Updated Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Tis the season of love, and what better way to express your love for your significant other than a tangible gift. Probably not to anyone’s surprise, the top five gifts according to statista.com are: Candy/Sweets, Greeting Cards, Flowers, Romantic Dinner, and Wine (Armstrong, 2017).

Here are a few alternative suggestions on these classics:

Ditch the bottle of wine and order a wine subscription. Taylor your selections to your lover’s taste preferences, and he or she will be reminded of your love all year long.

Instead of a romantic dinner out at some chain restaurant, make your own gourmet dinner together under the direction of Gordon Ramsay using his MasterClass instructional video.

Skip the cellophane-wrapped flowers and go for beautiful succulents. They are lower maintenance and will last much longer!

Words last; greeting cards do not. Think of ways that will make the biggest impact with your words (i.e. incorporating them into a piece of artwork or making a creative video)

Close the box of chocolates and open up the chocolate fondue. Choose some of your favorite fruits to dip, and you will create a special experience conducive to great conversation.

For those of you with a little more expensive tastes, you could always consider a new Rosewood home - a beautiful gift they will remember for many years to come!

Armstrong, M (2017, Feb 14). The Most Popular Valentines Day Gifts In The US. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com

(2019, Feb 6). Unique Valentine's Day Gifts: These Presents Are Set to Impress Your Valentine. Retrieved from https://www.askmen.com

Plan Highlight : The Aurora

One of the first steps when deciding to build a home is selecting the right floor plan. With over twenty floor plans to choose from, Rosewood provides a wide variety both in size and layouts. Seeing the progression of a home going from a 2-D floor plan to a 3-D reality is quite exciting. Rosewood’s sales coordinator and preferred agents are there to help you narrow down your plan and visualize a final product.

One plan that definitely lives up to its name in beauty and grandeur is the AURORA. This is no ordinary cottage home. Upon entering, one will immediately sense the impressive nature of this home with its deep front porch, spacious foyer, and 10ft ceilings. The open staircase and french doors into the front study/bedroom help to add to its character. Walking into the open-concept living space one will be captivated by the indoor-outdoor see-through gas fireplace. This crowning feature comes standard in every Aurora. The beautiful L-shaped kitchen houses ample cabinetry and has over 26 feet of counter space. Built into the kitchen’s design is a recessed refrigerator opening, allowing for a clean, counter-depth look. The laundry room in the Aurora comes standard with bottom cabinets and undermount stainless sink. The luxurious 15ft x 18ft master bedroom on the main level has plenty of natural light, allowing one to enjoy the natural landscape of a Rosewood community. From the master suite, one can step right onto the covered back patio (extendable up to 8 additional feet on the Aurora plan). Whether enjoying a sunrise or a sunset this back patio will be a favorite gathering spot. To complete this nearly 2700 sqft home, the upstairs has two generously-sized bedrooms, a full bath, and loft area. If looking for distinguishing design features, spacious rooms, and ample closet space, the AURORA may be the plan for you!

Engineered Hardwoods: 101

Engineered hardwoods (EHs) are a great flooring choice for your new home both for look and durability. EHs are actually made of real wood layers that are stacked together. These layers are joined together in a cross-grained construction, making the product strong and very dimensionally stable.

Strengths: When comparing to solid hardwoods, engineered hardwoods have the upper hand in a few key areas. Engineered hardwoods are less susceptible to the natural expansion and contraction that occurs with wood due to fluctuating moisture. EHs can also be installed on any surface in your home, including concrete subfloors. Lastly, EHs in general tend to be slightly less expensive than solid hardwoods.

Care: As with many wood products, water is the enemy, so any precaution you can do to keep the two separated, the better. In case of a spill, blot dry immediately upon notice. It is not recommended to wet mop or even damp mop EHs as this can cause warping. As a general practice, keep floor clean by regularly sweeping or vacuuming (with a non-beater-bar head). It’s also a good idea to cover high traffic areas with a rug, to minimize normal wear and tear. Flooring products can vary, so always follow the manufacturer's specific recommendations for care and product use on your flooring.

