Archive for August, 2011

Steve Jobs Inspired Apple Decor At Home

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Steve Jobs stepping down from his Apple CEO position got me to thinking about just how important this company is to those who love design. From the original Macintosh to the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iconic Apple Stores, Apple has led the way. And not just in technology, but in creating wonderful, user-friendly, holistically designed objects.

Who can ever forget that iconic “1984” Superbowl commercial? Visually stunning, it was a powerful message and a trendsetter for many blockbuster Superbowl commercials to follow.

So here’s a tribute to some great iPad, iPod and iPhone accessories and must-haves — and how the Apple aesthetic has worked its way into our homes. It’s not everyday that a product comes along that changes the world and creates so many new businesses in its wake.

This streamlined white space was definitely seems to have been designed with the iBook in mind.

An iPad set into the wall is just another part of the space — but with the ability to control the room’s temperature, music, security features and more.

For all of us worried about having all that stuff hanging onto our nicely designed walls comes this clean and simple method to mount an iPad.

An iPad controls the big screen and everything else in the home theater.

Apple’s design made it easier to put our workspaces on display. Even the smallest kitchen desk is large enough for the Mac.

Rustic brick walls, warm wood flooring and a comfortable cloth chair all make a counterpoint to the Mac’s slick, sleek lines.

An iPad docked in what can only be described as surreal art.

Apple’s iWork, iLife, iBank, etc. made it easy to keep ourselves organized and know exactly where everything is.

Have you incorporated your Apple tech into your home?  Comment and let us know how you’re doing it and post pictures on our Facebook Fan page.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Oklahoma City Camp Fire USA Celebrates 101st Birthday

Camp Fire USA is celebrating its 101st birthday on August 31, 2011 on the 34th floor of the downtown Petroleum Club, 100 N. Broadway Avenue, Oklahoma City. Part of the celebration is the recognition of the former Camp Fire USA member and introduction of two new programs for the youth in Oklahoma.

Keep the Fire Burning will be presented by the Heart of Oklahoma Council with the former Camp Fire USA member, Gov. Mary Fallin. The event will run from11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Governor Fallin is the guest speaker who will be speaking on the topic of leadership.

The two new programs in the Camp Fire USA are the Gotcha and the Camp Canoe. These will be joined with Special Care and Adoption WrapAround. Gotcha aims to help children to appreciate the outdoors as well as to encourage them to continue with their education even on holiday breaks.

Ballard said that Gotcha was made congruent to the year-round calendar of Oklahoma City Schools. The Camp Fire USA is offering two weeks in October, December and March for the students to experience the outdoors in a fun and creative way.

Former members and leaders of the Camp Fire USA as well as those who are interested in helping to develop care, confident youth and future leaders are invited to attend the celebration. Tickets are sold at $101, or corporate tables at $1,000.

Aside from the recognition of Fallin and the introduction of the new programs, families who have benefited from the services of the Camp Fire USA will be recognized and highlights of the past 100 years of the Camp Fire USA will be presented.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Fit A Small Bath in Your Small Home

Fitting a small bath into your small home is easier than you think. You’ll only need a sink, a toilet, and about 20 square feet of floor space to meet most local building codes for a half bath. Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind:

Scouting for space. Consider under stairs, closets, and stealing space from other areas, such as bedroom alcoves and porches. A space about 3-by-6-feet or 4-by-5 feet will work.

Stay connected. The farther away connections to existing plumbing pipes and exhaust vent stacks are, the costlier the project. It’s easier and cheaper to run lines through an unfinished area above or below a bath than a finished area you have to cut into and then re-patch.

Look for space near existing “water walls”—walls that already have plumbing in them, usually located in kitchens and existing bathrooms.

Don’t sweat the windows. No need for windows in your small bath—they’ll just eat up valuable wall space. Instead, install shelves for hand towels and soaps.

The doors. If codes allow and you have the space, have your door swing inward to avoid collisions. Better yet, consider a pocket door that glides into a wall and saves space inside the bath and out.

Small is beautiful. Lilliputian fixtures offer high style for small spaces. The general idea: Pedestal sinks, wall-wide mirrors to enlarge tiny spaces, light colors, wall-mounted sinks and faucets, and shelves.

