In this exclusive interview, Joanne Curtin sits down with one of the brightest stars on the Curtin Team, Agent/ Partner Shari Sautner. Shari’s journey in the real estate industry has been nothing short of remarkable, and in this spotlight interview, she shares her insights, experiences, and the key role that joining the Curtin Team has played in her business’s impressive growth.
Shari Sautner, a dynamic and passionate real estate agent, has made significant strides in the industry since becoming a part of the Curtin Team. With her dedication, knowledge, and commitment to providing exceptional service, Shari has not only thrived but also set a shining example for aspiring real estate professionals.
In this candid conversation, Joanne delves into Shari’s personal and professional journey, exploring the pivotal moments that have shaped her career. From the early days of building her client base to the strategies and support that the Curtin Team has provided, Shari shares invaluable tips, insights, and real-world experiences that have led to her remarkable success.
Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team YouTube channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!
Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Agent Partner, Shari Sautner
In this engaging video, join host Joanne Curtin as she sits down with Curtin Team Agent Partner, Kanani Briggs for an inspiring and heartfelt conversation. You’ll learn about Kanani’s unwavering commitment to fostering community connections and how it has become an integral part of her personal and professional life.
Kanani Briggs is not your typical real estate agent; she is a force of nature when it comes to building bridges within her community. With a warm and inviting personality, she has earned the trust and admiration of countless individuals, both clients and neighbors alike.
But it’s not just about business for Kanani Briggs. Throughout this conversation, you’ll witness her genuine love for people and the places they call home. She discusses her involvement in various community initiatives and how giving back has become a cornerstone of her life. Kanani’s passion for community connection goes beyond transactions; it’s about building lasting relationships and nurturing the spirit of togetherness.
In addition to her dedication to community, Kanani’s remarkable journey in real estate is highlighted by her exceptional achievements. She proudly received the “Rookie of the Year” award in her very first year in the industry, a testament to her dedication and hard work.
Aspiring and seasoned agents alike, take note: Kanani Briggs has invaluable advice for you. She emphasizes the importance of seeking out mentorship or joining a successful team. Her guidance is a beacon for those looking to thrive in the real estate world.
So, whether you’re a homeowner, aspiring to be one, or simply someone who values community bonds, this interview with Kanani Briggs is a must-watch. Join us as we explore the world of real estate through the lens of someone who believes that building strong communities is the key to a better future. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired and learn how you can make a positive impact on the place you call home, just like Kanani does every day.
Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!
Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Agent Partner, Kanani Briggs
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.
Joanne Curtin sits down with the dynamic Christy Smith, Director of Sales. Christy shares her unique perspective on market trends, work/life balance, and the importance of building strong client relationships. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, agent, or simply interested in the world of real estate, this interview promises to provide you with keen insights and a deeper understanding of the sales process.
Enjoy this insightful conversation where Joanne and Christy discuss all things related to real estate sales, strategies for success, and the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. With Christy’s extensive experience and leadership in sales, you’re in for a wealth of valuable tips and advice that can help both seasoned professionals and newcomers navigate the real estate world.
Christy shares her unique perspective on market trends, work/life balance, and the importance of building strong client relationships. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, agent, or simply interested in the world of real estate, this interview promises to provide you with keen insights and a deeper understanding of the sales process.
Throughout the interview, you’ll discover how Curtin Team’s approach to real estate has contributed to their outstanding reputation and success in the field.
So, whether you’re looking to enhance your sales skills, gain insights into the real estate industry, or simply enjoy a captivating conversation, make sure to hit that play button and join us for this enlightening interview with Christy Smith. Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the Curtin Team channel to stay updated on more enriching content like this!
Joanne Curtin Interviews Curtin Team Director of Sales, Christy Smith
Tom and Joanne Curtin discuss the history of the Curtin Team and how the lessons they learned have propelled them forward to build a successful real estate business in Roswell, Georgia. They discuss their success in real estate investments and outline steps they took to get there. They talk about how they committed fully to the decision to invest in real estate and emphasize taking action instead of waiting for the “perfect” opportunity.
Selling a home is a big decision, and one of the most important aspects of the process is determining the right price. Unfortunately, some sellers make the mistake of pricing their homes too high, which can lead to a host of problems down the line. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why people price their homes too high when they sell them, and the potential consequences of doing so.
