You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.

Stop in The Furniture Connector at 2905 Griffith Street, located in South End, Wednesdays-Saturdays 10-5 and Sundays 1-5; call 704-507-9023, or visit www.thefurnitureconnector.com to see the new site that beautifully captures the culmination of a decade of change. You can also find the store on Facebook at www.youtube.com/user/Furnitureconnector

InStyle Charlotte has recently added an innovative collection of German ceramics to their unique showroom product roster.  Not only are there more colors of mosaic than we ever thought could exist but every tile boasts the ability to reduce homeowner cleaning efforts, decompose bacteria & germs, and act as an odor-eliminator due to a revolutionary surface treatment called Hydrotec. This tremendously functional coating is formed by baking titanium dioxide onto the glaze during manufacturing which acts as a catalyst for a reaction between light, oxygen, and air humidity.  All tiles are suitable for interior as well as exterior applications such as pool coping, patio flooring, or out-door showers. Those of you who adore the monochromatic, European-chic look will be thrilled to see that each mosaic comes in a glossy finish for wall applications and a matte finish for floor applications. Down-size your list of chores but not your personal style.

For more information call InStyle Charlotte @ 704-665-8880

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be busy.  Between dinners, cooking, decorating and shopping, many buyers and sellers decide to put real estate concerns on the back burner, which can make for a slower market.  However, the holiday season can be a jolly time for buyers and sellers looking for opportunities.

Buyers who are willing to trade some gift shopping for house hunting will enjoy a greater selection and fewer competing offers.  They’ll also have an easier time scheduling showings, arranging meetings with home inspectors and securing appraisals.  In addition, sellers with homes still on the market during the holidays may become more motivated, so bargains abound.  Lastly, buyers who purchase homes during the last few months of the year are able to take advantage of tax benefits and attractive interest rates.

 If you are thinking of selling your home in a time of turkeys and tinsel, the holidays can be a joyful time for you, too.  While a home for sale during the holidays is likely to have fewer showings, visits from prospective buyers may be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.  During the holidays there is also ample vacation time, providing buyers more time to look for a home than other months.

Many sellers may use holiday decorations to add appeal to their home.  This can be a good idea, but be sure not to go overboard.  Just like any other time of the year, you want to make a good first impression and highlight the selling features of your home.  While inflatable snowmen and Santa collections are fun, too much holiday décor can be seen as clutter and potentially distract eyes from great selling features, such as a nice front door or lovely view from the living room windows.

Also, remember that some home buyers who visit your home may not share the same religious beliefs that you do.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate your holiday, but keep it simple and strive for neutrality.

As always, if your house in on the market, you should keep it presentable and ready for sale, regardless of the season, weather or holiday.  You never know who will be buying your home and celebrating the holidays in it next year!

By: John Horton, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®

While other areas of the country have seen unprecedented foreclosures and significant loss in property values, we in Central Texas have been very fortunate to be in a much better real estate market. In fact, the slight down turn in real estate values that we have experienced has created a perfect opportunity for some homebuyers to buy or build homes in neighborhoods that they could have only dreamed of before. If you are one of the fortunate who is considering a new home, consider which architectural styles will be the best choice over the coming years.

As recently noted by Roy Braswell, accomplished architect of Braswell Architecture, Inc., buyers of upper-end homes are no longer going for traditional brick that was once the standard in the U.S.  Instead, styles that reference other countries and or periods of history are the looks that sell.  I agree with builder Mike Holloway that the Tuscan design which has been so popular over the past few years is here to stay. It just works for San Antonio, and is a classic design for the Hill Country as well. Roy Braswell, in his recent comments in the San Antonio Express News, stated that he thinks another Old World look that high end buyers might successfully replicate is Spanish Colonial, which has a long history in San Antonio, and is used successfully in older neighborhoods like Olmos Park and Monte Vista. Other styles mimic Mediterranean architecture from California. California has always set the trends for designers and builders in Texas. I will say that lately I have seen a slight trend toward more modern looks but those that seem to work well in our area are more classic with simple, clean lines.  However, remember that it is only 1% of San Antonio that want modern homes.

