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October/November 2014


Your home. Reimagined. Renovations 路 Kitchens 路 Baths 路 Outdoor Living 路 Eco Friendly


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Reaching 198,000 homes annually

October /November 2014

VOL 14 NO 5 Publisher Mark Herrmann Managing Editor Anne Marie Ashley Editorial Director Tammy Wanchisn


Marketing Intern Sara Workman Writers Nancy Atkinson Anne Marie Ashley Ragan Haston Laura Jackson Page Leggett Brandy Snow Dana W. Todd Tammy Wanchisn


Sales Kathleen Hands Art Direction Harriet McDowall PageCreations Photography Dustin Peck Photography



Jim Schmid Photography

feature home 14 French Inspired Beauty in Foxcroft

why the room works 52 Designer Spotlight: Beth Keim: Lucy & Co.

design trends 37 Signature Style: Four Decorating Trends Worth Watching

essentials 54 Fall Style

Contributing Editors Jennifer Green Trent Haston Beth Keim Mark Morgan Catherine Whitney Production Administrator Shelley Kemper Phone 704-332-1504 Fax 704-973-5685 Email: Website:

feature home

76 Comfortably Chic

features decorating 30 Bedroom Bliss


50 Start at the Beginning @urbanhomemags

All contents copyright 2014, Casey Communications Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent from publisher. Mention of any product or service does not constitute endorsement from Urban Home Magazine. The information contained in this publication is deemed reliable from third party sources, but not guaranteed. Casey Communications Inc. does not act as an agent for any of the advertisers in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified remodeling, home furnishings or home improvement firm based on your own selection criteria. Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Charlotte Urban Home Magazine, will not knowingly accept advertising for real estate which is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. All real estate advertising in Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Charlotte Urban Home Magazine, is subject to the Fair Housing Act which states “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.”


60 How the Right Renovation Start Provides the Perfect Finish kitchens and baths 64 Mother Nature Made Better lifestyles 88 Engagement Ring Purchasing Tips

Casey Communications Inc., d.b.a. Charlotte Urban Home Magazine, does not act as an agent for any of the realtors or builders in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified realtor to assist you in your new home purchase.

8 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

contributing editors

room service: beth keim

26 A Playroom for Inspiration

building a better home: trent haston

kitchen design: catherine whitney

dollars and sense: jennifer green 

outdoor retreats: mark morgan

56 Dollar Wise

68 Kitchens Are the New Family Rooms

80 How to Transfer Values Along with Wealth

84 Plan to Plant in Fall

1920 Cleveland Ave (B1)

Charlotte, NC 28203


w w w. f r a n k s m i t h d e s i g n . c o m


R e si den t i a l De sig n Inc .

Frank Smith

12 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

1111 Central Ave #320 Charlotte, NC 28204


October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 13

14 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

Beauty French Inspired in Foxcroft


By Anne Marie Ashley Photography by Dustin Peck

Nearly ten years ago, designer Anne Buresh and her family had to part ways with their beloved 1930s Georgianstyle home in Richmond, Virginia. They had spent years renovating their home and adding personal touches and had made many memories there. They headed to Charlotte and found a house in the Foxcroft neighborhood. Built in the early 1980s, it had good potential and they again looked forward to the challenge of making it more comfortable for their family and lifestyle. They immediately began putting their own touches on the house, and eventually major renovations occurred, including a two-story addition with a new master bedroom, bathroom, media room/office,

family room and four-car garage. Other renovations included the relocation of the front staircase, a complete kitchen remodel, an upstairs bathrooms renovation and an exterior overhaul that included painting the existing red brick and adding extensive architectural details. “Eventually, the transformation began to look like our house molded into the way our family lives,” said Buresh. Buresh wanted her home’s design to be comfortable and welcoming and done with elegance and style, just as she does for her clients of Anne Buresh Interior Design. From the minute you walk through the front door, this vibe rings true. The completely redesigned foyer creates a grand entrance, yet is welcoming

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 15

and inviting. “I’ve heard that your home should rise up to greet you as a first impression and at the end of the day, it should surround you in a sense of peace,” says Buresh. “That’s the feeling I’ve tried to create here.” Buresh wanted a home that was well thought out with a layout for functionality that reflected her personality. In her newly remodeled kitchen she used white handmade subway tiles for the backsplash, which are not only practical, but slight irregularities give it a personal touch. Cabinets were built around a previously owned Sub-Zero refrigerator because she loved the model so much. A large rectangular farm sink was the perfect choice for frequent washing of her big Staub pots. Having rooms with good flow was also important to Buresh. She describes this as a room’s furniture plan, color scheme, and lighting. “Good flow has a calming effect”, she says. In her new master bedroom she used a monochromatic color scheme of ivory walls, bedding and curtains. Careful attention to lighting was also important here. Buresh insists, “Your bedroom should be the most comfortable room in the house. It’s the first thing you see in the morning and the last place you see at night.” Accessorizing is a final and important emphasis that Buresh says made her home personal. Interesting objects, art, treasured books, travel mementos, family

16 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

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18 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

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photographs and pillows and throws are all key elements to pulling a home together. “Key accessories are where your home becomes not only personal, but a reflection of your personality.” In her living room, she placed a large bowl full of shells as a centerpiece on the coffee table. She says it reminds her of one her favorite places on the North Carolina coast. “I like having around me those constant reminders of the things I love.” In the family room, she showcases a large oil portrait of her children when they were younger that was painted by her sister. Just outside the room is another work by her sister—a triptych of buildings on a side street near Place Vendome in Paris, where Buresh remembers the view when she once stayed in a hotel there. “Accessorizing is the piece that lets your home tell your story,” Buresh explains. By looking at the transformation of this Foxcroft home, it is clear Buresh has told a beautiful and personal story in every room.v

To see all the photos of this home visit

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 21

live life to the fullest in


Rugs • Upholstery: sofas and chairs • Bedding • Mattresses • Lighting • Dining • Accessories • Art

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Contributing Editor | Room Service

A Playroom for Inspiration

BETH KEIM It’s all about zones in a large bonus room and bringing them together.

