Prepping For Spring // Backyard Edition

No matter where you live (but especially here in SoCal!) outdoor entertaining at your home becomes more appealing as the weather warms and the days get longer.

With the start of Spring and the much-rejoiced arrival of day light savings, now may be the ideal time to prep (or update) your outdoor living spaces! Thanks to Pinterest & HGTV, the design and decor ideas are endless… which may have you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The key is not to take on too much – just remind yourself that your main goal is to create a outdoor space that you can enjoy being in. We have gathered the following guidelines to get the gears turning and the inspiration flowing..

  • Be sure to create traffic patterns or designated ways to walk/move around. Due to the restricted lot sizes throughout most of the South Bay, this rule is especially critical if you want to make the most of a small or cramped space. This can be done in a variety of ways.. whether that be laying formal stone walkways or planting shrubs to help establish corners and borders.

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  • Add an outdoor fire source. Indoor fireplaces are great and all.. but when the mid-summer heat rolls around, you definitely do not want to be stuck indoors! Keep it low key with a portable firepit or firebowl (how cool are these!) or take things to the next level with a full fireplace. Just be sure to check your local building codes / fire safety rules… and to stock up on the s’mores supplies!

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  • Outdoor kitchens are an ideal way to extend your home’s living space into the outdoors. While detailed outdoor kitchens can easily become expensive, they don’t have to be! Remember, it is about creating an environment and the ability to eat outside, not necessarily buying all the frills and accessories. A charcoal grill and small outdoor dining table can be the start of your backyard dining experience.

Check out a few of the outdoor kitchens we are drooling over:

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  • Keep things practical and organized. Do not go over the top with accessories or details and have a designated area to put things (seat cushions, pillows, etc) when rain is in the forecast! Also, if you choose to incorporate an outdoor kitchen/dining area, be sure to have create a storage area for equipment to help keep the space cleared and available for enjoying.
  • Try out vertical gardening! Blank walls, covered patios and fencing can all benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. Succulents work best, and when coupled with found wood are a easy, affordable DIY project. We love  this charming vertical garden our Neighborhood Spotlight Anaïs and her husband build!

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  • Lastly, remember that a roof extends usability.  Overhead structures like a gazebo or screened porch provide comfort and protection from the elements, ultimately giving you more opportunities to spend time outdoors. However, the roofing does not have to be a permanent structure – pop-up tent over your deck or out in the yard can be just as effective in blocking the sun or rain!

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Feeling Green in 2017?

The Hermosa Parade & Redondo 5k may have already passed, but there is still plenty of time to get revved up for St. Patrick’s Day!

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Our suggestions to get in the spirit: Send a hand-written Irish blessing to a friend, bake some Irish Soda bread & check out a nearby celebration! (or dye your pool green if you are really committed)

  • Saint Rocke: Saint Rocke gets it going with tribute band Hollywood U2 and Barley Friday March 17th. Get in early for happy hour with “Piano Man” Scott Doyle (this is the guy from your favorite Dueling Piano nights).
  • Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the LA Kings at Taste of the South Bay. It’s an upscale, food-centric social event at Shade Hotel’s new location in Redondo Beach. In between tastings, guests can mix and mingle with LA Kings personnel and celebrities, play casino games and bid on the silent auction. Also, proceeds from the event benefit Redondo Beach Police Foundation to buy classroom emergency safety kits for all Redondo Beach schools – a win-win!
  • If you feel up to venturing outside of the South Bay bubble, head over to the Original Farmers Market on St. Patrick’s Day for corned beef, cabbage and green beer at Magee’s Kitchen. Glen “the strolling bagpiper” will be playing Celtic tunes during lunchtime, while Stuart Marks and the Paddy O’Dors Band will park themselves on the West Patio during dinner.

Irish Blessing

May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.


Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread

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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

 


Wherever you find yourself this St. Patrick’s Day, the Weber Accetta Group wants to leave you with the following Irish Blessing:

May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Women Who WOW Us

With today’s celebration of International Women’s Day and March’s designation as Women’s History Month,  we felt it was only fitting to highlight South Bay women whom we have found to be both influential and inspiring.

But first, a short background On International Women’s Day:  IWD has been celebrated for over a hundred years and has gained recognition in as an official holiday in a number of countries, including Uganda, Cuba, Russia and Vietnam. The United Nations began sponsoring International Women’s Day in 1975, designating a new theme each year. 2017’s appointed theme is “Be Bold For Change” or if you frequent social media, #BeBoldForChange


We are honored to highlight five local women who we have had the privilege of getting to know over the past year. Each of these women have created a way to pursue their unique passions and seek careers that give them personal fulfillment. Their stories inspire us and remind us that we are capable of shaping our own futures.

Aaaaand here they are:

Amy Errett, founder and owner of E3 Vehicles – a custom Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (golf cart) retailer based in the South Bay. Amy is a passionate about living the ultimate South Bay Lifestyle, one consisting of jaunting around town enjoying the sunshine while going green and saving money. Amy and E3 Vehicles help people realize their dream lifestyle by offering  custom made-to-order electric vehicles that are substantially under competitors prices.

In Amy’s words,

“I am amazed and pleasantly surprised by the support I have experienced from all areas of the community, both businesses and city governments.  The local business people, in particular, are very supportive of E3V’s concept and mission.  They have all offered recommendations to help me spread the word and come up with creative ideas to collaborate in the future. I have a lot more work to do when it comes to connecting with more people and businesses, but it has been such an encouraging process, so far.”

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Allison Gander, owner and principal of AGA Design – an architectural consulting firm, recognized early on that with her drawing abilities and aptitude for geometry a career as an architect would be the perfect fit. With over 12 years of experience in the profession to-date, Allison prepared for her career not just with a Bachelor’s of Science in architecture, but also with a year at Ecole d’Architecutre de Paris-La Villette and a Master’s of Architecture from Georgia Tech. Lucky for us, Allison relocated from Georgia to Los Angeles where she promptly began working as a Project Architect consultant for Levin & Associates. (If you have ever been to the Dodger Stadium or the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre – you have likely marveled at some of her work!) Allison’s next step brought her to creating AGA Designs, is a full-service architecture firm which allows her to stay involved with each project from start to finish.

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In Allison’s words:

“I’ve always loved to draw and sketch.  Eventually I headed in the architecture direction because I could use those talents and couple them with my geometric brain and curiosity and find out how things should be put together. Meeting with clients, sketching out their ideas while assisting in some fundamental design approaches is my favorite part.  I bring along my roll of trace paper to every meeting because you have to document those brainstorming sessions.”


You may have noticed this Jen Carpenter around the South Bay .. as shes is usually accompanied by 6-8 dogs she is hard to miss! Recognizing the busy schedules of South Bay-ers (not to mention the time spent in traffic for those of us commuting!), Jen founded Jen’s Dog Walking, a service that not only gives her furry customers their needed walks, but the love and attention that they deserve. Fueled by affection from her own three 3 dogs, Jen Carpenter is passionate about providing other canines with regular walks in order to ensure their health and happiness.

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In Jen’s words:

“I have been a dog walker for 12 years and it’s a very personal small business. I am pretty close with my clients, as I am taking care of their babies! I enjoy being a small local business because I’d like to maintain that personal family like feel with my clients.”


 

Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs de la Morandais eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world. Since her arrival in California, Anaïs has founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.

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In Anaïs’ words:

“Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.”


With a Communication Design degree from OTIS, as well as experience as both a marketing director and an art director, Cat Landry is the independent graphic designer and owner behind Cat Landry Design. Beyond her impressive resume, however, Cat has also honed a skill set that helps her to evaluate and determine not just the needs of her clients, but also their personal style.  What stood out to us about Cat was her dedication to truly getting to know her clients and creating work that embodies who they are. She is especially passionate about working with local business and supporting the “South Bay Bubble.” What could be better than working with a designer who really knows the community your business serves and the audience you’re trying to reach?

