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Digital Meeting Backgrounds from Luxury Model Homes

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle, Model Home | Posted: October 13, 2020

If you’re still looking for the perfect zoom meeting background we have a new option for you, straight from our luxury model home in Seattle, Washington! Our recently staged Madison Park home sold as soon as it hit the market. It had an amazing office that we want to share with you for you to use as a digital meeting background.

The professional office background for you to download:

 

Autumn Home Maintenance Tips | 2020

Categories: Home maintenance tips, Home Owner Tips | Posted: September 22, 2020

It’s finally Autumn! Hooray! With the changing of each season we recommend a few tips to help maintain your home. But as we all know this summer in Washington state was a little different this year. The smoke from the summer forest fires have finally dissipated, but while gone, there are now additional home maintenance steps we recommend as we head into the new season.

It’s important to note that ash is made up of different sized particles and ash deposited on surfaces, indoors and outdoors, and can become airborne when cleaned up. Please use extreme caution when clean anything with ash on it. For additional indoor air quality tips and clean up safety gear recommendations, we advise that you visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website here.

Additional Home Maintenance Steps To Take Now That The Summer Forest Fire Smoke Has Cleared:

  • The EPA’s Recommended Actions To Take From To Protect Yourself From Ash When Cleaning:
    • Clothing: Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks to avoid skin contact. Goggles are also a good idea contact with wet ash can cause chemical burns or skin irritation. Change your shoes and clothing before you leave the cleanup site to avoid tracking ash offsite, into your car, or other places.
    • Protecting your lungs: Wear a tight-fitting respirator that filters ash particles from the air you breathe to help protect your lungs. Select a respirator that has been tested and approved by NIOSH and has the words “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on it. These have two straps and are available online, and at many hardware stores and pharmacies. Buy respirators in a size that can be tightened over your mouth and nose with a snug seal to your face. Surgical masks and one-strap dust masks will not protect your lungs. They are not designed to seal tightly to the face. If you have heart or lung disease talk to your doctor before using a respirator or working around ash.
  • Cleanup Steps:
    • Cleanup: Avoid stirring up or sifting through ash as much as you can. Avoid actions that kick ash particles up into the air, such as dry sweeping. Beforesweepingindoor and outdoor hard surfaces, mist them with water to keep the dust down. Follow with wet mopping. Use a damp cloth or wet mop on lightly dusted areas. When you wet down ash, use as little water as you can.
    • Vacuum: Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-type vacuum to clean dusty surfaces. Don’t use a typical household vacuum or a shop vacuum. They will send the collected dust or ash out into the air. Don’t leaf blowers or do anything else that will put ash into the air.
    • Food and Water: Wash any home-grown fruits or vegetables from trees or gardens where ash has fallen. Avoid bringing food or eating at the affected site, unless you keep the food in a sealed container. Wash your hands well before eating. Check with your drinking water provider to be sure your water is safe to drink.
    • Disposal: Collected ash may be disposed of in the regular trash. Ash should be stored in plastic bags or other containers to prevent it from being stirred up. If you suspect hazardous waste, including asbestos, is present, contact your local hazardous waste authorities regarding appropriate disposal. Avoid washing ash into storm drains.
  • Extra Steps To Take For Your Home This Year:
    • Check and change out your furnace air filters asap.
    • Change any humidifier filters out.
    • Clean all outdoor furniture before putting it away for the season.
    • Have your fireplace and flues inspected and cleaned before starting a fire.
  • For a full list of recommended clean up tips from the EPA’s website please see their fact guide here.

 

Standard Recommended Home Maintenance Recommendations For Fall:

  • Purchase necessary snow shovels, salt, and sand. (We know it might not snow that often in the Seattle area, but it’s best to be prepared just in case!)
  • Turn off any exterior taps.
  • Clear window wells and eaves troughs.
  • Winterize all plants and shrubs.
  • Winterize hose-bibs.
  • Weatherproof windows and doors.
  • Inspect roof openings, woodstoves, and weatherproof as needed.
  • Have your fireplace, any woodstoves you may have, and flues inspected and cleaned before starting a fire. (Yes this to-do is on both lists on this blog because it’s very important that you have your fireplace inspected)
  • Clean/change furnace and humidifier filters.
  • Check/test fire extinguishers.
  • Check your supply of electrical fuses, breakers, emergency candles, and flashlights.
  • Fertilize your lawn and garden.
  • Prune trees and shrubs away from the house.
  • Plant your spring bulbs.
  • Put out your hummingbird and birdseed feeders.