Kohler claims its Rialto toilet, at 25.25 inches front to back, is the industry’s smallest. Cost: About $300.

Woodcrafters’ Sierra Vanity is just 21 inches wide and 13 inches deep. Available at Home Depot. Cost: About $350.

The Whitehaus Isabella wall-mounted sink (WH114RTB) is a mere 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep. Cost: About $250.

By the book. A bathroom project require permits and an inspection to ensure it meets codes. Otherwise, you could be forced to tear out whatever wasn’t done right.

Terry Sheridan has written about home improvement and remodeling issues for more than 20 years. She’s remodeled homes ranging from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet.

Sourced from HouseLogic

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Mistakes To Avoid During Home Renovations

Home renovation ha its own ups and downs. Often, when we visualize what we want, it does not come out the way we want it to, due to other inevitable factors like safety, aesthetics and convenience. In addition, there are times when we simply want to realize whatever we want for our house without actually considering the house itself.

So for you to avoid unwanted mishaps during home renovation, here are several mistakes to keep in mind to avoid.

  • DIY everything

You may ask, “Is DIY not good then?” Of course it is! DIY is actually great since it is not only practical but enables you to personalize your house. But, be realistic! Not all aspects of home renovation can be done by you. There are tasks that you cannot do alone or- even if a friend helps you- you still cannot achieve the results you want. If you cannot do it, don’t push it. Get a specialist to do it. It will save you the cost of not doing the job again and sometimes much safer for your house.

  • Renovating your home to something it is not

It does not mean that when a glass door works for your neighbor’s house, it will also work for your house. Do not try to incorporate things that will not go well in your house or will deviate from the essence of your house.

  • Planning your budget less than what it should be

Home renovations, in any manner, can be very expensive. So, it is best to plan your budget much higher than anticipated cost. This will make room for some price adjustments or other accidental repairs needed during the renovation. If you have a smaller budget, expect that the overall result will more or less be more than 50% of the projected outcome.

  • Buying the cheapest material

Yes, you are on tight budget. But, it is still not a good reason to skimp. Often, buying cheaper material will make room for more repairs in the future, which will accumulate much higher expense than buying an expensive but longer lasting material.

  • Working on the projects one-by-one without taking advantage of projects to work on another

When we do home renovations, we usually break, tear or destroy something. This will expose you to more aspects in the house that needs repair. For example, if you plan to change the backsplash of your kitchen wall, it is also time to inspect the wires and tubes exposed by an open wall to make sure everything is still operating well.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Oklahoma City Fire Station No. 7 Rededicated

The Oklahoma City Fire Station No. 7 located in the Capitol Hill area was rededicated Thursday after a long-anticipated renovation. Now, the newly renovated fire station will have more advanced firefighting and energy-efficient technology to use within the city area.

The renovation was completed for only $200,000, a sizeable difference from the allotted budget of $1.9 million. The Fire Station is located east of Robinson Avenue on SW 23rd Street.

The rededication was held on Thursday with appearances by Fire Chief Keith Bryant, project members and other city officials. Bryant acknowledged the renowned role of the neighborhood in the history of Oklahoma City and he is happy to have an up-to-date fire station for the people of OKC. Bryant added that he was present when the fire station opened in 1984 and has spent a lot of time in the station. The new renovation and upgrade for the fire station is an exciting event for him personally, he said.

According to Fire Deputy Chief Cecil Clay, the Fire Station No. 7 offers new features that will help firefighter’s better serve the community. Among these features are individual dorms for efficient rest instead of the usual barracks-style arrangement. In addition, there will be alarms routed only to the dorms of the firefighter’s on-call.

Clay said that the new alarm-system will enable other firefighters to better rest and prepare for fires while waiting.

There will also be low-level nighttime lighting during an alarm so it cannot hurt or affect the nighttime vision of firefighters. Lightings come with LED lights, a special heating system and other energy-saving features. Also, new ladders and engines with a special climate-controlled bunker that will help equipment used in firefighting last longer.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Historic Preservation Expo in Oklahoma City

Historic preservation, the granddaddy of “green,” can fall through old cracks.

