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It’s not your neighbor’s pool – that’s for sure. The uniqueness of each pool designed by Bryan O’Neal is just that – a stunner created for your specific lifestyle to deliver a one-of-a-kind, backyard pool enclave, resulting in a personalized home sanctuary like no other.

When Bryan, owner/president of Falling Water Custom Pools, Inc., designs and builds a swimming environment he incorporates your personal
preferences, home architecture, surrounding landscape, and topography. “We never build the same pool twice,” he says. “Every yard is unique with drainage, setback issues, and architecture, so there is a twist on every pool that is often unknown by the homeowner,” he says. “I pinpoint these issues and develop a pool that works to your advantage, such as assisting you in alleviating these issues.” Drainage issues are addressed first, then comes the design, all resulting in pools that look good and function properly.

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

For more information on Falling Water Pools, call 704-723-4774 or email bryan@falllingwaterpools.com. You may also visit them at
www.fallingwaterpools.com or 4328 Republic Court NW in Concord.

 

 

 


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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.


What if you could invest in something that can improve your home’s value while contributing to your physical and mental well being by creating a vacationing paradise in your own backyard? That is exactly what Mike Viruso added to his Huntersville home in 2006, recouping his investment when his home sold in April, even in today’s chaotic economy and real-estate market.

Mike can’t say enough good things about his decision to work with Pool by Design. Initially, the Viruso family added the pool upon seeing an Urban Home article highlighting former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis’ home and pool installed by Pool by Design.

“We were pleased in this market with our sale price,” Mike says. “There are homes in the Skybrook neighborhood that have been on the market two-plus years, including foreclosures and many other options. I truly believe our pool was the differentiator.”

The new owners from Chicago – Todd and Nicola Corrigan – completely agree. They wanted a home with a pool, and this one stunned them. “When it came time to look at area properties, one big goal was a pool,” Nicola says. “We knew the house must meet our criteria and we wanted to be swimming right away.” Now they are. Even on moving weekend, Nicola says they could not wait to swim, so they dropped the boxes and did…

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

For more information on Pool by Design visit www.poolbydesign.com or stop by 217 Fairwood Avenue. You can 704-333-7446 (704-3DESIGN).

We’re all doing it – many homeowners are retreating into their outdoor living areas as opposed to spending money on traveling these days. Nesting at home in a warm, inviting environment with family and friends has become typical for many reasons: Cost savings; convenience with 24/7 access to your own peaceful or lively sanctuary, depending on whether a pool party is in full swing or you’re having a quiet dinner by that same pool; comfort right outside your back door; and of course, the future home resale increase you garner from a beautiful outdoor space.

The trick is to start now if you want to add a pool so you can cash in on it all this year, not to mention the enjoyment factor. “Pools are great investments for families who cannot afford a vacation for the next several years,” says Frank Aylward, owner of Blue Haven Pools and Spas. “In the long run, it saves money. Everybody is looking for something more affordable and to help, we have not raised prices in two years and have not cut our construction quality or integrity.”

Pools, spas, waterfalls, water features, outdoor fireplaces, kitchens, gas and wood-burning fire pits – you name it; Blue Haven does it. In addition, through partnerships they handle your landscaping, fencing, irrigation, and pool-house construction – with Blue Haven serving as your point person for all enhancements.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Blue Haven Pools and Spas.

For more information on Blue Haven Pools and Spas, call 704-889-1300 or email laylward@bluehavennc.com. You can also visit www.bluehaven.com/charlotte.


High on the list of priorities for house hunters is square footage. But getting the most livable space for the dollar might mean looking outside of your four walls. After moving into her brick and stone home in Weddington, N.C., Linda Nugent found her backyard was being underutilized.

“It was completely wasted space,” she relates. “We had a backyard veranda, but we never used it.” A referral from a pool contractor led her to Tony Everett, president of Custom Land Design based in Charlotte. Specializing in integrating landscapes and hardscapes, the company has experience designing outdoor rooms.

“In the past, homeowners made backyard improvements just for the look,” Everett relates. “But lately more people are selling their vacation place in favor of investing in making outdoor living an important part of their home.”

