Saad S. Hallak

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250 E. Chase Ave Ste 107
El Cajon, CA

I have sold a property at 39335 Old Hwy 80 in Boulevard.
HUGE price reduction. Large lot with huge potential for a wide variety of uses including, gas station, self storage, RV/Mobile home park. Zoned C40, check with county for various uses. Extremely high visibility. Property is directly on the divide of state route 94 and old hwy 80. Liquor store on the property with 10 years left on lease as well as a residential tenant which is month to month. Home to a large US Border Patrol Station and a proposed solar farm. Ideal for investor or builder.
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There’s a synergy in this exquisite kitchen designed by John Starck, president of Showcase Kitchens in Manhasset, New York, who describes his clients’ taste as an ornamental blend of beaux arts and traditional. “We pushed the envelope with ornamentation as far as transitional that is refined, which makes it all the more enticing,” he says.

The open layout of the freshly renovated and expanded space fits the young family who hosts everything from charity events to house tours. “They’re great people who were lovely to work for. We had a lot of fun together,” recalls Starck who worked in conjunction with architect Thomas N. Fox, from Manhattan-based Fox Diehl Architects; Fox planned an expansion of the original layout.

Typical for 1930s homes in the area, this one was without a spacious kitchen that was conducive to entertaining. “They wanted to take away the small eat-in kitchen and create a family room that connects to the kitchen and breakfast area for entertaining and for everyday life,” says Starck. “It’s open and airy and it flows rather than being compartmental.” Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors, located in Huntington, New York did the interior design.

 Classic architectural features include custom cabinetry and carved embellishments such as the appliqués on the base of the hood. The Calacatta marble counters and backsplash feature a dramatic pattern that provides the perfect contrast. “It all boils down to texture and movement with a very subtle white for the overall palette and the veining of the marble that adds charisma. Together, they have an edge and a new feel,” says Starck.

“Because they have an old colonial, we modernized it a bit with the decor,” adds Starck. Fox says the fact that it 
wasn’t a very large space was one of the challenges. “Now people walk in and turn the corner and say ‘wow,’” says Fox. “Some details like the millwork were taken into other areas of the house for a more seamless transition.”  
 Vintage-inspired lighting above the island lends some edginess to the overall aesthetic, while the color palette and the classical architectural details bring it back to the traditional and beaux-arts blend, says Starck. Recessed and task lighting were part of the overall plan, and wood floors ground the space.
The well-equipped kitchen includes two ranges, double ovens, a microwave, a warming drawer, two freezer drawers, a large refrigerator, and a dishwasher. The bar area features a butler’s pantry and a food pantry. “It has a lot of purposes and an entrance to the dining room, so it’s like a staging area for entertaining,” says Starck. “The kitchen is perfect for entertaining. They obviously want to have fun there.” 

 Starck, who has been in the business for almost thirty years, says not a year has gone by without a request for white. “White kitchens remain in demand because of their timeless aspect. The cleanness of it and the lack of trend means it will never go out of style,” he says. “What has changed is that they’re not as ‘safe’ as they were ten to twenty years ago with white cabinets and black counters. They have more of an edge.”

 Kitchens have become the star of the show. “Thirty years ago, kitchens were a place to chop, prep, and cook. They were not conducive to entertaining, and they were not a family hangout or nucleus,” says Starck. “We migrated 

away from the compartmental kitchen to an openness that flows so much more. Today, cooking and not going out to eat as much really hit home with the healthy lifestyle, farm-to-kitchen trend.”

 Modern-day kitchens make a fashion statement. “Before, it wasn’t a lifestyle room for entertaining family and friends,” says Starck. “Now, it’s like buying that hip dress or that cool car. People want that hip kitchen to be the focal point of the house. It’s like dressy couture; it’s really very important, like the next shoe.” 
Despite the modernization, the fact that Starck continues to borrow from the past lets this design endure. “It’s so essential that it’s timeless. I’ve always been proud of projects that look great twenty years later,” he says. And no doubt, it will. 

As featured in
Home By Design

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
All measurements are approximate.
Copyright 2014 Network Communications Inc.
All rights reserved.

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Birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and hummingbird moths are just a few of the beneficial and beautiful creatures that might populate your garden—if you provide the right environment. Every living thing has three basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Provide for those needs, and they will come.

