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JULY - AUGUST 2013

SPECIAL SHELTER ISSUE

SEEING THROUGH / LIVING HISTORY / BACKYARD BLISS PUT A FERN ON IT / CULTIVATING ZEN


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

66 JULY - AUGUST 2013

DEPARTMENTS JULY - AUGUST 2013

SPECIAL SHELTER ISSUE

18 19 20 102 106

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR ON HOME EDITORIAL BIOS EVENTS HISTORY Early Lakeland Homes

ON THE COVER

SEEING THROUGH / LIVING HISTORY / BACKYARD BLISS PUT A FERN ON IT / CULTIVATING ZEN

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Our ode to Modernism. An iconic chair, bathed in natural light, situated perfectly in a notable Lakeland home. With floor-to-ceiling glass and striking views of Lake Hollingsworth, this modern piece of architecture begs for its unique story to be told. Read more in “Seeing Through,” on page 66. Photography by Philip Pietri.


Dow n t ow n L a k e l a n d : Dale Dreyer, Community President of Central-West Polk 500 S. Florida Ave., Ste. 100, Lakeland, FL 33801 863.683.2300 L a k e Mi r i a m : Juli Surface, Branch Manager 4719 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, FL 33813 863.648.0900 Ba r t ow : Anita Stasiak, Branch Manager 1375 North Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL 33830 863.533.0475

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

34 24

60

FEATURES 24

34

40

10

LIVING HISTORY

A little imagination can make a historic home work for any generation

BACKYARD BLISS

Ten tips for throwing an enjoyable and affordable summer party

RECIPES

Try these delicious summertime recipes

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HISTORIC HOME THEATER

50

PUT A FERN ON IT

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THE HAPPY HOME

Pairing modern sound with traditional charm

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

76 FEATURES 66

76

SEEING THROUGH

Joey and Devera Losson bring California-cool Modernism to Lakeland

90

12

Checking the pulse of the commercial market with the Lakeland Economic Development Council

CULTIVATING ZEN

A hidden oasis on Shady Lane

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84

COMMERCIAL TRENDS IN LAKELAND REAL ESTATE

THE STYLE OF AUTHENTICITY

The art of staying current by exposing the age of your home

THE LAKELANDER

ASSESSING THE LOCAL CLIMATE

An interview with several Lakeland real estate professionals about the health of our residential market


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PUBLISHER Curt Patterson ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS Jason Jacobs, Brandon Patterson Advertising ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jason Jacobs; 863.606.8785 ADVERTISING SALES Brandon Patterson; 863.409.2447 ADVERTISING SALES John Nichols; 863.944.3747 Editorial EDITOR Jackie Houghton STYLE DIRECTOR Rachel Plating CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Logan Crumpton Clint DeBoer Laura Helm Adam Justice Elyse Justice Autumn Kennedy Jarman Peacock Rachel Plating Adam Spafford COPY EDITOR Laura Burke OFFICE MANAGER Deb Patterson ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Annalee Mutz Design ART DIRECTOR Philip Pietri GRAPHIC DESIGNER Daniel Barcelo Photography CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Penny & Finn, Philip Pietri, Tina Sargeant

Circulation CIRCULATION DIRECTOR CIRCULATION ASSISTANT

Jason Jacobs Molly Dodd

General Counsel

Ted W. Weeks IV

Published by Patterson Jacobs Publishing, LLC Curt Patterson | Jason Jacobs | Brandon Patterson | Steve Brown The Lakelander is published bimonthly by Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission of The Lakelander is prohibited. The Lakelander is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. Contact Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802 863.701.2707 www.thelakelander.com Customer Service: 863.701.2707 Subscription Help: jason@pattersonpublishing.com “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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EDITORIAL

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

H

ome is kind of everything. Both literally and figuratively, home can be difficult to completely define. It’s a sanctuary, a place often longed for, a kind of personal reflection that offers glimpses into who you are and what you hold dear. It houses your most precious items — collections, memories, children. And those are just a few of its functions, as your home wears many hats. It’s undoubtedly where much of life happens, from the crucial to the mundane: late-night discussions, meals, laundry, gatherings, running through sprinklers — many things at different times. Your home tells a very personal story and will continue to do so as long as it stands. For this special issue of The Lakelander, we tell the stories of homes and how life is (and in some cases, was) lived in them. With this issue, we aim to inspire you to rethink your spaces when entertaining; educate you on home media, local real-estate trends, thrifting, and historic renovations; and of course, open the door a bit on how Lakelanders really live. Hopefully, you’ll come away with at least a nugget or two. We sincerely thank the homeowners featured in this issue who generously allowed us into their spaces (with our props, photographers, and stylists, no less!) to photograph and share these glimpses of how they live with all of you. It was truly a pleasure to meet and work with so many diverse people and spaces. From large to small, historic to modern, we covered many bases and hope you enjoy this very special issue of The Lakelander. Many thanks, Jackie

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ON HOME by Rachel Plating

* “THE HOME IS WHERE YOU ARE COMPLETELY ACCEPTED. IT DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST YOUR HABITS OR WAYS OF LIVING. IT IS AN ACCEPTANCE WITHOUT JUDGMENT. WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE TO LIVE WITHOUT A HOME, PEOPLE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT A SENSE OF IT.” — FROM AI WEIWEI, “AN EXCERPT ON LIVING”

H

ome. What does the word conjure up in your mind? What is your first, most immediate reaction to the thought? My first and most intimate impressions related to the word all center around a small, white, wood-frame house in Eustis, Florida. It was home to my grandparents on my mother’s side. They didn’t have much in the way of material things, but the house was always sparkling clean. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of stretching up, up, to reach the rusty metal door knob and then swinging open the kitchen door to find my grandmother on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floors. There was always a pie or one of her sour-cream pound cakes waiting on the dining table and sun tea steeping by the carport. They had a huge vegetable garden from which they harvested produce most months of the year. My family moved around a lot in my formative years, but my grandparents’ house was a constant, unchanging bulwark, a place I could count on, where I knew every square inch of linoleum on the kitchen floor and found comfort in the warm smell of sulphur well water every time I turned on the ancient 1930s’ spigot in their bathroom. It was a place where I felt at home. Since my grandparents’ passings, I still have dreams that figure largely around that little house in Eustis. Odd, how no matter how old we get, no matter where we live, and how fondly we love our present holdings, there are certain fundamentals that we just can’t shake. A home is like anything else that matters in life. It can be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing in every way, yet without substance. It just falls

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flat. As an attractive man or woman becomes less so when they lack character, so too is a home when it lacks the same. I find myself gravitating toward more “vintage industrial” pieces because it reminds me of the utilitarian fixtures at my childhood “home.” In that house, where eclecticism reigned out of necessity, I first saw the value in a mismatched approach to decorating. My grandmother would laugh out loud just to hear me talk, because the last thing on her mind was interior design, but it’s true. The beautiful things she possessed held significance for her. Nothing was expensive, but it was all arranged and curated with great care. And in my own home, I hope to achieve that same balance of comfort, ease, and beauty which her house always will symbolize to me. Recently, a reader approached me for help at her home. She and her husband had recently purchased and renovated a house in Beacon Hill. They did a lovely job with the place, with beautiful, timeless finishes and fixtures throughout, but as they approached the end of the process (hanging pictures, placing furniture, and adding finishing touches), they found themselves in a rut, sick of looking at bare walls and not sure what to do with their stuff. We met one afternoon and it was obvious these folks had loads of good taste and a really cool story. They own a farm in the country and live in Lakeland during the school year. The husband is a rancher and the wife formerly ran a horseshoe supply shop. After our first meeting, I sent my new clients on a scavenger hunt at their ranch with a list of items to bring to their new Lakeland digs. They

came back with a minivan full of taxidermy, artifacts from their travels, and art — all things they already owned and had culled from their many varied experiences. Basically, they were my dreamboat clients. We had a fabulous time pulling from the pile and turning their home into a cozy reflection of their rustic lifestyle. And Lakeland is full of folks like them: interesting people with family histories, life stories, hobbies, and pursuits that tell the tale of who they are. Folks just like you. Too often I think we become intimidated by images we see in glossy magazines, catalogs, and websites like Pinterest. While these things are valuable by way of inspiration, it’s easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, causing us to lose sight of “home.” We become disillusioned by visions of what we wish our homes were like and blind to all of the great things we already possess. A home feels most wonderful when it’s a beautiful reflection of the people dwelling within it. Lakelanders are a diverse group of people who do all sorts of things, whether it’s hunting, taking photos, gardening, or pursuing sports. You may be a lover of music. Or, like my grandparents, your favorite thing may be feeding your kids and grandkids, and playing music in the yard on any given weekend. The one thing most Lakelanders have in common is a love of family and community. Your home can, and should, be an environment in which to celebrate all of these things. * Ai Weiwei, “An Excerpt on Living” [printed in Apartamento Issue 10, 2012-2013]


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EDITORIAL BIOS

RACHEL PLATING Rachel Plating is the mother of two sweet little girls and married to Mr. Fix-It ( Jack). She was born and raised steeped in Southern Bluegrass and sweet tea. An accomplished musician and designer, Rachel and her family fell in love with Lakeland while attending Florida Southern, and they just couldn’t stay away! When she’s not chasing a two-year-old or feeding a newborn, you can most likely find her creating idyllic spaces for her family and friends.

ADAM JUSTICE Adam Justice is a Virginia native who moved to Lakeland in 2010 to become the curator of art at Polk Museum of Art. He received his B.A. in art history/ museum studies from Radford University and an M.A. in art history at Virginia Commonwealth University. Previously he was the chief curator at William King Museum in Abingdon, Virginia, and also served as the director of the Southwest/Blue Ridge Regions for the Virginia Association of Museums. Additionally, he taught art history at Virginia Commonwealth University, Rappahannock Community College, and Virginia Highlands Community College. While being the curator of art at Polk Museum of Art, he is also an adjunct professor of art history at Florida Southern College. He currently serves on various boards, including the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, Polk Vision and Polk Arts Alliance, and is involved with various service and civic organizations.

