In the heart of a bustling city lies the promise of a dynamic future, shaped by the vision, determination, and leadership of its residents and officials. Roswell, a city known for its vibrant community and rich history, stands at a crossroads where possibilities are endless. Joanne Curtin, sits down with Mayor Kurt Wilson, a visionary leader committed to propelling Roswell into a new era of prosperity. This candid conversation is about the city’s future trajectory, the challenges it faces, and the timeless principles of leadership that will guide its journey towards an even brighter future.
Joanne: Thank you for having me over today. I am admiring your wall of photos here. Can you tell me more about it?
Mayor Wilson: I am glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve enjoyed your “Behind The Curtin” videos. These photos on the wall are all people that have had an impact on me.
Joanne: I think it’s great that you reflected on who to put up there. That’s awesome, because you don’t get where you’re going without learning from others. So, if you could have dinner any of these people, who would you invite?
Mayor Wilson: That’s a great question. I would probably be more contemporary oriented than historically oriented. I definitely would talk to Mother Theresa. Everything I read about her is authentic, honest, and courageous. She’s an incredible warrior who has this great courage most of wish we had and she’s challenging her faith all the time. And Johnny Carson, of course. My dad was Carson’s doppelganger, they looked like twins.
Joanne: Most of our clients are in the area we like to call “The Platinum Triangle”, that’s Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton. I’m curious about what you think sets Roswell apart from Alpharetta and Milton?
Mayor Wilson: I love my sister cities, let’s start there. I routinely have the mayors of Alpharetta and Milton over to my home. I believe in personal engagement because we are all in this together. Roswell has been successful in part because it won the geographic lottery. It was once the crown jewel of North Fulton County. Now, I acknowledge that Alpharetta has grown and they have some advantages over us, take for example the number of exits off the 400. Whereas Milton has stuck to their vision of being made up of mostly single-family homes. And that works for them.
The city of Roswell is 42 square miles, that’s it. And 65% of that is made up of single- family homes. We’re looking at the other 35% that, until now, did not have a viable long term economic strategic narrative. How do we get ahead in terms of industry? We can’t chase manufacturing businesses that we don’t have the room for. And without an intentional strategy, someone else was going to make the strategy for us – the state, the federal government, Fulton county. When I came in to office it was clear to me that Roswell needed to be a city of 120,000 people in 20 years. We are currently at 96,000. That means the city of Roswell is going to be very intentional. In other words, the development community is not going to come to us. We’re going to do the placemaking for the development community. As I said, we have limited space, 42 square miles, and because we have limited space we have scarcity. So, we’re about to use that to our economic advantage. The city is already heavily invested in zero based budgeting. That means we’re really serious about how we spend our money and reimagining how each department works and what services to provide, from an entrepreneur perspective. We are looking at what we do well, and what we don’t do so well.
Joanne: Since you’ve been in office, what’s something you are most proud of?
Mayor Wilson: All credit goes to God and my team. I am proud to say we’ve gotten more done in 12 months that has been done in 20 years. We have the best in class police force focused on de-escalation, a full-time fire department, and passage of the $180 million dollar bond overwhelmingly approved by voters.
I am a big believer that we’re building our organization in a different way. I hope we are building a political legacy and leadership that will last beyond my term. The question we ask ourselves is “what’s the right thing to do for the city of Roswell?” I hope the legacy is an organization that is highly competent, highly effective.
Joanne: You talked about looking at things done well and things that need improving. Is there something in particular that you’re working on?
Mayor Wilson: Communication is the hardest thing for us. We’re a fairly static organization and it seems we’re always playing defense. The challenge is to reach people with consistent, authentic, and sophisticated messaging.
I really believe that leadership has responsibility, not just for governing, but for bringing rational discussion into the marketplace. The overwhelming majority of us want to have sober discussions with healthy skepticism. I hope we heal the acrimony that has overtaken our political debates.
Roswell is a great place to live, There’s an unbelievable quality of life here. And I want to people who live here to really know that, to enjoy it, and to celebrate it.
