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Until the turbulent US economy stops spiraling and starts rebounding, every dollar counts. When it comes to putting your money where your home is, I want to share some ideal ways to get started recouping the most on your investments – both today and in the future.
house-as-system
Your home is a system that’s really just as good as the sum of its parts. Not unlike an auto made up of interacting components, a house also needs to be in sync and tuned up for efficiency. Potential areas of concern comprise costly energy bills, uneven temperatures from room-to-room, drafts, moisture, mold, mildew, poor indoor air quality, ice dams, pest infestations, seemingly uncontrollable humidity levels, and even premature deterioration of building materials. These can all result from a breakdown in the relationship between the house systems: the actual building, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, and you, the occupant.
The process-of-elimination approach may wear on your nerves as you try solution after solution, investing more time, money and energy – with undue stress, without resolution.

Properly diagnosing and fixing the root cause requires a house-as-a-system approach based on building science. This is where it pays to call in a certified professional and/or accredited contracting company; these pros are trained to conduct comprehensive, whole-home assessments to find the real problems, then prescribe and prioritize improvements that make the system as a whole function at its best, turning your home into a finely tuned machine. For improved efficiency, an energy assessment is a must to spot a home’s deficiencies.
house-leaks
Getting More for your Money
Most home-performance retrofit projects will pay for themselves over time in reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills. But, remember, to accelerate that return on investment there are numerous incentive programs, including many funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

  • ENERGY STAR is a national flagship initiative from the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which offers a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort at home while helping to protect the environment. BPI is deeply involved in the ongoing development and deployment of this key program.
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the NC Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Again, there are some requirements for the work to be performed by BPI-credentialed professionals.
  • The Weatherization Assistance Programs enables low-income families to permanently reduce energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. During the last 32 years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program has provided services to more than 6.2 million low-income families. Many weatherization assistance programs use the services of BPI certified professionals. Check to find out if you qualify.

Armed with this newfound knowledge, make it worth your while – and dollars – to do some investigating to make your home truly high performance in all areas.

For more information contact Advanced Renovations at 704-799-3999 or visit their website at www.advancedrenovations.com.  Advanced Renovations is located at 3914 Miriam Drive, Charlotte, NC 28205.

Writing collaborated by Duane Johns (Advanced Renovations, Inc.) and Ginger Sprinkle @ nine dots branding & marketing company @ 704.998.8797

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Don’t Miss our Next Educational Seminar on

Planning Your Kitchen or Bath Remodel

This is the perfect place to start if you have been putting off that kitchen or bath remodel.  Our experienced team and the experts at Ferguson will be on hand to answer all of your questions about budgeting, faucets, countertops, cabinetry, tile, appliances, lighting, flooring, design, colors, construction and much more!

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Kitchen and bath design trends
  • Remodeling options to fit all budgets
  • Timeframes for project completions
  • Living through a remodeling project
  • The best process for a predictable remodeling experience

Sat., Jan 15th, 10:00 – 11:30 AM

at

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery
located in Historic SouthEnd,
2000 South Boulevard

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST SERVED

Seating is limited!

Call 704-759-3920 or e-mail logan@casecharlotte.com to RSVP

Educate yourself before spending a dime on your kitchen or bath remodel!

To learn more about Case Remodeling, call or visit us online:

704.759.3920

Charlotte.CaseRemodeling.com

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



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.

1. The Modern Surface Collection comes handmade from a Texas ceramic studio. This   particular design is called “Washers in Transparent Green”.www.tilecollection.com. Tile Collection, Inc. 704-541-8453.

2. 3-Lt. Pendant – Stem Mount. Highlighted by modern drum shades in cream linen fabric with soft side pleats. Finished in Espresso, this traditionally rooted design is where classic vintage styling meets minimalistic lines. www.progresslighting.com. Unique Lighting Showplace.
704-553-1341.

3. The strong lines and commercially inspired design of every Avado sink and faucet combine to form a collection that beautifully complements an array of décors from Modern to Scandinavian-inspired to Retro 1950’s. Available in chrome and brushed nickel finishes, each Avado kitchen and prep faucet includes premium features such as a dual-function hand-spray option. www.elkayusa.com. Elkay. HD Kitchen and Bath. Huntersville: 704-892-6466, Charlotte: 704-845-5970.

4. Nolte Home Studio offers this more modern and elegant alternative to traditional backsplashes with six impressive motifs- measuring 600 to 1800 mm in width. www.noltehomestudio-usa.com. Nolte Home Studio. 704-542-4640.

5. Experience the only toaster with a viewing window that lets you watch the toasting process in action. Set the toaster to an automatic brown setting, or simply press a button to pop up your toast when it is browned just the way you like. www.williams-sonoma.com.

6. Everything about the cast bronze Katagami Wading Pool® lavatory looks and feels organic, from the wildflower motif to the ever-changing bronze patina. The lavatory’s shallow design highlights texture and ensures nearly limitless faucet options. www.kohler.com. Ferguson Kitchen and Bath. 704-370-2020.

7. Expanding on our ever popular Beau Monde stone mosaic program, we are proud to offer a variety of beautiful patterns in exquisite art glass. Beau Monde Glass is produced by water jet and fabricated with meticulous attention to detail. An incredible, vivid color palette complements the line. www.annsacks.com.

8. Viking Hand mixers are the most powerful mixers available today. At 250 watts it creates whipped cream, beats egg whites and even emulsifies dressing more efficiently than you ever thought possible. www.vikingkitchenware.com.

