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April / May 2014

6 Horizon Golf Center 8 Custom Living - A story with Bella Vista Custom Homes


Protecting Your Investment

16-17 Out & About Live! 19 Art, Hang It All! 20

Cover Photo Courtesy of Bella Vista Homes

Keep Your Home Safe

26 Cooking and Dining Spotlight Homes is published bi-monthly and is also available digitally on or For questions, comments or advertising opportunities please contact: 915-595-2492 Member


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Spotlight Homes

El Paso continues to grow. Where and what’s new?


he fact is overwhelming: El Paso continues to grow and grow in more than just one area of the city. What we are seeing is an emerging growth in areas historically forgotten or unrealistically brokered.

Kreme store on Dyer, along with a new IHop round out some of the more interesting restaurant/quick food growth in that area. A new Walmart grocery store is to go up in Mesquite Hills, along with a multi store shopping strip as well. Westsider’s welcomed a newly done Sprouts grocery store, something so successful that competitors like Trader Jacks and Whole Foods have taken notice. Probably adding fuel to the fire is the newly acquired stores that Albertson’s bought out, a potential for HEB to come in as well.

El Paso continues to grow in the eastside, especially around the Ray Adauto, Guest Columnist Tierra’s subdivisions and Horizon El Paso Association of Builders area. Many new homes are bringing much more commercial activity as well. New restaurants and shopping areas are springing up around far east El Paso. Horizon City has gotten much of the new development because growth there is unprecedented. Recently the town of Socorro moved to form a new city government rather than be swallowed up by the City of Horizon, or El Paso. Local government has decided that it can handle the new growth and many of you are taking advantage of that.

Downtown has the new Southwest University Park almost ready to open on April 28; new restaurants and work on the Sun Metro line continue to be worked on. A lot of what we are seeing has been years in the planning, but with a still soft economy many more projects are taking a lot more time. What we anticipate is continuing our efforts as the home building association to build affordable homes with a better value. Keep looking at El Paso as a great place to live and grow. The future continues to be bright and we hope for more opportunities to bring you.

In Northeast a new Sam’s club is taking shape along US 54 and Diana Drive near where the big flag is located. A new Krispy


Photo By: Visit El Paso | License: Creative Commons License

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Spotlight Homes

he resurgence and excitement of a new golf course in El Paso has been steadfast on the Eastside of town. Horizon Golf and Conference Center has been going through some great changes and developments in the past two years and there is a buzz. This facility is no stranger to the city and has actually been in town for a very long time. The rich history and traditions of Horizon Golf and Conference Center can be traced back to the 1960s.

Moonlight Bar and Grill

The Horizon community had missed this restaurant for the past 5 years. Moonlight Bar and Grill has now been open for 3 months and has quickly become the perfect place for a great time and awesome food.

Horizon Golf and Conference Center was originally built in 1964 by the Horizon Development Corporation. The corporation built many golf courses at this time around Texas and New Mexico. Horizon Development company then sold the golf course 9 years later. Ownership of this course has traded many hands throughout the years. Horizon city council even passed an ordinance that Horizon would stay a green space and could never be turned into development property. Horizon regional water decided to purchase the course and have been maintaining it and building it up for the past 2 years.

With renovations in the bar, ballroom and dinging hall, Moonlight can also host small groups all the way up to wedding parties. The newly renovated ballroom can accommodate up to 250 guests. Moonlight is currently in the process of remodeling the party room to give patrons the best experience with a lounge that matches the awesome pool that will be ready for the summer. High schools have already been taking advantage and booking the ballroom for graduations this spring.

Lee Trevino has history at Horizon as well. In the year 1965 Trevino was working in Dallas managing a driving range. He was recruited to work at Horizon Golf Course and this was actually his first pro job. In 1966 Trevino qualified and won the U.S. open while working at Horizon. In 1965 Golfer Raymond Floyd came to Horizon and had actually had a pretty even match against Trevino.

Besides catering to the needs of the golf course, Moonlight is offering services to the entire community. From a new soccer field to a full size bar, Moonlight strives on amazing service and an overall fun experience. Visit: Horizon Golf & Conference Center 16000 Ashford St Horizon City, TX 79928

Currently Jeff Gates is the Superintendant and General Manager of Horizon Golf and Conference Center. Jeff was previously at Painted Dunes Golf Course for 12 years and was brought in for his expertise and experience. Already Horizon has been brought up to playing standards but is still not where Jeff envisions the standards of the facility to reach. The course is open 7 days a week and t-time is at 7am every morning. The prices at the facility are very reasonable and is quickly becoming an Eastside favorite course.