Options: In additional to the various stain finishes, you need to consider the texture of your wood floors. Many manufacturers offer scrapped, distressed, smooth, and wire-brushed textures. Keep in mind your over-all design scheme for the space and choose a texture that will compliment your desired look. Another popular option is varying the width of the wood plank to add another dimension to your space. This look can work particularly well in large room or open-concept floor plans.

(Accessed 2019, January 28). Hardwood Flooring Care and Maintenance. Retrieved from https://shawfloors.com

(Accessed 2019, January 28). Mixing varying widths of hardwood floors. Retrieved from https://shawfloors.com

(Accessed 2019, January 28). Solid and engineered hardwood. Retrieved from https://shawfloors.com

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Color Your Kitchen

When building a new home or tackling a remodel, one room has the power to set the tone for the entire house - the kitchen. “Kitchens should be designed around what's truly important - fun, food, and life,” says renown chef Daniel Boulud. One way to ensure a kitchen cultivates fun and life is by choosing the right cabinet finishes. Color is one of the most effective ways to build character and personality. Although classic white kitchens will remain popular in 2019, “kitchens with jewel toned cabinets will dominate” according to the Color Concierge. Indigo in particular is a great choice for those wanting to incorporate colored cabinets into the design. Indigo works well in classic kitchen, providing a rich depth that anchors the room, or it can also help create that one distinguishing feature in a more contemporary kitchen.

Have fun and be creative when designing your kitchen. You may opt to do all cabinets one color, or you may consider a two-toned option (different colors for the upper and lower cabinets). Another good option is to make your island a statement piece, as done in this kitchen of the BALTIC model. Popular author and home cook entrepreneur Michael Ruhlman has said “a kitchen is a good place to be, almost always the best place in the house.” Stop in a Rosewood model home or make a Design Center appointment to get your creative juices flowing and make the kitchen the best place in your new home!

(2018, October 18) 2019 Kitchen Color Trends. Retrieved from https://thecolorconcierge.com

Kitchen Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.wiseoldsayings.com

Top Trends in Kitchen Cabinetry Design for 2019. Retrieved from https://sebringdesignbuild.com

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Consider Mauldin For Your Next Move

Greenville’s diverse culture and thriving community have attracted the attention of people from all over. In 2017, The New York Times cited Greenville as one of the 52 places to go in the world. The appeal of the South Carolina Upstate continues to spread to surrounding cities like Traveler’s Rest and now to Mauldin, SC. Located just southeast of Greenville, Mauldin is “changing from a pass-through city to one where residents [and] businesses want to stay” (Landrum, 2018). Residents enjoy a small-town feel, while still being in proximity to all that Greenville has to offer. The city’s active Cultural Center frequently features one-of-a-kind theatrical productions, community festivals, and diverse art events. Mauldin has something for the outdoor lovers as well with a 400 acre nature preserve in its back yard. Lake Conestee Nature Park is a park like none other in Greenville County. With 12 miles of bikeable trails and bridges, LCNP gives front row access to beautiful lake scenery and wildlife. Add in higher median home values and low crime and unemployment rates, and it’s no wonder that HomeSnacks has made Mauldin #3 on its list of top places to live in South Carolina.

This established city is poised for a big growth spurt. The city’s proximity to i385, i85, and the Southern Connector make it a prime location for both businesses and residents. One development currently in the works is Bridgeway Station. This mixed-use development at the corner of I385 and Bridges Road will include new apartments, offices, shopping, dining, lodging, and entertainment. Developer Phil Hughes described the proposed village as “an Internet-connected, environmentally friendly place where people could live, work, and play without having to drive anywhere in a car” (Bell, 2017). There are even hopes that a connection to the Swamp Rabbit Trail via a pedestrian bring over the interstate will further connect Mauldin to Greenville. The Bridgeway Station development among others that are in the works, will continue to expand the value and culture of the Mauldin community. To learn more about our Mauldin community, Butler Parc, contact our sales team today.

