Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Most Amazing Treehouse Ever

picture by Sarah Greenman
Houzz Tours

The Most Incredible Kids' Tree House You'll Ever See?
Frankly, it's hard to believe its actually a tree house at all.

Duck your head to enter this unforgettable Dallas wonderwork, lovingly crafted with imaginative delights

Sarah Greenman
Artist, freelance writer, home tour contributor for Houzz, designer, actor,... More »

picture by Sarah Greenman
Steve and Jeri Wakefield had the idea nine years ago to build an elaborate tree house for their grandsons, Lincoln and Sullivan Scott, in their Dallas backyard. They hired architect and family friend James Curvan to craft a whimsical playhouse with steeply pitched gables, multilevel decks and staircases. To keep pace as their grandsons grew, the Wakefields added exciting upgrades, including a climbing wall, rope ladder, suspension bridge and zip line.

"To make a good tree house, you have to think like a kid and take care of the tree," Curvan says. A series of steel posts, which Curvan painted the color of bark, support the child-size structure, while a giant pecan tree grows through the house but does not bear any weight. With their grandsons all grown up now, the Wakefields invite children from all over the neighborhood to their tree house mansion to play king or queen for a day.

Project at a Glance
Owners: Steve and Jeri Wakefield
Location: Dallas
Size: 100 square feet; 2 exterior decks, 2 sleeping lofts and a crow's nest
eclectic kids by Sarah Greenman
by Sarah Greenman »
The Wakefields' grandsons were in preschool when Curvan built the tree house. "Some kids have a hard time with ladders, so I created a staircase with four landings," the architect says. "That way even little ones can feel secure and safe on their way to the top."
eclectic kids by Sarah Greenman
by Sarah Greenman »
The main floor is laid out like a typical adult home, complete with kitchen, hearth, seating, storage and sleeping spaces. The Wakefields lovingly collected the furniture and decor over the years. Their favorite place for vintage toys and children's furniture is First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas.

For more pics click here: HOUZZ

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Mark Slade

Millburn Wyoming School Student Wins Art Contest

Wyoming Student Wins Poster Contest, Featured on County Guide

Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff and County Clerk Chris Durkin recognize Alexander J. Ma for his second-place artwork in Essex County contest.

By Craig McCarthy
Email the author
March 28, 2013

Alexander J. Ma's artwork featured on the cover of 2013 County Clerk Municipal Guide
Videos (1)
Mayor Sandra Haimoff honors Alexander J. Ma for winning second place in the 2013 'My Essex County Poster Contest'
Upload Photos and Videos

A Millburn fourth-grader's artwork took second place out of 630 entries in the annual 'My Essex County Poster Contest' and his artwork was selected by the county to be featured on the cover of 2013 county clerk's municipal guide.

The student, Alexander J. Ma, of Wyoming Elementary School, was recently recognized by Mayor Sandra Haimoff for his poster, 'How Essex County Enriches My Life' last week.

"This is the young man who made Millburn proud," Haimoff said before she presented the fourth-grader with a proclamation at the last township committee meeting.

His winning poster depicted images of the Turtle Back Zoo, the Essex County Environmental Center, the Mini-Golf Safari, sledding in South Mountain Reservation, Paper Mill Playhouse, Taylor Park, Cobey Arena, the Newark Museum, NJPAC, Prudential Center and Montclair Art Museum

For More, Click Here: Millburn Patch

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Mark Slade



Space is limited, reserve today!
Email: events@wordsbookstore.com
Book purchase required.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Selling a Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills area home involves many steps and having an experienced Maplewood New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor®, specializing in the Bedroom Communities of New York City in Essex/Union County— Millburn, Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, South Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Springfield, Summit, Madison, Chatham, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Westfield--by your side will make the transaction run a lot smoother. I would love to be your Maplewood/South Orange New Jersey Area Real Estate Professional! I assist both buyers and sellers in the Bedroom Communities of New York City, mostly served by NJ Transit’s Mid-Town Direct Train Lines, offering commutes of 45minute or less to NY Penn Station, with either the purchase and or sale of residential real estate.

