Asheville HBA Meets Congressman Mark Meadows To Discuss National Building Issues
This past Tuesday, at the Asheville HBA office, Sean Sullivan (President of Living Stone Construction and President-Elect for the NCHBA), Steven Webb (lobbyist for NCHBA), Caroline Sutton (Executive Officer of Asheville HBA), and 7 others met with Congressman Mark Meadows to examine current and future problems the country faces in the building industry.
One of the main topics that came up during discussions was the type of role the government should play in the housing market. While the Senate is currently engaged in bipartisan efforts to preserve the federal support necessary for proper functioning of the U.S. housing market, the House of Representatives is considering legislation to completely remove the government’s role in this market entirely. The reason for this is because Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks), make it extremely difficult for qualified buyers to receive the loans they deserve; especially during an economic downturn.
Sullivan explained that the NCHBA and the NAHB support steps to increase the role of private capital in the U.S. housing finance system, but do not believe the market can rely solely on private sources. When asked what he would suggest, Sullivan replied, “What we need is more of a balance. We need to figure out a system where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be gradually phased into a private-sector oriented system, where the federal government’s role is clear, but its exposure is limited.
It’s interesting how the most challenging projects also turn out to also be the most rewarding. That was the case with today’s featured home renovation. This two-year labor of love presented Asheville builder Sean Sullivan with numerous challenges, but ultimately Sean’s company, Living Stone Construction, achieved spectacular and award-winning results.
Images Courtesy of Living Stone Construction ©
Just two weeks ago, it was announced in Las Vegas that this home won the National Association of Home Builders Gold BALA Award (Best in American Living) for Whole House Renovation. The accolades don’t end there. It also won a North Carolina Home Builders Association STARS award for Best Whole House Renovation in the state. Sean was kind enough to take the time to talk to give North Carolina Design his perspective on the project’s unique challenges and what it took to bring new life to the home.
On February 5, 2014 Living Stone Construction was presented the Gold BALA Award (Best in American Living) for “Whole House Renovation” of the Bertsch-Furimsky project, which took place at the NAHB International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Living Stone has won many awards on both the state and local levels, including in 2012 when they received the award for “Best Whole House Renovation” from the NCHBA for this same project. However, the Gold BALA award is the company’s first national honor.
Handing out these prestigious awards were select members from the National Association for Home Builders (NAHB). Victor Mirontschuk, the 2013 BALA Judge Chairman and current President of EDI International in New York City said, “The BALA winners always redefine excellence for the home building industry. We are proud to recognize these companies and individuals for their creative and distinctive approaches to their work.”
Now in its 30th year, BALA recognizes outstanding achievement by builders and design professionals in all sectors of the residential housing industry including single-family production, custom, rental, affordable, interiors, remodeling, community and international, based on the principle that good design is not, and should not be, limited to high-priced and/or custom homes. Even the simplest, most affordable homes can receive an award if they showcase good design.
Living Stone Construction has been a local builder in Black Mountain for almost 20 years.
Living Stone Construction had yet another successful showing at the 32nd annual Asheville Parade of Homes. On the weekends of October 12-13 and 19-20, people all over the area were able to visit Living Stone’s craftsmen built home “The Rockcliff”, which is located in the beautiful Southcliff development.
“The Rockcliff” which was designed by Jason Weil (Retro + Fit Design) and decorated by Laura Sullivan (ID.ology Interior Design), served as the front cover of the 2013 Parade of Homes magazine and drew in more traffic this year than in any other previous year. Over 100 people signed up to receive Living Stone Construction’s newsletter with design ideas for a potential future build with the company.
As is tradition, in between the weekends of the Parade of Homes, the Asheville Home Builders Association held a Gala that recognized builders for the superb homes they built in a variety of categories. This year, Living Stone Construction was the Gold winner for the category of homes from $700,000-$774,500, ID.ology Interior Design won Best Interior Merchandising, and Retro + Fit Design won Best Plan Design all for the “The Rockcliff”. President of Living Stone Construction, Sean Sullivan said, “We consider ID.ology and Retro + Fit a part of our team, and seeing them win with us on the same house shows just how far teamwork can take you in this industry.”
On September 17, Living Stone Construction attended the 2013 STARS Awards Gala in Charlotte, NC for the sixth straight year and hoped to have yet another successful evening. The STARS Awards Gala is a prestigious ceremony that recognizes residential custom homebuilders all throughout the state for their superb work during the year in a wide variety of categories. Living Stone went into the ceremony with high expectations and did not leave disappointed.