 

How to Strike a Design Balance Between Trendy and Timeless

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: June 30, 2020

Shag carpeting. Beaded curtains. Carpeted walls. Indoor wicker furniture. Over the last 50 years, people have followed some truly horrifying design trends. And you’ll notice you (hopefully) haven’t seen a single one of them in a new build home or modern design catalog.

Striking a balance between trendy and timeless isn’t always easy. You might be swayed by the newest trends, confident they will remain relevant forever. But that’s what people thought about water beds, too.

Here’s how you can strike the right balance between classic and modern in your home.

Invest in High-Quality, Timeless Materials

There are some design mistakes you can afford to make. For instance, replacing outdated kitchen chairs or living room curtains is relatively easy. But others – not so much. You can’t remodel your kitchen or bathroom every few years when the cabinets and fixtures go out of style.

To avoid this, be sure you invest in high-quality materials for everything. This includes your flooring, cabinets, countertops, and major fixtures. 

Go for What is Always in Style

Nobody can predict the future of design trends. People can try, but it’s not a sure thing. Instead of trying to be on the cutting edge of fashion, include elements in your home that are truly timeless. To get you thinking about it, here’s a quick list of what has always been in fashion (though it is certainly not an exhaustive list!).

  • Hardwood floors.
  • White kitchens.
  • Built-in shelving (with clean lines).
  • Classic colors (dark green, navy) to complement neutrals.
  • A clawfoot bathtub.
  • True antiques.
  • Area rugs.

It’s All in the Details!

Don’t get us wrong – trends can be a lot of fun! You don’t need to avoid them entirely. You just need to choose trends carefully. Don’t build an entire room around a trend – you will regret the decision down the road.

Instead, rely on your accessories to express them. Follow pattern and texture trends in the form of bright accent walls, pillows or throw blankets, area rugs, and artwork. You can easily swap these details out as trends fade in and out.

Design for What You Truly Want

We’re all guilty of paging through a home design magazine and pining after a beautifully arranged room. This is closely followed by envy and despair because the rooms are professionally done and challenging to achieve in real life. But why would you want to, anyway? Your home should reflect your style and needs. Your home should be comfortable and practical. It should be livable, no matter how timeless or trendy it is.

You might love the look of a midcentury modern, straight-backed leather couch, but is it what you really want to sink into after a long day at work? Always ask yourself these practical questions when considering how to design your interior.

If it still seems like a mystery on how best to strike this balance, keep one thing in mind: Major fixtures should be timeless, accessories and accents can bring trendiness. Focus on your personal style as well as overarching trends to make sure your home is actually in line with your needs. Don’t design entire rooms around a trend, or you’ll end up redoing an avocado bathroom or wasting time scraping off a popcorn ceiling. Good luck and enjoy!

Owner Suite Location -Upstairs or Main Level?

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: June 10, 2020

You’ve probably thought a lot about the details of your new home. Everything from the floor plan to the kitchen layout and the landscaping has likely crossed your mind. But when planning out your owner suite, have you considered where in the house to put it? There isn’t one right answer, but there is a right answer for you.

Considerations for Owner Suite Location

Of course, this decision might be influenced by the shape of your homesite and the overall floorplan of your home. You could end up sacrificing backyard space or a walk-out basement by building an owner suite on your first floor. If you want plenty of space outside your home for entertaining areas, a swimming pool, or other outdoor structures, a second-floor suite makes perfect sense. However, long-term thinking might nudge you toward a first-floor owner suite. You can effortlessly age into a home that allows you to avoid stairs and remain on the same level – perfect for empty nesters.

To help you make this decision, let’s look at some quick pros and cons of each.

