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Home Staging 101

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home Owner Tips, Interior Design | Posted: September 6, 2016

When you begin the process of selling your home, there is one part that cannot be overlooked and that is home staging. Did you know that over 95% of “Buyers Agents” say that home staging has some effect on the buyer’s opinion of the home?

Open Houses are the make-or-break moment for selling your house on time.With good staging, buyers will recognize how your home could be their new home. But, bad staging could keep your house languishing on the market for some time.

Staging your home doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or time, but by focusing on a few key rooms and understanding a few factors that potential buyers look for can take your house from a dud to a stud. Home staging highlights your home’s strengths and down plays (to some extent) its weaknesses.

Here are a few home staging 101 tips and tricks that will help make your open house successful.

Home Staging 101 Infographic

How to pick the right toilet

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 5, 2016

How To Pick The Right Toilet For Your Bathroom Remodel

Admit it. The toilet isn’t high on your list when you’re thinking about your bathroom remodel. It’s not something you discuss excitedly with your friends as you talk about your bathroom makeover.

A toilet has a function. Period.

So does a faucet, but there are many different types of that plumbing fixture. Before you brush off the toilet as a purely utilitarian item, consider your options so you’ll know how to choose the right toilet.

Onesie or two-piece?

A toilet is comprised of two components: the tank and the seat base. The two-piece toilet has reigned as the throne of choice for a long time, but the one-piece toilet has gained in popularity in recent years.

A two-piece toilet is easier to move, but a one-piece commode has no seams where germs can hide. Both are available in a variety of styles, from traditional to contemporary. The one-piece toilet tends to be more expensive.

Preferred seating

Toilets bowls come in a choice of round or elongated. The round is less expensive, but the oval shape is generally deemed to provide a more comfortable seat. In bathrooms where a few inches make a big difference, a round toilet is smaller and can save space.

A higher hopper?

The standard height for a toilet is approximately 14 inches, and that’s fine for most people. If you’re taller than average, you might opt for the 17-inch or 19-inch “comfort height’. This taller toilet seat is also ideal for elderly or handicapped people who are maneuvering from a wheelchair.

Push or pull flushing?

A toilet with a handle for flushing is a common choice. A push-button on the top of the toilet tank gives a more stylish flush feature. It might cost a bit more than the lever-style toilets, but also gets less handling and is easier to clean.

Low-flow or high-powered?

Energy efficiency is important to today’s homeowners. Twenty years ago, toilets used 3.5 gallons of water for every flush. Newer low-flow toilets reduced that usage to just 1.6 gallons per flush, but many people complained this gravity-based technology was no-go on the low-flow. New toilets offer different types of flushing technology. A pressure-assisted flush uses the low-flow quantity but adds power, which leads to a cleaner toilet bowl.

Toilet, toilet, on the wall

You also have the option of a wall-mounted toilet. It’s more difficult to install, but enables easy cleaning underneath (a job no one enjoys).

An in-wall toilet shows only the toilet seat emerging from the wall. The tank is hidden inside the wall. Installation requires a pro, but the sleek profile and simplicity is a great choice for certain bathroom styles.

While it might not be the most exciting seat in the house, the toilet will always be sought-after, so make sure you know how to choose the right toilet.

Secure Your Lot at Penny Lane in Sammamish

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, New Homes, Sammamish Homes, Sammamish Plateau | Posted: August 26, 2016

Rosario Home PlanAmerican Classic Homes, a premier family owned Washington homebuilder, has announced that its latest Sammamish community, Penny Lane, is aiming to debut in the fall of 2016. In response to the growing number of inquiries and the high demand for spacious home designs, the award winning home builder is allowing buyers to reserve their choice of lots in this new home community. American Classic Homes will start accepting lot reservations on September 6th, 2016, prior to the community’s final plat approval, which gives buyers the opportunity to secure their preferred lot without competing with the general public.

This exclusive community will feature eleven spacious homes that include professional grade kitchens, superior finishes, as well as included features that are upgrades at other builders. Each home also includes the personalized experience that homebuyers have come to expect from American Classic Homes.

