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Complimentary March 2020 On the Cover

Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Home DESIGN

page 12

page 23 - 36 HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

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from the publisher

MacAdam Smith Publisher mac@oasisluxuryhomes.com (484) 769-7445

Kathy Wheeler

Welcome to the

March issue. “In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” ­––Mark Twain

With spring just around the corner, we expect some twists and turns in the weather. But we know that eventually warm days will arrive, bringing a sense of rebirth, growth, and hope, flowing through the fresh, sweet air. Glorious flowers of yellow, purple, red, and blue will pop up everywhere. People will find any manner of excuse to stay outside, mowing young grass, gathering in the back yard, or giving the car a thorough detailing. With that surging sense of renewal often come thoughts of home renovations. Maybe you’ve got a room-specific project in mind, like freshening up the kitchen, or perhaps you’ve spent the winter ambitiously planning a whole home reconstruction. Our March issue’s home design and decor articles aim to set you on the right path! You’ll find out the official 2020 Pantone color and explore the latest trends in home décor. If you live in a small apartment or town4

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

home, we’ve got some intriguing ideas to transform and expand the tiniest of spaces to use every inch beautifully. We explore the very latest developments in smart home technology that can help you better communicate with your house for enhanced convenience and security. And finally, if you’ve ever thought of going solar, there’s no better time to do it, especially right here in North Carolina! We show you how homeowners can knock off almost half of their installation cost and start selling energy back to the utility! Maybe you’ll even finish that renovation by St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 this year, and find another reason to celebrate with traditional corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, and a pint of Guinness. Whatever your spring plans, we’re looking forward with you to greener, warmer days. Thanks so much for reading Hickory Living magazine.

MacAdam Smith Publisher

Design & Advertising Sales kathylivingmagazine@gmail.com (828) 238-3224

Sharon Simpson Advertising Director sharon@lncurrents.com (704) 677-9159

Linda B. Wilson Advertising Sales lindalivingmagazine@gmail.com (704) 657-0237

Don Forrest Advertising Sales donlivingmagazine@gmail.com (828) 244-6538

Myron T. Gough Advertising Sales myronlivingmagazine@gmail.com (336) 428-1700

Madolyn Snow Advertising Sales madolyn@oasisluxuryhomes.com (704) 746-8108

Hickory

LIVING 10225 Hickorywood Hill Ave., Unit A Huntersville, NC 28078 (484) 769-7445 HickoryLiving@gmail.com

www.HickoryLivingMagazine.com Hickory Living reserves the right to deny any advertisement or listing. Submissions are welcome, but unsolicited materials are not guaranteed to be returned. Hickory Living assumes no responsibility or liability for the information, services, products, claims, statements, accuracy, or intended or unintended results of any advertiser, editorial contributors, company, professional corporation, business or service provider herein this publication. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.


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contents MARCH 2020 FEATURES 12 • COVER STORY Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Dedicated To Health And Happiness 18 • BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Conley Motorsports A Mechanic You Can Trust

IN THE KITCHEN

23

16 • Pomme Frites In Avocado Oil with Black Truffles

HOME DESIGN 24 • The Convenience Of Smart Home Technology 28 • 2020 Home Design Trends 32 • Making The Most Of Small Spaces 34 • Going Solar

IN THIS ISSUE 10 • Fun Things To Do In March 38 • Pet Adoption

contributors

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

18 6

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

Kristie Darling JC Summerford • Meredith Collins

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Shane Greene Photography Editorial Stock photography, unless otherwise noted, is from iStock.


You have a CHOICE for Rehab Ask for Conover Nursing & Rehab! Our goal is to get you back to those you love and the life you love living. You are in good hands at Conover Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. After an illness, surgery or injury, our team is dedicated to your recovery and safe transition back home!

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FUN THINGS TO DO IN

march

Although March 19 is the first day of spring, the weather is too unpredictable to plan a lot of outdoor activities. However, it’s a great month to lay some groundwork for the warmer days ahead. It may be too early to plant flowers but a good time to clean out the flower beds and plan your garden. Also, you may want to get the dreaded spring cleaning and decluttering out of the way before the warm weather calls you outdoors. So, what do we do for fun in March? I have listed some events that you might enjoy!