The El Paso Association of Builders brings to you "Spring Golf" Presented by StrucSure Home Warranty April 16, 2014 Registration: 11:00 am


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Spotlight Homes


peaking to Edgar Garcia, one gets the sense of pride and family. Those are also characteristics that go into the homes he builds at Bella Vista Custom Homes. He speaks of everything that has gone into his experience, not only as a homebuilder, but also as a firefighter, as a son and as a brother. All those details have gone to make Garcia into a builder that can custom make your dream home, no matter the size or specifications.

Garcia began by remodeling homes with his brother years ago. He, his brother and his father are all retired El Paso firefighters. Being in the department gave them time to pick up business while still serving. “We learned a lot of different things from our dad. He had us busy since we were young. He would save up some money enough to build a house over the summer to rent out. That’s how we learned framing, insulation, and drywall. We learned about construction and the business of homes.” Years later, after a full career in the El Paso Fire Department, Garcia retired and had more time for his business. “In 2001, when I started Bella Vista, we were closing maybe one or two homes a year. Now, we’re closing about 20 homes a year. I didn’t get into this business just to hand it over to my subcontractors. The work has to be to my standards, which are high. The customer is paying a decent amount of money for my work. In return, they should receive a very nice home.”

of the bathroom tub, the layout of a kitchen, or even the design of an entryway. “It’s not about the price. It’s about the quality, and quality does tend to cost a bit more.”

As everything else, his business has been an on-going learning experience. “In this field, you’re always learning, finding new and better ways of doing things every year. There’s always room for improvement. My first house was a huge learning experience. We probably didn’t run any profit.” Part of his experience still comes from family. “One of my foremen is actually my dad. He’s been working for me for 8 years and is getting ready to retire. Who better to entrust your business to than your own father?” Garcia’s brother now runs his own competing construction company. “I think we’re two up and coming companies that are trying to make a name for ourselves here in El Paso. That forces each of us to step up our business, because of the other. I know I want him and his company to thrive and he wishes the same for me.”

It’s his personal attention to detail that Garcia believes sets his homes apart from the competition. His houses start at around $235,000 and usually 1900 square feet. He actually is getting ready to start projects for a $550,000 and a million dollar home. When asked about the big money homes, Garcia simply says, “All our houses are supposed to be showcases for us. As is the case with every home we build, they’re never going to be your typical house. All our homes have custom cabinets, granite throughout the house not just in the kitchen. Most have the same or even varied tile throughout the house. Whenever there is special tile on the walls, most builders stop at the standard 7 feet height. We run ours up to the ceiling.” He showed me a photography book of his work. Indeed, no house or building look similar to each other and every room looks like there was extensive thought and work put in it. Nothing looks “standard” and everything looks like a showpiece.

Garcia’s commitment to excellence starts when a customer walks in the door. “We ask for a new customer to schedule an appointment so that we can devote the time to show you our product. Depending on the customer, we may even take you to an actual house in the construction stage.” He explains that he is never pushy to close a deal. “Our product sells itself.” Garcia will then ask about the specifics that you would like in your house so they can come up with a rough sketch of your house, then modify it into an actual plan. “We change it as many times as is necessary to make the customer happy. I’ve been working with a customer on their house for their floor design for the past six months. Once the plans are ready, it’ll take about 4 to 5 months to build. I try to go to each house we’re building at least once a week to ensure that it’s being built to the quality that I expect.”

He points out details in each photo where the customer asked for a specific kitchen island design, the placement, height and shape

Continued on next page.


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Spotlight Homes

As he explains, even when the plans are finalized and building

price. With the homes I now build, I can assure you the best possible quality for the money. My foremen know what I’m looking for and know that I expect everything to be spotless and built to my standards. If you’re only looking at price, then you’re looking for somebody else. If you’re looking for quality, then you will eventually come to me.”

has begun, customers may change their minds. “Clients can come and see their house being built anytime. They are seeing their house being built after all. I’d rather they tell me that something is being done wrong somewhere in the process rather than when it’s done and it’s harder, and more expensive to change.”

If you are in the market for a custom home, Edgar Garcia invites you to visit his website at to see his portfolios. As it says there, “You deserve a home you can be proud of. Building your custom home that meets your standards, taste and needs is exactly what Bella Vista Custom Homes, Inc. delivers.”

