Contingent Sales


A contingent sale is when something must happen before a house can be sold. There are many contingencies within a normal transaction- inspection, appraisal, financing. The contingencies that are more of a challenge are when 1 house has to be sold before a new one can be purchased. Here are my tips for making multiple transactions flow smoothly and everyone has an easy move!

  1. Start shopping before you sell your house: Are there houses you like, in your price range, and enough of them coming on the market that you can reasonably assume there will be a house you can buy once your current house is pending?

  2. Prep Prep Prep your house for sale: This will need to be a quick sale, with highly motivated buyers that are willing to sign off on waiting for you to find your dream home, before they can buy theirs. Clean, do repairs, move out as much as you can, get a dumpster and throw everything away, have a garage sale. Paint, stage the house, clean up the landscaping.

  3. If you find your dream house first: Make an offer contingent on the sale of your current home, and it has to go on the market in x number of days, usually 10 or less. Did you Prep Prep Prep? If not, then get to work, or price your house accordingly.

  4. See the Big Picture: If you want to sell your house for the maximum amount, then work with me to see when that is in your neighborhood, how to make your house pop, and make the improvements buyers value. If you already found the dream house, then the price on your current house may be lower, but you’ll get the dream house. Also, pricing lower may lead to multiple offers, buyers that are willing to wait for this house because of the deal they are getting on it, and backup offers so you don’t have to go back on the market if the 1st buyers walk away.

  5. Rent Backs and Closing Dates: Be open from the beginning with all sides. How long will it really take you to move? Do you need to hire a moving company to make it happen in one day? What kind of cleaning does each house need? The best thing is to ask for extra, and then be able to let the new owners of your house have it early. The closing dates are usually 2 days apart, shoot for a early in the week, and early in the month, title and mortgage companies will be less busy and able to focus on your closings happening on time.

  6. You are Unique: Every house, buyer, seller, family, is unique, on all sides in contingent sales. What is important to you? What is important to the sellers/buyers? Be generous where you can, real estate karma is real, and giving up things that don’t matter in the long run will get you into that dream house in a positive and happy way.

Mayor Wheeler on How Portland is Addressing Housing Issues

Today I received an email from the office of the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler. I haven’t been as attached to Mayor Wheeler as I have previous mayors (I miss always seeing Sam Adams around town) but I was excited to see what the 10 things the City is doing to address housing issues. I think we will need a lot more than 10. But it’s a start! Here’s what Mayor Wheeler sent out:

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“Like many cities, Portland, Oregon has had a massive influx of new residents in the last decade. More than 100 people move to Portland every day-and more than 100,000 more are projected to move here over the next 20 years.

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This growth is undoubtedly exciting: Portland is often listed as one of the most desirable places in America to live. Situated in a park-like setting, thanks to the green trees, parks, and the various rose gardens Portland is known for, visitors and new residents alike enjoy our creativity evidenced through our celebrations, our maker culture, and our pioneering spirit. This has created an economic draw for many of our visitors and new residents. The Seattle Times recently called Portland's economy "transformational." Forbes called Portland the best place in America for careers and business.

I'm taking on these challenges. So are mayors across the country. It is our responsibility to grow smart, which we are doing by protecting renters, preserving existing units, and producing new units.

Here are 10 ways Portland is tackling housing-along a spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, and creating affordable solutions along that spectrum. We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities:

  1. We are implementing a fee on short-term rental units, including Airbnb, to create additional homeownership opportunities. Because short-term rental companies have a significant impact on the availability of rental units, we are modestly increasing the fee to create a dedicated fund for homeownership opportunities in our gentrifying neighborhoods in our community.

  2. We are leveraging Portland dollars to create 1300 units in five to seven years with a Housing Bond. We are delivering well ahead of schedule on this promise-announcing four projects totaling more than 560 units of permanently affordable housing planned or purchased to date under the Bond only 18 months in. We are also pushing for a constitutional amendment statewide to allow us to leverage our dollars by combining them with private resources to create more housing units.

