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Date Archives: February 2021

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Bellevue WA | 12 Posts
Buying a House | 7 Posts
Home Maintenance | 30 Posts
Portland OR | 51 Posts
Redmond WA | 2 Posts
Seattle WA | 51 Posts
Tacoma, WA | 2 Posts
Uncategorized | 35 Posts
Vancouver, WA | 1 Posts
February
22

Renovation Ideas for Pet OwnersAre you one of the more than 100 million people in the United States who own either a dog or a cat? More and more, pet owners are thinking about their furry friends when planning home renovations, and it's easier than ever to incorporate pet-friendly features as part of larger renovation projects in your home. And it's not just your pets who benefit! Many of the most popular pet-friendly renovations can also save floor space, help keep your home cleaner, and enhance the look of some of the most frequently used rooms in your home. Our brokers have the details on some popular pet-friendly features that you can incorporate into your next home renovation project.

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February
15

Home Organization AppsWith so much going on these days, even the most organized people can become overwhelmed when it comes to maintaining a home and family. Luckily, today's technology can help make it a little bit easier. With so many productivity apps on the market, you can really leverage your smartphone to help you make it through the day. We were talking home organization tips with some of the owners of these homes for sale and we heard so many great recommendations for innovative home organization apps. 

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February
12

Chad Estes, a broker in Coldwell Banker Bain's Portland Uptown office, doesn't advertise, or do any social media marketing. It's a strategy that works for this nearly 10-year real estate veteran – but if you think he's not actually marketing, you'd be wrong.

Joining the Portland Uptown office in 2012 following a long and successful career in furniture sales for J.C. Penney, where he ranked fourth in sales nationally, Chad has found that community involvement, leveraging his network and staying in close contact with clients is the best recipe for success.

"I stay in close and frequent contact with my clients and network, and that has resulted in frequent referrals and repeat business," he said. "Word-of-mouth is still a thing."

Holding a real estate license in Washington, given he lived in Vancouver for several years, has also enabled him to facilitate transactions across the border for those clients seeking to stay "local" but priced out of the Portland metro area.

He now averages 12 transactions annually in Washington, supplementing his Oregon business. On a personal level, Chad and his partner Rey are deeply involved in the Portland community, and are passionate about children who are in caught up in the foster care system.

They have fostered several children over the years, ranging in age from toddler to teen. Having that experience showed them how little voice foster parents have in the system and in how their foster children were handled after leaving their home.

"Watching how some kids were being returned to a parent when we didn't believe that was a safe option, or breaking up siblings into separate homes, broke our hearts and we wanted to do more," he said.

They now serve as CASAs (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), which promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. CASAs are volunteers from the community who complete training that has been provided by the state or local CASA office. They are appointed by a judge, and their role is to gather information and make recommendations in the best interest of the child, keeping the child's personal wishes in mind.

Currently Chad is a CASA for a 17-year old developmentally-delayed boy, and is helping to mentor him, as an advocate for his education, safety and well-being in order to help make sure has the tools for future success. Chad will continue to be his CASA until he ages out of the system at the age of 21. 

Additionally, Chad is a long-time supporter of Cherry Park Elementary School in SE Portland, and volunteer for the Cascade AIDS Project Vancouver and Oregon Food Bank. To support the school, Chad and Rey have annually hosted a massive party at their home for about 250 - 300 people, where attendees were asked to bring a donation of either school supplies, backpacks, kid's clothes for the donation closet, or food for the food pantry. It has not been unusual for them to fill a U-Haul truck with donations for the school.

"While we obviously can't host this party right now, we continue to support the school financially, and I'm currently helping to deliver 10-12 meals each week in support of the Food Bank," Chad added.

Having spent his entire real estate career at CB Bain, Chad points to the culture as a reason he stays loyal to the company.

"There is a core group of agents here that helped me get started," Chad said. "It's an amazing, supportive environment and I am forever grateful."

