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by RestonNow.com Sponsor June 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm 1 Comment

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

One of the biggest surprises of being in real estate was realizing how little the work turns out to be about houses, and how much more it is about walking with people as they navigate different life transitions.

I love the HGTV real estate shows where the real estate agent shows a buyer 3 homes and voila, they pick a house, write a contract, move in and the next time you see them they’re at a house warming party — all this in 30 minutes.

As is often the case with realty TV, it’s not very real.

In real life people are dealing with all kinds of events that are driving them from one place to another place. Some are happy, some are sad, some are speculative, but it is mostly about life changes, marriage, births, deaths, retiring, divorcing, new jobs and lost jobs.

Sometimes it’s about more than one thing, a new marriage and a new job.

Change is almost always hard for people; we are rarely at our best when we’re moving through transitions. Real estate agents spend a lot of time with people who aren’t at their best, but they might be more real than if you had met them at a cocktail party.

It’s one of the things I like about my job, the connection that is made if only for a short while.

Here are the Reston numbers. There are currently 227 fully active properties on the market in Reston. We have 172 pending properties which leaves us with a little less than two months inventory. The Condo market is sluggish with days on market longer than other types of property. Pricing continues to be critical no matter what type of property you’re trying to sell.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor June 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

It’s summertime and the last thing on your mind is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year.

It seemed like a great idea at the time when you committed, but now you have 24 people coming, it’s already June and you need to get going on your remodel.

If you don’t have time to remember to defrost something for dinner, how are you supposed to find time to pick a contractor who suits your project, fits your family’s crazy schedule and — equally as important — your budget?

If you’re already feeling swamped and overwhelmed, understanding and then aligning your renovation needs to the type of service a particular contractor provides is a HUGE time-saver.

There are many ways to renovate, so knowing what you need is the first step. Which one of these scenarios best describes you?

  • You like a good DIY project on the weekend, but you know this one is above your level of expertise. If it doesn’t involve major design or architectural changes, it could be an easy ‘add’ for you to manage the little details of working with a handyman and coordinate with other trades for your project
  • You’ve done a lot of remodeling before and you feel pretty savvy about what it takes to project manage a remodel. You love making design and material selections and don’t mind ordering materials yourself. In this case, you may find it easiest to work with a general contractor who will focus mainly on install and execution of your vision
  • Your plate is full and you just don’t know where to start. Although you love design (HGTV is your go-to channel), you’re not confident on how to pull everything together and are afraid of making a mistake. When it comes to construction, you don’t want to be coordinating anything! In your case, a full-service design-build firm will guide you through your project from design all the way through to construction, do all the heavy lifting as well as project manage it along the way

Our featured renovation was for a client who fell into the 3rd category. They needed a whole home remodel for an active family with 2 teenagers who wanted spacious, bright, stylish but functional design that matched their busy lifestyle.

Knowing they didn’t have the design vision or time to project manage such a large remodel themselves, they quickly came to realize a design-build approach was the way to go.

The entire remodel was done while the family lived in the home.

Their new Kitchen is now the “heart of the home” and includes a stunning 9-foot plus island with rich blue cabinets and a White Himalaya polished granite countertop.

The new Mudroom/Laundry space has built-in cubbies for storage and even includes a tech-charging station.

The Master Bathroom is now a spa-like sanctuary, with a beautiful tiled shower and relaxing soaking tub. Additionally, a hall bath, guest bath and powder room were transformed into bright, modern spaces.

You can see more before and after projects on our website and learn how we help homeowners throughout Northern Virginia Renovate Happy!

Not sure which remodeling approach is right for you? download our free “Ways to Renovate” guide to help get you started!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor May 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

A substantial portion of the workforce has flocked to new types of employment, such as working for Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, TaskRabbit and others.

These employees have largely been classified by employers as contractors, instead of regular employees, to avoid paying their employment taxes and providing benefits. However, this may be starting to change with a recent decision from California.

“Gig” or “New economy” workers, such as drivers for popular driving services like Uber and Lyft, appear to be seeing a shift in their employment status under a new decision from the Supreme Court of California.

The case will make it significantly more difficult for companies in California to classify these drivers as independent contractors and avoid paying them wages and benefits as required by state law and may start a trend in other states, like Virginia.

Court Issues ABC Test

The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of workers for a document delivery service company, called Dynamex Operations West, who were seeking employment status.

The drivers for the delivery service brought their case to court several years ago, arguing that they were required to wear the company’s uniform and display its logo, while providing their own vehicles and incurring all the costs associated with the deliveries.

