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Everything You Need to Know to Tear Down Your Concrete Patio

Concrete patios are often found in older homes, especially those built in the ’70s. But by now they’ve cracked and crumbled, leaving many homeowners wondering how to replace them, or even hoping to reclaim some of the green space lost by a particularly large patio.

If you count yourself in this group, here you’ll learn how to improve your outdoor space by removing or shrinking your concrete patio, or replacing an old cracked patio with a fresh new one that better suits your style today.

 

Concrete Patio 1: Falling Waters Landscape, original photo on Houzz

 

Getting rid of a concrete patio enables you to replace it with a more attractive option — like pavers, stone or a modern combination, as with this patio by Falling Waters Landscape, featuring a grid of concrete rectangles divided by permeable plantings. It can also allow you to create more lawn or garden space.

Best time to do it: When the weather is dry and temperate enough to permit heavy-duty work outdoors.

Why: “Concrete cracks, it’s not a very pretty product, and there are a lot of better solutions on the market,” says Micah Dennis of Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design.

Who to hire: This project requires heavy machinery and can have hidden pitfalls (like rebar lurking in your concrete), so it’s only a DIY if you earn your bread and butter in home improvement. If that doesn’t sound like you, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor.

 

Related: Deck Builders in Your Area

 

Tip: Dennis warns that many contractors won’t take the project if they aren’t installing a replacement patio or garden, so have a plan in place when you start interviewing professionals.

 

Concrete Patio 2: Hart Wright Architects AIA, original photo on Houzz

 

Cost range: Between $800 and $1,000 for demolition alone. The total cost of your project will depend on what you decide to put in the patio’s place.

Typical project length: One day.

Permit required: None for the project, although some municipalities require a permit for dumping concrete, so call ahead.

Project considerations: While your contractor will check with utility companies to make sure there aren’t any gas lines lurking beneath your patio’s surface, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing under there. If the crew discovers rebar or an unexpected gas line, the project may be slightly delayed or cost more.

Your contractor will also likely use a jackhammer to remove the concrete, so it might be a good idea to plan to be gone for the day so you aren’t disturbed by the noise. Give your neighbors due consideration as well.

 

Concrete Patio 3: Mary Prince Photography, original photo on Houzz

 

First steps: Your contractor will protect your windows with plywood, as concrete chunks can spray up and crack or break the glass or cause pits.

Your contractor may also take some “before” photos to record the way the elevations worked for when it’s time to install the new materials.

Then it’s time to remove your concrete. If you’re simply reducing the size of your patio, the contractor will start by using a concrete cutting saw to cut the concrete joints out. “If you don’t cut it, then you’re going to start jackhammering, and the rest of the patio is just going to crack,” Dennis explains.

If you’re removing the entire patio, the contractor will use both the saw and jackhammer to break the patio into chunks that crews can then comfortably remove.

After that the only thing left to do is haul out the concrete chunks — or recycle them as pavers or a stacked garden wall — and start work on whatever you have planned to replace it.

Concrete patios are often found in older homes, especially those built in the ’70s. But by now they’ve cracked and crumbled, leaving many homeowners wondering how to replace them, or even hoping to reclaim some of the green space lost by a particularly large patio.

If you count yourself in this group, here you’ll learn how to improve your outdoor space by removing or shrinking your concrete patio, or replacing an old cracked patio with a fresh new one that better suits your style today.

 

 

Concrete Patio 1: Falling Waters Landscape, original photo on Houzz

 

Getting rid of a concrete patio enables you to replace it with a more attractive option — like pavers, stone or a modern combination, as with this patio by Falling Waters Landscape, featuring a grid of concrete rectangles divided by permeable plantings. It can also allow you to create more lawn or garden space.

 

Best time to do it: When the weather is dry and temperate enough to permit heavy-duty work outdoors.

Why: “Concrete cracks, it’s not a very pretty product, and there are a lot of better solutions on the market,” says Micah Dennis of Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design.

Who to hire: This project requires heavy machinery and can have hidden pitfalls (like rebar lurking in your concrete), so it’s only a DIY if you earn your bread and butter in home improvement. If that doesn’t sound like you, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor.

 

Related: Deck Builders in Your Area

 

Tip: Dennis warns that many contractors won’t take the project if they aren’t installing a replacement patio or garden, so have a plan in place when you start interviewing professionals.

 

 

Concrete Patio 2: Hart Wright Architects AIA, original photo on Houzz

 

Cost range: Between $800 and $1,000 for demolition alone. The total cost of your project will depend on what you decide to put in the patio’s place.

Typical project length: One day.

Permit required: None for the project, although some municipalities require a permit for dumping concrete, so call ahead.

Project considerations: While your contractor will check with utility companies to make sure there aren’t any gas lines lurking beneath your patio’s surface, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing under there. If the crew discovers rebar or an unexpected gas line, the project may be slightly delayed or cost more.

Your contractor will also likely use a jackhammer to remove the concrete, so it might be a good idea to plan to be gone for the day so you aren’t disturbed by the noise. Give your neighbors due consideration as well.

 

 

Concrete Patio 3: Mary Prince Photography, original photo on Houzz

 

First steps: Your contractor will protect your windows with plywood, as concrete chunks can spray up and crack or break the glass or cause pits.

Your contractor may also take some “before” photos to record the way the elevations worked for when it’s time to install the new materials.