This culture and philosophy, as well as what he calls a "broker-focused" approach, brand recognition, image and materials, allows him to be successful. Undoubtedly, his passionate commitment to the community has also played a role.

Indeed, according to the NAR, "Deep involvement in neighborhoods, towns, and cities helps real estate professionals position themselves in the eye of fellow community members as people who understand and care about their local area, which serves the secondary purpose of boosting trust and name recognition among the public."

Said David Sly, principal managing broker, "Chad consistently works hard to better himself and be a great agent to those he serves. He is a student of the industry and has found a niche in which he can dominate by doing the things he's already good at – listening and caring. He's really come into his own and become a leader in the market. We are proud to have Chad as a part of our growing office."

February
8

Portland Book Stores

There's nothing like a good page-turner to help get you through the cold winter months. Luckily, here in Portland, we're blessed to have some of America's best bookstores nearby. 

When you're looking for a new and exciting book to lose yourself in, be sure to check out some of our real estate agents' favorite Portland bookstores!

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February
5

A thirst for gold and the allure of the Oregon trail sparked the explosive growth of Portland in the late 1800s. The population continues to increase at an average rate of 1.8% per year and has been ranked by Forbes as one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Portland's rich architectural heritage, and continued design evolution due to the high tech influence of the Silicon Forest has made the city a bucket-list destination for architectural buffs. Area buildings are a unique mixture of Second Empire, Classical, Bauhaus, and many more style fusions that intersect with some of the most modern LEED-accredited and Living Building architecture on the bleeding-edge of innovative "green" buildings.

Humble Beginnings

Portland was originally a simple prospect of an 1840s town envisioned by pioneer William Overton. The territory was bought for a mere 25 cents for the original 640 acres that were plotted out to serve as a local settlement. Unfortunately, Overton was recorded to be in over his head and sold the land to Francis W. Pettygrove. The name was decided by Pettygrove, who won a coin toss (two out of three) and named the new town after his hometown of Portland, Maine.

The Oregon Donation Land Claim Act helped new incoming Portlanders quickly settle the area in the 1850s because qualified citizens received 320 acres of free land. The population skyrocketed, and a beloved American city was born, but not without growing pains. Devastating fires that destroyed the business district in December 1872 and then again in August of 1873 spurred the local government to require commercial buildings to be constructed with bricks. 

Portland's Architectural Renaissance

The Hallock-McMillan Building is the oldest standing commercial brick building in Portland that was erected in 1857, which was before Oregon was even admitted to the union as a state in 1859. Architect Absalom Barrett Hallock lit the fires of refined building design in the area with his master cast-iron facades and a slew of commercial, private, civic, and church building forms that popped up all around Portland.

About 30 years after the first commercial building was erected, a legendary architect by the name of Pietro Belluschi completely disrupted the state of design in the 1900s and put Portland on the map with his creation of the Equitable Building, erected in 1947. Belluschi's decision to coat the tower in aluminum and double glaze its window panels made him a nationally recognized architect and launched his career as the Dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) School of Architecture and Design.

Architectural Styles That Shaped Portland

Portland has traveled a beautiful road filled with architectural influences from around the world. Greek and Medieval design showed up in the 1800s and was followed by Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Pittock Mansion is the embodiment of the best of Portland's French Renaissance and Victorian architecture, and the legendary destination is known for its lavish gardens and striking design completed by Edward T. Foulkes.

Eclectic revivals, Tudor, Modern (late and post), and simple American Forms are all on display in this region of the U.S. The Portland Building led the charge in postmodern design in 1982. The structure has always stood out in artistic contrast with other surrounding buildings and contributed to postmodern architecture's critical progression in an impactful way. The Seward Hotel is another eye-catching establishment that puts the best characteristics of art nouveau on display with its spectacularly glazed terracotta pattern.

