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The Triangle featured in Southern Living Magazine!

The Triangle featured in Southern Living Magazine!

Whether it is the shimmering lakes, acres of forested parks and innovative companies or the world-renown universities, family-friendly activities, and wide variety of culinary surprises–we all know how wonderful it is to live in The Triangle!  We are beyond thrilled that our sweet corner of North Carolina was recognized by Southern Living Magazine as a destination spot.  Of course, we know that once people come to visit they are tempted to stay and call The Triangle home!  And per our featured photo above, if you have not been to the Dorothea Dix Sunflower Field, you may want to put this on your summer calendar!  Incredible sunsets stretching over golden rows of blooms provide the best picnic and photo ops of the season.
Check out SLM’s article below and contact us for more information on how you can call The Triangle home by finding The Home of Your Life with Homes By Dickerson!  For more information contact Whitney at 919-917-3132 or Whitney@HomesByDickerson.com
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North Carolina’s urban oasis has transformed into one of the most dynamic corners of the South.
By Hannah Hayes

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The Durham Hotel in Durham, North Carolina                           Photo: Robbie Caponetto

You’ve heard of the humblebrag, a vehicle of self-deprecation or woe that actually delivers a boast. Picture a New Orleanian constantly complaining of choice paralysis from the dizzying array of acclaimed restaurants or a Nashville dweller infuriated by traffic on yet another vibrant, event-packed weekend.

For locals in North Carolina’s Triangle—Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill—the humblebrag becomes a more literal expression. They’re keenly aware that their cities don’t have the same flash or festivals as, say, Austin or Atlanta. And they’re quick to say that’s exactly what they like about them. Free of the fuss, these towns, known more for their major universities and the international companies headquartered at The Research Triangle Park, have discreetly transformed into a bucolic-urban oasis where the arts and tech synergize and anything homegrown (from businesses to vegetables) is enthusiastically exalted. This place isn’t a playground for tourists; it’s a living room for locals.

Should you try to visit all three cities in a single day? With around a half-hour drive separating Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill from each other, hopping from one place to the next is easy. But with so much to do, just don’t be surprised if you can’t get to everything on your list.

Durham

Of the three, Durham perhaps best embodies the less-is-more ethos. Once a boomtown built by tobacco, it was home to wealthy families like the Dukes of their namesake university and to Parrish Street, a bustling boulevard of African-American owned companies known as Black Wall Street. Cast aside in recent decades, Durham became a group project as chefs, artists, and entrepreneurs set about rebuilding a city they would want to live in. Now everyone else in the Triangle wants to live there too. “Durham isn’t a place that has it all, but I don’t want to live or work in a city that does,” says Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery, which became a town hall-style gathering spot soon after it was founded in 2010. “That mind-set attracts people who want to create a strong sense of community.”

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Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University                          Photo: Robbie Caponetto

It was community spirit that convinced Merge Records, one of the country’s most successful independent labels, to move there from Chapel Hill. Started by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, members of the band Superchunk, Merge broke major acts like Spoon and Arcade Fire. This year, they’re celebrating the label’s 30th anniversary. “It feels like the creative community is rooting for each other here,” says cult-followed musician M.C. Taylor, who plays under the name Hiss Golden Messenger and signed with Merge. “We also egg each other on to do something bigger or take more risks.”

The development of the vacant Home Savings Bank building into The Durham Hotel is one risk that clearly paid off. The first boutique hotel downtown, the mid-century modern marvel’s Piet Mondrian-meets-Mad Men lobby doubles as chef Andrea Reusing’s newest restaurant. The Durham hosts as many locals downstairs as guests upstairs, with tables full of diners lingering over house-made charcuterie and trays of fresh Atlantic oysters.

Betting the long game on Durham has worked in favor of chefs like Ricky Moore and his nationally renowned walk-up window Saltbox Seafood Joint, where he serves North Carolina-caught fish with citrus-dressed slaw and Hush Honeys (fennel-spiced cornmeal dumplings glazed in honey).

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Ponysaurus Brewing Co                                       Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Other spots to see the revitalized dining scene include Pizzeria Toro for wood-fired pies; new-wave Jewish deli Lucky’s Delicatessen and the trattoria next door, Mothers & Sons; wine alcove Bar Brunello; coffee shop Cocoa Cinnamon; and a new brewery and taproom on the block, Ponysaurus Brewing Co. Venture toward Vert & Vogue, where owners Nadira and Ryan Hurley sell responsibly made clothes by independent designers and hold happy hours with talks by culture creators.

