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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Countdown has Begun

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Well its official, the countdown to the 2018 Johnston County Parade of Homes has started.  Since my last post back in May of last year, we were riding high on the aftermath of being awarded several prestigious awards including the coveted Best of the Best Award.


Although it’s almost a year later, time has really flown by this past year and we have been busier than ever.  We are thankful to be holding onto a steady housing market because we are definitely experiencing the “good ol’ days” once again.

Neil and I have lived through the good ol’ days before the housing market tanked back in 2008.  We were thankful back then to have positioned ourselves well enough to stay in business during that time.  We had many friends and colleagues that weren’t so fortunate.  Currently, we don’t have enough time in the day it seems.  We are extremely grateful for the past year and our current clients, however, it does bring me back to this year’s Parade of Homes dilemma.

We genuinely started thinking about our 2018 Parade Home entry back in October.  However, between our workload and then selling our “Parade” lot to a prospective client for a presale, time was not on our side.  So what did we end up doing. . .

Well, the only feasible option we had– turn our only current speculative home into our Parade Entry.   Is it the ideal solution, probably not, but under the circumstances, it’s the best option we had.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty excited about this home.  It’s a great plan, on a great lot, in a great subdivision.  It’s a beautiful home, if I do say so myself.  However, would I call it a “Parade” worthy house?  Yes and no.  Yes, I do feel it’s a Parade worthy house, yet it’s a different circumstance this year.  Last year I dedicated 7 months to making that home truly special.  From start to finish I knew that was going to be our Parade Entry and it encouraged every decision we made while building that home.  It’s also what made that process more stressful.  The good news, not until about a month ago when we officially made this our Parade entry did the stress truly begin.

I could write a book on all the “things that went wrong when building a Parade Home” filled with stories from the past 10 years of Parade entries.  I won’t bore you with those (or at least not today) but I can tell you as soon as you label a home a Parade Entry, things go increasingly haywire.  The past 30 days have proven to be no different.

The first big stress of the moment is simply the timing.  My current “To Do’s List before judging day” on April 5th, seems to get longer and longer yet the days to get completed are getting fewer and fewer.   OMGEmoji

Last year I took readers along while I made the design decisions throughout the process.  This time, I had already completed all my selections a few months ago , now I sit back and wait to see it all come together and hope it looks great and all of YOU love it.  For the next few blog posts I’m going to take you through my selection process and how I came to the design decisions that were made for this home.  I hope you will join me as we look closer at the building of lot 310 Portofino- this year’s 2018 Parade of Homes entry.

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Voting Results are in!

Since my first post back in November of 2016 in my blog series called Countdown to Parade of Homes, we have journeyed together through the ups and downs of building our latest Parade Home entry.  Well, we officailly close on that home today to a wonderful family who will now call it “home”.  Its a little bittersweet, I am of course thrilled the home is sold and going to a wonderful family, but I also feel a little sad that I’m actually finished and moving on to new things.  That home will always have a special place in my heart and I am prayerfully hoping the Offerman’s have many years of happy memories in their new home.


I want to thank everyone that came and visited during the Parade of Homes.  We had a great turnout each weekend.  We received many wonderful comments and positive feedback.  Visitors seemed to really enjoy having the opportunity to vote for their favorite feature.  As I mentioned in the last post, I found it very interesting to see the different features voted on my men, women, and even children.  Starting the second weekend I had men vote with blue stones and women vote with pink & white stones.  The most surprising result out of all the voting data was definitely how many Men voted for the Master Bath.  I did not see that coming but I found they loved that shower.  I was pleasantly surprised how many men even noticed the linen textured tile.

Let’s take a look at the data.  I have broken down the data into three categories.  The first weekend shows how everyone voted with multiple colored stones. I want to also point out the Realtor Tour voted in this category.  The other two categories show the Men and Women’s votes for the following two weekends.  Here’s a snapshot of how the total count breaks down.  (As a reminder of each feature, read here.)


Feature 1st Weekend/                     Colored Stones Male Female Total
Bonus Room/Wet Bar 158 97 64 319
Master Bath 65 28 55 148
Pantry Cabinet 40 3 39 82
Master Closet 16 12 24 52
Breakfast Nook Bench 30 8 20 58
Back Screen Porch & Patio 27 19 21 67
Front Wrap around Porch 22 6 14 42
Other 11 16 35 62
Total 369 189 272 830

1st Weekend Results (multicolored stones) firstweekendvotes

You can see from this pie chart, the Wet Bar/Bonus room is the clear forerunner and in second place is the Master Bath.  The Pantry Cabinet (that I had submitted and won as our Special Feature) came in third.  The other options are pretty close together.

Starting the second weekend when we broke down the Men’s votes verses the Women’s votes, it starts getting very interesting.

Men’s Voting Results (2nd & 3rd weekends only)


Clearly, the men loved the Wet bar/Bonus room which was probably as much for the large projector screen hanging on the wall with surround sound than it was for the cool-looking wet bar.  But overwhelmingly, they loved that space.  You see they could care less about the Pantry Cabinet and I’m pretty sure one of the only three votes it got came from Bryant Herring himself (who made the cabinet).  You can see the Master Bath was the second favorite and Back Porch and Patio area being third.  The “Other” category feedback I received was for things like Quality of Trim and Finishes and the 1×6 T&G ceiling in the Master Bedroom.

Now, let’s take a look at how different a Woman’s mind thinks:

Women’s Voting Results (2nd & 3rd Weekends only)


Interesting!  The women’s votes are more evenly balanced through all categories.  Although I got more Pantry Cabinet votes from the Women, it still wasn’t the winning category among the majority.  I also had a lot more women tell me “it’s too hard to vote for just one”.

Feedback I received from the Women that voted for “Other” was for the Kitchen as a whole, the Laundry Room with the sink and Dropzone/Mail center, Light Fixtures, and the Custom Painted Pantry Door & Knob.  I found most interesting the high number of  “Other” votes that came from young ladies ranging from about 9-12 years old voted for Bedroom 2 with the built-in niche space and window seat.  Again and again they would vote for that room because they saw that room as “their” room.

Love it! It makes me smile just typing it.  That kind of feedback is why I love working open house weekends and why I love what I do.  As much as I try to plan for every space, some of these results still surprised me, but totally in a good way.  I will surely use this feedback as I work on future projects.

I’ve been working hard the past two weeks on selections for our current Spec we are building in Portofino. Even though I feel like I’m getting a late start, I’m starting to get excited with how its coming together and can’t wait to show you.

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