Moving Forward from the Flood – Step 1

By Amy Eiduke, Communications Manager, Regional Support Center

On July 26, 2013 we, along with many of my neighbors, experienced an intense flood. By “intense” I mean nine feet of water in the basement, two feet in our garage and one foot in our family room. The devastation was great and we lost quite a bit; a car, furniture, holiday decorations, furnace, water heater, etc. Most upsetting were those personal items that can never be replaced – my wedding dress, family mementos, an antique pool table given down through the generations – those are the things that broke our hearts.

But 2014 begins a new year – a year of reconstruction! We were able to put our family room and garage back in order within a few months, but our basement is another story. We are just now beginning to rebuild.

Step 1 was to find materials that would survive massive amounts of water, if God forbid we were to flood again. Our first task was to tackle the floor. Carpet and hardwood were out and tile can be tricky when faced with a flood too. So instead, we went with a decorative metallic epoxy floor that looks more like a piece of art than a floor. The team we hired ground up the top layer of concrete, added a primer coat, then applied the colors we chose. After that they stood back and let the magic happen. Based on the slopes and movement of the concrete the color moved and mixed and created a one of a kind floor.

The best part of all, if we do get water again, all I will have to do is mop it up and the floor will still be intact. Next up after the holidays: The ceiling…if you have any water resistant ideas for the ceiling or walls let me know.

Escape the Cold – Warm Vacation Homes

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you ever thought about a second home? A warm place to escape the Midwest winters for a little while? Did you realize your local Coldwell Banker real estate agent can help you find that vacation home? Some agents even specialize in properties in these exotic locals.

Check out these warm weather dream vacation homes that could thaw out your winter blues: 

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands – Listed by Jed Skae

Oil Nut Bay is a family community located along the Caribbean Sea on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda in the Birtish Virgin Islands. Spanning across 300 acres of land in eight distinctive neighborhoods are 88 luxury homes, each one uniquely designed to give the resort experience within a private setting.

“I am proud to represent a development of this caliber,” said Jed Skae a broker in our Lakeview office. “This is a great opportunity to introduce local buyers to Oil Nut Bay and all that the community has to offer, and I’m confident that Chicagoans will be drawn to the lifestyle of the British Virgin Islands.  In fact, just in the past year there have been four buyers in the development from the Midwest.”

Jamaica is known for the warmth of it’s people, lush interiors full of waterfalls, mountains and rivers…and of course beautiful beaches. Villa Lolita in Hanover, Jamaica is a stunning five-star, premier rated villa. With it’s modern design and luxurious furnishings, it has been awarded Villa of the Year for the last three years. Designed by Chicago architect Tom Reed, it sits on almost 4 acres of terraced lawns landscaped with tropical plants and coconut trees. It’s also just a short golf cart ride to the 18 hole golf course or one or the 9 tennis courts, club house and private beach. A truly luxury vacation home and destination.

Planning to stay stateside? Marco Island, FL was named one of the top 10 places to buy a vacation home in 2013 by MarketWatch. It’s white sandy beaches, sparkling waters and amazing golf are only a few of the draws to the largest island in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. This stunning home is located on one of the best golf course lots in Hideaway Beach. The estate setting has gorgeous panoramic views. An exquisite, spacious interior luxuriously finished with amazing attention to detail has three-bedrooms and plenty of room to entertain.

Where would your dream vacation home be located? 

Make Your Guests Feel At Home

As the holiday season approaches, you may be opening their doors and welcoming family and friends to their homes. Before they arrive, take some time to get your guest room into shape.

By turning your spare bedroom into a five-star getaway, your guests can experience all the comforts of home. Here are some tips for creating the ultimate guest room.

Guest Room Make the room inviting. Start with the biggest bed that will fit the room. A queen size is the ideal fit for most guest scenarios (a couple, tall guest, adult plus child, etc.) Then add fine-quality sheets, a blanket, pillows and a beautiful duvet. Keep extra pillows and blankets nearby.

Focus on functionality. Guests come with stuff, so provide them plenty of space to put it. Set out a luggage rack or bench to hold a suitcase or duffel. On the nightstand include a reading lamp and clock. Also allow for easy plug-in access to charge a phone. Make sure there are plenty of hangers in the closet and extra drawer space available. Hang a small mirror and if space allows, a long dressing mirror.

Bath productsAt your service. Create a soothing, comfortable room by laying out towels and toiletries so your guests won’t have to search for items. To give it that little extra something have water and other snacks on hand.  A reading chair with a cozy throw is also a nice addition.

Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving in a Small Space

Space Solutions for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

By Shannon Perkins, Marketing Coordinator,  Regional Support Center

The task of hosting holiday celebrations should not be limited to homeowners. While this may prove to be challenging for renters, proper planning makes it possible for things to go smoothly. In addition to preparing as much of the meal ahead of time as possible, it is important to have small snacks on hand for the crowd before dinner. Below are a few tips that can help apartment renters prepare to host thanksgiving dinner.

Delegate tasks

A good hostess knows that delegating tasks is just as important as preparing meals. Consider having friends and family bring a dish as it may cut down on the amount of storage needed and post dinner cleanup. Be prepared to delegate the following items:

  • Drinks
  • Bread / rolls
  • Pie
  • Salad
  • Side dish
  • Appetizers

Finding space

Having company in a small and cluttered home is a recipe for disaster. In order to have a large event in a small area, it is imperative to make the most of your space.

  • Rearrange furniture and look for new possibilities in each room. Use your largest space as the dining room or major seating area.
  • If your apartment has a nice view, think about arranging the seating near the window. A focal point such as a picture or mirror can make tight space appear larger.


  • Trying to find an extra table may be difficult if you are not accustomed to hosting large parties. Ask guests that do not cook to assist by lending useful furniture. Renting these items may also be an option.
  • Thanksgiving dinner can work well if you make your bookshelves, counters and tables serve multiple purposes. A tall bookshelf would work well for serving drinks and appetizers, as well as a bar area. Trays can also be a wonderful way to serve extra guests, particularly if they are sitting on a comfortable couch or chair.

When everyone is finally sitting around your table , enjoying their delicious meal you’ll be thankful your hard work paid off… and that Thanksgiving only comes once a year!