The sun is back and summer is so close you can almost taste the s’mores being toasted around the fire pit…is this the year to spruce up your outdoor spaces? Fun new trends in alfresco design revolve around individuality of lifestyle and a desire to bring the inside out with rooms, furniture and lighting that would all be equally at home indoors. Cheesy, bulky and loud are out–quality, artisan and subtle are in. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Experiential Design
Newer outdoor concepts centered around the experiences of the owner–such as meditation gardens, outdoor movie screens, fireplaces/fire pits, children’s play spaces, and even life-size chess–are gradually replacing the cookie cutter yards of the past.
2. Chic Lighting
While Charlie Brown string lights have had their days in the sun, new trends are heading toward more sophisticated lighting fixtures. Shaded lamps, artisan and vintage fixtures are good choices for outdoor rooms and patios. We’re also seeing more indirect, low lighting that doesn’t compete with the stars.
3. Open Air Rooms
As weather-proof technology and materials improve, more homeowners are creating permanent outdoor living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and entertaining bars. Mildew-resistant curtains or folding glass doors can enclose the space as needed, while fireplaces or built-in space heaters keep things comfortable year-round.
4. Subtle Neutrals
We’re seeing a transition from bold stripes and colors to a softer palette with neutral tans, greys, greens, and dark blues. More discreet patterns follow the “indoors out” trend.
5. Indoor Quality Furniture
Lighter fine-boned wood furniture with luxe upholstery is usurping those blocky, heavy, dark aluminum and plastic pieces that bake in the sun. Comfort and quality are key, with designer statement chairs and unexpected wicker pieces that are a far cry from your grandma’s wicker.
6. Alternative Flooring Materials
Many homeowners are moving beyond the rug, using new budget-friendly materials such as porcelain pavers or beechwood deck tiles to create a seamless indoor-to-outdoor look.
7. Smart Outdoor Tech
Whether it’s smart sprinklers that use soil moisture and weather data to adjust their water output, quieter & cleaner electric mowers, or 3D imaging programs that help landscapers develop and visualize designs, the world of smart technology is definitely making its way outdoors.
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At our recent Kick-off event for the Windermere offices on the Eastside, 3 design experts participated in a panel discussing the latest trends for the home here in the Pacific Northwest. Susan Marinello, of Susan Marinello Interiors, Brenda Gage from JayMarc Homes, and Sheri Olson, of Sheri Olson Architecture, dished on the freshest interior design elements and frequently requested features for home design.
Susan shared that appliance rejuvenation is in full force. New materials for use for countertops and flooring are a fresh take within kitchens, with granite use starting to subside. Black as a neutral within the kitchen is also on trend.
Susan also discussed what trends are out, out, out. Her top pick: microwaves over the range. Other fading design elements are tub/shower combo, and a mixture of too many materials within a room. Less is definitely more. Simple, neutral, clean lines, open, light – those are the goals for being fresh and on trend. Susan said, “The power of paint is a beautiful thing!”
Brenda was asked to name a few most requested home features from JayMarc’s new construction clients. The dual master bedrooms, with one on the upper level and one on the main level, is right up at the top. The jr master suite on the main level is perfect for multigenerational families, those with extended family who live out of area but will be visiting, and homeowners who are thinking ahead about aging in place.
In fact, other aging in place home features, like planning for an elevator, are also sought after. More rooms with en suite bathrooms are desired by families with teens. With the number of Tesla cars being purchased in the Pacific Northwest, the request to include Tesla battery chargers in the garage is increasingly popular. Brenda also mentioned how the popularity of modern design is surging in our area. Design modeled after the Craftsman style is more closely associated with the Big Recession.
Sheri echoed the popularity of home design that helps facilitate aging in place. Sheri also identified more informal living space, both inside and out, as highly sought after. The addition of a mud room as command central is becoming highly desirable in the PNW.
Sheri stated that homeowners are taking a closer look at what makes more sense to create the home they seek: raise or raze. Older homes that contain cherished period details that would be too expensive to replicate today may be a better choice for a remodel. However, increasingly homeowners are finding that it makes more fiscal sense to tear down a home and rebuild to create the home they desire. Things to look at are height restrictions, along with zoning and permitting issues within your city.
NW architecture style where the natural setting helps shape the home design is also seeing a resurgence here.
Homeowners that opt for clean, classic lines, neutrals, and design that welcomes our Pacific Northwest environment will be well served by their home updates. In addition, those home buyers who are planning to live in their homes for long time have many options available to make aging in place possible.
Photo credit: Frances Gaul
Originally posted on Windermere Premier Blog.
