Joy Lovoy

Farms, Gardens, and Greenery in Strange Places



At a Ballpark

Hotdogs and beer may define the ballpark culinary experience, but the San Francisco Giants want to give fans greener and healthier options. On Tuesday the team's home base, AT&T Park, unveiled a 4,320-square-foot edible garden. The coffee ground-fertilized garden uses 95 percent less water than regular methods and will supply concessions stands with kumquats, tomatoes, kale, and other produce. Patrons will be able to picnic in the garden and enjoy an onsite bar.



On a Bus

This eco-bus, dubbed the "Phyto Kinetic," was designed by landscape artist Marc Grañén of Barcelona, Spain. Grañén created the new take on a rooftop garden in an effort to energize public buses with life, improve the urban ecosystem, and purify the air that city slickers breathe, according to Urban Gardens.



On a Floating Ship Crane

This garden is located on an abandoned ship crane in the Belgian port city of Antwerp. It was built by the Belgian art collective Time Circus.

green space in the Belgian port city of Antwerp for instance -- built by Belgian art collective Time Circus, it's been placed on an abandoned ship crane, and outfitted with a treehouse made out of recycled materials, and even has a chicken coop.


On a Pickup Truck

This pickup grows herbs on wheels. The lively flatbed cruised around as a promotion for Truck Farm, a Wicked Delicate Films documentary about New York City's urban agriculture.

Check out this cool time-lapse video of the making of this garden!

Atop a Doghouse

Talk about a perfect way to bring the urbanite flora and fauna together. This doghouse sat in the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden as part of the Garden of Five Senses exhibit.


In an Old Piano

This vintage baby grand piano was converted into a fountain and garden planted with waterborne flowers and vines.


Between Window Shutters

This hanging, drought-tolerant succulent garden is built in a recycled window shutter taken off an old home.


In the Driveway

Landscape architect Jeni Webber crafted this Palo Alto driveway. Webber planted flowers, herbs and small shrubs low enough to the ground so that the driveway garden would be both ecocentric and functional.


At a Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital started sending all new moms home from the hospital with a basket of fresh produce, recipes, and literature about the importance of a healthy diet.

All of the produce in the basket was grown on an organic farm on the hospital's Anderson campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hospital--part of a six-campus network--has been running a farm on the 500-acre grounds since 2014.

"Our mission is to provide great healthcare and part of that is educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet," explains Ed Nawrocki, president of the Anderson campus. "One of the best ways to do that is to lead by example and show them how delicious produce grown on our farm tastes.


And then it gets really strange...


In Pockets

You can be a walking human planter with garments from designer Egle Cekanaviciute's six-piece Seed Collection. This series of pants, dresses, tops and more comes with specially-designed pockets that can be filled with soil and fertilizer, so you can grow the plants of your choice. "The collection is styled following the obvious conclusion that any human creation is helpless against the power of nature."


In a Church

England's York Minister cathedral was temporarily filled with a real, living lawn that was grown on recycled felt and then installed in successive layers. The whole installation measured an amazing 1,500 square feet - and yes, it continued to grow while it was inside the church, requiring mowing! The grass was put in place for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.


In Real Growing Garments

Stevie Famulari, an assistant professor at NDSU's landscape architecture department, has created five stunning garments including an opera gown, a wedding gown, a laced gown, an asymmetrical gown and a lawn coat that are seeded with living plants. Lined with waterproof material and totally wearable, these garments will continue to grow and change over time.


In an Abandoned Underground Bank Vault

Would you ever expect to find a food-producing garden in an abandoned underground bank vault? Pasona 02 is a real working farm measuring one square kilometer, located beneath the streets of Tokyo. Not only does it grow food in a city that has a low rate of food self-sufficiency, it also employs jobless youth and prepares them for work in the agricultural industry.


In Jewelry & On Bikes

Take plants on a bike ride or just wear them around your neck. Etsy seller Wearable Planter creates 3D-printed miniature planters in various rounded and geometric shapes.


In Grenades

In the Palestinian village of Bilin - near the West Bank city of Ramallah - residents have planted flowers in hundreds of spent Israeli tear gas grenades collected after clashes with Israeli security forces.

The garden is "meant to show that life can spring from death."

Read More


Last and without doubt not the least weird...


In Urinals

The men's room of a former elementary school that now serves as a charter high school for young mothers and pregnant teens has now been put to a rather unusual use: it's a garden. The school's grounds also feature a four-acre urban farm which helps teach the teens about gardening.



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    Asheville's First Downtown LEAF!

    The first Downtown Asheville LEAF was amazing! Here are some photos from all the festivites that took place on Saturday August 1st, 2015!

    Gorgeous ice sculpture helping keep LEAF cool! Created by Materpiece Ice Sculptures right here in Asheville.

    Still beautiful and useful even after it melted enough to fall over.

    Spectacular booth set up and amazing merchandise at Intergalactic Hobo's booth.

    Great booth set up by Seven Feather Tribe, really cool masks!

    Incredible booth setup by Bella & Oliver Soap Company -  here is a quote from the owner from the Asheville Citizen-Times Article on LEAF.

    "Stephanie Zara, owner of Bella & Oliver Soap Company, one of about 90 vendors at the festival, noticed the strong Asheville vibe.

    "I feel like it's been a coming together for the community," she said. "It's been a great outcome for local people."

    It was also a great outcome for the vendors. Zara reported $800 worth of soap sales on Saturday, a new record for the cottage industry."


    Gorgeous jewelry was everywhere!

    Amazing artwork was at every turn as well!

    Ultimate Ice Cream had quite the line on this hot day! It was well worth the wait though!

    Spuce Street Market was in a great location too, right next to all the LEAF festivites! Firefly Glass had some stunning pieces, recycled from beach glass! (I bought the one pictured in this photo, it glows in the dark too!)

    It was such a great time, I stayed most of the day and then came back again in the evening for the big event!

    The fire dancers were awe-inspiring! The great performance was by Unifire Theatre - they "warmed" up the crowd for Bootsy Collins!