In all, Living Stone walked away with four awards, which included: Best Television Commercial (The Living Stone Difference), Best Brochure/Marketing Piece for a builder, Best Single-Family Detached Home with a sales price of $250,000-$500,000 (The Rockcliff Residence), and Best Addition (The Thiemkey addition). Living Stone was the only builder out of the Asheville HBA to receive awards that evening.
Living Stone has had a strong presence at the NCHBA STARS awards over the past few years and it can all be attributed to the hard work Sean Sullivan (President) has put in. When asked of this years results Sullivan responded, “Our team is dedicated to do whatever it takes to give our clients the home of their dreams. We don’t believe in taking shortcuts; we’d rather go the extra mile to give the clients the quality product they deserve. Living Stone is very blessed to attend and once again be recognized at the STARS Awards Gala”.
Living Stone Construction’s President, Sean Sullivan, and the Principal of ID.ology Interior Design, Laura Sullivan, recently traveled to Charlotte and completed the four-day CAPS course seminar and received accreditation in doing so. By completing this course, Sean and Laura are now considered Certified Aging-In-Place Specialists (CAPS), meaning they are well versed and obtain the necessary skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place.
Living Stone and ID.ology Interior Design work together, presenting a team approach to all clients looking to build in the Asheville area. The team approach not only makes the building process more fun and enjoyable for clients of all ages, but it allows for both Living Stone and ID.ology to soundly communicate and remain cognizant of how the home will be utilized by clients in the future. Since the baby boomer generation is a large percentage of each company’s clientele base, they work together and strive to build homes that will help clients effortlessly age-in-place; in other words, building a home that can easily be navigated through as clients age.
There are many building features and techniques that can allow for clients to age-in-place properly, however, some of the main components Living Stone and ID.ology focus on are: Lever door handles for easy opening, increased lighting throughout the home, accessible switches, additional railing for support and balance, curb-less (walk-in) showers, and extra blocking for towel bars and shower railing (which re-enforces these areas with extra wood in the walls). Living Stone and ID.ology believe in focusing on the now as well as the future, so that clients may safely enjoy their homes for many years down the road.
To take our clients’ dreams beyond their expectations.
Communication. We will provide you with regular, timely, accurate information, so you can make the critical decisions for an on-time completion and a beyond-expectations result.
Quality. We set out to provide a home that will be a source of pride and comfort for generations. We’re exacting in both craftsmanship and materials—providing the very best of both. And we relentlessly refine our processes as we seek new materials and technology.
Integrity. One of the most important things we build is trust. We make every effort to be transparent about costs. We bid each job accurately and fairly. And our word is our bond.
Value. Your home is probably your family’s single largest investment. We seek to deliver maximum value.
Timeliness. With our unique scheduling matrix, our completion times are typically much faster than our competitors’. Time is money, so we invest your time wisely.
Living Stone Construction is an award winning, nationally recognized, and environmentally friendly custom home -builder. Based in Black Mountain NC, they have been in business since 1995. Living Stone Construction builds peoples’ dream homes. These homes are beautiful, within budget, on time, while never compromising style or substance. Whether you’re looking for renovation or original home design, they have left a trail of impressed clients and custom homes across Western North Carolina. Living Stone Construction makes client concerns a top priority. Between the combination of good old honest communication and newer technologies that allow the client to essentially see their home built virtually–everyone is heard, on the same page, and usually ahead of schedule.
In addition to the long list of awards received, Living Stone Construction is certified in several sustainable and green practices (including Energy Star and NC Healthy-Built Homes), is a strong community-industry member, and are accredited NC home builders.
The integrity of the materials, craftsmanship, and character you experience working with Living Stone Construction comes together to give the client a true value and a lasting legacy like no other. Visit their website today; watch some testimonials, browse through the photo gallery, and consider calling and making an appointment to build your dream home.
The U.S. green building market continues to accelerate, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report. The value of green building has seen growth from $10 billion in 2005 to $78 billion in 2011. In 2012, the total market — non-residential and residential — is expected to be worth $85 billion, and by 2013, overall new green building is projected to rise to between $98 billion and $106 billion. By 2016, this number is expected to reach $204 billion to $248 billion.
