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Creating Zones in Home with Flooring

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: January 15, 2019

 

It’s a question interior designers get asked all the time. How do you create zones in an open floor plan? For homeowners without walls, this can be a real problem. How do you keep your home from feeling like one single room?

By learning a few design tricks, you can completely mitigate this issue. Instead of an expansive, flat room, you can transform your open floor plan into an elegant, bright space set apart by different zones.

Pros and Cons of an Open Floor Plan

There are many advantages to open floor plans. Without interior walls, sunlight travels throughout the entire level. It feels brighter and more open than other floor plans with walls separating rooms, which helps you flow from one area to another.

Without careful planning, however, the open floor plan can quickly lose its character and feel flat. Instead of separate areas – kitchen, dining area, and living room – it feels more like a giant room with different furniture and appliances on each well. That’s not what you’re going for.

Let Your Floor Guide You

But there’s an easy solution for this. You can separate each space, or zone, with different flooring to transition from one area to the next. By choosing different flooring materials, you can either set out a sharp contrast or make it more subtle. And you don’t have to break the bank with this either.

Creating Zones With Different Flooring

Make the separation between different zones clear with different flooring materials. If you have tile or hardwood floors in your kitchen, try adding carpet to your living area. These divisions help separate the open floor plan without the same oppressiveness of walls. It can also be fun to choose different colors or patterns from one zone to the next.

Subtle Transitions

Maybe you’re not looking for a sharp contrast between your kitchen and living room. Blending flooring from one tone to another is a subtle way to create zones in your home. For instance, you can use different stains or tones of wood or vinyl. This smooth transition from one area to another is more can also be reflected in your furniture. Play around with this idea by adding similar elements or accent colors from one area to the next.

Separate Spaces with Rugs

If your home has already been built with the same flooring throughout your open floor plan, don’t despair. Creating zones doesn’t have to break the budget. Instead of choosing different flooring materials or colors, add a rug. Your options are literally endless – with unique textures, colors, and patterns to add flair to your room. What’s great about rugs is that you can easily change them going forward. The same can’t be said about different flooring materials.

Open floor plans draw in beautiful sunlight and better airflow and can help bring unity to a space. Keep it from feeling like one giant room by using flooring to create distinct zones. Be as subtle or bold as you like!

11 Awesome Locations to Discover in Seattle in 2019

Categories: Community Spotlight, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 8, 2019

Now is usually the season where we return to normal after the rush of the holidays, but in a city like Seattle, there’s no reason to slow down. Dozens of theaters, shows, and events will keep your winter spicy with enough venues to keep you busy for years.

 