    Bootsy Collins was incredible - awesome show to end the night!

    The crowd loved it, and it was such a great turn out!


    Can't wait for the next one!


     Photos & Article By:  Shelley Hipps Marketing Manager Town and Mountian Realty  




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      WNC Agricultural Center Event: Annual Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show

      World Championships Bound


      Outdoor temps may be a little cooler this weekend, but things are certainly hot at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher.


      Top-notch horse and rider teams from around the country will be showing through Saturday night at the 22nd annual Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show. American Saddlebreds, Morgans and Friesians compete for top prizes in this summer classic.


      William Shatner (yup – Captain Kirk,) a big Saddlebred enthusiast owns and shows some of the best horses in the industry. While not seen “with the reins” in his hands in the past year, he was spotted in the stands, rooting on one in his stable. (I know this to be fact, as I was the one - sitting beside him, acting “cool as a cucumber” – spotting him!) But sure to be here, there will be an elite core of prior and contending World Champions!


      The WNC Ag Center is located at 1301 Fanning Bridge Rd, Fletcher, NC 28732.


      “Beam me up (to the Ag Center), Scotty”

      Showing Saturday evening


      CH Our Brilliant Belle and Priscilla Gise from Minnetonka, MN

      Ladies Fine Harness World's Championship (2013-2014)

       World's Champion Junior Fine Harness (2012).

      By: Gretchen Lewis, REALTOR

      (828) 301-3022


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        Why Traveling Musicians Love Asheville

        By CJ Lotz


        July 15, 2015

        For the past twenty years, a musical movement has been growing in Asheville, North Carolina. While famous cities like Nashville, Tennessee, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, are known for their legendary recording studios, Asheville has emphasized something more pedestrian—quite literally. Traveling street performers—called “buskers,” who play everything from guitars to banjos, washboards, and spoons for a living—are pulled toward this Southern city and can be found everywhere from the corners of Pack Square to the sidewalk in front of Woolworth Walk.

        Image Source: John Haldane Haldane Creative Art

        “What is it about Asheville? It’s the same answer people give about moving here: Nobody quite knows what it is that brings so many creative people and so much energy,” says filmmaker and North Carolina native Erin Derham. “A lot of buskers have this vagabond traveling lifestyle. And they lean toward places that are really beautiful. Asheville is surrounded by mountains, water, and awesome weather.”

        More answers from performers themselves can be found in Derham’s new film, Buskin’ Blues. Violinist Marc Hennessy credits Southern hospitality. “I’ve street-performed other places around the world and it can be difficult,” he says. “But in Asheville it seems like everybody’s friendly.”

        Read More Here


        Asheville buskers continue to make headlines!


        With This Many Buskers in Asheville, a Discordant Note Was Inevitable

        The band Midnight Snack, whose members recently moved to Asheville, N.C., from Boston to pursue their music careers, played downtown this month. Credit Mike Belleme for The New York Times

        ASHEVILLE, N.C. — It was a Tuesday evening in April, at an hour when most small American cities had gone quiet. But in this buzzy Blue Ridge Mountain town, there was music all over the streets.

        There was the moody alt-rock guitar strummer in front of the organic clothing boutique. The bluesman picking a dobro in front of the farm-to-table restaurant. Hippies in hootenanny mode beside the bookstore.

        A few blocks away, Frank Bronson, a 22-year-old Tennessean with a cowboy hat and a borrowed guitar, was warbling his way through the World War I-era hit “I Ain’t Got Nobody.” Ali Kafka, a ragtime guitarist up from New Orleans, tapped along in her combat boots.

        But soon it was Ms. Kafka who broke into the more popular lament on the streets of Asheville these days, criticizing city officials and their proposals to regulate the abundance of buskers, who, like many tourists, have found a resurgent Asheville irresistible.

        “They ride on the coattails of the people who make it seem like a place worth visiting,” Ms. Kafka, 26, said. “And then they kick them out.”


        For street performers like Kayin Burney, left, and Josh Newton, Asheville has the lure of being safe, eclectic and full of strolling tourists. Credit Mike Belleme for The New York Times


        Read More Here


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          Essential Tips for Selling Your Home

          If you're looking for some ways to make your home stand out and get sold, here are some simple ideas you can try.

          Inside the Home:


          Paint your walls a neutral color. You might like bright and bold colors, but potential buyers might not. Paint the walls a light, neutral color that will allow anyone viewing your home to picture themselves in it.



          Clear out clutter. Buyers don't want to see closets that are overflowing, garages that can't house a car and kitchen counters littered with spices and appliances. Clean things up before putting your house on the market for better success.



          Get rid of big furniture. Overly large furniture can make a room seem small and crowded- the opposite of what you want buyers to feel. Sell or store it to make more room.



          Fix any broken items. Whether it's a busted doorbell or a leaky faucet, make sure your home is in good repair so buyers won't have any hesitations.


          Use what you've got. You likely don't have the time or money to mount a full-on renovation if you're trying to sell your home, so use paint, simple fixes and things you already have to make your home look great.


          Stage your rooms. You don't have to be a professional to take some steps to stage your home. Clean up, change a few items of decor and rearrange your rooms to give things a clean, streamlined appeal.


          Take down some personal items. While you don't have to make your home look like a showroom, removing personal items like photos, trophies and memorabilia can help buyers better picture themselves in the space. Remember to remove your family pictures hung in the front hall which claim the house as yours. Remove religious items, hunting trophies, naked portraits, and the overstocked bar on display, any of which the buyer may be very uncomfortable with.



          Don't take on big renovations. When you've put your home on the market isn't the best time to undertake major projects. Not only is it expensive, it makes your home difficult to show, so focus on small fixes instead and let buyers handle the renovations if needed.


          Imagine you're the buyer. Try taking a look at your home from an objective point of view. What would you change or fix up? Use this information to help spruce up your space.


