Luxury Portfolio Spotlight: A Local French Country Garden Paradise, Unique Waterfront Italian Villa and a Treasure on the Golden Mile

As our partnership with Luxury Portfolio allows, Intracoastal Realty’s listings are often featured on LuxuryPortfolio.com. We often spotlight outstanding listings around the world and become enamored with the many features, outdoor spaces, and interior design and decor of these lavish properties. This month is no exception. We hope you enjoy learning more about these three extraordinary custom homes.
2105 Forest Lagoon PlaceThis one-of-a-kind French Country home exudes old world charm with its abundance of architectural detail, beauty and character all while providing a panoramic golf course (Ocean #1 hole) and scenic pond view. Elegant yet comfortable, peaceful and private, finishes of the finest qualities, exquisite landscaping and intricate spaces make it very appealing for living and entertaining in all seasons.

The open floor plan features two living areas with limestone fireplaces, a first floor master bedroom with views on two sides, 5” wood floors, a “kitchen that cooks” including an oversized island and farm sink looking over the amazing view and so much more! Inspired by a French Country farmhouse, the outdoor living features many fountains, stone pathways, gardens, seating areas, a wood burning fireplace as well as a private “oasis” courtyard providing a place of serenity.

Quaint separate living quarters also overlook the serene courtyard with a bedroom, full bath and room to add a kitchenette. Featured in seven magazines and newspapers as well as on the Azalea Garden Tour this home is a must see; too much to list here so please see attached feature sheet!

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: 2 Fireplace(s), Security Patrol, Two-Car Attached Garage, Central Air Conditioning, Electric Forced Air Heat, Heat Pump, Irrigation System

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: First Floor Master, Nine Foot Plus Ceilings, Blinds/Shades, Trey Ceiling, Vaulted Ceiling, Gas Logs, Pantry, Skylights, Walk-in Shower, Walk-In Closet

BUILT IN: 2006

APPROXIMATE SQUARE FEET: 3433 ft

EXTERIOR: Stone; Stucco, Shake roof

ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: French Provincial

LOT ACRES: 0.66

See it!

 

UNIQUE WATERFRONT VILLA IN ITALYMagnificent seafront villa in one of the most desirable location in Costa Smeralda, a few minutes from Porto Cervo. This extraordinary pieds dans l’eau is a real masterpiece boasting an outstanding seafront position, impressive views over the coastline and one of the world’s most iconic and discreet neighborhoods of Costa Smeralda.

The property features a bright sophisticated living room that opens onto spacious outdoor lounging and dining areas: large full height windows, height ceilings and wide verandahs are perfect to linger over panoramic vistas and breathtaking sunset.

Three refined comfortable master bedrooms with ensuite have all alluring sea views and direct access on verandahs, patios and private sitting rooms. The villa has a fully equipped kitchen, refined interiors and features eclectic artifacts, works of art, and pieces of design.

A reserved guestroom consists of one bedroom with private bathroom and verandah. The first floor includes a separate bedroom. An independent dépendance with separate entrance, bedroom, bathroom, laundry and a professional equipped kitchen, is perfect as staff quarter.

The blooming 2.500 square meter Mediterranean garden is wisely designed and conceived, borders the amazing seashore and gently embraces the house guaranteeing an innate sense of tranquility, discretion and a multitude of colors.

Covered parking places can host up to 4 / 5 cars and a concession for a private pontoon is pending approval.

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: Waterfront, covered Parking Spaces for 4/5 cars, air conditioning, staff quarters

APPROXIMATE SQUARE METERS : 300 m

See it!

 

SPECTACULAR HOME ON THE GOLDEN MILEThis spectacular home is set on the Golden Mile of Somerset West in the suburb of Spanish Farm with breathtaking views of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and False Bay through to Cape Point.

The Architect and designer Vernon Head is a master at creating superior homes with superior finishes and incredible spaces. The home embraces modern living from various reception rooms onto and alfresco patio and entertainment area with sparkling pool. It also offers great studio/office space if needed, and is in essence a work of art.

There are four suites that offers 5-star accommodation, and a possible fifth! They all offer well-appointed and spectacular bathrooms with granite finishes and Hans Grohe fittings.