I always spend time in August organizing for back-to-school. Not only do I shop for a few new clothes, shoes, backpacks and the like, I re-organize our bonus room. Our space is a multifunction room for homework, arts and crafts and movie nights. I am often asked for help with these large rooms and for them to include numerous functions. If bedrooms are somewhat small, incorporating a computer and desk along with a sofa, TV and creative area are among the requests I receive. Jody Pannell had another activity on her list of wants—a dance studio for her two girls. Along with the usual activities these larger room are used for, she wanted a wall of mirrors and a dance floor. But more importantly Jody wanted to make it pretty with a cohesive color palette that complimented the rest of her home. It’s all about zones in a large bonus room and bringing them together. An area rug and wallpaper are ways to create these zones and define spaces. In this space, the wallpaper gives you visual impact when you walk in the room, as well as defines the craft area. The large mirror reflects the pattern to the opposite wall. The area rug contains the seating space. I am a huge fan of layering rugs over carpet. Another good tip is to pull your sofa or sectional away from the wall. Tucked behind it, your not-so-pretty bin-o-toys. Big bonus rooms can seem daunting, but remember to create functional corners and nooks. Save larger walls for built-ins or TV storage pieces and float your furniture. If these rooms are designed with visual appeal and hidden storage, they won’t just be the kid’s room, the entire family will enjoy it!v Beth Keim is the owner of Lucy and Company, a full–service interior design firm located at 1009 East Blvd. For more information, visit or call 704-342-6655.

26 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

Images courtesy of Mekenzie France.

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 27

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bliss Bedroom

By Dana W. Todd

30 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

We want to return the bedroom to a tranquil, peaceful place to rest your head and believe using extraordinary linens and bedding is the foundation of that serenity. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping in bed, so shouldn’t we exert at least a little effort making it a cozy and comfortable place in our homes? “The bedroom has evolved from just a place of sleeping to more of a multipurpose space,” says Laura Fitch, owner of Bedside Manor, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Charlotte this year. “We are using laptops and cell phones and watching TV in our bedrooms, and because of that, many people have gotten away from having a good night’s sleep. We want to return the bedroom to a tranquil, peaceful place to rest your head and believe using extraordinary linens and bedding is the foundation of that serenity. That’s why we are so passionate about bedding and educating our customers. We are driven by the singular purpose to enhance the quality of our customers’ lives.” Fitch has weathered all kinds of home decor evolutions over the years and is privy to seeing upcoming trends in the marketplace. With the arrival of fall, she recommends refreshing the bedroom by choosing new bed linens to reflect the seasonal color palette and the cooler weather. “Neutral-based beds are easy to change seasonally by adding pops of color in the form of pillows or a down comforter at the foot of the bed for extra warmth,” Fitch says, “and layering a bed helps adjust the temperature.” “Scandia’s light comforter is a great year-round weight. Ann Gish offers velvet coverlets and quilted coverlets, as does Matouk and Home Treasures. These are all great for fall and winter,” says Fitch. We also offer cashmere, wool and cotton blankets by Muse, Sferra, Brahms Mount and Matouk, and all are wonderful layering items for the bed.” Bedside Manor sells bed and bath linens and accessories from about 375 product lines, plus custom-designed linens for unique applications such as circular mattresses, super double king beds, and

custom beds for personal yachts and private jets. Its “room service” includes a complementary in-home design consultation to help customers bring their visions to life. Fitch, who fell in love with linens and textiles at an early age, says she is hooked on the process of turning art into fabric. “I was inspired by a family friend who designed textiles for a linen manufacturer, and I remember seeing her designs and being fascinated about the process of turning inspiration into an actual product. I was particularly fond of one of the designs she was working on, and about a year later I received a package from her with a beautiful set of sheets in it. After that, I was hooked!” she says. It is this inspiration that Fitch and her team bring to Bedside Manor and the reason customers have been returning for 20 years.v Visit the store and celebrate 20 years with Bedside Manor and experience the upgrades available for your bedroom and bathroom. Bedside Manor is located at 6401 Morrison Boulevard, Suite 19. Shop online at or call 704-442-4006. October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 31

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Design n Trends

siStyle gnature By Nancy Atkinson

You don’t have to be a fashion expert to select the perfect shoes for your outfit. It’s the same with your home interiors. Knowing your personal style helps you choose the right wall colors, fixtures and furniture. You can confidently create a cohesive look in your home and successfully blend two or more styles together.

37 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

What is your signature style? Here’s a guide to four distinct design styles and the furnishings, textures, color palettes and accessories that define each. One of these is your foundation for making the right choices in your home.


The New


A marble bust doubles as a bookend on a shelf. Classic artwork framed in heavy gilded wood accents a room that feels carefully balanced, from the matching furniture to the coordinating tones in the walls, floors, drapes and upholstery. When everything works together as a whole to create a calm, formal space, the room has traditional styling. Today’s traditional is not your Grandmother’s style. It has evolved and to become timeless, elegant and orderly, with classic shapes and unfussy details. Rooms feature finely crafted furniture in richly stained wood softened by an overstuffed sofa, soft accent pillows and elegant curtains in fabrics like silks, brocades or satin. Walls in new traditional rooms are usually beige, ivory or cream often complemented with rich woodworking details, wainscoting or an accent wall in a rich color. Splashes of bold color can also be found in artwork and accessories. Add a traditional touch to your home with: • Kitchen island and cabinets made to look like built-in furniture • Classic accessories – artwork with a timeless feel, mirrors, grand chandeliers • Sturdy timeless furniture with graceful lines – Sheraton, Chippendale, Queen Anne • Items paired in twos for symmetry • Key pieces placed strategically around the room in pairs, centered on a wall or in the exact middle of the room • Center artwork on the walls or tables

Amy Vermillion Interiors Dustin Peck Photography 38 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

Amy Vermillion Interiors Dustin Peck Photography


Mid Century

Do you love the simplicity of modern art, contemporary patterns and minimalist design? Are you inspired by the décor you see on Mad Men and the happy style of designer Jonathan Adler? If so, mid century modern is your style. Mid century modern was the height of fashion from the 1930s to the 1960s, when Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential. There aren’t a lot of rules in mid century modern style, just pared-down forms, minimalist design and seamless flow. To create a mid century modern interior, choose fresh, fun and contemporary furniture with clean lines and no adornment. Look for lacquered finishes in a mix of woods, geometric and abstract patterns and pop-art inspired accessories.

