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When Bill and Nancy Flango decided to build a house locally – while
still living out of state – they interviewed several custom builders. One
stood out immediately, and a successful partnership and lasting friendship
came to be.
“The project was very challenging because being in New Jersey we
could not personally oversee the progress,” Bill says. Nancy agrees, adding
“We needed a builder we could trust and Zar Custom Homes repeatedly
justified the trust we placed in them.”
Led by Russell Zavatsky, owner/president, and his wife Lisa, vice president/
design consultant, the process for the owners from afar began; the
results of the Lake James house delighted the Flangos, becoming a reality
with only two visits during the process from the homeowners. How so?

Through Zar’s attention to every detail and commitment to constant communication while building a lasting relationship with clients.
“While other builders talked about which type bricks they would use, I focused on facilitating an enjoyable relationship along the way and made
this clear to the homeowners,” Russell says. At Zar, the commitment starts at the design phase and continues throughout the onsite supervision
of construction. “They treated us as if we were building an extreme value home even though we had a modest budget,” Bill says, touting Russell’s advice on materials and accents accompanied by Lisa’s expertise in choosing countertops, colors, finishes, and tile as services they could not have done without. “They truly wanted us to love the house, and it happened on budget and ahead of schedule,” Nancy says. “We couldn’t be more pleased; the house literally took our breath away; the craftsmanship is superb, and the details superior – the masonry that went into the fireplaces, the stone columns, the front porch, the wood floors, the tile throughout – the house is full of unexpected details.”

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

For more information on Zar Custom Homes, call 704-843-8447 or email You may also visit

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

A new exterior door is opening the possibility for Charlotte homeowners to achieve both affordability and environmental responsibility.

FiberLast™ exterior doors, the next generation of fiberglass technology from JELD-WEN, combines a certified level of eco-friendly recycled wood, durability, style and energy efficiency at a reasonable price.

The doors are currently available through The Design Center, a completely new retail concept in the Ballantyne Area outside of Charlotte offering JELD-WEN windows, doors, garage doors as well as professional installation services all in one showroom.

The unique recipe of technological advancements adds up to an affordable door that offers homeowners the durability benefits of fiberglass, peace-of-mind with a limited lifetime warranty, along with great style.

“FiberLast is a breakthrough in bringing eco-friendly features into fiberglass doors,” said Craig Weaver, JELD-WEN product marketing manager. “The added benefit is that these doors can be customized to fit any homeowner’s taste, so environmental responsibility and great curb appeal are both well within reach.”

Eco-friendly Takes Front Seat

Perfect for new construction or remodeling projects, FiberLast’s eco-friendly aspects introduce new achievements for fiberglass doors. For starters, the doors are Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)-certified to contain at least 35 percent pre-consumer recycled wood for the door slabs. In addition, the proprietary mix of recycled wood fibers and fiberglass combined with the engineered door construction   adds strength and durability, which is important in sustainable architecture. Other green qualities of the new line include:

  • Energy efficiency: As a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year, JELD-WEN has a strong history of producing energy efficient products. FiberLast is engineered to save energy and meets 2010 ENERGY STAR requirements for a tax credit of up to $1,500. (Energy performance ratings will vary with glass selection).
  • Green building certified: FiberLast may help achieve credits and points or satisfy criteria for many local and national green building programs such as the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard.
  • Fewer VOCs: FiberLast’s solid wood stiles are made with the JELD-WEN® AuraLast® process that releases 96 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than traditional dip treatment processes.

Durability Tested

To ensure long-lasting performance, FiberLast has successfully passed some of the building products industry’s most stringent durability tests. Before their introduction, the doors performed flawlessly in six straight 48-hour test cycles that included being baked at 210 degrees, frozen to 10 degrees, submerged in water for hours at a stretch and exposed to steam and water vapor for long periods of time.

“Durability is paramount in FiberLast doors because the skins are so tough, they’ll protect the units from warping and cracking.  FiberLast is also more stable in extreme temperatures compared to standard fiberglass and steel units,” said Weaver. “These doors require normal maintenance and will stand up to the test of time.”

As for style, homeowners can customize FiberLast to fit their personal taste. The line offers dozens of glass types, sidelights and doors styles, including seven- and eight-foot doors, and stainable options.

The Design Center is located in the Ballantyne area at 9484 Old Bailes Road, Fort Mill, SC, 29707. The phone number is 800-276-0411. Please visit our website at for further information.


   Fashion forward or a blast from the past? Last year’s exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York made an interesting connection between the modern architecture, furniture and art we appreciate today and a movement that took place almost 100 years ago.

          The exhibit, “Bauhaus 1919 – 1933: Workshops for Modernity,” showcased work inspired by the Bauhaus School in Germany. Founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and its teachings grew out of a desire to help rebuild the country after the devastation of the First World War.

          The school was only in existence for 14 years, disbanding in 1933 when the Nazis rose to power, yet it was considered the most famous and influential school of avant-garde art in the twentieth century. It is widely agreed that the Bauhaus philosophy of clean, simplified design has strongly influenced the timeless style of international modernism in today’s architecture, art and design.

Variations on a Bauhaus Theme

         One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus School was the blending of art, craft, and technology. A reaction to the emotional expressionism of the time, the Bauhaus design aesthetic was based on simple forms, clean lines, rationality and form that followed function.