When you have decided which architectural style best suits you and your lifestyle, consider which interior elements will best complete the house of your dreams.  For any style, and especially the Spanish Colonial look, come and let us draw, design and manufacture that perfect entertainment center or bedroom group for your home. And remember, drawing to delivery is less than a month on our custom wood furniture made from the finest Canadian Alder. As I have always said, “If you can dream it, we can build it”.

I could go on and on about remodeling and decorating, and I will! Look for new trends and great ideas in Urban Home, or give me a call at “Catrina’s at the Ranch,” 830-755-6355, IH-10 West in Boerne, and look for our new store, “La Catrina,” which is Spanish slang for “all dressed up,” coming to 1604 in October!

-Catrina Hoelke, Catrina’s at the Ranch & La Catrina    830.755.6355

   When we think of design, we often think of colorful couches, contemporary dining sets or trendy paint colors.    However, in our zeal to make our homes an attractive, welcoming place to live, we often overlook the best designer money can’t buy: Mother Nature.

In Texas, we’re fortunate to have a diverse landscape that supports a wide array of flora and fauna. By utilizing Texas’ natural offerings, we can create outdoor spaces that are inviting to you and to Mother Nature’s livelier children – the local wildlife.

Native Texas plants come in a wide range of colors and sizes that allow you to make your outdoor space an extension of your artistic aesthetic. In addition to providing endless design options, they’re accustomed to Texas’ climate, which makes them hardy and drought-resistant. This means you can spend more time and money enjoying your yard than maintaining it.

The best feature of many native plants is their appeal to wildlife. Plants such as hibiscus or honeysuckle attract hummingbirds while lantana and sunflowers attract butterflies. These stunning visitors offer you entertainment while also nourishing your plants.

You can also create a Zen-like retreat in your yard by adding water features. For example, fountains provide water to sustain wildlife as well as the soothing sound of running water for visitors and birdbaths are a great way to attract our feathered friends and the beauty and melodies they bring with them.

Using Texas’ natural gifts, you can create an outdoor space that is truly an expression of your individual personality and make your backyard a place that feels like home.

-By: John Horton, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®

The time has come yet again to get out your extension ladder and perilously teeter on the top rung struggling to reach your clogged gutters. The stench of that which comes out makes you crinkle your nose, and the mess left in the wake of your cleaning extravaganza can be seen on the ground below your feet. Wouldn’t it be nice to wave farewell to such a dangerous and unpleasant task, without having to pay someone else to do it? LeafGuard by Beldon, Inc. has the perfect solution.  Having chosen LeafGuard as the best gutter system on the market in 1995, Beldon carries the only patented one-piece, seamless gutter system that is guaranteed not to clog.

Gutters are a necessary evil for your home. They were created to capture rainwater and carry it safely into a downspout before it has a chance to eat away at your soffit, fascia and foundation. The problem is, ordinary gutters not only capture water, but they also collect leaves, twigs and other debris that can cause them to clog during a heavy rainstorm. LeafGuard by Beldon has come up with a design to allow rainwater to travel down and around its curved hood and into the gutter, while at the same time deflecting debris. Pat Franks, Chief Operating Officer at LeafGuard by Beldon, says, “A one-piece gutter system is better because it only allows one outlet for water to go into. With two-piece systems, there’s a second opening where debris can enter.”

LeafGuard was invented in the early 1990’s by a retired policeman in New Jersey who was frustrated by his gutters being pulled down every winter due to snow and ice. A one-piece gutter system was the answer. He then brought his creation to Englert Manufacturing, who works with dealers around the globe. LeafGuard by Beldon Inc. is the largest dealer by far, with 15 branch operations active today.