Jonathan Adler

Younger Furniture

Give your home mid century modern flair with: • Wall art in pop-art’s primary colors or posters of works by modern artists including Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollack and Roy Lichtenstein • Bare windows or skylights • Furniture in clean lines and blonde wood resembling works by the Mad Men of mid century modern furniture: George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen • Modernistic statement lighting: Sputnik chandeliers, bubble lights, arco floor lights • Area rugs in bold geometrics, solid or multicolored shag patterns

Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 39



If you love scouring flea markets for vintage finds and you have a knack for assembling a jumble of items into a pleasing package, bohemian chic may be your style. Often resembling Moroccan style with its bright colors and patterns, bohemian chic is a layered look, a combination of new and vintage with a freedom and uniqueness that is all about creating warmth and interest. Bohemian furniture pieces are unique. They either stand out on their own, or are made to stand out with a creative paint job. Victorian sofas work well, but you can also take a regular couch and throw on an elaborate tapestry.

Jamie Meares Interior Designer Meredith Perdue Photography

Jamie Meares Interior Designer Meredith Perdue Photography

Jamie Meares Interior Designer Meredith Perdue Photography

40 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

Dress your rooms in bohemian chic style with: • Accessories from around the world: aged photos, ornate boxes, vintage perfume bottles • Things that sparkle: glass beads, shiny light fixtures and things that give off a warm glow • Add texture with wood, fur, plants and leather • Display flea market art in a gallery effect • Use pops of color: indigo, turquoise, hot pink, red, orange



Do you love the old-world aesthetic of 18th century French furniture, but also embrace the warmth of exposed brickwork and stone floors? Rustic French style effortlessly blends elegance with simplicity to create stunning yet cozy interiors. To achieve this look, use soft muted shades and rich details in gold, bronze and gilt. Choose antique or heirloom furniture, layered window treatments and abundant fresh flowers to provide an inviting and comfortable mix that provides balance and warmth. Group furniture to encourage intimate conversation, keeping the main pieces comfortable in look and feel, capturing the spirit and weathered elegance of a French country garden.

Dress your rooms in rustic French style with: • Large couch with velvety cushions and pillows • Wood framed furniture painted white or gold • Wrought iron furniture • Wicker and metal chairs used indoors • Faded antique or sisal rug • Wicker trays • Rattan or aluminum frame chairs

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 41

Next Steps:


interior designer

Now that you’ve determined your signature style, what is the next step? If you don’t feel comfortable taking on the designing task yourself, you can hire an interior designer. Your home is distinctive; it’s a reflection of your personality and your lifestyle and hiring a professional to help you design the perfect space allows you to focus on enjoying it. We spoke with the experts at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for the Carolinas to get some tips.  How do homeowners hire the right designer? Have an idea of what you’d like your space to look like and use inspiration from magazines and design websites to get your message across to the designer. If you mesh well personally, chances are, the designer will know just how to infuse your personality into the home design. Other tips: • Is the professional accredited as an interior designer? • Does the designer have experience in the type of project you are doing? • Has he/she demonstrated creativity, talent and resourcefulness in their portfolio? • Is the designer attentive, responsive and do they communicate well with you? • Be sure the designer has a record of reliability and good work habits.

What should homeowners expect to pay for an interior design project? Designers, like other professionals, are different from one another in their combinations of talents, skills, knowledge, experience, personalities, specialty areas and reputations. Here, ASID outlines the common methods or combined methods for residential designers, tailored to fit the client’s needs: • Fixed fee (or flat fee) — The designer identifies a specific sum to cover costs, exclusive of reimbursement for expenses. One total fee applies to the complete range of services, from conceptual development through layouts, specifications and final installation.  • Hourly fee — Compensation is based on actual time expended by the designer on a project or specific service.  • Cost plus  —  A designer purchases materials, furnishings and services at cost and sells to the client at the designer’s cost plus a specified percentage agreed to with the client to compensate for the designer’s time and effort. ASID offers this final word about cost: How you choose to furnish your interior and how you work with your designer will have tremendous impact on the final cost of the project. Items such as antiques or custom-made furniture, and modifications that involve altering or moving load-bearing walls or beams will significantly increase the cost of your project, as will requesting changes mid-project or making excessive demands on the designer’s time. The more research and planning you do before you start, the more you will be able to help keep costs down during the project. Be sure to also check other local associations such as the American Institute of Architects. Many architectural firms have in-house interior designers as well.v



Acquisitions..................................................704-334-2478............................. American Institute of American Society of Interior Amish Oak and Bedside Carolina Shutter & Blinds of Charlotte..........980-285-7295..................... Closets By Design..........................................800-293-3744.................................... Consignment Couture Durham Designs & Consulting, Dutchman’s Casual Living Goods Home High Cotton Jaclyn Ehrlich Interior Laca LaDonna Antiques & Interiors......................704-375-0082................................... Lucy & Company...........................................704-342-6655.................................. Southend Trading Stark The Blind and Shutter Pros...........................704-392-8888....................... The Brass Exchange......................................704-377-2152 The Comfortable Couch The Louver The Furniture


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Start at the Beginning v v v

Don’t be afraid of an empty room or unfurnished apartment. Here’s advice from the pros on how to take the first step toward creating your dream home.

50 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

THE FIRST STEP ON ANY JOURNEY IS THE HARDEST. We fear the blank page, the empty canvas, the bare apartment. Whether you’re just starting out, starting over or making a few updates, it helps to begin with a plan. Having a certain look in mind from the outset will help ensure you don’t make costly mistakes as you build a room, said Rodney Hines, co-owner of three SouthEnd furniture stores. Having professional advice helps, too. The people who staff Hines’s shops aren’t just salespeople; they’re trained designers. The Furniture Connector’s Zach Wheeler likes blending modern and traditional pieces and encourages clients to do the same. “When you’re getting started, I think you have to come up with an overall budget,” he says. “Focus on one or two rooms at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.” If you don’t have the budget to furnish a room all at once – and few of us do – Wheeler suggests starting with a great sofa. That will help anchor the room. It’s also where you’re going to spend the most time, so you want it to be comfortable. “The next thing I’d recommend is a rug,” he says. “That ties the room together. Then, get two side chairs. You can fill in later with end tables, coffee tables, lamps and accessories.” Hines recently worked with a customer who was redoing her family room. She wanted a sofa that looked good, but durability was imperative since she has two small children. Hines recommended a Sunbrella fabric, which is known to stand up to spills and endure a lot of wear. The first week she had the sofa, one of her children spilled grape juice on it. “She wiped it up, and it didn’t leave a stain,” Hines said. “Sunbrella fabrics are like an insurance policy.” That’s the kind of expert advice you need when shopping for furniture that needs to last. David Trump, a designer at The Furniture Connector, helps customers design entire rooms – or their whole house. “Most people have some idea of the look they want to achieve,” he says. “But others come into the store and tell me they have no idea what their style is. I watch what they gravitate to in the store and then help them come up with an overall look.” He has a simple idea for his interior design clients who can’t decide on a color scheme: look in your closet and see what colors dominate. Your wardrobe colors can become the basis for a new room. Trump says Southend Trading