          Make your home stand out. If you live in a neighborhood with several homes for sale, you'll need to find a way to make your home stand out. Highlight the best aspects of your home and make sure buyers see what it really has to offer.


          Make sure rooms have an obvious use. You might use your dining room as an office, playroom or storage space, but potential buyers might be put off by that. Set up rooms for their intended purpose instead and move your stuff to another space for the time being.


          Minimize the pet effect. Not all home buyers are big animal lovers, so make your home friendly to them as well by cleaning up toys, pet food and supplies before your home is shown.


          Make the space easy to walk through. Remove any furniture, clutter or boxes that might be blocking or impeding buyers from walking through the space freely.


          Outside the Home:

          Pay attention to curb appeal. First impressions can go a long way, so make sure your home makes a good one. Step out to the curb to see just how your home holds up and what you can do to help it.


          Mow the grass. A well-trimmed yard will make your home look nice and well taken care of, so keep your grass in check. Mow it regularly yourself or hire a service to do it for you.


          Plant some flowers. Flowers are a pretty, inexpensive way to add some color and life to your home. They're simple to plant and buyers will love them.


          Power wash your home and decks. Sometimes all decks, porches and siding need to look clean and new is a good, hard scrubbing.


          Get rid of weeds and any outdoor clutter. It might not be fun, but it's essential to keep flowerbeds and outdoor spaces just as clear of clutter as indoor ones.


          Give the front door a fresh coat of paint. Choose a nice color to paint your door to help it look clean, nice and kept-up.


          Get a nice welcome mat. It not only helps pull together your outdoor space but will introduce buyers to your home on the right foot.


          Repair or replace your mailbox. If your mailbox is weather-beaten and tired-looking, repair, paint or replace it.


          Make sure the house number is nicely displayed. Not only is it a safety issue, it makes your home look charming and nice to boot.


          Clean out gutters. You don't want water overflowing in places if buyers see your home on a rainy day. Get up on your roof and clean out your gutters ahead of time.


          Stage outdoor spaces. Staging isn't just for indoor spaces. Make your deck and outdoor entertaining areas as appealing as possible with plants, paint and great design.


          Clean and maintain any outdoor furniture, pools or entertainment spaces. Buyers are going to look at your outdoor spaces critically as well, so make sure everything you have out there is in good repair and as close to move-in condition as possible.


          Clear any plants blocking windows. Big bushes and trees that are blocking windows should be trimmed back or removed. Not only do they make the house look bad from the outside, but they block light to the inside as well.



          While you want to work on your home itself, being smart about the business end of real estate can be a big element in your success when it comes to selling your home. Learn more with these tips.


          Don't volunteer information to buyers. You never know what answer they're expecting to hear and you could do more harm than good. Let your realtor handle the situation.


          Choose a great real estate agent. Finding a real estate agent who will work with your interests is essential. Shop around or use recommendations from friends.


          Go outside when buyers are touring your home. It can make buyers nervous to have the sellers in the home when they are touring it, so step out when your home is going to be shown.


          Compare prices with other homes in the area. You want to make sure you're not charging too much or too little for your home. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a good figure.


          Figure out why buyers aren't choosing your home. If your home has been on the market for a while, contact buyers and agents to see why they chose another and not yours. There may be something missing or detracting from your home that you're not aware of.


          Have a for-sale sign in the yard. Many potential home buyers see homes they're interested in simply by driving by. You'll increase your chances of attracting their attention by displaying a for sale sign.


          Advertise on the web. There are numerous websites out there where you can advertise your home as being for sale. Take advantage of them and do all the self-marketing your can.


          Take good photos of your home. Whether you're putting an ad in a paper or online, make sure the photos you take of your home are well-done. Blurry or dark photos aren't going to sell anything.


          Don't overprice. It can be tempting to want to get as much as possible out of your home, but in a market like this one, competitiveness is key.


          Ask for advice. (Take the advice given after asking, do not argue with good advice!) If you're struggling with selling your home, look to friends and real estate professionals for advice on how to tackle any issues that come up.


          Do your research. Don't settle on a real estate agent, home price or anything else without doing a little groundwork first. The more you know, the better off you'll be.


          Look at the bright side. A crowded market doesn't have to be a bad thing if you look at it from a different perspective. For instance, if there are several other homes for sale on your street, you may get buyers looking at your home who wouldn't have otherwise stopped in.


          Don't severely restrict showing hours. While it can be hard to balance, work, life and selling your home, make sure to be fairly flexible when it comes to showing your home. You don't want to turn away any buyers who want to see the space.


          Easy Improvements

          These ideas will have your home looking its best in no time.


          Consider new handles. New handles on old cabinets can provide a cheap and easy update.


          Replace light bulbs. This is one of the simplest ways to fix up your home, but it will make it seem that much more well-kept and maintained.


          Make cosmetic updates. Filling in holes, fixing small things and cleaning up stains, spills and scuffs are all projects that can be completed in an afternoon but that will make you home look leaps and bounds better.


          Re-grout tiles. Re-grouting tiles is a fairly easy task and can make a tired, dirty bathroom look brand new.


          Strip old wallpaper. If you've got dingy, peeling wallpaper in your home, take it down. Most buyers aren't looking for wallpaper these days and would prefer to have the work taken care of ahead of time.


          Consider a new toilet seat. If your bathroom is older, a new toilet seat can make things look nice and new for only a few bucks.


          Refinish a stained tub. Old, stained tubs can get new life when you call in a professional refinisher to paint them.  


          Get a new shower curtain. Shower curtains are cheap, so replace any old curtains in your home with nice, fresh new ones.


          Replace leaky faucets. Got a leaky faucet in your home? Buyers are sure to notice, so get the problem fixed or buy a new faucet.


          Fix leaks, creaks and holes. With a little WD-40, spackle and elbow grease you can reduce the ambient noises in your home.



          Have any water leakage problems repaired. Few things will turn off buyers faster than signs of water damage. If you've got a leaky roof or basement, get it fixed, stat. You'll also want to repair any interior damage it has done as well.


