Ode to the Bernstein Home

It is a sad day today ! Started with a phone call from George Smart of NC Modernists telling me the Bernstein Home at 5300 Hardison was being demo’d today. Got in my car with camera in tow – well sure enough, “the house that fell to earth” is no more than a pile of rubble.

Here is a photo tribute of before and after shots.

front 1 600 px

Today from similar camera angle

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More photos from better days

Modernist StairsThe home had one of the coolest staircases ever. White oak planks that floated in the air, suspended with iron rods. Accented with a floating planter box, glass wall and custom door with circle cut out.

The home was built by the Bernstein family and Lawrence Bernstein (the owner’s brother) was the architect who designed the home. Local architect W. Crutcher Ross was the project architect for the home as Lawrence Bernstein lived in California.

Home was filled with awesome details – and truly was “the home that fell to earth”


Bernstein courtyard

Bernstein Modernist Home


Modernist Bernstein Home

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Bernstein modernist homeFarewell ! R.I.P










What Positive Energy and a Lil’ Bit O’ Feng Shui Can Do for Your Home

Feng Shui lucky cat Modern Charlotte Realty

All too often, folks who are attempting to sell their homes are in a veritable rut by the time their home is listed. Selling your home can come about as a result of a stressful time in your life, and negative energy attached to selling a home can make it that much more difficult. Energy is felt everywhere whether you realize it or not, and if that energy is negative, it needs to be broken up and “freed” to eliminate any stagnancy. Here are some simple methods to free up negativity and bring in positive energy, or “chi” to your home, whether you are attempting to sell or remaining in your home.

open air living room Modern Charlotte Realty

1. Get rid of stagnant air. Even if you aren’t blessed with a glass-walled living room such as this, throw open those windows and let fresh air and light in! I would say this is the number one thing that can immediately help move stagnant energy in a space. All too often, folks leave their blinds and windows shut All. The. Time. Letting sunbeams bounce in and fresh air from time to time will instantly get the energy moving.

indoor plants for positive energy and feng shui

2. Grow some plants. Add something living and green in each and every room. NOTE: NOT artificial plants! These actually represent dead, stale energy. Adding easy-care plants if you’re not blessed with a green thumb is simple; succulents such as jade and aloe, pothos, spider plants, lucky bamboo, even a dramatic fiddle leaf fig tree are virtually no-kill as long as you place them in the right light(here’s my black-thumb collection starving for some sunlight with all this rain we have been having in Charlotte lately!), plus they add so much literal life to a space. Here’s a helpful post by interior designer Emily Henderson on how to grow and style an indoor garden.

clearing clutter for better feng shui modern charlotte realty
3. Clear that clutter. Guilty as charged! This is an obvious one that any good real estate agent will recommend if you are attempting to sell your home. However, it is also a great rule of thumb for remaining in your home and maintaining good feng shui. Clearing out excess clutter frees up the energetic space to allow newness into your life…new ideas, new opportunities, new flow. According to Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui, “the reason why clutter clearing is so effective is that while you are putting your external world in order there are corresponding changes going on internally too. Everything around you, especially your home environment, mirrors your inner self. So by changing your home you also change the possibilities in your own life.” Sounds like a plan to us. So what is clutter and how do you know what to toss? Kingston lists clutter as: Things you do not use or love, things that are untidy or disorganized, too many things in a small space, and anything unfinished. Simple as that…get it OUT, out from underneath beds, from behind doors, from above cabinets. Donate anything you haven’t used or that doesn’t bring you joy. Transfer that energy to someone who could use it or appreciate it, and make room for fresh energy in your own life.

modern charlotte home - 1141 Lynbrook dr

4. Entryway. The entrance to your home not only is the first impression, but it is the main opening to let energy flow into and out of your home. Be sure you do NOT have a mirror hung opposite your front door, as it will bounce any positive energy or flow right back out of your house. You can, instead, hang a mirror to the side of your entrance door, such as over a console table. Foyers and other entrances can be dumping grounds for shoes, bags, and all kinds of personal clutter. Remove it all, organize it in a closet or in discreet baskets if no closet is near the entry. Make sure the pathways where a person would walk throughout your home are free of obstruction.

