Being part of a great team can yield wonderful results. No one knows this better than Sean Sullivan, owner of Living Stone Construction, and Laura Sullivan, owner of ID.ology Interior Design, both located in the Asheville area. Not only do Sean and Laura sometimes work together on the same projects – they’re a team off the job site, as well. This happily married couple has managed to strike a great balance that has led to exceptional accomplishments. One such accomplishment is The Rockcliff home – an award-winning Asheville project on which Living Stone Construction served as the builder and ID.ology served as the interior design firm. North Carolina Design talked to Sean and Laura to find out more about this spectacular home, and how their solid teamwork helped them achieve award-winning results.
With today’s changing housing market, home-buying opportunities are tremendous. Interest rates are low, prices are competitive, and many builders are offering fantastic incentives and financing options. But what if you have to sell your current home first? These tips will help you get your home sold and on the road to moving into your own new home of your dreams. We have these homes for sale here! First, be realistic when setting a price. You may not be able to sell your home for what it could have sold for a few years back, but don’t be tempted to wait until prices have gone back again. It’s always better to trade up in a buyer’s market. For example, say your home value has dropped 10 percent from $300,000 to $270,000. A move-up home selling for $500,000 in the past has also dropped 10 percent in value, and now sells at $450,000. If you sold your home today for $270,000 and purchased the larger house for $450,000, the difference in price would be $180,000. But if you waited to recoup the 10 percent value on your home and sold it at $300,000, chances are that same move-up home would also move up in price to at least $500,000. That’s a $200,000 price difference between the two homes. So by selling today, you would actually save $20,000. The price you set for your home is obviously the key factor in many buyers’ minds. But don’t forget that presentation is crucial. The potential buyer needs to be able to see themselves living in your home. Keep personal items like photographs to a minimum. Address any clutter and either donate items to charity, throw them out or organize them neatly. Organize all of your closet spaces and kitchen cabinets. Clean off kitchen countertops and pack up small knickknacks. Your house will appear neater and you’ll also get a head start on packing up for your own move. Remove furniture that blocks walkways or windows. Leave just enough furniture to showcase the room’s purpose. Rent a storage unit if you have to. A home that is too empty can appear lifeless, so if you’ve already packed your furniture, consider hiring a staging company that will rent you some for a short time period. Do a thorough cleaning of your home. Wash your windows inside and out, wipe down baseboards and clear out cobwebs from ceiling corners and closets. Make any minor repairs. Even small touches count. Hang fresh towels in the bathrooms and kitchen. Set the dining room table, and buy fresh flowers for vases throughout the home. Turn on all your lights during the open house to highlight the home’s amenities. Finally, don’t forget the first impression: curb appeal. Make certain that your house number can be read from the street and remember to keep your sidewalks clear and your lawn mowed. Trim shrubs and trees and if possible, plant some flowers. Selling your home doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little preparation, your home will be sold before you know it and you’ll be settling in to your new home. Sean Sullivan is an Accredited Master Builder and past president of the Asheville HBA. He is currently the First VP of the NCHBA. His firm, Living Stone Construction, is mission motivated and value driven to meet the budget of any client. To learn more LSC, you can visit them at their new website www.livingstoneconstruction.com. Source – www.NAHB.org
We chose Living Stone because of Sean but we love Living Stone because of their team. Molly, Matt, Pam, John, Frank, Laura and our main man Mike! Mike drives our home’s construction, can answer any question at a level you can understand and is a pleasure to work with. Laura organizes and improves all of our design decisions, gives us inspiration and keeps everything on track. Sean, it is a credit to you that you have surrounded yourself with so many truly good people. We are having a ball! Jim Jones
