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AccuBrick1 The ambiance of a home does not begin as you enter through the front door and end as you exit out the back. Rather, it is expressed from the moment you pull up to the curb and extends throughout the surrounding outdoor space. This is why cultivating a hardscape that compliments the house and the lifestyle of those who dwell under its roof is a crucial aspect of the design process. One of the most enduring styles of hardscapes is brick—its classic and versatile aesthetic can withstand the test of time. Accu-Brick Paving systems specializes in just that: beautiful brick pavers that upgrade your outdoor living space and curb appeal.

Accu-Brick pavers are a practical solution for any pathway, pool, driveway or patio. They are stain resistant and easier to clean and maintain than other surfaces, such as concrete. They can be cut and fit into unique designs so that the homeowner feels they have a personal, one of a kind creation. In the driveway, vehicle fluids like oil leaks are easily removable. Love relaxing by the pool in the summertime but hate having to wear flip-flops all the way to the edge to avoid burning your feet? Accu-Brick pavers come in lighter colors and materials that reflect away heat from the the sun, making them comfortable underfoot and the perfect choice for a pool deck. The pavers can also be coated with a paver sealer, helping to prevent stains from spillage and prohibit the growth of moss and mildew. The sealer deepens the color of the brick and comes in a variety of finishes: matte, gloss, and natural.

There is no better way to amplify the beauty or extend the value of your home than to introduce an Accu-Brick hardscape to your space. Their designers can help you dream up and create something completely new, or, in some cases, they can use a concrete overlay process to transform your existing space. Limitless combinations of colors, styles, are available to coordinate with the mood of any setting. Macro or micro brick styles can be used, depending on the scale that fits best with the surrounding areas. Polished brick provides a neat and refined look. For an area that demands something with more character, rustic or old style bricks add personality and a unique flair.

If you can’t quite picture what brick paver would work best with your space, Accu-Brick’s “accu-imager” feature takes the guesswork out of the equation. An existing photo of your driveway, pool deck, or patio is animated upon by their team of professionals to produce an image of what your finished product would look like. A stunningly executed brick hardscape can bring the chic and tranquil air of a resort outdoor space to your very own backyard.

Created by Katherine Bryan

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Sea Island Builders is a company with over 50 years of construction experience in the Lowcountry. They focus on high quality renovations, remodels, additions, and new home construction throughout our area. When they aren’t concentrating on building, however, they turn their attention to giving back to our community—the animal community, more specifically. Sea Island Builders partnered with the Charleston Animal Society in 2015, an organization that spearheads the “no-kill” movement, stands against animal cruelty, and aids in the spaying, neutering, fostering, and adoption process of hundreds of abandoned animals. Sea Island Builders sponsored the Charleston Animal Society’s 2015 Celebrity Chili Cook-off, which raises awareness for the cause. They also hosted the Charleston Animal Society as a special guest at their 2016 Spring Social, raising over $5,300 for the charity in one evening. We asked Jason Fowler, the pre-construction manager at Sea Island builders, about the best way to get involved with the Charleston Animal Society:

“The most helpful thing that people can do to become involved in supporting the CAS would be to participate in the 2016 Chili Cook Off in some way. People can either put together a chili team and see if they have what it takes to win the best chili award, or they can attend the event and participate in that manner. Also, anyone looking to sponsor the event should reach out to Elena Lawson. There are many levels of sponsorship available; we appreciate all the support we can get both large and small. I am personally serving on the CAS planning committee for the event.”

Here are some pictures from the Sea Island Builders Social this past spring—check out Charlie, one of the two adorable puppies who, thanks to the event, found a home that night! For more information about all the ways you can help animals like him, and about getting involved in the Celebrity Chili Cook-Off in 2016, contact Elena Lawson at (843) 329-1552 or email elawson@charlestonanimalsociety.org.