According to the report, Green building remains a bright spot in a still uncertain economy. Green is expected to represent 44 percent of all commercial and institutional construction in 2012, growing up to 55 percent by 2016. Residential green construction is also on the rise. It is expected that by the end of 2012, green homes will comprise 20 percent of the market, and in 2013 a 22-25 percent share by value is expected, equating to a $34-$38 billion opportunity. By 2016, this share by value is expected to increase to 29-38 percent – an estimated $89-$116 billion- based on the current single-family residential construction forecast. read more…
Challenge of the Century : How to update a 100-year-old house without disturbing an inch of antique charm
Winter 2011 Issue
Visually residing somewhere between a village cottage and a mountain farmhouse, the sharp-gabled Montreat residence owned by Rick and Meredith Harbaugh was built in 1909. Used for many years as a summer home, it features only one add-on, a cluster of rooms accrued in the ’40s. Interestingly, that area is in worse shape than the century-old bulk of the house, according to architect Maury Hurt.
“It’s pretty decrepit. But the rest of the house is in great shape. It’s solidly built; the drainage is good. They really knew what they were doing,” he says, forging another notch for the quality of antique craftsmanship. read more…
Sean is one of a very few Accredited Master Builders in Western North Carolina.
One of the primary reasons you should chose an experienced contractor is to assure accurate estimating. Just as you use due diligence in choosing your builder the builder has a responsibility to do his due diligence to ensure you the best and most accurate pricing.
Living Stone Construction, Inc. Has Another Successful AHBA Parade of Homes
During the weekends of October 13-14 and October 20-21, the Asheville Home Builders Association (AHBA) held its 31st Annual Parade of Homes (POH). Every year builders all across the Asheville area show off recently constructed homes in a variety of developments and other communities for the general public to tour and enjoy. This year, Living Stone Construction (LSC) from the Black Mountain Area was the 2012 POH Featured Builder and teamed up with the Southcliff development to introduce the beautiful Alexandra Cottage to the viewers. Both weekends were a great success and approximately 1000 people toured the home.
In between the aforementioned weekends, the AHBA holds an awards ceremony to recognize and present builders awards in a variety of different categories. Living Stone Construction capped off a fantastic evening by winning the Viewers Choice Award and was the gold winner for houses between $450,000 and $475,000; both awards were given based on the excellent craftsmanship and style of the Alexandra Cottage.
President Sean Sullivan believes the relationship and partnership Living Stone Construction had with other businesses was key to this years successful POH. Sullivan said, “Jason Weil (Retro+Fit Design), Laura Kirkpatrick (I.D.ology), Alfred Bottego (Precision Craftsmen) and Mike Romero (Southcliff) were all tremendous to work with and we are excited to team up with them again in the future.”
From left to right : Matt Taylor, Sales and Estimating Admini
There are good reasons Living Stone clients recommend us so highly. We continuously invest in keeping ourselves at the leading edge of our industry. And our consultative approach allows each client to benefit from our experience and knowledge.
We are members of:
- Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce [GO]
- Asheville Home Builder’s Association [GO]
- Western North Carolina Green Building Council [GO]
- AIA Asheville [GO]
We are fully insured:
- Workman’s Compensation Insurance
- General Contractor’s Liability (property, personal, fire, and medical coverage)
- Automotive Insurance
And, we’re proud to be among the few builders who are certified to construct:
On Wednesday, September 26, 2012 the NCHBA held its annual Stars gala in Charlotte, North Carolina to highlight the top building companies in the state for the work they have done over the past year. Local building company Living Stone Construction was in attendance and claimed six awards throughout the evening. The list of awards, along with the trade partners Living Stone shared the awards with include: Best Radio Project (w/ Patton Property Group), Best Color Ad, Best Landscape Design Under $200,000 (w/ Steve Towe Landscape Management Systems), Best Interior Merchandising (w/ Allard & Roberts Interior Design), Best Room Renovation Under $50,000 (w/ ID.ology Interior Design), and Best Whole House Renovation Over $500,000.
The North Carolina Home Builders Association is a trade association consisting of builder and associate member firms and a network of local builder associations and chapters throughout North Carolina. Chartered in 1963, NCHBA plays an integral role in helping maintain consistently higher industry standards of conduct, quality, and ethics.
Living Stone Construction is a Black Mountain based construction company that has won one or more NCHBA Stars Awards every year for the last five years, and is the only builder from the Asheville area to win a Stars award. The company specializes in designing and building/renovating homes to meet client’s budgets and exceed their expectations.
