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About Fountain Hills

New Local Dining Options Abound

The appeal of dining out has not waned for most people over the last year. Not only have our local restaurants remained open, but several new eateries have come to life during this time, too.

GEORGIE’S DINER

Fountain Hills Dining

Georgie’s was located on La Montana for years, but they recently relocated to Park Place on Avenue of the Fountains with a brand-new look, an updated menu, and a large patio area. Although they have breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, many people are thrilled to find out they serve breakfast all day. Gluten-free eaters can easily find a great meal here. And word on the street is that they serve great liver and onions.

Website: Georgies.me

FOUNTAIN HILLS FOOD CART

After a temporary hiatus, Dakota and Austin are back with an incredible state-of-the-art food truck to serve outstanding hotdogs. They have also expanded their menu to include hamburgers. If you are gluten-free, try their delicious tacos. You can find them Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the Avenue of the Fountains between Chase Bank and the new ZAB Thai restaurant.

Follow their Facebook page for updates.

PAPAYA’Z

Papaya’z Smoothie & Juice Bar is also located in Park Place on Avenue of the Fountains. In addition to healthy drinks with real ingredients, they also serve delicious gluten-free crepes and some sandwiches, including a gluten-free croissant sandwich. If you want a healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack, this is the place.

Follow their Facebook page for updates.

SIPPS EATERY

Located in the former Starbucks at 16425 E. Palisades, Sipps Eatery is a coffee shop and a gathering place. They serve breakfast and lunch items with all your favorite coffees. There are also options for kids. They even offer sinfully delicious gluten-free pastries.

Website: SippsEatery.com

ZAB THAI

Fountain Hills Dining

Another new restaurant on Avenue of the Fountains is the new Zab Thai Kitchen. The original Thai food menu includes rolls, soups, curry dishes, orange chicken, fried rice, pad thai, and more. Gluten-free eaters will have no problem with a great curry dish. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 8:00 PM.

Follow their Facebook page for updates.

PEARL NUTRITION

Fountain Hills Dining

This new establishment offers healthy protein shakes, waffles, herbal teas, hydration drinks, and more. The shakes and teas are created to improve digestion, cardiovascular health, and to give you a boost to help you feel revitalized. Located at 16425 E. Palisades.

Follow their Facebook page for updates.

EMBER

Ember at We-Ko-Pa is a new fine dining experience in Fort McDowell. Enjoy fine steaks and seafood prepared over wood-fired grills and a specialty cocktail menu, whiskey library, and extensive wine list. Dine seasonally by the outdoor fireplace or relax in the separate piano lounge with live entertainment.

Website: WekopaCasinoResort.com/dining/ember

Categories
Inside Your Home

Crystals Are Making a Comeback!

Your home is a sacred space, and there is a good chance you are using it in different ways now. Homeschooling. Working from home. Cooking at home more. In general, a lot more activity that may be accompanied by a lot more stress. Many people are turning to crystals to help cope with feelings of overwhelm and increased pressure.

Sami Jack, founder of Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, says, “Mother Nature gives us the most beautiful art that comes from the depths of the earth. I believe stones and crystals have something to say to us. They have had a much longer lifetime than us and contain energy that we can feel. We just need to get quiet and listen.”

Sami shares some suggestions for crystals you can place in the different rooms of your home to clean the energy and to fill it with healing vibrations.

LIVING ROOM

Crystals

Fill your living room with warmth, love, and positive energy. Selenite will bring in light and positivity while clearing and purifying the energy.

KITCHEN

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a place to nourish bodies and relationships. Place sodalight on your dining room table for harmonious communication with family and friends while enjoying meals together.

OFFICE

To maintain focus and productivity in your office, keep it uncluttered and organized to limit distractions. Tiger’s eye will help with focus, maximize productivity, and motivate you to work hard.

MEDITATION ROOM

Your meditation space needs calm and quiet to help you find enlightenment and mind expansion. Add rhodonite to soften your heart and encourage forgiveness during these difficult times.

BEDROOM

Your bedroom is your sanctuary and should be tranquil and calm. Place two pieces of rose quartz in the room to symbolize two people in a relationship. Experience a shift from intellectualizing love to feeling it.

CHILD’S BEDROOM

Crystals are not just for adults. Keep the environment light, joyful, and free from the scaries in your child’s room. Angel aura quartz infuses the room with playful and lighthearted energy, lighting the room with its whimsical nature.

