Charlotte home|design, November 1, 2020,

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Real Estate News

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C H A R L O T T E

“While there is a premium to be paid for a custom-built home, the return on investment lasts a lifetime.”

home design

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– Matt Ewers, Grandfather Homes

dedicated to showcasing charlotte’s distinctive homes

Building dreams ‘No idea is off the table’ when it comes to a custom-built home - story on page 6

real estate news

design instyle

real estate insider

straight talk

What’s new p4

Fall Market in High Point p16

Safe showings p20

Fireplace playlist p26


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|real estate news

what’s new? compiled by Whitney Berongi

DAVID WEEKLEY HOMES RECEIVES THREE PARADE OF HOMES AWARDS David Weekley Homes received three awards at the 2020 Triangle Parade of Homes, presented by the Home Builders Association of Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham counties. The event showcases new homes and highlights design trends throughout the Triangle area. The Wakeford in Encore at Briar Chapel – Classic Series, the 55-plus active adult community by Encore by David Weekley Homes, received a gold award for its entry. This one-story home features an open-concept design with 10-foot ceilings and oversized windows with views to the outdoor living area. In the community of Briar Chapel – The Franklin Collection, The Yorkshire was recognized with a silver award. This home is nearly 2,700 square feet with a guest suite on the main floor, spacious family room with a fireplace, home office and covered porch. The Mistybrook in 5401 North was honored with a silver award. This two-story home features a front and back porch with open living spaces and bonus room. For more information about David Weekley Homes in Raleigh, call 916-636-6806.

DICKENS MITCHENER PROUDLY WELCOMES SEVEN NEW AGENTS Dickens Mitchener recently welcomed Realtors/Brokers Ana Aponte, Mai-Lis Bahr, Jay Canty, Maggie Minick, Lydia Mitchell, Garrett Nelson and Beth Parker to its team of knowledgeable, enthusiastic and diligent real estate agents. The Dickens Mitchener team is comprised of more than 100 experienced real estate professionals who have mastered the latest trends of the ever-changing market and are dedicated to making every transaction as seamless as possible. For more information, visit dickensmitchener.com.

Ana Aponte

Maggie Minick

Mai-Lis Bahr

Lydia Mitchell

Jay Canty

Garrett Nelson

Beth Parker

Email real estate news to homedesign@charlotteobserver.com. C H A R L O T T E

home design Editor

Coordinator/Designer

Christina Darnell

Melissa Kennelly

Creative Strategy & Real Estate Advertising

New Home Builder Advertising

Buck Brice, bbrice@charlotteobserver.com

Suzanne Parker, sparker@charlotteobserver.com

Sales Director Vic Bowers, vbowers@mcclatchy.com 336-402-4673 Section published by The Charlotte Observer • 550 S. Caldwell St., Charlotte, NC 28202. Editorial material in this section is the responsibility of the Observer Content Studio, 704-358-5185. It did not involve the news staff of The Observer.

Is there a neighborhood you’d like to see featured? Do you know of a new design trend on the rise? Did you use one of our ideas for your own home or home purchase?

We’d love to hear from you. homedesign@charlotteobserver.com

facebook.com/TheCharlotteObserverHomeDesign *Copyright 2020 by The Charlotte Observer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission.


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|custom-built homes DID YOU KNOW? Since the custom-home building process can be overwhelming and stressful, the team at Simonini Homes partners with clients to help alleviate some of the pressure by having a design studio streamline the selections process.

by Julie Cooper

EAT Customshop Handcrafted Food Grab a bite to eat at this modern trattoria with a welcoming, neighborhood feel loved for its eclectic mix of traditional and innovative American dishes inspired by Italian, French and Spanish cuisine. Customshopfood.com

PLAY Center City From its buzzing nightlife to family-friendly play, have a ball in the Queen City’s landscape full of culture, sports, greenspace, arts and more. Charlottenc.gov

