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5 Cool Things to Do with Your Attic Space

Whether you have a modest home or a massive one, there’s a good chance your attic space is either empty or used solely for storage. With all of today’s design ideas and technologies, though, you can turn your attic into just about anything you can imagine. Here are five cool things you can do with your attic space.

attic space#1 – Make It a Family Room

Some families use their main living rooms as their gathering spaces; others reserve their living rooms for entertaining and rarely use them otherwise. If you fall into the latter category, you certainly aren’t alone. These days, more and more homeowners are converting their unused attic spaces into second living rooms to use as a central hub for their families. Some skylights, hardwood flooring, drywall, and a clever spiral staircase can do wonders, and it will allow you to keep your living room on the main floor in pristine condition.

#2 – Create a Game Room

Homeowners often wish they had space for a rec room – a place where families can gather to play video games, watch movies, shoot pool, or just sit down for a friendly game of cards. Your attic provides the perfect opportunity if you choose to utilize it. In this case, all you’d need is a rough finish and ample HVAC for comfort before you start moving in your dartboard, foosball table, and other sources of fun and games.

#3 – Build a Massive Walk-In Closet

Depending on the age and style of your home, you might find that your closet space isn’t sufficient for your clothes, shoes, and accessories. Fortunately, your attic can be converted into a wardrobe of massive proportions. In fact, with some planning, you can divide your attic into separate spaces to give each member of the family his or her own walk-in closet. The attic space should be enough to keep seasonal clothing on display while keeping out-of-season items safely tucked inside chests or tubs.

#4 – Build a Man Cave or She Shack

Man caves and their feminine counterparts, often dubbed “she shacks”, are essentially retreats from the rest of the home. Men often set up bars, video games, and mini movie theaters, while women may create crafting tables or even a spa-like atmosphere. The attic is a great place for this as it’s out of the way, and if you soundproof the floor, it’ll almost be like your home away from home, too.

#5 – Create an Office or Studio

If you work from home, or if you’re into arts and crafts, then you’re aware of just how much space these things require. Offices require space for files, computers, printers, comfortable seating, and more. Studios are often filled with equipment and supplies, and they require sufficient space for working, too. The attic space is a great place for offices and studios because they allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the main floors to work in peace. They also provide more space for storage, which can go a long way toward reducing downstairs clutter.

Your attic space can become anything you want – a family room, rec room, closet, man cave, or even art studio isn’t out of reach. Finishing an attic can extend your living space, reduce downstairs clutter, and provide an escape from the daily goings-on all at the same time.

Spring Cleaning 101: Luxury Home Maintenance Checklist

With spring in full bloom and temperatures rising, homeowners across Denver are getting into spring cleaning mode. For the most part, spring cleaning is the same for a luxury home as it is for any other home, but there are a few things you may want to pay extra attention to along the way.

Upholstered Furniture

Cleaning upholstery may not seem like a big deal, but if you live in a luxury home filled with designer furniture, you may want to have it cleaned professionally. Unlike other furniture, which is often covered in linen or even vinyl, designer furniture may contain silk, suede, and other materials that won’t fare as well when exposed to normal cleaning solutions. There are several professional upholstery cleaning services throughout Denver, and many will also clean your carpets while they’re in your home.

spring cleaningArtwork

Expensive artwork requires quite a bit of TLC, especially if you live in a particularly dusty area. You may be tempted to get out your feather duster to remove fine particles and brighten your paintings during your spring cleaning, but if you have oil paintings, you should think again. A feather duster can cause dust buildup to worsen, and even the slightest pressure can force the dust into the painting, making it difficult (if not impossible) to remove. Make sure you keep your oil paintings encased in glass, and if they need a good cleaning, take them to a professional – or a museum.

Antique Wood Furniture

Wood furniture is classic, timeless, and gorgeous, and while your mother may have used a specific polish or oil soap without a problem, bear in mind that even the best polishes (and the best techniques) can leave a buildup that’s difficult to remove without refinishing the piece. If you have antique designer furniture, or if a piece is especially valuable to you for sentimental reasons, it’s best to hire a professional to care for it. These individuals can properly clean and restore your antiques to assist you in your spring cleaning endeavors.


