Latest articles

Community Restaurants

Deacon Baldy’s

Image Courtasy of

A few Saturday nights ago, I wanted to go eat at Deacon Baldy’s. It was 6pm and I had to drive around the parking lots for about 8 minutes before I finally gave up and left. There was not a single place to park and even the iffy places were taken. This is THE most popular place on weekends and that speaks for itself. It is a food truck park that has about four to five regular food trucks, visiting trucks on the weekends, lots of craft beer, and live music on the weekends. The best trucks for me are BBQ Godfather and Beefy’s. But Cousins Maine, Craft Burger, and The Greek Squad are also great. Beefy’s has amazing asian pulled pork and even offers tater tots with it on top. Genius! It has the perfect amount of heat to give it depth. I crave this for days on end. The BBQ at BBQ Godfather is amazing whether you are eating the perfectly rendered brisket or the awesome sides. The burgers at Craft are big, juicy, and worth the wait. Their fries are some of my favorites in the area too. All of these items pair perfectly with the large selection of craft beers — if you consider 40 taps a large selection! For folks from the northeast, the lobster rolls at Cousins are just like I had in Maine last summer. They fly the lobster in so it is authentic. This is a really fun place to catch up with friends, grab a cold one, and everyone gets to eat what they want. Just plan to go early so you can find a place to park!

Staging and Style

5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

Article Submitted by

The basement doesn’t just have to be a space to throw all of that extra storage. Show it as usable space, and it may even help you increase the value of the home. Basement remodels typically recoup about 70 percent of their costs at time of resale, which can add a tremendous amount of value to your home.

Making it the coolest room in the house may not be too difficult either. After all, basements tend to stay cooler during the summer months, making this an ideal place for the family to hang out when the weather heats up outside.


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

1. Create an In-Home Theater

Basements not only are typically cooler than the rest of the home, but they’re also usually darker. For that reason, they’re an excellent place to add a theater to watch movies on those hot summer nights. Best of all, you don’t have to do a complete basement remodel, with costs around $50,000, to gain this space. A TV mount costs around $250, while built in seating costs around $840 – $1,680. (Just be sure for safety to completely waterproof the room before running wires through the basement.)

2. Make a Children’s Play Area

Basements are often neglected areas of the home, used primarily for storage and not much else. So why not turn your unused basement space into a new playroom for your kids?

Start with the staircase. Most basements have only partially finished staircases so installing a new one will help make the space more comfortable as well as safer. Next, ensure that you have egress windows installed, and that the basement is fully waterproofed. From there, you can carpet the floors to make the space more comfortable, and move your children’s toys downstairs to make more space in their rooms.

3. Create an Adult Entertainment Space


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

If you love to entertain, consider building a bar into your basement. Basements are already the ideal place to install a wine cellar, so why not take it a step further and put in an entertainment area and bar for parties as well? Basements that walkout onto patios can be the ideal place for summer entertaining, giving guests a way to get in out of the heat or a summer rainstorm. Consider putting in a tile floor to give the room a finished look and keep the floors easy to clean. Match the bar countertop to the color of the floors for a fresh, stylish appearance.

4. Create a Garden Utility Room

If you spend any time out in the garden, you probably know about the dirt, tools, and pots that accompany this hobby. Basements are a great place to install a utility sink and counter, and to store all of your garden paraphernalia. Installing a french drain and a hose will make cleanup a snap, while shelving placed just beneath the windows will give your plants a place to sprout before you take them outside for the summer.


Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

5. Create a New Family Room

Family rooms often get even more use than the more formal living room, so family rooms in a cooler basement can get a lot of use during the summer months. Basements finished as family rooms may be coveted by homebuyers too, giving you the maximum return on investment. This includes not only tiling or carpeting the floors, but also putting up drywall to complete the walls as well. Consider adding a suspended acoustic ceiling to help insulate the basement from the sounds above, while making the rooms more attractive at the same time.

To find out more about projects to tackle around the home, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

Staging and Style

Hot Home Trend to Watch: The Two-Toned Kitchen

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Two-toned colored kitchens are gaining popularity this year. White and gray painted cabinets are dominating kitchen color schemes, according to the 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends survey conducted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Particularly gray-toned kitchen cabinets are seeing a surge in popularity lately.




Other colors are getting mixed in too, adding a little more pizzazz to kitchen design. For example, the surrounding kitchen cabinets may be white and then the center island may feature gray cabinets. Or, white cabinets may be on the top and then gray cabinets on the bottom.