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12348092_854261574691040_8013706154361691647_nIn Mount Pleasant a new type of neighborhood comes together. In Fulton Neighborhood there is a modern twist on the architecture of the Lowcountry with low maintenance and energy efficient homes that lend a historic vibe to the area. A team of architects, interior and kitchen designers, landscape architects and builders worked together to ensure that each home has the optimal space inside and out. The main builders are from Alka Construction- Development, who have nearly two decades of experience with high-end custom homes. Each home is raised on a slab foundation to eliminate crawlspace humidity, concrete porches, brick borders and metal roofs which add to the longevity and value. Alka Construction believes that creating beautiful homes uplift the everyday lives of homeowners.
As the project is still under construction, the Fulton Neighborhood have created virtual tours for home buyers to look at a finished product before making a final decision. There are five different styles of homes in the neighborhood: Anna, Gabrielle, Ellison, George and Andrew. Each different house has its own virtual tour for the buyer. All of the layouts have a classic feel, open concept, unique details, high quality appliances, as well as a stylish combination of natural woods and metal accents.
Fulton also has a set of amenities that makes it unique when compared to other neighborhoods. There are shared outdoor spaces which includes a gathering area, fenced in playground, a park and nature trails all within the perimeter of the neighborhood. In addition to the gathering areas, there is a 245 acre plot of land that will soon become the Rifle Range Park. This park with provide active recreational uses, like multi-use athletic fields and facilities. All of the streets and alleys in the neighborhood are designed to create outside living spaces for all ages to enjoy. Public spaces were designed to be friendly, livable, functional and uplifting to the community.
Fulton Neighborhood is located close to both Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms which can be enjoyed year round. Shopping and dining are minutes away at Mount Pleasant Town Centre and waterfront Shem Creek. While the Ravenel Bridge connects Mount Pleasant to Historic Downtown Charleston all the activities it provides.

To find out more information visit: sales@fultoncharleston.com or call 1-800-593-9683.

Created by Claire Nellums

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contract-bottomAn afternoon thunderstorm in the summer and fall months is something that takes no Charleston native by surprise. In fact, many of us enjoy the sounds of these showers, maybe even finding ourselves lulled by nature into a lazy afternoon cat nap. It’s not all pleasant, however. Summer and fall storm season can wreak havoc on the roof of your home. Roof leaking is a common problem in the Charleston area: warnings include lifted shingles and water stains on the ceiling and walls. It’s important not to ignore these signs, as water damage in the roof can lead to wood rot, weakening the overall structure of your home and leading to extensive repair costs.
Thankfully, the experts at Contract Exteriors can handle all things roof maintenance and repair, and offer services to identify and repair roof leaks. The roofing shingles they provide are manufactured by GAF and come in three levels of quality and protection. They also provide an incredibly affordable slate shingle option. When replacing your roof, it’s important to investment in a warranty, because a roof should last twenty or more years. Coverage against manufacturing defects in the materials and coverage against workmanship errors are paramount. Contract Exteriors offers a 25 Year Labor Warranty covered by GAF. Rest assured, you can trust contract exteriors with arguably the most important feature of your home: the roof over your head.

For more information, contact Contract Exteriors at 1-843-605-4715 or visit http://www.contractexteriors.com.

 

Created by Katherine Bryan

 

Fixing damaged roof shingles. A section was blown off after a storm with high winds causing a potential leak.

Fixing damaged roof shingles. A section was blown off after a storm with high winds causing a potential leak.

Lowcountry Storm History

With records dating back earlier than 1851, Charleston and the lowcountry area has experienced more than 39 tropical cyclones on average every 3 years. Charleston’s location is one of the biggest factors for these patterns. South Carolina tends to experience a lot of tropical storms due to the formation of cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico that shift to the Cape Verde Islands. Occasionally some will move westward enough to threaten the US as they gather strength over the warm shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea. On average, 39.13% of the tropical storms that reach the Charleston area are hurricanes moving around 96mph. In 1989, Charleston was hit by a hurricane that remains the most devastating in the state, and at the time was the strongest storm to strike the US in the 20 years.

Hugo began as a tropical depression on the coast of the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, 1989, transforming into a tropical storm two days later, and becoming a category 5 on September 15. Before Hugo made landfall in the US, it passed over the Caribbean Islands, destroying 100% of Guadeloupe’s banana crops, 90% of St. Croix’s buildings, and 77% of Puerto Rico’s tree species. Hugo made landfall in the US as a category 4 hurricane on September 22 just north of Charleston near Sullivan’s Island. Storm surges of 20 feet resulted from the great dome of water that traveled within the swirling core of the 40 mile-wide hurricane. Torrential rains, severe flooding and damaging winds of 135mph leveled beach front properties and washed IOP boats harbored at the marina ashore. Hugo also destroyed over 1 billion board-feet of lumber in the Francis Marion National Forest, which equaled 70% of all lumber quality trees and enough timber to build 660,000 homes.