ADAM SPAFFORD Adam Spafford came to Lakeland in 1999 to attend Florida Southern College and, except for a twenty-month graduate school stint in Massachusetts, has been here since. When he’s not writing page-turners for The Lakelander, he trades stock and index options.

JARMAN PEACOCK ELYSE JUSTICE Elyse Justice loves old stuff. She studied historic preservation and art history at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, before receiving her master’s degree in the history of decorative arts from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. She relocated to Lakeland in 2011 and works as Pinewood Estate coordinator at Bok Tower Gardens in nearby Lake Wales. She also teaches art history courses at Florida Southern College. Besides working amidst old stuff in an old house and teaching college kids about old stuff, she loves prowling through antique stores and visiting some of the best places Old Florida has to offer. 20

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Jarman Peacock’s love for plants began in Lakeland, his hometown since the age of 2. After graduating from the University of Florida in Gainesville, he lived and worked for many years as a landscape architect in Miami Beach. Shortly after returning to Lakeland in 2002, he opened the Green House Garden Store. When he’s not traveling to remote corners of Florida hunting plants for clients, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sara; his two little girls, Celeste and Arielle; and his yellow lab, Darwin.


EDITORIAL BIOS AUTUMN KENNEDY Autumn Kennedy was born in Lakeland, moved away at age 10, and lived in ten different cities over a span of nearly twenty years. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Rockies, from the cities of Boulder, Charlotte, and Savannah to a tiny village in The Netherlands, Autumn has enjoyed the experience of setting up house in many places. She returned to Lakeland in 2005 with her husband, Chad, and a new baby in tow. They fell in love with the small-town charm, family-oriented community, and proximity to the beach. Now a stayat-home mother of three, Autumn graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a degree in English and holds an M.A.L.S. degree in humanities from Hollins University. She credits her stay at L’Abri Fellowship as her primary inspiration for simple, thoughtful, joyful homemaking. On the days when it’s all in disarray, she recalls the encouraging words of her grandmother, who said, “A messy house is a happy house!”

LOGAN CRUMPTON Logan Crumpton has been employed with the United States Postal Service for the last twelve years. Although he has lived nearly his entire life in the Lakeland area, he seeks out a world of food culture with the mindset of sharing it on a local level. Like many who have developed a love of food, he honed his skills in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning traditional Cuban and Italian classics. Pursuing more of a life in food has afforded him the opportunity of co-creating the food blog Eataduck, guest writing for online publications, as well as trying his hand as a caterer and private chef.

CLINT EVERETT DEBOER When Clint DeBoer’s not remodeling part of his house or playing with the latest power tool, he enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader. He has a degree in recording engineering and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another for the past eighteen years.  Clint  is the Editor-in-Chief of Pro Tool Reviews magazine which reviews power tools for the residential and commercial construction industry. He also professionally reviews home theater equipment for the online magazine  Audioholics.com, officially making him the most difficult person to shop for during Christmas or birthdays.

LAURA HELM Laura Helm is the owner of Lakeland-based Ashton Events, an inventive event planning and design company. After graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, she found herself leaving her home state and following her oldest brother and his half-pint wife to Lakeland. She quickly fell in love with the local charm, characterfilled homes, and gracious community. Ashton Events was founded from her desire to tell the stories of clients through custom decor and personalized details. While the majority of her events are weddings, she finds it a privilege to also have worked with many of Lakeland’s finest corporations and non-profit organizations. She is also the proud aunt of the world’s cutest nephew.  22

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L i v i n g

A little imagination can make a historic home work for any generation

Story by

Elyse Justice

Photography by

Penny & Finn

Styled by

Rachel Plating

T

all and massive, with Mayan temple–like geometric ornament, the Columbus W. Deen house stands out from the sea of picturesque Lake Morton bungalows like a femme fatale in a crowd of bubbly ingénues. The broad porch roof veils the home’s entrance in intriguing shadow, and the intricate motifs at the tops of the piers and pilasters beg further inspection. A stained-glass window, visible on one elevation of the house, adds to the domicile’s aura of mystery. This house, constructed in an area once viewed as the far reaches of Lakeland, possesses an unmistakable personality, one that over one hundred years of different owners, uses, and abuses have not been able to extinguish. Shining in its resumed role as a single-family residence, the house serves as a reminder that some pieces of history can become truly timeless.

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The Deen house has seen its share of transformations. The stately home began its life as a mansion for banker and real estate developer Columbus W. Deen, who constructed the house near his pecan groves. Finished in 1912, the residence included all of the required spaces for a wealthy family of that time, plus a few more: living room, dining room, a reception hall and reception room, bedrooms, bathrooms, butler’s pantry, servants’ stairs, sewing area, and even a carriage house for Deen’s automobile, one of the first in the city. After Deen’s death in 1927, Judge R. Lee Wright and his family purchased the home, but it spent much of the next decade as a hospital and sanitarium, or wellness facility, operated by Dr. Thomas Causey. Wright deeded the home to

Florida Southern College, and in 1940 it became a student dormitory named Wright’s Hall in his honor. Over the years, the college used the house as student housing, a fraternity house, faculty housing, and ultimately storage. In 1994, Lon Stanley and Keith Etheredge persuaded Florida Southern to sell them the house, and Stanley and Etheredge worked extensively to restore the structure to its original appearance and purpose as a single-family residence, despite suffering from setbacks such as a ruinous fire. Their devotion to restoring the home’s beautiful woodwork, which had been painted numerous times over the years, and architectural details shows in the end result seen today. Steve and Stephanie Shelnut have also added

to the home’s restoration since purchasing it in 2012, updating roofing systems, using old photographs to restore the landscape, and making other repairs. The Deen house exudes the influence of the Prairie School, popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright, while retaining characteristics of nineteenth-century Southern architecture. Wright rejected revivalist architectural styles, preferring more modern, “organic” dwellings designed with an emphasis on horizontality, inspired by the flat prairie Midwestern landscape on which they stood. He espoused the treatment of the house as an artistic whole, utilizing highquality materials and well-crafted fixtures, and carefully organizing the plan around the hearth, with large, more open spaces.


The Deen house’s low, hipped roofs with deep overhangs; sharply rectilinear piers, pilasters and chimneys; geometric details; and materials such as brick and ceramic mosaic tile indicate that the architect, Guy Johnson Platt, had strong familiarity with Prairie School architecture. Its exterior bears a striking resemblance to Wright’s Martin House (19031905) in Buffalo, New York. Inside, massive semi-circular fireplaces faced in brick, extensive paneling, exposed beams, and built-in cabinetry show the Prairie and Arts and Crafts styles. However, other of the house’s features more strongly reflect nineteenth-century Southern ideas about climate and social interaction. Strategically placed to catch the cross breezes on this high point between Lakes Morton and Hollingsworth, the large, open porch acts as an exterior room to find respite from Florida’s heat in the days before air conditioning. A central hallway directly in front of the main entrance would have allowed for increased air circulation, as did transoms above each door. Pocket doors that close spaces from the hall would have determined the visitorof-the-past’s experience in the home, with some ushered directly into the reception room without ever seeing the more familiar living and dining rooms. The central hallway served as a velvet rope in the nineteenth-century — if your name wasn’t on the list, you didn’t go very far. All of this devotion to restoration at the Deen house, therefore, indicates the willingness, even the desire, to live in a dwelling based on a century-old lifestyle. The Deens of 1912 obviously did not have televisions, computers, and the like. Their carriage house and electricity were fairly modern for their time. Proper entertaining and conversation took place in specialized rooms or over a fine, beautifully served meal. The idea of a large kitchen in which to cook and simultaneously entertain would probably have sent shockwaves of horror down Mrs. Deen’s spine.

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Living in such a home may mean sacrificing or working out some of the things those of us living in 2013 take for granted — finding a location for the washing machine inside the house, figuring out what to do with the butler’s pantry that no longer has the cabinetry, copper sink, let alone butler that once accompanied it, and purchasing wardrobes to make up for a distinct lack of closet space. However, it can also mean finding oneself continuously arrested in awe at the beauty of the house’s craftsmanship. It can result in the delight of taking a favorite book from a built-in cabinet and reading it while relaxing on a spacious window seat, the thrill of finding a new place to hide during each game of hide-and-go-seek, or the enjoyment of a lazy Saturday afternoon on the porch with a glass of lemonade. If one is possessed with a sense of humor, the narrow, winding servant’s stair might provide a much-needed chuckle after a rough day at work, and the small, very separate kitchen may not seem so bad when a batch of forgotten cookies burns in the oven. Inhabiting an older house also requires the courage and vision to embrace putting one’s own stamp on a place. Older homes need not be treated like mausoleums or museums; they are meant to be enjoyed. Lon Stanley and Keith Etheredge’s commissioning of the large, stained-glass “Tree of Life” window that now bathes the main staircase of the Deen house in gorgeous, colorful light presents a wonderful example of putting one’s own unique stamp on a place. Executed by the talented Ken Berman of The Glass Onion in Lakeland, the design’s inspiration comes from the “Tree of Life” stained-glass entry at The Gamble House (1908), a Charles and Henry Greene (more commonly known as Greene & Greene) Arts and Crafts masterpiece in Pasadena, California. Berman’s translation of the design adds pops of red and gold and texture to the space. The window solves a renovation conundrum beautifully while adding a contemporary masterpiece that respectfully evokes the home’s early twentieth-century roots. Admittedly, adding or changing something can be tricky, but no one can deny the stunning effect the change has added to this home. Like the Deen house, many of Lakeland’s historic homes have their own personalities to explore and expand. Given the perfect mixture of appreciation for the ways and styles of the past, dedication to making a home work for the present, and innovation to create new features for the future, a house and its best, most salient features can be preserved for the ages. Furniture/props provided by Wish Vintage Rentals (www.wishvintagerentals.com) Nature photography by F.W. Van Fair Trade baskets provided by Jim Luna (Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market)


BACKYARD BLISS

TEN TIPS FOR THROWING AN ENJOYABLE AND AFFORDABLE SUMMER PARTY STORY BY LAURA HELM PHOTOGRAPHY BY PENNY & FINN

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THE SCHOOL BELL HAS RUNG FOR THE SUMMER AND THE KIDS ARE BEGGING TO STAY OUTSIDE UNTIL THAT LAST GLIMMER OF SUN FADES. WITH THE EXTRA HOURS OF DAYLIGHT, EVENINGS SEEM TO LAST FOREVER, AND THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO CAPITALIZE ON THEM THAN WITH FRIENDS. BEFORE YOU BOW OUT OF A HOSTING OPPORTUNITY, PERUSE THIS LIST OF TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THROWING AN AWESOME (AND AFFORDABLE) SUMMER PARTY. WITH JUST A FEW ITEMS AND A LITTLE INGENUITY, YOU, TOO, CAN ACTUALLY ENJOY HAVING THE NEIGHBORS OVER.