EXPLORE Lake Norman From Nascar country in Mooresville to the bustling college town of Davidson down to lively and laidback Huntersville, there’s a lot of fun to be had at this Charlottearea lake. Visitlakenorman.org

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hanks to COVID-19, people are spending more time at home than ever. They are working and learning remotely. And they’re looking for ways to maximize their homes for both business and pleasure while simultaneously creating a feeling of comfort and calm among all the uncertainty right outside their front doors. And it turns out, this “new” normal is a good thing for customhome builders. Gus Pappas of Luxury Neighborhoods with Simonini Homes says he’s seen a “definite increase” in homebuyers inquiring about custom-home options, likely due to low resale inventory and record-low interest rates. “It’s a good time to get the equity out of their home by selling, which then affords them the opportunity to build a new Simonini home tailored to their lifestyle,” he says. Regardless if homebuyers are looking to downsize or upsize, a custom-built home can offer exactly what they’re after. “There is a lot to be said about being able to customize the home you live in, especially as it relates to transitions in stages of life,” says Pappas. “Some want to simplify and downsize, while others are looking for a way to incorporate office spaces as they’re faced with the new reality of working and learning from home. All of this is made possible by designing and building a custom

home. No idea is off the table.” Instead of working around a cookie-cutter home with a “one-size-fitsall” layout, a custom creation works for you and your lifestyle. “Custom homes provide a setting that works to both simplify and amplify your life,” says Matt Ewers with Grandfather Homes. “When we are designing and building a home, we ensure that we are extracting the very highest potential for our customer’s lifestyle. Ideally, this equates to lofty dreams becoming a reality.” A custom home also extracts the most value out of every inch of the property it’s built on by incorporating its features into the home design. “For example, if the topography allows, we can create more space with a daylight basement,” Ewers says. “Or find the best orientation to absorb outlying views of a river, ridgeline or skyline. If there are heritage or treasure trees, we can incorporate them into the plan design. Having mature trees in proximity to the home can create an immediate timeless presence and stature on the lot.” While every bit of a custom home is important and serves a purpose, for Ewers, it’s all about the windows and doors. “The bigger, the better,” he says. “I always look for ways to incorporate multiple points of entry and allow as much natural light as possible to pour into the home.

Plus, windows of all shapes and sizes provide exceptional interest both from the interior and exterior.” When it comes to custom home building in the Charlotte area, no place is off limits. However, the most popular spots tend to be close to Center City or near water. “Most of our clients are looking to build their custom home in areas like Eastover, Foxcroft and Myers Park. Some prefer the lifestyle afforded by being on the water in the Lake Norman area,” says Pappas. “Right now, we are building the next phase in our Heydon Hall community in South Charlotte.” In addition, Ewers says buyers can find new custom-built developments in Cramer’s Pond in Plaza Midwood, Claircross in Cotswold and The Manors in South Charlotte. “We are in the design phase for two niche enclaves at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie too,” he says. Even though building custom and choosing everything from the doorknob down to the floorboards can be a huge task, it’s more than worth-while to take the leap and invest in a one-of-a-kind home built to fit you and your family. “While there is a premium to be paid for a custom-built home, the return on investment lasts a lifetime,” says Ewers. “This return is there every season of the year and abounds with possibility as the home matures and appropriately ages with time.”


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custom-built homes| 5161 Woodland Bay Drive, Belmont, NC 28012 Price: $2,375,000 MLS: 3670273 Listing Agent: Anne Brade, RE/MAX Executive, 704-650-4951, anne@annebrade.com Realize your dream to live on the lake with long range views in a luxurious custom home. Gated Woodland Bay in Belmont, N.C., on Lake Wylie is a prestigious community of custom homes. Winding streets with wooded homesites offer a private location for your estate. Contiguous lots offer a 1.89-acre homesite with a flat building envelope and approximately 188 feet of shoreline with enough space for extensive outdoor living, pool and privacy. Gorgeous hardwood trees and wide lake views. Woodland Bay is minutes from award-winning Main Street. Home photos are all representative photos/proposed construction. The home plan, Bordeaux, is offered by Arthur Rutenberg/ Paragon Homes.


