Digs 2021

KAISER SUIDAN NEXT STEP STUDIO & GALLERY: 530 Hilton, check web site for shows and hours. Indoor and outdoor galleries and event space. An emphasis on functional art. www.nextstepstudio.com

LAWRENCE STREET GALLERY: 22620 Woodward, Weds.-Sat. 12:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 9:00 P.M.), Sunday 1:00-5:00 P.M. A member-owned gallery that also includes other artists in juried displays. www.lawrencestreetgallery.com

LEVEL ONE BANK COMMUNITY ARTS GALLERY: 22635 Woodward, Mon.-Fri. 9:00-5:00 P.M. (Friday till 6:00 P.M.). Curated by gallerist and framing guru Mark Burton. Specializes in solo and themed shows.

M CONTEMPORARY GALLERY: 205 East Nine Mile, Weds.–Sat. 1:00-6:00 P.M. (5:00 on Saturday). Special services for collectors both individual and corporate. National presence. www.mcontemporaryart.com

PAUL KOTULA: 23255 Woodward (second floor), Check website for hours. Focused on emerging and mid-career artists. www.paulkotula.com

RUST BELT GALLERY: 22801 Woodward, Hours vary seasonally. A group of creative small businesses, many in arts and design. www.rustbeltmarket.com

SPACE CAT V-STRO: 255 W 9 Mile Rd, 248-268-3211. www.spacecatvstro.com

STATE OF THE ART: 918 W. Nine Mile, Tues.- Fri. 11:00-7:00 P.M., Sat. 11:00-5:00 P.M. Gallery with full service design, printing and framing services. www.stateoftheartonline.net

THE STRATFORD: 138 Stratford, Check Facebook for hours. Gallery and event space near Eight Mile. Facebook: The Stratford Studios Ferndale.

THE WHITEBRICK GALLERY: 150 Livernois, Hours vary. A group of artists providing an opportunity for creative exhibits. www.whitebrickgallery.com

By Rudy Serra

MY NEIGHBORS HAVE STARTED TO BUILD A NEW FENCE. I THINK IT IS ON MY PROPERTY. WHAT SHOULD I KNOW? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Boundary disputes are not new. There are several different kinds of property line disputes. Whenever there is a disagreement about boundaries, I recommend contacting a qualified attorney.

Real estate transactions that involve a mortgage lender usually include a review of property lines and the issuance of title insurance to protect interests in the land. Where real estate is conveyed directly from one person to another, it is usually important to get professional help. The existence of mortgage is no guarantee against property line disputes.

“Encroachment” occurs when a structure on one property is over the property line, encroaching on the neighboring property. These disputes often involve sheds, fences, landscaping, decks and sometimes larger structures. It is important to act whenever you think someone’s fence or building is on your land. This is “trespassing.” If you do nothing the encroaching property owner can sometimes claim title after 15 years.

All property parcels are defined by a “legal description.” The legal description of a parcel is kept by the County Register of Deeds. These descriptions can be interpreted by a surveyor to determine where the lines of the property are located.

In some cases, even with no wrongdoing, legitimate questions may arise over the line. There could be an error in a past deed, or contradictory or inconsistent deeds may raise questions. Markers placed by past surveyors may create questions.

WHEN ISSUES ARISE ABOUT THE CORRECT PROPERTY LINE, it is always easiest and best to try to resolve the dispute by negotiation. It is essential to remember that no interest in real estate can be conveyed unless it is in writing, Verbal agreements are not enough. If you are able to work out the sale of a piece of a parcel or a trade of land to resolve the dispute, it is essential to put it in writing. All documents that modify boundary lines should be prepared by a competent attorney and filed with the County Clerk/Register of Deeds.

If neighboring property owners are unable to resolve a boundary dispute by negotiation, then a civil lawsuit called “an action to Quiet Title” may be required. A court would determine who owns the property and issue an order into the chain of title. The “chain of title” refers to the recorded documents and deeds in the possession of the Register of Deeds.

