Your Story is Our Story: A Forever Home in Tucker Gulch

Newlyweds Zach and Sam weren’t looking for the typical three-bedroom, two-bathroom home; their list was, let’s say, unique. So, what was important to them? At the top of the list: a claw foot bathtub, wood burning fireplace, acreage close to town, and lots of trees.  Windermere agent, Mary Ahmann Hibbard, made it her goal to find them the perfect home. After having a house fall through, “the “one” came on the market. Mary knew before her clients even walked the property that they would love it. In Sam’s words, “It was an instantaneous love for the house”.

Today Zach and Sam have turned the 3.44 acres into their own little country farm, including a yurt where Sam operates her Mountain Bluebird preschool. As Sam affectionately puts it, “Mary has a way with matching her clients up with the perfect home. She found us not only a home, but our forever home.”


Read Across America Day: Supporting Literacy Programs in Our Communities

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” ~Dr. Seuss


Today is Read Across America Day! What started out in 1997 as a move to create a day to celebrate reading by the National Education Association, turned into an official day of observance in 1998.  Read Across America Day became an official day to be observed on March 2 or on the closest school day to that date each year. This particular date was selected to promote reading for children because it is the birth date of Dr. Seuss, author of many famous children’s books. 


Although not officially a national holiday, it is observed across the country by schools and libraries, taking a lead role in promoting the day. You can observe the day by picking up an interesting book and reading it with a child. Or you can find a Read Across America event by clicking on this link and searching by state. You can also add an event to this site by taking the Read Across Pledge.


The Windermere Foundation is proud to support school and community programs that provide resources for students in need, like the Olympic Hills Elementary School library. Through a grant from the Windermere Foundation, Olympic Hills Elementary School was able to purchase 130 new books for its library.  


If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button and specify the Windermere Real Estate office near you. Donations made to offices will go to help non-profits in the communities they serve through Windermere Foundation grants.



To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit

Real Estate Buyer Tip: How to Find a Deal

If you are ready to buy a home in a seller’s market, don’t despair. Windermere Real Estate agent, Michael Doyle, shares how you can find a good deal on a great home, even in the hottest housing market.

3 Design Ideas to Try in Your Bedroom

As far as design goes, bedrooms are pretty straightforward. Pick the typical necessary components — bed, nightstands, dresser — and you’ve got a bedroom. But too often homeowners stop there. The designers for these three bedrooms didn’t. They took a holistic approach, embraced built-ins and celebrated simple white walls to turn what could have been ordinary rooms into spaces worth bragging about.

Related: Discover Nighstands in Every Style


Bedroom Projects 1: Erik Biishoff, original photo on Houzz


1. Holistic Approach

Designer: Architect David Edrington

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Size: 14 by 28 feet (4.2 by 8.5 meters)

Year built: 2007


Homeowners’ request: A cozy bedroom with a great view and access to an outdoor room with a comfortable place to sit. This was part of a new home.

Plan of attack: Architect David Edrington used an architectural method detailed in a book titled A Pattern Language to help flesh out the deeper idea of how the homeowners wanted the bedroom to function and how it should be experienced in terms of intimacy, which direction the bed should face and the flow to other rooms. “The primary patterns were ‘intimacy gradient,’ ‘sleeping to the east,’ ‘sleeping alcove’ and ‘the flow through rooms,’” Edrington says.

Why the design works: Simplicity and smart planning. “My work is about the common principles that come from the human experience with spaces,” Edrington says. “The beauty of this bedroom comes not from any unique situation or odd problem that needed to be solved. The beauty comes from the simplicity of the decisions guided by A Pattern Language. The bed is in an alcove-like space that is just big enough for the bed, side tables and room to move around. It has windows on three sides, including one on the east for morning light and several on the west for the evening view of the Oregon Coast Range.


Bedroom Projects 2: Erik Biishoff, original photo on Houzz

Related: Measurements to Remember When Designing Your Dream Bedroom


“Opposite the bed is a sitting space just big enough for two people, with a fireplace and some book storage. The fireplace is raised, so it’s visible from the bed. The proportions of the room are about 2:1, which means it’s naturally two spaces. In between the two spaces there is a thick half wall made of cabinets and columns and beams, which is a continuation of a theme used throughout the house.