Penny Lane offers large lots, daylight basements on specific lots, and a private community park that our residents will value in this cul-de-sac location. Penny Lane is also within walking distance to the beautiful 54-acre Beaver Lake Park.

Located less than 3 miles south east of the planned Sammamish town center, Penny Lane will offer convenient access to I-90 and WA-202, with employers such as Microsoft and Costco close by. The highly rated schools of the Issaquah School District will serve the community.

Homes will range in size from approximately 3,600 to 5,100 square feet, and include many luxurious features – expansive floor plans, spacious master suites and the beautiful architectural elements that characterize every American Classic Homes community.

Reserving a lot at Penny Lane is a welcomed opportunity for many buyers who are looking to buy in Sammamish. Making a simple lot reservation will give buyers the opportunity to select their preferred lot for the American Classic Home of their dreams before the general public. Due to this unique advanced opportunity, buyers who would like to reserve their lot can tour the Penny Lane model home at our nearby community, Discovery Grove, located at 2902 226th PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98075. Schedule your private model home tour by calling our new home advisor Summer Davis at (206) 557-6348.

For more information or to sign up for the American Classic Home VIP list to be the first to learn about new updates be sure to sign up on on the Penny Lane community page or call Summer Davis at (206) 557-6348.

Laundry room layout ideas

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: August 25, 2016

Improve Your Laundry Room Layout and Design

Your laundry room isn’t one of those spaces in your home where you think, “Oh, I’ll just go there and relax.” It’s purely functional.

But that doesn’t mean the room is prohibited from having style. Look at today’s bathroom designs. They’ve evolved from functional dullness to spa-like beauty. Every space in your home should reflect your personality. Don’t skip over the laundry room. There are so many ways you can re-create this utility area without spending a fortune. Here are some laundry room layout and design ideas to get you started.

Plan for the functions.

All great outcomes start with a great plan. Determine what you want to improve in your laundry room. More storage? Additional function? Nicer style? Create a wish list of things you’d like in your “dream” laundry room.

Additional functions could include a drop-down ironing board mounted on a wall (perhaps tucked inside an attractive cabinet). Maybe you’d like a folding area to sort through your laundry. Pet lovers could also consider converting the space occupied by a utility sink into a dog bath or shower. Some laundry rooms are situated in a place where they double as a mudroom, which means you need even more organization for this double duty!

Calculate your space.

Next, determine what you have to work with—such as space, plumbing, and electrical. Are you planning to knock down a wall to expand the space? Will you need to replumb, redo the dryer vent, or maybe switch from electric to gas (or vice versa)? Make sure you know the current condition of the room.

When you measure the space, take into account whether your appliances are top- or front-loading. Top-loading washers and dryers need extra clearance below the bottom of any cabinet or shelf mounted above it.

Now that you know what you want and what you have, you can build the plan for a room that might even get you excited about doing laundry.

Get creative with storage.

Where do you stash your cleaning products? Is there a shelf over the washer and dryer? Color that “gone”. Use the same storage logic for your laundry room organization as you apply to your kitchen, bathroom, and closet—easy access cabinets, drawers, cubbies, and shelving. Storage should be attractive, no matter what area it occupies.

If your laundry room is also the place where you keep your brooms, mops, and vacuum, how will you store them? A closet is a great addition, but if space is limited, think about adding a pegboard organization wall where you can hang them, along with other household cleaning items and tools.

Rethink the sink.

Perhaps one of the ugliest features in many laundry rooms is the utility sink—a big plastic basin with boring legs and an uninspiring faucet. That unsightly sink was designed for rinsing and washing really messy items, like muddy work clothes. Will a stainless steel sink handle the challenge as well? Absolutely! How about an oversized farmhouse sink in your laundry room for big jobs? Install the sink within a vanity, with a durable and attractive countertop. Add a kitchen faucet with a pull-down spray, and you easily, affordably improve the look of your laundry room—and add value to your home.

Your laundry room doesn’t have to be the dullest part of your home. Give it a real clean-up with these design ideas.

