Dream House Acres

Welcome to Mid-Centennial Modern

Yay Spring!

by tamara on April 4, 2015, no comments

Hey, when did you all pop in?

Hey, when did you all pop in?

Yay! Spring is finally here. My world is coming back to life.  I’ve watched the tulip leaves push up from the ground, grow a bit and ever so slowly spread their greens. And then this morning, I spotted this! Welcome back!

I know they say don’t garden until the week after Mother’s Day, so I’m counting down the days. Here’s already what’s poking up in my yard, with no help from moi:


A social network just for Dream House Acres

by tamara on September 6, 2014, no comments

NextDoor-logoOn my to-do list for quite a while was to explore the online opportunities uniting local neighborhoods and the residents. And then I got a postcard at my door from a neighbor who was already part of one (thanks John!). The Dream House Acres hub at NextDoor just added its 100th member today.

It’s a very active community/social network. This week, there have been dozens of messages from neighbors asking for referrals for a good vet, pet walkers and mower services. Someone is even searching for a 1950s sink!

The site shares information only with neighbors who have been verified. You can choose how much information to display or to keep private. Definitely a tool that can help bring a community together. If you live in Dream House Acres and want to join, try this link.

(Of course, if you don’t live here and want to start your own NextDoor community, here’s another link that will get founders of new communities a $25 Amazon gift card.)

S. Adams Drive getting a pavement makeover

by tamara on August 28, 2014, no comments

LakeStupdateIt’s that time of year again! The city is once again repaving (at least) one road in Dream House Acres. The lucky recipient: S. Adams Drive, starting at the intersection of S. Steele Street.

This could get messy for those cutting through on Steele Street (where, at least for today, Steele is a one-lane road at Lake). But from my recollection of last August’s repaving of Steele Street, the work is done within days. I bet for all of us who live here don’t mind the traffic, in exchange for a smoother street. (And hopefully it’ll slow everyone else down so we don’t have more of this happening.)

There could be other Dream House Acres streets getting a makeover. If you happen to live on a street that is getting work done, let us know!

The perfect, low-maintenance modern lawn

by tamara on August 25, 2014, one comment

ecolawnHaving a luscious, green front lawn was never a priority. The manicured lawns of mid-century seemed water-excessive and high maintenance, plus I have at least 538 things I’d rather do on a weekend then mow the lawn. In fact, when we moved in, I had no plans to do anything to the yard (ha!). The front lawn was very ordinary, a mix of Kentucky Blue Grass, an assortment of weeds and ugly bare spots. So … maybe it was worse than ordinary.

Why water weeds and brown spots, we asked ourselves? Our immediate plan was to let the lawn die and rock it. A year later, after seeing the weeds take over our “experiment,” my amateur-landscape-designer husband decided to add back some green using fake grass. But a few quotes later, we ruled out artificial turf ($5,000 to $10,000 for 800 square feet? Gulp!). Then we learned about Eco Lawn from Wildflower Farms.

“Grows in full sun, part shade and even deep shade!”

“Highly drought tolerant”

“Can be mown like a regular lawn or left un-mown for a free-flowing carpet effect.”

Yes, Yes and Yes!

Eco-Lawn from Wildflower Farms, sold in 5-pound bags

Wildflower Farms mixes a variety of very fine fescue grasses that grow and blend together like undulating waves in a sea of green. Apparently, the roots dive deep to keep it hardy and require less water. After viewing the company’s photo gallery and googling for other evidence that Eco-Lawn really works, we bought a few 5-pound bags of seed. (We really only needed one for the front yard.) There was no option to buy rolls of ready-grown grass. You must plant Eco-Lawn from seed.

I call it my magic grass. It really is like a carpet. Neighborhood dogs and young boys like to roll around in it. We are now in the 4th year, having planted the seeds in September 2011.

This summer, we haven’t mowed at all. It only needs watering about once a week (maybe less since it’s been a pretty wet summer this year). Our monthly summer watering bill, which includes watering my 8-garden beds in the backyard, is between $20 to $30. That’s up from around $13 during the winter.