Then it’s time to remove your concrete. If you’re simply reducing the size of your patio, the contractor will start by using a concrete cutting saw to cut the concrete joints out. “If you don’t cut it, then you’re going to start jackhammering, and the rest of the patio is just going to crack,” Dennis explains.

If you’re removing the entire patio, the contractor will use both the saw and jackhammer to break the patio into chunks that crews can then comfortably remove.

After that the only thing left to do is haul out the concrete chunks — or recycle them as pavers or a stacked garden wall — and start work on whatever you have planned to replace it.

 

By Christine Tusher, Houzz

Set the Stage for a Fantastic Fourth of July Party!

#WinderPup staying cool in the shade

 

Grab the sparklers, clean up the grill, and don your red, white and blue! A fourth of July theme barbecue is the perfect way to ring in summer and celebrate. Here are some fun tips for a fun and safe holiday shindig:

 

Get the décor right: We love a good theme party, and nothing screams Independence Day more than red, white and blue; you can find decorative plates just about anywhere these days. Make your own fancy decorations. Go above and beyond with holiday lights and a decorative place setting. Just make sure your flag flies right.

 

 

 

Make the menu: Keep the theme with your food with a festive fruit salad and decorated cupcakes.  While everything cannot fit within the color theme, mixing traditional BBQ goodies with some fancy appetizers will add interest. And don’t forget the libations; whip up some fun red and blue adult beverages. *

 

 

 

 

 

Fire up the grill: Get your grill ready with a good scrub down and set up a grill station with all your tools; grill brush, utensils, seasonings, and plates so you don’t have to run to and from the kitchen and risk charring the burgers. Make sure to keep the grill safe with this easy guide.

 

Fun for the kids: Everyone loves a good game of horseshoes. Set up a game area with some fun lawn sports, including lawn twister, Jenga, and bean bag toss. We have more ideas where those came from, find them on our “outdoor entertaining“ Pinterest board.

 

Plan for the pets: Pet’s don’t typically enjoy Fourth of July as much as their humans with the loud noises and intense heat. Keep your furry friends safe by creating a comfortable and cool place for them to lounge indoors, that way they can retreat from the heat and the crowds.  Make sure they get plenty of water in the intense summer heat.

 

We hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend. You can find more fun Fourth of July tips on our Pinterest board

 

*Photo courtesy of Windermere Camano Island

Homeowners Insurance: Protecting Your Home

 

In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset. And it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowners insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured. According to a national survey, the average homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild only about 80% of his or her house.

 

What a standard homeowners policy covers

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as fire or lighting. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft. Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies.

Other coverage in a standard homeowner’s policy typically includes the legal costs for injury or property damage that you or family members, including your pets, cause to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home.

If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.

 

How much insurance do you need?

Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:

·      Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?

·      Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?

·      Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?

Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home will be sufficiently protected.

 

Protect your assets

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that the average dog bite claim is about $20,000. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.

 

Rebuild your home

You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property. In pricey markets such as San Francisco, land costs account for over 75 percent of a home’s value.

The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes.

Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.

Remember that a standard policy does not pay for damage caused by a flood or earthquake. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.

 

Replacing your valuables

If something happens to your home, chances are the things inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the item.

There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectables. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.

To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.

 

Create a home inventory file

It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. The little bit of extra preparation can also keep your mind at ease.  The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room of your home and individually record the items of significant value.  Simple inventory lists are available online.  You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following items:

·      Item description and quantity

·      Manufacturer or brand name

·      Serial number or model number

·      Where the item was purchased

·      Receipt or other proof of purchase Photocopies of any appraisals, along with the name and address of the appraiser

·      Date of purchase (or age)

·      Current value

·      Replacement cost

Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles.

 

Storing your home inventory list

Make sure your inventory list and images will be safe incase your home is damaged or destroyed. Store them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online Web storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged). Once you have an inventory file set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.

We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard it against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster.

Baby Boomers: Impact on the U.S. Housing Market

75 million Baby Boomers control nearly 80% of all U.S. wealth, and as this generation ages, retires, and inevitably downsizes, they will have a significant impact on the housing market. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains when we can expect to see Boomers start to sell, opening much-needed inventory and making home ownership available to younger generations.  

 

 

6 Master Suite Remodel Rules for Success

Some good friends of ours just finished a master suite remodel. On the whole it went well: on time, on budget and generally to their satisfaction. Still, the process and execution were less than flawless, and as I listened to what didn’t go exactly to plan, I realized that other people could benefit from considering many of the lessons my friends learned before they embark on their own projects.

 

Bathroom Remodel 1: Tucker & Marks, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Have a plan. This is not just an idea in your head and some hand waving or rough sketches. A plan is dimensioned and intentional, and includes elevations showing what rooms look like from different directions. Plans are most frequently and effectively assembled by design professionals who know the amount of space required for common features in rooms, like showers and vanities, and are accustomed to working out solutions for challenging spaces.

The purpose of a plan is twofold: to show homeowners what they should expect, and to show contractors what they are expected to build. Without a plan, you have only hand waving, and that’s not much on which to base a contract, or from which to build.

Having a plan also enables homeowners to interview a short list of contractors and to evaluate their thoughts on the likely cost. Without a plan, every contractor you talk with will have a slightly different idea of what you have in mind.

