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Will & Estate Planning

Will & Estate Planning

Having your affairs in order at the end of your life is often one of those things people have on their to-do list, yet they keep putting off the task. Planning for your own death may seem morbid and depressing, but being prepared at any age can mean the difference between making your loss a little easier on your loved ones or creating a stressful burden. The process isn’t particularly difficult or painful plus there are a wide range of online resources to assist you.

Investopedia summarizes the importance of planning quite succinctly: “if you want your assets and your loved ones protected when you no longer can do it, you will need an estate plan. Without one, your heirs could face huge tax burdens and the courts could designate how your assets are divided, or even who gets your children.” Investopedia is indeed a great resource for no-nonsense answers for all of your investing questions.

Another great resource is The Money Guy Show, a podcast (available on The Money Guy Website as well as on iTunes) featuring Brian Preston and his co-host Bo Hanson, both carry the titles of CPA, CFP®, and PFS. They cover a wide-range of relatable financial topics. The appeal of The Money Guy Show is that Brian and Bo “help you go beyond common sense.”

GETTING STARTED

Getting started is easy.  Create a list of your assets and gather any documentation related to those assets, i.e. statements for bank accounts, retirement accounts, loans, etc. Be sure to include hard assets as well, such as your home and car, regardless of any pending liens on those items. Don’t forget vacation homes and even time shares as they are all assets.

Once you have all of your information pulled together – think of the information-gathering as being similar to gathering your information at tax time – it’s time to determine how in-depth you need to go. A great starting point for this step is a visit to LegalZoom. The best part of using LegalZoom is that they’ll have an attorney familiar with your state’s laws who can review your plan and make certain it meets the requirements of your state.

Should you or the attorneys at LegalZoom determine that your estate is complicated, you may want to find a local attorney who can help structure your will and your estate plan. Finding an attorney can be a daunting task. This is a great time to reach out to friends, business associates, or family members and ask them for a referral. There are online options for locating a local attorney to suit your needs. Lawyers.com and LegalMatch.com both have a find a lawyer tool.  You can also visit your state’s bar association to search for the type of attorney you need and ensure they’re in good standing with the bar.

With all the resources available, there’s really no reason to wait to start your will and estate planning, take the time to get your affairs in order! You’ll be happy you did, and so will your loved ones.

Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Beyond your contribution to sustainable environment, adding eco-friendly improvements to your home can improve your bottom line by improving the health and well-being of your home and lowering your monthly bills. You’ll learn that with today’s options, you won’t sacrifice style or comfort to make your home more eco-friendly.

Smart Meter

 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Photo courtesy of Nest

 A smart meter is a simple improvement because it will control the manner in which you heat and cool your home and optimize it for maximum comfort and efficiency. With a smart meter like the Nest Learning Thermostat, you can use an app to monitor energy use, adjust your heating and cooling schedule and more. You’ll also be able to create a custom schedule that coincides with your family’s use of the home. Even better, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your behaviors to help optimize your energy efficiency!

Smart Appliances

 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Photo courtesy of LG.com

Continuing the idea of smart electronics, expand that to your kitchen, the amount of energy saved by LG’s Smart Instaview refrigerator is impressive.  Something as simple as being able to tap a couple times and view what’s in your fridge, rather than standing with the door open, is revolutionary. It doesn’t end with the refrigerator, though, there are many smart appliance options for your kitchen, everything from ranges to dishwashers and coffee makers to slow cookers. It’ll come as no surprise that these smart appliances all come with an app to control them with your smart phone.

Solar Energy

Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Photo courtesy of Tesla

 Solar energy has been around for a long time, however, over the past decade, it’s become more prevalent and easier to integrate into our lives. With Tesla’s recent introduction of their new solar roofs, the excitement for solar has never been higher. They’ve been able to do what many solar companies have not – seamless integration with stylish and attractive solar roofing that doesn’t look like bulky solar panels. This is a game changer – especially the fact that they’ve been able to keep the cost at a level similar to, or less than, a standard roof. It’s hard to contain our excitement for these panels, visit Tesla for more information and to browse the beautiful photos!

