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Publisher's Letter

Publisher's Letter: An issue by design

If this issue seems heavy with interior design features it is because much of the editorial is part of the second issue of our new magazine, Florida Home & Garden. The magazine got off to a fine start in January, and this issue expands the concept. A third issue is scheduled for the summer and a fourth in fall. The stories and accompanying advertising appear in this publication, and also in the separately distributed Florida Home & Garden, which is wholly devoted to Florida living. It makes for a total distribution of 75,000 copies, and that’s impressive for a market that at present includes just Broward and Palm Beach counties.

This impressive launch is a tribute to the magazine’s publisher, Sherry Goodman Ash. She has been with Gulfstream Media Group for 19 years, working out of Boca Raton and specializing in interior design products. All that experience and contacts are paying off.

The editorial team for the new book did not seek our help in selecting the interior design locations this month, but we might have suggested one that is close to home. In fact,  Jana Soeldner Danger’s feature on page 67 is a beautiful classic old Southern home located almost directly across the street from us. Fifty years ago we lucked into a house on one of Fort Lauderdale’s most charming oak-lined streets. It reposes on the coastal ridge almost 20 feet above sea level, and not threatened by rising tides. Of course, that was not a concern in 1970. We just needed to find a place in a hurry that was convenient to a Catholic school that did not have a waiting list for first graders.

This was a time when young families were moving to new developments in Plantation, Coral Springs and Boca Raton. Downtown neighborhoods were out of favor. Las Olas Boulevard was a ghost town. Much has changed over the decades. Now our neighborhood, a partially closed and quiet section just off what is now a busy Las Olas Boulevard and a walkable mile from the beach, is in demand. Many of the original cozy one-story cottages have been replaced by much larger residences. Unfortunately, some of them are architectural zeros, with as much design imagination as a German bunker on Normandy beach. Some new residents have even cut down old oaks to make more room for their outsize boxes, destroying what attracts them to the section in the first place. But our neighbor’s house, only about 10 years old, incorporates the majestic trees into its plan; it would be right at home in center city Charleston or Savannah.

There is another similarly elegant antebellum home just a block away, situated on what had been two corner lots leading to a busy street. When an impertinent neighbor asked the owner, a prominent builder/banker, why he had sunk so much money into a such an elegant home on that location,  he replied without hesitation “that location.” His design was inspired by those large old homes in Charleston that are very close to the commercial heart of that charming city.

Our across-the-street neighbors are not identified in the story, obviously by request, but they could not be a nicer couple. They take a strong interest in the community and maintain their showpiece home beautifully. They voluntarily keep an eye on our place when they know we are out of town. Our own 1939 house lost its garage and driveway years ago to provide an extra bedroom, which creates parking problems when we have family affairs. Those neighbors have offered the use of their spacious driveway on those occasions.

CORRECTION: In the February issue, we featured Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze, founders of 4ocean, which we incorrectly called a non-profit organization. Additionally, we wrongfully reported the total amount of trash the company has collected from the ocean to date as 2 million tons. The company has collected 2 million pounds of trash.