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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 Summer@AmericanClassicHomes.com.

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.

Guessed.

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

caulkingBlog

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.

Smart home technology: 2016 and beyond

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: June 16, 2016

Sci-fi movies have been filled with cool gadgets that put just about anything at your fingertips, with the push of a button. From George Jetson to James Bond, fictional characters have had all the fun.

Now, it’s our turn.

Smart home technology is automating everything in the home, from opening the doors and turning on the lights to tracking your sleep patterns and watering your plants. Today’s smart home technology lets you keep an eye on your dog when you’re away from home, alert you when your dinner is done, and warn you of leaky pipes.

In 2017, the GSMA expects we will spend $44 billion dollars on connected home technology, more than four times the projected sales of $10 billion this year.

In the kitchen, appliances like the smart refrigerator seem to be capable of doing everything except preparing meals. The touchscreen lets you listen to music or watch your favorite cooking show. Using LG’s HomeChat app, you can find out what’s in your fridge, perfect for when you’re at the grocery store without a list—as well as check on your other smart appliances.

Even your bathtub has become smarter. The Kohler VibrAcoustic Bath, for example, pumps sound waves through the water for a gentle massage, or acts as your bathroom sound system with your own playlist, whether the tub is empty or fill. When you get out of the tub, use the Oral-B smart toothbrush to make sure you’re brushing properly. Check your weight, body mass index, and heart rate on the Withings Smart Body Analyzer—and get the local weather forecast while you’re on this smart scale.

Dim the lights, lock the door, start your coffeemaker, adjust the thermostat, manage your smoke detector, turn on your sprinkler system, open your garage door, and even light your way in the dark. It’s all possible with the connected home and smart technology.

If you don’t want to coordinate all these functions, bring Amazon Echo home. This voice-activated home automation controller can operate your smart home technology with just a command. Ask it to play your favorite music, turn down the lights, and give you the latest news and weather update.

Are you keeping up with your home’s intelligence? Your life could be a lot easier if you do.

Sammamish Showcase Home Tour June 11-12

Categories: American Classic News, New Homes, Sammamish Homes | Posted: June 9, 2016

Sammamish Tour 2016Join us for the 1st Annual Sammamish Showcase Home Tour on Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 12. This tour will feature a professionally decorated and designed Islander home plan in Sammamish. Grab your friends and enjoy viewing this beautiful homes!

 

The Decorated Home location is

2201 239th Place SE, Sammamish WA 98075

Hours:

Saturday, June 11: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Sunday, June 12: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

View a map of the location, or for additional information contact Summer at Summer@AmericanClassicHomes.com or 206.557.6385

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Get the beach look in your home

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: June 2, 2016

You don’t have to live in an oceanfront cottage to treat yourself to the experience. The beach is a calming place, with its soft sand under your feet, the relaxing sound of waves rushing to the shore, and sunshine beaming down on your face. If you don’t have a seaside view, here are some ways to achieve the beach look in your home.

Color me beachy. Think about the colors of the shore. They’re soft and natural. Create a palette of colors to reflect this environment. Crisp white should be used amply. Contrast it with your preferred shade of blue: nautical, Aegean, cobalt, seafoam, or turquoise. Add the softness of buttery yellow or the peachy pink of a conch shell, or go vibrant with coral or sunny yellow.

Rough it up. The beach look reflects the textures of driftwood, coarse sand, shells, starfish, and sand dollars. Bring that tactile feeling into your home décor with rough-hewn accents or wooden furniture. Avoid the highly polished look. You want weathered wood complemented with natural materials, like cotton linen, seagrass, jute, and hemp.

Bring the outdoors in. Your interior décor should feel like you’re enjoying life on the beach. Incorporate decorative accents from outdoor living, like an outdoor rug, wicker rocker, and a basket of driftwood, mixed with shells and sea glass.