But anyone wondering whether Oklahoma City has suppliers and contractors to handle the specialized work shouldn’t doubt it, according to people in the business — and maybe they won’t after this weekend’s Historic Preservation Expo at Cox Convention Center.

About 40 companies ranging from architecture firms to window specialists will show their wares and explain their services, and several specialists will make presentations at the expo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The event was organized by the city’s Office of Sustainability and the State Historic Preservation Office. Cost is $7 per day

It’s this generation’s version of the “Old House Fair” held here occasionally in the 1970s, said Melvena Heisch, deputy state historic preservation officer. She said the return was inspired by preservationists hearing property owners and others say things such as, “There’s nobody that can repair these old wood windows.”

There are companies that can repair windows and other features of historic buildings and still meet historic preservation standards, she said.

And the expo’s wider aim, she said, is to get the word out that “preservation is green — it was green before green was cool.”

Thomas Small of The Small Group, an Edmond architecture-engineering firm, said his firm is one of the major business sponsors for “the opportunity to exhibit our talents” and to garner more attention for preservation work in general. The Small Group’s booth will include big-screen videos of the firm’s work, Small said.

Another major corporate sponsor and exhibitor is The Womble Co., 537 E Britton Road, statewide Pella window and door distributor. Andy Crum, retail manager, said Womble aims to show its support for historic neighborhoods and “keeping those historic homes looking as good as they do.”

Heisch said the expo is billed as the “first annual” in hopes it will become a regular event.

It’s “already a success” in one way because it has “elevated preservation in the consciousness of Oklahoma City and the area,” said Catherine Montgomery, historic preservation architect with the city.

Presentations will be every half-hour, “classroom style” followed by “demo style,” Montgomery said, with a mix of topics for people who work in preservation as well as property owners and people just interested in it.

Topics range from “Economics of Sustainable Preservation” at 9 a.m. Friday by Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics in Washington, D.C., to “Passive Wood Floor Restoration” at 3:30 p.m. Saturday by Bob Yapp, president of Preservation Resources Inc., South Bend, Ind.

Source: The Oklahoman

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Oklahoma City on the Rebound

Defying the myth that urban living doesn’t have community feel. It is just the opposite. OKC is a perfect example! People are surprised at how active the homeowner’s groups are in OKC’s older areas: Belle Isle, Lakehurst, Edgewater, Crown Heights, Edgemere Park, Heritage Hills. All true communities with close neighbors, who become friends. Offering the feel of earlier days where community was celebrated.

Consider this: Today, worldwide, more than half of us live in cities. By 2050, the United Nations projects nearly three-quarters of us will.

More and more, these bustling metropolises are becoming home.

Connie Curran remembers her years in the suburbs as “dull.” She told Doane she started thinking about moving to the city a month after she moved into the ‘burbs.

“I bought this house – it had a white picket fence,” Curran said. “My sister saw it and she said, ‘You’re on Wisteria Lane!’ It was a great house and it was very peaceful. It was very homogeneous – and it was very boring.”

So last year, at age 61, this nurse-turned-healthcare entrepreneur – who found a new lease on life after beating stage-four cancer – settled into a spectacular home in San Francisco.

“When I saw that view I thought, ‘Now this is city, and this is a neighborhood. I’m living life. This is life. This is the luxury of middle age.”

She defined the luxury of middle-age as the ability “to move to the city and to enjoy the richness and vastness of the things that are here. I hang around 24th Street and usually pick up some flowers, pick up some fruit.”

Curran says walking everywhere keeps her fit.

In fact, studies show many urbanites are actually healthier, and may even live longer.

And they’re environmentally friendlier, too, because they drive less, live in smaller spaces, and use less energy.

To offset her 3,200-square-foot space, Curran takes it a step further: It’s all run by solar power. A Lucite stairwell in her three-story modern home lets natural light penetrate, saving so much electricity that the utility company actually writes her a check every month.

While Curran moved to this vibrant city for culture, Harvard economist and author Edward Glaeser says many folks moving to cities are just “following the money,” because city workers earn 30% more than those in suburbs.

Just look at midtown Manhattan: “The economic output, the payroll of this area is higher than Oregon or Nevada, right?” Glaeser said. “This tiny sliver of land is an unbelievably productive part of America. And that productivity is ultimately the heart of a city’s appeal. It’s ultimately what’s drawing so many people to cities.”