BATHROOM

Crystals

This is the most important room for your self-care rituals. Aquamarine infuses water with calming and rejuvenating energy. It will remind you to accept yourself every time you look in the mirror.

Categories
Home Management

Little Actions for Earth Day

It is easy to post “Happy Earth Day” on social media or to share a great Earth Day meme. But have you thought about what kind of action you will take this year? Caring for our planet and protecting it for our children and great grandchildren is bigger than any one single action. But taken together, those actions add up.

Check through our list below and select one or more that you can do on this Earth Day. Are there any you can turn into long-term habits? Together, we can make tomorrow a bit better today. Less litter in our neighborhood, less plastic jamming up the landfill, less wasted water, more connection with nature.

WASTE

Skip a bag at the store

Use a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one

Add a recycling receptacle at your office

Switch to e-bills and save some paper, postage, & delivery

Repair something instead of replacing it

UTILITIES

Take a shorter shower

Fix a leaky faucet

Turn up the air by 1 or 2 degrees

Shield an exterior light bulb

NATURE

Pick up some litter in your neighborhood

Add a native plant to your yard

Walk or ride your bike somewhere instead of driving

Go on a hike

Do some stargazing

Have a picnic at the park

Add a houseplant

Categories
Real Estate

April 2021 Market Report

A “Normal Market” is a distant memory, but lately, we’re seeing some signs that COVID mania might be calming just a bit. That isn’t to say that we aren’t still seeing multiple offers on all price ranges of properties. There are still folks who are seeking homes and have a hard time finding them, a phenomenon that is occurring across the country.

At this writing, inventory is climbing just a wee bit, and price increases seem to be calming. Yet, the market is still at only about 25% of its normal inventory of homes, so things will continue to be tight.

Homebuilders are starting to make strides toward providing new inventory, as well. Unfortunately, those new homes are generally in the price range of $700,00 plus, yet each new home that is made available takes the pressure off somewhere in the foodchain.

If you’re thinking of buying, you still have a significant opportunity for future appreciation. As we discussed last month, the warning signs of over-building and over-leveraging present in 2008 are nowhere to be seen in this current market. And, if it’s time to cash in and sell, there’s never been a better time to call us.

If you wonder about finding your next home, let’s figure that out as well! We have strategies to help you go from one home to the next, and the experience to guide you through these uncertain times. Give us a call at 480-837-1331.

Market Report April 2021
Categories
Inside Your Home

6 Ways to Create the Modern Southwest Look

Do you love flipping through the pages of décor magazines or scrolling through Pinterest? Have you fallen in love with the modern Southwest look? There is something about this look that feels bright and airy, giving a calming, Zen-like quality that feels closer to nature. If you have been dreaming about bringing that look into your home, these six elements will help you achieve it.

START WITH THE RUG

Modern Southwest

A rug brings warmth, color, and texture to a space, and most great desert-inspired homes include them. When you start with a rug, you can take color cues from it for other accents in the room. Choose from a Native Southwest geometric design, a Moroccan rug, faux fur or animal hides, or a flat-weave natural fiber.

NEUTRAL EARTHTONES

Modern Southwest

When you begin with a base of desert neutrals, it is easy to build your palette from there. Many of these modern designs have crisp white walls, but a warm white can give a soothing feel, too. Think of desert earthy hues when layering in your colors. Think warm colors like terracotta, orange, yellow, blush, beige, and cognac. Then add accents of olive tones, blues, black, and metal accents. Even a pop of red can be fun.

LAYERS OF TEXTURE

Add a variety of textures for a great sensory and visual feel. The modern Southwest design loves rattan, wicker, macrame, ceramic, woven fabrics, and leather. Leather gives a nod to the Old West but choose modern designs in cognac instead of dark browns.

BRING IN NATURE

Natural desert elements help your home feel like part of the desert landscape. Include drought-resistant plants throughout your home, such as cactus, other succulents, palms, air plants, or fiddle leaf figs. Add desert landscape artwork, handmade-inspired pieces, stoneware, and live-edge wood tables.

ADD GLOBAL PIECES

A desert design does not mean you have to stick with the American Southwest. Give your home a well-travelled look from other arid regions and other desert cultures to give your space depth of character. This might start with a Moroccan rug, a Turkish wall sconce, or Spanish tile.

UNIQUE TREASURES

Finish your look with one-of-a-kind touches that add personality to your home. This might be a handmade piece from a local artist, a DIYed project, or visually attractive items found in nature.

Categories
About Fountain Hills

About Town…Spring 2021

Despite all that has happened over the last year, our community has learned to pivot and to find new ways of doing what we have always done. And while we are all eager to get back to “normal”, some of these new ways may find a permanent place in our future.