In the Dynamex case, the court instituted what it called the ABC test to determine whether workers should be considered employees or contractors using new and specific criteria.The new test presumes individuals are employees unless the company proves the following three criteria used to classify the individual as an independent contractor:

  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.

It is believed that this decision will have a significant impact on companies that use independent contractors, such as Uber/Lyft, Amazon, Instacart, GrubHub and TaskRabbit. Notably, the decision could require such employers to apply this “ABC test” to their drivers and couriers, representing a change in the regular tests that typically apply to these types of employers.

Some other state courts have also begun adopting this new ABC test to determine employee status in light of changes to the types of employment in the new economy.

Conclusion

When facing employment issues it is important to have the assistance and advice of counsel. If you need assistance with an employment issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook page.

by RestonNow.com May 15, 2018 at 3:45 pm 4 Comments

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

It was a really cold Spring. After last night’s crazy storm, it might not feel fully safe to venture out, but the good weather is upon us. It’s time to get outside.

I’m super excited about the outdoor season this year. On March 1 I had total hip replacement and am feeling stronger than I have in the past two years — so I’m excited to talk about the walking trails of Reston.

Reston Association maintains 55 miles of foot paths that cover every neighborhood in Reston, and they are a wonderful community asset. Even in Winter RA does a fantastic job of plowing the paths so you can still use them.

Fairfax County has a wonderful interactive map of all the paths so that you can plan your route before you head out. Wandering the RA paths is one of the best ways to get to know both North and South Reston. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite walks about town — but don’t stop with these.

Town Center to Lake Anne, North Reston

This walk is just shy of 1.5 miles and winds through a few of North Reston’s original neighborhoods — Coleson Cluster and Hickory Woods (I have a great house for sale in Coleson — check it out here).

It’s fun to have brunch at Town Center than wander down to Lake Anne to shop at the farmer’s market (starting in early May through November).

Lake Thoreau Loop, South Reston

This loop is just over 2 miles and circles around charming Lake Thoreau (where I guarantee you’ll decide you want to live) and past the Reston Regional Golf Course. Begin and end your loop at South Lakes Village with a coffee or delicious lunch.

Walker Nature Education Center and Glade, South Reston

There are many options for a walk from here. From the Center, follow the trailhead and see where it takes you! There is a short loop (probably a half mile), or you can venture off on the RA path that follows Glade. Whatever you choose, you will feel like you are miles from civilization. It’s a wonderful place to recharge. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor May 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm 0

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Testimonials can be quite like Facebook — everyone puts their best foot forward and selected quotes usually only highlight a company in the best possible light.

As a result, many people skip over them. However, testimonials DO matter. Before you spend your hard earned dollars on a remodel, take a few moments to review testimonials to ensure you’ve found the perfect fit for your renovation partner.

Here’s our quick guide to meaningful testimonials:

  • It might sound simple, but do the testimonials sound like they came from a real person? If they focus on the experience, and not just the end product, it’s a safe bet the client felt cared for during the process.
  • Are there photos or videos of actual people on the website? Homeowners who had a great experience are usually willing to share their experience.
  • Are before & after photos available and are they consistent with testimonials? If not, time to move on!
  • Watch video testimonials — they are a great way to hear personal stories and opinions from genuinely satisfied customers.

Our featured Reno of the Month is a recently completed Master Bath and was the second remodel we completed for this client, having remodeled their kitchen a few years ago. Our clients had long dreamed of a sleek, stylish retreat that would transport them out of the builder-grade, basic-white Master Bathroom they had for many years.

While the footprint of the new bathroom mimics the old layout, the streamlined fixtures and materials bring new energy to the space and now truly reflect our clients’ modern tastes. Luxurious touches include back-lit vanity mirrors, a heated towel rack and a custom, teak-wood shower floor mat.

We treasure the trust our clients put in our team and feel fortunate to work on multiple projects for their family as needs change. Let them tell you in their own words why us.

Synergy believes partnership is the only way to go to ensure the remodeling journey is as fun as the destination. Our testimonials reflect our commitment to customer service and why, for us, it is not just a practice, it’s the driving force behind everything we do.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor May 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm 5 Comments

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

I had a great real estate question this week. A friend who lives in a Lake Anne neighborhood wrote to say that the number of rentals had increased in her cluster; she was worried about the impact of that on the community and property values. She wanted to know “…what, if anything, could be done about it.”  A quick search of her cluster and determined that in her cluster were 27.5% absentee owners.