Locals also suggest taking advantage of the major events at the glass-ensconced Durham Performing Arts Center, enjoying an exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, or seeing a show at the Motorco Music Hall. But their best piece of advice? Take a walk around the city’s neighborhoods. “People say that Durham feels like Brooklyn meets Mayberry,” says Alicia Hylton-Daniel, a general contractor and interior designer who creates new modernist homes. “You can see four different building styles on a single block here.” She recommends going to Open Durham’s website to put together your own architecture tour.

Raleigh

When Vansana Nolintha wanted to open a design-minded combination brewery, flower shop, bookstore, and dim sum restaurant that paid homage to his Laotian roots, he knew it was ambitious. But he and two cofounders— his sister Vanvisa Nolintha and friend Patrick Woodson—had a hunch that Brewery Bhavana would work. After all, he had seen someone else try something kind of crazy before him—his mentor, chef Ashley Christensen. She laid the foundation for Raleigh’s restaurant scene with Poole’s Diner in 2007, gambling that the city would respond to her regionally influenced cooking. Christensen has started four more places under her hospitality group since and, earlier this year, won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. “There was a temptation five years ago to think that Raleigh needed to look like Charlotte or Atlanta to be relevant,” Vansana says. “But because of leaders like Ashley, Raleigh searched inward for inspiration.”

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Brewery Bhavana                                                                                       Photo: Robbie Caponetto
At Garland, Cheetie Kumar plays both executive chef, rock guitarist, and director for the venue next door, Kings. Her Indian dishes made with Southern ingredients pay homage to her family’s double identity. Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria is North Carolina’s first mezcal bar. Colombian transplant and owner Angela Salamanca refers to it as a community-driven bar where the menu is comprehensive but the service is far from pretentious. Other must-sees: Boulted Bread, Yellow Dog Bread Company, Short Walk Wines, and Transfer Co. Food Hall.
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The Umstead Hotel and Spa                                                               Photo: Robbie Caponetto

To see the city’s forward-looking, egalitarian attitude manifested, look no further than North Carolina State University’s James B. Hunt Library, a futuristic monolith and home to the bookBot, a robotic delivery system that can retrieve any item from more than 18,000 bins within five minutes. There’s also the free-admission North Carolina Museum of Art, set within a band of trails on 164 acres dotted with over a dozen contemporary sculptures. The Umstead Hotel and Spa, a serene mini resort just outside the city, also features a world-class art collection, which serves as the inspiration for executive chef Steven Devereaux Greene’s tasting menu at its on-property restaurant Herons.

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North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh                                              Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Vansana believes these spaces (in addition to Brewery Bhavana) are just the beginning of Raleigh’s revival. “I think that this community is really ready for more creativity,” he says. “I hope all of this inspires even more courageous projects.”

Chapel Hill

The edgier college town that Raleigh and Durham dwellers often drove to for restaurants and concerts at Cat’s Cradle (and still do), Chapel Hill seems a bit calmer now as the momentum has shifted. But it’s a welcome respite where much of what residents have always loved about the town endures.

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill                                      Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Marcie Cohen Ferris, author and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, attributes that appeal to the farmers’ markets, an idyllic campus, walkable neighborhoods, and independent bookstore Flyleaf Books. Well past the decade mark now are renowned cocktail bar The Crunkleton; Andrea Reusing’s first restaurant, Lantern; from-scratch daytime staple Neal’s Deli; and destination country-cooking spot Mama Dip’s Kitchen. They’ve all become area standards. “There’s a strong new generation in the food scene,” says Ferris. “They’re aware of the shoulders they stand on.”

In a more publicized changing of the guard, Justin Burdett recently took the helm of Crook’s Corner, the Southern institution started in 1982 when chef-owner Bill Neal decided shrimp and grits and collard greens were worthy of steak house-style presentation. Its beloved second chef, Bill Smith—who put his own mark on the menu with items like honeysuckle sorbet—retired in January.