Joanne: We love Roswell. In 2017, Tom and I started a 501c3 non-profit, Curtin Team Cares. We are committed to helping local families and organizations where help is needed most. Currently we are actively working with the Children’s Development Academy of Roswell (CDA). Are there any other organizations in Roswell that you feel others should know about?
Mayor Wilson: I love our community and I love CDA with the leadership of Maggie DeCan. I believe in the mission of CDA [www.cdakids.org]. We have so many great charities that operate in Roswell. HomeStretch [www.homestretch.org], North Fulton Community Charities [www.nfcchelp.org] with Sandy Holiday at the helm, Sunny and Ranney [www.sunneyandranney.com], and can’t forget The Cottage School [www.cottageschool.org]. The Cottage School has a beautiful mission and has really helped save students and their families.
Joanne: Since we’re in the South, I’m sure you know that people are just as interested in where you are from as who you are for.
Mayor Wilson: You saved the toughest question for last. Well, I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama where half the town loves Alabama and the other half loves Auburn. I went to college at Ole Miss. And then I moved to Georgia and I’m still learning how to respond whenever someone says, “Go Dawgs!”. I love the Braves. So, I guess, I root for everyone. How’s that for a politician’s response?
Joanne: (laughs) Okay. That’s a fair answer. It’s been pleasure talking to you today. I am excited to hear about the new developments in Roswell that will soon be announced. We’ll have to meet up again so we can talk more about them.
Mayor Wilson: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Roswell is a remarkable place and I’m looking forward to its bright future.
New home construction has come a long way in recent years with a focus on space design, energy efficiency, and environmentally-friendly materials. Here are the latest features in new home construction:
Large Mud Rooms (aka Family Foyers) – Large mud rooms have extended their footprint in new homes. Previously, mud rooms were often limited to just a hallway with a built-in, but now they are taking on a larger role by accommodating seating, sometimes with a desk to pay bills, and drop zone for mail. Think about it as a room to hide all the mess when you or your children walk in the door – there’s a place to drop shoes, coats, backpacks, laptops, papers, mail and even to take a minute to sit and relax before entering the main house. All of this is usually hidden behind a sliding door to create separation and the ability to close off this area from guests seeing the mess.
Heated floors – Heated floors are especially popular in the primary bathroom. Making cold tile warm in the winter is a game changer! Heated floors operate on a timed thermostat so you can program the heat to match your schedule. Waking up and the bathroom is already toasted, no longer cringing when your bare feet hit the cold floor and scrambling to get your slippers on. Once you have them, you’ll never want to be without them.
A Hidden Room – Childhood dreams come true! Having a hidden room to relax and unwind or to safely retreat into if needed, these rooms are being added behind bookshelves just like in the movies! Often found in an office, a walk-in closet, or primary bedroom, hidden rooms can serve a variety of purposes like hiding a prized and valuable collection, a hidden entertainment area, or a reading and relaxing spot. Another example is the understairs space that often goes unused, which can be turned into a hidden fun playroom for kids. We’ve even seen a hidden hatch door in the floor that led to a wine room underground. The possibilities are endless.
Environmentally Friendly – Environmentally-friendly building has become a favorite for energy efficiency, with an attainable and clear ROI and because of increased environmental awareness. Homeowners want to be a better steward of the planet, and this not only saves homeowners money on energy bills, but it also helps to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the home. There are many ways builders are incorporating this into their plans, such as:
● Solar: Your builder can prepare the roof when built for solar panels. Installing mounts and preparing for wiring during construction will save you money for when you do install solar panels in the future.
● EV Ready: Your builder can ensure that your home has enough electrical service in your garage and install chargers during construction.
● Battery Ready: Equipping your home with solar batteries allows you to capture the energy produced with solar (instead of or in addition to sending it back to the grid) and then use it as you need it, either during a power outage or on cloudy days when solar may not be sufficient.
● Geothermal Systems: According to the US Department of Energy, a Geothermal heat pump can mean a 25%-50% reduction in energy consumed compared to a traditional system that uses air. In addition to the electricity savings, geothermal systems are eco-friendly because they don’t burn gas during operation. And because there’s no combustion, there’s no admission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gasses. Because these systems are much quieter to operate, it also saves on noise pollution. If the builder is already digging for a septic for your home, ask about the possibility of adding geothermal during the dig.
