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Archives for November 30, 2015

House of the Day: 1000 E Livingston asks $1150000


SPONSORED: This six bedroom, five and a half bath 4,618 SF gated pool home is in the heart of the historic Lake Eola Heights neighborhood.

The entire home has beautiful wood flooring throughout, granite counter-tops, and three gas fireplaces.

As you enter the home through the front doors, you arrive in a large formal living room, with separate his and hers home offices to each side, both of which feature french doors and windows that allow for plenty of natural light.

A guest suite with private bath is also on the first floor.

A bar area with a ’20s feel leads into the chef’s kitchen with over-sized island. The kitchen opens up to an eat-in kitchen area and a spacious family room with a fireplace.

 The second floor has three bedrooms and a master suite equipped with a fireplace, two walk-in closets, and large deck overlooking the pool and gardens. The master bath has an over-sized shower, claw foot tub, bidet, and two separate sink areas.

There are 11 closets in the home and a basement. A detached over-sized garage has a work area and full bath. Above the garage is a one bedroom guest house with beautiful wood floors, and full kitchen which is perfect for guests or as rental income for the home. 

As you enter through the gates into the pool area, you will find the ideal space to relax and entertain, featuring lush landscaping, an outdoor kitchen, and private sitting areas with beautiful fountains.

The house has been meticulously restored and exudes quality and character, as seen in the photos below.

The asking price is $1,150,000 which is $249 per SF.

For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Katherine Kinchla, Listing Agent, brokered by Olde Town Brokers at 407-468-9166. Click HERE to see the original listing.


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Photos: Half million dollar area home has Jamaica hardwood floors

Situated on a wooded lot in the Sean Woods neighborhood, this four-bedroom home at 274 Roscommon Drive in Springfield offers a stately curb appeal.

The property is listed by See and Associates Realty for $475,000.

Special features of this property include and inground pool, Jamaica hardwood floors in the dining room, double lead-glass doors, crown molding, cherry cabinetry and an Amish-built circular staircase.

The two-story home sits on a 1.14-acre lot. Exterior features include an attached, three-car garage, rear deck and a tree-lined blacktop driveway. Landscaping includes flower gardens and a waterfall feature.

Built in 1988, the home has a brick exterior and a full, partially finished basement. In addition to four bedrooms, the house has three full bathrooms and one partial bathroom.

Boasting approximately 4,050 square feet of living space, the home has seen many improvements, including a new driveway in 2013 as well as new roof shingles and a full security system in 2015.

The front door features double leaded glass in an intricate pattern. This door opens to a foyer that offers views of the Amish-built circular staircase.

To the left of the foyer is the formal dining room, which features Jamaica hardwood floors and a chandelier-style light fixture.

Just beyond the entry foyer is the formal living room. A wood-burning fireplace serves as the focal point in this living room. Other features of the living room include cherry French doors and crown molding, built-in cherry cabinetry and triple-paned windows that look out on the flower gardens.

Adjacent to the formal living room is the eat-in kitchen. The kitchen features cathedral ceilings, ceramic-tile flooring and granite countertops. A center island and breakfast bar features a range with a rotisserie. The microwave, wall oven, cook top, range and side-by-side refrigerator are included in the price of the home.

The main bedroom suite is located on the first floor and features a two-sided fireplace that it shares with the attached bathroom. French doors in the bedroom open to a sun room.

Children in the neighborhood attend school in the Northeastern Local school district.

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Beautiful Gardens: Minnesota couple’s haven is ‘our treasure to share’

Seems there’s always a party going on in Mike and Judy Cunningham’s yard, and that’s just how they like it. Whether it’s a few guys tipping back cold ones in Mike’s garage-turned-Irish pub, or a white-tablecloth wedding for 300 guests, their 1-acre wonderland is the center of their lives.

“It’s our treasure to share,” said Mike of the gardens and 1938 farmhouse in Shoreview, Minn., that he and Judy have been working on since 1980.

“It was primitive when we started,” he said. The property, once part of a 15-acre farm, included a flat-roofed home and a then-unremarkable yard that had lots of potential. With four active children, the family used the front lawn as a soccer field and turned the back into a hockey rink.

After a tornado took out 13 mature oak trees in 1998, the void spurred the Cunninghams to begin creating a bolder vision for their property.

The result is an outdoor haven that now includes three ponds, multiple shade gardens, a roomy fire pit area and meandering flagstone paths.