EVENTS The Fur Ball, a fundraiser for the Catawba County Humane Society, on Saturday March 21 at 6 p.m. at Moretz Mills. It’s a formal event with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, live music, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and more. The cost is $100 per person or $850 for a full table. For more information, visit catawbahumane.org. 34th Italian Dinner & Auction is Catawba Science Center’s largest fundraiser of the year. Join them for dinner, dancing and auctions Saturday, 10

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

March 28 at 5 p.m. at Lake Hickory Country Club. Tickets are $85. For more information, visit: catawbascience.org/support/italian-dinner. While you are on the website, check out all of the fun events scheduled at the Science Center! The 23rd Annual Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival is from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. The Festival hosts over 100 potters and vendors from across the Southeast. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $6 for adults and $2 for children. A Preview Party will be held Friday, March 27 from 7 - 10 p.m. Preview Party tickets are online for $45.00 and include admission to the festival on Saturday. For more information about this nonprofit event, visit: catawbavalleypotteryfestival.org

MUSIC Live Starr Indie Music Festival March 28, 12 p.m. - 11 p.m. American Legion Fairgrounds 1 American Legion Ave, Newton Tickets: $10-$75 For more information and tickets, visit livestarrmusicfest.com

©iStockphoto.com | AlexanderLipko | LightFieldStudios | igoriss

THEATRE Hickory Community Theatre 30 Third St NW, Hickory Box Office 828-328-2283 hickorytheatre.org Performances on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.. Tickets: $10 - $18 Shakespeare in Love March 6 - March 22 Jeffers Theatre

Exit Laughing March 27 - April 11 Fireman’s Kitchen

The Green Room Community Theatre 10 South Main Avenue, Newton Box Office: 828.464.6128 www.thegreenroomtheatre.org The Cat in the Hat Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets: Adults $10 - Children $6 Disney’s Frozen Jr. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. March 20 - March 29 Tickets: $8 - $16 Newton Performing Arts Center 60 West 6th Street, Newton (828) 464-8100 ncauditorium.com In My Life - A Musical Tribute to The Beatles Saturday, March 7, 7:00 p.m. Tickets: $20 - $40 Sordid Lives Friday and Saturday performances at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. March 20 - 28 • Tickets: $14


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on the cover

Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Dedicated to Health and Happiness

By Kristie Darling | Photos by Shane Greene Photography

Think about your future for a minute. There might come a time in your life, maybe soon, maybe in the years ahead, when an illness, accident, or surgery puts you in need of special care—you require healing and rehabilitation so you can get back on track. Perhaps someone you love, someone who needs and deserves the best care possible, is challenged with medical issues or the unique care that aging can require. Every day, people we love need help. In our area, Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a godsend for families searching for top-quality care in a nurturing environment—a place that leads to healing, health, comfort—with attention above the norm. Conover is a unique, family run and family friendly 12

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020


facility where excellent quality nursing care is the mission of its dedicated, professional team, each and every day.

Photos:

“It’s rewarding to have a job where I constantly have the opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of so many people,” said Josh Sherrill, Conover’s owner since 2002. “I receive blessings and remarkable life experiences every day I’m here. I know our staff all feel the same way.”

Opposite page–Conover Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s therapy team – Left to right Lydia Beach, Katlyn Matheson, Jaimie Cansler, Raquel Barcelon, Kim Rollyson. Seated: Nicole Roper

FAMILY OWNED, FAMILY RUN, FAMILY CENTERED Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is privately owned, so the owner and administrator are able to make ground-level decisions that impact residents, the employees, and the facility without navigating corporate bureaucracy. The entire staff—the CNAs, nurses and therapists, the housekeeping, maintenance, business office, and dietary employees—are all involved directly with the Center’s residents’ care. “Our team is always brainstorming around improvement,” Josh continued. “Our goal is to help people heal and get back to whatever they love doing. For our long-term residents, we strive to make each day enjoyable. A person’s happiness is crucial in improving total well-being. Often, it’s as simple as crossing the room to give someone a hug.”