Today, about 250 million Americans choose to live in or around urban areas. That means more than three-quarters of our population shares just about three percent of our land area.

Since 1990, the number of people living in cities has gone up by seven percent – a far cry from all those years of folks fleeing to the suburbs, to places like Long Island, where there was “room to build.”

“Today, the movement is in the other direction,” said Glaeser. “It’s back toward the old ports. It’s back towards the densities that were our historic starting point.”

In fact, the fastest-growing city in the United States is not New York or San Francisco, it’s Olive Branch, Miss.

In the late 1800s, the town was known as “Cow Pen,” said mayor Sam Rikard.

“Do you think changing the name of the town from Cow Pen to Olive Branch might’ve helped with the growth?” Doane asked.

“I think it’s probably helped tremendously,” Rikard said.

Olive Branch – just outside Memphis – has certainly blossomed, from 3,500 people in 1990 to a small city of nearly 34,000 today. Citing this 838% population boom, Bloomberg Businessweek recently gave it that ranking: America’s fastest-growing city.

“It’s almost like that ‘Field of Dreams’ – you build it and they’ll come, you know?” said Rikard. “And that’s almost reality here.”

It’s reality all across the South. Over the last ten years, most of the fastest-growing major cities were Southern cities – and that’s not a coincidence, according to Edward Glaeser.

“The variable that best predicts metropolitan growth over the 20th century is January temperature,” he said. “Warmth is just a very good predictor of which American cities have grown more quickly or less quickly.

“America in 1900 was built around this great transportation network of the Great Lakes and the railroads. And as it became cheaper to move goods over space, people got to move to the places that they wanted to move to.”

Randy and Shannen Taylor moved from a smaller town in Mississippi to Olive Branch back in 2002. They wanted better schools and more amenities, along with an affordable cost of living.

“Just the range of things that have popped up in Olive Branch – restaurants and theater and things like that,” said Shannen.

“Has it changed a lot in the last few years?” asked Doane.

“Absolutely,” she said. “There used to be just a two-lane road that ran through Olive Branch, and now it’s one of the busiest streets in the county.”

And that’s what gets to life-long resident Janice Turner, who said, “Occasionally I’ll ask myself, ‘Who are these people coming from?!’ And occasionally, ‘Didn’t they learn to drive?'” she laughed.

Turner says she can measure all this growth by the addition of traffic lights and chain stores: “It looks like an ocean of houses when I get to a high point in Olive Branch and look over the rooftops. And that’s sort of startling to see.”

“When we think of booming population growth, we might not think of Olive Branch, Miss.,” said Doane. “But should we?”

“Sure, we should,” said Glaeser. “We should be thinking about so much that’s exciting that’s happening in the middle of America, that’s happening in those areas that are able to combine metropolitan productivity with cost of living.”

Cities of all sizes – giving folks like Connie Curran a chance to redefine WHERE they live their American dream.

“I think it just is a way of re-vitalizing and re-energizing, and in a way counting your blessings, really,” said Curran.

“And a city can make you do that, feel that?” asked Doane.

“Hey, all the way! I think this city does that. City living helps feed your spirit, feed your soul.”

SOURCE: CBS News Sunday Morning

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Get Your House Back-to-School Ready

If your kids have not already started back to school, the day will soon arrive – be that something you are grateful for or dreading, here are a few tips from to help make your home a little more conducive for your “back to school” lifestyle.

It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down, the nights are cooling off and fall is on the horizon. If you have kids, you know exactly what the groans are all about: The first day of school is around the corner. While they may not be particularly thrilled with the inevitable return, the least you can do is get both them and your home organized for a smooth transition.

The following pics will give you some direction on what you may need: desks, storage ideas and organization tips for starters. You may still have to drag them out of bed when that first day arrives, but at least you’ll be content that your home is ready to face the school year.

-Load your kids’ rooms with shelving; they’re going to need it to help them stay organized. Plus, starting them with basic organization tools will help them kick off the year on the right foot. This design is a great space saver as it includes both shelving and a desk.

-Don’t feel like you need to find a desk-and-shelving combo. The freestanding Expedit Bookcase from IKEA is affordable, classic and a good way to get organized.

