The Cape Fear Heart Walk

October 5th, 2010

New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes supports the 2010 Cape Fear Heart Walk.
 
Cape Fear Start! Heart Walk
October 16, 2010
Registration Begins at 9:00am, Walk at 10:00am 
Campus of UNCW – Athletic Field
 
 
 The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation’s #1 and #3 killers, claim more than 865,000 American lives a year. MJCH, along with many others in our area, has accepted the challenge to raise money to help fight heart disease and stroke by supporting this year’s Cape Fear Start! Heart Walk.

 

Rainy Day Kid Tips

May 3rd, 2010

New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share the following article courtesy of RealtyTimes.com.

This season brings with it its share of rainy days. And while you and other homeowners may not be able to work in your yards, clean out gutters, or install that new walkway, a stormy day can be a perfect time to settle in to enjoy family and the home you’ve put so much effort in to. 

Here are ten great stay-at-home activities for you to try with your crew.

1. Plan a Scavenger Hunt. Hide a prize, such as a movie to watch or a treat to eat, in the final location, and then leave a succession of clues and riddles around your home for the kids to investigate and follow.

2. Go Camping. If you have the space, consider setting up your camping tent in a large room, such as your family room. If you don’t have a tent, use chairs and a large blanket to mock the structure. Make smores in the microwave and tells scary stories against the backdrop of rain and thunder.

3. Talent Show. Set up a “stage” in your family room, and then let everyone take their turn showcasing what they do best. This is a great confidence booster, and can provide even more entertainment years down the road if you take video proof! Your family is probably full of musicians, dancers, comedians, and artists, and now is their time to shine.

4. Arts and Crafts. Let your inner Picasso shine forth. From crayons, to paints, to Popsicle sticks, there is no limit to what projects you and your family can tackle.

5. Baking Cookies. There’s a reason that home stagers light cookie scented candles during showings; nothing is homier than an oven full of baking cookies. Pull out your dusty Betty Crocker cookbook and make the delectables from scratch. This can be just as educational as it is fun.

6. Bocce Socks! Bocce ball is a classic Roman sport, but a rainy day calls for a new twist. Use rolled up socks as substitutes for the wooden balls.

7. Card games and board games. One great thing about board games is they are offered for a wide range of ages. From “Chutes and Ladders” to “Risk,” there is a little something for everyone.

8. Reading aloud. Before the age of iPods, DVDs, and even Television, there was a family activity that brought a story alive. Reading aloud can be a great activity, and “research and practice show that …. reading aloud is the best way to prepare children for learning to read and to keep them reading as they learn and grow. ” (Reading is Fundamental.org)

9. Puppet shows. Dig though your dresser drawers to find old socks that need new life. Assemble the glue gun, markers, scrap fabric, yarn, and construction paper and make hand puppets.

10. Movie-a-thon. It’s a rainy day classic. Fix a tray of snacks, such as popcorn, “ants on a log” (that’s celery, peanut butter, and raisins!), or some of those cookies you made in number five. Have everyone pick out their favorite movie, new or old, and then settle in for an afternoon of classic cinema.

Use some of these tips and have a great rainy day!

Article Written By: Carla L. Davis, RealtyTimes.com

  

 

 New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes realizes that many of our clients have homes to sell before they can build a new home or move to our area. Consider these tips when selling your home. 

Home buyers and home sellers have the same goal: an exchange of property. Buyers want to pay as little as possible for the nicest house they can afford; sellers want to earn as much as possible on their property. They may seem like conflicting interests, but they aren’t. Buyers and sellers goals, at bottom, are both about making a fair trade.

For sellers, there are some intangible factors they simply can’t control, like fluctuations in the market in their city or neighborhood, interest rates on mortgages, and the price at which nearby homes are selling for. Sellers can, however, control how their home is presented when their Realtor shows their property to prospective buyers. One of the best ways for home sellers to ensure the sale of their property is to make it attractive to buyers.
 
Having a pleasant interior design can put buyers at ease and reassure them that your home is well cared for. Buyers don’t easily get excited about purchasing a home that is sloppy, dirty and poorly decorated.

Interior design professional Emily Spreng, who holds degrees in interior design and historic preservation, says working with just two elements of your interior design can reap huge benefits in the overall feel of your home.

