Southern Style Adapted from Southern Accents

What do you think are the attributes that define Southern style?

Gracious and eclectic with a strong architectural basis. — John Chrestia

True “Southern style” has a subliminal sense of theater and joie de vivre, complimented by a definite bend toward elegance. — Joseph Paul Davis

A sense of gracious invitation. Warm, personal colors. Respect and reverence of our past. Subtle intelligence. — Barry Dixon

Decoration in the traditional or classical sense with an emphasis on comfort, hospitality, and liveableness, sometimes with a historical reference point, but not necessarily interpreting “period” interiors. Many Southern homes are renovations of once-grand architecture or even auxiliary buildings on the plantation grounds. — Ann Dupuy

The attributes that define Southern style are a quiet assuredness…a confidence…a warmth that embodies the phenomenon of “Southern hospitality.” — Charles Gandy

Southern style, to me, is rather eccentric, embodying classic roots with a unique application. Comfort and relating to the outdoors is always a strong consideration for design in the South. Color is also very important, many times pulling in color schemes from nature. — Cathy Kincaid

Southern style is unpretentious and extremely comfortable with an air of informality and relaxed elegance. — Josie McCarthy

Southern style means friendly, comfortable, approachable interiors. In the South, it’s all about being welcome. — Celerie Kemble

A sense of one’s heritage and the importance of making a home welcome to family and friends. — J.R. Miller

Southern style speaks of gracious living, hospitality, and restrained taste. — Betty Lou Phillips

Our Southern roots compel us to make hospitality and good manners a priority in our daily living. There is an underlying quality of dignity in the way we decorate. — Cindy Smith

Casual elegance. An inviting style. The mix of both formal and informal rooms that are integral parts of life in the Southern home. — Jim Strickland

What elements do all great Southern houses have in common?

Houses of the Southern Tidewater, from Virginia to Louisiana, seem to epitomize Southern style. These unique structures were developed to cope with intense heat and humidity. While each geographic area has its own distinct architectural expression, all embody the same basic strategic elements; abundant porches for shade, high ceilings, exterior shutters, raised living levels, and careful geographic orientation to take advantage of prevailing breezes. — Norman Askins

Our warm climate influenced our architects to build our historic mansions and modest bungalows with 12 and 14-foot ceilings and rooms with many tall windows and French doors for cross ventilation. — Gerrie Bremermann

Easy charm; an enormous appreciation for the out of doors, which most often includes a wonderful garden; either formal or rambling. — Dan Carithers

The environments, whether modern or steeped in history, have a thoughtfully acquired sensibility — they are tactile and enveloping. — Darryl Carter

Wonderful porches. — John Chrestia

All great Southern homes have a traditional mindset of running a proper house, whether it is contemporary or traditional. — Joseph Paul Davis

A chameleonic quality to live happily among various periods and personalities. Innate hospitality. Openness. — Barry Dixon

Traditional or contemporary–formal or informal–there is usually something inherited reflecting the Southern sense of family. — Jimmy Graham

All great Southern houses have piazzas/porches, high ceilings, cross ventilation (a center hall) and wood floors. — Amelia Handegan

An open door to hospitality and a sense of gracious living. — Jackye Lanham

What piece of furniture or accessory should no Southern house be without?

Dining room furniture. Of all forms of American furniture particularly associated with the South, the majority seem to have been created for entertainment, and most especially for the dining room; hunt board or slab, sugar chest, Jackson press, and pie safe. — Norman Askins

Something wicker is a must. Originally, wicker furnishings were chosen as a response to Southern climate, now they serve an equally important role by keeping formal rooms a bit more casual, relaxed, and enjoyable. — José Solis Betancourt

I have a fetish for chairs — lots and lots of chairs. I love chandeliers, banquettes, daybeds and large, useful coffee tables. — Gerrie Bremermann

A comfortable chair. — Dan Carithers

A sumptuous wing chair strategically placed in a conversation area. This tends to be a magnet where inevitably the first guest will be seated. — Darryl Carter

A bar, a grand piano, and a well-used dining room table. — John Chrestia

A huge dining table where the entire family and friends can congregate and talk all day long and into the night. — Joseph Paul Davis

A silver service, a set of fine china, sterling flatware, and table linens because we do love to entertain at home. — Jimmy Graham

No Southern house should be without a bowl for camellias. — Amelia Handegan

Family pictures. — Cathy Kincaid

Vintage family silver. English 18th-century sideboards and secretary. — Cindy Smith

Estimating 101

I know. I know. I normally write about the sexy side of architecture and landscape architecture. But today I learned a lot in the last 9 hours from a kind intelligent soul named Rick Langedyk of the Construction Estimating Institute.