“The room has a gently vaulted ceiling that supports the cozy human scale. The walls and ceilings are made of integral colored plaster, which is also a continuation of the wall finishes used throughout the house. The cabinets, windows, trim and other wood detailing is done in Douglas fir, because that’s our local wood and it has a beautiful color and grain.”


Who uses it: A couple in their late 50s and early 60s, who work at home

The nitty-gritty: Cabinets: clear Douglas fir, The Cabinet Factory; walls: colored plaster; floors: bamboo, Imperial Floors

Team involved: Dorman Construction (general contractor); Erik Bishoff (photographer)


Bedroom Projects 3: Garcia Stromberg, original photo on Houzz


2. Embracing Built-Ins

Designer: Garcia Stromberg

Location: Stuart, Florida

Size: 14 by 20 feet (4.2 by 6 meters)


Homeowners’ request: A contemporary yet classic look with clean, straight lines

Designer secret: Strategically planned built-ins save space.

Plan of attack: Create as much livable space as possible, then focus on the view. “Then the built-ins brought the whole room together,” designer Garcia Stromberg says.

Why the design works: “The design of the linear lines worked flawlessly with the natural colors that were incorporated from the view of the outdoors,” Stromberg says.

What wasn’t working: “The biggest challenge was the narrow space and fitting a comfortable amount of furnishings and decorations in the space while still portraying a contemporary look,” Stromberg says.

Splurges and savings: The homeowners saved on furnishings but splurged on built-ins.

Team involved: Palm City Millwork Inc.


Bedroom Projects 4: Eric Charles, original photo on Houzz


3. Off-the-Shelf White Walls

Designer: Carley Montgomery

Location: Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles

Size: 20 by 28 feet (6 by 8.5 meters), or 560 square feet (52 square meters)

Year built: 2015


Homeowner’s request: This home was built on spec for a future owner. Carley Montgomery acted as the architectural designer, interior designer, general contractor and developer. She envisioned modern clean lines and flexible living space for this house, which could be used as a guest house, an office or an artist’s studio.

Designer secret: Plain white walls. “Everyone gets all crazy trying to pick the perfect white,” Montgomery says. “While in many circumstances this is vital to match the furniture or warm a space with a hint of color, I find off-the-shelf white is the most universal, easy and safe color for modern homes.”

Plan of attack: Montgomery designed the home from the ground up, positioning it to capitalize on unobstructed views. Large floor-to-ceiling windows bring in light and views of downtown Los Angeles, which Montgomery wanted to highlight by keeping the interior design minimal. “It’s incredible at night,” she says. “The desk behind the sofa allows you to work and also enjoy the view.”

Why the design works: “This entire space is only 560 square feet and feels so much larger,” Montgomery says. “The ceilings are vaulted, creating a loft-like feel. But the flow of the space is what really works. We fit a full kitchen, full bath, dining area, living area, desk and bed in the space, and it doesn’t feel crowded. This has everything to do with the placement of the entry door, kitchen and bathroom inside the space. It is vital to place your furniture on your plan when in design so that you maintain flow through the finished space.”


Bedroom Projects 5: Eric Charles, original photo on Houzz

Related: Park a Bench at the Foot of the Bed


“Uh-oh” moment: “If this were a project being built for a homeowner, there would have been numerous ‘uh-oh’ moments. There always are,” Montgomery says. “Being that this is my business and I’m acting as owner representative, designer and contractor, decisions are quite simple. The only issue is trying to anticipate what the buyer of the property is going to want. It’s like working for a mystery client.”

Take-away: The value of well-planned and thought-out design

Team involved: Jordan Christian (artist); Corbin Poorboy of The Here Co. (styling); Eric Charles (photographer)


By Mitchell Parker, Houzz

Windermere Foundation By the Numbers

For the past 28 years, the Windermere Foundation has been helping those in need in our communities through donations to local organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families. In 2016, the Windermere Foundation raised over $2.2 million in donations, bringing the total to over $33 million raised since it started in 1989.

Last year, 35 percent of the donations to the Windermere Foundation came from agent commissions. That’s because every time you use a Windermere agent to buy or sell a home, they make a donation to the Windermere Foundation. The other 65 percent came from additional donations made by Windermere agents, employees and the community. Because of these donations, the Windermere Foundation was able to fulfill 664 grants and help 410 organizations that provide help to those in need.

