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Community Spotlights

APR's North Bay Fire Relief Fund Nears $50K Goal

October 25, 2017

Brokerage pledges dollar-for-dollar match of first $50,000 raised


Launched on Oct. 13, Alain Pinel Realtors’ (APR) fundraiser to help those affected by the devastating fires in the North Bay is now only $10,000 away from its $50,000 goal. With Alain Pinel Realtors’ matching pledge, the fundraiser is expected to contribute $100,000 in total.
The funds raised will be given to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, with 100 percent of donations going to relief efforts for victims and first responders. Thank you to everyone who has donated and spread the message about this worthy cause.
For more information or to make a donation to APR’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund, please visit our GoFundMe page.
 

Community Spotlights

Goodbye #APRSundae, See You Next Year!

October 28, 2015

Since the launch of APR’s Sundae Funday, the #APRSundae partner trucks have visited dozens of open houses handing out free treats and bringing renewed energy to neighborhoods around the Bay Area. We look forward to continuing to bring innovative open house programs in 2016. Thank you for a great summer – and especially to our partners Swifty Sweets and Izzy A’s Frozen Custard for making this possible.

Check out some testimonials from agents who hosted #APRSundae open houses:
“It was a real buzz in the neighborhood. There were a few agents who were showing their clients during the open house – and it really impressed them and the buyers. It was a big hit!” – Joanne Fraser, APR Los Altos
“The whole event was perfection. We had a steady flow of buyers and neighbors – and it was such a great chance for potential buyers to interact with the residents of our great neighborhood… pet a few dogs, ask pertinent questions, etc.” – Sharry Chimienti, APR Walnut Creek
“The buyers will always have the wonderful memory of buying their first home with the APR ice cream sundae promotion. All of the neighbors shared the excitement of the open house and the ice cream sundae event pulled the whole neighborhood together.” – Brenda Miller, APR Saratoga
“We had a great turnout and our visitors were very impressed. Several commented on what a nice treat it was. My only regret is that they couldn’t stay longer.” – Jo Ann Luisi, APR Pleasanton / Livermore Valley

APR in the News Community Spotlights

APR CLIENTS EXPERIENCE VIP TREATMENT AT TESLA DRIVE EVENT IN ALAMEDA

October 14, 2015

Last month, Alain Pinel Realtors and Private Mortgage Advisors hosted an exclusive East Bay client appreciation event in the glass dome at the Rock Wall Wine Company. With over 200 attendees, the event gave VIP clients and guests the opportunity to test drive and ride in the Tesla Model S with Tesla specialists. Refreshments from local Asena Restaurant and Rock Wall Wine Company were served. Check out some highlights in the video below:

Community Spotlights

A Look Inside the 2015 San Francisco Decorator Showcase with Francesca Vietor

May 26, 2015

San Francisco native, socialite, and activist, Francesca Vietor had the unique experience of growing up in the Jackson Street Julia Morgan designed home featured for this year’s Decorator Showcase.  She shared memories with us of milk and honey, sounds of the Presidio cannon, and an old world lifestyle now gone.
When did you live in the home? For how long? With who?
I lived there from 1964 to 1984 with my blended family—my father, Jack Vietor, had two children from his previous marriage, and my mother, Lita Vietor, had one from her previous marriage. They had four more together when they married, my twin brother Christopher and I being the last two.  There were seven children total in the house for twenty years. I was six months old when we moved there.
Do you have some favorite memories in the home?
Of course, many. My pink room upstairs was connected to my twin brother’s room. He had a bedspread that looked like a car and we would sit on the bed and drive it.
My parents entertained a lot. We had to help serve hors d’oeuvres and charm the guests which I sometimes liked and sometimes didn’t. Lots of famous folks came through the house, Carol Channing, Ethel from I Love Lucy, Tennessee Williams and Jacques Cousteau are first that come to mind but many others.
I spent practically every afternoon at JK and in the Presidio woods. We had to be home by the 5:00 canon.
Has the house changed since you lived there? How so?
Yes, very much so! I can barely find the back stairs or much else. What happened to the sewing room? What happened to the original bricks in the driveway and front that were so worn and cozy? The views felt like the only familiar thing left.
They flipped my twin’s room and mine upstairs and made the girl’s room the boy’s room. The downstairs (basement) floor is completely different.
Did you have a favorite redesigned room? Why?
I guess I’m glad they kept the laundry room in the same place upstairs, though it was wood-paneled and had a washboard when I was a kid. There was also a little inset space next to it in the hall that had a stovetop and where our nanny made me milk and honey when I didn’t feel well, which I miss as it gave me comfort.
How would you classify your personal design style?
I grew up in a world and lifestyle that is now gone and live in style now that is about comfort and ease.
 