Finally, flooring can pose a real challenge for luxury homeowners. Whether your floors are tile, wood, marble, or even travertine, each one requires its own unique cleaning regimen. For example, while travertine and marble may look the same, and it may even feel the same, the equipment used to polish marble will completely break down travertine, creating an expensive mess. For this reason, make sure you hire a company who has a good reputation for working with a variety of flooring materials.


Luxury homes contain dozens of windows, and this means that window washing is a huge job. If your home is all on one level, it’s possible to do it yourself without much danger. However, you’ll need to consider the window trim, both inside and outside your home. Wood and other materials may discolor if they come into contact with cleaning solutions like ammonia or even vinegar. To be on the safe side, dot a bit of your chosen cleaning solution on the underside of one of your windowsills. Then, check for discoloration the next day.

Spring cleaning is important for not only making your home look and feel pristine, but also for protecting your floors, furniture, art, and more. For the most part, it’s always a good idea to call a professional if you aren’t sure how to clean a particular piece. There are plenty of companies throughout Denver that can help.

What Everyone Needs to Know about the Mansion Tax

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed what he called a “mansion tax” that would apply to homes worth $2 million or more in late January. This mansion tax, equal to 2.5% of the purchase value of the home, would be used to fund affordable housing throughout the city.

Only in NYC – For Now

Right now, only people buying homes or condos in New York City will be subject to the localized mansion tax. Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed this tax before to help reform NYC’s real estate development tax abatement, and while the state’s real estate board wasn’t necessarily opposed to the tax, it simply failed to gain momentum, so it was shifted to the back burner. Now, per Alicia Glen, who is the city’s mayor for housing and economic development, says the administration hopes to reach out to a variety of interest groups that may put the mansion tax on the fast track.

A Response to the Changing Political Climate

Per Alicia Glen, the mansion tax will benefit New York City even as the federal government makes changes to the affordable and public housing climate. Recently, the Trump administration reversed Obama’s decision to substantially reduce the FHA annual mortgage insurance premium. This means that new, lower-income borrowers will have significantly higher monthly mortgage payments, which puts a damper on that market. Across the country, FHA refinance applications dropped by 25%, and new FHA applications dropped by 6%. Mayor de Blasio hopes that the mansion tax will help the city provide more affordable housing options.

What about the Downside of the Mansion Tax?

John H. Banks III, President of the Board in New York City, says that the city has one of the highest transaction taxes in the country as it stands. The addition of the mansion tax would add another 2.5% to those costs, and Banks feels that this will suppress sales throughout the city, ultimately causing a significant drop in the city’s tax revenue. In fact, some brokers, including Leonard Steinberg from Compass, have described the enactment of such a tax as “reckless”. In response, Glen noted that only 8.5% of all residential transactions in all five of NYC’s boroughs exceeded the proposed $2 million threshold.

What Does This Mean for the Rest of the Country?

Right now, the mansion tax will only apply to those buying homes inside NYC, and all eyes are on Mayor de Blasio and how the proposal will play out in that city. Whether the proposal becomes reality remains to be seen, but if it does, there’s a good chance that city officials across the country – including those in Denver – may start considering proposals of their own to help increase the sales of non-luxury properties, which could ultimately benefit these cities’ housing markets.

The mansion tax isn’t a law just yet, but it certainly has a strong backing, and there’s a good chance that people buying luxury homes in NYC might be paying an additional 2.5% tax very soon. Whether it’ll help improve the housing situation in NYC or essentially tank the city’s overall tax revenue remains to be seen.

6 Things Every High-End Home Needs

Whether you call it a luxury home, an executive home, or a high-end home, there are certain things that set it apart from the traditional family home. Whether you’re thinking of buying, selling, or even renovating, here are eight things that every high-end home should have.

high-end home#1 – A Fire Feature

Everyone loves gathering around a fire during the evening hours. There’s just something about it that offers relaxation and inner peace, yet welcomes conversation. A fire feature, whether it’s a large outdoor fire pit or fireplace, is a must-have in a high-end home. Better yet, consider mixing fire and water. An infinity pool with fire features strategically placed around it can add luxury and grace.

