Escape the Cold – Warm Vacation Homes

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you ever thought about a second home? A warm place to escape the Midwest winters for a little while? Did you realize your local Coldwell Banker real estate agent can help you find that vacation home? Some agents even specialize in properties in these exotic locals.

Check out these warm weather dream vacation homes that could thaw out your winter blues: 

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands – Listed by Jed Skae

Oil Nut Bay is a family community located along the Caribbean Sea on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda in the Birtish Virgin Islands. Spanning across 300 acres of land in eight distinctive neighborhoods are 88 luxury homes, each one uniquely designed to give the resort experience within a private setting.

“I am proud to represent a development of this caliber,” said Jed Skae a broker in our Lakeview office. “This is a great opportunity to introduce local buyers to Oil Nut Bay and all that the community has to offer, and I’m confident that Chicagoans will be drawn to the lifestyle of the British Virgin Islands.  In fact, just in the past year there have been four buyers in the development from the Midwest.”

Jamaica is known for the warmth of it’s people, lush interiors full of waterfalls, mountains and rivers…and of course beautiful beaches. Villa Lolita in Hanover, Jamaica is a stunning five-star, premier rated villa. With it’s modern design and luxurious furnishings, it has been awarded Villa of the Year for the last three years. Designed by Chicago architect Tom Reed, it sits on almost 4 acres of terraced lawns landscaped with tropical plants and coconut trees. It’s also just a short golf cart ride to the 18 hole golf course or one or the 9 tennis courts, club house and private beach. A truly luxury vacation home and destination.

Planning to stay stateside? Marco Island, FL was named one of the top 10 places to buy a vacation home in 2013 by MarketWatch. It’s white sandy beaches, sparkling waters and amazing golf are only a few of the draws to the largest island in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. This stunning home is located on one of the best golf course lots in Hideaway Beach. The estate setting has gorgeous panoramic views. An exquisite, spacious interior luxuriously finished with amazing attention to detail has three-bedrooms and plenty of room to entertain.

Where would your dream vacation home be located? 

Quick Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues

Tips to Avoid the Winter BluesThere’s nothing more beautiful than a fresh blanket of snow outside, but let’s be honest – it’s even more beautiful when enjoying the view from your front window while cozied up to the fireplace. The dreadful gloom of winter weather can easily put a damper on your mood, but only if you let it. Instead, make some adjustments to the interior of your home to brighten up the space and bring it back to life. This can be especially crucial if you plan to put your home on the market. It will also give you an edge above the competition. Contrary to belief, the winter months still draw buyers to the market whether they’re relocating to a new city for a job or simply getting ahead of the spring market. 

These quick tips can help rid your home of the winter blues.

Amp up the lights: The natural light that once flooded your family room may be non-existent during this time of year, so create your own brightness. Try replacing your current light bulbs with higher wattage or hang an eye catching chandelier to replace standard ceiling lights.

A kitchen in bloom: A beautiful bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table can add the aroma of spring outdoors while adding color to a neutral palette. Paired with the right vase, this also makes for the perfect centerpiece.

Turn up the heat: When the temperature drops outside it’s time to turn up the heat indoors. One feature that is sure to blow the socks off of visitors is heated floors. If you’re looking for a more simple solution, try adding soft and plush floor rugs throughout your home.

Highlight upbeat hues: Adding a pop of color to a room can be like a ray of sunshine. Try finishing and painting an old piece of wood furniture, reupholstering an oversized arm chair or even painting an accent wall to get the desired results.

Make Your Guests Feel At Home

As the holiday season approaches, you may be opening their doors and welcoming family and friends to their homes. Before they arrive, take some time to get your guest room into shape.

By turning your spare bedroom into a five-star getaway, your guests can experience all the comforts of home. Here are some tips for creating the ultimate guest room.

Guest Room Make the room inviting. Start with the biggest bed that will fit the room. A queen size is the ideal fit for most guest scenarios (a couple, tall guest, adult plus child, etc.) Then add fine-quality sheets, a blanket, pillows and a beautiful duvet. Keep extra pillows and blankets nearby.

Focus on functionality. Guests come with stuff, so provide them plenty of space to put it. Set out a luggage rack or bench to hold a suitcase or duffel. On the nightstand include a reading lamp and clock. Also allow for easy plug-in access to charge a phone. Make sure there are plenty of hangers in the closet and extra drawer space available. Hang a small mirror and if space allows, a long dressing mirror.

Bath productsAt your service. Create a soothing, comfortable room by laying out towels and toiletries so your guests won’t have to search for items. To give it that little extra something have water and other snacks on hand.  A reading chair with a cozy throw is also a nice addition.

Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving in a Small Space

Space Solutions for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

By Shannon Perkins, Marketing Coordinator,  Regional Support Center

The task of hosting holiday celebrations should not be limited to homeowners. While this may prove to be challenging for renters, proper planning makes it possible for things to go smoothly. In addition to preparing as much of the meal ahead of time as possible, it is important to have small snacks on hand for the crowd before dinner. Below are a few tips that can help apartment renters prepare to host thanksgiving dinner.

Delegate tasks

A good hostess knows that delegating tasks is just as important as preparing meals. Consider having friends and family bring a dish as it may cut down on the amount of storage needed and post dinner cleanup. Be prepared to delegate the following items:

  • Drinks
  • Bread / rolls
  • Pie
  • Salad
  • Side dish
  • Appetizers

Finding space

Having company in a small and cluttered home is a recipe for disaster. In order to have a large event in a small area, it is imperative to make the most of your space.

  • Rearrange furniture and look for new possibilities in each room. Use your largest space as the dining room or major seating area.
  • If your apartment has a nice view, think about arranging the seating near the window. A focal point such as a picture or mirror can make tight space appear larger.


  • Trying to find an extra table may be difficult if you are not accustomed to hosting large parties. Ask guests that do not cook to assist by lending useful furniture. Renting these items may also be an option.
  • Thanksgiving dinner can work well if you make your bookshelves, counters and tables serve multiple purposes. A tall bookshelf would work well for serving drinks and appetizers, as well as a bar area. Trays can also be a wonderful way to serve extra guests, particularly if they are sitting on a comfortable couch or chair.

When everyone is finally sitting around your table , enjoying their delicious meal you’ll be thankful your hard work paid off… and that Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

ROYGBIV – Color Trends for 2014

By Amy Eiduke, Communications Is it time to start freshening up one or more of your rooms? Whether you make changes before holiday gatherings or to liven up the dreary days of January, a new color can change your room from drab to fab!

Keep in mind you don’t need to paint all your walls to change things up, sometimes just a few accent pieces such as pillows, drapes or artwork can make a world of difference. Here are a few colors moving to the forefront in 2014:

Yellow brightens the day. Add energy and happiness to any room by using this cheery color. This year we will see more yellow with red undertones rather than the green-yellow we’ve seen the past few years.

Blues will rule. A positive color, blue brings a clean feel to any room. From bright blues like aqua to monochromatic schemes of mid-tone blues to the increasingly popular teal, blue will be seen everywhere.

Purple penetrates the picture.  Passionate, elegant and pretty, purple continues to step into the spotlight. Choose your shade and amount of color carefully not to overwhelm your space.

Grey remains a fave. From a dark sophisticated grey to a light airy version, this neutral can be used as a base in your interior design or the featured color throughout.

No matter what color you choose it should fit with your personal style. You will be the one enjoying the space so make sure it’s something you love and makes you feel at home.