PANTONE Color of the Year = Springtime

PANTONE Color System is best known for its PMS (Pantone Matching System). This color matching system is used internationally among designers in graphic, interior, and product design, and printing. The system is used to assure that colors are accurate when products go into production regardless of the various equipment used, whether by professional designers or amateur artists.


Starting in 2000, PANTONE assigns a Color of the Year annually, to provide a cohesiveness across design industries. Complimenting lifestyles with color, they declare, “has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.” All design industries immediately engaged in this approach and this resulted in a unified theme across genres of design, connecting color ideas in clothing, to interiors, to products and even printed materials.

When PANTONE announced its 2021 Color of the Year, they looked ahead, past the tumultuous condition of our lives over the last 12 months and offered an inspiring approach to 2021.


Last year’s color, Classic Blue (PANTONE 14-4052), offered peacefulness with a sense of elegance. Announced well before we were all sequestered by the pandemic, PANTONE still saw the need for “reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.” As the year unfolded, PANTONE executive director Leatrise Eiseman suggested how appropriate the themes of “tranquility,” “clarity,” and “restfulness” continued to be, and encouraged incorporating them into our lives through the Classic Blue color.


Looking ahead to 2021, this year offers much promise to many.  In presenting two independent colors, Illuminating Yellow (PANTONE 13-0647) and Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104), PANTONE hopes to encourage “people to look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality.”

“PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.” PANTONE announcing 2021 Color of the Year


Even though the Color of the Year was announced in December 2020, the nature of the colors selected lend themselves to Springtime decorating! I’ve collected some images that may inspire you to incorporate these colors into your home decor. No need to change your whole design theme, just add these colors as you are inspired! When used as accents, they are harmonious with most palettes. For 2021, PANTONE offers “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”

Let’s hear it for resilience and power! 



Atlanta’s Real Estate Resilience

What made the ATL real estate market resilient last year? How is it possible that we had a market boom during a pandemic? I believe the resiliency of the Atlanta real estate market was due to the very nature of our great city: the strong economy for jobs and growth, and the housing affordability of Metro Atlanta. Add to that the fortunate favorable mortgage rates, and you have a resilient real estate market.

Jobs and growth

Georgia showed impressive economic progress in the first half of 2020, despite alarming closures and job losses. And according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by the end of 2020, while jobless rates were still considerably lower than in 2019, employment rates were growing in 10 of the 14 metro areas. Labor commissioner Mark Butler spoke enthusiastically of “the resilience that Georgia has to offer during this economic rebound.” Where are all these jobs?

Buckhead’s Financial District employs over 13,000 — almost half the finance workers in metro Atlanta. Spanning across GA 400 and the MARTA rail system RED Line is the landmark Atlanta Financial Center.

There has been an increase in jobs in construction, legal, tech, finance, and the education and health industries. Many Atlantans already worked from home pre-pandemic, and this number certainly and necessarily increased in 2020. Last year many jobs were retained in Atlanta due to the flexibility of both employers and employees.

Tech Hub

1105 WEST PEACHTREE
A 410 foot tall multi-use development designed to offer “an unrivaled office community designed to help companies recruit and retain the best talent.”

Metro Atlanta has a significant and growing tech hub and home to 23 Fortune 500 companies. That equals a continual increase in jobs; many of them high-paying. Under construction now are Midtown Union, the new Invesco headquarters located at W. Peachtree and 17th Street; 1105 West Peachtree — a mixed use development which will include Google’s Southeast headquarters; and the Norfolk Southern 1.5 million sq. ft. headquarters, also located on W. Peachtree. Microsoft just announced its new hub in Atlantic Yards, bringing 2,500 jobs with it, and future plans for developing the mixed-use Quarry Yards in West Atlanta. These developments not only provide construction jobs now, but they guarantee thousands of jobs in the tech and hospitality industries and ultimately increase the demand for housing in Metro Atlanta.

Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry loves Georgia — we rank #1 for film production. In 2019 over 400 feature films and tv shows were shot in Georgia. And despite the pandemic, in 2020 $2.2 billion was spent filming. Over 40,000 production workers will be employed on an expected 75 production projects during the next year, with 50 currently in production or filming prep.

Although still down from pre-pandemic levels, Metro Atlanta job-growth has doubled for the last few months. All these factors show Georgia’s economy to be resilient.



Lower Interest Rates

Mortgage rates are one of the primary drivers of the success of the housing market. Interest rates in 2020 reached lows not seen since the 1970s. Rates dipped as low as 2.66% in December for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This factor alone can boost home sales dramatically. Millennials are leading the way for first-time homebuyers thanks to these low rates. Leading institutions indicate that although there will be increases in 2021, rates will remain relatively low, possibly reaching 3.4%. Rates are predicted to increase more in 2022, making 2021 a promising year for new mortgages.


Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast
Source
20212022
Fannie Mae2.7%2.9%
Freddie Mac2.9%3.2%
Mortgage Bankers Association3.4%3.9%
Harry Norman, REALTORS® Metro Atlanta Residential Real Estate Forecast


Metro Atlanta’s Affordable Housing

Even with housing prices increasing by an average of 8% last year, Metro Atlanta has remained an affordable place to live.  The national monthly average cost of home ownership is 30% of income. Metro Atlanta comes in at 23.8%. Compared to New York City (40%) Atlanta is in the upper tier of affordable cities with a large population. For many people relocating to Atlanta from more expensive real estate markets, the increase in the local cost of housing here was not an obstacle.

Over 20 homes at various stages of construction in a new neighborhood, Newbury Place, going up in Loganville, GA. The builder, Starlight Homes, based in Alpharetta, is popular with first-time homebuyers.

Affordable housing, a robust (but still unsettled) economy, and job growth are factors that combined last year for an expected increase in real estate demand. Add to this: changes in lifestyles, relocations for jobs, and the record-breaking low interest rates and the results speak for themselves. Atlanta has a booming real estate market. One plain obstacle to a thriving market in 2021 is the short supply of homes. But even that angle won’t slow the Metro Atlanta market. Although there are building materials supply challenges, new construction is expected to increase 9% in 2021, with a forecast for 50,000 new units (MetroStudy). In this exciting and profitable market, many would-be sellers are recognizing the opportunity and are ready to cash in on their equity.


What is your experience with the 2020 housing market? Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to read about them…please comment below!

Peachtree Corners, GA

A corner of my kitchen

I have a spot in my kitchen that is all set up for making espresso drinks. I can remember how, when I was growing up in the 70s, my mother would sit for hours and hours at the kitchen table with her sister and their friends, laughing, talking, and pouring and sipping their coffee. Mama drank hers black. She liked good strong coffee! Coffee for her was something to be savored and enjoyed and crafted. As an adult I liked the coffee she made, but I never had a big cup, a small cup was plenty for me — and I definitely had it black, too. I like to taste it!

That’s why an espresso machine is perfect for my taste in coffee. It’s just a small amount at a time, and it’s nice & rich. It’s crafted. I like it.

About 6 years ago I got my first espresso machine. I paid $5 for it at a thrift shop. It was a little Krups machine that probably cost $99 new. I wasn’t fancy. It just had one button and one knob, and a steam wand for the milk. It was a perfect intro to espresso making. Through trial and error I learned how to make a good espresso and I enjoyed that machine for a few years.

Usually when I’m having a latte, I brew the espresso directly into the cup then pour the steamed milk on top.

This time, with my Krups machine, I steamed the milk first, poured it into my cup, and then brewed the espresso into the milk, just to see what it would be like. This is what appeared: an image of Mother and Child. I couldn’t have designed this myself if I’d tried!


Eventually the portafilter (where the grounds sit) started leaking, so I gave it to my son, who took it to our basement workshop where it will be taken apart (probably for the pump inside). 

I spent some time (ok, a LOT of time) online, researching espresso machines. I wanted a new one that was simple to use, with not too many bells and whistles, that was affordable, and one that would be a step up from the Krups. I did find a great machine — the Italian-made Gaggia Classic.

It makes terrific espresso shots, and the steamed milk is pretty decent, although I think the newer models have improved the technology in that area. Anyway I don’t have lattes too often — I usually just enjoy just having a simple espresso shot in the morning.

I upped my game and got a fancy grinder Christmas 2019. That was fun! It’s niiiiiice.


I have some lovely accoutrements which bring me great pleasure while I have my coffee. This little café caddy belonged to my late mother and houses my collection of special cups and mugs and flavorings.

Some are thrifted, some were gifts, and some were Mama’s. I bought the two pretty glasses in Valencia, Spain and they cost about 50 cents each. The shop owner recalled to me how her father and his friends used to drink their coffee out of those exact kinds of glasses every day. I liked the idea of that! (Why didn’t I buy more than two??)

One of my favorite things in the caddy is this little coffee pot salt & pepper set I inherited. Mama bought it online about 15 years ago. She was very surprised when the set arrived, because she was expecting a full-sized double-burner coffee warmer! She didn’t know it was a miniature salt & pepper set. “I wondered why it was so cheap…” she mused! Mama had such a great sense of humor and she didn’t mind laughing at herself. She always kept the little Lockhorns cartoon with it, tucked underneath!


The very best part of my espresso experience is the coffee itself. No matter how awesome the equipment is, if you don’t have good coffee beans, it won’t taste good. It just won’t. I am very lucky because my brother Rob owns a coffee shop, Java Lords Coffee House & Bar, in Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA. He roasts the coffee beans himself — they are super fresh and Fair Trade, too.

My favorites are the beans from Yirgacheffe and Tanzania. There is a natural, subtle variation with every batch Rob roasts, but these particular beans tend to have a warm, sweet, fruity aroma! Rob always has a terrific house blend on hand, which he calls “Lord’s House”.