And every dollar donated is put to good use! As you can see from the infographic below, even small donations make a big impact and help us fund things like food bank meals, school supplies for underprivileged students, and resources for children in crisis.





If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button.


To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit


New Features vs. Character


We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:


The neighborhood

Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.

Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.

New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.

Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).


Design and layout

If you like Victorian, Craftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.

Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.

If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.


Materials and craftsmanship

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).

However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).


Current condition

The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost.  But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead0based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated.

On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.


Outdoor space

One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.


Car considerations

Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.


Finalizing your decision

While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.

If you have questions about newer versus older homes, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.


The 4 Phases of Remodeling: The Honeymoon Stage


As with anything in life, a remodeling project can come with its ups and downs. Certain phases seem to go a mile a minute, while others feel like they’ve lasted a lifetime and a half, all while it looks as though nothing is being completed. Fear not — this is pretty typical. And, while every project is different, a good portion of renovations have four major phases, what I’m calling the Honeymoon, the Midproject Crisis, the Renewal of Vows and the Happily Ever After.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the Honeymoon phase of renovating.


Honeymoon 1: Homegrown Decor, LLC, original photo on Houzz


After weeks of searching for a remodeler in your area, calling references, checking out their Houzz profile and working toward an agreeable price, you say, “I do,” sign the contract, finalize the design and begin work in two weeks. There’s a little nervousness in the air, but as you enter the Honeymoon phase, the mood is mainly one of excitement.


Demolition Begins

A couple of weeks go by, and the day comes for work to start. Protective products are placed, and demolition begins. Demo, sweet, demo. Normally one of the quickest moving stages of a remodel, demolition makes it look as if a lot of work is being done practically overnight. Cabinetry is removed, walls are torn down, appliances are taken away and, in a matter of days or weeks (depending on the size of your project), you’re staring at a blank canvas.

After that, any necessary framing and structural work will begin. Framing usually isn’t as exciting or fast-paced as demolition, but still, there is visible progress almost daily. At this point, you and your partner are walking on air. The rate of work is astounding, and you’re still very excited (although maybe a little less nervous now) about the entire project.


Honeymoon 2: Blondino Design, Inc., original photo on Houzz


Speed Bumps Ahead!

However, like a delayed flight on a real honeymoon trip, there are obstacles that can slow down this phase, specifically during demo. If you’re living in an older house, there’s the possibility that when your walls are opened, asbestos or lead could be discovered, which will need to be dealt with before work can continue.

Another common speed bump is building permit delays. Going through government-mandated processes can be tricky sometimes, especially if you or your building professional don’t have everything you need to get the green light from your municipality the first time around.

More holdups can come from structural elements that become apparent after demolition. For example, say you were going to move a door to another wall in your dining room. Once the demo crew opens up the wall where the new door will be installed — surprise! — there are plumbing pipes running the height of the wall. Reconfiguring design to meet these new requirements will add time to the demo stage.

Don’t panic. These delays happen often, and it’s worth accounting for and accepting these hurdles before you even begin to think about renovating.


Honeymoon 3: Jim Schmid Photography, original photo on Houzz


Rolling With the Punches

To help your honeymoon run more smoothly, here are a few tips I’ve learned from witnessing hundreds of remodels (and even surviving a couple myself):

  • Embrace change. Really. Give change a huge hug. Get to know it on a personal level. Because no matter what room you’re touching (whether it’s the kitchen or a teensy guest bath), it’s likely that you use that room daily. The sooner you accept that this room (major or not) will be unavailable for a period of time, the sooner you’ll be able to adapt your daily routines to fit around it.
  • Love your microwave. This applies to kitchen remodels specifically. As soon as demo is done, your primary cooking and eating area will be gone. Before your project starts, find an untouched room in your home to create a mini kitchen that will include necessities such as a microwave, toaster oven and coffee pot. Think of it as the mini kitchen you had in your dorm or apartment in college and revel in the nostalgia.
  • Don’t worry too much. I know this sounds hard — OK, really hard, especially for control freaks like myself — but trusting your building professionals to know what they’re doing (even if you do come across one of the aforementioned speed bumps) will really help you keep your head on straight. And if you do have questions or concerns …
  • Communicate! Communication has proved time and time again to be one of the biggest parts of a remodel — and a successful marriage. I cannot stress it enough. Talk with your contractor, talk with your significant other — talk, talk, talk. Ask framing questions, bring up budgetary concerns, muse over paint colors. Whatever is on your mind, getting it out of your head and into the air is beneficial for everyone involved (especially you).