Company is surrounded by apartments and that a lot of those residents find their way to his store. For someone with an empty apartment, he recommends three basic purchases to get started: a sofa, a bed and bar stools. You can build everything else around those pieces. “There’s a definite trend away from dining tables,” he says. “Many clients are interested in bar-style seating and that doesn’t just go for young people in apartments. Families in large homes like the ease of sitting at a bar for meals.” Chad Pruett of High Cotton Home agrees that a sofa is a good starting point. “Too many people get hung up on wall color or wallpaper at first. People will say to me, ‘I’ve got a contractor coming in two days! What color should I paint my walls?’ And I say, ‘How can you pick a color when you don’t even know what is going on in the room?’ That’s like picking out what you’re going to wear with your eyes closed.” “Pick your sofa and other fabrics first,” he says. “Wall colors and coverings are decisions that should be made about mid-project. If you make that decision at the beginning, you may be stuck in a purgatory of neutral.” Dream homes don’t materialize overnight. They start small – one sofa at a time.v Southend Trading Company is at 2935 Griffith Street and can be reached at 704-527-1001. The Furniture Connector is at 2905 Griffith Street and can be reached at 704-523-3163 and High Cotton Home is at 2137 South Blvd and can reached at 704-335-1220.


Designer Spotlight: Beth Keim / Lucy & Co.

by Tammy Wanchisn

WhYthe room works

We caught up with the always-creative Beth Keim of Lucy and Company to see why this ultra-chic and very comfortable guest room works. This space, which was once all attic is now a cozy retreat. The color choices and layout were carefully thought out to offer maximum use of space and have all the necessary elements of comfort for guests. It works for several reasons. A neutral color palette with a pop of color reigns supreme in this guest room. The accent wallpaper anchors the bed while giving it a little drama. It includes three of Beth’s must haves: shiny, graphic and a big focal point. The simple upholstered headboard, matching side tables and lamps bring order and symmetry to what some might think is a busy pattern. And, it calms it all down a bit. The nook is the perfect spot for an occasional chair and lamp. The pop of color adds a little energy to the neutral space. Not

everybody sleeps the same, so functional, blackout-lined window treatments are a hit for deep sleepers. Another must-have element – something wood (and organic and graphic actually). Mixing the limed-oak dresser with the lacquered, bone, side tables create interest and mix textures. It works because it’s not a matching bedroom set. Sweet dreams.v

5 ways to make a room work.

52 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

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Contributing Editor | Building a Better Home

Dollar Wise

trent haston “Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish.”

One of my soapbox sayings around our office is, “don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish.” It is easy to want it all when building a home or doing a renovation, and one way to get it all is to cut corners in certain areas, but often in the wrong areas. It is also just as easy to be excessive in areas where you don’t need to be, causing you to waste money and not add value to your home. It is fun for me to analyze and discuss with my clients and friends good products and items to invest in. I call these my “dollar wise items”, and each is sure to give your home enjoyment and livability, guest wow power and pizzazz and equity return on your investment. Nano or Retractable Patio Doors These are multi-track sliding door systems, sometimes called operable walls, which create large, unobstructed views of the outdoors. The rule of thumb for a unit in a quality brand is roughly $1,500 per foot of the width of the opening. The advantage of these doors in a climate like Charlotte is that you can create a new indoor/outdoor room by being able to open the doors at least six months out of the year. When entertaining, they really help

56 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

with flow when hosting a large group of people. Also, with the wide expanse of glass, the outdoors become part of the home 365 days per year. Heated Bathroom Floors / Radiant Floor Heat I recommend this upgrade to every client who is renovating a master bathroom. I would even recommend heated floors in any room with tile flooring. This is my favorite feature in my own house. I often work at my vanity countertop because the radiant heat soothes the body. The cost is roughly $10 to $15 per square foot, depending on the product that you purchase and install. Remember, once the finished flooring is installed, it is too late! Also, this product will definitely turn the heat up on a buyer when selling. Kitchen Details There are several splurges I recommend in this category. First, I recommend decorative hanging lights over the island or the table. This will set the theme for the room and even the house if the kitchen is located near the entrance. There are fun options available, and a good find can create a talking point for guests. There is a big range in

costs for light fixtures, but this is an area where one can shop around and have fun searching for antiques and deals. Secondly, I recommend stone countertops and splash details. If done right, this can give your kitchen an art-like feel that is unique in every way. I love stone details. Do it right and people will talk! I also advise our clients to not skimp on ceiling details such as crown molding and coffering in the kitchen area. While sometimes underappreciated, these details make people enjoy the space without even knowing why. They give people a subconscious feeling of quality and class. Lastly, I recommend adding in some decorative glass doors into

your cabinetry. Like lighting, glass can be fun and you can play with the style of glass, material and design of door mullions. You can also add lighting into these cabinet boxes to display art and china, or just to draw attention and emulate a color. Adding any of these “dollar wise items� to your next home project is sure to bring enjoyment and value to your home.v Trent Haston is CEO of Andrew Roby and has spent many years in project management, focusing on style and craftsmanship for custom home projects. For more information call 704-334-5477 or visit