24 hours after the hurricane made landfall in the lowcountry, Hugo moved out of the US into southeastern Canada as an extratropical storm, finally dissipating on September 25, 1989. Hugo left behind devastating results – an estimated 50 fatalities and a record $10 billion in damages. The lowcountry sustained an estimated 227,800 homes experienced power outages in addition to the calamitous amounts of property damage.

Although other hurricanes have surpassed Hugo in fiscal damages, Hugo remains the most desolating in the state, and its name has been retired. After the hurricane passed and help came to the Charleston area, FEMA was criticized for its slow response to the situation and procedures were reformed over the years. So, despite services provided in national declared emergencies and better technology that issue forecasts weeks in advance, you need to be prepared for anything.

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Hurricane Home Safety

That’s what we are here for! Charleston Home + Design can help you protect your home and your wallet from storms with the insights and resources of our industry. Whether it’s the basics or you’re building on your essentials, our clients featuring local companies can help you be prepared to weather the storms to come.

Safety – Planned Preparedness

Even before there are signs of a storm, you should take steps to prepare your home. A first step is to invest in hammers and ladders immediately, which will come in handy for the minimal preparation before a hurricane. In case of a hurricane threat, cover your windows with pre-cut plywood and fasten them with anchor screws – these can be found at Southern Lumber & Millwork or Buck Lumber & Building Supply. Next, you should invest in a permanent standby generator that will automatically begin operating in case the power goes out. This is incredibly important especially if a medical emergency arises, so check out Edgewater Energy and Lowcountry Generators if you don’t already have one. Another recommended step would be to install a lightning rod from Applied Building Sciences, which will protect you from electrical surges that can destroy electronics and potentially electrocute family members.

Flooding, Foundation & Insurance

As all areas of Charleston are in or close to a flood zone, flood protection is a must. Your first step if you don’t already have it, is to get flood and homeowners insurance from Allstate or McKay Insurance who will understand your needs as a coastal homeowner. Once you have gotten insurance be sure to store all the information in a safe place where you will be able to find it after a storm. Insurance is the best investment because it’s not a matter of if, but when.

In terms of your home structure, be sure your crawlspace is sealed airtight, BUT it must be able to release at 10lbs of water pressure to protect the foundation of your home – Crawlspace Solutions can help you secure your crawlspace with this. Smart Vent products actually has vents with 3 inch clearances that allows floodwater to flow freely through the space in the event of major flooding, preventing pressure and debris buildup from removing your home from its foundation. And the cherry on top? These smart vents often come with insurance premium deductions!

Window & Door Protection

Windows and doors are the biggest points of entry for wind and debris during a storm, and thus need to be reinforced to prevent damage. All About Garage Doors installs hurricane-strut reinforced garage doors to defend the largest opening into your home. Invest in impact-resistant windows from Muhler that will add one more layer of security from straight-line winds. On the exterior, get storm rated shutters from Lowcountry Hurricane Protection and Shutters to prevent flying debris from entering your home. Having an airtight sealed home is important to hinder winds from entering and creating pressure to detach the roof from your home.

Roof Protection

From foundation to roof, you need to be sure the structural integrity of your house is secure. Atlantic Roofing Distributors recommends that your roof be metal rather than a shingle roof as one continuous system is less likely to be blown off by strong winds. Additionally, according to Harper Construction, hip roofs slope downward and cause the house to experience 40% less pressure than a gable roof.

Inside of your roof also requires investment – spray foam insulation not only improves your roof’s strength fourfold, but it reduces wind and rain damage by sealing out moisture AND it increases the energy-efficiency of your home. Financially it is cheaper to refit an existing roof than to replace one after the storm, so Energy One America or Ecofoam Insulation and Coatings can help with the installation. One last step would be to trim back the treelines around your roof to prevent storm damage.

