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SmithsHVACWeb1When getting ready for much colder weather, ensuring your heat through the assistance of Smiths Heating and Air will do wonders. They offer heating and air conditioning services for builders and homeowners of both commercial and residential areas in the Lowcountry… Serving the Charleston area since 1979, it is safe to say they know exactly how to keep you warm within the walls of your own home. Their affordable and dependable heating is something worth looking into when prepping for winter months, as well as any other ventilating and air conditioning needs you may have.

The highly competent technicians at Smiths Heating and Air provide preventative maintenances that will benefit your home in the long run, such as the cleaning of thermostats, lubricating of moving parts, and securing of electrical connections. Sanitation of all components in the process of heating and cooling is key; making sure heat exchangers, pilot assemblies, and burners are clean is highly recommended. During the winter, there are a number of things you can do all on your own in order to preserve energy and keep your home as cozy as ever. Setting the thermostat to around 68 degrees goes a long way, and managing your drapes or blinds has an effect as well. Making sure they are open and actively taking in the sun’s rays during the day while also keeping them closed at night will keep the heat in no matter the time of day. Don’t forget to ensure that air grilles are freely flowing instead of blocked by furniture, and get a tune up before the seasons change. Experts at Smiths Heating and Air suggest changing HVAC filters monthly, not to mention servicing your system in both the fall and spring.


Created by Paige Stover


PoolCoverSolutionsWeb3As the anticipated seasons of autumn and winter approaches, so does the inevitable (and often times bothersome) task of keeping leaves and sticks out of your backyard pool. Despite the decorative, relaxation factor, pools can be a constant responsibility and also a safety hazard. Pool Cover Solutions has been an innovative, company run by the Windmueller’s for more than twenty-five years. With a mission to gain clients’ trust and provide them with the customized products the need, they are truly professional yet personable. Although they can agree that parental supervision is unbeatable, their Automatic Safety Covers meet and even surpass typical safety requirements—pool covers act as horizontal fences, physically preventing access to keep your kids safe and sound. Pool Cover Solutions offers both automatic and manual covers, spa covers, removable fencing, and of course, commercial thermal covers for the winter time. They make long-term commitments to their installation projects by checking in annually, gladly providing any replacement covers or repairs.

Anyone who takes on the task of maintaining a pool or spa can agree that prices can very easily accumulate. The use of a pool cover can both save you money as well as conserve energy at the same time. Investing in these trendy pool-toppers can reduce the amount of needed make-up water by up to 50% and reduce the pool’s chemical consumption by up to 60%. According to the Department of Energy, evaporation is the number one reason for a pool’s energy loss, inside or outside. Even with extremely efficient heaters or pumps you may have, the pool’s energy is evaporating without a cover. Another helpful, energy-conserving hint: when you’re not actively swimming, cover the pool’s surface to reduce heating costs in the chillier months… Not to mention, a cover will save you the time that cleaning unwanted debris requires!


Created by Paige Stover

blue-haven-2216-andover-way-fall16-ve-photosbypatrickbrickman-3When these Mt. Pleasant homeowners wanted to create a unique and functional backyard space, Blue Haven Pools and Spas stepped up to help make their unconventional ideas come to life.

When you know what you want, all you have to do is make it happen. It was as simple, and as complicated, as that for these Mt. Pleasant homeowners who set out to create their dream backyard. It didn’t take the homeowners long to know they needed something more out of their typical, pretty suburban yard. They knew that they desired to create a beautiful and functional outdoor living space for their family. Being able to enjoy Charleston’s weather year round in a place that not only looked great, but also used space efficiently with little upkeep was their goal. To help see that their “rustic modern” and space efficient goals were met, they enlisted the help of Blue Haven Pools and Spas.

Jeff Little and Brian Peppin of Blue Haven Pools and Spas helped them to make this backyard dream a reality. “The biggest thing that they really wanted to achieve was a complete overhaul of the entire yard,” states Brian. “We didn’t want to just install a pool and then just have a bunch of grass.” A lot of creative thinking and attention to detail went into designing this backyard. Many materials and styles were meticulously sorted through with the homeowners and Jeff. “What I love about this pool is that it’s unique. I don’t see too many pools that are even similar,” adds Jeff, who designed this space.