Bless Rick’s heart. He was trying to help a mass communications major with limited blueprint reading skills keep up with 4 general contractors who were just brushing up on their estimating skills and who have the luxury of reading blueprints uninterrupted.

But here is the big key takeaway from the 9 hours there is a publication called called the 2012-2013 Construction Cost Guide that provides general contractors with both mean cost estimates for any material used in commercial construction and for the labor associated with installing it and the number of hours it should take to complete that specialty.

Sweets publishes a version. But the version I was utilizing was derived from RS Means. It cost $177.95.
To obtain your own copy click on

Nothing takes the place of picking up the phone and getting true cost estimates especially in a price sensitive market like Miami but this guide helps most contractors put together rough budget allowances.



White Hot Heat

As I write this it is 2nd quarter of hopefully the final game in the NBA Championship. And the white hot Heat are ahead by 6 points.

But the term white hot got me thinking about why we recommend many limestones and sandstones that are white or very light in color.

The reason behind many of our recommendations is that most of our native limestones retain less heat. Many of the stones that are dark in color retain heat because they contain heavy deposits of iron. Think cast iron skillet. Whereas most of our limestones are heavy on silicates which don’t retain heat. Think sand. This is why if you are drawn to dark colors it is typically more prudent to use as wall cladding rather than flooring.









Native Limestone Presentation

Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone with the help of a small and talented cadre of talented landscape architects has developed a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation about native limestone. This presentation includes the ASTM specifications, recommended installation applications for each specific limestone, quarry or reclamation methods and their affect on available size of stone. This comprehensive presentation can be emailed via We Transfer. To obtain a copy please email

Your name, company name, and phone number will be requested.

Oolite, Florida Keystone, Hemingway, Indiana Limestone, and Coralina are highlighted in this incredible and dynamic presentation.

Color & It’s Affect On Mood

My family is coping with a loss of a loved one and this loss caused me to begin thinking about how color affects mood.

While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about room color, it affects every day of our lives. Room color can influence our mood and our thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways, depending upon one’s age, gender, ethnic background or local climate. Certain colors or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people – the overall difference being in the shade or tones used. So it’s important to choose wisely.

To have a beautiful home, you do not have to worry about trends. Color trends will come and go. The people who live in a home make it beautiful by choosing colors that reflect their likes and their personalities. The trick is to blend those colors you like into a pleasing combination. Choosing color combinations is one of the most intimidating steps for beginners. Color has the power to change the shape and size of furnishings as well as the shape and size of the room itself.

Selecting colors is not difficult if you equip yourself with some basic information about color and its effects, so let’s find more about room colors, and how these affect your mood.

Let’s begin …

When selecting color for a room, keep in mind that each color has a psychological value. Think about how those colors make you feel. The main color of your room can have an effect on your mood. These colors can make you feel anything from tranquil to rage. So when trying to create peace and harmony in your home choose your colors wisely. Some colors in large amounts will have just the opposite affect on you and your loved ones’ moods.

What mood do you want to create? Which colors will help you achieve that mood?

Find clear answers to these questions. If you find this task quite difficult try to look at magazines, decorating books, blogs and websites for ideas, or let your fabric be your guide. In fact, this is a good approach to take even if you’re starting from scratch. Fabric, carpeting, furniture and tile are available in a more limited range of colors than is paint, so choose them first and then decide on your paint color. Once you’ve found what you where searching for limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four. Too many colors can make a room look busy or cluttered.

Paint is a fairly inexpensive and transforms a room more quickly than anything else you can do so you can afford to experiment a little.

Room Colors

Understand that colors behave in three basic ways : active, passive, and neutral , and you can easily match every room’s colors to your personal desires and taste and to the room’s purpose. Light colors are expansive and airy, they make rooms seem larger and brighter. Dark colors are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance.

Now let’s find more about some colors.

Red raises a room’s energy level. It’s a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you’re only in the room after dark, you’ll be seeing it mostly by lamplight, when the color will appear muted, rich, and elegant. Red, the most intense, pumps the adrenaline like no other hue.

Crimson can make some people feel irritable. With red invoking feels of rage and hostility is a color that should be avoided as the main color of a room. Sitting for long periods of time in a room this color will likely breakdown any peace and harmony you are striving to create in your home. Ancient cultures used the color red to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.
Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It’s perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms, where happy color is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries, and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming.Yellow although is a cheery color is not a good choice in main color schemes of a room. People are more likely to lose their tempers in a yellow room. Babies also seem to cry more in a yellow room. This color tends to create feeling of
frustration and anger in people. This color is the most fatiguing on the eyes.In chromotherapy yellow was believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.