(2017, January 4). 52 Places to Go in 2017: There are thousands of getaways to explore this year. Here are some ideas to get you started. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com

Bell, R. (2017, August 22). Trail connection would be feature of massive Mauldin development. Retrieved from https://upstatebusinessjournal.com

Kolmar, C. (2018, December 8). These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019: These are the cream of the crop in the Palmetto State. Retrieved from https://www.homesnacks.net

Landrum, C.(2018, September 20). Mauldin’s changing from a pass-through city to one where residents, businesses want to stay. Retrieved from https://greenvillejournal.com

New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

Original Post by HGTV

Every year when January rolls around you vow to lose weight, save money or spend more time with family and friends. But what goals do you set for your home? In the spirit of new beginnings, HGTV has consulted the experts and come up with some resolutions that will make your home a more beautiful, efficient, clean and green place in the coming year. Here are our five picks for the best home improvement resolutions for the new year and how to achieve them:

  1. Streamline the stuff - One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated and dirty, designers say.)

    This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don't use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in, says Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who specializes in helping people simplify and go green.

    "Fill your home with the things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken," she says. Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items together on sleek trays, says Stuart McCormick, a designer with Liz Levin Interiors in Washington D.C.

    Clear your counters of everything you don't use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.

  2. Make it safe and sound - Your home may be beautiful, but is it safe? There are a few things that every homeowner should do to ensure that they're not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk.

    First, check your house for radon. This colorless, odorless gas causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year from the radioactive particles it traps in your lungs as you breathe, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One in every fifteen homes has elevated levels. And with test kits costing as little as $20 at your local hardware store, there's no reason not to get right on that.

    While we're on the subject of deadly gas, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor in addition to fire detectors. If a chimney flue or furnace vent gets blocked or leaks, carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. Like a radon test, this is a small investment — $40 or more — for such an important safeguard.

    Watch out for dryer lint. We know you clean the little trap inside the door, but most people neglect to clean the vents and ducts behind the dryer. Lint may seem innocent, but it's highly combustible, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, accounting for more than 15,000 building fires a year.

  3. Shrink your bills (and your carbon footprint) - When people think of going green, they often think it takes solar panels or a hybrid car to make a difference.

    Not so, says Bob Schildgen, who wrote the "Hey Mr. Green" column for Sierra magazine. It just takes a little old-fashioned common sense.

    The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home:

    - Remember your mom's advice and switch off the lights when you leave a room.

    - Turn off your air conditioner when you leave the house and dial your heater down to 55 degrees at night.

    - Install LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads.

    - Try drying some of your clothes on the line and wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them.

    - Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.

    - Water your yard less. Put in drought-tolerant landscaping if necessary.

    - Give composting a try. Your garden will thank you.

  4. Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean - Here are a few tips for keeping the mess under control from Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and owner of the Clean Team housekeeping service in San Francisco.

    Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night - no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.

    Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:

    - Keep all of your cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths - in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.

    - Stash cleaning implements such as a toothbrush, scraper, sponge, a few cleaning cloths and plastic bags in a builder's apron that you wear when you clean. Hook your glass cleaner and all-purpose cleaning spray on the loops to keep your hands free as you work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high (cabinets) to low (floors.)

    - Focus on one type of cleaning at a time. It's faster, Campbell says. Wipe down fingerprints on all of the cabinets, for instance, before moving on to spraying and wiping counters. Then move on to windows and mirrors and appliances. Once that's done move on to sweeping and then mopping floors.

    - For optimum efficiency, enlist the help of your family. If you can, divide the jobs among at least three parties: One of you can do the dusting/vacuuming and changing beds, the other can do the bathroom cleanup, leaving only the kitchen and trash emptying for you to handle. The upside? You can get the whole house done in 45 minutes, Campbell says, leaving more time on the weekends for the park or the movies.

  5. Get your place ready for entertaining - Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you feel like inviting people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? You don't have to go for broke here and invest in a new kitchen remodel. All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates, says designer McCormick.

    One easy update that makes your home seem more "finished" is the addition of plants, she says.

    "They bring in new energy and help clean the air," she says. "And it's a great way to decorate if you're on a budget."

    A couple of dramatic presentations like a large flowering agapanthus or potted palm in a bright ceramic planter that complements your existing color scheme will do the trick.

    Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look, McCormick advises. A colorful rug or runner can also help anchor your space.

    Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television. That just might up for chances for real conversation and connection in the New Year.

Easy Ways to Cozy Up Your Home When Expecting Company

With Christmas Day being only a few days away, I’m sure a lot of you are planning on having company over at some point. Emily A. Clark has put together a few easy ways to make your home cozy and your guests comfortable when holiday entertaining.

  1. Christmas Music - It’s easy enough and instantly makes your home feel festive. I like to stick a small bluetooth speaker in the corner of the kitchen and play Pandora. (A few of my favorite stations: Audrey Assad Holiday, The Christmas Song radio, Holiday Instrumentals, Jadon Lavik Holiday, and Michael Buble Holiday.)

  2. Votiv Candles - They’re inexpensive and add a warm glow all around. Buy the unscented so you don’t overwhelm your guests.

  3. If you have the time or inclination to shop for a few new things, my top five would be: a small lamp (so versatile–the mantel, a entryway table, or even a bathroom), fresh pillows with down inserts, a cozy throw blanket (HomeGoods is a great source), new hand towels, and a yummy candle for the powder room.

  4. An easy powder room update: add a patterned hand towel, soap in a pretty dispenser and a good candle.

  5. Fresh greenery with battery-powered fairy lights. Easy, fragrant and festive. I did this in our powder room since there was no place to plug in a lamp or Christmas lights.

  6. Make coffee. The easiest way to make your home smell warm and cozy when guests walk through the door.

  7. If you have the space, set up a separate beverage station in a room besides the kitchen. It’s nice when guests can help themselves to drinks, and it’s fun to spread the joy around the house!

7 Tips to Buying a Home During the Holidays

With the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to shed some light on the many benefits of buying a home during this time. Moneytips.com has compiled a list of reasons for why it makes sense to buy a home at year’s end.

  1. Less Competition – The same issues that make holiday moving a hassle tend to keep people from shopping for homes at that time. While there may be fewer homes available, there are also fewer homebuyers – and that should equal less competition for any home that fits your needs.

  2. Motivated Sellers – Home sellers don't enjoy moving over the holidays any more than homebuyers do. It's likely that people who are selling their homes over the holidays are highly motivated to do so. Perhaps they must relocate for a new job, or their home has been on the market for a long time and they need the money from a sale before the year is out. Combine motivated sellers with decreased competition and you have great leverage to get a better deal.

  3. Lower Prices – Home prices have been rising rapidly, in part because of an overall shortage of homes. However, December historically has lower home prices than any other month, due in part to the reasons listed above. There's no guarantee that this year will continue the trend, but it's worth checking the prices within your local market.

  4. Faster Closings – As a general rule, everyone involved in a holiday real estate transaction wants to complete the transaction before the year ends. Buyers want to settle in their new homes (and if sellers are relocating, they want to settle in before the holidays as well). Lenders want to include the loan on the current year's books. Real estate agents and brokers want to include their commission on the current year's income. Motivated parties should make the closing process go as smoothly as possible – but do your part by having all the required paperwork in order.

  5. Better Interest Rates – Interest rates are still near historical lows. While the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been rising throughout 2018, it is still under 5%. As of this writing, interest rates are slowly sinking as we enter the holiday season, after peaking at 4.86% in October. Online calculators are available to show you how much you can save over the life of a mortgage with even a slight decrease in interest rates. You may be surprised at the savings. Remember that your credit score will impact your mortgage rate, keep you from qualifying for one.

  6. Motivated Agents – Lower activity in the housing market means that real estate agents are dealing with fewer clients. They have more time to devote to your situation, and, with fewer sales commissions available, they may be just a bit more motivated to bring your purchase to completion.

  7. Related Seasonal Sales – Need new furniture or other items for your new home? Plenty of seasonal clearance sales will be available to help you apply a personal touch – but be careful not to spend yourself into unrecoverable debt.

Progress at the Lake!

We are so excited about our newest community, Lakestone Cottages. We have 7 lots available with plans starting in the mid 700s. The best part? All of these lots come with a private dock! If you’re already ready for summer, give us a call and let us tell you how we can make your dream of owning a lake home come to life. Here’s a peek at our guys pouring concrete today…