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5 Ways to LOVE Your Home on Valentine’s Day

By Charlie Waltjen, in All Communities

Each Valentine’s Day we all try to show a little more love; love for family, love for friends, and love for the million-and-one little things that we take for granted. We ramp up the number of hugs we give. We double the amount of “love you!” texts. We even go out and buy those corny stuffed animals and mushy cards to help say the things we should be saying all year long. But people aren’t the only ones who deserve a little love this Valentine’s Day; I say we take the time this year to give some extra love and attention to our homes! Wait…did he just say love our homes? Yep, I sure did. Our homes are arguably one of the things we take for granted most of all! Boil it down to brass tacks, “home” is where memories are made, it’s the central hub where families grow, and the place where lives are enriched day in and day out. A home – your home –  is a special place. So here are 5 ways to love your home a little more this Valentine’s Day:

  • Happiness – Is there a special nook where you like to read? Maybe it’s a particular smell it emanates. Maybe it’s the feeling of a warm night outside on your back patio. Maybe it’s working your magic in the kitchen. Wherever that “happy place” is, take a minute to enjoy and truly appreciate the little things that bring you pure joy at home.
  • Get Personal – No one actually lives in a home that’s straight out of a magazine. Well, most of us anyway. Take the time to really make your home feel like a reflection of you instead of a stranger’s Pinterest board. Buy the piece of art you’ve been eyeing. Order the couch you can’t wait to nap on. Demo that boring powder room and put in something with pizzazz. The most beautiful homes are ones that are a true reflection of its occupants. It never goes out of style.
  • Calm Down – Everyone should have that one place at home where they are totally at peace. Breathe deep, put on some good music, and find that sanctuary. This will help to destress and boost that serotonin! Serenity should absolutely be found at home so seek it out and reap the endless benefits.
  • Organize – Anyone who says they function better in chaos and clutter is just fooling themselves. The research is there, the science has been proven, and organized spaces make for a happier home. I’m not saying there can’t be one messy closet and a junk drawer, because to me that’s the sign of a home well lived in, but as a good rule of thumb, declutter to destress. Your home – and your sanity – will thank you.
  • Appreciation – They say home is where the heart is. You won’t hear any argument from me on that! In fact, I say it’s gospel for how we should all live at home. It’s where we should draw our inspiration and mourn our toughest losses. Really, when it comes to calling someplace home, there’s an under-appreciated reliability that we all take for granted. This is the place that, no matter what kind of day we had, keeps us safe and warm and healthy. Be grateful for your home, it loves you more than you know.

Valentine’s Day is a perfect yearly reminder to spread the love. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the people and things we adore, and to acknowledge those we take for granted, including your home! My challenge for you this Valentine’s Day is to find happiness at home –  get personal, calm down, organize, and appreciate. This year, LOVE your home a little more.

HERS – The 4 Most Important Letters in Energy Efficiency

By Charlie Waltjen, in All Communities

energy efficiency

On the road to your dream home, it’s easy to get bogged down in the decision making process. What started as a grand vision of building the perfect home can quickly be mired by your valiant attempts to choose the absolute best options for your new home without completely breaking the bank. The good news is, when you buy a Schell Brothers home, energy efficiency is built into every square inch, giving you peace of mind that your home will average a HERS score that is over 100% more energy efficient than a standard new home with a HERS Score of 100.*

So you’re probably thinking, what does that even mean?? What is a HERS Score? H.E.R.S. stands for Home Energy Rating System, and it’s widely recognized as the official measure of your home’s energy efficiency performance. In other words, it’s your home’s report card. The difference here though is the grading; the lower the score the more efficient your home is. Sounds simple, right?

Well, the concept is simple enough, but finding a home that meets the “A-grade” in energy efficiency isn’t so easy. The system scale rates a home 0-150. Older resales and used homes are right at the 150 mark. Most standard new homes fall around 100 on the scale. But ultra-energy efficient Schell Brothers homes average a HERS score of 49! That means a new Schell Brothers home is over 100% more efficient than the standard new home.

Multiple factors are taken into account when a HERS score is being calculated. Insulation, construction materials, heating and cooling systems and even the type of thermostats used are evaluated. Because there are so many components to the HERS Index, not every homebuilder can deliver the ultra-efficient homes customers demand. And, in some cases, builders won’t even allow their homes to be scored. That’s like buying a new car and not knowing the MPG! Not only do we score each and every home, but we do so to make sure that every home will improve our customers’ quality of life.

A low HERS score is also important because it ultimately means more money in your pocket, which equates to less worry! You can heat and cool your home for pennies on the dollar compared to older, used homes. Building an ultra-efficient home that will work for you just means even more peace of mind!

Getting a 49 in most schools isn’t cause for celebration…but in the homebuilding world, a 49 means Schell Brothers is top of the class in energy efficiency!!

 

 

*Source: RESNET®

Adventures Along the Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail

By Charlie Waltjen, in All Communities

Adventures Along the Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail

Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail

The Oregon Trail is soooo 1848. And, now that I’m thinking about it, the popular 1980’s computer game is past its prime too. When it comes to the Delaware trails, we’ve got our pick of the best, from real-deal hiking trails to the more modern approach to trail-going that is for the 21+ crowd. That’s right, there’s a new trail in town – the Delaware Beer, Wine, and Sprits Trail!