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 57

58 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

Capturing The

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How the Right

Renovation Start Provides the Perfect Finish Laura Jackson

Many homeowners have experienced what it feels like when a long-awaited home renovation project becomes a never-ending marathon of exhausting struggles and delays around every corner. Finding the right team for your next project can mean discovering your best finish yet. Duane Johns of Advanced Renovations, Inc. shares a few of his time-tested secrets for longterm success and happy homeowners. Preparation is Key “It’s so important that everyone on the team understands the goals, expectations and requirements of the project from the very beginning,” explains Johns. One of his recent repeat clients, Josephine Jones, describes how the expert collaboration of the construction team from Advanced Renovations, the architectural design by Susan Dudley and the interior design of Kelley Vieregg made all the difference for her home. Years of experience, dedication and careful planning combined to completely transform what she described as her “dark, Elvis kitchen of the 1970s” to a stylish, open, functional and light-filled modern kitchen. When her kitchen designer created a unique design requiring major changes to the home’s original footprint, involving removing walls, adding expansive windows and creating entire new spaces for the home including a spectacular butler’s pantry, Johns and his construction team were called in early on to give feedback and feasibility advice on the project. Collaboration among all the key players from the start not only made the whole process smoother, but also allowed for more accurate pricing and overall budget monitoring throughout the duration of the project. In what may be the highest form of a compliment for a renovation, Jones recounted, “There were simply no surprises along the way— regarding either the budget or timeline.” Going the Distance Johns describes another crucial role of the renovation expert, “One of the biggest things is really the communication level.” He explains that communication involves reaching out and documenting everything that goes on, including all the client selections, finishes, design elements and the tiniest of construction details. Constantly updating and communicating the project’s status to the entire team, including important deadlines or changes, keeps everyone involved and on the same page and schedule. Communication with the homeowner is always vital. “There are two key things that homeowners should always be aware of with their renovation projects,” said Johns. “Homeowners need to know what decisions they need to make and when they need to make them.” Meeting Expectations Before deciding which renovation company is best for your project, it’s also critical to keep in mind that they will be spending a great deal of time in your personal space. Not only is it important to find a company you can trust, but also one that understands and values your requests and schedules during the total construction phase of the project. “Our goal is to tailor the process to the needs of the particular families we work with,” said Johns. “It’s about much more than just making sure the environment is safe and clean. The retired couple will have very different daily schedules and requirements than the routines of a family with young children.” It’s important to

60 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 61

Not only is it important to find a company you can trust, but also one that understands and values your requests and schedules during the total construction phase of the project. find a company that asks the right questions and is concerned with all the invaluable pre-planning stages, not the ones that just want to know how soon they can start. Reaching the Finish Line Johns reinforces one of the essential elements of success: “The end payoff goes all the way back to the beginning. We understand the value of taking the time to get all the key players involved so the homeowner is comfortable with all the decisions, including costs, timing and what the final product is supposed to look like.” “It wasn’t too long ago when homeowners were remodeling simply because they were advised it was the best thing to do for the long-term value of their investment,” said Johns. “I think people are getting back to thinking about the value of their actual life in their home—back to really taking the time to configure the space to the way they actually live and that’s one of the greatest joys of home renovation—designing for your life in your home.”v To discuss your customized home renovation, contact Advanced Renovations at 704-799-3999 or 62 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014









*TMIC is underwritten by The Members Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of AAA Carolinas. Quoted rates were effective 1/14. Actual rates may vary depending on further underwriting information.





October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 63

Kitchens Kitchens&&Baths Baths



Made better By Brandy Snow

64 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

The rustic elegance of hardwood is hard to eclipse – Mother Nature’s own handiwork is always a desirable medium in interior design, but its high maintenance and low functionality across a variety of spaces is inconvenient and unattractive to some homeowners. Now this quandary can be settled with a product that expertly blends the natural appeal of hardwood planks with the strength and durability of porcelain tile. “We are seeing a merger between the natural and glamorous looks for a refined take on casual living,” says Toni Mann of Crossville Tile. “Products based in an earthy history are taking on a new trend, and wood looks are coming full circle. The desire for hand hewn and rustic looks has been hampered by the nature, availability and performance of the product. Thanks to a variety of new techniques in porcelain production, there are realistic products such as Crossville’s SpeakEasy that address both the trend and the performance.” The SpeakEasy line offers the look and feel of true, timeworn American hardwood with the high-proof strength of porcelain stone. The collection offers the look of authentic, old barn wood interpreted in a range of contemporary, large-format plank sizes that reinvent the wood look with textures and aesthetic appeal that toe the line between natural elegance and urban glam.

Organic shapes of the past are giving way to a more graphic interpretation of pattern. Another tile trend shows natural stone stepping away from the traditional inlay and taking on a newer, more graphic flair. Precision cutting with new technology allows for highdefinition shapes to set off any design. “Natural stone is always a luxurious choice for kitchens and baths. Organic shapes of the past are giving way to a more graphic interpretation of pattern. Crossville’s Yin+Yang brings this trend to life with eight stones and seven patterns, designed to interplay with one another. The patterns are modular, so you can mix and match. This gives designers amazing opportunity to express their vision on a very personal level. Yin+Yang also coordinates with Ebb & Flow for a glass and stone combination. The results can vary from utterly modern to truly classic, depending on the designer’s desires,” says Mann. The newest soft glam meets natural tones trend in tile champions the less refined look of some of nature’s most sought-after metals like platinum, silver and gold, while rough cut and less refined diamonds are a new and exciting fashion accent. Mann says Crossville’s Sideview Glass’ frosted lines reflect this trend and perfectly complement brushed nickel and brass fixtures.v To capture the ambiance of natural elegance and urban glam in your home, call on the experts of Crossville Tile by contacting Toni Mann at 704-927-8453, go online to, or visit the showroom at 927 Pressley Road in Charlotte. October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 65

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Contributing Editor | Kitchen Design

Kitchens Are the New Family Rooms

Catherine Whitney A well-designed kitchen will serve your needs through many stages of your life.