Obviously, Eco-Lawn isn’t for everyone. But for us, it’s as close to perfect as a front lawn could get. Plus, we love how it looks. I especially love the contrast of green against the gray gravel. We still have seeds left and when we have time, we may revamp our backyard as well.

If you’re thinking of going eco, here are my tips:

  • If you’re in a colder area where you need to blow out sprinklers, it needs to be watered at the start of spring. If your sprinklers haven’t been turned on yet, water by hand or it’ll die.
  • We prefer the natural, un-mowed meadow look. But I suggest mowing it short in the late fall after turning off any sprinklers. Otherwise, in the spring, the shaggy brownish grass covers up new growth underneath and may prevent new grass from shooting up.
  • When you do mow the tall grass, you’ll need to rake up the cut grass. Our annual mow does take time. And to get it short for the winter, you’ll need to mow, rake and mow again.
  • Sprinklers need to be tall enough to shoot up above the tallest grass, otherwise, water puddles up. We ended up switching out our 6-inch sprinklers to 12-inch.
  • There will still be weeds, especially that darn, creeping bindweed. Pulling bindweed doesn’t get rid of it because it has such long roots. You’ve got to kill the bind plant down to its deepest root.This broadleaf-weed killer works. But here in Colorado, we also have access to bindweed-eating mites, which I haven’t tried but I’m highly interested in.
  • It may attract wildlife. We’ve spotted many rabbits nibbling away, which is fine by us. That’s the natural order of things in a meadow. Besides, it seems to keep them away from the garden.
  • Did I mention you need to water in the spring? This critical period (before you officially turn on sprinklers) could be the death of your grass, especially if you are like us and make raised mounds in the front yard to give the landscape some interest.
  • Once the grass gets going, it will likely go to seed if you leave it unmowed (as like most plants). We don’t mind this because it’s free seeds! But the resulting wild fescue may be too unkempt for some cookie-cutter-loving surburbanites. Two years ago, we got a visit from the city telling us some neighbor complained about the wildness. After hearing this was low-water Eco-Lawn, the inspector took notes. Plus, she seemed to like that the grass was contained in an elliptical frame of gray gravel. The city gave us the thumbs up, and called it ornamental grasses.

A few angles of the lawn — four years after planting:

Sierra Trading Post, Nekter juice bar coming soon

by tamara on August 5, 2014, no comments

Go away for half the summer and miss out! Yes, I know. It’s been months — months! — since the blog’s last post. [insert excuse here].

Anyhoo… For those of us who were not in Dream House Acres this summer: New stores are coming soon to Cherry Hills Marketplace, down at Orchard and University.

Store #1: Sierra Trading Post


It’s hard to miss where Sierra Trading Post is going in — the old Ross. I’ve never been to one. There are only 4 stores nationwide — mostly in Wyoming, home to its (former?) headquarters. And while the name seems familiar, I don’t remember it. For those in my camp, the store is a discount store for outdoor goods, including clothing, hiking boots, backpacks, camping equipment, bicycles, canoes, etc. More sporting-goods like Dicks, rather than discount-clothing-like Ross. Looks like most people probably know it as an online store — it made more than $200 million online a few years ago. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to check out the goods before buying.

Keith Richardson started the store back in 1986 and he has a great story about its inception. I like it that the company’s history includes setbacks, like Richardson getting ousted from another company — giving him the pluck he needs to get Sierra going.

The Greenwood Village store is one of two opening in Colorado. The other is in Fort Collins. And both are hiring, if you’re so interested. Looks like they’re wrapping up hiring by the end of the month so I suspect the grand opening date will be shortly afterwards in September.

And here’s a fun fact: Sierra Trading Post is owned by TJX Companies, owner of the next door-ish neighbor TJ Maxx HomeGoods. TJX acquired Sierra back in December 2012 so it’s no wonder the chain is finally expanding.

