#4 Favorite Design Feature: Church Renovation

For my #4 Favorite Design Feature from 2018 wasn’t from one of the homes we built but from a project that was close to my heart–  A church renovation.  Neil and I moved to Clayton in 1998 where we built our first home and started a family.  After bouncing around to area churches we started attending  Tippett’s Chapel FWB Church in 2004 and it has been our church home ever since.


I would say Tippett’s has played a key role in our family’s spiritual growth.   We have raised our three boys  there and all five of us have been baptized there.  Our Tippett’s Family has supported us, prayed for us, celebrated with us, and grieved with us.  So needless to say this project was close to my heart.

There is a great history associated with Tippett’s Chapel.  The original church was created in 1900 with Rev. Ben Tippett as its first pastor.   In the 1930’s a new church building was erected. Much of the building materials were given by members. Even the pastor, Rev. W.K. Jordan, cut the trees, took them to the sawmill to be sawed, dressed, and then used to build their new church building. This building is still being used today after being remodeled several times.


In 1963 the church wanted to add a parsonage in order to accommodate a full time pastor and found a piece of property about 5 miles up the road into Johnston County.  The church building was moved in 1965 to where it stands today. (you can read the whole story here)

Due to our line of work, or as Pastor Eddie likes to call it our “spiritual gifts”, Neil and I are often consulted when any “building needs” arise.  This past year, I was asked to participate in a Facility Enhancement Focus Group. The group’s first assignment was to attend church “as a guest” and make a list of any facility enhancements we would want to make if money or resources were no object.  This was a great assignment for me but also challenging. Often when you become settled in a particular place or routine, it’s easy to get complacent and overlook things that may have bothered you originally.  Things we might would notice if we visited someone else’s home or business but the same thing we might pass right by day after day and not even notice in our own homes (like this spackled area in my bathroom that needs a paint touch up that has been there for about two years that Neil seems to not notice anymore picture1 )

As I walked through the church grounds I made my list.  It’s not in my nature to have a mindset that money/resources are no object so I automatically prioritized my list with items that would make the most impact for the least amount of hardship.

Top of my list: Renovate the church sanctuary by changing all the stained wood paneling and trim to a more up-to-date look with painted wainscoting.  I remembered sitting in church back when we first started attending years ago and the dark stain bothered me.  But as I grew to love the church and the people, the dark stain blended away over time.   This new assignment gave me the opportunity to revisit the idea.

My next task was to create a plan of action, budget, and timeline.  My first phone call was to our Trim Crew- Ayscue’s Trimwork.  Jeff met me onsite and we made our list of materials and formulated a budget.  Our goal was to minimize damage by keeping and using any of the trim that was there currently.  Jeff felt we could keep the original door trim and chair rail while adding the interior panels and baseboard to create the wainscoting panels I was looking for.  Second challenge was painting the dark stained wood that was left, so my next phone call was to our painter.  He assured me he could cover the dark wood stain with an oil based paint but it would take several coats.  Knowing we could paint and reuse some of the existing materials without removing and adding all new materials was a huge benefit to our budget but more importantly helped minimize additional issues that can arise from renovating an old building such as this.

My next step was to present my idea along with the budget to the focus group.  The Renovation Idea got put at the top of the “Action Items” list and away we went.

As work got started, I started running into a few new challenges, but thankfully, that’s what I have Neil for- he swooped in and got it done!  We even got our boys involved.  Together, our team worked through those challenges and 7 days later we were in and out.

WOW, what a difference!  What do you think??

All in all, we came in under my original budget with special thanks to Ayscue’s Trimwork and Guy C. Lee Building Materials for their generous contribution and thanks to Top Quality Painting for all their hard work in meeting our timeframe.

I realize it’s now 2019, but I still have 6 more Favorite Design Elements from 2018, stay tuned next week for #5- my favorite topic. . . . Lighting.





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#3: A Special Place for Man’s Best Friend

My number #3 on my list of Favorite Design Features from 2018 made the list not so much as a beautifully designed space but rather more as a functionally designed space for one of their family members. . . their dog!

In this particular case, our clients took great care in making design decisions throughout the entire house that incorporated the entire family’s needs, wants, and personality.  For example, the upstairs kids bathrooms and bonus rooms were designed to serve their three kids.

Other spaces reflected the mom’s style and functional needs, like the Kitchen, Laundry, and Dining rooms.

And everyone succumbed to letting the Dad’s office reflect his certain style (I actually think the light is super cool).


With everyone getting to incorporate their own personal style and influence within the design of the home, it was only natural to include their other family member living in the home– their pet dog.