Garcia explains that early in his homebuilding career, he attempted to go into the business of building tract homes, which are smaller, more affordable homes which are mass produced, but only to the builder’s plans. “I couldn’t do it. I had to sacrifice quality for the 10

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Thanks to professional design tricks, a small kitchen looks -- and functions -- larger than life-size. Photo Courtesy Townhouse Kitchen

When D-I-Y Spells Trouble

experts all across the U.S. you can also find kitchen design specialists through local kitchen suppliers and regional design centers. For example, the small, sophisticated kitchen in the photo we show here was created by Joy Young, who has been designing and managing kitchen installations for some 10 years. However, this kitchen is her personal baby: It's in her own Townhouse Kitchens ( showroom in the New York Design Center.


Q: We're planning to renovate the smallest kitchen in the

city -- new cabinets, flooring and lighting. Without knocking down walls, are there ways to make the kitchen look larger? I've never done this before, so we need all the help we can get!

A: Then I'd urge you to seek professional design expertise.

Here's Joy explaining professional designer tricks you could put to use in your own "smallest kitchen in the city."

Creating a successful kitchen is far more complicated than merely decorating any other room. This is where form truly follows function. Precision is paramount. Plus, you need to understand the latest options when it comes to choosing cabinets, appliances, surfacing materials and lighting.

"In a scant 200 square feet, I've created the illusion of a fullsize kitchen, using the sleight-of-hand design tricks I've been perfecting on other projects in New York, which just may be the most space-deprived city in the world.

In short, get thee to a designer who specializes in kitchens and baths. One place to look: The National Kitchen

"By altering the proportions of the toe kicks, the backsplash and the height of the wall cabinets, and using base cabinets of solid walnut plank with the grain running horizontally, I've led the eye to the optical conclusion that there're many more than just 200 square feet here!"

& Bath Association, a trade organization for professional kitchen and bath designers, maintains a list of certified


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A: I have at least three "better ideas" to suggest. Shop for a

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No wonder it pays to hire a pro like Joy: She can stretch space by merely waving her magic design wand.


coee table that has multiple personalities: drawers and leaves that pull out to provide more space; low stools that slide under until you need them; wings that lift to double the size of the serving surface.

: The living/dining room of our apartment is long, narrow and dark -- 25 feet long, 14 feet wide, with a 12-foot ceiling. It's like living in a tunnel! How can we make it warmer and cozier?

A: You're dealing with bad feng shui, the ancient Chinese art

You are not alone in your gathering habits, you know. American families seem to be deserting their dining tables en masse. According to a survey by the International Furnishings and Design Association, the dedicated dining room is vanishing.

that uses color, furniture arrangements and other decorative elements to keep good chi -- "life force" -- happily at home in your home.

More than 70 percent of the IFDA survey respondents say they take their meals in other places, many, like your family, in the center of the living room. So it makes good sense to seek ways to max your comfort at mealtime.

Here's how: Paint that high ceiling a dark color that makes it look lower and closer, therefore cozier. Arrange your seating area -- sofa, chairs, tables, lamps -- at right angles to the side walls and anchor it on a colorful area rug. Dress your windows in something that will stop the eye at the end wall and turn the center of attention back to the center of the room. Sounds like more decorating "magic"? Yes, but remember, feng shui magic comes with a 5,000-year-long track record of successes.

Here's one smart idea to check out, and never mind that this is a big-city loft space with room enough for a total family reunion. The center of attention is the seating area -- sofa, side chairs, and in the center of the action -- ta-dum! -- a coee table with multiple personalities, a central table with two more nesting beneath, ready and waiting for the takeout to arrive.

Q: Our house is really small. We've added twins to the family

in the year since we moved in, so we use every inch of it. I mean, with no dining room, we often eat in the living room, everybody sitting around the coee table, which is just a large storage basket. Isn't there a better idea?

You'll enjoy the table's name, too: It's from the Improv in G collection (by Somerton Dwelling), subtitled, "And Then There Were Three."

Turn the Tables on Tight Spaces


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Spotlight Homes

Protecting Your Biggest Investment


Story by Ricky Jimenez Carrasco

he best advice Ed Flores says he can give as an insurance agent is a change of perception. "Don't look at it as just another expense. Look at it as buying protection." Flores has been an agent with Nationwide Insurance for the last 11 years. His approach to his business is different in that he sees himself as an advisor, first and Ed Flores | Nationwide Insurance foremost. "When I have a customer come in, it may be their first new home. They may not even know the right questions to ask. My first responsibility then is to put as much of the right information in front of them so they can make the best decisions possible for their situation." Buying an insurance plan can be intimidating. Therefore, having good, practical information is necessary before buying something as big as a house.

