall or winter, hygee can be shared year-round.

Hygge has been embraced in the Danish culture for centuries, but only recently has the concept spread worldwide.

British Journalist Helen Russell has done her part to spread knowledge of hygge. As she spent a year in Denmark, Russell became largely influenced by hygge — a concept so engrained in Danish culture — and it became the inspiration for her bestselling work, The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country.

While the word hygge defies literal translation, Russell believes the best definition is “the complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming: taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.” She adds, “Hygge isn’t a commodity and it shouldn’t cost you anything — simple candles are better than fancy scented ones, an old knitted blanket is better than the latest designer incarnation, and hot drinks in mismatched mugs are just fine.”

With little knowledge of Danish culture and without knowing a bit of the Danish language, Russell moved to Denmark when her husband was offered a job in the rural city of Jutland. After only a few days there, Russell first heard the term used in a Danish bakery.

About a year later, she wrote a book about her life in Denmark. “My intention in writing the book was to uncover the lessons we can all learn to get happier by living more Danishly — wherever we are,” she says. “The book was the first to introduce the world to the concept of hygge and distil the best advice on getting happy.”

Since its publication in 2015, the response to the book has been phenomenal. It is now a bestseller, published in 19 countries worldwide and has spurred a huge interest in the Danish lifestyle. “I knew that the phenomenon would strike a chord, but I had no idea it would become so huge,” Russell admitted.

One of the many individuals who were inspired by the book is Samantha J. Vander Wielen, health coach and owner of Philadelphia-based Hygge Wellness. After reading the book, Wielen decided to name her business after hygge because of the relationship she saw between hygge and wellness. “Hygge so perfectly describes what it means to be happy. It’s not material items that make us happy — it’s taking the time to discover what really fills up our tank internally,” she said. “I realized there was such a strong connection between this idea and my approach to wellness.”

Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, has also brought a lot of attention to hygge with his 2016 book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. While each individuals’ ideal hygge moment may vary, there are some components that Wiking discusses in his book — and many Danes have agreed  — are essential to hygge.

Left photo ©istockphoto.com/SolStock; right photo courtesy Ronbow


In The Little Book of Hygge, Wiking says 57 percent of Danes believe it takes 3 to 4 people to have hygge. A smaller, more intimate group seems to create a perfect space for support and coziness. “Hygge is about the company you’re keeping,” says Russell. “Hygge has a lot to do with togetherness, so it’s about prioritizing your people, cramming as many of the folk you care about around a table and eating, drinking and being generally merry.”


Wiking dedicates his entire first chapter of The Little Book of Hygge to light, claiming “no recipe for hygge is complete without candles.” According to Wiking’s research, more than half of Danes light candles almost every day during autumn and winter, and only 4 percent say they never light candles.

When it comes to lamps, the Danes don’t like bright lights. Instead, they prefer a warm, soft glow, — artfully using illumination to produce soothing pools of light throughout their homes.

Food and drink

Cake, ice cream, soup, wine, coffee or beer — hygge is about comfort food and drink and treating yourself to the treats you love. According to Wielen, there is one fundamental difference between the way Americans eat and drink and how the Danes indulge. “Danes don’t binge then purge like we do in the U.K. and the U.S.,” she said. “Instead they’re kind to themselves, indulging when they fancy it and not depriving or punishing themselves.”

But hygge isn’t about getting too full or eating to the point of regret. Instead, it means eating and drinking slowly while appreciating the present moment. According to Wielen, the Dane’s way of indulging “makes them nicer to be around and happier as a nation.”


Bulky sweaters, cozy sweatpants, oversized scarfs and fluffy socks are hygge. Hygge is not about looking cute, it is about feeling comfortable. As Wiking puts it in The Little Book of Hygge, “casual is key” when it comes to hygelig clothing. Hygge is about layers and the bigger, the better.

Home Décor

According to Wiking, 71 percent of Danes experience hygge most often within their own homes. So, what are the essentials to a hygelig home? A hygelig home should include a fireplace, candles (obviously), wooden furniture, vintage accents, books, nature and an abundance of blankets and pillows.


Wielen, whose business is centered on fitness and health, created Hygge Wellness around the concept of hygge because she believes hygge is essential to mental health. “To me, hygge is all about cultivating experiences, moments and spaces in your life and home that restore, rejuvenate, and fulfill you,” she said. 

According to Wielen, a client’s fitness goals may be reached only after their mental health and happiness is prioritized. “It’s when we’re fulfilled in the major areas of our life that we feel comfortable around food, eager to move our bodies, and present enough to care for our minds,” she said.