American Classic Homes Opens New Discovery Grove Model Home

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, New Homes, Sammamish Homes, Washington | Posted: August 23, 2016

American Classic Homes is thrilled to debut our beautiful New Model Home at Discovery Grove. We invite you to discover what this beautiful Sammamish community is all about at our Discovery Grove Model Home Opening This Weekend!

When: Saturday, August 27th & Sunday, August 28th
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: 2902 226th PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98075

We look forward to seeing you at our brand new fully furnished Discovery Grove model home this weekend! Discovery Grove homes are selling fast, with 6 of these 12 homes already spoken for. Inside the homes you’ll find luxury finishes including granite or quartz kitchen counters, commercial style kitchen appliances and a large freestanding soaking tub in the master bathroom. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your very own private tour that best fits your schedule, please give us a call at (206) 557-6308 or email

About the neighborhood: Discovery Grove is a community of 12 new homes located in the Sammamish in Washington State. Discovery Grove is located within walking distance to Pine Lake Middle School, Pine Lake Park, Pine Lake Village Shopping Center, and the South Sammamish Park and Ride Station. Only a short drive from I-90, the location allows quick access to Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue and Sea-Tac.

Schools: Discovery Grove is served by the Issaquah School District, one of the most highly acclaimed school districts in Washington State.
• Creekside Elementary School
• Pine Lake Middle School
• Skyline High School

Driving Directions:
• Taking I-90 E
• Take Exit 17 towards E Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE
• Continue on SE 30th St, Drive to 226th Ave SE
• Turn left onto SE 30th St
• Turn right onto 224th Pl SE, Continue onto 226th Ave SE
• Turn Right onto SE 29th St
• Turn Right onto SE 29th St
• Turn right onto 226th Pl St
The Model Home is located at 2902 226th PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98075

7 sure signs you need to upgrade your bathroom

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: August 11, 2016

7 Signs You Need To Upgrade A Bathroom

Are you so used to your bathroom that you overlook certain features that might be outdated? Bathroom design has evolved dramatically over the past few years. If your bathroom has become a merely functional space, then it might be time to consider remodeling.

Here are some sure signs that your bathroom needs an upgrade.

  1. The toilet is older than your kids.

Plumbing has changed, and today’s toilets offer more efficiency than your outdated commode. Low-flow toilets offer significant savings, and the touchless toilet eliminates that concern over someone’s lack of “courtesy”.

  1. Water isn’t always where it belongs.

Do you have a leaky faucet in the sink or tub? Does your toilet keep running after it’s flushed? Examine your bathroom for leaks and drips. Check the walls, ceiling, and floors for telltale signs of hidden moisture. Worn-out plumbing is an insurance claim waiting to happen.

  1. Sinks, tubs, and grout have lost that loving feeling.

Does your tile grout look like a cigarette smoker’s teeth? Are your tubs and sinks stained and scratched? Maybe your bathroom is trying to tell you it’s time to pull the plug. Retire the tired fixtures. Take advantage of today’s vast array of choices for bathroom tile, sinks, and tubs.

  1. The lighting is one-size-fits-all.

Your bathroom is a functional space. Some areas benefit from soft lighting, while others are task-centric (applying make-up, shaving). Create the right ambience in your bathroom by installing more energy-efficient fixtures that shed the right light on you—like sconces on the sides of the mirror, instead of on top, and maybe a chandelier over your spa tub.

  1. You have more toiletries than storage.

If you constantly have to make room on the bathroom vanity countertop because of the clutter, you need more storage space in your bathroom. It’s time to rethink the cabinetry. Invest in a new vanity or add shelves. An organized, uncluttered bathroom is a thing of beauty.

  1. Your life has changed.

Maybe you’re now sharing your bathroom with others—spouse, significant other, roommate, kids, in-laws. How does that affect the bathroom design? Can two people easily maneuver through the bathroom functions simultaneously? Is there too much clutter? When you double up, you should double down and invest in a bathroom remodel.

  1. You’re trying really hard to overlook the colors and patterns.

A coat of paint can only do so much to change your perspective. Styles and trends are evolving. Have they reached your bathroom yet? Today’s bathrooms have a spa-like feel, achieved with a combination of the right colors, accents, and materials. Even powder rooms deserve an update.