Flooring throughout the house is unpolished granite and Oggi solid wood and all windows are double glazing. There is an imported hot water underfloor heating system and the kitchen is imported Builthaup with Gaggenau integrated appliances.

There is also a borehole for the automated irrigation system of the low maintenance garden and state of the art security systems in place.

A designer home in the top rated area, close to beaches, golf courses, wine routes and top restaurants, and the airport!

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: 1 Fireplace(s), security system, private water rights, intercom/music system, large two-car garage with direct access, gated parking for six cars, air conditioning, central European standard hot water underfloor heating system

DESIGNED BY: Vernon Head

APPROXIMATE SQUARE METERS : 750 m

LOT DIMENSIONS: 2800sqm

See it!

 

 


February 2017 Area Events

February 2017 EventsFebruary’s calendar is HOT! Enjoy the warmth and character of the region with Broadway musicals, local Jazz and our Wine and Chocolate Festivals. Read below for a list of area performances, events, and activities sure to make your Valentine ecstatic. Our informative calendar includes links to important details and location information so that you won’t miss a thing.

2/1: 42nd Street – Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/2-4: NC Jazz Festival: 37th Annual – Hilton Riverside Hotel

2/3-5: Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival – Coastline Conference and Event Center

2/9: North Carolina Symphony: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade – Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/9-19: They’re Playing Our Song – Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts

2/10-14: Romantic Valentine Carriage Ride – Downtown Wilmington

2/10-11: Hugs & Fishes Valentine’s Day Lock-In – NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher

2/10: Big & Small Family Ball – Children’s Museum of Wilmington

2/10: Paula Poundstone at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/11: Wrightsville Beach Valentine 10K – Wrightsville Beach Park

2/11: Special Olympics Polar Plunge – Near Kure Beach Pier

2/11: Symphony POPS! Linda Lavin & Friends at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/12: Wine and Chocolate Pairing – Silver Coast Winery and Silver Coast Winery Tasting Room, Ocean Isle Beach

2/16: Riverdance: 20 Years at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/17: Legendary Singer-songwriter Justin Hayward at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/17-19: Anniversary of the Fall of Fort Anderson – Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson, Winnabow

2/18-19: Art For All 7 – Brooklyn Art Center

2/18: Run Oak Island – Middleton Park, Oak Island

2/19: Harpeth Rising Concert – Virginia Williamson Event Center, Bolivia

2/22- 4/8: Broadway Musical Pippin at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/23: Island Arts & Culture: Mardi Gras Art Auction – SeaWitch, Carolina Beach

2/24: Broadway’s The Midtown Men at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/25: Tidewater Camellia Club 67th Annual Camellia Show & Sale – New Hanover County Arboretum

2/25: Wilmington WINTER WINE & BEER WALK – Begins at “Wine & Beer Walk Headquarters” : Throne Theater

2/26: Grammy-Award Winning Singer Michael Bolton at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center

2/28 – 3/1: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Cape Fear Community College – The Wilson Center


Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Courtesy of Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
The Recipe Critic / Tried & True
Tested, adapted and enjoyed by Intracoastal’s Marketing Department

Love is in the air! This month’s seriously perfect red velvet brownie recipe is sure to delight the people you love to impress. Perfectly moist and chewy with the bright red color and cream cheese frosting a perfect finishing touch with fresh coconut and pecans. Be sure to share this decadent delight with friends as a special Valentine’s Day dessert or at your next event.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • ½ chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 or 7×11 inch pan with aluminum foil allowing 2 inches to hang over the sides. Lightly grease.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate and butter stirring after 30 seconds each time being careful not to burn the chocolate. Whisk in the sugar and add the eggs one at a time until blended. Add the flour, red food coloring, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into the bottom of your prepared baking pan and bake for 40-44 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. To make the cream cheese frosting: Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until creamy. Fold the coconut flakes and chopped pecans into the creamy frosting. Frost the cooled brownies.
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3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home in Coastal, NC

North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, as well as in the nation in general. Every year, this part of NC is flooded with annual tourists, many of whom opt for a more consistent way to visit the coast by investing in their very own vacation home. If you’re one of those looking to invest in your own little slice of paradise, here are three main questions you need to ask yourself to get started:

1. Will you make good use of it?

Before you even start to think of buying a vacation home, you need to ask yourself: will I use it enough to make it worth it? If you find yourself going back to the same location year after year, and you never tire of it, then yes, you’ll probably get a lot out of owning a vacation home in that area. But, if you’re not absolutely in love, think again. North Carolina is home to a whole slew of beaches and islands, each with its own pace and unique feel.