  • Attend dinner and a show at The triple door, a historical, downtown theater originally built in 1926. The triple door is still going strong with a wide variety of shows from live jazz and symphony to tasteful burlesque. The triple door is an approachable theater with a laid back, Northwest atmosphere. Come in for dinner or drinks and multiple shows or bands every night, check the schedule for the type of entertainment you’re looking for and enjoy cocktails alone or with dinner served from the Wild Ginger restaurant next door.
  • Surprise your spouse with a Waterways Cruise, known for their fabulous food, you can sit while warm and toasty inside while watching the rain on the windows and the marine life swimming outside on a small and intimate cruise liner. Waterway Cruises and Events offer several different experiences depending on what you’re looking for, earn brownie points by taking your mother in law to brunch or surprise your spouse with a special Tuesday dinner on the water just because. The views can’t be beaten, and ships depart from marinas in downtown Kirkland and Seattle.
  • Model Railroad Show at the Pacific Science Center, back for its 45th year on the weekend of January 19th model train artists create miniature worlds within the science center with old steam engines and box cars running through cities, mountains and storybook villages. Kids will love experiencing the miniature world that train enthusiasts create bringing back a forgotten time during this popular event.
  • The Children’s Film Festival Seattle runs from January 24 – February 9, show your children the world through other kids eyes with International films coming from 39 countries, children ages 2 – 14 can find something to love during this festival, including short films mostly presented at the Northwest Film Forum on Capitol Hill. Special events, field trips, and workshops are all available to show your budding directors the art of filmmaking and storytelling.
  • Dust off your dancing shoes at the Century Ballroom, a full calendar of salsa, swing, tango and more are available. Most evenings start with lessons, then open up for you to practice your new skills on the dance floor. The Century Ballroom will be hosting Masquerade XI on January 25th, where you’ll have the opportunity to dance the night away in disguise.
  • Pancakes and Booze Art Show will be hosted at El Corazon on January 26th. For those of you who like your pancakes with a beer after 8:00 p.m. this art show is for you, free (with a door fee), unlimited pancakes will tide you over to enjoy over 70 artists creating masterpieces out of multiple mediums.
  • Take advantage of the off-season for tourism by becoming a tourist yourself. During the winter you won’t need to book out weeks in advance, and you might even have the tour guide to yourself. Learn about anything you’re interested in, Seattle’s small batch coffee scene and where to go, where to get the best gourmet food, brewpubs, hole in the walls at Pike Place Market or even tour the Boeing assembly plant. Take a professional, year-round tour with Clipper Vacation Tours, or meet someone new with Vayable. At Vayable, ordinary people who work during the day share their knowledge and passions with tour-goers during their off time, while making extra money on the side and meeting new people, it’s a win-win.
  • Winter is the perfect time to take advantage of all that the Seattle Public Library, has to offer in an incredible space. Free to the public with sharp lines, angular shapes and floor to ceiling windows, the Seattle Public Library is more than just an architectural wonder, it’s, of course full of books, perfect for cozy winter reading, and so much more. Check out their event calendar full of story times for children, monthly movies with discussions, and community resources. Not only is the calendar full of events, but they also offer programs, services, support and resources for business, education, arts, entertainment, book readings, book clubs, trivia nights and professional speeches. If the downtown library isn’t convenient there are over two dozen other locations open across the city, be sure to look into the one closest to you or make it a goal to visit several, they each offer unique and beautiful settings to spend your time. Don’t let these amazing free resources pass you by, there is plenty to offer for all ages and interests.
  • The Crocodile is one of Seattle’s original grunge hangouts, it’s one reason why Seattle was put on the map in the ‘90s hosting bands like Nirvana and other icons, the venue is intimate, and the staff is still rocking out every weekend. Check the calendar, for their sporadic schedule of undiscovered talent.
  • The Central Cinema is an all-inclusive experience at a retro theater serving dinner, drinks, and popcorn while you watch. The food is good, and every seat has a view, come early to order, the staff is non-intrusive. They keep the movie going interesting with a wide schedule of new and old films covering the spectrum of new, artsy, cult classics, little known, and occasional sing-alongs, give it a shot, the Central Cinema is a local favorite.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of Seattle’s venues, poke around your neighborhood and find what makes Seattle the best city in the country. Loaded with art, food, funky vibes, and unparalleled live music, this city never gets old.

10 New Year’s Eve Parties You Need to Attend in Seattle for 2019

Categories: Lifestyle, Seattle, Washington | Posted: December 27, 2018

New Year’s Eve Is coming up fast and it’s not too late to join in on Seattle’s biggest parties. Call up some friends and plan your evening to the biggest celebrations of the year and be sure to start your evening right on a full stomach. Be sure to check out the extensive list of restaurants and their special event menus,  all available here on Open Table, to view every participating restaurant in the city and surrounding areas, book your reservations soon, time slots are disappearing quickly.

  • Chihuly Garden for the New Year’s Eve pARTy, if you’re looking for an upscale celebration in an incredible venue Chihuly Garden is the ticket to buy, they’ll set you back $250, but you’ll have an experience that you won’t forget. Set in the famous glass garden, you and the other guests have access to the exhibits from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m., ticket prices include appetizers, dessert, two drink tickets, live music and dancing to the Michael Benson Band, and a champagne toast at midnight. The grand finale of the evening is a breathtaking view of Seattle’s largest firework show at the Space Needle where you will watch from directly below, see them explode above the glass ceiling at the Gardens.
  • The Pacific Science Center, kids aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy the Science Center, a NYE party for grown-ups is complete with adult science exhibits, laser shows, games, dancing, a DJ, champagne toast exclusive, views of the fireworks at midnight with music, dancing and drinks.
  • Indulgence at MoPOP is touted as Seattle’s biggest New Year’s Eve bash, with 2,000 guests, four comedians will be performing, DJ’s, a Band, dancers, on three performance stages with access to most exhibits. Don your cocktail dresses and party attire, this is the largest dance party in town with tickets starting at $99 and VIP lounges and options available.
  • Spend your evening in the fresh air, for free celebrating among others on the grounds of the Space Needle watching the fireworks show the park.
  • Resolution is a massive dance party at the Wa Mu Theater, a line up of 18 artists will be playing dance music on three stages, the dress theme is white and gold, with VIP lounges and tables available, you don’t have to party with the masses.
  • Go to a movie, at the Moulin Rouge! New Year’s Eve Party Sing Along, at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, opt for a more laid-back evening, sing along to Moulin Rouge in the theater with other musical lovers with champagne. Starting at 6:30 p.m. the movie gives you plenty of time to watch fireworks afterward.
  • Sky View New Year’s Eve, go see the Space Needle’s new facelift, after a $100 million-dollar remodel, with the world’s only rotating glass floor and floor to ceiling glass viewing windows it’s worth a revisit. Come for appetizers, karaoke and cocktails in the sky while watching the fireworks from above. Tickets are $125 to enter for the evening.
  • Blue Years Eve, at the Fremont Theater, is a comedy improv show that gets the audience involved in their storylines, coming up with on the spot humor to entertain the crowd with witty comedians and lewd humor all at a cozy little theater in Fremont. The show runs into the evening with a champagne toast, music, and dancing, tickets are $40.

