1. 2014 Home Trends

    At Neal Communities we work to provide exceptional customer care while making the design of your home the perfect place to fit your lifestyle. Not sure what your style is? Take our Facebook HomeStyle Quiz.

    One thing that most homeowners strive for is to remain current in their home décor.  A great way to stay current is to go over the newest home trends each year.

    So here we go, counting down the top 5 predicted home trends of 2014 in case you want a new look this New Year.

    5. The Pantone Color of the Year has been announced for 2014 and the winner is (insert drumroll here), Radiant Orchid.  This color “ emanates great joy, love and health and intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.” Do you like the color? Could you see yourself incorporating as an accent wall or furniture?

    4. Patterns have been making their way back into everything from fashion trends to home decorating. Two particular patterns we have been seeing a lot include the chevron and floral designs. Find a new place to add some pattern. An accent rug, a new chair, curtains, or decorative pillows are all great ideas.  Can’t make up your mind? Try a combination like in this Gull 2 Cottage at Woodbrook. A patterned area rug really stands out and makes a statement for the room as shown in this picture. Notice the chairs have a subtle patterned and the curtains as well.

    3.  Open floor plans are becoming more and more desired in a new home. Imagine being able to cook dinner and still hold a conversation (with eye contact and all) with the kids in the living room. This gives the home a more spacious and relaxed look. Luckily, an open floor plan is a staple for many of Neal Communities floor plans. Just another way you can get the family all together.

    2.  Bright colors are also hot in design. Teals, reds and yellows are three colors predicted to make waves this New Year.  Not sure how or where to incorporate them? Get creative! Consider buying new vases, new dinnerware or even filling the home with bright flowers in these colors.

    1. Technology is all around us. Smart phones, tablets, gaming systems and other technology pieces have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Now they are becoming a bigger par of our homes as well. Apple’s U-socket is an outlet that allows for charging iPhones, gaming devices, cameras, Kindles, iPads, and more. They also shut off when the charge is complete.  Smart TV’s are also trending allowing users to view content through the Internet. Have a hilarious YouTube skit you can’t wait to show friends? Try Google’s Chromecast. A simple plug into your TV and you can stream YouTube.

    What trends will you be following this year? Follow us on Pinterest for more ideas! Happy New Year from Neal Communities!


  2. A Season of Giving

    Tis the season for giving to those we love and the ones in need. Do you remember as a little kid unwrapping a new, shiny toy?  Or the overwhelming excitement you felt the night before the first night of Hanukkah or Christmas Eve night? Every child deserves to feel that excitement, to experience the joy of finding a new toy just for him or her. We hope this holiday season, you will be in the spirit to give back to your communities and those children who are less fortunate.

    The Toys for Tots organization is the Marine Corps’ premier community action program that raises money for toys to donate to less fortunate children around the country. While the program runs year round in over 700 communities across the country, most donations take place around the holidays. Members of the community are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys into collection boxes located in local businesses around the community.  Designated Toys for Tots coordinators collect the toys, sort the toys by age and gender, and store them.  At Christmas, Coordinators, and volunteers distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community.

    Over the past 53 years, the U.S. Marines have distributed over 272,000,000 toys to 133,000,000 needy children throughout the nation.

    Neal Communities has always placed a very strong emphasis on community. Throughout the year, our company dedicates time, money, and resources to give back to communities throughout Southwest Florida. This holiday season will be no exception to giving back to our communities to help those in need and make this a great place to live, work, and raise families. Neal Communities is participating in Toys for Tots. We recently had to get another box because the first one Toys for Tots provided was overflowing with gifts. Not a bad problem to have by any means! Something unique about our commitment to this organization is Neal Communities committed to donating bikes for their donation. At this time, over 100 toys have been donated and at least 17 bikes. It’s exciting to think of the number of smiles these gifts will create for children in our community!

    Stay up-to-date on our Toys for Tots progress by following us on Facebook.

    For more information about the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program you can visit the website at http://www.toysfortots.org/.

    Donate to the cause on the organization’s website by clicking here.

    Happy Holidays from Neal Communities!


