By Celeste M. Smucker –
What are the latest trends in home decor, technology, renovation, building and finance? What would work best at your house? Wouldn’t it be great if this information was all available in one place?
The good news is, it is when you attend the Blue Ridge Homebuilders Association’s (BRHBA) Festival of the Home on Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the IX Art Park sponsored by Fulton Mortgage Company. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Come join the fun!
Lots to Do and See
The Festival is a “one-stop shop for any and all things related to your humble abode,” and is one of two annual events sponsored by the BRHBA, the other being the Parade of Homes in October.
This is a great opportunity for our Associate Members to “show their wares,” said Jenny Tapscott, BRHBA’s Executive Director. They will be there to answer your questions about renovating, remodeling or upgrading your present home, and what to know if a new home is in your future.
The family-friendly event will offer “a ton of kids activities” from a bounce house to balloons and face painting to name just a few, Tapscott said.
There will also be DIY events such as container gardening and bee keeping and talks on energy savings from the experts at Batteries Plus Bulbs. Visitors will also hear speakers from our Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) who will share ideas about retrofitting for energy efficiency.
Plan to spend the day learning new stuff while you sample food from IX restaurants and participating food trucks, including a food bus staffed by CATEC students. Local brews, wines and ciders will also be available.
Do you want to explore what’s new in the way of color schemes, cabinetry, and plumbing fixtures of all kinds? Or maybe you want to get the low down on “crazy, fast fiber internet,” from Ting. All that and more will be on display at the Festival.
Ron Fisher Owner and President of Charlottesville Noland will be there to answer questions about all things related to HVAC systems, plumbing and supplies. He expects you to be surprised noting that customers often come into his Ridge Street showroom and express amazement at what is available.
“I had no idea,” is an exclamation he hears often. He helps customers overcome “decision paralysis,” by asking them to name the one thing they must have in their new sink or tub or other item. Then he helps them narrow their options so they can make a good decision.
Or come chat with the experts at Sigora Solar about rebates and savings available when you install solar panels to offset your energy costs.
“The best time to go solar is when you purchase a new home,” explained Madeleine Ray, Sigora’s Marketing Manager, whose company is always looking to expand partnerships with home builders. However they also design solar systems for existing homes and install them on all sorts of roofing materials (except tile), she noted.
Amy Hart with Dovetail Design and Cabinetry looks forward to connecting with Festival participants, answering their questions and “getting a feel for who they are.” Her company does whole house interior design, but their specialty is cabinetry. She loves to get questions about installing new cabinets compared to painting existing ones. “Painting often costs more,” she advises. Come to the Festival to find out why.
Irene Peterson, Marketing Coordinator for Charlottesville Gas will also be there to reach out to local homeowners about safely enjoying the benefits of using natural gas throughout their homes. “The IX Art Park is a great place to bring the community together,” she added saying that it’s also a great family place.
Home and Garden Trends
Every year you can count on new ideas in home and garden fashion and design, and the Festival is a good place to learn all about them.
Low maintenance is important said Anna Posner with the Southern Development Homes Design Center describing it as the “biggest thing,” buyers say they want in their new homes.
Many clients, especially downsizers, ask about smaller yards with low maintenance landscaping said Jodi Mills with Nest Realty Group who represents Stony Point Design/Build at Riverside Village. Her clients are often people who want to travel, spend time with friends and be active in the community. A small lot (or townhome or condo) with low maintenance landscaping fits their lifestyle.
It’s also not uncommon for growing families to desire a smaller yard, explained Michael Guthrie, CEO and Managing Broker of Roy Wheeler Realty Co. If they have to chose between less yard or more house, they often decide in favor of more interior space. This is especially true if they have special needs like they work from home and require dedicated space for an office.
Low maintenance is often high on the list of people who build or renovate with the intention of aging in place. Decks that don’t require regular staining and sealing, smaller yards and/or low maintenance landscaping, and hardiplank siding are good examples said Susan Stewart with Roy Wheeler Realty Co.
Keeping maintenance low is also why a growing number of home owners love quartz countertops, Hart said explaining that for many of her clients “it is worth budgeting for.” They like that it is non-porous and doesn’t stain, and it never needs to be sealed. It also offers a lot of “cool colors” she continued.