ATTRACTING BIRDS. Birds play an important role in contributing to the balance of our complex ecosystem. Many birds feed on insects, consuming thousands of p

ests a day, making them one of the best natural means of insect pest control in the garden. Plants are a key to making a garden bird friendly, providing shelter, nesting sites, refuge from predators, and a source of food. If you have the space, create a combination of wooded areas and open space, thus pleasing the widest variety of birds. 
Like people, birds have individual food preferences. A wide selection of plants with different fruiting and seeding habits will attract the greatest number of bird species. In birdfeeders, the food that attracts the widest selection of birds is sunflower seed. A blend of proso millet, unhulled sunflower seeds, and cracked corn will satisfy an even larger number of seed-eating birds. Fatty foods such as suet and peanut butter are also good and provide energy. Keep bird feeders and feeding tables clean, and be sure the food is protected from moisture. Different bird species look for different features in their homes. Purple martins, superb for insect control, are social birds that like to nest in high-rise apartments. Bluebirds like a 5-by-5-inch floor space and a 1.5-inch entrance
hole. Check reference sources for more detailed information on birdhouse specifications for different species.Birds need water both to remain hydrated and for fun. To draw birds closer to your home, provide a birdbath. They love splashing about in the shallow water and taking occasional sips. The gentle sound of moving water also is an attraction. Place it in an open space so there isn’t nearby cover for a cat or other predator.  

BUTTERFLIES: FLOWERS IN MOTION. Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment. They also are lively, colorful additions to gardens, providing hours of viewing pleasure. To thrive, butterflies require nectar for energy, water, shelter, and sun for orientation and to warm their wings. And they are attracted to all sorts of things that most people aren’t, such as dead plants, rotting logs, manure, dead animals, and decaying fruit. Swallowtails,
little blues, the sulfurs, and red-spotted purples revel in muddy puddles from which they derive important minerals.
 It is possible to compromise between an environment that a butterfly would consider a dream home and one that you’re happy to live with. Plant a selection of nectar-rich flowers such as sweet alyssum, marigold, asters, purple coneflowers, daylilies, and butterfly bush. Check with your local Cooperative Extension to find out what plants are the best for the butterflies and caterpillars in your area.
 For water, provide a birdbath or create a low-lying area that can collect water to create a drinking pool for the butterflies. You may get to see the males of certain species gathering by the dozens to drink. These congregations are known as drinking clubs.
 In a wildlife habitat, avoid any chemical insecticides, including Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Although it is nontoxic to other creatures, Bt kills all leaf-eating caterpillars. Fungicides, rodenticides, and herbicides should also be eliminated from your gardening arsenal. Instead of using chemicals, handpick large pests such as Japanese beetles, and use liquid soap to control smaller pests.
Attracting beneficial wildlife to your garden is a rewarding mission that brings both aesthetic and environmental benefits. Provide for their basic needs, then sit back and enjoy the show. 


Other Beneficial Creatures for the Garden:
Aphid Midge
Diet: aphids
How to attract: pollen plants

Damsel Bugs
Diet: aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, thrips, and others
How to attract: alfalfa

Ground Beetles
Diet: slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots, Colorado potato beetle larvae
How to attract: plant ground covers and perennials, provide stones or logs where they
can hide

Diet: aphids, thrips, scale, mealybugs, whiteflies
How to attract: angelica, coreopsis, cosmos, sweet alyssum

Parasitic Wasps (such as Braconid)
Diet: aphids, beetles, caterpillars, flies, sawflies, scale insects, and true bugs
How to attract: pollen and nectar plants

As featured in
Home By Design

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
All measurements are approximate.
Copyright 2014 Network Communications Inc.
All rights reserved.

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Crown Point Cabinetry Creates an English-Cottage Kitchen in New Hampshire

Goose Pond is a 625-acre lake located in Grafton County in western New Hampshire. A secluded body of water with beautiful views, it offers a tranquil, peaceful location for homeowners and vacationers. “We had been looking for the perfect spot to build for several years. We saw a home in South Carolina that had a lovely modern English-cottage feel, but we weren’t completely happy with the location,” explains Audrey Brown, owner of this 6,500-square-foot home. “When we came upon this lot on Goose Pond in Canaan, New Hampshire, we fell in love with it and the area. We knew that this was the right place to build our cottage.”

The Browns wanted to capture that English-cottage style and designed the exterior with that in mind. When they started on the interior, they consulted Crown Point Cabinetry, a family-owned and operated business, handcrafting custom cabinetry since 1979, and located in Claremont, New Hampshire. “The Browns were very specific in their desires,” says Mark Wirta, then Sales Designer for Crown Point, and currently Sales Manager. “They wanted a functional kitchen with lots of space for their family to spend time together.”

 Wirta created a kitchen design with an Early-American feel. “Our kitchens are 100 percent custom, so we were able to accomplish everything the Browns were looking to do,” he explains. “They wanted pine, which we stained an amber brown. Then we hand-brushed a pitch black milk paint over the stain giving the cabinetry a burnished, warm, worn feel.” The under stain gave the pine an aged wood look according to Wirta, so the cabinets took on the appearance of a lived-in, well-loved kitchen. A baked-on finish provided exceptional durability.

 The 12-by-15-foot kitchen opens to a dining room and a living room. “Whenever someone is cooking, it seems like everybody ends up in the kitchen,” says Brown. “We wanted a gathering area for our children and grandchildren to socialize comfortably, so we left a generous space behind the island, between the kitchen and dining room.”
 The cabinets create the impression of fine furniture with toe-kick detail and custom touches. There’s a paneled back to the island for a finished look. “The turnings that provide additional support for the Vermont Danby marble countertop, keep the island light and open looking,” adds Wirta. “In the butler’s pantry, the cabinet has divided panes of glass and therefore has the feel of a buffet rather than a kitchen cabinet.” Brushed stainless pulls blend with the stainless appliances.