On the cover–From left to right, Billie Abernathy, director of admissions; Todd Roper, administrator; Nicole Roper, rehab director; Jenny Haynes, director of nursing

Above–The staff at Conover Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

AWARD WINNING The American Health Care Association recently recognized the Center for quality achievements in three national goals: reducing use of antipsychotics, improving residents’ functional outcomes, and re-hospitalizations. “We are honored to receive recognition for this incredible achievement,” Todd said, “and committed to continued improvements for our residents.” AHCA’s Quality Initiative Recognition Program honors member long-term care providers for their work in achieving Quality Initiative goals. HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

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NURSING CARE AND REHABILITATION THERAPY Folks arrive at Conover Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a variety of reasons. With private and semi-private rooms furnished for short-term rehab and long-term, skilled nursing care, the staff serves folks from all walks of life and with a variety of healthcare needs. “You will see that everyone is treated the same,” said Jenny Haynes, RN and director of nursing services. “Which is to say, with personalized care suited to individual needs and capabilities. We have a staff of over 200, and working as a family of caregivers, each department’s goal is to improve everyone’s quality of life.” Under the supervision of Dr. Sandeep Patel, Conover’s medical director, Jenny keeps her 60 RNs and CNAs inspired to always give their best. “Our nurses and CNAs are the backbone of this facility,” Jenny said. “They are compassionate and skilled, and they care for our residents like they would their own family.” Every resident has their own story, situation, and life experience that eventually lead them to Conover. Nicole Roper, Ed.D., SLP, and director of rehabilitation services, agrees that it’s the people who make the difference between the ordinary and the exceptional in care and service. Nicole and her staff of six therapists work in-patient and out-patient with rehabilitation patients in a truly leading-edge, therapeutic gym. Patient rooms surround the indoor track, and the track circles the gym—it’s very comfortable and easy to navigate. Restorative care and therapies are prescribed to help people regain lost abilities, such as walking, eating independently, dressing, or speaking. It’s her staff of physical, speech, and occupational therapists who help residents reach their potential and prepare for a return home feeling better and able to engage in favorite activities. “It’s a proud moment when someone who arrived on a stretcher walks out the door for his or her trip back home,” Nicole told me.

Photos, above, top to bottom:

• Residents Patsy Sigmon and Gerald Nellenbach relaxing in the Healing Garden. • 2019 Bingo Champion Mary Frye • Therapists Lydia Beach, PTA, and Jaimie Cansler, COTA,

helping former resident Michael Ritch prepare for discharge by learning about his favorite hobby. 14

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

Physical therapist Rocky Barcelon has completed a specialized training in LSVT BIG, an evidence-based, intensive, one-onone exercise program created to help people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. “Our comprehensive therapy addresses balance and walking and the many activities of daily living that patients find hard to continue,” Rocky explained. “This program is seeing exceptional results and more confident patients very day.” KEEPING BUSY INDOORS AND OUT Let me show you Conover’s healing garden. Close your eyes. Hear the gentle waterfalls and the birds chirping at their feeders? Smell the roses? Does your rocking chair remind you of your porch at home? Residents and families are invited into this peaceful environment every day. Todd Roper is a talented


administrator who thinks outside the box. In 2017, he and Josh determined that a meditative garden with flowing water would be a healing location for families and residents to relax. “Our healing garden is a place where families love to bring parents or loved ones for an iced tea, some conversation, or just a comfortable visit,” Josh shared. “It’s our oneof-a-kind outdoor oasis that everyone enjoys.” “We use the garden, patio, and pergola for activities, gatherings, concerts, and meals throughout the year,” Nicole explained. “Tables with chairs, gliders, and comfy rockers mingle with wheelchairs so everyone can pull up close.” Center activities such as crafts, games, the concerts that invited performers or Todd and his trio present, sing-alongs, afternoon socials, birthday celebrations, and worship can move outdoors when the weather is nice. Gathering for music is big at Conover, around the dining hall’s grand piano and stone fireplace, in the sun-filled foyer with its own wallmounted water wall, or in the fresh outdoors. Just like at home, mealtime is special. Natalie Auton has been dietary manager for 13 years. She creates family-style meals that suit all tastes and special needs. “We’re always glad to have guests who enjoy eating here,” Natalie said, “and I love taking orders from our deli menu. It sets this facility apart from most. Ordering a grilled chicken salad with soup is perfect for just about everyone.” ABOVE THE REST If you or a family member or friend require long-term care or recovery, I can say without reservation that Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center should be at the top of your inquiry and visit list for the very best care possible. You’ll meet compassionate providers, staff, and administrators who care for our parents or grandparents with the same devoted attention you would provide. At Conover, this is the norm; it is expected and required. Todd explained, “It’s a part of who we are that we bring into this home good people, a forward-looking, personal approach, and a focus on daily well-being that really does enhance lives.” A STORY I’VE BEEN TOLD I believe this Conover story says it all: A woman’s mother was at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Several of the woman’s family members had been cared for at Conover. The case manager asked for her top three choices of rehab centers for her mom. She didn’t hesitate: “#1 Conover Nursing, #2 Conover Nursing, #3 Conover Nursing.” The case manager told her, “But I need three choices.” The daughter simply explained, “My mother will only go to Conover Nursing. They’re the best, so I have no other choices.”