Blue brings down blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. That’s why it’s considered calming, relaxing, and serene, and is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms. Be careful, however: A pastel blue that looks pretty on the paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly when it’s on the walls and furnishings, especially in a room that receives little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary color in a room, balance it with warm hues in the furnishings
and fabrics.

To encourage relaxation in the rooms where people gather family rooms, living rooms, large kitchens consider warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as cerulean or turquoise. Blue is known to have a calming effect when used as the main color of a room. When going with blue go for softer shades of blue. Dark blue has the opposite effect. Dark blue evokes feels of sadness. So refrain from using darker blues in your main color scheme. Stay with the lighter shades of blue to give you and your loved ones a calm effect.

Green is considered the most restful color for the eye. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited to almost any room in the house. In a kitchen, a sage or medium green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. In a bedroom, it’s relaxing and pleasant.Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax. Also believed to help with fertility this is a great choice for the bedroom. Since green is the predominant color in Nature’s palette it is not surprising that many of us feel relaxed and rejuvenated after time spent outdoors.

Purple in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic, and sophisticated. It’s associated with luxury as well as creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.

Orange evokes excitement, enthusiasm and is an energetic color. While not a good idea for a living room or for bedrooms this color is great for an exercise room. It will bring all the emotions out that you need when jumping into your fitness routine.In ancient cultures orange was used to heal the lungs and increase energy levels.

Neutrals (black, gray, white, and brown) are basic to the decorator’s tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used in small doses as an accent , indeed, some experts maintain that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth.

To make the job easier, you can rely on the interior designer’s most important color tool: the color wheel.

Something about Ceiling and Walls

The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room, but too often it gets nothing more than a coat of white paint. In fact, for decades, white has been considered not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings. As a general rule, ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. Lower” need not mean claustrophobic: Visually lowered ceilings can evoke cozy intimacy.

Dark walls make a room seem smaller, and light walls make a room seem larger.


These general guidelines are a good starting point in your search for a paint color. But remember that color choice is a very personal matter. You’re the one who has to live with your new paint color or stone color choice, so choose a hue that suits you, your family and your lifestyle. And after investing time to select just the right color, make sure it continues to look that way long-term by investing in a top quality paint.

Effective July 1, 2012 Price Increase

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Effective for all shipments on or after July 1, 2012 Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone will institute price increases on our pebbles, flagstone, block, and slab products.  Please contact your salesperson for details before you place your next order.

LCRS will do its best to meet any request for shipments prior to the July 1st date.  However, quantity of orders and product availability may affect our ability to meet a requested date.  Therefore, LCRS cannot guarantee that product on any order will ship in advance of the price change date.

Please note that we have held our prices consistent for the last 8 years but the increase in raw materials & freight that we have absorbed over the past year has predicated the need for the increase. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you.

Black Polished Has Arrived

Many of you have called to inquire about our black polish pebbles stock. We have received a rather large shipment today.

If you have already placed an order rest assured we are shipping. But if you have not received a sales order confirmation from your sales person please give us a call so we can assist you expeditiously.

Finally, since we work with a largely male audience we want to wish you all a Happy Fathers Day. Enjoy your fathers and your children.

Below are pics of Larry and his grandchildren.






Harvard State of Housing Report released 7/13/12

Harvard’s State of Housing Report Says Home Construction Now Adding to GDP

Steadier job growth and improving consumer confidence are now boosting home sales and home prices may finally find a bottom this year according to the latest State of the Nation’s Housing report released this morning. The report, produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, says further that stronger home sales should pave the way for a pick-up in single-family construction over the rest of 2012.

Conditions, however, will keep this recovery “subdued.” The backlog of nearly 2 million loans in foreclosure means that distressed sales will remain elevated and will keep a downward pressure on prices and another 11.1 million homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, dampening both sales of new homes and investment in existing units. While vacancies have been declining the report notes, they still remain well above normal, holding down demand for new construction in many markets.

What the for-sale market needs most, the authors say is a sustained increase in employment. This might in turn bring household formation back to normal levels. The depressed pace of homebuilding has been a major factor in hiring and pulled down growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) from 2006 to 2010. Since the beginning of 2011, however, both home construction and home improvement spending have made a positive contribution to GDP in four out of five quarters.

Another bright spot is the rental market; the number of renters surged by 5.1 million over the decade of the 2000s, the largest decade-long increase in the postwar era. This reflects not only growth in those populations which are historically prone to rent – the young, minority, and low income households, but foreclosures have driven others into the rental market.