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|custom-built homes 16334 Stinson Cove, Huntersville, NC 28078 Price: Contact listing agent MLS: Contact listing agent Listing Agents: Matt Ewers, 704-201-2889, matt@nestlewoodrealty.com; Missy Bagley, 336-953-2098, missy@ nestlewoodrealty.com; Nestlewood Realty Striking design executed by Mermans Architecture and Grandfather Homes— builder’s personal home. Strategically developed and appointed for the lot and lake views/access. Anticipating Lake Norman’s year-round access to the outdoors, this retreat boasts soaring and connecting spaces. Select steel structural framing afforded 36-foot clear spans at lower terrace and 67-foot clear span at main level, 40-foot tower office with 300-degree lake views. Master on main with Juliet balcony and guest suite on main. Second master on terrace level with exterior access. New Trex dock with boat lift.

4514 Tinkham Court, Charlotte, NC 28205 Price: Contact listing agent MLS: Contact listing agent Listing Agents: Matt Ewers, 704-201-2889, matt@ nestlewoodrealty.com; Missy Bagley, 336-953-2098, missy@ nestlewoodrealty.com; Nestlewood Realty Large cul-de-sac lot in new 36-home Plaza Midwood community, Cramer’s Pond. First of 10 custom homes to be built by Grandfather Homes. Incredible European farmhouse architecture (designed by MArchD) features four ensuite bedrooms, including a luxurious master retreat. Gourmet kitchen showcases oversized island, Thermador appliances, wine cellar and formal dining area. Enjoy outdoor living on covered terrace overlooking spacious rear yard.


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|custom-built homes 7292 Three Sisters Lane, Concord, NC 28027 Price: $1,899,000 MLS: 3643491 Listing Agent: Michelle Rhyne, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, 704-622-0626, michelle.rhyne@premiersir.com Perfectly positioned on 1.64 acres, this European-style estate is thoughtfully designed for functional living and seamless entertaining, from awe-inspiring design to careful craftsmanship. Features include a three-story spiral staircase in entry, over 7,500 square feet of living space, elevator, dome and groin vaulted and faux-painted ceilings, and a master suite with soaking tub and dual vanities. Upper level with four bedrooms with walk-in closets and full baths. Basement with home theatre and gym. Enjoy an active lifestyle with outdoor amenities like basketball and a putting green in your own backyard. Spa and saltwater pool next to outdoor kitchen and covered veranda.


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custom-built homes| 4729 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28226 Price: $1,149,000 MLS: 3645402 Listing Agent: Jean Benham, Allen Tate Realtors, 704-363-2938, jean.benham@allentate.com Incredible custom duet is ready now. Guest on main plus private summer porch with fireplace and courtyard large enough for a pool. Chef’s kitchen with JennAir range, panel front refrigerator, expansive center island/ breakfast bar, quartz counters and custom tile backsplash. Great room with beamed ceiling and custom fireplace. Vaulted guest room/ study located with loft above and private bath. Master with black faucets, walk-in shower and custom dressing. Upper with 2-3 bedrooms, plus bonus. Hardwoods, quartz counters and custom millwork. Located in Strawberry Hill Community of SouthPark.


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custom-built homes| 7399 Barrington Ridge Drive #56, Indian Land, SC 29707 Price: $869,900 MLS: 3641792 Listing Agent: Lisa McCrossan, Ivester Jackson Distinctive Properties, 704-620-0328, lisam@ ivesterjackson.com Fantastic opportunity to build a custom estate in the gated Longbrooke community. This featured floor plan chosen by Stevens Construction, one of Longbrooke’s approved custom home builders, can be customized by the buyer. This is your opportunity to own the homesite of your dreams in a gorgeous private community at a tremendous value with low Lancaster County property taxes. Minutes away from booming retail shops and restaurants on 521. The builder is happy to meet to discuss different plan options.


