I’m passionate about “green” living, sustainability, eco-friendly and mid-century modern design. I’ve been lucky to be able to pursue these interests on various trips to Palm Springs, CA, which is a hub of mid-century modern design. Back in February, I was down in the California desert during Palm Springs Modernism Week. It’s a fun week filled with lectures, films, and house tours. Usually the homes are among the most iconic of midcentury modern style.
On one of this year’s home tours, I got to see a home built in 2007 from a true mid-century design. The home was designed in 1955 by California architect, William Krisel, but was built with today’s energy standards and features in mind. It’s a really cool combination of midcentury design matched with eco-friendly energy standards.
The article was first posted on Windermere’s blog where you can read it in its entirety. Hey, if you love midcentury modern. Check out Palm Springs, California sometime and try to make it to Modernism Week. By the way, William Krisel also designed the House of Tomorrow, which became the honeymoon hideaway of Elvis and Priscilla Presley.
Do you think of downtown Bellevue as a drive-through from the highway to the mall? I bet most Eastsiders zoom along NE 8th to the mall. Most have probably never walked around downtown Bellevue. This should not come as a surprise, since downtown Bellevue was designed to accommodate a car culture.
I’ve lived on Seattle’s eastside, near downtown Bellevue for 25 years. I’ve been all over downtown Bellevue. I’ve watched it change dramatically from a handful of tall buildings to a city dominated by buildings, some over 40 stories tall.
But I, too, had never just walked around downtown just for the sake of walking. Bellevue is a great place to walk around and explore. It’s made an amazing transformation from a car centric downtown to a place to live, a destination place, and a great place to walk.
I did that just this past weekend. I walked from the Bellevue Square mall over to the Bravern as part of the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s Bellevue 2.0 tour.
I know a lot about Bellevue’s history and real estate, but I learned a few more tidbits from the two great guides, John Hotta and Eli Lemanski. The tour began at the mall on the second floor of Macy’s in the women’s jeans department. (Kind of fitting for Bellevue, since the mall has always represented downtown.)
It started as an outdoor shopping mall (bet you didn’t know that) was enclosed, expanded, and became one of the top 20 malls in the country. The granddaddy of all arts fairs takes place in the parking garage of said mall. The art fair is a true winner. The caliber of art is far above most art fairs, even if it’s in the mall garage.
From the second floor perch in Macy’s there’s a great view of the downtown skyline. The Bellevue Art Museum is right across the street from the mall as is Lincoln Towers with its Westin. Bellevue Place is just down the street.
You can also see some of the newer “kids on the block,” Washington Square, Bellevue Towers,
and the City Center Plaza from the big window. A walkway begins right across from the mall and can take you almost across downtown, which we ultimately did.
One of the most creative new buildings is the Elements complex. Not only is the exterior fascinating,
if you have a chance to step inside the lobby, it’s quite interesting.
The tour is great in the sense that you are out seeing the city, but wisely takes advantage of many indoor sites for long conversations. We got to see the view from Lincoln Tower and the City Center building. Of course, it was pretty foggy out, so the stellar views of Lake Washington, Seattle, and Mt. Rainier were all behind the fog.
Lots of great questions were answered by the guides and many of the participants, including me, added their share of information regarding downtown Bellevue.
Here are some of the questions that will be answered if you take this tour:
- Where did the bricks come that were used to construct the Bellevue Library?
- What country is planning a consulate in Bellevue?
- What architectural firms were active in downtown Bellevue development?
- Who are Bellevue’s 3 biggest employers?
- What’s going to be built north of the Hyatt?
- Who was Meydenbauer?
- What was the first hi-rise in downtown Bellevue?
- What’s the difference between curtain walls and window walls in skyscrapers? (This one was graciously answered by one of the participants, so that may not come up on your tour)
- Whose wood sculptures can be found decorating some of the buildings and plazas in downtown Bellevue? (one of my contributions, so it may or may not come up on your tour.
- Where was the first Bellevue Art Museum?
You’ll have to take the tour to find out the answer to these questions. The tour is fun, engaging and a nice thing to do on a Saturday morning. Let’s hope the day you take the tour you get to see some of the stellar views available from downtown Bellevue.
Let’s face it, buying a home is an expensive prop0sition. There are different ways to try to save some money when buying a home. One of the issues I see is home buyers not thinking of the future when buying a home. Home buyers don’t think about how a home could save them money over time. Home buyers want a “deal” when first buying a home, which is not surprising, but they often don’t think about how well a home could work for them. There are a few different ways to think about how a home could be more cost effective over time.
For example, most people don’t think about the floor plan or how easy it is to live in a home. Think of buying a home that’s a great deal, but has 4 levels, meaning a lot of running up and down stairs. This style of home is great, but can get tiring, literally and physically. It gets old after awhile when you have to cart groceries and laundry up and down stairs. Most home buyers don’t think about a floor plan that’s easy to live with over many years. But there are floor plans out there that work for a lot of people and a lot of lifestyles.
Enter “Aging In Place.” The name suggests we’re talking about older people who want to stay in their homes. But “Aging in Place” has another term associated with it, Universal Design, design that works for everyone, young and old alike. The teen who breaks a leg playing soccer or the Mom who is navigating the front doorway into a home with a baby stroller and packages are all people who benefit from “universal design,” design for everyone.
Most people think aging in place or universal design has too many restrictions to be attractive to multi-generations. This is not true, if a home is designed and done right. The Aging Well Consortium blog has terrific photos of a variety of homes with universal design elements. The design would easily appeal to most buyers who live on Seattle’s eastside. Plus if universal design features are incorporated into a home when it’s built, it’s not any more expensive to build.
Maybe one way to save money over time when buying a home is to look at a home as truly a long term investment, a home that works for you no matter what may change in your life. Few home buyers ever do this. Moving can be expensive when you’re selling a home and buying a new home because you no longer can stay in your home. Think about it.
What do you think?
(Photos from Zai architect Emory Baldwin’s home.)
A big part of my job as a Realtor is to help home sellers prepare their homes for the market by giving people ways to add value to their home so they’ll get the highest sales price. I’m constantly looking for different and cost effective ways to give sellers options for updating a home. I also encourage past clients to contact me when thinking of remodeling, so I like to keep up with the latest home remodeling ideas.
The Styled, Staged, and Sold blog discusses “hot home products for 2010.” Their list of favorite new home products had great ideas for remodeling, safety, energy savings tips, and locks that can’t be bumped.
Did you know most locks on the doors to your home can be “bumped”open?
Not something you want to have happen with your home. I first heard about locks that can’t be bumped open when a client of mine told me about changing the locks on her home. Her home security alarm had gone off 4 times. She thought it was time to upgrade her home’s door locks to the bump proof variety.
After hearing about this situation from my client and reading about unbumpable locks online, I thought I’d pass this information on. In reading about unbumpable locks, I also learned the brand of “bump-proof” lock you buy for your home should be checked out to make sure it’s truly “bump proof.”
The blog post also talls about some other interesting home products. I really like the metal tiles that could be used as a kitchen backsplash. The tiles come in brushed nickel, bronze, and copper finishes. They looked really cool and could dress up a kitchen for not a lot of money.
The inexpensive crown moldings sounded like they could be a great way to dress up a room.
Stainless steel paint? It sounds like it could be a terrific way to go, but I’m having trouble picturing paint looking like smooth, cool stainless steel. I’d love to know if this really works.
Has anyone tried it? If it does work, it would be a great thing.
Check these home products and remodeling tips out. Let me know if you try any of the items. I’d love to be able to tell people about experiences you’ve had with these products or other cost effective remodeling ideas.
And while you are at it, change your locks!