Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Smart Cities; Transportation and Tech

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Smart cities
Smart-city initiatives are transforming urban transportation and infrastructure. (U.S. Department of Commerce Illustration)
The political landscape may be shifting in Washington, D.C., but when it comes to building the high-tech infrastructure for data and transportation, urban planners are thinking globally and acting locally.
That message came through loud and clear at “Connecting Cities, Data and Citizens,” an event presented Wednesday night at Town Hall Seattle by MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest.
Loreana Marciante, project manager for Vulcan’s Smart City Challenge program, said civic leaders shouldn’t wait for the federal government to come up with grand solutions to the infrastructure challenges they face.
“Just like everyone else, we’re watching what’s happening in Washington, D.C., and I don’t think anyone has real answers,” Marciante said. “Anything is possible in the next four years. But we do look at cities as the solution. … Those are where the new frontiers are going to come from.”
Some of those new frontiers were pioneered by the Smart City Challenge, which was backed by the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as the philanthropic arm of Seattle billionaire Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Seattle and 76 other U.S. cities competed for $50 million in grants by laying out their visions for high-tech transportation systems.
The winning city was Columbus, Ohio – but Seattle is no slouch when it comes to infrastructure technology. The city’s chief technology officer, Michael Mattmiller, pointed to several current and future initiatives:
  • Data.Seattle.gov, which offers open data on subjects ranging from crime statistics to building permits to traffic snags.
  • Seattle RainWatch, which serves as an early warning system for downpours that can tax the city’s storm drains.
  • MetroLab Network, a nationwide smart-city consortium that the City of Seattle and the University of Washington joined in 2015.
  • The Array of Things, another nationwide initiative that uses advanced sensors to monitor urban air quality, noise and traffic.
Mattmiller noted that the rise of “Big Data” in urban settings can raise privacy concerns. He pointed to past brouhahas over security cameras installed along the city’s shoreline and a cellphone tracking system that helps the city monitor downtown traffic.
The data flow could become even bigger with the rise of 5G data networks, which are expected to be at least 10 times faster than today’s 4G networks. Last month, Verizon announced that it would start phasing in 5G service in Seattle over the coming year.
To address the coming challenges, and to keep Seattleites clued in about the implications of smart cities for privacy and cybersecurity, Mattmiller said he’s planning a smart-city forum for citizens this fall. (The city is also planning to hire a smart-city coordinator.)
Urban development geeks needn’t wait until the fall to join the movement: This weekend there’ll be an AEC Hackathon at UW’s Center for Research and Education in Construction. (AEC stands for Architecture, Engineering and Construction). The event is aimed at developing data-based solutions to the problems facing “built environments.”

Transportation is another challenge facing the region, and on that issue, one of the leading cities happens to be Portland, our neighbor on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. Portland was one of the seven finalists in the Smart City Challenge, and the host city for last month’s NIST Global City Teams Challenge Super Action Cluster Summit. (Which sounds like the title of a superhero meet-up.)
Marciante said switching from gasoline-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles is a big part of Vulcan’s vision for addressing global transportation needs as well as the challenge of climate change. “The only way we will reach our climate stabilization objective is to electrify our transportation system,” she said.
Once again, Portland is one of the cities leading the way: Last December, Portland’s city council approved a broad strategy to boost electric cars as well as electric bikes.
Is Portland outpacing Seattle when it comes to smart-city initiatives? Marciante’s answer was suitably diplomatic, considering that her boss owns the Seattle Seahawks as well as the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I would never get in the middle of those two cities,” she said. “They are both leading cities, in my estimation.”







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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Seattle Among Fastest Rise In US

