Archive for Oakland County

A Sign Of Recovery? The Rising Demand For High-End Homes

Posted in Housing News, Local News with tags , on January 9, 2013 by Pat Hansen

On Sunday, Dec., 30th, the Detroit Free Press featured a front page article about the rising demand for high-end homes, mainly the $1,000,000-plus market. There were 148 recorded sales of $1,000,000-plus residences in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties in 2012. That is a 66% increase from a year ago and the highest number sold at that price point since the Realcomp multiple listing service organized the million dollar- and-above category in 2003, the article pointed out.

Home Under ConstructionRealtors boosted sales at the high end of the market with high-earning business people in finance, automotive and health care industries as well as people relocating from places like Chicago and New Jersey as the Michigan economy continued to rebound. All but 16 of the sales were in Oakland County, including the chart-topping $4.5 million dollar deal in Bloomfield Twp.

Real estate insiders attribute the 2012 high-end boom to a number of factors that proved just as true for the lower-priced homes in the suburban market including low interest rates, slimmer inventories of for- sale, move-in ready homes and the realization by sellers who swallowed their pride and gave up on the idea of what their home was worth before the economy took a downturn.

The rise in high-end home sales has also been good news for the builders of high-end homes. There has definitely been an increase in building permits.  In Bloomfield Twp. alone, building permits issued in 2012 were up 22% from the past year, which saw only a 7% increase from the previous year.

New home construction and remodeling projects are very apparent as you drive through the neighborhoods in Bloomfield Twp. and Bloomfield Hills. This speaks to the willingness of buyers to consider the option of building what they want in a new home, instead of settling for an existing home.

As a builder of custom high-end homes, we at Robert R. Jones Homes are pleased to see the resurgence in new home construction. For information on our homes and availability of homesites, please visit our website at

How do Leaves Change Colors in the Fall?

Posted in Around Your Home, Lifestyle with tags , , on October 9, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Several factors contribute to fall color, but the main agent is light, or actually the lack of it. As the autumn days grow shorter, the reduced light triggers chemical changes in deciduous leaves causing a corky wall to Fall colors - redform between the twig and the leaf stalk. As the corky cells multiply, they seal off the vessels that supply the leaf with nutrients and water, and also block the exit vessels, trapping simple sugars in the leaves. The combination of reduced light, lack of nutrients and no water, add up to the demise of the pigment chlorophyll, the “green” in leaves.

Once the green is gone, two other pigments show their bright faces. These pigments, carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red) exist in the leaf all summer but are masked by the chlorophyll. The browns in autumn leaves are the result of tannin, a chemical that exists in many leaves, especially oaks.

Sugar trapped in autumn leaves by the corky cells also known as the abscission layer is largely responsible for the vivid color. Some additional Fall colors - yellowanthocyanins are also manufactured by sunlight acting on the trapped sugar. This is why the foliage is so sparkling after several bright fall days and more pastel during rainy spells. In general, a dry fall produces the most vibrant color.

Weather conditions in summer and early September, largely determine how brilliant each season’s colors will be.  According to David Beachler, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, a hot, dry summer inflicts stress on the trees; therefore, when it cools, the chlorophyll that breaks down in the leaves can produce a quick colorFall colors - orange change. Autumn rain is desirable, but continuous cloudy weather is not, since that would stop the production that creates the brilliant reds and golds found in oaks and maples, Michigan’s most prevalent tree species.

There are nearly 150 different species of trees in Michigan’s 18.6 million acres of forest.  Our state boasts a colorful mix of yellows, reds, golds and oranges. Some of the most beautiful colors are displayed by such hardwoods as aspen, maple, birch, sumac and oak.  When combined with a background of evergreen forest, the result is one of the best shows in the nation.

The Taste of Clarkston is Back

Posted in Dining with Pat, Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , , , on September 6, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Save the date, Sunday September 23, 2012 for the 15th annual Taste of Clarkston.  This is the signature event put on by the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Independence Township Parks and Recreation and the Village of Clarkston. The event is structured to be family friendly, providing a safe and fun environment for a community block party celebration.

More than 30 restaurants and exhibitors will be participating this year. A list of restaurant participants can be found online at:, a week prior to the event. Click on Taste of Clarkston 2012 for details. There is sure to be something tantalizing for everyone, from soup to sliders, BBQ pork to black bean chicken chili, and sweet endings from frozen custard to cheesecake.