Photos, above, top to bottom:

• Activity director Amber Martin preparing delicious treats with resident Teresa Sipe in the ADL (Activities of Daily Living) suite. • Physical therapist Raquel Barcelon provides gait training during therapy session with resident Dorothy Martin.

Plan a visit yourself. You will be thoroughly delighted and impressed with everything you see and hear. You may decide Conover Nursing & Rehab is your only choice, too.

Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

828.695.8282 920 4th Street SW, Conover, NC 28613 www.ConoverNursingandRehab.com

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

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Dine + Win Photography by Glenn Roberson

In the Kitchen with Jill Dahan Photography courtesy of Jill Dahan

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business spotlight

Photos:

Left–Justin Conley, owner of Conley Motorsports (Photo by Shane Greene Photography)

Opposite page Customers have a clean, comfortable waiting room. (Photo by Shane Greene Photography)

Located on Highway 70 in Hickory (Photo provided by Conley Motorsports)

Specializing in Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen repairs (Photo provided by Conley Motorsports)

A Mechanic You Can Trust By Meredith Collins

If you own a Porsche, Audi, or Volkswagen, you know you need a certified mechanic who specializes in these brands to keep your vehicle running smooth. Quality work and regular maintenance are key to preserving the heritage of your vehicle. “At the end of the day, most people don’t know how to work on these cars, and they end up creating more issues,” Justin Conley, owner of Conley Motorsports, said. Justin opened Conley Motorsports in Hickory last April and has been serving the local community since. Previously, Justin worked as shop foreman at another Volkswagen and Porsche dealership. Justin has spent his entire career focused on Porsches, Audis, and Volkswagens. He is a factory18

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trained master technician with extensive training under his belt at the dealership for the three makes. Two Volkswagen factory-trained technicians work at Conley Motorsports. Conley Motorsports offers maintenance, service, repairs, and diagnostic and performance updates, specializing in German vehicles. They also build and support track vehicles. “Whether it’s a simple oil change or an engine replacement, if it’s on one of those three brands, we can do it here,” Justin said. Conley Motorsports offers maintenance services including oil changes, yearly services, spark plugs, filters, etc. They can also perform a diagnostic test when a check engine light is on to determine the problem. Justin has factory diagnostic equipment for each brand.


“It’s very important to keep up to date with your car’s maintenance unless you want to end up spending more money down the road,” Justin said. “Something as simple as oil changes can save you later on.” Conley Motorsports can perform service and maintenance while your vehicle is still under warranty. They service new and older models. Maybe you want a performance upgrade? Conley Motorsports can upgrade your software, exhaust, turbo, suspension… anything performance related, they can

do. They are an authorized dealer for Cobb Tuning, ECS Tuning, Eurodyne, and Motul Oil. “We’ve had a lot of repeat customers, and word is getting out about our expertise and great customer service,” Justin said. “We’re also very competitively priced.” Conley Motorsports is your dealership alternative. Justin and his team know you care about your vehicle and want to help you enjoy it at its best. When properly maintained,

Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen vehicles are known for their long life, performance, and safety. Justin and his technicians have the expertise to effectively and efficiently repair your vehicle so you can get back to your daily routine. Stop by or give Justin a call to discuss your vehicle’s needs. 828-855-2744 2351 US Highway 70 SW www.conleymotorsports.com Find us on Facebook

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Home DESIGN

©iStockphoto.com | hikesterson

O

ur homes are where so much of our lives happen. They should reflect our style, be spacious enough for our family, and serve as a retreat where we relax, entertain, regroup, and unwind. A home shouldn’t be a second job! As the weather gets warmer, our outdoor spaces become an extension of our indoor spaces; each providing us with the comforts we call home. Whether you are looking to purchase or build a new home, or renovate the one you have, you will find professionals and helpful advice in this issue of Hickory Living to help you with the process.