Honeymoon 4: Jeff Herr Photography, original photo on Houzz


And remember: The Honeymoon phase of a remodel is definitely one of the high points in a process with numerous peaks and valleys, so try to enjoy it. No matter what you may encounter during demolition and framing, it’s likely that the mood of everyone on board — you, your contractor, your family and even your pet — will be very positive.


Related: 15 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Fixer-Upper


You’ve just embarked on a new journey, and the excitement of watching the image of your new home come into focus just adds fuel to your fire. Revel in that post-contract-signing bliss and maybe enjoy a glass of your favorite beverage with your significant other while you two imagine the new space that will be formed in your newly torn-apart home. Enjoy it, because what lies ahead is a bit uncertain.

With that in mind: What happens when it feels like nothing is happening? Is there still work being done? Are we still on schedule? Is it OK to freak out a little bit? Read more in the upcoming article in this series, “The Midproject Crisis.”


By Hannah Kasper, Houzz

Four Reasons Why Dodd-Frank Will Not Be Repealed


Many worry about President Trump’s pledge to remove regulations relating to financial services and the rollback of the ‘Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’. For those who may be unware of this very substantial bill, it represented the most comprehensive financial regulatory reform measures taken since the Great Depression, and was a result of the financial crisis and housing crash of 2008/2009.

In effect, the Dodd-Frank Act created an agency to enforce compliance with consumer financial laws, introduced more stringent regulatory capital requirements, and made banking institutions retain some risk associated with home mortgage issuance.

While I believe that it’s safe to suggest that certain aspects of Dodd-Frank will be rolled back, there are four reasons why I don’t think the entire Act will be repealed.


1. Legislative action is needed to overturn any laws, and this includes Dodd-Frank. There is a very rigorous process to do this, and unsurprisingly, no consensus amongst lawmakers. Given these headwinds, and the fact that it took nearly 10 years to implement the rules that are contained within the Dodd-Frank Act, it will likely take the same length of time to roll it back.


2. A presidential executive order repealing Dodd-Frank would trigger a judicial review. An important point to understand here is that executive orders can be nullified upon judicial review if they are deemed unconstitutional or if they are not supported by statute (think of what we're currently seeing with President Trump's immigration ban). The courts could deem that legislative action is required if a major policy initiative is the subject of the executive order, and a reform as sweeping as Dodd-Frank is likely to be deemed a major initiative. If so, then it is back to Congress to do the legislative work, which as we all know, is never a quick process.


3. The legislative branch probably doesn’t have a strong desire to tackle another major rules overhaul concurrent with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Given the focused public spotlight on health care, legislators may run short on bandwidth to address a second statute as massive as Dodd-Frank.


4. If financial markets continue to rise (think: Dow Jones 20,000), the focus on financial services deregulation will probably lessen. Wall Street is currently outperforming even the most bullish analysts’ predictions and bank stocks are surging in value against higher earnings and profits. As such, voices within the financial services arena that are crying out for deregulation may have less influence on Congress, and certainly less credibility with the American public.


From a housing perspective, Dodd-Frank addressed the high-risk lending practices that were once endemic amongst banks. Any changes to the Act are highly unlikely to allow Wall Street to go back in that direction. Rather, the moves will take place more around the edges, such as cutting compliance costs, freeing up community and regional banks from the same rules as their bulge-bracket peers, and helping out investment advisors who believe they've been targeted unfairly.

For some, any repeal of Dodd-Frank implies a return to the irresponsible lending practices of years past, but the chances of that are close to zero. We may see a modest drop in credit score requirements when it comes to applying for a mortgage, but all that will do is add more potential buyers into an already competitive housing market. As for a resurgence of sub-prime lending? I am confident that will not happen. 


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.


Inspired by Love: Red home décor accents are not just for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is here, the color red is seemingly everywhere, and you may have considered introducing red accents into your home décor to get into the spirit. The good news is that red isn’t just for holidays. In fact, the color red can actually add more energy to your interior regardless of the time of year. Here are eight ways that you can use red to spice up different living spaces.