1. Testing the Market
One of the most common reasons why people price their homes too high is because they want to “test the market.” In other words, they want to see if there are any buyers out there who are willing to pay more than what they think their home is worth. While this may seem like a logical strategy, it can backfire in a big way. Overpricing your home can make it less appealing to buyers who are looking in your price range, and it can also turn off potential buyers who might be willing to pay more for a home that is priced appropriately. For example, a home that is worth $600K and the list price was $600K, it would be more likely to get that amount. However, if you listed a home that was only worth $575K for $600K, price reductions might eventually lead to a sale price of only $540K.
2. Leaving Room for Negotiations
Another reason why people may overprice their homes is that they want to leave room for negotiations. They may assume that buyers will try to negotiate the price down, so they start with a higher price in order to end up at the price they really want. However, this strategy can also be counterproductive. If your home is significantly overpriced, buyers may not even bother making an offer, or they may assume that you’re not serious about selling.
3. Believing a Higher List Price Will Result in a Higher Sale Price
Some sellers mistakenly believe that if they list their home at a higher price, they will end up selling it for more money. However, this is not necessarily the case. Buyers are savvy, and they will typically do their research to determine what a home is really worth. If your home is priced much higher than other similar homes in the area, buyers may simply choose to look elsewhere.
4. Misinformed About the Market
Finally, some sellers may overprice their homes because they are misinformed about the market. They may have received bad advice from a friend, neighbor, or another realtor who is not familiar with the local market conditions. It’s important to work with a realtor who has experience selling homes in your area and who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market trends.
So, what are the consequences of overpricing your home? The most obvious consequence is that your home may sit on the market for longer than it should. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
• Reduced interest from buyers
• Fewer showings
• Lowball offers
• A lower eventual sales price
In addition, if your home sits on the market for too long, it can start to develop a stigma. Buyers may assume that there is something wrong with the home, or they may wonder why it hasn’t sold yet. This can make it even more difficult to sell the home in the future.
In conclusion, pricing your home appropriately is crucial if you want to sell it quickly and for a fair price. While it may be tempting to overprice your home for any of the reasons mentioned above, it’s important to resist the urge and work with a realtor who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market conditions. By doing so, you can avoid the pitfalls of overpricing and increase your chances of a successful sale.
“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 who live well in their homes 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 4 – Downsizing to a Townhome in Roswell, Georgia
Lucy Hintz lives in Roswell, Georgia. She recently downsized to a townhome near Canton Street. She divides her time between her home in Roswell and her second home in the Bahamas.
Joanne: Where did you live before moving to Roswell? What made you choose a new townhome?
Lucy: I have lived in Roswell, in a single-family home. But I had always wanted to live in a walking, shopping, dining community. I’ve always wanted to live near downtown Roswell. Another thing is, my husband had cancer, so we knew that it was time for us to get out of the responsibility of the really big house. We were also looking for a turn key we could have without overwhelming issues.
Joanne: What specifically about this property did you like?
Lucy: When we moved in to this unit, our basement was not finished so we had an opportunity to create what we wanted. We have another full bedroom and bathroom down there. I have grandkids, so when they come there is lots of space. I also have a fabulous deck so the outdoor space is awesome too.
Joanne: What did you do to improve your property?
Lucy: We’ve done a lot of things. We changed the wood floors on the main level, which is a beautiful upgrade. My kitchen was solid white, and I’ve taken the island and painted it to a dramatic blue. We finished the basement in full and built a patio outside with stones and made it home. We also put in bookshelves on both sides of the fireplace with separate beer and wine coolers. And we added a built-in bar with quartz countertop.
Joanne: Did you work with a designer?
Lucy: No, this is all us. We had a lot of people that worked for us at our former home. And I purchased the art at local interior design stores.
Joanne: What is your favorite room in the house?
Lucy: It would be the deck. We open up the French doors on the main level, where we can have a breeze and enjoy bringing the outdoors in.
Joanne: What were some of your favorite places to buy home furnishings?
Lucy: We got rid of everything from the old house. All the furniture came from Arhaus. For the art, I went everywhere from Kudzu to 13 Hub. I used Carpet Depot for flooring.
Joanne: What’s one splurge in your home you could not live without?