Still the rental market has not fully benefited from the large echo-boom generation because the recession has forced a lot of young people to put off leaving home which usually means a move into rental housing. Once the economy improves the echo-boomers should give the market a significant lift.

The rising demand for rentals has sparked rent increases in many parts of the country; 38 of the 64 markets tracked by MPF research had rent increases that outstripped inflation and all but one of the remainder (Las Vegas) had at least a nominal increase in 2011. Even in some cities hard hit by foreclosures and the economy in general (Detroit, Cleveland) rents are rising.

The increase in rents has, in turn, helped to stabilize the multifamily property market where prices are were reported up by 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 from one year earlier and multifamily construction starts more than doubled from its trough to a 225,000 unit annual rate, providing a welcome boost to construction.

Homeownership continues to slide, dipping to 66.1 percent in 2011 from 66.8 percent a year earlier and 69 percent at its peak in 2004, but it is still higher than in the period from 1980 into the early 1990s. Rates for older households continue to climb as the population ages, but the homeownership rate for younger households will probably continue to decline over the next few years.

The number of new homes added to the housing stock in the 2002-2011 period was lower than in any other ten year span since the early 1970s so it is hard to argue that overbuilding is dragging down the market. The excess housing supply is largely a reflection of the slowdown in housing growth which resulted from the decline in the rate at which younger people are forming households as noted above and also because of a sharp drop in immigration. But over the longer run, the growth and aging of the current population should support the addition of about 1.0 million new households per year for the next ten years. Immigration remains an unknown in this calculation, but even assuming net inflows are half what was predicted by the U.S. Census in 2008, household growth should average 1.18 million per year in 2010-2020.

The recession took a toll on household income but did little to lessen the burden of housing costs. Between 2007 and 2010 the number of households paying more than half of their income for housing rose by 2.3 million to 20.2 million. While renters accounted for the vast majority of the increase, the number of severely cost-burdened owners also rose more than 350,000 as many households took on expensive mortgages they were later unable to refinance. In addition, this recent increase is on top of an increase in cost burdened households of 4.1 million in 2001-2007.

These cost burdened families face a big challenge. Among families with children in the bottom expenditure quartile of income and with the most severe housing cost burden, only about three-fifths of the amount is spent on food, half as much on clothes, and two-fifth on healthcare as is spent by families living in affordable housing.

The Joint Center said there are few prospects for a meaningful reduction in this cost burden. Funding for the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program has increased only modestly since the recession and the only significant growth in subsidized rental housing is through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit which continues to add about 100,000 affordable units each year. If the current calls for reducing domestic spending are realized “the nation would move even further away from its longstanding goal of ensuring decent, affordable housing for all Americans.”

On the road ahead, with moderate gains in multifamily and single family construction and improving sales of existing homes, housing should be a stronger contributor to economic growth than it has been in years. The rental market is back on track, but the owner occupied market still faces the same pressures it has for years; distressed properties which hold down prices and owners who are unable to sell because they are underwater.

Actions such as changes in the Home Affordable Modification Program, the servicing settlement, and more rapid disposition of properties where homeownership cannot be maintained are helping the market. However, the greatest potential for recovery of the for-sale market is its historic affordability. The dive in home prices and record low mortgages rates make homebuying more attractive than it has been in years but the limited availability of financing that meets the needs of many borrowers, strict underwriting guidelines, and rising fees are inhibiting sales. “With key mortgage lending regulations still undefined, it remains to be seen to what extent and under what terms lenders will make credit available to lower income and lower-wealth borrowers.”

Spotlight: Orlando Comas










Landscape Architect Orlando Comas started his South Florida studio in 1996,
after practicing ten years abroad in South America.

He is responsible for designing many projects in South Florida, South and Central America and the Caribbean. His works include private residential gardens, commercial and institutional buildings, hotels and beach resorts. He is a State of Florida licensed Landscape Architect and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. During his career he has completed over two hundred commissions, some of which have been featured prominently in local, national and international publications.

For ten years he was based in Caracas, Venezuela with frequent travels to Brazil. In South America his practice included small private gardens, large residential estates, government buildings, parks and large tourist resorts.His interest in horticulture and the lack of plant material availability provided him the opportunity to create what became one of the largest private ornamental nurseries in Venezuela. At the nursery he experimented with natives and exotics. Seeds and cuttings were brought in from South Florida, Hawaii, New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil.

He received a “2010 Award of Honor” from the FLASLA – American Society of Landscape Architects for a Coral Gables Residence, and also the AIA – American Institute of Architects, Miami Chapter conferred upon him the “Landscape Architect of the Year Award”.