27.5% investor ownership is probably something that would be noticed in a smaller neighborhood. You might see more a little more transience with people coming and going and it can, not always, leave things looking a little less kept-up.

In condominiums lenders look at investor ownership levels as a part of assessing risk of lending in a particular condominium. If a condominium gets above 35% investor ownership some banks start looking for higher down payments from buyers and if a condominium gets to 50% investor ownership many banks will pass on lending all together.

So what can a townhouse cluster do to minimize the impact of higher investor ratios? Here are the recommendations I made to my friend who originally posed the question.

Push for strong covenants enforcement because this is where real damage can be done to a neighborhood with high investor ratios. Absentee owners can have an out of sight out of mind attitude about maintenance and tenants are rarely responsible for more than basic yard care.

Work with your cluster board to be tough about exterior repairs and maintenance. Form a group that looks for issues, don’t let absentee owners slide on violations. They are profiting from the rental of property and should shoulder their share of the burden of maintenance to keep the neighborhood as whole looking good.

This can be a great opportunity to keep a helpful eye on older owners who may not be as able to do some of heavy lifting required for exterior maintenance. Having a group of “helpers” that pitch in where needed will keep the neighborhood looking good and provide an excuse to check in on neighbors that might need a little assistance.

And finally, remember that tenants are also your neighbors — they don’t have full control of the property they occupy, but the more engaged everyone is in the well-being of the community the better.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor May 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Financial security concerns are the most common issue resulting the loss of of a security clearance. As a result, it is important that when a security clearance applicant or holder runs into financial issues that they act preemptively to protect their clearance.

In security clearance cases, financial issues are referred to as Guideline F cases. In Guideline F cases, the government’s concern is generally focused on how a person has handled his or her finances and/or his or her vulnerability to financial manipulation given a pattern of overspending or debt. The criteria for evaluating such cases are covered in Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD 4)

Here are 7 tips for clearance holders or applicants when dealing with financial debts and other issues:

1. Stay Current on Debts and/or Make Arrangements with Debtors.

Most security clearance clients seek our assistance when they have had multiple bills that are past due, delinquent, in collections or have been charged off. In some cases, the debts have been ignored.

In Guideline F cases, the existence of multiple, unpaid debts seems to be the most usual reason for the loss or denial of a security clearance. It is important to gain control of your finances in such situations in order to attempt to keep your security clearance.

2. Pay and File your Taxes.

Individuals in tax trouble or who fail to pay and/or file their taxes take a big risk in losing their security clearance. Tax issues tend to be viewed as more significant for security clearance purposes than regular debts because they are owed to the government.

If outstanding taxes or tax liens are too much for the individual to pay off all at once, it is important to try to work out a resolution plan with the IRS or state tax agency and show good faith towards resolving these debts in order to keep or obtain a security clearance.

3. Keep an Eye on your Credit Report.

Oftentimes, an individual has encountered difficulties in the security clearance process because incorrect information is listed on his or her credit reports.

Errors in credit reports are quite common. As a result, it is important for an individual applying for or holding a security clearance to keep a watchful eye on his or her credit report for errors and potential problems and to dispute debts that do not belong to the person.

4. Work with Creditors.

It can be easy to ignore a creditor, especially where the debt is part of a dispute, but it is always better for a clearance holder or seeker to get ahead of his or her credit problems than to wait until he or she receives notice of a possible denial of a security clearance.

An individual who recognizes a debt problem or allegation early and works towards resolving it early and before a clearance issue is raised tends to be given more credit towards the granting of the clearance as opposed to an individual who starts the process after he or she receives notice of the potential loss of the clearance.
Even if a creditor is non-responsive, it is important to try multiple times to communicate with the creditor in an effort to resolve these issues. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 24, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

While helping a couple narrow down the focus of their Reston home search recently, the husband made a statement that he would never own a condominium because the fees were in his opinion “a total rip-off.”

As a condo dweller and active in my condo for years, I’ve heard this sentiment on condo fees many times before.

When you own a townhouse or a single family home you understand that sooner or later you will have to replace your water heater, roof, windows, siding, appliances. Hopefully you have a financial plan that allows you to save for the replacement of things as they wear out. It is a “pay me now or pay me later” situation, but you are going to pay.

When you defer home maintenance you won’t get top dollar for your property when you go to sell. Most people would prefer to save a little bit each month in anticipation of home repairs rather than face a large unplanned expense. Condo management requires this forced savings.

