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A bibliophile's lit picks for your library

Photo courtesy of Flammarion

Photo courtesy of Flammarion

Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years by Robert Doisneau

Training his lens on an exultant post-war France, former Vogue photographer Robert Doisneau helped frame our perceptions of fashion, artistic influence and urban life. In this new compendium, a generous exposé of more than 300 pages, are some of the lensman’s most spectacular compositions from the era—portraits of Colette, Picasso, Brigitte Bardot and lively café society—that together form a compelling picture of the period and the man who captured it. $55.00, RizzoliUSA.com

Jacqueline Thompson

Jacqueline Thompson has always had a knack for pleasing clients, honing her skills while working in sales at Nordstrom. Coupled with her eye for design, dynamic negotiating skills and quick responsiveness, she was able to gain a loyal following of repeat clientele and successfully launched the Jacqueline Thompson Group at Surterre Properties in 2008. Since then, business has flourished—reaching over $1 billion in sales—and the Group continues to set sales records throughout Orange County. 

Photo courtesy of Tony Florez

Photo courtesy of Tony Florez

What drives your passion for selling real estate? 

I have always loved architecture and the art of interior design. At a young age, I started working at Nordstrom, and continued throughout my college years. Giving quality service and exceeding clients’ expectations have always been rewarding to me. My love for architecture, interior design and experience working with high net worth clientele at Nordstrom made it a natural transition for me into the luxury residential real estate market. In fact, I owe it to my Nordstrom clientele, who first whispered into my ears that I should consider working in real estate. 

What distinguishes Surterre Properties from its competitors, and you as an agent?

I am very proud to be a part of the Surterre family. At Surterre Properties, Gary Legrand and Paula Ansara-Wilhelm have worked hard to nurture an environment where agents are respectful of one another. We have a great team of agents that work well together to help our clients sell and buy the homes of their dreams. I have always been drawn to Surterre Properties because of its in-house ad agency—The Studio. I believe we are the only brokerage with a full service ad agency and digital press on site. The Studio gives my sellers a competitive advantage, as they are able to design award-winning, high-quality marketing collateral for the estates I sell.

You are known for your sales dominance in Shady Canyon. What makes this marketplace so desirable?

I’ve been fortunate to work within Shady Canyon, and since 2008 have sold more homes than any other agent in the community. Even though the community has been here for a little over a decade, it has quickly established itself as an address of choice among Orange County’s captains of industry and professional athletes. In many ways, Shady Canyon is reminiscent of the hillsides of Tuscany in Italy—with the same kind of topography and scenery. It is located near the coast, yet also offers a countryside setting that is close to freeways, shopping, dining and recreation. In addition to being very secure and private (with two guard gates), Shady Canyon also offers a famed Tom Fazio golf course, a Country Club, walking and biking trails, swim, tennis and fitness facilities, and much more. 

How did the launch of the Jacqueline Thompson Group come about?

I started my solo career in real estate just before the 2008 banking debacle. I remember holding open houses during 2008-2011, when buyers were fearful of the environment, and I remember the long 15-hour work days of showing homes with little results. I remember going home after a long work day and calling and emailing potential buyers, as I left no stone unturned. Eventually my hard work paid off, as I was able to negotiate and put deals together. From that time on, the referrals kept coming in. At one point, I realized I had worked for five years straight without a day off. I was very hands-on, and was involved in every aspect of my job. Fortuitously, I was approached by several agents who asked to work with me. I was able to commit to giving these agents quality mentoring, which was important to me. To this day, I have the same agents working with me. At The Jacqueline Thompson Group, quality is more important than quantity. My goal has always been to exceed our clients’ expectations. To do so, I start with giving clients quality service. I have never been driven to hire dozens of agents to work under me. My goal has always been to maintain the integrity of my relationships with my clientele, and to deliver quality service. At The Jacqueline Thompson Group, I am proud to say that we are lean and mean. 

How important is being well versed in international business nuances when closing a transaction?

Although the global business environment, coupled with technological advances, has been able to bring buyers and sellers together, there are still cultural gaps that need attention. This has never been more true than in the real estate industry. Being well-versed in international business nuances is extremely important as the ability to navigate and understand a foreign client’s way of doing business strongly helps from beginning to end—from the first showing at the home, during the negotiation process and until escrow closes. 

I once had a buyer call me en route home to China to inquire on a listing of mine that just came on the market. Although we had not met yet, I let the buyer know that most likely the home would sell before he could return to see it. Naturally he was reluctant to make an offer without seeing the home, and meeting me in person. After developing a rapport with the buyer on the telephone, he was still reluctant to make an offer on the home, so I asked if he would consider meeting with a client of mine that was in China visiting family at the time. The two met, my client was able to give reassurance to the buyer and I successfully closed escrow on the home shortly after that. It was exciting to give him the keys months later when he returned to see his new home in the U.S. for the first time. 

Will you speak to the importance of being hands-on with all your clients and transactions?

As you can expect, the business of selling and buying a home is very personal. I work extremely hard to give my clients—whether a buyer or seller—quality and hands-on experience. It is always my goal that the relationship I build from a transaction continues to grow throughout the years. I have to be available 24/7 to each and every client that I help, or I should not be taking on additional business, which is counterintuitive to those that are looking to just sell as many homes as possible. Having been in the business for a decade, I am proud to say that I am still very hands-on. 

How have you honed your ability to match a property with the ideal buyer?

The single most important trait for a successful real estate agent is the ability to listen and ask the right questions. 

From the onset, I have really learned to listen to my clients’ needs. Sometimes listening to your clients’ needs will help you save them time. Often, asking the right questions will help the client to understand their own needs. 