©iStockphoto.com | puhimec

©iStockphoto.com | ozgurcoskun

©iStockphoto.com | PBFloyd HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

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THE CONVENIENCE OF

Smart Home Technology ©iStockphoto.com | Jirsak

By JC Summerford

W

hile having lunch with a friend, can you call your refrigerator to check if you’re low on milk or ask your front door if it’s locked? If your home was smart, you could also communicate remotely with your TV, lights, security system, appliances, and air conditioner—just about anything that accepts a WiFi signal! Smart devices can save you money, keep your family safer, and generally make life less complicated.

Home Hubs These programmable, voice-activated devices are often the heart of a smart home. They can be connected to a host of household systems and devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. For example, you can tell your home hub to set the thermostat, control lighting, change TV channels, or play music. Some include touch screens that allow you to make phone calls, see who’s at the door, and search activity results. Of course, a hub is one of the simplest types of home controllers. You can also look into connecting your smart devices to a switch or a router, which are a bit more intelligent in dealing with all 24

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

of the incoming and outgoing signals. We suggest you do a bit of research before deciding which is best for your home.

Security Cameras Gone are the days when you had to buy a super expensive security system from a limited number of providers and sign an expensive monthly contract. Now, you can easily install your own security cameras and monitor them from a phone or laptop. Features can include motion tracking, night vision, spotlights, sirens, and camera lens controls. You can record high definition video on an external device, and some models offer cloud storage. Most cameras can be connected to your home hub. These systems not only help protect your family from intruders, some can also detect environmental threats such as fires, floods, and gas leaks.

Heating and Cooling Smart thermostats definitely can save you money. These WiFi connected devices are user friendly and east to install. You can monitor and change home temperatures via phone or computer. For example, you can warm or cool the house an hour

before you arrive home or set a specific schedule of temperatures throughout day and night. You can track your monthly energy usage and adjust it to save even more.

Lighting Lighting control today means so much more than turning the lights on and off. Smart lighting systems allow you to control the intensity and even the color of your individual bulbs, inside and out. Many connect to your home network wirelessly to create a personal lighting schedule. Another design involves a wall switch that can be used with a mobile app that adjust lights and controls virtually everything a hub does.

Kitchen Appliances The kitchen is a room where smart home technology really shines. Of course, you can tell your hub to start the morning coffee at 7:15, turn on your morning news program, or play favorite tunes. You can also buy appliances, such as slow cookers and microwave ovens, that you can control and monitor from anywhere via apps or voice. When you arrive home, dinner is ready to serve.


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Smart refrigerators often have cameras inside, so you can view their contents remotely. They can generate a precise shopping list, synced to your phone. You can enter expiration dates and receive notices about when food is about to go bad. You can control drawer and compartment temperatures remotely, and turn the icemaker on or off. External touch screens display recipes and even talk you through the recipe steps while you cook. Refrigerator screens can display TV shows, photos, or a white board for you to write notes for the family. Cooking on the patio becomes an exact science with smart grills and smokers. WiFi enabled models prevent uneven temperatures and flare-ups, and some can auto-feed wood pellets to maintain a perfect flame.

Vacuums The latest robo-vacuums work much better than the one you may have tried

a few years ago. Look for features like a long battery life, ability to self-clean, and strong suction power. Some learn the layout of your home over time to better navigate around your furniture. If you have mostly hardwood floors, you can choose a robo-mop instead. As with all smart appliances, you can program and control them remotely. They cost more than ordinary vacuums, so you’ll have to decide just how much you hate this task!

schedules, and see where it’s operating on a GPS enabled map of your property. Your smart mower can send alerts to you if it encounters any problems, such as that neighbor who wants to “borrow” your mower for an afternoon! To sum things up, smart homes are more secure, can save energy, and add re-sale value. The smarter your home gets, the more it works for you!

