Archive for the Lifestyle Category

Only 9 Beautiful Homesites Remaining in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Around Your Home, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on July 14, 2015 by Kevin Fox

DW Lot 395Another beautiful homesite has been sold – there are only 9 sites remaining in The Manors of Deerwood. There are walkout and daylight lots available, ranging from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres.

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston, and is close to shopping and entertainment.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Another Beautiful Homesite Sold – Only 10 Remaining for Sale in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Construction, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on June 16, 2015 by Kevin Fox

Now, you can purchase a homesite in one of Clarkston’s most desirable neighborhoods – – – The Manors of Deerwood. There are walkout and daylight lots available, ranging from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres.

Manors of Deerwood Lot (New Home) | Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesThe Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston, and is close to shopping and entertainment.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Only 11 Beautiful Homesites Available for Sale in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on October 9, 2014 by Kevin Fox

Deer on Manors of Deerwood Lot | Clarkston, MichiganThe Manors of Deerwood has always been one of Clarkston’s most desirable neighborhoods, with beautiful custom homes, rolling terrain and heavily treed homesites. Now, you can purchase a homesite and have your own builder construct your home.

  • Both walkout and daylight lots available
  • Large homesites from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres
  • Clarkston Schools
  • Minutes from I-75 and the Village of Clarkston
  • Close to shopping and entertainment

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston. The property was formerly farmland, but it is now nicely wooded. It is bordered of the East by Independence Oaks County Park and on the West by privately owned parcels. To the North are 30 acres of privately owned land, yet to be developed, and to the South are earlier phases of the Manors of Deerwood.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

March is the Time for Making Maple Syrup

Posted in Dining with Pat, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Making maple syrup is a traditional right of spring, signaling the end of winter. Several species of maple trees grow in Michigan. Although all produce sap suitable for the production of maple syrup; two species, sugar maple and black maple are the source of sap for most commercial maple syrup production. Sap suitable for conversion into syrup may also be obtained from red and silver maples, although such sap usually has a lower sugar content.

**NOTE: The E. L. Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
is hosting “A Day in the Sugarbush Maple Tapping
this Saturday, March 15, 2014.
Details are noted at the end of this article**

Necessary Equipment

Collection-PailMaple syrup can be produced with a minimum of equipment, but a few standard items increase the efficiency of the operation and the quality of the product, including:

  1. A drill with a 7/16 or 1/2 inch bit for drilling tap-holes in trees.
  2. A metal or plastic collection spout for each tap-hole.
  3. A collection container (bucket or plastic bag) or tubing line for each tap-hole.
  4. A large pan and a heat source for boiling down the sap. The size needed will depend on how much sap you intend to handle.
  5. A large-scale thermometer, calibrated at least 15 degrees above the boiling point of water.
  6. Wool, Orlon or other filters for filtering finished syrup while hot.
  7. Storage containers for the finished syrup.

Tapping the Tree

TapTo obtain the earliest runs of sap, tapping should be completed by the first week in March in Michigan. Minimal trunk diameter for trees suitable for tapping is 10 inches at 4 feet above the ground.

To tap a tree, select a spot on the trunk of the tree 2-4 feet above the ground in an area that appears to contain sound wood. At this point, drill a hole approximately 2-2.5 inches deep into the wood. Then insert a collection spout and tap lightly into the tree and attach a bucket or plastic bag or a tubing line to the spout. Open buckets used for sap collection should be covered to keep out rainwater, debris, insects and other foreign materials.

Collecting the Sap

Collecting-SapSap flow in maple trees will not occur every day throughout the tapping season. It occurs when a rapid warming trend in early morning follows a cool (below freezing) night.

To collect the sap from the tree, simply hang a bucket on the tap and watch the first few drips fall into the bucket. This should happen quickly, though there will be little drips that won’t amount to much at first. Place a lid over the bucket and let the sap continue to drip.

After a day or two, you can check to see just how far your sap collection has come. If you are satisfied with the progress, you can drain this bucket into a larger vat to take inside to start the syrup making process. Do not store the sap as it can spoil.