#2 – A Wet Room

Your home should be a sanctuary; a place for you to unwind from the stress of the day and feel at ease. A wet room is one of the best additions to a high-end home for that very reason. Why have a standard shower/tub combination when you can build a custom shower and even include a sauna or hot tub? Imagine the full spa experience from the comfort of home whenever you’d like, and you’ll see exactly why this feature is so popular.

#3 – Stone, and Plenty of It

In most homes, stone is reserved for very few locations. You’ll probably find it in outdoor landscaping, and you might find it in fireplaces. In a luxury home, stone should make a statement. Stone countertops, accent walls, and more can turn an everyday home into one that beckons for you to kick back, relax, and simply enjoy the atmosphere. If you want to go all out, you could even consider a chiseled stone bathtub.

#4 – Advanced Technology

Technology is important these days. People rely on it for everything from watching the daily news to checking their stocks to ordering groceries. Every high-end home needs a high-tech media center and all the latest amenities. You don’t have to go overboard, but a state-of-the-art entertainment center, security system, and kitchen appliances are great places to start.

#5 – Beautiful Wood Patterns and Finishes

Woods come in a variety of textures, finishes, and colors, and the more exotic they are, the more they tend to cost. That’s why they’re such a nice addition to high-end homes; they add color, unique patterns, and texture that no other type of material can provide. Although you might think you can get the same look with veneer, the real thing is far more appealing.

#6 – A Nice Kitchen for Entertaining

Whether you’re a lover of all things culinary and you spend hours in the kitchen each day or you simply want a place to entertain while you prepare a meal for guests, a nice kitchen designed for entertaining is another must-have in your high-end home. An open concept with great lighting is essential, and you’ll want to make sure you provide enough space to store all of your gadgets and appliances to keep them out of view.

A high-end luxury home is more than just a large space with nice furnishings. It’s a concept, a design, and a place to call your very own. The six amenities above are some of the most common and most popular found in today’s designer homes, and they’ll make a perfect addition to any home you buy, sell, or renovate.

Selling the Texas Megamansion: Why It’s Hard to Find a Buyer

If you’ve spent much time on Facebook or other social media sites lately, then chances are good that you’ve heard about the Texas megamansion. It’s a home built right outside of Houston in a city called Manvel that many people believe is haunted. It was abandoned and left incomplete, and despite its amazing size and potential, finding a buyer is proving difficult.

The Original Intent

A doctor and his wife started construction on the Texas megamansion back in 2000. It was to be a 63,890 square foot facility that housed not only their living quarters, but also an area for foster children and yet another for a full-fledged doctor’s office. Somewhere along the way, the couple (who happened to own more than 10 acres of adjoining land in the area) decided the project was just too large. They abandoned it, left it unfinished, and instead built a 48,000 square foot home on adjoining land. It’s been owned by two other people – including today’s owner, Jim Youngblood.

Youngblood’s Failed Attempts to Sell

According to the Texas megamansion owner, there is no shortage of people who are interested in buying the 30-bedroom luxury home (with room for 30 more bedrooms). It’s currently listed for $3.6 million, which is an amazing deal given the size and location of the property. However, everyone who has shown interest thus far has been unable to obtain the financing they need, and this is baffling. Youngblood claims that of the dozens of times he’s had it under contract, not a single bidder got approval.

texas megamansionWhat the Buyer Will Get

Keep in mind that the Texas megamansion is far from a finished product, which helps to explain the relatively low price. The shell of the home is selling for $3.6 million, and some investors claim it will take at least that to finish it. Regardless, most of the structure is already there, including an indoor pool, spa, and 30 bedrooms. There’s room to double the number of bedrooms, and there’s even a large detached garage that would make any car collector happy. People have envisioned turning it into an assisted living facility, a massive bed-and-breakfast, or even a shared family living space big enough for aunts, uncles, and cousins alike.

The Plan from Here

Youngblood says that if he doesn’t sell the home soon, he may consider using it for his own business purposes. He’s already replaced the roof and confirmed that the foundation is solid. Youngblood may even turn the property into an office park of sorts, complete with ponds, fountains, and even grazing cattle. It’ll certainly get him some attention, and the curb appeal is amazing.

The Texas megamansion simply isn’t selling, but it’s hard to blame the real estate market on the lack of movement. Truth be told, its location is more than likely the main culprit. Most people view it as a commercial property, but because it’s so far from the Houston metro area, people fear that the distance could end up being a problem. This not only deters buyers, but it also deters lenders who want to see solid business plans in action.

