You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.

David Woldman
David Woldman
SunTrust Mortgage
Column Name: Home Finance

Read the news headlines and you may think it’s pointless to waste time visiting the bank to apply for a home purchase or renovation loan. “No jumbo loans available” or “Banks not lending” are the headlines of the day. Don’t be fooled. Actually, renovation lending has greatly increased from 2008.

The interesting fact about the current economy is that homeowners have a big opportunity many don’t even recognize. With rates at a 57-year-low, now is the best time in recent history to renovate your home. SunTrust loves to make renovation loans; they are good for our economy, and money is available for those who have budgeted, spent wisely, and have a good credit history to show for it.

If you have accumulated equity in your home, the market is ripe for a renovation project. Perhaps the updated kitchen you’ve always wanted or the master bathroom you’ve dreamed about? You can qualify for up to 80 percent of your loan needs. As an added bonus, most builders are turning around projects at a faster rate.

Another misconception floating around out there is the scary notion of losing your home if you lose your job. I can’t speak for every bank out there, but that’s not the case at SunTrust. Say, for example, you’ve taken out a home renovation or construction perm loan at the historically low interest rates available now. There’s no reason to be afraid that a job loss or rate increase will throw a curve ball into your budgeting, making the process unaffordable. You can have your loan locked in permanently at today’s favorable rate at the beginning of the renovation project, negating the need to convert to another, maybe less favorable rate, later when your project is complete. If the rates are lower at the end of your project, you can re-negotiate the loan for a better rate, or even move from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate loan.

If you take a step back and look at the banking industry, you can see the market went from mortgage lending to mortgage giving and is now back to mortgage lending, a self-correcting process. Money is available so make sure you take advantage of the favorable lending climate if you have a good credit report and a project you’re itching to complete.

David Woldman is SunTrust Bank’s number one producer in the nation for mortgage lending products and for six years has been the number one residential construction-permanent lender nationally. He has been providing mortgages in Charlotte for 13 years and opened SunTrust’s Charlotte mortgage department in 2002. He ensures Charlotte residents are informed about the latest mortgage lending practices and opportunities and says “America is on sale and it is time to take advantage of it. Even jumbo loan rates are very attractive.” He can be reached at 704-651-8377.

Beth Keim
Lucy & Company
Column Name: Room Service

When a potential client walks through my door, it’s my job to create a beautiful, unique nursery for the baby and the family. But really, I call the nursery, “Mom’s Nursery,” because that is truly what it is. The baby sleeps there but the room is really about the mom – she wants a unique, calming, and yes, functional space, for her and the new baby. And if this baby is her first child, the Mom is looking to me to create a space that she has dreamed of since she cleared the den or “man room” of its moose head, file cabinets and college futon!

So where do I start? I usually start with one element and build from there. As a designer, I draw my inspiration from a lot of places, often a piece of fabric or a rug. Often some random observation will spark my imagination and take the room in a different visual direction that creates a unique design, specially made for you.

That happened recently with three clients who were all blue and brown fans. Two of these clients wanted to use the same fabric! This sure made me rethink the concept of “baby boy blue!”  I took that fabric and that color combination and created three different designs, each reflecting the room’s overall feel and the mom’s personality. It just shows that even when using similar colors and design elements, with imagination, creativity and solid design, we could create three completely different rooms that matched each mom’s style and vision for her nursery.

Saturday, November 7, 2009; Freedom Park; 9:00 a.m.

Uniting people and raising research revenue to conquer childhood cancer is the goal of the 2nd annual Charlotte Area MileStones Walk to Conquer Childhood Cancer to be held on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at Freedom Park. Sponsored by CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation, the walk’s proceeds will benefit lifesaving childhood cancer research conducted by the Children’s Oncology Group, the premier pediatric cancer research collaborative. COG treats more than 90 percent of children with cancer in North America.

Registration opens at the Freedom Park at 9:00 am.  Opening ceremonies and the walk begin promptly at 10:00 am.