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In Cat’s words:

“In 1999, I decided that the best way for me to continue to enjoy my work was to do it my way… with a smile. I put in my two-weeks notice and left the corporate world to start my own business. Cat Landry Design was “born” on my birthday in July 1999. Although freelance design has its ups and downs (financially and logistically), I’ve never regretted the choice to enjoy my work every single day.”


As always, it is quite humbling when we look back at the incredible women that we have had the opportunity to mingle with. We applaud Cat, Amy, Anaïs, Allison & Jen for following their calling, while also using their abilities to contribute to their community.

While these women give us plenty of reason to celebrate today and look forward to the future, this Forbes article provides 7 (More) Reasons To Be Optimistic This International Women’s Day!

Bringing The Sunshine Inside

With one of the grayest, rainiest winters the South Bay has seen in years behind us (hopefully!) the forecast shows blue skies ahead! This weather has us feeling inspired to bring the sunshine inside and give our own living spaces a spring makeover.

We are also pulling inspiration from this Avenue C listing (3 Bed, 3 Bath, 6,084) which perfectly exemplifies a light and bright style, while still remaining the ideal blend of comfortable and stylish.

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While it may be hard to completely capture a newly constructed house’s fresh feel in your home, we have gathered a few tips to help brighten things up this spring! Some are simple and some are more detailed, but even just one or two subtle changes can spring-ify your home!

  • Mirrors aren’t just for checking your hair! Place a large mirror directly across from a window to reflect light all around the room.  Or hang a few small ones on a wall perpendicular to the window to subtly bounce light around a room.
  • Just add white..or off white.. or eggshell. A fresh coat of paint around door frames, stair case banisters and window paneling will do wonders! HackIf you aren’t up for painting, just give frames, banisters and paneling a good scrub down to get rid of finger prints and accumulated dust. 
  • Change out those curtains. Get rid of any heavy or insulated curtains that you were using during the winter and replace them with light-colored airy ones. This can be applied all around your home – from the kitchen to the living room and even your bedroom (lighten up your bedding colors and fabric for a full transformation!)
  • Raise the roof (not literally). Many homes (especially those in the Golden Hills) have vaulted painted ceilings or even wood paneled ceiling applications. While these higher ceilings do create a larger feel in the room, without the correct lighting and appropriately located windows they can leave a room feeling dim. Recessed lighting fixtures or commonly referred to as “can lights” help to brighten up the ceiling without being obtrusive to the eye. Some options even include a dimmer switch to allow for flexible lighting control.
  • Keep it low. According to Designer Blair Gordon “Streamlined furnishings with low-slung profiles help rooms feel more spacious.” While you are at it, opt for white furniture, rather than dark colors. Think white bookcases, cream couches, and white tables… especially if you have dark wood floors!
  • While it would be nice to put in a few windows or a sky light, it is much easier to add some artificial lighting! Try Bright White LED bulbs to maximize the brightness coming from your lamps. Or add a table lamp to your current decor to help add a bit more brightness.
  • Bring in the Green! Indoor plants (whether flowers or green leafy plants) bring a breathe of fresh air into your home. Just be sure to water them regularly so you don’t end up with brown, wilting plants 🙂

Have any other simple “home-brightening” tips? Please share them with us! info@weberaccetta.com

We are excited to Spring Forward in a few weeks and wish you all a very happy March!

 

(Not So) Extreme Fireplace Makeover

Nothing beats a warm, roaring fire on a snowy winter’s night!

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But with winter weather in Redondo Beach hovering around a sunny 60 degrees, that cozy fire may not have the same appeal. For some SoCal families fires are a novelty saved for Christmas day and the fireplace goes unused the other 355 days of the year.