Red bar stools look great in almost any color environment; from a vivid purple dining room, to a cool white-on-white kitchen.
















Make your living room really stand out by adding an accent chair in a passionate shade of red. Pair it with neutral colors and make it the star of the room along with cool items, such as a black and white accent pieces.





In a black and white home, add a pop of red by choosing a Persian carpet in this wonderful color. The deep color grounds the living space and the intricate pattern masks spills.














There is nothing more fabulous than a dining area with a dreamy chandelier, but if you really want to make this room the star of your home, add a fancy red table.













This simple red cabinet becomes a statement piece by sticking to a monochromatic theme. A few white and off-color items on the shelves keeps monochromatic from becoming monotonous.















Where better than the bedroom to add the romantic color of red? Go modern with bold, textured pillows mixed with softer colors.






















A glam red kitchen will bring romance into your home. This flirtatious and sweet kitchen will make you want to cook more with your loved one.







Red is the perfect color for your bathtub if you want to make your bathroom feel more romantic. Highlight it by using minimalist lighting fixtures and gorgeous vintage wallpaper.


Luxury Design, Furnishings and Décor Trends

There is an appreciation of luxury that is quiet, understated, and personal that is gaining momentum in 2017. People want their homes to feel luxurious but also welcoming, warm, and most importantly, authentic. This means creating spaces that feel highly personal with a piece of original art, beautiful accessory, unique lighting or custom furnishing.

Finding pieces that are truly special requires more than visiting local retailers and galleries, so we have assembled a list of distinctive artisan brands that produce one-of-a-kind pieces, from glittering lighting to parchment wall panels and luxury textiles.


Based in London and Vienna, KAIA creates refined lighting pieces that combine function and beauty in equal measure. All of the brand’s items are designed exclusively by craftsman Peter Straka and expertly made in KAIA’s Vienna workshop. Their main focus is that the light fixture should always be artful – even when it is not illuminated.


Master of luxurious custom-made finishes for furniture and surfaces, Simon Orrell is London’s go-to craftsman for yachts and interiors. From a workshop in London’s Chelsea Design Quarter,  has worked closely with artisans from around the world to create unique furniture and accessories that draw upon historic techniques and materials like shagreen, parchment and shells like mother of pearl. Luxury surfaces have become his specialty, transforming everyday objects into museum-quality pieces.


Known for their Lusive© Décor label that provides large scale custom lighting for luxury hotels and casinos, Thomas Cooper Studio is now featuring limited edition collections designed for the home. Manufactured in Los Angeles, using original materials and artisanal processes to create inspired designs, the end result is high function meets high art.


Modern design and home furnishings are certainly dominating the interior design scene at the moment but not all homes are suited for the current darling of design. Ave Home, a specialty furniture company based in New Orleans, revives classic design by creating historical reproductions with superb attention to detail. Their collections offer a variety of timeless styles, including French Louis XV, Swedish Gustavian, Hollywood Regency, and the aforementioned Mid Century Modern.


Since 1952, Pindler has been perfecting the art of fabric design and development. Some of their signature lines include ornate looks like the Heart Castle Collection to more contemporary looks like the Mirage Collection. Whatever your style – their fabrics are unbeatable in style and quality.


After 35 years as an interior designer, Coryne Lovick launched her namesake collection in 2013 with a selection of timeless pieces devised to work in many types of spaces. Like her interiors, the Coryne Lovick Collection is sophisticated, inviting, and is known for exquisite detail and luxe materials.


Studio Jackson is a full-service interior design firm based in Los Angeles. In addition to the firm’s thriving consultancy, they are now offering a collection of furniture designed by founder and Principal Designer, Ryan Gordon Jackson. RJ creates designs for a discerning contemporary-minded customer and each piece is handmade by highly trained artisans in their workshop. The collection speaks to Jackson’s design mantra that “Luxury and contemporary design are not mutually exclusive.”


Studio Roeper is a California artisan studio dedicated to the creation of custom handmade and finely crafted luxury furniture for private residences, boutique hotels, art collectors and interior designers around the world. All of the slabs and lumber are locally sourced, milled and seasoned in-house at their own sawmill. Their commitment to mixing art with function extends into play with their own handmade skateboards!