1

SETTLE ON A COLOR PALETTE.

Struggling to determine what colors go together? Wander through a fabric store and look for a print that catches your eye. Or, scroll through Pinterest and look at the bouquets. This is one of my favorite ways to find inspiration. The mix of flowers, greenery, and what the bouquet is tied with can give you a great, well-rounded color palette. For our party, a tiny, multicolored dipping-bowl set kick-started our entire palette.

2

CARRY THE INSPIRATION THROUGH ALL ASPECTS OF THE PARTY.

From top to bottom, I always strive to tie the entire event together. For instance, while on Instagram, I stumbled upon an image of the pattern from an Aztec-inspired couch. I combined that with the color palette and was off to the races! By giving subtle nods to a Mexican flair in both the decor and the menu, the whole event felt more cohesive, without going overboard.

3

USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE (OR BORROW FROM A NEIGHBOR).

For a small get-together, don’t hesitate to bring out your dishes. We paired plain white ceramic plates with a set of Fiestaware dishes and used mismatched napkins, all within the color palette, and real silverware. Instead of spending money on paper goods, splurge on statement pieces that bring in the pattern in a bold way. I found the drinking glasses at Anthropologie and the gold serving containers at Target, and I love that they are now part of my kitchen collection. 4

FOCUS ON ONE MAIN TABLE FOR DECOR.

Instead of being overwhelmed by decorating the whole event, I like to focus my attention on one signature table. The rest falls into place from there. Use unexpected containers and focus on the details for that one table. Then, when you look around the room, you’ll be able to continue the details elsewhere. For example, I focused on the main dining table and then continued the theme through the serving and kids’ tables. THE LAKELANDER

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5

PICK A MENU THAT HAS OPTIONS.

I love the idea of stations or bars. Offer one or two main items, but then allow the guests to pick their own sides and toppings. Especially with a smaller gathering, guests will appreciate having options. In this case, we offered beef and veggie burgers. Guests could pick from a variety of unusual gourmet sides, and they loved being able to personalize the meal to their own tastes. 6

KEEP SIDES SIMPLE.

You’ve offered guests variety in the main course, so basic sides aren’t just accepted; they’re appreciated. Guests won’t want to problem solve the whole way down the food table. A great tossed salad, quick kabobs of fruit, an awesome hummus dip with chips — you get the idea. Fresh, simple, tasty.

7

LOOK FOR INEXPENSIVE ITEMS TO REPURPOSE.

This is often the most confusing or frustrating part for people to create that unexpected design moment. Start with what you want to achieve (i.e., a place to sit, a platter to put “x” on), and then look around for objects that fit the shape you’re going for. Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, and even garage sales have plenty of options. But, again, know what you’re trying to achieve, focus on the function, and then get creative. I knew I wanted another place for guests to sit, so I used an old drop cloth, painter’s tape, and left-over paint to create our picnic blanket. Check out our DIY tutorial to recreate this project. 8

PLAY TO THE KID AT HEART.

Especially in the summer, adults will appreciate a nod to their youth. For instance, at our party, we knew we wanted to serve popsicles to the kids. Why not gussy up some popsicles that even the adults will appreciate and enjoy? You’ll only need a few extra ingredients, but everyone will love the added touch. We put a spin on a traditional fruit popsicle by using paloma, or Mexican grapefruit. 36

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DIY TUTORIAL

9

GIVE THE KIDS SOMETHING TO DO.

Designating a “VIP” area just for children will ensure plenty of time for the adults to enjoy themselves. I mimicked the adults’ table runner on the kids’ table and then set out some fun items: $1 pails from Target, along with a few other inexpensive items were all we needed. Personalize their spots quickly and easily by putting their names on the back of the chairs. You can use stickers or even dry-erase markers for a quick cleanup. It doesn’t have to be expensive to show intentionality. 10

HAVE FUN.

I enjoy hosting the most when I can set things up and then just let the day happen. Every event will have its hiccups, and sometimes you need to problem solve. But more often than not, a good sense of humor will make the mishap that much better in the long run. When you enjoy the event, your guests will, too.

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While I was perusing Pinterest for inspiration for our party, I ran across a DIY tutorial from Design Love Fest (designlovefest.com). I adapted it slightly and was incredibly pleased with the result. It’s a very simple project that anyone, even kids, can enjoy.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

- a drop cloth (I cut a 5’x14’ drop cloth in half. Like I mentioned, use what you have!) - painter’s or Scotch tape - Post-it notes - pen - paint, in your choice of colors. (Outdoor paint from Michael’s is cheap and easy. I used 1.5 bottles of each color.) - paint brushes (I purchased an inexpensive brush for each shade so I wouldn’t have to wash them repeatedly.)

HOW TO:

Start by taping out your pattern. Geometric shapes are the easiest to create, but don’t let that limit your creativity. Be sure to seal the tape firmly onto the cloth, as the coarse weave can sometimes not grab it tightly. After mapping out the pattern, I created a “paint-byPost-it” system to keep the process foolproof. I wrote the name of the color I wanted in each triangle, so I could paint by color, not shape. Paint to your heart’s content. If you have a helper, give him or her a brush and a paint tube. I worked on this with four people, and it took us about twenty-five minutes. Since you’re using a drop cloth, you don’t have to worry about the paint seeping through. Peel up the tape before the paint dries. Allow the drop cloth to dry for at least two hours. Enjoy your new picnic blanket!


RECIPES

WATERMELON SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING Serves 8 small seedless watermelon cut into 1-inch cubes (set aside half the melon for fruit kabobs) 1 bag prewashed baby arugula 1 small red onion halved, thinly sliced lengthwise 1 cucumber peeled, thinly sliced into rounds 3 radishes, thinly sliced 1/4 block Queso fresco cheese On a large serving platter, make a bed with the arugula. Intermingle the melon, onion, cucumber and radish randomly over the arugula. Sprinkle with the cheese. For the dressing:

GRASS-FED BEEF BURGERS Makes 8 quarter-pound burgers and 6 sliders, or 12 quarter-pound burgers 3 pounds 80/20 grass-fed ground beef salt and pepper to taste olive oil 8 French rolls or hamburger buns 6 dinner rolls Heat grill to 500 degrees. Keep meat in the refrigerator until you’re ready to form patties into your desired size. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each burger to prevent patties from shrinking into too round of a shape when grilling. Place the burgers on a sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up. Remove meat from freezer and season on one side with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper but not enough to overwhelm the flavor of the beef. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top the prevent sticking. If the grill is heated to the proper temperature, place the patties directly on the hottest area of the grate with the seasoned side down, giving yourself enough room to flip. Then salt and pepper the unseasoned side of the burger and close the lid. Let sit about 3 minutes to achieve a medium doneness (that is, assuming the grill reaches 500 degrees), raise grill lid and flip patties, then close lid immediately and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. In the meantime, split rolls or hamburger buns and place face down onto hot grill for about 15-20 seconds to get a touch of char and crisper texture on the bread. Remove and serve with condiments. *Side note: If you don’t have a grill, you can use your stovetop and a skillet. Heat the skillet on high and wait until you see whiffs of smoke coming off the pan, then proceed with the same directions as above. 40

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juice of 1 lime, plus zest 3 tablespoons orange blossom honey 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt and pepper to taste 1/3 cup extra light olive oil Combine juice, zest, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a large bowl, and whisk until well mixed. Drizzle oil slowly while whisking until dressing is emulsified. Set aside until ready to serve.


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STRAWBERRY PALOMA & HORCHATA POPSICLES Makes 6-8 pops per serving

STRAWBERRY PALOMA 1 cup diced strawberries 2 teaspoons cane sugar 12-ounce can grapefruit soda 1 1/2 cups ruby red grapefruit soda Place strawberries in a shallow bowl and sprinkle sugar on top. Let stand until the juice from the berries begins to release. Spoon evenly into Popsicle molds. Gently mix the liquids together and pour into mold. Place in freezer for at least 4 hours. HORCHATA 2 cups plain rice milk 14-ounce can condensed milk 1 vanilla bean pod or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup golden raisins Pour both milks in a medium-sized saucepan on low temperature. Stir until condensed milk is incorporated. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the meat into the milk. Throw the bean pod in as well. Add remaining ingredients and steep for 30 minutes. When you’re ready to make the Popsicles, use a slotted spoon to remove the vanilla bean. Then, remove the raisins and disperse them evenly in the Popsicle molds. Pour the horchata liquid into the molds and freeze at least 6 hours. For more Backyard Bliss recipes, go to www.thelakelander.com.

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HISTORIC HOME THEATER

PAIRING MODERN SOUND WITH TRADITIONAL CHARM

story by Clint DeBoer | photography by Tina Sargeant

L

iving in an historic home is wonderful. It’s one of the delights of downtown living. The architecture has such character, and the build quality — both interior and exterior — simply puts a lot of modern construction methods to shame. With all of that character, the last thing you want to do is slap up one of those newfangled flat-screen TVs and plop a rack full of A/V equipment down on your 1920s’ heart pine floors. It’s just not right, you know? So what are your options? Well, fortunately there are a lot of ways to bring the home theater experience to your living room without having to disrupt the beautiful architecture of your historic living space. Some of these options are even quite affordable. I’ll outline some of my favorites as well some things that might be good to stay away from — like those built-ins originally designed to hold that 32-inch tube TV. If you still have one of those you might want to consider a twenty-first–century upgrade — hang that TV on the wall!