Dripping faicet draining positive energy
5. Check for leaks! Literally. Water = financial energy in feng shui. Roof and plumbing leaks can therefore also be leaking positive energy from your home. Close all toilet lids and drains when not in use as well, or your finances and physical health will drain right out of your home. As a side note, keep all bathrooms completely scrubbed at all times. A dirty bathroom is a direct representation of financial distress.

Space clearing to sell your home Modern Charlotte Realty

6. Consider an energetic space clearing for your space. Energy lingers…think about how a room feels right after an argument or if someone has been sick. This left-over energy from illness, stress, divorce, or foreclosure all imprints itself on a house. Even normal day to day irritations and concerns can build up over time. These lingering energy patterns need to be released, and space clearing techniques dissipate all of this. Open all windows, wash down walls and surfaces with salt water, burn some sage to zap away all those built-up negative ions. Set your intentions for a fresh beginning.

using natural materials for feng shui Modern Charlotte Realty
7. Incorporate natural materials wherever possible and eliminate synthetics. Various types of materials have different effects on the energy flow in a room. Some materials such as metal, glass and polished stone speed up energy movement, while others calm it down such as natural fabrics, straw, unglazed ceramic and rough stone. Plastics and other synthetic materials have a highly negative effect on the energetic flow of a space and essentially are energy blockers.

So there you have it. Our top seven recommendations for clearing out clutter and removing all that stagnant, stuck energy from your home. It WILL help you sell your home, and if you are staying, it WILL help you prosper in other areas of your life. The general rule of thumb is to maintain this and keep the energy flowing constantly throughout your home. Simplify…less is more.


W. Crutcher Ross – my favorite modernist Charlotte architect


crutcherNot only do I love Crutcher’s designs, but I was very fortunate to get to know Crutcher back in 2009 when I chaired Charlotte’s first modernist home tour. Crutcher was a classy guy who always wore his suit coat and toodled around town in his vintage BMW. He was thrilled to learn that two of his homes were on the tour, so he set out to meet the new owners and was so thrilled to meet them and revisit his homes ! He was invited to the tour’s reception at DWR and was amazed at the outpouring of support and love for modernist designs. I always enjoyed his company and have been lucky enough to sell three of his designs, most recently the Gordon Schenck house on Glenkirk. My newest listing at 3514 Mill Pond Rd was also one of his designs so what better time to revisit some of these outstanding propertiesColumbine-exterior-1-Web_1 columbinedenTruly one of my favorite homes in Charlotte known as the Miller house. The home was designed for the Miller family, founder of Miller Tile. This home is designed around an interior courtyard with views from every room via glass walkways. Crutcher not only got to meet the owner who lived there in 2009, but met with the new owners who purchased it in 2010. For more pictures CLICK HERE

Glenkirk front door Ross Schenck 1The Gordon Schenck house is partially built over a creek. Crutcher had an obvious love of nature and was genius at incorporating natural elements into his designs. The black and white photo was taken by Gordon Schenck and the color photo was taken in 2014 . The home sold in a week with multiple offers. Mrs. Schenck remembered Crutcher well and not only enjoyed working with him on the design but became fast friends. For more pictures of the Schenck home CLICK HERE

Bruns houseTrenton Pl LRAnother of Crutcher’s designs that was featured in the 2009 Modern Home Tour is the Bruns house. It also is built around a center atrium with views from the glass walkways and dining room. Mr Bruns has done a great restoration leaving all the original details intact. He did add a fabulous modernist pool and sculpture garden. Happy to say I have been to more than a few fun gatherings here! Crutcher would smile to see how much we enjoy his designs today and into the future !

Ross Sharon Hills Rd 2  I leave you with Crutcher’s home located in Sharon Hills area of Charlotte. It still stands but the lower level has been added on to, thus changing the original footprint. Truly an image that illustrates Crutcher as a true modernist architect who added so much to Charlotte’s architectural landscape.


beep beep! sellers are in the driver’s seat again


Glenkirk blog

Sellers grab the wheel! No need to put off selling your home any longer, the housing market race in Charlotte has you in the driver’s seat again.