-A desk in a study area will help your child do her homework comfortably. Try to find one with drawers or shelves so she can keep her supplies and knickknacks in order.

-If the desk doesn’t come with drawers or shelves, add other elements to help keep things in place. The addition of this pegboard creates flexible vertical storage space with room for decorations to keep it fun. A small freestanding shelving unit will keep papers and homework in the right spot.

-Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a bunch of fancy organizational tools; look around the house first! Coffee mugs and small kitchen bowls are nice alternatives for keeping utensils and desk supplies corralled.

-If your child feels trapped away in his room studying all night, invite him into the kitchen by adding a workstation there. This keeps him part of the activity while you prepare dinner, and you can be sure he gets all his homework done.

-The start of the school year also means after-school activities, which tend to include a lot of stuff. Keep sports gear, instruments, coats, boots and more organized by installing cubbies. Build them with different compartments for large and small items, and don’t forget hooks for jackets.

-Now that you’ve got all the activity stuff organized, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to keep track of everyone’s schedules. The Daily System from Pottery Barn includes a variety of items, including calendars, bulletin boards and storage racks you can mix and match to your needs.

Try some of these tips and come up with your own (which I hope you will share with us in the comments section!) and help to start your kids off to a successful year by doing your part at home.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Businesses in Oklahoma City Offer Solutions to Customers For Summer Heat

Oklahoma City area businesses are offering different ways for their loyal customers to remain cool despite the scorching summer heat. Free drinks, mister fans and other (literally) cool ideas are being offered to clients who brave the heat to frequent their local businesses.

The extreme summer heat is a major hindrance to many businesses as most of their customers are staying at home to avoid it. Edmond Rock, a local supplier of building materials and stones, is offering a golf cart for customers to be driven around in while browsing the 12-acre land filled with supplies such as building stone, mulch and soils. According to Christel Smith, an employee at Edmond Rock, customers are also always offered a complimentary bottle of water to make sure their clients remain hydrated in the heat.

Other establishments are offering free drinks to customers. A Cleaner Place owner, Jeanie Jones, is promoting free sodas on their SodaStream machine. The Uptown Kids at the Classen Curve shopping center are also offering free drinks, but are planning to keep that promotion year round.

Even the Andy Alligator’s Fun Park in Norman is giving freebies for customers to stay cool this summer. There is a free water war during ever Saturday of the summers and mister fans for people to remain cool while enjoying different outdoor activities.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Fire Damage – What You Need To Do After A House Fire

Any homeowner will admit that one of the worst possible things to happen to their home is a fire. The trauma and stress it causes you and your family is hard to brush off, not to mention the immense damage it can cause to your home and all your belongings.

It is best then to be fully aware of what you must do when you face such an unfortunate incident. Although the majority of the damage is structural, it is best to attempt to salvage whatever is left and as much as possible, get your life back on track.

After a fire, the first thing you must do is call your insurance company. This claim from your insurance is what will legally assist you in restoring things back to normal. Depending on your policy, your insurance company will reimburse you the value of your belongings that were destroyed in the fire.

Here are some other tips you can do after a fire:

  • Find a temporary house for you and your family. After a house fire, it is not always wise to return as there can still be harmful chemicals from the fire. Temporary housing will help you and your family recover from the trauma faced during the incident. Do not hesitate to approach close friends or other relatives as they will not only provide you shelter and food but also comfort and care.
  • Contact the fire department or your contractor to find out about other damages to your house, as in what needs to be restored or if the house is still sound for occupancy. They will help you to evaluate if your house is even safe to enter initially.
  • Make sure you secure your house by having your contractor do this. This will keep curious hands and looters from roaming around. Even if the house is damaged by the fire, many of your belongings are still salvageable and in good condition so this will be a major attraction to these types of people.
  • If you can return to your house, save whatever you can if they were not visibly affected by the fire.  Secure them so they will not be in contact with other damaged goods.
  • Before throwing away any damaged items in the house, take a picture of all the damages as these can be very helpful when you file an insurance claim. After getting all the pictures you need, you can throw the items away.
  • Have a professional check for mold growth or other harmful substances inside the house and have them remedied as soon as possible. Also, deodorize the area of smoke and fire odors.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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