Yard stuff If you like swimming in your pool more than cleaning it, newer pool cleaners allow you to control a robot cleaning device from your phone. Likewise, you can now buy an extremely precise smart sprinkler system that senses whether or not the lawn needs water or not and turns on accordingly. Robot mowers are becoming increasingly popular. You can start and stop the mower with your phone, create mowing

©iStockphoto.com | AndreyPopov

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2020

HOME DESIGN TRENDS

By JC Summerford | Photos provided by Steele’s Construction and Design Team

S

pring is prime time for livening up your living spaces. Whether you want to remodel an entire home with major reconstruction or redecorate selected rooms, your first question should be whether to tackle this yourself, or get some professional help. For example, if you want to remove a wall, you should hire a reputable contractor. Otherwise you could do serious, costly structural damage! What’s Your Style? First, consider the colors, elements, room styles, and overall aesthetics that appeal to you. Design books and websites can provide some great ideas. Consider how the areas will be used, and by whom. Do you need to accommodate small children and pets? How often do you entertain? Which looks will make your home feel like an inviting retreat for you and your guests? Hiring an Interior Designer If you decide to go with a home design firm, it’s important to do copious research. Look at design portfolios from several companies, and try to imagine yourself living in those spaces. Set an appointment to discuss your needs with a design team. At the meeting, ask plenty

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HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

of questions about their philosophies, experience, and services. Keep an open mind, because trusting a professional designer’s instincts and advice often pays benefits. Before signing a contract, make sure you understand all costs involved. Stick to your budget and don’t over-spend on designs that are out of your price range. It’s better to put the basics together first, and add on later. Don’t be afraid to tell your designer that you want to keep or update certain pieces. Chairs can be reupholstered, and tables can be refinished. Donna Steele of Steele’s Construction and Design Team in Hickory describes her company’s process. “At our meetings, we get to know clients as individuals,” she says. “We work to implement designs that feel like part of them, an extension of their specific personal tastes. Most important, the home must feel like your oasis, a place you enter at the end of a long day, close the door, and relax.” Steele’s teams develop a full color palette and room renderings using specialized design software, then fully discuss preferences with clients before work begins.

“We offer several options for each area of the remodel or design,” Donna continues, “such as choices of sofa and drapery fabrics. We present color boards and design inspiration trays with the materials so people can see and feel the textures.” Donna says that full home renovations are the company’s most popular services. “People can make every room a space they have only dreamed of,” she says. Homeowners have a number of reasons to renovate, according to Donna. “Some people love the bones of a home but don’t like anything else about it,” she says. “Maybe they’ve had the same home for years and are very happy with the location but are tired of the house itself. Some people just run out of space as the family grows. Or, the kids are off to college and their rooms need to be used for other things, maybe an exercise room or a home office.” Some of the more difficult renovations Steele’s has done are creating more space when the square footage cannot be changed. Donna says that for this situation, her team might install more efficient cabinetry or make use of unused


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spaces, such as under stairways. They are also experts at remodeling older homes that may have damage or need serious modern updates. “We have rebuilt homes that were burned to the ground. We’ve tackled very old homes and had to break through concrete and brick from the late 1800s,” she says. “To us, they are all a fun, exciting challenge with so much reward at the end.” 2020 Design trends “The most popular home design styles at the moment seem to be farmhouse, modern farmhouse, and minimalist mid century modern,” Donna tells us. For 2020, the official Pantone color is classic blue. It’s one of Donna’s lifetime favorites. “Blue is the most calming color

in the color wheel,” she says. “It can enhance feelings of peace and comfort. It’s a wonderful color for the bedroom and is a perfect accent color. When paired with light blue and white, classic blue is just breathtaking, but it works with many other colors.”

Donna feels that a recent trend toward gray is slowing and maybe even coming to an end this year. “I think some gray will be used, but white with a mix of natural woods is a growing trend,” she

We would like to thank Donna Steele with Steele’s Construction and Design Team for providing us with photos showcasing their beautiful interior designs, renovations, and workmanship! Left–A renovation in progress Right–A before and after where the wallpaper was replaced with a classic blue and white pattern. 30

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

says. “Texture is critical in any area of the home.” Donna recommends layering textures such as wool, cashmere, velvet pillows, and furry throws. Even if you can’t afford a complete home makeover this spring, Donna thinks it’s well worth the effort to do a seasonal update to uplift your spirits! “Change out throw pillows, move a side table from the bedroom to the living room, rotate the side table from the living room to serve as a nightstand,” she advises. “Add fresh green plants in unique containers to create a feeling of warmth and life. Buy new frames to create an eclectic display of family photos. There are so many inexpensive things you can do to create a fresh, new feeling.”


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Our construction and design teams work along side our clients to give them the custom kitchen of their dreams!