In this particular case, our clients still lived out of the state while their home here in NC was being built.  Although being so far away during the building process can have some challenges, with easy access to internet and phones these days, it’s actually pretty easy to keep things moving with few hiccups.  One day during a site visit when I was walking through the house, I was able to send photos of the house during framing stage.  After seeing the photos, they remembered they wanted to add a special room under the staircase, if possible, for their beloved dog.  Through quick communication with Neil, we were able to determine we could move the air return to another location and add the doggie space under the stairs.  This is a great example of why building custom can be beneficial.  The amount of site visits, consistent communication, and freedom to make changes such as this at a moments notice make building custom a great option for many clients.

We ran the hardwoods into the space and even added his very own night light.  Now, everyone in the family is happy in their new HOME.

Stay tuned, up next week #4 covers my favorite Design Topic. . . “Lights”!


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Joy’s Favorite Design Features from 2018 Series: #2

#2: How could “artichoke” turn out so good 

If you read my last blog post and couldn’t wait to read about what my #2 favorite design feature for 2018, I hope you are not disappointed when you find out it has to do with the color Artichoke of all things.  Not only that, the space we are going to look at today is a Guest Bath.  I know, I know, usually a Guest Bath is not very glamorous and exciting as other spaces but the way this particular space came together ended up being my most surprising favorite design feature for 2018.

So what does “artichoke” have to do with anything?. . . Let’s start from the beginning.  If you’ve read any of my blogs before you know that I have been using this great custom cabinet maker, Bryant.  He’s my guy.  What I love about Bryant is I can give him a photo or sketch and he can make it happen.  I’ve definitely been spoiled by Bryant because he lets me choose any paint color from a Campbell paint fan (similar to the size of a Sherwin Williams paint fan).

To some, that may seem overwhelming, but to me, it’s like my 10 year old that just walked into a candy store and gets to pick from anything he wants. Picture4

Our first cabinet selection meeting my client chose a pretty blue-gray color.  We found a good neutral quartz remnant and it coordinated perfectly with this beautiful patterned tile floor and classic white subway for the shower walls.  It all looked great together, the client was happy, I loved it and placed the order.



Then, about a week later, my client texted me a Pinterest photo she had seen of an “artichoke” color vanity that she absolutely loved and wanted to change the guest bath to incorporate this new color.  I immediately pulled out my paint fan and sure enough there was a color called artichoke that looked like a perfect match.  I’m going to be honest, when I saw the word “artichoke” I’m pretty sure my nose crinkled a little.  But I put the new color up against the patterned tile sample I had in my office and to my surprise it actually looked pretty good.   Thankfully, Bryant hadn’t painted the cabinets yet, so we made the change.  We then went back to the Granite supplier with our two samples and low and behold like a shining star beckoning us—the perfect remnant revealed itself like it was waiting for us all along.

new downstairs bath

So even though Artichoke would have never made it into Joy’s 1000 Favorite Colors List (well, if I actually had one)  I have to admit, when it all came together I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!   That’s what makes my job so great.   It’s not about me and what I like, this is not my house.  It’s about helping my clients navigate through all the options and feel confident about the decisions they make based on their wants, needs, and style.  And in the end helping create the beautiful and functional space they will love to call home.

In the end, there were many beautiful and functional spaces in this home.  I will actually be featuring  another space from this home later this month.  To see more photos from this home, click here.   See if you can guess which other Design Feature made the list.

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My favorite Design Features from 2018


Here at Jarman Homes, December is the month we try to wind things down, reflect on how this past year went and start planning and getting geared up for the upcoming year.  With our building traditionally being a little slower the winter months, it gives us time to clean out old files, and make room for the busy spring season ahead of us.

This year has been a great year for Jarman Homes.  We have been blessed with one of our most successful years to date.  I feel very fortunate that I get to help create beautiful homes as a career.  But one of the biggest blessings is the opportunity to work with some great clients and watch their wants, ideas, and styles come to life.   As I reflect on the past year, I am reminded of many great custom features from the homes we completed. So as we countdown to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to flashback to my top ten favorite design features from 2018.

  1. Unique Kitchen with lots of Natural Light

We had the privilege of working with this family a second time.  As their family needs had changed and wanted more space, they felt the need to build again. This home is truly unique and was designed and built specifically for their personal family needs, wants, and style.  There were many incredible features within this home but one of my favorites was definitely the kitchen.

