Murray Homes Supports the Season Opener Of The Secret Garden

The secret garden by the sarsota ballet

I had the opportunity to see The Secret Garden with my family and it was BRILLIANT. The choreographer, Will Tuckett brought Frances Hodgson Burnett’s popular children’s novel to life with beautiful dancing, costumes, puppetry, and narration.  Tuckett is no stranger to creating memorable productions and is the recent recipient of England’s 2014 Olivier Awards.

My 7-year old was impressed by the amazing narrator who memorized all those extensive lines. The nice English accent and handsome looks must have contributed to the impact! My 4-year old loved all the oversized puppets, especially the surprise appearance of the fox in the lobby during intermission.  The interactions with the puppets were fun, well executed and helped bring the story to life.

I loved the various beautiful sets and incredible costumes which perfectly reflected that time in history. The talented dancer who played the lead role of Mary Lennox had graceful lines, incredible techniques, and strong theatrical skills with excellent comical expressions. We all wondered how she was able to keep up her high energy levels and flawless dancing while being on the stage almost every minute of the performance.
This ballet performance was a magical interpretation of the book and fantastic entertainment that utilizes the trio of dance, theatre and puppetry.

Murray Homes is proud to support the Season Opener of The Secret Garden that will be performed again at the stage of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts October 24-26. This is definitely a must-see for all ages!

If you missed the August Premiere, purchase your tickets for October’s performance

Sarasota McMansions? Kevin Spacey, Surely You Jest!

Sarasota McMansions? I Think Not!Earlier this week the new political drama ‘House Of Cards‘ featuring actor Kevin Spacey debuted on netflix. In the show Kevin Spacey plays a rather unpleasant, power-hungry politician with an apparent unfavorable view of our lovely city.

In particular his character cited Sarasota’s luxury real estate market while illustrating his disdain for a former employee who left his service.

Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that falls apart after 10 years, Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries.

Well it’s obvious for us his character must NOT have spent much time checking out the array of industry leading hurricane-hardened, luxury homes that line our waterfront neighborhoods. Many of which have been designed by renown architects in both traditional and contemporary styles, have been built with beautiful natural materials, are LEED certified and will certainly withstand the test of time as they must comply with some of the strictest building codes in the country to deal with our frequent threat of hurricanes.

While hearing this kind of casual criticism certainly gets our feathers ruffled, we will admit at least during the ill-fated real estate bubble, there were a few fly-by-night builders with little experience interested in flipping a large well-located but poorly designed home for an even larger quick profit. However those were definitely the exception not the norm. High-end luxury home building in Sarasota is not for the feint of heart, and builders with little experience or resources do not last very long.

Sarasota Historical Remodel By Murray HomesThe many stunning estates that line our avenues and waterways have become a world-wide draw, and competition between top builders ensures impeccable quality and design standards. Murray Homes, we are proud to say, has been leading the pack. As the top builder on Bird Key in 2012 we have always had a passion for building homes that are not only luxurious, well designed and built with the best materials to the highest standards, but homes that will stand the test of time and continue to be an asset for both the homeowner and our community as a whole.

If fact for proof of our luxury home market’s longevity you need look no further than Ca’ d’Zan. John Ringling’s historical mansion. Built almost 90 years ago in1924, this masterpiece of the Venetian style architecture has graced our shorelines for decades.

Sarasota ModernIf the ornate old-world look is not your thing, Paul Rudolph, an icon of contemporary architecture, started the well known Sarasota Modern, or Sarasota School of Architecture movement that has not only lead to the design and construction of decades-old masterpieces, but has inspired a whole generation of contemporary architects to continue to innovate with beautiful and clean designs. In fact many homes in our area gain significantly in value not by being designed by a well-known architect but by simply being next to a home designed by one.

As a builder of of luxury homes in some of Sarasota’s most prominent areas we take the responsibility of creating homes that will add to our areas overall value now and far into the future.

The Future of Luxury Home Design Courtesy of

People often ask me what the trends in exterior and interior home design might be three to five years from now. They are looking to maximize the salability of the home they’re building or renovating – a wise decision. I always encourage my clients to think about the resale value of their home even if they plan to live there for five to 10 years.

Architectural styles come and go  – who is to say exactly what will be the new Spanish Mediterranean? In the past, I used to assure them that if a house is well built according to sound design principles, it should stand the test of time and maintain its residual value.
That’s still accurate up to a point, but I can do better now!