There has been a significant shift towards the use of environmentally-friendly building materials. This includes the use of recycled materials, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes. Eco-friendly building materials cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve natural resources; all while improving water and air quality. Examples are Low-Formaldehyde Insulation, Low-VOC Drywall Adhesives, Low-VOC Paints and Carpets, ENERGY STAR® Low-E Windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilets and LED lighting packages.
Hidden Outlets – These can be an afterthought, but with planning ahead and smart design, your outlets don’t have to take away from your beautiful kitchen backsplash. Electrical outlets can be placed under the cabinets so they remain hidden from view and still easy to access. There are also countertop pop-up outlets that only appear when needed or removable tile plates that can keep the outlet masked when not in use. With the amount of device charging we need now, consider a charging station drawer. This drawer will have a power strip at the back of it and you can keep unsightly wires and devices out of view while charging. Perfect in the kitchen, bathroom and built-in desk drawers.
Large Kitchen Island – Kitchens are the heart and center of the home. Large kitchen islands serve a multitude of roles, from prep station to homework spot to eating area. Large kitchen islands have an aesthetic impact on the room as well. Popular design trends include the waterfall edge where the countertop continues down the side of the island all the way to the floor or the simpler English cottage style with tongue and groove paneling. Large dramatic hanging light pendants and gorgeous sink hardware help showcase the island as a centerpiece of the kitchen.
Floating vanities – Floating vanities add a contemporary feel and modern look. These shorter base cabinets appear to “float” on the wall instead of sitting directly on the floor. They can make small spaces look larger and open up the room. The downside is less storage space. To add to the floating visual, under-cabinet lighting is a popular added feature, this lighting below the floating cabinetry also adds to the “floating” appearance of the vanity.
Dog Wash Station – Dog owners are spending more and more on their dogs every year. A recent survey cited that one of the main reasons Millennials purchased a home was because of their dogs. So, it’s no surprise that new features specifically for dogs are becoming standard. We’re even seeing dog watering stations with a faucet to refill the water bowl.
Locating a dog bath in a mud room, laundry room ,or garage is a practical solution, especially if your space has exterior access. Putting everything you need right by an exterior entrance; your home will remain better protected from tracked-in dirt. Ideally your wash station has a faucet with a handheld sprayer attachment and drain area. Plus, it’s more versatile than you might think. You can use it not only for your furry friends, it’s also great for washing off muddy kids or dirty shoes.
Built-In Speakers Inside & Out – Bring on the tunes! If you already know where you want to put the sound system and entertainment center, talk to your builder about installing built-in speakers in those rooms. You’ll save yourself valuable floor or wall space and have the luxury of having your house literally filled with music.
Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, these trends are worth considering to stay ahead of the curve and to optimize your space in a modern, fashionable way.
“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners along the way to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.
“Behind the Curtin” Episode 1 – A Wine Room & Kitchen in Milton, Georgia
Katie and Dave Smith live in Milton, Georgia with their two children. Recently, Katie and Dave sold their house in Milton’s Highland Manor that they called home for 14 years to move into a brand-new build in the Sweet Apple neighborhood that they helped design. Prior to moving to Milton in 2008, they lived in Miami, Florida for two years.
Joanne: Why did you pick this area?
Katie: We’re from up north where the seasons change. We didn’t like living somewhere where it was hot all year. My husband Dave’s job, at the time, was such that he could live in Greater Atlanta or South Florida, and we just felt like greater Atlanta was an area that we felt we could relate to more and would be better to raise a family. We didn’t have any kids yet when we moved here and that’s part of why we did.
Joanne: As far as your house that you’re in now, what made you choose your house?
Katie: We were so excited to build and get to start from scratch. We really liked how it’s quiet here, but it’s still close to everything. We’re closer now than we were in Highland Manor to Downtown Crabapple, Downtown Roswell, and GA-400. But we’re tucked back in this quiet little country road type situation. We felt like it was very unique, and when we signed to build this house, they hadn’t even cleared the street yet. We were able to see the other homes and see the big picture of the community with the walking trails and green space built into the development.