Other elements of real estate may be involved in boundary disputes. An “easement” gives a person who is not the owner of land to use the land. Easements are granted to utility companies to install and maintain poles, and easements are used to allow a person to go over a part of someone else’s property to reach their own. Waterfront property may involve additional “riparian rights.” Many zoning ordinances and building codes have a “setback” requirement that requires that other structures or uses be a certain distance from the property line.

SOME BOUNDARY DISPUTES ARE STRAIGHTFORWARD. These can be resolved by obtaining a survey. Others are extremely complicated. All involve real estate and every parcel of real estate is considered unique. If you disagree with your neighbor about your respective property lines, get a qualified real estate attorney.

0 106

By Lisa Howard

Finding affordable housing can be tricky, especially in the wake of a global pandemic that has negatively impacted many people’s jobs. Fortunately, if you’re looking to rent or buy a home but need to keep a close eye on your wallet, various organizations in the city, county, state and federal levels may be able to help you find a home that suits your budget.

THE COMMUNITY HOUSING NETWORK, BASED IN TROY, is a nonprofit organization providing housing and housing resources for people who are homeless or facing homelessness, people with disabilities or low income, and other vulnerable residents of southeast Michigan. They offer a long list of services, including a Housing Resource Center, homebuyer and home ownership educational seminars, financial empowerment webinars, and foreclosure prevention counseling. In addition, their Home Ownership Program helps low and moderate-income households purchase a quality, affordable home. Call the CHN housing hotline at (248)269-1335 or visit them online at https://communityhousingnetwork.org.

Advantage Oakland covers all of Oakland County and is based in Pontiac. Their Housing Counseling & Homeless Services division offers home repairs, subsidized housing and rental assistance to low- to moderate-income households, and they also can assist homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgage or property tax stay in their home. New home buyers can learn everything involved in buying a home, and everyone can receive advice and coaching on financial matters. Call (248)858-5402 to meet with an advisor or visit them online here.

The Advantage Oakland Home Improvement Program provides interest-free loans of up to $18,000 to qualified homeowners to make needed home repairs, including installing barrier-free access and energy-saving upgrades. There are no monthly payments and the total loan is due and payable only when you no longer live in your home. This program can be tremendously helpful if you’re a homeowner who is struggling to make necessary repairs to be able to stay in your home. Call (248)858-5401 to speak with an advisor or visit them online at https://www.oakgov.com/advantageoakland/communities/Pages/Home-Improvement-Program-and-Contractor-Opportunities-.aspx

• With offices in Lansing and Detroit, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority oversees and administers a variety of rental housing programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers and Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH). MSHDA is a Public Housing Agency; other PHAs are operated by individual cities. The Ferndale Housing Commission (http://ferndalehousing.com/) is the PHA for the city of Ferndale.

• Other MSHDA options include programs administered at individual developments that may have received federal or state funding. Visit the Affordable Rental Housing Directory (ARHD) for individual development contact information. ARHD provides a search tool of all of the MSHDA, HUD, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and Rural Development financed developments in Michigan. Some local Public Housing Agencies have included their rental housing information in this search, too. The Michigan Housing Locator provides a search tool for both subsidized and market rental housing in Michigan.

Affordable Rental Housing Directory: https://housing.state.mi.us/

Michigan Housing Locator: http://www.michiganhousinglocator.com/Portals/mshda/

To contact the MSHDA, call (517) 335-9885 or (313) 4563540 or visit them online at www.michigan.gov/mshda.

• On a federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) helps low-income families, elderly people, and individuals with disabilities find affordable housing. Your local public housing agency (PHA) decides if you are eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher based on:

• Your annual gross income.

• Whether you qualify as a family, a senior, or a person with a disability.

• U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

• Your family’s size.

In general, your family’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area. Since the demand for public housing is often larger than the amount of housing available to HUD and the local PHA, long waiting periods are common. A PHA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.

The three main types of affordable rental housing supported by HUD are:

• Privately owned, subsidized housing in which landlords are paid by the government to offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Recipients search for the apartment and apply directly at the rental management office.

• Public housing, which provides affordable rental houses or apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. To apply, contact a PHA in Michigan.

• The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8) involves renters finding a rental property themselves and then using the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a PHA in Michigan.

Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) provides assistance to homeless Veterans by combining Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Shallow Subsidy initiative provides low-income Veterans a fixed rental subsidy for up to two years. The Subsidy is available to veterans who are enrolled in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and live in communities characterized by high rates of homelessness and low availability of affordable housing. To encourage long-term self-sufficiency through employment, renters receive the subsidy for up two years regardless of any increases in their household income.

HUD also offers homes to qualified buyers. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — which is part of HUD — insures the loan, so your lender can offer you a better deal. To find out more about HUD homes for sale in Michigan and HUD’s homebuying programs, visit www.hud.gov/states/michigan.

• If you’re looking for a place solo, you might also want to rent a room instead of an entire apartment, or maybe see if a buddy (or two) wants to rent an apartment or a house together. Talking to a financial coach/counselor could also help — they might be able to help you rework your overall budget and wind up with a bit more wiggle room when it comes to paying rent. Keep looking, keep asking for help, and have faith that you will find your home sweet home!

By Sara Teller

Habitat for Humanity for Oakland County (HFHOC), headquartered in Pontiac, is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) and is dedicated to carrying out the mission to help create “a world in which everyone has a decent place to live.”

HFHI is a global housing nonprofit that operates in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and approximately 70 countries around the world. Since 1995, HFHOC has helped more than 900 low to moderate-income residents gain access to safe and affordable housing, focusing primarily on providing services in Southfield and Pontiac.

“Through our programs, we practice the philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a handout,’ by partnering with home-buyers and homeowners to purchase a safe home with an affordable mortgage or complete necessary projects at a modest price,” explained Katie Brumfield, HFHOC’s Marketing & Communications Associate. Programs include offering affordable home ownership opportunities for families making 50 to 80 percent of the area’s median income, financial coaching, critical repairs, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives.

HFHOC has several local events in the works for 2021. The nonprofit plans to hold three Rock the Block events June 3 and 5, August 5 and 7, September 30 and October 2, which will bring together homeowners, volunteers, community sponsors, and Habitat Oakland staff to offer minor exterior home repairs to homeowners.

“Volunteers work with Habitat’s construction staff to repair porches, install fences, replace cracked concrete, clean gutters, and complete lawn clean-up.” Brumfield said, adding, “This program ensures that homeowners reside in safe housing, enables seniors to age-in-place, maintains and increases home values, and fosters neighborhood stability.”

Later this fall, on November 12, HFHOC will also hold its Annual Fall Gala. Planning is still in the works, and the Events Page at www.habitatoakland.org/events will have more information in the near future along with any other upcoming HFHOC happenings.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY FOR OAKLAND COUNTY HAS MADE a significant impact in local communities over the past year, in general, despite the pandemic. In March 2020, HFHOC was forced to suspend volunteer activities, closing their ReStores except for virtual sales with office staff transitioning to working from home. Since that time, however, it has developed a strategy aligned with new COVID-19 guidelines, reopening closures, and hosting two Rock the Block events in 2020, completing over 100 external projects at 25 homes.

“2020 marked our 25th anniversary,” Brumfield said. “Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County is proud to have adapted, reacted thoughtfully, and ended 2020 ready to continue our mission in 2021. The need for affordable housing for low to moderate income individuals and families has never been more urgent. We are excited to continue building homes, communities and hope for our friends and neighbors.” She added, “Despite the challenges, we stayed focused on and continue to work toward our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Oakland County needs the stability and hope that decent housing and equitable access can help foster.”

The organization also received grant funds in 2020 to launch a much-needed home repair program. Brumfield explained, “Through a sizable grant from Oakland County and United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we were able to launch a critical home repair program in September 2020 that provides needed exterior repairs for homeowners in Oakland County so that they may maintain a safe, decent and affordable place to live. Our new Roofs, Ramps & Repairs Program enables us to serve a broader audience.”

Businesses interested in learning more about how to partner with HFHOC can call 248-318-5491 or email annd@habitatoakland.org. Rock the Block 2021 sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Individual volunteer opportunities are also available at habitatoakland.org/volunteer.