The question is, how does the system work? According to Franks, the gutter system works using the scientific principle called “liquid adhesion.” The hood, which deflects the leaves and twigs attempting to invade your gutter, is not a gutter add-on, but is instead attached to the system. Made from one continuous piece of O32-aluminum, the thickest aluminum on the market at 20 percent heavier than ordinary gutters, it’s shaped into a seamless gutter bottom and hood, which makes it unique in the marketplace. Each gutter is custom fit, durable and is available in a variety of colors. The attractive design also blends in with every style home.

The best part? With clog-free gutters, you no longer have to give any thought to water damage or surface erosion. But if you somehow still end up with a clogged gutter, the installing dealer will clean your gutters for free. That means no more dangerous climbs on your extension ladder!

To get an estimate or to find a dealer near you, visit LeafGuard by Beldon’s website at http://www.beldon.com/leafguard or call them in Austin at 512.351.7710 or San Antonio at 210.852.2023.



Visiting Catrina’s at the Ranch in Boerne is like going on a treasure hunt – you never know what you’re going to find, but you know it’s going to be well worth the search.

 

 “There’s an abundance of merchandise,” says Catrina Hoelke, award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and owner of the 6 1/2-acre furniture and design compound that bears her name. “The look in the store changes day by day.”

 

And what a look it is. Every corner of the 7000-square foot main building is brimming with one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, hand-forged chandeliers, artwork, tableware, tribal rugs, and eye-catching accessories from all over the world.

 

Hoelke grew up in the furniture business, working as a designer and buyer for stores in Texas and Colorado. It was during her recovery from a broken neck in 1998 that she decided to strike out on her own, opening Catrina’s Closet – a used clothing and furniture store — in Camp Wood, Texas.

 

“I started with five hundred dollars,” she says, sitting on one of her comfy custom-designed sofas replete with fringed pillows.  “That’s what my husband gave me, jokingly, when I said I wanted to start a business. He said, ‘Here you go, baby. Run with it.’”

 

She did – from the Camp Wood store to Catrina’s Western Center in Uvalde to a store in Sabinal, eventually finding a small space on Boerne’s Main Street until she found the present property on IH 10 West in 2004. There was one small snag: the building (ironically the former home of the Loft Restaurant, one of Hoelke’s first design jobs 35 years ago)
was condemned. City officials told her it was a scraper – there was no way to fix it. “I told them to hide and watch. I was a determined woman.”

 

That’s putting it mildly. Hoelke is a whirlwind, dealing with staff, taking calls, showing a visitor through some of the dozen or so display rooms at her showroom, and talking the whole time about the journey that brought her back to Boerne and the passions that fuel her jam-packed life.

 

“I work seven days a week. That’s what it’s taken to build this business.” She’s drawn as well to charities close to her heart – the new battered women’s shelter being built in Boerne, the American Cancer Society, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the San Antonio Zoo.

In addition, there’s a new passion in a new town – San Antonio, to be exact. In October, Hoelke opens her new store, La Catrina, off 1604 and Babcock near The Shops at La Cantera.

 

“It will have a more European look mixed with contemporary,” says Hoelke, adding that it will be a perfect complement to the Texas Tuscan look of the ranch store.  “La Catrina will give customers a whole new selection and choice.”

 

La Catrina will also carry on the tradition of providing the ultimate in customer service, especially Hoelke’s signature custom designs that allow clients to help create the perfect look. “They can select their own fabrics and styles so that their choices are unique and
fit their home décor.” They can also take home whatever they see at the store, unlike
some other high-end furniture stores that make you wait six to eight weeks while they order a sofa you saw on the showroom floor. “Anything you see here, you can buy.
We won’t make you wait.”

 

Others need Hoelke’s expert advice on site. A design call involves a visit to the home or business to photograph the space, then sketching out designs for suggested pieces.
“We price it all out in a list, room by room, so they know exactly what they’re spending.” There no additional charge for custom designs either, whether it’s one piece or a whole room. 

 

Hoelke is mindful of the rarefied image custom furniture has as being inaccessible to the average consumer. Not true, she says.  “We save money here. Other stores might mark up an item three times with freight. We don’t do that. People love to fix up their homes, but these are hard times and we appreciate that. We give them great value here.”