Conclusion

Another golden age of architecture has rested on Portland as the Silicon Forest continues to expand and influence regional architecture. The world's first largest mixed-use and self-sustaining Living Building is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021 and has been spearheaded by local Portland design firm ZGF Architecture. In a time of increased consumer and business environmental consciousness, tackling the Living Building Challenge is one of the most difficult yet admirable architectural accomplishments modern architecture has achieved. Features such as hidden solar panels, rainwater cisterns, battery storage systems, walkability, and much more will carry Portland building design into the future of architecture while creating a better world.

February
3

By contemporary standards, the more traditional buildings of Pioneer Square (Seattle, WA), the brick storefronts that house art galleries and sports bars, the stone archway of the Pioneer Building that fronts office spaces for small businesses, might suggest a quiescent past. But Pioneer Square's brick cobbled streets hide a history that is anything but tranquil. 

In the 1870s, the area was home to numerous "parlor houses" (brothels) run by infamous madames such as Raw McRoberts and Lila Young. In addition, the district was populated by hashish dens, pawnshops, and other dives that kept local police busy. In one of the period's, and the locale's, most ironic juxtapositions, Father Francis Xavier Prefontaine founded the Church of Our Lady of Good Help (Seattle's first Catholic church) in the central district only to have the most celebrated madame, Lou Graham, build her parlor house across the street twenty years later. And then overnight, this odd mixture of the saintly and the sordid disappeared.

On June 6, 1889, Swedish woodworker John Beck was heating glue over a fire in Victor Clairmont's shop at the intersection of Front Street and Madison Avenue. The glue boiled over onto floors covered in wood chips, caught fire, and quickly spread. In the fifteen minutes it took for the local fire squad to arrive, the fire was out of control and had spread to two local bars and a liquor store. By 3:00 a.m., when the fire finally died out, the mostly wooden buildings of both the district and the city were gone. Twenty-five city blocks were destroyed and over 5,000 city inhabitants were left homeless.

The Man Every Seattleite Should Know

The story is made more remarkable by the phoenix-like nature of the way the city sprung again from its ashes. Within a year of the fire, 465 new edifices had been built using brick, stone, and iron in place of the wood structures of the past. The new Pioneer Square, which had to be raised to deal with past drainage issues, was literally built on top of what was left of the old district. 

The man largely responsible for this miraculous resurrection was an architect most have never heard of, Elmer H. Fisher. Fisher first appeared in the historical records in 1874 in Minneapolis, where he is recorded as a cabinet maker and later a sash maker. By the mid 1880s, he had made a name for himself in Victoria and Vancouver. 

In 1888, he received his first commission in Seattle, the Korn Building. He would go on to build other notable structures, such as the Austin-Bell Building and the Schwabacher Building.  Perhaps his most recognizable contribution to the Seattle Landscape is also the landmark of Pioneer Square, the Pioneer Building. Between 1889 and 1891, Fisher rebuilt nearly half of Seattle's major downtown buildings and is still considered the city's most prolific architect during the post-fire reconstruction period.

Fisher was inspired by the Richardsonian Romanesque style, an extension of Romanesque named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson which features rounded arches, short squat columns, cylindrical towers, and recessed entrances. He was, of course, also influenced by the need for less flammable materials such as stone, brick, and metal work.

Sadly, a scandal involving a woman who claimed to be his "true wife," when he was already married to Charlotte Willey, ruined his reputation in Seattle. Though he was cleared of wrongdoing, gossip was enough to end his career in Washington. Though he later tried to establish himself in Los Angeles, he would die in obscurity in 1905.

Many of the structures he built in Seattle no longer stand or have been refurbished. But the next time you're standing in Pioneer Square looking up at the gray arch of the namesake building, think of Elmer H. Fisher, the man who rebuilt the city (and the district) out of the ashes of the Great Seattle fire.

February
1

We've made it past the winter solstice and the days are getting longer. It may be hard to imagine while snow still carpets the ground, but it won't be long before warmer days are here. And, let's face it, Covid lockdown has us all itching to get back outside. To ready yourself for those warmer days, use the time you have now to plan an outdoor space that will be so inviting you won't want to leave it once spring arrives.  

