Create Your Own Outdoor Kitchen Space


Extend your living area and build a backyard entertainment space for summer guests by creating an outdoor kitchen.

Plan to surround your grill or cooktop surface with a prep area, storage for plates and utensils, shelving areas for nonrefrigerated condiments and food, and appliances if budget allows. Select the grill or cooktop on the front-end of your planning, as the construction and setup process will factor onto overall dimensions and layout.

With the addition of counterspace comes the benefit of cabinetry to create extra storage for added accessories like cutlery, outdoor dishware, a blender, or kegerator. Due to the weather changes and dampness in the Pacific Northwest, not just any variety of cabinet will do. Look into weatherproof cabinets—popular styles include the industrial look of 304 stainless steel, the practical structure of marine grade polymer, or a refreshingly natural teak.

If space allows, upgrade with add-on features to expand the capabilities of the kitchen with these popular appliances:

• Pizza Oven
• Dishwasher
• Ice machine
• Kegerator
• Fryer
• Built-in ice chest

Flooring is an important consideration in the outdoor kitchen and dining area. You’ll want to allow easy flow between spaces. Opting for concrete flooring is cost-effective, while stone or tile may add some expense but allow for creativity in design. Play with the color and textures of stone and tile to tie in the surrounding nature

Another important area to consider is the gathering space. Incorporating seating behind a counter or bar can be a great alternative to a large sofa or bulky furniture. When construction is complete, you’ll have a new way to enjoy summer moments and create long-lasting memories with friends and family.

Storing Gear in Your Pacific Northwest Home


Storing Gear in Your Pacific Northwest Home

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, there is a good chance you have a lot of gear. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, surfing, and kayaking—the outdoor activities are endless. You could literally plan a new excursion every weekend and never hit the same Oregon or Washington destination twice.

During the work week, when not trekking out to a new waterfall or renting a yurt on the coast, where do you put all your gear? Don’t let the chaos left behind from your weekend stress you out—check out these tips for storing gear in your home.


TIP 1: First of all, declutter. We tend to acquire a lot of gear over the years, so get rid of that extra bike helmet, old tent poles and the hammock with a hole in it. Only keep what you actually use.

TIP 2: Remember your backpacks and bags can act as storage when they are not being used. Keep your bag packed to save space and streamline your departure.

TIP 3: Use a laundry basket in the corner of your shed or garage to store oddly long items like oars or ski poles.

TIP 4: Buy plastic totes or bins and organize by activity and season.

TIP 5: Add multi-shelf racks in your garage, shed, or storage room.

TIP 6: Install a peg board to store hangable items like rock climbing gear and cast iron cookware.

TIP 7: Store your kayak, stand up paddleboard, or bike in a way that maximizes space. Don’t let gravity hold you down, think hooks on walls or even the ceiling of your garage.

TIP 8: Use your gear! There is no point in creating space for it if you don’t get out and explore the Northwest. Hang up photos of your excursions on the wall of your storage room to keep your sense of adventure alive.

5 Porch Updates to Increase Your Home’s Value


5 Porch Updates to Increase Your Home’s Value

With a few affordable updates, create a welcoming front porch that draws buyers to come inside. Small changes to the design and care of your home will differentiate it from competing listings lacking curb appeal. These simple and cost-effective updates can help increase your return on the sale of your home.

Paint the front door or replace it with one that adds character to the home. Midnight blue, cheerful orange, and Miami blue are popular colors in 2019, while fire hydrant red or a glossy black are considered timeless.

Replace and update hardware. The front porch is a focal point of your home and value can be found in revamping minor features like handles and kickplates. These accents are low-cost, easy to replace, and make a big difference in making your home look well-tended.


Update light fixtures to modernize the home and light up the space. Popular fixture finishes include rubbed bronze, aged brass, matte black, and copper. Increased lighting is inviting, adds security, and wards off burglars, allowing buyers to subconsciously feel safer.

Tame your lawn. A lush, green lawn acts as a “red carpet” leading up to your front porch. An unruly patch of grass can overwhelm buyers and turn away visitors on Open House day, so keep it trimmed and tidy. Enhance the size of your yard by mowing a diagonal. To create this pattern, begin in the corner diagonally and walk toward the center. This will create elongated lines and appeals to buyers.


Optimize your space. If you have the space, add two chairs or a loveseat on the porch for an area to relax. An outdoor rug can tie it all together. Enhancing the front porch space will make the home appear larger and help buyers see added value.


Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips


Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

The Pacific Northwest prides itself on maintaining our natural resources and keeping our lifestyles eco-friendly. According to the Planet Natural Research Center, 40-60% of nitrogen from fertilizer runoff ends up in ground and surface water. It’s important to read labels on chemicals and common lawn and garden fertilizer to create a safe and healthy home for your family. Here are our top chemical-free lawn and gardening tips for this Spring.