The Seattle Center is the hub of this year’s festivities, just come down to enjoy the energy and sign off to 2018 among thousands of other Seattlelites for an evening you’ll remember.

One last thing, don’t forget about State Parks Free Days, run off your hangover in the fresh air on New Year’s Day at one of the 140 Washington State Parks for free.

Creating the Perfect Outdoor Space for Your Guests and Family

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: December 19, 2018

Outdoor spaces are perfect for entertaining. With the proper setup, you could spend an entire party outside, cooking dinner, playing games, and enjoying the area late into the evening. Here are some of the many ways you can spruce up your backyard to create the perfect outdoor space.

Let’s Get Cooking

Whether you’re hosting an outdoor dinner party or just grilling for your family, including a place to cook is essential. Depending on your style and budget, that may be a simple charcoal grill or something more elaborate, like a full outdoor kitchen. Be sure to plan for a place to cook in your backyard design. You’ll undoubtedly appreciate reducing trips in and out of the house for food during a busy party.

Pick a Chair, Any Chair

There are so many different options for outdoor seating! If you plan to entertain, be sure to include many seating options, from chairs to benches and stools. Having a variety of seats accommodates your guests while adding personal flare. You can opt for cloth-cushioned seating or metal, weather-resistant sets. Just make sure you bring in anything at night that can’t stand the rain.

Start Acting Shady

Most decks and patios are uncovered, which can be a pain during hot, sunny summer days. It’s not just uncomfortable; it can be dangerous to spend too much time in direct sunlight. So keep things shady by adding an awning or umbrella near your seating area. Guests can retreat in the shade while enjoying the beautiful space you’ve created.

Enlighten Your Guests

What’s the point of designing a beautiful outdoor space if you can’t see it? If you plan on spending any time outside during the evening, you’ll want to include outdoor lighting. You can set just the right ambiance with paper lanterns, fairy lights, or permanent pendant lights.

Curl Up by a Cozy Fire

Everybody loves a good bonfire. Adding a fire pit, or even an outdoor fireplace, to your backyard is a wonderful way to bring coziness to your space. Not only will this keep you and any visitors warm on a chilly night, but it will also keep pesky bugs or mosquitos away. As a bonus, a fire pit brings calming, natural light to your backyard.

Don’t Forget the Music!

Who doesn’t like to boogie down in their backyard during a party? For any outdoor activity – from raking leaves to hosting a luau-themed party – music is a welcome addition. Install built-in speakers to different areas in your backyard or rely on a sizeable Bluetooth speaker to send music outside. Just make sure you’re not keeping your neighbors awake at night!

There are so many options for designing your outdoor space. From choosing furniture to installing lighting and speakers, you’ll be amazed at your backyard’s transformation. How will you create the perfect outdoor space?

Seattle Area Family Events For New Year’s 2019

Categories: Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: December 18, 2018

New Year’s Eve isn’t just for the merrymakers, bar hoppers and holiday drinkers.  We’ve put together a list for anyone looking for new years plans that also have children to entertain. There are plenty of exciting events for you and your family to enjoy together. No matter what your child’s age, there are events for you to get out on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that’ll still engage the little ones, letting them in on the celebration and into bed before midnight.

