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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: JAMES MICHAEL HOWARD on LUXURY TURNKEY HOMES




Luxury turnkey properties are the new vogue in the Hamptons. Luxury homes are being sold completely furnished with not only high end furniture, rugs, finishes but also Frette linens and towels. Clients who desire convenience and a home with cachet and opulent detailing is the right client.  High end Developer/Designer James Michael Howard is at the forefront of the trend with his latest  $25 million Water Mill, NY home. One could say that Mr. Howard's style is classical but there is a modern slant with his use of color, exotic objects and antiques. The architectural features in this home is insane. I'm loving the the amazing inlaid stone patterned floors, the richly lacqured walls, the beautiful patterned ceilings, unique limestone fireplaces and beautiful carpets from Nepal. India and Turkey. 




I am so happy to share an interview with James Michael Howard today....


TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF AS A DEVELOPER/DESIGNER

I studied interior design at Parsons in NYC.  Along with my wife, I own several design stores in Florida, Atlanta and Charlotte, NC. Our firm consists of approximately 51 people and we focus on very high-end residential design. Some of our current projects are in NYC, upstate NY, CT, the Hamptons, Puerto Rico, multiple projects in the Bahamas, California and many other cities across the US.





WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE LOOK

I pride myself on not having a signature as I love the prospect of the next project whether it be Darth Vader or Betsy Ross.






WHAT WAS YOUR "AHA" MOMENT THAT LED YOU TO START TURNKEY LUXURY PROPERTIES. 

It wasn’t so much an aha moment as a new idea. Our stores are designed to look like very old and grand homes. Our customers always feel that we bought an old residence and moved in, but we didn’t—we designed them. So after building five stores over several years, and a few of the homes we lived in, I decided to try a house on spec. It sold for more than the asking price and rather quickly. So, I tried it again and again and I’m having the time of my life.






TAKE US BEHIND THE SCENES OF YOUR 4TH TURNKEY PROJECT. ANY CHALLENGES? 

You must be kidding! I liken my life in some respects to that of a heart surgeon. He cuts you open, looks inside, sees the problem and fixes it. No time for research, just look something up. I have been there and seen just about everything there is to see. It is just a matter of aligning all of the moving parts.









FROM TURNKEY 1 TO 4, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST?

Find the best subcontractors, pay them well and say thank you. Our houses incorporate more than 100 sheets of drawings and a very large book of selections. It is daunting and usually involves a sizeable team to get it all coordinated. Communication is essential, but the most important aspect is passion, passion, passion 





Thank you James Michael Howard for the enjoyable interview!

For more information on 41 Halsey Lane, Water Mill by James Michael Howard
visit Brown Harris Stevens


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Thursday, April 2, 2015

EcoQube: a Modern Ecosystem for your Home


Help two young UC San Diego students Eric Suen and Kevin Liang bring their innovative idea to life. They have developed the EcoQube, a modern aquarium that is more than just an aquarium.  Its a sleek desktop ecosystem that will soothe your soul.  Its a  product where everything works together and nature is doing all the work for you.  




You can watch plants grow and fish grow all at the same time. Basically, the EcoQube is a simplified version of aquaponics where you never have to change your water filter. You may ask, how? The fish creates waster. The filter takes the waste and turns it to fertilizer for the plant. The plant like mint, basil and even flowers grows and cleans the water for the fish. The process starts all over again. All you have to do is decorate your tank, fill it with water, plug it in and enjoy.








To me, the EcoQube is mindful design; where it can offer positive health benefits like alleviating stress, especially in today's demanding lifestyles. The underwater panorama will calm the human mind and put you at ease in your space, whether its in your office or at home. 

To take it a step further, the founders are thinking out of the box and believe that their EcoQube is just the start of thinking about other ways to grow food. Eric says, " one day we dream to scale the EcoQube to large farm sizes so that we can help with the water and food shortages around the world." Pretty amazing!

On April 7th, they are kicking off their campaign to raise money. The normal price for one of these EcoQubes is $79 but if you sign up for their notification list, you can get the EcoQube for only $39. Sign up HERE

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