A Review of the Miami Home Design & Remodeling Show

Thursday, September 04, 2008

This past Monday, Labor Day, my mother asked me to drive her to the Miami Home & Remodeling Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This was not the way I wanted to spend my holiday-- indoors on a beautiful, sunny day after two days of blistering wind gusts and interval, pelting rain showers from Gustav's far-reaching hurricane bands. But since mom is still recovering from her accident and couldn't drive, she was dying to see her favorite TV host from HGTV--Angelo Surmelis from "Rate My Space". More on that in a minute. OK--this sun worshiper could skip one hour of ultraviolet ray penetration.

[Angelo Surmelis from HGTV and my mother-Liz Andrade]

Dragging my wilted spirit to this unknown frenzy event, I was pleasantly surprised. Vendors lined the convention center with their best products, pitches and paraphernalia.

The first one to catch our attention--a dazzling, hanging, Austrian crystal chandelier with a classic Art Deco design. The crystals were the size of golf balls. The price tag was $1,500 plus 60% off but it was already SOLD! Well--it happens for sleeping in til 11am and arriving at 2pm. This early bird missed the worm. Time to move on.

Vendors offering indoor and outdoor furniture , paintings, super-sized outdoor jacuzzis, cooking ware, security systems, landscape creations with waterfalls, were among designers, and contractors, and more.

It was a tug of war between vendors of the outdoor, plastic rattan furniture that is the hot trend along with mop vendors claiming their grayish wig attached to a blue stick is the ultimate wizard in absorbing, cleaning, cooking and ironing (just kidding). There was a also a third contender for most vendors of a category--landscape designers. The dirt, foliage, orchids, and rushing waterfall were all real. Beautiful presentation. Obviously condo owners like us were not the target--but Wait! Our front lawn does scream for an upgrade. This gave me an idea to present pictures to the board of directors--if they ever have a meeting. But that is the benefit of the show. At the very least to walk away with answers to design or decorating questions and get ideas!

The highlights for this mother/daughter team:

1- Guest appearance by Angelo Surmelis from HGTV's, Rate My Space. He was great--humble, answered our decorating questions, shared his background and journey from studying architecture, to a brief acting stunt in NY and finally to designing spaces. He even gave my mom a hug and let me take their picture.

2- The Better Homes & Gardens booth was all about decorating the home with recycled materials that were highly decorative. Personally this was my favorite. The circular station with a corner ktichen, living room, bathroom and utility room, were very well planned and demonstrated that eco-friendly efforts can be highly fashionable. Visit my GREEN BLOG for more details and basic tips to implement in your home.

3- It gets better. Habitat for Humanity hosted a booth that was a three-way win situation for donors, homeowners looking to remodel, and low income individuals in need of a home. Habitat RESTORE is an organization, a store where companies or individuals can donate leftover building materials and furniture. This saves on hauling and material disposal costs because RESTORE will pick up the materials. In turn, these materials are sold at deep discounts which serves homeowners on a tight budget. Lastly, the monies collected help build homes in partnership with low-income families throughout Miami-Dade County.

4- On our way out down the main aisle, a bowl of salsa and chips strategically sitting on the edge of a stand, called our hunger pains. As we dipped (only single, no double dipping) and munched on the fresh salsa, we discovered the multi-purpose Vita-Mix. It's a blender, food processor all in one that makes hot soup, dips, salsa, appetizers and ice cream all in less than 5 minutes. The presenter from Michigan, prepared hot tortilla soup, rinsed the Vita-Mix, made mango peach gelato, rinsed the Vitamix, made soup again, rinsed the Vita-Mix, made pina colada and kept on going. He even left the seeds and green stems from strawberries which is all liquified by Vita-Mix --apparently the seeds and apple cores contain the important vitamins. It was all delicious!! Mom and I were mesmerized. It's a cook-rinse cycle times three for a three course meal. My dream of preparing a home made meal like I Dream of Jeannie with a boink of a pink pony tail, was about to come true. We placed our order for the almighty Vita-Mix for $400 which included a recipe book, and a health book on all the beneficial ingredients of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fast, fresh, healthy meals--I can't wait for my Jeannie-Mix (my new nickname for it) to arrive. Stay tuned for postings on my experience with my new toy.

Overall, the show was fun. For someone who felt dragged to the event, and not looking for anything, the Home & Remodeling show captured my attention, inspired my imagination and motivated my spirit to continue with my humble efforts to change my daily habits of living to preserve my good health and protect this precious earth.

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