Because the Charlotte area continues to have a shortage of homes available for sale, median sales prices of homes are up 8.7% from a year ago. Multiple offers are becoming common again at all price points, especially in the $200,000 to $300,00 price range.

At Modern Charlotte multiple offers are nothing new, we’ve been experiencing them for most of our listings for the past year now. Mid Century Modern homes have become extremely popular again, but this style is less common in the Charlotte area than other styles. The normal shortage of the style combined with the overall inventory shortage has caused the supply of Modern homes on the market to almost completely dry up. So now when one hits the market, particularly one in an affordable price range, there are a slew of buyers ready to pounce on it.


But this doesn’t mean “anything goes” for sellers. While some homes are being snapped up immediately, others are not. Smart marketing is what determine the difference between a “hot” property with multiple offers and a property that sits for months with nary a nibble. Following the tips listed below will greatly increase the likelihood of your home going under contract in 30 days or less (sometimes within the week), for full asking or very close to asking price.


  •  Resist the urge to overprice. Can’t emphasize this enough! The asking price for your home is determined by comparing it to comps, i.e. recently sold properties of similar size and features in your area. The asking price is NOT determined by how much you need to net from your home or by the total cost of improvements you have made to your home. No matter how much you personally think your home is worth, sales price is determined by the market, period.
  • Have great photos. Today’s market is all about how well a home shows online, because that’s where today’s buyers start shopping. Excellent online photos that showcase your home to its best advantage will greatly increase the number of showings it receives.
  • Stage your home for the market according to the advice of your real estate professional. It’s their business to know what appeals most to buyers. Today’s buyers have expectations and requirements on a whole different level than buyers of just 10 years ago and a good broker knows how to market your home for these 2014 expectations.
  • One your home is listed make sure it’s accessible and easy to show. Keep it ready to show at a moment’s notice and don’t decline showings. It’s a proven formula in real estate: the more showings a property receives, the higher the likelihood of an offer.




broadleaf blog

If you’re shopping for a Mid Century Modern home, the current low inventory can make the hunt competitive and frustrating. But don’t despair, using the tips listed below is the best way to gain an edge over competing buyers.

When house hunting:

  • Make sure all your financing is firmly in place and that you have a pre-approval letter for financing in hand.
  • Work with a good broker who knows the market, understands where to find the kind of home you’re looking for and can caution you against overpriced homes.
  • Keep an open mind and consider a home that needs renovating or a style makeover because it will be automatically overlooked by a a good chunk of the competing buyers.
  • Be ahead of trend and look at 70’s and 80’s California Contemporaries. Now is the perfect time because these homes are on the verge of being rediscovered and experiencing the appreciation of the earlier Moderns. Best of all, California contemporaries are more common in Charlotte than earlier Moderns but are not yet priced as high.
  • If you’ve seen a home you think might be perfect but it’s not on the market, have your agent write the homeowner and express your interest in buying it. It’s always possible the right offer could sway them to sell.
  • Look beyond your target neighborhood to an off-the-radar one. If a neighborhood is currently hot or trendy you can be sure it will be swarming with other buyers, and property values there have already made a huge jump and may very well level off soon. Paying top dollar for such a home could easily put you in deep red equity-wise if there’s any sort of downturn in the market.


Robmont blog

When you find the right home:

  • Once you find a home you love, don’t dilly dally. Be prepared to submit a serious offer along with your pre-approval letter immediately. You can’t even afford to sleep on it; with low inventory there are probably 10 other buyers in love with it as well.
  • To avoid getting into a bidding war it’s best to get in the FIRST OFFER with an EXPIRATION OF OFFER (24hours or less), so the broker doesn’t have the chance to SHOP YOUR OFFER!!
  • Absolutely, positively, do not lowball. Go in with your strongest offer, but this doesn’t mean you should  overpay. This is when working with a good broker is most important, because they can pull comps and advise you on a fair price.
  • A downpayment of 20% or more will give your offer much more weight with the seller.
  • Don’t even think of bidding with a contingency, such as keeping the home under contract while you wait for your current home to sell. These sort of contingencies are a thing of the past; you have no chance of having your offer accepted with one.
  • Strengthen your offer in non-monetary ways, too because sellers of unique homes often consider more than dollars when choosing which offer to accept, especially if they’re the original owner. Write a letter with an emotional appeal emphasizing how much you love their home, its current design and how you plan to be a great steward and preserve it by taking good care of it.
  • Don’t count on being able to use the inspection report as a negotiating tool to take a big bite out of the sales price. Multiple back-up offers for a great Modern home are now common. Submitting an expensive repair list may very well cause the seller to move on to the next offer in the queue. Ask yourself if a few repairs is worth losing the home over.






Vintage aluminum christmas trees- our favorite holiday eye candy!


Can anyone look at a sparkly aluminum Christmas tree and remain in a cranky, spirit-free mood? More and more, vintage silver trees are being pulled out of attics and are glittering anew in the homes of MId Century Modern fans. These days, finding a pristine one is akin to finding an original unmarred Jeré wall sculpture or a chip-free set of Russel Wright tableware.

This makes me laugh, because growing up in the 60’s I remember all too well my mother’s extreme dislike of aluminum trees; she was among the many who considered them garish, lowbrow and downright trailer park tacky. No aluminum tree would ever cross our doorstep!

Maybe that’s why the rebel in me loves them so much now. They’re loud, statement-making and over-the-top. And without this kind of decor, Christmas would be no fun at all. The glittery tree perfectly represents the exuberance, delight and anything-is-possible feeling of Christmas and, really, of the Mid Century Modern era in general. Isn’t it funny how the relics that come to symbolize an era are often its most tacky?


Truth be known, the aluminum tree was lowbrow from the get-go. It was originally invented by the Addis Brush Co., a toilet brush manufacturer. In the 1930’s, a clever, outside-the-box thinker at Addis realized that the same equipment and process used to manufacture toilet brushes could be used to make an artificial tree. Later, after WWII brilliance struck again at Addis, when the company used war-time advances in metal fabrication to create an entirely aluminum Christmas tree. Addis received the first patent for their silver tree in 1950, and soon after began marketing it as the “Silver Pine”.


But there was a bit of a hurdle to public acceptance of the Silver Pine. Being entirely metal, the trees couldn’t be strung and lit with the usual Christmas tree lights due to the fear (and lawsuit potential) of electric shock. So the Addis brain trust scored yet again with an odd yet highly popular replacement, a spotlight with a rotating color wheel. No longer would home decorators be stuck with tedious job of stringing lights on a tree. Now they could just plug in the wheel, place it beside their tree and sit back and watch it transform from silver to a rotating smorgasbord of holiday hues.


Throughout the 50’s and into the 60’s, the sparkly silver trees gained popularity, festooning living rooms at Christmas across America and spreading overseas, leading to numerous knock-offs of the original Silver Pine. Aluminum Christmas trees were eventually made in sizes from tabletop to towering and in a variety of colors as well, even pink.

But the changing taste of popular culture helped along by, strangely enough, Charles Shulz’s Peanuts gang lead to the decline of the aluminum tree. In the 1965 TV cartoon special “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, Charlie chooses a small real live tree to protest the commercialization of the holiday instead of the pink aluminum tree suggested by Lucy. After the airing of this special, sales of the aluminum tree began to slide. By the early 70’s most manufacturers had ended production.






aluminum christmas treevintage-tree-aluminum-doll-untitledgjihkj



Evergleam adAluminum Specialty eventually became the #1 manufacturer of aluminum Christmas tree, even outselling the Addis Brush Co., the tree’s inventor.





(Thank you to our friends Wayne and Chris for the following photos of their tree and their fabulous retro home):Wayne'shouse3IMG_0630IMG_0645IMG_0646

Wayne'shouse2(Thank you to our friend Thordis for the following photos of her delightful trees):


I just can’t help but post a few more photos of Thordis’ creative Christmas trees, even though they’re not aluminum.








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