Landscaping & Hardscaping

 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

Photo courtesy of Sustainable Hardscape

Many of us picture a lush green lawn surrounding our home as the ideal, but what we’ve learned over the past few years is that this isn’t the best idea in some climates and that planting for function or for your climate is much more beneficial. The Food Not Lawns movement has gained a lot of traction as they further their mission to encourage people to forgo urban lawns and instead, plant food-producing organic gardens. In addition to this effort, many people are focusing on planting what is appropriate for where they live, such as a drought-tolerant landscape, rock ways, and planter boxes. Sustainable Hardscape has made it the focus of their business and they’re doing it very well providing inspiration for us all.

So, whether your goal is to cut costs or save energy, there are plenty of steps both large and small you can take to further your mission. Have you already begun? What eco-friendly improvements have you made or do you plan to make in your home?

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

We love a luxury hotel. One thing that makes them so desirable is attention to detail – not just with service, but also with the actual design of their spaces. That attention to detail can make your home feel like your favorite suite from your best vacation. From the most classic of tile design to the most avant-garde, good tile design in your shower elevates your space so you can have that vacation feel without leaving the comfort of your master suite.

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source: Mark Williams Design 

This elegant shower with its modern amenities and gorgeous, classic tile is a show-stopper from Atlanta-based interior designer Mark Williams. What says luxury more than marble? And, in multiple iterations.

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source: Lori Dennis 

Los Angeles-based celebrity interior designer Lori Dennis has a knack for creating the perfect space based on its setting. This one works seamlessly in this Hollywood Hills home. She married the stone wall and subtle tiles with the wall of windows so bathing here is almost communing with nature (without getting dirty!).

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source: Schippmann Interior Design 

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source: Schippmann Interior Design 

Diversity in design seems to be a forte for interior designer Susan Schippmann. The San Francisco Bay-area native, showcases this diversity in these two designs. The first, a Mediterranean shower featuring tile from Walker Zanger’s Ceramica Alhambra line; and, the second, a peaceful spa-like shower that can only be described as a retreat with its mix of glass tile and natural stone tile.

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source:  Stonewood

Minnesota home builder Stonewood has a team with more than a little design acumen. This remodeled bathroom they completed in Lake Minnewashta is full of old world charm and modern conveniences. The layout of the tile on the walls and ceiling of the shower adds a nice level of visual interest that is beautifully complemented with the tiles on the floor as well as the granite threshold and bench.

Shower Tile Designs That You Will Love!

Source: Widing Custom Homes

Another home builder with a great design team, Widing Custom Homes in Michigan isn’t afraid to push design boundaries as evidenced in this fun and colorful bathroom featuring Ann Sacks tile. That floral pattern tile on the back wall of the shower adds that little something special to an otherwise simple bathroom (save for a few details that pop!).

Keep these designs in mind when it comes time to create that perfect escape in your home. A well-designed tiled shower, whether you lean toward the classic or the crazy, will help you achieve that luxury hotel feel you desire.

Elegant Andalusian Architecture - Juliette Hohnen

Andalusian Architecture: Characteristics and Features

Andalusia is truly a melting pot.  With a rich, extensive history, the region has been inhabited by peoples of varying ethnicities and religious backgrounds.  Over time, the influences of the different groups have combined to create a style that is uniquely Andalusian.  This one of a kind style is especially evident in their architecture.

There are many cherished structures in Andalusia, including the Alhambra and the Great Mosque of Córdoba.  These buildings date to the Muslim era of the region, and are an excellent example of the traditional architecture of Andalusia.  Andalusian architecture retains its Roman and Arab roots, while adding a dash of Mediterranean character.

 Elegant Andalusian Architecture - Juliette Hohnen

One typical feature of traditional Andalusian urban houses is that they are  constructed with shared walls.  This is  to minimize exposure to the hot Mediterranean summer temperatures. Another smart feature is that they paint exterior walls with lime, which keeps heat out.  The roof can be terraced or tiled.

 Elegant Andalusian Architecture - Juliette Hohnen

One of the most characteristic elements of Andalusian architecture is the interior courtyard.  The patios of Cordoba are an excellent example of this feature, which was heavily influenced by Roman architecture.