 

Hoelke shares the wealth in other ways, never forgetting how she started out and paying
it forward by mentoring other women with business dreams of their own. “I want to be the message to women that they can do it too. Start small and persevere. Find something you enjoy and diligently work at it.  Don’t give up and don’t look back.”

 

 

Catrina’s at the Ranch is located at 31300 IH-10 West in Boerne. To learn more about custom furnishings and accessories, and the new La Catrina store opening soon, call 830.755.6355 or visit www.catrinasattheranch.com.

By the time Dawn Hearn was a junior in high school, she had already applied for the interior design program at Abilene Christian University (ACU).  “I graduated from ACU with an interior design degree and have been practicing interior design for almost 17 years,” says Dawn. “I love my job! I truly enjoy getting to know my clients. I listen to their wants and needs and learn how they live in their home so that I can design a space that not only functions well for them, but is beautiful too.”

A glance at Dawn’s portfolio lends insight to just how well Dawn listens to her clients’ desires. She has successfully worked with styles from modern to traditional and subdued to eclectic.

“One of the greatest things about this career is that every day is different and every client and project is unique,” she says. “I love working with clients on renovating their homes and offices to reflect their own personal styles.”

A member of both the American Society of Interior Designers and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Dawn’s design services include consultation, new construction, remodeling, budgeting, space planning, furniture layouts, drafting, purchasing, and seasonal decorating. In addition, Dawn recently earned the distinction of being a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a certification that has personal relevance to her. 

“My brother-in-law uses a walker and wheelchair. His struggle with mobility inspires me to make interiors more accessible,” says Dawn. “It is amazing to me that in this day and age we are still building homes with narrow doorways and awkward thresholds that can’t even accommodate a walker.  There are so many things that we can incorporate into renovations that make homes more accessible for all of us and allow us to continue to live and function in our homes, no matter what physical challenges we may face.”

For Dawn, her next challenge is the opening of her new showroom, Whatnots. Whatnots will be located at Austin’s wholesale design center, Back Door To The Trade.

“Whatnots will be home to some amazing lamps, art and accessories for local decorators and designers to use as a resource for their own projects,” says Dawn.

With a passion for design that began as a child, as well as her professional drive, Whatnots is sure to be another success for this Austin interior designer.

Dawn Hearn Interior Design, 512.930.0250, www.dawnhearn.com

Designer Top 10:

  1. Period of Style: The clean lines of the Biedermeier period and the organic nature of Art Nouveau
  2. Color: Oranges – from clear and bright to muddy rusts
  3. Architectural Style: Frank Lloyd Wright for his ability to create harmony between his buildings and the natural surroundings
  4. Fabric: Lee Jofa and F. Schumacher large scale and archive prints
  5. Scent: Cashmere Mist by Donna Karen
  6. Treat: Coffee ice cream by Haagen-Dazs
  7. Shopping Website: Ebay
  8. Must Haves Under $50: Time and Again’s Shea Butter products, Starbuck’s Sumatra coffee, ZGallerie’s Chiang Mai Tables
  9. Spa Treatment: Choco-Foot-Love pedicure at Viva Day Spa
  10. Vacation: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Tucked among the treasures of West Hildebrand Avenue’s antique row, looms a large oasis on a corner lot. Breezy open fencing surrounds a mystical contemporary garden filled with pottery, statues, and most importantly, bamboo. Big Grass Bamboo has been the go-to spot for San Antonio’s eco-conscious cognoscenti since 2006. Owners John and Duang Hanesworth, “bamboo enthusiasts on a mission” as they call themselves, have established the company as the premier source for sustainable, elegant, stylish and globally friendly merchandise in South Texas.