The Aftermath

When a storm hits, it can be overwhelming to deal with the cleanup and aftermath. First, be sure to call local power companies like Berkeley Electric Cooperative or SCE&G to report any power outages. Next, if any trees have fallen, call Schneider Tree Care and they will help you remove debris. Finally, if you are in need of loans for necessary home improvements, reach out to your bank or Heritage Trust for home equity loans.

Created by Jade Taylor

summerville-sc The Lowcountry is currently experiencing an exciting real estate boom. Areas such as Mt. Pleasant, the Avondale neighborhood of West Ashley, and Summerville are especially popular at the moment. Mt. Pleasant is, in fact, the 10th fastest growing city in America. While the idea of that much growth might sound like a traffic headache, it’s great for the economy. It helps relieve the impact of the recession and a slow market, as well as aids in combating unemployment. Avondale is another up-and comer—situated mere minutes away from downtown and with a thriving shopping and dining area itself, it’s worth checking out. For a retreat a little outside the main area of Charleston, Summerville is a beautiful and historic town known for its pine trees and an abundance of beautiful flowers. It would be a great place to set down some roots and find a family home.
In other real estate news, market prices are rising while inventory remains low. There has been a 3.6% increase in sales volume. Why is it a good time to buy? Interest rates are still relatively low and the rental market is at an all time high. Home prices are stabilizing and down payments are not nearly as steep as they used to be. If you are considering purchasing a home, definitely look into the popular neighborhoods mentioned above. Mary Riley at Century 21 is an expert when it comes to real estate in the greater Charleston area and can help you explore all of the exhilarating possibilities that come with searching for a new home.

For more information, contact Mary Riley at (843) 714-8029 or email mriley@century21properties.com.

 

Created by Katherine Bryan

 

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Recent home for sale in Summerville

 

 

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Recent home for sale in Avondale

 

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Recent home for sale in Mt.Pleasant

Snip20160706_5Ask anybody what the most neglected area of their home is, and they’ll often tell you it’s the garage. It’s the space that stores some of our most important items: cars, lawn equipment, bicycles, and boxes upon boxes of various keepsakes and possessions, yet organizing it can seem like such a headache that we let it build up into a mess we wouldn’t want our guests to walk through. Instead of wasting the space like that, why not call in some experts to help transform it?
One of the most highly requested remodeling projects for garages is to create the perfect “man cave.” I don’t know too many men who wouldn’t love kicking back and watching the game in a well-organized space designed just to their liking, complete with storage options for their golf gear, motorcycle collection, or just an extra beer fridge. Turning that fantasy into a reality, however, can be a challenge. This is where Garage Experts of Lowcountry SC steps in. They specialize in garage remodeling complete with custom cabinets, epoxy flooring, organizational hooked slat walls, and overhead storage systems. The materials they use are industrial strength, and the floors are easy to clean, stain resistant, and won’t chip or peel. They also come in 142 colors—enough options to please even the pickiest of homeowners. The bold colors don’t have to stop at the floor level—cabinets can be decked out to represent a favorite team, or show off a personal style. All you’ll need to add as a flat screen and some comfy couches and you’ve got the perfect place to escape for a few hours.

For more information call Garage Experts at 843.242.7054 or visit garageexperts.com.

Created by Katherine Bryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snip20160627_18A newcomer to the Lowcountry, Triton Stone Group has added Charleston, South Carolina to its list of many locations throughout the United States. As leading wholesalers and distributors of natural stone products, granite, floor and glass tiles, Triton Stone is both a reliable and renowned group committed to helping customers achieve their goals. Whether your project entails starting from scratch or matching existing stone styles, they will help you select the right materials for your home. The company’s speedy growth over the years as well as their wide selection of handpicked stone are two things on which they rightfully pride themselves.

Within the United States, Triton Stone Group offers the most extensive selection of stone, distributes the highest quality kitchen and bath fixtures, and is the second largest importer of natural stone. Not only do they work with granite and stone, but also quartz, sinks, tiles, faucets, toilets, and tubs. They sell TOTO Fixtures and Danze faucets directly to the public, not to mention lines of kitchen, bath and specialty sinks designed for use with counter-tops. You can easily find links to all of Triton Stone Group’s vendors on their website. On top of it all, the company gladly offers products and sealers that will help you keep your counter-tops and floorings looking good as new.

