Art of Leisure has always been circling around home and the leisure lifestyle in Sonoma and Napa Valley. This naturally includes the physical structure of a home, the spirit of its occupants including pets, surrounding gardens, and the thriving wine country community. Below, you will see my oil paintings of pets, very much a part of a healthy and happy home life. Our four footed friends are an important element of our lives, as noted by artists and authors over the centuries.
For many years, I have endeavored to help the shelter pet community. Many afternoons, I would visit the shelter, sit with an animal, paint a plein air painting of it and share a print with the person who eventually gave it a new home. This practice developed into the creation of my Shelter Pet Cards, sold at such shops as:
Now I am bringing this service to those who would like to memorialize a moment in their and their pet’s life. Hopefully, a delightful, happy occasion in which I can help bring your pet to life in a pet portrait painting.
Happy Spring! As we begin this season of growth, I’d like to share a few ideas for a leisure weekend of rejuvenation and restorative wellness. In Sonoma and Napa Valleys, the abundance of rain this year has brought what we hope to be healthy vines as they emerge from their winters rest. Thus, this is a perfect time to step out and enjoy something new and special before the full excitement of this season is upon us.
The idea of rejuvenation and wellness is inspiring because it evokes renewal, an abundance of energy, and a sense of optimism. To experience this feeling, here are a few places that offer various forms of personal tranquility and serenity. From the visual to the experiential, these places and rituals allow the true feeling of rejuvenation to bubble to the surface naturally. From the simplest idea of a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a steaming washcloth in the morning, to visiting a spa-golf hospitality venue, or just maybe, up-close gazing at stars and planets at the most advanced observatory in the West . Whether inside or outdoors, a focus on rejuvenation and wellness is an element of the leisure lifestyle any day of the year. As always, I wish you many moments of ease and joy as you experience the Art of Leisure.
Beauty and Tranquility as expressed by International artist/photographers today: Available at Scott Nichols Gallery, Sonoma Square. www.scottnicholsgallery.com
Regarding real estate, we are in a time of many questions and uncertainty. If you would like to know the facts, historical data, and trends that we are seeing for 2023, contact me for a Market Update that will help define today’s reality. Here are a few highlights as we peer into the future:
In the luxury market, we are seeing a trend toward more conscious spending with a movement towards minimalist luxury. The trifecta of location, home condition, and amenities are the primary decision making priorities.
Move-in-ready homes are highly sought after today. In some cases, homes are sold fully furnished, including linens and cutlery.
Overall, the mindset in real estate is evolving, as properties are taking longer to sell and buyers are in a less competitive environment. Every market is unique.
Recently, I visited a site in Healdsburg with new construction containing many of the elements of an Art of Leisure Home.
The property is the Mill District, and although quite different from a home in the country with land or in town, it does offer many desirable amenities to clients.
The interiors have clean lines, minimalist decor, and include some furnishings, including appliances and window coverings. This is a very move-in-ready property that is located close to the Healdsburg Plaza for entertainment and casual to gourmet dining.
I wanted to share this property with you as it is an example of the trend location, home condition, and amenities as we look towards the future.
It is my hope that you will enjoy a beautiful spring, and as always, please contact me anytime with questions or thoughts about the leisure lifestyle or the market which is adjusting quickly today.
As we embrace the New Year, this is a wonderful time to pause, eat warming and delicious foods, enjoy the outdoors, and take a closer look at the home that surrounds us. Both the housing and home improvement markets remained strong in Sonoma and Napa Valley through 2021. Thus, so that you may remain well informed, please find below the most recent expert real estate data + stats as we look together into the future.
But first, to remind us all of how much fun it is to be outside, here are a few paintings by the artist Alireza Varzandeh that evoke the pleasure of a stroll.
In the Sonoma and Napa Valley we do walk a lot around town, in the parks, neighborhoods, and sidewalks near the shops.
It is the movement and imperfection which these paintings portray that seems so welcome at this time. Alireza portrays subjects in physical and emotional motion. With blurred faces, their identities are mysterious, yet each figure’s posture and form suggests a unique personality and history. Scenes of youth, summer, and vacation come alive on his canvases.
This art can be viewed at Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco and Saint Helena. Senior Art Consultant Colleen Mulligan ( 714.906.2819 ) knows this artist very well. Alireza has a quite inspiring story and history. Real estate data highlights:
Inventory: Recent data shows that in December, California had 27.8% less inventory than in December 2020. Future housing inventory levels will be the key market indicator for sales in 2022.
Past price growth has been at its highest level in 45+ years.
Homeowner equity continues to surge, an important data point from the recent past. Equity remains a key element for those transitioning out of forbearance. Core Logic reports a 31.1% year-over-year percentage increase in equity for U.S. homeowners with mortgages.
Seven industry experts forecast on average a 5.2% home price increase this year, a deceleration of price increase rates from last year. Maiclaire Bolton-Smith, Core Logic Senior Leader of Research, predicts that home sales will continue to rise and actually reach a 16 year high in 2022.
Buyerscontinue to enter the market and remain very active. Data reports show that strong activity in property showings (which precedes offers and sales) have been unseasonably high over the recent holidays.
It is widely recognized that the low interest rates combined with a higher personal appreciation of “home” were significant contributors to the current housing supply.
It is my hope that wherever you may be, you find a few moments to enjoy a bit of fresh air and participate in the pleasurable “Art of Leisure.” For your convenience in finding a special place to wander, following is a list of favorite areas in wine country with inspiring scenery.
FAVORITE OUTDOOR PATHS
Having moved from the Bay Area to Sonoma Valley almost 30 years ago, I have curated a few favorite “everyday paths” around the Sonoma Valley. Due to my exploring both the hills and in town, these local outdoor areas range from challenging, to super easy, with opportunities for kids & dogs to run. I hope that you find something here to capture the beautiful Sonoma Leisure Lifestyle experience. Please let me know.
A Few Lovely Outdoor Areas
Sonoma Bike Path, Vallejo’s Home & Field of Dreams:
Explore this trilogy of natural wetlands with plant and aquatic life, historic Vallejo’s Home with a turtle pond, and the open space of Field of Dreams, all located walking distance from the Sonoma Plaza. Wonderful spots for kids of all ages.
Hike to the top of Bald Mountain on a 6-mile stretch. The 1.500 foot elevation change will reward you with a 360-degree view to San Francisco on a clear day. More moderate hikes starts at visitor’s center. Not for dogs.