Sleeping on the Main Floor

Pros:

  • You can maintain distance between the owner suite and the other rooms in the house (especially noisy children’s rooms!).
  • Great for aging into a house because you don’t need to deal with stairs.
  • Easy access to the other main rooms in your home.
  • It can be converted into a guest suite for long-term visitors.

Cons:

  • It can be too noisy if you frequently entertain and one person wants to go to bed early.
  • Spouses with opposite schedules will find it impossible to keep the entire level quiet.
  • Not ideal for families with young children that might need help in the middle of the night.
  • Concern about security might be higher if you don’t have windows that properly lock.

 Building Your Suite on the Second Floor

Pro:

  • You can build a spacious owner suite without sacrificing yard space.
  • Great for couples wanting to create a relaxing, private space away from common areas.
  • Sleeping is easy even when other members in your house are noisy downstairs.
  • There’s no need to worry about sleeping with windows or screen doors open.

Cons:

  • It’s not ideal for aging into a house. People with mobility issues, disabilities, or aging joints will have difficulty climbing up and down stairs.
  • Families with older children or teens will be affected by noisy video games, phone calls, watching TV, music, etc.

So, What Should You Do? 

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about. Be sure to think ahead about how you plan on aging into your home. You might desire to have a suite away from noisy teens, but newborns need constant care that will require multiple trips up and down. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s right for your family! It’s your needs that come before anything else.

Bring a Little Personality to Your Front Porch with These Accents

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: May 26, 2020

When decorating your home, you mustn’t overlook the entrance. Not the landing just inside the door – the area just outside. Your front porch is the first space your guests encounter when they visit. It’s the place you’ll greet neighbors and family members. Your front porch offers an excellent opportunity to let your style shine. So, don’t miss out on maximizing this space! Here are a few great ways to add a little personality to your front porch.

Hang Out with Hanging Plants

Does your porch see a good amount of sunlight during the day? If so, hanging plants will love soaking up those rays on your front porch. Ideally, you’ll choose hearty plants that can stand up to the sunlight (or lack thereof) and exposure to elements. These include Lantana, Marigolds, Ferns (especially Boston Ferns), and Begonias.  

Kick Back and Relax

If there’s space, we recommend adding at least two comfortable chairs or a wide bench to your front porch area. Use cushion covers or pillows to bring a splash of your flair – not to mention some added comfort. You can offer guests a place to sit and chat, or just kick back and relax during the warm months. Consider swapping out fabrics and patterns for each season, or whenever the mood strikes.

Add a Little Green

Bright, colorful flowers are a great way to welcome guests to your home! Elevate these plants by installing railing flower boxes. You can mix and match types of plants to enhance your front yard landscaping. If you love picking fresh herbs for the kitchen, you can use these railing boxes to plant basil, rosemary, dill, and anything else you can think of! Just be sure these tasty plants are getting the right amount of sunlight to thrive.

Swing or Rock in Style

Is there any porch accessory more iconic than a rocking chair or porch swing? These front-porch accessories feel so neighborly and warm, and it’s hard to pass them up. Not to mention, they’re both extremely useful. Both seating options offer an excellent way for you and your family to relax and enjoy your front yard. Plus, they’re weather-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about leaving them out year-round.

Your front porch should show off your personal style just as much as your living room, kitchen, and back yard. Don’t miss out on spending time – and showing off – this space.

How to Pick the Perfect Home Site for YOU

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: May 16, 2020

Picking the right site to build your home is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make throughout the entire process. Different home sites can affect the layout of your future home, the price of construction, and your level of interaction with neighbors. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when picking a home site.

Sloping Ground for Walk-Out Basements

Choosing a site with sloping grounds can be great if you’re hoping to include a walk-out basement. These types of basements include either windows or doors, depending on what you need. Walk-out basements offer easy access to your yard and a ton of beautiful natural lighting. Adding these elements to your home can transform a traditional basement into a beautiful living space.