  • A full day of fun awaits at the Pacific Science Center with events for children happening all day long, starting at 10:00 a.m. with a playdate and a preschool planetarium show. Several shows are happening all day, the planetarium, live science shows, laser shows and tinkering workshops. Events and shows are for all ages on December 31, and January 1, so come back both days, when many other businesses are closed you can make the most of your days off together at the Science Center.
  • Lewis Creek Visitor Center, join a free, one-mile Hike with a park ranger through the forest while learning all about the wildlife and botany of the region from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on December 31st.
  • Kids Quest Children’s Museum in Bellevue, open from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with entertaining events happening all day for your littles including bubble wrap stomps, streamer drops, story times and New Year’s hats.
  • Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett is throwing a New Year’s Eve nighttime pajama party from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Special entertainment will be provided including balloon twisters, comedians, hat makers and snacks all covered in the regular admission Kids and their parents are invited to wear their coziest pajamas, a lighted ball will drop outdoors at 9:00 p.m.
  • Winterfest Train and Village, come out for the last day of this event, from 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. at the Seattle Center Armory, where a miniature train village comes to life with beautiful model homes, a miniature iced over lake and everything that you’d find in a real town. Kids can sometimes run the train themselves and attendance is free.
  • While you’re at the Seattle Center for the Winterfest Train take the kids ice skating at the Winterfest Ice Rink, open from 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

If your kids want to go ice skating, but you’d rather not venture downtown on a workday there are several neighborhood skating rinks to choose from.

  • The Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink open from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. on December 31, and January 1.
  • Sno-King Ice Arena in Kirkland or Renton, both locations have holiday, public skating from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
  • The Winter Wonderland at Redmond Town Center has a variety of activities, you can go ice skating on a covered rink, ride a train around the mall or take a spin on a carousel open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • If you’re up to take your kids on a real adventure, finish the season off strong. Head to Elbe, Washington to the Polar Express, on this date, they’ll be taking out a diesel train. The whole family is recommended to wear pajamas, sit back and be entertained as the crew sings, dances, reads and treats your little ones to hot chocolate and cookies in a colorful, holiday train. They’ll have a night to remember and will probably want to come back next year.

New Year’s Day in Seattle comes with plenty to do outside rain or shine, suit up and enjoy some year-round nature.

  • January 1st is Free State Park Day, start the new year off right outside, be ready for chilly, wet weather just in case. The woods are always refreshing, even in the winter and your kids will love blowing off some steam before returning back to school for the new year.

If you have any little athletic daredevils that are willing to take the plunge into a freezing Lake there are some fun runs and Polar Plunges to look forward to for an exhilarating event. Don’t forget the camera, a Polar Plunge will have your kids talking about it all year. The way they’re timed, you could even make more than one.

  • Polar Bear Dive and/or 5k Resolution Run at Magnuson Park on Lake Washington at 10:30 a.m. $40 preregistration is needed for adults, but kids can swim for free.
  • Polar Bear Plunge and Run at Golden Gardens, starting with a free 5k run at 10:00 a.m. and followed by an optional plunge.
  • Polar Bear Plunge in Renton at the Gene Coulon Park at 11:00 a.m.
  • Polar Bear Plunge in Kirkland at Marina Park, downtown at 1:00 p.m. for free.

For many, the best thing to do on New Year’s is to bundle up in front of a fire and stay warm and dry. It’s always nice to cozy up together, set some goals, and enjoy the end of a very busy year.

12 Cozy Restaurants and Bars to Try This Winter Around Seattle

Categories: Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: December 12, 2018

The latitude up here in Seattle brings long summer nights and short winter days. You learn to love the early darkness in the winter once you get to know the city a bit and find your toasty warm spots.

Sitting in a restaurant or bar with a crackling fireplace, glowing Christmas decorations, and a boisterous atmosphere, while watching the rain hit the windows is a wonderful feeling.

Happy hour drink specials in the warm firelight are one more benefit to early evenings. You don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on sunny summer days in exchange for drink specials, as you do during the summer months. Stay for comforting evenings on weekdays and still be home at a decent time to enjoy an early night’s sleep.

Several bars and restaurants in town not only have enticing menus, but they’re interesting places to meet old and new friends while enjoying what Seattle is famous for, handcrafted beers, cocktails and quirky conversations.

 

Seattle

• The Polar Bar, in Pioneer Square downtown, inside the DoubleTree Hilton you will find The Polar Bar. It’s guarded by a tasteful, yet enormous, light-up polar bear in a living room setting with a warm fireplace and bartenders in white tuxedos. The ambiance is posh, and the drink prices reflect it, the building was built in the early 1900s and the vibe is a glowing blue throwback, a warm atmosphere, with wood-paneled walls, handcrafted cocktails and billiards offering a relaxed evening among friends.

• The Fireside Room, located in downtown Seattle at the Hotel Sorrento contains large, high-backed leather chairs encircling a grand green tiled fireplace with stately dog statues and a tiled garden mural. The Fireside Room is another throwback to earlier times when Seattle was a much smaller city made up of newly rich gold miners.