TVS THAT LOOK LIKE FRAMED ARTWORK

There are a couple of companies on the market that make these excellent products that transform your flat-panel television, literally, into a work of art. An actual frame goes around your TV, and a piece of textured artwork or photography is shown. When it’s time to watch TV, you turn it on and the artwork rolls up, revealing your television screen. It’s a high-dollar product, but it’s really impressive, and the installations I’ve seen look fantastic. These television frames can be ordered in a variety of styles, and most companies will reprint (when permitted) artwork, so you can customize what you want to see hanging over your mantel when the television is off. 44

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RELOCATE THAT GEAR!

You don’t have to cut back on the amount of equipment you pour into a home with classic architecture; you just have to hide it. In fact, to get the best experience possible, you may find that it takes a lot more equipment to distribute audio and video to the rest of your house. Building a singleroom home theater is simple. Building a whole-home A/V system is another thing entirely. With a lot of older homes there may not be a ton of closet space, but finding a nice nook or area that you can dedicate to your gear will allow you to maintain that elegant look you worked so hard for in your living room. In the industry we call this “working the wifeacceptance-factor (WAF).” You can build a really high-quality surround sound system — you just have to make sure it doesn’t take over the living room. With many of the older homes having either roomy attics or ample crawl spaces underneath, running wiring to a remote location isn’t typically that big of a deal. Plus, you can hire that local high school kid to get under there and pull the cable. They might even think it’s fun. After your equipment is relocated, you’ll need to utilize a wireless remote control system. These can be either very simple systems that transmit your standard IR (infrared) remote codes to the stow-away location, or they can be sophisticated RF (radio frequency) or WiFi devices that let you control the entire system with a touch screen or an iPad. My recommendation is on a sophisticated system. They are much more enjoyable to use and, while you’ll pay for the convenience, it’s really a key component of the entire home theater experience itself. We’ve seen touch screen systems that will let you change the temperature in your house, dim the lights, drop a projector screen, and navigate your Blu-ray disc collection in one fell swoop. It’s up to you how far you choose to take it.

I N-CEILING AND IN-WALL SPEAKERS ARE YOUR FRIENDS

Once your equipment is out of the way, the next big hurdle is avoiding large, visible speakers. Now, I love large speakers. I think speakers are

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furniture. My wife, however, disagrees. And while I get away with a lot in our house, hiding the speakers is going to be preferable. The two ways this can be done is via the use of in-wall speakers or in-ceiling speakers. As you may guess, these are speakers that are literally installed in the wall cavity or ceiling and which project sound into the room without taking up space. With some of the new paintable speaker grilles, you almost can’t even see them. I would throw down a couple of rules here, however. One, in-ceiling speakers make great surrounds. They don’t make such great front speakers. The reason for this is that you want your audio to come from the general vicinity of the television, not from above. In-ceiling speakers also have a dramatically limited dynamic range, so they can’t produce all of the midrange that gives clarity to the dialogue in movies and the vocals in music. In-wall speakers, however, have a lot more to work with. They can be larger and still be unseen. If you can’t do in-wall speakers — perhaps because of a built-in — then I’d recommend trying to get a pair of bookshelf speakers. These can sit on stands, or literally on a bookshelf, should you have one next to your television. The wiring can be hidden in the wall just as easily and will be nearly invisible. You can also find many loudspeaker manufacturers today who will allow you to order custom finishes, so you can even match them to your décor. And if you have one of those old built-ins from the 1980s, well, this is a great time to consider giving it the heave-ho and mounting your flat-panel TV right on the wall for a cleaner look.

SUBWOOFERS ARE MEANT TO BE FELT, NOT SEEN

Subwoofers are my favorite speakers. And let me just clear something up. If you’ve ever heard a “bass module” made popular by that four-letterword company starting with “B” that advertises on late-night TV, you have yet to hear a true subwoofer. A subwoofer can, when used properly, revive you during cardiac arrest. It can displace the air in your lungs and move your sofa backwards several inches during a fight scene. It will


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Outdoors, speakers are meant to be heard, not necessarily seen. There are lots of styles and models that will blend in with your patio decor.

ensure the family pet does not interrupt you while you’re watching the Blu-ray of Iron Man 3. Subwoofers are awesome. You need one. And they can be hidden. A subwoofer, when properly used, is a speaker that carries frequencies so low, you actually can’t tell where they’re coming from. That means you can relocate this boxy-looking speaker underneath a coffee table or tuck it into a corner. You can set a plant on it. A very heavy plant. With grippy tape. The bottom line is that this speaker is what will bring the moviewatching experience to your living room — without the sticky floors and rude people in front of you commenting on everything the lead character does. They can be as big or as small as you like, but the best rule of thumb is to allocate at least a 12-inch sub for a medium-sized room. For the adventurous, two subs are better than one and almost always yield a more consistent (less “peaky”) sound.

PROJECTOR SCREENS CAN BE HIDDEN

If you’re all impressed with your new 60-inch flat-screen television, don’t come to my house. I have a 100-inch projector that brings the moviewatching experience to a new level. But surely you can’t do a projector in an early 1900s’ home? Yes. Yes you can. There are a couple of reasons why front projection is surging in popularity. First, projectors have come way down in price. You can pick up a 1080p projector for under $1,000. That’s likely a lot cheaper than you originally paid for your flat-panel TV (unless you have a model under 50 inches in size). With these new projectors you can achieve images of very high quality up to 120 inches diagonal. A very nice projector will run you $2,000, and of course you can pay as much as you want from there as you get better and better quality and capabilities. The second reason front projection is taking off is due to the significant price drop for what are referred to as “tensioned” electric screens. There are companies now that are manufacturing these screens for under $500. A tensioned electric screen can descend from the ceiling and has cables to keep the screen nice and tight for movie-watching. This differentiates

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it from those screens you see in offices and schools which tend to curl on the edges and, in my opinion, look pretty unprofessional. Hiding a projector screen can be done in a number of ways. If the joists run in your favor, then the screen can be installed in the attic and it can drop down through the ceiling into the room and retract when not needed. With higher-end systems, all of this happens automatically when your Blu-ray player starts up and you begin to watch a movie. Another way to hide the screen is to simply butt it up against the wall, or place it in front of your fireplace and frame around it using crown moulding. You can just about blend it into your ceiling in this manner and it covers up the black or white casing that holds the screen.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL. NO, SERIOUSLY, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

Putting a home theater together may not seem like that much, or it may seem absolutely overwhelming. You’ve really just got speakers, A/V gear, the display, and the control system. But you have to wire everything up, and the “simple” control system might take more time to properly configure than everything else combined. In either case, there’s hope for those of us living in historic homes. We, too, can have the true home theater experience. It just takes a little bit more effort and a lot more thoughtful planning to do it right. And speaking of doing it right, you really want to hire a professional when it comes to integrating home theater into one of these homes. I’ve seen it done wrong, and the results are a mixture of comical and devastating. The difference depends on whether or not you’re good at laughing at yourself (and whether you can afford to pay to get it fixed). When it all comes down to it, hiring a pro will put someone in change for whom this is “not his first rodeo.” My recommendation backs the use of professional custom A/V installer all the way — an endorsement that is now even more vigorous after helping several of my friends repair the damage they caused trying it on their own.


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PUT A

FERN ON IT A small-space makeover

STYLED AND WRITTEN BY RACHEL PLATING PHOTOGRAPHED BY TINA SARGEANT

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The biggest change we made was to the layout of the living area, turning it into a clearly defined work/play zone, putting the sofa in the middle of the room to divide the workspace from the living room.

W

hile putting together articles for this special edition of The Lakelander, we really wanted to show a range of styles and types of dwellings. Matthew and Sara Kent are members of our creative team. Our readers will know them from their work with us as the dynamic photography duo Penny & Finn who provided images rich in color and depth for both the Shelter and Taste sections in past issues. You’ll see more of their work featured in this issue, in the Deen House and our summer entertaining spread. Every time we shoot a home together, we joke about coming to their apartment and making it over the same way we do when we prop houses for the Shelter section of the magazine. “Put a fern on it” has become our tagline, for it seems like plants are always key to the vignettes we create. So when it came to the redesign of their own abode, it only seemed natural that plant life be a major part of the theme. Matthew jokingly referenced Jumanji as inspiration. We didn’t quite go that far, but it is pretty green, if I do say so myself.