          Consider new light fixtures. Outdated or broken light fixtures aren't going to charm buyers, so invest in new ones to make things look neat and nice.



          Staging can go a long way towards making your home look great and getting buyers to go for it. Learn the ins and outs from the ideas below.


          Update furniture. Outdated furniture can make your home seem outdated as well. Get a few pieces of more modern, updated furniture to put in your space instead.


          Create warm and inviting spaces. Your home should be a place that makes buyers feel at home there as well. Use warm colors, cozy setups and accessible styles to make it appealing to the widest range of buyers.


          Go for minimal. Less can be more when it comes to selling your home. Work at striking a balance between your home feeling empty and too full of your personal items.


          Pay attention to flow. The flow of a room can be a big deal with buyers. If you have a room that is a pass way between two spaces, make sure there’s no furniture in the way making it hard to navigate. Feng Shui might help. Feng Shui is the process of rearranging the energy flow in spaces to enhance well-being and happiness. According to its theory, all spaces and objects have different energies that impact each other in various ways. Some items have positive energy while others have negative energy. Feng Shui staging experts balance these energies to create an ambience that lines up with a buyer’s dreams and wishes.


          Design for spaciousness. You want your home to look as big as possible to buyers, so do what you can to make spaces look big and bright. That means small, light furniture and brighter wall colors.


          If you don’t have good furniture, rent some. There are many places where you can rent a nice couch or a dining table for a few months while you are selling your home. It can be cheaper than buying and you won’t have to worry about the pieces when your home is sold.


          Focus on the main rooms. These are the rooms that buyers will be most concerned about, so make sure spaces like the kitchen, living room and master bedroom look the best.


          Be creative. There are numerous ways to make your home look appealing to buyers, so be creative. You may find a theme, color scheme or layout that is great when you’re open to new ideas.


          Use what you have. You may not need to go out and buy new things to furnish your home. Use things you already have around the house and revamp them to make them work in your space.







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            No Lot Too Challenging: Ingenious Odd-Shaped Houses for Oddly Shaped Lots

            No Lot Too Challenging: 13 Ingenious Odd-Shaped Houses

            The lot purchased by a homeowner might be seemingly impossible - clinging to a sheer cliff, squeezing into tight spaces, or consisting of an odd geometric shape - but by god, architects will find a solution. Whether by building up from a postage-stamp-sized property, zig-zagging a house between its neighbors or designing a home in the shape of a giant X, architecture firms have found ways to use seemingly undesirable spaces, leading to some very unusual and imaginative residences.

            By: Steph


            How do you build a house on a sheer cliff that has views on every side, but still feels private, and is virtually invisible from the street? Cadaval & Solá-Morales architects created a two-story, X-shaped residence that clings to the cliff, with the roof functioning as a driveway and terrace. Each side of the home's edge gets its own sweeping view of Barcelona without facing any of the neighbors. Incisions at the top and bottom of the 'X' let in light while maintaining that privacy.


            The Seattle Spite House was built on a pie-shaped piece of land adjacent to a larger home, and gets so narrow at one end that it's hard to open the oven door all the way. The story goes that it was built in 1925 out of spite  because the tiny, odd-shaped lot was all that was given to a wife in a contentious divorce, and she was determined to make the most of it.

            The longest side of the triangular home, at fifteen feet across, faces the street, so passersby might not even notice that there's anything unusual about it. As narrow as it might be, it's surprisingly spacious at 830 square feet, comparable to other bungalows in the neighborhood. A buyer snapped it up for $397,000 in October 2013.

            Ultra-Compact House on 313-Square-Foot Lot

            Odd Lots Ultra Compact 313

            Odd Lots 313 Interior

            As narrow as a single-wide trailer, this house by Mizuishi Architect Atelier packs quite a bit of function into a two-story space that still manages to leave room for a parking spot and tiny garden on a 313-square-foot lot. The inside feels bright and airy thanks to high ceilings and large windows.

            Read More Here


            Homes Built for Oddly Shaped Lots

            How architects design bespoke homes for lots that are tiny, oddly shaped or steeply sloped

            Asheville, N.C.-based architects Elihu Siegman and Michael Silverman were hired by a New Jersey-based client to design a vacation home in North Carolina on a steeply sloped mountainside lot. David Dietrich

            Nancy and William Fertig's Rhode Island property had everything they'd envisioned in a summer vacation home--waterfront views just a two-hour drive from their main home in Connecticut. But it also had a big drawback: the lot was a small, and shaped like a triangular wedge.

            Their architect, David Andreozzi, and project manager, Dave Rizzolo, decided to embrace the quirky shape and designed a fan-shaped home that took advantage of the views. "We kind of decided, we're not going to fight it," says Ms. Fertig, who is in her late 50s. She describes her home as "the shape of a pizza after you've taken the first bite." The tall, angular, three-story house has an inverted layout, with bedrooms on the lower level and living space on the second floor and a master suite on the top floor. The 4,000-square-foot home, which has tiered balconies on the waterfront, cost about $2.5 million to design and build.


            Not ones to back down from a challenge, architects are taking oddly shaped waterfront parcels, precarious cliff-side properties and tiny lots wedged into dense, urban neighborhoods and designing bespoke homes that are fun and functional. Homeowners know that, sometimes, buying a quirky lot may be the only way to get their desired location. But potential challenges loom as well, such as hard-to-furnish trapezoidal rooms and, more important, the home's resale value when it's time to move on.


            Five years ago, Asheville, N.C.-based architects Elihu Siegman and Michael Silverman were hired by a New Jersey-based client to design a vacation home in North Carolina on a steeply sloped mountainside lot. Though the property was an expansive 5 acres overall, local ordinances limited the buildable area to just 15% of the total lot size. To create a home with ample square footage, Mr. Siegman decided to build a long, rectangular living space that cantilevers over the steep slope. In the cantilevered portion, "you're living above the footprint," he explained. The home's garage was built into the hillside.

            He dubbed the home the Aleph House, after a letter in the Hebrew alphabet the intersecting design resembles. "Building in the mountains, there are a lot of challenges. But this home was several degrees more difficult than a typical lot," says Mr. Siegman, whose client declined to comment.

            Nils Erickson's home in Denver has a large, curved wall to shields the neighbors' view into the home and yard.
            Nils Erickson's home in Denver has a large, curved wall to shields the neighbors' view into the home and yard. Photo: Raul Garcia

            Going after an unusual lot can also be a way to take advantage of a property others might overlook. Connie Klema, a Columbus, Ohio, lawyer who also develops and rehabs homes, built on a tiny piece of land adjacent to a freeway on-ramp--the byproduct of a highway expansion in 2001. Located in the popular Italian Village neighborhood that is known for its hip restaurants, art galleries and boutiques, the lot was just 25 feet deep at its narrowest point. Ms. Klema says she figured out a way to squeeze three single-family homes onto the sliver.


            The first home, completed in 2012, has 1,700 square feet over three stories. There's a two-car garage with a car lift on the lower level and a roof deck above. Designed by architects at Lincoln Street Studio in Columbus, the home's minimalist exterior is made primarily of brick, cement board, masonry block and thick glass for soundproofing. The height gives the two-bedroom home the look of a tall, skinny apartment building and allows for downtown views from the top two floors and the roof deck.

            John Galvin, a 51-year-old branding and experience design consultant who lived nearby, says he noticed the building's unusual shape while watching its construction. He paid $375,000 for the home shortly after it hit the market. "We affectionately call it the totem. It draws a lot of attention," he says. "To me, I look at it as being charming." Plus, he adds, the stairs keep him in good shape. Ms. Klema says the second, larger home she's building on the same parcel has just been completed and is on the market for $640,000. "I feel like they're the coolest places in the neighborhood," says Ms. Klema. "And because of their uniqueness, they are priced comparably to other homes" despite the quirky lot.

            Jonathan Miller, of New York-based appraisal company Miller Samuel, says homes on oddly shaped lots that veer from the conventional look of a neighborhood aren't always an easy sell--and may even cut into the bottom line. "There's a haircut associated with something that is irregular," he says. Still, with a creative or striking design, "the shortcoming of a property can be leveraged into the marketing," he says.

            Some architects say that designing buildings on unusual sites can provide the kind of creative spark they may not find on more traditional projects. "Sometimes, it's actually easier to design with a lot of restrictions," says Mr. Rizzolo, who worked on the Fertigs' Rhode Island vacation home. The constraints can provide direction, and an excuse to experiment with uncommon shapes and forms.

            Read More Here


            Another home in Asheville, NC that was built on an oddly shaped lot is on Waynesville Avenue. It was just sold by our Amanda Boren, REALTOR!

            One last one to mention is still on the market! 60 Madison Avenue - Amanda Boren, REALTOR is the listing agent and she said: "The original home was torn down and the new one had to be planned and modified to fit the lot and its set backs. It was a very small footprint to put a home on."

            Check out the builder's website: Green Earth Developments and see some other green homes they have built in the video below!

            Green Earth Developments


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              Asheville's Pollination Celebration!



              Pollinator Week in Asheville!

              2 0 1 5

              June 11 - 21




              Why Help Bees, Butterflies & Other Pollinators?


              More than 80% of flowering plants species and one-third of our foods rely on animals for pollination.

              Due to habitat loss, pesticides, diseases, and parasites, pollinators are in trouble, but you can help!

              Plant a wide variety of native plants that bloom from spring to fall to supply essential nectar and pollen.

              Avoid or minimize pesticide use.

              Buy organic foods as much as possible.


              Picture Thursday, June 11

              Renaissance Asheville Hotel presents
              Global Day of Discovery & Pollination Celebration! Launch Party 
              4:00 - 7:00 ( Monarch & bee education, libations, music, finger foods...)
              Participants include Monarch Rescue, Twin Leaf Brewery, Faerie Kin Stiltwalkers, Asheville Bee Charmer...


              Saturday, June 13

              Botanical Gardens of Asheville presents

              Dr. Lisa Wagner, “Native Plants for Pollinators”

              10:30-12:00 Preregistration and Prepayment Required.

              ($12 members; $17 non-members)


              Living Web Farms presents

              Wise Beekeepers Roundtable, facilitated by Diane Almond

              1:30 - 7:00, in Mills River

              ($15 donation suggested)


              Sunday, June 14

              Carolina Nature Photographers present

              Nationally Known Nature & Bee Photographer Clay Bolt

              5:30 pm Reception, 6:00 - 8:00 Presentation

              UNCA Reuter Center (FREE!)


              Monday, June 15

              Faerie Kin Stiltwalkers presents Enchanted Bees (Donations suggested)

              5:30, Prichard Park & Asheville Bee Charmer presents Around the World Honey Tasting Adventure

              5:00 - 7:30, Battery Park Ave. ($10 suggested donation)


              Tuesday, June 16


              NC Cooperative Extension & Buncombe County Beekeepers Chapter present

              Acclaimed Author Dr. Mark Winston: Value or Values?

              Audacious Ideas for the Future of Beekeeping

              Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Center

              6:30 Reception, 7:00 Program

              ($10 suggested donation)


              Wednesday, June 17

              Pack Library presents

              Dr. Mark Winston: Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive

              6:00 Book Signing & Honey Tasting, 6:30 Program



              Thursday, June 18

              USDA Forest Southern Research Station presents

              Interpretive Pollinator Garden Stroll

              12:00-2:00, 200 W.T. Weaver Blvd.



              Fine Arts Theatre presents

              Wings of Life Documentary (You’ll forget to breathe!)

              7:00 pm followed by panel discussion

              (Cost: $10)


              Saturday, June 20

              Wedge Brewing Logo

              The Wedge Brewery (in the River Arts District) presents

              The Bee Movie

              Dusk, BYO chair



              Sunday, June 21


              Asheville GreenWorks presents

              Father’s Day Garden Tour in Biltmore Forest

              1:00 – 5:00

              ($25/$20 in advance)


              Read More Here


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                Best Eco-friendly Gear and Gadgets for Outdoor Enthusiasts!