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Crook’s Corner chefs Bill Smith and Justin Burdett; The Original Shrimp & Grits at Crook’s Corner
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

“When I was a younger cook, this place had all these dishes that made me think, “That’s so brilliant!”” says Burdett. “But because it’s so iconic, I want a younger generation to see that it can be their weekday spot too.”

Burdett will eventually make the restaurant his own just like Smith did—he’s already pickled the bamboo shoots growing on the patio. Still, he’s mindful of its sentimental legacy. “My neighbors introduced themselves to me and wanted to know when the chicken livers would be back on the menu,” he says with a laugh.

Homes By Dickerson’s Custom Designs a Great Resource for Multi-Generational Living!

Homes By Dickerson’s Custom Designs a Great Resource for Multi-Generational Living!

(As published in the September 2018 edition of Builder and Developer Magazine)

Different generations living in the same household is by no means a new concept.  In fact, there is evidence of this tradition throughout history and in some cultures it is the complete norm.  Defined as a home which includes two or more adult generations, multi-generational living allows for grandparents, parents and children to experience life together.  Americans, however, had moved away from this lifestyle for several decades before the economic downturn in the mid-2000’s resulted in returning to the housing trend this country had not seen since the 1940’s.

When the loss of jobs, high unemployment rates, and the housing crisis began in 2007, younger generations were all but forced to move back home with their parents, often bringing spouses and their own children with them.   While these arrangements may have originated from a financial need, it was not long before people realized the additional benefits.  We have all heard the saying “It takes a village…” and how convenient it is when that village is centrally located in your home!  The need for two incomes, the rising cost of childcare, the desire for a better work/life balance-all of these things further supported and encouraged the continuation of multi-generational households.  It may have been years since the downturn ended but this trend does not seem to be changing.   Recent surveys show that almost a quarter of the American population is living in a multigenerational home and that number is only going to continue to climb.

Two years ago, I became part of that statistic when we built our current home and included an in-law suite for my father-in-law.  Circumstances supported that he would live with us a portion of the year allowing him to spend time with his grandchildren, save money on living expenses, and expand his social activity opportunities.   When we made this decision, a variety of questions popped into our minds which included privacy, convenience, and logistics.  It was important that my father-in-law have his own entry to come and go as his schedule dictated and that he have the living spaces needed to best suit his lifestyle; however, there were so many more factors that we did not even think to consider.

As a custom builder, we cater to the needs and wants of our clients.  In fact, that is our passion and our priority: to find our buyers the home of their life.  If that life involves multiple generations then we look for options and features to enhance the comfort and convenience for each family member.

In years past, the largest concern when building a multi-generational home was the issue of stairs.  While stairs are still discussed, families have become more and more aware of lifestyle changes when merging different generations under the same roof.  These conversations have prompted our design team to begin a dynamic list of ideas to consider when we build a multi-generational home, including:

  • Evaluating the home site with consideration to the number of steps and possible ramp locations
  • Determining whether an elevator, if needed, can work within the plan
  • The Location of bedrooms and bathrooms.  At minimum, a first-floor guest suite but two masters (one up and one down) are a plus if space allows.
  • Installing blocking in shower walls to add grab bars later
  • Keeping hallways wide and install at least 2’6” doors to bedrooms and baths wherever possible for wheelchair consideration
  • Allowing for additional space in bathrooms when possible (room for walkers around cabinetry and toilets)
  • Adding medicine cabinets instead of regular mirrors for ease of toiletry access
  • Install large cabinet pantries and large drawers in the kitchen to conveniently access bulkier items such as heavy pots and pans.
  • Utilizing pulls on cabinet doors rather than knobs and lever door handles on all interior doors
  • Researching technology considerations such as Alexa which allows the more mature generations to set medication reminders, listen to audio books, and control lights and thermostats.  This resource also functions as a communication tool as parents and children can check in via camera throughout the day
  • Educating on smart appliances such as Samsung’s Smart Hub refrigerator which has introduced another way for people to keep up with busy schedules by posting information, notes, reminders, and grocery lists on the refrigerator door screen
  • Considering sound dampening options when determining your floor plan
  • Adding Kitchenette or wet bar features (keep in mind that zoning laws must be researched for this option as some municipalities only allow one kitchen in a home)

 

So, whether you are considering a multi-generational living situation for financial, practical or even cultural reasons know that there are plenty of options available to make for a smooth transition and to help ensure comfort and convenience for each generation.