Incorporating natural elements and vintage accents can help to bring hygge into any home. Ronbow’s contemporary vanities (pictured above) merge a minimalist sophisticated design with form and function.

Is Hygge the reason the Danes are so happy?

Consistently, the Danes have been among the top three on the World Happiness Report. Cultures around the world are beginning to embrace hygge in hopes that it will bring them happiness too. Can the Dane’s happiness be contributed to hygge?

Helen Russell: “Hygge has been proven to make you happier — because you’re being kind to yourself. This in turn has been shown to make you nicer to other people and more generous and kind to society as a whole. Denmark has been ranked the happiest country in the world in studies going back to the 1970s — so it’s clear that there’s something Danes are doing differently and hygge plays a big part in this.”

Samantha J. Vander Wielen: “Absolutely! It’s not just the act of hygge or having hygge moments that makes the Danes some of the happiest in the world. It’s the fact that they cultivate experiences, and make space in their homes and lives to take care of themselves. They seem to have mastered the idea that they need to practice self-care in order to be the best versions of themselves. I also think the emphasis on social interactions makes them some of the happiest.”

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High-End Products to Transform Your Cup Of Joe

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of The High End magazine. For more information about The High End, click here.

Suddenly obsessed with coffee, Americans are becoming as selective about the quality of their beans, equipment and tableware as their counterparts in Italy. 

By Roger Grody

Tom Dixon Brew Cafetiere

Kees van der Westen Speedster

Lux/Eros espresso cup and saucer

Photo courtesy Consort-Design.com

As luxury homeowners increasingly desire to master their own barista skills, demand for high-end products for home kitchens is skyrocketing. Coffee aficionados now enjoy many ways of transforming an ordinary cup of Joe into a work of art. 

Handcrafted in Florence, Italy, La Marzocco espresso machines are coveted by professional baristas worldwide, and the company’s Linea Mini ($4,500) is specifically designed for the home. “With the introduction of Linea Mini, we now have a professional-quality machine for anyone interested in creating a café experience in their kitchen,” says Kent Bakke, CEO of La Marzocco International. With a design based on the iconic La Marzocco machines used by the pros, this version is compact (i.e. counter-friendly) and turns out a perfect latte. 

Slayer Espresso has earned a cult-like following that appreciates both the performance and aesthetics of its espresso machines. The Slayer Single Group, the company’s model for the home, features dual boilers and a touchscreen that assists in temperature control and flavor profiling, resulting in espresso with great body and a rich crema. Peruvian walnut accents and custom colors or finishes give this machine the sexy looks of an Italian sports car, yet is built by artisans in Seattle. The hefty price tag of $8,500 is no deterrent to those who have a passion for espresso. “Let’s face it, espresso equipment options have been around for a long time and everyone has some form of so-called espresso maker in their gadget collection,” says Slayer Espresso founder and CEO Jason Prefontaine. “Trust me, our espresso machine with flavor profiling, needle valve technology will forever change your coffee ritual…. Don’t be surprised if you end up loving coffee like we do,” he adds.

An exclusive Dutch brand renowned for its edgy industrial designs, Kees van der Westen offers the Speedster for home use, loaded with bespoke options. Inspired by automotive and motorcycle construction, this pricy toy (approximately $13,000) delivers professional-quality espresso drinks and will definitely be noticed by your guests. 

Coffee is not simply about roasted beans and steamed milk, so luxurious accoutrements are essential. The MOOD collection by Christofle, the venerable French manufacturer of elegant tableware and accessories, presents a set of six espresso spoons — clad in silver ($360) or gilded in 18-carat rose gold ($650) — in a gleaming egg-shaped chest. These spoons are just the kind of accessories to elevate any perfectly crafted cup of espresso. 

Among other fashionable coffee-related accessories, British designer Tom Dixon has created this cafetière, more commonly referred to as a French press. With a modern unfussy aesthetic, the gleaming copper-finished stainless steel body is classic Dixon, and its heat-resistant handle is artfully functional. Many connoisseurs believe the best way to enjoy coffee at home — short of purchasing one of the espresso machines featured on these pages — is by small-batch brewing in one of these low-tech devices. Besides, setting a French press on a dinner party table quietly announces a host’s sense of sophistication and elegance. This product ($210) is available at British online retailer Amara, where founder/creative director Sam Hood has assembled an international collection of designer accessories for the home.

Unique espresso cups and saucers ($50) by Lux/Eros, the ceramics brand from designer Desanka Fasiska, feature an elegant rusticity. They are hand-carved and hand-glazed to order in California, with no two pieces being identical. Distinguished by their high-gloss 90-degree angle handles, these products are available at Consort stores in New York and L.A., or online. 

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