Every year condominiums (in Virginia) are required to confirm that they are reserving enough money to repair, replace and maintain the property. If a condo has not adequately reserved (saved) the money needed to make repairs and has a sudden failure in a common element, it must make a special assessment in order to make whatever repairs are needed to maintain the property.

So, a rip-off? Not if your property is properly maintained.

What are my condo fees paying for anyway?

In a condominium, the fees fund two categories: operating expense and reserve funds. The operating expenses are the monthly costs required for trash, grounds maintenance and snow removal, administration and condo management.

The reserve funds represent the anticipated cost of replacing and repairing common elements of the property like roofs, sidewalks and elevators. The amount of money needed in the reserve fund is determined by a study which by law, is undertaken at least every 5 years for the purpose of determining how much money is needed to repair, replace and restore the capital components of the property. Every year condominiums (in Virginia) are required to review their study results and confirm that they are reserving enough money to repair, replace and maintain the property.

Before you choose this form of own ownership consider:

  • Condo life involves a lot of governance
  • Well-run condos always include an active membership

Some leadership decisions might be unpopular, but ultimately protect the membership from unplanned assessments by insuring that reserves are adequate to meet the expected and unexpected repairs

When looking at condominium ownership, you will have a chance to review a resale package that will include the condominium bylaws, rules and regulations, current financial reports and audited financial reports. Review these carefully looking for potential problems. Questions to ask should include:

  • What do the audited financial statements say about the reserve funds? Are they adequate?
  • What major projects/repairs are anticipated for the upcoming year?
  • What projects were completed in the prior year?

The other thing to consider is what type of condo environment are you looking at? Is there a doorman or a concierge? The cost of people always goes up, so if you are looking at a condo with these types of amenities you should expect a slow steady rise in condo fees. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

We defend federal employees in proposed disciplinary actions. When a federal employee is facing proposed discipline it is important for them to speak with an attorney knowledgeable in federal employment law for legal advice and representation. This article outlines some brief thoughts for federal employees as they respond to proposed disciplinary actions.

Types of Proposed Discipline

Most proposed disciplinary or adverse actions for federal employees fall into 3 general categories for federal employees: (1) proposed suspension or demotion actions based on misconduct; (2) proposed removal actions based on misconduct; and (3) proposed removal actions based on performance deficiencies (i.e. a PIP).

Proposed Disciplinary Action

When a federal employee receives a proposed disciplinary action (suspension of 14 days or less) or an adverse action (suspension of over 14 days to removal), they should read over the notice very carefully. Each federal agency sets their own deadlines for submitting responses and requesting information relied upon and these deadlines are usually strict.

Along with a copy of the proposed discipline, when it is issued, the federal agency may provide an employee a copy of the materials in the evidence file (documents, reports, emails, recordings, video, photographs, etc) that they are relying upon in proposing the action (often referred to as the “information relied upon.”).

It is critical for a federal employee to request and obtain these materials prior to responding in writing or orally.

Response to the Proposed Disciplinary Action

It is important for a federal employee to not only submit a comprehensive written response, along with documentation (affidavits, character letters, statements or other evidence) refuting the charges and specifications or in providing arguments for mitigation, but also to request an oral response.

The Written Response

The written response to a proposed disciplinary action should address all of the allegations raised in the proposed discipline, in addition to providing records of the employee’s good performance/work records, and other commendations for use in potential reduction of any penalty.

While it is very important to both rebut or respond to the allegations, it is equally important to make arguments under the Douglas factors for purposes of reducing the penalty (e.g. reducing a proposed removal to a suspension).

The purpose of mitigation arguments are to show why the federal employee, even if some or all of the charges are true, should receive a less harsh penalty than proposed. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

As we get into warmer weather and we switch from heat to air conditioning, finding ways to be more energy efficient in our kitchens can help the environment and our utility bills. Here is our short list of how to have a more energy efficient kitchen.

LED Lights — Recessed, under cabinet and such not only save money on energy costs, but it also produces less heat which is essential in the kitchen.

One thing to remember is kitchens heat up naturally from cooking. So, to have the ability to make sure to put LED lights on dimmers will help keep your kitchen cooler, since we do not need light at 100% output all the time.  

Energy Efficient Appliances — According to website Alliance, Energy Star appliance can help households save up to 30% on their electric bills. Another benefit of energy-efficient appliances is they help you cook faster and healthier light meals. The Steam Combi Ovens allows you to cook all your meal at once in less than 30 minutes.  

Dishwashers — Many homeowners feel that they use the same money/water by hand washing. That is wrong. Dishwasher requires less than one-third the water it would take to do those same dishes in the sink.

