What Lights Your Fire?

This winter has been unseasonably warm and we in South Florida rarely get a chance to light our fires as it is. I don’t have a fireplace but my mom does and I think it adds an immense amount of character to her home.

You might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until the latter half of the twelfth century that the fireplace moved to the wall instead of in the center of the room. Fire in many geographical regions was about survival and not decoration.

Because of our location, many South Florida homes lack a fireplace because it isn’t really necessary. But some of the hidden gems in neighborhoods such as Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Shenandoah, Silver Bluff, and The Roads with homes constructed in the 1920’s have them. And many older neighborhoods in Palm Beach have them too.

Larry’s Cap Rock and Stone carves both interior and exterior fireplaces out of limestone. Our CNC technology is unrivaled in South Florida. Every piece fabricated at our state of the art facility is hand finished with old world dedication and craftsmanship.

Ask for a copy of our hearths and mantels catalog for additional inspiration.

We hope you enjoy these beauties too…

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Color Trends 2013- Neutrals

Neutrals are on tap for 2013 as a Panetone Color trend. The neutral color palette is elegant and understated. If you are looking for a choice that is natural, modern, and composed, look at a neutral. You can always add shots of color with plants or other design elements.

With regards to stone we offer Hemingway Florida Coral in a light golden hue and Mexican sisal stone that is a light beige. The warmth of sisal stone is showcased below on our neutral color board for your inspiration.

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The South’s Best Garden Tours

My mother in law was so in love with her magnolias she would often send us pictures in April of her garden. So this blog is dedicated to her and all those Southern ladies who still till their gardens with pride.

1- 8th Annual Wildflower Celebration
Hockessin, Delaware
April 29, 2012
Mtcubacenter.org

2- International Cherry Blossom Festival
Macon, Georgia
March 16-25, 2012
Cherryblosson.com

3-St Francisville Spring Stroll
St Franciscille, Louisiana
March 31, 2012
Stfrancisvillefestivals.com

4- Takoma Park House & Garden Tour
Takoma, Maryland
May 5-6, 2012
Historictakoma.org

5- The Gardens of Madison County
Madison County, Mississippi
May 5-6, 2012
Mragardens.com

6- Oakwood Tour and Victorian Tea
Raleigh, NC
April 28-29, 2012
Historicoakwood.org

7-Muskogee Azalea Festival
Muskogee, Oklahoma
April 1-30, 2012
Muskogeeparks.org

8-Follow The Blooms
Statewide
March 24, 2012
Gardenclubofsc.org

9-Bluebonnet Festival
Chappell Hill, Texas
April 14-15
Chappelhillmuseum.org

10-Historic Garden Week
April 21-28, 2012l
Virginia
Vagardenweek.org

Waterfeatures

My husband reads my blog and sighs. However he knew when he married me that I had expensive tastes. My latest object of desire is a water feature. I have very practical reasons for this one. I have a very active 4 year old easily entertained by water. That fact combined with the scorching heat of a Florida summer make at least 2 cases out of 10 for one of these lovelies to reside in our little casa in Coral Gate.

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Doors…

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As always the design inspiration behind today’s blog post is a project I want for my own home: a new door. Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone has a variety of door moldings designed to convey a whole host of design options. You dream it. We can carve it.

paralyzed
I refuse to choose and
so the doors that lie before me
remain forever unopened

some sit ajar…just a bit
a crack to let light in
brightening the shadows of “what if”…just a bit
immobile, however,
the hinges grow stiff in their waiting

possibility remains trapped,
paralyzed behind the door
I refuse to let swing wide
saying to myself,
“what if it’s the wrong door?”

-Kayce Hughlett at Lucy Creates

 

 

Two Books You Must Own

Typically when a client visits our showroom, my job is to help him or her visualize what the variety of stones we carry or can fabricate will look like in or on their particular home.

And since many of our clients are drawn to the limestones we distribute & fabricate, there are typically few resources outside of our own literature to point them to. I was delighted to find these 2 books by landscape architects we all know and love.

I routinely point our clients to these incredible books & encourage you to check them out.

http://www.amazon.com/Civilized-Jungle-Residential-Landscapes-Sanchez/dp/096791437X

http://www.amazon.com/Colors-Nature-Subtropical-Gardens-Raymond/dp/1580932126/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Pin It To Win It.

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Okay… I admit it. I am addicted to Pinterest. I pin bunk beds I want for my child’s room. I pin my ideal wardrobe & wardrobes for children I dont even have. I pin places I want to travel to. I pin receipes I want to try. I pin sexy guys like McDreamy. And I stalk other followers on Pinterest to repin pictures on this blog.  Any time I have a free minute I am pinning so I was intrigued by this article on Pinterest that discussed the impact of Pinterest on small businesses.

For those of you out there that have not started pinning… you typically need an invite from another Pinterest user to start this addictive habit. Note to any architects, designers, or contractors who follow this blog, over 67% of Pinterest’s registered users are women.   

Adapted From Entrepeneur Magazine- By Jason Falls

“Move over Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Another social mediasite is stepping up as a valuable marketing tool for businesses.

Pinterest, an online bulletin board for your favorite images, launched in 2010 and is already experiencing wild growth. The site registered more than 7 million unique visitors in December, up from 1.6 million in September. And it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass.-based content-sharing site Shareaholic.

Why should small businesses care? To answer that, you first have to understand how consumers are using the site. Pinterest allows you to organize images — maybe pretty sunrises or wines you’ve tasted — into boards for specific categories. When you “pin” something new, your followers will see it. They can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards. Like Facebook content, your Pinterest pins can go viral.