“In addition to volunteering, individuals can shop at or donate to our ReStores,” Brumfield said. “We also encourage you to stay up-to-date by liking and following us on Facebook and Instagram.”

0 106

By Sara Teller

IT IS A MARVELOUS WONDER when one hones their craft, and then proceeds to offer others access to such wizardry. Chris Best is a “self-identified iconoclast who’s passionate about creating unconventional, jaw-dropping spaces.”

While commonly known for his work at The Rust Belt Market and The Plant House, there is little common about Best’s application of his 20 years experience at custom building which continues to lay a foundation in Ferndale.

“I’ve been in and around the building trades since I was 17. I got licensed as a home builder at 26. I built three homes before the recession of 2008. After that, I swore I’d never return to building. We then opened The Rust Belt in 2011 as a way to pivot away from building,” Best says.

Amidst our intentions, time, circumstance, and pandemics reveal the unexpected journey. After renting a home for most of the ten years Chris and Tiffany Best owned The Rust Belt, escalating housing prices along with a particular set of skills birthed a living, breathing, work-of-art – which just happens to be a home.

“There are five of us altogether and we were needing to upgrade our living situation. In Ferndale, housing prices have gone up so much. Purchasing a home built in the ‘30s or ‘40s for $375,000 seemed crazy when we could spend a little bit more to build exactly what we want.”

EMWILL IS THE FIRST SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE BUILT BY C. BEST BUILDER, a licensed and insured residential building company specializing in unique concepts. “The shape and color of the house is quite unique. The house turning out beautiful at the same time a global pandemic badly hobbled The Rust Belt Market led to an easy decision. The next step was obvious. I am now going to put that license to use, using my powers for good and hopefully earn a little bit of money along the way.”

Fairly proficient with several building trades, Best estimates his “powers for good” have saved The Rust Belt Market and The Plant House a combined total of $500,000, over the years.

“I built almost every interior wall inside of the market, built out the bar, and every interesting feature in the market including the poison dart frog terrarium. My experience and expertise really gives us an unfair advantage in a business such as ours.”

THE ABILITY TO PIVOT AND RE-POSITION with the passing present, paired with what Best describes as a current lack of trustworthy builders, build-ing quality homes, has helped him capture the attention, imagination, and interest of the community.

“I have an interested client who wants me to build a new home on a vacant lot in Ferndale. It looks promising but nothing has been signed yet. It’s crazy to think about; if this building business takes off, I have the 2020 pandemic to thank. The 2008 recession was a big reason The Rust Belt Market was created. Life is a strange journey.”

Whether high or low, it is important that each of us ride the tide into another day where and when the crystal ball may become more clear. We ride on, so we can build on a foundation, together for good.

0 91

By Kerry Lark & Owen Tree

Branch Dieback In
The “Colorado” Blue Spruce is native to the Western U.S.A. and Canada, and is widely planted in many states including Michigan. This popular tree is valued for its silver-blue foliage and pyramidal form. So popular, in fact, that years ago Utah decided to designate the “Colorado” blue spruce as its first official State Tree.

It did so six years before neighboring Colorado picked the “Colorado” blue spruce as its official State Tree! For 80 years, the “Colorado” blue spruce was the official State tree for both states until Utah finally replaced it with the Quaking Aspen in 2014.

All trees are subject to insect, disease and environmental issues. That’s just nature’s way. Blue spruces are known to suffer from many disease, insect and environmental issues. Unfortunately, these maladies frequently lead to the partial or complete death of branches. Branch dieback can occur anywhere in the spruce tree canopy, but many times it will start in the lower part of the tree.

What are the major causes of branch dieback in our beloved blue spruces?

DISEASE ISSUES: Michigan’s hot, humid summer climate creates an ideal breeding ground for the growth of several types of fungi that attack spruces, causing disfigurement and dieback. Success in remedying fungal outbreaks depends on factors such as the type of fungus and severity of infection.

INSECT ISSUES: Insects and spider mites can cause damage to blue spruces. Treatments for insect infestations also vary in terms of successful long-term outcomes.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: Over time, urban environmental issues may weaken blue spruces, limiting their ability to cope with attacks from diseases and insects. Common urban issues include: poorly drained soil, inadequate sun exposure, summer droughts and lawn sprinklers spraying water on the lower branches. Education and prevention are paramount in order to reduce these environmental threats.