                The weather is warming up and people are revelling in the warmer weather by spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.

                (Especially in the beautiful Western North Carolina Mountains and Asheville!)

                Whether taking off into the woods and mountains for some backwoods camping or setting up "camp" in a friend's backyard, many folks will be eating, sleeping, cooking, and playing outside for the next few months, and a fair bit of equipment, gear, and gadgets are needed for all of these activities. We've rounded up some of the best eco-friendly camping gear available to ensure the smallest possible environmental impact during our outdoor adventures.


                The Concept Tent (also known as the kaleidoscope or solar powered tents) was thought up because of festivals and the fact that partygoers always need to keep in touch with mates while they’re camping and roaming around the festival site. The resulting concept makes for a seriously cool tent with some awesome camping gadgets, which could help inspire a carefree nomadic lifestyle in full-on glam camping style!

                Kaleidoscope and Orange Communication designed it in partnership to celebrate Glastonbury Festival. For us the best bit about it is the revolutionary new way it collects direct sunlight, and what this design might mean for luxe glamping and eco camping in the future… particularly if you want to have a nomadic lifestyle. So if you’re wondering, “when’s this solar tent for sale?” well we’ve got news for you there too.

                Solar Energy Collection

                The idea is that specially coated solar threads are woven into conventional fabric so designers wouldn’t have to use fixed solar panels to harness the energy. It would also have three directional glides that can be moved throughout the day to maximise solar efficiency and energy collection. A pretty cool tent huh?

                Control Centre

                But the most amazing bit about this concept solar powered tent is its central wireless control hub which lets you see the amount of energy being generated and used, as well as sending out a wireless internet signal for anyone who needs to surf the internet. This is displayed on a gadget geeks dream… a touchscreen LCD display screen, an awesome camping gadget!

                The control hub also has a wireless charging pouch which powers mobile phones and other portable devices without the need for messy wires and multiple chargers. The ‘magnetic induction’ technology passes an electric current through a coil embedded in the charging pouch and this in turn generates a magnetic field which creates a charge and powers the battery. For non-tecky people like us out there… this means it’s one extremely clever solar tent!

                Central Heating

                Also controlled by the central hub is the most amazing bonus for the ultimate posh camping experience… an internal heating system. This takes the form of a heating element that’s embedded within the tent’s groundsheet giving under floor heating that can be triggered automatically once the temperature falls below a set level.


                Finally, to avoid festival-goers ever losing their tent (uh huh…we know all about that!), the Concept Tent is designed to have “glo-cation” technology. This works by enabling the lost camper to find their cool tent by sending out a text message that triggers a distinctive glow in the tent helping them see it from a distance.

                But before you throw out your old tents, solar panels and thermal underwear you’d better note that this Concept Tent is just that… a concept. It was designed to celebrate Orange’s 11th year at Glastonbury Festival and – lets face it – a bit of a PR stunt. However we’d like to be optimistic and think it’s a glimpse of earth friendly cool camping for 2012 and beyond.


                Go Pop Up Tent Camper Trailer

                SylvanSport was shooting for versatility when they thought up the Go Pop Up Tent Camper Trailer. This amazing piece of compact engineering functions as a trailer to pack up bikes, kayaks, motorcycles, or other toys on its aluminum frame, and it can sleep up to four people comfortably when its transformed into a camper. The biggest advantage is that this 840-pound trailer can be towed by most any vehicle with a trailer hitch.

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                Sleeping Bags

                Unless you’re “glamping” in some 5-star yurt, chances are you won’t be nestling down between silk sheets. When you’re roughing it, a good sleeping bag can make all the difference between a great night’s rest, and a miserable night of chills and sleep deprivation.

                Big Agnes’ Encampment 15 sleeping bag is made of nylon and has a synthetic fill made of 97% recycled material. It’s one of the most vegan-friendly bags out there, and the fact that it’s created with recycled nylon is a big plus.

                • Integrated full pad sleeve. Never roll off your pad again
                • Rectangular shape offers more room in foot box and shoulders
                • Insotect Tubic™ is a revolutionary tubular insulation system engineered to provide the maximum cubic loft for supreme thermal efficiency and user comfort. Through its innovative design and construction, Insotect Tubic delivers performance benefits that make gear significantly loftier, warmer & more durable. Superior thermal efficiency - the significant air space created by the DualVault™ and Vertical Thermal Channel™ delivers the best thermal efficiency.
                • Synthetic Insulation: INTEGRITY - Short Staple synthetic insulation with 97% recycled content
                • Mesh storage sack & nylon stuff sack included
                • Built in pillow pocket holds a fleece or Big Agnes Pillow
                • Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners
                • YKK #8 zipper. Mate together any of our left and right zip bags with the same size zipper. Small has a 60" zipper and the regular and long have a 70" zipper
                • No-draft collar seals around neck to keep cold air from sneaking in
                • No-draft wedge insulates the connection between the bag and pad
                • No-draft zipper tube insulates along the length of the zipper
                • Shell: Nylon rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water
                • Lining: Soft and breathable, nylon taffeta with stain resistant finish
                • Pad sleeve: Nylon rip-stop. WR surface treatment to repel water

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                sleeping bags

                As sleeping bags used by the military, you can be sure that the CLIMASHIELD products will be both functional and durable for outdoor camping. These camping sleeping bags are made with between 40% and 100% recycled polyester filaments and boast of excellent loft.


                Eco Thermo 6 Sleeping Pad by Pacific Outdoor

                sleeping pad

                Get an even better night’s sleep with the Pacific Outdoor Eco Thermo 6 Sleeping Pad. This air-core designed, lightweight sleeping pad is easy to pack and rolls up into a small stuff pack.