Here are a few things we think you should check out.

BROADWAY IN THE HILLS

Broadway in the Hills...About Town

Be part of the fun when the community comes together in support of our local Fountain Hills Theater for an evening of music and song on Saturday, April 17 at 7:30 PM. Plenty of familiar personalities will sing alongside theater performers, including Mayor Ginny Dickey, past mayors, current and past council members, Chamber of Commerce staff, service club members, and so many more!

The evening is hosted by Mistress of Ceremonies, Liza Minnelli, performed by Patrick Russo, along with other celebrity impersonators. Individually wrapped appetizers from Phil’s Filling Station will be served and beverages will be available.  To reserve your tickets for this outdoor event and help support our local theater, visit fhtaz.org/bih.

FOUNTAIN OF LIGHT

Fountain of Light...About Town

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of our iconic fountain, local artist Brian Schader is bringing a new sculpture to our public art collection. This magnificent glass spire, inspired by our fountain, will sit proudly on the Avenue of the Fountains to greet visitors and residents as they approach one of the most frequented boulevards in our town.

The sculpture is sponsored by the Fountain Hills Cultural & Civic Association along with the Town of Fountain Hills and the Public Art Committee. You are invited to commemorate a loved one on the base of this 45-foot likeness of the fountain. Learn more about these commemorative spots at iLoveFountainHills.org/fountain-of-light.

FOUNTAIN HILLS DAYS

Fountain Hills Days is making its debut on May 15, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce is breathing new life into their annual Community Expo. It will combine the business expo with local food tastings, music, and activities for the kids.

This family-friendly fun event will be held outdoors at the Fountain Hills Community Theater. Sponsorships are available. Visit FountainHillsChamber.com/community-expo for more details.

DARK SKY INSPIRATION SERIES

Since a Dark Sky Festival could not be planned this spring, the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association pivoted to an online Dark Sky Inspiration series. Each month, they will release a new video. These will include presentations about dark matter from FHHS graduate Nick DePorzio, Mayan archaeoastronomy, and the Hubble space program. We will learn about Dr. Charles Jules who discovered over 500 asteroids from his backyard observatory in Fountain Hills. And Dr. Jeffrey Hall, director of Lowell Observatory, will share on a fun astronomical subject.

For more information about this ongoing series, visit FHDarkSky.com.

Categories
Around Arizona

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Legacy in Arizona

“If you foolishly ignore beauty you will soon find yourself without it. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of America’s most profound architects. His homes and buildings are icons of his innovative philosophy of designing in harmony with humanity and the environment. He called this philosophy organic architecture.

According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the master designed 1,114 architectural works. Only 532 of those were realized.

One of Wright’s greatest building projects may be the one he never built– the Arizona State Capitol.

In 1938, the capitol had a 4-story expansion. Wright had been wintering at Taliesin West and he was not impressed. At the time, he was working on designs for the illustrious Guggenheim Museum in New York. In his spare time, he worked on an innovative design for a new Arizona capitol building that he called “The Oasis”. The state rejected it because it did not need more government buildings.

The blue and green spire at the corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Scottsdale Road was a feature in Wright’s design for “The Oasis”. Developers for the retail center wanted a focal point and chose this spire to erect on the road that bears his namesake.

There are six places in Arizona where Wright’s design philosophy leaves its imprint.

ARIZONA BILTMORE RESORT

Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy

Designed by Wright’s protégé Charles McArthur, the resort opened in 1929. McArthur used 250,000 blocks molded from indigenous sand and water and sculpted by a Southwest artist. The original gold leaf ceiling in the lobby and ballrooms were second only to the Taj Mahal. Irving Berlin penned many of his famed songs, including “White Christmas” poolside at the hotel.

GRADY GAMMAGE MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM

When then-president of ASU, Grady Gammage, reached out to Wright about an auditorium for the campus, Wright already had a design in mind. He had prepared designs for an opera house in Baghdad, Iraq that never came to fruition in the Middle East, but instead came to life in the Sonoran Desert. The acoustics are perfectly balanced for unamplified performance with an even flow of sound to every seat.

THE PRICE HOUSE

Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy

This winter retirement home was built for Harold Price, Sr. and his wife MaryLou to entertain their grandchildren. It is a true desert dwelling with a roof that is raised from the walls to allow the desert breeze to flow through the home. “A desert building should be nobly simple in outline as the region itself is sculptured,” said Wright. It “should have learned from the cactus many secrets of straight-line patterns for its forms…the manmade building heightening the beauty of the desert and the desert more beautiful because of the building.”

