Building Character – Balancing a Home’s Personality and Amenities

By John Trupin

It’s sometimes said that the limitations of a house are what help make it a home. For many, however, it is a point of pride to accept only the finest in their new residence. How can you find the balance between cultivating a lived-in home with personality and quirks versus a house with cutting-edge amenities that improve quality of life? To get to the bottom of that, we gathered a list six keys to consider when selecting and developing the home of your dreams:

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 VictorianCraftsman 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 trees 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-car 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.

Posted on September 11, 2018 at 4:56 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Architecture, Buying & Selling, Colorado Real Estate, Evergreen Real Estate, Housing Trends, Kittredge Real Estate, Morrison Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

The Timeless Appeal of the Equestrian Life

Bronte Jacket with Fox and Horn Scarf, photo: O’Shaughnessey Apparel

Recently, I put my well-worn paddock boots away for a weekend and treated myself to a trip to New York. Though I love my horses and thoroughly enjoy taking care of them (yep, I even enjoy mucking their stalls!), I needed a little vacation, and New York is my version of Disneyland so off I went. It had been a few years since my last visit to the Big Apple and, as I walked the streets happily window shopping and people watching, I just had to giggle to myself. No matter what part of town I was in – Soho, Midtown, Upper Eastside – I saw well-dressed ladies wearing tall riding boots, snaffle-bit style belts and purses with a distinctly “horsey” feel to them.

It struck me, in the midst of a big bustling city where the only horses are the giant stone ones gracing the façades of old buildings and the few scattered cart horses pulling excited tourists through Central Park, that no matter who you are or where you live, the equestrian lifestyle has ubiquitous appeal.  We all know that Ralph Lauren played a big role in defining this style in America, and clearly his influence has not dampened in decades but rather given inspiration to dozens of new designers creating in the same milieu. Lauren has built an empire on equestrian life images but, let’s face it, none of the folks running around in his famous Polo shirt just left a match. It’s probably safe to say that the majority of folks wearing a Polo have never even been to a match, and most polo players are probably not wearing Ralph Lauren (sorry Ralph).  So, what is this appeal?

I don’t think it’s simply because equestrian sports are often favored by the mega wealthy, and hence that wearing equestrian-styled clothing somehow puts one in a league with the rich and famous. I believe it’s also about the feeling you get when you are near a horse. Horses have a regal quality and it is they who give meaning to the sport and the lifestyle. A horse would just as soon throw a prince off his back as a pauper. Likewise, he will just as likely love and care for a little girl astride his back for the very first time as the 90-year-old Queen of England.  Being in the presence of a horse makes us feel special, and who doesn’t like feeling special?

Pure and simple, horses are magic and we all want a little more magic in our lives.  Horses have carried us through war and peace, pleasure and competition. And even if you can’t have one to call your very own, wearing horse-inspired apparel makes us feel special, refined, and maybe even a little bit powerful. Just like the beautiful animals we so admire.

KiamaLise Herres is an equestrian properties specialist with Windermere Equestrian Living. She lives in Fall City, WA with her husband, two children, three horses, four dogs, one barn cat and a very sassy goat.

For more information on Windermere Evergreen please contact us here.

Posted on January 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Front Door Refresh

Make a bold statement with a “new” front door – color is mandatory. Something as simple as painting your front door can change the whole look of your home and its curb appeal. Be that house on the block that people have to double-take when they drive by.

Be Bright: We suppose it depends what you personally find “cheerful.” To us, this means yellows, pinks, blues, and oranges. Because what cute yellow door wouldn’t be inviting? It’s not just about the look; it’s about the feel too. These colors scream WELCOME!

Be Mysterious: If cheerful colors aren’t your thing, opt for a more mysterious look. Think deep purples, ruby red, forest green; majestic, sophisticated, colors of royalty.

The Details: Feeling daring? Dress up your door too. Just like jewelry, door knockers and designer hardware can add that extra special something.

For more information on Windermere Evergreen please contact us here.

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 7:19 am
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Buying & Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , ,