Asheville Real Estate Blog

I live in a vibrant town nestled in the mountains where two beautiful rivers converge. I love my life and my work here in Asheville, and I hope you'll enjoy my posts. I write about what’s happening in and around the city, and my interests include art + design, photography, architecture, music, people, dining, gardening, books, real estate trends, hiking, and dogs. 

Thank you for popping in. Always feel free to
call me to ask any questions you may have.

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Game on!

well played asheville
Have you ever looked around Asheville and thought:

“All this beer and wine and amazing food is nice and everything, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a cafe with hundreds of games to choose from, someplace with comfy booths and a nice selection of snacks?” 
You’re in luck. The Well Played Board Game Cafe is here.

Well Played is North Carolina’s first board game cafe, and it’s right downtown on Wall Street. Your first clue that it’s not just any old cafe is the giant red pawn on the patio table, and an oversized Jenga stacked up and ready to fall. 

Inside you’ll find a friendly crew (and non-judgmental -- they won't snicker a bit if you've never heard of
Cosmic Encounter), and an intriguing library of over 500 games, some familiar, some not so much. 

Sounds fun, but haven’t got a clue where to start? 

Games are organized by category and level of difficulty, and roaming game-masters are on hand to cheerfully (I say this from personal experience) help you set up and learn any game you choose to play. They’ll also help you pick out a game that matches your skill level and interest. Trust me, these guys are good!

You can find family games like
Ticket to Ride, classics such as chess, and oldies-but-goodies like Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Experienced players will be happy with the options, and appreciate having a way to try new games without the high cost of purchasing. 

Booths and tables fill up with players of all ages and game-taste. For a five-dollar cover charge, it makes for a fun date and something different. Wait staff will not only help you set up and play a game, for a charge they'll also serve you goodies if you wish, such as beer, kombucha, hummus and veggies, or popcorn. 

http://wellplayedasheville.com/

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Fun things to do: Model train museum


I remember as a kid, that moment every summer night — right after dinner -- the train in the distance would blow its long low whistle of approach. 

A kind of universal call to adventure.

We’d leap onto our bikes and trikes and race to the end of the sidewalk, a gaggle of kids with half-eaten popsicles, craning our necks to be the first one to spot the train. 

Don’t you love the sound of a distant whistle? 

Maybe its because trains evoke a simpler era. A way of travel that seems both futuristic and nostalgic all at once. 

Or maybe the rumble or pitch of the whistle taps into a longing for freedom, speaks to our inner-gypsy who’d love nothing better than to jump onboard and just see where it leads — while the world glides past like a scene from a movie.

Western North Carolina has a long, rich railroad history. 

You might not know, but one of the best railroad museums in the country is located right outside of Asheville, in nearby Hendersonville. 

The museum is operated and run by the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club. The clubhouse is in the original railroad depot built in 1902. Members work continually on their hobby, and the results are obvious in their precisely running engines and gorgeous scenery. 

Every Saturday, members open their doors to the public. 

My family loves to stop in to watch the trains, and listen in on the shop talk of the members. They’re always on hand to answer questions about the hobby, about train history in WNC, and show you what they’ve been up to. It’s interesting to watch them tinkering with the tracks and making small repairs to their layouts. 

At one end of the clubhouse is a Thomas the Tank train that kids love, set up at kid-height for the little ones. In the summer, be sure not to miss the outdoor garden trains that wind past dense green herbs such as rosemary and thyme, perfectly scaled as miniature shrubbery.

So file it under
Fun Things to Do In and Around Asheville. The club welcomes donations but there is no entry fee, so it’s a fun family date that doesn’t cost a thing, yet fuels the imagination for days to come. 

It makes me feel like a kid again, listening to the soft, hypnotic
chug-chug-chugging of the trains as wind their way through the beautiful WNC scenery that members have artfully constructed. 

Now all I need is a popsicle.

Apple Valley Model Railroad Club

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Tiny House, Big Idea

Tiny House Asheville
Hand to chin, Jennifer eyed the space where her silver SUV was parked.

“Could I build a tiny house right here?”

Last year, she fell in love with the house in Kenilworth and its view of the lake. After moving in she added an outdoor room — the perfect playroom for her two-year-old grandson.

Gazing from this room at the pines reflected in the water below, she smiled. “Blissful.”

But living here could be even better, she mused, if her daughter, son-in-law, and baby grandson were right next door.

She makes a good point.With scant rentals available, and costs prohibitive for many first-time homebuyers, a tiny house may be a smart option. Costs can be kept low, around $15,000, but quickly rise with the quality of materials used.  

Smaller homes are catching the imagination of many, including downsizing Boomers and Millenials just starting out.

Where did tiny houses start, and just how tiny are they?

‘Wee Houses’ began in 2003 as affordable alternative housing.

In North Carolina, a tiny house must be at least 120 square feet, but anything under 500 square feet is considered tiny. A typical storage shed is 100 square feet.

City of Asheville rules allow homeowners to build a small house next to the main one. However, zoning regulations, HOA bylaws, environmental, and other restrictions apply, so if you’re thinking about building a tiny home, do your homework and ask a knowledgable real estate agent for more information.

Tiny houses can be site-built and made to be “grow-able,” to accommodate the homeowners’  changing needs.

For Jennifer, building a tiny house at the top of her driveway would mean a visit from her grandson could be only steps away, not a half-hour drive. And that could create a living arrangement to benefit the whole family.
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Signs from the past

Kennilworth Signs of the past: Asheville
Hidden gems
The community of Kenilworth, just a mile south of downtown Asheville, is an intriguing place full of winding streets based on paths trodden by horses. 

Walk the streets here beneath oaks, poplar groves, bamboo, and pines, and you'll see old houses and new. A couple of large Spanish Revival homes, a number of Arts and Crafts gems, and lakefront homes with modest docks and a few kayaks waiting by the water's edge. 

Many people don't even know there is a small lake shimmering at the heart of this neighborhood. Nor would they guess at the marvelous history behind the Kenilworth Inn at the top of the hill. 

These gems are all but hidden to the rest of Asheville. Ask any of the neighbors and they'll tell you. You really have to walk it to know it.

Signs from the past
While preparing to paint his 4-story apartment house on Forest Hill Rd Tom found these old wooden street signs inside his garage wall the other day. 

At first glance he thought they were just a pile of boards stacked up behind some old electrical wiring. 

The signs are in great shape, dusty yet sturdy and uncracked. His guess is that they're from the 1920s, but who knows how long they've been sitting in the garage.  

Spring chores like painting and gardening might yield more goodies than expected! You never know what mysteries you might unearth.
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Open House - Sunday, Jan 29

West Asheville is the new Asheville. 

And Haywood Road, with its cafes, shopping, and entertainment venues, is hip and happening.

This lovely home is located just a block off Haywood Rd, on one of the nicest, most coveted streets in the neighborhood: Brucemont Circle.

Stroll by and take a tour on Sunday between 2 - 4pm!

Brucemont Circle Asheville NC
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Banish the winter blues with indoor greens

With a couple of grow bulbs and the Japanese art of kokedama, you can bring your favorite plants inside for winter. I love bringing small ferns inside and using the healthy, vibrant green moss that grows naturally here in Western North Carolina.

Kokedama translates as "moss ball," and is also known as the poor man's bonsai. They're simple to make and satisfying to watch grow.

Green inside lifts people's moods. Many indoor plants are helpful in clearing the air of VOCs and giving off oxygen, so gardening in winter can help keep your household healthy.

Make a kokedama to place in a sunny window or beneath a grow bulb.

moss-kokidama-asheville-garden
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Open House Sunday Dec 11th!

Enjoy the peaceful views of nearby mountains, kick back and relax on the covered front deck, or snuggle by the fireplace in the spacious main room of this newly constructed home in Candler.

Granite kitchen counters in the roomy kitchen are perfect for entertaining. Generous sized back deck for summer BBQ and stargazing. A landscaping allowance is available with acceptable offer, for the new homeowners to plan their custom garden.

Candler is located halfway between Asheville and Canton. More homes are soon to be built in this small new neighborhood.

Sound good? You're invited to come and check it out on Sunday, December 11th, from 1 - 5pm!

candler-open-house
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How YOU can help house the homeless

Party at the Peel!

You're invited, so put on your dancing shoes and come join the fun for a great cause.