For more information about the Charlotte MileStones Walk to Conquer Childhood Cancer, visit, or contact Event Chairs, Sharon Sullivan,, or Kim Green,

Color trends come and go, but one constant remains: Color is the most powerful element in home decorating. It can excite, relax, inspire and delight. The “it” colors today do all those things and more. Here again is research from Urban Home about what colors will be hot next year. We went to several sources: The Color Marketing Group, The Pantone Color Institute and Sherwin Williams.

The Color Marketing Group

Purple, Purple, Purple! – Emerging as a hot fashion color last fall, purple is not just a fad — it’s an entrenched trend, strongly influenced by the election. (After all, red plus blue equals purple.)  Look for a greyed-out violet that works equally well as an accent or a neutral, as well as redder, plumier purples and bluer-influenced fuchsias in a huge range of products.  Purple is a “must have” color.

Blue is the New Green – Various greens have symbolized “green living” over the last few years, but in the “green” environmental message is delivered by the color blue. There are watery blues, sky blues and a whole range of blues that now represent our commitment to living on a greener planet. 

Cooled-down, Greyed-out Browns and Greys – Complex neutrals satisfy our urge toward classic colors in an economically challenged time. They also bridge the area between black, which seems harsh, and brown, which doesn’t seem strong enough. 

Yellow for Energy – The neutrals may have greyed, but look for lots and lots of bright vivid yellow to give us energy as we re-build the economy.  It’s the stand-out accent color.

Bright Accents from India, China, and Turkey – The exotic has become the familiar. Oranges, turquoises and teals, reds, and yellows will abound in hues from far-away countries that now seem very near. They are the optimistic touches we crave.

The Return of the “M” Word – It’s mauve. Remember mauve?  An old color that looks new again, in dusty violet shades, mauve works as an accent but also serves now as a neutral, punched up by those bright Asian accents (orange, turquoise, teal, red, and yellow.) 


1. All the hot colors for 2010 are represented in this fun wallpaper from Stark, Lavender, Blue, Aqua. Perfect for a bathroom, children’s room or any place in your home where a little extra punch is required. Stark Carpet. 704-588-8842.2. Adapted from a design discovered in the Trina Turk vintage collection, this bold one-color fabric of circles draws its inspiration from connecting oversized sunglasses revealing a thoroughly modern outdoor pattern. Front Door Fabrics. 704-844-6330.

3. “Kiwi”, the blue watering can in plastic material by D’Urbino and Lomazzi, is a masterful interpretation of an object that is generally modest in design.  The dimensions are 42 cm x 21 cm.


4. These pretty little lanterns add a splash of strong color, especially when used in multiples along a table or hung around the patio or garden. Made from paper treated with fire retardant, they are designed to hold tea lights.  Available in lime, blue or orange.

5. Trina’s dramatic collection of indoor/outdoor prints feature bold geometric patterns and is fashion-influenced; bright and breezy shades of turquoise, citron, watermelon and marine are combined with smart neutrals such as sand dune and charcoal, giving these outdoor suitable prints a thoroughly modern appeal.  Studio 21.  704-376-1701.6.

6.  This Norwegian classic is more than stylish. Stressless, by Ekornes, is the only furniture ever endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. 31 sizes and styles, 120 colors, from $995. 704-995-6120. Innbo Furniture.

David Woldman
SunTrust Mortgage
Column Name: Home Finance

The age-old adage that an educated client is the best client is really true. Homeowners looking for mortgages should do their research but rethink their options to find loans that truly meet their needs. Discussing your long and short terms goals with a mortgage professional is the first step to finding the right loan for your needs. Designing a custom loan is much like the services of an architect–translate your housing needs to a builder or remodeler. Creating a home loan is a very similar process.

At the start of the application process, I often see that customers are focused on one thing and they miss a lot of the small details in between.  They focus on getting the best rate for the best term, and often don’t communicate their short and long terms needs to the mortgage professional. I suggest having and open and honest dialogue with the mortgage professional about your financial situation so that he/she can take all these things into consideration in suggesting the best loan.

Some likely discussion points include –Do you plan to stay in your home for a long time or just for a year or two?  Do you have elderly parents that are declining in health that will need assistance?  Do you have children to send to college?  If so, when?  Do you have liens against your property?  Has your home been on the market recently?  Are you planning to change jobs?  How is your credit score?