There are many specifics and scenarios that can be covered with home insurance, and simply buying a "broad" or general plan may not be the best plan for you. El Paso has some of the best rates in Texas, in part because we are considered "safe" weather-wise. We have mild winters and generally dry summers. Because of that, many buyers are not aware that their general plan may not contain water damage coverage that may occur from burst pipes, damaged appliances, or sewer line problems. Very generally speaking, a buyer can expect to spend about $600 a year for every $100,000 a home is worth, depending on specific coverage and companies. "What people who buy homeowner's insurance as a requirement don't realize is that it is very much a protection. It's a device that can help you restore your living conditions back to the way they were before there was damage from a fire or other damage. Once the mortgage is paid off, many homeowners simply choose to discontinue coverage because they saw the insurance only as an extra expense." They are then left vulnerable to having to pay for damage that could otherwise be easily covered.

Flores advises that the future homeowner understand their financial responsibilities before contemplating buying a home. "A home is usually a person's biggest investment. People see insurance as just an extra expense." Factoring in for only the cost of the house is short sighted. A buyer should understand that then there are the costs of interest, the cost of furnishing and maintaining the house, and then the cost of protecting the entire investment with insurance.

"Many new clients do not understand there may be cheaper coverage plans labeled as 'full' coverage, but may simply not have adequate coverage for many scenarios." Flores explained that, say, there is a fire and a home is burnt down to the ground. A fully realized insurance plan will cover the cost of the building through reconstruction. A simple plan may pay you current market value on the contents of the home, but that may not replace the items to current standards after devaluation and wear and tear factors in. "You may have $100,000 worth of contents, and a plan may only get you $50,000 or less depending on how old your items are."

"A buyer should understand that they themselves are able to not only pick the insurance company, but also the specific coverage within their plan." Like when someone is buying a car and cannot leave the lot without having coverage on the car, buyers are not allowed to begin buying a home through a mortgage company without having coverage on the home. If the mortgage company takes the initiative and seeks their own company, the buyer should know that they are only seeking to cover their investment. "The mortgage company will shop to their benefit. So if you shop around, you can decide the specifics of the coverage."

A good coverage plan can also pay you “loss of use,” that pays you money so you can live elsewhere while reconstruction takes place. Reconstruction for a home may take up to or over a year. Without that simple detail in a plan, you may be paying for rent or a hotel out of your own pocket. Continued on page 29.


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Spotlight Homes

Out & About Live

April and May

You source for live events happening around the area.

EPCC Spring Arts Festival — The 37th annual spring festival of performing, visual and literary arts offers workshops, concerts, lectures and exhibits at various venues of El Paso Community College through May. Most events are free. Information: 831-2461, or Downtown Artist and Farmers Market — The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department’s market for area artists are Saturdays in the Union Plaza District along Anthony Street. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space for about 53 artists available each month. Information: 541-4942. La Viña Winery presents its Spring Wine Festival Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27, 2014 from noon to 7 p.m. Over 20 wines will be available for tasting and purchase. 4201 South Highway 28, La Union, New Mexico

CIRQUE ZIVA — With visual and technical innovations presented beautifully in centuries-old Chinese acrobatics, Inn of the Mountain Gods brings you the incredibly, death-defying acts of Cirque Ziva, presented by the Golden Dragon Acrobats! From contortionists to hoop acts, this family-friendly event is one night only, Sunday, April 27 in the events center at Inn of the Mountain Gods.

Celtic Woman | The Emerald Tour - Celtic Woman make a stop in El Paso this April. April 10th The Plaza Theatre

El Paso Opera: La Boheme April 2014 brings the grand opera staging of Puccini’s classic five-hankie masterpiece, La bohème. April 13th Abraham Chavez Theatre. Tickets:

Jerry Seinfeld

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George Lopez ‘Alice in Neverland’ — Kids-N-Co., 1301 Texas, pres-

George Lopez - May 3rd Abraham Chavez Theatre -

ents the Alice/Peter Pan mashup adventure through

George Lopez: TV's self-proclaimed "America's Mexi-

April 13 Directed by Jim Lupercio, and written by Paige

can", has made headlines and history with his

Hale, with Alice Hale and Jim Lupercio. Showtime is

groundbreaking stand-up comedy and late night show.

7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m.