If you’re looking for a beach that feels far away, but is close to nightlife, shopping, etc., you probably want to consider areas like Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach or Figure Eight Island. Or, if you really relish the slower pace of sleepy beach towns, you should consider looking further down the coast at Bald Head Island, Oak Island or Ocean Isle. These are just a few of the options to consider! You can always contact an agent to get an idea of what areas might suit you best, but, when in doubt, it’s best to just see for yourself. Just consider this an opportunity to squeeze in some extra vacations in the name of research.

2. Can you afford it?

After you’ve determined if a vacation home actually makes sense for you and your family, you need to ask yourself if you can afford to purchase another home. Typically, mortgage companies are going to charge higher interest rates or a require a higher down payment for a second home. Additionally, you’ll have to keep your eye on the long-term finances as well, factoring in insurance, taxes and maintenance.

The best way to accurately plan for these expenses is to team up with a local mortgage broker, who can help you devise the best way of putting up the money for your down payment, as well as factoring in those long-term costs. Their experience in and knowledge of the local market will be paramount in helping to calculate these costs, as well as advising you on the projected value of any potential properties in the coming years. For instance, if there’s a highway slotted to be built in the area in the next five years, they’ll probably know about it, and can advise you to look elsewhere if your home’s value will be affected. They’ll also become a valuable resource in finding local resources, such as reliable property management companies, to keep your home in tip-top shape while it’s not in use or to keep it maintained and safe from damage if you end up renting it out.

3. Is it a smart, long-term investment for you?

One thing to consider, that usually doesn’t register too high for vacation home seekers, is: how close is this vacation home to your current home? Is it a few hours’ drive? Or, do you have to board a plane and fly across country? Now, if you’re looking in an area that you already frequent (which you should), and you know that you’ll move heaven and earth to get there on a consistent basis, then you’re probably fine to start searching in your desired area. However, if you’re only planning on making your way over to your vacation home once a year, you’re really not getting the best return on your investment.

Remember those long-term costs we mentioned? Those property maintenance, utilities, water and electric bills are high overhead to pay if you’re not planning on taking semi-regular trips to your vacation home. Plus, you don’t want to leave it sitting unoccupied for too long. If you’re planning on renting it out while you’re not using it, just make sure that 1) it’s in a high-demand area that will ensure its probability of getting rented regularly, and 2) that you have a solid understanding of how renting the property will affect your taxes. If your home is rented more than 15 days of the month, that rent is considered income, and will have to be filed as such on your taxes. It’s important to iron out these details from the get-go, instead of finding yourself in over your head later.

Are you considering purchasing a vacation home in Coastal NC? Let us know if we can help you by calling us at 1-800-533-1840 or contacting us via email at info@intracoastalrealty.com. Our experienced staff has all the know-how you need to find the vacation home you’ve always dreamt of!


7 Foolproof Signs It’s Time to Sell

Sometimes the answer is staring you right in the face. It might be time to sell if you just got a new job on the other side of the country, or if you know it’s only a matter of time before your family outgrows the one-story, two-bedroom house you’re living in. Other times though, it can be hard to find that catalyst that really drives you to list your home. If you’re mulling over the possibility of selling your house, but can’t nail down a specific reason, check out these signs to sell.

1. You need to size up (or size down).

Whether your family is building up or emptying out, one of the first reasons that might help you decide whether it’s time to move is: space. Do you need more of it or less of it? On the one hand, if you need some extra breathing room, it’s possible that you could always finish a spare room, garage, basement or attic, or just build off of what you have, but you need to make sure that it will eventually pay off. If you’d be pushing the value of your house way out of the market compared with your neighbors, then you’d be better off just moving on up into a different neighborhood. Plus, you might run into some barriers if you decide to throw up some extra walls in the form of building or neighborhood regulations.