DAVID AND GLADYS WRIGHT HOUSE

Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy

Built for his son David and daughter-in-law Gladys, this home has a unique circular spiral design that was a precursor to the Guggenheim Museum he designed in New York. Wright called the plans for this home “How to Live in the Southwest”. The custom-designed concrete block home at the base of Camelback Mountain is raised on columns to provide views of the property’s citrus orchard and the surrounding desert. The spiral design helps cool the house by capturing the wind. The home fell into disrepair and was saved from demolition in 2012. It was purchased in August 2020 by architectural apprentices at Wright’s Taliesin West with plans to restore it and give it a copper roof like Wright originally intended.

FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Wright created a masterplan for a proposed 80-acre campus for Southwest Christian Seminary in 1950. It would have featured seminar rooms, a library, a Greek theatre, a chapel, administrative buildings, and faculty homes. The school closed and the campus was never built. In the 1970s, the First Christian Church received permission to use the triangular chapel design. Evoking the Holy Spirit and an attitude of prayer, this 1,000-seat diamond-shaped sanctuary includes a roof and spire that soars to 77 feet.

TALIESIN WEST

Perhaps the best-known of Wright’s Arizona work is Taliesin West. Wright purchased several hundred acres in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale where he set up an experimental camp in the Arizona desert. He soon added buildings from local materials that he called “desert masonry”. Over time, the complex was expanded to include a drafting studio, dining hall, theaters, workshops, and Wright’s own office and living quarters. He brought in staff and apprentices to teach hands-on architecture. It continues to serve as the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture. Public tours are available. Visit FrankLloydWright.org.

All photo credits are from FrankLloydWright.org.

Categories
Inside Your Home

Summerize Your Home Now!

It may only be the beginning of the Spring months, but it is not too early to start preparing your home for the onslaught of scorching Summer temperatures. While those temperatures are great for lounging around the pool, they can be rough on your home and outdoor equipment. They also make you gulp hard when you see your power bill.

Stay one step ahead of the heat, especially if you plan to leave for the Summer. These simple steps will give you peace of mind so you can sail into Summer without a sweat.

SERVICE YOUR A/C UNIT

This is one of the most important things you can do in preparation for Summer. Schedule an appointment with a professional air company. They will check refrigerant levels, electrical components, motors, evaporator coils, condenser belts, and more. These maintenance checks can uncover potential issues early when they are still easy and cheap to repair. It will also give you peace of mind to know your unit is ready to get you through the triple-digit temps.

REGULARLY REPLACE AIR FILTER

The single most important bit of A/C maintenance you can do yourself to extend the life of your unit and keep it running efficiently is changing the air filter. During the Summer, it needs to be replaced every month since the unit runs for hours every day.

FIX AIR DUCT LEAKS

You pay a premium for cool air during the Summer, so don’t let it escape through leaks before it has a chance to cool your home. If you have rooms that seem to feel stuffy or never really cool all the way, it could be a sign you have a leaky duct. Other signs include increased energy bills without increased usage, faster dust buildup, and dirty ducts. Making repairs can save you hundreds of dollars every year and extend the life of your unit by not overworking it.

INCREASE INSULATION

Insulation tends to compact over time, resulting in less coverage. This is particularly important around ductwork and pipes. Adding insulation is a messy job! If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to use a respirator, not just a dust mask.

INSTALL CEILING FANS

Ceiling fans help you feel cooler without turning the thermostat down by distributing the cool air. Bedrooms and living rooms are important areas to add ceiling fans and will help cut down the cost of your electric bill.

ADD A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

Programming a thermostat for the way you live in your home can make a big difference on your electric bill. If you are gone for several hours every day, program those hours to raise the temperature by a few degrees, then have it return to your favorite temperature right before you’re due to be home. There is no sense in cooling an empty house all day. If you have pets, be sure to take them into consideration when setting your programs.

PREP WINDOWS AND DOORS

Windows and doors are your home’s greatest weaknesses. Check for leaks by feeling for drafty air both inside and out. Fill gaps with caulking or new weather stripping. Shade windows with reflective film, roller shades, window screens, or sunscreen curtains.

ADD A PATIO MISTING SYSTEM

A little spray of water can go a long way in turning a patio into a backyard oasis in the Summer. With a misting system, you can enjoy more outdoor entertainment throughout the hottest parts of the year.

