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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Countdown to Parade of Homes: BIG WINNER!

Well, hopefully by now you have seen on Facebook or Twitter that we did indeed have a big night at the Parade of Homes Banquet on April 11th.  But just in case you didn’t know, our Parade Home entry won several awards including the coveted BEST of the BEST Award.


Trying not to brag too much, but we won so many awards that night we asked our Realtor, Katherine Ray,  to come up with us for the picture to help hold some awards.  (I am the one in the yellow jacket.)  We were pretty excited, to say the least.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • The home itself won Gold (each home was judged on certain criteria, so we scored enough points to win Gold)
  • The home then won Platinum for it’s price category (had the highest score for all homes in our price category)
  • We won the Special Feature Award for our Custom Pantry Cabinet (picture is below)
  • We won BEST of the BEST (scored the highest out of ALL homes in the Parade)
  • And the home is SOLD, which is an award in itself.

Winning Awards is always an honor we don’t take lightly.   There were many winners that night and I feel privledged to be a part of the Johnston County Building Industry and the Parade of Homes.  I have been visiting Parade Homes for over 15 years all over the state and I can honestly say I think Johnston County, in comparison, has some of the finest quality custom home builders, neighborhoods, and amenities as any other county I have visited.  You can personally view 20 beautiful homes in one day of touring within a five mile radius.  “Parading” is a great way to see the area’s finest builders or simply to get ideas for your own home.  You can go straight to the JC Parade of Homes website , download the app, or simply grab a book in any of the home entries.  We still have two weekends of open houses left, Saturdays and Sundays 12pm-5pm.  Hope you can come by and tour our home located at 28 Donatella Drive, Clayton, NC 27527. But if you can’t make it or want a sneak peak check out our Virtual Tour. 

When we submit our home as a Parade of Homes entry, we are asked to also submit what we feel is the Best Feature of the Home.  I found it difficult to pick just one special feature.  Neil and I disagreed on what we thought we should submit.  As we were talking through our opinions, Neil suggested I have my blog readers chose.  I loved the idea but unfortunately I had to submit it weeks ago so didn’t have time to run with the idea.  But in the spirit on that concept, I created a “voting” table in the home.  I have set up several glass jars labeled with 8 different possible Best Feature candidates.  Once you tour the home, chose a colored stone and put in the glass jar of your favorite feature.

voting table

Based on the first day of open house last weekend, the clear forerunner was the feature Neil wanted to submit.  So many people voted for that feature, by Sunday, I had to get a bigger jar to hold all the stones.  But thankfully, the special feature that I did submit, won anyway.

After personally talking with visitors this past weekend I realized men, women, and children were all voting for different things.  I found it interesting to hear what different ages and gender liked the most and why.  So this weekend I have decided to change it up a bit.  I have purchased two different colored stones- Blue for the men and Pink for the ladies.  This will now give me a clearer understanding of the differences in how the men verses women vote.

I love manning the home myself because it gives me the chance to hear peoples’ comments about what they like or what they would do different if it were their home.  I learn so much and appreciate the compliments and suggestions.

Since we have two more weekends of Open House, I will hold the final voting results til then.  But for now, if you haven’t had the chance to vote in the house, you can vote on the blog or Facebook.  Here are the options:

  1. Custom Pantry Cabinet: This is the one I submitted and we actually won. I love it because Bryant Herring created it from my sketch.   I didn’t know how it was going to turn out but it turned out absolutely beautiful and is such a great use of space.
  2. Wetbar in Media Room: Neil’s suggestion and the clear forerunner in the vote so far.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it too, but I could only pick one.
  3.  Master Bath: Although it’s considered more of a room than a feature, it is getting a lot of votes for all the “details”.
  4. Master Closet: No doubt, it’s a “wow” closet. mastercloset2
  5. Breakfast Nook Built-in Bench: I would love eating breakfast here every morning.

    6. Front Porch: I love a wrap around porch, this porch gives this home so much curb appeal.

    7. Rear Screen Porch & Paver Patio with Firepit: A great place for entertaining and spending time enjoying your beautiful surroundings.

    8. Other:  Vote for something that wasn’t already listed.  We had several people vote for the “Kitchen”, Built-ins in Bedroom 2, Pantry door, Laundry room and others.

    Which Feature do you vote for??


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Countdown to Parade of Homes- Results announced Tuesday night

I know many of you are dying to know if we finished the home in time for judging.  I didn’t mean to make you wait this long to find out, but I ended up taking a few days off to re-charge.