Lucky Seattle. This city has tried-and-true coffee industry veterans, solid neighborhood cafes, and a growing crop of newcomers pushing the scene forward. Venerable roasters Vivace and Victrola helped build the Emerald City’s reputation as the specialty coffee center of the planet, and they’re bolstered by a fresh set of bean businesses that are breathing new life into Seattle’s cafe culture this very minute: multi-roaster shops like Milstead and Co. and back-to-basics roasters like Slate are keeping the attention of the caffeinated crowd at home and well beyond the Pacific Northwest.
1. Royal Drummer
Opened in April, this North Ballard newcomer is an ode to Australian culture, which sees the cafe more as a place to socialize than to pound espresso for a busy laptop work session. Australia’s shops tend to serve full-course meals to encourage guests to sit and stay a while, so expect the same at Royal Drummer.
6420 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 | 206-484-6693 | Website
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In an interesting turn of events, Benjamin Moore moves from Simply White, color of the year for 2016, to Shadow 2117-30, a rich amethyst color, for 2017. Shadow is paired with a palette of 23 colors that embody Benjamin Moore’s take on 2017’s most influential hues.
Being a Windermere Premier Director has its benefits. I am able to provide you concierge level services with ease, through the tools provided by Premier Properties. It also affords me the ability to stay current on the trends in luxury living. And seeing the latest and greatest is one of the most fun parts of my job. I thoroughly enjoy exceptional design and it makes me happy to be able to share this passion of mine with you.
One of the educational tools at my disposal is the monthly Premier Networking Breakfast I attend. At the March breakfast, brokers from around our region received noteworthy information regarding the latest interior trends for luxury homes. Ranging from classic to tech-savvy, all these trends have one thing in common- they exude a feeling of relaxation and joy, perfect for facing your day in style.
The hottest neutral is classic white. You are probably seeing a lot of white upon white in rooms featured on designer blogs and in decor magazines. The varying textures of the white accessories and furniture offer a unique profile against creamy white walls. Gray is a close second for walls, especially those hues with just a touch of gray in them.
Rubbed bronze and brushed or polished chrome are still highly sought after metals for fixtures. But gold tones are definitely making a comeback! And polished nickel is also a nice choice for fixtures in your baths and kitchens. Pendant lighting is so on-trend right now, especially for the kitchen.
Adding smart home technology to enhance your morning is highly desirable in luxury remodels and new construction. Imagine how nice it would be to turn on the shower from bed, set the temperature and be alerted when the water is warmed to the desired temperature. Including a Miele coffee system in the master bedroom is a popular suite feature. What a fantastic way to start your day!
Family rooms are starting to be referred to club rooms, a space where families can gather for casual evenings of board games, an afternoon of reading or lively after-dinner conversation. You may be noticing that these club rooms are tech free zones, perfect for spending quality time together.
Luxury homes are including dedicated space for the family pet. Not only do these special pet rooms include cozy accommodations for your pet to enjoy while you are out running errands or during a dinner party, but they often include doggy spa amenities like a dog washing sink sized for Spot to make bath time smoother.
The state of quality kitchen appliances, for both indoor and outdoors, has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The gold standard for appliances is Aga, from the UK. It's often said in England that one has not arrived until they install Aga in their kitchens! It's projected that the way we do laundry will change dramatically in the next 20 years and that the traditional dryer will be phased out. We're seeing the advent of dryers that use less amps to run, and ventless systems.
If you have questions about home trends when considering updates for your house, I would love to be a resource for you. Please give me a call, or send me an email, so we can schedule a meeting to discuss your ideas and current interior design trends.
Let me share something that’s a bit surprising: 4 major paint companies – Behr, Glidden, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams – all tapped a shade of white to be their “it” color for 2016. In a time where we’re experiencing chaotic events globally, the calming, clean slate of white does soothe the senses. Achromatic white is fresh, uncluttered and bursting with potential. This powerful feeling of freedom and rejuvenation is a leading reason why shades within the white spectrum have become the hottest neutral trend this year.
The right shade of white paint can give a tired room a much needed facelift. All white can be a dynamic wall color in a room with striking architecture features, or in space where you want the furniture, fixtures, or room accessories to take center stage. The white paint will allow those features to shine. If you want a room to stand the test of time more gracefully, pairing white walls with neutral trappings will feel classic instead of dated.
Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, shared with the Washington Post, “I love the fact that Benjamin Moore chose a white, because it calls attention to the fact that there are so many nuances in white. You just want it to be the right one.” Color consultants caution that white paint options need to be vetted before committing to make sure the color it is right for the space. In a dark room, white can make it look dull and uninviting. White looks it best when bathed in beautiful natural light.