The Ballroom in Fremont on a different note is a bit of a dive, but it has warm, toasty tables with firepits right in the center. A big brick fireplace is open on all sides on the patio outside if you want to brave the cold with the smokers. The Ballroom serves massive slices of pizza fueling your energy for the dance floor and you can’t go wrong with an entertaining winter evening at The Ballroom.

• Bastille Café and Bar is located in Ballard, the Bastille feels a bit like stepping into a swanky Parisian café, with heavy black wood framing, long dark beams overhead and subway tiles lining the floor. The shining glory above the bar is a massive chandelier sourced from France, creating an artistic, utilitarian masterpiece. Herbs and greens are sourced from upstairs on their beautiful heated rooftop garden providing fresh herbs and vegetables to diners year-round.

• Six Seven at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle, if you’d like a true dining experience this is the place to go. It’s not easy on the pocketbook, but it’s an evening that you will remember. Everything from the fresh, boutique menu, views of the Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains jutting out in the distance to the roaring fireplaces, Six Seven will leave you with memories of one of the best dinners of your year

• Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon, proves that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a snug cozy atmosphere, it’s a true dive bar with vintage pinball machines and guests playing dominoes and board games. Bring your dog to enjoy the fire, but it’s probably best to eat elsewhere, Sully’s isn’t known for their food.

 

Redmond

• The Matador has two locations in Old Town Redmond and Ballard. The Matador is not your typical Mexican fare, they serve high quality, fresh, Mexican American fusion like a chile rubbed Mahi Mahi or duck carnitas tacos. It’s warm and fancy with a caged, gas firepit in the middle of the dining room, exposed brick walls line the bar around a large stained-glass window, the red ceilings and colorful pendant lighting bring a warm design to the space. A good menu and hand-crafted cocktails have made the Matador a name for itself in the area.

 

Kirkland

Thirsty Hop is not what you would expect from a neighborhood hop house, they pride themselves on serving only small local brews. The list of beer on tap is so large that it’s shown on a screen above the bar like a flight schedule at the airport. It’s a bit offbeat serving only loaded hot dogs, but they aren’t snooty about letting you bring in food from a neighboring restaurant and even throw a biweekly potluck dinner. It has two glassed in, gas fireplaces adding ambiance and warmth.

Bin on the Lake, located in the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland the Bin is a local favorite among Kirklanders. Watch the lights dance on Lake Washington in this warm, intimate space known for its impeccable food and a calm, relaxed atmosphere without being fussy.

Vovina, warm colors, leather bar stools with thumbtack finishes and a glow gives Vovina a lovely atmosphere. Vovina is popular with the after-work Kirkland crowd and offers live music on Thursdays.

Café Veloce is a cozy, low key Italian dining room, the owners use real Italian motorcycles as décor a twinkling fireplace creates an inviting family-friendly space for any occasion serving crowd-pleasing pizza and pasta.

 

Renton

• Berliner Pub, this local favorite containing a little table top gas fireplace to cozy up the German style pub with German beers on draft and bratwurst on the menu, the portions are big and the patrons leave happy.

No matter what your budget, there is a warm, local space for you to discover. Come out and get addicted to the draws of the Pacific Northwest.

Essential Kitchen Tools That Are Actually Worth Buying

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: December 7, 2018

Kitchenware has gotten to a point where it’s almost overwhelming to walk down the kitchen aisle in a store or – heaven forbid – venture into a specialty cooking shop.

There are gadgets aplenty, single-purpose miracle tools, and frying pans in every conceivable shape and size. Even for a seasoned chef, it’s enough to make you want to run away. Everywhere you look, another kitchen tool you’ll use once and toss in a junk drawer forever.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Some kitchen tools are essential, while others are better left on the shelf. We’re going to walk you through some of the most basic kitchen items that are truly must-haves (get out of here, weirdly-shaped-avocado-slicer).

We’ve pared this list down to five of the most essential, multi-functional kitchen tools. Of course, there are plenty of useful tools that didn’t make it on the list. But for barebones necessities, it’s perfect.

Whether you’re brand new to cooking or an accomplished cook looking to pare down their cookware, this is the list for you.

  1. Heavy-bottomed Pot

These pans are great for everything. Perfect for sauces, stews, fudge, and candies, the heavy-bottomed quality means you won’t immediately burn every ingredient you add. These pots are thicker at the base, which means they distribute heat more evenly. You’re less likely to have hot spots with a heavy-bottomed pot or pan compared to a thinner one.