Beyond just looking stylish with select finishes, the homeowners needed a backyard that required little work for maintenance. Blue Haven Pools and Spas installed a couple of features to achieve that. First, a top-of-the-line automatic cleaner was installed into this saltwater pool. Second, the increasingly popular pebble interior was added to help reduce upkeep as well.” Jeff also offered many options to help maximize space usage in the yard and to reduce upkeep. “In order to achieve some of this for them, we installed the geometric shaped pool, which takes up a good amount of the yard,” explains Brian. “Then we added the French patterned travertine deck that goes all the way around three sides of the pool and underneath the outdoor entertainment area that Express Sunrooms built.” Instead of planting grass throughout the remaining green spaces in the yard, Jeff suggested going with another option that never needed to be mowed and just need to be hosed off once and a while—artificial turf.

With help from Blue Haven Pools and Spas, this “rustic modern” and low maintenance yard came out just as the homeowners had always hoped it would.

For more information, call Blue Haven Pools and Spas at (843) 552-6000 or visit them online at

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Schneider_HUG_Fall15-1Heightening the natural beauty of your landscaping as well as protecting the health of your trees are crucial in preparation for seasonal changes. Adding lightning protection, trimming excessive limbs, and controlling pests are wise decisions to make before the unpredictable winter approaches. Schneider Tree Care, one of the most renowned and qualified tree care services of North and South Carolina, has been providing residential protections such as these for almost two decades now. They evaluate your trees or shrubs so as to devise a plan, carry out an array of quick and organized services, and leave your yard looking even better than before.

Just like any other living thing, trees require time to progress and acquire strength. Fall is the ideal time to plant since they will have plenty of time to develop a weather-resistant root system before the strike of winter. Pruning, one of the best things you can do for your trees, is a wise idea in the fall season. Tree structure is strengthened and excessive limbs carefully taken down. This reduces unnecessary weight, preventing future damage by any possible ice storms. Pruning even prevents pest outbreaks for the following spring, allowing you to enjoy air that is a little more bug-free.

Schneider Tree Care provides tree removal services for even the largest, most diseased trees you may have. Knowledgeable employees keep in mind the safety of your home and the protection of your yard—your property is their main priority. Other helpful options involve the removal of stumps as well as the integration of mulch into areas in need of moisture. Mulch assists with weed control, increases soil temperatures in the winter, and gives your trees the nutrients they demand. Caring for the trees that make your environment unique and healthy is a must. These advantageous solutions will keep your yard undeniably prepared for any weather that may come!


Created by Paige Stover


One South Battery Street homeowner called upon Bennett Hofford Construction to breathe life back into her historic home.

116-s-battery_ve_fall_16-06Classic Charleston brick with white pillars lined by a graceful iron fence set the perfect scene for a quiet, sunny afternoon stroll along South Battery Street. But behind the brick is a beautiful home, filled with French-inspired antique furniture, equestrian artwork, and a soft white and floral palette, all masterfully blended with a modern kitchen.

And that’s just the first floor. “Elizabeth called us after she purchased the house,” says Jessica Hofford, of Bennett Hofford Construction. “It hadn’t been updated in a while and the color scheme was kind of dark.” Elizabeth, the homeowner, is an attorney and a full-time mom, so she wanted a cheerful home to return to after long hours in the office. Unfortunately, before the renovations took place, there was only a formal dining room and formal living room to offer space for family time. At Elizabeth’s request, the team at Bennett Hofford began plans for an addition to accompany the renovation.

It was important to Elizabeth that there be a less formal place for unwinding with family and friends. And because the house faces South, it was vital that large windows be added to the family room to maximize the natural light flowing through the space. She chose to have custom built-in shelves and storage added in order to assist the family in running a smooth, organized household. The brass horse statues, family photos, trophies, and stacks of academic books comingling among the shelves complement the traditional décor.