A recent name change, from Big Grass Bamboo to the more simple Big Grass™, helps reflect the diversity of products available. While Big Grass carries everything from silk textiles to antiques to lanterns to hammocks, the store’s selection ultimately reflects a high-end design sensibility.  
“The Thai have a very refined sense of style. Many of our pieces are handcrafted by trained architects who became furniture designers,”
says John Hanesworth.

Already well known for outdoor room furnishings and garden decor, Big Grass is promoting two indoor furniture lines this season that integrate well with different design styles. Both product lines are made of distinctive, long-lasting bamboo. Loi™ (which means “flowing” in Thai)
is fashioned from laminated bamboo strips that are clamped and formed into fluid, contoured pieces. “It’s not instantly recognizable as bamboo,” says Hanesworth. “It actually has a very Scandinavian, contemporary look.” The Sabai™ line is made from solid core (not hollow) bamboo, giving it an appearance much like wood. Big Grass has a full complement of Sabai pieces: living room, dining room and bedroom furniture all featured in-store. Big Grass is the only US source for both furniture lines.

Big Grass may be best known locally for the innovative Ong™ jar. In a region with water shortages and the level of the Edwards Aquifer a major concern, rainwater collection and recycling is becoming increasingly mainstream. With the Ong jars, it can be beautiful as well. The jars are handmade in Thailand from dense concrete, and then custom-stained to match your décor. They can collect hundreds of gallons of water per rainfall, more than enough to water your landscape during the next drought. The only supplier of Ong jars in the US, Big Grass is so committed to rainwater conservation that it has donated several Ongs to area non-profits.

Beyond the sustainability of the objects they sell, Big Grass has another admirable aspect – a commitment to artisans. Working directly with skilled international artisans, the Hanesworths manage to ensure fair compensation, keep local traditions thriving, and maintain competitive prices for South Texas customers. “Many of our artisans are single women running their own businesses, or husband/wife teams. We love exploring Thailand and finding new artists to work with,” adds Hanesworth. In Big Grass, South Texas has the source for authentic, sustainable, stylish objects that are good for the planet.

Big Grass is located at 637 West Hildebrand in San Antonio, Texas. To learn more about their inventory, the artisan families they work with and to get tips about sustainability in practice, call 210.735.7999 or toll-free 877.735.7999, or visit their website at www.biggrassbamboo.com.

SECAUCUS, N.J. (December 3, 2010) –Artistic Tile’s Ziva Collection has won Interior     Design magazine’s 2010 Best of Year Award.  The winners of the Fifth Annual BOY Awards  were announced on December 2nd at the renowned IAC Building in New York.  Thousands of members of the design community voted on interiordesign.net and the final winners were selected by a panel of esteemed members of the design community including  Interior Design magazine’s Editor in Chief Cindy Allen.

Hand carved by master craftsmen in India, the Ziva Collection is inspired by nature and brought to life in stone. Each piece is individually crafted by stone carvers who can spend up to one full day on a single piece.

“Ziva is a dramatic statement, but in a very classic way,” says Nancy Epstein, CEO and Founder of Artistic Tile who designed the distinct look of Ziva and traveled to India to work with artisans on its creation. “Ziva’s unique finishing technique and excellent craftsmanship puts it just a few steps ahead.”

The collection has two patterns—Lotus and Leaves—and each are available in two colorways. Leaves is available in white Thassos marble as well as Lake Blue. Lotus is available in Gris and Bianco Carrara. The new collection is offered in any of Artistic Tile’s eight showrooms or through their authorized dealers around the county. For more information or to find a showroom near you, please visit http://www.artistictile.com.

Artistic Tile is one of the largest wholesale distributors of luxury tile and stone in the country, and offers unique products to architects, designers and homeowners available for immediate delivery.  The company is a family-run business headquartered in Secaucus, NJ.  Artistic Tile brand products are distributed through Artistic Tile showrooms, as well as through a network of more than 150 dealers across the United States. For more information about Artistic Tile, visit http://artistictile.com. The Artistic Tile line is available locally at InStyle Tile at http://www.instylecharlotte.com/. Call them at 704-665-8880 with any inferences.

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