Brides-to-be can pin pictures of different wedding dresses to review, and people shopping for a new car can pin images of their options. When I joined Pinterest I started a board to show the Major League Baseball stadiums I’ve visited. The possibilities are unlimited.

Here’s a look at why some business owners — particularly retailers — might want to seriously consider starting a business profile on Pinterest now.

 
How It’s Being Used
Perhaps the most powerful business application is the ability to post images of your company’s products on your Pinterest board and link them back to your website. It works as a sort of virtual store catalog.

But remember that this is social media. If you simply display images of your products without contributing other content or sharing other users’ pins, you’ll likely find that people don’t pay much attention. After all, no one likes a self-absorbed blowhard.

Related: What’s With All the Interest in Pinterest?

But savvy social media users know not to get too promotional. For example, Whole Foods Market pins pictures of delicious-looking food, food art and images of recycled or reused products to inspire customers to be environmentally responsible. Daniel Gordon, who runs Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, pins pictures of his rings and watches, but he also has a board for images that make him laugh and other types of products he loves.

Driving Sales
Pinterest already is driving buyers to some websites. In the last six months, the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.

“We continue the Pinterest conversation with [the] members by following their pins, and we love to give feedback outside of the shopping category — whether that means commenting on a great recipe or [giving] a heart next to our favorite pet pics,” says ideeli.com social media manager Sarah Conley. “We also see Pinterest as a growing resource to better understand our members and the larger retail landscape.”

Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?
The site does have some drawbacks for businesses. If your product or service isn’t particularly visual, your images may not tie directly back to your brand. Pinterest also doesn’t offer business-oriented features, and its search function prioritizes pin and board subjects ahead of “people,” the category that brands would fall into.

The best way to determine if Pinterest could attract buyers is simply to give it a shot. Set up an account and start pinning things that are relevant to your business but not too promotional.

Related: How to Use Social Media for Research and Development

If you run a lawn-care center, for instance, pin pictures of landscaping you find online or snap in your community. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, pin shots of the interesting sites and people around your neighborhood and photos you take at community events. You also can search through Pinterest’s categories and add some inspirational, funny or beautiful images you find.

Then, follow interesting boards and individuals who post images that inspire you. Once you’ve done some pinning of other people’s content for a week or so and attracted a few followers, create a new board of your products. Add descriptions and perhaps the price to the images. Make sure they link back to your website and start tracking pinterest.com as a referral source in your website analytics.

Next, try creating an image of a special deal or coupon just for your Pinterest followers. Upload it to a new board for Deals. Perhaps offer a prize to the person who gets the most likes or comments on a re-pin of the coupon, and then see who shares it the most. Don’t fret about creating multiple boards. People who follow you will see them all.

In a month or two, see if you’re getting referral traffic or sales. Depending on the results, you may need to tweak your boards with new images and words.

One thing is clear whether you’re on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images — be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking — attract the most attention and followers.”

 

Hurricane Stone Preparation

 

Last night I reviewed over 50 pictures of my mother-in-law’s riverfront home damaged by Hurricane Irene last year. My husband has the difficult task of negotiating with the insurance companies on his mother’s 50 year accumulation of contents at his childhood home.

Reviewing the devastation, left me thinking that many homeowners in South Florida and contractors are unaware of how to prepare for a hurricane as it relates to stone.

Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone, South Florida’s premier natural stone business, wants Florida homeowners to be prepared for the up-and-coming hurricane season. As hurricane season draws near, homeowners and contractors can take a few precautions in order to save money on future home repairs.

Most  natural stones are porous. Heavy rain and wind can cause water and moisture to penetrate the stone from not only the surface but also from the sides (through the grout) and from the substrate (below the stone).

 In order to protect the stone from the surface and sides, Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone always recommends that the surface of the stone and grout be properly sealed with a water repellent penetrating sealer. Some sealers last longer than others but a light sealing every two years is recommended.

To protect the stone surface and grout, lay two layers of contractor’s paper or felt paper. Plastic is not recommended because it inhibits the moisture evaporation. When using tape to hold the paper onto the stone, first use painter’s tape then waterproof that tape by covering it with a layer of Duct tape. The painters tape will not leave a sticky residue on the stone.

Protecting the substrate is more difficult and may not totally prevent moisture from migrating inside and penetrating the stone. However, a little prevention may prove very useful: make sure that windows, doors, etc. around the stone (inside and outside) are properly caulked.

As soon as possible following the storm, remove the paper, damp mop the floor with a neutral cleaner and let the surface dry. Use fans and dehumidifiers if necessary. Surface moisture sometimes evaporates in time and the stone does not need restoration or replacement. If there is some discoloration and it does not disappear, an on-site evaluation by a recommended installer may be needed. 

A large part of stone care is learning how to maintain your natural stone. Taking precautions to protect your stone floors and surfaces during the hurricane season can end up saving you a lot of money. Hopefully these simple steps will help homeowners take a proactive role in preserving their home during the coming months.” said Larry Albregts of  Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone. 

 

Shapely Seating – Adapted from Garden Design

 

Keeping with my theme from yesterday, I am on a campaign to renovate the backyard for an upcoming baby shower. So I have been scouring the internet & Pinterest for ideas I can implement without employing my husband’s handyman skills. I came across this article I found inspiring and thought I would share with you my wish list if I suddenly won Powerball.
 
Shapely Seating