Veterans Day

Our humble thanks

November 11 is the day we honor the US armed forces for their military service.  Considering that we currently have about 1.4 million active service members serving in the five branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard — out of a population of around 324.9 million (at this writing), I am especially grateful to the very small fraction of people who are shouldering the burden of our national security.

So… to all our military members, active or retired, let me share my heartfelt thanks to you for all that you do, and all that you sacrifice. (Also, a shout out to the military family members who have experienced or continue to live with the unique burdens of carrying on a quasi-normal life while your loved ones are off doing their duty.  I know that ain’t easy.)  We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.

A few things for veterans around Austin, in no particular order:

Veterans Day Deals & Freebies

Austin Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day Giving Back Programs

Veterans Services in Travis County

Also, not in Austin but a really cool place to check out even if only online:   the Veterans Memorial in Anthem, Arizona.  It features 5 staggered-size pillars with ellipses (representing the 5 military branches) which, at precisely 11:11 am each Veterans Day, the sun’s rays will pass through “to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.”  Cool, right?  It’s some amazing engineering, and quite lovely to behold!  You can watch a time lapse of it it here if you can’t get out to see it in person.

A final note, for any active or retired military who are considering buying a home and would like information on VA loans, please feel free contact me.  I work with an excellent team of folks at Premier Nationwide Lending; they are extremely knowledgeable and caring, and have programs designed for service personnel and their unique situations.  Together we’d love to work with you to get you and your family into a new home — or if nothing else, a chance to say thank you in person.

Happy Veterans Day!

thank-you-veterans

Democracy/Armageddon

“What’s that aboot, eh?”

So…finally…the ELECTION is TOMORROW!!

And depending on how it turns out, I’m expecting that at least some of you might just decide to make good on that threat to pack up and leave the country!

If you fall in that category and need to sell your home in a big fat hurry, no need to fret:  just call me, your friendly neighborhood Realtor.  We’ll get that thing on the market lickety-split and you can start packing your wooly socks and practice saying, “What’s that aboot, eh?”

🙂

i-voted

The Fireplace Project

1970s flagstone no more!

We’ve had dark and stormy skies in Austin these last few days.  Even though it hasn’t exactly turned cold, I’ve still been tempted to start a fire in the fireplace just to make the living room a little more cozy feeling… which then reminded me I need to post pictures of the fireplace renovation we did last winter, because it’s so AWESOME (if I do say so myself)!

Here’s what it started out like, our 1979 Texas flagstone fireplace and hearth, along with adjoining dark brown wood veneer built-ins:

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After yanking out the built-ins and hammering away all the rock facade and the bulky hearth (which was some heavy, dusty work) we got down to the brick firebox:

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Our next step was to frame out the fireplace surround with flame retardant cement board. Since our plan was to mount the TV over it, we ran the TV’s power cord and the built-in sound system wires through PVC pipes in the wall so we wouldn’t have any dangling wires:

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Once that was done and the drywall replaced, textured and painted, it was time to apply the covering, a gorgeous stacked stone product called RealStone, in honed white birch.  Isn’t it so, so PRETTY?  I’m obsessed with it!  (And I have to give props to our contractor, Karl Hanson at H & H Design & Construction — he and his crew did an amazing job of getting this laid out perfectly!)

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The final step was to paint the grate and the interior brick a neat black, and then we were ready for the new floors to go in, the TV to go up, and the decorating to begin.  Here’s how it all turned out in the end:

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Cozy, no?  We were absolutely thrilled with how it came out!  It’s about as far away from its original look as can possible be, and we don’t miss that a bit.  We wanted it to look sleek and contemporary, but still feel warm and inviting.

Speaking of inviting, I believe it’s calling me now.  I’m gonna go light a fire, pour a lovely glass of wine, and ride out the rest of this stormy evening.  Y’all enjoy yours!