Top trends include the move toward clean, contemporary kitchen cabinets and the rise of quartz composite countertops. Here are Neil Kelly’s top trends for 2013, based on extensive input from the firm's 20-person design team: 10. Kitchen Cabinets A clean, simple, contemporary look will be popular with homeowners looking to economize and eliminate unnecessary clutter and fussy details that equate to high maintenance and complicated living. For those who don’t want to spring for new cabinetry, re-facing or refinishing cabinets offers more bang for the buck. 9. Countertops Granite has been dethroned. While granite isn’t going away and still has many die-hard fans, the new king of countertops will be quartz composite — the closest thing to no maintenance, bullet-proof countertop materials available today. 8. Hardwood Floors Pre-finished and engineered wood flooring will become more popular than the once gold-standard of site-finished flooring. Pre-finished woods provide a hard, durable finish, are an installation time saver, and eliminate the sanding dust dilemma. Engineered wood floors are also compatible with under-floor heating systems, a big plus in cold climates. 7. Glass Backsplashes Glass mosaic tile is on the way out. Taking its place are glass/stone/tile mosaic composites that can add more texture and visual interest and that tie in more readily with stone or quartz countertops. Be on the lookout for back-painted, solid glass panel backsplashes in contemporary settings, which provides an ultra-clean, almost ethereal look to a polished, modern kitchen setting. 6. Stylishly Simple Sinks Goodbye double-sinks, hello deep single-bowl sinks. With accessories such as fitted colanders and dish drains, deep single-bowl sinks have all the benefits of a divided sink, plus the large size to actually fit that roasting pan or those baking sheets into the sink all at once. Stainless is still popular, but the quartz composites are a great value and durable option. 5. Color Palette Charcoal is the new black. 2013 will find this silky color everywhere as it blends the right amount of chocolate, grey and a touch of green. 4. Bathroom Stone Synonymous with luxury, Calacatta marble will find its way into both traditional and contemporary bathrooms. Calacatta is a rarer stone than Carrara marble, but is quarried in the same region. It is valued for a whiter background and bolder grey veins. 3. Texture and Sparkle Bedazzled may find its way into home décor and design as homeowners seek a blend of classic textures and colors with pops of bold color and elements of sparkle. Glossy glass tile backsplashes and sparkle on polished nickel fixtures trend in 2013. 2. Living In Your Home Longer/Multi-Generational Living With many certified aging-in-place specialists (CAPS), Neil Kelly designers predict a growing trend to help aging baby boomers safely “grow old” in their homes, for as long as possible. Watch for easy kitchen and bath upgrades to enhance functionality, comfort and safety. 1. Healthy Home, Healthy Living Green and sustainable design is here to stay. The number one trend for 2013 will be to create a healthy living environment, free of toxins and harsh chemicals. More and more homeowners are taking advantage of federal and state incentives to evaluate their home’s energy efficiency and overall performance. Upgrade trends include the use of low VOC materials to improve indoor air quality, testing combustion safety, and radon mitigation.
The Skylar Grande is an upgrade to our popular Skylar model that adds a screen porch, formal dining room, and a stone chimney. It is a universally designed home that not only boasts a quaint craftsman architectural feel, but also incredibly energy efficient construction. This floor plan works well for families of all size and ages. Since it has two bedrooms with two full baths on the main level, it works great for families with younger children, but since it also has two bedrooms upstairs, it also works well for the next generation to accommodate guests or a home office. Click “read more” to see more photos, floor plans and more!
We are thrilled with our green built home designed and built especially for us by Living Stone Construction. The care they took in choosing materials and using sustainable building practices are allowing us to enjoy excellent air quality inside our home while we realize amazing savings on our energy bills.
Living Stone Construction, and ID.ology Interior Design, were a pleasure to work with throughout all facets of our project. They were integral during our design stage and handled our fast-track schedule like true professionals. It is so rare to work with people who don’t make excuses or point fingers – Living Stone Construction and ID.ology are comprised of those rare people.
With Sean and Laura’s design-and-build business model, we knew exactly what was going on. It was helpful as far as keeping us on point for the amount we’d budgeted for each part of the house. It was very transparent and reasonable to me, more so than with other builders. We knew what we were getting.