Wooded Areas for Shade and Privacy

Are you hoping to move into a more secluded area, possibly on the edge of your neighborhood? Wooded sites offer all the privacy you could want. These sites are perfect for anyone who wants a little separation from neighbors without moving to a rural area. Other benefits of wooded homesites include added shade and a scenic view. If you opt for this type of site, be sure to consider including a backyard sitting area. You’ll love the secluded, wooded view you’re greeted by every day.

Flat Ground for Games, BBQs, and More 

Is your family big on playing games outside? We’re talking volleyball, bocce ball, soccer, badminton – really anything you can play with just a little flat space. Or maybe you love hosting backyard bashes, barbeques, and bonfires. If so, picking a flat home site will be ideal for you. You can create the ideal backyard, including landscaping, by opting for this type of home site.

There are plenty of other considerations for choosing a home site. The first step you should take is figuring out what you want from your home. Are you looking for a house built for entertainment? Are you looking to maximize space by opening your basement up as another living space? Or perhaps you’re looking for a place of peace and privacy. There’s no wrong answer to what’s important to you. The next step is choosing the right site to fit that.

5 Must-Haves for the Backyard Grilling Season

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: April 23, 2020

The weather is getting warmer, the grass is getting greener, and cool breezes are blowing across backyards across the country. All of this can only mean one thing: It’s grilling season! For most people, that means spending tons of time enjoying your patio or porch accompanied by the sweet smells of barbequed meats and vegetables. To help you make the most of this year’s grilling season, here are our top five must-haves.

Find a Reliable Grill

We’re not going to weigh in on the age-old debate of charcoal versus propane or wood pellet. Instead, here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits of each type of grill:

  • Gas Grill – Ready to go fast with easy cleanup.
  • Charcoal Grill – Great for a strong smoky flavor.
  • Wood Pellet Grill – Combines the flavor benefits of charcoal and the precision of electric heat.
  • Electric Grill – Perfect for portable grilling.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a reliable grill that can handle whatever you throw at it. That means picking the right size grill. If you often find yourself acting as the grill master for a group of neighbors, you’ll want a grill big enough to handle it. Whereas if you’re a weeknight griller for the family, you might not need such a large grill.

Get the Right Tools for the Job

Grilling outside can be a pain when you don’t have the right tools. You can’t use a plastic kitchen spatula to flip burgers on the grill, and you can’t use small tongs to pick up steaks or vegetables. You need to have the best tools for outdoor grilling use. Here are a few of our top picks:

  • Spring-loaded grill tongs
  • Stiff wire grill brush
  • An instant-read infrared meat thermometer
  • Stainless-steel kabob skewers
  • Long-handled metal spatula

Here’s a pro tip: Keep all your grilling accessories in a small Rubbermaid container. If you keep it outside, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. In the same container, stash some aluminum foil, salt, and pepper. This handy grill box makes for an easy spur-of-the-moment cookout.

Weather-Proof, Comfortable Patio Furniture

We’ve been focusing on the grilling itself, but what about after? Make sure you have a comfortable place outside to eat that meal! We recommend a sturdy table with enough chairs for the whole family – plus one or two extra for dinner guests. Keep in mind that any fabric – like seat cushions – should be kept indoors whenever possible. The last thing you want is for your furniture to get moldy after a summer rainstorm.

Make a Shady Spot

Speaking of creating a comfortable space to enjoy your grilling, don’t forget about the sun and heat! Make sure to build in some shade around your patio furniture to avoid melting in the hot sun during the summer. There are plenty of options, both permanent and temporary. Here are a few ways you can bring shade to your backyard:

  • Patio umbrella
  • Free-standing or home-attached pergola
  • Gazebo (with or without netting)
  • Canopy (perfect for large gatherings)
  • Retractable awning

For the more permanent options, you can also dress them up with lighting or speaker systems to completely transform your outdoor space.

Outdoor Firepit or Fireplace

Grilling goes hand-in-hand with summer entertaining. Take your backyard parties up a notch with an outdoor firepit or fireplace. They’re beautiful, affordable, and can be used nearly year-round to create a cozy atmosphere. You can opt for a classic wood-burning fire pit or go for a smokeless propane firepit.