A tip to save even more is don’t use the heated dry cycle. A heated dry period can add 15% to 50% to the appliance’s operating cost. Run the dishwasher only when full or if you have the option utilize the dishwasher’s short cycle.

Refrigerators — Did you know your fridge is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home?

Check the temperature inside to be sure you are utilizing the temperature control that is the most energy efficient. Your fridge should be between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2.78 – 4.44 degrees Celsius), and 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) for the freezer. If your refrigerator is running colder than that, you are wasting energy. 

Also, avoid putting super hot food in the fridge, keep the leftover to cool outside and only when in room temp, place in the refrigerator. Allowing your hot dishes outside of the fridge will help the refrigerator with keeping the temp leveled and not work extra hard to make up for the heat source inside it.

Vampire Energy — Vampire energy, also known as standby power, is the electric power consumed by many consumer electronic devices when they are switched off but still plugged in, and that wasted electricity is costing you consumer’s money. We have lots of those in the kitchen.

Most households leave their toasters, coffee machines and cell phone chargers plugged in a while, not in use. An easy solution comes from Lutron with the Lutron Maestro Wireless Plug-In Appliance Modules. You can plug in your appliances to the system and set them to go off the grid while you are not home or asleep.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 9, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Most homeowners avoid remodeling projects because they’re afraid of the disruption (and the mess) it will create in their home.

While it’s impossible to completely avoid dust and debris during the process a great contractor will go the extra mile to keep the disruption to a minimum. A few signs to look for in a well-organized job site include:

  • Temporary plastic walls and zippered doorways to separate construction areas from the rest of the home
  • Floor protection is installed to protect walkways to and from the outside
  • HEPA Air Scrubber or other high powered vacuum is in use
  • The dumpster is frequently emptied to minimize dangerous (and unsightly) conditions
  • Garage or staging area is organized with tools in place at the end of each day
  • The spaces being renovated are broom swept daily and left in an orderly fashion

Our featured renovation this month is a Reston townhouse kitchen and first floor. The original floor plan didn’t allow the spaces to interact well. We opened it up from the entry to the kitchen and main living area.

The home is now flooded with light and the updated space is great for entertaining. “What was especially nice was that everything was clean when I came home every night. They took time to clean every day and didn’t have boards and tools lying around everywhere,” commented another happy Synergy client.

Watch the video of our team in action in the field. You can see more of our remodeling transformations and behind-the-scenes videos at RenovateHappy.com.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

When an individual with a security clearance is submitted for a security clearance upgrade, any previously existing security concerns are scrutinized again, but at a higher level.

For instance, if an individual has been previously approved for a Secret level clearance and is then submitted for a Top Secret (TS) level clearance by their employer, the individual could be denied based on the same concerns that existed when he or she was approved for a Secret level clearance.

This more often occurs when the individual holds a Top Secret (TS) clearance but is applying for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access, “TS/SCI.”

Clearance Upgrade Dilemma

One common problem with security clearance upgrades occurs when an employer submits a request to upgrade an individual’s security clearance (e.g., from Secret to Top Secret).

Sometimes the individual is made aware of the requested upgrade by the employer and sometimes he or she is not. It is possible that an individual can be approved for a lower level security clearance with existing security concerns, but that he or she can still be denied when submitting for a security clearance upgrade even if there are no new security concerns.

As an example, suppose an individual is approved for a Top Secret security clearance by the Department of Defense (DoD), after mitigating some security concerns about past due debts or bad credit, and is then submitted for SCI access at an intelligence agency.

The intelligence agency may consider those debts more serious than the DoD, and deny the person SCI access approval based on the same financial issues that were first resolved favorably when the individual applied for his or her Top Secret clearance.  This upgrade denial can potentially have significant consequences.

Result of Unfavorable Upgrade

The result of a clearance upgrade denial might be that the individual, at best, likely has to list the prior denial in future clearance applications, and at worst, could cause the individual to lose (or have to defend) his or her existing security clearance.

Depending on the employer and federal agency involved, there are appeals processes to challenge the clearance upgrade denial, but it is something to seriously consider if there are security concerns in one’s background and a clearance upgrade is proposed.

Conclusion

It is important to consider the impact of upgrading a security clearance or security access before applying when there are previous security concerns at issue. Individuals should consult with counsel if they have any security concerns at issue.

If you need assistance with a severance agreement or other employment matter, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

As we adjust to losing an hour, many are enjoying mother nature’s extra hour of natural light outside.