No matter how many homes my clients end up touring, most of them end up purchasing one of the first three properties I select for them. Being able to listen to their needs, and asking the right questions, helps me suggest the best homes to fit their needs.  

And what do you find most rewarding?

The relationships I have been able to build with clients and colleagues alike, and of course the fabulous homes I have been honored to represent. I get to see the most stunning homes on a daily basis; it can’t get better than that!

What are your passions and preoccupations outside of real estate?

I have always loved sports, and have always been ultra-competitive. Swimming and soccer are two of my favorite pastimes. The Super Bowl is a big deal in our family, and in recent years, for at least three hours during the Super Bowl, I try not to pick up the phone when it rings. 

Spending time with Bill, my husband of 17 years, has always been my favorite passion. It takes a very patient and understanding person to allow me to work the long hours I need to properly service my clients. Together, we support the charities closest to our hearts, which are associated with children, churches and synagogues. My family was very fortunate to have been helped by our local church when we immigrated to the United States, so we strongly endeavor to pay it forward whenever we can. Life is very rewarding when you can share your love and fortune with others. 

Hilton Builders

With a client-centered business built from passion, Dan and Patricia Hilton have been masters of their trade for more than four decades.

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How and when did Hilton Builders begin?

The company literally began by two people following their passion. I had planned to enter law school after graduation from UCLA. Dan went into the lumber business. But our passion was building and design, which we always did for ourselves. We couldn’t buy a house without remodeling it. One day a friend asked us to build for them and we replied we could not legally build for someone else because we didn’t have a license. We had always been owner-builder. She said, ‘So go get one!’ So we did, and that is how we became professional builders. That was 42 years ago!

What makes the business distinct from its competitors?

We love what we do. We are innovators. We can take clients into homes that we built 25 years ago and see things that our competitors are just now doing. We have always kept abreast of all the latest technologies and new materials. Our employees. We trained our own in-house carpenters to be the most highly skilled in the industry.  They have over 100 years of combined experience with our company and take great pride in their work. Our subcontractors. Our subs are the best in the industry for quality and competitive pricing and are always willing to go above and beyond for our clients. Some have worked with us for as long as 30 years. Meticulous record-keeping and open-book project accounting. When we started building for other people I asked myself, ‘How would I want to be treated if I were at the mercy of a builder?’ Hence the complete open book system. Total perfectionism and unsurpassed attention to detail. Service above and beyond—before, during and after construction. Our clients are amazed that we truly are available for them 24-7. For example, a client’s new oven continued to stop functioning and the manufacturer refused to replace it. The client’s were having an important party and were afraid that the oven would stop working again. So we bought a brand new oven, got it installed before the party and then took on the fight with the manufacturer.

What makes you passionate about the industry?

We find it absolutely thrilling to create something new, different and beautiful for every client and every project. One of the things we enjoy the most is becoming part of our clients’ lives and being able to enjoy their homes after construction, as we are invited to so many of their parties. I must say it is wonderful to hear the accolades first-hand from the friends, neighbors, and relatives. What’s not to love!

How would you describe your style and the core of your design philosophy?

We don’t have a style per se. It’s all about the clients’ style, tastes, and wishes. We have built and done the interior design for just about every style home imaginable including Contemporary, Mid-century Modern, Tuscan, Mediterranean, Asian, Cape Cod, Dutch Colonial, Caribbean and Industrial, to name a few. Some clients prefer symmetry over asymmetry, warm colors over cool colors, monochromatic over dramatic. The evolution and mélange of all styles is exciting. We love coming up with new variations on old themes. We want every nook and cranny of the entire house to be spectacular. There are no secondary spaces as far as we are concerned.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

Architecture and design from around the world. For example, in France we were fascinated by some beautiful stone buildings with old wood doors that needed to be replaced. Rather than putting on new wood doors, large glass doors were used instead. The first opportunity we had to use this application came when we were remodeling a Tuscan-style home on Linda Isle. I suggested a glass door imbedded into the stone. They trusted us and the result was spectacular. We were the very first company in Newport Beach to do this.

What is your ultimate goal with every client?

We want all clients to be ecstatic with their home and look back at the process and say, ‘It was fun, and the results went beyond our highest expectations.’

 

HILTON BUILDERS

425 31st Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663 ~ 949.673.4128 | HiltonBuilders.com

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Photos courtesy of Tony Florez

Italian Seaside Inspired

Mr. G’s Bistro recreates the coastal Sicilian dining experience on Balboa Island

 

Written by Susan Irby

 

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“Being from Sicily, I grew up by the sea and Newport Beach reminds me a lot of Sicily in many ways, with the boats, the water, and the friendly locals,” shares Giuseppe Accardi, known as “G” and owner of the recently opened Mr. G’s Bistro on Balboa Island. Drawing inspiration from dishes enjoyed in childhood and Sunday Suppers with friends and family, it was G’s vision to create a restaurant worthy of these fond memories. Having hovered over the stove as a child, G can now be found in the kitchen, especially on Sundays, making his highly praised Rigatoni. “I love cooking,” says G. “There’s a bit of nostalgia in my cooking from my family heritage and also from my travels.” 

In addition to the Rigatoni, which is served exclusively on Sundays, look for starters such as the refreshing Burrata with orange, prosciutto, mint and honey; pastas like their signature Tagliatelle Bouillabase, Grilled Lamb Chops and the popular Mussels with Calabrian chili, tomato, garlic and white wine. Or, guests are invited to try off-the-menu finds in daily specials that often include the crisp and light dessert Chocolate Dipped Cannoli with ricotta. 

 

Mr. G’s Bistro

305 Marine Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92662 ~ 949 675 6193 | MrGsBistro.com

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