All these things are important factors in designing your loan.  One small detail can change the way that your loan package has been presented and in turn, approved.  All customers have a goal in mind and it’s our job as experienced loan officers to help guide them down the right path.

Generally speaking, when the times get tough, the market weeds out less experienced professionals from many disciplines. The mortgage industry is no different. This is why it is important to establish a long term business relationship with a seasoned loan professional, much the same as you would your dentist, CPA or lawyer.

Don’t feel bad about asking for references.  Most qualified professionals should have a list already prepared with names and phone numbers. I treat all my clients like family– keeping your best interests as my primary focus.

Hubert Whitlock Builders
Column Name: Building a Better Home

Regardless of how many parties are involved, having an effective pre-construction plan with clear goals, responsibilities, budgets, and timelines is still the key.

Builders Pre-Construction Services

 Develop an Action Plan

  • Identify Parties (i.e. Owner, Owner Agents, Architect, Designer, Interior Designer, Landscape, Designer, Other  Consultants)
  • Provide a  pre construction time-line tailored to Owner’s goals
  •  Provide clear responsibilities for all parties to avoid duplication of efforts
  •  Develop a realistic and clearly stated Scope of Work document (master plan)
  •  Assess existing conditions and provide feasibility feedback

Coordinate or Contribute to the Design process

  •  Provide expertise and best practices to the design professional
  •  Offer materials, procedures, and product recommendations
  •  Identify potential conflicts or problem areas and provide cost-effective solutions
  •  Collect and distribute important information to simplify and expedite decisions

 Guide all parties towards Budget and Schedule goals

  •  Provide preliminary estimates as the scope and design develop
  •  Provide preliminary scheduling as the scope and design develop
  •  Provide cost-effective options and alternates (?)
  •  Consolidate information into a manageable and easily understood format

 Final Stages of the Pre-Construction Process

  •  Refine scope of work into final form
  •  Provide final estimate based on the design and specifications
  •  Execute a contract for construction
  •  Provide detailed production Schedule and Task List
  • Schedule Start Date

By taking the reins during the early stages a good Builder can facilitate success.  This keeps the project moving smoothly and efficiently toward our common goals:  a careful plan, a beautiful project, and happy owners.


Hubert Whitlock Builders
Column Name: Building a Better Home

Questions that every homeowner, no matter the size of the project, should ask:

  • Does the builder specialize in, and have a license to perform, the type of work you need?
  • How long has the builder been in business and doing this type of project?
  • Can you see examples of projects comparable to yours?
  • Does the builder have the capacity to perform your project?
  • Are the builders’ finances and business practices sound?
  • Are you comfortable with the people who will work on your home?
  • Do the builders’ references check out?
  • Is the company involved in professional organizations and in the community?

1. Almost 48 years after first being published, Julia Child’s French cookbook is finally topping the best-seller list.  With the recent release of the move “Julie & Julia”, the cookbook is enjoying a renaissance of sorts.  From a cook that lived to be 91 and often said, ” ‘Oh, butter never hurts you,’ ” she must be smiling from her grave!  $40.00.  Park Road Books.  704-525-9239.

2. A one-of-a-kind cool creation by nationally-recognized, talented jewelry designer and cutie Laura James.  You are sure to get noticed wearing this unique bracelet made from vintage tokens and chain.  Just imagine the many fun stories this piece could tell.  $188.  Laura James’ Jewelry Studio Boutique.  704-372-1267.

3. At last, another book by hip trendsetter Kelly Wearstler!  Hue celebrates the power of color in her work and the possibilities of color in interior design and decorating.  The book builds upon the success of her first monograph, Modern Glamour, and includes recent, unpublished projects.  Set to be published Nov. 15.  $49.95  Barnes & Noble.  704-364-0626.

4. Red Flower’s Jasmine Grandiflorium Organic Room Diffuser is intoxicating, energizing, and uplifting.  Beautify the mind and spirit with this seductive fragrance.  The palm wood stems diffuse jasmine grandiflorium, ylang ylang and tangerine from ademeter certified, biodynamic blend.  They’re encased in an elegant ovular recycled Spanish glass vase.  $75  Mrs. Howard/Max & Company.  704-375-1888.

