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design ✦ improve ✦ garden ✦ live

summer days RELAX & REVIVE

charming porches, refreshing desserts


lush lavender, raised vegetable beds

Retirement Living SUMMER 2017

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“We understood the lasting influence our school choice would have on our children. For that reason, we set a priority on a school that would support our Christian values. What we did not anticipate was the level of partnership in caring faculty, staff, and administration at Faith Christian who inspire and encourage our children to thrive-academically, spiritually, and socially. Our choice is validated every day.”

“WE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE” -Dr. Phillip and Kimberley Patterson To see if Faith is the right choice for your family, call Cathi Weber, Director of Enrollment at 540-769-5200 x148 3585 Buck Mountain Rd., Roanoke, VA 24018

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Our Real Estate Agents are specialized relocation professionals equipped

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Š2015 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. 6

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CONTENTS Roanoke Valley HOME Summer 2017


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LIVING INTO RETIREMENT Explore options for retirement living in the Roanoke Valley BY NOELLE MILAM



showcase home



THE PERFECT PORCH Turn your outdoor space into a blissful retreat


GROW YOUR OWN BACKYARD BOUNTY How to create raised garden beds BY SLOANE LUCAS

AT HOME WITH THE DUNKENBERGERS Historic home updated for modern family living BY RORY RHODES

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK HOME Magazine r vhomemaga zine .com 7

S U M M E R 2017




Which natural fiber rug is best for you? BY CHRISTY RIPPEL


Ceiling fans cool your home with style BY ASHLEY BLAIR SMITH




Options for upgrading this hardworking appliance BY SARA WARRENDER


Spruce up your outdoor furniture BY KATHERINE FULGHUM KNOPF


Five apps that are great resources for retirees BY ALEXANDRA REYNOLDS




A plant that’s beautiful and useful, too BY BECKY CALVERT


Soil testing helps your garden grow BY MITZI BIBLE



Sweets that capture the taste of the season BY MARLEY MILLER


Tips for retirement financial planning BY JERRY HALE

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Live life to the fullest in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or the warmth of small town living. Enjoy a few days at one of our Life Plan communities and see for yourself if Sunnyside Communities is right for you. Plan your complimentary Staycation today. *Certain restrictions may apply.

SUNNYSIDE 800.237.2257 Harrisonburg, VA KING’S GRANT 800.462.4649 Martinsville, VA SUMMIT SQUARE 800.586.5499 Waynesboro, VA

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mitzi Bible Megan Bruffy Becky Calvert Jerry Hale Katherine Fulghum Knopf Sloane Lucas Noelle Milam Marley Miller Alexandra Reynolds Rory Rhodes Christy Rippel Ashley Blair Smith Sara Warrender PHOTOGRAPHER Kevin Hurley OPERATIONS MANAGER Colleen Miller ADVERTISING SALES Jennifer Bass Janet Lampman Julie Pierce Anne Marie Poore SUBSCRIPTIONS

Roanoke Valley HOME is published five times annually by West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. For an annual subscription, please send $20 and your name, address and telephone number to: Roanoke Valley HOME 2003 Graves Mill Road, Suite B, Forest, VA 24551 For advertising information please call (434) 386-5667 or To discuss coverage of an event relating to home or garden, please contact Roanoke Valley HOME at



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WEST WILLOW PUBLISHING GROUP, LLC (434) 386-5667 Copyright 2017 by West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from West Willow Publishing Group, LLC. All pictorial material reproduced in this magazine, whether in a produced ad or by itself, has been accepted on the condition that it is with the knowledge and prior consent of the photographer or the artist concerned. As such, West Willow Publishing Group, LLC is not responsible for any infringement of copyright or otherwise arising out of publication thereof. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, West Willow Publishing Group, LLC makes no warrant to the accuracy or reliability of this information. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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EDITOR’S note What is it about summer in the South that’s so evocative? Slow, sultry … sometimes steamy, I can’t help but picture sitting on my porch with a cool drink watching the afternoon thunderheads rise, or listening to the serenade of crickets and cicadas on a warm summer evening. I think of summer as a time of ease, a season for stealing extra moments of relaxation. In the days before air conditioning, a slower pace was compulsory to beat the heat. Homes were designed to maximize shade and cross breezes, and the morning’s activities were traded for quieter pursuits in the heat of the afternoon. In today’s climatecontrolled world, slowing down is mostly optional, but still highly enjoyable! Retirement was once considered slowing down, and yet today that too is optional. Retirees are more active than ever before, and in this, our second annual “Retirement Living Issue,” we offer ideas for making the most of this life phase. Our “Living into Retirement” feature breaks down the options for independent living communities and continuing care, as well as what you need to know about aging in place. We’ve also talked to local experts about successfully managing your finances during retirement, and provided some useful smartphone apps for retirees living in this digital age. If you don’t want to break a sweat, our articles on natural fiber rugs, stylish ceiling fans, and the latest on dishwashers offer easy ways to update your home. Out in the garden, we’ll tell you how to choose the perfect lavender plant, improve

your garden soil for a lush lawn and plants, perk up your patio furniture, plus all about fabulous raised vegetable beds. And if you need to set a spell after a day in the garden, our “Perfect Porch” feature has lots of ideas for making that classic social spot a modern-day retreat. While you’re out there, you might like to enjoy one of our recipes for refreshing summer desserts. No matter how busy you are or where you travel, I hope you can steal a few moments to savor our verdant Virginia summer. Until next time … — Rory Rhodes, Managing Editor



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living into




t the turn of the 20th century, most retired people expected to remain in their homes throughout the aging process, surrounded by their families, friends and neighbors. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 49 years old and the “senior citizens” of the day made up less than 4 percent of the total population. Fast forward to 2017, and the definition of aging itself seems to have radically changed. It’s hard to imagine most 49-year-olds rocking away their golden years in a rocking chair on the front porch! People work longer and live longer—and it is only upon turning 65 that most people actually define themselves as “senior.” This is the age that US citizens may apply for Medicare, and it’s the most common age of retirement. People who are turning 65 this year were born in 1952, putting them squarely in the “Baby Boomer” generation; at over 75 million, they were until recently the largest population America had produced (the Millenials recently took first place), and now they range in age from mid-50s to mid-70s.

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As they enter retirement, this trail-blazing generation has redefined aging, not only pushing off the designation of “senior citizen,” but also reinventing the whole idea of how they age— and where they will do it. Though Baby Boomers’ grandparents largely stayed put, the Baby Boomers themselves have demanded other choices. This can be attributed in part to the fact that people live much longer than they did in 1900; their plans for post-retirement aging have expanded from a few years to several decades. Retirement is now a stage of life that lasts long enough to require careful and realistic planning. To that end, many of today’s adults of retirement age need to put careful thought into how they will spend this stage of their lives. Planning for these years means defining where and how you want to live, and, at the same time, being realistic about the inevitability of aging and the complications and uncertainties this can engender. Thankfully there are many excellent options, most of which fall into two categories: Retirees can join communities that provide a full or partial continuum of care, known most commonly as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs); or they elect to “age in place,” remaining home (though “home” could also be the home of their extended family) and making whatever structural modifications are needed along the way. Continuing Care Retirement Communities

“I’ll never go into a ‘home.’” This was a near-constant mantra from my elderly grandfather. Almost ten years a widower, he was proud of his independence and he never wanted to leave his tidy little Cape Cod. As he moved into his 90s (his 90s!) however, things began to change. He hired cadres of people to maintain his house and yard, but his vision was failing, and so was his manual dexterity, and it became hard for him to take care of himself. He could no longer drive and no one came to visit. With failing eyesight and hearing, he couldn’t watch TV, talk on the phone, or use his beloved computer. His world began to shrink exponentially, and he became lonely, isolated and perhaps depressed. But at least he hadn’t been put into a “home,” as he called it, envisioning a sad, dim nursing home where elderly people were parked in wheelchairs and forgotten. His fear of such a place was palpable. He had his pride, and even if his quality of life was dwindling, he was determined to hold out … until of course, he couldn’t. A relatively mild cardiac event landed him in a small continuing care community that offered rehabilitation services as part of their full continuum of care. As he recovered, he began, as health permitted, to sample some of the activities offered in this community. A few weeks into his stay, he perked up like a wilted houseplant given water and care. He played bingo, ordered take-out, participated in musical events, but most of all, he made connections with several old friends and acquaintances he’d lost touch with over the years. All those years isolated in his house, he’d assumed he was all alone, but as he joyfully confided one visit soon after moving in, “It turns out, my friends were all here!” Today’s CCRCs couldn’t be farther from the “home” my grandfather feared. To begin, they often resemble luxury resorts, complete with indoor swimming pools, gyms and fine dining— but they also offer a full continuum of care, from practically none to 24-hour skilled nursing, all on the same campus. The first stage, the “independent living” step on the continuum, is often just that: Residents live in apartments, condos, or even freestanding houses complete with full kitchens, 1-3 bedrooms, laundry, balconies and even sometimes small gardens and patios.

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Photo: Brandon Oaks

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The second stage is “assisted living.” This stage offers step-up care for people who need a little extra help completing daily tasks but who do not require full-time care. The third step in the continuum is “long-term care,” which provides round-theclock assistance, skilled nursing, and even sometimes memory care for those struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementiarelated illnesses. Often these communities also have a separate, short-term rehabilitation unit for people who are recovering from surgery or other illnesses. Seniors who choose to join an independent living community are encouraged to do so while they are still young enough to enjoy the many amenities offered at every level of care. Once they have joined, seniors can transition, as needed, through the different levels of care all within the same campus. The advantages of this are obvious: Seniors can stay onsite for the rest of their lives with no disruptions of their social and care networks. They also have peace of mind—and so do their families—knowing that as they age, their needs will be met. The Roanoke Valley’s mild climate and proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains attract many retirees, who, as they age, begin to look for ways to simplify their lives and have more time for the R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

Photo: Brandon Oaks

Photo: Brandon Oaks

things they enjoy. Often independent living communities are a great choice for these active individuals. At Brandon Oaks in Roanoke, a non-profit community affiliated with Virginia Lutheran Homes, over 500 seniors have taken this step. Carter Hanna, director of sales and marketing at Brandon Oaks, explains that seniors are often relieved to find that they can give up all the exhausting and expensive details of running their households: housekeeping, yard maintenance, utilities, and even cooking. This frees them up to invest their time in activities they enjoy—fitness, volunteering, or learning new things. “While it can be challenging initially to downsize one’s belongings and move,” Hanna says, “most of our residents find that they are more active and involved here than they were before their move.” For nearly 25 years, Brandon Oaks has been providing a community where residents have opportunities for interaction and socialization, for exercise and health, and for learning and volunteering. There are weekly organized and impromptu socials, an “Elder-Scholar” program affiliated with Roanoke College, and an active Resident Auxiliary which organizes events. In

addition, many residents also maintain relationships and activities from before their move to Brandon Oaks, which preserves a sense of connectedness and enthusiasm for the future. Brandon Oaks also offers residents continuing care across the health continuum for the rest of their lives. Residents pay an entry fee based on the size of accommodation they choose (with a choice of several models of luxury apartments and freestanding houses), and then a set monthly fee, which includes rent, utilities, maintenance and housekeeping, scheduled transportation, on-staff nursing care, urgent response and 24-hour security, not to mention access to all the amenities—and this fee stays nearly the same no matter how much care is needed. Like many premier CCRCs, these amenities are impressive: elegant residences with luxury details such as gas fireplaces, built-in shelving, walking trails, gourmet dining, beauty and barber shops, craft and art studios, an indoor pool and spa, and a health center. “I have residents say, ‘I could never NOT be here!’” says Hanna, “and that makes me feel so good. There is a sense of camaraderie here that is irreplaceable.” Brandon Oaks is also