Turning Sap into Syrup

Syrup-KettleWhen you have a large quantity of sap, it’s time to cook it up to make the syrup. This is done by boiling the sap in a large pan on the stove as long as you have a vent fan and a dehumidifier on hand. When you boil sap, it can produce considerable moisture in the air. Professionals prefer to use outdoor gas ranges with large metal pans in order to avoid the moisture build up in their homes. There is also a hobby-sized evaporator available.

Boil the sap until it becomes thicker as the water boils off. You will need to continue to add sap to the pan, never letting the level get below 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the pan.

As the sap is boiling, you need to skim off any foam that might be on the top. Using a candy thermometer, boil the sap until it is 7 degrees above the boiling temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have reached this level, let the syrup completely cool. The sugar sand and other matter will settle to the bottom, allowing you to pour off the good syrup into a glass bottle. Let it cool and you are ready to serve homemade maple syrup.

If you plan to can the syrup, make sure to can the syrup at 180 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into sterilized glass containers to prevent spoilage and contamination by bacteria.

Sugar-ShackIf you feel that making your own maple syrup is a task too daunting to undertake, you can visit the Bloomfield Hills’ E. L. Johnson Nature Center this Saturday, March 15, 2014 and participate in tapping the trees, collecting the sap and visiting the sugar shack to watch the boiling process that produces pure maple syrup. Then, you can visit the log home for a taste of nature’s sweetener!

For a guided tour, meet at the Visitor Center:

  • Tours are from noon to 4:00 pm.
  • Tours are scheduled every 20 minutes and last approximately one hour.
  • Pre-registration is suggested to reserve a specific time: click here for details

E. L. Johnson Nature Center is located at 3325 Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI; phone: 248-341-6485; website: http://naturecenter.bloomfield.org/

Design Trends for 2014 and Beyond

Posted in Around Your Home, Housing News, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, New Homes with tags , , , , on February 26, 2014 by Pat Hansen

The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards – a prestigious award program that spotlights design excellence for the entire residential building industry.

Award recipients represent the forefront of innovative design in America, and are lauded as the most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation.

Based on submissions from this year’s crop of winners, some of the newest trends in design that home buyers will see over the next several years include:

Light Colored CabinetryWhite on White – Cabinets, flooring, backsplashes, counters, fixtures and appliances are beginning to lighten up. Layering white on top of white is a new approach in many kitchens and bathrooms that is giving way to a fresh and light feeling. To achieve clean lines and a modern feel, designers and builders are selecting European cabinetry, adding shiny surfaces via appliance, backsplash and countertop choices, and incorporating glass walls.

Bold Exterior Colors – Bold colors are making their way to the exterior of homes. Whether it’s through paint, a mix of cladding materials, doors, windows, porches, shutters or trim, an extra layer of drama is being adding to the design of elevations, further enhancing curb appeal.

Interior Courtyards – Interior courtyards are popular in all housing types right now. The primary difference is scale. Within single-family homes, courtyards provide private and safe outdoor living areas and are being shifted to side yards.

New Light FixtureSpecialty Lighting – Specialty fixtures are “lighting it up” this year. Regardless of whether it involves a custom or a stock fixture, designers are finding ways to showcase them as pieces of art rather than just a functional element. Lighting is being paired with wood ceiling details to further enhance the room’s design and create a feeling of warmth.

Historic Style with Modern Flair – New or remodeled homes, whether they are Craftsman, Prairie, Mid-Century Modern or another historic architectural style, are adding modern flair to their traditional designs through color, finish, fixture and lighting selection, while continuing to be influenced by the past through the use of reclaimed building materials and classic proportions and detailing.

Outdoor KitchenBlurring the Lines Between Inside and Out – Lines continue to be blurred between the inside and outside of homes. No longer limited to areas with warmer climates, this is being seen all across the country. More homes now feature moveable glass walls, gourmet outdoor kitchens and interior courtyard pools, adding more everyday living space.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Make Your Home Feel Good with Color Psychology

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Pat Hansen

SunroomHome décor is often viewed as a matter of aesthetics or what looks attractive.

Proponents of color psychology believe that the colors you use to decorate your home can have a profound effect on the emotional well-being of you and your family.

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Gathering Room (Fairfield New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesLiving Room and foyer paint colors: Warm tones like reds, yellows and earth tones like brown and beige work well in both the living room and foyer, because they are thought to stimulate conversation.

Kitchen paint colors: Color consultants say that if you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen when you were a kid, it might make sense to create same color scheme in your grown-up kitchen.

Kitchen, Nook, Great Room (Lot 389 | Manors of Deerwood)If there is no particular paint scheme you remember fondly, reds and yellows can be great colors in the kitchen as well as in the living room and foyer. If you are watching your weight, however, you might want to keep red out of the kitchen. The restaurant industry has long recognized the appetite-stimulating power of red décor.

Dining RoomDining room paint colors: Because it is stimulating, red décor can be great for a formal dining room. In addition to encouraging conversation, it whets the appetites of your guests.

Bedroom paint colors: BedroomThe bedroom is where you go to relax. Cool colors like blues, greens and lavenders can be great choices here because they have a calming effect. The darker the hue, the more pronounced the effect is believed to be. Reds tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate; blue does just the opposite.

Bathroom paint colors: Whites and warm colors Bathroomhave always been popular choices for bathrooms, in large part because they connote cleanliness and purity. Today, the master bathroom is also used as a private retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many people feel comfortable with blues, greens and turquoises because these colors give a sense of being clean, fresh and calm.

Home office paint colors: Productivity is the Home Officename of the game here. The faster you complete work-related tasks, the more time you’ll have to spend enjoying family and friends. Color consultants agree that green can be a great choice here. Green is the color of concentration; it’s one of the best colors to be surrounded by for long periods.

If you are thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider making your home more appealing to buyers by repainting the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath with a warm, neutral color. Staging consultants will usually recommend this, especially, if you currently have white walls.

The Multigenerational Household Trend

Posted in Housing News, Lifestyle, New Homes, Renovation, The Drawing Board with tags , , , on January 8, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Family households consisting of three or more generations, or “multigenerational households,” have become increasingly popular in the 21st century. According to the most recent Census, approximately 4.4 million American homes had three generations or more living under one roof in 2010, a 15 percent increase from two years earlier. This is 5.6 percent of the total of 76.4 million U.S. households with more than one person.

There are many reasons for this trend. The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. According to Pew Institute research, the share of the U.S. population aged 18 to 31 living in their parent’s home increased to 36 percent or a record 21.6 million young adults in 2012.

Multigenerational Home Plan
For many ethnic and immigrant groups
, multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom.

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include “universal design” products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or ability level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals.

To find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist in your area, go to nahb.org/capsdirectory.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Making and Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted in Holidays, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle with tags , , , , on December 27, 2013 by Pat Hansen

New Year (IMG_1436) (HubSpot)We are almost at the time of the year when people make promises to themselves in an effort to enrich their lives and self-improve during the New Year. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, quit smoking or save some cash, there are some universal tips that will help you keep your New Year’s resolution.

  • Make it something you really want. Don’t make it a resolution that you “should” want or what other people tell you to want. It has to fit with your own values.
  • Limit your list to a number you can handle. It’s probably best to make two or three resolutions that you intend to keep. That way, you are focusing your efforts on the goals you truly want.
  • Be specific. To be effective, resolutions and goals need to be very specific. Instead of saying or thinking, “I need to exercise more”, exchange it with, “I’m working out at the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 p.m.”
  • Resolutions ListMake a plan. Rather than stating one daunting goal, create a series of smaller steps to reach it. Have an action plan and figure out exactly what you want to do. For example, if you want to exercise regularly but love spending time with your friends, getting the group together to walk regularly could give you a short-term payoff and help you to meet the long term goal.
  • Automate. Automating financial goals can maximize your odds for success without you having to do anything. If your goal is to save $3,000 this year, calculate the amount out of each check, then arrange to have it automatically deposited into your savings account each time you get paid.
  • Be prepared to change some habits. One reason that resolutions fail is people don’t change the habits that sabotage them. One approach is to realize that all you ever have is the present moment, so ask what you can do now that will get you closer to your goal. It could mean trade-offs such as sacrificing an hour of couch time for your new goals. That’s how you get resolutions implemented.
  • Goals (7K0A0223) (HubSpot)Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious. If you write down your goals, put them in a prominent place where you will view them regularly, such as on the fridge or on own your desk.
  • To tell or not to tell? Having someone hold you accountable can be a powerful tool. Skip the naysayers, but if you have one or two people in your life who will act as cheerleaders or coaches, share the goal with them.
  • Forgive yourself. If you fall off the wagon, jump back on. Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should give up. The truth is you don’t have to wait for next year or for some magic moment. Instead, realize that slipping is part of the process; then get back to your goals.