C General Contractor #74498 General Contractor # G121741 NC General Contractor #74498 NCNC General General Contractor Contractor #74498 #74498 • 2018 Best Room Remodel/Renovation • 2018 Best Addition SC General Contractor # G121741 SCSC General General Contractor Contractor # G121741 # G121741 • 2018 Best Whole House Remodel/ Renovation Winners of the Star Awards’ 2019 Interior • 2018 Best Room Remodel/Renovation • •2018 2018 Best Best Room Room Remodel/Renovation Remodel/Renovation Merchandising from the NCHBA! • 2018 Best Addition • •2018 2018 Best Best Addition Addition • 2018 Best Whole House Remodel/ • •2018 2018 Best Best Whole Whole House House Remodel/ Remodel/ Renovation Renovation Renovation

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ll ces SmaS pa By JC Summerford

©iStockphoto.com | urfi nguss

If you’re not ready to tackle a wholehouse makeover this spring, we’ve got some great ideas to freshen and brighten up your place. With the right decorating ideas, you can express your own personal style and open up even the tiniest of spaces. Make it Multipurpose Standard kitchen cupboards are always useful, but how about adding floor-toceiling open shelves along one wall? They’re a perfect place to display your best glasses and plates, or even eclectic artwork. Likewise, in the bathroom, narrow wall shelves are great for storing bathroom essentials in a stylish way. Buy colorful containers and baskets for holding cotton swabs, cotton balls, and toiletries. If your bedroom is small, you really have to use every inch of space. If you have a couple feet between closets or windows, you could put in a small desk to double as a vanity. Add a mirror and shelves above it to provide extra storage for books, office items, or cosmetics.

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HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

Don’t waste awkward, odd-shaped spaces underneath stairs or between floors. You could squeeze in a few shelves, pretty canvas bins, or cubbyholes to store the kids’ toys! Hint: build bookshelves up high, close to the ceiling, to give any room a larger feel. Live Light To make your living room appear larger, avoid decorating with dark hues. You could paint one accent wall an intense color like lime green or bright blue and contrast with a crisp white or lightcolored couch and chairs. Floor-to-ceiling window treatments also make a living room look more spacious—choose pale, neutral colors. Break that habit of pushing furniture up against the walls or standing lamps in corners. By leaving a few inches of room between the wall and furniture you’ll create an illusion of extra space. Strategically placed chairs and tables with tall legs are great for tiny spaces. Consider using that open space underneath for more storage. Placing an oversized rug in a cozy space adds even more illusions

of grandeur. A vertically striped carpet that extends beyond the furniture would be ideal. Mirrors are an obvious way to make a room appear larger than it really is. Install a tall mirror, or several, along one wall. You could add draperies around it to make it feel more like a window! Keep in mind that in a small room, each décor element can have a big impact. Buy artwork, lamps, and knick-knacks cautiously. Divide and Conquer Sometimes an office is pressed into service as a bedroom. Make the most of it by installing a space-saving Murphy bed along one wall or add a fold-out futon that can double as seating. If you prefer to separate the areas, use a sheer curtain, bamboo, or fabric room divider to create two distinct spaces. Living in a small place has plenty of advantages overall. It’s less stressful to keep clean, easier to decorate and re-decorate, and if you focus on quality over quantity, you can create a personalized designer look for far less than filling a big house!

©iStockphoto.com | Valery Yurasov

Making the most of


HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

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Going Solar Did you know... Just one hour of sunlight striking Earth’s surface could meet our global energy needs for a year.

By JC Summerford

There are lots of great reasons to go solar. Besides helping our environment by powering your home with renewable energy, you can save lots of money on utility bills over time and add to the value of your property. You may eventually find yourself selling power back to the power company, too. Now wouldn’t that be sweet?!

Utility Savings North Carolina is a hot market for solar installations. First, we get plenty of sun, which makes solar systems run strongly and efficiently year-round. Our major utilities, including Duke Energy, are required by law to provide net metering to their customers. Net metering means that the power company must credit you at retail value for excess solar power your system creates. When you send this energy back to the company’s main grid, you receive a credit to offset future billing. Credits remaining at year’s end expire without being carried over. Duke Energy offers an additional onetime rebate to customers who switch to solar. Homeowners receive 60 cents for each watt of solar energy installed, with a maximum rebate of $6,000. The company has run out of available rebate funds for 2020, but you can put yourself on a waitlist for next year. Another Duke Energy program is Shared Solar, which offers customers an opportunity to join a community of subscribers receiving credits on 34

HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020

©iStockphoto.com | vencavolrab

their electric bill without installing proprietary equipment. This program works for people who live in multifamily housing and for those who don’t own a home.