If combined together, these three disease, insect and environmental issues will cause spruce branches to die, rendering your trees aesthetically unappealing. If the damage is severe enough, these blue spruce trees may eventually need to be replaced with a new tree.

Unfortunately, the symptoms blue spruces display in response to attacks from these issues can ”mimic” each other. Mimicry can make correctly diagnosing tree problems challenging to the untrained eye. What should you do if you’re concerned about your blue spruces? Call a certified arborist from a quality tree care company that has the knowledge and experience to properly diagnose tree care problems and then provide the appropriate care.

THIS SPRING, GO OUTSIDE AND ASSESS AND APPRECIATE all your trees. Look at your landscape and consider adding diversity to our urban forests by planting new trees! Trees have a healing power and will make everyone feel more hopeful in 2021. Almost 200 years ago, the great poet and teacher Lucy Larcom summed this up best, when she said; “He who plants a tree plants hope!”

By Sara Teller

THE FERNDALE AREA HAS EVERYTHING FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS ARE LOOKING FOR – from arts and entertainment, an eclectic array of dining options, and unique shops within walking distance, all centrally located with quick access to the freeway.

As Erica Powers, Mortgage Banker at Level One Bank, explained, it’s a “highly competitive market.” So, it’s important for a buyer to have a knowledgeable team to guide them every step of the way.

Real estate agent Brendan Davis of Jim Shaffer & Associates also knows the area well. “I always tell buyers to have some criteria ready for must-haves and deal breakers,” he said. “A garage, for instance. Or a fence. Make a list and stick to it.” Dan Solomon of Guardian Home Inspections agreed, saying it’s important for buyers to have realistic expectations budget-wise and with what to expect when home shopping. Then, it’s time to focus on financing.

Erica Powers

Powers said, “A good place to start, and an important factor in a home purchase, is how the new payment will fit into your budget. Determine your monthly budget and then set up a time to speak with an experienced mortgage professional to review the many different loan options available before starting your search. Having a budget and the idea of the programs available will help you choose a mortgage option that best suits your short and long-term needs and goals.”

“You don’t want to start looking at places and realize they’re out of your price range, develop unrealistic expectations and get deflated after the fact. Get the pre-approval letter first,” Davis suggested. “It’s important to remember, too, if you’re putting 20 percent down, you also have to account for other costs. Always be prepared to bring more than this to closing.”

POWERS ADDED, “FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS, ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES is saving up for a downpayment. Banks offer a number of programs to help first-time home buyers with lower downpayment requirements.” And, as far as getting pre-approved, the process isn’t as daunting as it may seem at first.

She said, “The best way to set yourself up for success in a competitive market is to get a true pre-approval that has been reviewed by a mortgage underwriter so you can confidently shop in a price range that you’re both personally comfortable with and that you qualify for based on the lending guidelines. A pre-approval that has been reviewed by the underwriter will not only give you the confidence you need to focus on what really matters – finding your new home – but it will strengthen your offer in the eyes of sellers and can dramatically speed up the loan process, getting you into your new home faster.”

First-time home buyers looking in the Ferndale area should be aware that many of the homes were built pre-World War II era. That’s why it’s so important to get the property inspected. Solomon Said, “A home inspector will not only fully inspect a house but should walk you through what that information means to you as you proceed.”

Brendan Davis

Davis added, “There’s some newer ones but, for the most part, these are older homes along the Woodward Corridor. They’re 70 to 80, sometimes 100, years old. Buyers should know what that means.” He offered, as an example, “The sewer pipes, sometimes, are made of clay crock, and they’ll need a camera inspection. This way, there won’t be any surprises.”

HIS TEAM CAN PULL COMPARABLE PROPERTIES IN THE AREA, so buyers have an idea of what homes will appraise for. “I can even tell a buyer if a home is under contract for a certain price,” Davis explained, meaning it may not be listed as a comparable just yet but will be. Jim Shaffer & Associates has the largest team of agents in the area and “our hyper-focus on Woodward Corridor makes us very knowledgeable about Ferndale and surrounding communities,” Davis said. “Buyers should find an agent who is local.”