We’re looking for even cooking here without the looming threat of burned ingredients every time you turn away for a moment. Selecting a nonstick interior is even better. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but it’s a real pain to scrub out stuck-on bits of burnt food.

Like most cookware, there’s a wide price range for these types of pots. You don’t need to go for a high-end option though. Any reasonable heavy-bottomed pot is an excellent addition to your kitchen.

  1. Dutch Oven

The versatility of Dutch ovens is impressive enough to make you want to go out and buy one RIGHT NOW. These multi-purpose pots can go straight from stovetop to oven to your counter. They’re big enough to hold an entire roast and come with heavy lids that keep liquid in for slow braising.

As a bonus, Dutch ovens often come in beautiful colors, making it a beautiful centerpiece on your dining room table. It’s a serving dish itself. We all know what that means: fewer dishes to take care of later. Score!

Le Creusetcookware is classic, of course, but you can turn to Lodge for a more affordable, equally hefty option. Choose an enameled Dutch oven to prevent sticking or the maintenance of cast iron.

  1. 9 x 13-inch Baking Pan

If you’ve ever looked at a recipe for brownies, casseroles, cakes, egg bakes, or any delicious baked dish, you’re familiar with this pan. It’s arguably the most called-for pan in the world! (Don’t fact check us on that one).

These pans are super versatile and don’t take up a ton of room. You can also use them to roast veggies or meat by popping a cooling rack on top. The grease drips down and keeps your food from getting soggy.

For those of you who attend a lot of potlucks, consider picking up a 9×13-inch baking pan lid. It makes transportation (and carrying home leftovers) a whole lot easier.

  1. Chef’s Knife (Yes, just the one)

This may not be the most popular opinion, but you don’t need more than one knife to do almost everything you need in the kitchen. Sure, knife block sets are a classic gift for newlyweds or folks striking out on their own for the first time. But how often do you actually use them?

A sturdy, sharp chef’s knife is great for chopping vegetables and slicing meat. Pick a chef’s knife with a medium-length blade and a sturdy handle; you’ll be surprised how much more control you have over it. With a professional knife, beginner chefs have the added benefit of learning proper grip technique to prevent accidents and boost efficiency.

You can find affordable, quality knives ranging from $20 up to ridiculous numbers (we’re talking triple zeroes or more). If you can test it out beforehand, even better. Find a knife with a comfortable grip, and you’re ready to go.

  1. Non-stick Frying Pan

Omelets? No problem. Browning meatballs? Great! Cookin’ up a stir-fry? No worries. A non-stick frying pan is there for you every time.

Since non-stick frying pans prevent food from sticking, you can use less oil when you’re cooking. It’s also easier to get tricky food out of the pan, meaning you’ll likely ruin fewer dinners (it’s happened to the best of us).

And you can use the same frying pan for so many things! You’ll want to make sure that you don’t use metal spatulas, silverware, or any other sharp tool or you run the risk of scratching off the non-stick coating.  If that coating starts flaking off, throw the pan away! You definitely don’t want that in your food.

So there you go. The five barebones, most essential cooking tools you can add to your kitchen. No frills, no gimmicks; just solid tools to help you tackle any recipe, no matter how complicated or fussy. Happy cooking!

Three Ways to Enjoy Free Entry to Seattle Museums

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle, Washington | Posted: December 5, 2018

Winter evenings in Seattle can be a bit dark, the sun sets early and yes, it sometimes rains.,Use it as an excuse to go get some culture, museums create engaging conversations with warm lighting, bright colors and inspiration. It might be just the thing to brighten your winter nights and help you to make some new friends or bring old ones closer.

Seattle has a brilliant variety of interactive museums that will keep you and your company chatting away and enjoying yourselves no matter what the topic.

Living in Seattle is wonderful, but with all of the recent growth and thousands of people moving here it’s gotten a bit pricey, between crossing the bridge, parking and entrance fees, date and family nights out can be a hindrance. There is a reprieve for families and singles looking to spend an evening at the museum.

The Seattle Public Library system allows people with a library card to reserve free museum passes to 15 locations, including the Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium. Each pass is good for 2 or more people depending on which location you visit and you can revisit each museum once a month for free with your library card.

Library passes used for the Center for Wooden Boats also come with one free hour of a row boat rental (in season) to paddle around on Lake Union.

The King County Library System cards provide museum passes to eight locations for free, including the Seattle Aquarium and the Kids Quest children’s museum in Bellevue.