The Top Luxury Features in High-End Denver Homes

The most expensive homes in the Denver area offer up incredible beauty, innovative technology, and unique spaces. Although no two executive homes in the area are exactly the same, there are some luxury features in high-end Denver homes that popular among homeowners and buyers alike.

Spa Bathrooms

Spa bathrooms are one of the most important luxury features in high-end Denver homes for a couple of different reasons. Everyone enjoys the feeling of being pampered in a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere, and having it available to at home makes it more accessible and more convenient. Some of the most popular elements in spa bathrooms include towel warmers, fireplaces, dimmable lighting, and electronic faucets.

luxury features in high-end Denver homesCustom Wine Cellars

Wine lovers around the world love having their own wine cellars. Not only does this give them the perfect opportunity to store all of their favorite bottles in just the right environment, but it also gives them plenty of room to do so. Wine cellars are another of the most popular luxury features in high-end Denver homes, and some even have wine bars built right in.

Home Automation Systems

Imagine being able to turn off lights, close blinds, or even adjust your thermostat from the opposite side of the globe! That’s exactly what a home automation system does, and it’s one of the most coveted luxury features in high-end Denver homes. These systems offer incredible security for expensive properties, and they can be customized to automate everything from your blinds to your heated doghouse.

Gourmet Kitchens

These days, everyone loves to cook their own meals at home. In fact, even when hiring a personal chef, a gourmet kitchen is a must-have. They come with professional-grade appliances, lots of comfortable workspace, and even some other unique and innovative technologies such as warming drawers and “smart” refrigerators that let you know when you’re out of an ingredient.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are one of the most in-demand luxury features in high-end Denver homes these days. Denver offers a lot of aesthetic beauty, and many of the executive neighborhoods have spectacular views. Outdoor kitchens provide the perfect location to host a get-together of any sort. Consider adding a refrigerator, stove, and climate-friendly seating to complete the setup.

Home Theaters/Rec Rooms

Denver luxury home buyers are all about dedicated rooms for recreation, and that’s why home theaters and rec rooms are so popular in executive homes. Projection screens with the latest technology and heated recliners can go a long way toward providing a true movie theater experience. As far as a rec room goes, these often offer up pool tables, foosball, darts, and other pub games along with a fully-stocked wet bar and lots of comfortable seating.

Whether you are interested in buying a home, selling a home, or simply renovating your home to improve its value, it is important to consider the most popular luxury features in high-end Denver homes. These can not only boost the value of a property, but also provide unsurpassed comfort and beauty.

Types of Security Systems for Executive Homes

Your executive home is a major investment, and so are the possessions you keep inside. Because of this, it is imperative to utilize a state-of-the-art home security system to protect them. Despite the relatively low crime rate in Denver, it is always better to be safe than sorry. There are a few different types of systems from which you can choose, and you can even decide which features you prefer.

Monitored Security

Monitored security systems are some of the most popular in Denver’s luxury homes. In the event that one of the alarms gets triggered via an open door or window, this will send an alert to a call center, which in turn notifies police. In almost all cases, these security systems rely on your standard landline telephone to operate. If a burglar can locate your phone lines, he can essentially disable your alarm system. However, some companies also monitor the integrity of your phone line, notifying police if that line is cut.

Unmonitored Security

Unmonitored security systems usually consist of a loud siren within the house that goes off whenever an alarm is triggered. Although it notifies you and hopefully scares the burglar away, it is up to you to notify the police of the intrusion on your own. Although unmonitored security is typically more cost effective than fully monitored systems, it leaves much up to risk. If you own a luxury home in the Denver area, not only does monitored security provide you with better peace of mind, but it might also lower your homeowner’s insurance rates, thereby negating the additional expense.

Centential HomesWireless Systems

Wireless systems may be monitored or unmonitored, and you can choose one or all of the various components. For instance, you might opt for cameras, beams, and motion detectors to trigger an alarm. Some companies provide wireless monitored systems that utilize cell towers in order to contact local police. This is a much better alternative to standard monitored systems since there are no lines to cut. What’s more, wireless systems are easy to install, even in older luxury homes.