5. The Hermes wool & cashmere blanket is the blanket of all blankets, super stylish and functional all at once.  The iconic “H” will not disappoint whether you’re displaying the blanket on your bed or cozying up in it on a cool fall evening.  Just think of it as an investments piece as you cannot go wrong with this work of art.  $1,125.  Hermes of Paris.  704-365-3962.

6. Looking for a versatile and stylish jacket for fall?  The Dunaway black military pea coat by Obey is a modern take on the original style made famous by U.S. Navy sailors.  It is a good, basic staple that is also on trend this season.  The quality and detailing of the jacket make it a smart and affordable buy.  $125  Niche.  704-379-1811.

7. These stunning eco-chic slices of luminous, Brazilian agates lend a touch of organic luxury to your home.  Whether you use one to grace the top of a book on a cocktail table or you get more creative and use them to service sushi to your guests, they are nothing short of beautiful.  Each plate is different so exact colors and patterns may vary slightly.  City Supply.  704-347-2489.

8. Bored with the two dimensional greeting card?  There is another way to say, “I’m thinking of you” with these innovative, clever candle cards by Luum Design.  Inspired by footballs, golf balls, jigsaw puzzles, goldfish and dice.  They come with colorful boxes featuring various messages including “Good luck”, “Hole in one, Dreams come true”, “Goal”, and “My missing piece is you”.  $8.95.  Interiors Marketplace.  704-377-6226.

9. Back in 1951, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly was Britain’s first glossy football magazine and the voice of football, selling 100,000 copies a month.  The evocative imagery from the golden age of football displayed on this leather-bound hip flask makes it a fun accessory for your fall sporting events.  $28.95.  Paper Skyscraper.  704-333-7130.


1. Urban Archaeology’s Pot Rack is an inspired recreation of an 1890s original found in a professional chef’s kitchen in New York City.  Available with six or more swiveling hooks, a variety of lighting choices, metal finishes, and custom sizes, it is ideally suited for any kitchen.

2. Glass and marble blend beautifully in a contemporary and sophisticated yet whimsical mosaic with an interlocking random bubble pattern that provides for a seamless installation on an interior wall or floor.  The Tile Collection. 704-541-8453.

3. The Prexury Collection by Cosentino merges the natural beauty of semi-precious stones, petrified woods, and fossils with modern technology to create an extremely durable surfacing material that sets a new standard of decor, elegance and sophistication.  Available in twelve distinct colors.  consentino.  Stone Systems of the Carolinas.  704-238-1659.

4. The DishDrawer has a distinctive ergonomic design that doesn’t take up a lot of space, is cost-saving and has environmental features that minimize water, energy and detergent usage.

5. Modern and sleek, Kohler Reve boldly pushes clean design themes.  With bold geometric shapes and clean, crisp lines this sink is a work of art, revealing the full extent of its unique character over time.  Shown in honed white with a tall single-control lavatory faucet, with straight lever handle, in vibrant brushed gold.  Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery. 704-370-2020.

6. This isn’t just a 4-door refrigerator!  This is a refrigerator that automatically opens and closes its two freezer drawers with a touch.  This is a 4-door French Door refrigerator that is ultra-accommodating with innovative features.

7. The Abbey Mini Pendant adds a designer touch to your eclectic decor settings through its glass and enhances the beauty of your room.  It features transparent stained outer glass cylinder with opal inner glass.  Lighting & Bulbs Unlimited. 704-845-8844.

8. Offering a spectrum of natural stones, from the soft, subtle hues of travertine to the casual warmth of multi-stoned slate and the polished elegance of black and white marble, the Bella Via stone series provides a tapestry of colors, shapes and textures to create a beautiful backdrop for living.  Crossville Tile and Stone. 704-927-8453.

Stickley Logo

Pull up a chair.  It’s free

Buy any Stickley dining table and five dining chairs (at REGULAR SHOWROOM PRICING) and receive an additional free side chair.  John Widdicomb and Nichols & Stone are not eligible for this promotion.

September 21 – 27 only.

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