Happy Mother’s Day!! Sending these with much love from London. (Stumbled upon this stunning hidden park, after emerging from the Underground station at Victoria Embarkment, filled with vibrant tulips after a morning rain.)

Photo Courtesy of Bill Purcell Photography

Net-Zero Design Reshapes Senior Living

People rarely think of downsizing to any retirement facility as something that’s more. It’s almost always seen as less, whether that’s less space, less freedom, or less fulfillment.

Vassar Byrd is working to turn that thinking on its head with the redevelopment of Rose Villa, a 22-acre senior living community overlooking the Willamette River in Portland, OR.

The three-phase project started with a campus redevelopment that brought 75 new homes and a walkable environment, including a Main Street, green space, gardens, retail, and restaurants.

And with the recent addition of the Oaks at Rose Villa, Byrd, Rose Villa’s CEO, is cementing the idea that better options exist both for residents and for the environment.

What’s different, better?

The Oaks at Rose Villa is a 12-cottage pocket neighborhood that had its grand opening in February.

In developing the project, Byrd asked, “How do we rebuild our village with great infrastructure and modern amenities and reimagine it?”

She had a gut feeling about what “different” and “better” looked like. “For us, energy efficiency, health, and helping the environment were such important aspects,” she comments.

Given Portland residents’ deep concerns about and connections to the environment, she thought that incorporating green design principles would be natural.

Focus groups with locals confirmed her suspicions. “They totally got it and talked about feeling better and having healthier air,” says Byrd.

Lower costs, a lighter footprint

Byrd tapped Green Hammer Design, a Portland-based green design-build firm with a track record in designing buildings that adhere to standards like LEED®, Passive House, Net Zero Energy, and the Living Building ChallengeTM, to design the net-zero neighborhood.

“The idea that you could have such a light footprint and create as much energy as you use was a deeply resonant message,” says Byrd.

Features like a south-facing roof solar array, triple-pane windows, air-to-air mini-split heat pumps, and a heat recovery ventilator to supply continuous fresh filtered air, and native landscaping all helped Green Hammer to achieve its goals.

Thanks to the energy efficiency features, residents of the Oaks at Rose Villa pay 22% less in monthly utility costs than those living in similar homes elsewhere on the campus.

Modern residents, modern design

The architect took design cues from the surrounding community, creating the 1,200-sq.-ft. craftsman-style, two-bath cottages grouped around a courtyard, according to Erica Dunn, Green Hammer’s director of design.

“For us, it was really important that the architecture was in character with the neighborhood and community,” says Dunn.

And the design is a departure from what people associate with senior housing – no pastels, flowered wallpaper, or ornate furnishings. Instead, the cottages’ interiors are sleek, open, and modern, and they incorporate design principles that allow for aging in place.

Cultural, emotional considerations

Byrd also wanted to create a culture and environment that would mitigate some of the challenges of aging, including loneliness, that sense of disconnectedness, and some social woes – cliques, for example — that can develop when 500 people are stacked in a high-rise building.

Green Hammer’s design addresses some of those issues. Though there’s personal, private space, residents walk out their doors and can find people in the courtyard, for example.

And the design of the garages forces people to go outside and not scurry directly into their homes.

An abundance of pedestrian paths encourages people to get outside on a regular basis and walk to take care of their daily business, which creates greater vibrancy on the streets and provides more opportunities for residents to meet others, find friends, and feel a sense of community. That all helps to stave off the loneliness that can be so prevalent as people age.

Residents already have gotten together to organize biking, hiking and cross-country skiing clubs, discovered Byrd.

Going viral

The Oaks at Rose Villa’s approach is a concept that could have legs, believes Byrd. “Lots of people think a senior living community is a place where they may have to give up on the way they want to live. Here, they can continue to live their values,” she says.

She’s been getting the word out about the how-to of building a similar community, and she speaks at industry conferences about the Oaks concept, the process, and its marketing.

She thinks baby boomers and seniors also can change the landscape by demanding better aging-in-place options. After all, she points out that people in that generation were the ones to reshape everything from childbirth and the workplace, to the environment.

They can reshape retirement housing too.