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growing; it added home health services last year and plans to open a memory care facility this year. CCRCs come in many shapes and sizes, but the one thing they usually have in common is a maintenance–free lifestyle paired with comprehensive care across the health continuum. For seniors looking for the peace of mind that comes with continuum care, but who prefer more of an à la carte system in which you pay only for services you or your partner/spouse use, Richfield in Salem is another great alternative. Richfield has a long history in the Roanoke Valley. Founded nearly 100 years ago to provide nursing training to rural citizens, it has evolved into one of the area’s leaders in retirement care. Like Brandon Oaks, Richfield is non-profit, and offers a gracious campus and many amenities, such as a lap pool, a state-of-the-art wellness center, a library, and many scheduled social activities. Residents have a wide choice of apartments or lakeside cottages, ranging from studios with 732 square feet to over 1800 square feet. Each residence comes with housekeeping and maintenance services, meals, access to a licensed nurse, and group transportation. Pat Martin, a nurse at Richfield who works closely with retirees who are exploring a move to a CCRC environment, explains that many seniors are attracted by Richfield’s full continuum of medical care available on campus and the flexibility of their contract. “We find that people appreciate that there is not a buy-in, and residents sign a yearly lease and pay for only those services that they use,” says Martin. According to Martin, residents at Richfield have access to the area’s two hospitals (Carilion and Lewis Gale), plus there is a doctor’s office and a pharmacy on the property. Richfield is also growing. “We are

really excited about the opening of our new on-site dialysis center,” says Martin. “It’s another way we are meeting our goal of commitment to individual well-being and quality of life for seniors in Southwestern Virginia.” While retirement communities like Richfield or Brandon Oaks offer predictability and stability for retirees entering the next stage of life, there are some things to consider: First, planning is key. Financial planning is a must. Whether utilizing health or long-term care insurance, Medicare, or personal savings, you will need to find a path that fits your individual financial picture. Thankfully most retirement communities have experts on staff who can help clients chart the best path. Another consideration is the transition itself. Moving is always stressful, but often moving to a retirement community means leaving a long-time home, neighborhood or community, and often it also means significant downsizing. Most seniors feel that with their children grown, they no longer need the big house with many bedrooms, but if they are moving to a cottage or an apartment within a retirement community, this will usually necessitate some serious thought about what to do with all the “stuff” that won’t be used and probably won’t fit into the new location. According to Martin and Hanna, this can be an emotional experience, but much easier if it is carefully planned in advance, rather than forced upon a person because of a health emergency. They recommend that potential residents take time to earmark furniture and possessions that they want to bring along to their new apartment or cottage, and then distribute the remainder amongst their family members, donate to charity, or contact estate sale professionals. Fortunately, many retirement

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communities also have someone on hand to help with this process as well. “Making a move to a retirement community is challenging,” says Hanna, “but you are not alone. We are here to help, and down the road we believe you’ll feel that this was one of the best decisions you ever made.” Aging in Place

The term “aging in place” can refer to a diverse category of alternatives for older adults who cannot or do not want to join a retirement community. These are most often seniors who choose to stay in their own home, contracting for the health, transportation and home maintenance they need. It can also refer to intergenerational living or other self-designed living arrangements. Lacking the built-in continuum of care available to residents of CCRCs, retirees considering this option will need to budget and plan for their future years by essentially building their own plan for each stage of the aging process. Often this will mean making some big changes, even if you are planning to remain in the same home or move in with family. Though hiring help with tasks like home maintenance or housekeeping will certainly help, sometimes the home itself needs to be updated or modified to make everyday living easier. Your first step should be to talk to an expert. The National Association of Homebuilders offers builders who qualify a Certified Aging in Place

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Specialist (CAPS) designation. Builders with this certification have received special training in the housing concerns for older individuals. Jeremy Smith of F&S Builders, who serves the Central and Southwestern Virginia areas, proudly maintains a CAPS certification. “I strongly recommend that people who plan to age in place look for a builder with CAPS certification before starting a project with an eye to aging in place,” he says. “You need to be certain that a builder or contractor knows what he is doing with respect to the needs of older people and the requirements and building codes of specialized equipment such as elevators or walk-in tubs.” In business for over 30 years, F&S Builders has completed many renovation projects to help older individuals stay in their homes, from small improvements such as installing grab bars in bathrooms and widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, to large, full-scale renovations, such as two-story remodels with elevator installation, a custom rollin tile shower, even an “endless pool” and outdoor landscaping designed to be accessible to homeowners with limited mobility. Renovating a home to accommodate older individuals, regardless of whether they will live alone or with extended family, is a challenging process because it involves projecting future needs and modifications as well immediate needs. “We are talking renovations that can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars on up to tens of thousands, depending on the scale of the work,” explains Smith, “so you don’t want someone selling you stuff you won’t use.” Instead, he suggests asking yourself, “How will this make my life better?” For those considering renovations, he recommends an in-home evaluation with a professional who will discuss individual needs and most

importantly, will help clients evaluate improvements. “You want someone who will help you decide what you will really use, day in and day out,” says Smith. “Someone who will help you maximize your dollar.” Orchestrating a safe home environment will go a long way to ensure that individuals or couples can continue to live in their own homes, but sometimes even the healthiest and most active seniors have health issues that restrict their ability to care for themselves and may require medical care or rehabilitation. It is far better to have a plan in place for this ahead of time, rather than waiting for a health crisis to occur. There are several options for home health care available today; in fact, many communities have rehabilitation wings with skilled nursing care where even “non-resident” seniors can recover from an injury or illness. The idea of spending your “golden years” in a rocker on the front porch is over … but only if you want it to be. As a retiree, you could be taking college courses, playing golf, teaching children to read, or learning to paint. You could be living with your extended family, or in the same home you’ve always lived in … or in a swanky new cottage or apartment surrounded by new friends. Whether you choose to join a retirement community, or age in place, one thing you won’t be short on is options. Aging is a universal eventuality for every person, young or not-soyoung. It pays to start weighing the many available choices, so that when you do reach that stage, you will be in control. With foresight, practicality and creativity, options for how to spend retirement are both exciting and full of promise. ✦

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GARDEN a versatile bloom



Whether you’re planting a kitchen garden, a container of herbs or merely looking for a hardy perennial to add interest to your landscape, lavender comes strongly recommended. Cultivated from Roman times, lavender has long been prized for both culinary and medicinal purposes, while being drought tolerant, pest resistant and low maintenance once established. A small shrub, with silvery to gray-green evergreen foliage and purple blooms, lavender attracts pollinators while repelling pests such as deer and rabbits, making it an excellent companion to a wide variety of plants. Lavender does well both in containers and the ground, where a row of it makes a pleasing border. r vhomemaga zine .com 19

Lavender prefers well-drained soil with full sun (at least 6 hours a day) and good air circulation. When planting, leave 12 to 18 inches between plants to ensure air circulation. Native to the Mediterranean, lavender prefers dry, arid weather, but there are varieties that do well in our Zone 7 growing area. English lavenders (more cold hardy), as well as French and Spanish lavenders (better able to withstand hot, humid summers) are perhaps the best matches for our gardens, with varieties to look for including “Vera,” “Thumbelina Leigh,” “Grosso” and “Lutsko’s Dwarf.” As lavender prefers alkaline soils, it does not require much fertilizer, although if you have rich black soil, you might consider adding a phosphorusrich mix, preferably in the fall. Do not mulch lavender with any soil topping that retains moisture around a plant; a gravel mix is a fine soil cover for it. The secret to a happy lavender plant is welldrained, gravelly soil and lots of sun. The best time to plant lavender is in the spring and early summer. In its first season, lavender will need to be watered a few times a week, but once

established, it prefers infrequent, deep watering. Because blooming lavender is a pollinator favorite, vegetable gardeners frequently plant lavender nearby to ensure pollination of their tomatoes and other plants by bees and butterflies. Its ability to repel deer and rabbits makes it a companion plant for roses and clematis, although it can look quite dramatic when planted with sundrops or lamb’s ear. There really isn’t a bad companion plant for lavender, as long as that plant likes well-drained soil and lots of sun. Most of the lavender varieties that do well in our area bloom in late spring/ early summer, although if trimmed soon enough, the plant may bloom a second time. When clipping the blooms, to keep the plants looking full, cut every third or fourth stem. Lavender can be harvested at any point in the blooming process, but if harvested just before fully open, it will keep its scent for months. When the plant has finished blooming, trim it back entirely to ensure proper air circulation. Worn-out lavender foliage tends to take care of itself in the spring, so it should never be pruned until


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after new spring growth appears. When shaping a plant after flowering, do not cut into the old wood. It is the blooms, both fresh and dried, that are utilized in any manner of ways, although the foliage is sometimes used as a substitute for rosemary. One of the herbs in the blend herbs de Provence, lavender can be used as a savory spice, but is probably best known for its use in sweets. It is an excellent addition to shortcakes and pound cakes, whipped cream, lemonade, and even jam. Lavender pairs wonderfully with a variety of berries, particularly strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Because of its strong flavor, it is recommended to begin with less lavender than you think is sufficient, for a little lavender goes a surprisingly long way. Medicinally, lavender has been found to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, its oil used on bug bites and minor burns. The calming scent has been known to relieve headaches, aid sleep and alleviate anxiety. The scent also repels insects, so that dried lavender can be used in sachets to protect clothing made of natural fibers such as wool and linen while leaving them freshly scented. A handful of dried lavender sprinkled on a rug and walked on for a day or so before vacuuming is an easy and effective room freshener; as the buds are crushed underfoot, their scent is released. While lavender makes a dramatic addition to any fresh flower arrangement, its stems do not hold up well in water, turning mushy and dropping flowers quickly. A small vase of lavender stands wonderfully on its own though, and will last for some time as long as there is no water. To dry lavender, hang small bunches upside down in a dark, wellventilated space, preferably with a long stem attached. Dried lavender will keep for some time, particularly if stored in the dark, which will better preserve its color and scent. There are several methods for making essential oil from lavender, most of which utilize the dried blossoms and involve either steaming or infusing them. With its multitude of uses and easygoing manner, it’s no wonder lavender has been prized by gardeners, cooks and healers for centuries. Whatever sort of garden you wish to cultivate, it’s easy to see why lavender should be included. ✦


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DESIGN rug trends

a buyer’s guide to natural fiber rugs BY CHRIST Y RIPPEL


Photo: Present Thyme

Photo: Present Thyme

Natural fiber rugs have soared in popularity in recent years, and for good reason—they are an environmentally friendly, affordable choice that lends unmatched casual ease to a room. Many designers love them, and they’ve transcended their coastal design roots to be featured in homes of varying decor types and locations, including here in Southwest Virginia. “Natural fiber rugs can go with so many different styles—they bring a neutral texture to a space and go with a variety of schemes,” says Kristin Kopcial, a designer with Decorating Den Interiors in Roanoke. “And they are available in all price points.” 2 2

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Knowing more about each kind can ensure you make the best decision and that you’re happy you said “yes” to this trend. Jute: The softest and least durable option