                These pads have a zero carbon footprint and are made from bamboo fiber fill and undyed bamboo fabrics.  It’s even received the Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Green award.

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                Naturally, you’ll need a great pack to haul all of your stuff while you’re trekking through the wild, right?

                The Water Dog Hydration Pack is made of PVC-free and toxin-free recycled materials, and comes with a BPA-free water bladder that you can fill for all day trail sipping.

                Made from recycled plastic soda bottles, the BlueLounge Backpack is a great light day pack that can pull double-duty as a daily accessory. Fill it with a few essentials for a day’s hiking, and then use it daily when you’re back in the city.

                Cookware and Utensils

                The type of cookware and dishes you’ll be using will depend a lot on whether you’re backpacking or setting up in the kind of campground that has hot showers and electrical outlets.

                Cookware and Dishes:

                All-in-one sets are fabulous, as you can use them both as pots/pans and bowls/plates. A titanium cook set is pretty much ideal for both backpacking and car camping, and you can eat right out of the pots so cleanup is a breeze.

                For lightweight backpacking items, you can go for something like Fozzils foldable plates and bowls, which weigh next to nothing and are super easy to clean too. MEC’s GSI Infinity Divided Plates are great too, as there are handy little compartments for different dishes… just in case you really don’t like it when your baked beans touch your veggie burger.

                Instead of bowls, you can aim for a heavy-duty camping mug that can hold oatmeal or stew as well as coffee or cocoa. REI’s big ol’ recycled camp mug comes in grey or olive, is made of recycled polypropylene, and can hold just about anything you pour into it.

                ToGo bamboo cutlery set


                REI has a great set that’s made of an aircraft grade aluminum alloy, and it’s comprised of a fork, knife, and spoon. It’s durable, easy to clean, and can last a lifetime.

                Bamboo utensils are super lightweight and ideal for backpacking, and there’s always the ubiquitous spork if you’re a one utensil kind of person.

                Remember to wash all of these items after using them, and if you’re camping deep in the woods, store them—and your food—well away from your tent in case animals are attracted by the scent of the scrumptious supper you cooked. Hanging them from a tree is your best bet, and you can also store them in your car if you drove in.

                 Blueberry Maple Crunch from Outdoor Herbivore

                Camping Food

                If you’re going backcountry camping and/or hiking, the best foods to take with you are compact in size and weight, but high in protein and energy.


                Many (if not most) CLIF and LUNA bars are vegan, and many are gluten-free as well. Other bars such as YAWP and Earnest Eats are fab too. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can go for spicy and savory items like vegan jerky, vegetarian pepperoni sticks or dried spiced chickpeas and nuts. You can also prep for your trip with an all-in-one snack box like something from Vegan Cuts, where you’re sure to have a selection of different snackables to keep the entire camping party munching happily. If you prefer to make your own camping snacks, there are some amazing energy bar recipes out there, and you can’t go wrong with a good DIY trail mix with a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.


                If you’re “car camping”, or visiting friends at a cottage, you can probably just take a cooler full of your favourite snacks along with you, but there’s something special about cooking meals on an open fire. Outdoor Herbivore has a great line of dry vegetarian and vegan camping food so you just need to add them to boiling water for a delicious, hearty meal at the end of a long day. They also have sprout sacks so you can sprout your own seeds and beans while you trek, which will let you have some crunchy freshness to nosh on. A quick look through Pinterest can give you countless other ideas as well. As a final note about food, camping just wouldn’t be the same without roasted marshmallows, and you can get some great vegan ones via Sweet & Sara.

                The BioLite charging stove


                It’s difficult to cook without a stove, unless you MacGuyver one out of a tree stump, or just cook over a bonfire.

                The Sun Oven has received top marks from countless people, and it’s a lightweight option that would allow you some pretty decent meals out in the woods.

                BioLite is another great stove that serves a dual purpose: it can charge your electronic devices while warming your food. There’s no additional fuel needed for this stove either; just gather some twigs and light them on fire.


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                  Asheville Memorial Day 2015 Weekend Events!

                  Here is a great list of 2015 Memorial Day Weekend Events in Asheville!


                  May 22-24, 2015: Mountain Sports Festival
                  Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a newbie trying an event for the first time, the annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville offers something for you.
                  Read more about the Mountain Sports Festival.

                  The Mountain Sports Festival is a weekend music and sports festival that celebrates community, athletics and local business.

                  The free festival showcases the terrain, environment and unique culture of Asheville, NC and the surrounding mountains. The Mountain Sports Festival is organized by a volunteer group of community oriented citizens dedicated to the presenting of a well balanced series of events that encourages participation on all levels.

                  Held annually on Memorial Day Weekend, 2015 marks the 15th Annual Mountain Sports Festival. This year promises build on previous years and bring a wide variety of events in the mountains, throughout town, and on the river, an array of musical talent will perform on the Wells Fargo Main Stage each day, and Pisgah Brewing Company and local food vendors will be available to fill your belly.

                  Thanks to our amazing sponsors and our hardworking and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, the festival continues to remain free to the thousands of attendees each year! We look forward to seeing you Carrier Park this Memorial Day Weekend to celebrate 15 years of Mountain Sports Festival!

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                  May 22-24, 2015: Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival
                  Celebrating the Vaudeville Revival here in Asheville. See renowned circus and burlesque artists from around the world. They promise fashion, contortion, trapeze, and tease!
                  Read more about the Burlesque & Sideshow Festival.

                  The Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival is now in our NINTH year of celebrating the Vaudeville Revival here in Asheville. Three thousand people have reveled in the company of our satin and sparkle, our unicorn-feathered starlets and our fish-eyed zombie boys.

                  Nominated for Best Show in the Mountain Xpress Readers Choice Awards, ABSfest has attracted renowned circus and burlesque artists from across the USA, as well as Scotland, Germany, and Japan. We offer fashion, contortion, trapeze, and tease!

                  In a world now brimming with Burlesque Festivals, from Vegas to Amsterdam, ABSfest is known for embodying the true spirit of Vaudeville and nurturing creativity and empowerment.