See if you qualify for a zero-down solar installation program: homeenergy.guide For more on Duke Energy rebates: duke-energy.com

The only slight downside of going solar in North Carolina right now is that power company incentives are starting to decline because many of them are meeting their mandated renewable energy goals. It’s still worth looking into, though, because the falling price of solar installations generally makes up for those incentives.

Choosing a System When considering a solar system purchase, look at factors such as which equipment works best for your home, how much you can afford, and what you might potentially save on utility bills.

Loans and Tax Exemptions A state law allows North Carolina cities and counties to offer low interest loans for solar installations and other energy upgrades. These loan terms are not longer than 20 years, have an interest rate cap of eight percent, and are easily renewable. Homeowners can also receive a federal tax credit equivalent to 26% of the total cost of a solar power system. Combined with local and state incentives, you could potentially cover about half of your investment. Even though adding a solar system increases your property’s value, in North Carolina solar additions are exempt from residential property tax assessments. Figure your solar savings with this online solar calculator: solar-estimate.org

Solar energy components include panels usually mounted on the roof that create electricity from sunlight. The second main component is the inverter that converts sun energy into usable electric power. Some systems also include a usage monitoring system. Right now, excess generated power is fed directly back to the utility company, but future systems will probably incorporate battery storage. When choosing panels, check their efficiency rate. It should meet the industry standard of 16-18% as a minimum. Remember that the most efficient panels may not be the smartest value for your situation. Premium panels come with a higher price tag, so first determine whether you really need the most expensive ones. North Carolina doesn’t get a lot of heavy snow, but be sure that the panels are sturdy enough to withstand our yearround weather conditions.


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You’ll also want to research manufacturer quality and guarantees. Make sure your warranty is at least 10 years because solar panels can degrade or become less efficient over time. The two types of inverters are string and module-level power electronics (MLPEs). String inverters are simpler systems that are sufficient for most homes. MLPEs are typically more expensive but can also be more efficient. They are a good choice if your panels are shaded or can’t be installed at an optimal angle. Power optimizers are installed on every panel of the MLPE, which is then paired with a string inverter. Choosing a competent solar contractor is extremely important. Be sure to carefully examine their certifications and track record, and call former customers for reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask your installer questions throughout the process! Maintenance Once your system is installed, clean the panels a couple times per year, and check the cables for wear and tear. There are no moving parts, so that should be all the maintenance necessary. Another big benefit: solar-powered homeowners can be proud that they’re contributing to reducing humanity’s energy footprint. We can only harness a tiny fraction of the sun’s awesome power, but it feels good to be part of the solution.

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HICKORY LIVING • MARCH 2020


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A Pet for You!

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Adopt a New Furry Friend Today at Humane Society of Catawba County Humane Society of Catawba County Mission:

Our mission is to make our community a better place by serving as an advocate for companion animals. Our vision for the future is that no adoptable animal will be euthanized in Catawba County, and that animal cruelty and inhumane treatment of animals will cease to exist.

Meet Rocco! Sometimes it’s tough being big. Just ask Rocco, the largest guy at HSCC. He wants to be a lap dog, but he weighs 96 pounds. He tries so hard to be good, but the slightest tug on a leash can be trouble! Most people want little dogs, so even though he puts on his best manners, many adopters walk right by him. But we know there is a big dog lover out there, looking for a sweet, beautiful pointer to run with. This three year old is super smart and can sit and shake hands like a gentleman. Rocco’s best fit would be with a home that doesn’t have other dogs or cats (which he loves to chase), or very young children.

Meet Hopkin! Two-year-old Hopkin is such an adorable, fluffy baby. He’s easy going, mild mannered, and is happy sharing his space right now with eight feline friends. If you have other kitties at home he’ll fit right in! Hopkin absolutely LOVES people. He’s the ambassador of his colony, always the first to introduce himself to new friends. When it comes to snuggles and petting his soft, thick fur, Hopkin’s motto is “the more the merrier.” Hopkin always carries himself with quiet dignity. He would make a most excellent companion and housemate.

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