Well, by the skin of our teeth, we finished the home in time.



When I arrived at the jobsite Wednesday morning there had to have been at least 20 people working in the house.  From painters, cleaning crew, plumbers, electricians, powerwashers, cabinet crew, and of course Neil, Jimmy and myself.  We even solicited our older boys to help since they were home on Spring Break.  I’m going to be honest, there was a lot still to do Wednesday morning and I was nervous.  But everyone showed up, everyone worked around each other and by lunch we had it down to about 6-7 people working.  By 5pm we had it down to Jimmy, Neil and our boys.

When I came back to check on things Wednesday night after church service, we were there til 10pm finishing up last minute details.  That’s not the way I like to do it, but it seems to be a tradition at this point.  It just wouldn’t be Parade of Homes if we actually finished early.  But boy, what a difference since last post.  I hope if you are reading this, you live close enough to come tour this home in person.  Pictures just don’t do it justice. But I’m going to attempt to show you the transformation from my last post to finished project.

Let’s start with my favorite room in the house, the Master Bath.  In one week, the bathroom went from this:



to this. . .


Taken Thursday morning

What a difference a week makes!  Again, my photos don’t do it justice.  You physically need to stand in the space to appreciate all the details from the texture of the floor tile to the crystal knobs.  It came together beautifully.

Now that’s its finished and we made it time for judging I can share a story.  Last post I mentioned a few weeks back I had a week where I was ready to pull my hair out.  Well one of the reasons I was so upset on one of my site visits is due to the beautiful light fixture hanging in the middle of the Master Bath.  I literally spent hours upon hours looking for the perfect light fixture for that space.  It is a 10′ ceiling so I couldn’t install a hanging chandelier, it would have come down too low.  Although you see these gorgeous chandeliers hanging over tubs all the time in magazines and on Houzz, in real life, we can’t meet code by hanging fixtures over bathtubs.  So I knew I wanted a semi-flush style fixture in the center of the room. This light is not needed functionally, my goal was more aesthetic by tying together the elegance and glamour of the crystal knobs and chrome fixtures.  Well, that day when I came to deliver the light fixture personally, my electrican asked me, where is that suppose to go??  I look up at the ceiling and my heart starts to race–the light had never been roughed-in.  face-screaming-in-fear  It was on the electrical plan, but somehow got missed and I never realized that it hadn’t been done until right that minute. So we start talking about what it will take to wire it now that sheetrock and paint have been completed.  There was no easy answer.  I had closed in all attic access to that spot by adding my bookshelves in the room upstairs.  After much deliberation, the only solution was cutting three holes in the ceiling to run a new wire to connect to the existing line.   So I have to make a decision.  My mind starts racing:  I realize I am the only person that knows about this light.  It’s not really functional, we don’t need it, there is already plenty of light in the room.  We are running out of time, it’s going to be a big headache for everyone– the electricians of course but also scheduling the the drywall and paint back to patch the holes.  It will slow everything down and I’m not even sure we can finish on time as is. I leave that day feeling utterly defeated and put the light back in my car and drive home.

Two days go by and I can’t stop thinking about this light.  I know that no one will miss it but me, but I keep thinking how it ties everything together, it needs to be in there.  So I go to Neil and tell him I want the light wired and installed.  What does he do?. . . He gets it done.  No complaining, no questions asked, he just makes it happen.  And I’m so grateful, because it really does tie the whole space together.  Here’s the full view with the light in the picture.


The other space we looked at last post was the Wet Bar area in the Bonus Room.  I stressed over that space literally til Wednesday around 5pm, (the day before judging) but it finally came together and turned out incredible.


The Parade committee request each Builder to submit what we feel is our Special Feature for the home. Each price category will be awarded one Special Feature Award.  Last year we won the special feature award for our stained ceiling in the Breakfast Nook.

This year, I found it tough to select ONE Best Special Feature in this home, I had several in mind.  Next post we will look at the features we were considering and you can vote on which feature you would chose as the winner.  You will be able to vote online or in person when you tour the home.

Well, Parade Banquet is tomorrow night (Tuesday) and we find out how we did.  Wish us luck.  Hopefully by Wednesday, I’ll have some good news to post.

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Countdown to Parade of Homes: Only 7 days before Judging!

I just got back from my daily site visit and I am now sitting at my desk staring at my calendar and my facial expression is very similar to this familiar emoji.  OMGEmoji

I don’t think Neil and I have ever completed a Parade Home early.   Every year we seem to be walking out doing last minute details the night before judging and this year looks to be the same.  The good news is during my site visit today everything seemed to be going right.  That makes for a good day.  However, since my last post, there have been some days I was about ready to pull my hair out.