                  The festival is one of several annual productions of Future of Tradition, a seminal force in the underground Asheville arts community since 1999. ABSfest has spawned a sister event, the Virginia Burlesque & Sideshow Festival in Richmond, VA, now in its third year, and festival Producer Lauren ‘Madame Onça’ O’Leary travels internationally teaching and performing bellydance, music and stagecraft.

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                  May 23-24, 2015: Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
                  Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers, and more!
                  See our Kenilworth Art Studio Tour Guide.

                  Saturday, May 23rd  10am - 5pm
                  Sunday, May 24th  10am - 5pm
                  Kenilworth is a quaint, wooded neighborhood located adjacent to the heart of downtown Asheville, NC.    
                  The Studio Tour is an annual event comprised of and run by artists living in the Kenilworth community.  Since 2008, artists have opened their homes and studios, allowing hundreds of visitors to meet them personally,  learn a little about the process and shop for handmade items with a good story. 
                  We hope you are able to join in the fun each year on Memorial Day weekend!


                  May 22-30, 2015: Asheville Beer Week
                  Many events throughout the week, including beer tastings, dinners, and much more. Beer City Festival on May 30.
                  See our Asheville Beer Week Guide.

                  t’s time to celebrate all things craft beer at Asheville Beer Week. The fourth annual Asheville Beer Week is on the books! Mark your calendars for May 22 – May 30, 2015. Come see why 26 breweries were started here and still call Western North Carolina home. And, find out what drew Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium to build second homes here.

                  Asheville Beer Week will feature an amazing line-up of tastings, dinners, beer education and other beer-related fun (and nonsense). Asheville Beer Week culminates with Asheville’s sixth annual Beer City Festival on May 30, where dozens of breweries (and plenty of live music) will transform Roger McGuire Green into, oh, shall we say, beer paradise.

                  Head over to and give us like to stay in the know, and follow us on Twitter at @AVLBeerWeek and Instagram at @avlbeerweek.

                  What is Asheville Beer Week?

                  Asheville Beer Week is an annual event celebrating a vital (and delicious) business (and pleasure) sector in WNC—craft beer! Supported by Asheville Brewers Alliance, ABW is organized by a volunteer committee of regional beer industry people.

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                    Asheville's River Arts District in National News Again!

                    Asheville's River Arts District: Wander Amid Art and Artists

                    Photo Credit:

                    Pictured Above: Andrea K from Studio A with her beautiful Pysanky Eggs!

                    (Here at Town and Mountain Realty, we were lucky enough to take part in one of Andrea's Pysanky workshops. It was so much fun!)

                    Many cities have transformed their old industrial zones into attractive neighborhoods for recreation, shopping and new small businesses. Nowhere has this trend come to life more gloriously than in the River Arts District in Asheville, North Carolina

                    The River Arts District is a sprawling section of town along Asheville's French Broad River that manages to be charming and historic, gritty and trendy all at once. Unlike other tourist-friendly shopping districts in so many destinations that are just a few blocks long and way too cutesy to feel authentic, this one is for real. In the River Arts District, you'll meet artists and see them at work, wander around beautiful old brick buildings, and shop for truly unique souvenirs -- from handmade clothing to upcycled lighting fixtures.

                    More than 180 artists work in 22 buildings that date as far back as the 1880s and early 1900s. The large, light-filled spaces -- once home to a tanning factory, an oil distribution facility and companies that made biscuits, flour, cotton and concrete blocks -- are home today to galleries, potter's wheels and towering vats of craft beer. You'll see artists sewing, painting, woodworking, basket-making and more.

                    Jonas Gerard's colorful art ranges from small tiles starting at $55 to grand works for $12,500, including his luminous "Majestic Skies" painting, which changes color with the light. He has two galleries in the district, 240 Clingman Ave., and 191 Lyman St., with paint-splattered work spaces onsite.

                    Splurge, 37 Paynes Way, sells unique upcycled wares: a comfy easy chair and stool made from old tires; one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures created from wooden tobacco stackers, old metal turbines and other cast-offs, and thick volumes of vintage Reader's Digest Condensed Books carved into large, decorative alphabet letter blocks.

                    At Curve Studios, 6 Riverside Drive, Pattiy Torno makes her designs at a sewing machine right in the shop, with wraps starting at $30 and beautiful flowing sweaters, skirts and other apparel ranging from $60 to $170. Because Asheville gets visitors from around the world, Torno -- unlike most clothing stores -- sells all her designs year-round. A visitor from Hawaii might want a sweater in Asheville's sometimes chilly spring air, while visitors from Florida and Australia shop for opposite summer and winter seasons back home. Torno even stands outside the dressing room while customers try things on to offer advice on best colors, sizes and styles for the individual: "I get to see my clothes on lots of different bodies and that makes me a better designer," she said.

                    Antiques at Riverview Station, 191 Lyman St., is a wonderful jumble of collectibles like a manual typewriter, old policeman's notebook, Royal Doulton dog and vintage wooden spools of thread. A few blocks away, you might find Stephen Lange at work on "sticker art" with his 10-year-old daughter Esme at The Wedge Studios, 129 Roberts St. "Everything is made of tape," Lange says, as he carefully places small, bright pieces of tape in intricate geometric patterns on birch wood. The works sell for $250-$1,000.

                    For a bite to eat, choices range from 12 Bones Smokehouse, 5 Riverside Drive, a barbecue joint visited by President Obama, to 37 Paynes Way, where you'll find the upscale Bull & Beggar restaurant and a large selection of craft beer from vats at Wedge Brewing.

                    Another beer stop is expected to open by the end of this year when New Belgium Brewing opens a $175 million, 133,000-square-foot state-of-the-art East Coast operation on the waterfront, including a tasting room. Other redevelopment projects in the River Arts District's future include greenway connectors, a climbing center, and a riverside restaurant, the Smoky Park Supper Club.

                    Read More Here


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