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When and how did Blue Haven Pools & Spa’s get its start?

My father had been building, subcontracting and servicing swimming pools his entire life. My brother and I worked weekends, after school, and summers in the pool store and on the construction crews. In 2003 my father got a call and asked if he would be interested in helping Blue Haven expand the east coast footprint. We all picked up and moved to Charleston. We did about 1 year of market research and then started building in 2005. Since then my brother and I have taken over the business and retired our father. To date we are bigger and stronger than we have ever been, and love servicing the Charleston area.

What does Blue Haven Pools & Spa’s specialize in?

We specialize in in-ground gunite swimming pools, in-ground gunite pool renovations and in-ground pool repair and maintenance.

What’s a typical day working at Blue Haven Pools & Spa’s look like?

A typical day is working the ever so changing 12 phase schedule of each job we have in construction. Somedays are smooth and sometimes need a lot of work to the schedule depending on the weather. We do the best we can to keep everyone on schedule and maintain the respect and happiness of our clients.

What’s your favorite part of working and living in Charleston?

The history is so strong in Charleston. Sometimes building projects at places that have been around since the 18oo’s is unbelievable. Being so close to beach front homes gives the opportunity to build a lot of projects at the first and second story of homes, this is very unique to the area.

What is the best advice you could give to people in the market for you a pool?

Anyone considering looking to build a pool in the Charleston market, I would give them this advice. Make sure that builder has over 800 pools in the ground just in Charleston, make sure they have been building gunite pools for over 10 years in Charleston, and make sure they have an SC Contractors License. You will be surprised on how many pool builders don’t have a building license, don’t let someone practice on you! Cheaper is not better!

Lastly, is there anything else you would like people to know about Blue Haven Pools & Spa’s?

Blue Haven is one of Charleston’s only companies that has over 800 pools in the ground and has been building non-stop for over 10 years in Charleston. Blue Haven has a massive foot print in the national pool marketplace, we have products other companies simply just cant get because of our size and buying power. Let us give you the cutting edge, low maintenance, products your pool and family deserve. From our family to yours, lets make you something beautiful that will stand the test of time!

Rugs do a lot to turn a house into a home by making spaces cozy and personal, so it’s important to choose a high quality rug that will last. Considering all of the many fibers to choose from, wool is one of the most comfortable and most forgiving rug fibers in that it is easy to spot clean and remove stains.

Rob Leahy, owner of Fine Rugs of Charleston, considers hand-knotted, wool rugs to be a great investment for busy homes due to their unique construction. Hand-knotted, wool rugs can be cleaned more thoroughly than some other rugs thanks to an inherent property in wool that accepts an intense washing process at the end of the rugs’ production. Before a hand-knotted rug is ready for purchase, it is flushed with water from the back of the rug and out through the face; the rug is then dried, straightened, and smoothed. This intense cleaning removes all of the undesirable characteristics of the wool (like its smells) while ensuring that the hand-knotted rug can easily withstand future cleanings.

Maintaining such a functional rug is as simple as regular vacuuming—without the beater bar—and a professional cleaning every five to eight years. According to Rob, pet stains are one of the most common instances of rug damage. Fortunately, with a hand-knotted wool rug, all it takes is some dish soap dabbed onto the rug to release the stain and a fresh wet cloth to wipe up the soapy mixture. Since older and more worn rugs are prone to tears, holes, and other damage, Fine Rugs of Charleston also offers rug repair services to keep your hand-knotted rugs in great condition and in the home longer.


When and how did AV Lifestyles get its start?

In 2004 I started doing small projects for friends and family, and officially turned it into a business in 2007. ATS was the name of that company, in 2013 I was competing with Trevor Van Etten of ITS on most jobs. We then decided to form AV Lifestyles at the beginning of 2014. Doing so allowed us to have a wider variety of products and solutions to offer our clients.

What does AV Lifestyles specialize in?

The easy answer – Home audio and video control systems. More detailed – we use control systems like Control 4 and Savant to simplify control of the many aspects of a home. Lighting, Security, Audio, Video, shades, pool, spa, sprinklers and HVAC all in one easy to use app. We specialize in giving the end user and easy to use system that doesn’t take a degree to understand and use.