Tickets avaliable at

Sundays. Information 351-1455 All Fresco Fridays - May 3rd- Sept 27 Arts Festival

Sesame Street Live: Make a new friend - April 17-


20th Abraham Chavez Theatre - Sesame Street Live has been entertaining children and their families for over

Morrissey - May 13th The

twenty years now. With a new show every year and an

Plaza Theatre

ever revolving cast of beloved characters, Sesame Street Live has toured all over the world, year after

The Adams Family May

year, to packed stadiums and arenas. Tickets:

24-25th The Plaza Theatre Jersey Boys - May 28

Rock of Ages - April 22nd The Plaza Theatre

Plaza Theatre - How did four blue-collar kids become one of the greatest suc-

Beck - April 24th

cesses in pop music history? Find out at the runaway

Abraham Chavez Theatre

smash-hit, Jersey Boys. Tickets:

Jerry Seinfeld - May 2

Get the latest events and happenings around the area

Abraham Chavez Theatre

from Spotlight News free every week. Visit


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Hang It All! Art = Architecture

The sum is truly greater than its parts when many artworks are hung in precise rows over a sofa. Photo Courtesy Baker Furniture.


Q: We were cleaning out my late great-aunt's house and

That said, I also applaud the solution French designer Jacques Garcia devised for the sleek sitting room we show here, designed to show off his latest furniture collection for Baker Furniture. Yes, his wall of art does involve a hammer and nails -- also, a measuring tape, and the patience to hang all those pictures just so.

found stacks of framed photos of European scenes. She was a good amateur photographer and avid traveler. I'd like to honor her work but am overwhelmed at the thought of finding enough space to hang all her photos ... there may be 25 or more. Is there a smart way to show them off a few at a time?

It is the precision of the display that makes it so visually interesting. How, you may ask, can this be done? First, by measuring the wall space involved, marking it out on the floor below, then arranging the framed artwork to suit your eye. Now transfer your arrangement, piece by piece, to the wall itself, carefully maintaining the correct spacing.

A: Yes. But don't even think of reaching for a hammer

and nails. Instead, think about a gallery of rotating photos. Choose a long wall space, say, just above a chair rail in the dining room, and install a narrow shelf, wall-to-wall. It should have a lip at the front edge so you can prop up a selection of photos, a half dozen at a time. No nails necessary. You then rotate the collection when you're ready for a change of scenery.

Collectors, note: To achieve this architectural effect, all frames and picture mats should match. Not to the art, of course. There, as the French would say, Vive la difference!


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code-driven coastal area homes, SafePoint glass offers noeffort protection for the home, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Helping Keep Your Home Safe and Secure by: Simonton Windows

The investment in this glass package pays off in so many ways, says Pember. In addition to helping protect the home, this laminated glass package provides excellent energy efficiency and serves as an effective barrier against heat transfer. This glass can actually play a significant role in helping lower heating and cooling costs for the home throughout the year while keeping the interior comfortable. And, this glass screens out much of the sunís harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage carpets, furnishings and artwork.

Windows Help With Home Safety

In addition to requesting impact-resistant glass in windows, there are several other things homeowners can do to enhance the security and safety of their families in their homes.

Children should be taught at a young age to stay away from windows for their own safety, says Pember. Parents can help safeguard children in the home by keeping furniture (including cribs) and anything else a child can climb on, away from windows. And, if your home has Double Hung windows, open only the top part of the window that children cannot reach, to allow for ventilation.

Pember offers these tips for window safety in the home:

Tip #1 - Remember the primary purpose of a window screen is to keep insects outside. Never push on screens, as they will not support the weight of a child or family pet.

(HIT) - Whether youíre making a fast trip to the store or leaving on a two-week vacation, are you confident that locking your doors is enough to keep your home safe and secure?

Tip #2 - Lock windows when not in use to protect against intruders and make it more difficult for curious young children to open windows.

According to experts at Simonton Windows, you can go a step further by investing in impact-resistant laminate glass packages in your windows. Engineered to deter intruders, these energy-efficient windows also resist high winds and flying debris during severe storms and reduce unwanted outside noise from coming into your home.

Tip #3 - Do not paint or nail windows shut. Every window in the home that is designed to be opened should be operational in case of an emergency.

This glass package is designed to make a home a safe haven, says Gary Pember, vice president of marketing for Simonton Windows. The unique laminated SafePoint glass package offers proven peace-of-mind protection against forced entry which can help keep your home safe from intruders.