Posner adds that another winner is commercial-grade laminate flooring that “offers the look of real wood with the latest technology making it virtually no maintenance, which is exactly what we’re all looking for these days with our busy lives!” The flooring even holds up well to pets and high heels and it’s very easy to care for, “just sweep and swiffer,” Posner said.
Exciting Design Elements
A big benefit of the festival is the opportunity to learn about lots of design elements all in one place.
For example, are white cabinets still popular? And what about granite countertops. Yes to both say participants. High ceilings, contemporary floor plans and bright colors plus lots of glass and light are also in demand.
One way to get more light in your home is open tread stairs, a popular option in a three story townhome, Mills said .
Another hot item, Mills observed, is shiplap. She suggests using it in white, unfinished or natural. And in the kitchen, she sees a lot of buyers opting for tile that goes all the way to the ceiling instead of stopping a few feet above the stove or sink.
Tile backsplashes are definitely popular Hart said. They are functional and protective she added, explaining that concrete tiles are especially adaptable offering a range of colors and styles including large patterns. She encourages everyone to stop by her booth to learn more about the wide variety of products available “from entry-level to custom.”
Another interesting kitchen trend this year is farm house sinks, Fisher noted. They are available in different materials from stainless and copper to Corian®. To be really trendy, pair your new sink with motion or touch activated faucets.
At the Festival, Fisher will be featuring the washlet, or bidet, by the manufacturer Toto that can be used with any toilet. These are popular in both Japan and Europe, he offered, but less so here. However, when customers try them they often say “I must have one.” Bring your questions to the Festival, and then visit Noland’s showroom to try the washlet installed in the bathroom there.
Technology and Green
There is always something new in this category and the Festival will not disappoint.
For example, how about a high-tech toilet? One option is a variety that uses silver ions when it cleans the bowl to inhibit the growth of bacteria, Fisher said.
If you are planning to stay in your home for the long term, the experts at Sigora Solar can advise you on how to save as much as $20 thousand that otherwise would have gone to your utility company. The 30 percent Federal tax credit means that solar technology “is no longer out of reach for the average American,” Ray said.
Sigora also offers an audit service that finds the ways in which your home is not using energy efficiently. The audit team will then develop unique ways to help you save energy. “We are more than just solar panels,” Ray continued.
If a kitchen upgrade is in your future ask about induction stoves, an innovation Mills says is in demand because of its reputation for both energy saving and faster cooking times.
Lighting and outlet strips with attachments for iPads and other devices, are other popular kitchen innovations. These can include “docking drawers” with USB chargers and other outlets that get your devices off of countertops for convenience and a less cluttered look.
We all have heard of EnergyStar rated appliances that can save money on energy costs. However, did you know there is a water saving designation called Watersense? Jill Greiner, the Water Conservation Program Coordinator for the City of Charlottesville, will be at the Festival to talk about resources and information available to city residents who want to save water.
“We’re here for them,” she explained. adding that she will be educating people about the many rebates available for green initiatives such as the $100 rebates offered for installing Watersense-labeled toilets. For a sneak preview visit www.charlottesville.org/greenincentives.
Partners, Sponsors and Hosts
Events like the Festival are only possible because of the support of Associate Members such as Fulton Mortgage Company, the event’s main sponsor. Fulton loan officer and BRHBA Board Member, Cleve Brannock, explained that his company is “pleased to partner with an organization whose mission is to promote home ownership.” The organization’s emphasis on enhancing the home ownership experience through events like the Festival is also a plus, he added.
Also supporting the Festival are Host companies such as Better Living Building Supply in Troy, Stony Point Design/Build, IX Art Park, Southern Development Homes, and Ting Charlottesville.
Home repair non-profit, AHIP—a host and BRHBA charitable partner—will be the recipient of donations made during the Festival. The two organizations have a long history of partnering on events and projects, Tapscott explained, adding that the folks at AHIP “really do help locals.”
Visitors will pass through an AHIP-built structure at the entrance to the Festival and have an opportunity to make donations to support the organization’s mission. They can also participate in another AHIP fundraising activity, the auction of a GoPro Camera.
If you are planning to update your home or buy a new one, take advantage of some of the life-enhancing new products and technologies now available. Learn all about them while you have a fun day at the Festival of the Home at the IX Art Park from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. For more info visit brhba.org.
Celeste Smucker is a writer and blogger who lives near Charlottesville.