What’s a typical day working at AV Lifestyles look like?

There’s always service challenges due to the multiple service providers we work with, i.e. Comcast, DirecTV, AT&T, etc. Any typical day starts with prioritizing the service issues that may have arisen overnight. Thanks to the IOT (internet of things) more devices are now online and we are able to remotely manage and tackle a lot of service issues. We are typically the last trade in someone’s home so our schedule is a bit fluid due to delay’s.

What’s your favorite part of working and living in Charleston?

This is such a loaded question. I can give the typical good food, beaches etc.. but honestly I don’t go to the beach that often, I don’t get the opportunity to eat out nearly as much as I nor my wife would like. What I like the most about Charleston is simply theres always something you can do.

What is the best advice you could give to people in the market for your product?

Have realistic expectations. If you’re getting multiple quotes make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Far to often people compare quotes that are apples and bananas. If you get a $20,000 quote from one company and a $60,000 quote from another, it’s not the same. Quality products cost more than you’d expect. You’ve chosen to work with a professional to provide you with a service or product that will be reliable and easy to use, that comes at a price.

Lastly, is there anything else you would like people to know about AV Lifestyles?

We are locally owned and not a chain or franchise. Our awards, successes, and failures are ours and have worked very hard to learn from them, we are in this for years to come.

Whether you’re looking to build a vacation home for a beachy escape or deciding to put down roots in the Lowcountry for good, building the perfect custom home can be an overwhelming process—but it doesn’t have to be. With the right builder and plan of action, building can be just as fun and exciting as it should be.

The first step toward building a custom home should be finding an experienced and reputable general contractor to make sure your project is in good hands. Phillip W. Smith General Contractor, Inc. is a great choice for anyone looking to build in the Lowcountry. The company has been building in the Charleston area for over 20 years and has expanded their expertise into Isle of Palms, Daniel Island, Mt. Pleasant, and Kiawah Island. Over the years, Phillip W. Smith General Contractor, Inc. has received numerous awards, like the 2013 Best in American Living Award for Best Custom Home (4,000 to 6,500 sq. ft.) as well as the 2014 GuildQuality Award for Guildmaster with Highest Distinction. When it comes to taking on custom building projects in the Lowcountry, the people at Phillip W. Smith General Contractor, Inc. know what they’re doing.

When building a custom home, attention to detail is essential for developing the personality and quality of the home. Since style can vary greatly (whether its traditional, modern, industrial, or nautical) and even change from room to room, designs can get confusing and lost in translation between a homeowner and general contractor. With a small team of experts, builder Phillip Smith of Phillip W. Smith General Contractor, Inc. works directly with his clients in order to execute their unique designs. By working so closely with the homeowners, Phillip Smith ensures the execution of their personal taste and style, making the building process easy, enjoyable—and custom!

For more information visit: or call: (843) 881-9828!

When and how did Alair Homes get its start?

Our story began more than 15 years ago when our owner, Jennings Smith, started Reality Construction in 2001 at age 19. He then attended Clemson University for his undergraduate degree. Over the next few years, Jennings would build one or two homes during summer break and would manage smaller projects from afar, while in school. Upon graduating from Clemson, Jennings committed to building and remodeling full time.

I joined Jennings’ team in January of 2008 after finishing school at Charleston Southern University. We continued to build custom homes in the Summerville area while also stepping into the realm of historic home renovations in the downtown Summerville area.

Our business continued to flourish and expand.

In early 2016, a good friend of mine (who works for Alair Homes in Toronto) called me and said that Alair was entering the Carolinas. He asked if we had any interest in joining Alair. We were quite skeptical and resistant at first. Why would we transition away from a business that was successful and growing? We, like most successful businesses, still had our own pains and struggles. The more we learned about Alair, the more we saw the value in joining a network of builders that spans the United States and Canada. Our core values and our desire for transparency with our clients were in alignment.

We decided to take the plunge and joined Alair in April of last year (2016). It’s the best decision we’ve ever made! We are now able to collaborate with the most successful contractors in North America. The team environment, coupled with our trademarked Client Control model of construction, have energized and revolutionized the way custom construction projects are planned and executed.

What does Alair Homes specialize in?