Tickets are available in $1.00 increments. They suggest you purchase a pack of $10.00 or $20.00 to get started. Tickets will be available at four locations:

  • Taste Entrance
  • Church St. and Main St.
  • Washington and Main St.
  • Depot Park

Entertainment will be featured on two different stages starting at 11:30 AM. The stages are located on Church St. and Washington St.

Two free KidZones with games and activities are located at Depot Park and Washington St. parking lots.

According to marketing studies, Taste of Clarkston is attended by 70% of Clarkston area residents and their friends and relatives. Merchants and volunteers work hard to promote their businesses and take great pride in their promoting their historic village.

Hours are: Noon to 6:00 PM. Note: Main St. will be closed from Waldon Rd, on the south, to Clarkston Rd on the north.

Free Parking and Free Shuttle Buses are available at these school lots

  • Clarkston Elementary
  • Clarkston Jr. High School
  • Renaissance High or Clarkston High School

Apple Season Approaches at Ashton Orchards

Posted in Dining with Pat, Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , , on August 2, 2012 by Pat Hansen

The long, hot summer has not deterred Ashton Orchards from opening again on August 9, 2012. This family run business has been around for many years. This year, however, due to the hot, dry conditions, they will not have a peach crop. Their apple crop is thriving, as is their corn and tomato crop. Once again this year, they will feature a wide selection of baked goods. Their baked goods are all made on site and rival the best bakeries in the Detroit area.

The baked goods include:

  • Apple pies
  • Apple strudel
  • 4 different breads
  • Cookies
  • Coffee cakes
  • Apple cider and cinnamon donuts

Their caramel apples, with and without nuts or sprinkles are the best anywhere. They are usually sold out of these by the end of the weekend.

They also feature jams, jellies and applesauce.

There will be several varieties of cooking and baking apples available, as well as delicious varieties of eating apples.

Ashton Orchards is located at:

3925 Seymour Lake Rd

Ortonville, MI



Mon –  Sat 10:00-6:00

Sun 10:00-4:00

We Will Build On Your Lot

Posted in Housing News, Manors of Deerwood, Renovation with tags , , , , on July 11, 2012 by Pat Hansen

In addition to building in our Manors of Deerwood community in Clarkston, MI, we will also build on customer-owned sites.  We often receive inquiries from people who own or are looking to own acreage or lake properties. While we currently do not have lake property, we can assist you in your search for a suitable lake lot.  There are lake lots available in Oakland County in areas where large, luxury homes have been built. There are also existing homes on lake properties suitable for tear-down.  It is not unusual to see new homes, both large and small, built on lake properties that at one time housed small cottages.  Orchard Lake, Commerce Twp., Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor and West Bloomfield Twp. are all examples of this trend.

In addition to lake properties, there are also communities throughout Oakland County where older homes, built in the 50’s and 60’s, have been torn down and large, new homes have been built. Many of the tear-downs have been ranch-style homes. Many of the homes that have not been torn down have been remodeled with attractive, functional additions. These homes blend in well with the newly constructed homes giving the neighborhood an appealing presence.

If you are interested in building a new home or remodeling your present home, Robert R. Jones Homes can make your experience a pleasurable one. We have been building luxury homes for 33 years in our new home communities and also on customer-owned lots in Wayne, Washtenaw and Oakland Counties.

We have the in-house capability to design, engineer, coordinate and supervise the construction of your new home. We will provide you with guidance during the selection process for the exterior and interior finishes. Our customers are delighted with the color renderings we provide them at the beginning of the planning process. The color rendering, suitable for framing, enables you to envision the final outcome. From start to finish, our goal is to make the entire building process an enjoyable venture.

What our customers have to say…

“With Robert R. Jones Homes, everything was upfront…there were no surprises. The crew was friendly, the subcontractors were terrific and our sales associate was outstanding.” Carole & Gary Dimitry

“In the past 25 years, we have built three new homes.  Thus, we knew the challenges that were ahead of us. However, working with the Jones Team, each phase went smooth, and was rewarding.” Elaine & Fred Burger

If you have been considering building a home on your lot or ours, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation. You may reach Pat Hansen at (248) 895-1115.

The 4th of July in Clarkston!

Posted in Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , , on June 29, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Clarkston’s “Festival of Fun and Fireworks” will take place on Wednesday, July 4th 2012. This small town with a huge spirit starts the celebration with a Parade at 10:00 AM in Downtown Clarkston.

