M/I Homes Sells Benefit Home in Houston, Texas

Closing for Benefit HomeThirty four years ago the Greater Houston Builders Association Board of Directors created a charitable project to bring vendors, builders, developers and volunteers of the GHBA together for one cause: to find a way to give back to Houston. The overall goal of the program was to build quality homes to be sold at market value for a profit that would then be donated to charity. This program is still going strong today.

This year, M/I Homes of Houston was given the opportunity to build this “benefit home” in the Woodlands – Villages of Creekside Park community. M/I Homes donated the construction and management of the home, while The Woodlands community donated the homesite.

The Steffany II floor plan was selected for this event. This home featured 2,629 square feet of space with 3 bedrooms, a study and an open concept kitchen looking into the family room.

When looking for a new home Jennifer Simmons fell in love with this home, the community and the location.  She adored the open concept kitchen and the large variety of upgrades that were included in this home, as well as the spacious game room, media room and full bathroom upstairs.  The icing on the cake was when she learned that this home also benefited three local charities; the Texas Cancer Center, the Alzheimer’s Association and HomeAid Houston. Jennifer’s decision to purchase this home became an even simpler one.

Jennifer Simmons New Home

This benefit home closed on June 20th, 2014. The program that was created 34 years ago by the GHBA has raised over 9 million dollars for local charities throughout its existence. With the help of generous vendors, hard working volunteers and the Greater Houston Builders Association, M/I Homes was proud to be a part of such an amazing project.

To learn more about this program go to the GHBA website.

Guest Blogger: Dishwasher Do’s and Don’ts for an Open Concept Kitchen

For most families, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where you prepare and often partake of daily meals; it’s where you create culinary delicacies and congregate for parties and holidays; and more often these days, it’s also an integral part of your main living area.


Whether your family is comprised of one or ten members, the underlying premise for open concept kitchens is the same: You want your dishwasher to be the subtle supporting actor that contributes to an overall “best picture,” not a demanding diva that needlessly steals every scene for all of the wrong reasons.

So to help you find the perfect dishwasher for your open concept kitchen, here are some things to keep in mind.

Sound Matters: Whether you’re hosting a party, having a family dinner, or watching a movie in the living room that’s only 10 feet away, the last thing you want is to have to listen to the dishwasher working away while you’re trying to enjoy some well-deserved down time!

Lower decibel levels and super-quiet features are huge assets when you have an open concept kitchen. This is because a dishwasher that is rated even four decibels higher than another is twice as loud (the lower the decibel number, the quieter the machine). In practical terms, this means that although a model with a decibel rating from 41-50 will be virtually silent, a rating of 60 or above makes conducting a normal conversation difficult.

To achieve a lower decibel rating, look for models with stainless steel tubs and good quality insulation

One trade-off you may need to consider is a dishwasher with a built-in disposal. This feature will make it louder, but it may be worth it to you if you and your family (based on your pre-rinsing habits) stand to benefit from the disposal’s grinding capability.

Size Matters: When you spend a ton of time cooking, baking or preparing food, selecting a dishwasher with a large internal capacity is key. Look for models that come equipped with an extra-large capacity or a tall tub.

Newer dishwashers have adjustable racks that you can lower or raise as needed. These come in handy because they affect more than just the rack; when you raise an adjustable rack, you automatically create more room for the taller sheet pans or serving platters below. The more you can fit in a single cycle, the less time you spend loading, unloading and washing dishes!

Time Matters: If you run the dishwasher at night before going to bed, the cycle duration doesn’t matter as much as it does when you are waiting to use the clean dishes. This happens most often during the holidays–when you have to wash the lunch dishes because you need to use them again for dinner.

But what about those times when you don’t want to run a full-length normal cycle at all? If you have a smaller load or just need something sanitized in a snap, you may need a dishwasher that comes equipped with more time-sensitive and soil-conscious options.

Design Matters: In the realm of marrying form with function, you want a dishwasher that packs a major aesthetically appealing punch but also works exactly how you need it to. One example of how this might come into play is a model with a touch pad control system.684a86f4-2830-4eab-89fe-c8fc5ca83a7f_400

Dishwashers with touch pads in place of traditional dials are handy, but the easily-triggered mechanisms can activate the machine when you bump into the panel.

A better solution if you find yourself congregating around this appliance is to select a model with the touch pad concealed “inside” the dishwasher on the top ledge of the door, or a “top control” model. This way, you have the fancy touch pad without the hassle of false starts (literally!) when you casually brush up against the outside of the dishwasher.

What’s your favorite feature on your dishwasher?

***  Rheney Williams writes about home appliances and home organization for Home Depot. Rheney spends many hours in the kitchen of her Charleston, S.C., home, so she’s quite excited when she can provide advice to homeowners on appliances such as dishwashers. A large selection of dishwashers available at Home Depot can be found on the Home Depot website.

M/I Homes of Charlotte Opens a New Model at Huntington Forest

Charlotte – M/I Homes has opened a new model home in Huntington Forest in southwest Charlotte.  The scenic community near Lake Wylie offers six different home plans, ranging from 2,360 to 3,271 square feet, for homebuyers who want great design at an affordable price.  Homes here range from $213,990 to $276,935, depending on options selected.  Huntington Forest is an established neighborhood with many wooded home sites.  The community has convenient access to I-485 and I-77 and is very close to the new Tanger Outlets.