As an Accredited Buyer’s Agent (ABR), I have received special training to guide and educate you through the entire home buying process. From start to finish, I listen to your needs and desires in what you would like and take the information you give me to find you home. My GO-TO team can provide you the best in Real Estate advice with regard to attorney choices, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Loan Officers

As your Maplewood/South Orange/Millburn/Short Hills/Essex/Union County New Jersey listing agent I am well versed on as your local expert in all things in the Maplewood and South Orange area Real Estate Market. You can expect personalized service that includes a detailed consultation on how to best position your Mid-Town Direct home to be competitive in today’s market with training to provide my clients with an in-depth Advanced Comparative Market analysis, and advice on staging. As my office’s technology officer as well as both a Zillow Platinum Premier and Trulia Premier agent, I use the latest and most up-to-date marketing methods to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. Being your New Jersey Real Estate Agent and Realtor ® not only involves just finding the home or selling the home, but being your guide, negotiator, advisor and advocate and making sure that your needs and goals are met. Being your New Jersey Essex/Union County area Realtor® (with a little bit of Morris County thrown in for good measure) is one of my truest passions, and “Helping You Find Your Dream Home” is my number one priority.

Maplewood's very own Words Bookstore Featuring Autism Month Events

Maplewood's very own Words Bookstore Featuring Autism Month with 7 Events:

Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
with author Peter F. Gerhardt, E.D.
APRIL 3 / WED / 7:30 pm
Promoting better social skills and behavior is a top priority for anyone who works with learners with autism—but which practices really improve outcomes? Find out in this cutting-edge volume, a reader-friendly synthesis of the latest findings from more than 20 of today’s top researchers in the field.
Buy the book!

Autism Technology Workshop
with The Children's Institute technology specialist Randy Palmer and speech language specialist Carol White
APRIL 4 / THU / 7:00 pm
Apps to support those with autism in the home, school, and community.
Participants will learn to:
• Recognize the features of the iPod/iPhone/iPad that appeal to students with autism
• Participate in a demonstration of apps that support students with special needs
• Locate online resources for finding high-quality apps

Silently Seizing
with author Caren Haines, R.N.
APRIL 7 / SUN / 2:00 pm
Silently Seizing is a breakthrough new book that explores what most doctors won’t tell you about autism… that in some cases, the symptoms of autism are caused by seizures that are undetectable with standard diagnostic tools. Silently Seizing is the first book to explore this little-known but crucial relationship between autism and seizures.
Buy the book!

Autism: The Scientific Truth
with author Dr. Robert Melillo
APRIL 11 / THU / 7:30 pm
With honesty and compassion, Dr. Melillo explains what the latest scientific research tells us about the role of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, dispelling myths and replacing them with the facts. In addition, he presents early warning signs, a prevention plan for parents-to-be, and an intervention program for babies and young children.
Buy the book!

Second Sundays: Special Afternoons for Special Kids
DANCING with Dancer's Point
APRIL 14 / SUN /
2:00-3:00 pm / Ages 3 - 10
3:30-4:30 pm / Ages 11+
All events are free, but space is limited. Please register by emailing the name and date of the event and ages of any attending children to info@wordsbookstore.com. Please note: parent/guardian required to stay for duration of event.

Totally Chill
with author Dr. Christopher Lynch
APRIL 24 / WED / 7:00 pm
When parenting, teaching and working with children who have social, emotional, and/or sensory sensitivities, we often put the emphasis on learning new skills, but stress management skills are often left unaddressed. Totally Chill: The Complete Guide to Staying Cool is a stress management workbook that is meant to be read, completed, and used as much as possible by children themselves.
Buy the book!

Sally Sore Loser
with author Dr. Frank J. Sileo
APRIL 27 / SAT / 10:30 am
Sally loves to be first at everything! She is first in line at school. She is first out the door at recess. She is first at dinner finishing her mac ‘n’ cheese! Unfortunately, Sally dislikes losing and this can lead to hot tempers and hurt feelings. She even gets the nickname “Sally Sore Loser” from her classmates at school. With the help of her teacher and her mom, Sally learns the rules for being a good winner and a good loser.
Buy the book!

Mark Slade
Keller Williams
Good Homes

Mark Slade

Friday, March 29, 2013

Going, Going Gone, Buyer's raising their offers in multiple bids

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 04:00 AM PDT
PrintLimited inventory and a very strong demand for housing has created an environment where bidding wars are commonplace in today’s real estate market. Homes priced properly are getting multiple offers within a short time of coming to market. "As a matter of fact, in an analysis i just did, over 51% of the homes recently listed were already sold, under contract and/or in attorney review," Mark Slade; "And as a ABR agent for Essex and Union Counties, I can tell you that 7 of the 8 bids i have put in in the past 8 days were multiple, ranging from as few as 3 offers to as many as 8 offers.  I feel like i'm at an auction house."  