Store #2: Nékter Juice Bar

(make that néktǝr with an upside-down second e)

Coming soon in between yoga-apparel Soybu and the delicious Wooden Table, we’ve got néktǝr juice bar. Kind of like Jamba Juice but to an extreme (ginger shot, anyone?) It’s not just a juice bar, but a cleanse bar. You can buy cleansing juices on a multi-day plan (as the site says: “15 lbs of cold-pressed fruits and vegetables packed into a day’s cleanse.” Whoa.)

Seems like a good location — stop by Perfect Tone Pilates for exercise, then lunch at the tasty Sazza and later browse the yoga attire at Sobu and pick up a smoothie at néktǝr.

The juice chain started in Costa Mesa, California in 2010 and in a few short years, it’s grown to 30-plus stores. The most recent one opened in Boulder this month. Apparently, the company is also opening locations in Aurora and Lakewood.

Healthy juice in an assortment of colors. What’s not to like?

Mid-Centennial Modern home sales roundup

by tamara on April 26, 2014, no comments

Centennial housing prices are up 6.4 percent from a year ago, according to Zillow (as quoted in the Denver Post).

But my bet is that if you own a Mid-Centennial Modern gem, you can sell it for much more than you paid. It’s those magnificent windows I say!

For example, let’s take a look at recent MCMs sold/selling in our neighborhood.

There is 7090 S. Cherry Street, which Zillow tells me JUST SOLD for $341,000, up from its $339,900 price tag. That’s also up from the $201,300 it sold for last August! Of course the in-between owners apparently invested a chunk of change in the makeover: “new kitchen,” “new oversized 2 car garage,” and “new fence.” And not sure what happened here, but apparently the prior-prior owner also added new upstairs windows, roof and gutters in May 2013. I do love that horizontal privacy fence in the patio…

7090 S Cherry St

7090 S Cherry St., Centennial, CO

Redfin points out that this modern MCM at 2723 Euclid is under contract. List price is $375k. Last sold for $304,900 in June 2010. I’ve always admired that garage door. And, oh, those horizontal fences (definitely one of the better looking ones in the neighborhood)!

2723 Euclid in Centennial

And while this updated MCM on 3152 E Weaver Ave. didn’t get its $385k asking price, looks like the seller settled for a cool $360k. That’s up from the $322k it sold for a year ago January!

3152 E Weaver Ave

3152 E Weaver Ave., Centennial, CO

On this high note for the neighborhood, I do want to point out these modern-style homes are still infrequent on the MLS. If you spot one, let me know and I’ll try to include in my next round up.

Welcome Spring blossoms! Oh wait, that’s just snow in the middle of April

by tamara on April 16, 2014, no comments

Yes, those are spring blossoms on my crabapple tree covered in snow -- not an uncommon sight.

April 13, 2014: Yes, those are spring blossoms on my crabapple tree … covered in snow.

Delicate pink blossoms on our crabapple tree make me almost forget about the mess crabapples make in the fall when the overripe fruit cover the ground ready to be squished by little and big feet. Nevertheless, we adore our tree, which provides plenty of shade from the summer sung plus the week’s worth of flowers it produces each spring.  It picks up my spirit. I love what the warm weather allows me to do outdoors in my very own yard.

A side note about crabapple trees: Last year, I decided I’d had it with the fruit and wondered if there was a way to keep the tree but prevent it from producing fruit. Of course there is. Something like this. So I bought a bottle. And then, if anyone remembers, just as the flowers were beginning to bloom, a freeze fell over the area killing all those buds,which subsequently dropped to the ground in the next few days. So, no fabulously flowering crabapple tree last year — and no squishy fruit either. I don’t know if I’ll attempt to defruit my tree this year. I don’t really understand how I could possibly spray each and every bud on the 20ish-foot-tall tree. And now that we have pea gravel below the tree, it’s easy enough to rake up the fruit.

From “Crabapples: The Forgotten Fruit”

Crabapple trees aren’t difficult to maintain. We did run into a whitish mold on some leaves a few years ago. Turned out to be a mix of Woolly Aphids, an insect that eats ornamental fruit, and that blasted Powdery Mildew, a fungus that loves killing the leaves of my squash, pumpkins and other vegetables. The plant doctor at a local nursery prescribed Bayer Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed, which you mix with water and pour it in a circle around the tree. It worked! You’re supposed to do this once a year.