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The Penny & Finn vibe has a decidedly handmade bent. Vintage furniture cozies up to custom pieces by Pine-stock, Matthew’s other creative venture with his dad, a master carpenter and woodworker. The apartment is peppered with pieces crafted by Sara, who uses their home as her studio and test kitchen for DIY projects galore which you can see featured on her blog, www.pennylovesfinn.com. In approaching the plan for their space, we had several things to contend with, but the main two concerns were size/space planning and budget (which was originally $150). The goal was to create zones within the small space to give purpose to every available square inch. Their living room is tiny, and it also houses Matthew’s workspace. Originally, the desk and TV unit were packed into one corner of the room, with two couches set perpendicularly against the opposing walls. While there was a decent amount of space in the middle of the room, one had to walk through the middle of the seating area to reach the kitchen, and the middle of the room was unused space. My other beef with most small apartments is that the


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BEFORE

Putting the new layout on paper helps determine furniture placement and flow of traffic.

front door flings you right into the middle of the living room without any transitional space or a spot to throw your bag and keys. Result: instant messiness. With our budget in hand and plans for this issue of The Lakelander underway, we sat down in Matthew and Sara’s little living room and brainstormed. We took into account all of the ways the space needed to function and all of the ways it was currently a disappointment. The things they liked about the space included its open-plan concept, having the office as part of the main living area, and the mid-century couch that had been given to them by friends. Their dislike list was much longer, but their biggest concerns were the living area’s awkward corners, the way the office area wasn’t really integrated into the room, color schemes — basically a general lack of coziness, and of course a lack of plants, which we mentioned previously. As we talked, I sketched an idea which totally changed the floor plan of the main living area. We separated the TV-watching zone from the workspace by placing them at opposite ends of room. Matthew and his dad made an easel-style TV unit to hang on the wall and free up more room on the floor, and then we plopped the sofa down right in the middle

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of the space, using it to chop the two areas in half and create an obvious thoroughfare between zones and into the kitchen. This is counter-intuitive to most people, but it really works, and rather than make a room feel smaller, it feels more spacious because of the intentionality of the plan. We designed an entryway, using a bookshelf constructed by Matthew, which also functions as a room divider and a place to house their growing plant collection. Now they have a place to throw their keys, and the workspace has its own designated area. The wall which originally housed the TV now functions as a spot to hang proofs from recent photography jobs and some favorite craft projects. The other big change was color. Sara loves turquoise, and there were originally two different shades of blue on the walls, alternating with neutrals. While the turquoise and robin’s-egg blue were lovely colors, we decided to broaden the palette a little bit. We drew inspiration from Sara’s collection of mid-century objects and kitchenware, and Matthew’s love of the Pacific Northwest and came up with a masculine/feminine mix of robin’s-egg blue; muted coral; and a deep-brown, almost-black color called Sealskin. So, here we were — with a plan, a purpose, and a task list. And then our


Before, when you entered the apartment, you walked right into Matthew’s workspace. Now visitors are greeted by a happy collection of plants, books, gifts from friends, and finds from the couple’s travels. Bonus: The “office” is hidden from view.

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Previously, the apartment had been wrapped in turquoise as far as the eye could see. We opted to lift the blue in the palette to a robin’s egg blue and added two more colors to the mix. Color can be an amazing way to transform and add purpose to the different areas within a small space.

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little budget took an unexpected dive. Don’t get me wrong: $150 wasn’t a whole lot considering all that we planned to do. But life happened, and we ended up with more of a beg/borrow/steal-type scenario. (Don’t worry, we didn’t actually steal anything.) Undaunted, we decided to use this as an opportunity to practice what we preach and use what we had. Besides, we were on a deadline, and we weren’t giving up. We used a combination of leftover paint on the walls. We visited thrift stores. We used stock Matthew had in the workshop to build the furniture items needed for the space. Friends Robyn Wilson and Jarrid Masse of the Poor Porker stepped in to lend a hand, a couple of lamps, and some materials. Sara and I made the curtains and dyed them ourselves with leftover dye I had been saving for a rainy day. In the end we spent around $60 on frames and craft materials. Everything else they owned already (we just gave it new purpose) or was given to them by friends. It’s a true testament to Matthew and Sara’s resourcefulness and proof that you don’t have to have a huge budget to have a beautiful, happy home.

Plants provided by The Green House Garden Store (www.greenhousegardenstore.com) Custom coffee table, book shelf and media shelf by Pinestock (www.pine-stock.com)

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the

Happy Home

Whom you love + what you love ... it’s that simple

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story by

N

Autumn Kennedy |

ot long ago, I plopped down on the floor of a local bookstore with a stack of books on vintage and eclectic home decor, while my three children literally ran circles around me trying on different Avenger masks. I reached for a rather unexpected tome on the topic by Mary Randolph Carter, beginning with this long title: A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life: How to Live Creatively with Collections, Clutter, Work, Kids, Pets, Art, Etc...and Stop Worrying About Everything Being Perfectly in Its Place. Sold. As a mother of young children, I am very familiar with a house that looks — and certainly is — “lived in.” But it took many years of letting go of other people’s standards, while at the same time knitting together my own definition of “home,” before I really found a style of my own and embraced what is surely

photography by

an ongoing process of making a house a home. As it turned out, my relaxed philosophy of style-at-home resonated with Lakelanders, and in 2010 I launched This Old Thing?, an online shop of vintage and eclectic home goods sourced locally, sold online, and then delivered to your door. From Mid-Century Modern furniture to rustic garden goods, industrial storage pieces to quirky folk art, TOT?, as it was known, was a busy local business for over two years. The time was right to retire TOT? at the end of 2012, but my heart for homemaking with eclectic and vintage goods still beats strong. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be in the business or even shop the trendy shops to get great style at home, whether yours be modern, truly vintage, vintage-inspired, or as is the case in my home, an eclectic mix of it all. There

Philip Pietri is but one thing needed, and that is to heed the words of Shakespeare, who wrote, “This above all: to thine own self be true.” When it comes to homemaking, I wholeheartedly agree. Once you figure that part out, it’s as simple as hitting the garage sales, estate sales, and local thrift shops for plenty of things from which to choose, not to mention our area’s Fancy Flea events, plus an abundance of unique home-decor shops found online and right here in Lakeland. Having said that, there are a few key questions to ask yourself as you work at making your house a home, and a handful of tips to remember for marrying your own personal style with the reality of your actual lifestyle. Let’s start with a framework of solid tips and advice, and then move on to the questions.

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First, edit, edit, edit. Most of us have way too much stuff. If you don’t love it, or it’s not serving a practical purpose, let it go. A room stripped down to its bare essentials, with a few well-chosen and placed accessories, will transform the space without any money out of pocket. Use what you have. Really consider the true function of each room in your house, and then use what you already have to meet those needs. That baker’s rack on the patio might be better put to use in the pantry; that forgotten little bookcase in the kid’s room might be the perfect storage piece in a bathroom. You make the rules; you call the shots. Don’t bring in any new additions unless they pass the test. What test? We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, consider just how long household stuff hangs around. I’m talking about the stuff we don’t use or even remember we have, but we deal with over and over again when we look for something in the junk drawer or when we want to get something out of the garage. So be

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careful about bringing home more stuff. Now, when you are ready to go on the hunt for one of those well-chosen new additions, the Fancy Flea is one of the best local — even national — sources for finding what you need, and maybe even something you don’t need, but just have to have because it’s “so you.” With over 200 vendors participating in the annual April and November shows, there are the coolest finds to be had at the Fancy Flea for nearly everyone’s style and budget. On July 20, 2013, the Lake Mirror Center will host “La Petit Fancy Flea,” a new addition to the lineup of events. The Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City will be the new venue for the bigger November 2, 2013, show. Before you head out the door, here’s that test I would recommend you put potential acquisitions through, whether big or small: Will I use it and/or do I love it? Don’t buy just because it’s a good deal or you kinda like it. Appreciate those factors ... and then move on. Is it safe for everyone in my family? If


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you have young children, beware of lead, rust, and top-heavy furniture, all of which are found in abundance in vintage decor. Is it versatile? For example, when your child outgrows that dresser, might it be repurposed in the foyer or family room? Get the best bang for your buck. Do I have the time, money, and know-how to bring home this DIY project? Be honest with yourself. If you’ve got the resources, then seize the opportunity and get that gorgeous old buffet in need of some TLC. If not, save your dollars for a piece that’s “move-in ready.” Putting together your home is a creative process. It happens piece by piece and over time, changing with the needs and wants of your particular family. Your choices in furnishings, art, and decor — those you bring in and those you choose to let go — show in a tangible way your unique personality and the personalities of those with whom you live. Homes are for living in, so enjoy the process, and as Mary Randolph Carter wrote, “Stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place.” (But shhh ... don’t tell my kids I said that!)

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Joey and Devera Losson bring California-cool Modernism to Lakeland

From a particular angle, the long, low, glass and steel home on Lake Hollingsworth morphs in the mind’s eye into an iconic, glamorous, architectural subject of a mid-twentieth century Julius Shulman photograph. A squint of the eyes, a tilt of the head, and the lights of other sleepy homes along the lake become Los Angeles in the distance. The transformation of Joey and Devera Lossons’ house has been so startling and so markedly different that cars slow to a crawl as they pass. Ironically, just a few short years ago, the house was hardly noticeable. However, with the 1960s’ home’s great potential and visionary owners, rehabilitation translated it for a new generation and century.

As with many homeowners’ stories, this one begins with a dream. Joey Losson dreamed of someday owning a particular house on Lake Hollingsworth, having long admired its clean, modern lines and large windows. One day, late in 2000, Joey and his wife, Devera, were driving around the lake discussing modern houses when he decided to reveal his fantasy home. Unfortunately, when the pair passed the house, they discovered that it was the Florida Southern College admissions office. Laughing off the mistake, Joey couldn’t help but feel markedly disappointed. “I was feeling somewhat dejected,” he remembers, “because for years I had seen the place and always

story by Elyse Justice

photography by Philip Pietri

had the pipe dream of it being our perfect modern house.” Continuing their drive, the pair turned up a side street and noticed a “For Sale” sign outside a house that had never previously caught their attention. Dark, with its ugly brown paint color and overgrown landscape, and in visibly poor condition, the house held little curb appeal, but its rectangular shape resonated with Joey’s love of modern architectural forms at just the right time. The couple decided to look into the house further, and after seeing the home’s overall design and structure, Joey became convinced that this could be their perfect modern home. While the Lossons’ first impression of the ugliness of their

1966 house, custom designed by Lakeland architect Warren H. Smith for the E.A. Dewey family, stemmed mostly from its condition, the appreciation for the modern styles of architecture of the post-World War II era, especially in domestic design, has achieved a wider audience only fairly recently. In many people’s eyes, these houses have little to no aesthetic value. When thinking in terms of “historic” properties, the 1960s also seem too recent to fit the descriptor, and keeping these buildings from being destroyed altogether has emerged as a challenge for preservationists and fans of modern design. International Modernism, or the International Style, more popularly


known as Mid-Century Modernism due to its height in the middle of the twentieth century, came to the United States from Europe in the 1930s, led by American architects like Philip Johnson and Richard Neutra, and émigrés fleeing from pre-war upheaval such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. These architects carefully studied the way that people lived and worked, and

advocated designing buildings that enhanced functionality and efficiency. Breaking away from previous generations’ reliance on ornament, this group pushed for a more purist version of architect Louis Sullivan’s mandate that form must follow function and took noticeable cues from Frank Lloyd Wright, arguing that a building’s basic forms, if executed correctly,

could contain more beauty than decorative ornament. Carefully organized lines, strict geometric forms, and modern materials like steel and glass would more fittingly express their increasingly industrialized world. Many young American architects, including Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, and Raphael Soriano, embraced the