Want a Lush & Healthy Lawn?
Raise the blade on your mower 3 inches to allow for longer grass and reduce the stress on your lawn. Leave the lawn clippings to decompose as a natural fertilizer. This helps crowd out weeds and maintain moisture in the soil, keeping your lawn healthy. 

Ready to Plant Your Garden?
Become knowledgeable on your yard, notice where the afternoon shade lands and which areas have clay soil vs. rich mulch. Above ground garden beds are great alternatives for clay-rich soil. This advantage will determine the success of your plants and ensure longevity. The Portland Metro area’s last spring frost date falls around March 11th and the Seattle Metro area’s last frost falls after March 17th. Once frozen ground is no longer a threat, you can plant your starters in the garden.  

Alternatives to Roundup
Toxic weed killer is harmful to our water supply, crops, pests, and animals. Try safe alternatives like orange oil, a natural acid you can spot treat weeds with. Add one cup of orange oil to one gallon of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap. This method is more efficient in a sprayer and strong enough to kill tough poison ivy. Vinegar is a great alternative, but you may need to look for a stronger version for weeds. Look for horticultural strength vinegar, with 10-20% acetic acid, this will make a much better impact on stubborn weeds than the kind we use on our salad. Be sure to wear gloves and protection from potent vinegar burns.  

Alternatives to Fertilizer
Corn gluten meal is often something people keep off their plate, but it doubles as a clean fertilizer to use on a yard with children and pets. This pre-emergent weed control can be used in a spreader with a ration of 20 pounds of corn gluten meal to every 1,000 square feet of yard with a spreader opening of 95%. Because it acts as a pre-emergent, make sure you start this process early in the spring, before weeds appear to keep them away. 

Build a Pollinator Garden
Now that your home is a safe, pesticide-free area for plants and animals, you can build a pollinator garden. This will attraction will create a welcoming environment for honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Start by planting effervescent lavender, vibrant hibiscus, low maintenance sunflowers, and zinnias. If you’re looking to add pollinators to help your vegetable garden bloom, try adding basil, oregano, mint, and garlic chives to the area.

Protect Your Pacific Northwest Home From Mold 

Protect Your Pacific Northwest Home From Mold

 With rainy and humid winters, its no secret Pacific Northwest homes are susceptible to mold and mildew growth. If left untreated, serious health issues like respiratory or sinus irritation can form from exposure.  

Three things you should monitor to protect your home from growing mold:

1) Temperature: Mold thrives in environments between 41°–100° Fahrenheit. 

2) Moisture: Our wet winters and drawn out, rainy spring can bring mold as well. Make sure to keep your home’s humidity levels between 30–60%. 

3) Food: Bacteria or splattered food particles that don’t get cleaned up run the risk of becoming common breeding grounds for mold. 

Combat and Clean Up Mold

Monitor high use areas in your home that see a lot of moisture or house water. Washing machines without floor drains can cause a buildup of moisture underneath from either leaks or overflow and cause water damage as well as mold. 

Remodeling your bathroom? Water-resistant drywall for a tile backer will likely degrade over time when being subjected to moisture repeatedly. Instead, use cement backer board for a long-lasting mold-free product. 

Bathrooms are high traffic mold areas, cut down on spores by using moisture-wicking shower curtains. This prevents the harboring of soap or bacteria, which acts as a food for mold growth. As a good rule, leave your bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after showering. 

Humidifier machines can help with allergens by keeping pollen at bay, but it can also hinder allergy sufferers by distributing mold growth. Make sure to clean and treat your machine with an antimicrobial solution often. If you don’t need a humidifier, use a dehumidifier to get your home back to the safe levels of 30-60%. 

Mold and mildew can be strong adversaries if you want to keep your home and air healthy, but they can be easily defeated by knowing which areas of your home to monitor. 


Article inspired by Better Homes & Gardens.

Top 10 Kitchen Trends of 2019

Top 10 Kitchen Trends of 2019


1. Colorful cabinetry

Domestic Kitchen Interior
Julie Soefer Photography
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The latest trend is a colorful touch to the kitchen mixed with natural wood elements. The color of the year is a rich emerald green that contains a subtle hint of indigo blue.


2. Open shelving 

Modern new light interior of kitchen with white furniture and dining table.
Modern domestic kitchen
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Minimalism is catching on in the kitchen, homeowners are decluttering cabinets and embracing simplistic open shelving. Try to accent shelving with features like brass supports to match your faucets or hardware.