In the front yard, Judy’s collection of more than 50 birdhouses mingles with doors, ladders and other flea-market finds. Family heirlooms, including Mike’s grandfather’s sharpening wheel, are nestled among the mature trees and freely growing shrubs, native grasses and more than 50 varieties of hosta.

The showpiece is a 5,000-gallon backyard pond, brimming with koi fish, aquatic plants and the gentle purr of a four-tiered waterfall. As if in a fairy tale, a two-story white clapboard playhouse sits alongside the pond, and now welcomes a second generation of tiny footsteps as the Cunninghams’ six grandchildren romp around what they consider their “personal park.”

Mike, 60, retired three years ago from Sysco MN, a food distribution company, where he was a senior vice president of operations. The oldest of nine children whose family has lived in Shoreview since the early 1900s, he credits his Uncle Ray, a self-taught biologist and naturalist, with fostering his love of landscaping, hunting and wildlife management.

In his youth, Mike and his siblings raised crows, red foxes, red-tail hawks, golden pheasants and chickens. With his uncle, Cunningham raised giant Cecropia moths, and banded and released hundreds of wood ducks.

Judy, 61, who retired from Marshall Fields’ furniture division, is the second oldest of six children. She grew up on a small farm in northern White Bear Lake, and her love of the land came from her father and grandfather, who were dairy farmers. The couple joke that with 100 family members, every familial gathering is an instant party.

But the Cunninghams welcome any opportunity to bring people to their varied outdoor spaces, which they describe as “unique rooms” they have created.

For the past 15 years, the couple have hosted a chili potluck that now includes a charity food drive to honor Mike’s brother, Jim, who was struck and killed by a train in 2011. (Jim’s memorial garden in their side yard is Judy’s favorite spot to read or meditate.)

Judy serves up 30 gallons of chili, while Mike slings hamburgers. Guests bring a side dish to share and something to donate. This year, the Cunninghams delivered 600 pounds of food and a cash donation to the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf.

Their gardens have served as a backdrop for graduation photos, birthdays and three weddings. For one daughter’s nuptials, the Cunninghams erected Roman pillars, brought in theater seats and hired violinists to serenade the couple.

After hosting a party for the Minnesota Water Garden Society several years ago, one woman on the tour asked the Cunninghams if she might bring her husband back to take a look. The couple returned that evening with a bottle of wine – and spent a few hours hanging out around the fire pit and listening to the waterfall in the background.

“We loved it,” Mike said, thinking nothing of having perfect strangers hang out in their backyard. “We like to share. We didn’t do all this to hide it.”


When the Cunninghams set out on their landscaping adventures 35 years ago, there was plenty of trial and error.

“We did a lot of re-dos,” Judy said. “Every spring I’d point something out: ‘I want that moved and that moved. …’?”

Said Mike: “We didn’t ever have a plan. If we see something we like, we get it.”

In 1999, the couple took on their first pond project, a small oasis for the front yard. They dreamed bigger for their second project four years later, and decided to tackle it themselves after an estimate came in at $31,000.

“We read a lot of books and watched a lot of HGTV,” Mike said of the project, a 26- by 15-foot tour de force with a rolling waterfall. They ended up spending $6,000, plus a lot of sweat equity.

The Cunninghams see their evolving yardscaping as a way to pass on their love of the outdoors to their children and grandchildren. They’ve built wood-duck nesting boxes together and delight in the sight of ducklings jumping out in the spring to visit the pond.

“There are nicer gardens out there by far,” said Mike. “But we see it as our hidden paradise. We want it to be a place for our friends and family to hang out and experience.”

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Coriander Gardening Tips


Coriander is a commonly used spice in most households and is also called cilantro. Coriander is a herb and it’s seeds are used to spice your dishes up. The leaves of coriander are also very useful and is added in many dishes besides having many many health benefits.It is used as a carminative. A carminative prevents gas from forming in your intestines and helps to remove gas. It acts as a diuretic. This means it increases the frequency and volume of urine. It is also used for knee pain by applying a paste on the knee. The plant also heals ulcers and aids digestion and reduces headaches.

It is widely used in Indian and other countries. Coriander seeds have a warm, mild flavor. Coriander is also known as Chinese Parsley and Japanese Parsley in some parts of the world as it resembles to parsely in appearance and taste too.