ABOUT LIVING STONE | MEET OUR TEAM | LAURA KIRPATRICK SULLIVAN
Laura Kirkpatrick Sullivan
Change Artist: No Ho-Hum Hues for this designer
Article Published in Carolina Home + Garden, Winter 2012
Home and hearth, and the comfort they engender, figure prominently in Asheville interior designer Laura Kirkpatrick Sullivan’s work. Her firm, ID.ology, offers interior design services to private and commercial clients, staging services for home sellers and consultation for anyone wishing to put their best, well-designed foot forward. Sullivan has had a lifelong love of the visual — and she likes to mix things up. Working a treasured family heirloom into a contemporary design is the type of challenge she enjoys. And she’s as comfortable in a hardhat as she is flipping fabric swatches. The daughter of a real estate broker/contractor dad, Kirkpatrick earned her real estate brokerage and general contractor licensures in 2006.
CHG: Were you always visual or did someone, or something “turn on” your design switch?
LKS: From a very early age, I loved doing art. Later, all my middle and high school electives were art classes: drawing, painting and pottery. And my parents, though not particularly design-oriented themselves, encouraged my creativity. My mom worked in the medical field and I started college as a pre-med student, but after two years I realized that chemistry was definitely not my thing. I knew I’d be unhappy if I continued on that path. I switched to interior design and minored in art at Appalachian State. Even though it meant an extra year of school, it was worth it to know I’d found my true calling.
CHG: Any misconceptions about designers you need to dispel on a regular basis?
LKS: Sometimes people think we’re unaffordable or fear we’ll force our own taste on them, but both ideas couldn’t be farther from the truth! I met a woman about a year ago who told me she feared using a designer because she thought they’d “make me put a leopard rug in my living room, even though I don’t want one!” I explain to potential clients that even though I have my own taste, my job is to focus on their vision. I help them source products and provide resources. I also do projects using what people already own. In addition to the “take charge” myth, there are cost and value misconceptions about designers’ work. In new construction, you spend $1 and save $4, on average, hiring a designer, because we can access better prices and save time. I build a unique relationship with each client and solve problems, which is fun. For example, I might have to incorporate a beloved family heirloom into a contemporary space so that everything reads cohesively, visually. You created a striking space by pairing dark cabinetry with cool green walls in a project — definitely more exciting than a monochromatic environment. If my clients are open to it, I like to bring in contrast to keep things visually interesting. When you think about it, people renovate to introduce change and new interest. I distance myself from the generic and love adding an element of surprise to my projects. Simple changes can achieve this too — even moving one piece of furniture. What’s the most fun part of about it? By far, the best part is when they see it coming together, before completion. It’s really rewarding when they’re excited about the finished product. I bridge the very separate worlds of technicality and beauty.
CHG: How do you balance beauty with practicality?
LKS: I always try to find green products when sourcing for clients — things that are locally made, recyclable or products with low or no VOCs. I educate clients and help them weigh these choices and get the products that best suit them. While sustainable products may cost a bit more initially, they often save money in the long run.
CHG: What is the item you have in your own home that you value most — what’s its provenance, and why do you love it?
LKS: The single thing I value most is a Tiffany style lamp I’ve owned for years — the fact that it’s a reproduction exemplifies that value isn’t always measured in dollars. I was still in college, living on a tight budget, when I found the lamp in, of all places, Tuesday Morning! It has a lovely green, yellow and tan shade and cost $75, which was probably about what I had in my checking account that day, but I bought it anyway, and it made me so happy — still does. I know I’ll keep it forever.
CHG: Do you have a design pet peeve, a trend you’ve seen enough of?
LKS: I think colors are what come in and out of trend the most, and odd combinations are often short lived. Also, “themed” decorating quickly becomes dated — classic elements outlive fads, which cost people more money, sooner. And by classic, I don’t mean traditional; contemporary style can be classic, too.
CHG: What about a trend you really like?
LKS: A trend I’m drawn to is the mixture of warm, crafty features with modern, industrial things. Hand crafted things can coexist with modern pieces and feel fresh. We achieved this feeling at one client’s home by adding a room divider that features wooden slats. It has a spareness that’s warmed up by the natural material.
CHG: Do you get the feeling that the world-at-large expects your home to be a “showplace” — like something out of magazine?
LKS: Well, it’s funny. I don’t have pets, but I do have a five-year-old son, and as everyone knows, toys and clutter go along with kids! My own home incorporates things I love and pieces I’ve gotten as gifts, but I’m so busy, it’s the classic story of “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” My son has inherited my love of art; in fact, we just did some stenciling together, and he created some nice color combinations. Who knows, I might be training my future business partner!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Living Stone Construction Inc Receives 2011 Best of Black Mountain Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
NEW YORK, NY, October 21, 2011 — Living Stone Construction Inc has been selected for the 2011 Best of Black Mountain Award in the Custom Home Builders category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2011 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association