Jute is a long, shiny vegetable fiber that comes from the stem and outer skin of the jute plant. The fibers are strung into coarse, strong threads, and woven together to make rugs off all different shapes and sizes. Jute is renewable and biodegradable, so a good choice for homeowners looking to go green. Jute rugs are softer than seagrass and sisal, and the color varies from a creamy beige to dark brown. The fibers are very malleable, so rugs can be found in the tightest weaves to very chunky, loose braids. Jute rugs can be thicker than seagrass and sisal, which is something to consider if you need clearance under a doorway. “Natural fiber rugs lend themselves well to layering,” says Dorian Clowers, a design consultant with Present Thyme in Roanoke. “We like to use jute in an area that will be walked on barefoot, because it is softer, and it allows you to economically cover a large amount of floor, and then layer something over top that is trendy and easier to clean, like a cowhide.” Jute is very absorbent, so humid environments like bathrooms and outdoor areas should be avoided, or the rug will become moldy, mildewed or will fall apart. Jute rugs typically don’t show dirt, in part because of the brown hue, and the fact that dirt tends to settle inside and underneath the carpet. When you move the rug for cleaning, you’ll have dirt, dust and fibers left behind, so make sure this is something you are willing to deal with frequently. Given its tendency to absorb moisture, cleaning should be limited to a vacuum and a good shake outside. Clowers advises vacuuming once or twice a week to prevent dirt from settling in. Blot spills immediately; spot cleaning and steam cleaning should be avoided, as the moisture will ruin the rug or discolor it. If you do have a spill, blot it, and then break out your hair dryer, says Clowers. “Any moisture is bad for these rugs, so drying it as quickly as possible can minimize damage.” As with all natural fiber, jute can change color over time, and continual exposure to sunlight may fade it; rotate if kept in a very sunny spot. Many jute rugs are reversible, so can be flipped to extend wear. Many people love jute for its chunky texture and relative softness underfoot, and a jute rug can hold up well under low to medium foot traffic—ideal areas might include a dining room, home office, formal living room or bedroom. And as Clowers



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points out, layering a more durable rug on top of jute can work for high-traffic living areas. There are also jute and wool or chenille combination rugs, which not only provide more stability and longevity, but can make the feel even softer. Still, if you are opposed to the layered look and want a high-traffic workhorse of a rug for family life, you may want to pass by jute and consider an alternative. Sisal: A durable choice

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When jute doesn’t work for a room, Clowers turns to sisal. “Sisal is naturally a creamy color and is easily dyed to create the look you want,” she says. The sisal rugs sold by Present Thyme come from the agave sisalana cactus plant—when grown, Clowers says, agave plants don’t need any commercial fertilizers, so her clients who are more environmentally conscious like this footnote about the product. Sisal is a very tough natural fiber and historically has been used to make twine and rope. Rugs made from sisal are tightly woven and coarse, which is not ideal for small children to play on, or for bare feet. While sisal is more durable than jute, it still absorbs moisture so is best left out of the bathroom and should only be used indoors. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will fade dyed sisal, and if it is bordered in fabric, fabric can fade as well. Indoor/ outdoor fabrics are a great choice as borders for sisal, particularly in sunrooms or areas that are bathed in sunlight. A recent home design trend is sisal used for stairway runners—which may not be ideal for two reasons. First, sisal tends to become slippery after prolonged use. Second, says Clowers, a sisal runner will tend to absorb dirt at the top and bottom step, making the color inconsistent. But sisal’s durability makes it ideal as a hallway runner, kitchen rug or even a mudroom covering—as long as there is a mat at the doorway to catch the majority of dirt and mud before it gets to the rug. Layering is also a great option for sisal, to extend the life of the rug, to cover spill-prone areas (like under a coffee table) in an easier-to-clean option, and to allow an accent rug to take center stage. “I like at least the front legs of a furniture grouping to touch the rug,” says Kopcial. “So if someone finds a rug they just love but it’s really too small, layering is a great option. The small rug can be an accent and the larger rug can provide coverage.” R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

change over time. You may want to inspect it in person instead of buying online (or check the return policy before purchasing), because some homeowners complain of the smell, which is akin to the smell of fresh hay; the smell should diminish over time. Again, steam cleaning is out—regular vacuuming is essential, and spills will likely bubble up on the surface, giving you more time to blot it clean. Be aware that seagrass, like sisal, can become slicker with long-term wear. Sisal has the same cleaning limitations as jute—water is a nono, so steam cleaning or spot cleaning is not an option. Stains do have a tendency to be tricky to get out, so blot immediately and pull out the hair dryer. Vacuum once or twice a week to prevent dirt from settling in. Seagrass: Best for humid areas, good durability

If durability is your chief concern, seagrass is another good option. Seagrass grows underwater in many parts of the world and is a renewable resource. Seagrass reeds are thick and rigid, and the non-porous skin is smooth to the touch and has a slight sheen. Because the plant grows in water, it has a tendency to be nonabsorbent, making it the best of the three options for humid areas and climates, which is why it has been the most popular of the three types in coastal decor. It would be fine in an enclosed porch, but should not be exposed to the elements. It would also be better than sisal or jute in a bathroom. Seagrass is available in neutral tones, and naturally has a hint of green undertones. Like all natural materials, the color will

Weighing pros and cons

Jute, sisal and seagrass are all great options in the right setting for imparting beautiful, neutral texture to a room. They are ontrend, affordable and environmentally friendly—but should be considered a short-term investment. A well-cared-for natural fiber rug can last anywhere from three to 10 years and up, depending on the degree of wear. But if you are looking for a rug to live with for a lifetime, these trendy types may not fit the bill. Keep in mind that beyond the fiber choice, the rug’s construction will also affect how your rug will wear and its longevity. Inspect the rug for yourself to get a sense of how it will stand up to your lifestyle. For example, a loose and chunky jute rug might not be the best bet for pets, while a flat, tightly woven seagrass or sisal can better withstand animal claws. And if you are looking for something that is truly suited for outdoor use, there are indoor/outdoor rug options that are meant to mimic the textures and colors of natural fiber rugs. If you do choose to bring a natural fiber rug into your home, know that it will go with just about any other rugs, colors or patterns in your space, and bring an earthy, cozy vibe. ✦

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Images cour tesy of Long and Foster. Plumbing, lighting and appliances available at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Galler y. 26

Purchased in 2008, David and Mary Isaacs worked with Stone River Contracting to create a timeless, classical retreat. The original 1990 kitchen was remodeled to showcase modern built-in appliances and stone countertops. The master bath features a large custom tile shower with body sprays, a handheld shower for cleaning and a wall mount rain shower head, along with a classic suite of white and brushed nickel faucets and fixtures throughout. The three guest baths received similar upgrades featuring alcove tubs, tile wall surrounds and custom cabinetry. In 2012, an outdoor patio was added to the back of the home and the entire exterior was enhanced with landscape lighting. The final renovation project in the basement included a bar with wrap around seating, sleek built-in appliances and custom cabinetry— designed and constructed by Stone River Contracting’s custom cabinet shop. R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

Year after year, project after project, Stone River Contracting worked with the product experts at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery to help the Isaacs select lighting, plumbing and appliances that featured luxurious amenities and classical style. With access to the largest selection of products, Ferguson stayed involved and supported each stage of the project from start to finish. For your next project, request an appointment to see, touch and compare top-selling bath and kitchen products, lighting and appliances at Ferguson’s stateof-the-art showroom.


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LIVE summer flavors When the seasons change, my taste buds crave new, exciting flavors and textures. Cooler seasons call for rich, decadent desserts like dark chocolate tortes smothered in warm sauces and rich creams. Summertime, however, signals an entirely new set of desserts filled with refreshing flavors and light textures. Here, I’ve included a few of my favorites that are sure to keep you cool and satisfy your sweet tooth.


Makes 12 muffins or one 9 x 5 loaf pan Calling all lemon lovers! This light and fluffy bread is finished with a tangy lemon soaking syrup. It freezes beautifully for up to one month; double the recipe and place one loaf in the freezer for last minute company! If freezing, simply wait to add the soaking syrup until defrosted. 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 1 ½ cups sugar, divided 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest 2 eggs ½ cup whole milk ½ cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, 1 ¼ cup of sugar, and lemon zest until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and blend until fully incorporated. Add some of the flour mixture followed by some of the milk. Alternate in this pattern until all the flour and milk are incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown on the top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from the oven and let cool until the pan can be handled with bare hands. To make lemon syrup, place the remaining sugar with the lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. If you have chosen to make a loaf, poke holes in the top with a toothpick and pour the lemon syrup over it. If you have chosen to make muffins, brush the syrup over the top with a pastry brush. Eat and enjoy! R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7


This recipe strays from the classic angel food cake base and instead uses a classic Southern staple: country biscuits. It's easy, quick and tasty. And if you are in a hurry or if you are like my mother who said, “Can I just buy the biscuits? Mine always look like hockey pucks," then please go right ahead. Those work great too!


I have devoted more Saturdays than I care to admit watching PBS’s The Great British Baking Show. On the show, bakers participate in a series of challenges that test their baking abilities. When I watch, I am exposed to new desserts that fascinate me. Though it sounds simple, the classically British combo of cake + jam + powdered sugar is simply perfection. This recipe is “almost” classically British, as it uses a lovely lemon chiffon cake in lieu of the traditional Victoria sponge cake. I’ve also included a recipe on how to make your own fruit filling. However, if you are short on time, a high-quality storebought jam does the trick. (My favorite is Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves.)

Lemon Chiffon Cake Makes 24 cupcakes

2 ¼ cups cake flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 ¼ cups sugar ¾ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest ½ cup vegetable oil 6 egg yolks ¾ cup water ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract 10 egg whites ¼ cup of sugar Preheat oven to 325 F. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla extract until it becomes pale, thick and foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites and gradually add the ¼ cup of sugar. Whip the whites until they become thick and they hold their shape when the whisk is lifted from the mixture. Fold a quarter of the dry mix into the egg yolk foam. Then fold in a quarter of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk foam. Continue alternating the dry ingredients and egg whites into the egg yolk foam until complete. Scoop the batter into a cupcake pan and bake approximately 25 minutes, or until they are slightly golden on the top and springy to the touch.

Fruit Filling

This is crafted to be a very tart filling that can be adapted with your favorite fruit. I am partial to raspberries and have used them here. 4 cups fresh raspberries ¼ cup sugar ¾ cup water 3 teaspoons lemon juice ¼ cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch In a sauce pan, combine raspberries, sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. It will turn a shade darker in color. Pour the mixture through a sieve to filter out seeds. Return mixture to the saucepan, place on stove and turn to medium heat. In a separate bowl, mix together the water and cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, stirring continuously until it becomes thick. Remove the filling from the stove, pour into a clean bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until it reaches a spreadable consistency—at least 30 minutes, but preferably two hours. To assemble: Cut cakes in half horizontally and fill the middle with the jam. Place the top back on each cake and dust with powdered sugar. For some added glam, place a fresh mint leaf and raspberry on top. Eat and enjoy!

TIP: If time allows, let the finished dessert sit for about an hour. The biscuit will absorb some of the moisture from the cream, making it soft and especially delicious.

Country biscuits Yield 12 biscuits 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoons lemon zest 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled ½ pint whole milk Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest in a large bowl. Cut very cold butter into small cubes and toss into the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture will develop a mealy consistency. Pour in the cold milk and stir until the mixture comes together as a dough, being careful not to overmix. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a square that is ½-inch thick. Use a two-inch biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-slip baking mat. Place them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Strawberry cream 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoons lemon juice ¼ cup of strawberry preserves In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heavy cream, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture is thick and resembles whipped cream. Add strawberry preserves and stir until combined. To assemble: Slice biscuits in half horizontally. Scoop the cream onto the bottom half of the biscuit (about 2 tablespoons) and place the top of the biscuit back on. Scoop another tablespoon of cream on top. For an added flavor profile, grate some lemon zest on top and add blueberries along with sliced strawberries. Serve and enjoy! ✦

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IMPROVE the dish on dishwashers



ach night I face the same dilemma. I cook recklessly, stringing mixing bowls, pots and pans, and utensils around like they are some type of impromptu kitchen decoration. I do anything to get the meal on the table and bellies full, but then I dread the next, inevitable task: cleaning the dishes. The only thing worse than slaving away on a meal is knowing that the mess you made awaits you. Let’s skip the dishes tonight and instead compare the many options and features you could have in a new dishwasher. First, find a dishwasher that will fit your kitchen’s unique layout. Measuring your space and learning the dishwasher’s full height range (including the leveling feet) is recommended. Remember, if you tiled your kitchen or upgraded your countertops, your dishwasher cavity dimensions could need some extra attention to be sure it is ready to house a new appliance. The first and most popular size option is a standard built-in dishwasher, designed to fit within a space that’s 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 35 inches tall (with adjustable leveling feet). These appliances continue to be a household favorite, typically holding 10 to 14 place settings and accommodating a variety of large platters and baking dishes. Full-size dishwashers cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 and beyond. Although this appliance is the largest size contender within the dishwashing world, many models also come equipped with a small-load option. 3 0

If your household never seems to produce enough for a full load of dishes, you can save time, money and water by utilizing a compact 18-inch dishwasher. These kitchen upgrades pack the same cleaning punch as their full-size counterparts, but in a more space-friendly package. Compact dishwashers typically accommodate eight place settings and cost anywhere from $350 to $1,500. Many 18-inch units are Energy Star-rated and require less water, which means your energy bill (and the environment) will get a welcome break with these efficient, minimal-emission units. Another option is dishwasher drawers. These units are 24 inches wide and are loaded with a variety of benefits including quick, energy-efficient wash cycles. They can handle about seven place settings per drawer, and you can choose to use one drawer or stack multiple drawers, depending on your household’s needs. Multiple-drawer units can function independently, so delicate R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

glassware in the top unit can be treated with a different wash cycle than rugged dinner plates in the bottom, for example. A single drawer usually costs $600 to $900, while a double-drawer unit could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. Regardless of dishwasher size, there are many additional features and functions available with these cleaning machines. Once you have determined which size dishwasher best fits your kitchen’s layout, you can then analyze which specific features perfectly suit your needs. Adjustable Racks: Racks, tines, and silverware and stemware holders that move based on your family’s dinnerware preferences can be a huge bonus when your table’s contents fluctuate. For instance, non-adjustable racks may be fine for everyday cleaning, but when entertaining a crowd, a larger serving dish may not fit without moveable racks. Some dishwasher units may also allow for the movement of individual sections of the rack to accommodate oddly-shaped dishes. A Variety of Sensors: Several dishwasher models are equipped with smart sensors which adapt to a load’s soil level to adjust the cycle’s heat, intensity and cycle duration. In a world dominated with choices, this feature takes the guesswork out of how to get your glasses back to pristine condition. Bacteria Fighting: Many dishwashers offer a mode which is designed to kill germs on your dishes. The cycle is based on standards developed by National Sanitation Foundation International to remove 99.99 percent of bacteria using superheated water. This option is ideal for cookware which may have touched raw meat, like cutting boards, or sensitive items such as baby bottles. Filters: Each dishwasher comes with either a manual or selfcleaning filter. Although convenient, self-cleaning filters tend to be noisier as food is pulverized to travel down the drain.


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Manual filters are quieter, but will need to be emptied to avoid developing odors. Decibel Levels: Pay close attention to decibel ratings (the lower the number, the quieter the machine). Note, however, that decibel ratings are averaged throughout the entire cycle (including the silent drying process) which can skew these numbers. Stainless-Steel Tub: Many dishwashers are offered with a stainless-steel tub as an upgrade, and while this may seem mission critical, plastic tubs will typically outlive any typical dishwasher’s service life. Stainless steel will resist staining better than plastic, but if your wallet is screaming at the idea of another upgrade, consider a gray-speckled plastic tub to aid in hiding any residue.

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A dishwasher can be as basic or as advanced as you desire. Modest dishwashers can perform just as well as their higherpriced rivals, but you may sacrifice noise levels and other helpful features. When deciding what model works best for you and your family, carefully consider your kitchen’s size and the additional features you most desire. After a long day, you may find an upgraded dishwasher holds a quick return on investment. ✦ R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

LIVE money matters


tips and tools for financial health BY J ERRY HALE


oasting abundant mountain vistas, proximity to beautiful lakes, low cost of living and small-town atmosphere, Central Virginia and its surrounds rank high on the list of “Great Places to Retire.” But while finding an appealing place to enjoy post-career years may be easy, for many the task of preparing for and surviving retirement financially is daunting. No two financial situations are identical, so there can be no one piece of advice that applies universally. As a starter, though, we've asked a couple of retirement planners from the area to weigh in on some of the most significant retirement planning issues.

Three-Phase Retirement Planning

Patrick Ayers, President and CEO of Ayers Financial Services in Roanoke, reminds us that the base for a comfortable retirement is actually established during the 30 to 45 years of work which he calls the “Accumulation Phase.” These are the working years when couples juggle jobs with family-raising, all the while growing their wealth. “Your goal then,” he says, “along with paying the mortgage and life’s other bills, is to accumulate a ‘mountain of money’ that can be drawn upon to supplement your retirement entitlements after you stop working. “For that extended period,” Ayers continues, “you are counseled to play by asset growth rules, investing as much as you can in relatively high-risk growth instruments—principally stocks and mutual funds. But when retirement does arrive, the need changes from a ‘growth strategy’ to an ‘income strategy.’” Indeed, the financial management rules for the retired period, which Ayers calls the “Distribution Phase,” are different. A simple equation applies to retirement finances, Ayers explains: “The retirement equation is how much monthly income you’ll need to exist and enjoy life in your retired circumstances minus what will come in from Social Security, pensions and other guaranteed* sources.” That difference—what Ayers calls “the gap”—is what you’ll need to take from your “wealth mountain” every month. Since people are now living longer in retirement—often as long or longer than they worked, Ayers notes—they need an adviser qualified to manage income and distribution.

That very likely is not the same firm or person who helped during their accumulation phase. Ayers also points to the importance of the third or “Legacy Phase” of retirement planning. This involves stipulating how any wealth that remains after death will be passed on—to a surviving spouse, children, church, charities and the like. Given the choice, Ayers asserts, far too often beneficiaries will take an inheritance in lump-sum form despite significant federal and state tax implications of that decision. That's a sure way to forfeit—unnecessarily, he says—a significant portion of your hard-earned wealth. “Good planning should stipulate ways for wealth to pass that will minimize loss to taxation. Look for an adviser who takes a multi-generational approach to planning and who will work with your beneficiaries upon your death,” Ayers recommends.

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Concerned about your retirement and financial future? Tune into WFIR 960AM | 107.3FM each Saturday at 6a.m. and Sunday at 8a.m. for Financial Sanity with Patrick Ayers of Ayers Financial Services.

Ayers says other key questions a good retirement adviser can help address include: n Can we really afford to retire...and when? n What debts should be paid off first? n How much money will I be able to access each month based on my accumulated assets and entitlements? n What income sources should I draw on first? n When should I begin taking Social Security? In terms of taking Social Security, he notes: “Every year you can delay taking Social Security will increase your monthly benefit by 8 percent. It’s often wise to defer, using lower-yielding investments to cover your ‘gap’ as long as possible.” *Guarantees mentioned herein are backed by the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the issuer. Securities and advisory services are offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (MAS), member FINRA/SIPC, and a Registered Investment Advisor. MAS and Ayers Financial Services are not affiliated entities.

5185 Peters Creek Road Roanoke, VA 24019 540.563.9144

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More Retirement Planning Resources

Another resource for retirement planning can be your local bank—like Forest’s First Bank and Trust Company, a community bank, which uses Infinex Investments, Inc., Member FINRA/ SIPC, of Meriden, Connecticut as its securities Broker/Dealer. William Herbert, a private banker at First Bank and a Certified Financial Planner/Financial Advisor for Infinex, explains that Infinex provides community banks with a broad array of wealth management and financial planning services. According to Herbert, individuals should begin planning for retirement as early as possible. “Key considerations as retirement nears are the amount of savings that has been accumulated, the level of debt that will be carried into retirement, and what defined-benefit pension plans will be available. For retirement funds to grow, it takes time; starting to save early puts time on your side,” he says. There are many different types of retirement accounts to consider, and an advisor can help you determine the best for you. Herbert explains that a 401(k)—an employer-provided retirement plan—is a defined contribution plan that provides the opportunity for both an employee and an employer to contribute. “Often these plans allow an employer to match the contributions of an employee,” he notes. He also says that if your employer offers such a plan, it is very important to take full advantage of participation, since earnings in a 401(k) grow tax-deferred. Another option is a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) in which earnings also grow tax-deferred. Herbert explains, “A required minimum distribution (RMD) must begin being taken at age 70 ½; the IRS determines the RMD amount based on the year-end value of the account, the holder's age and life expectancy.” Another option is a Roth IRA. “The earnings for a Roth IRA grow completely tax free as long as the account owner waits until at least age 59 ½ to begin taking distributions and a Roth account has been established for at least 5 years. Thus Roth IRAs are a good source of tax-free income and do not have required minimum distributions,” says Herbert. If knowing what tools are available is a critical part of the planning process, it’s also important to know what steps to avoid for financial health in retirement. “The most common errors people make in their retirement planning are taking distributions R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

from their retirement accounts too early, and retiring before they have obtained an adequate level of retirement savings,” says Herbert. Underestimating healthcare costs can also have catastrophic effects on retirees’ financial health, and Herbert says that a discussion of long-term care (LTC) is important. “A number of alternatives to address this important need have been developed. Everyone should actively evaluate LTC as a potential part of retirement planning,” he says. It’s not uncommon to hear retirees gush about their “unemployment status.” They may even say that the retirement years are the very best years of life. More than likely, those comments will come from folks who have properly planned and prepared for their “golden years.” Following some of these tips just may help you enjoy retirement to the fullest. ✦ Securities and Insurance offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC., Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinex and the bank are not affiliated. First Wealth Management Group is a trade name of the bank. Not a Deposit • Not FDIC-Insured • Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency • Not Guaranteed by the Bank • May Go Down in Value

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gets new lease on life BY RORY RHODE S P h oto g r a p hy by Kevi n H u r l ey


om and Whittney Dunkenberger spent about a year trying to buy their current home. The newly-married Roanoke natives already had their own respective homes in town, so they weren’t in a huge hurry and wanted to wait for the right place. That place turned out to be a spacious 1925 brick home on Mill Mountain in South Roanoke with panoramic views of the city and an unusual history.


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The brick-walled solarium is painted a striking Ralph Lauren green.

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The home’s brick exterior had at some point been painted, so Tom and Whittney had it sandblasted to uncover the original masonry, giving the historic facade a soft, welcoming finish.


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he Dunkenbergers’ house sits on the site of what was once Mountain Park, which was built in 1903 by Roanoke Railway and Electric Company at the end of their streetcar line, to encourage locals to use the service. Mountain Park featured a dancing pavilion, gardens and a roller coaster, among other attractions, but was closed in 1922 after attendance declined due to competition from Salem’s Lakeside Amusement Park. The land was then sold for residential development. The house was originally built by William E. McGuire, whose McGuire building on the Roanoke Farmers’ Market sold farm supplies, wagons and the like to locals for decades before it was eventually purchased to make way for Center in the Square in the early 1980s, as the cornerstone of the city’s revitalization project. The Rutherfoord family bought the home in 1966 and lived there until the early 2000s, when the estate was sold with the intent of remodeling and resale. That didn’t happen, though, and the house fell into disrepair as it sat empty for seven years, and eventually went into foreclosure. Tom and Whittney had seen the property and, despite the neglect, loved the stately, slate-roofed home and expansive grounds. Tom, a financial advisor, says, “We put an offer in but didn’t hear back for six months. Finally, I said, ‘Forget the whole thing’, and then we got a call back and they accepted.” The house became theirs in October 2010, but there was a lot of work to do before it felt like home. Major renovations were needed, both inside and out. “The house was a complete disaster,” Whittney says, with many leak-related problems, damaged plaster, and non-functioning kitchen appliances, including a gas stove with no gas line hook-up, and a wine cooler that didn’t cool. “Nothing worked!” she laughs. Several months were spent taking care of the most pressing issues before the family moved in. Whittney, a family law attorney, managed to oversee much of the renovation—which continued for over a year after the move—while pregnant and caring for a newborn. “She became the general contractor,” says Tom, “And I give her all the credit for it.” They hired


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The traditional interior has been refreshed and updated with a juxtaposition of antique and modern elements, ensuring that rooms feel dynamic rather than like museum pieces.

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Avis Construction Company to handle the major structural stuff, and they have a photo album that details the process of patching the plaster and leaks, repairing or replacing various structures, renovating the master suite, reclaiming the garden, and fixing up the pool, which Whittney says was the most difficult part of the renovation. The home’s brick exterior had at some point been painted, so they had it sandblasted to uncover the original masonry, giving the historic facade a soft, welcoming finish. The structure features distinctive arched doorways, beginning at the front entrance and continuing into the two-story foyer, from which multiple arches open onto other rooms. The home’s traditional interior has been preserved, but refreshed and updated with new paint, refinished floors, and a juxtaposition of antique furniture with modern touches. An ornate side table in the entry, topped by a pair of lamps with traditional green shades, rests next to a geometric black and white area rug. The mix of patterns and styles is repeated throughout the home, ensuring that rooms feel dynamic rather than like museum pieces. Interior designer Mickey Nelson, of Bowles Nelson Powers, helped Tom and Whittney with the transformation, and Whittney’s friend, Hope Hollingsworth, who manages The Second Yard, coordinated and supplied fabrics. Another friend, Nene Roe, helped with the paint, which turned out to be a big job. The crown molding had been painted and couldn’t be stripped, so Roe had the painters match it to the rest of the wood by painting it a chocolate shade, which she then faux painted to perfectly match the look of real wood. In the living room, located to the right of the foyer, the resulting space looks inviting and effortless, with warm white walls, dark wood floors and trim, and a cheerful mix of pattern and color. The furniture, mostly from Tom and Whittney’s previous homes, was skillfully combined by Nelson to unify the space. Two arm chairs, from an estate sale at historic Cherry Hill in South

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Roanoke, are paired with Whittney’s Greek key patterned sofa, atop a modern Oriental rug from Tom’s house. A 150-year-old black armoire from China, also from Tom’s house, is flanked by a modern mirrored side table on an adjacent wall, and a 1920s baby grand piano on the other side. The piano, around the same age as the house, was made as a wedding gift from a husband to his wife. Whittney bought it at an estate sale for Tom as a birthday surprise. Arched glass doors lead to the brick-walled solarium, painted a striking Ralph Lauren green chosen by Whittney’s mother. Roe aged the paint, and the room’s traditional hues are brightened by a pale leopard-print rug, leather sofa, and a pair of matching arm chairs that were recovered in a floral print Whittney found at an estate sale. Ginger jars rest on the mantel of the gas fireplace, which was added to the space. Originally, the bricked arch in the wall led to a conservatory which had fallen into disrepair and collapsed. The Dunkenbergers removed that structure, turned the area into a spacious patio, and added the chimney, which actually has three fireplaces. The gas fireplace in the solarium has a wood-burning counterpart on the patio outside, while directly upstairs, a patio was added off the master bedroom, and a second gas fireplace installed there. Behind the living room is the den, which features original wood paneling, built-in bookcases, and a wood-burning fireplace. The Dunkenbergers left the existing blue-gray floral wallpaper in place because, as Whittney says, “We had too much other stuff going on!”, but painted the ceiling a complementary silvery color to help tie it in. The walls are hung with a farm scene by Greg Osterhaus, an impressionist painting by Sandy Lear (one of several in the home, purchased at Magnolia Furnishings) and a special piece above the fireplace by family friend Elizabeth Huey. Huey, a nationally renowned artist, painted a scene depicting the Dunkenberger family swimming and relaxing outside their home, which she created purely by descriptions from Tom and Whittney. Next door to the den, through the archway at the end of the foyer, the kitchen lies at the rear of the downstairs floor plan. It had been renovated before the Dunkenbergers

The den features original wood paneling, built-in bookcases, and a wood-burning fireplace.

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The kitchen had been renovated before the Dunkenbergers moved in; the dining room’s existing damask wallpaper was enlivened with a fun mix of fabrics and patterns.


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moved in (though, as mentioned, without certain necessities like the gas line to the gas stove.) Cream cabinetry, wood countertops and a copper farmhouse sink line the updated space. A chandelier from Magnolia Furnishings hangs above the granite-topped island, and the adjacent breakfast nook features a custom trestle table from Shabby Love, plus a whimsical cluster of wooden giraffes around the bay window. A doorway at the far side of the kitchen leads to the dining room, which is situated at the front of the house just to the left of the foyer. A fun mix of patterns are at play here, with leopard-print fabric on the Chippendale dining chairs, a red-toned Oriental rug, and a pair of Asian cloud motif armchairs from the Cherry Hill estate sale. As in the den, the existing wallpaper was left in place, this time a flocked champagne damask. A corner cabinet holds Whittney’s grandmother’s china, and across the room, a hefty buffet with claw legs came from an estate sale on Peakwood Drive. The 1920s oval dining table has a detachable custom apron to give it a chunkier appearance, and hidden beneath the rug is a hole in the floor which once housed a servant’s bell. Out in the foyer, the staircase to the second-floor gallery leads to another historical characteristic of the home: The corbel on each of the wooden ceiling beams features the carved face of one of the home’s builders, an old tradition sometimes found in European architecture. The walkway, which boasts a large floral painting by Sandy Lear, leads to an inviting office nook featuring bold textiles, and family photographs taken by Tom, many in charming oval frames. “He loves taking photos, and he’s great at remembering to do it!” says Whittney. The master suite was redesigned to add windows looking out onto the side garden and the upper-level patio with fireplace, and the

The corbel on each of the wooden ceiling beams in the secondfloor gallery features the carved face of one of the home’s builders.

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The guest house, with its low paneled ceiling, cluster of comfortable seating around the TV, and foosball table, has a cozy clubhouse feel.

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closets were reconfigured to remove the need for dressers in the main room, thereby making the bedroom feel more spacious. The master bath, which had brand new but leaking fixtures, was repaired and, since there was only a tub, a shower was added. Several types of granite were whittled down to a single style, with Whittney finding the last available lot of matching granite for the shower. “I scoured the United States,” she laughs. Whittney says Nelson was instrumental in helping them pull it all together. “He was architect, landscape designer, interior designer and decorator,” she says, adding, “I just go to Mickey for everything!” The Dunkenbergers’ older sons have moved out, so their upstairs bedrooms have been converted into guest rooms, and the boys often hang out in the adjacent guest house during their visits home. That guest house is one of the big reasons Tom and Whittney bought the property. Tom notes that the house has no basement, and Whittney says that the house really isn’t as large as it looks from the outside. “When we married, our boys were 8, 11 and 13,” she says, “And I knew they weren’t going to be with us forever. I didn’t want a huge house without them in it—that would feel sad!” The guest house, with its low paneled ceiling, cluster of comfortable seating around the TV, and foosball table, has a cozy clubhouse feel. The second story of the guest house leads out onto the pool deck, the site of major repair. “It was originally a covered pool,” says Tom, “But at some point, somebody took the cover off, and the deck wasn’t waterproofed, so it caused a lot of damage.” Eighteen-hundred square feet of flat surface had to be ripped out, and a commercial engineer was hired to figure out how to make everything waterproof so it wouldn’t leak into the adjacent guest house. Now, everything is ship-shape and fenced for safety. The rest of the outside property needed attention as well. Wisteria was everywhere, and the tennis court was buried under greenery. Scott Avis and Jack Cunningham of Avis Construction

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cleared everything out, and Tom, who loves gardening and landscaping, designed and helped restore the grounds, along with a team of workers and handyman Ricky Poage. Boxwoods from Oak Knoll (a neighborhood property whose garden was redone several years ago) were given new homes around the Dunkenberger landscape. Existing raised beds were kept and, upon Nelson’s advice, turned into English garden-style beds with vegetables and flowers. On the plateau at the side of the house, near where the Mountain Park dancing pavilion once stood, is the amusement park’s original pond and fountain, which have been carefully restored. Now the grounds are perfect for a special University of Virginia party the Dunkenbergers host every summer. UVA alumni run on both sides of the family — both Tom and Whittney’s fathers attended; Tom went there for undergrad; Whittney went there for undergrad and law school; one of their sons just graduated, and another is attending now. Tom is a board member for the UVA Club of Roanoke Valley, and as such hosts an annual send-off party for Southwest Virginia-area first years, their families, and alumni. Each August, around 150 guests enjoy a garden party and catered barbecue, listening to UVA speakers beneath a 40 x 20 tent.

Mountain Park’s original pond and fountain have been carefully preserved.

Almost seven years after they bought their home, Tom and Whittney can now look back and chuckle at everything they went through to get their historic home up to date. The last time they looked through their photo album of repairs, Whittney says, “I told Tom, ‘I can’t believe you let me buy that place!’” To which Tom replies, “You really saw the vision.” ✦

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the perfect




WHEN I ENVISION THE QUINTESSENTIAL SOUTHERN HOME, IT IS INEVITABLY ANCHORED BY A GRACIOUS PORCH. This isn’t just any porch—it is the porch. The envy of the neighborhood, the ideal space to entertain guests and the luxurious spot to sip sweet tea and sit a spell. Perhaps it’s childhood nostalgia, or a deep-seated desire to be Scarlett O’Hara, but Southern porches hold a certain reverence for me. The porch is the soul of the home, bearing witness to joyous celebrations, cathartic conversations and even a lamentable moment or two. Whether it be a front, back or side porch, a patio or a veranda, a well-designed outdoor oasis balances four critical elements: paint, lighting, furniture and decor. Now is the time to rejuvenate your porch for the long summer nights ahead. So, unlock your creativity and remember that the sky is the limit—or maybe the roof.

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Color Your World



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A coat of paint immediately elevates any space, and on a porch the possibilities for paint are endless. In the South, many porch ceilings sport “Haint Blue,” which ranges from bright blue to pale blue to green-tinted to near periwinkle. Legend has it that this color in its many shades is reminiscent of water and protects the home from evil spirits. Though this practice originated in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor stretching from North Carolina to Florida, varying shades of blue can be found on ceilings across the country. For an extra touch of warmth, adhere bead board to the ceiling before painting. Instead of looking up, take a gander at the floor. Consider using paint to create a pattern in this often-overlooked location. Basic stripes or chevron maintain simplicity, while a damask or quatrefoil adds visual depth and elegance. If you opt for a solid color, select a glossy sheen to give the illusion of water—perfect for aquatic retreats. Whether it is wood or concrete flooring, the professionals at your local paint supplier can share specific instructions for effectively working with either material. Don’t forget to give love to porch-adjacent areas. White-wash brick steps for a softer look. Exchange traditional wood railings for steel cable to make the space feel more open and modern. Paint doors a cheery color for curb appeal that is second to none. If, like me, you can’t commit to a color, rest assured, you’re not alone—the struggle is real. Furniture is perhaps the most costeffective and versatile way to experiment with color. Transform lifeless metal end tables into focal points with a coat of metallic spray paint. Rejuvenate a simple black bookcase by glossing the back of each shelf with a vibrant hue. Even unadorned flower pots gain a renewed purpose once coated with a gutsy shade— hot pink, royal blue, lime green … so many choices! Illuminate Your Space

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Thoughtful lighting is a critical element of a well-curated front porch. A hospitable front porch simultaneously creates an illuminated path into our homes and a staging area to soak in the beauty of the outside world. Lighting design has many possibilities in this unique exterior space. Frame the front door with vintage sconces. This adds charm and enhances the practicality of the space: a well-lit porch ensures it is easy to unlock the door when returning home at night and acts as a deterrent for crime. Another great option is lanterns. Cluster various sizes on steps leading to a porch, or on either side of the front door. While fresh candles will always be my first choice, LED candles offer an inviting glow, and many lanterns have built-in LED candles—no fuss, no muss! Candles, LED or otherwise, are great to scatter throughout the porch. Place a few on a side table, or as a centerpiece on an outdoor dining table. A porch soaked in candlelight gleams with phosphorescence. To enhance the aura even further, hang string lights. Who said they were just for the holidays? Dangle them from the ceiling to simulate a starry sky, or use them to wrap the porch railing. Swathe bushes and trees that flank the porch, or fill an empty wine bottle to create a make-shift lamp that doesn’t skimp on style. For a superlative porch, position a chandelier above your front door or a seating area. Antique shops often have vintage varieties with decorative droplets. Or, for the crafty at heart, produce a DIY chandelier by stuffing string lights into grapevine balls. To create an all-season porch, incorporate an outdoor R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

heater—typically gas or propane operated. Regardless of whether you plan to use it on an open or enclosed porch, always check the safety manual to ensure it is approved for use in that type of space. You can never be too careful! Furnish Your Wonderland

At its core, a porch is essentially an outdoor living room, so furnish it as such. Though many porches are covered, the elements

still creep in from time to time, so choose weather-resistant fabrics and use sealant on furniture, if needed. Particularly during the humid summer months, ceiling fans are a must-have. They provide a much-needed breeze and help keep bugs at bay. Before selecting furniture, first decide the intention of the space. Do you want an informal seating area? A sophisticated dining room? A well-worn lounge? These decisions will inform furniture selection.

Again, think of this space as an extension of the existing interior living areas. Also, identify patterns and colors to apply outside that complement the style of furniture already in the home. I always champion a mix of pieces— chairs, love seats, benches—to increase the adaptability of the porch. I also love to mix materials. Outdoor furniture is often made of teak, rattan and wicker. My personal favorite is cast aluminum.

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Its weight and durability is only matched by its stylishness. I adore traditional options with delicate design flourishes molded into the metal. What could be cuter? Employ smaller pieces to anchor your porch—end tables, ottomans, a coffee table and a sideboard, if space allows. These items uplift your arrangement from one-off pieces to a cohesive vignette. A porch is the perfect place to use an unexpected coffee table design. How about a vintage wooden factory cart? A steamer trunk? Small ottomans? In the DIY spirit, you can even take a galvanized steel bucket and place a wooden round on top for a quick and easy table. Of course, a Southern porch wouldn’t be complete without a beverage cart. No matter the size of your space, there is always room for a refreshing libation, whether it be apple juice for the little ones or mint juleps for the adults. Bookcases and small movable kitchen islands are easily adapted to fit this need—a friend of mine even repurposed an antique sewing machine table. Bonus points if there is a cooler nearby, or, even better, built into the cart! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention porch swings. Gliding into a warm afternoon breeze in the comfort of my own front porch sounds like a dream. From single-seaters to benches made for two, swings and porches go together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. Adorn Your Area

People often seem timid about decorating porches, assuming a minimalist approach is required because it’s an exterior space exposed to the elements. Push any reservations aside and think of it as just another room, a continuation of an established R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

aesthetic. After all, there should be continuity between a home’s interior and exterior. Remember, a porch offers the first glimpse of motifs to come— don’t perplex visitors with haphazardly mixed styles. To enliven the walls, consider hanging mirrors, which reflect light and expand the visual space, and antique windows, which are excellent for displaying photographs. In true Southern spirit, install a wooden monogram on the wall to claim ownership of the porch and home. In a seating area, add a rug to create a cozy spot for respite. If the rug will be in the path of weather, use an outdoor fabric to resist mold and mildew. Admittedly, I am a bit of a curtain addict. In fact, when I move into a new home, the first things I do are assemble the bed and hang curtains, much to my husband’s chagrin. The same goes for a fresh outdoor space. Curtains augment a simple porch into an intimate space worthy of a tête-à-tête. As I found out the hard way, standard curtain rods don’t often come in the lengths needed for unconventional dimensions found

on most porches. I recommend visiting your local hardware store for electric metallic tube conduit (e.g., a pipe), which they can cut to a custom size instore. Snag a pack of steel pipe hangers and voila—it’s a curtain rod! Lattice can also be used to create separation, especially on outer porch walls that face a neighbor’s home. Plant a flowering vine and allow it to weave into the lattice to create both privacy and beauty. A porch wouldn’t be complete without foliage. From potted plants to hanging baskets to vertical gardens, lush blooms vitalize a porch. Shadeloving Boston ferns and hostas have long been a staple of porchscapes. For color, impatiens and petunias are just the ticket and come in a variety of hues. I can still picture my perfect porch: an effortless amalgamation of coastal hues and rustic chic elements. While my vision may differ from yours, the recipe for a successful porch design remains the same: Balance paint, lighting, furniture and decor for a space you’ll enjoy all the seasons through. ✦

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GARDEN soil testing

the secret’s in the SOIL


When you head to the local lawn and garden center to find a cure for your under-performing yard or wimpy flower or vegetable gardens, the shelves full of products that promise to nurse them back to health can be a bit overwhelming. Labels advertise “fertilizer,” “turf builder,” and “plant food,” and a mere glance at the list of ingredients can baffle an unexperienced gardener—especially if you never paid attention in chemistry class. You hope there’s a product that will help your finicky fescue or droopy daisies, but choosing the right one is a challenge. Sure, you could research it first, but odds are you’ll just resort to the trial-and-error method and haul home product after product until you start to see some success—or until you do more damage and make a desperate call to a professional. 5 2

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The truth is that when doctors learn more about the patient they’re treating, they prescribe the most effective medication. That’s why it’s a good idea to test your soil instead of playing the guessing game. You will get the diagnosis you’re looking for and the right healing regimen to follow. The dirt on pH

Like any living thing, plants need nutrients. As complex organisms, each type of plant requires specific nutrients at specific levels. For the soil to be soluble enough for the roots to take up the nutrients, it must have the proper pH level. If you’re not an experienced gardener, you may have only heard about pH when it comes to swimming pools or buying deodorant. There’s so much more science behind the “power (p) of Hydrogen (H),” but a basic explanation is that pH, tested on a scale of 0-14, indicates the acidity level of your soil. If the level is out of whack, your soil may be locking out the nutrients that are essential to survival. The lower the pH, the more acidic (or sour) the soil is and the more trouble roots have absorbing the nutrients. Very acidic soils (under 5) will not respond well to many herbicides, and toxic levels of aluminum in this range can limit plant growth. The higher the pH, the more alkaline (or sweet) the soil is and the more that the plant nutrient molybdenum, for example, is available. Micronutrients such as manganese and zinc, can also become toxic to plants at this level. Most plants prefer the slightly acidic range (between 6 and 7). This is where the largest number of nutrients become most available to plants, with easier uptake. It is also in this range where earthworms and microorganisms like to hang out, which can benefit your soil. There are countless plant pH preference charts available online (try or On the low end of the scale (more acidic), you will find gardenia, blueberry, strawberry, azalea, rhododendron, and ivy, to name a few—all preferring pH levels of 4.5 to 5.5. On the opposite end, you will find carnation, clematis, peony, plum, sumac, and sunflower, from levels of 7 to 7.5. Test it out

When your plants look distressed and you’re just not having any luck with your watering or random fertilizer pick, the problem could very well be the pH level. But to know this for sure, you can order a soil test. Lawn and garden centers sell home soil pH kits, but if you’ve never tested your soil, it may be best to trust the experts. Some lawn care companies offer the service, or you could order tests through a program offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, which utilizes the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab. Affiliated with the research function of the university, the state-of-the-art lab has been conducting soil tests for farmers and homeowners for nearly 80 years. The Blacksburg laboratory conducts tests on over 50,000 samples each year. How it works: Pick up a form and special box from the local extension office (in Roanoke, for example, it is located at 3738 Brambleton Avenue SW) and mail it in with $10 (plus shipping). The form gives instructions on how to take and prepare a soil sample (the best time is when the soil is not too wet and not too dry). You can fill out what plants you intend to grow in the area where the soil is being tested. Once at the lab, the sample will run through a sophisticated pH analyzer machine and a computer

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will generate results, usually received in about three days. You can have the results delivered via email. (Download forms from, where you can also view sample reports and learn more about the testing process). A balancing act

At the Virginia Tech lab, a routine soil test package includes analysis of soil pH and nine elements (here’s where you have to flash back to high school chemistry: P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, and B). If the amount of elements is off, the pH level is affected. In the case where your pH is too high or too low, the report will give recommendations for adjusting it by using the right ratios of lime (to raise it) or sulfur (to lower it). According to the lab, more than a third of garden samples tested have too much lime, creating an alkaline soil where nutrients are insufficient for plant growth. The soil pH levels will naturally drop over time, so lime application will eventually become necessary. That’s why lab staff recommend staying ahead of the game by ordering a soil test every few years. They also warn against applying too much lime. The report will give specific recommendations to balance the lime amounts and information on how and when to apply it so you don’t do more damage. The report will also give fertilizer recommendations. It is a good idea to follow up the results with a call to your local extension office (the form always includes contact information for the closest office) where someone can walk you through the results, especially if it is your first time. The office’s network of master gardeners is on hand for support. They can even give you tips on how to apply the lime, sulfur or fertilizer. ®

Conducting a soil test can certainly save you time, money and headaches in the long run. If you can trust the dirt doctors and follow their advice, your soil can be on the mend—and your plants will thank you for it. ✦

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LIVE ceiling fans



Ceiling fans tend to be an underrated feature in the home. Many homeowners dislike them because they can be somewhat of an eyesore in an otherwise perfectly styled room. But who says that your ceiling fan can’t be both functional and attractive? Don’t forgo the comfort of having a ceiling fan in your home just for the sake of appearance. Ceiling fans of the past may have been clunky and distracting, but

with today’s modern, stylish designs, your ceiling fan can be a feature that helps regulate the temperature in your home as well as adds a unique design element that you will want to show off. When it comes to choosing a ceiling fan for your home, there are several different features to consider such as style, the inclusion of a light fixture, mounting and energy efficiency.

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When you are choosing a ceiling fan, take a minute to think about what style will work best in your home and how you want it to function. Are you looking for something basic that will simply keep you cool and fade into the background, or are you looking for something bold that will make a statement? Two updated looks on the market for ceiling fans are industrial and farmhouse styles. Both are perfect options for those who will treat this addition as a statement-making accessory. Industrial-style ceiling fans are modeled after heavy duty fans that are used for work spaces. These fans are usually characterized by a steel finish, clean lines, caged lighting, and sometimes even use vintage-style light bulbs. Not only do these ceiling fans present a bold and stylish look, they are great for cooling off large areas. Another on-trend option for your ceiling fan is a farmhousestyle fan. The farmhouse style has been gaining popularity in recent years, and there are now some interesting ceiling fans that work nicely with this modern rustic look. From Mason jar light shades to windmill fans, your ceiling fan can help give your home the cozy feeling reminiscent of life on the farm. Not all ceiling fans need to be elaborate. If you don’t want it to be a focal point in the room, try picking a neutral-colored fan that blends into the ceiling, giving you more opportunity to decorate without distraction. DIY Rehab

If you’re not interested in replacing all of your ceiling fans, you can always give your current fans a little update simply by adding a fresh coat of paint to the fan blades, or swapping out lights and lamp shades. There are plenty of fun vintage-style light bulbs on the market, such as Edison bulbs, that will help give your ceiling fans a fresh look. Other Considerations

If your room is needs brightening, why not get a fan with an incorporated light source? While traditional ceiling fans typically have glass light fixtures that may not be as appealing as a statement chandelier, you could try incorporating a drum shade or even some unique cage fixtures that lend a fresh new look. There are even some ceiling fans on the market that have retractable/foldable blades; what looks like a stylish light fixture transforms to a fan with the flick of a switch. This might be a good solution in a bedroom, where you want the style of a statement light fixture but need air circulation for a good night’s sleep. The mounting you choose for your ceiling fans will largely depend on the style and height of your ceilings. Flush mounts are great for standard ceilings, and down rods work well for high (over 8 feet) or vaulted ceilings, adding an extra touch of style. Energy Efficiency

Almost any home can be made more energy efficient by adding a couple of ceiling fans, which typically use fewer watts of energy than a central air conditioning unit. If your ceiling fan allows you to cut down on your AC usage, you could be saving money over time. Here are a few tips on getting the most out of your ceiling fans: n The bigger the fan is, the more air it will circulate. For rooms up to 75 square feet, consider a fan with a blade span of 29 to 5 6

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36 inches; for rooms up to 145 square feet, try a fan that is 36 to 42 inches in diameter. For rooms up to 225 square feet, consider a 44-inch fan. n Make sure you adjust the direction of your ceiling fan according to the season. Most models have a switch that allows you to toggle between clockwise and counterclockwise rotation. In summer, you want air to blow down into the room, so your fan should be rotating in a counterclockwise direction. In winter, fan blades rotating clockwise will draw warm air up and disperse it back down the perimeter of the room. n And of course, make sure to turn your fans off when you leave the room. While it may seem like a small step, it can help in cutting down on the electric bill over time. Ceiling fans may not be the most glamorous feature in your home, but they are useful and help keep you and your home cool and comfortable. With so many intriguing styles and features on the market, you are sure to find the right look that fits your home. ✦



is move-in ready. Interior has Designer colors with an artistic flair, a huge light & airy Florida room, plus 21st century updates including it’s kitchen. Yard and Landscaping can be every gardeners dream with lots of privacy in the backyard with a secret garden feel and a new deck. Exterior is solid 1950’s stone.


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IMPROVE outdoor furniture

Summer Spruce Up RESTORING YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE BY K AT H ER I N E F U LG H U M K N O P F Now that the weather is great, spending time outdoors relaxing makes you notice the little things: the blooming shrubs and trees, the chirping birds … and the patio furniture. Yikes! For some homeowners, their patio furniture has spent a long winter in the cold and damp and looks terrible. Fear not, for while outdoor furniture is easy to neglect, it is also easy to clean and repair.

Once you give the pieces a thorough wash with soap and water (a degreaser like Dawn or Simple Green is easy on the material, but gets the gunk off), let them air dry and give them a good look the next day. If your furniture needs more cleaning, try these tips. For plastic furniture, Pine Sol, an old toothbrush, a bucket of warm water and an old t-shirt to buff it dry work well. Use the toothbrush to get the cleaner in crevices and rinse that area well. If you rub carefully in all the places where the arms and legs meet the seat, you should be able to remove the old build-up with a few tries. If your furniture is still dull and faded, try adding bleach, hydrogen peroxide or an Oxiclean product to the warm soapy water (be sure to wear gloves). Another option is to spray paint it with the new paints made specifically for plastic, such as Krylon Fusion for Plastic. Cast aluminum and wrought-iron pieces benefit from waxing just like cars do. After you’ve washed and dried each piece, give them a generous coat of car wax, let dry and as you rub off the wax with an old t-shirt or towel, the color comes back with a shine. If they are chipping and rusting in spots, wash and dry them, then wipe down with mineral spirits and scrub any rust spots with steel wool. Put them in the yard on top of newspapers 5 8

and use spray paint specifically designed for metal to give them a fresh coat of paint. You might change colors for a new look on your deck or patio. If so, they will need several coats. Cover aluminum or metal pieces with a thin coat of spray paint and let each piece dry 24 hours between coats for best results. A few thin coats look better than one thick coat. Wood furniture is easy to maintain as long as it hasn’t gotten any mildew spots. A simple wash with warm water mixed with Dawn soap or Simple Green and a light scrub with a naturalbristle brush should remove mildew spots that frequent wood furniture. If elbow grease doesn’t remove the grime, you will want to purchase a product specifically for removing mildew from wooden patio furniture. Once your wooden pieces are clean, you can go several ways. Wood is beautiful left natural, or you can rub in lemon or teak oil to make it shine. If it is painted and the paint is in good shape, you can seal it with wax or polyurethane to bring back its sheen. If the paint is chipping, a light sanding and some fresh paint will bring it back to its glory days. Wicker furniture is either old, traditional painted wood, or the new resin-coated pieces. For traditional wicker pieces, a good scrub with warm water and a mild soap will get off the spider R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

webs and dirt that build up in the small weave. Rinse the piece off with the hose, giving it a good blast to get in the cracks. Let it air dry and it is ready to use. If the paint flakes off, then it will need a light sanding with fine sandpaper and a coat or two of spray paint to restore the finish. The new resin pieces should come clean with just a scrub of soapy water and a good rinse. Getting wicker wet makes it pliable again, so now is the time to reweave any broken or loose pieces back into the furniture. Once they dry, they should stay in place. Pillows and outdoor rugs look fresh again with a scrub of cool water and soap. (Warm water isn’t good for most of these fabrics.) Look inside the pillows or under the rug to see if the manufacture provides cleaning instructions. It is best to follow those. If there isn’t any advice, remember that less is more. Remove pillow inserts and let them air dry on a sunny day. Wash the covers in the machine on delicate and let them air dry. While slightly damp, replace them on the pillows and place in a sunny spot to finish

drying. You want them to easily stretch back on the pillow forms. If there are mildew spots, test an inconspicuous spot with a mixture of warm water, soap and a few drops of bleach. If the color doesn’t run, you should be safe to use this solution to spot treat the mildew. Once you’ve dabbed it on the spots, let it sit a few minutes then wash them in the machine on cold. Air dry and replace. Rugs can be scrubbed with warm water (less than 100 degrees) and a little Simple Green. Again, check the label for cleaning instructions and if there aren’t any, test a corner to make sure it is colorfast. Scrub and hose off with cool water. Hang so the air circulates underneath, and it will dry well. With a few simple chores, the whole deck, porch or patio feels new. When you put it all back together, you might rearrange the seating layout for a fresh look. Add some summer plants to your pots, and you are ready for evenings relaxing with a book or inviting friends over to throw something on the grill—those memorable nights of summer fun. ✦

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the benefits of raised gardening beds


At the first signs of spring, even the most casual gardeners see visions of summer blooms and dream of bountiful harvests. Garden soil is tilled, terra cotta pots are filled with potting mix, and seedlings are eagerly planted. For those who haven’t finished planting this season, or who haven’t had time to carve out space in their front or back yards, consider forgoing the effort of constantly watering small pots, or trying to prep and fertilize a huge section of garden soil, in favor of a popular way to garden: raised beds. 6 0

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partment or townhome dwellers who lack the lawn to convert to a garden can harvest bushels of delicious vegetables grown in raised beds. And even if you have all the land you need to plant directly into the ground, raised beds offer distinct advantages over traditional in-ground gardening. A raised bed can take various forms. Some sit at groundlevel and are built right onto a lawn or garden area. If you have land, you can create inexpensive raised beds—with or without a bottom—with a quick trip to your local lumberyard or home improvement store. If space is tight, garden centers sell what are called “elevated raised” beds, freestanding trough-like units that are supported on four or more legs. These can be positioned wherever you have deck, driveway or balcony space. Benefits, Challenges of Raised Beds

Whether they are built on top of the ground or elevated, raised beds offer many benefits. They also have a few drawbacks to consider in your planning. Raised beds allow gardeners to control the soil much more easily than gardening in the ground, which can be especially important depending on what you are growing. Certain herbs, vegetables, decorative plants and flowers require a certain type of soil—such as acidic or alkaline, water-draining or water-retaining. You can also control the fertilizer easily as well. With a raised bed, especially one with a bottom, you can add and maintain whatever soil composition you need for what you are growing. (You can therefore have a productive garden immediately, instead of taking years to amend existing soil.) Containers, such as large plastic pots or even large whisky barrels, also offer this—but they are smaller, and the resulting yield will be smaller as well. Vegetables grown in larger raised beds will tend to be bigger than those grown in pots, and raised beds don’t need to be watered as often as containers.

A downside to some raised beds is that, depending on the size of the bed, your vegetables may potentially be smaller than those grown directly in the ground. In addition, you will need to pay closer attention to watering. While raised beds retain water better than containers and pots, they need to be watered more frequently than an in-ground garden. Weeding a raised bed is easier because you are filling it (at least initially) with relatively weed-free, store-bought soil versus battling years of weed growth that has taken place in your existing garden. And because they often comprise a smaller area, raised beds are simply easier to maintain. The soil is also loose, so weeds come out easily. Elevated raised beds are even easier to maintain. Weed seeds are less likely to blow into them, creating less weeds overall. And for anyone who wishes to avoid back strain, an elevated raised bed also allows you to tend your garden with minimal bending. If your backyard has a lot of trees, you may find your garden soil is like a tightly woven web of tree roots. Those can choke out the roots of garden plants, stifling growth. Raised beds with bottoms, or elevated raised beds placed around your garden, will avoid that. For gardeners who want to have crops throughout the seasons, raised beds are ideal for compartmentalizing vegetables and plants by growing temperature. Dedicate a few beds to early spring plants like spinach and cilantro that can tolerate cold. Then, prepare a few more beds when weather warms up and dedicate those to tomatoes and basil. Then, while your warm weather beds are still producing but after the first cold beds have died back, you can return to the cold weather beds for late summer and fall plantings, tilling the soil a bit and amending with compost or fertilizer if needed. You can also dedicate smaller beds to invasive plants—like mint—allowing the plants to grow freely in the space while preventing them from taking over your whole garden. Another

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of Floyd County JUNE 24, 2017

benefit: Raised beds usually warm up faster than the ground, giving vegetables a head start after you first plant them. For the DIY Set

If you are creating a raised bed on top of your lawn or backyard, it’s very easy and inexpensive to build your own. Simply buy lumber to match your space, creating square or rectangular boxes in the sizes you want. Choose lumber that is relatively wide, to create high sides for your beds. Aim for sides that are at least 10 inches high or more. You can also stack railway ties or use other decorative wood options. (The deeper the bed, the better the bed will be at retaining water, maintaining a more even moisture level and requiring less watering.) Remember that wood needs to be untreated, to avoid chemicals leeching into the vegetables and herbs you will eat. Purchase multiple sturdy brackets and screws and attach to the inside of each corner with a power drill. If you don’t want to build your own entirely from scratch, you can purchase pre-made corners, often with stakes to anchor them to the ground. Purchase lumber separately and simply slide the lumber into the corners. Or, you can buy whole ready-toassemble sets made of wood or even plastic. If you have space and a tree-free area, you can have raised beds without bottoms. To take full advantage of your ground area, till the soil before building your raised bed over it, so it’s loose and aerated. Build the wooden sides, and then fill with purchased soil. You will enjoy many of the advantages of a raised bed while giving plants some extra depth to grow right into the ground. If your backyard ground is just too packed to till, no worries. Just build your bed on top. Your vegetables and herbs may have a harder time growing deep roots, and won’t grow as large as plants with loosened garden dirt, but they’ll benefit from more stable water levels if they have some access to the ground. If your backyard has a lot of trees, add a bottom to your raised bed. If it’s made of wood, it obviously won’t last forever, but it will prevent the roots from taking over your raised beds for a good while. Raised beds with bottoms will have some of the drawbacks of containers as far as having shallower soil and drying out faster, but still will perform far better than pots. Purchase a mix of container or potting soil and regular garden soil which will prevent the raised bed dirt from becoming too dense and packed. Add compost and fertilizer as well, and plan to add these every year to “recharge” your soil. You can buy soil in bulk if you are filling several raised beds. Otherwise you can purchase by the bag. (You can also find soil calculators online to help determine how much you need to fill your raised beds based on cubic feet.) After a year or so you will need to add more soil, since it will run off or out of your beds, so start with as much soil as you can fit, filling the beds to the top. Getting Fancy with Elevated Beds

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While it’s relatively simple to DIY a garden bed, elevated beds are more complicated, so you will likely want to purchase them. And there are some wonderful options out there. Basic elevated beds will likely be all wood, in a rectangle. Fancier versions might feature wooden frames with cool galvanized steel sides. Or the opposite—beautiful cedar sides held together with painted metal frames. Some are all galvanized steel, in silver or bright colors, R o a n o ke Va l l e y H O M E S u m m e r 2 0 1 7

and some are oval or triangular. You can make your yard as classic or whimsical as you like. Some elevated beds are extremely deep, with sides that go from the ground to waist high. But most of them feature a few feet of elevated trough held off the ground, leaving nice sightlines on your deck or patio. You can even buy an elevated bed that doubles as a patio bar! Some are on wheels, allowing you to move them around a smaller patio to maximize sunlight. Others feature practical growing options, like trellises or cold frames. You can also buy shallower versions and decorate your patio or deck with little herb beds. Not all have straight bottoms either. Some have rounded or V-shaped bottoms that look less boxy, but still allow for deep-rooted plants like tomatoes to grow. You simply plant them in the middle and plant smaller plants, like herbs, on the edge. Elevated beds will require less soil, but you will need to line them all with special plastic that allows water to pass through while retaining soil. You will need to water them more often than your garden beds, and you will not be able to plant tall vegetables like corn. Elevated beds are better for plants

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like cherry tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs, along with small crops like lettuce and spinach. Take time to visit several garden centers and home improvement stores to see what’s available. Location, Location, Location

When choosing where to place or build your raised beds, aim for the sunniest spots you can find. To maximize the types of plants you can grow, choose spots that get at least eight hours of full sun every day. If you are building beds on top of your garden or backyard, try to avoid areas with poor drainage. While you want to keep water levels consistent, you don’t want your plants in soggy, muddy areas. On the flip side, you will likely need to water your plants versus relying solely on rain, so make sure both elevated and garden beds are located near a hose or rain barrel, or purchase hose extenders so you can take the water where it’s needed. For placing elevated beds, think about how the bed will look at the end of the season. You might like to see cute tomato seedlings outside your kitchen window in May, but not like them so much when they are sprawling bushes in August. Best Practices

Because raised beds allow you to maximize and control the fertilizer in the soil, you can pack quite a few plants in that space without them competing for nutrients. You’ll have much more usable space to grow multiple vegetables and herbs together. Keeping the plants closer together also helps prevent weed growth, and allows for maximum shade for the soil, helping prevent it from drying out.


However, don’t crowd them too much. Plants need access to sun, water and air. Airflow allows leaves to dry out after being watered or getting rain, helping prevent disease. You should also be mindful of how you plant. Depending on where the sun is, place taller plants in back or in the center, and lower plants in the front or around the edges. You should also use cages or poles to train tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables to grow up, further maximizing space. As with all gardens, monitor for growth and overall health and, if needed, add a fertilizer to bolster plants. Rotate crops year-over-year, swapping your spring/fall and summer beds each season. This helps prevent plant-specific diseases, such as tomato blights, from returning. Form and Function

Elevated and raised beds can and should be placed and planted with an eye toward decor. Large-scale vegetable planters can be arranged strategically on a patio to frame out an outdoor living space, while raised garden beds can be used to add color, texture, order and definition to an otherwise boring backyard. Raised vegetable beds can be augmented with companion flowers (such as marigolds for tomatoes), or designed as beautiful arrangements featuring several vegetable plants, flowers and herbs. You can mix a few different varieties of colorful cherry tomatoes with eggplants and pepper seedlings, a few herbs and some nasturtiums. Use your imagination to create beautiful, edible garden features that you can enjoy this season, and for many seasons to come. ✦

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IMPROVE retiree resources

go digital!



pplications, commonly called “apps,” are software programs that can be downloaded to mobile devices, like phones, tablets, e-readers, smart watches, and smart TVs. If you own an Apple device, the Apple Store is your go-to electronic shop for exciting new apps that can help train your brain, plan your next vacation, track your finances, and more. If you are an Android user, Google Play is your digital marketplace to explore. HOME has discovered a few fun, helpful apps that may be appealing particularly to retirees—but possibly to people of all ages!


Lumosity is a popular brain-training app that offers daily brain games to users of all ages. The games aim to improve and maintain the user’s cognition, memory and mental agility, which can help you keep your brain on its toes. The brain games are divided into the categories of memory, attention, problem-solving, flexibility, speed and language. The app is free to download, with in-app subscription purchases available, and compatible with Android devices, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. When you download Lumosity and create your account, the app will administer a “Fit Test” to calculate a baseline score for your mental fitness with three brain games. After the test, you will have the option to choose between Premium Training, a route that offers more tracking tools and control over your regimen, or Limited Training, which offers a smaller assortment of daily brain game workouts without customization or tracking. If you sign up on your first day using the app, Premium Training costs $11.99 monthly, or $4.00 per month if you commit to a yearlong subscription. NYT Cooking

The New York Times Cooking app will help you impress your guests or mix up your everyday cooking routine with over 17,000 recipes at your fingertips. The app offers instructional videos to help users refine and master new culinary skills. Users will appreciate the streamlined layout of the recipes and the

scrumptious photographs that accompany them. The app will keep your phone awake when a recipe is on-screen, so you won’t have to reach for your phone with sticky fingers. The convenient “Recipe Box” feature allows users to store favorite recipes and organize them into collections. Keep expanding your repertoire by trying the app’s personalized recommendations for you, inspired by your saved recipes, as well as its unique “Recipe of the Day” that will appear on the app’s home screen. Users may leave public comments on recipes for fellow cooks or private notes for their own reference. Share your favorite recipes via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or email. NYT Cooking is available to download for free on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch. Eyereader

Save yourself from squinting at your menu, book or receipt next time you realize you forgot your reading glasses. Download the Eyereader app that transforms your mobile device into a magnifying glass. Open the app, hold your phone above your reading material, and see the text magnified on your phone’s screen. The app uses the LED iPhone light to brighten small text in dark settings, while the camera captures and magnifies the text on the screen. The app costs $1.99, and is compatible with iPhone (iPhone 4 or higher), 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and iPod Touch. For Android users, some comparable apps include Magnifier and Magnifying Glass + Flashlight, both available for free download.

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ADVERTISER index Astonish Antique Restoration........................... 54


Ayers Financial Services....................................... 34

Airbnb is a website where travelers can browse listings for rooms, apartments and entire homes in locations around the globe. The company offers an easily accessible app that can be downloaded for free on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Android devices. Airbnb now offers users the chance to book exhilarating travel experiences, such as ceramic-making classes in Cape Town, guided walking tours to the Hollywood sign, painting alongside a Parisian artist, or tasting wine in Barcelona. Users can save their favorite options on the app when comparing accommodation possibilities. Also, if you’re interested in renting out a room, apartment, or your entire home to travelers, users have the opportunity to become Airbnb hosts to generate extra income. Hosts may also offer visitors unique experiences that show off the things they love most about their local area.

Baron Enterprises..................................................... 53 Better Sofas.................................................................. 14 Brandon Oaks...............................................................15 Capps Home Building Center............................... 2 Carilion Clinic.............................................................. 20 CMC Supply, Inc...........................................................31 Coldwell Banker Townside..................................... 6 Construction Marketing LLC................................. 9 Decorating Den Interiors of Roanoke............. 10 Elaine Stephenson Interiors, Inc........................25 F&S Building Innovations.......................................17 Faith Christian School...............................................4 Ferguson................................................................. 26-27 First Bank and Trust Company.......................... 14 Floyd County House & Garden Tour.............. 62 G. K. Kinsey...................................................................57 Gene's Trading Post................................................ 34 Gentle Shepherd Hospice......................................18 Grand Home Furnishings...................................... 43 Halifax Fine Furnishings.........................................23 HomeTown Bank....................................................... 35 Interiors by Kris.......................................................... 49 Jeannine Hanson, Realtor......................................31 Kevin Hurley Photography...................................64 LinDor Arts...................................................................... 3


Mint is a free app that allows users to track and manage their finances from their mobile Android, iPhone, iPad, and

iPod touch devices. With Mint, users may keep track of bank accounts, credit cards, bills, investments, and their credit score all in one place. The app can help you save time and simplify your financial planning during retirement. Mint is particularly helpful for vacationers as it allows you to monitor your finances from your mobile devices while away from your home computer. The app offers bill pay reminders to prevent missed and late payments, and helpful savings tips. Users may also schedule payments ahead of time using Mint. Created by the makers of TurboTax®, Mint uses multi-factor authentication and VeriSign for security scanning in order to protect your financial data. Users may sync their information across each of their compatible devices, including the desktop version of the website. Mint is a versatile app that has garnered much online praise and attention for its value, ease of access, and efficiency. Apps can act as wonderful, user-friendly resources for retirees looking to stay active, get creative, take on new ventures, and expand their digital horizons. ✦

Magnolia Décor............................................................21 Margaret Crayé, Realtor........................................50 Member One Federal Credit Union................... 9 MKB Realtors.................................................................21 N-Hance......................................................................... 59 National Pools of Roanoke, Inc............................11 Prescott Construction............................................ 45 Present Thyme........................................................... 24 Reclaimed @ Smith Mountain Lake.................32 Richfield Retirement ............................................... 16 Roanoke Country Club..........................................48

Why Advertise with HOME? We’ve always attempted to offer stylish, quality furniture. We believe that HOME Magazine feels the same way about their product. As a matter of fact, it’s quite obvious with every issue that they know what it means to be both stylish and a quality publication. From the design trends to fashion, readers are given the tools to improve their lives. That’s why HOME Magazine is an easy choice for Better Sofas and always a fantastic read for our customers as well. -Colby Rorer, Better Sofas

Rockledge Paint & Decorating............................. 5 Ronnie Mitchell & Son Landscaping............... 63 Spectrum Stone Designs.......................................32 Steger Creek................................................................ 56 Sunnyside Communities........................................ 10 Susan Bailey, Long & Foster Real Estate..... 67 The Columns................................................................48 The Happy Housekeepers.................................... 54 The Little Gallery................................................ 51, 68 VAS Commonwealth Games.............................. 56 Virginia Mountain Mortgage (Bank of Botetourt)............................................ 24 Whitt Carpet One......................................................23 YARID'S ......................................................................... 53

For advertising information please call (434) 386-5667 or 6 6

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Roanoke Valley HOME Summer 2017  

Retirement Living Issue

Roanoke Valley HOME Summer 2017  

Retirement Living Issue