Jim Vance is our new BFF

Okay, BFF may be a stretch but we’ve certainly shared a lot of photo ops and hand shakes with him over the years. Jim Vance, as you probably know, is the popular news anchor of News4 (WRC-TV) and has been since 1989. What you may not know is that for the last eleven years he has also been the emcee of the Great American Living Awards (GALA), the building industry’s most prestigious design competition.Thursday, September 21stwas GALA 2012 and we’re proud to say that we got to spend a lot of time on stage with Mr. Vance, as he presented us with 16 different awards for the best architecture, interior design and marketing our industry has to offer.The following is the complete list of awards we won. Congratulations to all of our employees, trade partners and friends in the industry that helped make this night possible.

Design & Architecture, Detached Home (lots <7,000 s.f.), $550K-$600K: Winner‚ Fells Point at Maple Lawn

Design & Architecture, Detached Home (lots <7,000 s.f.), $600K-$700K: Winner‚ Gramercy Park at Maple Lawn

Design & Architecture, Detached Home (lots >7,000 s.f.), Under $450K: Award of Merit‚ Cortland at The Orchard at New Market

Design & Architecture, Attached Home, $300K-$350K: Winner‚ Wyeth at Gallery Park

Design & Architecture, Attached Home, $400K-$500K: Winner‚ Montague at Brambleton

Design & Architecture, Attached Home, $500K-$600K: Winner‚ Pierrepont at Brambleton

Interior Merchandising, Attached Home, Under $300K: Winner‚ O’Keefe at Gallery Park

Interior Merchandising, Detached Home, Under $450K: Winner‚ Cortland Model at The Orchard at New Market

Interior Merchandising, Detached Home, $550K-$600K: Winner‚ Fells Point at Maple Lawn

Interior Merchandising, Detached Home, $600K-$700K: Award of Merit‚ Gramercy Park at Maple Lawn

Best Overall marketing Campaign: Winner

Best Direct Mail: Award of Merit

Miller & Smith’s development affiliate, One Loudoun LLC, was also recognized in the following categories:

Sales Office/Information Center, Mixed Use Community, under 1,000 s.f.: Award of Merit

Print Advertising, Individual Ad: Winner

Overall Marketing Campaign, Mixed Use Community: Award of Merit

Mixed Use Design (Active Land Development): Winner

When Life Gives You Apples.

During this fall harvest season, we wanted to pay homage to our namesake here at The Orchard at New Market and celebrate our favorite fruit.

We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away. We’ve heard the saying As American as apple pie. So why is it that this fruit has become such an icon in our culture?

After making these recipes, you’ll be singing the praises of the apple, too. Here are a few of our favorite apple recipes that are sure to become a staple in your family’s meal repertoire. And if you’re looking for a great new kitchen to get you even more inspired, check out this 2-minute Tour video of our Cortland Model here at The Orchard at New Market. Enjoy!

Apple Crostada Recipe and Image Courtesy of Ina Garten & The Food Network

Ingredients:For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Directions: For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.

Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle. Bake the crostada for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.

Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney Recipe and Image Courtesy of Cooking Light

Ingredients:

Chutney:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cups (1/4-inch) cubed peeled apple (about 3 apples)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Pork:

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. To prepare chutney, melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple; saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cranberries and the next 6 ingredients (through allspice); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until apples are tender; stir occasionally.
  2. To prepare pork, while chutney simmers, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine chipotle and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper); sprinkle over pork. Coat grill pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with chutney.

For even more food for thought, here are a few more apple bites:

  • There are over 7,000 apple varieties
  • It is said that this fruit was brought over by the Pilgrims.
  • For the longest shelf life, store apples in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Use within three weeks.
  • There is a small town in New Mexico named Pie Town, in honor of the apple pie.

Can a bathroom save your marriage?

 

We’re no Dr. Phil but we do know a thing or two about relationships, commitment and the secret to living happily ever after.

Rule number one, always be honest.

Rule number two, laugh easily and often.

Rule number three, his and her features in a new home are really both for her.

Despite what our brochure says, those his and her closets in your new master suite are really meant for her clothes and her shoes, or her summer wardrobe and her winter wardrobe. (Besides, his stuff would be much happier in the guest room closet anyway, right?)

We know how the real world works. Which brings us to the point of this post, and the single greatest design feature ever invented for fostering wedded bliss, the his and her master bath. You can see one for yourself today in our new Gramercy Park model at Maple LawnNow unlike his and her closets, this feature is actually designed for him and for her.

Lots of master baths have two vanities, but this brilliant marriage-saving design goes one step further. It has two separate water closets (otherwise known as tiny rooms with toilets).

That’s one for her. And an entirely separate one for him that comes with its own door that you never have to open. Ever.

How perfect is that? The best part is, in addition to the two vanities and two water closets, the his and her master bath shares a giant shower. This is a family-friendly blog so we won’t get into the therapeutic, marriage-enhancing benefits of a giant shower, but you can do the math.

So back to our initial question. Can a bathroom save your marriage? Let’s just say if you make a living as a Marriage Counselor you might want to stay as far away from Maple Lawn as possible. This bath is bad for business. 

Come tour for yourself today.

A walk in the closet.

We’ll have you believing in magic when you see the master suites at Victory Lakes. Not only are these Magic Collection townhomes impossibly large, but they boast a vast master bedroom, including his and hers walk-in closets. Surely making this one of the reasons they’ve been so popular and are now almost entirely sold out. If you’re anything like us, the thought of keeping a huge closet organized can be overwhelming. However, by following these simple tips, you can conquer closet clutter once and for all and make the most out of your new space.

1. There’s never been a better time than now to go through your belongings and weed out anything that you don’t need. Thanks to this checklist from ApartmentTherapy.com, ask yourself the following questions to determine if an article of clothing truly passes the For Keeps Test. Do I like the cut, fabric and color? Am I comfortable wearing it? Does it fit me now? If there is any damage, can it really be fixed? Can I wear it on more than one occasion? Does it coordinate with other things in my closet? Have I worn it in the past year?The following tips and examples may utilize simple storage solutions that are easy to assemble and install and are widely available at your local home improvement stores.

2. Maximize the space using double closet rods for hanging dresses, shirts, skirts and dress pants. Allowing a six-inch clearance above each rod will make enough room for your rows of clothing to hang unimpaired.*Source

3. Include an area for drawers in your closet, making sure that they are outfitted with dividers for easily storing small items like belts, scarves, socks and undergarments.*Source

4. Shelves are perfect for storing folded stacks of shirts and sweaters and jeans. Anchor your stacks of shirts by placing bulkier clothing at the bottom and then organize by type, whether it be turtlenecks, cardigans or crew necks.*Source

5. Storing shoes is probably the biggest challenge in any closet. Gone are the days of searching through a mountain of footwear. When you use clear plastic boxes as a means for storing shoes, you’re not only able to locate the right pair more easily, but by stacking the boxes, you’ll make room for even more pairs.*Source

Most importantly when trying to curb closet clutter you must evaluate the efficiency of your space. Make sure you have created a clear path and easy accessibility to the clothes you regularly wear. Never. Stop. Organizing. Keeping up with the clutter will make it more manageable and will save you time for such things as locating that cute eggplant cardigan that you forgot you even had.