International Style after World War II, hoping to firmly establish a style more appropriate for a country emerging as the world’s political and economic leader. Decidedly minimalist in aesthetic, the homes that epitomize the ideas of the International Style incorporate open floor plans that allow easy movement from one room to the next, an emphasis on line and


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geometric shapes, industrial materials, particularly steel, and ample glass, usually in order to foster a relationship between indoors and out. Unlike the Columbus W. Deen house, which was restored to its appearance in a previous era, the Lossons chose to use the tenets of International Modernism that they saw in the home’s skeleton to create a contemporary home that felt more like the open, glass-filled houses Joey Losson had seen in California. Struggling to find an architect who could capture their ideas within their budget, the Lossons ultimately chose to complete the home’s renovation design themselves, with the help

of a draftsman to execute the final plans. They retained most of the house’s original footprint, general exterior wall structure, and roof framework. However, they removed the plywood and batten siding in favor of a more modern combination of corrugated steel and light gray stucco, enclosed the former exposed beamwork with a soffit, created a larger, concrete porch and decking in place of a wooden one, and replaced the shingle roof with metal. Joey’s major goal centered on opening up the house to more light and views of Lake Hollingsworth, so some of the greatest exterior changes involved the inclusion of more glass window surface. The

couple restructured the home’s entrance to expand the windows along the living room’s lakeside elevation, in addition to adding more windows and a folding glass wall to the room’s west side. An original long bank of windows on the bedroom wing’s lake elevation remained, but the couple extended it to reach floor level. Tucked in between the space created by the L of the protruding living room wing and the master bedroom wing, the infinity pool, hot tub, and concrete decking provide the most noticeable exterior change. This renovation has resulted in a brighter, shinier, most definitely more contemporary home, but the 1960s’ skeleton remains visible.


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R E T RO F I N D S F RO M T H E F LO R I D A F A B LA N D S

Opening the home’s interior spaces and filling them with light proved no easy task. Systematically removing walls that had previously carved the space into a series of small, dark rooms, the Lossons created one large kitchen and dining room space on an elevated level overlooking the living room, and they transformed three small bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a playroom into an office and a spacious master suite. Conversely, they divided a long family room that once extended from the back side of the kitchen to the bedroom wing, creating a powder room on the kitchen hallway side and their son’s bedroom on the master bedroom side. The guest bedroom

at the back of the domicile differs from its 1960s’ version only in the arrangement of the entrance to its en suite bathroom. The addition of the large banks of windows on the north sides of the home treats occupants in the living room, office, or master bedroom with beautiful views of the lake and plentiful natural light, while small windows throughout the rooms ensure that sunlight reaches every space. Recessed lighting and other forms of artificial light subtly enhance the natural. Removing the plywood and batten on the inside of the house and finishing the walls with smooth, white plaster creates a reflective surface and adds to the

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home’s sense of volume, and the use of light birch wood flooring in some spaces contrasts nicely with the dark gray stone found in others. In the home’s second life, its beauty can be seen in the interaction with the outdoors and natural light, the composition of lines within the structure, and a general feeling of openness. Standing in the Lossons’ living room, looking out at the architectural gems at Florida Southern College, the greens of the trees and grasses perfectly juxtaposed with the blues of the lake and sky, you get it. The minimalism of the interior surroundings narrows your focus

to the beauty and significance of the scene in front of you while simultaneously allowing the mind to clear to a nearly meditative state. The environment feels clean without being clinical, warm in a very calming way. It’s all too tempting to curl up on a sunny spot on the floor like a cat or enjoy the freedom of movement the space provides. This house, rehabilitated for a new century, represents some of the best continuing ideas from the International Modernism movement. “It was fun,” Joey says of the rehabilitation, adding with a wry grin, “a roller coaster, but fun.”

Joey and Devera Losson, and their son, Max

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A hidden oasis on Shady Lane story by Jarman Peacock photography by Tina Sargeant

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hile sweltering in the backyard, mowing the grass in the dog days of August, most of us would love to have a bubbling stream cascading past ancient architectural relics into a dark forest pool filled with Japanese koi. Homeowners Tom Eleazer and David Renfroe have created a tranquil subtropical oasis and transformed their Central Lakeland backyard of patchy St. Augustine grass and clipped green hedges into a cool, watery, tropical oasis. Tom and David began this project ten years ago after moving to Lakeland, and looking back at the mud pit that was there, they can hardly believe what has grown in its place. Luxurious gingers grow by the stream, elaborately colored bromeliads and orchids grow on rocky outcrops, and spectacular tree ferns reach for the canopy. Make the best use of what you have. What might appear at first to be a disadvantage can actually turn out to be an asset. This particular garden revolves around an enormous, 150-year-old live oak tree. Many homeowners consider large trees like this a challenge because the shade is so dense that grass won’t grow well under it, leaf litter and pollen are a yearly headache, and the giant roots make planting difficult. But those same characteristics have been turned into what makes this garden so special. The tree liberated these homeowners from the constant maintenance of a lawn. The leaf litter naturally mulches the plants, eliminating the need to

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buy truckloads of mulch, and the roots forced them to plant where the tree dictated, leading to a more natural garden — with no straight lines — that looks like it was always there. Expand your plant palette. These homeowners have done an excellent job being adventurous with their plant material, and the results are absolutely incredible. Giant bird’s nest ferns rise out of antique urns. Aralia and heliconia join peperomia and pilea in a naturallooking streambed. Unusual orchid and bromeliad hybrids flourish in the dappled light, swaying gently


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Q&A WITH TOM ELEAZER I sat down with Tom recently to ask him a few questions about his wonderful garden. Jarman Peacock: Your garden has such a lush, tropical, Asian vibe. Where exactly did your inspiration come from to begin this process? Tom Eleazer: Well, I moved here from Oklahoma City, so there wasn’t much lush and tropical about that. But my grandmother, whose name was Jane Hair, was a true inspiration to me growing up in South Carolina. I can still vividly remember her begonia collection, and that is probably where I began to love plants. Tom Eleazer (left) and David Renfroe

JP: What are the coolest plants in your garden? TE: The plant that means the most to me came from my son, Forrest, when he was working in a garden center in Gainesville during college. It’s a rare species of dendrobium orchid which rotates through various phases of leaves and incredibly beautiful flowers during the year. I love that it always reminds me of him when it’s blooming. Also, I don’t know if you even remember, but one of the first plants I ever bought from you [at the Green House Garden Store] is still one of my favorites. You know, it has been almost ten years since the Saturday I purchased the amorphophallus, the Voodoo Lily. It’s such an interesting plant, and I always look forward to it blooming its single, crazy, weird flower every year. Many thanks for that one! JP: Be honest. How difficult is it to keep a pond like this up?

in the breeze. The ancient oak acts as a blanket on cold winter nights, protecting any plants under it, and in the summer it recreates the forest canopy that so many tropical plants prefer to grow under. In fact, rather than the conventional thinking that deep shade makes it difficult to grow anything, in reality, shade enables gardeners to experiment with plants they might never think would do well in their Lakeland backyard. Go slow and steady. Far too many homeowners pay thousands of dollars to a landscaper to swoop in and plant their entire yard for them all at once. In the span of a couple of days, they end up with the same hedges, ground covers, and giant swaths of mulch that can be found in any other backyard — or for that matter, any bank or drive-thru restaurant. It really is much more rewarding to take the time to create a landscape in the same way you might have filled a clothes closet: slowly, gradually, and from many different sources. That way, the garden becomes a reflection of who you are as an individual or family. The material can even bring back memories of weekend trips or special days when a cool or unusual plant was discovered somewhere. Tom and David have spent many Saturdays — almost ten years’ worth — buying two or three plants from local garden centers, which, over the course of a few years, have grown into a garden masterpiece.

TE: (laughs) Ok, I swear it’s just an hour a week. That’s it. The main thing is to clean the filter every week of silt buildup. The fish are fun to feed, and I have an ultraviolet light behind the waterfall that keeps the water clean. It really is a joy to have, especially in the evening, which is my favorite time of day out here. JP: Since we are doing this for The Lakelander, I want to finish by asking what are your favorite things about your adopted city? TE: Gosh, you know I tell people that have never been here that it really is like the entire city is a garden. I know that’s kind of cliché, but it’s true. Lakeland has so many wonderful, shady neighborhoods, tree-lined streets, beautiful parks and lakes, the charming downtown, and everything is just full of beautiful plants. Of course, living less than an hour to the Gulf beaches and Disney World isn’t so bad either.


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Leaf study of shade plants from the garden — all plants listed here have been purchased from local garden centers in Lakeland.

a b c

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Begonias

A diverse group of subtropical plants grown as much for their leaves as for the flowers. Coming from southern Brazil, which has a climate similar to Central Florida, begonias do very well in Lakeland gardens.

Aroids

A wonderful family of colorful and hardy plants, many of which grow from tubers that protect them from frosts and droughts. They are a nice addition to any garden.

Coleus

Commonly grown as annuals, coleus will actually overwinter in protected areas of the garden, growing into medium-height shrubs. The leaf on the far left is Persian Shield and can be used in the garden in the same manner as coleus.