The Summer heat and sun are harsh on our homes and power bill, but with some advanced preparation, you won’t have to sweat it.

Categories
Around Arizona

Day Trip: Tonto National Monument

If you are looking for an easy day trip where you can spend your time in the outdoors, a visit to the cliff dwellings of Tonto National Monument is a great choice.

Built over 700 years ago by the Rio Salado people, these two cliff dwellings are the best-preserved architectural evidence of the Salado culture. They were built in natural caves, using rock, sand, saguaro ribs, and water to construct walls and ceilings. These materials were readily available nearby, but the pine and juniper used for roof beams were carried in from the surrounding mountains.

Tonto National Monument

The Lower Cliff Dwelling may have housed 40-60 people in about 20 rooms while the Upper Cliff Dwelling had about 40 rooms and a 100-gallon cistern for storing water. Hearths remain intact in many of the rooms and the black soot can still be seen on the roofs of the caves.

The Salado people farmed in the Salt River Valley where they developed a thriving culture. Although they hunted and gathered, they also cultivated cotton, corn, beans, and squash using dry farming methods. They are well-known for their fine craftsmanship in architecture, pottery, textiles, and other artifacts. Some of these can be see in the Visitor Center museum.

Tonto National Monument

On May 7, 2019, Tonto National Monument was designated an International Dark Sky Park. This protection prevents the park from creating light pollution that would obscure the night sky that was seen by the Salado hundreds of years ago. Archaeologists believe the Salado used the night sky to navigate extensive trade routes throughout the entire Southwest. It was also important for tracking the changing seasons so they could create an agricultural calendar specific to their area.

Tonto National Monument

Tonto National Monument offers Night Sky Programs from November through April. This is in keeping with the National Park system’s motto of “Half the Park is After Dark”. If you decide to visit this area, plan to hike up to the cliff dwellings during the day, eat a picnic dinner or stop by the Roosevelt Lake Marina’s Ffinch’s Waterfront Kitchen & Bar, then return for an extraordinary night sky experience.

Learn more at nps.gov/tont.

Categories
Home Management

Evaluating Your Home Insulation

When you own a home in the Sonoran Desert, one thought frequently runs through your mind: How can I keep my home cool and my electric bill down?

But before you spend money on adding insulation, there are a few things you should consider. Let’s begin with the R-Value. The R-value is a measure of how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat in and out of a home. A higher R-value indicates greater insulation performance which results in more energy savings for you but can also mean a higher price point at checkout.

The R-value is given per inch of thickness. In addition to thickness, it also takes into consideration the type and density of the material.

However, your home does not necessarily need the highest R-value insulation. In the Sonoran Desert, Home Depot recommends the following:

  • Attics: R30 to R60
  • 2×4 Walls: R13 to R15
  • 2×6 Walls: R19 to R21
  • Floors: R13
  • Crawlspaces: R13 to R19

Many homeowners think adding insulation to their attic will be the magic solution to lowering their electric bill. This would be true if you have a home that was built before 1984. But newer homes in the Sonoran Desert are insulted to ratings of R30 to R38 already. To increase your attic ceiling above that will not provide a good return on your investment.

Only 15% of your air conditioning costs depend on what is in your attic. An overkill of insulation materials is expensive and offers few added benefits.

If you are considering a radiant barrier, they can benefit an attic that has very poor insulation if installed properly. These barriers are expensive and can take decades to pay for themselves. Radiant barriers are not rated by R-values.

Some homeowners think they can keep their home and garage cooler by insulating the garage. This is not a cost-effective project. Your garage floor absorbs a tremendous amount of heat, especially when you park a car with a 400-degree engine in it. In addition, hot air leaks around your uninsulated garage door. Exhaust fans will burn kilowatts without benefit, opening your garage door in the wee hours of the morning can help temporarily, but then you open the door for snakes and other creepy crawlies you will not want in your home or garage. Or you can cool it with an evaporative cooler or air-conditioner, both of which are a waste of your hard-earned dollars. Your garage is going to be hot in the summer!

Can you improve your home’s cooling and heating by filling concrete block walls with insulation foam? This can make a big improvement. In fact, it can improve the R-value of your walls by as much as five times. It can take your home from R3 to R11.

Should you use elastomeric paint or ceramic paint to reflect sunlight off your home. Probably not. It can cost up to three times as much as a quality exterior acrylic paint and will be costly to repair later. You cannot patch a wall that has this paint, and you will be stuck with recoating an entire wall. Focus on your attic instead.