  3. Fall in Love with The Arts This Winter

    “The earth without “art” is just “eh.” – Author Unknown

    As a Southwest Floridian, the arts are at your fingertips.  For entertainment or education purposes, you can take advantage of visiting on or all of the many places around you to experience culture at its finest.  Below we’ll touch on a couple of our favorites.  But for a complete list, visit www.visitsarasota.org.

    Museums

    Art Center Sarasota

    This exquisite museum showcases hundreds of artists’ work throughout the year. Spend the time to walk through the static exhibits or discover the traveling ones that come throughout the year. Through January, CUBEMUSIC from artist Craig Colorusso will take place, presenting a sound and light experience. If you are interested in classes, workshops and programs are offered to adults and children.

    The Ringling

    You’ll flip for joy with all of the fun things there are to do at this museum. Built by the famous circus impresario John Ringling, Floridians can enjoy his gift year round. Sculptors and paintings from around the world fill the interior and courtyard, with 31 galleries. There are also performances from singers and musicians throughout the year. And you can’t miss the circus museum where you can feel like you’ve run off the circus yourself. Walk the tightrope. Take pictures in the clown car. See instruments used for the greatest of performers throughout the years.

    Sarasota Classic Car Museum

    Recognized as the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the Nation, this museum will rev your engine! Some of the cars you can check out include John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes Benz, Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper, and the Ringling’s collection of Rolls Royce autos. The place is filled with Bentley’s, Ferraris, and Cadillac’s.

    Performing Arts

    Sarasota Opera

    Escape to the magical world that only the opera can bring you. The upcoming season at the Sarasota Opera is sure to impress you. The Sarasota Opera Winter Festival 2014 runs February 8, 2014 through March 23, 2014.  Kicking off the season, Il Trovatore will tug on your heartstrings as a troubadour searches for love, follows a soldiers lust, and a “mother’s undying thirst for vengeance.”

    Florida Studio Theatre

    This well-known theatre in Sarasota hosts plays and musicals throughout the year. Coming soon, include acts such as  “ Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “For the Ages,” “Daddy Long Legs,” and “Two Point Oh.”

    Sarasota Ballet

    Tip Toe around and sneak some tickets to the Ballet for a special someone in your life.  The Sarasota Ballet is currently performing the well-loved “Nutcracker.” It’s a performance that will make you want to start a yearly tradition.

    Recently Neal Communities held its annual “My Favorite Home Art Contest” at B.D. Gullet Elementary. To read more about the event and see this years’ winners, read the press release!


  4. Holiday Decoration Ideas

    One of our favorite places to collect holiday ideas is Pinterest. From recipes, to organization tips, to ideas for decorating the home, the ideas are endless.

    And with a focus on “do it yourself” many of the ideas on Pinterest can be implemented at a low cost – something that helps everyone out during the holidays.  Below we’ve put together some decorating ideas that will add some fa-la-la-la-la to your home without spending too much mullah-la-la-la.

    Wine Bottle Vases

    This blogger shared her idea of painting old bottles white and finishing with spray on snow. You can fill the tops with flowers, poinsettias, branches, holly, or other branches to add color to this winter wonderland. 

    Mantel Decorations

    Are your stockings hung by the fire with care? There are so many ideas for decorating your mantel that your biggest decision will be choosing your favorite! Lights, candles, garland! Using leftover decorations or items around your home, you can easily decorate your fireplace at little to no cost.  Start by selecting the colors you want to use to decorate: reds and greens, silver and gold, blue, or multicolored. Fill large, clear vases with ornaments, peppermints, or jingle bells for an accent piece.  You can also buy stocking hangers that come shaped in holiday related pieces like moose, snowmen, or stars to hang stockings in style.  A trend that has been becoming increasingly popular is the use of wooden letters on fireplace mantels. Considering buying pieces to spell words such as “Peace”, “Joy” or “Believe” to add some authentic flair to your mantel.

    Decorative Pillows

    Another small idea that can make a huge difference is swapping your couch pillows with holiday pillows! Many stores sell decorative pillows including Target, Home Goods, or Pier 1 Imports like the ones shown below. Consider throwing a plush, holiday colored throw behind them to make your pillows really pop. Plus, it will be perfect to keep you warm on those colder winter nights. If you are looking for a craft to keep you busy, find some “Pinspiration” from these decorative pillows we found on Pinterest.

