Thursday, May 27, 2010


In May, 1868 General John Logan, National Commander of the grand Army of the Republic officially proclaimed Memorial Day to honor all those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

As a very young girl, I can remember marching in the Memorial Day parade every year and trying so hard not to drop my baton while an ocean of flags waved all around me. As an adult now I reflect on the irony of my Memorial Day parade experience. I was thrilled with my sparkling gold trim on a costume that I was sure dazzled everyone as I marched by. It was a costume to die for. My WW11 Veteran Dad, however, marched along side of me no doubt immersed in his own thoughts about the COUNTRY he loved enough to die for.

The years that have passed since my marching career came to an end have given this “Majorette Idol” time to understand the extreme importance of REMEMBERING the sacrifices of our military. The importance of those sacrifices never diminishes over time.

As of this writing, two very sacred and solemn anniversaries are upon us.
May 31st, Memorial Day is an opportunity to reflect on how vitally important it has always been to teach our children what it took and takes to live in freedom. If we do not make sure that each generation understands and values the freedom they have to make choices, to speak against tyranny, to pursue happiness and attain their own financial goals, we run the danger of becoming the kind of country that needed to be rescued by America in the past.

On June 6, 1944, 160,000 allied troops landed along 50 miles of Normandy France coastline to fight the Nazis. By the end of the day, over 5000 allied ships and 13,000 airplanes had taken back the territory at a cost of 9000 soldiers killed or wounded. The indescribable sacrifice resulted in over 100,000 allied soldiers beginning their advance through Europe to rid the world of such an unspeakable curse.
During the recent years when Americans have been working harder for less, we have experienced the loss of housing, jobs and many have lost hope. There has never been a time in America, no matter what the economic or political challenge faced, that we have failed to focus our collective energy, intelligence and spirit to eradicate any threat to our precious way of life.

While the interest rates are lowering again and home prices are at all time lows, no matter what your individual challenges may be, there is no doubt that recovery is around every corner in America. Whether we are sitting on Easy St, or traveling the Road of Hard Knocks, we owe everything we have to those who gave everything they had. The best way to honor them is to TEACH OUR CHILDREN WELL.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Every now and then when I’ve brought a buyer to a newly constructed home I’ve heard “Why would the builder ever put the kitchen on this side of the house?” or “Look how far I have to walk with shopping bags from the garage.” It is critical that builders and all those in the home building industry listen very carefully to what the consumers want. There is ample evidence from such sources such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that they are doing just that.

Huge consumer groups have spoken and the industry captains have heard. The growing trend in home building today is to provide solutions that are economical without sacrificing appeal and convenience.

In short, through the first two quarters of 2009 the homes that were built were smaller according to the US Census Bureau and more efficient. Home sizes on average stopped increasing in 2008 and began a downward trend in 2009. For the first time since 1992, the building of homes with at least 3 bedrooms was down. The number of homes being built with 4 or more bedrooms has been falling since 2007 and those with 2 or more stories have continued a downward trend since 2006.

In times of economic challenges, huge gas guzzling cars lose their appeal. The same can be said for behemoths that drive up heating and maintenance costs in the ever changing climates of Rowley, Georgetown, Ipswich, and our beautiful North Shore communities. The desire for spacious living area can be achieved without building a huge costly structure. According to the NAHB, one of the top 10 priorities in 2010 would be to build 9-foot ceilings on the first floor for example.

Rooms separated by walls have given way to the open floor plan that remains desirable but is being built on a smaller scale. The person doing the cooking is no longer isolated in the kitchen from family or friends enjoying the company of each other. The functions of each open area may be defined by the placement of furniture or specific flooring, but the purpose is to accommodate multiple needs in a warm, inviting and organized plan.

The top ten home features that builders will be including in 2010 are:
Walk-in closets, Laundry rooms, Insulated front doors, Great rooms, Low “e” windows, Linen Closets, Programmable thermostats, Energy Efficient appliances and lighting, Separate shower and tub in the master bathroom, and Nine foot ceilings.

Among the largest consumer groups that the builders should be listening to now are the Baby Boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964. One level living is easier no matter who is carrying the bundles or laundry and the over 55 buyers have spoken. The top ten features according to the NAHB Baby Boomer survey include in order of preference:

Washer/Dryer in the home(90%), Storage space(84%), Windows that open easily (81%), Garage door opener (73%), Easy to use thermostat (73%), Master bedroom on first floor (71%), Private Patio (67%), Porch (66%), Attached garage (65%) and bigger bathrooms (64%).

Americans have a distinguished history of meeting challenges head-on and an even more remarkable legacy of teaching the world how to do it. Our basic need for shelter from the storm is deeply personal. Whether the home building industry accurately anticipates the consumer need, or listens carefully to the consumer in order to meet the need, the housing needs in America will be met brilliantly. For now, watch for smaller homes with a larger “feel” that include window designs that enhance natural light as well as higher ceilings and clever use of space. What appear to be going the way of the buffalo are sunrooms, butler’s pantries and media rooms. So, where do we put the butler………in the master walk in closet?