Even though 2011 was a down year for the housing market, it was an up year for housing events in Hampton Roads.
February through November, southeastern Virginia was the scene of three nationally recognized homes, as well as the Peninsula's own Parade of Homes showcase of new custom homes and its first Remodel Mania home-renovation project.
Here's a look at the highlights of each:
Virginia Beach: Extreme Makeover
In February 2011, Beverly Hill moved out of her 1,200-square-foot rancher and into a 4,000-square-foot house, thanks to thousands of local volunteers and HGTV's "Extreme makeover: Home Edition" TV show. Duane Cotton, a Hampton native and owner of Trademark Construction in Chesapeake, helped bring the project to Virginia, coordinated the home's construction and continued to be its main cheerleader.
Hill and her family — husband and six adopted daughters — were chosen for the project because their original house was badly in need of repairs, and she had cramped quarters for fixing the food and gathering the clothes and blankets to give to the homeless community she regularly helps. See a recap and video of the TV show at http://abc.go.com/shows; look for the Hill Family, Season 8, Episode 9, aired April 24.
Mathews: Blog Cabin
After renovation experts and celebrities from the DIY Network remade a 1905-built farmhouse on Mobjack Bay in Mathews County, a woman in Ohio won it on her birthday, Oct. 7. The lucky birthday girl was among more than 8.9 million entries. The house and 16 acres is estimated to be worth around $800,000.
Over the course of weeks, the farmhouse had its interior torn out, taking it down to stud walls, and then it was given a modern-day look and feel. From time to time, viewers were given the chance to vote on materials, such as flooring, countertops and room colors.
This month, Blog Cabin begins work on an 1880s farmhouse in Waldoboro, Me., and viewers can once again vote on design features at the show's website at diynetwork.com/blog-cabin. The show airs in August with another chance for a lucky person to win the oceanfront home. You can also see the Mathews project at the show's website.
Norfolk: Ultimate Beach House
Coastal Living magazine sponsored the construction and interior design of the best of beach houses at East Beach, a neighborhood in the Ocean View area of Norfolk. Just steps away from the Chesapeake Bay, the two-story house features rooms with bay views and cooling breezes. When you enter the house, you feel stresses and strains just melt away. Beach thinking takes over. Walls and accents in the rooms are done in pale sea glass colors — not bright beach ball colors — leaving you relaxed and in vacation mode 24/7.
Florida architect Steve Mouzon built the 3,100-square house, wanting to prove a house can allow three generations to co-exist as their ages and needs change.
First- and second-floor master suites add flexibility. For example, an upstairs master suite allows parents with young children to sleep there until the kids are teens and the parents want to move to a more private master suite downstairs. When aging elders need a place to stay, the parents can go back upstairs. When the elders are gone, the parents, now older themselves, can head back downstairs. Learn more about the house at http://www.coastalliving.com.
Hampton: Remodel Mania
In one week, Kathy Townsend's 1,050-square-foot home was given a total redo, valued at about $120,000, as part of the first Remodel Mania project sponsored by the Peninsula Remodelors Council, an arm of the Peninsula Housing and Builders Association. More than 120 companies and 80 volunteers donated materials and time to provide everything new — from the roof to the driveway and inside with new custom kitchen, bath and hardwood floors. The house was also made energy efficient with insulation and new heating and air systems.
"Are you sure this is our house?" said Townsend, 55, when she and her two children, Emily, 17, and Tyler, 13, saw it for the first time.
All three were overcome with emotion and gratitude as 200 people welcomed them home after a week's stay at a nearby hotel while the work was done. Townsend has been a single mom since her husband died in 1998.
"I never envisioned we would live in a house like this," said Townsend when she saw the built-in office space she now has for her work as a medical transcriptionist at home. Before, she worked in a corner of the cramped kitchen.
"We are so thankful."
Hampton: Buckroe Parade of Homes
Buckroe looks better than ever, thanks to the new beach-style homes built near the waterfront during the 2011 Parade of Homes, sponsored by the Peninsula Housing and Builders Association. The parade's neighborhood is called Buckroe Bay/East Beach and is Hampton Roads' first certified green community, meaning each home must save at least 15 percent of heating and cooling costs by adhering to energy-saving standards established by EarthCraft Virginia or the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Program.
All of the parade's home are sold, but lots are still available for seven single-family homes and several condo complexes.
The next Parade of Homes will be in the fall, at a location to still be determined.
Learn more about the builders association and Parade of Homes at http://peninsulahousing.org.
2012 home/garden events
The New Year promises to be a bountiful time for home and gardening events in Hampton Roads. Here's a listing of some you may want to attend:
Feb. 11. First day for household chemical collection and computers/electronics recycling, sponsored by Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority, for residents in Hampton, Poquoson, Williamsburg and the counties of York and James City, 8 a.m.-noon at Lafayette High School, 4460 Longhill Road, Williamsburg. Get a complete listing of additional dates and places for collections at http://www.vppsa.org.