Other special roasts include Mourning Blend (that “u” changes the meaning, right) Dead Souls’, and Darkness Blend. He also roasts beans from Sumatra, Thailand, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, and other places as well. In my opinion, Java Lords sells the best coffee beans. When I can’t get over L5P to replenish, I do like to buy Allegra Coffee Beans from Whole Foods. They are pretty good and I enjoy those espressos, but when I get back to my Java Lords beans…it’s just soooo good! 

I’m lucky to have come up with a great combination of elevated equipment, my pretty tableware, and the unparalleled coffee beans. It’s a nice start to my day and I just love it! Do you have a coffee ritual, or a machine you love? Do you have special mugs or other accoutrements that give you warm feelings? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear…

Late Winter Gardening

Before we know it,  Atlanta gardens will see hosta tips rising up through the dirt and azalea flower buds bursting. On this page I’ve collected easy and manageable activities we can do to keep our yards in shape and start preparing for this Spring! Some are from my own experience and some are from terrific online resources. The end of winter is a great time to check off some maintenance items for garden and patio. 

LANDSCAPES

Trees and shrubs: fertilize before they begin spring growth; cut off dead branches. Clear out tree branches to let light once leaves begin growing, where needed.

Cut back pampas and maiden grasses, Butterfly bushes, and holly shrubs.

Cut back dead grasses and flower stems (pampas grass and Rubeckia Hirta Black-eyed Susans) left over from last fall.

Mow liriope (monkey grass) which will begin to regrow in late March.

Hellebore / Lenten roses: cut back and clean out old tattered foliage so the flowers, which naturally droop downward, can be appreciated!

Knockout Roses: prune these back in late February, early March. These flowers bloom off of new growth so cutting the bush back to about 1/3 its size will promote lots of new growth and plenty of blooms. 

It can be fun to force forsythia blooms — at first sign of color on the buds cut the stem and bring it indoors and arrange in a tall vase of fresh water.

HARDSCAPES

Atlanta has some wonderfully temperate winter days that are perfect for outdoor hardscape maintenance. Suggested projects could include: stain the deck, paint the porch, paint or touch up patio furniture and garden benches; clean out fountains and other water features, clean off outsides of container gardening pots. Plan these jobs for days when the forecast predicts temps that stay above freezing for a few days afterwards, so that paints and stains can fully dry. 

Clean pots, inside and out. Refresh soil every few years. I don’t clean the outside of my terra cotta pot, I like the weathered look of that one:)

Cleaning out the stream and pond is a big (and cold!) job that my husband handles. He always waits for a warmer day to work on this.

Distribute fresh pebbles on walkways where needed, before weeds begin to emerge.

Clean out bird feeders and birdhouses to prepare for Springtime lodgers! 

This is also a great time to refresh your outdoor decor, such as pillows, chair cushions, umbrellas, pottery, furniture, and garden figures. They are easy to find right now — most stores already have these items on display! 

Enjoy a warm-ish day and Happy Gardening!

Pike’s Nursery has some wonderful and unique statues, like this St. Francis we bought years ago.

RESOURCES:

walterreeves.com: hardiness-zones-for-georgia

February Gardening To-Do List HGTV

GardenDesign.com

Dogwoodlandscaping.com

It’s a nice place to share

Last year on the cusp of an Empty Nest, I decided to pursue a real estate license — and after I got my license, a dear friend connected me with her broker at Harry Norman, Realtors®, which I joyfully joined. So through my training and acclimation to this new world I found out that a blog is a great place to showcase my interests and add value to other people’s lives at the same time. I hope I can connect with people through this blog and through Harry Norman, Realtors®. I am excited about my career and creating new relationships. And I am feeling a heap of gratitude for my family and my longtime friends who have encouraged me along. 

This is a nice place for me to put down my ideas and projects and share the photographs I’ve taken. I enjoy sharing these things and hope that they may inspire someone to do something fun and creative and meaningful. The kinds of things I enjoy are “lifestyle”-oriented, I suppose — cooking, baking, enhancing and improving my home and my yard. I love getting great photos of these things, plus I love taking photos of people and places. I hope to share the things that matter to me — my home projects, adventures in my kitchen, great restaurants, travel, things relating to my interests in the arts — music, art, dance, theater — and community events in Peachtree Corners and metro Atlanta. I also occasionally enjoy a great Atlanta United soccer match!

Websites are such fun places to visit. It is awesome be part of a bigger, diverse community and share my ideas, creations, and interests!   

After spending the last 26 years taking care of my children, I am ready to look outward now and see where my abilities and talents can lead me. My husband and I homeschooled our children throughout their lives (they are 25, 22, and 18 at this writing). I learned a great deal over those years: I learned about the fulfillment of putting others first, I learned how to search for what you need, and how to create what you couldn’t find. I know now that I am a great facilitator and manager — and also that I will always love reading — fiction, non-fiction, and storybooks and picture books — and that our relationships with the arts can make a difference in how we get through life. I learned all about having authentic gratitude for the people I love and the life I live.