    Cake Stand Candles

    If you have a cake stand lying around that isn’t in use, put it to good use with this great idea. Place an arrangement of candles in different lengths in the center and surround them with some color using a red or colored wreath. Simple, elegant, and calorie free.

    Popcorn Garland

    Now that your home is looking festive on the inside, we can’t forget about your outdoor decorations! Your home can go from bah humbug to bah-utiful in no time. Consider purchasing smaller trees to place on each side of your front door. Keep the kids busy with this fun craft making popcorn and cranberry garland! Pop a bag of popcorn and pick up a bag of cranberries while you’re out doing your holiday shopping. Use a needle and thread to string together one piece of popcorn next to a cranberry. Make sure you make it long enough to wrap around your trees.

    Other subtle decorations include hanging a wreath on your front door, wrapping pillars or fences with garland intertwined with lights, placing poinsettias on the porch, or adding a holiday door mat to welcome guests with cheer.

    We hope this ideas help put you in the holiday spirit to decorate your beautiful Neal Communities home!


  5. Spotlight on Lakewood Ranch

    You’ve heard the phase “ Location, location, location.” Since the beginning of time, homebuyers have wanted to purchase a home in location that best suits their needs and provide better resale value if the time ever comes to sell the home. To some, they prefer a location close to work for shorter commute time, or near downtown close to the shops and restaurants. Others might want something out in the middle of nowhere, by the beach, or in a top rated school district.  And of course, safety plays a huge role in the decision of many when selecting their home and community.

    Neal Communities’ residents can rest assured knowing they live in communities that are second to none. As a well-known and respected builder in Southwest Florida, Neal Communities builds communities in areas known for A-rated school districts, low crime, and strong family values.

    Many of our communities including Central Park at Lakewood Ranch and The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch are located in the beautiful and highly coveted community, Lakewood Ranch.

    Let’s start with the food. Whatever you’re craving, you can find it in the many family-friendly and gourmet restaurants in the area. MacAllisters Grill & Tavern, a Scottish golf themed bar and restaurant, is a hot spot among locals. Located in the heart of Main Street overlooking a beautiful fountain, patrons can dine on sandwiches, salads,  seafood, ribs, and so much more. Will you be daring enough to try the liver and onions, lamb burger, or other Scottish influenced dishes?

    If you want to take advantage of the beautiful weather only Southwest Florida can offer, check out the Main Street Trattoria. Sit outside, sip some wine ( make sure to ask about their monthly wine special), and listen to live jazz music. Happy hour is everyday from 3pm-7pm. And what is there to NOT be happy about when you are sitting outside in warm weather in good company in December!

    Take a break from the hassle of everyday life at Station 400, a restaurant who emphases life at a slower speed.  Drop by for brunch and try the smoked salmon scramble, hash and eggs, an omelet, or the light and airy pancakes.  If you are looking to splurge, don’t forget to grab a coffee cake, chocolate croissant, or cinnamon roll. Remember, this restaurant wants you to appreciate the good things in life – why can’t a delicious, gooey dessert be a part of that?

    If you aren’t the mood for eating, we know you are always in the mood to shop (aren’t we all?) Lakewood Ranch offers an array of unique boutiques and shops for the fashionista in us all.  Visit Main Street offers unique shops to satisfy whatever you might be searching for. Jewelry, clothing, lotions, foods, furniture, you are sure to find it here!

    And if you aren’t one to claim that shopping is your cardio, get your real cardio on at one of the many parks, lakes, or nature preserves. Why not take your workout outdoors while the weather is cooler? Try this 30-minute outdoor workout to get started!

    Heron’s Nest Nature Park offers Over 29-acres to fish and boat. Hit the trails (there’s over 110 acres) with your roller blades, feet, or bike. If team sports are more your cup of tea, you better believe this wonderful community has that to offer as well. Pick your sport; tennis, basketball, soccer, racquetball, softball, or even football are played year-round at Lakewood Ranch District Park. Or head to the Gulf coast to enjoy a day of sun, sand, and seashells at one of the handfuls of local beaches.

    If you haven’t started looking into buying a home in the one and only Lakewood Ranch, now is the time. But for those already living here,enjoy exploring your community! .