Hire a design professional to create this plan. Design professionals do this all day, every day, and will put together a functional plan that 99.9 percent of the time will be better than anything you could come up with yourself. It will also have some beautiful feature or function that you never would have thought of (or would have thought impossible). Spend the money. It’s worth it. If you’re not convinced, talk with a friend or two who decided to forgo professional design and see how their project turned out.

 

Bathroom Remodel 2: Susan Lachance Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Specify materials. A corollary to plans is specifications. This list of materials and methods outlines what will be installed and in what way. Specifications provide the opportunity to outline everything that will be installed and mention things like where seams will be in countertops and how many seams are acceptable. These kinds of things can have a large bearing on cost, so documenting what you expect will help contractors provide pricing for the specific things you want.

Think about cars as a comparison. Do you just ask for a 14-foot-long black car with a 6-cylinder engine? That could be a lot of different cars at different price points. Think about the kinds of details you’d consider for ordering a car, and make sure you ask for all of the features you’d like in your project, or you might end up with a base-model bath or kitchen.

As in item No. 1, hire a professional to do this. It will be money well spent.

 

Bathroom Remodel 3: Sutro Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

3. Don’t be frightened. The dollar amount you will spend on your remodel can be high, particularly if the plan for the project you really want costs twice what you thought it would. It’s not unusual for homeowners to start with a wish list and then make decisions to bring the scope of work for their project back in line with their budget. Expect this to be part of the process.

The first step of budgeting for a project is to talk with your design professional about how much you are willing to spend. Make sure you account for at least a 10 percent contingency amount in that so you are aiming for a realistic number. When the first round of pricing comes back from contractors and it’s higher than your budget, it’s probably because it includes your entire wish list.

This is when value engineering (VE) comes in. When you value engineer a project, you identify parts of the scope of work (either the materials or the size of the project) that can be deleted or substituted. In most projects there’s a decent list of items that will reduce costs and allow you to bring the project into the range of your budget.

Working with design professionals through this process will allow you to benefit from their expertise and delete or change items that won’t substantially affect the finished project.

 

Related: See How Much a Bathroom Remodel Will Cost You

 

Bathroom Remodel 4: FINNE Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

4. See the value of CA. CA is not California. It’s construction administration, and it’s one of the key services that architects offer their clients.

When the construction set of plans is done, the elevations and electrical plans are complete, and the project is ready to start, it is not time to bid your architect adieu. Construction administration keeps architects on through construction, usually attending weekly meetings and providing design details as needed, assisting with electrical and tile layout, and providing feedback to the contractor as they build.

Architects also provide clients with an objective and experienced eye as construction proceeds. They can scan the room and notice whether framing is installed as they designed it and whether the materials they specified are being used — particularly on the components of the house that are inside walls.

I can unequivocally say that the projects we work on where CA is part of the project go more smoothly and have more consistently excellent outcomes, because of the collaboration that is built into the process. Would you rather have your contractor work out design details, or the architect to whom you entrusted the design of your project? Let all the professionals do their jobs, and keep your team together during construction.

 

Bathroom Remodel 5: Dick Clark + Associates, original photo on Houzz

 

5. Ask how and why. If you aren’t entirely certain about how something is done or why it’s being done, ask. Construction professionals’ work is usually routine and expected. Because of that, tradespeople sometimes will install things a certain way because it’s the simplest and easiest way to do it. But sometimes the path of least resistance won’t yield the result you want.

Why does that ductwork need to go there? Probably it doesn’t. It can go in one or two other places, and having a conversation about where it will go can make a big difference in your finished space. The same thing with plumbing lines and other infrastructure.

In residential jobs, plumbing, electrical and HVAC work is almost always bidder-designed, meaning that your construction plans won’t give instructions about how to get utilities to their locations — it will just show where they need to end up. That means a deliberate discussion is needed. If you don’t ask, and your contractor is not proactive, don’t be surprised to see ductwork or plumbing in places you don’t want it.

 

Bathroom Remodel 6: Sketch Building Design, original photo on Houzz

 

6. Ask how long and how much. When changes are made during construction — and they inevitably will be — don’t just ask whether a change can be made, but know the cost and the impact on schedule. Change orders are supposed to detail the change made and all of its effects, but sometimes they don’t capture everything. For instance, you might like to add an outlet to an existing wall. There’s the obvious cost of the electrician, but what about the demolition where the outlet will go, patching the Sheetrock and repainting the wall at that location? Oh, and protecting the floor while the work is going on. It never hurts to ask, “Is this really all of it?”

One other thing to make sure you ask with change orders is whether the decision you’re making affects anything else. An example might be changing the size of a vanity sink base from standard to custom. There’s an obvious change in cost for the cabinet, and perhaps an adjustment to the countertop cost if the size of the cabinet makes it larger or smaller, but did you think about the sink and faucet you selected months ago for the standard cabinet? Changes to casework almost always have a cascade of effects, from countertops to tile to millwork, and can necessitate revisiting sinks and faucets to make sure they still fit.

 

By Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS, Houzz

Windermere Hosts Third-Annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour

When you picture your best life, does it include entertaining shore-side? Launching a boat from your back steps? Or fishing in your pajamas? If you dream of a waterfront life then you’re in luck! That’s because  on June 24-25 we are hosting the third-annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour. More than 80 homes from the San Juan Islands to Lake Sammamish are available to tour by boat, bike, or car. Properties are priced from $595,000 to $20 million. While you might think a waterfront home is out of your budget, there are actually properties that fit a wide variety of needs, styles, and budgets.