Of course, I would have preferred for the former owners to have planted an apple tree with edible fruit. Or a plum tree. Or even peach (who knew peaches grew well here in Colorado?)

I haven’t tasted crabapples, but apparently some people do believe the fruit is edible.  Really? If I don’t get around to killing the flowers this year, I just may try one of these this summer:

So … What grows well at your house?

Maybe someday soon I will document what plants really work well in our climate/neighborhood…

What is with the Orchard and Steele Street intersection?

by tamara on March 13, 2014, no comments

Driving my kid to school this morning, we spotted with a wee bit of glee that the Stop sign at Orchard and Steele Street was down. Again.

Ouch! March 13, 2014

Ouch! March 13, 2014

I say glee only because I have  begun to document down signs at this particular intersection. This is the third time a sign is down in less than a month! Me and the kid laugh a little and say silly things like, “Oh no! Why did that sign hit another car?” and I later snap a photo and tweet it. The interesting thing is that I tweet to the City of Centennial. And the last two times I did (here and here), someone fixed it that same day! (Thanks Centennial) No more driving by the sign-less intersection for a week until someone over there notices.

My concern, however, is what is happening at this intersection? Are drivers confused? Are they not paying attention? And what damage does it do to their cars?

Some theories:

1. Landscape/moving trucks can’t quite make that turn.
2. Drivers trying to drive straight on Orchard but realizing too late that their lane is becoming a right-turn only on to Steele (I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve seen make a U-turn at Steele & Lake to go back to this intersection and start again).
3. Drivers expect Orchard is a shortcut to University/Colorado or I-25 (It’s not). And then, a chunk of them who continue driving on Steele speed along as if there wasn’t a 25 MPH speed limit and A SCHOOL down the street!!
4. Drunk drivers, drivers with terrible vision, drivers not paying attention, drivers attempting to take a shortcut…

What happens at Steele & Orchard?It could be all these reasons. I’m sure there are more. But one related reason stands out: These drivers are unfamiliar with the intersection. In other words: They don’t live in Dream House Acres.

I feel the city should put up a sign redirecting traffic, like a sign sending people to take a left on Long, which winds through a scenic Greenwood Village community and spits you out right on Orchard. Or a sign saying “Not a Through Street,” to indicate that Orchard does end.

I’m sure if anyone has spotted this common mishap, the city just might be interested in ways to fix the issue. Suggestions?


Pharmacy coming to neighborhood this Spring

by tamara on February 16, 2014, no comments

Pharmaca, an "integrative pharmacy" opening May 2014

Pharmaca, an “integrative pharmacy” opening May 2014

pharmacalogoThe signs are up, at least on the windows. Pharmaca, an “Integrative Pharmacy” plans to open right next to the new Trader Joe’s in Cherry Hills Marketplace.

According to Pharmaca’s site, the store will open in May 2014.

I’ve never heard of Pharmaca. It looks like another California export with multiple stores in the northern half of California. But no! The company, which started in 2000, is based in Boulder! And it has 3 stores up there. The nearby Greenwood Village location would be its fourth in the state.

By “integrative,” the pharmacy said it mixes traditional services with holistic remedies and thus in addition to credentialed pharmacists, it also employs naturopathic doctors, nutritionists and herbalists. Here’s what the company specifically says:

 Integrative medicine, also known as integrative health, combines traditional Western medicine with Eastern modalities to focus on health and healing rather than disease and treatment. The philosophy views patients as whole entities, including their minds, bodies and spirits, to consider all aspects in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Integrative medicine also emphasizes a partnership between patients and practitioners to help address lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, stress, quality of sleep, relationships and work, as well as the appropriate use of dietary supplements, herbs, and other natural remedies.

It doesn’t look like a large space but it should be roomy to house regular meds and, according to its website, natural cosmetics and body-care products.

I’ve always thought a pharmacy would be a good tenant for Cherry Hills Marketplace. Now, what’s going to fill in the old spots vacated by Ross and Old Navy?