And, if you have too much space, well, then, you just have too much space. Save yourself the hassle of maintaining and paying for a home that’s too big for you, and maybe opt for a little bungalow in an especially desired area that you’ve always wanted to live in.

2. You need a change of scenery.

Neighborhoods change, for better or for worse. Maybe there’s a been more development than you would’ve like nearby or you’re tired of dealing with your HOA or you just want some extra yards of space between you and your neighbor’s windows. If you aren’t crazy about your neighborhood or the surrounding area anymore, it’s time to start seriously considering a move, especially if you’re worried about the effect it will have on the value of your home. That’s not really a matter of opinion either. If you’re wondering about how the value of your house is holding up, you can check with a Realtor® or local agent to get the facts. If your value’s going to dip, it’s also time for you to dip.

3. There’s no point in remodeling.

This is similar to deciding whether or not you should expand. If you’re just wanting to upgrade your home in general with some renovations, instead of upgrading the size, it’s not a bad idea to touch base with a Realtor® or local agent first. They can run comps on the neighborhood to see if renovations would price you out of the neighborhood. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve got the nicest house on the block if your neighborhood doesn’t support the higher price tag you’re liable to have for buyers. If you’ve got major renovations in mind, you want to make sure you get some return on your investment. If not, it’s time to start looking for a house that maybe has those features already built in.

4. You can afford to sell your house (and move).

This sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but it costs money to sell a house. If you’ve got any repairs, painting or carpet-replacing to do, you’re going to have to do that before you even put your house on the market. Now, you could try to factor in the fact that certain repairs need to be done with strategizing your asking price and “cushion” for them there, but, keep in mind, you’re going to automatically be pushing a certain percentage of buyers away. There are many buyers out there who really don’t want to have to run through a whole laundry list of things they need to take care of right after moving and, perhaps more importantly, they still may end up asking you to foot the bill come inspection time. If your inspection yields a list of necessary repairs, you’re probably going to end up paying by either dropping your asking price even further or paying for them yourself. Not to mention, you also need to be able to actually afford the move, which, depending on how far you’ve got to go and how much stuff you have, can become pretty expensive in and of itself.

5. You’ve got the equity you need for a profit.

This is extremely important. If you don’t have the equity to back your selling your house, be prepared to take a loss. To quickly calculate your equity, you need to know how much you still owe on your mortgage and the value of your home. If the value of your home is greater than how much you owe on your mortgage, you’re in good shape. The bigger the number, the greater your resulting profit will be. (Don’t forget: It needs to be enough to cover the cost of buying your new home!) If that number is tiny or even in the negative, then you’re not really in a great position to sell and should seriously consider sitting out this season until the market improves, the value of your home improves or you owe less on your home.

6. The markets are stacked in your favor.

This is kind of tricky. Ordinarily, you’d be looking for a seller’s market, so a high demand for homes with a smaller inventory actually available. You’re likely to get the best price for you home. However, you’re also likely to be an active buyer too, so if you sell in a seller’s market, you might end up buying in a seller’s market too. It really just depends on what the market looks like where you selling and where you’re buying. On the other hand, if you sell in a buyer’s market, you’ll be buying in a buyer’s market, so it all kind of equals out in the end. However, knowing the health of the market beforehand helps to determine what your asking price should be, which sets you up for future negotiations and offers, which eventually determines how much you’re going to your new home with, so, it’s still important to know.

7. You’re ready to move on.

Let’s not forget: moving out of your home, especially one that you may have raised your children in or was the first home you and your partner bought together, can be emotional. Are you ready to actually let go? In plenty of instances, there are assuredly homeowners muttering “good riddance” under their breath. But there are lots of others who might need a little more time to linger. Bottom line: don’t rush. Especially, if you’re getting ready to leave a home you love. However, if you know that moving could become imminent in the near future, it might be time to start heeding the advice above and preparing yourself for that first, big step.

If you need help getting ready to take that first step, you can find it here. Just drop us a line at info@intracoastalrealty.com or call us at 1-800-533-1840, and we can make sure you have an amazing agent at your side.