Electric Systems

Electric systems are probably the most common these days, but they are difficult to retrofit into existing homes. Thus, you might find them in newly-built executive homes throughout the area. Like other types of security systems, this one monitors doors and windows and requires a passkey to prevent an alarm from sounding. Although these offer phenomenal security, there are a couple of drawbacks. First and foremost, outside electrical currents can interfere with the operation of the alarm. Lightning storms may take them offline altogether for a period of time, as well.

You need a security system for your Denver luxury home, but it is up to you to make the right decision. For the most part, electrical and wireless monitored systems are usually the best deal, and although they have their drawbacks, the benefits greatly outweigh the potential disadvantages.

Cool Tech for Luxury Homes: The Latest in Refrigerators

Once upon a time, a refrigerator was just an icebox – a way to preserve food. These days, refrigerators are nothing short of technological marvels, and they offer up a host of innovations designed to bring you even more convenience than ever before.  Here are some of the newest innovations in refrigerator technology and why they are perfect for your luxury home.

#1 – Dual Cooling Systems

Many of today’s refrigerators feature a single cooling system that serves two functions. Not only does it keep everything on the freezer side frozen, but it also keeps everything in the refrigerator chilled. Unfortunately, this can often lead to some unsavory odors (and flavors) in your foods, no matter how many boxes of baking soda you keep on the shelves. A dual cooling system ensures that the air in the freezer and refrigerator remain perfectly separate at all times so your vegetables do not end up with the flavor of garlic bread.

#2 – Temperature Sensors

How often do you place warm leftovers in the refrigerator only to find them still warm a few hours later? What about loading your refrigerator down with the groceries you just purchased; does it seem like it takes a while for them to cool down? Most refrigerators work hard to maintain a constant temperature that you set, and they very rarely fluctuate. They just run and run until they reach that temperature. Many of today’s refrigerators have temperature sensors that automatically adjust temperatures inside the appliance when warm food or groceries are added.

#3 – The “Smart” Fridge

Although not yet available to many consumers, LG’s “HomeChat” service will someday allow you to communicate with your refrigerator like it is a real person. Imagine being at the grocery store and wondering whether or not you need to purchase eggs. With HomeChat, you can simply ask your refrigerator if there are eggs left in the fridge, and it will tell you. Think that’s neat? LG also claims that their refrigerators will also be able to tell you if anything in your fridge is about to expire.

 #4 – A Convertible Refrigerator

Refrigerators are one of the greatest modern innovations of our time, but up until recently, they just didn’t offer much flexibility in terms of storage. Samsung has come to the rescue in this department with their brand new line of convertible refrigerators. In short, depending on the event or season, you can convert part of the freezer into a refrigerator, which gives you more space to store fresh food. The refrigerator also features “Cool Pack” technology, which keeps food frozen for up to 12 hours during a power outage. Other features include “Power Freeze” which instantly blasts items in the freezer for a quick cooldown, and the same technology for the fridge side ensures that beverages are cold in minutes.

Today’s refrigerators are a far cry from the cold boxes that we relied on a few decades ago. As time goes on, more and more manufacturers focus on exciting innovations designed to provide you with convenience, safety, and above all else, better food and beverages. Any of these technologies will make the perfect addition to your luxury home.

Popular Flooring Options in Luxury Homes

Denver has a wide selection of luxury homes on the market, and each one offers its own unique charm and style. Flooring plays an integral role in selling a house, so it is important to understand what is popular. Here are some of the top flooring options in today’s executive homes.

Natural Stone

Stone flooring has been popular since the early Roman times, and you can find it in a variety of types and styles. Marble is by far the most luxurious, but even granite is popular. You can find it in tiles or in solid slabs, and the choice is always yours depending on the look you want and the size of your budget. Marble tile costs between $15 and $20 per square foot with installation adding another $6 to $10 per square foot. Marble slabs cost even more – about $50 to $80 per square foot installed.