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Seattle
Houses dot the hillside in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, with the city skyline in the distance. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
Home values and rents are rising in Seattle faster than almost any other place in the United States according to new data released Thursday by Zillow.
The Seattle-based real estate media company’s February Market Report put the median home value in the Seattle metro area at $420,200 — up 11.2 percent over last year. Tampa, Fla. (11.6 percent increase) and Dallas (11.1 percent) are the other markets in the top three.
Home values across the country as a whole are up 6.9 percent year over year. The median home value in the U.S. is now $195,700, the highest mark since June 2007.
Seattle is also leading the way when it comes to the rate at which rents are rising. The median payment is now $2,100 a month, up 7.2 percent over the past year. Portland saw a jump of 5.4 percent and Sacramento, Calif., rents rose 5.2 percent.
Rent figures across the U.S. rose 1.2 percent over the past year to $1,406 per month, according to the Zillow Rent Index.
With no apparent slowdown in the number of newcomers looking for places to live in Seattle, along with millennials aging into ownership ranks, housing inventory will be a concern during the home shopping season. With 10.5 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, Zillow predicts a very competitive market.
“Low inventory, strong demand and tough competition will be the defining characteristics of this year’s home shopping season,” Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a news release. “Even though interest rates are rising, buyers are eager to start their home search. If you’re a prospective buyer about to enter the market, keep in mind that it’s rare to get the first home you make an offer on, and homes in particularly hot markets frequently sell for over asking price. Buyers should give themselves enough time to get their finances in order and find a real estate agent they know and trust before jumping into the market.”









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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Epic Fishing Season

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OUTDOORS: Hood Canal primed for epic king season

ANYBODY WHO HAS driven U.S. Highway 101 to Olympia or points south has passed the George Adams Salmon Hatchery, a state-owned facility producing (as of 2010) 3.8 million hatchery chinook smolts, and a smaller amount of coho and chum.
Looking at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife information (available at tinyurl.com/PDN-FishPresentation) that was presented at last Thursday’s annual North of Falcon meeting in Sequim, one will see a projected return of 50,764 chinook, 48,305 of which are hatchery reared — including a 25,773 hatchery chinook return to the Skokomish River/George Adams Salmon Hatchery.
Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Company, has been pondering that number of hatchery chinook returning to Hood Canal.
“Think about that number — [nearly] 49,000 fin-clipped hatchery kings in a body of water the size of Hood Canal,” he said.
“That is potentially a six-week, world-class king fishery in a body of water with little public access.
“To someone who had recreational fisheries management 201 class at [the] University of Washington almost 40 years ago, that lack of boat launches means recreational anglers could never even make a dent in the non-treaty share, i.e. not catching over 7,000.
Asking questions
Norden attended the North of Falcon meeting. He came away even more certain there’s no biological imperative keeping chinook anglers out of Hood Canal from mid-May to July 4, in time to protect the Canal’s summer run of wild, genetically-distinct coho.
“At the meeting, I asked when the sport fishers will get their 20,000 share of the king run since Hood Canal is effectively ‘gill net only, no sport fishing allowed’ when those early summer kings arrive in May and June,” Norden said.
A precocious type, Norden also jokingly asked if recreational anglers could come to the Adams hatchery with bags in tow to tote away their share of surplus kings.
“Seriously, I recommended a May 15th through July 4th king season in the Canal with a two marked chinook limit,” Norden said.
“Ending the fishery on July 4 will protect the summer coho run. Since only five percent of the Hood Canal chinook are wild, impact on those wild chinook will be negligible. Such a fishery would be as good as any fishery for kings anywhere in much heralded fishing meccas in B.C. or Alaska due to the Canal’s small size.”
Auction tickets
Norm Metzler of The Olympic Peninsula Halibut and Salmon Coalition called in to say the group’s spaghetti dinner attracted about 100 attendees last Saturday.
The coalition has called upon and received endorsements from numerous administrative bodies across the North Olympic Peninsula in an effort to reshape halibut season setting in area waters.
Funds raised at Saturday’s dinner will be used to fund lodging, meals and transportation for the group’s efforts at lobbying for change.
Another fundraising effort, an on-going raffle for more than $1,200 worth of prizes, will continue through April 15.
The public can purchase $5 raffle tickets at Swain’s in Port Angeles. The top prize is a $250 downrigger rod, Metzler said, while a Columbia River charter fishing trip for two also is in the prize mix.
Razor Clam digs
State shellfish managers have approved a razor clam dig beginning Friday with openings alternating between Mocrocks and Copalis beaches for three days.
A planned dig at Twin Harbors has been canceled after test results showed elevated levels of domoic acid, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for Fish and Wildlife.
Domoic acid has posed an ongoing problem for shellfish fisheries since 2015. The natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
The razor clam digs, along with evening low tides and beaches, are listed below:
•Friday: 5:01 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
•Saturday: 5:44 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Copalis
•Sunday: 6:24 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks.
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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Rising Home Equity



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Rising home equity lifts many underwater homeowners