Building an outdoor fire pit is a great way to bring creativity and design to your backyard. You can construct a modern fire pit with clean-cut stones or vibrant mosaic patterns, or you can opt for brick and stone. There are endless options here, as well.

Gathering these must-haves before the season hits is sure to bring you months of backyard grilling enjoyment! Have fun entertaining friends and neighbors, or get cozy with your family around a firepit, and create happy memories outdoors.

The 5 Reasons People Love Open-Concept Homes

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: April 13, 2020

You’ve undoubtedly heard of this type of floor plan. Spacious, open rooms sprawling from one side of the house to the other unencumbered by walls or doors. It’s an open-concept home, and homeowners love the way it opens up even small-sized homes. People buying new homes are asking builders to create open-concept homes that bring light and air to the entire house. Here are the top five reasons to love this type of floorplan.

More Living Space

Fewer walls mean more space to move around – and less wasted space. Instead of confining hallways and separation between each room (which can take up precious area), open-concept homes flow from one place to the next without division. There are more options to add in and move around furniture or statement pieces. And you can easily connect your indoor living space to your outdoor space.

Better Lighting, Better Air Flow

Open-concept homes often seem lighter and airier than floor plans with separated rooms. That makes sense, of course: Light can travel from one side of the home to the next without obstruction! This also impacts airflow – and temperature. Breezes can move from one side of the house to the next, improving the flow of air across your entire home.

Easier to Entertain Large Groups

Is there anything worse than being stuck in the kitchen away from the action during a lively party? Or having a group of people crowd around one room to keep the conversation going? Open-concept homes create interconnected spaces without barriers, so people can flow from one room to the next without feeling disconnected. Plus, hosts can quickly move from one area to the next, making entertaining enjoyable rather than a hassle.

Makes Smaller Spaces Feel Bigger

Open-concept floor plans make your home seem bigger. With the amount of time you and your family will spend in your living room, kitchen, and dining room, it’s important to feel relaxed. Being able to move freely from one of these spaces to the next will make that even easier. Your home (and family members) feel connected and whole rather than separated and distant.

Improved Energy Efficiency

This benefit goes beyond aesthetics. Wide-open spaces are easier to heat and cool, which cuts down on energy bills and utilities during hot or cold months. The abundance of natural lighting also cuts down on energy bills, because you won’t need to turn on your lights quite as much.

You can see now why the open-concept floorplan has become so popular. It’s excellent for brand-new builds, especially for people who enjoy entertaining. You can make your home brighter, livelier, and more spacious by doing away with walls and barriers.

To Build or Buy Used? Buying New is the Better Housing Option

Categories: New Homes | Posted: March 28, 2020

It’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself in your home-buying journey: Is it better to buy an older home and renovate it, or build a new home? Maybe you’ve looked at a few used houses already and saw the costs of updates stacking up. Or maybe you’re concerned about the amount of time it would take to wait for a new build. We looked into it so you wouldn’t have to.

Renovate or Buy New: Cost

The initial price tag on a new home is higher than an older home. But that doesn’t mean the cost savings of that older home will stick with you for long.  By the time you add in all the things you need to change to make that home suite your style and lifestyle needs you may not be saving any money.

Older homes tend to be less energy efficient, so they’ll cost more to heat and cool. And, depending on the state of the older residence, you may be reaching into your pocket to pay for updates sooner than you expect. When we dug into the numbers, we found that buying new makes more financial sense than buying a home that needs serious remodeling. That’s not even taking into account unplanned upgrades or issues. Which leads us to…

Buy New or Used: Repairs, Replacements and Upgrades

Here’s a big pro of buying a newly constructed home: No need for repairs or upgrades for the foreseeable future. That’s because you picked the layout, the flooring, the colors, everything ahead of time. Your bathrooms and kitchen are in pristine condition.

The same can’t be said about older homes. You might need to think about replacing the hot water heater, HVAC system, or roof within the first few years of living there. Or you might need to do some serious renovations early on to fit your family’s needs. If you’re not a lover of home projects – and don’t want to deal with living in a construction site for a chunk of time – then you may want to seriously consider buying a new home.

Buy New or Used: Does Your Home Match Your Lifestyle?

