Sale of Las Olas Estate Breaks Gasparilla Island Record

Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty proudly announced the sale of the Las Olas estate at 121 Gilchrist Avenue in Boca Grande, Fla., on January 25, 2018. The transaction marks the highest sale for a single-family home in Gasparilla Island’s history, a testament to the enduring allure of the exclusive residential enclave of Boca Grande and striking natural beauty. Originally constructed for Francis B. Crowninshield and Louise du Pont Crowninshield of Boston and Wilmington, Del., in 1927, the historic property was sold for $13,000,000. The sellers are long-time residents Nicholas and Susan Noyes.

“We were honored to represent such an exquisite, unique property that’s a local treasure and important piece of the community’s history,” said Richard Taylor, owner of Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, who acted as the listing agent for the property. “It was the perfect partnership for Sotheby’s, whose brand is synonymous with fine art and luxury real estate throughout the world. This home is essentially a masterpiece in its own right.” The real estate team of Peter Sieglaff and Angela Steffan, also with Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, procured the buyer.

Begun as a quaint cottage for the Crowninshields, both of whom were avid fishermen who were introduced to the region’s bountiful marine life through local captain and marina founder Sam Whidden, their humble home (whose Spanish names translates to “the waves”) grew to 4,800 square feet with seven bedrooms and six full baths on approximately one acre. A relative of the Noyeses acquired the unparalleled property with an astounding 145 feet of frontage along the Gulf of Mexico with unobstructed views and mature tropical gardens in the late Seventies. But it was the Noyes family who took it to its current level through an extensive, multi-year renovation that concluded in 2009.

“Their passion and commitment to the project is expressed in every meticulous detail,” said Taylor, regarding the seamless blend between the home’s vernacular architecture that’s becoming rarer to find intact in the region and state-of-the-art, sustainable practices and noble finishes, whether new or restored to their original condition. “The result is the best of both worlds—Old Florida meets contemporary conveniences.”

The Noyeses commissioned local architects Randy Williamson and Mike Brock and McHugh Porter Builders to bring the structure up to code, while further modernizing it with LEED-certified additions from solar panels to salvaged and recycled materials often native to the locale. The team’s efforts garnered a premier rating from the Florida Green Building Coalition.
As it did during the Crowninshields’ heyday, the home centers on a great room whose walls, mantel and wood-beamed cathedral ceiling are made of native pecky cypress. Pediments whose ornate carvings capture seashore life such as nautical ropes and shells lend to its rustic charm.

The room, not to mention its breathtaking view, was the main attraction during Boca Grande Historical Society’s 2017 Tour of Historic Homes in February. Since the home had never been seen for the annual event, it drew a lot of attention from professional historians and curious locals alike. Jeff Groff, director of interpretation and estate historian for Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, a 175-room du Pont estate in Winterthur, Del., was among the enthusiastic crowd and spoke about the Crowninshields and the du Pont dynasty at the packed luncheon. He marveled at decorative accents like a colorful Italian mosaic border around the great room’s fireplace, and a restored seahorse fountain and fresh water cisterns used by the Crowninshields.

Other new amenities are NanaWall impact-resistant sliding doors for maximum Gulf views and seamless indoor/outdoor living and a custom kitchen by de Giulio, a Chicago-based firm whose work has been featured in Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. The kitchen links to the past in relocating a silversmith’s double sink with a wave pattern commissioned by Louise to the bar counter.

“The thoughtful floor plan with multiple indoor and outdoor spaces and elegant finishes create a magical setting to entertain and host large family gatherings,” said Taylor.

Due to vast interest, Las Olas was prominently featured in The Wall Street Journal’s real estate section. Its listing ran in international publications including Robb Report, The Sunday Times in London and Financial Times, as well as regional magazines on the East Coast.

“We live in a piece of Old Florida that rarely exists today. People come on vacation and want to put down roots with winter residences. They recognize the value of this special place with its pristine beauty and close-knit community for multiple generations of their family members to enjoy.”

Sotheby’s WeChat

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is pleased to announce the launch of its official WeChat account. WeChat is a Chinese social media app and is also the most used social media platform in the world with nearly 940 million active users. The brand’s presence on WeChat will allow our network an unprecedented opportunity to reach prospective Chinese buyers.

The WeChat advertising campaign is live and targets an audience of qualified High Net Worth Individuals. The campaign will reach Chinese real estate consumers in large luxury markets in China, encouraging viewers to follow our brand channel and expand our reach through following, liking, commenting and sharing functionalities.


AGE: 25+


The Sotheby’s International Realty brand WeChat account provides another social channel to promote properties*, as well as videos, brand content, and network contact information. You can follow the brand account on the WeChat app by searching WeChat ID: SothebysIntlRealty.




Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Enters Roatán

PRESS RELEASE:  SIR 2017 07 17 Roatan Press Release FINAL

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced the brand’s expansion in the Caribbean with the opening of Roatán Sotheby’s International Realty on the island of Roatán off the coast of Honduras. Roatán Sotheby’s International Realty, led by Owner Matt Camron and Operations Manager Micheline Dupont, will serve the luxury residential real estate market throughout Roatán and the neighboring Caribbean Bay Islands of Utila and Guanaja. “Roatán is an attractive second home market offering residents tranquil Caribbean living and a preeminent level of privacy,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “We are proud to have the brand represented in this region by Roatán Sotheby’s International Realty.” According to Camron, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand provides unrivaled access to qualified buyers around the world. “Our mission at Roatán Sotheby’s International Realty is to create long-term relationships with our clients by offering the best real estate experience possible through our full-service approach,” he said. “The Caribbean Bay Islands are a hidden gem of pristine beaches, world class diving and lush forests. We are delighted to share our special part of the world with global clientele.” The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 20,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in approximately 880 offices in 69 countries and territories worldwide. In 2016, the brand achieved a record global sales volume of $95 billion USD. Roatán Sotheby’s International Realty listings will be marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm’s brokers and clients will benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

U.S. consumer confidence rose a bit in June

NEW YORK – June 27, 2017 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased moderately in June after dropping a bit in May. Overall, consumers have a rosier picture of their situation today, but they’re a bit less optimistic about the future.

The Index now stands at 118.9, up from 117.6 in May. The Present Situation Index increased from 140.6 to 146.3, while the Expectations Index that gauges attitudes about the short-term future declined from 102.3 last month to 100.6.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in June following a small decline in May,” says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved to a nearly 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3),” Franco adds. “Expectations for the short-term have eased somewhat but are still upbeat. Overall, consumers anticipate the economy will continue expanding in the months ahead, but they do not foresee the pace of growth accelerating.”

Present Situation Index
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased from 29.8 percent to 30.8 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.9 percent to 12.7 percent.

Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” rose from 30.0 percent to 32.8 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 18.3 percent to 18.0 percent.

Expectations Index
Consumers, however, were less optimistic about the short-term outlook in June. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 21.5 percent to 20.4 percent, however, those expecting business conditions to worsen also declined marginally – from 10.3 percent to 9.9 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market remained mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.6 percent to 19.3 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 12.1 percent to 14.6 percent.

The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income rose from 19.1 percent to 22.2 percent, but the proportion expecting a decline increased slightly from 8.7 percent to 9.2 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a global provider of information and analytics. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 15.

© 2017 Florida Realtors

New ‘HomePod’ speaker coming to smart homes

SAN JOSE, California (AP) – June 6, 2017 – Apple nodded to several up-and-coming technology trends, unveiling a new “smart” home speaker and device features touching on virtual reality, online privacy and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

The “HomePod” speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years. Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in almost three years. It unveiled the Apple Watch in September 2014.

Apple “can’t afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people’s homes to Amazon, Google and others,” said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight. That’s especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more “pervasive” way that’s less dependent on smartphones, he said.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google’s Home speaker goes for $130.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released last year, were the first entrants in a promising market. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

Keeping it real with VR

New iMacs unveiled Monday at Apple’s annual conference for software programmers are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for development virtual-reality “experiences.”

But Apple is late to the game on VR. Samsung and Google already have VR systems centered on their smartphones. Facebook, HTC and Sony have high-end VR systems, too.

Virtual reality has been described as the next big thing for decades. But so far, interest has been strongest among gamers, developers and hardware makers rather than everyday users.

Apple’s entry into the market could change this. Its entry into digital-music sales with iTunes, and into the smartphone market with the iPhone, upended those industries and gave them mass appeal.

New iPhone features

New features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages that sync to Apple servers in the cloud. These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage.

For photos, Apple is turning to a “high efficiency” format to replace the widely used JPEG standard. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it’s not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG.

Apple is also bringing the ability to send money to friends or other people through its payment service, Apple Pay. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones.

MAC gets an upgrade

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the latest operating system for Mac computers. Called High Sierra, it recognizes more faces automatically, which should make it easier to organize photos, and will offer more photo editing tools.

Safari, Apple’s web browser, seeks to make users’ online experience smoother and less annoying. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn’t be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

The browser’s new “intelligent tracking prevention,” meanwhile, will use machine learning to identify and block digital-ad trackers in order to keep advertisers from following and profiling users. It will not block the ads themselves, though.

Sizing up the iPad

Apple is introducing an iPad Pro in a new size in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets. The new 10.5-inch model offers room for a full-size keyboard, something the 9.7-inch model couldn’t. Yet it isn’t as bulky as the 12.9-inch model.

With consumers less interested in buying new tablets, Apple has increased its focus on designing tablets for professionals to do much of the same work that they usually perform on a laptop computer. It’s also what Microsoft is targeting with the Surface Pro; a new model comes out on June 15.

The new iPad Pro also comes with a better camera – the same one found in the iPhone 7 – along with more storage, a better display and faster refreshing of moving images. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.

Watch the watch

Apple is also updating the operating software for its Apple Watch, including new watch faces, more personalized alerts that use machine learning to tailor information to you based on your routines and tastes.

It also enhanced its workout app to, for instance, support high intensity interval training. It will also be possible to exchange data between gym equipment and the watch.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app.

AP Logo Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press, Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay, AP technology writers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.