Every room in your home should reflect your personal style and provide the comfort that you can only get in this space. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into mere tolerance of your rooms. Turn them into an environment that adds to the picture of your own “Home, Sweet Home”.

What to look for in a new neighborhood

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: July 28, 2016

As you go house-hunting, it’s important to know the features of your ideal home—the style, size, number of rooms, age, and special amenities are some of the most important. But you also need to consider the neighborhood. The people and places that surround a home can make a big difference to your living experience there.

Certainly, location is the biggest concern. You probably have your short list of areas that fit your needs. But even when you find the one that’s close to your job and quality schools, you need to do a bit more research to make sure your new neighborhood will fit well with your lifestyle.

Take a walk.

Don’t just drive around the area. Get out and walk. Listen to the sounds. Is major road noise traveling farther than you expected? Are there any strange odors in the air? Maybe there’s a wastewater treatment plant a bit too close to your new home.

When you’re walking around, you’ll notice details that you might miss in a car. Look more closely at how your neighbors care for their yards. How’s the curb appeal? And how do the curbs, sidewalks, and streets look? This will provide valuable insight into the care that is given to the neighborhood.

If you have a dog, take him for a walk. See how other people react, so you can gauge how pet-friendly this community is.

Knock on a few doors.

Introduce yourself to neighbors. Let them know you’re considering a particular home, and ask what they know about the house. Has it been well cared for? How does the community’s homes fare in storms (snow, wind, heavy rain)? If there’s a Homeowners Association, how effective is it? How stringent are the restrictions? How secure is the area?

If your potential neighbors aren’t forthcoming, it’s a good sign that you shouldn’t be expecting a homemade pie when you move in.

Revisit at different times.

You might initially tour the home during the day, when many people are at work. Go back in the early evening so you can see the activity level when more residents are home. Are there lots of kids riding their bicycles? Are families outside grilling? Do you see happy homeowners enjoying their yards?

Inspect the safety.

If you aren’t familiar with an area, learn about the crime rate. You can type in the community, zip code, or address on various websites to learn more about the criminal activity in your desired area.

Are the streets well lit at night? Is there a neighborhood watch program there?

Visualize your life here.

Imagine yourself driving into the neighborhood, into your driveway, and walking into your home. Picture yourself working and relaxing in your yard. Think about finding that favorite restaurant down the street. Consider that quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients.

How does it feel? Can you see a happy life in this neighborhood?

Remember, a home can be made even better in the right community. And it can be a nightmare in the wrong one. Before you invest in a new home, spend a little time getting to know the neighborhood.

Concord Place Model Home Sneak Preview!

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Events, Renton Homes | Posted: July 21, 2016

American Classic Homes is thrilled to present our beautiful New Model Home at Concord Place. We invite you to discover what community is all about at our Model Home Preview This Weekend!

When: Saturday, July 30th & Sunday, July 31st
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: 1513 Jericho Place NE, Renton WA 98059

We look forward to seeing you at our brand new fully furnished Concord Place model home! If you have any questions or would like to schedule your very own private tour, please give us a call at (206) 557-6235 or email

About the neighborhood: Concord Place is a community of 13 new homes located in the Highlands on Renton in Washington State. Only a short drive from I-405, I-90 and I-5, the location allows quick access to Seattle, Bellevue and Sea-Tac. Inside the homes you’ll find included granite or quartz kitchen counters, commercial style kitchen appliances and an oversized freestanding tub in the master bathroom.

Schools: Concord Place will be served by the top-rated Issaquah School District including Newcastle Elementary School, Maywood Middle School, and Liberty High School.

Driving Directions:
• From I-405 South take exit 5 (The Landing) and go East on 900 (Sunset Ave.)
• Turn left on Field Pl NE, this turns into NE 17th ST.
• Turn east on NE 16th St to Jericho Place NE into Concord Place
• The Model home is on lot #4, the address is 1513 Jericho Place NE, Renton WA 98059

Home decorating mistakes to avoid

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: July 14, 2016

It’s natural to be enthusiastic when decorating your home. But before you race ahead at full speed, stop and learn about these home design mistakes to avoid.