Other materials are getting mixed in the kitchen too.  The combinations, however, are mostly muted and simple. “Clean lines with no fussy moldings or trims,” one NKBA survey respondent said. “White kitchens are never going away, but I’ve recommended mixed countertop materials, mixed cabinet colors and frequently use lots of light/dark materials for contrast.”




That said, for the more daring, blue or black-toned cabinets as well as high-gloss finishes are gaining popularity in kitchen designs too, according to NKBA’s survey.





Staging and Style

That Small Backyard Can Still Be a Selling Point

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Don’t underestimate the power of a space based on its size. Sure, your listing may be size-challenged in the yard department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a showpiece.

“As building lots continue to be smaller and scarcer, lot preparation with the goal of maximizing livable outdoor space tops the list of property enhancement desires,” according to Kermit Baker, chief economist at the American Institute of Architects. Indeed, the desire for outdoor living space ranked tops among architects for landscaping trends in the first quarter of 2017 AIA survey. Blended indoor/outdoor living came in second.

In the latest issue of REALTOR® Magazine, we took a look at How to Make a Big Statement With a Small Yard.

There are plenty of ways you can enhance a small space and several design experts showed us how, from setting a focal point to using reflective materials, tweaking the furnishing scale, accenting with container gardens and layering the light. Read tips on each, and take a look at a few examples.

 Show off the green

Prune plants so they’re more vertical than horizontal, training them to grow up rather than out. Also, consider creating a vertical wall of planters, like containers of ornamental grasses. You can also raise plant height by several feet using retaining walls, raised beds, or extra long, slender containers.

Dennis_vertical garden

Photo courtesy: Dennis Hammett, Ebby Halliday REALTORS(R)


Photo Credit: Photos by Linda Oyama Bryan for Mariani Landscape, Lake Bluff, Ill., a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals

Create functional, inviting spaces

Even a small backyard can show off a dining space or an area with comfy chairs around a fire pit. Show how the space can be used for entertaining.


NALP_dining area

Photo Credit: Photos by Linda Oyama Bryan for Mariani Landscape, Lake Bluff, Ill., a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals ]

Accentuate the far side of the yard

By getting buyers to gaze across a stretch of yard, you’ll help make the space feel larger. For example, place a bench at the far side of the landscape, surrounded by lush greenery.

Porches and Gardens perennial garden

Photo courtesy Costa Farms

View more examples.

Staging and Style

The Best Homes for ‘Porching’

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Porching is gaining a following. And as the summer heats up, who doesn’t want to hang out on a cozy, stylish front porch or veranda while reading, sipping wine, or saying “hello” to neighbors as they pass by?

Some houses were just made for porching too. Check out some of these homes that offer some of the best porching across the country.

Palmetto Bluff

South Carolina Lowcountry

Palmetto Bluff touts itself as the largest remaining waterfront property on the East Coast. The 20,000-acre development is located in the heart of South Carolina Lowcountry and surrounded by 32 miles of riverfront and features extensive nature trails. The development boasts 500 homes that offer countless porches that rest beneath live oaks and quiet streets lined with gas-lit walkways. The Montage Palmetto Bluff recently debuted a new Inn with a wrap-around porch that is decorated with rocking chairs that beckons you to sit back and relax.


Photo credit: Palmetto Bluff


Photo credit: Palmetto Bluff


Photo credit: Palmetto Bluff


Photo credit: Palmetto Bluff, Cottage Moreland
































Snake River Sporting Club

Jackson, Wyo.

This residential community and private club serves up the Jackson Hole experience tucked away in the woods. The Residences feature spacious porches that offer plenty of sunny mountain views. Owners can also porch at The Clubhouse, which overlooks the Snake River and is surrounded by mature trees.

SnakeRiver_Porch at sunset-dark corners

Photo credit: Snake River


Photo credit: Snake River, Martin Creeek











The Cliffs

The Carolinas

The Cliffs is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features a collection of residential communities surrounded by a national forest. Homeowners can select from a Blue Ridge Mountain, Lake Keowee, or Asheville, N.C. view from their porch.

NEW_Cliffs_11 Blazing Star Trail_ScreenedPorch

Photo credit: The Cliffs, 11 Blazing Star Trail

NEW_Cliffs_Home Porch 1

Photo credit: The Cliffs
















RSS WordPress Plugin by WP