Despite the fact that natural stone has quite a timeless charm, the process of selecting and installing can be lengthy—which is why Triton Stone Group is here to help. Browse one of their gorgeous show rooms or drop by the warehouse for information on a plethora of types, colors, and origins of high-quality stone. Once you have selected your ideal material, employees will deliver the stone to your fabricator, who will then provide you with details regarding costs and installation times. Do not wait to take advantage of Triton Stone Group’s attentive services now available here in the Lowcountry!

 

Created by Paige Stover

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kitchen2 In recent years, kitchens and bathrooms have become the major focal points of a home. These once-overlooked rooms are now the most poured over design projects—people want nothing less than the latest and greatest in terms of style.
Especially trending lately in kitchen and bathroom remodel projects is sleek custom cabinetry. Everybody wants the aspects of their home to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, and cabinetry is one of the simplest (and most satisfying) ways to implement these desires. Longtime Lowcountry business William C. Pritchard Co. is an expert at designing cabinets that can transform a home into the modern and elegant place it longs to be. They can come up with designs to match every style and are producing work in the most of-the-moment colors in cabinetry: grey and white. These hues give an air of clean, simple, sophistication, and are popping up all over the Lowcountry. Another way to stay on-trend with cabinetry is to focus on choosing the right coordinating accessories. William C. Pritchard makes this step a breeze as well, since they use the prominent hardware brands Berenson, Cliffside and Top Knobs. Lines from these brands that feel particularly fresh (especially in bronze, antique brass or brushed nickel and paired with white, cream, or grey cabinetry) are the Skyline collection from Berenson, the Classic Suite style hardware from Cliffside, and the Chareau Collection from Top Knobs. You cannot go wrong with any of these choices.
While the design process for updating your cabinets may seem daunting, it isn’t so bad—the designers at William C. Pritchard will set up three informative meetings to go step-by step and help the dream cabinets you envision come to life.

Created by Katherine Bryan

 

 

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Insurance Agent Kevin Shealy Offers Insights about Recent Flooding and Rising Premiums

Allstate_Web2After last October’s devastating floods, the state of South Carolina was left in complete shock, scrambling to recover. The amount of rainfall in October beat the 107-year standing record for total rainfall in a period of five days, leaving behind immense damage. Homeowners have found great difficulty in recovering from these damages as a result of the recent phasing out of government subsidies that were originally meant to help with flood damages. The Federal Emergency Management Association, since the days of Hurricane Katrina, has found itself nearly twenty-four billion dollars in debt. In attempts to financially recover from these days of devastation, the federal government has begun to cut off these subsidy flood loans to homeowners. However, this plan for the government to save money has only ended up costing homeowners exorbitant amounts out of their own pocket. Not just in South Carolina, but also across the entire East Coast, homeowners have seen almost a twenty-five-percent increase in their premium rates of flood insurance, making many coastal residences entirely unaffordable.

These high insurance premiums are becoming far too expensive for homeowners who are unable to keep up with the rising prices. In efforts to reduce these outrageous insurance premiums, many homeowners have discovered ways to minimize their payments by up to ninety percent. For new homeowners, still in the process of building a home, the most effective methods of lowering the premium are still relatively easy to achieve. By maintaining close contact with your contractor, be sure that flood vents and an appropriate crawlspace are part of your building plan. Both of these tactics will ensure that floodwaters can more easily run underneath your home, protecting the actual structure from water damage. Alongside these methods, placing your house at a proper elevation—whether it be by geography, or even placing the structure on stilts—will avoid unnecessary flooding. By considering these factors into your design plan, your cost of insurance can be decreased as a result of the house being less at-risk for flooding.

For those homeowners who already own a home, Kevin Shealy of AllState Insurance, has other recommendations. Kevin recommends that settled homeowners can decrease their premium by requesting “Zero Contents Coverage,” meaning that, instead of all of the belongings inside your home being protected, merely the structure itself is be protected. Beyond that option, it is crucial that homeowners verify their insurance premiums are based on correct data. Many insurance companies may make crucial mistakes in data, producing a charge that is far overpriced. With flooding being the number-one cause of disaster-related events, if government subsidies cannot be provided, it is clear, that other precautions must be made to protect homeowners and their belongings. By using the suggestions provided, homeowners can begin to gain leverage in combating outrageous premiums.