Sean Sullivan and his group are the most professional and pleasant builders I have the had the pleasure of working with. They go to great lengths to determine what their customers want (and their budget requirements). Then they do everything possible to “under sell and over deliver”. Sean is an exceptional builder that delivers an exceptional home.
Over the last 10 years, time has not marked the home – nothing on the inside has needed re-staining, and nothing on the outside has needed re-painting. It’s been very minimal for the yearly things you would think you had to do. We don’t have a list of repair people because we haven’t needed them.
The building supervision was good. The communication was good. We didn’t have any problems with the billing. There really weren’t any surprises. It was really easy, which is almost unheard of in a construction situation.
He does things right for the sake of doing them right and that was the impression we got with every facet of our experience with Living Stone. That made us just be able to trust them and trust their system.
They have a process that is thoroughly thought out, thoroughly vetted and thoroughly effective. The process from start to finish was totally transparent and the bottom line was that it was a fun process and not a stressful process.
I was impressed with the emphasis on high quality construction, energy efficiency and an aging in place concept. If you choose LSC and ID.ology you’ll have the piece of mind that you’ve chosen the best.
I couldn’t be more pleased. Michael and I feel like we are on vacation, everytime we walk into the kitchen. Frank and all the crew has really made this project go smoothly, and I can’t thank Living Stone enough.
We chose Living Stone because of Sean but we love Living Stone because of their team. Molly, Pam, Frank, Laura and our main man Mike! Mike drives our home’s construction, can answer any question at a level you can understand and is a pleasure to work with. Laura organizes and improves all of our design decisions, gives us inspiration and keeps everything on track. Sean, it is a credit to you that you have surrounded yourself with so many truly good people.
I have to comment on everyone’s integrity. Everyone has been of the highest caliber and truly made us feel like they care about us as people, our satisfaction and that we are getting a home, not just a house. I rate every aspect of this process, every member of this team and every subcontractor, an A plus!
The process of design+build and creating something that is so energy efficient is a miracle to me. Sean has a way of putting things together so that we get the product that we want and then he puts together the quality product that he knows he can build.
I don’t know why someone would not choose Living Stone to build their home. It is such a polished production that gives you a polished complete finish. You have no doubt that the product you have is the house you dreamed of!
We built this home from a remote location so we had to put a lot of faith in Frank the Superintendent, Sean of Living Stone, and Laura the designer, to make sure they were building this home to our specifications and to meet our needs. Frankly I have to admit I was extremely impressed. I don’t think they missed anything and they exceeded our expectations.
It’s special, it’s wonderful and I keep pinching myself because I cannot believe that this is our home. Living Stone Construction, headed by Sean Sullivan more than met our expectations. They hit a grand slam out of the ball park. This house is amazing!
Your integrity, skill, kindness and warmth shows in your words as well as your actions. We are and will forever be grateful to have worked with such an amazing group of people. Being part of the Living Stone family is our blessing. Thank you.
The energy efficiency of the house has made it very comfortable through some very extreme weather and our energy bills have been remarkably low. The energy star rating of the home has really paid off. Truly, I haven’t had energy costs this low in 20 years.
Sean has the rare quality of being able to see the big picture while being engaged in the fine details of his projects combined with the ability to effectively and efficiently communicate both in a way that not only gets the job done but gets it done with a commitment to excellence that has enabled him to be a leader among his building industry peers across North Carolina. I have known Sean for close to 10 years and have a great professional and personal admiration of his work and character.
Sean’s knowledge of building practices and principles, conceptually and practically, really impressed me. I eventually saw his work in person and was blown away by the craftsmanship. He is a TRUE craftsman — no cookie cutter work here. The houses he builds are incredible — the floorplans are well thought out, and the details are really special.
The Living Stone Construction Design/Build team, are the best in the area. I have been in, and around, the building and real estate industry throughout my life and I have never met a builder that has as much integrity, passion for what he does, care for his clients and the motivation to always exceed expectations, drive to continue learning and honing his skills and techniques to offer his clients the best. Anyone who hires Living Stone Construction will not be disappointed and will have the home of their dreams!
