Property Feature | Impressive Manatee River Home

Prepare to be blown away! Located on the protected inlet of the Manatee River, this impressive four-bedroom, five full and two-half-bath, 5,688-square-foot Arthur Rutenberg home provides the perfect mixture of elegance, luxury and natural beauty. Enter through etched glass double front doors to the stunning foyer opening to the gracious living room with 17-foot coffered ceilings, fireplace, beautifully painted murals and direct views of the infinity pool and river.

The home has ample entertaining opportunities with four wet bars throughout, a formal dining room, wood paneled office, gourmet kitchen and multiple outdoor lanai and patio features including an infinity pool and a gas-heated hot tub.

The downstairs owner’s suite is spacious with a private entry to the lanai, tray ceilings, two walk-in closets and a wet bar. The bathroom has a jetted tub flanked by dual sinks and a spacious shower with a tropical mural view.

The graceful wood stairs take you to a second master suite, media room and bonus room that opens to a large balcony with great views and plenty of room to relax. There is also a wood paneled elevator for your convenience.

This home is finished with a multitude of fine touches that are hard to beat and located on over 1 acre. This is a special opportunity!

Please click here for more information.

Historic Property: The Fairfield House

Winnsboro House

7430 Landis Road, Winnsboro, South Carolina

Listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1974 as the Kincaid-Anderson House, this historic property is known today as the Fairfield House. The Georgian mansion was constructed circa 1774 by James Kincaid, a captain in the American Revolution under Generals Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter. An agricultural innovator and religious leader, Kincaid was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

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Land Fit For a King

The estate was built on land granted by King George III, which contained the famous 10-acre rock that later became the Anderson Quarry. The main house is constructed of brick in Flemish bond on a fieldstone foundation. The interior and exterior walls are solid brick. The hip roof has unboxed common rafters. Dual chimneys service large fireplaces in five of the ten rooms. Small side wings of brick with roof balustrades were added in a 1920s restoration. The wide halls are connected by a sweeping staircase and the massive rooms have large fireplaces and fine moldings.

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A Compound Complete With a Hunt Club

Surrounding the main house are terraced gardens and numerous outbuildings, which epitomize landscaping refinement during the Revolutionary period. The original kitchen has been renovated into a guest house. The pool is flanked by beautiful stone buildings that contain a bath house and entertaining space with a patio.  The grounds are enclosed by a serpentine wall of blue granite from the nearby quarry. A two-story brick work house has been converted into another guest house. The surrounding acreage is heavily wooded with abundant wildlife including deer and turkey. The estate includes a hunt club, which is fully outfitted for overnight guests.

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The Creation of the Cotton Gin

Historians revere Captain James Kincaid as an entrepreneur of the first order, known for introducing cotton farming to the South Carolina upcountry. He was also a private banker, watermill builder, canal developer, and avid traveler. During a trip to the Caribbean he noted the natives using a machine made of revolving saws for husking coconuts. He brought the idea back home and adapted it to make a machine for carding wool. This machine was then developed into a very early version of a working cotton gin. Hudgens Holmes was living at Kincaid’s estate at the time, and was engaged in perfecting this invention. Local legend states that Eli Whitney, who worked for and was discharged by Kincaid, later came back to the estate and patented his own version of the gin based on Kincaid’s original creation. What is known for certain is that Whitney patented his gin in 1794, and that Kincaid already had a working saw gin at his grist mill on Mill Creek in Fairfield County as early as 1795.



Green House, Blue Waters

Constructed and maintained with water and energy conservation in focus, this gorgeous Gulf-front estate epitomizes green living — while overlooking blue waters.

16660 Captiva Drive, Captiva, Florida

This stunning beachfront estate is the ultimate retreat. Situated on 2 pristine acres, the Caribbean-style home offers over 200 feet of Gulf frontage. With over 14,000 square feet of custom-designed living space, the luxury is truly in the details. Its exquisite features are complemented by a green, environmentally-friendly footprint that has been thoughtfully executed inside and out. From the day construction began, energy conservation has been a top priority. The recent installation of new, high-efficiency zone air handlers and outdoor units save significant resources. The landscape has been customized with salt-tolerant plantings and turf, which are watered primarily with unusable saline ground water. The serene, Gulf-front pond requires non-potable water, and any needed additions during the dry season can be filled 100% by saline ground water. In addition, two, 100-watt air pumps provide most of the circulation needed — the output being equivalent to the use of  just two light bulbs.