Article written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

In many places, spring got a late start this year. So it’s no surprise if you’re just now getting outside to look around at what Mother Nature left behind and decide on what you need to do to tune up your home for summer.
Here are a dozen to-dos to make certain that your home is in top shape – healthy, attractive, and performing well.
1. First impressions. Take a hard look at the impression your front entrance makes, especially if your house is on the market. Look at places like Pinterest and HGTV for ideas on how to make a better first impression. Some examples include adding a pop of color by repainting your front door, changing door hardware, adding lights, installing window boxes, and ensuring that your steps and railings are sturdy and look fresh. Learn about the value of doing outdoor upgrades and the projects that bring the greatest joy and ROI.
2. Winter damage. Do an exterior walk-around and check for winter damage. For example, be certain gutters aren’t clogged with leaves and debris. Inspect your foundation for cracks and openings that could allow bugs and vermin to get inside. Check decks and porches for loose boards, rot, and unstable railings.
3. Clean air. Tune up your air conditioner to keep it working at ideal capacity and save energy.
4. Leaks. Check your faucets, toilet flapper, and valves and fix any leaks. According to the EPA, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year – the equivalent to 180 showers. Also, turn your shut-off valves on and off to be sure they don’t get frozen in place.
5. Keep cool air inside. Check your weather-stripping to be sure it’s not dried out or falling down. Though it’s thought of as a winter project, weather-stripping also helps you keep cool air in and hot air out during the summer.
6. Purge chemicals. Hunt through your garage, basement, and cabinets and round up all the toxic chemicals, paint strippers, weed killers, toxic cleaning products, and so forth. Find a local recycler.
7. Lawn alternatives. Letting go of the lawn eliminates the need for maintenance and mowing, which buys you more leisure time. By replacing a chemical hungry lawn with native plants, you can save water (and money spent on your water bill) and eliminate pesticides and fertilizers, which is better for your family’s health and the environment. Learn more here.
8. Plant trees. Strategically placed trees on your lot can provide shade that reduces your energy costs by up to 25%, according to U.S. Department of Energy’s computer modeling. Learn to pick, plan, and maintain trees here.
9. Compost. Build a compost center and to reduce your garbage output and create a free source of rich nutrients for your garden.
10. Harvest water. Reduce your water bill by installing a rain barrel to capture rainwater that can be used for watering plants and flowers. Buy rain barrels or take a DIY approach.
11.  Mold. Maintain your house in a way that prevents mold growth. According to the University of Georgia, mold sources include:
Plumbing pipe and fixture leaks
Roof leaks
Flooding
High humidity levels from:
        o clothes dryer that is not properly vented
        o non-working exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms
        o a large number of indoor houseplants
        o unvented kerosene or gas heaters
        o water collection in crawl spaces or basements
12.  Leave your shoes at the door. Look closely at the sidewalks you walk on. Do you want to track dust, pesticides, cigarette ash, and dog waste into your house and on the floors where pets and kids play? See the University of Arizona study to learn about the gross, unhealthy things that come inside on the bottoms of your shoes.
Article written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

Coastal Properties Group International is the Leader in Luxury Real Estate in the Tampa Bay Area from St Petersburg to St Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach to Tampa! For two years in row, Coastal Properties Group International has been the affiliate of the year for Christie’s International Real Estate. I rarely toot my own horn, but I am so proud to be a member of such a wonderful group of Real Estate Advisors. This is the beginning of my 5th year with Coastal Properties International and I plan to be with them for many more years. As an invitation-only boutique brokerage, we specialize in beach, waterfront and luxury properties. We understand what it takes to market and sell a luxury home or estate. Coastal Properties Group sells an average of five properties per day; and a waterfront property every day.

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Sounds of Brazil in the Tampa Bay Area 🇧🇷!! A program with vocal artist Daniela Soledad, jazz guitarist Nate Najar and saxophonist Jeff Rupert called From Rio with Love, Bossa Nova will be performed on April 18th at the Palladium Theatre in St Petersburg.

Daniele Soledad was born in Rio but moved to Tampa when she was 16 when her mother married a Cuban American man from Tampa.

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Please join PRO/CPAR and the Pinellas International Council in welcoming realtors from Brazil next week. We will be touring properties in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, attending a special presentation tours of the Tampa International Airport and the Port of Tampa, visiting the Salvador Dali Museum, Dale Chihuly Collection, and the Tampa History Museum, Madeira Beach, John’s Pass, Clearwater Beach as well as a Starlight Cruise dinner. In addition we will hold an all day seminar with lunch at the Pinellas Realtor Organization building with speakers listed below on the flyer. The morning session will be held primarily in Portuguese and Spanish while the afternoon will be primarily held English. All are invited to attend both. Education and networking is a must!

Please Register in Advance. https://pinellasrealtor.org/education-and-events-calendar/

Hope to see you there for one day or all of the days! Thanks.

Brazil inbound trade mission for local realtors

Great graphic showing how green we are in Pinellas County, Florida. Pinellas County includes the area between St Petersburg, St Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. In this case, the green means primarily green parks for people and animals. Check out the graphic and then come to see for yourself.

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Need to take a class or 2 in order to complete your course requirements for the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation? Or you want to start earning this distinguished designation? Please add these to your calendar and sign up now. April is just around the corner!
https://pinellasrealtor.org/education-and-events-calendar/

CIPS Flyer 2019

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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