  3. We are implementing Tax Increment Funding in urban renewal areas- We have over 600 units (and hundreds more on the way) in the construction or permitting process in our urban renewal districts.

  4. We utilize public and private sector partnerships to increase housing opportunities. Portland continues to work with longtime partner Kaiser Permanente, who recently joined Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment. Kaiser committed a record $200M into a new community investment fund to preserve and expand affordable housing.

  5. We utilize methods of creating permanent affordability. We continue to partner with our local land trust housing provider, Proud Ground, and our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for Portland area residents.

  6. We work with local and state agencies to create funding availability for permanent supportive housing units. This funding opportunity marks the first-time funding to build affordable housing has been bundled with funding for the services residents will need to thrive in that housing. By packaging construction capital and support services funding together for the first time, the City and its partners hope to achieve a minimum of 50 permanent supportive housing units.

  7. We are using a Smart Cities PDX Priorities Framework to ensure our growth is equitable. As the City evaluates new technologies, uses of information, and related partnerships, we must ensure they promote equity, address inequities and disparities in our city, and provide tangible benefits to the people of Portland. We intend to expand this framework into how we approach housing-promoting equity and addressing inequities and disparities in our city.

  8. We are increasing renter protections with an expungement program. The pilot program reduces barriers for those with a criminal record trying to rent homes and increases access to housing opportunities. Those with violations, misdemeanors or low-level felonies are eligible for expungement.

  9. We leverage market rate developments to include affordable housing. The Multiple-Unit Limited Tax Exemption program incentivizes those with market rate developments in the pipeline to include affordable housing units in their projects, so we can more quickly put more affordable housing units on the ground.

  10. We utilize Inclusionary Zoning.  We require any new development of 20 units or more to have affordable housing units included in the development.

We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities because I want to ensure that Portland remains a city that is accessible and affordable for everyone. I don't want millionaires to be the only people who can afford to live downtown. I don't want service industry workers to have a two-hour commute. I want a city where we actively create housing options at every income level and for people of all ages.

Portland City Council has consistently voted in favor of more housing despite otherwise important and competing values-and I want to be clear that our efforts have paid off.

Annual production and permitting levels are higher than at any point in the last 15 years. In 2017, there were 14,000 units in the production pipeline, including permits. More than 600 affordable housing units came online in 2017-more than double the number of units in the prior year.

And this year will be another record year. There are currently more than 700 newly affordable units under construction and slated to open in 2018. This will be the largest number of affordable units ever produced by the City of Portland in a single year in modern history.

As Mayor, I will continue to prioritize policies to protect renters, preserve existing units, and produce new units.  

-Ted Wheeler”

So, there are a lot of things in the works, including a lot more affordable units, but what else can we do? I think putting social workers in our public libraries would be helpful! And paying more taxes to have more money to put towards all of these projects, but I’m a Democratic Socialist, so I always think that the state supporting people is a good idea.

New Listing Alert!


Golf course view in a private townhouse with room to garden, brand new kitchen: floor, cabinets, countertops, copper sink, all new appliances come with the home!

This jewel townhome has so much storage and more space than you expect. Rare 3 bedroom floor plan, large living room, balcony off master bedroom, new real bamboo floor, new carpet upstairs. Look out at the 5th tee on the Gresham Golf Course from the very private patio and balcony. Fantastic HOA, heated pool, grass lawns, and you can fence in an area for dogs or make your own garden!

See more photos and the 3 D Tour here

2074 NE Hogan DR, Gresham OR 97030 | $209,900 |  ML# 18073011

3 Bedrooms  |  1.5 Bathrooms  |  1296 SQFT  |  Attached Townhouse

Hall Elementary School  |  Gordon Russell Middle School  |  Sam Barlow High School

Country Club Estate Townhomes  |  $400 per month  |  Covers water, sewer, garbage, commons, insurance, landscaping, management, heated swimming pool


Neighborhoods to Buy Where Prices are Dropping

 1.  St. Johns/Portsmouth, Portland  In the 97203 ZIP code, there were 150 sales. Homes spent an average of 22 days on the market, and the median sale price was $378,125, down 0.5 percent from $380,000 a year earlier.