I have known Sean for many years and can say with out a doubt he has the highest degree of professionalism, attention to detail and desire to provide a spectacular customer service experience I have ever seen.
Sean has an extremely professional TEAM who supported my clients initially and now throughout the process. He builds trust and it is deserved — Sean has high standards for himself and that is obvious in how he does business.
I have built or renovated 5 homes and completed tens of millions of dollars of commercial construction. Sean is the most professional, knowledgeable, honest, organized residential builders it has been my pleasure to know. He recently completed our custom home in the Settings of Black Mountain and exceeded our expectations in every way. From his staff to his sub contractors, excellence is practiced every day.
From a professional standpoint Sean Sullivan with Living Stone Construction goes above and beyond to make sure his clients as well as the general public and colleagues are as educated as possible with building homes in the mountains.
Simply awesome company !!!! If your looking for the best, you need not look any further. Custom built quality homes and fantastic folks who care about you and your new home! Living Stone Construction you are the BEST!
Sean Sullivan’s team of builders are top notch. They converted a small residential building into a arts n crafts commercial masterpiece.. With over 2,000 sq ft of addition; everything looks as if it’s been here since day one. I highly recommend Sean and his team of experts.
The process of design/build and creating something that is so energy efficient is a miracle to me. Sean has a way of putting things together so that we get the product that we want and then he puts together the quality product that he knows he can build.
Sean is the most organized manager I have encountered. I would match his management skills against any of the Managing Directors of the Fortune 500 Company that I worked with in project management, financial planning, and negotiations. He expects and demands the best from his employees, as do Living Stone’s clients. He is a true leader. Pam Potter
From the beginning, Sean was a great listener, offered ideas and introduced us to his team. We have been extremely happy with everything that has been done so far. We anticipate the building phase with great joy! A top professional for sure.
Having worked together on an award winning home, I found Sean and his team to be attentive to the quality of construction, committed to incorporating sustainable building practices and materials, and thorough in tracking costs. He was very willing to work with my team during the construction process which provided the best level of service to our client. Sean is a builder that I recommend highly.
LSC was a pleasure to work with throughout our remodeling project. Frank worked diligently to meet our deadline for completion of late January, despite snow and ice. Their ability to deliver a quality product in a timely manner while still being able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances was greatly appreciated.
We love our home. In addition to building a quality home, Sean is honest, responsive, a pleasure to work with. He really makes the entire process flow quite comfortably. Living out of state when we had our home built was initially cause for some concern for us. Sean and the superintendent of our project were in constant communication with us, letting us know well in advance when decision points were approaching. And the weekly pictures were wonderful. I wouldn’t have been able to cope without them. Probably the best comment I could make is that if we were to build again, we’d use Sean again in a heartbeat
Sean Sullivan’s skills and experience exemplify superlative leadership in business and construction. His commitment to doing the right thing and being focused on the best interests of his customers is always clear. The consummate professional, Sean’s strong relationships with the many disciplines within the trade establish him as one the best go-to contractors in the business!
Living Stone did a fantastic job on our mountain house. They far exceeded our expectations and always kept us informed throughout the entire job. Their crew are real craftsmen- from carpenters to painters, they were professional in every way. If you want a beautiful and well-done job, these are the guys. We highly recommend them, so if you have bad experiences in the past, call Sean and deal with a real pro
As an architect specializing in custom residential home design in the Asheville area, I have had the opportunity to work with Sean Sullivan on multiple custom home designs in The Settings of Black Mountain. Our experiences have been very positive, as has been the feedback from my clients. Sean’s strong work ethic, commitment to quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and customer satisfaction was exceptional. In the world of construction it’s refreshing to work with someone who values honesty and integrity. Sean takes pride in each and every home he builds. I look forward to our continued working relationship and can confidently recommend Living Stone Construction