You can successfully grow your own coriander. After harvesting the first few plants, keep some seed aside. You can plant these seed in the next year. That way you only have to invest once on seeds.Here are some ways to grow corainder in your garden.

Tips to grow coriander in your garden are:

1.Temperature And Soil: Planting coriander at home is easy and simple. It is an annual herb. It grows best when the temperature is not too cold or extremely hot. Cultivate the soil with spade. Mix rotten leaves, manure or other composts upto 2-3 inches of soil. This will add nourishment and enrich the top layer of soil. Then rake the area to make the soil smooth. The soil would then be ready for planting seeds. This is how to grow cilantro or coriander in your garden.

2.Climate To Grow Coriander: Corianders thrive best in Tropical climate. You must plant the seeds during early spring time. That is would be during the months of march to may. Corianders prefer full sunlight so it is best that you plant it outdoors than growing coriander inside.

3.Type Of Soil And Water Requirement For Coriander: It will grow well in soils with alkaline medium of 6.1 to 7.8. Coriander plants will flourish with very little water. Never over water. If you want to grow it in pots then holes in the pot to drain excess water. Corianders grow from 1 feet tall to 2 feet tall and have delicate roots.

4.Harvesting And Storage: They lose flavor when dried. It should be used fresh. It can be harvested when the leaves are about six inches tall. The entire plant is edible. you may decide to use the whole in a dish or chop it into fine pieces.

5.Harvesting The Seeds: The seeds can be harvested too. You have to wait until they are ripe. Ripe seeds have a pleasant aroma. However, don’t wait until they drop off the plant, they are meant to be harvested directly from the plant. The seeds are stored and then ground before use. If you store the grounded seeds, the aroma will not be as strong.

These are the tips to grow coriander in your garden.

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Gardening Tips: To use home remedies or not?

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Yolanda Sonnabend, Designer Who Influenced Choreographer, Dies at 80

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SLP park dedication study proposes fee increase, $5.9 million in projects

The Spring Lake Park City Council Nov. 16 approved a park dedication study, which provides rationale for a proposed $897 increase to the current park dedication fee and outlines ideas for $5.9 million in park improvements through 2040.

Children run through a splash pad installed at Lakeside Commons Park in Blaine in 2009. A Spring Lake Park park dedication study includes splash pads at Lakeside Lions and Sanburnol parks on a 25-year wish list. Photo courtesy of the Blaine Parks and Recreation Department

The park dedication fee has not changed in more than 30 years, so City Administrator Dan Buchholtz thought it might be time to revisit and reset that fee, he said.

The fee affects new residential development in the city, but also touches certain redevelopment – if commercial businesses become residential or if existing residential properties become denser. Currently, developers are charged $1,000 per residential unit in park dedication fees. The idea is that the money will fund park projects required with more park users.

“The (Parks and Recreation) Commission feels strongly that the park dedication fee is currently too low,” Parks and Recreation Director Marian Rygwall wrote in a memo to the City Council this month. “With previous budget cuts, the funding to keep our parks in ADA compliance and playground equipment safety compliant are a concern of the commission.”

Park dedication fees could help finance not only park maintenance, but also park improvements.

Though 98 percent of Spring Lake Park’s 2.2 square miles are already developed, the Metropolitan Council anticipates the population will grow to 7,500, or 15.2 percent, in the next 25 years. An estimated 987 individuals will occupy 411 new housing units, projections indicate.

Tasked with looking out 25 years, the Parks and Recreation Commission brainstormed a list of 26 park improvements it would like to see accomplished by 2040 – a mix of necessary maintenance, such as landscaping and lighting, and dream enhancements, such as a challenge course, community center and splash pads.

Projects on the list range from an estimated cost of $8,000 to $3.4 million for a total cost of $5.9 million.

New residents accounted for in projections should be responsible for 13.2 percent of the projects, as they will theoretically represent that same percentage of park system users, the study asserts. Therefore, new development should finance $779,678 of the $5.9 million in projects. Dividing that sum by the 411 anticipated housing units produces a park dedication fee of $1,897.

To account for the rest of the $5.1 million, the study suggests use of $224,209 in the park dedication fund and an annual general fund transfer of $196,110, which could come from issuance of debt, grants or other sources.

Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the study and bring it before the council, and the council followed up with its approval as part of the consent agenda Nov. 16.

The park dedication fee will not change until council passes a fee amendment next month; any changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

A fee of $1,897 is still lower than what neighboring cities charge, much lower than Blaine’s park dedication fee of $3,094 per housing unit.