Lighting

“Lighting is one of the most important elements in interior design,” Spreng says. “By changing lighting you can instantly change the mood of a room.”

Whether you’re showing your home day or night, pay close attention to the mood being created by your lighting. In the bedroom, Spreng recommends creating a relaxing, ambient feel by turning off your overhead light and adding lamps with opaque shades to your bedside tables.

For cramped or dim spaces, Spreng says mirrors can make a room feel larger and warmer. “Put a mirror on the opposite wall of yours window to bounce the light around,” she says. By reflecting the sunlight, mirrors create the illusion of a second window.

You should also pay attention to your choice of window dressing to use the daylight you have, Spreng adds. “Use blinds that open and close and go up all the way, so you can let in a little bit of light or a lot—it’s just another way to control your lighting.”

Accessories

“Your accessories are the cheapest thing to change if you’re working on a budget,” Spreng says.

Accessories are the stuff you put in the room to make it more interesting, things like vases, candlesticks, pottery, flowers and wall hangings. For Spreng, the thing to remember about accessories is: less is more.

“I think the most important thing to remember when accessorizing your home is that one very interesting accessory is better than six or seven knickknacks,” she says. “If you want to emphasize the design of your home, it’s important to remove as much clutter as you can.”

Spreng advises home sellers to focus especially on area rugs, paintings or photos and throw pillows to spruce up a room. “An area rug is probably the best way to warm up a room,” she says, adding that it will bring a room together and make it feel cozy. Paintings and photos are a good way to add color and character to your room, and you can liven up drab furniture with cheap, colorful throw pillows.

An extra tip: if you have a big room with an empty corner, folding screens are a great way to round out the space and bring the focus back into center of the room.

Courtesy of: Drew Johnson, RealtyTimes.com

New Hanover County, NC remodeler Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an interesting article written by By Stephani L. Miller with CUSTOM HOME Magazine on how to detect problem drywall.

Following up on months of research into complaints of imported drywall causing corrosion in homes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a set of guidelines to help contractors and builders identify problem drywall in homes. Developed by the Interagency Task Force on Problem Drywall, the two-step guidance requires a visual inspection to detect the presence of metal corrosion followed by collection of corroborating evidence.

 ”This guidance offers homeowners, contractors, and state and local authorities a course of action for knowing if they’re dealing with problem drywall or not,” said Jon Gant, director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, in an announcement about the guidelines.

 To determine whether a house has been negatively impacted by problem drywall, the initial Threshold (visual) Inspection, performed by a trained inspector, must show a) blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils; and b) the installation of new drywall (for new construction or renovations) between 2001 and 2008.

 After establishing both of these conditions, individuals evaluating affected homes should move forward in gathering evidence of conditions in the home that confirm the presence of problem drywall. The task force notes that collecting this evidence may require contracting with professional assessors and possibly analytical laboratories for testing.

 Homes that display the characteristic metal corrosion and had new drywall installed between 2005 and 2008 must also show at least two of the following corroborating conditions; homes that had new drywall installed between 2001 and 2004 must show at least four of the corroborating conditions:

  • Proof of corrosive conditions in the home by the formation of copper sulfide on copper test strips that have been placed in the home for two weeks to 30 days, or by confirming the presence of sulfur by the blackening of the grounding wires and/or air conditioning coils.
  •  Confirmation of drywall bearing Chinese origin markings in the home.
  • Drywall core samples containing strontium levels that exceed 1200 parts per million.
  • Drywall core samples containing levels of elemental sulfur exceeding 10 parts per million.
  • Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and/or carbon disulfide emissions from drywall samples tested according to ASTM chamber tests.
  • The formation of copper sulfide on copper metal during chamber testing using drywall samples from the home.

 CPSC is continuing its testing and studies and will refine and update this preliminary identification guidance as necessary. Full details and rationale for the identification methods is available at www.drywallresponse.gov, the task force’s Drywall Information Center website.

 CUSTOM HOME previously reported on the task force’s research findings that linked Chinese-manufactured drywall to metal corrosion in homes in December.

Courtesy of: CustomHomeOnline.com

 

The Light Bulb Goes Digital

January 27th, 2010

New Hanover County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers a recent blog post from Michael V. Copeland, a senior writer for FORTUNE Magazine. In the post he examined the growing popularity of LED lights for both residential and commercial use. Below is an excerpt from the article and to read more, click here!