 1.  St. Johns/Portsmouth, Portland

In the 97203 ZIP code, there were 150 sales. Homes spent an average of 22 days on the market, and the median sale price was $378,125, down 0.5 percent from $380,000 a year earlier.

Foster-Powell/Woodstock, Portland  In the 97206 ZIP code, there were 254 sales. Homes spent an average of 23 days on the market, and the median sale price was $399,000, down 0.7 percent from $402,000 a year earlier.

Foster-Powell/Woodstock, Portland

In the 97206 ZIP code, there were 254 sales. Homes spent an average of 23 days on the market, and the median sale price was $399,000, down 0.7 percent from $402,000 a year earlier.

Central Beaverton  In the 97005 ZIP code, there were 83 sales. Homes spent an average of 18 days on the market, and the median sales price was $345,000, down 1.4 percent from $350,000 a year earlier.

Central Beaverton

In the 97005 ZIP code, there were 83 sales. Homes spent an average of 18 days on the market, and the median sales price was $345,000, down 1.4 percent from $350,000 a year earlier.

Sellwood-Moreland/Richmond, Portland    In the 97202 ZIP code, there were 170 sales. Homes spent an average of 27 days on the market, and the median sale price was $525,500, down 10.2 percent from $585,000 a year earlier.

Sellwood-Moreland/Richmond, Portland

In the 97202 ZIP code, there were 170 sales. Homes spent an average of 27 days on the market, and the median sale price was $525,500, down 10.2 percent from $585,000 a year earlier.

A few neighborhoods around Portland are cooling off, and now through the winter is a great time to get a deal! Values aren't dropping drastically, but the market has cooled off after a hot spring. What do you think of these neighborhoods? 

Fairway Mortgage and Dwell Realty Announces Partnership


Hi guys! My name is Chelsea Collier and I’m a Mortgage Advisor with Fairway Mortgage. As a benefit to Dwell Realty clients, Fairway Mortgage is now offering a $1,000 credit toward your closing costs when you close your purchase loan thru us. In addition to this, Fairway offers competitive rates, excellent customer service, and some of the fastest turn times in the industry, closing in as little as 10 business days!  
A little about me: I am a native Oregonian with over 12 years of experience as a Mortgage Lender. During this time I’ve seen it all; bruised credit, awesome credit, and everything in between. My goal is to make every client feel comfortable and excited about the home buying process, regardless of your past or the complexity of your finances. I also have an excellent track record for helping my buyers get their offers accepted in 1-2 tries despite a competitive marketplace (ask about my VIP pre-approvals). 
I’ve been featured in Portland Monthly Magazine 4 times for the Five Star Mortgage Professional Award for the years 2014-2017. I have a 5 star rating on Google, Yelp, and Zillow from past clients who’ve been ecstatic regarding my assistance. I would be happy to help with your financing too! Give me a shout and I’ll see how we can meet your goals.        

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     Chelsea Collier
Loan Advisor | NMLS ID 258317  Fairway Mortgage
12817 SE 93rd Ave Clackamas, OR 97015
│ Cell: 503-997-5373
│ Email:
│ Web:

New Cully Park Anchors NE Neighborhood


There's a brand new park in NE, and it's making Cully even more desirable and liveable! I've lived in Cully for 9 years, and boy has it changed. There are still a lot of unpaved roads, and hardly a sidewalk to be found, but this jewel of a park is adding to the already thriving coffee shops, remodeled grocery store, and spruced up houses.  Cully Park includes a Community Garden, NE 72nd Greenstreet, off-­leash dog area, parking lot, play area, trails, fitness course, overlooks, north slope habitat restoration, picnic areas, and youth soccer field, and the Native Gathering Gardens.