Joanne: What do you feel like you did to really improve the value of the house that you built? What do you feel adds value to your house the most?
Katie: We love having the master on Main and it’s kind of in its own little wing. It’s tucked away. I can sleep through noise, and I was never able to do that in the old house. The lot itself, how we’re on a cul-de-sac and it’s at the end of the street. The layout of the house provides nice privacy for the backyard, helping with what we’re trying to achieve with the pool and creating a great little hangout area. The kids have their own space upstairs. They have a lot of space. At their current ages of 10 and 13, they don’t want to be around us all the time. They have their own space which makes them feel like they have independence.
Joanne: Alright, so in this home you did not have a keeping room and in place of that, because you want to use your house wisely, you did a wine room where normally an office or dining room could be. So did you use a designer for that?
Katie: I would say we kind of used a designer overall, that helped us in designing the layout of our home and picking the finishes. She did help us a little bit with the wine room. Dave would tell you that he’s the designer. She worked with another couple a few years ago who did the wine room at a house over on Sibley lane. We had seen these pictures, and knew she had worked on a project like this before. That got it going in Dave’s mind, and then we knew we wanted to have a sitting room like a keeping room. We were going back and forth on whether or not to do the wine wall because it was of course an added expense. Dave, in his mind with the numbers, was like, “Is this too frivolous? Like, can we really do this?” And then, he finally said that if he didn’t do it, he would be mad at himself in a couple of years. It costs more money to do after the fact versus if you do it while you’re building the house, it’s easier.
Joanne: What does that wine room have that you needed?
Katie: It’s a quiet getaway. A quiet space. The wine wall itself is a piece of art. It’s very cozy. We painted it a different color from the color that most of the main living area is painted. We did the wine room and Dave’s office a dark gray that really separates it from the rest of the home. It’s right off the kitchen, but it feels like you’re tucked away and it has a door that goes onto the front porch from one wall. So, you could be sitting in there enjoying a glass of wine or having your morning coffee and then go right outside to the front porch.
Joanne: What was the splurge in your wine room that you said Dave was like, “I don’t know if I want to spend the money. But if I don’t do it, I’ll regret it?”
Katie: It’s a built-in refrigerated unit. It has its own thermostat, it has its own separate unit down in the basement. That’s like the ultimate splurge. In our old home, we had a freestanding wine fridge that you purchase. If we ever move, it stays. It’s part of the house. That was definitely a splurge. I mean, gosh, it’s all splurge. A new house is a splurge. Those sliders, the sliding doors, instead of just a door they go into the wall. Not accordion style – they slide like pockets doors into the wall.
Joanne: Would you say that the wine room is your favorite room? What’s your favorite room in your new house? Dave’s?
Katie: Dave would say it’s the wine room. I love the kitchen.
Joanne: Why would you say that?
Katie: It has a lot of storage and it’s bright. I’m looking at my kitchen right now, and I think it just flows easily. We designed it to flow easily.
Joanne: Anything that you feel like someone should not skimp on?
Katie: I would not skimp on lighting. At least, in the main areas,
Joanne: Lighting meaning expensive fixtures or just more lights?
Katie: The fixtures themselves. If you put a cheap light over the table in your kitchen or something that you don’t like, it is no good. We got to the point where the lighting budget was getting out of control. We did cans in other areas. We’d rather fix the main fixtures in a year than get something cheap and not like it, you know? What else… Appliances! We didn’t skimp on our fridge. We got the nicer fridge. How many times do you use your fridge a day? A lot, right? So I think that for us, it was like let’s not skimp on things in our main living area. I’m fine skimping on my 10-year-old son’s bathroom tile, or the guest room lighting. Those are rooms that get used a small handful of times a year. But when it came to our main living space, I didn’t want to cheap out and then regret it. We didn’t go crazy, but like we made it nice.
Joanne: So what kind of fridge Do you have?
Katie: Oh, it’s a Thermador fridge. But it’s not so much the brand. It’s just this size. It’s the bigger side by side fridge.