Don’t overdo it. Once you dive into the beach them for your home, you’ll discover a bounty of treasures that match your vision of coastal living. Restrain yourself. Your home décor should reflect the beach theme, not scream it through a bullhorn. Aim for subtle consistency. Don’t pack your space with clutter. That creates chaos of the mind. Choose a few perfect shells. Display one or two ships, not an entire fleet. Leave space around your décor. Less is more. Remember, at the beach, you revel in the breathing room, the open space that allows your mind to drift.

A beach theme can take you from a porch-front sitting in Nantucket to a tropical getaway. Decide what “beach” means to you, and then bring it home.

Tips to prepare your home for the summer

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: May 19, 2016

Do you feel it? That sudden urge to throw open the windows and escape from your winter hibernation? Summer is coming soon. You’re ready for months of sunshine, cookouts, and entertainment, but is your home?

Before the temperature climbs much higher, prepare your home for the summer season by doing these important chores.

Prevent water damage. Spring and summer bring their share of rain. Make sure your home is protected. Clean the gutters so the water can flow freely and direct the water away from the house, where it can pool and cause damage. Look for cracks and breaks in the gutters and downspouts. Also, inspect your foundation for cracks that could allow water to leak into your home.

Check the caulking around your doors and windows. If there are any cracks, replace the caulk so that those leaks don’t cause mold or wood rot.

Clean the driveway and walkways. Pressure wash these surfaces and then inspect them for damage. Replace broken pavers. Repair cracks or holes in your driveway to prevent them from getting worse.

Check the deck. Your deck might have taken a beating over the winter, from the cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Before you start your deck inspection. clean it. Use a brush with low pressure—a pressure washer can damage the wood’s fibers. Next, inspect the wood for cracks and splinters, including along the joists, posts, and railing. Make sure the attachment of the deck to the house is secure. Although decking material is treated to resist ants and termites, the wood on your home isn’t. Look at the hardware to see if any is missing or needs replacement. Then apply deck sealant or wood stain.

Touch up the greenery. Trim the shrubs to spark healthy growth. Cut branches that could cause damage, either by scraping your home or low-hanging limbs that might hurt a passerby. Rake out your garden beds and lawn. Fertilize the lawn early in the season and seed any areas that have become bare. While you’re doing your yardwork, be sure to scrub the bird baths and any empty containers or pots, to ensure no bacteria or bugs survived over the winter.

Get ready for watering. Bring out your hoses (assuming you stashed them safely in the garage and not under the snow). Make sure there are no cracks or leaks in the hoses and nozzles. Replace any faulty ones. Walk around the yard and check the sprinkler heads to make sure they’re intact and ready to water your lawn.

Inspect the HVAC. You’ll probably rely on your air conditioning shortly. Before you’re battling the heat inside your home, check the HVAC. Clear away any debris on or around the compressor outside. Make sure the condenser unit is level, so that it doesn’t work harder than it should. Clean or replace the air filters (which should be done monthly).

Prep for outdoor living. Clean your outdoor furniture. If the cushions were left out during the winter, consider replacing them. Clean the grill and make sure the propane tanks are full, or you have a supply of charcoal.

By investing a little time now, you can enjoy many months of comfortable summer fun.

Tub trends: What’s new in bathtub styles?

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: May 5, 2016

The bathroom has evolved from a purely functional space to a spa-like retreat. Cabinetry looks like fine furniture. Vessel sinks paired with cascading waterfall faucet create a gentle, Zen appeal. Bathroom lighting ranges from simple lines to elegant chandeliers. Showers are now more spacious, elegant, and pampering with rainfall shower heads and body jets.

Recently, we’re seeing more creativity in bathtub styles. And not just the look of the tub but the placement. With high design hitting the long-ignored tub, bathroom designers are making this fixture a focal point that doesn’t need to be tucked in a corner any more.

“Bathrooms are often the only place where people regularly have time to themselves,” explains Australian interior designer Sarah Davison. Bathroom design, she says, should “create a refuge of serenity and personal luxury.”