Solomon said, “Working with a realtor that you have a good relationship with is one of the best things to make the process painless and successful,” and Powers couldn’t agree more.

“Typically, proximity to work, entertainment, good schools, and family and friends are factors that come into play when picking a location for your new home,” she explained. “A realtor who knows the market can help you navigate the location decision by finding you potential homes in the same school district and with great proximity to what’s most important to you. A good realtor can also point out housing trends and may be able to show you the next up and coming neighborhood that fits your needs – or avoid one that’s headed in the opposite direction.”

She added that, while there are a lot of moving parts, buyers shouldn’t forget to have fun. “Don’t get overwhelmed. While the process can be stressful at times, this should be a fun and exciting time. Build your team with a great realtor and mortgage professional so you can stay focused on what matters, be well informed and confident throughout the process.”

 

 

0 1449

By Lisa Howard

Feeding Our Bellies and Our Souls

For millennia, the hearth and home have been inseparable*. Even before making sourdough breads and languorous meals became a sanity-saving way of living during 2020, the kitchen today’s oven-centered version of the hearth — was the center point of most homes. “You use it every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Allen Bodiya, co-owner of Kitchen Concepts. “The kitchen has always been the heart of the home and it always will be. And now that people are home more, they want to make it theirs and enjoy it more. A lot of times, that means updating it to make it more functional.”

Of course, “functional” means different things to different people. Passionate home cooks might want to design their own kitchen “guts,” as Allen refers to the organizational nitty-gritty details: Built-in cylinders for holding utensils, custom spice racks, pullouts for trash and recycling containers, etc. Every cabinet can be made to house specific items, including drawers that have niches for Keurig cups and others that slide open to reveal charging stations for iPads and smart phones. Or maybe an entire overhaul of cabinets, flooring, hardware, and countertops is in order.

BEFORE EVEN MEETING WITH A REMODELING COMPANY, Bodiya suggests looking for inspiration — check out homestyle magazines, photos online, maybe even attend a kitchen and bath show. They’re virtual these days, making it easy to attend a show anywhere.) Walk through a showroom to get an idea of how the physical space looks and feels. Do you like the shine of chrome or are you more drawn to the warmth of wood tones? Think about possible color schemes and what aspects of the kitchen need to be refreshed or amplified. In other words, let out your Inner Design Wizard!

Once you have some ideas, it’s time to have a remodeler come out to take measurements and brainstorm. “I measure the space and get their ideas, and then we use a rendering program that lets me do a full-color, 3D design to show them what their kitchen will look like,” Bodiya explains. He can quickly swap out colors and shapes and sizes, allowing a tour of multiple different virtual kitchen spaces.

For painted surfaces, any color is possible, although Allen says the trend right now is a minimalist, Shaker-style look, with lots of whites and grays along with navy blue, black, and other dark colors. Brushed gold and nickel have both become very popular as finishes for hardware like sinks and appliances, and quartz is all the rage for countertops. It’s nonporous, so it doesn’t need to be sealed the way a 100 percent natural stone would need to be and, as Bodiya says, “It gives you a marble look without the marble price.” Quartz has also become a popular backsplash, although there’s still a lot of love for subway/brick tile patterns.

Some people opt for using maple, oak, or walnut butcher blocks as accents or on the side of the stove or an island. (Although if you’re a fan of perfectly spotless countertops, butcher block is not for you — you’ll see the marks of chopped veggies past.) And dining nooks and window seats with built-in banquettes are rapidly becoming the place to dine.

DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE KITCHEN AND THE EXTENT OF THE REMODEL, creating the kitchen of your dreams takes four to six weeks. “A remodeled kitchen adds value when selling, but more importantly, it adds value and enjoyment to the experience of living in the home,” Bodiya says. “When a kitchen is nicely remodeled and more functional, then you’ll want to show it off and congregate there with family and friends.” After all, being with family and friends is what a hearth is all about!

*-Exhibit A: Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth, the home and domesticity.