Having the opportunity to remodel or design a new kitchen is once-in-a-lifetime for many people. If you’re like me, you have a file that contains images of everything that you’ve ever seen that has caught your eye. For some projects, I have photos that are 10 years old—just waiting for that “someday” when my husband and I finally pull the trigger to start a long-anticipated renovation. My clients are the same way. Their “wish list” file contains paint and fabric swatches, the perfect refrigerator, the coolest paper towel holder, interesting lighting fixtures, custom hoods and beautifully designed kitchens that, until now, have only been a fantasy in a file. Beginning a project you have dreamed of for years is exciting, but there’s also pressure to make it perfect. You lie awake at night--ideas swirling like a tornado. How can we design the perfect kitchen for our lifestyle now, but also in the future? How much can we afford to spend? Who will be our contractor? Where will we get our cabinets and how will we know if they are good quality? What’s the best refrigerator, what does “dual fuel” mean, why are some estimates I’m getting twice as much

68 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

as others? Is something missing…is someone taking advantage of me? These are all valid concerns. Like every large purchase you make, you will need to do your homework. Our city has many highly-experienced design professionals and I encourage you to seek out the ones you feel comfortable working with. For kitchen cabinetry, you should visit a few cabinet design showrooms. Like a first date, you will know if there will be a second date before dessert arrives. You should feel welcome instantly. You should see things that “speak to you” such as beautifullydesigned displays that are properly lit and well accessorized. You should see things you didn’t even know existed but will make your life easier. You should learn something that you never even thought of. I live in an 80-year-old house that was originally built for a completely different lifestyle. There were lots of small rooms and too many doorways. Everything was divided up, nothing flowed and it was dark. For our family, we realized the kitchen needed to be a wide-open space where our family and friends

could relax and enjoy. We needed a cooking space, a dry bar, a place for homework, art supplies, food storage, a small TV and phone chargers. By removing several unnecessary walls and doorways, we managed to incorporate several small spaces into one larger space that is accessible to our outdoor living space and other important areas of our home. Kitchen design has evolved from a small working kitchen with the bare essentials to a space that incorporates all aspects of our daily lives. In 2014, the kitchen is the new family room. It’s a place where the entire family can gather every day, whether it’s just breakfast or dinner with friends. We can now cook, study, entertain, relax and enjoy this wonderful new “heart of the home.” A well-designed kitchen will serve your needs through many stages of your life. Trusting in an experienced design professional for each of your decisions will ensure that your kitchen will be one of the favorite places in your home!v

Catherine Whitney is the showroom manager and designer at South End Kitchens. She has over 30 years experience in the kitchen and bath industry. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 704-379-1770 or email Catherine at They are located at 1500 South Blvd, Suite 101-A. You can also visit South End Kitchens at

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 69

Where Experience Exceeds Expectations

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70 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

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October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 75

decorating n Trends

comfortably CHIC 76 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

“You don’t need a lot of space to live right.” By Tammy Wanchisn Photographs by Jim Schmid

Rodney Hines may best be recognized in one of his furniture stores in the SouthEnd. But his heart is in Elizabeth. After a months-long home search, Rodney and his partner, Mark Puckett, were about to give up when they looked out the window and found their perfect home. The home across the street came up for sale, but they didn’t think they could afford it until Rodney’s mother said the magic words—just ask! So began a journey of blending tastes that are both high-style glam and traditional while creating a very cozy, 1,480-square-foot retreat. “I get so much inspiration from everything at the stores and I love a mix of different styles. Mark is very traditional,” says Rodney. So how do you blend the two styles? They looked to Chad Pruitt at Rodney’s High Cotton Home and The Furniture Connector stores. “Chad really pulled it all together,” says Rodney. Creating a timeless look with smoky, masculine color tones and keeping with the character of an old home, the three set out to mix old with new. “You don’t need a lot of space to live right,” says Rodney. In the guest room, Chad was able to mix items from both styles, including an antique furniture set that belonged to Mark’s grandmother. Chad updated the fabrics, added Rodney’s grandmother’s chenille bedspread and gave the room new life. “What’s so great about Chad is he really listens to what we said and we really trusted him,” says Mark. The dining room features breathtaking Phillip Jeffries grass cloth on the walls that is hand-stenciled and a Michael Weiss round dining table, Shea Homesall from High Cotton Home. Rodney’s Asian flare can be seen in the

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 77

78 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

artwork. Art throughout the home is all from friends or local artists. One even pays homage to their late friend (and Urban Home featured designer in several past issues) Gene Cline. The gourmet kitchen, complete with double oven, warmer and prep sink has large-format tiles that reach the ceiling, creating the focal point. The butler’s pantry has a banquette that was cut down from Classic Attic. Vintage chintz fabrics are used on the sofa in the TV lounge along with a collage of wall art and a lamp that Mark had from his childhood. v

You can see Rodney and Mark’s home at this year’s Elizabeth Home Tour October 11-12. Tickets can be purchased at Royal Gardens (Saturday only 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Savvy Real Estate (Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.).

To see all the photos of this home visit

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 79

Contributing Editor | Dollars and Sense

How to Transfer Values Along With Wealth Help heirs make the most of your bequest by offering guidance during your lifetime — and by reinforcing that leadership with appropriate estate planning tools. Jennifer Green

Making sure younger generations receive the maximum benefit of an inheritance requires careful planning on the financial side, perhaps by choosing a trust over a bequest to help minimize taxes. But you must also plan for the emotional side by considering now how to guide heirs in the future — possibly for generations. “Estate planning should be a process, not a task,” says J. Max Barger, vice president and senior wealth planner at PNC Wealth Management®. “The conversation with heirs should be ongoing, and it should focus on management, values, preservation and protection. How will the assets you share affect your loved ones and their finances? How will that wealth be perpetuated?” The stakes are high. A study of intergenerational wealth transfers among 3,250 families found that 70% of family wealth transfers fail, with heirs dissipating assets and families falling into conflict.1 What these families lacked was not legal, financial and tax advice but trust, preparedness and a sense of purpose.2 Barger suggests that families who want to support heirs (and avoid becoming part of the unsuccessful 70%) follow a two-part formula: communicate and coordinate. Key to communication: Forget that you’re family Families can find it hard to articulate financial expectations. Worries about burdening younger members or concerns about personal privacy can get in the way of saying what needs to be said. Barger recommends a counterintuitive solution: “The matriarch and patriarch have to step

out of their roles as parents and instead become ‘chief family officers,’ viewing their heirs as stakeholders,” he says. “Focusing on the needs of family members as people committed to the success of this common venture can help shift everyone’s frame of mind.” Know your real goals But what should these CFOs say? “Family leaders need to make clear what’s going to happen in terms of wealth transfer and what will be expected of heirs,” Barger says. That means explaining how assets will be transferred and setting goals for current and future generations. A family mission statement is one way to lay out those goals. “By stating what your family is about and what you want to achieve, you instruct and inspire heirs,” Barger says. Some families include stories about how the family wealth evolved and note positive outcomes of their philanthropy. ‘Early and often’ These stories can be an effective way to start communicating with even the youngest members of the family. Teaching lessons such as “who we are” and “what we stand for” early should be a priority. Done well, and backed up with consistent actions, they tend to groom generations to participate meaningfully in the family’s wealth. Barger uses two examples from his own upbringing to illustrate other ways this communication can start early “My father started teaching me about philanthropy by having me place our offering in the plate at church — even