Caladiums

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Authenticity The Style of

The art of staying current by exposing the age of your home story by Adam Justice | photography by Philip Pietri

Y

ou may have heard the expression: “This house has good bones.” Of course, it isn’t to be interpreted literally (unless you’re Neanderthal). It’s a compliment to a house’s structural integrity, the quality of what lies beneath cosmetic modernization. This statement often and ironically applies to older houses built before the use of newage plastics and compressed woods. But, while these “bones” are important structurally, they also act as fulcrums for a house’s rotating outer appearance according to shifting trends. The skin stretched over these old bones is undoubtedly the focus for so many 84

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homeowners. It makes sense; our houses, just as our wardrobes, cars, and collections, become part of our material identities. As current trends pivot on an allusion back to more classic and simple times, homeowners have started more seriously considering the actual age of their houses and all of the character associated with it. That’s where people like Richard Nicholson come in. Nicholson is a private contractor who specializes in restoring houses back to their original appearances. His line of work has seen a huge increase in interest over the past few years as the economy has caused new construction to slow, houses become


older, and homeowners become younger. But, it’s much more than just economics and demographics spurring his business; people of all ages have become more aware of the importance of preservation, thus making authenticity a modern style. Nicholson has been restoring houses for over twenty years. Originally from New York, he now lives in Lakeland’s Dixieland community where he spent his first two years restoring his own house. One of his first major restoration projects was his family’s Victorian home in the Finger Lakes region of mid-state New York. He admits that project as being a huge learning curve. His background, after all, has nothing to do with construction; he attended Southeastern and holds degrees in ministerial and Biblical history. He eventually discovered that his calling was to be a craftsman but still devotes time to his church while volunteering his time, materials, and talents to missions such as Parker Street Ministries. The integrity Nicholson maintains in his personal life rolls into his professional life as well. It’s a professional necessity that he refuses to sacrifice. “For me,” states Nicholson, “it’s not about the number of projects but the quality of work I perform. If I can’t do the job right and bring out the best in the house, I won’t take it on. I’m meticulous like that.” He admits that this can sometimes conflict with a homeowner’s vision, but the house itself is the ultimate decider of how and why the restoration process unfolds. It isn’t that the homeowner is wrong, but

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the end results are completely dependent on the physical structure and compliance with certain guidelines enforced by the city. The general process of restoring a house is two-fold. First, it must be returned to its original structure. This involves stripping layers of paint, repairing a variety of cosmetic damages that may have occurred over time, and sealing any cracks or holes in its exterior siding. In some cases, the surrounding area must also be cleared of some peripheral details added throughout the years, including fencing or lattice. The second stage of restoration is covering the repairs with a fresh coat of paint, paying attention to details that give the house its character. In more extreme restorations, windows, doors, and siding are replaced with more historically accurate pieces. Perhaps the most painstaking part of Nicholson’s job is working in accord with the city’s code enforcement. This requires a gambit of permits and a list of guidelines that must be followed and approved by the code enforcement board in order for the restoration to occur. These primarily pertain to an exterior restoration but can also be applied to certain interior projects. Additionally, Nicholson

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may be required work alongside the city’s Historic Preservation Board, which is in place to ensure the historic integrity of Lakeland’s seven historic districts: Munn Park, East Lake Morton, Biltmore Cumberland, South Lake Morton, Lake Hunter Terrace, Dixieland, and Beacon Hill. If done properly, a restored home adds to the identity of its historic neighborhood; it isn’t only supposed to be conspicuous per se, but enhance the historic integrity of the neighborhood. These restrictions often deter many homeowners from undertaking major restorations on their own. Nicholson, however, is not discouraged. His passion for restoration and preservation is blatant and allows him to understand the importance of complying with city restrictions. His passion combines with his carpentry skills to garner Nicholson quite the reputation in town. Recently, the City of Lakeland Historic Preservation Board recognized him at their annual Historic Lakeland Inc. Preservation Awards ceremony with an award for the rehabilitation of his 1910 home in Dixieland, his first major Lakeland project.


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Lakeland’s Historic Districts Oak

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Munn Park Lake Mirror

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East Lake Morton Lake Beulah

Lake Hunter Terrace

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Biltmore Cumberland

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South Lake Morton

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Ariana

Lake Hollingsworth

Beacon Hill

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REAL ESTATE

COMMERCIAL TRENDS IN LAKELAND REAL ESTATE Checking the pulse of the commercial market with the Lakeland Economic Development Council

by Adam Spafford

The Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC) is a private, non-profit organization with over 140 member companies. The LEDC’s primary role is to help create jobs and capital investment by attracting new companies as well as facilitating the expansion of existing companies in Lakeland. We asked them a few questions about recent trends in our area.

The Lakelander: What are the metrics used to assess the health of local commercial real estate? LEDC: Metrics used include vacancy rate, rental rates, and speculative construction/inventory development (this is land owner/developer building a facility without a tenant in tow), average annual square footage developed, average annual capital investment, average annual number of jobs, and average number of companies starting/locating in the city. TL: What trends are you seeing? LEDC: For example, square footage developed, capital investment, and number of jobs were significantly higher in 2012 than in either 2010 or 2011. The 2012 year ended with fifteen companies creating more than 1,092 jobs and $123 million in capital investments to the area. TL: What type of company does LEDC want to attract to the area? LEDC: Generally, companies that make sense for the area: those that will raise the average wage (we target 115 percent of average annual wage) and those that will create a clustering effect of services, infrastructure, and ancillary businesses. We want companies that will be engaged in the community, help others, bring others along. Everything starts with business investment. TL: What makes a community attractive to commercial real estate development? LEDC: The old adage: location, location, location. Geographically, we are located in the center of the state, making it easy for companies to serve Florida 90

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TOTAL MARKET VACANCY RATE 2ND QUARTER 2012 MARKET

VACANCY

LAKELAND, FL SWFL (NAPLES, FL) GREATER LOS ANGELES ORANGE COUNTY, CA ST. PETERSBURG / CLEARWATER, FL PHILADELPHIA, PA SF PENINSULA, CA KNOXVILLE, TN INDIANAPOLIS, IN PROVIDENCE, RI DENVER, CO TAMPA, FL KANSAS CITY, MO

4.1% 4.2% 4.6% 5.6% 6.1% 6.4% 6.6% 6.7% 6.8% 7.0% 7.1% 7.1%

PORTLAND, OR MIAMI, FL HAMPTON ROADS, VA INLAND EMPIRE, CA LOUISVILLE, KY HOUSTON, TX SEATTLE, WA NATIONAL AVERAGE

7.2% 7.4% 7.4% 7.6% 7.6% 7.6% 7.6% 7.8% 9.3%

LAKELAND HAS THE LOWEST TOTAL MARKET VACANCY RATE IN THE COUNTRY


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REAL ESTATE

and/or surrounding states. Moreover, there are more than 8.5 million people within a 100-mile radius of Lakeland. No other city in the Southeast can say this. We are less than an hour’s drive to two international airports. The City of Lakeland owns and runs all of its own utilities, it has infrastructure in place (water/wastewater, sewer), a low cost of doing business (millage rate, taxes), ease of doing business (permitting, regulatory agencies), and a politically friendly business climate. TL: What does the Lakeland MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) do well with regard to attracting manufacturers? LEDC: For a city its size, Lakeland has great infrastructure in place to serve manufacturers. Lakeland’s utilities have grown with Publix over the years to serve the needs of their food-based manufacturing. According to the Brookings Institute, the Lakeland MSA ranks No. 4 in the United States for manufacturing jobs as a percentage of all jobs (15.3 percent). We have 36,000 manufacturing jobs, which are mainly comprised of food, chemical, and fabricated metals. We were recently able to attract Brew Hub, a craft beer and co-pack facility, to locate in Lakeland because of the advanced water utilities we had in place.

Lakeland Logistics • Tampa: 30-minute drive • Orlando: Less than 1 hour • Gulf of Mexico: 50 miles • Atlantic Ocean: 100 miles Major east/west highway routes: Interstate 4, Hwy 60 & Hwy 92 Major north/south highway routes: Interstate 75, Hwy 98 & Hwy 27 • 8.5+ million people live within a 100-mile radius • CSX rail lines • Less than an hour’s drive to two international airports • Lakeland Linder Regional Airport is designed for jet use (85,000-ft. runway) • Corporate and general aviation accomodations • Lakeland Linder is the designated reliever for general aviation from Tampa International

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TL: What needs to improve? LEDC: Removing barriers to entry or the ease with which to do business into our community could improve. It’s our goal and hope that anyone wanting to start a business, large or small, could do so. Processes for starting a new business should be easy to understand and navigate. TL: How does a healthy commercial real-estate stock benefit the area? LEDC: It benefits the area by attracting the ancillary business and services in companies’ ecosystems and by generating tax revenue. For example, manufacturers tend to be extremely value added because they will use all city services, paying impacts and taxes, tangible taxes, and other companies will move here or expand to serve them. They establish roots; they won’t just move tomorrow, and a lot of innovation comes from them. We have some of the lowest vacancy rates in the nation, which can be a blessing and a curse, so a mitigation of impact fees for spec development is offered by the city. We want to have available buildings because the area will be more attractive to companies. It’s one thing to say we can build to suit and another to say we have available space. TL: How does the LEDC facilitate the process? LEDC: The LEDC identifies the scope of the project: expansion or new industry, type of industry, projected new jobs, do they have their financing in place, what size building and/or site are needed, what transportation or labor needs do they have, etc. We make them aware of any state and local incentives they may be eligible for and the process/timing involved. If land and/or a building are needed, we work with prospects to make sure they have seen all of the available spaces/sites meeting their projects’ requirements. This looks like us setting up site tours with the broker/owner to tour property. We offer anonymity for the prospect, meaning they could have interaction with several property owners, city officials, and more, without having to reveal who they are. If permitting and regulatory agencies are involved, we set up pre-meetings with the city, county, and other necessary parties to make sure the key departments that will interface with the project can advise them before plans are submitted, to expedite the process. The LEDC is there to be a connector/liaison throughout the entire project, being involved as little or as much as needed. Our goal is to keep the existing companies happy and healthy, and convert new industry into community partners that establish deep roots in our community.