The model home features the Newport plan.  In this versatile “ranch-plus” design, buyers can have everything they desire on one level, or add a half-floor for additional living space upstairs with an optional full bath.  Highlights include a large, yet cozy kitchen, with center island, a light-filled breakfast area, and formal dining and living room.  The living room could be changed into a study with optional French doors.  This home gives buyers more than 2,800 square feet if the bonus room is added.


The Newport is one of six M/I home plans available in Huntington Forest.  Others include The Marvin, The Davidson, The Galloway, The Westport, and The Pinnacle.  Ranches and two-story homes with up to 7 bedrooms can be built here.  The community also has move-in ready homes available now.  All are part of M/I’s Eco-series, designed to give buyers an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly home and every M/I home comes with a 30-year transferable structural warranty.

This beautiful community, located off of Hwy. 49 and Steele Creek Road, includes a pool with children’s pool area, cabana, pavilion, and playground.  Carowinds, a 398-acre amusement park, is just a few minutes away and additional shopping includes Ayrsley and Rivergate Shopping Centers.

Schedule your tour of Huntington Forest Today!

Guest Blogger: 5 Home Upgrades that Attract Current Homebuyers

There is no tell-all guide for homeowners to consult before putting their houses up for sale. Certain renovations hold greater appeal for prospective homebuyers than others. Trending designs and popular renovations can help homes stand out in competitive real estate markets.  Consider these five upgrades before listing homes on the market.

Photo Credit: Dana Miller Photography

White Cabinetry

The new generation of homebuyers loves the clean look of white cabinetry – preferably accessorized with modern brass or steel hardware. Skip warm tones in the kitchen during renovation planning. Dark wood, although classic, tends to enclose spaces and create a sense of confinement. The new trend points toward bright and white kitchens equipped with ample natural light and decorated with pops of color through plates or baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Simple Stone Countertops

Traditional designers are hooked on granite, and rightfully so. Granite is an attractive, durable option for kitchen counters commonly seen in high-end homes. However, younger buyers are opting for monochromatic materials in the kitchen. Less complexity allows for a cleaner, more consistent design. Consider investing in quartz or honed granite, which has a matte finish instead of shiny lacquer. However, a cleaner look requires more upkeep to prevent scratching and remove food-related stains, so scrub surfaces before an open house or inspection.

Large Shower

Real estate professionals used to warn against removing bathtubs before resale. Currently, large showers are one of the most important aspects of well-designed and functional bathrooms. Multiple heads and body sprayers impress young, first-time homebuyers. Therefore, consider repurposing square footage to remove a dated tub and expand stand-up shower space. Install new fixtures and choose sparkling, sleek tiles and clear glass enclosures.

Bold Front Door

The focal point of any home is the front porch and entry. Paint a bright blue or red finish on the exterior side of the door to make a statement and help attract homebuyers with trendy curb appeal. Consider including complementary outside features to tie in the bright door, such as front porch furniture with decorative throw pillows or a colorful front garden bed. Replace or shine existing doorknobs and fixtures with metal polish. Outfit the door with a simple seasonal wreath.

Character Embellishments

Molding, in moderation, has always been alluring to homebuyers. There are multiple options to detail the walls, ceilings and seams of a room. Crown molding, baseboards, plank walls, bead boards and exposed wooden beams are a few options to add rustic or traditional charm to homes. It is possible to overdo exposed wood; an entirely brown paneled room is a huge turn-off to house hunters looking for modern spaces. Incorporate trimmings to create balance between classic character and modern style.

Don’t limit the pool of prospective buyers by adhering too strictly to trending home upgrades. As always, keep things simple so homebuyers can envision their own personal flair and customization in every room.


Jennifer Riner currently lives in Seattle and writes about real estate, rental management and home improvement for Zillow. She moved to the Pacific Northwest after graduating from University of Wisconsin with a BA in Journalism and Strategic Communication. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and relaxing with her two dogs.

“Oh, Say Can You See!”

Fun tips for Fourth of July Celebrations

Are you getting ready for the big holiday weekend coming up?  Or today’s USA soccer game?  You might be thinking fireworks, cookouts, pool parties and hopefully lots of sunshine with the upcoming festivities!

With Fourth of July celebrations almost here, many of us are constantly looking for new ways to spruce up our homes with festive decorations, creative party bites and new crafts to help celebrate this Independence Day.  We know we certainly have Red, White and Blue on the brain.  Check out some of our favorite (and easy) ways to get ready for this holiday weekend!

Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Flag Berry Tarts

Flag Berry Tarts













Handprint Flag

Handprint Flag

Handprint Flag T-Shirt

Handprint Flag T-Shirt













American Flag Mason Jars

American Flag Mason Jars

Holiday Block Decorations

Holiday Block Decorations
















                                                                                                                                                                                                                Visit our Pinterest page to see more Fourth of July ideas!  We hope you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!


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