The numbers of homeowners that owe more on their homes than they are worth are falling as home equity continues to rise in many real estate markets.
Research firm CoreLogic estimates that, in 2016, 1 million fewer homes had what’s known as negative equity, also called being underwater and upside down. As of last year’s fourth quarter, there were 3.17 million residential properties where owners owed more than the homes were worth -- a 25 percent decrease from 4.23 million during the same period a year earlier. 
Negative equity peaked in 2009 at 26 percent of all properties. The figure now stands at 6.2 percent.  Homeowners in this predicament are often in low-income neighborhoods.

underwater-line.png
 CBS MONEYWATCH/IRINA IVANOVA

In the 10 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, the San Francisco region had the highest percentage of properties where homeowners owe less than they are worth. (99.4 percent), followed by Houston (98.5 percent), Denver (98.5 percent), Los Angeles (97 percent) and Boston (95.3 percent). 
The Miami area, whose real estate market was hit hard during the recent recession, had the highest percentage of properties that were upside down, followed by Las Vegas (15.5 percent), Chicago (12.6 percent),  Washington, D.C. (8.4 percent) and New York City (5.1 percent).
Tighter credit standards will make it more difficult for borrowers to turn their home equity into quick cash as they did during the financial crisis.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, balances on home equity lines of credit were $1 billion as of the end of last year, little changed from 2015. Debt payments as a percentage of total disposable income are at a 35-year low, while consumer confidence is at a 15-year high.
Homeowners saw their net equity rise 11.7 percent,  or $78 billion, to $7.5 trillion, in 2016, CoreLogic indicated. On average, home equity rose on a year-over-year basis by $13,700,  fueled by home price increases. Helping this trend: One-fourth of all outstanding mortgages have terms of 20 years or less, which obviously amortize quicker than standard 30-year home loans.
Gains in home equity were strongest in high-end markets where prices posted double-digit increases, such as Washington and Oregon. These two states saw home equity gains of $31,000 and $27,000 respectively, double the overall U.S. rate, noted CoreLogic’s chief executive, Frank Martell.

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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Seattle and Tacoma in U.S. top 5


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Seattle and Tacoma in U.S. top five for percentage of homes selling above list price


Bay Area tops nation in homebuying bidding battles



By  | rscheinin@bayareanewsgroup.com |
PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 
Amid rising interest rates and widespread concerns about the cost of housing, one might expect the Bay Area’s real estate market to run out of steam.
Apparently, that’s not happening.
In February, the fiercest bidding on homes took place in the Bay Area, according to a new national report from Redfin, the real estate brokerage. In San Jose, 63 percent of homes sold above list price, followed by 62 percent in San Francisco and 59.1 percent in Oakland. Among all U.S. markets, those were the three highest shares of “over asking” bidding. Next in line were two markets in the state of Washington: Seattle with 49.3 percent and Tacoma with 36.3 percent.
February’s fastest-moving markets were, in order, Seattle (with about half of all homes pending sale within 12 days of being listed); Oakland (where homes typically spent 15 days on market); Denver (18 days on market); San Jose (21 days); and San Francisco (28 days).
Still, industry observers point to an underlying problem: The housing supply is low in much of the country, and that doesn’t make for a healthy market in the long term.
Nationally, the number of homes for sale declined 12.9 percent in February on a year-over-year basis. It was the third consecutive month of double-digit drops in inventory, Redfin reported.
The number of homes for sale fell year-over-year by 12 percent in Oakland, by 5.3 percent in San Francisco, and by 2.0 percent in San Jose. (Sacramento inventory practically fell off a cliff — down 25.4 percent from a year earlier.)
With “low-tier” affordable homes in particularly short supply around the nation, first-time homebuyers are struggling to get a foot in the door. That’s because, with inventory at such low levels, competition persists: Those buyers who remain in the game keep putting upward pressure on prices.
Taking all of this under consideration, Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist, painted a half-rosy picture of the current market.
“The total level of home equity reached a new peak at the close of 2016, according to recent Fed data,” Richardson said. “While great for homeowners, continuously strong price growth across the U.S. since 2012 has posed significant challenges for first-time buyers, especially given such low supply in affordable price-tiers.”
But she pointed to a silver lining: “Rising prices and increased equity may tip the scales for homeowners who have been delaying their decision to move up,” she said, “which could add much-needed starter-home inventory to the market.”
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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Empty Nesters’ Market

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Why It's Now An Empty Nesters' Housing Market