A transfer of $196,110 is not included in the 2016 budget and will be considered on an annual basis in the coming years, Buchholtz said.

Park Improvements

The Parks and Recreation Commission typically looks five years out, but for the purposes of the park dedication study, the commission was asked to think bigger.

“It’s not often we allow a commission to really go out and dream,” Buchholtz said.

“That’s kind of exciting to us,” Commissioner Brad Delfs said. “That gives us a chance to think about the future and what we can do.”

The commission dreamed up 26 necessities and niceties it would like to see Spring Lake Park invest in over the next 25 years.

In the spring, the commission will tour other Twin Cities parks to fine-tune the list.

“It’s a fluid document. As things change and as the needs of the community change, then that document is also going to change,” Rygwall said.

Larger projects currently included on the list are park recreation building upgrades at Able and Terrace parks, roughly estimated to cost $425,000 and $350,000, respectively; splash pads at Lakeside Lions and Sanburnol parks for $300,000 apiece; new playground equipment at Sanburnol Park for $100,000; sunscreens for player benches at all appropriate parks to the tune of $126,000; a challenge course (location to be determined) for $250,000; and a community center with a roughly estimated price tag of $3.4 million.

Prices are generally inflated with these kinds of lists, Rygwall said. “You estimate for the highest need.”

Existing park recreation buildings at Able and Terrace parks are in rough shape, Rygwall said.

The buildings are multi-purpose, serving as a space for the public to rent out for meetings and parties, a warming house in the winter months and more.

With no community pools in the city, Spring Lake Park is looking to install splash pads at Lakeside Lions and Sanburnol parks so that residents have a place to beat the heat.

“People are always asking us every summer, ‘What water features do you have? Where can we go to cool off?’” Rygwall said.

Splash pads would allow residents to play in the water, but without the expense of lifeguards, Rygwall said.

Sanburnol has the oldest playground in the city, but could potentially be the site of a future community center, so no playground replacement will be planned until the city’s upcoming facility assessment and space needs analysis is complete.

The city is currently seeking a firm to conduct the assessment and analysis, which is expected to take off in January.

The idea of a community center has been talked about for some time in the city.

Delfs hears from residents that it’s something they want, he said.

The facility assessment and space needs analysis will include an exploration of what the addition of a “modest community center” might look like on the City Hall campus or elsewhere in the city.

Sunscreens for player benches would shield athletes from the hot sun when they’re off of the field, and a challenge course for older children and adults could be a revenue-producer with teams clamoring to rent courses in other cities, Rygwall said.

Park improvement took a backseat to park maintenance when the recession hit, Rygwall said. With improvements in the economy, hopefully the city will be able to shift back to park improvement alongside maintenance, she added.

“The council and the commission and staff all work together on prioritizing,” Rygwall said.

[email protected]

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Wrap up your ideas for a super energy-efficient Meritage home for 2016 …

With all of the things you need to get done between now and Christmas Eve, super-energy-efficient Meritage Homes has another item they’d like to write on your list: Choose a cozy new home design for delivery later next year, and Meritage will let you pick your choice of two presents to package into the deal – maybe $10,000 in landscaping, plus a solar energy system; or maybe a high-tech wiring installation; or a fridge, washer and dryer to go along with your kitchen appliances.

That’s all part of a ‘Pick Your Presents’ event that Meritage launches today at communities up and down the Front Range. If you contract on a new home to start construction — meaning you get the floor plan you want most, on the lot you prefer, personalized with your own choices of colors and design options – you can also choose two added packages each valued at up to $10,000, for total possible value of $20,000. Other choices on the list include air conditioning, or $10,000 to spend at Meritage’s design center.

That offer applies even at Meritage’s fastest selling neighborhoods, like Leyden Rock in Arvada, west of Indiana on W. 82nd, where homes are set against a dramatic foothill ridge and newly arrived parks and trails; or at Sierra Ridge in west Parker, five minutes from office campuses in Meridian and Lone Tree; or at Fallbrook Farms in Thornton, between York and Colorado, where just a few sites remain available in an area served by Adams 12 Five-Star Schools.

“This is also a chance to get 2015 pricing on areas where prices are almost certain to rise early in 2016,” says Meritage’s Marketing Manager, Shannon Herbert. Meritage’s architecture coupled with its very innovative energy design have sold rapidly all year long – leaving many neighborhoods where picking out a home to build from scratch is your only option. “The advantage is all of the freedom you get in planning your home exactly the way you want it,” she adds. At every community, you can Pick Your Presents and package in the savings.

