New Hanover County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is excited to share a press release from the US Department of Labor announcing $100 million in Green jobs training grants will be given through the Recovery Act. Below is an excerpt from the press release and to read more, click here!

“Washington, D.C. — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The grants will support job training programs to help dislocated workers and others, including veterans, women, African Americans and Latinos, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations. Approximately $28 million of the total funds will support projects in communities impacted by auto industry restructuring.

Through the Energy Training Partnership Grants being administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, 25 projects ranging from approximately $1.4 to $5 million each will receive grants. These grants are built on strategic partnerships — requiring labor and business to work together.

‘Today’s announcement is part of the administration’s long-term commitment to fostering both immediate economic revitalization and a clean energy future. It’s an investment that will help American workers succeed while doing good,’ said Secretary Solis. ‘Our outstanding award recipients were selected because their proposed projects will connect workers to career pathways in green industries and occupations through critical, diverse partnerships.’”

New Hanover County, NC home remodeler Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from the Kitchen and Bath Association emphasizing that today’s market is ideal for home remodeling projects to be done! Below is an excerpt from Victoria Hale’s article and to read more click here. If you are looking to do a home remodel or addition in New Hanover, Pender or Brunswick County, we encourage you to contact us!

“A recession provides a unique opportunity to remodel your home. Labor is cheap, commodities are 60 percent less expensive, and there’s significant promotional pricing being offered in an effort to move product. These factors, when taken together, can reduce the overall cost of the remodeling project by 25 to 30 percent. The bottom line is that there are plenty of opportunities to increase the value of your home over time.

It’s also the perfect time to include floor heating in your bath or kitchen remodeling project. Floor heating was among the top 10 features most wanted by homeowners in a 2008 study by Residential Design & Build magazine. Floor heating can be the extra feature that helps close the deal if you’re selling your home in this buyer’s market. Even if you aren’t in the market to sell your home, you can reap the daily benefits of warm floors in your kitchen or bathroom while increasing your property value. Many families congregate in the kitchen, and heated floors keep those gathered comfy and cozy. There’s also nothing like a warm bathroom floor on a chilly autumn morning to start the day off on a positive note…

Make this recession work for you by improving your home and your quality of life.”

Courtesy of: Victoria Hale, the Loyalty Marketing Manager for WarmlyYours, a radiant electric floor heating manufacturer based in Long Grove, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago. WarmlyYours has been featured on both HGTV and in the New York Times. For more information, call (800) 875-5285 or visit

The Wilmington Concert Association will be hosting the Band of the Irish Guards and the Drum, Pipes and Dancers of the Royal Regiment of Scotland this month! This is the first year they will tour the United States and New Hanover County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes encourages those in the Cape Fear area to attend the concert at the Kenan Auditorium at UNC-Wilmington. Visit the Wilmington Concert Association’s website for more information on the Band, watch a video, and order tickets!

New Hanover County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to introduce our readers to the Phoenix Employment Ministry, located in downtown Wilmington, NC. The organization’s vision is “to be the ministry to which sheltered homeless and nearly homeless people will come or be sent to find satisfying, long-term employment.” Their program includes intense one-on-one coaching, which consists of a staff member being a teacher, care giver, personal coach and cheerleader to those in need of it. Their ultimate goal is for everyone to be self-sufficient and empowering the homeless in the process. If you are interested in being a volunteer, making a donation, or just learning more about the Phoenix Employment Ministry, visit their website!

New Hanover County, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is excited to share that Wilmington will host an antique show this month. WECT reporter Bob Townsend posted the following article today and stay tuned to WECT for more information on the antique show that will come to downtown Wilmington!

“WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – While the beach draws visitors to southeastern North Carolina when it’s warm, the cold month of January brings in people looking for treasure.

A huge antique show will take place in Wilmington at the end of the month, but the antique business is prominent in the area year round.

Wilmington’s history dates back into the sixteen hundreds, but it is antique items much older than that which brings many antique lovers into the port city.

Most of the city’s antique dealers had their shops on Front Street for many years, but many have moved out of the downtown area, to just a few blocks away, here on Castle Street, and have transformed that part of the city into a true antique district.

In all, there are about 20 antique stores spread across Wilmington with about 250 thousand square feet of display area. 

Each has it’s own special niche, some specializing in large furniture items and other in small trinkets. Moore says right now, he is seeing a lot of customers looking for the small collectibles.

Bettie Biggagi has been in the antique business for years, mostly in New Hampshire, where she ran a collectible business and small store. She feels the antique business in the South is far ahead of Northern States.

Whether you are looking for a small item or something bigger to fill up a room, January is a great month to buy, because store operators say they are ready to deal.”

Courtesy of:

New Hanover County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is excited to share a report by WECT’s Max Winitz. The U.S. Navy has chosen Wilmington, NC to host the Navy destroyer, the U.S.S. Gravely. Below is an excerpt from the WECT posting and to read more, click here!

“The Gravely is a 510 foot destroyer named after the late Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Junior. He was the first African-American Admiral in naval history.

Last May, the ship was christened in Mississippi with Gravely’s wife, Alma, breaking the champagne bottle over the vessel.

‘She’s beautiful — just beautiful,’ says Alma about the vessel. ‘My husband would have loved it.’

The navy spokesperson we talked to says the ceremony is tentatively scheduled for either September or October.”

New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes encourages fellow New Hanover County residents to take advantage of the Cape Fear Museum’s free admission the first Sunday of every month! The next available opportunity is Sunday, January 3rd, 2010. Featured exhibits include “Conservation Matters”, “Going to the Movies” and “Cape Fear Treasures: Drink”. Ongoing exhibits include the “Michael Jordan Discovery Gallery” and “Cape Fear Stories”. For more information, visit their website!

Southeastern North Carolina’s electronic specialists, Electronics 2 You’s recent e-newsletter highlighted Control4, an energy monitoring system, and it’s use in the Las Vegas CityCenter , Aria Resort & Casino, and Mandarin Oriental. You can use Control4 to monitor the energy usage in your own home with the help of Electronics 2 You. They specialize in installing the Control4 system and TED (The Energy Detective). New Hanover County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes is currently using TED at their Green home in Landfall in Wilmington, NC. “Being able to monitor the energy usage in real-time is very beneficial. It shows us what lifestyle changes we need to make to ensure the Green features of the home are used at their highest potential,” noted Mark Johnson.

Below is an excerpt from Electronics 2 You’s e-newsletter and visit their site for more information on optimizing your monetary saving in your home today! To sign up for their newsletter, click here!

“Guests will use a single remote and Control4 on-screen view to use the TV to set the systems in their rooms to their personal preferences, including lighting levels, room temperature, television/video systems, music, drapes and guest services.

Other features include:

  • A ‘good night’ scene button on the touchscreen next to the bed which turns off the lights, TV and/or music, closes the drapes, and turns on the privacy notification for the room.
  • A ‘wake-up’ scene where lights and music gradually come on, the temperature comes up, and the drapes open.
  • After a guest has checked out, a room can quickly be put in ‘unoccupied’ mode, which shuts off the lights, heating or cooling, entertainment systems, and any other electronic device in the room.
  • Integration with property management systems to deliver concierge-type services, as well as automate the guestroom, based on check-in/check-out status.
  • Sending an alert to the technical systems staff regarding problems in the room, such as low batteries in remotes.

Scot Campbell, senior vice president and chief information officer at MGM MIRAGE Information Technology, says the Control4 Suite System makes CityCenter ‘the most energy efficient establishment in Las Vegas.’ He says that is important because more consumers are conscious of being green at home and when they travel.”

New Hanover County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes understands the intricacies of filing for Federal Tax Credits when you opt for updating your home with energy-efficient options. But just in case there is any confusion, posted an article today detailing the information. Below is an excerpt and to read the complete article, click here!  

“Many of the federal tax credits apply only to your primary residence and to existing homes. Not all Energy Star appliances qualify, so you have to do some of your own research. All products have to meet specific criteria. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star website offers partial lists and answers commonly asked questions.

You can claim 30%, or up to $1,500, for qualified improvements this year and next year in these areas: biomass stoves, windows, doors, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) insulation, metal or asphalt roofs and non-solar water heaters. Note: You can only include the installation costs for biomass stoves, HVAC and water heaters.

The biggest tax breaks come if you install geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines or solar energy systems. You can claim 30% of the costs (including installation), without any cap, through 2016. This credit applies to existing homes, second homes and new construction.”

The Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Power Breakfast Series event was held yesterday, December 3rd at the Hilton Riverside in historic downtown Wilmington, NC. The entire team of New Hanover County, NC custom home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes attended the event, which was covered by News 14 Carolina in last night’s broadcast. Our own Vice-President of Business Development, Kevin Johnson, was interviewed by Julie Fertig regarding the real estate market’s future in the Wilmington, NC area. Below is an excerpt from News 14 Carolina’s coverage; to watch the video and read the complete coverage click here!

“After a rough few years in the real estate market across the state, signs of improvement appear to be on the horizon. A panel of longtime real estate agents in the Wilmington region reflected on the current status of the market and their expectations for the year to come during a Real Estate Reality Check discussion.

Intracoastal Realty President Jim Wallace, who was on the panel of industry experts, said the combination of low prices, low interest rates and more property for buyers to choose from creates a strong market.

‘Also, in addition, there are bank-owned properties now that are priced well below the market,’ said Wallace. ‘So it’s a good opportunity for people to buy a house now.’