Mar 10, 2017
There’s a mismatch in the housing market. Demand is rising, yet homebuilders don’t have the capacity to create the supply the way they did in the boom years. They haven’t banked as much land, they haven’t filed the permits and they’ve become increasingly short of labor—one possible byproduct of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. In fact, the nation is probably short about 700,000 homes on an annual basis. That explains why new home sales have been somewhat disappointing.
It also explains why sellers in many markets are now in prime position. According to Realtor.com, in December and January the supply of existing homes was 3.6 months, something that hadn’t happened since January 2005. In Seattle, for instance, the average time a house stays on the market is 36 days, compared with the national average of 90 days. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, it’s 42 days, according to Realtor.com. Combine that with the prospect of higher-priced mortgages thanks to the Federal Reserve’s decision to begin lifting interest rates and it makes buyers a little more motivated. “We’ve seen home sales surge because buyers are beginning to realize there is this expectation that mortgage rates will rebound: you might as well get in now,” says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group. He says prices are rising at twice the rate of inflation and more than two times the rate of average hourly pay. That’s bad news on the affordability front for first-time buyers who are trying to get onto the first rung of the housing ladder.
Click here for more articles from Time Inc.’s Looking Forward series.
But it’s great news for empty nesters and other homeowners looking to downsize. Even better, there’s less of a supply constraint because developers have targeted the boomer market by building high service, luxury condominiums in major markets. And why not, says Peter Wells, a partner at Real Capital Solutions, which is developing a luxury condo tower in suburban Dallas: “When [boomers] sell their big place, they're cash rich and it becomes all lifestyle driven.” Spring is a traditional time for buying and selling homes, and this season stands to be a busy one.
Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.comTahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate


Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Empty Nesters’ Market

Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.com, Tahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate

Why It's Now An Empty Nesters' Housing Market

Mar 10, 2017
There’s a mismatch in the housing market. Demand is rising, yet homebuilders don’t have the capacity to create the supply the way they did in the boom years. They haven’t banked as much land, they haven’t filed the permits and they’ve become increasingly short of labor—one possible byproduct of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. In fact, the nation is probably short about 700,000 homes on an annual basis. That explains why new home sales have been somewhat disappointing.
It also explains why sellers in many markets are now in prime position. According to Realtor.com, in December and January the supply of existing homes was 3.6 months, something that hadn’t happened since January 2005. In Seattle, for instance, the average time a house stays on the market is 36 days, compared with the national average of 90 days. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, it’s 42 days, according to Realtor.com. Combine that with the prospect of higher-priced mortgages thanks to the Federal Reserve’s decision to begin lifting interest rates and it makes buyers a little more motivated. “We’ve seen home sales surge because buyers are beginning to realize there is this expectation that mortgage rates will rebound: you might as well get in now,” says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group. He says prices are rising at twice the rate of inflation and more than two times the rate of average hourly pay. That’s bad news on the affordability front for first-time buyers who are trying to get onto the first rung of the housing ladder.
Click here for more articles from Time Inc.’s Looking Forward series.
But it’s great news for empty nesters and other homeowners looking to downsize. Even better, there’s less of a supply constraint because developers have targeted the boomer market by building high service, luxury condominiums in major markets. And why not, says Peter Wells, a partner at Real Capital Solutions, which is developing a luxury condo tower in suburban Dallas: “When [boomers] sell their big place, they're cash rich and it becomes all lifestyle driven.” Spring is a traditional time for buying and selling homes, and this season stands to be a busy one.
Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.comTahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate


Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Customizing a Space

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When Customizing a Space, Homeowners Are All About the Options

Whether it's a number of finishes, fixtures, or colors to choose from, homeowners want to collect as many ideas as possible before deciding how they want their new space designed