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|custom-built homes 3420 Plantation Road, Charlotte, NC 28270 Price: $849,000 MLS: 3638433 Listing Agent: Helen St. Angelo, HM Properties, 704-839-1809, helen@hmproperties.com Charm and character exude from this beautiful home on well over an acre of manicured privacy. Kitchen features new commercial-grade appliances and a cozy eatin breakfast area. Home has four separate living/entertaining areas to accommodate large gatherings. Upper level features wet bar and private study, plus separate bedroom and full bath. This extra-large corner/cul de sac lot has a separate well for irrigation. Drive up to huge circular drive, or enter through private rear drive to attached garage. Separate living quarters in lower level.

4515 Carmel Estates Road, Charlotte, NC 28226 Price: $1,095,000 MLS: 3667419 Listing Agent: Kevin J. Potter, HM Properties, 704962-8889, kevinpotter@hmproperties.com Immaculate two-story craftsman-style home with open floor plan, finished walkout basement with private access, covered front porch and rear deck with Trex. On-site finished hardwoods on main, 10-foot ceilings, custom-painted solid core doors and crown molding. Kitchen includes custom cabinetry, quartz counters, glazed ceramic tile arabesque backsplashes, stainless appliances and center island with granite. Mudroom with built-in cubbies and laundry room with side entrance. Master includes recessed lighting and custom walk-in. Master bath has marble tile, quartz counters, large soaking tub and oversized shower. All bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.


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|design instyle

Modern easy change frames by Wexel Art were a hit. The frames allow you to change out your artwork as your styles shift.

Fall Market in High Point After COVID canceled spring Market, this season’s show was a welcome delight by Vicki Donatelli

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n normal times, there are two major wholesale markets for the home furnishings industry. Both occur in High Point, N.C. Buyers and designers from all over the world attend these important shows where hundreds of exhibitors introduce their new product lines.

As a designer or retailer, you can’t afford to miss this show. It’s where you get to touch, feel and sit on upholstery pieces; run your hands over new finishes and textures; and network with vendors and other home furnishing cronies. Most importantly, you discover the upcoming trends and


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Line art—like this one that features a splash of clay—was well represented.

The African-inspired woven wall art from KAZI + All Across Africa displayed at fall Market was spectacular.

colors you’ll be sharing and selling to your clients in the coming months and years. Due to COVID-19, spring Market was cancelled and rescheduled several times in 2020. Then, from October 13-21, the fall Market finally opened. Not every exhibitor attended, and many of the showrooms were open by appointment only. Market is a lot of work, but it is also a big cocktail party every day. Usually. But not this year. No food or drinks

allowed—and, unfortunately, it was a virtual ghost town. It’s too bad. There was an abundance of impressive new looks. Trending are architectural-inspired furniture pieces with clean lines, interesting angles and arches. Wood finishes are light. Burl wood, blond and bleached veneers are hot. Organic upholstery forms with thick cushions covered by textured fabrics. And lots and lots of curves. Color trends covered the spectrum

Natural edge whitewashed wood bowl.


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Children’s bedding collection from Eastern Accents.

Woven baskets from KAZI.

from neutrals to rich jewel tones. Prints were bold and whimsical. Baskets and textural decorative objects abounded— especially popular, African-inspired woven art. Kazi + All Across Africa’s baskets and wall art were spectacular. Eastern Accents introduced an adorable children’s bedding collection, perfect for boys and girls from baby to teenager. It featured images of quirky animals and birds in bold tones of peach, emerald, lime green, navy and white. Matte gold finishes are still showing strong. Lighting designs and colors were light and organic in shape. The woven

basket trend has been engineered into the lighting business as well. I do recommend that you venture into this look with caution. It can be a bit tropical for most décor. Concrete, real and faux, was an extremely popular material for interior and exterior tables. Vintage rugs from Turkey and Russia remain in big demand—the more worn and faded the better. Artwork was energized, geometric and colorful. Line art was well represented but with splotches of color to provide a designer appeal. Black and white photography and Warhol-like portraits in bold colors represented the divergence