Freestanding bathtubs are leading the list of tub trends. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) released its 2016 report on design trends, and 67 percent of the designers surveyed are specifying freestanding tubs; 39 percent of them said they expect to do more with these bathtubs in 2016.

You can find a freestanding tub to fit any décor, from rustic to contemporary. Choose your desired shapes—oval or rectangular, or something more artsy. Then customize it with a faucet that reflects your style. You can even place a freestanding tub within a shower if you’re short on space.

The familiar clawfoot bathtub has made a big comeback. Manufacturers have driven this bathroom design trend by refining and redefining the clawfoot tub’s shape, color, and material—like acrylic, cast iron, and copper.

Another popular tub trend is the Japanese soaking tub. The NKBA survey showed that 61 percent of the designers used a soaking tub in 2015, and 36 percent plan to use them more often in 2016. A soaking tub is designed for relaxation—a long, leisurely soak. A Japanese soaking tub takes up less space. They tend towards being more narrow and round, but deeper than a conventional bathtub. This soaking tub features a built-in seat, much like a hot tub, but without the jets. They reflect the Japanese custom of ritually cleansing the body and soul. In a soaking tub, you can submerge yourself comfortably up to your neck, because of the tub’s depth. Also known as “Ofuro” (Japanese for “bath”), this bathtub style is available in a wide variety of styles that allow it to fit well into your bathroom design.

For a truly unique bathroom design, consider an infinity bathtub. Picture that time you left the bathtub faucet running, and the water overflowed the edges—except in this case, you don’t need to panic! There’s a channel that collects the overflow and a pump that recirculates the water. If your bathroom has a window with a view, the infinity tub allows you to enjoy your soak while feeling like you’re outdoors in a stream. Your infinity tub can be elevated, like many bathtubs, or level with the floor, giving you the feeling of stepping into a lake.

With today’s bathtub styles, you forget about that tub hidden behind a shower curtain. Treat yourself to the joy of relaxing in a tub after a stressful day.

Small back yard, big ideas

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: April 21, 2016

Big ideas for a small back yard

Just because you don’t have a sprawling landscape behind your home doesn’t mean you have to limit your vision for back yard fun. With a little creativity, you can apply some big ideas for a small back yard and turn it into your outdoor oasis.

Go up against the wall.

Use the wall space to hang planters, rather than take up ground space. Attach pots or mason jars, upcycle a colander and hang it from a hook or tree branch. Put up shelves to display your colorful pots and plants.

Do double-duty.

Choose furniture that provides storage as well as seating, like an ottoman with a lift-off cushion for keeping games or extra pillows. Add a coffee table where you can stash candles, paper plates, linens, and other items for outdoor entertaining.

Focus.

Create one focal point in your back yard, like a small water feature, container garden, or sculpture. A small memory garden makes a great focal point.

Scale it down.

Large outdoor furniture will dwarf a small back yard. Choose a bistro set with two chairs, or a table that can be expanded, as needed, for entertaining. And, while those big comfy cushioned chairs are attractive, they’ll make your space look crammed. Opt for simple lines and smaller sizes.

Don’t shut me out.

While you certainly want some shade to escape the heat, avoid the temptation to provide too much cover, either with greenery, pergola, or canopy. Open up your outdoor living space to let the sun shine in so you’re not closing in your back yard.

Simplify your colors.

A varied color palette can overpower a small back yard. Limit your color choices for your furnishings, and carry it over to your accents. Use the burst of colors in nature’s beauty, like the flowers in your garden, to add the splash you want.

Table your heat.

Don’t have room for a fire pit? Place a fire bowl on your table. You’ll get the cozy feel of the outdoor fireplace without taking up space.

When you’re working with limited outdoor living space, you’re only real limit is your creativity. Think simple and cozy—for size, color, and volume—and you’ll make the most of a small back yard.

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