We specialize in building custom homes and doing extensive home renovations.

What’s a typical day working at Alair Homes look like?

It looks like fun, a lot of fun! We have 5 project managers in our office, each with a unique passion for helping clients. Needless to say, it is an energetic and exciting culture to be a part of. We spend our time meeting with prospect clients, making site visits to projects currently in construction, and working with clients through the Design & Estimation phase of our Client Control process.

What’s your favorite part of working and living in Charleston?

I love everything about living and working in the low country. The beaches are beautiful. The people are warm and inviting. I consider myself a “foodie,” so the ever-growing food scene in Charleston holds special place in my heart. The beautiful city and it’s history make this area a truly special place to live and work. We certainly are blessed to call this place home.

What is the best advice you could give to people who are building a new custom home or in the process of remodeling?

No matter who you build or work with, demand certainty: certainty in product, certainty in price, and certainty in timeline. Search for a builder who truly understands why you are doing a construction project and who wants to advise you through the process. The construction industry has developed a bad reputation (rightfully so), but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Through intentional, thoughtful, and detailed planning, a construction project can become a source of joy and excitement. The most rewarding part of my job is building relationships and friendships with the clients who have entrusted us with executing their construction project.

Lastly, is there anything else you would like people to know about Alair Homes?

We are so excited to bring a better way of building to the industry. Our unique process has made the construction experience radically different than anything we’ve seen. If you believe there is a better way, and want us to learn about you and your project, please give us a call. We would love to share with you why Living Better starts with Alair Homes.

In the midst of summer, and with fall fast approaching, now is the time to seize the outdoors with family barbecues, pool parties, late-night s’mores, and sunny summer reading sessions. Summer fun and relaxation calls for some outdoor essentials, whether that’s an outdoor cushioned lounge chair and a glass of ice-cold lemonade or a large outdoor dining set for a table full of friends. Teak is the best wood for this kind of outdoor furniture because of its durability and unusual weathering; sun exposure transforms teak’s initial golden color into an attractive silvery gray.

In order to keep your teak outdoor furniture looking good and lasting longer, it’s important to exfoliate the wood a couple of times a year using a scouring sponge and soapy mixture of water and dish detergent. The experts at OutSide Is In, one of the Lowcountry’s upcoming design centers for teak furniture, recommend softening the wood first with water before scrubbing.

OutSide Is In is a treasure trove for teak furniture and décor. Located on Highway 17 North, Outside Is In is led by Bob Kelliher, an experienced supplier of teak furniture in the Lowcountry. Quality is king at OutSide Is In since Bob has already traveled to Indonesia to ensure the excellent condition of OutSide Is In’s teak and is planning to travel to other areas of the world to explore more material sourcing. The OutSide Is In design center is chock full of beautiful teak furniture, including large, roomy rocking chairs, round coffee tables, shower benches, oval dining tables, and bar chairs. Rick Trowman, furniture builder and associate of Bob Kelliher, notes that teak tables at OutSide Is In can be crafted at bar height, counter height, or dining height for any table or situation. The Reunion Table is also an option—which is ten feet long!

Aside from traditional options, OutSide Is In also showcases special furniture fashioned from reclaimed Balinese fishing boats directly from Warehouse 2120. These teak pieces are colorful and authentic with bright striped planks complete with their original fishing boat markings. Bob suggests keeping these Balinese boat pieces out of direct sunlight in order to preserve their eye-catching paint. Speaking of shade, OutSide Is In will soon be branching out into patio coverings like umbrellas and pergolas. Many of their tables already have spaces for umbrellas, like the Double Leaf Table. This functional teak table has leaves stored underneath that can be pulled out from the middle of the table in order to extend it, easily transforming it into a table for six.

OutSide Is In specializes in teak but dabbles in some other projects and materials. For example, the beautiful Mahogany Live Edge Table, with its rich cherry tones and buttery smooth finish, would make an elegant central piece for any dining space. And while OutSide Is In has a seemingly endless array of teak furniture for outdoor living, they also offer customizable options and welcome clients into their design center for consultation on customization. “We might have 90% of what you want and that 10% left is custom. That’s a beautiful way to do it,” Bob explains.

For more information on Outside Is In, call 843.718.7181.