Meritage also has a few homes for early delivery in 2016 – one home ready now at Flatiron Meadows in the Boulder County section of Erie, east of U.S. 287 on Isabelle/Erie Parkway. On any home that can close by March 31, rather than picking the presents, you’ll get up to $15,000 off the purchase price, and you can take another $8,000 toward closing costs providing you use MTH Mortgage for financing.

You’ll find other homes on track to move in early in the year at The Preserve in Brighton, north of 160th Avenue/Bridge Street on Telluride Street to Chavez; at West Grange and at Renaissance, both in Longmont west of Airport Road on Clover Basin, close to some well rated schools; at Leyden Rock in Arvada; at Rocking Horse near Parker, east of E-470 at Gartrell Road (sales office is at Sierra Ridge, south of 470 on Chambers past Lincoln Avenue); and at Arvada’s Leyden Rock.

And if your world is centered in northern Colorado, you’ll find some homes ready now at Kechter Crossing and at Mail Creek in Fort Collins, south of Harmony on Timberline to Kechter Road; and more at Timnath Ranch in Timnath, and Water Valley in Windsor. Prices and directions are at

WHERE: Super-energy efficient Meritage Homes throughout Metro Denver northern Colorado, including Arvada, Longmont, south Aurora Thornton. Order a home for 2016 delivery and pick 2 presents packaged in, such as $10,000 in landscaping; a solar system; or fridge, washer dryer. Early move-in on some at up to $15,000 off in Brighton, Erie, Longmont, Fort Collins; Energy Learning Centers in all communities

PRICE: From $300s to $600s; February move-in from $389,614

WHEN: Today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PHONE: 877-318-3310


Mark Samuelson writes on real estate and business; you can email him You can see all of Mark Samuelson’s columns online at
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‘Big dream’ for 34 acres starts with dog park in Fenton Township

FENTON TWP, MI – Looking out over more than 34 acres dotted with trees and brush, Bob Krug envisions where a dog park, pavilion, two parking lots, three baseball fields and five soccer fields may go in the future.

Fenton Township officials and residents have shared ideas for the land that features rolling hills, a small lake and a long strip of grass just off Thompson Road.

A small group of people gathered recently at the property, with dogs on leashes, to hold a ceremonial ribbon cutting for a two-acre, dog park planned as the first step in a larger project that could cost $500,000.

“This is step one of a big dream I’ve had for three or four years,” said Krug, township treasurer.

Fenton Township officials accepted the land back in December 2010 from the Genesee County Land Bank after it was foreclosed due to back taxes.

Discussion have taken place at several levels, including the township board, residents and the planning commission, which approved the park plan in October.

The results of those discussions were a call for athletic fields, including spaces for lacrosse, a dog park with spaces for small to medium and large dogs, pavilions, picnic tables and possibly a boardwalk above some wetlands.

Tom Broecker, township deputy clerk, said officials previously applied for a $300,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources trust fund grant, with a local match that would have boosted the final budget for work to $433,100.

“We had to update our parks and recreation plan to be eligible for that grant,” he said. The update included a public hearing to getinput from the public and some local sports groups, but the grant request was rejected.

Krug said they plan on reapplying for the grant in the future. They have also turned to residents and businesses for help making the park a reality. There are no plans to use any public tax dollars on the project.

Bonnie Mathis, township supervisor, said they have also enlisted the help of local resident Kris Johns, who spearheaded the effort for a dog park at Bicentennial Park in Grand Blanc Township and is working with Swartz Creek officials on a similar venture at Elms Road Park.

“I really believe in this,” said Mathis. “I think it’s wonderful we have all this land.”

Johns said he has contacted the fence company that worked on the Grand Blanc Township dog park, as well as other companies to do parking lot work.

“This is a very nice property to start,” he said of the dog park planned for a small portion of the land. “I think this township and area will definitely support this. It’ll be fun.”

The area for the dog park was mowed for free by a local farmer, Krug said. He said several people have pledged some form of support, including gloves for picking up animal waste.

A YouCaring page has been started by Johns with a $25,000 goal for the dog park work, including the costs of fencing, signs, landscaping and small parking area.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, about a 14. I’m very excited,” Krug said. “It’s a dream that’s starting to develop.”

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