Remodels offer the perfect opportunity for homeowners not only to create a more functional space for their families, but also to beautify the home. Once they decide exactly what they need (more storage, an additional bedroom, a place for the dog to sleep), they turn to their remodeler to help craft the dream home and make the space uniquely theirs. What are homeowners looking for when they customize the home? It’s much more than just a pretty snapshot to share on Houzz.
Options Abound 
“It strikes me how, today, people want more and more things customized,” says Daniel Hurst, owner/general manager of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Hurst attributes this to the fact that he thinks his clients are more open to ideas now that they were in the past. The advent of the internet and idea websites like Houzz and Pinterest has made it easier for homeowners to expose themselves to new ideas.
“Never before in history could you look up ‘mudroom locker ideas’ and get 1,000 different ideas in three seconds,” he says.
Homeowners are looking to customize a home’s function in addition to its finishes, which is why they need the help of a highly skilled remodeler to walk them through the design process.
“People have kind of an idea, but they’re not sure what’s possible … sometimes it’s just a little bit of inspiration and we help them find the best options,” Hurst says.
Erik Block, founder/owner of Block Design|Build, Hadlyme, Conn., agrees. “Typically, everything we do is custom,” he says. “We start with ‘What are you looking for? What gets you excited?’ Then, we go from there and find the product that matches that.”
Block’s team has certain products and companies they recommend, but there are a few times where he lets the homeowners explore their options on their own.
“For bathrooms, a lot of the time, we have the homeowner do the homework. We’ll recommend certain fixtures we’ve had good luck with in the past and then they take it from there so that they can get exactly what they’re looking for.”
Those homeowners scrutinize their decisions. Block says that homeowners have analyzed the chrome finishes on flush handles and bathroom fixtures from different manufacturers to make sure that both are the same shade.
Homeowners can find as many options as they please, but the end result of the project still needs to mesh with their needs. Jason Walsh, lead industrial designer at Masonite’s Innovation Center, says that the one difference between a millennial and a baby boomer remodeling their homes is the functional requirements. Baby boomers, for example, often are remodeling their homes so they can age in place.
“The connecting feature [for all homeowners] is something with an updated design,” Walsh says. “They’re looking for something that fits their functional requirements, but is on-trend.”

Cool, Warm, or Neutral?
One easy and fairly painless way homeowners can customize a home and keep it on-trend is through color. (Though, we’ll admit, the 1970s avocado trend was slightly painful.) Neutrals, such as grays, remain popular for both inside and outside of the home, but homeowners seem to be customizing their colors even further than a single shade.
“We have noticed that there’s a greater desire on the parts of builders and homeowners to have more specifically correct colors,” says Kate Smith, chief color maven at Sensational Color. “Rather than slapping on a gray roof, people want the specific gray that best matches their home.”
While companies are offering their products in a wide range of neutrals, many are also offering bolder hues. Tando’s all-new line of polypropylene exterior shake and stone is available in a variety of colors. TandoShake comes in three different collections: SignatureStain, Color, and Natural. SignatureStain comes in six colors. The Color Series offers 19 shades ranging from neutrals to bold colors like reds, yellows, and greens. The Natural Series features eight dark, earthy tones.
Instead of a fully colorful house, some homeowners are adding a touch of color to the exterior via the front door. John Gerhardt, associate product line manager for interior doors at Jeld-Wen, says that blues, greens, and yellows have been popular front door choices recently.
Walsh agrees that there’s more interest in color. He notes that turquoise and warmer colors like reds and yellows, inspired by the tropical regions, are popular choices for exterior doors. “Black continues to be popular,” Walsh says. “It’s a pretty bold statement.”
“We’re seeing more and more people interested in black,” Hurst agrees. “Black cabinetry, black trim, black doors, or some version of that in a charcoal color.”
The interior door is another story. Walsh observes that many homeowners want to stay neutral with their interior doors, only occasionally adding pops of color.
Smith warns that homeowners are willing to incorporate color, but they won’t step too far out of their comfort zones. Homeowners want to be educated about color and how to make color choices, she adds. They want to be told what they should know about color in order to make an informed decision.
Create a Clear Picture
Many of Block’s projects are remodeling and restoring historic homes, so a number of his jobs are focused on crafting a beautiful space that meshes with the architecture and design of the rest of the home.
“Everything has to match; everything has to be related somehow, whether it’s hues or colors or textures. We’ll push for certain looks,” Block says. “They’re not going to have a kitchen that’s all white and clean with nice marble countertops and then have the rest of the house be all black.”
Carrying a design throughout the home seems like a no-brainer
"It always seems to start with kitchens and baths and then homeowners take the rest of the home to that level. ...It's always kitchens and baths. Nobody ever says, 'I want to remodel my dining room.'" - Erik Block
for a remodeler, and product manufacturers are picking up on the trend. Jeld-Wen’s new Studio collection is a series of contemporary-style doors for both the interior and the exterior.
“We wanted to bring the whole home design together,” Gerhardt says. They settled on a contemporary style because not only have product manufacturers been shifting to a more modern aesthetic, but more homeowners are looking for the clean lines contemporary offers.
The craftsman style also has been popular, though it has been modernized with a “cleaner, simpler design,” Walsh says. For those clients who like the craftsman style and are looking to create a design throughout their entire home, Masonite has released an exterior door to coordinate with its craftsman line, Heritage.
“We don’t see people wanting to directly match the doors, but they want to coordinate,” Walsh says. “If they have a craftsman-style front door and they choose a craftsman interior, the panel layout on both doors might be different.”
Give a Little Bit
Customization doesn’t end at interior function and exterior style. It can also extend to the structure itself.
“We see people being more interested in the integrity of the build than the actual photoshoot at the end,” Block says. He says that for some remodels, homeowners are willing to spend money on the “behind the scenes” products, such as rain screens, that will protect the home, instead of spending that money on flashy, upgraded rooms or fixtures.
“I’m guessing it’s probably more common in [New England],” Block says. “It’s good to see that people care about that.”
Not every homeowner will need or want to spend money on structural components, but will instead want something customized in an unusual way. For those instances, Hurst advises remodelers to have an open mind.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity for inspiration out there and you just have to be flexible with some of your ideas,” Hurst says. “People are looking for custom options for everything. … Any chance we get to provide those options, that’s what we want to do, and I think that’s what people are drawn to today.”
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Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Customizing a Space

Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.com, Tahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate




When Customizing a Space, Homeowners Are All About the Options

Whether it's a number of finishes, fixtures, or colors to choose from, homeowners want to collect as many ideas as possible before deciding how they want their new space designed

Remodels offer the perfect opportunity for homeowners not only to create a more functional space for their families, but also to beautify the home. Once they decide exactly what they need (more storage, an additional bedroom, a place for the dog to sleep), they turn to their remodeler to help craft the dream home and make the space uniquely theirs. What are homeowners looking for when they customize the home? It’s much more than just a pretty snapshot to share on Houzz.
Options Abound 
“It strikes me how, today, people want more and more things customized,” says Daniel Hurst, owner/general manager of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Hurst attributes this to the fact that he thinks his clients are more open to ideas now that they were in the past. The advent of the internet and idea websites like Houzz and Pinterest has made it easier for homeowners to expose themselves to new ideas.
“Never before in history could you look up ‘mudroom locker ideas’ and get 1,000 different ideas in three seconds,” he says.
Homeowners are looking to customize a home’s function in addition to its finishes, which is why they need the help of a highly skilled remodeler to walk them through the design process.
“People have kind of an idea, but they’re not sure what’s possible … sometimes it’s just a little bit of inspiration and we help them find the best options,” Hurst says.
Erik Block, founder/owner of Block Design|Build, Hadlyme, Conn., agrees. “Typically, everything we do is custom,” he says. “We start with ‘What are you looking for? What gets you excited?’ Then, we go from there and find the product that matches that.”
Block’s team has certain products and companies they recommend, but there are a few times where he lets the homeowners explore their options on their own.
“For bathrooms, a lot of the time, we have the homeowner do the homework. We’ll recommend certain fixtures we’ve had good luck with in the past and then they take it from there so that they can get exactly what they’re looking for.”
Those homeowners scrutinize their decisions. Block says that homeowners have analyzed the chrome finishes on flush handles and bathroom fixtures from different manufacturers to make sure that both are the same shade.
Homeowners can find as many options as they please, but the end result of the project still needs to mesh with their needs. Jason Walsh, lead industrial designer at Masonite’s Innovation Center, says that the one difference between a millennial and a baby boomer remodeling their homes is the functional requirements. Baby boomers, for example, often are remodeling their homes so they can age in place.
“The connecting feature [for all homeowners] is something with an updated design,” Walsh says. “They’re looking for something that fits their functional requirements, but is on-trend.”