Here are a few examples of what you can expect to see this weekend on the tour:

 

Oak Harbor Charmer:

    

https://www.windermere.com/listing/WA/Oak-Harbor/2185-West-Beach-Rd-98277/54079653

 

Spectacular in Seward Park:    

https://www.windermere.com/listing/WA/Seattle/7740-Seward-Park-Ave-S-98118/54556875

 

Enchanted Estate in Friday Harbor:

 https://www.windermere.com/listing/WA/Friday-Harbor/-98250/54552772

 

A map of the homes and their open house hours can be found on the Washington Waterfront Home Tour website. Most will be held open from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on June 24 and 25. The listing details will note the availability; for those listed as “by appointment only”, you can contact the agent for a private tour.

Follow the fun on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page, and share your own photos while you tour these beautiful homes by tagging your pictures on Instagram and Twitter with #WAWaterfront.

 

In addition to Windermere, the Washington Waterfront Home Tour is being sponsored by Penrith Home Loans

 

Buying Waterfront Properties – What You Should Know Before You Take the Plunge

Living on the Water Is a Lifestyle

Enjoying direct and private access to the water is typically the primary motivator for buyers seeking a waterfront property. As such, it’s really important to consider how you intend to use your waterfront. For example, if you’re a boater, evaluate the moorage at the property. Is the water deep enough for your particular type of boat? Is there a boat lift to keep the boat out of the water when not in use, or do you plan to dry dock for the winter? If you’re a swimmer, is the lakeshore accessible to wade in, or do you have to jump off a dock or platform?  If you have jet skis, sail boats or other water toys, is there a place to store them or moor them? If you’re looking forward to peaceful days on your stand-up paddleboard, is the water in front of your home typically choppy or calm? When you entertain, is there ample parking for guests  or space for visitors to tie up their boats on your dock?

Your directional orientation will also impact your waterfront living experience. East-facing waterfront will allow you to enjoy wonderful sunrises. If you prefer sunsets, west-facing waterfront is preferable. South-facing properties generally enjoy light all day but can also experience more direct weather.

 

Focus on the Property More than the House

The golden rule of real estate, “location, location, location,” is even more true when considering a waterfront property. The ratio of land value to total property value is generally higher in waterfront properties. You can always update and change your home, but you cannot change the location. Consider especially the following features of the property:

  1. View. One of the great perks of being on the water is enjoying the beautiful views. Understand if your view is protected by CC&Rs or view easements. If there are any view-obstructing trees or structures, identify whose property they are on and your ability to maintain your view.
  2. Proximity to the Water. If the home is not close to the shoreline, consider how you’ll access the water. If you plan to entertain lakeside, think about how you’ll get food, beverages and supplies down to the waterfront easily.
  3. Privacy. The property’s feeling of privacy usually corresponds to its waterfront frontage. The larger your waterfront frontage, the more buffer you’ll have from your neighbors.
  4. Topography of the Land. Is the waterfront property on a level lot or a steep slope? Access to the water is easier on a flat lot – many lakefront lots are steep and can be difficult to get up and down to. Again, this impacts the value of the property

 

Understand What You Can and Can’t Do with the Property

Waterfront properties are subject to additional regulations and codes from various local, state and federal agencies. There are very strict regulations on shoreline development. If the property requires a new dock or bulkhead, it’s important to know that this can be a very challenging process given the multiple government agencies involved. These limitations are likely to get even more restrictive in the near future as the shoreline regulations are being updated. Sooner is better than later in applying for any permits related to docks, bulkheads and changes to the shoreline.

Finally, if you’re planning to build or significantly remodel, do a thorough feasibility analysis given city codes and shoreline regulations. New construction often cannot be built as close to the water as the existing structure under current code. In addition to meeting with the city, engage an architect and builder who have significant experience building waterfront properties in your area to help advise you about what likely limitations there are on your particular parcel.

 

Every Waterfront Property Is Unique – Learn the Nuances

Living on the water means that you have an additional set of factors to consider concerning your waterfront experience. For example, what is the boating traffic like in front of your home? Is it a busy channel or near a favorite fishing spot where boaters tend to congregate? Look closely at the properties of your waterfront neighbors: is there a tear-down next door so there will likely be a construction barge in front of you for the next few years? Does your neighbor have a huge yacht moored all summer that blocks your view? Is there a public beach nearby or community club that will cause noise late into the evenings?

If you’re considering shared waterfront, be especially thorough in understanding your rights and ownership interests. Some shared waterfront properties have a specifically deeded boat slip, though many others share an interest in a community dock. The system for moorage assignment and rotation can often lead to contention among neighbors, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about how the shared waterfront and is handled in your neighborhood.

There is a reason that owning a waterfront home is a life-long dream for so many people – it brings an extraordinary lifestyle. As a significant financial investment and very unique type of real estate, it’s especially critical to engage professionals who understand the complex issues inherent in waterfront properties. Equipped with the right expertise, guidance and knowledge, you’ll be ready to turn to your waterfront dream into a reality.  

 

Windermere’s second annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour on June 11-12 features nearly 100 properties statewide, ranging in price from $595,000 to $20 Million. To learn more about the event and featured properties go to www.waterfronthomeswa.com 

 

Kelly Weisfield is a Premier Properties Director and works out of the Windermere Real Estate Mercer Island office. She has the privilege of helping her clients with waterfront, view and luxury homes on both sides of Lake Washington.  Prior to becoming a real estate agent in 2011, she was an attorney for 11 years. 