Once the spa and pool were installed, Nugent wanted a poolhouse, fireplace and outdoor kitchen to complete the space. “We had a general notion of what we wanted, but Tony took our thoughts and pictures and gave us advice and additional ideas before coming up with a design,” she says.

With a wide variety of materials available for outdoor living projects, achieving a cohesive look can be difficult. “Tony kept drawing me back to materials that would match our house, so the end result looked like it was there from the day the house was built,” Nugent relates…

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

For a free estimate contact Custom Land Design at 704-201-0917 or at cldesigners@yahoo.com.

Winter in the South means a few moderately cold days but doesn’t halt year-round outdoor enjoyment if you have the right backyard setup for entertaining and relaxing. When Larry Osier decided to double the size of his home, he chose his unused backyard for the addition in part because of the temperate North Carolina climate.

“Adding outdoor rooms provides a complete extension of our indoor living space,” says homeowner Osier. “We never used our backyard before the landscaping and hardscaping project,” he says, “but now our family and guests gravitate to the backyard, even if the weather is chilly. We have lunch there and entertain regularly in the evening. One of our favorite family traditions is to relax in the extra-large spa on Christmas Day.”

In three months, Biggers Lawn & Landscape installed a backyard cabana with a fireplace, pool, spa, and hardscaping to create a beautiful outdoor room.The fireplace is the biggest draw this time of year. Osier likes to entertain friends there, and he says they automatically move to the outside hearth even during the colder months. With a semi-enclosed cabana encompassing the stone fireplace and wooden mantle, the outdoor living room has a wood-shingled roof that keeps the area feeling enclosed enough to be cozy. A brick wall with inserted stones creates an “airy mountain” feel that coordinates and complements the large stone fireplace with its oversized fleur-de-lis keystone…

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Bigger’s Lawn and Landscape.

Biggers Lawn & Landscape can be reached by calling 704-888-4789 or online at www.biggerslandscape.com.


When Dave Stuver built his English country manor home in South Charlotte, he wanted a backyard retreat that fit seamlessly
into his wooded landscape. “I knew I wanted the plan to include a pool, but I didn’t want to disrupt the natural feel by sacrificing
a lot of trees or space,” he says.

A fter seeing a custom pool built for a home in the prestigious Meyers Park neighborhood, Stuver found Simon Spiers of Pool
by Design, a Charlotte-based company that provides full-service hardscape design and installation for outdoor living spaces.
“Outdoor living has become a requirement for busy professionals who want to create memories with their families,” Spiers
points out. “Their time is precious, and the right design can give them the amenities of a luxury resort at home, while allowing
them the convenience of sleeping in their own bed at night!”

However, achieving the right backyard plan in smaller spaces, takes experience…

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

Pool by Design is your total outdoor living specialist. To find out how they can design and maintain a custom backyard retreat for you, call 704-3DESIGN (333-7446) or visit www.poolbydesign.com.

The time has come – or actually returned – to add the decadent beauty of natural stone back into landscapes and home interiors. Thanks to competitive prices and improved scheduling, many alternatives and variations of stone exist for homeowners to choose from, including precast and natural stone.

We’ve turned to some of Charlotte’s foremost stonemasons and suppliers to cover the gamut of info from applications of real stone to colors to permanence and everything in-between. This is a savvy-consumer primer, making your home stone decisions more clear-cut.

Visit our website to view the entire article.

There’s something about a crackling fire that brings people together and makes everyone feel warmer – body and soul. Today you don’t have to limit fireside chats to your living room. It’s easier than ever to relax with family and friends around a beautiful fireplace that sits under the stars in your own backyard.

As more homeowners discover the benefits of outdoor fireplaces, these quiet retreats are becoming more popular in our market. We talked with some of Charlotte’s prominent landscape architects to learn their best ideas for creating cozy outdoor fireplace retreats that complement your indoor living space and your home’s architecture…

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

AD arsl08_mindel
About Lee F. Mindel: He plays it straight, giving the street the kind of Colonial structure that’s typical of the neighborhood. The Modernist architect acknowledges local tradition with a respect free of irony.

To learn more about Lee F. Mindel visit architecturaldigest.com.

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