If the Seattle library passes are booked out, you’re still in luck. Several museums offer free days on the first Thursday of every month, most museums stay open late on these days to give you the most of your free entry!

 

  • Center for Wooden Boats at Lake Union is always free to enter, come enjoy the exhibits and water views year-round. The Center for Wooden Boat members can come on the third Friday of almost every month to hear professional speakers tell their tales of adventure and experience. It’s a great way to network and meet others with similar taste in boating.
  • Frye Art Museum is always free and with a rotating gallery it’s worth stopping by every so often to see what’s new.
  • Klondike Gold Rush Museum is free and run by the National Park Service, come find out how Seattle historically aided the gold rush in Alaska and while you’re here pick up maps and advice on National Parks to explore.
  • SAM or Seattle Art Museum is open for first Thursdays, with half priced access to special exhibits. If you don’t want to brave the crowds, other days are by donation. You can still come visit for a minimal fee if you’d rather see other locations on first Thursday.
  • Asian Art Museum is currently closed for renovations, but check back, they’ll open up with a fresh look in 2019. They participate in first Thursdays and are open for families free of charge on first Saturdays.
  • Museum of Flight, free on first Thursdays, is rated number four of 420 things to do in Seattle on tripadvisor, this one’s a crowd favorite. You’ll want plenty of time to enjoy the museum, with several buildings, floors and hands-on exhibits. Many of the planes are open for visitors to crawl around the interior.
  • Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) free on first Thursdays, another rave-worthy museum that’s great for kids and adults. Four floors of history and stellar views from the top, lend views of Lake Union, come learn more about your home town. This is a huge museum and will keep you occupied for hours.
  • Living Computers Museum + Labs free on first Thursdays, don’t let the website fool you this museum is for adults and kids alike and is very popular. Robots, 80’s arcade games, vintage video games, this place is an interactive technology heaven it will bring you back through memory lane and teach your kids a bit about the recent past while keeping the lesson fun and interesting.
  • Northwest African American Museum free on first Thursdays, find out more about the history of African Americans in the Northwest in this intimate museum and you’re welcome to do a little digging in the genealogy center while you’re at it.
  • Henry Art Gallery free first Thursdays and every Sunday located in the University District. Henry is an interesting contemporary art gallery, with interactive exhibits for children.
  • Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) free on First Fridays, come out on a different night to enjoy the arts and rotating exhibits through Bellevue. With special Saturday activities for families and children and occasional free family days.

First Thursdays are a lot of fun, but they can be very busy, if you have time during the day it’s a good time to come or between seven and nine once the crowds thin out.

Public transit is always a good idea, but especially for first Thursdays, it can help with your enjoyment of the museums when you don’t have to troll around looking for a parking space.

It’s easy to get hung up on day to day living and forget about the treasures we have right here in our own town, don’t forget to be a tourist and enjoy the city where you live with all of it’s treasures.

Choosing Between a Deck or Patio

Categories: Home Design Trends, Home maintenance tips | Posted: November 26, 2018

Customizing and designing your home’s interior is an essential part of being a homeowner. With all the time you’ll spend in it, you’ll undoubtedly want to make sure each room is perfect. But in this post, we’re moving out into your front or backyard. We’re talking about decks and patios – the difference between them and what to consider when choosing one or the other.

The most significant factors in this decision are maintenance, cleaning, and customization.

What’s the Difference Between a Patio and a Deck?

First, let’s look at the difference between the two. A patio is built at ground level and often directly attached to a house. It can be made from an array of materials, like concrete or brick. Patios are generally uncovered and don’t necessarily need guard railings or fencing. They come with more privacy since they’re at ground level and can be hidden behind a fence.

Decks, on the other hand, aren’t usually built at ground level. They tend to take advantage of a view and are therefore at higher levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to put safety railings or fencing around them. Decks are usually made of wood or other composite materials. You can build decks on uneven ground, and they often add higher resale value to your property.

Even from these definitions, it’s easy to see why it’s a tough decision. Both patios and decks can be attached to a home or built away from the house, and both tend to be uncovered outdoor spaces.

Maintaining Your Outdoor Space

The first question to ask yourself is: how much maintenance do you want to do?

Since decks are made with wood, you’ll need to take care of it every year. That includes scrubbing it down, power washing, or sanding, not to mention checking for loose or protruding nails and screws. If you’re not using composite materials, you’ll need to check for splintering or peeling wood boards.