 

 

 

Photos by Michael Walmsley, Forest Ave Photos 

 

12 Sanity Savers to Get You Through Your Home Remodel

It’s easy to get excited about a home project at the beginning, when the work seems theoretical and you hear yourself saying things like, “Oh, we could just knock all of these walls out, no problem!” Then reality sets in. The workers you hired go AWOL, your budget is blown and you can’t find your good shoes under the pile of scrap wood and duct tape. It’s time to take a deep breath and make a plan. Read on to find a dozen ways to stay sane while you are creating your dream home, no matter how long it takes.

 

Sanity Saver 1: Richard Bubnowski Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Have a plan A … and a plan B and C too. Even when you set what seem like perfectly reasonable goals, things have a way of coming up unexpectedly to bump your project completion date further and further back. Having a back-up plan (or two) is key.

I find it helps immensely to think of your goal in three parts. There is the ideal goal — if everything went right and there were no snafus, this is what you would want done by a certain date. Then there is your plan B, where you pare down your list to the essentials. To make a plan C, pick just one thing that if you got done would still make you feel somewhat accomplished.

 

Sanity Saver 2: Soorikian Architecture, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Take “before” photos. In fact, take lots of photos throughout the process. When you feel motivation beginning to falter, take a look at pictures from early on in the process to remind yourself just how far you have come.

 

Sanity Saver 3: Young House Love, original photo on Houzz

 

3. Start a blog. Just like many diet and exercise programs recommend sharing your plans with supportive friends and family members, I advocate starting a blog as a way of holding yourself accountable during the renovation process. After a rough day, when nothing went as planned, at least you can vent your frustrations in a blog post and get kind words of support in return from readers all over the world.

 

They did it: Sherry and John started their blog Young House Love while they were fixing up their first home, and it became a wildly popular and award-winning site that attracts many visitors each day. Realistically, most of us won’t become the next Young House Love, but starting a blog can still be a worthwhile project and documentation of your home progress.

 

4. Focus on making it livable first. This may sound obvious, but it is all too easy at the beginning of a project to take on too much. By saving some of the cosmetic changes (like decorative tilework) for later and choosing to focus on essentials (like plumbing) now, you will make your life much easier.

 

Sanity Saver 4: Richard Bubnowski Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

 

5. Schedule your renovation in stages. During an extensive renovation, be smart about the order you work on things if you are staying in the house at the same time. Work to finish bedrooms and a bathroom first, so you can have a comfortable area to live in while other changes are going on.

 

6. Set one small, attainable goal each week. Tasks like putting up new house numbers, ordering something you need online, or patching holes in a wall do not take very long, yet being able to cross something off your list — and see visible improvement— will help keep you motivated.

 

Sanity Saver 5: Holly Marder, original photo on Houzz

 

7. Help the pros by doing your job: Be decisive. Yes, contractors, architects and designers can sometimes go beyond the original schedule, but each time you change your mind or put off key decisions, know that the process will take that much longer. The best thing you can do to speed progress is to maintain a clear vision of what you want and communicate it clearly to all of those involved in the project.

 

8. Stay busy during downtime. It is inevitable that there will be times it seems that nothing is happening. Whether due to a tight budget, workers vanishing midproject or simply a stretch of bad weather, it is important to keep your spirits up when work stalls out.

Try keeping a list of simple tasks that you can do anytime. Then, when you start feeling antsy, pull out your list and get to work. Cleaning, organizing, decluttering and doing small repairs are all good places to start.

 

Sanity Saver 6: decordemon, original photo on Houzz

 

9. Pitch in and do some work yourself. Even if you’ve hired pros to do the bulk of your renovation, consider taking on a small DIY project of your own. Using your own hands to pitch in and improve your home can be incredibly satisfying.

 

10. Make your bedroom a refuge. Even if outside your door is quite literally a disaster area, having a calm, relaxing spot to rest and recharge can do wonders for your spirit.

 

Sanity Saver 7: Mykonos Panormos Villas, original photo on Houzz

 

11. Use your outdoor space. If the weather is good and your project is taking place indoors, setting up a comfortable outdoor living space is a wonderful way to get away from the noise and chaos of the renovation. I’ve heard of people setting up full outdoor kitchens to use while the indoor kitchen is being remodeled, and I think it’s a wonderful idea.

Related: Pull Together Outdoor Furniture Pieces to Relax On

 

12. Remind yourself why you are doing this … Clicking through your inspiration photos is a great way to get juiced up about your project all over again. You can also try simply closing your eyes and visualizing your home project completed, vividly imagining every little detail, and how wonderful it will feel to have it all done.

 

… and know when to get out of town. Of course there are times when it’s best to admit it’s time for a break. When the entire house in in utter disarray, taking a spontaneous weekend getaway can be just what the doctor ordered.

 

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

Windermere’s Annual Community Service Day Is today!

Today you may notice your local Windermere office is closed, or it may take a little bit longer for your Windermere agent to get back to you. But we promise it’s for a very good reason: today is Windermere Community Service Day. Since 1984, our agents have taken one day a year off to dig into hands-on community service projects throughout the Western U.S. On this day, you’ll find our teams doing a variety of projects, such as cleaning, landscaping, and painting at local senior citizens centers, facilities for homeless children and adults, public parks and schools, low-income housing, and emergency shelters, among others.