Joanne: Are there any materials that you used that you felt like were not trendy, but just worth it, and were non-negotiables?
Katie: We used quartz for all of our tops, even in the bathrooms, which I’m really happy with. Even in the laundry room – it just makes a difference. One other splurge that I forgot to mention from earlier was in our master bath, we have the doors that come all the way down to the floor without the step with the special drain on the sides. So it’s very clean looking and beautiful. We have the engineered hardwood, the wider planks, which I really love throughout the home. And it’s a lighter-color wood. We had darker wood at the old house, which I thought looked pretty. But on these floors, you can’t see the dirt as much and the paw prints from the dog. So when you have an active family, it’s nice to be able to hide dirt and dog hair better. I’m just keeping it real because I don’t feel like cleaning floors every day!
Katie and Dave’s experience in deciding to move, finding the right location to build, and hand-crafting their forever home is something that countless families do every year. That doesn’t mean it’s not special – building a new home is one of the most special things a family can do together. Their openness and great insight into their thought process during the whole experience helps us learn what to look for and what to avoid when it’s our time to upgrade our own living spaces. These helpful homeowners, along with Joanne, help give you a peek Behind the Curtin into the world of luxury real estate. If this insight interests you, subscribe for more video and interview content at www.youtube.com/@curtinteam.
The Curtin Team’s CEO, Tom Curtin and Director of Sales, Christy Smith explain the benefits of mortgage rate buy downs for buyers and sellers. Like many practices in the world of Real Estate, mortgage hacks depend on Buyer/Seller goals, timelines, and preferences. Buy-downs are unique, though, because they offer direct benefits to both Buyers and Sellers in the short term and long term. They allow houses to be sold more efficiently, less stress with high monthly payments for Buyers, and less interest payment over time. If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, don’t forget that there are ways for you to save money during the process.
Our annual Photos with Santa event looked a little different this year, but everyone still enjoyed themselves! Santa was able to visit our office last Saturday for photos and a chance check his list a second time, just to be sure. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year!
The Roswell real estate market has proven to be strong even through general economic slowdowns across many industries. The biggest challenge faced by Home Buyers is the lack of inventory, or homes for sale. In this video, Joanne explains the current market conditions and why Roswell, GA remains a popular market for buyers and sellers.
We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that came out to support us at our grand opening event on January 25, 2018, those who shared kind words and supported from a far! We could not do this without our amazing clients, vendors and of course our wonderful team!
We had such a wonderful time and hope that everyone that had the chance to celebrate with us did too. We are thankful for our business partners, together we all achieve more. We are grateful to those who took the time to come out and celebrate with us, the best part was having time to relax and enjoys one another’s company.
And for those who couldn’t make it, thank you for watching our video and we look forward to connecting soon. We expect 2018 to be our best year yet and thank you in advance for trusting us with your business and those you refer to us.
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Home Styling | How to “Undecorate”
As I was packing away decorations after the holidays it occurred to me how similar the task is to home styling. It’s what I like to call “undecorating”. Undecorating is the process of removing personal and specific decorations, leaving behind a more neutral palette. Having a clean palette is important to attract potential buyers. When the slate is clean, buyers can imagine themselves living in the space.
As new year resolutions are made and we vow to get more organized, this is a wonderful time to start preparing your home to beat the spring selling rush. When you’re packing away holiday decorations go ahead and pack up family photos, decor and personal items. Not only will you be de-cluttering, but you’ll also get a jump start on packing items that you’ll have to pack later anyway!
Where Do I Start?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so start off easy. Begin with your junk drawers, closets and pantry. Make three separate piles: one that you keep, one for donation, and one that goes straight to the trash.
Closets should be about one third full so that prospective buyers can see the amount storage is available. Pack away clothing that’s not in season. Use storage baskets and containers in drawers, cabinets and the pantry for a simple and tidy look. Once you have tackled the de-cluttering you can focus on larger projects. Keep in mind that as the spring market approaches, the busier contractors get and the longer it takes to get on their schedule.
Use these easy tips and you’ll be able to stick to your New Year’s resolution and be ahead of the spring market!