Tested your paint color on one wall.

The light in a room will change according to the time of day and the amount of light (from windows, skylights, and light fixtures). Brushing your paint sample in one area isn’t sufficient. Instead, go to the dollar store and buy a few sheets white poster board. Apply the paint to the poster boards. When it dries, hang them in different areas of the room, where the light differs. Look at these paint swatches at various times of the day and evening so you can see how it reacts to changing light.

Chose the bedroom color and then searched for bedding.

Your bedding choices can be somewhat limited, while the paint colors are not. Why struggle with finding a comforter, duvet, linens, and pillows to match the color on the wall, when you can more easily do it the other way around?

Bought furniture on a whim.

Buyer’s remorse probably begins in more furniture stores than anything else. Before you pull out your credit card, pull out your room measurements, to make sure the furniture is going to fit. It might also be helpful to have some photos of the room, to remind you of any existing furnishings that will need to fit in with your new stuff. Also bring color swatches to coordinate. And don’t be afraid to ask for fabric swatches to take home. After all, It’s a big investment.

Made big changes before moving in.

You buy a new home and you want it perfect when you move in. But be careful about doing too much. Live in the home for a while to determine if your pre-move decorating ideas will still make sense once you’re living there.

Succumbed to trend pressure.

Just because the magazines and blogs are telling you the latest trends in color, appliances, flooring, plumbing fixtures, and furnishings, doesn’t mean you have to follow. Choose according to your own tastes. Make your home a personal signature.

Bought artwork that matched the room.

The role of artwork is to reflect your style, not to fill a space. Look for art and accents that excite you. Then find the right place for them.


Whether it’s size, color, or style, don’t guess if it will work in your home. Bring photos of your rooms and specific spaces when you go shopping. And be sure you know the return policy before making the purchase. A little extra time with paint samples and fabric swatches could save you a lot of money and trouble.

Recaulk before you repaint: Tips for caulking your home

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: June 30, 2016


Keeping your home looking great requires exterior painting once in a great while. Not only will a fresh coat of paint—applied properly—improve the appearance, it also helps to protect the exterior and keep your home weather-tight.

Caulk first, paint later

Before you start the painting process, you need to take the essential step of re-caulking your home. Caulk provides a necessary sealant that removes gaps that can let in moisture, drafts, and pests (e.g., insects, mice). Moisture can cause the paint to crack, peel, or bubble. If water seeps into the house, it can lead to fungus.

Elastomeric caulk is the ideal material. It’s durable and adheres to most surfaces. Other good choices include polyurethane and standard siliconized caulking (not to be confused with silicon caulk). Look at the warranty rating of the caulk. It should last 25 years or longer.

Be sure to remove old caulking before you apply a new layer.

Where to caulk

If caulking is new to you, don’t worry. It’s very easy. Just load the tube into your caulking gun, and cut 1/4” off the tip at an angle. Cutting too much off the tip of the caulking tube could cause a mess!

Look for places where two different materials or sections come together, like the door or window frame and the wall, or brick and wood, around outside faucets and dryer vents The area should be dry before you caulk it.

Don’t overdo the application. A thin bead of caulk is sufficient. After you apply it, run your finger along the bead to create a smooth line. Use a damp cloth to wipe your finger each time you lift it in order to keep that smoothness. Also wipe up any excess caulking before it dries.

In areas where the caulk might show, avoid a white caulk. On brick for example, a clear caulk is a better choice. Around gray concrete floors or foundation, use a gray urethane or clear caulk. Bear in mind that elastomeric caulk goes on white but dries clear.

Be sure to caulk every section on a window or door where parts come together: the sill, the trim, and between the glass panes and wood frame.

Fill in gaps behind your fascia and soffits with caulk.

Don’t caulk areas that are designed to let moisture escape! This includes sections of the foundation.

The extra effort you invest now in re-caulking your home will prevent big problems later.

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