The newly refurbished staircase, with original wood steps and wrought iron spindles, leads to the second floor, where the master suite and guest rooms are located. “Much like the first floor, we renovated all of the rooms on the second story and restored all of the moulding, which is original to the house,” Jessica points out. The only exceptions are the two spectacular bathrooms. Each lavatory was entirely gutted to the studs, which allowed for the plumbing to be thoroughly updated. The guest bathroom features dark stained cabinetry with a white marble countertop contrast. In comparison, the master bathroom sparkles with white marble countertops that complement the original wood flooring. A stand-alone soaking tub creates a spa-like atmosphere.

Up on the third floor is where Elizabeth’s daughter’s room, a third bathroom, and a den are found. The den, which was formerly attic space, is enveloped with floor-to-ceiling original wood paneling. It has been stained to a rich, mahogany color to lighten and warm the room, due to its singular small, round window. Elizabeth’s daughter’s bathroom was also redesigned.

Now, there are endless possibilities to where Elizabeth and her family will land when they return to relax in their historic abode, and they can relish every moment together in a refreshingly spacious home.

For more information, call Bennett Hofford Construction at (843) 722-8169 or visit

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11244Here in the South, we’re quite fond of good old-fashioned traditions—and what could be more traditional than enjoying a Thanksgiving feast? While we might use recipes passed down from generation to generation, the holiday is also the perfect time to create some new traditions. Start at the main gathering place on turkey day—the table—and create a table setting that represents your unique style and personality. After designing your perfect tablescape (with the help of our décor checklist), setting the table for the big meal will be something you cherish in the years to come.

Of course, the classic Thanksgiving color scheme is full of rich, warm, Autumnal tones: oranges, reds, browns…. but we think that here in the Lowcountry, we can change it up a little bit. Living in a coastal town produces constant decorative inspiration, and Thanksgiving should be no exception. Try a twist on traditional Thanksgiving colors by incorporating blue and white accents. Find white pumpkins, or create your own (don’t be afraid to use spray paint!) for a fun centerpiece. White placemats and napkins and blue porcelain (or vice-versa) look serene as a pair. You can incorporate pops of fall color in items like flower arrangements to include a bit of tradition without clashing. Another way to go coastal in your table setting is with place cards: etch each guest’s name onto a piece of reclaimed driftwood to bring that salt-air ambiance right to the table.

Look toward nature to get other ideas on how to create visual interest on your table: bundled wheat sheaves pay homage to the season of harvest, while leafy greens always look festive. Try using smaller vases (you can mix and match) for individual blooms of flowers, rather than one large arrangement.

Make sure you’ve covered your table in a beautiful cloth or laid out a runner to give the space a special, holiday atmosphere. And don’t forget to break out the good stemware! Occasions like these are exactly the time to use those crystal glasses.

To check that you’ve covered all of your bases to create a picture-perfect Lowcountry Thanksgiving table setting, here is our list of must-haves:

  • Dining table/chairs (for a perfect “rustic chic” look, check out the options at Coralberry Cottage—the furniture can be customized in up to 50 colors or stains)
  • Tablecloth or table runner
  • Stemware
  • Silverware
  • Charger plates
  • Dishes
  • Napkins
  • Place cards
  • Decorative objects for centerpiece (try some of the fun ideas mentioned above!)
  • Candles (try some in varying heights to create a beautiful visual)
  • Flowers/other foliage

Coralberry Cottage in Mt. Pleasant can be a one-stop shop for these any many other items that can elevate your Thanksgiving table to new heights, and make you look forward to hosting that crazy gaggle of guests you call family. For those who will find themselves as the guests on Thanksgiving day, the shop also has an excellent selection of gifts that say “I’m thankful for you!” to your host or hostess.

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Created by Katherine Bryan

311 Martins Creek Lane_VE_Fall_16-01

Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens helped Larry and Kathryn Dismukes add several functional spaces to their backyard for eating, entertaining, and enjoying all of their marsh views.

Dining al fresco nearly year round is a Lowcountry lifestyle luxury. Being able to eat outside on your own patio while overlooking the marsh after cooking in your own outdoor kitchen takes that level of luxury up a few notches. This featured Charleston home boasts several areas to relax in while enjoying the gorgeous weather and views as well as a modern outdoor kitchen with several unique features.

Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens worked with Larry and Kathryn Dismukes to install an outdoor kitchen, dining area, and living space that worked for their lifestyle as well as their aesthetic desires.

“The Dismukes really wanted an outdoor kitchen that blended in with the look of their home,” explained Ken Good of Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens. “They were looking for something that appeared to have been original to the house.”

This particular outdoor kitchen sits below the large, second floor screened-in porch and seamlessly houses all of the appliances, an ample workspace, and cooking areas. This shaded portion of the house covers the space from the sun and the elements, but the use of columns beneath the house allows for a breeze to flow through the location perfectly.

“We challenged Ken and his team to create a unique design that blended with the original look and feel of the home,” adds Larry. “Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens exceeded our expectations and worked with us to create exactly what we wanted.”
The Dismukes wanted several high-end touches to be added to their outdoor kitchen. A Fire Magic “Echelon Diamond” grill, pizza oven, and warming drawers only begin the list of what was installed. Other fun features include a built-in cutting board with a trash chute and wine chilling station.

Belgard pavers compose the walkways that lead around the property. One path extends from the kitchen and dining areas toward the dock, and the other leads away from home toward the fire pit area. The custom fire pit was situated to maximize marsh views. “We were able to take a space that had beautiful views, but was not functional, and transform it into a wonderful entertainment area,” exclaims Kathryn.

“My favorite feature would be how they’ve created three outdoor spaces that all work so well together,” adds Ken. These homeowners, in conjunction with Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens, have created an outdoor cooking and living area that will be used for years and years.

For more information, call Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens at (843) 216-0006 or visit


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13416988_138671373206065_3971759555520227438_oParadise Home Improvement’s name says it all—it truly is a company that covers home improvement projects of every variety, from indoor to outdoor, aesthetic to functional. While the entire list of installations and improvements they can provide is immense, here are some of their main focuses:

Replacement Windows

Paradise Home Improvement can install their Paradise Super Window in your home. These windows have the highest possible thermal performance, meaning that using them can reduce your energy loss and increase the overall efficiency of your window systems. They can entirely replace an old window, or simply add a thin strip of film or a glass pane to an existing window. They offer bay windows, sliding patio doors, double-hung windows, casement and awning windows, and garden windows, so the style of window you are looking to replace is never a limiting factor.

Bath Systems

Paradise Home Improvement can help you design the relaxing and elegant bathroom of your dreams. The systems they offer include tiles, bathtubs, showers, wall surrounds, cabinetry and vanities, walk-in whirlpool tubs, sinks, toilets, faucets, lighting fixtures, mirrors, and eco-friendly bath systems, so it’s safe to say they have the entire room covered. A bathroom remodel is an excellent investment and can add immense value to your home.

Gutter Protection

A home without quality gutters is not a safe one—failing gutters can allow rainwater to leak into your attic or basement, dirtying sidings and possibly leading to rotten wood. It’s great to know, then, that Paradise Home Improvement offers a special gutter protection system called Gutter Guardian. This system prevents debris from falling into gutters because it is attached directly under a roof’s shingles, making it incredibly strong and durable.

Attic Insulation

A key to having an energy-efficient and pleasantly temperate home is to have quality attic insulation. Paradise Home Improvement offers eShield Attic Energy Barrier, which reflects up to 95% of the sun’s radiant heat. It helps keep the house cool in the summer by keeping heat out, and warm in the winter by trapping it in. This saves you money on your energy bills, as heating and cooling systems won’t have to be running constantly.


Siding is an important component to any home, as it protects the outer walls from weather and acts as additional insulation. Paradise Home Improvement offers their Paradise Super Siding, which can be installed in either horizontal or board and batten (vertical) style in materials that range from wood to aluminum, vinyl, or fiber cement.

Solar Panel Systems

It’s good to avoid reliance on coal or nuclear power and reduce our carbon footprint every chance you get, so harnessing the sun’s energy to power your home is an amazing option. Paradise Home Improvement can install monocrystalline solar cells on any house. These cells, while an investment, are more efficient than any other solar cells sold and can in turn lower home energy costs.

Created by Katherine Bryan