Tip #4 - Refrain from nailing or attaching decorative lights to the interior or exterior of window frames. Tip #5 - Plant shrubs or grass, and place ìsoft landscapingî like bark or mulch, directly underneath windows to help lessen the impact should someone accidently fall out of a window. For more information, visit

Similar in design to impact-resistant glass packages found in


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Spotlight Homes

Fifty Shades of Beige and Gray By: Joseph Pubillones

Ask any designer which colors are the most basic and

adaptable to any decoration scheme, and you're likely to hear beige and gray. These colors are tried and true base colors that allow other colors to shine. In my years as a professional, I confess to having used over 50 shades of beige and gray — some elegant shades of beige and some very cool shades of gray. While some may consider those colors drab, I like to think they are refined, quiet and sophisticated. Why are these colors used so often? Aren't they middle-ofthe-road, noncommittal colors? Well, sometimes. Beige is neither white nor brown, and gray is neither black nor white. Beige can convey dependable, conservative or neutral. Gray might mean business or mourning or a desire to be invisible and can sometimes signify weakness. Both colors are decoratively important and can feel dramatic or demure with the tweaking of a few details and accessories in the right accent color. Beige had its heyday in the 1980s, when all beige rooms were considered elegant and chic. Guess what: They still are. But beige has been done, and while beige has been accepted as a viable color for decor, gray has not been so lucky. This is perhaps due to the many negative associations with gray: aging hair, dreary days, prison uniforms and institutions. But not so fast. Gray has become quite a commodity in the past couple of years. Right now, gray is hot — hotter than ever. But rather than as a one-color scheme, gray is paired with vibrant colors such as fuchsia, chartreuse, orange or citron yellow. It is the perfect stand-in for almost any color scheme. In its darker shades, gray usually is the perfect color for contemporary or transitional interiors. In its lighter shades, gray can be seamlessly introduced into traditional interiors to play off of rich dark wood tones, painted furniture or aged brass. Think classic French and Swedish interiors.

Gray walls needn't mean cold interiors. Walls the color of driftwood create a sophisticated version of a beachy interior without the need for the expected ocean blue. Grays offer flexibility, bringing the opportunity to design interiors that satisfy both sexes. When paired with soft dusty pastel colors or the vibrancy of neon, gray can be quite feminine and appropriate for any age. On the other hand, when grays are paired with dark colors such as navy, green and brown, gray can be masculine and also appropriate for boys and men of all ages. Dispel your fears of gray rooms. Don't torture yourself. They needn't be blah. You can inject your new rooms with a fresh color palette of gray and any color you like — you name it. Set the trend in your corner of the world when you decorate, and you will enjoy many admiring wows from family and friends. They'll be green with envy.

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How To Find A Qualified Window Installer

proper window installation. Once they achieve a preferred installer status, these professionals are then promoted on the company’s website in a geographic breakdown, so it’s easy for you to locate an installer that meets the company’s criteria in your area. Tip #2 – If you’re purchasing your windows through a major home improvement center, such as The Home Depot, they will have an installer program. You can hire your installers through the home center at the same time that you order your windows.

(HIT) - If you’re thinking about replacing the windows in your home, make sure to invest as much time in finding a qualified window installer as you do in selecting the right windows for your house.

Tip #3 – Ask your local lumberyards, distribution centers and building product dealerships for recommendations on quality window installers in your area.

Locating a qualified window installer in your area may be easier than you think. Along with the traditional ways of locating installers, such as the Yellow Pages and searching businesses online, here are some fast and easy recommendations from the experts at Simonton Windows to help you find qualified installers in your area.

Tip #4 – Visit a website like, Home Advisor or Angie’s List. Let them match you up with installers in your specific geographic area to receive installation quotes. Tip #5 – Ask family, friends and colleagues for recommendations of installers they’ve used in the past. Select those whose services have been stand-out top quality with your friends.

Tip #1 – Go to a window manufacturer’s website to see if they have a preferred installer program. Many window manufacturers, l like Simonton Windows, require contractors to go through classes and training sessions to make sure they understand the specifics of

For more information, visit 22

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5 Good Reasons To Buy The Best Interior Paint


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paint. Just think how much time and effort you’ll save by having to apply fewer coats!

4. Good adhesion to various surfaces. Should your painting

project involve several different materials, such as wallboard, wood, vinyl, or metal (think not just walls, but doors and trim, too), you’ll be able to paint them all with high-end 100% acrylic latex paint. Go with lower-grade paint and you might have to buy several different kinds of coatings, complicating your decision-making and possibly adding to the cost of the job.