The material presented in this article is of a general nature and does not constitute the provision by PNC of investment, legal, tax or accounting advice to any person, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or adopt any investment strategy. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. The information was obtained from sources deemed reliable. Such information is not guaranteed as to its accuracy. You should seek the advice of an investment professional to tailor a financial plan to your particular needs. For more information, please contact PNC at 1-888-762-6226. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the names PNC Wealth Management®, Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth® and PNC Institutional Investments® to provide investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services and lending of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association (“PNC Bank”), which is a Member FDIC, and uses the names PNC Wealth Management® and Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth® to provide certain fiduciary and agency services through its subsidiary, PNC Delaware Trust Company. Securities products, brokerage services and managed account advisory services are offered by PNC Investments LLC, a registered broker-dealer and a registered investment adviser and member of FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products may be provided through PNC Insurance Services, LLC, a licensed insurance agency affiliate of PNC, or through licensed insurance agencies that are not affiliated with PNC; in either case a licensed insurance

80 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

as a very young child, this was something I could do — and talking with me about the importance of helping people who didn’t have what we did. When I was 12, my parents started taking me to visit their estate attorney.” This is a contrast to other situations he’s encountered, such as 50-year-old “kids” bewildered by wealth and duties suddenly thrust upon them. “Increasing the level of disclosure and responsibility as family members grow is appropriate,” Barger continues. “If they make mistakes, they can learn — with you to guide them — before it’s a problem.” Coordinate among heirs and advisors It’s especially important for family leaders to address potential disagreements so that they can help shape solutions with the support of their wealth planners, estate attorneys and accountants. For example, the child most involved in running a family business may inherit most of its stock, but parents could create equitable inheritances for siblings through life insurance. Another approach is to create incentive trusts that encourage heirs to align their lives with the family’s stated values. A family that prizes education might cover tuition and a living stipend for members who pursue an advanced degree, or supplement the income of those who opt to become teachers in high-need districts. Basing an estate plan on values takes a team approach. Barger, who was a practicing estate attorney for 19 years, emphasizes the importance of having a wealth planner on board. “Unlike an attorney or Certified Public Accountant (CPA), we’re not paid by the hour, so we can take the time to view a holistic plan for our clients and coordinate among the other professionals,” he says.

Barger reiterates that estate planning should be an ongoing process that the family revisits regularly — and at the right time. “This isn’t something you can bring up at Thanksgiving. The holidays can be distracting and tense. Make family meetings at least annual, and start low-key, maybe as part of a family reunion during the summer.” Will this be your family’s year?v 1 Carolyn Rosenblatt, “Wealth Transfers: How to Reverse the 70% Failure Rate,”, 9 Dec. 2011.

The Williams Group, “Causes Underlying Wealth Transfer Failures,” /page.cfm?id=16.


Jennifer Green is the Wealth Director for PNC Wealth Management in the Western Carolina Region. Her team provides customized solutions leveraging a team of financial professionals specializing in planning, trusts, investments and banking with the objective of achieving your life goals. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 704-686-2129 or email Jennifer at

affiliate may receive compensation if you choose to purchase insurance through these programs. A decision to purchase insurance will not affect the cost or availability of other products or services from PNC or its affiliates. Hawthorn and PNC do not provide legal or accounting advice and neither provides tax advice in the absence of a specific written engagement for Hawthorn to do so. PNC does not provide services in any jurisdiction in which it is not authorized to conduct business. PNC Bank is not registered as a municipal advisor under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Act”). Investment management and related products and services provided to a “municipal entity” or “obligated person” regarding “proceeds of municipal securities” (as such terms are defined in the Act) will be provided by PNC Capital Advisors, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNC Bank and SEC registered investment adviser. “PNC Wealth Management,” “Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth” and “PNC Institutional Investments” are registered trademarks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. Insurance: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank or Federal Government Guarantee. Not a Deposit. May Lose Value.

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 81

Charlotte Central Living…

David Weekley Homes is bringing our

Central Living new home designs to great in-town Charlotte locations! You’ve got the best of both worlds: a beautiful new home in a location you know and love!

You can have it all! SouthPark

• Coming late fall 2014 • 33 executive-style Townhomes and single-family homes with old world European influences


• Coming late fall 2014 • 22 craftsman-inspired Townhomes • Walking distance to Publix, Lowe’s, restaurants, bars and light rail

Historic South End

• Coming spring 2015 • 21 urban-style Townhomes • Walking distance to Mac’s Speed Shop and the light rail

Uptown Area

• Coming early 2015 • 11 luxurious townhomes with rooftop terraces and skyline views • Less than 500 feet to the Carson light rail station; walking distance to Uptown

For more information, or to be added to our VIP list for updates, contact Jenny Miller at or 704-817-0030 or visit us online at

See a David Weekley Homes Sales Consultant for details. Prices, plans, dimensions, features, specifications, materials, and availability of homes or communities are subject to change without notice or obligation. Illustrations are artist’s depictions only and may differ from completed improvements. Copyright © 2014 David Weekley Homes - All Rights Reserved. Charlotte, NC (CHAA59653)


Jumbo Loans & Construction-to-Permanent Financing

• One-time close construction-to-permanent financing • Competitive jumbo products • Personalized service to meet your needs • Expertise in the local housing market It’s never too early to explore your options, so speak with David Woldman today.


David M. Woldman NMLS ID# 659150 704-651-8377

Mortgages are offered and originated by RBS Citizens, N.A. Charter One is a brand name of RBS Citizens, N.A. (NMLS ID# 433960). All loans are subject to approval. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. 398562

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T H E C O M F O RTA B L E C O U C H C O M PA N Y Remarkably comfortable custom Couches, Sectionals, Chairs and Ottomans made-to-order and shipped direct from our North Carolina workshop. Choose from our extraordinary selection of leather and fabric. 19725 Oak Street # 5 Cornelius, NC 28031 | 704 892 6680


Please Visit Our New Showroom Open 9-5 M-F Weekends and Evenings by Appointment 1226 Central Avenue | Charlotte, NC | 704.334.0512 |

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 83

Contributing Editor | Outdoor Retreats

Plan to Plant in Fall

Mark Morgan Take the time to plan, plant, and make a difference for next spring. You’ll be glad you did.