For more information on how you can find “The Home of  Your Life” whether you have multi-generational needs or needs for just your generation, please contact us at 919-917-3132 or info@HomesByDickerson.com

 

Wendell Falls featured in Green Builder Magazine!

Wendell Falls featured in Green Builder Magazine!

As a nationally recognized builder of high-performance homes, Homes By Dickerson is excited to share the most recent accolade of  Wendell Falls featured in Green Builder Magazine!

We could not be more proud to be a partner of the developer, Newland Communities, or of the community itself.  Check out this link which will take you to the publication:
https://www.greenbuildermedia.com/green-builder-magazine-july-august-2018

Not only will you notice on page 33 that Newland Communities won an Honorable Mention as a 2018 Eco-Minded Leader but there is also a 6-page spread (pages 46-51) delving into the green practices and mindset of the builders and community as a whole.  You will not want to miss page 51’s in-depth coverage on the Tesla powerwall and how that is just one of the many resources (not to overshadow solar panels of course!) that can lead you to net zero living!

For more than 10 years, Homes By Dickerson has been a leader in building each and every custom design to the highest green building standards available.  Not only are they Energy Star certified but they are also crafted to the National Green Building Standard and voluntarily built to the NC HERO Code.  It is just one more reason why Homes By Dickerson is the premiere custom builder of The Triangle and Pinehurst areas of North Carolina.

For more information on how you can build “The Home of Your Life” with all of the included high-performance features we offer, please contact Whitney White at 919-917-3132 or Whitney@HomesByDickerson.com

 

 

 

Homes By Dickerson featured in New Homes Source Article on Smart Homes!

Homes By Dickerson featured in New Homes Source Article on Smart Homes!

Smart Tech in New Homes: Builders Embrace a Digital Age

In the age of technology, everybody wants to get their hands on the latest tech. So how are today’s home builders keeping up? By including smart tech in their new homes as soon as they hit the market.

Today, it’s not uncommon to visit a builder and find the following tech in their model homes or sales centers:

  • High performance energy-efficiency systems that work via Wi-Fi,
  • Total home control through a centralized technological hub and
  • Virtual reality tours of homes that haven’t even been built yet.

That’s right, new homes now give you the ability to cut energy costs and control things like your door locks, lighting, thermostats and more with the tap of a finger. Here’s what today’s builders have to say about these smart home features:

Smart Performance

For Raleigh, N.C.-area builder Homes by Dickerson, a smart home is defined not just by its technology, but by its performance as well.

“In our designs, we try to include technology that adds value to the customer,” says Brant Chesson, president at Homes by Dickerson.

Which is why they offer Wi-Fi-enabled HVAC systems that have the capability of sensing the weather outside to control airflow inside the home.

“We build homes that are very tight,” explains Chesson. “Through a Wi-Fi-enabled system, we are able to mechanically control the air that goes in and out of the homes so that on a rainy day, for instance, the thermostat communicates with real-time weather reports to decide not to let the day’s humid air inside the home.”

It’s innovations such as these that led HGTV to choose Homes by Dickerson to build their annual HGTV Smart Home.

“They believe like we do that smart technology is not just audio and visual, but it also depends on the performance of the home,” Chesson says. “We were going to be able to integrate all of these things.”

Homes by Dickerson included some of the following technologies in the HGTV Smart Home:

  • A hidden mirror TV in the master bathroom,
  • A vertical spa system,
  • Remote-controlled skylights,
  • Automatic window shades,
  • Clare Controls mood system and
  • Smart locks and garage door.

Centralized Controls

One of the best things about today’s smart technology is that many can be centralized around one hub, like a smart phone or tablet, for easy control with the tap of a finger.

Homes by Dickerson, for instance, offers such access in their newly built homes through a partnership with the software company Clare Controls. Using their product the Cliq.mini Smart Home Control Hub as a basis for their upgrades, homeowners are able to connect technologies like thermostats, speakers, door locks, garage doors and security cameras to their phones or tablets for easy and secure access.

“As long as your budget allows you to do so, we’re going to help you figure out how to do that,” says Chesson. “If you want us to build a rocket ship in the middle of your home, we’re going to figure out how.”

Welcome to the future!

Drew Knight is the Digital Content Associate for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). You can find him online at LinkedIn.