The Jackson Street home in San Francisco.


Francesca Vietor opens up to APR about living in the Jackson Street Julia Morgan designed home featured for this year’s Decorator Showcase.

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Alain Pinel Realtors: Exquisite Living Summer 2014

July 30, 2014


EL Widget_Summer 2014
Alain Pinel Realtors is proud to present our Summer 2014 Exquisite Living – our premier digital luxury lifestyle magazine. The magazine allows readers to immerse themselves in the luxuries of the Bay Area by browsing through visually rich and engaging content. Using the latest technology, flip through it just like a regular magazine, and get a tour of the Bay Area and beyond. In addition to featuring the greatest and most luxurious properties and estates from all the regions we serve, we made sure it included information about the latest trends in luxury, market information, and both property and community spotlights. With easy to use sharing features, the magazine can be shared through social media, on websites, and by email – this is another way Alain Pinel Realtors brings widespread exposure to our listings.
The winter edition takes a special focus on the Peninsula – including a look at its many new restaurants, the best museums, and a look at how the Peninsula is changing the luxury bathroom. It also features 1 Faxon Road –  a grand estate reminiscent of a fine Italian manor on a gorgeous lot in the Circus Club area of Atherton.
Don’t take our word for it – start exploring Exquisite Living today – and experience the APR difference.
 

APR in the News Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors Launches Back to School Program in East Bay

July 9, 2014

Back to School 2014 The Danville Alain Pinel Realtors Office is collecting donations of backpacks, supplies and monetary donations to assemble backpacks for local children in need. All completed backpacks will benefit foster children and other clients supported be VESTIA in Contra Costa County (Volunteer Emergency Services Team in Action). Donations may be dropped off until August 15th, but the greatest need is between July 15th and July 30th. Please note: All items must be new and may consist of fully assembled (new) backpacks, empty backpacks, supplies and monetary donations to fund the purchase of supplies for local children in need. High school and college-age backpacks are in especially high need. Click here for a list of suggested items.

Please bring your donations to Alain Pinel Realtors, 601 Sycamore Valley Road West, Danville. You may also make donations a www.GoFundMe.com/b80cgw.

Last year, the Danville office donated over 80 backpacks and $400 for VESTIA in Contra Costa County. This year they are hoping to exceed this benchmark.