 Elegant Andalusian Architecture - Juliette Hohnen

Andalusian architecture is noted for it’s decorative elements.  This includes wrought iron gratings, azulejo (painted ceramic) tiles, and lavish landscaping.

 Elegant Andalusian Architecture - Juliette Hohnen

One need not travel to the Iberian Peninsula to experience Andalusian architecture!  We have a beautiful example right here in California.  The historic Torre del Moro building in Beachwood Canyon was built in 1933 by Marie Russack Hotchener.  Hotchener was an opera singer and self taught architect, and designed this Andalusian style building on Helios Drive.  The property was restored in 2005 by the design firm of Howell & Padgett and converted to a condominium with just five units.

Andalusian Architecture

The unit that is currently available at 2270 Helios Drive in Hollywood Hills East blends classic character details with modern upgrades such as central heating and air conditioning, Carrara marble countertops, and a gourmet kitchen with high end appliances.  Multiple patios and balconies offer additional living spaces that make the home feel larger.  In typical Andalusian style, lush landscaping surrounds the property.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to own a piece of Andalusian architecture right here in the United States.  Visit our listing here for more information.

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture - Juliette Hohnen

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Summer days are on the horizon, and the pull of warmer weather is leading many of us outdoors.  Now is the perfect time to spruce up your outdoor space and create a backyard living area that you, your friends, and family can create memories in.  Here are some of our top picks for luxury outdoor furniture.

Hampton Swivel Bar Stool

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If you merged the comfort of a dining arm chair with the fun of bar seating, you get the Hampton Swivel Bar Stool.  The brand created a contemporary, clean look using UV-protected wicker in a flat woven design. This swivel chair includes a fade- and mildew-resistant Sunbrella® cushion, available in multiple colors. Priced at $575, this bar stool is a “must have” for any outdoor bar!

Tamiami Loveseat

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Constructed with sun cloth lace, the Tamiami Loveseat from Brown Jordan is an excellent choice for hot climates or poolside seating.  The straps are expertly woven for strength, resilience, comfort, and style.  The loveseat can be customized in many different ways, just choose the finish and fabric color that matches your decor.

Cradle Day Bed

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

We can’t think of a better way to luxuriate outside than with the Cradle Day Bed by Gloster.  Pictured here in meteor and granite, this luxury outdoor day bed is available in other colors and with optional side and top panels.  Create a private oasis while still enjoying everything nature has to offer.  The Cradle Day bed starts at $10,000.00.

Spright Adult’s Set

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Why should kids have all the fun?  If you love bright colors and fun, retro styled design, then the Iron Occasional Spright Adult’s Set by Woodard is a great option.  The playfully mismatched chairs and cool styling make this the perfect piece for relaxing with friends.

Tropitones Mobilis Collection

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Create a visually interesting and inviting patio environment with this outdoor modular seating collection designed by Richard Holbrook.  The pieces in the Mobilis Collection have a retro modern appearance and can be arranged, mixed, and matched in multiple ways.  Create a resort-like feel in your backyard with this beautiful collection.

Atla Illuminated Planter

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

This is more of an accent piece than furniture, but we couldn’t resist including the Atla Illuminated Planter on our list of favorite luxury outdoor furniture.  Illuminate your world with this beautiful two-tone design.  This will add gorgeous ambiance to your evenings spent outdoors.

The Bilander Sofa

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

If you love clean lines and natural products, the Bilander Sofa is an excellent choice.  Made from solid unfinished Teak which is graded BC, the number of knots in the wood will be very limited.  This beautifully crafted sofa will create a gorgeous contemporary silhouette in any outdoor living space.

Tommy Bahama Fire Pit Lounge Set

Our Favorite Luxury Outdoor Furniture

The Tommy Bahama Outdoor Ocean Club Pacifica Wicker Fire Pit Lounge Set provides an inviting setting for you and your guests.  When the temperatures drop a little, there’s no need to move the party inside.  Snuggle up on the lounge set which is perfectly arranged around the fire pit, and continue chatting long into the night.

Life’s too short to spend it indoors.  Live life outside, in luxury, with our picks for top outdoor furniture.

DISCLAIMER: All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. If your property is currently listed with another real estate broker, please disregard this offer. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We cooperate with them fully. Equal Housing Opportunity.