“The $100 billion global lighting industry is undergoing radical change: New office buildings and retail outlets are abandoning fluorescent lighting in favor of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, those tiny, energy-efficient, long-lasting, and blindingly bright points of light. Giants such as GE (GE) and Philips are shifting production from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Even the local Home Depot (HD) — which today probably stocks only a couple of LED lighting products — will soon carry a bouquet of LED bulbs, ultimately edging out fluorescents and halogen lamps. By the end of the decade, analysts predict, LEDs will be the dominant source for commercial and residential lighting.

LEDs, which are based on a technology similar to that of computer chips, have more in common in their design and manufacture with your laptop than with the incandescent bulb that Thomas Edison patented almost 130 years ago. As lighting goes digital, the industry is likely to encounter some of the same upheaval that took place when television, music, and other businesses shifted away from analog technologies.

Lighting is dominated by three enormous global companies: General Electric, Germany’s OSRAM (makers of Sylvania products), and the Dutch company Philips. But with LEDs coming on strong, the industry is now opening up to companies such as Samsung, LG, and Panasonic (PC), which have expertise in semiconductors.

‘From where I sit, lighting is undergoing the same transition that the film business did when digital cameras first came out,’ says Chuck Swoboda, CEO of Cree (CREE), a publicly traded LED manufacturer and lighting-systems company based in Durham, N.C. ‘I think the writing is on the wall for older types of lighting technologies. It’s just a question of how quickly we make it happen.’”

Courtesy of: CNNMoney.com

New Hanover County, NC luxury home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a press release from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and MetLife Mature Market Institute. A survey conducted by the organizations found interesting data on the housing preferences between 55-to-64 year olds and the 65+ age group. Below is an excerpt from the article and to read more, click here!

“The data uncovered a strong similarity in housing preferences between the two groups, with a few exceptions. The younger age group showed more interest in technology-heavy features, while the older group expressed a stronger preference for a single-story floor plan or one with a first-floor master bedroom, and a variety of universal design features.

One striking difference, according to John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife’s Mature Market Institute, related to the desire for home services and community services.

‘Very telling,’ said Migliaccio, ‘is that the younger group of mature consumers reported enthusiastically that they want services like home maintenance and repair as part of their next home purchase, along with services typically connected to older homeowners, such as housekeeping, onsite health care and transportation,’ noted Migliaccio.

According to Migliaccio, all of the aforementioned were ranked higher than the desire for organized social activities – a surprise, inasmuch as social activities and amenities have been thought to be valued quite highly by this group. This finding, he said, supports an emerging trend among builders to look for ways to partner with providers of such services to the residents of their active adult/lifestyle communities.”

Courtesy of: HousingZone.com

Fourth Friday Gallery Walk

January 18th, 2010

New Hanover County, NC builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes encourages both locals and visitors to attend the Fourth Friday Gallery Walks. These monthly walks are self-guided tours through several downtown Wilmington, NC galleries and studios featuring exhibitions of various artistic genres including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, photography, sculpture, woodwork, glass, metals, ceramics, mixed media and more. Showcasing art and art-related events, Fourth Fridays also include opening receptions, artist discussions, live music, wine tastings, food sampling and other traditional and non-traditional art-based activities. The next Walk is January 22, 2010 and goes through November 26, 2010. For more information call 910.763.3737, visit www.WilmingtonFourthFridays.com, or become a Facebook Fan of Fourth Friday Gallery Walks!

New Hanover County, NC luxury home builder would like to share an article from Wilmington’s WECT news station. Gavin Johnson reported that the Animal Planet network will feature Wilmington Fire Station Number Seven for their life-saving efforts for pets in house fires. Below is an excerpt and to read more, click here!

“Last September, firefighters rescued a cat from a burning house. They used an animal oxygen mask to save the cat’s life.

Producers with Powderhouse Productions heard about the story and felt it was important to share it with the world.

‘We found the story through an online search,’ said producer Ann MacMullan. ‘Often we’re searching and searching for these wonderful stories and they could land us anywhere.’

More than 40,000 pets a year die from smoke related causes. Wilmington’s Fire Department is one of the few fire stations in the country with oxygen masks for dogs and cats.”

Photo Courtesy of WECT.com

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 www.WarmlyYours.com.