Cool, Warm, or Neutral?
One easy and fairly painless way homeowners can customize a home and keep it on-trend is through color. (Though, we’ll admit, the 1970s avocado trend was slightly painful.) Neutrals, such as grays, remain popular for both inside and outside of the home, but homeowners seem to be customizing their colors even further than a single shade.
“We have noticed that there’s a greater desire on the parts of builders and homeowners to have more specifically correct colors,” says Kate Smith, chief color maven at Sensational Color. “Rather than slapping on a gray roof, people want the specific gray that best matches their home.”
While companies are offering their products in a wide range of neutrals, many are also offering bolder hues. Tando’s all-new line of polypropylene exterior shake and stone is available in a variety of colors. TandoShake comes in three different collections: SignatureStain, Color, and Natural. SignatureStain comes in six colors. The Color Series offers 19 shades ranging from neutrals to bold colors like reds, yellows, and greens. The Natural Series features eight dark, earthy tones.
Instead of a fully colorful house, some homeowners are adding a touch of color to the exterior via the front door. John Gerhardt, associate product line manager for interior doors at Jeld-Wen, says that blues, greens, and yellows have been popular front door choices recently.
Walsh agrees that there’s more interest in color. He notes that turquoise and warmer colors like reds and yellows, inspired by the tropical regions, are popular choices for exterior doors. “Black continues to be popular,” Walsh says. “It’s a pretty bold statement.”
“We’re seeing more and more people interested in black,” Hurst agrees. “Black cabinetry, black trim, black doors, or some version of that in a charcoal color.”
The interior door is another story. Walsh observes that many homeowners want to stay neutral with their interior doors, only occasionally adding pops of color.
Smith warns that homeowners are willing to incorporate color, but they won’t step too far out of their comfort zones. Homeowners want to be educated about color and how to make color choices, she adds. They want to be told what they should know about color in order to make an informed decision.
Create a Clear Picture
Many of Block’s projects are remodeling and restoring historic homes, so a number of his jobs are focused on crafting a beautiful space that meshes with the architecture and design of the rest of the home.
“Everything has to match; everything has to be related somehow, whether it’s hues or colors or textures. We’ll push for certain looks,” Block says. “They’re not going to have a kitchen that’s all white and clean with nice marble countertops and then have the rest of the house be all black.”
Carrying a design throughout the home seems like a no-brainer
"It always seems to start with kitchens and baths and then homeowners take the rest of the home to that level. ...It's always kitchens and baths. Nobody ever says, 'I want to remodel my dining room.'" - Erik Block
for a remodeler, and product manufacturers are picking up on the trend. Jeld-Wen’s new Studio collection is a series of contemporary-style doors for both the interior and the exterior.
“We wanted to bring the whole home design together,” Gerhardt says. They settled on a contemporary style because not only have product manufacturers been shifting to a more modern aesthetic, but more homeowners are looking for the clean lines contemporary offers.
The craftsman style also has been popular, though it has been modernized with a “cleaner, simpler design,” Walsh says. For those clients who like the craftsman style and are looking to create a design throughout their entire home, Masonite has released an exterior door to coordinate with its craftsman line, Heritage.
“We don’t see people wanting to directly match the doors, but they want to coordinate,” Walsh says. “If they have a craftsman-style front door and they choose a craftsman interior, the panel layout on both doors might be different.”
Give a Little Bit
Customization doesn’t end at interior function and exterior style. It can also extend to the structure itself.
“We see people being more interested in the integrity of the build than the actual photoshoot at the end,” Block says. He says that for some remodels, homeowners are willing to spend money on the “behind the scenes” products, such as rain screens, that will protect the home, instead of spending that money on flashy, upgraded rooms or fixtures.
“I’m guessing it’s probably more common in [New England],” Block says. “It’s good to see that people care about that.”
Not every homeowner will need or want to spend money on structural components, but will instead want something customized in an unusual way. For those instances, Hurst advises remodelers to have an open mind.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity for inspiration out there and you just have to be flexible with some of your ideas,” Hurst says. “People are looking for custom options for everything. … Any chance we get to provide those options, that’s what we want to do, and I think that’s what people are drawn to today.”
Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.com, Tahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate

Hood Canal Real Estate, Mortgage, and the Economy – Home Trends 2017

Hood Canal Real Estate, Hood Canal Properties, Hood Canal Homes, Hood Canal Lots, http://www.hoodcanalliving.com, Tahuya Real Estate, Union Real Estate, Belfair Real Estate


15 Home Decor Trends That Will Be Huge in 2017

Home decor may not be as seasonally driven as ready-to-wear, but trends do come and go. Ubiquitous touches that were once considered stylish — think chevron and taxidermy — are now totally outdated. We want 2017 to be the year your living space really is a home sweet home, so we reached out to leading interior design experts and asked them to single out all the 2017 home decor trends that you need to know about. Read on for their picks.

