Snowbird Profile: Schwartz family affair blooms in South Florida
When Debbie and Aaron Schwartz of the West Island in Montreal bought their two-bedroom condo in Boca Raton, Fla., five years ago they knew it would be the perfect winter-vacation home for themselves and their three children.
What they didn’t know was that the Florida lifestyle would soon be adopted by their daughter Lisa – and at the perfect time for investing in a second South Florida condo. They estimate they reaped a 35-per-cent savings over 2008 prices on the smart, completely renovated condo they and Lisa chose in 2012 in Hallandale, handy to Lisa’s Miami workplace.
In Canada Aaron Schwartz owns MetCanCO, a welding shop specializing in the repair and reconditioning of metal containers used in the trash and metal recycling industries. Debbie Schwartz, an interior decorator and consultant at home in Canada, brought her designer’s eye to Florida when the couple bought their stylish condo in Boca Raton. Still active in their careers, they don’t stay the entire winter but are in and out of Florida to renew their suntans throughout the season.
Lisa, 29, worked after college in Vancouver before she set her sights on year-round sunshine. She migrated to Los Angeles, where she worked for four years before deciding on the move to Florida. "I knew we would never find such an amazing piece of property at such an affordable price in California. That definitely helped convince me a move to South Florida was the right one. I’m now closer to my family and get to see my parents quite often, especially during the winter. It’s a win-win for all."
The young Schwartz is an account executive with one of Miami’s leading public relations firms, Diamond PR. Responsible for day-to-day North American media relations for the St. Kitts Marriott and Royal Beach Casino, the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale and Sandton Kura Hulanda Resorts in Curacao, she enjoys frequent business trips to the luxury resort properties as well as the fast-paced office environment.
Then, in her leisure hours, she gets to relax in a home expertly decorated by her mother.
"Decorating in South Florida was great fun," enthuses Debbie. "For our condo in Boca, where we are right across from the ocean, I wanted to go for a beach house/casual vibe. Then, for Lisa’s urban condo, we wanted a more contemporary, Miami-chic look. Both are very different from our suburban home in Montreal. I managed to get each place furnished and ready to go in a week and on budget!
"I was so impressed with the huge variety of merchandise in all price ranges," she reports. Everything was available for delivery within a couple of days. The selections and prices were incredible. I felt like a kid in a candy store."
Janet Groene is a travel writer whose newest book is Living Aboard Your RV, Fourth Edition (McGraw-Hill.)