         From concealed kitchens to the sleek lines of a contemporary sofa or a chrome hands-free faucet, there are striking similarities between today’s trends and the principles sought by the Bauhaus movement. That’s why Urban Home asked Charlotte’s leading designers to tell us how they think the influence of Bauhaus has helped define our image of the modern home.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see what your house would look like with new windows, doors and garage doors before you buy them? Now you can, with the national debut of The Design Center, featuring JELD-WEN Windows & Doors and based right across the border in Fort Mill, SC. Prior to an appointment at The Design Center showroom, you can upload a photo of your home at, then work with a consultant to digitally add new windows and doors for a preview of how different colors and styles will work on your home.For more information on The Design Center, call 800-276-0411. You may also visit 9484 Old Bailes Road, Fort Mill, SC, or where you can schedule an appointment for your complimentary in-store or in-home consultation. Showroom hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and closed Sunday.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about The Design Center.

We have a big idea!!!

Stone Man Home Creations are targeted to those who want a smaller home, maybe just 1000 square feet.  They want it to be totally unique, eco friendly, highly detailed, and contain strong stone design influences.  Can we help you…?  We would love to find our first customer.

We haven’t built a full stone house yet, but here are some pictures of home additions that we have done:

Stone Man Home Creations is in the planning phase.  I can’t wait to share our first project with you!

Imagine a different way of building the perfect home.  We have been working with stone for a long time, and can see a home built around stone features that are truly unique.

In one, a huge slab of stone forms a table, hearth, and center of the home.  In another, a stone arch forms the structure of the roof.

Shutting off the lights and turning off the water are simple ways to save money and “go green.” But an increasing number of homeowners are taking it a step further. When Jon Langford built his Anglo Caribbean white stucco home in Davidson two years ago, he tried to incorporate technologies that would maintain comfortable temperatures as efficiently as possible.

Throughout the 5,700-square-foot home, “We installed good quality windows with overhangs to shade direct sun exposure,” says Langford. “We also have an automated climate system zoned into several areas. It adjusts the temperature at night or while we’re away and makes it easy to heat and cool just the parts of the house that we’re using.”

But the greatest impact to Langford’s energy bills came after he reinsulated his home. After interviewing three companies, he chose EnergyOne of the Carolinas, a spray foam insulation contractor located in Charlotte. Owner Stephen Davis explains why the option is so effective. “Spray foam creates an air barrier,constructing a complete sealed home envelope, so the HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard…”

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about the EnergyOne of the Carolinas.

Call EnergyOne of the Carolinas at 704-504-5635, visit or stop by 1038 Culp Rd., Ste.
100 in Pineville.

When compared to other cities, the Charlotte housing market has been spared the drastic drops seen in other real estate markets. Urban Home decided to investigate how the changing real estate market has impacted home design, so we sat down with Kevin Holdridge of KDH Residential Designs to get his professional opinion on the matter.

For years, his business dwelled in the million dollar new construction market, some of which was based on speculative building. Custom home construction is dramatically different than it was two years ago. Fortunately, Holdridge diversified his business to keep pace with changing times.

Getting back to his roots in the building industry, Holdridge drew upon his expertise in design to include remodeling design. “Remodeling is a great alternative to building new. It allows homeowners to improve the floorplans of their existing residences without the disruption of a new move. Often times, the end result is more personalized than a new home,” said Holdridge. “When remodeling, KDH first looks at repurposing existing space. We find most clients’ lifestyles don’t match their floor plans. They have too many unused formal rooms. These are great areas to improve because, often times, the removal of a single wall will open a room and save our clients from costly additions…”

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about KDH Residential Design.

If you are building new or remodeling, call KDH Residential Design at 704-909- 2755 or visit them online at

If you’ve ever purchased an existing home through an agent, you needed to make sure the agent was working for you. It’s the same when you work with a builder to construct or remodel a home: Make sure the builder is looking out for your interests. That principle was clear on a project that my company, Hubert Whitlock Builders, recently finished in the Quail Hollow area. Rhyne and Lisa Davis wanted more space for their family and purchased land to build a new home. But the economy melted down in September 2008 just as we broke ground. “Overnight, banks were less willing to loan money,” Rhyne recalls. “So any cost overruns would come straight out of my pocket.” The Davises were planning to build a custom home designed for them by Charlotte architect Don Duffy, who invited us to meet the couple. At that point the recession hadn’t yet hit. But even then, Rhyne says, “It was important to us that our builder was very professional and methodical. Going into the project, we appreciated having a realistic budget and schedule.”


Scott Whitlock is the president of Hubert Whitlock Builders. Eastblished in 1957, they are known as one of the Charlotte area’s premier builders and can be reached at 704-364-9577 or

Visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to view the entire article. 

Michael DiFabion of DiFabion Remodeling has received his EPA Certified Renovator designation from the NAHB of Charlotte. The EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Final Rule requires that any firms working in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities must use lead-safe work practices during renovations, where lead paint will be disturbed. By recognizing the health risks involved with lead paint exposure to children and adults, DiFabion Remodeling continues to demonstrate its commitment to safety, while effectively providing high quality remodeling. 

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