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Various cement and natural bleached wood tables.

of design that makes decorating an exhilarating adventure. Modern easy change frames by Wexel Art were a hit. The frames allow you to change out your artwork as your styles shift. Vintage, hand-painted pillows by Polish artist Lempicka was just one of thousands of treasures in the Market’s Antique and Design Center. Even with the demands of keeping everyone safe during this trying time, Market was wonderful. Just having the opportunity to get out and explore new styles and trends was exhilarating. I

averaged 10,000 steps per day and covered as much of the Market as possible. I can’t wait until April’s Market and the opportunity to support North Carolina’s home furnishing businesses and jobs.

Vicki Payne Donatelli is an interior designer, project coordinator and popular speaker for renovation and new construction projects. She is the host of the national PBS series “For Your Home.” Visit her blog at ForYourHome.com.

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|real estate insider

Safe showings Here’s everything you need to know about selling your home during a pandemic by Julie Cooper

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ike an unwanted house guest, COVID-19 has long outstayed its welcome. And since it doesn’t look like it plans on leaving anytime soon, it’s important for buyers and sellers to understand what that means for the real estate market in the Charlotte area, especially as the winter months approach and cold and flu season kicks into full gear. “Flu season never altered the way we showed homes in the past. But with COVID-19, some things are definitely a bit different,” says Stacey


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Sauls with The Stacey Sauls Group at Keller Williams Realty. “Our team is now wearing masks, carrying hand sanitizer and encouraging our buyers to only bring the decision makers to the showings as opposed to friends and additional family members.” Amanda Glowacki with Amanda Kate Home is not only following that same protocol, but taking it one step further. On top of wearing a mask and encouraging her buyers to wear masks as well, she’s also bringing shoe covers and gloves to respect the homeowners’ health, as well as the buyers and their families. “I also encourage the attendees to refrain from touching items in the home, including light switches and door handles. I serve as the one who turns the lights on or off and opens and closes the doors while wearing gloves.” It’s no secret that the world is on edge and more aware of germs spreading than possibly ever before. So, when it comes to having hundreds of strangers passing through your home, touching things, sneezing and leaving a trail of germs behind them, it’s good to have a trusted real estate professional on your side, keeping things as sanitary as possible. “We’re more aware of how viruses can

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spread and can feel on high alert when it comes to our homes,” says Glowacki. “We’re selling people’s homes, their personal spaces, where they now spend most of their time. It’s critical to our reputations that we show respect for homeowners and buyers who are trusting us. It’s imperative we show them that we care about their health, their families’ health and the health of everyone who considers a particular home for sale.” However, Sauls says there is a silver lining to all of the COVID-19 stress, at least when it comes to selling homes. “We have the perfect combination of low inventory and low interest rates, which is keeping the housing market strong,” she says. “And we expect it to continue being strong through the winter, which is nice considering our spring market was interrupted this year.” To that end, Sauls also advises would-be sellers to go ahead and list if they’ve been sitting on the fence for a while. “Put your homes on the market now,” she says. “Springtime will only bring more inventory because it’s the most popular time to list. Whereas now, we have more buyers than homes on the market. So, it’s a great opportunity for sellers.” Glowacki seconds that, saying, “Our market needs more homes listed to meet buyers’ demands, so you can get top dollar for your home

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Thanks to today’s technology, virtually anything is possible. Some sellers and agents are opting for virtual open houses.