Now if we could just capture the sun and bring that light inside somehow? Thankfully, the Romans in the 13th century BC figured out that if they placed unglazed openings in their roofs, it allowed the sun to come in during the daytime.

Through years of innovation and creativity adding the right type of windows can maximize the amount of natural light in your kitchen or bathroom. So, what are our top picks of windows that offer most natural light?

Picture Windows   If you want your home to have a large open feeling and a great view, we recommend picture windows with no grids.

Picture windows come in contemporary and modern designs. The one drawback is they do not open, so if you love views, sunlight, and fresh air from all your windows, keep reading some of the other options.

Double Hung Windows — The double hung window is considered the most classic. They are made to be easy to open, even while leaning over a counter to do it. They come in a variety of grid styles.

Garden Windows — Do you like to grow your fresh herbs? Alternatively, do you want to show off the work of your green thumb? The Garden Window may be for you. It bumps out so it can display your favorite greenery and gives you extra light from the roof of the window.

Casement Windows — If you love fresh air and can not get enough of it, these windows are for you. The best part about casement windows you can open them as wide as you want because they open outwards, which allows you not to lose any space in your kitchen.

Bay Windows — If you love a bit of sunlight while you are enjoying your morning coffee, the bay window is for you. It brings in lots of light into a kitchen or breakfast area. If they are placed low enough, they can have bench seating below it.

Built-in Window Treatments — Not all of us have the best views, but still want to enjoy sunlight, while having privacy at the end of the day. The best options are to use windows that have built-in window shades.

You can lower these from the top to give you the privacy you want while keeping the sunlight from the top. Having the shade built into the window will eliminate the shade from getting dirty and worn out.

***Please note your window selection may not comply with your HOA regulations, so always check with them first before deciding on the right window for your home.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm 3 Comments

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Urban planning and architectural students study Reston, VA for a reason — some of Reston’s early designs were groundbreaking.

Hickory Cluster, the first development in Reston, is one. Designed by the famous architect Charles Goodman, they represent why Goodman’s early designs changed the way developments were planned.

Architectural historian Elizabeth Jo Lample noted in Housing Washington, “The appeal of living in a Goodman house is enormous to those who share his avant-garde spirit, plus his ideals for openness, engagement with nature and liberal social values… To those who are fortunate enough to obtain them, his dwellings feel like highly livable works of art, glazed conduits to the natural world.”

One of Goodman’s trademarks is the way he used the land.

In Hickory Cluster, he arranged groups of townhouses around intricately paved terraces, which in turn are leveled into a wooded hilltop. Overlooking Lake Anne Village Center, the Hickory Cluster townhomes features sharp changes in the rooflines, varying sizes and contrasting textures.

The homes come in a variety of designs with 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, rooftop terraces, balconies, playrooms, private studies, family rooms and recreation rooms.

The cluster backs up to Reston Association path and is just a short walk to Lake Anne, Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Elementary School. The Reston Station, Silver Line Metrorail, is a five minute drive and Dulles International Airport is within 15 minutes by car.

Charles Goodman also designed Hollin Hills, a single family home development in Alexandria VA. For an up close look at Hollin Hills be sure to check out the Hollin Hills House and Garden Tour this April 28th.

Like Hickory Cluster these homes have stood the test of time with spaces that feel just as relevant today as they did more than 50 years ago.

Visit the Hickory Cluster website to learn more about this historic, and beautiful, Reston community.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm 0

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

The #1 complaint I hear from homeowners is that their previous project took much longer than expected.

Working in the design and construction industry for years, I believe one of the biggest mistakes renovation companies make is not providing a clear timeline and plan to homeowners before construction begins.

Here’s a few questions to ask potential remodeling companies to ensure they’ve got the ability (and capacity) to get your project completed on-time:

  • What is a “typical” project size for your company?
  • How often do you take on projects like mine?
  • How many projects do you have going on at one time?
  • Do you provide a timeline for completion of my project?
  • How will you ensure my project will come in on time and on budget?

Our featured renovation this month is a clean-lined, modern Reston kitchen. Our clients had exacting standards and an eye for details and they chose us because we provided them a clear pathway to the finish line (which we call our Renovation Roadmap™).

We use it to help make all design selections and provide the exact costs and construction timeline and — the best bit — this eliminates unexpected costs, delays and frustration!

We love helping homeowners like you, even if you don’t pick us as your remodeling partner. Download your free Renovation Roadmap brochure and receive monthly tools and tips on everything design and renovation.

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