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I do know that future tastes are being greatly influenced by a free new innovative website:

Murray Homes - Sarasota's Luxury Home Builder Profile On Houzz.comMost of my savvy clients know about it and they often arrive at initial design meetings armed with bookmarks and favorite folders gathered from the site.

Essentially, Houzz is a website comprising more than 700,000 photos covering all aspects of interior and exterior design.

You can browse by architectural style or by living areas. The latter includes not only typical areas such as living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, home offices, patios and landscape, but also more specific parts of a house like entry ways, closets and staircases, home gyms and wine cellars.

You can also search by metropolitan areas – not just the major North American and European cities but also far-flung places like Australia, Rio De Janeiro, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv even the latest trends in Sarasota Luxury Homes are widely available .

Murray Homes Luxury Home Builder For Longboat Key Project Gallery On Houzz.comWhen you sign up to Houzz you can save your favorites to your folders. That’s how many of my clients and I start conversations about the kind of home they want to have built. Want to discuss faucets or fireplace tiles, tiki bars or crown molding?  There’s bound to be at least one or two photos you can earmark and share.

It beats going through lots of home and living magazines, cutting out pictures and bringing them in to the office in a cumbersome file.

You can also recommend favorite photos of your own – many of the homes I have built are represented on the site – and here’s where Houzz, directly and indirectly, affects the design styles of the future.

It turns out that great architectural photos tend to be those with simple lines, limited clutter and refined detail. Most of the exterior architecture is clean and fresh, with much less stonework, banding and ‘gingerbread’, The interiors are displaying elegant yet uncomplicated finishes in bathrooms and kitchens, more use of LED lights and European fixtures, recessed window treatments and stylish furniture. The photos represent a definite architectural trend….and as a result will begin to drive the new styles that people look to copy.

Steve Murray of Murray Homes Inc.

Steve Murray

Since this look mirrors my own personal tastes, I’m all for it and I peruse the site regularly to keep abreast of what people like and want to see in their own homes.

As more and more people discover Houzz, and like what they see – and what’s not to like? – this will continue to act as a barometer and give insights into the future of design and the pace at which it is evolving.  You want to know what the future holds?  Ask!

Images From The Murray Homes Houzz Galleries

Luxury Living Looking Up?

The buzz around town and on the keys is that Sarasota has had a phenomenal season. Reports are coming in from delighted restaurant owners, motel managers, valet parkers and shop retailers that our visitors not only came for the season, but they also spent money while they were here.

The real estate community is quietly optimistic about the positive signs for the year to date and the upward trend is being lead by the luxury end of the market.

According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, there were a total of 34 homes and condominiums sold in Sarasota county in March 2012. This is a whopping 48% increase over last year.

The luxury end of the market has been especially stagnant in the past few years so this is extremely encouraging news.  These increased sales mirror the upswing in the luxury new home construction market which began at the beginning of 2011.  Wealthy homeowners and investors are finally feeling confident enough to spend some of the cash which has begun to burn a hole in their pockets.

One of the problems that potential homebuyers and investors are facing is the lack of raw material.  The inventory of available homes is at an 8 year low,   hovering a little below six months’ supply, the number generally considered to be optimum for a balanced real estate economy.  The reduced inventory is likely to translate into higher prices.

This news may well be enough to convince homeowners who have been sitting on their properties waiting out the downturn, to put their homes on the market and make the move to fresh pastures.

Part of our job as Realtors is a commitment to keeping buyers and sellers informed about the nuances of the high end real estate market.  Rest assured that Murray Realty is working tirelessly to make sure that buyers are aware that values are rising and inventory is low.

It appears that luxury living really is on the up!

Bev Murray –

Sarasota in Best Housing Markets

According to’s “Top 10 Turnaround Report,” based on Third Quarter 2011 data, the following six Florida markets are included as exhibiting the best positive year-over-year housing median price appreciation, inventory reductions and inventory age while also experiencing lower unemployment rates: Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota-Bradenton, and Lakeland-Winter Haven. Most of these same markets were featured just three years ago as having the worst impacts in the nation from the Great Recession. This report also notes that the number of foreign buyers purchasing homes in these markets increased from 10 percent in 2007 to 31 percent in 2011.

Ringling Bridge