There were several features within the kitchen I loved.   With white or gray painted kitchen cabinets being so dominant the past several years, I was so excited to work on something completely different this time.  Our clients wanted a cabinet finish that was warmer in tone with a natural wood grain finish and texture.  The end result came out beautiful with the natural Oak finish combined with the more minimalistic flat panel door style highlighted with the black and brushed gold accents.


The appliances were minimalized by using cabinet panels and a separate Pantry/Second Kitchen combo that hid extra appliances out of sight.  The crispness of the white Carrara marble tops gave the kitchen a clean and sophisticated look.   The hood vent design was carefully chosen to add some dimension to the simplistic, clean line theme throughout.

But my absolute favorite feature of this kitchen is the amount of natural light streaming in from the arrangement of casement windows.  I love windows in a kitchen but it’s not easy finding plans that offer windows in the kitchen for several reasons.  More windows generally translates into less cabinets and that does not usually transfer well in the functionality of the kitchen space.  In this situation, the added Pantry/Second Kitchen accommodated more cabinet space so more windows could be added in the main Kitchen area.


A second trend is most home plans will position the kitchen more centered in the home.  But this home’s angled layout allowed the kitchen to be positioned on an exterior wall while still staying near the garage for easy access.  An angled plan doesn’t always work on most subdivision lots, but in this particular case it worked perfectly.  I love how all the pieces fit together to create a beautiful blend of style and function this family will surely enjoy for years to come.

You can see more pictures from this gorgeous home here.      

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The People’s Choice

Since my last post it has been a whirlwind of activity starting with the Parade of Homes  Banquet, Realtor Tour, and two Open House weekends so far.  We are proud to announce our home won Gold in it’s price category and TWO Special Feature Awards.  This year, the Parade of Homes committee gave us specific categories they were awarding for Special Features.  This year we won for the “Ceilings and Trim” AND the “Lighting” categories.


If you were able to visit our Parade Home last year or kept up with our Blog, you may remember I had a Voting Station in the house last year for visitors to vote for their favorite feature.  I found it very interesting and helpful to talk with visitors and get a hands on perspective of what our buyers are looking for.  The voting station was very successful for us and I learned a lot and included it again this year with a few tweaks.   This year I included the Realtor Tour visitors in the voting.  I was inspired by all their wonderful comments and feedback regarding the home and respect their opinion on what appeals to buyers in today’s market.

We have also had two weekends of Open House now.  We are thankful for the beautiful weather and have had great participation reaching well over 500 visitors so far.  With only one weekend of Open House left coming up this weekend (April 28th-29th) I thought it would be a good time to share some of the feedback we have received so far.

Between personal and written comments visitors have shared as well as the votes received so far, here are a few of the most popular features of the home:

  1. Ceilings & Trimwork– Hands down, this is probably the most talked about “wow” feature when visitors enter and walk around the home.  The 1×6 stained pine ceilings strategically located throughout the house, painted beams and vaulted ceiling in the Master, soaring ceiling in the Family room, Coffered ceiling in the Dining room, vaulted ceilings in the Study and Upstairs Bedroom all contribute to the fantastic array of decorative ceilings in this home.  All the positive feedback has been very encouraging showing that visitors are noticing the value in the amount and quality of all the trimwork in our homes.   photo_35900073-1500x1000
  2. Kitchen-  This second highest voted category so far is the Kitchen and is even beating out Lighting which was the other Special Feature Award we actually won.  Visitors are loving the extra large Island, color combination of the cabinet colors and the Backsplash.  I find it amusing how many people walk by the backsplash accent and have the urge to reach out and touch it.
  3. Lighting-  The overall lighting is really getting noticed.  If you’ve read my blog before, you know I absolutely love selecting Lighting for each home.  (I have a secret dream to own my own lighting store one day.)   The favorite lights have been the Island pendants, Dining, Study, Nook, Master Bath chandelier, and the Powder room lights.  And the new Spitfire style fan has been a hot topic.
  4.  Powder Room: Visitors are liking the combination of the “touch of shiplap without being too over done”, navy cabinet, champagne bronze accents, and vanity light.  I tried to do this combination in our last spec home but it sold before I could do it, so glad the timing worked out for this home. powder
  5. Salon Style Vanity Pullout– This is definitely a favorite of the ladies and represents a high percentage of the “Other” category votes.  It is surely a “must have” in my next personal home. masterbathfeatureAdditional comments that have been popular in the “Other” category are the Painted Door Slabs, Garage Doors, Tucked-away stair location, and “real” hardwood floors.