 

Follow what our offices are doing on Community Service Day on Facebook! You can also vote for your favorite Community Service Day photos in our #CommunityServiceDay2017 photo contest. The photo with the most votes will receive a $1,000 donation for the Windermere Foundation charity of their choice. We encourage you to “like” our Facebook page, follow the Community Service Day projects, and vote for your favorite Community Service Day photos!

 

A big thank you to all of our Windermere Real Estate offices for the amazing work they do. Community Service Day is an important part of what makes Windermere the place it is, and we appreciate everything they do to make our communities a little better.

 

Community Service Day Projects:

 

 

State City Organization Project

 

California

     
  Brentwood B Walker Ranch Fence building and additional maintenance 
  Clayton Contra Costa Animal Shelter
  Cloverdale Cloverdale Senior Center Working on yard cleanup, and other projects at Cloverdale Senior Center
  Del Mar Casa de Amparo Children’s Home
  El Sobrante B Walker Ranch Fence building and additional maintenance 
  Fallbrook Casa de Amparo Children’s Home
  Morgan Hill Local Foodbank Gathering and sorting donations
  Palm Desert SafeHouse of the Desert
  Palm Desert SafeHouse of the Desert
  Redding Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council
  Salinas Local Foodbank Gathering and sorting donations
  San Diego Casa de Amparo Children’s Home
  Vacaville B Walker Ranch Fence building and additional maintenance 
  Walnut Creek B Walker Ranch Fence building and additional maintenance 
Colorado      
  Centennial Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver
  Fort Collins Partners Mentoring Youth – Fundraiser; Crossroads Safehouse  Clean up grounds/yards
  Denver Action Center of Jefferson County
Hawaii      
  Kailua-Kona Salvation Army Refurbishing teen housing
  Kamuela Salvation Army Refurbishing teen housing
Idaho      
  Caldwell Boise VA Hospital Clean up grounds
  Coeur d’Alene The Children’s Village Multiple projects
  Hayden The Children’s Village Multiple projects
  Lewiston Community Action Partnership Planting flowers, yard work and general cleanup 
  Moscow Community Action Partnership Planting flowers, yard work and general cleanup 
  Post Falls The Children’s Village Multiple projects
Montana      
  Helena The Holter Gala  
Oregon      
  Albany Community Outreach Volunteering at Children’s Day
  Ashland ACCESS in Medford Food drive 
  Bend Grandma’s House Women’s Shelter Landscaping and tearing down an old shed on the property 
  Cannon Beach Cannon Beach/Gearhart Cleaning up the beaches and coastline
  Charbonneau Community Warehouse in Tualatin Yard cleanup and indoor organization 
  Clatskanie Local Foodbank & Fairview Cemetary  Collecting donations and money for local food bank, and cleaning up the grounds at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose
  Commercial- Lane County Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
  Commercial- Redmond REACH (formerly OR Boys and Girls Club) Minor repair, painting, weeding, cleaning, etc. 
  Corvallis Community Outreach Volunteering at Children’s Day
  Eagle Point ACCESS in Medford Food drive 
  Eugene Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
  Eugene North Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
  Florence Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
  Gearhart Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
  Happy Valley Oregon Food Bank Collecting and sorting donations 
  Hillsboro HomePlate Youth Services Working at charity kickball tournament fundraiser 
  Hood River Multiple projects Senior Services and school districts in the gorge/charity golf tournament in July
  Hood River- Oak Street Gorge/charity golf tournament in July Multiple projects to benefit Senior Services and school districts
  Jacksonville ACCESS in Medford Food drive 
  Lake Oswego Tualatin Community Food Pantry Organizing and restocking
  Lake Oswego – West Northwest Children’s Outreach Collecting and sorting donations 
  McMinnville Helping out a local family with yard and house needs
  Medford ACCESS in Medford Food drive 
  Community Realty- Oregon City OR Humane Society Collecting donations
  Portland Heights Community Warehouse Sorting, cleaning, and helping
  Portland- HOLLYWOOD OR Humane Society Collecting donations
  Portland- Lloyd Tower NE Head Start program Cleaning and prepping used books for gifts to children
  Portland- Moreland SnowCap Community Charities Shredding, cleaning and variety of other projects 
  Portland- North Astor Elementary School Yard cleanup
  Portland- NW Johnson Rigler Elementary Purchase, bag and deliver school supplies
  Portland- Raleigh Hills Hopewell House Hospice Clean out flowerbeds, plant flowers and plants, and trim bushes
  Pearl District Rigler Elementary Purchase, bag and deliver school supplies
  Property Management- Corvallis Community Outreach Volunteering at Children’s Day
  Property Management- Gorge Gorge/charity golf tournament in July Multiple projects to benefit Senior Services and school districts
  Property Management- Portland Astor Elementary School Yard cleanup
  Property Management- PDX Metro Astor Elementary School Yard cleanup
  Redmond REACH (formerly OR Boys and Girls Club) Minor repair, painting, weeding, cleaning, etc. 
  Salem Marion Polk Food Share Sorting food and working in the community garden
  Sandy Highway 26 Cleanup
  Scappoose Local Foodbank & Fairview Cemetary  Collecting donations and money for local food bank, and cleaning up the grounds at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose
  Seal Rock Seashore Family Literacy Center Working on community garden