 Because the kitchen is open to the other rooms, the Browns were concerned that it look attractive from a variety of angles. “The 48-inch Wolf range and vent hood became a focal point from the living room, so we wanted that view to be particularly appealing,” says Brown. The professional vent hood is inserted into a custom-finished cabinet frame. There is a recessed rail with lighting in the cabinetry and the homeowners had a brick backsplash installed to reinforce that warm, welcoming home feel. Copper pots hang on a rack for an Old-World touch.
 There’s no refrigerator in the main kitchen area by choice. “We have a large, deep refrigerator and felt it would be overpowering in the kitchen, so we tucked it discreetly in the butler’s pantry,” says Brown. “However, there are two drawer refrigerators in the island cabinet for easy access to milk, juice, and those things used most often.” The Kohler apron-front sink adds to the English-cottage ambience.

Crown Point Cabinetry delivers its products nationwide, as well as to the Bahamas and Canada. “Since we often do our designs long distance, we supply samples of working cabinet doors before we begin building the cabinets so the homeowners know exactly what they are getting,” explains Wirta. “Some customers, like the Browns, become intimately involved in the design. Others give us a general overview and then let us carry the ball. We work comfortably either way.” Brown absolutely loves her kitchen, and, for Mark Wirta, that’s what really matters. 

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When you buy an older house, it takes effort to personalize it and make it your own. Just ask designer Tammara Stroud of Seattle-based interior design firm Tammara Stroud Design. “The previous owners of this home installed a kitchen island that was about five feet tall and functioned as a display cabinet rather than an island for food prep, entertaining, and dining,” Stroud explains. That choice worked well for the former residents, but Stroud’s clients needed to make a change. “For this young family, the kitchen represents the heart and soul of the home. The original island placement made the space feel disconnected from the rest of the house. It did not feel friendly or welcoming,” says Stroud.

Besides the island, other design updates included removing open shelving, replacing
 the range hood venting, repurposing a built-in water dispenser niche, and modernizing the appliance garages. Stroud takes a sustainable approach to remodeling. Before demolition, Stroud first assessed what could remain. “The perimeter cabinets were in good condition. Some did not have doors, but that was easy to change,” she explains. 
Stroud kept the flooring and window treatments as well. Once the designer knew what was staying, she contacted Second Use, a Seattle company that retrieves and resells building materials from remodeling projects, and they took the original island cabinetry and countertops.
After demolition, work on the new island began in earnest. With each project, Stroud asks her clients to create idea books with pictures that show colors and styles that appeal to them. “Many clients have a hard time verbalizing what they like. Having visuals makes it easier for me to see what makes them happy,” she explains. Here, the homeowners’ idea book revealed an affinity for turquoise, blues, and sunny yellows. Those clues helped Stroud choose turquoise for the island color.

Of course, in addition to looking good, the island also had to function for the family’s needs. Stroud asked, “How many people would sit there? What activities would they do there? How did they want to use it?” Stroud notes that 
many times functionality is ignored in a kitchen because homeowners do not think through how they will use the space. She says, “Ask yourself, when you open your refrigerator, where will you set food when you take it out? When you take something off the stove, where do you set it? Where do you prep your food before cooking it?”
The new island is multifunctional. The expansive surface provides plenty of room for prep. A chrome faucet sits above the white-porcelain sink. Orange-red barstools add seating. One side of the island holds trash and recycling 
bins and a dishwasher. The opposite side offers cabinets for extra storage.

Once the island design was complete, Stroud addressed the other features that 
the new homeowners wanted to update. The open shelving design dilemma was resolved by adding Shaker-style doors. The previous water dispenser niche was repurposed as wine storage. A new stainless-steel range hood provided adequate venting. And retractable doors were used to streamline the appliance storage space.  
For the new countertops, Stroud chose quartz for durability. The gray tone works well with the vibrant accent colors and the neutral perimeter cabinets and flooring. A stripe of cool-colored sea glass tiles contrast with white subway tile. Yellow, blue, and orange-red chairs pop against the simple white table.  

A good lighting plan provides an essential but often forgotten element of good kitchen design. “If you don’t have adequate lighting, your kitchen won’t function well,” says Stroud. “Again, you have to think through how you’re going to move in the kitchen.” Natural light from the windows and can lights provide general illumination. Glass pendants over the island offer task lighting and add a decorative and personalized touch. Strip lights along the top cabinets provide ambient lighting to create a softer mood.

But it’s not only the practical elements of the remodel that make this design a
success—it’s also the emotion. “I love the vibrancy of color in this kitchen,” says Stroud. “It seems like such a happy place.” 

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