3. Backsplash to the ceiling 

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Backsplash tile expanding to the ceiling is becoming increasingly popular as homeowners incorporate open shelving, it’s a great way to accent the wall behind the displayed items on the shelf.


4. Natural drawer pulls

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Wood and leather drawer pulls play on natural elements. Leather drawer pulls add texture and warmth to the kitchen, a balance with metal and stone elements.


5. Gunmetal, pewter and matte black faucets

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Faucets are quite diverse this year, depending on the appliances and finishes in your kitchen, you could dip into any number of new trends such as pewter, gunmetal, or matte black.


6. Digital tech

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Take advantage of the advances a new year brings with technology. For a small investment, you can sample your favorite wines from the comfort of your own dream kitchen with a single pour preservation system.


7. Vanishing sinks

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Invisible sinks that flow just beneath the countertop are transitioning into kitchens. These sinks vanish within the plane of the countertop with the faucet being the only visible item.


8. Pendant light fixtures

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Pendant lights hanging over an island are the new norm in an updated kitchen. Many designers elect to use large fixtures or repurposed industrial sized fixtures to illuminate with drama.


9. Integrated appliances

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Stunning kitchen and dining room in new luxury home. Wood beams and elegant pendant lights accent this beautiful open-plan dining room and kitchen
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Integrate your appliances by hiding them within cabinets for a streamlined, smooth, cohesive kitchen. You can hide bulky refrigerators, vent hoods and more!


10. Creative storage options

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If you’re taking the time to integrate and hide your appliances, creative storage options are the next step to declutter and add a touch of minimalism.



Design inspiration courtesy of,, and

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter


Our weather in the Northwest can wreak havoc on our homes and water pipes. The last thing you want to invite into your home for the holidays is a plumbing emergency. Take these steps to prevent a costly frozen pipe disaster. 

Outdoor plumbing tips

• Close all foundation vents and fill the vents with styrofoam blocks or wood to prevent cold wind from reaching unprotected pipes. 

• Disconnect garden hoses and be sure to drain all in-ground irrigation systems. 

• Cover outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation. Use molded foam insulation covers, newspaper, or rags and wrap in plastic. 

Indoor plumbing protection

• Check your attic, crawl space, basement and other non-heated areas to insulate and protect. 

• Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and in your bathrooms to allow plumbing to gain more heat from your home. 

• If you’re planning on heading out of town, put your furnace on a low setting to help prevent freezing pipes by keeping the temperature of the home slightly elevated. 

• When temperatures drop below freezing, use a slow drip of cold water to keep your faucet from freezing. 

What to do if pipes freeze

When a pipe freezes it can cause a buildup of pressure inside the pipe, causing it to burst and leak. Safely thaw plumbing lines with a carefully monitored heat lamp, hot wash cloth, or common hair dryer. When thawed, leave a small amount of water dripping to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

What to do if pipes break

• Shut off the main water line to prevent additional water from damaging your home. Open the faucets to relieve any remaining pressure.

• Turn off the water heater and shut-off the valve on the cold-water inlet. 

• If there is any water damage to the area, be sure to clean quickly to prevent mold. 

• Call a professional plumber to repair the issue.

Top 2018 Design Trends We’re Thankful For


The modern home is always evolving. Here are top 8 design trends we are thankful for in 2018.

A Pop of Color

Adding a pop of color in the kitchen allows for a featured item to be accented in a creative way without spending a lot of money. Try painting your island or lower cabinets a bright color. We’re thankful for this trend bringing a bit of a personal touch to any kitchen.


Hidden Appliances

Magic appliances are a new trend catching on to new homebuilders and designers. Homeowners are hiding ‘stainless steel fatigue’ with wood paneling to conceal large appliances. With these eye sores out of view, the space looks and feels larger. Imagine how clean your kitchen would look as you cook a Thanksgiving feast using your disappearing appliances.



A large piece of furniture featuring soft lines, ruffles, and even ruching creates an inviting space while allowing family to gather and fit harmoniously in one space.



Wallpaper has made a big comeback! High-end designers are picking this trend up and embracing it unlike ever before, by creating beautiful statement walls. You won’t see this artsy trend going out of style anytime soon.


Dining Rooms with an Open Floor Plan

Create an open floor plan dining room to instill an impactful sense of togetherness that flows through the space from kitchen to table and allows you to spend more time with family.


LED Lighting

With a new holiday season comes new advancements in tech gear. We’re thankful for the smart technology featuring LED tape lighting. Place a strip under your kitchen cabinets to illuminate your backsplash, counter tops, or to highlight your favorite kitchen gadgets.


Large Tiles

Make a statement with flooring in your bathroom, kitchen, entry-way and more! Play with intricate tile design playing with the lines of the room.


Detailed Ceilings

Creative ceiling designs can range from new crown molding, natural wood or stained shiplap, gold leaf detailing, and metallic painted ceilings. Discuss with an interior designer to find out which element would best complement the style of your home.



Article courtesy of HGTV. com

Images courtesy of

Sell your Home for More Money

Drastically increase the amount of money you make on the sale of your home with these eight easy tips.

1) Price it below market value.
List your home below the current market value; maybe even as much as 5-10%. As a homeowner, you may be reluctant to try this approach, but the results may surprise you. This can be highly effective, create a sense of urgency and drive in even more offers and buyers than you ever imagined.

2) Brighten up the bedroom.
Bring in as much natural light into the room as possible. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the windows in your house, now is the time–inside and out! Replace any burnt out light bulbs and bring in an extra lamp or two.

3) Clean out the closets.
Open up the closet doors, pull everything out, and get rid of 50% of the clutter. If winter has passed, pack away all of your winter clothes. When a buyer opens up the closet doors, they see the available closet space, and not an unorganized, overstocked storage area.

4) Paint the front door.
Don’t let an old, weathered door be a buyer’s focal point. Painting the front door can make a home feel more welcoming. By carefully choosing the right color, you can unexpectedly make your house stand out from the rest.

5) Enhance the landscaping.
To help give your home a boost in curb appeal, spruce up the landscaping around the front of your home. By carefully planning and doing your homework, you can achieve a nice upgrade on a small budget.

6) Stain the deck and driveway.
Staining your deck and driveway is a cost effective way to prolong the life of an area that takes a beating from the weather and heavy foot traffic. It will let the buyer know your home is properly maintained.

7) Paint the walls a neutral color.
Don’t let the color of your walls be the focal point of a room. It will be easier for a buyer to relate to a neutral wall color, and they won’t be distracted by a room that is bold or too loud.

8) Make kitchen improvements.
Kitchen improvements can yield high returns if done properly. Popular upgrades include resurfacing or replacing kitchen cabinets, adding a new backsplash, or replacing outdated countertops.

Article courtesy of

Top 7 Interior Design Trends for 2018


The modern home is always evolving. To get an idea of what it’s evolving to, look no further than what’s happening within its walls today. Here are 7 of the top design trends for 2018.

1) Bold colors

Rich jewel tones are making their way onto our walls and moldings in a big way—think ‘English library,’ but with peacock teal, black, or rich burnt orange colors.

The proof is in the paint: Sherwin-Williams’ 2018 Color of the Year (Oceanside SW 6496) is an intense shade of blue-green, while Pantone recently announced the rich and regal Ultra Violet will reign supreme in the coming year.

2) Mixed metallics

Buyers really love to see modern, eclectic choices such as a hammered copper light fixture above the kitchen island paired with sleek chrome faucets and cabinet hardware.

To warm up the industrial feel of some metals, pair them with a natural stone like marble or limestone, and look for unexpected finishes like matte black, satin brass, black nickel, and unlacquered brass.

3) Bright yellow

As designers, fashionistas, and millennials will all tell you, the hue that’s being dubbed “Gen Z yellow” is the one to watch.

It’ll certainly make an impression, whether a bright ‘minion’ color or a burnt shade resembling turmeric.

If you can’t quite warm up to a bright yellow sectional, test the waters with an accent chair or painted side table.

4) Quartz

In the kitchen, sleek quartz is taking the place of the ubiquitous granite and hard-to-clean marble. Quartz products are appealing to the ease of living that we all crave, and the surfaces are much more modern, clean, and versatile.

5) Light textured wood floors

Flooring trends are moving toward lighter color palettes in domestic American woods such as maple, pine, or hickory.

Why? Light-hued woods, including natural tones and blond and whitewashed woods, brighten interior spaces and easily hide scratches and imperfections, making them a great choice for families and households with pets. For extra credit, choose a distressed or wire-brushed wood, which offers vintage appeal with a less aggressive look than a scraped floor, and choose 5-inch-wide planks, which create a sense of openness and space.

6) Black fixtures

Black fixtures will take the place of brass as the new hot home hardware, predicts Ryan Brown of Brown Design Group in Southern California. The first reason is easy: Black pretty much goes with everything. The second? Black fixtures—especially in matte finishes—are much easier to clean (and don’t need to be cleaned as often) than lighter, polished metals, with no water spots to clean.

7) Large tiles

Larger tile has less grout and is both easier to install and maintain.

Clients want a really clean look for their homes and that doesn’t appear to be a trend that’s going away.

Article courtesy of

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