  Shady Cove Upper Rogue Community Center Collecting food donations
  Branch Support- Stellar Rigler Elementary Purchase, bag and deliver school supplies
  St. Helens Local Foodbank & Fairview Cemetary  Collecting donations and money for local food bank, and cleaning up the grounds at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose
  Sunriver Local Foodbank & Fairview Cemetary  Collecting donations and money for local food bank, and cleaning up the grounds at Fairview Cemetery in Scappoose
  The Dalles Gorge/charity golf tournament in July Multiple projects to benefit Senior Services and school districts
  Vida Food for Lane County, Grassroots Garden Weeding, moving material, planting and tending garden
Washington    
  Aberdeen-Grays Harbor Coastal Harvest Distribution Center (division of NW Harvest) Bagging bulk food for distribution
  Allyn/Hood Canal South Foodbank of North Mason County  Working on elementary school garden that provides food to food bank 
  Anacortes Local Women’s Shelter Helping clean and set up a new addition 
  Arlington Centennial Park Planting trees and shrubs, landscaping and cleaning up
  Auburn- Lakeland Hills Auburn Foodbank Multiple projects
  Belfair Foodbank of North Mason County  Working on elementary school garden that provides food to food bank 
  Bellevue Kelsey Creek Farm Painting, gardening and cleaning
  Bellevue Commons Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center  Painting, cleaning, planting flowers and working on fences 
  Property Management- Bellevue Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah Multiple projects
  Bellevue South Mamma’s Hands–house for women and children in crisis Painting, building a deck and yard work 
  Bellevue West Acres of Diamonds home Painting apartments and the main house, cleaning, repairing and landscaping
  Bingen Gorge/charity golf tournament in July Multiple projects to benefit Senior Services and school districts
  Bonney Lake- Lake Tapps Bonney Lake Senior Center Yard work
  Burien Jacob Ambaum Park and Lake Burien Park Spreading wood chips and doing cleanup at the playgrounds  
  Camano Country Club Windermere Soap Box Derby
  Camano Island Terry’s Corner Windermere Soap Box Derby
  Cathlamet Lower Columbia School Gardens Weeding, pruning, planting, etc.
  Commercial- Everett Volunteers of America Everett Food Bank Sorting through donated food, stacking, organizing, etc.
  Commercial- Lake Stevens Multiple projects Beautifying Lundeen Park on Lake Stevens, and doing a fundraiser for a local food bank
  Edmonds Hickman Park Landscaping and maintenance 
  Property Management- Edmonds Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah Multiple projects
  Entiat Teams Learning Center Landscaping and working on the playground 
  Federal Way Federal Way Food Bank and Senior Center Multiple projects
  Gig Harbor Fish Food Bank New signage, landscaping, cleanup, etc
  Gig Harbor- Downtown Fish Food Bank New signage, landscaping, cleanup, etc
  Gig Harbor- Professional Partners Fish Food Bank at Gig Harbor Peninsula Sorting donations and restocking shelves
  Issaquah Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Creek restoration, planting, removing invasive species at Issaquah Creek
  Kelso/Longview Lower Columbia School Gardens Weeding, pruning, planting, etc.
  Kettle Falls Fun Run event Cleaning up area before, during and after and assisting 
  Kirkland Houghton Beach Park Landscaping and repairs
  Property Management- Kirkland Compass Housing Alliance in Bothel Landscaping and other housing maintenance
  Lake Chelan Habitat for Humanity project Multiple projects
  Lake Stevens Multiple projects Beautifying Lundeen Park on Lake Stevens, and doing a fundraiser for a local food bank
  Leavenworth Teams Learning Center Landscaping and working on the playground 
  Lynnwood Martha Perry Garden Making garden beds, weeding, planting, for food bank garden
  Maple Valley Local project Yard work and cleanup for local family that’s holding a big graduation party
  Marysville City of Marysville Painting a fence at a park/trail
  Mercer Island East Side Baby Corner in Issaquah Organizing, cleaning and prepping items
  Mill Creek Habitat for Humanity store in Lynnwood Cleanup, painting, etc.
  Mill Creek Town Center Habitat for Humanity store in Lynnwood Cleanup, painting, etc.
  Monroe Senior Center in Monroe Multiple projects
  Moses Lake Local event Free community shredding event for the public and food drive
  Mount Vernon Habitat for Humanity’s “Habitat Helpers” Working on repairs and cleaning at a local man’s home
  MoxiWorks Ryther House Repairing buildings, landscaping, cleaning, etc.
  Port Orchard Helpline Food Bank Yard clean up and landscaping for an elderly resident in town and working on the community garden
  Port Townsend Chimacum Senior Home Washing windows and gardening at a home for seniors and disabled people in Chimacum
  Professional Development Solid Ground Clean up grounds
  Pullman Community Action Partnership Planting flowers, yard work and general cleanup 
  Property Management- Pullman Community Action Partnership Planting flowers, yard work and general cleanup 
  Puyallup Tacoma Rescue Mission General repairs, also money and donations for the playground and other kids’ needs
  Redmond Friends of Youth Landscaping, weeding, planting and sorting donations 
  Windermere Referrals Solid Ground Clean up grounds
  Renton Way Back Inn Painting, installing cabinets, and other minor repairs for displaced families organization 
  Renton- PSR Way Back Inn Painting, installing cabinets, and other minor repairs for displaced families organization 
  Seattle-Ballard  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ballard Serving and packing food