Win prizes...eat delicious food...groove to the music of two local bands...
all while helping Town and Mountain Realty reach its goal of $20,000!* All donations go to five local nonprofits that work with kids and adults in crisis. 

Everyone deserves a place to call home.

Listen up.
Here's the lowdown:

This Saturday -- December 10th, 5 - 9:30pm -- Town and Mountain Realty's  5th annual holiday fundraiser downtown at  The Orange Peel. 

Food...Music...Dancing!!

Bring the kids, grab your Santa hat, and have some fun at this benefit for five local organizations working to house the homeless and help those in crisis. People in our community are in immediate need.

These organizations can use our support right away.
 
The 5 nonprofits:
• Homeward Bound of WNC
• Helpmate
• Caring for Children
• Eliada Home
• Western Carolina Rescue Mission

See you Saturday at the Peel!
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Thanksgiving, Asheville style

peace-gratitude
 
Temps are chilly for Thanksgiving Week, and as always, Asheville is warmly welcoming visitors.
 
Whether you're here on holiday or you're a local Ashevillian, a variety of music, brew, art, fun, and food awaits you in our lovely mountain city. 
 
If the weather makes you dream of cozying up with your dog, a good book, and glass of champagne, then get downtown--and bring your BFF*--to the
Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar.
 
To add to the holiday spirit this Saturday morning, drop in for
Christmas at the Carl Sandburg home in Flat Rock. There'll be hot cider, music, and storytelling.
 
The nearby Smoky Mountains are earning their name -- and my friends and I at Town and Mountain Realty send our sincere best wishes to the hardworking firefighters and volunteers working to contain the wildfires in
Western North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to you, & cheers!
 
*Best Furry Friend
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10 tips for selling your home over the holidays

During the holidays, Asheville’s bohemian heart glows merry. Yet, sellers can find icy weather and tight schedules bring fewer buyers to their door. Buyers who brave bad weather tend to be serious. Make them happy they left their cozy nook to come see your house.
1. Cleanliness is next to Santa-ness. Before stringing lights or hanging a wreath, do a deep cleaning to set the stage. Polish windows, abolish cobwebs, de-clutter surfaces. A sparkling clean home will sell faster.

2. Be a mistletoe minimalist. Less is more. Show off architectural detail with visual exclamation points. Hang mistletoe to draw potential buyers’ attention to an exquisite window, arch, or doorway.

3. Color and style. If your house is a modern dwelling in a monochrome palette, silver or glass ornaments can guide a visitor’s gaze. If your walls are painted in earthy hues, holiday reds and greens can add a pop.

4. Play soft music. Choose tunes that brighten the atmosphere. Light jazz or classical may play better than holiday favorites. Help buyers imagine living in the house during all the seasons.

5. Keep walkways safe. Sweep fallen leaves from decks and stairs. Assure that walkways are safe and that exterior lighting guides visitors steps to the front door. Brush away any puddled water following a surprise rain.

6. Picture sunny days. In winter, your house shows differently than in spring or summer when leaves are abundant, especially in this region. Set out a framed picture of your house during summer, so visitors can see the difference.

7. Maximize the views. Pull back the curtains, especially if your property boasts mountain views or offers a perspective of Asheville’s unique city-scape. Use lighting to show off sculptures, waterscapes, ponds, or other special features just outside the windows. 

8. Feed the senses. Try a twist on the classic advice to bake bread while showing your house. Warm a fresh, delicious loaf from one of Asheville’s fine local bakeries. Put orange, cedar, or rosemary essential oils in a diffuser. Go light. A hint of fragrance can calm and uplift even the Grinch's spirits. 

9. Dramatize your landscape. Use uplighting at the foot of the glorious oak in your front yard. Allow the interplay of light and shadow to draw the eye to a well-kept garden or the deck off of the master bedroom.

10. Treats for travelers. A tray of fresh baked cookies or a plate of luscious teacakes on the kitchen counter creates a lasting impression. Let visitors experience your house as a warm, inviting shelter in the storm.

Serious buyers, in spite of busy holiday schedules, make the time to pursue their dream house. Take the time to stage your home for the holidays, and who knows? A buyer ready to make a move could be your next visitor.
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