White has experienced a prevalent increased presence in European design blogs as well. Do you think it will oust gray as the top neutral?
Paint Colors Of The Year for 2016
Behr: Ivory Keys
Benjamin Moore: Simply White
Glidden: Cappuccino White
While only you can decide when it’s the right time to purchase a new home for your family, there are some compelling reasons to consider a move now rather than later…
Did you know that sellers moving up to a more expensive home actually fare better when prices are low? As you can see in the chart below, even move-up sellers who bought in the peak of the market will come out ahead. This is because the money you save on your more expensive home will outweigh the loss of value on your current home.
While waiting may increase the value of your current home, it will also increase the purchase price of your new home. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices–the leading measure of US home prices–prices are already up 7.4% year-over-year in the Seattle Metropolitan area. If you’re moving up to a more expensive home, this means you’ll actually have less net gain by waiting to sell and purchase your new home.
Rising interest rates will also have a direct impact on your bottom line. Our current 3.4% interest rate represents a phenomenal low. How low? Buyers now actually pay less monthly interest on a median-priced $399,950 house in Seattle today than they did on a median-priced $265,000 house back in 2000. Considering wage inreases since then, that's pretty incredible! However, rates have started slowly creeping up since December and are expected to rise to 4.4% by the end of the year. Even this small change can mean a huge difference in both your monthly mortgage payment and the loan amount you can can qualify for…
A shortage of homes for sale in the current market means less competition for sellers. Right now, there are less homes for sale in the Seattle-Eastside area than we've seen in the past 15 years (as long as we've been keeping record!). While that might make it harder to find the right home to purchase, it will also reduce the time it takes to sell your current home. Buyers are quickly snapping up homes as they become available, and we're even seeing multiple offers on homes that are strategically priced and well-prepared for market. Selling your house faster will minimize the typical household disruptions–such as showings and open houses–that you would typically have to contend with during a slower market.
Have questions? Contact me any time…I am never too busy to help!
*1: Projected increase based on current 7.4% year-over-price gains for the Seattle area as shown in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
*2: Projected average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate in Q4 2013 based on the Mortgage Bankers Association predictions.
S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release, January 29th, 2013
© Copyright 2013, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island.
Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. In his third quarter report for 2012, he continues to see positive growth in the economy and real estate in Western Washington, but the rate of growth has tapered. This is mainly due to very low levels of inventory and likely to be temporary. He does not see the ‘shadow inventory’ of distressed housing flooding the market, but rather as inventory that will play an important part of the housing recovery. To see the entire report, click here.
I am just starting my gift shopping and wanted to share a few great gift ideas for those people on our list who are tough to shop for…
Unusual gifts – How about whiskey rocks (shown on left) that will keep your drink chilled but not watered down? I found unusualgifts.com and they have lots of fun ideas, including a portable ping pong set – don’t we all need one of those?
Personalized stationary – I am big believer in hand written notes and this can make a wonderful gift that you know will get used. Check out Minted.com or TinyPrints.com for inspiration. Also, a nice pen makes a great gift; Silberman Brown Stationers has a great selection of pens and a multitude of options for personalized stationary.
Cooking classes – Not only a gift, but a fun experience as well. SurlaTable.com features classes like “Better with Bacon” and “Cooking without Recipes” to bring out your inner chef.
Terrarium – If you prefer something homemade, find an interesting glass vase or jar and add rocks, shells, mosses, orchids or succulents, these are beautiful on bathroom counters and make great hostess gifts.
Most importantly, your presence is the greatest gift you can give, so be sure not to over-do it this holiday season and remember to take care of yourself so you can fully enjoy your time with friends and family. Enjoy the season!
With the weather changing and the upcoming holidays, many of us are enjoying more time in one of the most important rooms of the house, the kitchen. It's the hub for not only food preparation and dining, but socializing as well. In Feng Shui the kitchen relates to your health and wealth; based on the premise that as we nourish our bodies with healthy food, we are enabled to go out into the world and create wealth and other resources for our lives.
Here are five easy ways to tune up your kitchen in time for the holidays…
1. Add a fresh fruit and a fruit bowl to symbolize the abundance of nature
2. Place a shiny tea kettle on the stove top that reflects the burners and symbolically double your wealth potential
3. Display glass containers of grains and colorful pastas as a visual reminder to eat healthy
4. Rotate the use of the stove top burners keeping the fire element energized
5. Fix any plumbing leaks – water represents money energy in Feng Shui
Considering a kitchen remodel? I have some great resources to help you maximize your layout design.
Tips courtesy of Cynthia Chomos, Feng Shui Consultant and Color Designer, cynthiachomos.com.