  Seattle-Capitol Hill Capitol Hill neighborhood Litter and garbage pick up 
  Seattle-Green Lake Neighborhood clean up  Seattle Parks & Rec at Meridian Park and Adopt-a-Street on Ravenna Blvd NE
  Seattle-Greenwood Multiple projects Split between Greenwood Senior Citizens Center and Greenwood Boys & Girls Club–tech support and yard work for seniors, and painting the gym and cleaning playground at B&GC
  Seattle-Lakeview Neighborhood clean up  Seattle Parks & Rec at Meridian Park and Adopt-a-Street on Ravenna Blvd NE
  Seattle-Madison Park Multiple projects Neighborhood cleanup and traffic roundabout weeding in several neighborhoods
  Seattle-Magnolia Community Event Shredding, recycling and collecting donations for Goodwill
  Seattle-Mount Baker Wellspring Gathering donations for the Baby Boutique
  Seattle-Northgate YWCA: Angeline’s Day Center Setting up and serving two rounds of lunch to guests
  Seattle-Northlake Grace Cole Nature Park Cleaning and weeding 
  Seattle-Northwest Bitter Lake Food Pantry Accepting and organizing donations
  Seattle-Queen Anne Queen Anne Food Bank Organizing and collecting food
  Seattle-Sand Point BLOCK Project on Beacon Hill Working on a sustainable home
  Property Management- Seattle North Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah Multiple projects
  Property Management- Seattle Compass Housing Alliance in Bothell Landscaping and other housing maintenance
  Seattle-Wall Street Mary’s Place Counting, sorting and allocating donations
  Seattle-Wedgwood Neighborhood clean up  Cleaning up the local sidewalks and streets 
  Seattle-West Seattle Helpline Helping to set up Helpline’s new neighborhood location–sorting clothing, installing carpeting, and refreshing parking area
  Sedro-Woolley Habitat for Humanity’s “Habitat Helpers” Working on repairs and cleaning at a local man’s home
  Sequim- East Sunbelt Apartments Removing and replacing old raised garden beds at a housing facility for homeless and disabled adults
  Sequim- Sunland Sunbelt Apartments Removing and replacing old raised garden beds at a housing facility for homeless and disabled adults
  Shelton Local project Home repair, carport repair project for office neighbor
  Shoreline North Helpline Emergency Services and Food Bank Preparing emergency kits and sorting food donations
  Silverdale Illahee State Park and Kitsap Lake Installing life jacket loaner boards
  Snohomish Snohomish Food Bank Stocking shelves
  Property Management- South Northwest Harvest in Kent Accepting and sorting donations 
  Spokane-City Group Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. 
  Spokane-Cornerstone Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Spokane-Liberty Lake Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Spokane-Manito Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Spokane-North Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Property Management- Spokane Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Spokane-Valley Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter Working on deck, parking lot area, shelter, etc. at Family Promise of Spokane homeless shelter
  Stanwood Community event Windermere Soap Box Derby
  Stevenson Gorge/charity golf tournament in July Multiple projects to benefit Senior Services and school districts
  Tacoma-North Northwest Furniture Bank and Multicultural Child & Family Hope Center Various cleaning, gardening and organizing duties 
  Tacoma-Professional Partners Northwest Furniture Bank and Multicultural Child & Family Hope Center Various cleaning, gardening and organizing duties 
  Tacoma-University Place Northwest Furniture Bank and Multicultural Child & Family Hope Center Various cleaning, gardening and organizing duties 
  Tri-Cities Richland Summer Safety Day Free event for kids about bike safety, water safety, stranger danger, free helmets and life jackets
  Tri-Cities Southridge Summer Safety Day Free event for kids about bike safety, water safety, stranger danger, free helmets and life jackets
  Vancouver- Community Realty OR Humane Society Volunteering and collecting donations
  Vancouver Metro Multiple projects Collecting donations for Fruit Valley Food Bank, and also doing a week long shred and recycle event at the office
  Vancouver- Mill Plain Fruit Valley Elementary Food drive and shredding and recycling event
  Vashon Island Sheepdog Classic in Vashon Working the ticket booth, beverage tent, and souvenir area at the Sheepdog Classic in Vashon–proceeds to Vashon Youth & Family Services and Partners in Education
  Walla Walla Christian Aid  Center and YWCA Restaining downtown benches, weeding and cleaning tree wells, and cleaning up a play area 
  Property Management- Walla Walla Christian Aid  Center and YWCA Restaining downtown benches, weeding and cleaning tree wells, and cleaning up a play area 
  Wenatchee Teams Learning Center Improving the grounds and installing playground equipment
  Westport Westport Community Garden Clean up, weed, plant, and beautify grounds
  Whidbey Island- Coupeville Coupeville Elementary Working on wooded trail and grounds
  Whidbey Island- Freeland Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Sorting donations, stocking shelves, and working on the garden 
  Whidbey Island- Langley Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Sorting donations, stocking shelves, and working on the garden 
  Whidbey Island- Oak Harbor Habitat for Humanity and the Toddler Learning Center Cleaning, organizing, etc.
  Woodinville Wilmot Park Planting, cleanup, sod replacement, etc. 
  Yakima Yakima Food drive and shredding event at Veteran’s coalition 
  Yarrow Bay Attain Housing Washing driveways, sidewalks, decks, and weeding, planting flowers and trimming trees