I really enjoy being onsite to talk with visitors and hear their comments and feedback.  I especially love when our past homeowners, friends, and colleagues stop by and visit.  Everyone has been so encouraging and uplifting.  I am so thankful and blessed to have  the opportunity to do what I do.

If you haven’t had a chance to come by yet, hope you will plan to visit us this final open house weekend from 12:00-5:00pm and vote for your favorite feature.    Address: 67 Stella Court in the Portofino Community.

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Finished in the Nick-of-Time

Well, we did it again, worked til 9pm to get the house ready for Parade judging.   As usual, we seem to always end up stressed out and having 10 different people working in the house the eve of judging.  But we did it, we got the house finished and I was even able to take a few photos before the judges arrived.

If you have been following along, last week we started the Design & Selection process for our Parade Entry in the Kitchen.  If you are just tuning in this week, you definitely want to go back and see where it all started here.

I think it turned out pretty good!

This week we are going to focus on what I feel is the second most important space from a Design perspective- the Master Bath.   What I love most about this Bathroom is the overall layout and design of the Shower, Ceiling, and Vanity.  This plan originally had a Tub and Shower but we removed the tub and created an Extra Large Shower with Dual Showerheads and added a Linen closet.  I love the octagonal shaped tray ceiling in the center of the room.  It creates a nice focal point and gives me the opportunity to install a pretty chandelier and still meet code.

The other great feature of the Master Bath is the oversized vanity.  It has an unusual shape and has challenged me to come up with the best use of the space.  This is actually the third time we have built this particular plan.  The second time we built it was as a presale and the client added a beautiful and functional linen cabinet on the smaller end and kept the sinks tighter together.  It turned out beautiful.

015_Master Bathroom

But you have to remember, Neil keeps me on a budget.  Plus, Bryant told me his supplier now carries a new pullout organizer for hair tools like hair dryers and curling irons.  I LOVE IT!  Challenge solved—I will keep the sinks separated so the “women’s” side can have the bigger countertop, the sinks can be spaced out more so each user has more space and I get to add the pullout organizer.  Yeah!

Grooming organizer

As I started the selection process for the bathroom, I actually chose the tile as my starting point and worked out from there.  My goal was to stay in the taupe family again and was immediately drawn to the wood plank look for the floors.  Working from that, I went with the whiter calacatta looking tile for the shower walls.  I chose large 12×24 tiles because the shower is very large and can support the larger size tiles.


Finally, I wanted the shower floor tile to pull the two looks together.  I’m really loving the octagonal shape lately and found two great options.  I chose this one b/c I felt it tied the two looks together best and was within budget.  Once I had the tile selected I chose a coordinating cabinet paint color, added some brushed glaze for a little more dimension and to pull out the darker bronze accents in the room.

Next, I selected the light for this room.  I knew at this point I was going with Bronze fixtures throughout the house and I had seen a fixture in the showroom that I loved but that fixture was too large for my space.  Thankfully, we were able to find a smaller version of that fixture  that worked perfectly.  I added recessed cans over the vanities for a clean look that wouldn’t distract from the main focus of the center chandelier fixture.


During the trim stage of the home,  we had already added 1×6 tongue and groove (T&G) in the Nook ceiling and the Foyer ceiling so thought it would look good to add it to our already framed octagonal shaped tray.  In order to tie in the stained wood ceiling I had Bryant make mirror frames out of knotty pine and had them stained the same as the ceiling to tie it all together.

The countertop was actually the hardest decision in this room.  I didn’t want anything too busy because of all the textures and patterns already in the room.  My top preference was the Calacatta Gold marble.  Unfortunately, that is a level 3 and with such a big countertop it was over my budget.   So I held off on that decision until I ran out of time and had to place the order.  At that point, we were considering making this home our Parade entry, so I felt justified to go with the more expensive option to complete the look I was going for.  (Shhh, don’t tell Neil).  Now that I have seen it, it was definitely the right decision and worth extra expense.

To add the perfect finishing touch,  I added the plumbing fixtures and these beautiful elongated octagonal shaped cabinet knobs that mirror the shape of the tray ceiling.

One last area to consider was the transition from the Master Bedroom to the Bathroom.   I wanted the entrance into the Bathroom to be as grand as the room itself.  Last time we built this home we used a barn door to the entrance of the bathroom.   Normally, I love barn doors, but in this situation, I decided to play up the octagonal shape more than the rustic look.  So I switched to double entrance doors and and special ordered octagonal knobs for those doors, LOVE THEM!!



Of course the bathroom also boasts a spacious linen closet and master closet with wood shelving making the Master suite a great feature of this home.