As the trend continues toward turning your current house into your custom home, more Charlotte-area residents are looking for options that make a space truly unique. “There are a variety of trends and innovative products which incorporate technology that were not available in the past,” says Suzanne Pizio, manager of showrooms at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, a local supplier of plumbing fixtures, lighting and appliances.

However all those choices can be overwhelming. “The majority of consumers have begun their own research on products and styles, but they are full of unanswered questions,” Suzanne says. “An expert can help guide your decision-making process and bring solutions.” M aking the right choices can mean all the difference. David McGuire, chief operating officer of Andrew Roby, Inc., a local custom residential contractor, works with homeowners on projects large and small. “It’s about building a relationship,” says David. “We send homeowners to Ferguson because getting personalized attention from an expert consultant is something you probably won’t get at big-box retailer.”

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Ferguson Kitchen and Bath.

To find out how to incorporate the latest trends into your new home or remodeling project, call Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery at 704-370-2020. Make an appointment to see an expert consultant at the showroom located at 2000 South Blvd., Suite 510 in Charlotte.

The Elizabeth Community in Charlotte, a historic district about one mile from Uptown, will showcase five homes, an artist’s studio, and  several outstanding gardens and landscaped areas, during it’s annual Home Tour in October.

Who: The Elizabeth Community Association

What: Annual Home and Garden Tour

When: Saturday, October 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

Sunday, October 3, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: The historic Elizabeth Community

Tickets: $12.00 in advance at Elizabeth neighborhood businesses;

$15.00 on tour days at the Charlotte Council of Garden Clubs,

1820 East 7th St.

Details: The showcased homes, studio, and landscaped areas are:

-Julie Chavez and Scott Kaysen, East 8th St., home and garden

-Diana and Reid Watson, Kenmore Ave., home and garden

-Heather and Gus Obleada, Clement Ave., home

-Paige McThenia and Jon Adams, East 8th St., home & garden

-Kristan and Ken Magas, East 5th St., home

-Kris and Ric Solow, East 5th St., garden and studio

-Leesa and Jim Clardy, East 5th St., garden

Tammy and Mark Hermann, East 5th St., garden

Elaine and Jerry Tylman, Kenmore Ave., outdoor areas


The Charlotte Council of Garden Clubs, 1820 East 7th St., and Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church, 501 Hawthorne Lane, will complete the tour offerings. The Council house will be decorated with arrangements crafted from flowers and greenery readily available in Charlotte. Club members will be on site to answer gardening questions.

Maya Packard, tour chairperson, mpackard@carolina.rr.com

Modern bathroom designs involve an elegant simplicity that creates a mood of comfort and ease.  There are five major bath trends today that seem to be dominating the desired design aesthetic:

1. Longer and wider cabinetry-helps to elongate a small bathroom

2. Environmentally conscious products- these may include energy efficient products,etc.

3. Accessibility systems:  organizational systems are vital and allow for efficient storage of items

4. Counter-tops of differing heights:  accommodates people and guests of all heights and sizes

5.  Multiple sinks: allows for multiple people to be in a bathroom area at once, completing different tasks

For more information please visit vithouse.com.

In this economy, as more homeowners make the decision to stay in their homes and remodel, real estate professionals advise them to start in the kitchen, where the average return on investment for a kitchen remodel is between 80 and 95 percent.

Today’s average kitchen remodel costs between $40,000 and $50,000, but there is a way to have quality and affordability. If you are happy with your kitchen’s basic layout, and the cabinets themselves are still in good condition, cabinet re-facing could give you a high-end look for less.

“Re-facing the cabinets with top quality wood adds value to the home, whether you are staying or selling,” says Paul Brese, owner of American Wood Reface in Charlotte. He explains that cabinet re-facing involves replacing cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and all moldings. All the end panels, bottom of cabinets and frames are covered with quarter-inch furniture grade plywood. The Amish-made doors are attached with a European hidden adjustable hinge. Every door gets a soft close feature.

“We can build custom cabinetry, or add glass doors,” says Paul. “The customer can also select upgrades, like adding a Lazy Susan, trash bin, or wine rack.” While many re-facing companies use a thin veneer, American Wood Reface utilizes only the finest select grade woods and superior quarter-inch solid wood facing. Their solid wood products are guaranteed for the lifetime of your kitchen, as long as you own your home…

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

For information or a free in-home consultation, call American Wood Reface at 704-577-2948. Visit them online at www.woodreface.com.


Imagine a home filled with rich colors and comforting textures – the warm honey tones of well-polished wood .. . the soothing brushstrokes of chocolate. Now, imagine that you can have all it without doing any damage to the world in which we live.

This spring take the natural approach to interior and exterior design with the stunning Urban Timber and the Horn Tile series found at Tile Collection. Whether you’re updating a kitchen or bathroom, adding an element of interest to living spaces or find yourself redefining your outdoor oasis, these sumptuous selections add easy elegance without acute care.

Rich and sensual, the veining of the Horn Tile series adds interest to any application. These generous tiles carry a slightly satin finish for a luxurious, enveloping atmosphere. Urban Timber has the look and feel of real wood — thanks, in part, to their unique dimensions. With distinctive color gradation and precise texture, these stylish tiles add warmth without work.

Available in four finish stains and two sizes (6” x 24”and 6” x 35”), these exciting new tiles are certified for outdoor use, making them ideal for breathing new life into patios and pool surrounds. Jennifer Creasser explains, “In order to withstand our area’s extreme temperature differences our installers take the extra steps needed to install weatherproof membranes for outdoor applications.”

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Crossville Tile and Stone.

For more information on the Horn series or Urban Timber, visit www.tilecollection.com, call 704-541-8453 or stop by the showroom at 11200 Carolina Place Parkway.

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