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right now. Additionally, the Charlotte metro market has proven month after month that any time is a great time to sell. But when it comes to selling during COVID-19, it’s important to consider your family’s personal risk and decide if the potentially high traffic in your home is worth it. Having a direct conversation about your expectations for showings with your listing representative is more important than ever now.” Thanks to today’s technology, virtually anything is possible. Some sellers and agents are opting for virtual open houses. And, in some cases, buyers aren’t even visiting their new house until after the contract is signed thanks to 3D tours. While in the past, these “viewings” were mostly snubbed, today they offer a sigh of relief as people are happy to avoid heaps of people walking through their homes. So, even though the world we live in today is rife with uncertainty, Sauls says there’s at least one thing that can be counted on—real estate is still a solid investment. “Take advantage of all that the current market has to offer,” she says. “The stock market can’t give the kind of returns we’re seeing in real estate.”


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Photo courtesy of Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association

|straight talk

Fireplace playlist Add warmth to your fireplace with these seasonal songs by Allen Norwood

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his is so much seasonal fun that I just have to share: The Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, sponsor of National Fireplace Month, created a digital playlist of songs we all can enjoy while sitting in front of our fireplaces this winter. The idea began to come together early in the year, according to Emily McGee, spokesperson for the HPBA in Arlington, Va. When shutdowns loomed, planners debated whether to go ahead. They decided to proceed—thank goodness—and released the playlist in early October, to coincide with National Fireplace Month. This column offers reminders about preparing your gas fireplace for the season—but first, more about the playlist, a sort of comforting security blanket for the times. The HPBA wanted to celebrate “fireplace culture,” McGee said. “The ambience, the feeling of warmth and comfort.” The songs include “Light My Fire” by Jose Feliciano (of course), “cardigan” by Taylor Swift and “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding. Willie Nelson and Ed

Sheeran appear on the 20-song list. And there’s “Fire” by the Pointer Sisters. You’ll find HPBA’s playlist on the audio streaming platform Spotify. The organization has spread the word through social media; there’s a link to the playlist on Facebook. If you’re reading this on Sunday morning, it’s the day after the official end of National Fireplace Month. Don’t worry, though: The playlist will remain available through the cold weather season. McGee suggested that the rest of us come up with our own lists of favorite songs to enjoy while sitting in front of a fire. “Everybody can use our playlist as inspiration.” While you’re thinking about what you would add to your playlist, here are a few gas fireplace tips that experts have offered over the years: Should you leave the gas pilot light on around the clock during fireplace season, or turn it off between uses? The answer, as you might guess, is that it depends. Some installers and manufacturers

recommend that you leave pilot lights on. Reasons vary, but some say that prevents debris and insects from clogging up the pilot. Other experts counter that leaving it on generates moisture, which can cause deposits and corrosion. Check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for guidance. That’s always the first place to look for answers. This is important, too: Are you comfortable turning the pilot light back on? If you are, and you’re confident the gas fireplace is operating properly, you can douse the pilot light between infrequent uses. Lots of modern gas fireplace logs don’t have traditional pilot lights. They employ electronic or “spark” ignition systems that light the gas with every use. That’s how our ventless, or vent-free, logs operate. If your logs are sparked by batteries, as ours are, now would be a good time to replace any batteries in the fireplace and remote. Remember to (a) read the manufac-

turer’s directions and (b) follow them. When the batteries on our logs died, I inserted some spare lithium batteries— even though the owner’s manual and the battery box specified alkaline. Those expensive new batteries didn’t make it through the cold weather, as I’ve written. Turns out that expensive lithium batteries don’t handle the heat as well as more affordable alkaline. If you vacuum your gas logs—following the manufacturer’s directions, of course—remember they need to go back into place exactly as designed. If one is out of place, the flames might brush across the log and create soot. If yours is a vented fireplace, much of the soot will go out through the vent. If it’s unvented, though, the soot will end up in your house—and that will spoil the ambience created by the HPBA’s warm playlist.

Allen Norwood: homeinfo@charter.net


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