This brings about a dilemma for the agent: How should they advise their client who is about to make an offer when other offers will also be presented?
Over the last several years, there wasn’t any pressure on the buyer to adjust their offer for three reasons:
1.    There were plenty of homes for sale
2.    Prices were falling
3.    Mortgage interest rates were falling
They buyer could find another home easily for probably less money and a lower mortgage rate. There was no downside to not ‘upping the ante’. However, in today’s market, things have dramatically changed.


A normal real estate market has between 5-6 months worth of inventory. Over the last several years, the inventory of homes for sale had skyrocketed to 10 months. Most buyers in almost any price range had a multitude of houses to choose from. Today, the national month’s supply of inventory has fallen below five months. In many markets, there is not enough housing inventory to satisfy the current demand.
Conclusion: If the buyer loses the house they are bidding on, there is no guarantee they will find a similar home anytime soon.


Becausemof the limited inventory, home prices are again appreciating. The Case Shiller Pricing Index revealed that house prices rose by 6.8% in 2012. Experts are projecting home prices to increase by 5% to 8% in 2013.
Conclusion: If the buyer doesn’t get this house, there is a good likelihood that a similar home will cost more in the future.


The ‘cost’ of a home to a buyer is determined by the price of the house and the expense associated with the financing. Mortgage rates are projected to inch up in 2013. In a recent forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted that rates could climb as high as 4.3% by the end of the year.
Conclusion: If interest rates do inch up, the ‘cost’ of the next home could be impacted significantly.

Bottom Line 

If a buyer truly loves the house they are bidding on, it probably makes sense to raise their bid now instead of waiting for another dream house to appear.

Mark Slade

Keller Williams


Good Homes

Mark Slade

Friday, March 22, 2013

South Orange Filmaker at work with Inner-city kids and music

South Orange Filmmaker Sparks Music, Note by Note

A local filmmaker has access to Juilliard music instruction and its impact on kids who, in their own words, "come from nothing."

Ben Niles tells stories with music.  The South Orange resident and independent filmmaker is at work on "Some Kind of Spark," a film that tells the story of seven inner-city kids who learn music at Juilliard.
Niles, whose recent film "Note By Note" has played in over 40 cities domestically and 25 countries abroad, plus a national airing on PBS for a three-year cycle, is using Kickstarter.com to support the final phases of his work. Funding must be complete by late this week.
Throughout the film, "Spark" follows students from audition through the challenge of high-level musical instruction. Viewers meet Pete Destill, a nine-year-old boy who fled Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 and now learning the flute; Leisley de Plaza, whose parents from Ecuador have made every sacrifice to allow her to study the piano; and Leisley’s teacher, Major Scurlock, who “came from the projects,” and found the piano at 15, among others.
The film is of particular relevance locally says friend Camille Carter, also a resident. "Ben Niles is able to tell stories about music in a unique way," she explains. "And we know that music is vital to South Orange and Maplewood."
She notes that Niles has two children in the South Orange - Maplewood schools, and is a part of the community. "And this community takes arts seriously. We are diverse culturally and artistically."

For More info and a short movie clip:  Maplewood Patch.com

Mark Slade

Keller Williams


Good Homes

Mark Slade

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Living in South Orange: SOPAC hosts American Repertory Ballet

American Repertory Ballet

Friday, April 05
Tickets: $20, $30
SOPAC Members: $15, $25

Rite of Spring
Choreographed by Douglas Martin 
Music by Igor Stravinsky

Viva Vivaldi
Choreographed by Gerald Arpino 
Music by Antonio Vivaldi

New Work (Title TBA)
Choreographed by Patrick Corbin

Artistic Director Douglas Martin tackles Stravinsky’s influential and provocative score, The Rite of Spring, on the centennial of its controversial premiere, and gives the ballet’s ceremonial pagan sacrifice narrative a twist.  This ballet is at once a celebratory ode to the advent of spring and a statement on the theme of ritualistic behavior and sacrifice.  In addition, ARB will be dancing a new work by Patrick Corbin, former Joffrey Ballet dancer who is known for his athletic contemporary choreography, and Viva Vivaldi, a quick-footed ballet full of bravura and charm set to Antonio Vivaldi’s "Concerto in D for Violin, Strings and Cembalo" by famed Joffrey Ballet choreographer Gerald Arpino.

<br><b>Mark Slade</b>
Keller Williams
<a href="http://www.goodhomesforgoodpeople.com">Good Homes</a><br>
<script src="http://www.maplewoodandsouthorangehomes.com/webcapture/type/rectangle/" type="text/javascript"></script>
<a href="http://markslade.brandyourself.com?source=sig">Mark Slade</a>