Outdoor Oasis: Designing A Tropical Garden Paradise

290 North Washington Drive, Sarasota, Florida

Warm temperatures, salt-air breezes and miles of sandy beaches make Southwest Florida a year-round tropical paradise. By virtue of this enviable climate, it’s also home to some of the most gorgeous trees, flowers and landscaping in the world. But what types of plants and flowers will thrive in the home garden in both the dry, sunny winters, and the hot, moist summers? Premier Sotheby’s International Realty posed that question to a few gardening experts to get the scoop on the latest trends in tropical landscape design.

The Palm Tree, a Perennial Favorite

A swaying palm tree is perhaps the most enduring image of the tropical landscape. Their heartiness and versatility make them a favorite among designers. “The varieties of palm trees that exist are almost endless,”  says Julie Moir Messervy, landscape design author and principal of JMMDS, who recommends planting Bismarck, Royal, Indian Date, Silver, and Chinese Fan varieties. “Palms can be used in the landscape as features, framing and complementing the views.”

Bold Colors

Messervy loves bougainvillea, which she says lends itself beautifully to cascading down a hillside. “When faced with a steep slope, plant a ‘waterfall’ of bougainvillea punctuated with native cacti,” she explains. “Then place bold and fascinating bromeliads at the home’s entrances where they can be appreciated by arriving guests. These plant palettes and combinations complement a home’s interior. Contrasting foliage plants with cacti and agave, along with select palm trees, reflects the excitement and energy of the climate.” 

Plumeria obtusa, commonly known as frangipani, is another go-to planting. “The mid-sized tree has a very clean form and strong texture,” she explains. “The fragrance is so beautiful that we [can place] the fallen flowers on small plates around the house to enjoy it indoors.”

Mature Plantings
Mature planting of Allamanda hendersonii, Photo: Jana Bryan Wunderle/Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio (JMMDS)

Pool-side Beauty

The focal-point of many tropical homes is the pool, and landscaping  is very often an integral part of the design. E. Bingo Wyer of Cote Fleurie Studio loves to use Brazilian Red Hots (Alternanthera dentata) to accet this area. “It is a good edger and welcome addition to any pool side. It grows 20 to 28 inches tall, and about 18 inches wide and is trouble-free in full sun or partial shade,” she explains. “The bright foliage is great against the blue water and is fairly drought-tolerant. Ball shaped white blooms appear mid-winter. Its color pops best in full sun and we suggest these are best cut back as tin spring for a vigorous flush of color. The hot pink and rose shades also look great when punctuated by decorative grasses or mixed with separate clusters of  annuals, which can be rotated out for diversity. Its color pops best in full sun and we suggest these are best cut back as tin spring for a vigorous flush of color. The hot pink and rose shades also look great when punctuated by decorative grasses or mixed with separate clusters of  annuals, which can be rotated out for diversity.”

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Lily Turf with its lavender spikes loves pools. Photo courtesy of E. Bingo Wyer for Cote Fleurie Studio 

Wyer also loves Crossandra ‘Orange Marmalade’ for its bright orange hue as a reliable perennial in sunny or partially-shaded Florida pool areas. “It is a real beauty against the backdrop of a blue pool,” she explains. “Practically insect and disease free, it blooms in all the warm months of the year and doesn’t feature the exploding seed pods of other varieties, so the pool skimmer is not working overtime.”

If you’re aiming for a Mediterrean feel, Wyer suggests containers and pots “that spill over with ivy leaved pelargoniums, and lobelia. Nothing too tidy. Low growing aromatic plants also define the authentic Mediterranean landscape: rosemary, sage, gray leaved santolinas or a flat lawn lavender.”






Trending | Luxury Kitchen Design


The kitchen is the heart of the home. Designing the space where family and friends gather to refuel, reconnect and make memories is one of the most crucial aspects of any home design or renovation. Today’s top designers and decorators are putting an emphasis on creating a relaxing atmosphere while using quality materials, efficient design and state-of-the-art technology. “Modern design trends have turned kitchens from merely functional spaces to places for all family members to use and relax in,” says Michelle Wipperfurth, interior designer at Vertical Arts Architecture in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, who believes that planning your color scheme is the most important stop. “This will help you decide on the designs and materials you wish to use. It’s becoming fashionable to use neutral colors, textures and organic materials.”

Higher Quality, Better Efficiency

High-end kitchen design once went hand-in-hand with extravagant details, but the tide has turned. “Clients today are focusing less on ornamental decoration and more on higher quality materials for kitchen designs for efficiency, durability and functionality,” says Wendy Raizin of Raizin Design. “For example, I prefer to opt for open, industrial shelving when designing a modern kitchen with a relaxed feel. Why open doors when you can have everything in front of you to see and reach easily? Also, the design must consider ideal distances from appliance to counter for optimal functionality. The old school of thought in kitchen design was to create a cooking triangle. The new school: cooking stations (think foodie culture). This is ideal when more than one person is working in the kitchen at a time, which is usually the case.”