The Delaware Tourism Office has worked hard to create an experience that’s both uniquely Delaware and centered around something a lot of us can rally behind… a good, cold drink. The Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail is a statewide initiative to get people traveling across our fair state to explore the best craft beverages we have to offer. Let me give you the skinny on sipping:

  1. Download your trail “passport”. Which can be found at: http://www.visitdelaware.com/beer-wine-spirits-trail/
  2. Visit at least 10 of the 24 possible stops.
  3. Once the Delaware Tourism Office receives your completed passport you get mailed a special one of a kind gift!

I’ll admit curiosity got the best of me when it came to this mysterious gift, so I’ve visited 6 out of my 10 stops already. Tip: Make sure to try the Reach Around IPA at Mispillion River Brewing; its life changing. And while I’m more of a beer guy myself, the trail also offers stops at craft distilleries and vineyards for those looking for something a little less hoppy.  Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes offers a fantastic array of local wines just a of couple miles from the beach. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!

Of course there’s one stop on the Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail that no one should miss, because when it comes to booze in Delaware no one does it quite like Dogfish. Dogfish Head, founded in 1997, has grown impressively over the years, blossoming into the 16th largest craft brewery in the nation. Practically a household name on the East Coast, we are lucky to have not only the brewery, but also the pub, located right here at home where it all started. In recent years they’ve ramped up their distilling efforts and now have a full range of vodkas and gins. Specialty cocktails on tap can be found at their new flagship restaurant, Chesapeake & Maine, located on Rehoboth Avenue. Seriously, what can’t these guys do?

With only four more stops on the Delaware Beer, Wine, and Spirits Trail until I’ve filled out my trail passport, I’m already recruiting friends and homeowners to start theirs. The entrepreneurial spirit (ahem, pun intended) is strong in Delaware, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see an updated trail list come 2017, which like it or not will be here before we know it. And who knows, maybe there will even be prizes for repeat trail-goers! Cheers!

The Best of the Best in Delaware

By Charlie Waltjen, in All Communities

Best of DE blog header

Who doesn’t want the BEST? I know I sure do! Producing the best of anything means you need to pass a rigorous test; offering a good or service of true quality at a cost that makes it equally desirable. It’s a formula that all too often gets messed up. Luckily for us, stumbling upon the best happens a lot… and it happens right here at home!

Delaware Today is a trusted magazine in our tiny (but mighty!) state. Their annual Best of Delaware list is the standard by which our restaurants, bars, local businesses, and even golf courses are tested. One look at the list and a pattern quickly develops…the best, of just about everything, exists right here in Sussex County.

Where else can you walk less than half a mile and pass 10 of the best restaurants, bars, and hotels in the entire state? Whether its crab dip at Summer House, cold craft beer at Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats, or a quick power nap at Hotel Rehoboth before late night karaoke…the best is all around us! Venture outside our beloved Rehoboth Avenue winners and there’s even more to do and see, and we’re talking about more than just the summer months. Year-round entertainment, shopping, and recreation venues line our coast proving the Delaware Beaches are no longer just a seasonal vacation destination.

But the Best of Delaware list doesn’t just highlight experiences at the beach, it also showcases the best of Northern Delaware. The beauty of DE is that it’s only 96 miles tip to tip, which means there’s a whole lot to explore just an hour or so north of the place we all call home. For our friends in Northern Delaware, the list includes famous landmarks like Winterthur, three-time winner The Grille at Back Creek, and the upcoming Vendemmia da Vinci Food and Wine Festival.

About 400 people each year get the best of both worlds; they build one of the best homes in the country in one of the best areas in the country. Are you ready to start enjoying the good life, I mean, the BEST life?

To explore the complete Best of Delaware list for 2016 click: http://www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/Best-Of/

Zip Code: 19971

By Charlie Waltjen, in All Communities

Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk

Every state has that one awesome place that it’s known for. The one zip code that has it all: the food, the fun, the shopping, and that stunning neighborhood you wish you could call home. For Delaware, that place is Rehoboth Beach.

Now, it might not be as famous as some other zip codes (i.e. 90210), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal in the First State. Life in Rehoboth Beach is ideal. As a longtime resort destination for summer fun, this area is full of activities that no longer halt after Labor Day weekend. More and more people are realizing that living here full time makes sense.

Why leave?! Moving to Rehoboth Beach means embarking on a permanent vacation. Local eateries sprout up continuously and, put simply, the food here can’t be beat. We whip up some truly great grub at the 30 or more restaurants lining The Avenue downtown.

But it isn’t just about the food. Living here is also a ton of fun! During the summer, pack up a beach bag and hit the surf! We have some of the best ranked beaches in the country. The boardwalk stretches along the dunes and is perfect for a morning walk, an afternoon jog, or just an evening stroll to the amusement park Funland. There’s also local breweries, nearby historic towns to explore, and scenic trails at Cape Henlopen State Park that will make for some amazing memories.

Everyone who visits Rehoboth Beach will tell you same thing; leave time to do some shopping. That’s right! Even the shopping in Rehoboth is special. The Tanger Outlets are the perfect place to browse, and the boutiques dotted along Route 1 add to the area charm. You can find everything from handmade soaps to designer clothes. It’s all TAX FREE and right in your own backyard, for those lucky enough to call Rehoboth home.

Life at the beach isn’t just about the beach. But when it does come to soft sand and crashing waves, we’ve got you covered, but there’s also a thriving culture in this coastal town that’s nothing short of amazing! To us, it’s pretty easy to see why everyone wants to live in Delaware, and “the 19971”.