Community Spotlights

First Friday Art Walks in Oakland

April 1, 2014


Once a month residents of the East Bay celebrate the week’s end by heading out to Oakland’s First Friday Art Walks, an eight-block street festival in the heart of the city. The event, which started as a traditional open gallery walk sponsored by Art Murmur in 2006, has grown into a Bay Area hot spot for artists and art lovers alike. Over thirty galleries and mixed-use art spaces throughout the City of Oakland feature work of local painters, sculptors, live music, local food vendors and everything in between.
“It became a real, spontaneous, authentic grassroots street festival as people roamed in and out of the galleries, enjoying our balmy Oakland weather and the amazing creativity of our people,” says Pamela Mays McDonald, a board member at Oakland Art Murmur. “But eventually it got too crowded for people to see the art in the galleries, and up to 20,000 people descended on a few blocks within a three-hour period each month.”
The Oakland Art Murmur organization eventually turned over management of the non-gallery scene to a new organization, now called Oakland First Fridays. The event continued to grow, eventually closing down major streets in the area, such as Telegraph Avenue, creating better security and a safer event for the people of Oakland.
“We have now expanded from the Uptown/Koreatown-Northgate districts to include galleries throughout town; Old Oakland, Jack London Square, Jingletown,” says Mays McDonald. “The geographic scope of the movement is growing every day.”
Aside from the perks of experiencing art in this great community setting, many gallery owners and other participants reap the benefits, as well. Kerri Lee Johnson, owner of Marion and Rose’s Workshop on 9th Street, a two-and-a-half year old gallery that showcase over fifty American artists, designers, craftspeople, manufacturers, and artisanal food makers, continues to watch support for artists grow.
“First Friday has always been a great night to promote the shop and the city for that matter, to a new audience and group of people who are often exploring Oakland for the first time,” says Johnson. “People are not always ready to buy art on that night, but very often come back in to find out more about the artists and to then buy something. From day one it has been a great way for local artists to have their artwork seen by a large audience. The First Friday often brings out curators, art consultants and interior designers who are looking for fresh new talent.”
Chandra Cerrito who runs a contemporary art gallery representing twenty artists on 23rd  Street also participates in the event through scheduling art openings on First Fridays.
“First Friday art walk started before 2007, so we have not experienced life as a gallery before that time,” says Cerrito, who opened Chandra Cerrito Contemporary in 2007. “That was a significant reason why I decided to open a gallery in Oakland. It already had an established art audience that was growing every first Friday.”
Between the world class art, music, food and other activities both indoors and out, Oakland continues to attract and maintain a tight-knit, eclectic scene for creative people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The people of Oakland are without a doubt some of the more adventurous, tolerant, friendly and fun people anywhere. They are used to mingling, working, socializing and living with people who may not look, love or believe the same way they do, says Mays McDonald. “They love getting together and hanging out in public at street fairs, which are a big part of our Bay Area culture. They are scrappy and they are creative! They know how to deal with life as it comes, to use what they’ve got to create the best life possible. Oakland boasts the highest number of census respondents who list “artist” as their occupation. Not San Francisco, Oakland. Everybody here has got a touch of the creative spirit in their soul.”
Oakland First Fridays takes place the first Friday evening of every month at Telegraph Ave between 19-27th Streets; 5-10pm. For more information, visit oaklandartmurmur.org or www.oaklandfirstfridays.org.
Search for homes in Oakland. | Visit our East Bay community page.
Photo Credit: Mazzarello Media and Arts via Flikr.
 

Community Spotlights

The Native Garden: Conserving Resources with Hardy Species

March 24, 2014

Author: Rainy Hake, Executive Vice President, Alain Pinel Realtors
This article ran in the March 21st, 2014 Palo Alto Daily News publication Premier Homes, pg 10. An old song proclaims that it never rains in southern California; some years, it doesn’t rain in the north, either. Or snow, for that matter. With the effects of the recent drought creating a need for water-rationing measures, and with both mandatory and voluntary water restrictions already in place, many gardeners are looking ahead, wondering how to adapt to anticipated conditions.
According to Rebecca Jepsen, an Alain Pinel Realtors sales professional and certified Santa Clara Master Gardener, now is the time to rethink your garden and landscape. With the Bay Area at only 39% of normal rainfall, it is critically important to decide where to allocate the extremely limited supply of water.
In the past 20 years, planting native species in gardens has come into vogue as both an ecologically and economically sound practice; replacing entire lawns is also gaining popularity. A native plant is defined as one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention, and includes everything from mosses and ferns to wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California is home to multitudes of native plants: some 6,500 species, subspecies, and varieties of plants occur naturally within the state. These native plants are uniquely suited to withstand California growing conditions – including extended dry spells. Many California native plants, once established, require little watering beyond natural rainfall.
For a great native habitat garden, Jepsen recommends adding ceanothus, manzanita, toyon, ribes (currant), hollyleaf cherry, monkey flower (Mimulus), coast aster, godetias, lilies, buckwheat, crabapples, and California poppy.
In addition to being drought-resistant, the benefits of planting native species are numerous. Native plants attract pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. An essential ingredient in the food chain, facilitating pollination can positively impact local fruit and vegetable yields, while supporting and growing the population of these vital pollinators, whose numbers have been on the decline in recent years.
Once established, native plants are low maintenance.  While it’s impossible to escape weeding and watering altogether, native plants will require less pruning and grooming overall.  Because native species evolved alongside local predators, the plants developed an innate resistance to these pests; when native plants are grown in appropriate conditions, they require little or no fertilizer or pesticides.
Native species can also help defend against invasive species taking hold.  Non-native, or exotic species are considered invasive when, due to a lack of predator in an ecosystem, they are able to outcompete native species, disrupting important ecosystem processes. In the Bay Area, colorful choices like Scarlet wisteria, and Periwinkle are considered invasive – having been introduced as ornamental, over time, these plants escaped the garden and became established in wild habitat.  This causes harm in myriad ways, among them depleting precious soil and water resources, creating a higher risk of wildfire, and, by not holding soil well, making land more prone to erosion.
Making the switch to a native garden can seem daunting, but determining the characteristics of the garden can simplify the process.  The primary considerations for a native garden are similar to those of a conventional garden: amount of sun and wind exposure, site temperature, water source and delivery method, elevation and topography, and soil factors like type, pH levels, and drainage.
And, as if the natural benefits weren’t enough, some local water districts offer rebates for lawn conversion and irrigation upgrades.  Checking with experts at a local nursery, or searching online will offer an abundance of information to get started on a garden to enjoy, whether it never rains, or it pours.
Photo Credit: Patrick Doheny via Flikr.