Feb. 23-26. Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival at Hampton Roads Convention Center, Hampton. More than 250 vendors booths showcasing quilting supplies, clothing, books, antique quilts and sewing-related craft items. Exhibitions, workshops and lectures by experts in the quilting industry. Admission. 315-1610; http://www.quiltfest.com.
Feb. 25. Winter Garden and Hellebore Festival 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17 in Suffolk. Free workshops, register at 238-2511; http://www.smithfieldgardens.com for information on more free classes on pruning, composting, landscape design, camellias, vegetable gardening, herbs, roses, lawn and more.
March 9-11. Mid-Atlantic Home and Garden Show at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Theme: A Symphony of Spring. Celebrity Brian Santos, aka The Wall Wizard, teaches tips and techniques of color selection, faux finishing and other interior design techniques. More than 500 exhibits of home and garden ideas and products. Admission. Sponsor: Tidewater Builders Association; http://www.midatlantichomeshow.com.
March 10. Horticulture Extravaganza, sponsored by York County extension office, at Tabb High School, York County. Gardening experts help you learn about best plants, good design and practical techniques. $17, register at 890-4940 or http://www.yorkcounty.gov/vce.
March 10-April 22. Orchids Galore kicks off Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's Million Blooms spring with an orchid display in the conservatory in Richmond. Free with garden admission. 804-262-9887; http://www.lewisginter.org.
March 17. Basic Home Landscape Design 2-4 p.m. at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17 in Suffolk. Free, register at 238-2511; http://www.smithfieldgardens.com.
March 20-23. Birding on the Boardwalk program at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News celebrates springtime birds coming to Virginia or passing through on their migration north. Take a walk with naturalist Rock Moeslein. $10/$14. Register at 595-9135 or http://www.thevlm.org.
March 31. Celebrate Bees program at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News explores the secret lives of honeybees and native bees, and features the film "Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?" You can also learn about beekeeping with Gunther Hauk, a beekeeper for more than 30 years and one of the inspiring figures in the featured film. Free with museum admission, except Hauk's workshop is $45. 595-1900; http://www.thevlm.org.
April 1. Hampton YARDS Contest accepts nominations; three Hampton yards will be selected May-September as Yard of the Month winners. Make nominations at http://www.hampton.gov/hccc/yards.php.
To be a volunteer judge, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727-1199.
April 15-16. The 66th annual Garden Symposium in Colonial Williamsburg features "Beautiful Gardens: Bountiful Options." Guest speakers and Colonial Williamsburg landscape staff discuss how to grow gardens that are beautiful and bountiful. $200 both days or $135 Sunday, $105 Monday. Register at 220-7255; http://www.history.org/conted or e-mail email@example.com.
April 16. Earth Day activities at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. 595-1900; http://www.thevlm.org.
April 21. Gardening celebrity and daylily expert Andre Viette will be among the speakers at the 16th annual Gardening Symposium at the Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News. Theme: Natural Gardening, sponsored by Christopher Newport University Lifelong Learning Society. http://www.cnu.edu/lifelonglearning.
April 21-22 and 28-29. Spring native plant sale at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Shop for native species that benefit bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife. Free admission. 595-1900; http://www.thevlm.org.
April 21-28. Historic Garden Week in Virginia features The Gardener's Workshop, a cut-flower farm and online gardening center in Denbigh, during the Newport News tour April 25. http://www.VaGardenWeek.org.
May 5-20. Spring Homearama showcase of custom-built homes at Culpepper Landing in Chesapeake; http://www.tbaonline.com.
May 5. Eagle Festival at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk features lectures, demonstrations, eagle vendors, food, music and more. Free with garden admission. 441-5830; http://www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org.
May 12. Step-by-step guide to beautiful, drought-tolerant St. Augustine lawn workshop 10-11 a.m. at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17 in Suffolk. Free. 238-2511; http://www.smithfieldgardens.com
May 19. The 4th annual Art in the Garden event at Ken Matthews Garden Center, Route 17, York County, features watercolors, jewelry, ceramics, fused glass and more. Food and wine vendors, as well as face painting for kids, and music. Free admission. 898-7799; http://www.kenmatthewsgardencenter.com.
May 25-Oct. 14. Butterflies Live! Features hundreds of live butterflies in the glass conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Walk among the butterflies and learn about the plants they like. Free with garden admission. 804-262-9886; http://www.lewisginter.org.
June 23: The 23rd annual Flower Festival 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Smithfield Gardens, Route 17 in Suffolk. Workshops on hydrangeas, perennials and daylilies, Free, register at 238-2511; http://www.smithfieldgardens.com.
Sept. 22-23 and 29-30. Fall native plant sale at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Shop for summer- and late fall-blooming wildflowers, shrubs and small trees for different garden styles at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Free admission. 595-1900; http://www.thevlm.org.
Oct.6. Landscape Extravaganza, sponsored by York County extension office. Gardening experts stress importance and ease of fall planting. Free, register at http://www.yorkcounty.gov/vce or 890-4940.
•Get more details on these events throughout the year in the Daily Press and at http://www.roomandyard.com.