Welcome to Sand Castles: Before and After

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Happy New Year and welcome to our fifth anniversary of our Before and After issue of Sand Castles!

Our Before and After issue is one of my favorite issues of Sand Castles. I love the start of the new year when we set goals that range from organizing your home, getting fit and healthy to creating new designs for your home and setting up a home inspection. We cover all these topics, and I think this issue lives up to our goal to deliver interesting stories from our beaches to our State Capitol and New York to Italy!

On Jan. 8, former Congressman Ron DeSantis was sworn in as the youngest Florida governor in more than a century and the first governor from Ponte Vedra Beach. Thousands of Floridians attended the inauguration, and I, along with my daughter, grandchildren and many friends from Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville, were there for the swearing-in and the Florida Ball.

We start our new year off with travel tales from RE/MAX Unlimited Realtors Kelly Whitaker and Wanda Petersen, who took their grandchildren to New York City during the Christmas season. Watson Realtor Babs Bowler writes about a trip she took with her sister-in-law to attend a wedding in Rome in September for “The Ultimate Destination Wedding,” at the Sistine Chapel and her tour of Italy.

In celebration of five years of Sand Castles, we hosted a luncheon in November to thank all the realtors who have contributed stories throughout the years. You’ll see photos from that event in this edition. 

Laine Silverfield, who is a legend in her own right, contributes a story titled, “Her Song,” about a First Coast nonprofit whose mission is the interruption of the cycle of human trafficking while leading women to freedom. Laine recently hosted a luncheon at her Marbella home to bring awareness and support to this issue. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Every issue of Sand Castles features our Market Watch and Eric Spottswood from Prosperity Bank answers the questions, how’s the market, what is happening with the rates and did I miss out on good rates.

Ten of our local realtors contribute stories from Spinnakers Reach in Sawgrass to the Plantation and Marsh Landing, Jacksonville Beach and Nocatee. Touring these stunning homes through the Realtors’ eyes, words and photos spotlights the wonderful properties on the market today on Florida’s First Coast!

I asked home inspector and President of Tabor Hill & Associates Jimmy Cox to write about ‘The Importance of Home Maintenance and Inspections.” His article is revealing and offers a compelling reason to do an inspection as part of the routine maintenance of your home to prevent small problems from turning into expensive, major catastrophes.

What better time than the new year to start organizing your space, decluttering and creating more usable space through organized closet systems and garage makeovers. Tim Blin, owner of Tailored Living, shares his expertise on creating the perfect space.

“Designed to Sell” offers readers a glimpse inside a condo I recently re-designed with fresh white paint and an updated coastal contemporary look that attracts buyers and sells homes!

Ryan Keller for Video Luxury was my video photographer, and he gives insight into the importance of professional photography when selling your home. 

Alice Hickox, chef and owner of Lettuce Do Dinner, returns with a plan of healthy eating we all can adopt this year.

Our home is our castle and at the beaches it is our castle in the sand. From palm trees to sand dunes and golf courses to resort living, Ponte Vedra Beach and the Beaches communities offer the most desirable real estate in Northeast Florida!

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