Make It Your Space

Jan Johnsen, author of Gardentopia, emphasizes that "every outdoor space has its strength," so discover your home's outdoor strength and decorate it to emphasize the space. Do you have a concrete patio surrounded by lots of green? Turn it up a notch by building lovely raised brick walls around it accented by flower beds encircled in matching brick. Make it a place to remember by adding a built-in firepit for roasting marshmallows or for snuggling by with a glass of wine.

Are you lucky enough to have a covered deck or porch? What an ideal space to install an outdoor kitchen for those nights of entertaining. Or how about accenting it with trellised greenery?

But what if you're a city dweller with limited balcony space? No problem! A little tiling or an outdoor rug can make that small space pop.  And you can get creative with foldable furnishings that can be stored away when not in use. Or try a single bench accented by hanging plants and a hurricane lantern to turn a drab space romantic.

Dream It and Theme It

Picking a theme takes you a long way toward creating that sense of unified space. For the rustic at heart, choose wood or wicker furnishings. Just remember that wood requires cleaning and oiling to maintain its look. Resin wickers have come a long way and make yearly maintenance much easier.

If you're looking for something a little more upscale and modern chic, you can find a wonderful array of powdered metal furnishings that will elegantly transform your outdoor area. Combined with glass or marble table tops, a gorgeous outdoor rug, and an eye-popping piece of metallic wall art, you'll have a space that truly speaks a contemporary aesthetic.

Whatever theme you choose, keep in mind designer advice on picking your furnishings. If you're buying pieces, for example, that require weather resistant fabrics and pillows, decide where you will store them during foul weather before you buy. Otherwise, you'll be stuck watching them fade and wear outside or using them as impromptu coffee tables (particularly if you have a small home). Buy furnishings made of easy to clean and maintain materials so that you can spend your time relaxing rather than cleaning.

Green It Up

We spend our time outside because, well, we want to feel like we're outside. One way to enhance that sense is to use greenery in your outdoor space. Megan Pflug, a do-it-yourself enthusiast, offers an innovative vertical garden as an interesting design choice. She creates a ground base of succulent plants that seem to reach skyward as she trellises ivys up the wall in interesting patterns.

If you're not that ambitious, a simple potted garden can be a great way to add a touch of outdoors. And while you're at it throw in some aromatics to add another sensory layer to the experience. Lavender, lilac, and Sweet Alyssum will subtly perfume your outdoor gatherings.

If you're one of those people who loves to cook out, particularly if you have an outdoor kitchen, take it a step further and put in an outdoor herb garden. Nothing gets guests' mouths watering like the scent of basil or a little rosemary nearby as you create culinary masterpieces for their enjoyment.

Step into the Light

A final touch to your outdoor space is to choose lighting that is not only functional but that ornaments your area. Hanging strings of cafe lights can be quite playful, and with the LED choices now available you can install strands that can be dimmed or that change colors based on whether you're looking for party central or a romantic evening.

Speaking of romance, if you have a covered space, consider hanging lights such as a series of metallic globe lights or even glass enclosed candle lanterns. For those without a roof, opt for standing or table lamps, or, for a more dramatic sense of mood, try uplighting your area. Just be sure, whatever lighting you choose, that all fixtures and bulbs are rated for outdoor use.

Get Outside

So what are you waiting for? The warmth and starry skies of spring are just around the corner. Why waste those optimal days planning and decorating. Build your dream outdoor space now and have it ready for that first cookout or that romantic evening when the weather turns.

February
1

Seattle Takeout

You might think it's impossible to celebrate Valentine's Day when you can't go out on the town. But who says you have to leave the house to have a romantic evening?

Light some candles! Open a bottle of wine! And order takeout from one of our real estate agents' favorite restaurants in the Seattle area. 

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