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1989-2012 AVG. ANNUAL SQ. FT.: 1,184,180 AVG. ANNUAL CAPITAL INVESTMENT: $48,347,965 AVG. ANNUAL # OF JOBS: 1,018 AVG. # OF COMPANIES PER YEAR: 23

DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY 1989-2012 YEAR

SQ. FT.

CAPITAL INVESTMENT

# OF JOBS

# OF COMPANIES

1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

934,335 836,500 712,250 1,347,750 1,634,050 1,203,000 1,290,400 973,100 1,651,000 1,529,500 1,242,000 1,861,000 1,522,450

$34,750,000 $24,000,000 $19,330,000 $18,053,750 $59,350,000 $116,080,000 $36,770,000 $18,350,000 $28,050,000 $45,075,000 $42,850,000 $109,700,000 $67,200,000

1,306 1,157 407 413 1,223 1,220 602 680 1,000 1,093 3,269 533 1,674

38 22 27 30 2 20 32 24 30 23 19 25 24

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

1,391,517 770,968 1,283,613 1,640,489 1,159,512 1,229,174 1,003,878 434,006 691,833 613,220 1,464,786

$30,045,000 $15,365,555 $48,305,000 $29,932,600 $38,115,337 $53,378,425 $83,007,817 $70,671,672 $35,714,000 $13,007,000 $123,250,000

1,850 768 1,315 1,110 610 719 318 1,468 401 212 1092

22 20 27 23 29 26 15 14 20 15 15

Total

28,420,331

$1,160,351,156

24,440

559


10-YEAR ACTIVITY SNAPSHOT

1,600,000 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000 2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

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ASSESSING THE LOCAL CLIMATE

We ask several Lakeland real estate professionals about the health of our residential market by Adam Spafford

TRAVIS REDDER EXIT REALTY The Lakelander: What trends are you seeing in foreclosures and short sales? Travis Redder: I see that the banks have slowed down on releasing foreclosures; they’re not flooding the market like they were a couple of years ago. Therefore, prices are stabilizing. Overall inventory is down. I see the banks speeding up the short-sale approval process a bit. Many people are actually getting money from the bank to leave their homes in good condition. TL: What does that indicate to you? TR: The housing market is stabilizing, and prices are trending upward. Inventory is low, and interest rates are still low, creating a lot of demand. TL: What are you seeing with regard to investments/rentals? TR: There are some very big investment groups trying to buy homes all over Florida. They pay in all cash, and it’s hard for the average buyer who has to obtain a mortgage to compete with these big groups. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD do not allow investors to bid on their homes for the first fifteen days. It also appears that rental rates are going up a bit.

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KIM McKEEL KELLER WILLIAMS The Lakelander: What are the metrics used to assess the health of the local residential real estate market? Kim McKeel: Certainly average price stability (which has obviously been improving lately) as well as average days on market are metrics we look at regularly to analyze the market’s health. TL: How did Lakeland fare comparatively during the real estate downturn? KM: From my perspective, Lakeland’s biggest challenge through the market downturn was obviously the glut of foreclosures and short sales that flooded the market and caused significant price depression. TL: What is the general pulse of the market now? KM: The pulse is clearly improved. I’m seeing much more activity on listings, including even many multiple-offer scenarios. Average days on market are down substantially, and lack of inventory is now a huge problem. Well-located listings that are competitively priced are disappearing quickly.

Exp. 6/14/13

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JAN BELLAMY RE/MAX The Lakelander: What, if any, headwinds still exist in the local residential real estate market? Jan Bellamy: The local real estate market will remain in flux for several years due to many factors. The shadow inventory — already foreclosed properties owned by lenders — is not diminishing. Lenders are listing foreclosed properties at retail prices and strategically holding them off the market waiting for prices to rise. There’s a new generation of sellers who are not intimidated by foreclosure suits but planning strategic short sales and filing bankruptcy for protection against lenders and other creditors. We have a new generation of consumers, following the example of our government, immune to responsibility for their purchases and eager continued on page 100

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to share the financial consequences with all of us. Prices are rising, especially in the under $200,000 price range, and lesser prices which can be bought with FHA and USDA mortgages with little or no down payments. Homes can be owned for less than the cost to rent them. Young, first-time buyers realize they can buy a first home for less than rent and then rent the home for more than the payment when they’re ready to move. Appreciation may be limited in the future, but owning a rental property with positive cash flow and a low interest mortgage paid off by the tenant with nice tax write-offs can be a good investment to live in now, rent later, and add to a retirement portfolio, keeping that 3-4 percent mortgage for thirty years. Unfortunately, these buyers have to compete against wellfunded hedge funds with cash who are buying everything in Polk County worth having under $170,000. They’re driving prices up on themselves and every other buyer, with no regard for the neighborhoods. There are several neighborhoods in Polk County constructed in 2005-2008, when buyers paid top dollar, where most homes will eventually be sold short or as a foreclosure. Due to large corporate (out-of-state and out-of-country) investors making cash offers on all of these properties, the neighborhoods will become mostly rentals, which will prevent future owneroccupant mortgage approvals and ensure these neighborhoods become rental ghettos with absentee landlords. As prices rise, reflecting increased demand and less supply, realtors, buyers, and sellers are battling the appraisers who determine values based on past sales using distressed (short and foreclosed) properties to value the current non-distressed prices buyers are willing to pay. TL: Can you discern any impact from the Federal Reserve’s purchasing activity of mortgage securities? JB: Government intervention in the national and therefore local real estate market is doing two major things to create a temporary economic fix. They are aggressively making the current climate unsustainable, and causing debt and distress for future generations. Our government is either printing or borrowing money to buy American mortgage-backed securities because no other prudent investor would buy this product. They have kept the interest rates artificially low, so buyers can more easily qualify to purchase. What else are you buying at 1950s’

100 THE LAKELANDER

pricing? Since there are no other buyers, the American people are using our assets and credit to buy government-created investments locked in at a low return for thirty years. TL: What are some of your thoughts on the pulse of local residential real estate? JB: Real estate is local and controlled by the supply and demand of its products. Currently, the artificially low interest rates have created a demand for homes by both owner occupants and investors. Savvy investors are using their self-directed IRAs to purchase rental properties. Out-of-area hedge funds and other investors, including international sources, are driving up local prices by purchasing appropriate rental properties which they will lease, repackage, and resell fractional shares of as various investment products, thus recouping their investments. Real estate is local, but these properties are destined to be packaged, sold, and managed from afar like the toxic mortgages that originally created the local problem. A bright spot for owners who moved and could not sell, and have been leasing their underwater properties for the last few years, is that they can now consider selling to break even. Also, prices always rise from the bottom, not the top, so sales of lesserpriced properties create buyers for more expensive homes, and those buyers create sales of even more expensive homes. Sales of residential lots and new construction of custom homes over $250,000 are also slowly returning.


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THE LAKELANDER 101


EVENTS CALENDAR

NOW THROUGH NOVEMBER 9 A SILVER LINING

AUGUST 8 FOOD TRUCK RALLY

JULY 11 FOOD TRUCK RALLY

AUGUST 16 CLASSIC ALBUMS PRESENTS PINK FLOYD: ANIMALS

Polk Museum of Art www.polkmuseumofart.org

Downtown www.tbftr.com

JULY 19-28 ELTON JOHN & TIM RICE’S AIDA, THE TIMELESS LOVE STORY Lakeland Community Theatre www.lakelandcommunitytheatre.com

JULY 20 EDDIE HOLMAN WITH THE MYSTICS, AND MICHAEL RUSSO AND THE GOLD TONES The Lakeland Center www.thelakelandcenter.com

JULY 20 LA PETIT FANCY FLEA

The Lake Mirror Center www.fancyflealakeland.com

JULY 20-21 BUCKLER ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW The Lakeland Center www.thelakelandcenter.com

JULY 27-OCTOBER 5 POLK COUNTY COLLECTS Polk Museum of Art www.polkmuseumofart.org

AUGUST 2 FIRST FRIDAY

Downtown www.downtownlakelandfl.com

102 THE LAKELANDER

Downtown www.tbftr.com

The Lakeland Center www.thelakelandcenter.com

AUGUST 17 ZIPPER JEWELRY

Polk Museum of Art www.polkmuseumofart.org

AUGUST 28 MUSIC & MARTINIS ISO SEASON KICK-OFF The Lakeland Center www.imperialsymphony.org

SEPTEMBER 6 FIRST FRIDAY

Downtown www.downtownlakelandfl.com

SEPTEMBER 12 FOOD TRUCK RALLY

Downtown www.downtownlakelandfl.com

SEPTEMBER 21-22 ORIGINAL LAKELAND GUN SHOW The Lakeland Center www.thelakelandcenter.com

SEPTEMBER 25 TEA & SYMPHONY: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE The Lakeland Center www.imperialsymphony.org


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HISTORY

Early “Though Lakeland is a relatively young city by national and state standards, it has developed a distinct architectural style in both its commercial and residential structures. The city has in recent years recognized that distinctiveness and made a concerted effort to preserve its historically and architecturally significant buildings and neighborhoods. A number of commercial and civic structures have been restored in the past twenty years. Among those structures saved from neglect and the wrecking ball are the Lakeland Terrace Hotel, the Coca Cola building, the Polk Theatre, the Park Tramell building, and the Lake Mirror Tower Apartments. The city has also recognized the importance of preserving the architectural integrity of its neighborhoods and individual homes by creating a number of historic districts throughout the city. In historic districts ranging from Lake Morton to Dixieland to Beacon Hill, students of architecture can find a variety of architectural styles. Nearly every neighborhood includes a range of styles from the simple one-story bungalow and frame vernacular homes, to the stately lines of the colonial revival. Photographs celebrate the many architectural styles of Lakeland’s homes and neighborhoods. Some of the houses pictured here are gone, victims of age, neglect, and/ or disaster. Others still grace the city’s neighborhoods. Images of these homes help gain a sense of the beauty and variety of architecture of Lakeland’s Source: Lakeland Library Special Exhibits

106 THE LAKELANDER

Lakeland Homes


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The Lakelander - SPECIAL SHELTER ISSUE | July - August 2013