5. Best overall durability. Let’s face it, while interior painting

can be a fun project, most of us are more than happy to put away the brushes and rollers, sit back, and enjoy the new colors for a while. That’s part of the beauty of top quality acrylic paint. It offers exceptional durability, so once you finish painting, your home interior will look great until you again get the urge to paint. If you want to know more about paints, painting and color selection, you may want to visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at, or the Institute’s website at Both are chock full of good advice

aybe it's the power of suggestion, but just as the leaves begin to turn, many of us get the urge to change the colors inside our homes by doing some interior painting. Which, for most of us, raises the question: What type of paint should I use? Here are five compelling reasons to spring for the best quality coating this fall, courtesy of experts at the Paint Quality Institute, whose mission is to provide helpful information on paints, painting techniques, and color.

1. Better color retention. If you’re painting to change the

color of a room, then you surely want your new hue to last. Top quality 100% acrylic latex paint helps keep your colors true to their day-one appearance. Bargain paints? They tend to pale by comparison.

2. Better stain resistance. Nothing can ruin a new paint job quicker than a nasty stain – whether it’s due to a careless spill, dirty fingerprints, or something totally unforeseen. If you spend a little more for a quality acrylic latex paint, think of it as buying some insurance against these color calamities. This type of paint is highly resistant to many of the most common stains, especially in higher sheen levels, such as semi-gloss or high gloss paint. 3. Paint and primer in one. Top quality 100% acrylic latex

paint offers an important performance advantage over all lower quality, non-acrylic coatings: Many are “self-priming” – in other words, they do double-duty as both primer and


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Very Mushroom Lasagna

Spotlight Homes

Yield: 12 servings

Start to finish: 20 minutes prep; 50 minutes baking time; 10 to 15 minutes cooling

KITCHEN SCOOP Photo by Alicia Ross for Kitchen Scoop.


by Alicia Ross

Suggested Menu: Very Mushroom Lasagna Fresh spinach salad Garlic cheese bread

For a season, I am fortunate enough to

9 uncooked regular lasagna noodles 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound portobello mushroom caps, coarsely chopped 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced 2 large onions, chopped 1 cup fresh carrots, sliced 3 cups (24 ounces) prepared marinara sauce of choice (see Cook's Note) 1 tablespoon Italian herb blend (Italian seasoning) 2 teaspoons chopped garlic 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 pound low-fat ricotta cheese 1 egg, well-beaten 4 cups mozzarella cheese 1 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the lasagna according to package directions to al dente texture. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.

have my adult daughters and my mom living in the same city. This scenario surely won't last long as they pursue their dreams and careers elsewhere. But for now, I'm in the place I have chosen to live and work, and I have family here. It feels good, and I'm very thankful.

Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Stir and cook until mushrooms release their water and carrots are tender, about 6 minutes. Add marinara sauce, herb blend, garlic, salt and pepper to vegetables. Stir and cook 5 minutes to blend flavors. Set aside.

Realizing these seasons are often short-lived, we have set aside one evening a week where we get together and just sit around the dinner table talking, sharing our lives and, of course, eating homecooked food.

Combine the ricotta cheese and egg in a small bowl and set aside.

To build the casserole: Spray a deep (10-by-13-by-3-inch or approximately 4-quart) glass casserole dish with nonstick cooking oil. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of dish in a thin layer. Top with 3 noodles, side by side. Layer 2 more cups of sauce, half the ricotta mixture, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and 3 more noodles. Repeat layer. Then top the entire casserole with remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. (Try to cover the top 3 noodles with either sauce or cheese to prevent noodles from getting hard while baking.) Cover tightly with foil.

Today's recipe is one we have enjoyed a few times. Not only does it feed us for dinner, but it provides terrific leftovers. So we have workweek lunches or frozen dinners for down the road.

I pump up the mushroom flavor with portobellos and white mushrooms, and then add plenty of onions and carrots for texture. The result is a classic lasagna that will make you and all who share it with you thankful for the effort. (I do not suggest using no-cook noodles with this lasagna.) There are loads of reasons to be thankful every day. I just have to be intent on making sure to celebrate them and hope you will, too.

Bake 40 minutes or until bubbling rapidly at edges. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese on top turns light golden brown and is sizzling. Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Approximate values per serving: 334 calories, 15 g fat (8 g saturated), 53 mg cholesterol, 24 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 826 mg sodium.

Cook's Note: For testing purposes I used Classico Tomato and Basil Sauce.


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Photo by Alicia Ross for Kitchen Scoop.

Small Batch Heath Bar Cookies

Start to finish: 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes refrigeration time, 12 minutes bake

really should call my recipe for Small Batch Heath Bar Cookies my OMG ("Oh my God!") cookies instead, because that has been the response from everyone who has eaten one lately. Ironically, this is a recipe I found handwritten on a card in the bottom of my file cabinet, which had a smiley face on it -- the old-school version of OMG. (Obviously, I had the same response to the cookies and copied the recipe from a friend.)