Once considered taboo in luxury kitchens, man-made materials are now gaining traction, according to Jamie Gold, Certified Kitchen Designer and the author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work. “Years ago, you would expect to only find marble or granite topping luxury cabinets or underfoot,” she says. “Today it’s not uncommon to find engineered stone tops and rectified porcelain on the floor.  This is particularly true for kitchens that extend into outdoor living spaces, where tile provides for easier living.”

The New Pantry

Storage space remains a top priority, but the latest designs are shifting away from the traditional kitchen pantry. “The days of walk-in pantries are all but gone unless they can be created in a very sophisticated/clean way,” says Tampa, Florida architect David Balber. “I have done kitchens that when you look at them all you see are cabinets, but then you pull on one cabinet and it is actually a door that leads to a secret walk-in pantry — something like Batman would have!” he explains.  Balber’s latest designs have included the cabinet pantry, where the kitchen “looks like a bunch of cabinets, and then you pull on some of the cabinets and the entire wall pulls out exposing shelving for cereals, bread, cans, etc. – very sleek and easy to see all the food.”

Technology Rules

“Technology is always at the forefront of luxury kitchen design,” adds Darlene Molnar, a Washington, D.C.-based interior designer. “From super-quiet dishwashers to ovens you can operate with your phone,  convenience is key.” Molnar is also reporting an increase in requests for hot water dispensers, much like the pot-fillers that have been a staple in luxury kitchens for years. “Homeowners what anything that puts what you need at your fingertips more quickly!”

Historic Property: The James A. Blakeney House

9214 Blakeney Heath Road, Charlotte, North Carolina

This highly significant historic landmark, the James A. Blakeney house, has been completely renovated. The current owner added a saltwater pool and a recreational room above a three-car detached garage giving the home 11,00 square feet of additional heated living area. The Blakeney area is rapidly growing, and is in one of Charlotte’s most desired zip codes. A place of beauty, charm, and solace.


Equestrian Paradise: Sheik Island



 36225 Covington Road, Dade City, Florida

This equestrian facility was designed for the serious horseman. The gorgeous barn, designed by award-winning Blackburn Architects, focuses on light, adequate air flow, and safety of both horse and handler while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This farm is centrally located between Tampa, Ocala, and Orlando in hilly, Dade City, FL. It is approximately 50 minutes to downtown Tampa.


Sotheby's International Realty to Strengthen Presence in China

Hainan_3Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC announced Tianjin Zeng Yi Real Estate Brokerage Co. Ltd., which is owned by Plus Investment Holding Group (Beijing), will open Hainan Sotheby’s International Realty in China, furthering the brand’s expansion in Asia.

Kevin Corbett will serve as chief executive officer, and Jim Hao will serve as general manager.  The firm is expected to open in mid-November of this year.

“Following the planned opening of Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty in October, Kevin and Jim look to continue the momentum in Hainan,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC.  “Hainan, with its tropical climate, is a tourist hot spot.  We are proud of their efforts in creating a strong presence in this market, as we continue our expansion in Asia.”

With the opening of Hainan Sotheby’s International Realty, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand will have 27 independently owned and operated offices throughout Asia in Australia, Beijing, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Hainan is often referred to as the Hawaii of China, and the No. 1 tropical resort destination there,” said Corbett.  “With the strength of the Sotheby’s International Realty network and our robust resources in Hainan, we are opening new doors to this exotic haven and to those seeking to invest in China’s world-class resort real estate.  With the opening of Hainan Sotheby’s International Realty, we foresee further growth and expansion in mainland China’s luxury real estate market.”

Story courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

2014 Luxury Lifestyle Report

Luxury Lifestyle Report Image

If the top wishes of wealthy Americans could be encapsulated in a single dream home, it would a self-designed “lifestyle property'” on the waterfront with a multi-car collector’s garage. This was among the key findings of the 2014 Sotheby’s International Luxury Realty Lifestyle Report, which surveyed affluent consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and China to determine their purchasing behaviors. The study found that buyer confidence has been increasing. The majority of people surveyed in all four countries were more likely to purchase a lifestyle property now more than they were five years ago, and will most likely make that property their primary residence. The report gives a comprehensive look at the luxury real estate market with regard to location, family needs and return on investment. It also takes a detailed look at what lifestyles and amenities are trending right now. To view the entire report, click here.