Fourteen Beautiful Homesites For Sale in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes with tags , , , , on December 11, 2013 by Pat Hansen

The Deer on Manors of Deerwood Lot | Clarkston, MichiganManors of Deerwood has always been one of Clarkston’s most desirable neighborhoods, with beautiful custom homes, rolling terrain and heavily treed homesites. Now, you can purchase a homesite and have your own builder construct your home.

  • Both walkout and daylight lots available
  • Large homesites from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres
  • Clarkston Schools
  • Minutes from I-75 and the Village of Clarkston
  • Close to shopping and entertainment

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston. The property was formerly farmland, but it is now nicely wooded. It is bordered of the East by Independence Oaks County Park and on the West by privately owned parcels. To the North are 30 acres of privately owned land, yet to be developed, and to the South are earlier phases of the Manors of Deerwood.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Fire Safety for the Holidays

Posted in Around Your Home, Electrical, Holidays, Home Safety, Lifestyle with tags , , , on December 4, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Live TreeMore than 33 million American homes have a natural tree for the holidays (per the U.S. EPA). Nothing compares to the fragrant scent a natural tree provides. The scent and atmosphere provided by a natural Christmas tree brings back cherished memories of Christmases past.

Choosing a Christmas Tree

If you are cutting down your own tree at a Christmas tree farm, you know how fresh the tree is. If you choose a tree at a local Christmas tree lot or a nursery lot, you need to choose a fresh tree by looking for the greenest tree with the fewest brown needles; however, many shipped-to-lot trees have been colored prior to shipping. This is a common practice and will not negatively affect a tree’s freshness.

  • Perform the “drop test”. Raise the Christmas tree a few inches and drop it on the stump end. Fresh, green needles should not drop off. Take hold of a branch and lightly pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. Most, if not all of the needles, need to stay in place. The trunk should be sticky to the touch.
  • Tree BaseInspect the tree’s base. Make sure the “handle” (the first eight inches of the stump) is relatively straight. This part of the tree is extremely important when securing the tree in a stand.

Keeping your Christmas Tree Fresh: Water, Water, Water

  • Refresh the tree by making a straight cut, taking one inch off the bottom of the stump and immediately place in water. This will improve water uptake.
  • Place the tree in a stand that can hold at least 1 gallon of water. Expect the tree to take up additional water. Water the tree until water uptake stops.
  • Always keep the base of the tree in water. If the base dries out, resin will form over the cut end and the tree will dry out quickly. You don’t need to add anything to regular tap water. Research has shown that plain old water will keep a tree fresh; no additives are necessary.

Christmas Tree Fire Hazards:

  • Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not have lit candles near the tree. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Inspect Christmas tree lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them on the tree. Only use lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
  • Power, Surge ProtectorDo not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect lights to a power strip equipped with a circuit breaker and surge protection. If you are building a new home or remodeling, determine the most likely spot for your Christmas tree and install a switched outlet. No more crawling behind the tree to turn on Christmas tree lights!
  • Do not leave holiday lights on unattended or overnight.
  • All tree decorations should be non-flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

Christmas trees accounted for 230 fires between 2006-2010, resulting in 4 deaths, 21 injuries and more than $17.3 million in property damage (per the National Fire Protection Association). The most common causes of tree fires are shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles. Well-watered trees are not a problem; the drier the tree is, the more likely it is to catch on fire.

Follow these precautions and have a safe and happy holiday.

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