Art Within Reach
“More and more resources are making real art more affordable than ever thanks to the handcrafted movement made popular thanks to sites like Etsy. People are looking for original artist-made works of art to hang on their walls,” says HGTV digital lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch.

Gem Tones and Warm Metals

“Gem tones will be big this year,” says Karen Asprea, director of Whitehall Interiors. “Pops of rich gem tones can brighten a space and make it feel luxurious and thoughtful. Warm metals are also big for 2017, so forget about stainless steel and brushed aluminum.”

Wellness Touches

“Wellness is a state of mind, but is promoted by the energy of our surroundings,” says holistic interior designer Clodagh. “Luxury and wellness go hand in hand, more so than ever in 2017. Feng shui and an emphasis on natural light will be at the core of design. You’ll be seeing more unique wellness amenities, like infrared saunas and state-of-the-art fitness centers.”

Greenery

“After Pantone announced ‘Greenery’ as 2017’s Color of the Year, we knew it would be a major trend in home decor this year. In addition to being a color that symbolizes a connection to the outdoors and the promise of spring, green also represents our desire to break out of our digital, hyper-connected lives and connect more with nature,” explains Knobloch.

Showers Are the New Tubs

“A clawfoot tub or a copper soaker used to be the focal point in a dream bathroom. The shower is now taking center stage with lots of amenities (think showerheads, sprayers and sticks), floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the outdoors in and high-tech touches for a custom experience,” says Knobloch.

Luxurious Finishes

“Opt for polished nickel instead of polished chrome. It’s warmer and feels more luxurious,” says Asprea, who also recommends opting for levers instead of traditional round doorknobs. “Using rose gold or brass is a plus.”
“2017 will continue to focus on ‘Instagram-worthy’ home decor elements,” according to HGTV Cousins Undercover stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri. Among their favorites is Nanoleaf Aurora, a modular LED panel lighting system that you can customize to display color-changing patterns or mimic candlelight. “It’s such a cool design piece and easy to use and you can control it through an app on your phone,” says Colaneri, who also singles out Buster + Punch Heavy Metal Matt Black pendants with Buster Bulb. “Great lighting is essential and can really make or break a room. Buster + Punch makes sleek, sexy lighting.”

Tech Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

“Case in point: eero,” says Carrino. “Tech is no good if it can’t connect. Eero is the best home Wi-Fi I’ve ever used and it’s well-designed, so I don’t mind seeing it on a bookshelf or other well-placed location for connectivity. Tech doesn’t need to be ugly.”

Semi-Separate Kitchens

“Unlike the extremely open layout trend of recent years, I like the movement toward partially separate kitchens that aren’t the main focal point, but still allow those in the kitchen to mingle with guests when entertaining,” says Clodagh.

Texture

“Designers are striving to pull people off of their blue-lit screens through incorporating interesting textures into decor that are not only appealing to the eye, but also pleasant to the touch. Texture, sensuality and warmth play huge roles in my 2017 designs,” says Clodagh.

The Lived-in Look

“We all went Kondo on our belongings and now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Tired of austere minimalism, we’re all about layering textures, adding more pillows and making our beds a little sloppier. We want our rooms to look like someone’s home,” says Knobloch.

Smart Accessories

“Storage space is often limited, so I always recommend purchasing chic everyday items that can be kept on display,” says Asprea, who also recommends upgrading kitchen appliances. “More companies are being creative with their finish selections and sizing options. Whirlpool offers matte black and matte white appliances now!”

Geometrics

“Triangular shelves, hexagonal tables, round mirrors…the pieces we love are coming in more geometric shapes than ever before. Play with curves and angles!” exclaims Knobloch.

It’s All Connected

“As more and more devices in our homes connect to the internet and to each other, we’ll be able to control and monitor our homes from just about anywhere,” says Knobloch. “Connected devices will allow us to monitor our energy consumption and improve everything from our sleep patterns to our proficiency in the kitchen.” On that note, Carrino suggests the Nest ThermostatProtect and Cam Indoor to start your smart home. “They all work together seamlessly and are a great foundation to start your smart home, not to mention aesthetically pleasing.”

Light as Art

“There’s a movement toward using light as art and there are really stunning lights being used to help cure SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) syndrome. Unique lighting can really tie a room together without adding an ounce of clutter. Combine up lights with down lights (up lights shining light upward, while down lights shine light downward) to balance the feng shui energy of your space,” suggests Clodagh.