In my previous articles, I’ve discussed the steps of designing beautiful and functional outdoor living spaces by addressing topics including irrigation, hardscapes, outdoor lighting and the overall planning process. Working with a design team to create a plan to maximize your investment is critical to a project’s success and your enjoyment. Now that the weather has turned cooler, now (fall) is the perfect time to implement that plan, for several reasons. While nature reminds us of the beauty of a well done landscape with vibrant colors and aromas often associated with spring, fall is a fantastic time to plant perennials, spring blooming bulbs, trees and shrubs and a good time to improve your lawn. Quite simply, fall is an excellent planting time that lengthens the vibrancy of your yard ALL yearlong. A little bit of effort and planning this fall,

October Glory Maple

84 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

during cooler temperatures, will result in beautiful blooms next spring with minimal effort. The best root growth is achieved while the air temperatures are beginning to cool but the ground temperatures still remain relatively warm. Planting trees, shrubs and perennials now provides a period for roots to become established without the overbearing heat of spring and summer. Less heat also equals less stress for plants. You’ll have to spend less time worrying about the amount of water these plants need next spring, if they are planted in the fall. Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to plant other times of the year with proper irrigation, but fall is the optimal time if you want to remove water worries from your list. So what should you consider planting now for spring color?

Fall Trees and Shrubs

Quite simply, fall is an excellent planting time that lengthens the vibrancy of your yard ALL year long. Osmanthus fragrans

Camellia sasanqua



Fall and Winter Annuals




Ornamental kale

For trees and shrubs, take into account options such as: Osmanthus fragrans (tea olive), Camellia sasanqua, Pyracantha with its bright red berries, red maples, cherry trees, fringe trees, and magnolias. For perennials, don’t forget about fall-blooming options such as Chrysanthemum, Anemone and Joe Pye Weed. Spring-blooming perennials that put on a show include Hellebore, Iris, Columbine, and Bleeding Heart. For the lawn area, I suggest wrapping up fescue overseeding and aeration by early November, in preparation for the cooler weather. November is the best month to plant bulbs in North Carolina, so consider adding Crocus, Hyacinth, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths, Tulips, or Daffodils to your landscape beds now, for spring color. For fall color now, consider adding pansies, ornamental kale and cabbage, violas and snapdragons. Most of these plants will see you through next May. Take the time to plan, plant, and make a difference for next spring. You’ll be glad you did.v Mark Morgan founded Morgan Landscape Group over 20 years ago. He brings 30 years of experience to every project he works on and has a passion for landscape design, environmental conditions and plant materials. For landscape design and consultation, call 704-588-2292 or visit

October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 85

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Engagement Ring Purchasing Tips By Ragan Haston

With the holidays just around the corner, we expect a lot of marriage proposals to come with them. A time when we are traveling and spending time with family, it’s the perfect time to pop the question. With that question comes an important investment – an engagement ring! Diamonds Direct shares some important tips in guiding future grooms through the ring-buying process. Budget. First, it is important to establish a realistic budget that you feel comfortable with. The age-old rule of three months salary is often unrealistic and does not make financial sense for everyone. Diamonds Direct has experience in helping you find a ring at any price point. Larger budgets can lead to more variety in choices, but finding a great ring within a smaller budget is just as attainable. Compromising on certain features can land you within your budget while leaving you a little room to upgrade in other areas. In the end, you have to make the right decision that best suits your needs and find what will provide you the most value for your money. Styling. Pick a style your future fiancée will like, but one that is also functional 88 Urban Home Charlotte October / November 2014

and practical. Consider a woman’s lifestyle and how and where she will wear her ring. For instance, if she is active and hard on her hands, she may need a stronger, more secure mounting such as a channel setting instead of the more delicate prong setting. Get clues as to what style she likes. Women like to talk, so ask her family and friends if they have any insights. See if she has a Pinterest page with examples of what she likes. Or, just come out and ask. It can still be a surprise, but you’ll be sure you’re buying the ring of her dreams. It is also becoming more common for a couple to come in for a browse. She can try rings on, be measured for size, and the guy can take notes for a future appointment to make the actual purchase. Sizing. Funny enough, guys commonly mix up a woman’s ring size and shoe size. Ring size and shoe size are rarely the same! Rings can only be resized within one full size, so it’s very important to have a good idea what size ring you need. Some guys are able to sneak in another ring to measure size while others may be able to ask friends and family. When in doubt, Diamonds Direct suggests going a little bigger so that it will actually go on her

finger for the big moment. Temporary sizers can be used until she can have the ring sized down. Diamond Education. Diamonds Direct takes pride in educating customers on the products they are purchasing. They explain the 4 Cs (see sidebar), show examples of the various settings, and inform the customer on stone certification and explain the differences between grading labs. Diamonds are not clear cut, they can sound perfect on paper but then look different in reality. Diamonds are like snow flakes, no two are exactly alike, so it is important to compare side by side different qualities, clarities and colors. It is important to know exactly what you are getting. Picking the Right Jeweler. The service provided after the sale is just as important as the service before the sale. Making sure you build trust and a long-term relationship with your jeweler is a must. Diamonds Direct offers unbeatable service after the purchase, such as free cleanings, small diamond replacements and a 110% back upgrade policy. They also work with your insurance company if you need help replacing a ring. These are services one wants to research and find out what is offered.v


4 Cs

Color: Diamonds come naturally in a range of colors. However, the best color for a diamond is no color at all. Colorless diamonds are the most rare and priciest. Clarity: The clarity of a diamond is determined by the amount and location of flaws, or inclusions, in the diamond. Most diamonds contain very tiny inclusions, which can interfere with the light passing through the diamond. The fewer the inclusions, the more beautiful the diamond will be. Cut: Of all the 4Cs, the cut most affects a diamond’s beauty. In determining the quality of the cut, the grader evaluates the proportions of the diamond. The more precise the cut, the more captivating the diamond is to the eye. Carat: This is the weight of a diamond measured in carats. As the carat weight of a diamond increases so do its rarity and price.

For more information call 704-532-9041 or visit You can visit the Diamonds Direct Showroom at 4521 Sharon Road. October / November 2014 Urban Home Charlotte 89

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