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Florida interior designer offers suggestions for living in the Sunbelt

If you are planning a move to a permanent or vacation condominium in the Sunbelt, Florida interior designer David Landau makes the following suggestions:

* Be sure to get accurate measurements of the new place. Keep them with you for easy reference when consulting with an interior designer and when you are measuring present furniture to see what might fit in the new setting.

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* Remember that antiques and valued old pieces, if properly cared for, can make the move since most places are now air-conditioned and climate-controlled.

* You do not have to switch to tropical prints and white bamboo furniture just because you are moving south or west. Sophisticated darker colors as well as more traditional furnishings are now being used in plenty of resort areas.

* But use the move as an opportunity to make some changes. Vary the color scheme you have been living with and choose some nice new pieces of furniture and a few new accessories.

* Discuss with your children which pieces you are not taking with you, and tell them they are welcome to what is left. This is far better than giving away all your best pieces and then trying to work in the new location with what's left.

* With planning, you can do some of the tough jobs in your new home before the furniture arrives. For instance, have the rooms painted and the carpet installed while the place is still bare, and remember to ask the painter to leave some extra paint behind in order to touch up any gashes and marks that the movers might leave behind.

* Take out additional insurance for the moving because the fine print in your mover's contract sets a too-low valuation on your finest possessions.

* A local interior designer in the area where you are moving can be very helpful with counsel for completing all those important finishing touches. He or she knows the local sources, where the best furniture can be purchased, who the local craftsmen are, and who makes the best slipcovers and draperies.

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