Luckily, there are many creative ways to transform that otherwise unused space and turn it into a focal point for your home. Here’s a look at some “fireplace makeover” ideas we are dying to test out.

1. Use your fireplace to freshen up the room! Artfully arranging flowers and other potted plants inside your fireplace can add color, dimensions and scents to your living space. A fireplace garden can satisfy your green thumb..without having to go outside. Succulents or ferns are hearty, low-maintenance options that will make your room come alive!We also love the idea of adding seasonal plants during the holidays, such as holly branches or poinsettias.

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2. If you love the flickering effect of a fire, as well as that alluring wood scent, an arrangement of candles inside your fireplace can help you achieve a similar feel. Home goods stores offer a wide range of candle scents, from Campfire Smoke WoodWick Candles  to Tory Burch’s Cedarwood Candles. The beauty of this option is that you swap out scents and holders to keep the arrangement appealing and smelling heavenly! It also mimics the romantic fire vibe without generating the smoke, mess or hassle of tending a fire.

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3. Create more storage by adding shelving into your fireplace. Beyond giving your another place to store books or trinkets, this option adds a focal point to the room. This is an easy way to add a mini library to your home or to display those family photos that never quite got hung up. To jazz things up, consider painting the backdrop of the fireplace a bright color or line it with patterned tiles!

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4. Showcase an art piece or family heirloom. When properly cleaned, the inlay of a fireplace creates a perfect place to  display a singular item. This tactic works best with a sculpture, but could also be used to feature a framed piece of art. The simplicity of this setup will add a sophisticated, museum-like feel to an otherwise unused space!

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5. If you are one of those “we use our fireplace once a year” families, then completely transforming your fireplace may not be the best ideas. (We don’t want to see those books caught on fire!) However, one easy way to transform your fireplace and achieve a rustic, homey ambiance is to stack it neatly with firewood. Use logs that are the same length but have varying diameters, and be sure to pack them tightly to fill the whole space. And hey, when that “one day a year” rolls around you will already have firewood on hand!

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The beauty of owning your own home is that you can transform it into whatever you want it to be! You can take each space and make it into something functional that works for your family and individual style. With a little creativity (and the help of the internet), your  fireplace transformation could be the start of a complete home-make-over!

 

To Pool or Not to Pool?

Tis the glorious season that some people, like myself wait all year for… pool season! With a large water shortage and water bills skyrocketing after a certain usage point there is much debate as to if there is an added value to having a home with a pool. With about 10%-30% of homes in the South Bay being sold with pools, we thought it was time to look at the numbers!

What were are looking at here is the Median sales price per year of single family homes between 2,000- 2,999 SqFt over within each zip code with and with out pools.

90275 – Rancho Palos Verdes 

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Has Pool &: $1,339,000

No Pool: $1,240,000

90274- Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates

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Has Pool: $1,584,500

No Pool: $1,480,000

90277- South Redondo Beach

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Has Pool &: $1,505,000

No Pool: $1,400,000

90266- Manhattan Beach

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Has Pool: $2,050,000

No Pool: $2,075,000

90254 – Hermosa Beach

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Has Pool: $3,000,000

No Pool: $1,990,000

We we see looking at the data, a pool can increase property value from a couple hundred thousand to a million. Granted these numbers are not accounting for lot size, which having a larger lot (increases sales price) is necessary to have a pool in the first place. We attribute the large difference in prices in Hermosa Beach where lot size is between 2,000 – 6,000 SqFt to this factor.

Interesting fact we found while doing our research posted by the Bay Area News Group shows that a 20,000 gallon pool covering 500 Square-feet uses less water than a lawn, pool without a cover and drought tolerant landscaping.

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Having a home with a pool helps sell them faster in some cities. Homes with a pools sell faster than homes without a pool in South Redondo, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Hermosa Beach.