Yield: 20 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 finely chopped Heath Bars 1/2 cup chopped pecans In medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Seriously, these will not disappoint the most discerning cookie connoisseur. You have a hint of chocolate, the chewy goodness of toffee and the sure presence of pecans surrounded by butter-sugar dough that is delicious by itself. I've sized the batch to make 20 cookies, which is helpful when you don't want to be tied to the oven for over an hour baking tray after tray. For a small household like mine, there are still enough to enjoy and share without tiring of them.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes on medium-high. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to incorporate. Turn off the mixer and stir in (by hand) the candy bars and pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dough is nice and firm.

As always, let me know what you think at In the meantime, whip up a batch of these cookies. (I'll be listening for the OMGs.) Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop each cookie dough scoop about 2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely. Store covered.

Approximate values per cookie: 142 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 142 mg sodium.


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Spotlight Homes

Dare to Go All White?


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Spotlight Homes

Continued from page 15.


Q: I've always wanted an all-white living room but just

Protecting your biggest investment

had to wait until the grandchildren had grown old enough! My question is about buying white carpeting. Would doing so be a mistake?

A: Not if you shop wisely and choose the right fiber and,

Price of deductibles also factor in the price and coverage of a plan. “Now there are 2% to 3% deductibles on many plans. On a $100,000 home, that’s $2,000 to begin construction. There are separate deductibles for things like fire, theft or vandalism. For example, in El Paso, wind and hail damage deductibles are about 1%.”

Meanwhile, a practical suggestion: Consider nixing wall-towall carpeting in favor of a white area rug, which would be easier to handle when/if your all-white scheme begins to look a bit dim. Not only that, carpeting wall-to-wall is old thinking, according to today's top tastemakers.

Flores also advises to combine policies whenever possible, not only for the savings with a company, but also for convenience. “My company does home, auto, life, and commercial insurance. By combining policies, I can offer better savings and better deductibles. Further, what that means in case of an emergency where you, your home, etc., are involved, you only have to call up one agent for help.”

ideally, the right protective finish. A good place to research is on the website of the Carpet and Rug Institute, an industry organization that is all about educating the consumer.

Professional designers have come to prefer area rugs that show off the flooring beneath -- in the photo we show here, that's hardwood stained dark to add dramatic contrast to the mostly white color scheme. Even the artwork on the white-painted paneled walls is hushed. But look twice and you'll see other color notes, like the silvered chair and gold tones in the tables, and the dark throw over the tufted white stool (furniture from Ethan Allen's "Melrose" collection).

“Many homeowners go into the purchase as a married couple, splitting the cost between both of their incomes. I can advise the couple to get a family continuation plan, whereby if something catastrophic happens to one spouse, the family can continue with their lifestyle within their home.” Lastly, Flores suggests periodically reviewing your policies to be sure they are up to date. “If you have a local agent, which I recommend, ask for a policy review from your agent or even call me. If you’ve been taking the time and expense to buy, furnish, and insure a home for the last 10 – 15 years, the worst time to find out that you were not adequately covered is when you have an emergency.”

Always fresh and soothing, white can be very right -- and sophisticated -- in any room in the house. For more inspiration, have a look at a lovely book called "Brilliant: White in Design" by Linda O'Keeffe. A former editor at the late, lamented Metropolitan Home magazine, she explores the many reasons white has always been a favorite color for living rooms.

Whether you are planning to buy your dream home or you already own your home, protecting that investment, and all your valuables and family members inside, only makes sense in the long run. Ed Flores suggests you look at as much information as possible before, and after, your purchase to make the best decisions possible. “Don’t have blinders on when you buy insurance of any kind. Have someone that can inform you about your situation.” Good insurance should mean good protection and a less troublesome time when the unexpected occurs.

Q: Up against an ugly wall?

A: Think brick ... thin brick, the real thing but only an inch

thick so it can be applied to walls, floors and fireboxes with no major reconstruction required. From a Connecticut company aptly entitled Stone Farm, Reclaimed Thin Brick comes pre-used and pre-mellowed from old factories, mills and schools around New England, and goes up with troweled-on mortar, just like the real, thick version. Have a look at

You can find Ed Flores, a Nationwide Insurance Agent, at 1400 N. Zaragoza, Ste. E, 915-857-3300


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Photo Courtesy of Bella Vista Homes

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Spotlight Homes - April/May 2014  
Spotlight Homes - April/May 2014