Lucy: I splurged on this whole house. My bed and the bedding came from Arhaus and it was a big splurge. Arhaus had a wonderful sales representative. And I don’t know if a lot of people are like me, but I stick with people who are helpful and good at what they do.
Joanne: What have you learned from this process of moving from a big house?
Lucy: It’s not as difficult to let go of things as we think it is. And to use an estate sale group was key. And I’m not just tooting the horn for you, but finding a realtor that really understood what we were trying to do was so important. Previously we had trouble selling our home. Your team are the ones who really transformed it. It was a matter of 30 days and we had an offer on that house.
Living in a neighborhood means we all just look after each other. I think when you’re looking for a different place in life, it’s important that you are in a community that’s similar, that has a lot of the same interests that you.
Joanne: Is there anything you would do different that someone else could learn from?
Lucy: I guess I would say, I think it would have been better to finish the basement prior to moving in.
Joanne: Is there any advice on what you think should not be skimped on?
Lucy: I just think once you find your home, make it your home. Don’t wait because whatever you put off is something you’ll never get around to, something else will take priority.
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 thoughtful real estate one wonderful home at a time.
“Behind the Curtin” Episode 2 – A Pool and Pool House in Milton, Georgia
Tripp and Grace Melton live in Milton, Georgia. They have been residents since 2003. In 2020, they began the work of creating an outdoor space for relaxation and entertaining, with a pool and pool house.
Joanne: Why did you pick this area?
Tripp: We were working downtown at the time and couldn’t find anything we liked. And then we drove through this area and liked the idea of a newer construction.
Grace: Even though the house wasn’t initially what I had in mind, I fell in love with the hidden pantry in the kitchen and the fireplace in our keeping room looks like the wall in the church where we go married.
Joanne: What have you done specifically to increase the value of your home?
Grace: We made a lot of use of the outside space and tried to do some thoughtful landscaping with trees and buffers because the way the house is situated, you can see the whole backyard from the street. But the biggest thing was adding the pool in 2020 and the pool house.
Joanne: Did you use a designer to create the outdoor living resort space that you have?
Tripp: No, these are all our ideas, even the landscaping. We worked with our pool builder for the pool house to execute what we wanted.
Joanne: What do love about the outdoor space you’ve created?
Grace: For me, I love being around water. I like seeing it, I like hearing it. I think it’s calming, but it’s also a great entertaining space. And we use it year ‘round, because we’ll have the pool heated. We can go out here for coffee in the morning or have friends over late at night. We use the fireplace and the electric heaters in the middle of winter, and so we spend a lot of time in the pool house. It’s been fun.
Joanne: Where did you find vendors and contractors for such a big job?
Tripp: We went to our original builder. They gave us some ideas and some referrals. We also did a lot of research online about what we wanted.
Joanne: So, what did you splurge on?
Tripp: The sliding doors on three sides of the pool house was almost a third of the cost of the entire pool house. But the space is transformed when they are opened or closed. The pool house stays cool in the summer and comfortable in the winter. Also, our ceiling fan from Big Ass Fans Company, is large enough to create a nice breeze.
Joanne: What else do you really like about the space?
Grace: The vaulted ceiling. It’s not just a flat ceiling, so I think it’s a nice, added dimension.
Joanne: What have you learned from the process?
Tripp: I’ve learned from this process to get everything in writing. In the end, even when you’re dealing with friends or people you like, it’s still a business transaction.
Joanne: Is there anything you would do differently?
Tripp: We weren’t able to put in a bathroom because of the rules regarding septic fields, unless we wanted to install another septic system. However, we finished the basement with an additional bathroom that allows us to have a changing room for the pool.
And some people have asked why didn’t do an outside kitchen. I mean, we just don’t use our inside kitchen that much. So, it wasn’t a big deal for us.
Joanne: What advice would you give someone who wanted to renovate their outdoor space?
Grace: I would say good design that’s really well thought out. And materials, don’t skimp on materials.
Tripp: I would tell someone don’t skimp on the decking. For example, the travertine around the pool is cooler in the summer than pavers or concrete. I would also not skimp on lighting. We changed our ground lighting to soffit lighting and it changes the whole look. We also installed a cool sound system through a Sonos sound system with speakers shaped like rocks around the pool area.
“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.