With patios, the amount of maintenance is certainly less than with wooden decks. But that doesn’t mean you can build it and forget it. You may need to replace stone tiles or clean the concrete now and again. Generally speaking, it will also be cheaper to build and maintain a patio than a deck due to the cost of materials, the elevation, and ongoing maintenance.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need to put in regular work to make sure your deck or patio doesn’t fall to pieces. Choosing composite materials for decks or durable materials for a patio can keep your outdoor space looking good for years to come.

Keeping Things Clean

We just covered ongoing maintenance, but what about cleaning? Though cleaning falls under maintenance, it’s certainly something to look at when deciding between a patio and deck.

Since decks are often made of wood, it’s common to get mold. After all, your deck battles all kinds of weather – rain, snow, and humidity. You can get mold under, near, or on your deck. It’s not difficult to remove, but you’ll need to stay on top of it. If left unchecked, mold could weaken its structure and cause major problems.

Patios can get mold too, but not nearly as often as with decks. Generally, you can clear your patio of mold by power washing. When it comes to cleaning, you’ll get by with less when you have a patio.

Customizing Your Patio or Deck

How much personal touch would you like to add to this new outdoor space?

While both decks and patios can be constructed in different sizes, shapes, and materials, you may run into some restrictions along the way. For example, using a specific stone texture or concrete to build a patio may prevent future changes, whereas wooden decks can be stained or painted to any color or shade that fits your home.

Changes to patios may be more expensive. If you’re looking to switch out the brick or patio tiles, you will likely need to rebuild the entire patio. But with decks, you can sand and re-stain every year if you want without damaging the materials.

That being said, you certainly have more options with patios. You can construct patios out of almost anything – stone, brick, concrete, pebbles, pea gravel, or rock. With a deck, you’ll be using either wood or composite materials. So, if there’s a specific aesthetic you’re looking to match, keep building materials in mind.

Making the Choice – It’s Up to You!

Whichever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy this new space. Whether you’re looking for a more customizable, elevated area or a private, durable patio, either option is a great choice. What’s great is you can add a portable fire pit, outdoor kitchen, or grill to either (just make sure you’ve got a fireproof platform for your deck!).

11 Winter Art Walks to Warm Your Creative Spirit this Winter in Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Seattle, Washington | Posted: November 26, 2018

There are just shy of a dozen art walks that keep on dazzling through the winter in Seattle neighborhoods, they don’t board up and hide away during the rainy season. Local businesses open their doors to create warm, dry and inviting locations to come and enjoy the art scene. During the Holiday season it’s a great opportunity to find unique artwork for your home or a friend’s while benefitting a starving artist in the process.

Art walks have grown in the last few years, and although most cities usually host one or two a month, Seattle is a particularly artistic town and has 11 during the “off” season!

During these events, businesses all over the neighborhood will open their doors to display art work created by local artists. Coffee shops, banks, restaurants, theaters, salons and any other participating business stay open late and often play live music while offering wine and small bites for free while exhibiting local artwork. The artist is usually on hand to talk about their work and sometimes will take custom orders.

Meet up with friends, bring your kids and enjoy the walk from place to place. Each neighborhood art walk happens once a month, the below links will bring you to a map of participating venues.

And best of all they’re completely free.

 

  • Pioneer Square Art Walk, First Thursday with free parking from 5 – 10:00 p.m. in the Frye, Butler or 450 Alaskan parking garages, just pick up a voucher at one of the participating businesses. The Central District walk boasts that it was the very first art walk in the entire United States, it has now become a Seattle tradition 37 years old.

 

  • Freemont Art Walk, First Fridays from 6 – 9:00 p.m. Freemont, is known locally as a very artistic neighborhood and their art walk shows its stuff with poetry readings, paintings, photography, sculpture, all forms of art in one funky area with a rotation of food trucks to keep you fueled up for art viewing.

 

 

  • The West Seattle Art Walk second Thursday of every month, from 5:00 p.m. to “late” focuses on paint and print art. Local bars and restaurants will have extended happy hours and art walk specials on this night, so take advantage, and get a drink to warm you between paintings.

 

 

 

 

  • Ballard Art Walk on the Second Saturdays featuring live music and art demonstrations in downtown Ballard.

 

  • Uptown Art Walk – Queen Anne, Third Wednesdays from 3 – 9:00 p.m., the website isn’t completely up to date, but this is a reoccurring third Wednesday event.

 

 

  • Magnolia Art Experience, Last Saturday of varying months, from 4 – 7:00 p.m. Be sure to check the link for specific months, December is excluded.

 

Great art happens year-round and can be particularly inspired in the winter when you have more time to think, read and introspect. Come out and bring your family for free inspiration.

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