The home has been completely transformed this past month and is really looking good.  So many details are coming together and the past few weeks have been extremely important in staying on schedule.  Building a custom home on such a tight schedule creates certain challenges.   I’ve had to make some adjustments and compromises along the way that I wouldn’t have to do under normal circumstances.

One example of a major adjustment and compromise is the Rec Room.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Neil and I ended up extending the Rec Room from the original plan and it became a nice large space to work with.  So we designated the left side of the room to include a Wet Bar and eating area, leaving the rest of the space as an entertainment area. One way I wanted to separate the spaces was by adding a flooring that would work well in an “eating” area.  I also wanted the space as a whole to have some added character so my plan was to extend the flooring straight up the bar wall in order to create an accent wall.   In order to showcase the accent wall, I decided to delete the upper cabinets in that area and instead install floating shelves.  I was very excited about my idea.  After exploring several options I ended up choosing a “wood looking” laminate.  Here is a picture.


Unfortunately, when the flooring installer called me up and said they would not be able to install the laminate on the wall the way I requested because the cabinet, trim and sloped wall were going to make it too difficult.  (I hate when I get those type of phone calls.)   So I had to go back to the drawing board, literally.  I worked up a new sketch. Instead of running the laminate boards horizontally on the entire wall, I decided to treat it more like a backsplash and turn in vertical and simply stop it at the end of the countertop like we would any backsplash.  At the time, Bryant had not made my floating shelves yet, so I had him change the top shelf to straight across the top so we could kill the laminate into the bottom of that shelf.  Then, adding two additional, smaller floating shelves with accent lights.  This was my new drawing:


Here’s how it’s actually shaping up:


I love it!  And I really appreciate Special Effects, Bryant Herring, and Parnell Electric for all working with me and my “out of the box” thinking.  It took a team effort but I think the results worked out great.  Can’t wait to see it completely finished.

Although I have other stories such as this I could share, I promised you last week we would take a look at one of my favorite spaces within the home. . .  The Master Bathroom.  I really enjoyed working on this room in the planning stages. However, implementing the plan was much more challenging.   Thankfully, we are almost done, and it’s already looking as beautiful as I imagined it.  Let’s take a closer look.

Let’s start with layout of the space itself.  masterbath

As you are walking from the Master Bedroom into the Master Bath, you open up double doors looking straight at this grand free standing tub flanked by two beautiful arched windows.  As I think about the design of the space, it starts with the double doors.  So I special ordered gorgeous crystal knobs on the double doors because I want you to feel how special this room is before you even walk through the doors.  (P.S. If you come by to see the home, be sure to tell Neil how beautiful the door knobs are because he still hasn’t seen how much they cost yet Wink_Emoji_grande )  As you walk in,  we ran the large 12×24 tile in a herringbone pattern drawing your eye toward the tub.  I wanted the two vanities to look like furniture pieces and added the wainscoting behind the tub.  The accent is a beautiful blend of metallic glass that runs from one side of the room to the other, tying the whole room together.  The plumbing fixtures and light fixtures are like the jewelry that complements the outfit.

Here was my concept on paper:


In this situation, it was much easier coming up with the plan than it was implementing the plan.  It took a lot of different subcontractors coming in and out one at a time for it all to piece together.  It was not easy and I greatly appreciate everyone’s patience.

One last piece to the puzzle was the mirrors.  I had originally wanted to purchase decorative mirror for the vanities but quickly realized it was going to be next to impossible to find two mirrors that look the same but different sizes since the two vanities are different sizes.  So instead, we framed out the mirrors like we do the windows and had custom mirrors cut.  The mirror framing killed into the top trim piece that finished off the 4″ accent.  It turned out great, but again, to actually implement that plan took extra effort and skill that I thankfully relied greatly on Jeff and Ayscue’s Trimwork.

Here’s how it’s shaping up:

Looking at these pics you can easily tell there is still ALOT to do!  And as I am typing this, the hours are ticking by and my face is starting to look more like this:



As of today, I’ve pretty much done all I can do at this point.  Now, I patiently (well I try to be patient) wait and hope everyone shows up and the weather cooperates with final preparations.  I’ll let you know next week if we actually made it in time for judging. Meanwhile, be sure to mark your calendars to come see this home in person April 22-23, 29-30, & May 6-7 from 12pm-5pm.  Hope to see you there.

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