When and how did Mosquito Shield get its start?

In 2001, Mosquito Shield pioneered residential mosquito control and they have spent the last 16 years perfecting it. Teresa and I started our Mosquito Shield franchise here in the Charleston metro area in January 2017.

What does Mosquito Shield specialize in?

Mosquito Shield specializes in the elimination and suppression of mosquitos and is the best mosquito control service on the market. Mosquito Shield® is a professionally applied mosquito spray that kills and repels mosquitoes and ticks. Our vector-trained technicians treat your common use areas such as pools, decks, patios, and swing sets. They also pay special attention to where mosquitoes and ticks breed and congregate.

What’s a typical day working at Mosquito Shield look like?

Up early, and always monitoring the weather the day before and the day of scheduled appointments and special events. After monitoring the weather, it is time to mix. We monitor both mosquito population and weather conditions and adjust our program as needed. So now, it’s time to take care of our customers. While the office personnel takes care of answering all incoming calls and adjusting the routes as needed, the techs are off in the van to take care of our customers. Some days the route may get adjusted as customer satisfaction is always our top priority. When the routes are completed for the day, Kevin and Teresa are still hard at work preparing for the next day. They will assist all customer needs, add new customers as they come onboard, complete all service orders for the day and prepare for the next business day. Never a dull moment for The Jones.

What’s your favorite part of working and living in Charleston?

Every year, Charleston tops lists of favorite destinations and best cities to live in and we feel very blessed to live here! We love the Southern charm that surrounds Charleston, from downtown, gorgeous churches in the Charleston historic district, to Charleston’s harbor and gorgeous beaches. Charleston is very diverse. We love everything the city has to offer, great restaurants, wonderful outdoor festivals, art walks, biking, kayaking, boating and fishing! A day when we are not working, is just another day in paradise!

What is the best advice you could give to people in the market for your product?

If you’re tired of battling annoying mosquitoes in your backyard all summer long, there is a simple and effective solution available to you. Mosquito Shield® is proud to offer the best mosquito control service on the market. As an experienced outdoor pest control service company, we feature two effective products and services that will transform your backyard into the peaceful place you and your family have always dreamed of. We protect your investment as well as your yard! Backed by our unconditional money back guarantee!

Lastly, is there anything else you would like people to know about Mosquito Shield?

Results happen quickly! We make the whole process easy, from start to finish, so you can enjoy the simple joy of relaxing in your backyard again. Whether for home or your business, get started by contacting us today at 854-444-2667!

When driving through Charleston, no matter where you look, there is always an abundance of home décor shops. But, one as unique as West Ashley’s newest addition, Charleston Amish Furniture, are few and far between.

Beginning in Landrum, South Carolina 12 years ago, owners Matt and Beth Troyer opened Foothills Amish Furniture. The first few years as owners of a furniture retail store were incredibly hard, as one would expect, but the business grew and eventually became a 13,000 square foot showroom that currently offers a wide-range of American made handcrafted Amish furniture. Now, they are onto their next venture, Charleston Amish Furniture.

The story of Charleston Amish furniture is unique, to say the least. Matt and Beth were both Amish born; Matt grew up in Ohio with no electricity or motor vehicles. It was the guidance of his father that was especially important to Matt’s success. He grew up watching and learning from his father, a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He taught Matt an excellent work ethic, the importance of looking ahead and striving for quality. These lessons and ideals have pushed Matt forward in creating an extremely successful business today.

Upon my first visit to Charleston Amish Furniture, I was taken aback by the grandness of their showroom and the impeccable craftsmanship of the furniture available. All the furniture is handcrafted, Amish made, and absolutely incredible. There is everything one could imagine, including, but not limited to, dining room tables, bedroom sets, quality leather recliners, as well as outdoor poly and wood furniture. But, if you can’t find what you want or need, they give customers the ability to design a piece (or two) of furniture that can and will reflect their personal style. No matter what you decide to do, the highly trained sales staff at Charleston Amish Furniture will help you find what you want and need. Matt and Beth take pride in their quality and detailed furniture and invite all those who are interested in solid wood, American, Amish made furniture to visit their West Ashley showroom.

I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

For more information visit: or call (843) 225-2513!