Ways to Make Your Home More Relaxing

Life can be pretty stressful at times. Between work, family, maintaining a social life, taking care of a home, trying to squeeze in times for hobbies, and about a million other things, sometimes it can all just become too overwhelming. So wouldn’t it be nice if your home offered a bit of an escape from life’s everyday stressors? We think so too. Read on to learn easy steps to take to make your home more relaxing.

1. Banish clutter

If you look around your home, the biggest source of stress is most likely coming from any clutter or tidying up that needs to be done. Tired of looking at piles of junk mail, magazines, electrical cords and dusty tchotchkes? Then it’s time to spend a day (or two or three) going through everything, throwing out junk and setting up new organizational systems to keep your home neat and tidy from now on. Once you’ve completed an overhaul on your home, these systems will help to keep clutter out of your home for good! It’s also good practice to get into the habit of doing a little bit of tidying up on a daily and weekly basis to avoid any clutter accumulation that crops up.

2. Add comfy, coziness to every room

One of the best ways to make your home more relaxing is to make it more comfortable. In your living room, add soft throw pillows and blankets and, if you find yourself constantly asking people to stop resting their feet on your coffee table, try a large, overstuffed ottoman in its place. Not only are these soft and welcoming for tired feet, but many of them double for storage. Add a serving tray, and it’ll keep it’s coffee table function as well! Finally, adding a soft, plush area rug will add another layer of comfort while giving you a chance to either add some bold pattern to a room or a neutral, soothing base.

In your kitchen and bathrooms, swap out old towels for ones that are thick and fluffy. Exchange your typical anti-bacterial hand soaps with soaps that have soothing scents like aloe, vanilla or lavender. If you’re looking for an added level of spa-like comfort in your bathroom, try a towel warmer and, if you can fit it, a plush chair. (We recommend a chair covered in indoor/outdoor upholstery to protect it from the moisture.) In the dining room, switch out hard, wooden chairs with upholstered ones, or add soft seat cushions.

3. Rearrange your furniture

This is a biggie. A room that feels stifled with clunky furniture or, conversely, feels too sprawled out and barren is never going to feel calming and relaxing. So, if your home is lacking flow, take these tips into consideration. First, avoid pushing all of your furniture up against walls or into corners. This is a common mistake in living rooms, but it’s very easy to fix. You just can’t be afraid to float your furniture!

Start with your focal point, in this case the TV/entertainment center, then arrange the remaining furniture in order from largest to smallest. You’ll want your couch directly across from the TV so, if you’ve got a long living room, try to avoid placing these two pieces of furniture on the opposite walls that are farthest apart. Other things to keep in mind: try not to block windows with big pieces of furniture, make sure the room has a good “flow” and has clear paths for people to walk through and, if you have a large living room, try to think of your room in terms of “zones.” So, create an entertainment zone where your couch, TV and loveseat or armchairs will go, then create other “zones,” such as one for bookcases and an armchair, one for a desk, or one for a sitting area near a large window. Feeling stuck? Check out this guide for inspiration!

4. Try out a new color scheme

Most people will tell you that soothing, relaxing colors typically consist of tranquil greens, blues and neutral tones. This is true, but when it comes to paint color, it’s always a case of personal preference. So, if you find yourself feeling more relaxed with bright, vibrant hues like buttery yellows, bold reds or deep greens, then that’s fine! Your sanctuary doesn’t have to consist of earthen tones, although it’s definitely not a bad idea to settle on an overarching color palette for your home for some consistency. If you’re looking for color schemes, we highly recommend checking out some color choosing apps or taking a trip to your hardware store to take a look at the color palette chips they’ll have there too.

5. Cultivate good vibes

If there’s anything in your home that either has bad memories associated with it or has just been the eyesore of your home for too long, then make plans to get rid of it and replace it! Tired of your uncomfortable couch? Replace it. Tired of the gargantuan coffee table that everyone stubs their table on? Replace it. And if there are there are certain items in your home that make you happy, like family photos or paintings, then invest in more of those! When your house represents your tastes, likes and loves, it’ll always feel more like home.