Blooper reel:  One day as I’m walking through the house I notice an UGLY white vent that had been cut into my beautiful T&G tray ceiling- the Focal Point of the entire room now has an atrocious white vent right in the middle of it.

2018-02-23 10.37.38

 mad emoji

I realize we are bound by code requirements but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to attempt to troubleshoot a possible alternative before the vent was installed.   It’s days like that I want to pull my hair out and display a little “diva” attitude but instead I called Neil.


And here it is. . .


Photos are great, but seeing it first hand is always better.  Hope you will be able to attend the Parade of Homes beginning April 14/15, 21/22, and 28/29 from 12-5pm.   You can find our Parade of Homes entry at 67 Stella Court, Clayton, in Portofino subdivision.  I will be manning the home myself on the weekend of 21/22nd and would love for you to come visit.

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Let’s Start in the Kitchen

In last week’s post I announced, due to timing and circumstances, we have re-purposed our Speculative Home currently under construction in Portofino as our 2018 Parade of Homes entry.   A speculative (home that we build and put for sale) home is focused on meeting the needs and wants of the current market.   We are pretty picky when choosing the right plan to build as a spec home. This particular plan meets all our criteria:

  • Nice curb appeal
  • At least two bedrooms down including the Master suite.
  • Open floorplan with large kitchen island
  • Additional office space
  • 4th Bedroom a plus
  • Large bonus room
  • 3 car garage
  • Stay within price range of $525,000-$550,000 (just did make it at $549,000)
  • Special features like decorative ceilings or other special design elements I can show off my style


When starting selections for a new home  I usually start in the Kitchen and work out from there.  If I can establish an overall look and feel in the kitchen, the other rooms usually fall into place.  So let’s start in the kitchen and see how my original inspiration for this home began.

To start in the kitchen, I need to actually go back a step further to the stone I selected for the exterior accents.  It all began when I was at Custom Brick to choose the exterior brick/stone combination for this home.  They had a new display of stone that I fell in love with.  From that moment on, the exterior and interior color palette inspiration came from this particular stone.

2017-10-11 11.27.41

This stone has a wonderful array of browns and taupes.  Gray and taupe remain to be  hot neutrals right now, therefore,  I wanted to play-up the “taupey gray tones” and less of the brown.  To help achieve this,  I chose Pavestone SW7642 for the siding color and white windows and a white trim.

What does all this have to do with the kitchen you ask.  Well, the Family Room is open to the Kitchen.  When you are standing in the Kitchen you are looking directly at the beautiful, dramatic 15 foot fireplace with the same stone veneer.  With the fireplace being such a dominant feature in this open floorplan, I wanted the kitchen to pick up that taupey-rough look like the color and texture of the stone.

Next, I explain my vision to Bryant, (remember my custom cabinet guy that made those gorgeous cabinets in last year’s Parade home) and let him work his magic.  I definitely challenged him, but as usual, he came through and I absolutely love how the Island came out.  Just what I was looking for.  I added a softer/taupier white for the Perimeter cabinets to keep everything light and bright.  As a final touch, I added a bottom trim piece of the Hood Vent to match the Island color and tie the two colors together.

2018-02-14 16.52.19

Next, because the Island is such a focal point in the kitchen, the pendants became my next big selection.  That was easy.  My brain immediately remembered seeing some beautifully shaped mercury glass pendants I had seen over a year or so ago in the Lights Unlimited showroom.   The pendants came in two options, brushed nickel and bronze.  With my choices of the stone, island, and mercury glass, I made the decision to use Bronze Door Hardware and Light Fixtures in the home.


I usually choose the countertops next but in this case, I left the granite yard undecided before heading to the tile store.  While at the tile store I actually chose all the bathrooms first before finally coming up with the right tile combination for the Kitchen backsplash.  (We will visit the bathrooms in a future post.) Spoiler alert! I used a hexagon shaped tile in other parts of the home so wanted to keep with the theme and found a gorgeous hexagonal shaped tile that I wanted to incorporate as an accent.  Next, I looked for a base tile for the remaining backsplash that would help tie the countertops with the accent.  I found a beautiful bluish/gray elongated subway tile that coordinated with the accent tile and I immediately remembered a slab of granite I had seen earlier that would work great to tie all the colors together.


I start getting pretty excited when it all starts to fit together.  I really do love my job some days.  smileyface

For the final touches I added the hardware and sink color. Here’s how it all comes together:


So pretty.  Can’t wait to see it all finished.  Join me next week when we take a closer look at the inspiration for the Master Suite.


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