Designer Floors and Mosaic Patterns

If you want something truly original, then designer ceramic tile is a great way to go. You can find the tiles themselves almost anywhere. Some flooring manufacturers sell them in kits in a variety of materials, but you can utilize materials like Italian tile, glass, pebbles, or even reclaimed antique tiles if you have a good eye for design. The costs associated with designer floors like this vary, but you can expect to pay between $5 and $30 per square foot. Installation costs an additional $5 to $10 per square foot.

reclaimedwoodfloor2Reclaimed Hardwood

Although you can purchase fresh hardwood right out of a lumber mill, using reclaimed wood instead has its benefits. First, you get to save several trees. Second, you can enjoy some character and charm with a ready-made aged look that does not require much work. This wood may cost you between $4 and $15 per square foot depending on the type you want. Elm and walnut cost much more than pine or ash, for example.

Scraped Hardwood

This trend came about a few years back and is still one of the most popular design options in executive homes today. It involves “scraping” the planks of wood in such a way that it reveals the inner stripes left behind by the tree’s growth rings. With the right stain and finish, it works in almost any setting. You can purchase the planks themselves for less than $20 per square foot, but installation costs will vary. Sometimes, the hardwood is hand-scraped prior to installation; this is expensive. Conversely, some manufacturers offer a hand-scraped look created with machinery rather than by hand.

Vinyl Tile

For years now, vinyl tile has been one of the cheapest flooring options available. Today, however, there is such a thing as luxury vinyl tile, or LVT. It imitates wood and stone surprisingly well, and it is an incredible choice for bathrooms and kitchens alike since it requires very little maintenance. It is durable and strong, and it feels better on the feet than traditional stone. It is quieter, and it is slip-resistant, too.

As you can see, you have several options available to you when it comes to flooring. Whether you want to update your home before putting it on the market or you want to know what to look for in terms of buying a luxury home in Denver, pay close attention to the floors as they will help define comfort, aesthetic appeal, and charm.

Famous People Living in Colorado

If you are considering a move to Colorado, be aware that some of the world’s richest and most famous people also live in this state. Though very few live inside Denver itself, many call Aspen or some of Denver’s suburbs home. Here is a brief list of the famous folks living in the Centennial State.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is a well-known fashion designer and connoisseur of fine fragrances. His Polo line for men is among one of the most popular in the world, and while he owns several homes in the US and worldwide, one of them is located in Montauk, CO. He owns 15,000 to 16,000 acres of property there, and this is what he considers his “July” home. He keeps a full staff onsite, and the property boasts a full gym, a stable, and a preserved barn. It is truly a luxury home, even if he only lives there one month out of the year.

Kelsey Grammar

Panorama of Artaza residential palace in Leioa

Kelsey Grammar has enjoyed a very successful career, first as Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers”, and then in that very same role in a spinoff called “Frasier”. His 14 Emmy nominations really paid off, too. His home in Beaver Creek, Colorado has six bedrooms, seven and a half baths, and 8230 square feet of living space. It was valued at $6.1 million back in 2008, though today’s exact value is unknown. Unlike Lauren, Grammar lives in his Colorado home year-round.

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner is a man of many talents, and while most people remember him for roles in movies like “The Bodyguard” with costar Whitney Houston, he is a musician, director, and successful businessperson, as well. He has two Golden Globes and two Academy Awards under his belt, and his Aspen, Colorado executive home is a testament to his success. Back in 2004, he purchased the home and accompanying 164 acres for roughly $20 million, and he lives there full time. Oddly enough, though there are huge and fully equipped stables on the property, Costner owns no horses due to the altitude, he says.

Charlie Sheen

Widely perceived as the “bad boy” of Hollywood, Charlie Sheen’s Aspen vacation home is quite the Victorian getaway. The 5077 square feet contains five bedrooms and six and a half baths, which is plenty of space for Charlie and all of his rowdy friends. The home was valued at $6.2 million back in 2010, and experts estimate that the property value has only increased since then.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise’s home in Telluride, Colorado is another permanent residence; though the actor owns several homes and condominiums worldwide, he calls this one home. Cruise has enjoyed an incredibly successful career, having starred in dozens of movies since his “Risky Business” debut in 1983. He purchased the executive home in 2006 for a whopping $30 million, and it boasts 13,000 square feet. There are nine bedrooms, a full-size tennis court, and an Olympic-size swimming pool on the property.

Colorado is a wonderful place to live, and even some of the world’s most famous stars call it home. From the beautiful and majestic mountains to the serene countryside, the Centennial State offers the perfect landscape and environment for just about anyone.