About Author:

Rainy Hake currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Alain Pinel Realtors where she plays a role in managing the strategic direction of the company, and also oversees the Marketing, Technology, Training and Strategy departments. She has over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry and holds and MBA from the University of Oxford.
APR in the News APR Tools Buyer / Seller Information Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors: Exquisite Living Winter 2014

February 4, 2014


Alain Pinel Realtors is proud to present our Winter 2014 Exquisite Living – our premier digital luxury lifestyle magazine. The magazine allows readers to immerse themselves in the luxuries of the Bay Area by browsing through visually rich and engaging content. Using the latest technology, flip through it just like a regular magazine, and get a tour of the Bay Area and beyond. In addition to featuring the greatest and most luxurious properties and estates from all the regions we serve, we made sure it included information about the latest trends in luxury, market information, and both property and community spotlights. With easy to use sharing features, the magazine can be shared through social media, on websites, and by email – this is another way Alain Pinel Realtors brings widespread exposure to our listings.
The winter edition takes a special focus on the East Bay with its impressive array of restaurants, cafes, antique shops, boutiques and historic downtowns. It also features El Sueno  – a masterfully designed Spanish hacienda at the heart of Orinda Country Club.
Don’t take our word for it – start exploring Exquisite Living today – and experience the APR difference.
 

Community Spotlights

The Shape of Things To Come

January 6, 2014

Author: Stephen Skinner, Vice President of Information Technology of Alain Pinel Realtors

In this month’s Vanity Fair magazine, Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger writes about star architects designing corporate headquarters for Silicon Valley corporate giants Google, Facebook, Apple & others.
Despite a history of technical and entrepreneurial brilliance, Silicon Valley has always been an architecturally non-descript landscape of office parks and housing tracts. The companies that pioneered semiconductor manufacturing and internet e-commerce are are often housed in buildings that have no relationship to the innovation and brilliance of their tenants. Times (and tastes) have changed and now many of these same firms believe that they can express their identity and individualism through by building architecturally significant Corporate Campus’.
Award-winning British Architect Sir Norman Foster has designed Apple’s new Cupertino Campus, a circular building that is 1500 feet in diameter and has been dubbed “the Spaceship”. The Apple Spaceship Campus was one of Steve Jobs’ last projects and he worked closely with the architect on the design concept.
Facebook has hired innovative and unconventional architect Frank Gehry for their 420,000 square foot camps extension in Menlo Park. This new campus will feature rooftop gardens and a 10 acre underground room that can house the entire company under one roof.
Not to be outdone, Google is also working with Seattle-based architects NBBJ on expansions to the Googleplex. Take that Microsoft! (Another NBBJ client).
Product design and user experience are key aspects of innovation in the 21st Century. Leading Silicon Valley firms are beginning to apply the same standards to their Campus’ and buildings as they do to their products and brand. Plus it is a lot easier to attract key young talent if you have a really cool place to go to work, designed by some of the best architects in the world.


About Author:

Stephen Skinner is Vice President of Information Technology at Alain Pinel Realtors and is responsible for overall technology strategy and implementation throughout the APR organization. Since becoming APRs VP of Information Technology in 2007, Skinner’s accomplishments have included the introduction of new consumer and agent tools such as advanced map-based property search and new agent websites.