Some renovations are doable, such as replacing your kitchen countertops or even adding a half bathroom. But others aren’t so easy, like adding on bedrooms or expanding a living room. When looking at homes, you need to make sure you pick one that fits your lifestyle. That means a house that can easily support you and your family (no matter the size).

A new home is the clear winner when it comes to finding a match for your lifestyle. You can design the perfect home to fit your family’s needs, whether it’s an expansive kitchen for entertaining, enough bedrooms for everyone in the house, and a backyard big enough for all the activities you love. No compromising needed.

Building a new home is the less expensive long-term option. There should be no hidden costs or unexpected repairs for years after moving in. That means no move-in renovations, no “dealing with it” for a while, and no frustration trying to fit your lifestyle into your older home. We did our research on buying an older home and remodeling it, but honestly, building a new home is the better option to fit your needs, your budget, and your expectations.

Build a New Home & Skip The Heartache of Used Homes Bidding Wars

Categories: New Home Selections | Posted: March 8, 2020

You’ve probably heard people say that the housing market is hot right now, and there is not a lot of existing homes available. Lots of people are looking to buy a home right now and that means it’s a seller’s market. But what does that mean for homebuyers? Unfortunately, it often means competing with other buyers who might be putting down offers far more tempting than yours. We’re talking offers way over the asking price or offering to pay right now, in cash. It’s super hard to compete in a market like this, which just adds to the stress of buying a home.

There is, however, another option. And no, we don’t mean just waiting until the market cools down. We’re talking about buying a newly constructed home. There are so many pros to working with a builder, and that’s why we put this list together! Here are a few of the reasons you should consider building a new home over buying a home.

1. Less Heartbreak, More Celebrating

Imagine this: You find a dream home on the market. It’s got that open front porch you’ve always wanted, more than enough bedrooms, and a fully finished basement. You put an offer in and hold your breath. Before 24 hours are up, the sellers have twenty offers higher than your bid. You’ve lost another home.

Yeah, that sounds pretty devastating. In today’s market, you may go through that heartbreak half a dozen times (or more, if we’re being honest). On the other hand, opting to build a home means there’s no competition. Nobody’s going to swoop in at the last minute with an insane bid and snatch your perfect home away. Instead, you can take your time to plan out a home that fits your family’s needs without the rush.

2. The Design Can Fit YOU (Instead of the Other Way Around)

Buying a home is all about making compromises. The houses with spacious yards might have cramped kitchens or not enough bedrooms. Or they might have too-low ceilings. You get the point. When you buy a used home, you must weigh your wants and find a home that fits as many as possible.

But when you build a new home? The world is basically your oyster. You can choose the layout to include that walk-in closet you’ve always dreamed of, the spacious master bathroom, and the ideal kitchen. You need to be mindful of your budget, but that’s about it. Design your home to fit your family.

3. Avoid Move-In Reno Projects

If you’ve bought a home in the past, you know about the inevitable move-in projects. Right after an exhausting week of packing and moving, you need to start painting or planning to swap out the outdated bathroom tile. With all the unpacking chaos, trips to the hardware store, and late nights, moving can feel like a never-ending blur. It takes a while to finally take a breath and enjoy the new space.

Say goodbye to all of that when you build a home. You will be able to choose all of that from the start: cabinet style, flooring, windows, wall colors, you name it. It’s a lot of work, sure, but it’s exciting to build your home from the ground up. And you’ll have a lot more fun imagining your gorgeous new countertops than if you were embarking on a home improvement project.

4. It’s a Balancing Act

It’s necessary for us to talk about the other side of building a home. Some of the common arguments against buying brand new are cost and time. First of all, it’s usually less expensive to build a house than to buy it in the long run, so let’s dispense that myth right now.

Second of all, yes. It takes longer to build a home than buying one. But the benefits of building a house from scratch designed to fit your family – and budget – is often enough to offset that time.

When the housing market is hot, like it is right now, don’t spend time and energy bidding against dozens of people. Instead, consider building your home. No competition, no surprises, no compromises. Just a brand-new dream home for you and your family.

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