The “Festival of Fun” starts at 11:00 AM and runs until dusk at Clintonwood Park. In addition to an Arts and Craft Show featuring Michigan based artists, there will be games and activities for children, food and goodies typically available at carnivals, and live entertainment. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy the summer fun at the park. Stay all day and into the evening to enjoy the fireworks display.

There will be a Veteran’s Celebration from 11:00 AM – 3:30 at the Senior Center in Clintonwood Park, honoring and thanking our veterans.  The Fifth Michigan Regiment Band and A Civil War Reenactment Band will be featured along with the opportunity to meet and greet our veterans.

The Entertainment Line-up includes:

  • The Rick Lieder Band                           11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Legend the Band                                  3:00  PM – 4:30 PM
  • Cosmic Grove Band                             5:30 PM  – 7:00PM
  • Motor City Soul Detroit                        8:00 PM –  10:00 PM
  • Children’s Activities & Inflatables          11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Mechanical Bull, Double Drop Waterslide, Moonwalk, Element Obstacle Course, Crazy Caterpillar, Human Sphere, Twin Spin . . .what more could a kid ask for?

Parking/Shuttle Buses

¨ Parking at Clintonwood Park is $5/car until 6 PM.

¨ After 6:00 PM, cost will be $10/car

¨ Shuttle bus rides available from Clarkston High School, 11:00 AM until after the fireworks, $2/ rider


The show is put on by the famous Zambelli Internationale. This is one of the best shows around. It actually takes place on the highest point within the township, at Everest Academy, but can be seen and enjoyed from Clintonwood Park. Live entertainment on the softball fields is provided before and after the fireworks. Glo items will be available for purchase by an exclusive vendor.

Independence Day festivities are made possible by the generosity of several sponsors. You can be a part of the tradition and become a sponsor of one of Clarkston’s and Independence Township’s most successful events.  It is hosted by Independence Township Department of Parks, Recreation & Seniors.

¨ For Sponsor Information call Kelly at (248) 625-8223

¨ Parks and Recreation (248) 625-8223

Clintonwood Park is located at 6000 Clarkston Road, Clarkson, MI

Michigan Strawberry Season!

Posted in Dining with Pat, Lifestyle, Local News with tags , , on June 14, 2012 by Pat Hansen

It’s strawberry season again in Michigan. It is several weeks earlier than last year so we are updating our Blog to inform you that it could be a shorter season this year and might be over by the end of June, according to Middleton Berry Farm in Ortonville, MI.

The regular hours for this week (weather permitting) are Monday through Saturday mornings, 7:30 – 11:30. There is a possibility of some evening picking times this week, depending on how many strawberries are ripe each day, how many people come in the morning to pick them, and the weather conditions.  As always, they recommend you call their HOTLINE (248-628-1819) before driving out.

  • They do not sell any pre-picked strawberries.
  • Their strawberries are $1.62 per lb.
  • Save 50 cents for each box of berries that are picked in a previously used Middleton berry box.
  • All children are to be under the direct supervision of the adult they came with at all times, including in the field and with the animals.  They ask that there be at least one adult for every 2 children.
  • They are located at 4888 Oakwood Rd – 5 miles east of Ortonville, MI, between M-15 and M-24.
  • The farm is open from June – October (hours vary) and they accept cash, checks, VISA and MasterCard. They provide containers for all their crops

One of the best ever strawberry shortcake recipes is from Martha Stewart’s cookbook. The recipe is as follows:


  • 1-3/4 pounds (6cups) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter; cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with ¾ cup sugar; let sit to bring out their juices. Note: If strawberries are sweet, use less sugar.
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, ½ cup sugar; and the salt until combined. Add butter; and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal but with some pea-size bits of butter remaining, 10 to 12 times. In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup cream and the eggs; pour over flour mixture and pulse until some large clumps begin to form, 25 to 30 times.
  3. Using a half-cup measuring cup, gently pack down dough, invert and tap out onto a baking sheet. Repeat to form 8 biscuits. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool about 15 minutes.
  4. Beat remaining 1-1/2 cups of cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with the vanilla until soft peaks form.
  5. Slice biscuits in half horizontally when cool. Spoon strawberries and their liquid over bottom halves. Spoon whipped cream on strawberries and replace top halves of biscuits.

It’s hard to surpass good strawberry shortcake as the ideal summer dessert, made even better with Michigan berries. Enjoy!

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