I took my girls last weekend, and we had a blast! The water pump at the sand pit is ON, so Ramona was wearing my sweatshirt as a dress after she got soaked. There is an awesome big hill with multiple ways to climb up, big and little kid swings, lots of shaded seating, big and little slide, and 2 Portland Loos. 

One of the most unique aspects of the park (and neighborhood) is the proximity to the airport. From the bridge and hill you can watch planes take off and land, and go most of the way down the runway! There is an active railroad right next to the park, and Columbia BLVD has all sorts of truck traffic, so your transportation obsessed child will be satiated. The paved walking/running path has a few loops, and is great for young bikers. 

I'm so thrilled to have another great park in Portland, one that mixes all access aspects with challenges and imagination boosters. Our Parks Department is one of the best! 

Home Loan Down Payments

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Down payments are the main place to start when you are planning to buy a home. How much do you need and where does the money come from? My number one piece of advice and information: Most of my clients and friends get down payment assistance of some sort, whether its from family, and IDA, or 401k. Conventional loans start with down payments at 3%. This means that with the median Portland house price at just over $400,000, will need a minimum of $12,000. This doesn't include the closing costs- depending on taxes and loan costs, could be another $10,000-15,000. Here is a brief look at the down payment options:

1. Family: Buyers that are not Baby Boomers (I'm not going to write a Millenials post) often get a cash gift from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, or family friends. This is so very very common, don't be shy to ask! Rents and student loans make it really tough to save large sums of money these days. Family can also co-sign a loan if they would like to have a more vested interest in the house. I've had several clients who were families, the older generation was buying the house cash and then doing a payment plan for the younger ones to buy the house from them. You can also do a mortgage after buying cash, but use the ease of using cash to beat out other buyers in a competitive market. 

2. 401k- It's not my favorite option, but you can pull funds from a 401k or other retirement savings plan. I like this if the mortgage is going to be less than the rent was, or you have another plan for saving more money and reimbursing the retirement savings quickly.

3. IDA- Individual Development Accounts are matching savings accounts you can utilize through the Portland Housing Center. They are meant to be used for at least 6 months, and are a 3:1 match! I recommend using other mortgage brokers than PHC, but I have some great referrals for you! This program is fantastic if you are 6-12 months away from buying, you can add a lump sum at any time and then more money monthly or with paychecks. 


Adorable Sellwood Cottage

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 This adorable Sellwood cottage has so much to offer. Not only is it cute and in a fantastic, hot, close-in neighborhood, it also has a brand new kitchen! The sellers were planning on staying for a long time, but had to move out of state for work. So, the new owner will benefit from this well thought out kitchen remodel. There are brand new cabinets, quart counters, raw edge wood slab shelves, butcher block counters, large tile flooring, and brand new stainless steel appliances. 

The large great room addition is a surprise for every one who comes to this home. Vaulted ceilings, oversized windows, and sliding doors bring the backyard oasis inside, and heated, stained concrete floors are durable and visually compelling.  

The basement is ready for a master suite! 

The City of Portland Home Energy Score is an 8, out of 10. A certified energy auditor assessed the home and it's systems, and gave it an 8 out of 10. The R-44 insulation in the attic, 96% AFUE gas furnace, and double paned low-E glass windows helped the home earn such a high score. Read the details here:

Come visit me Saturday and Sunday, March 17th and 18th, from noon to 3pm for the Open House. 



Portland Market is Still Hot, but Nothing Compared to Seattle!


Do you ever feel like Portland is always looped in with Seattle, but as a slightly behind, quaint, lesser, suburb, wannabe? When it comes to the rising house prices, that's turning out to not be a bad thing! Let's take a little walk through some of the statistics! Seattle home prices have increased nearly 9% since January 1st, 2017, leading all cities. Portland is at a not shabby at all 7%. To put this in context, 3% per year is the average rise in home prices year to year since the 1970s. 

Our population is growing, but the growth in GDP is not as great as the other hot market cities. This is a little worrisome, but unemployment is so so low, 3.7% in Portland, 4.2% in Oregon, that salaries will hopefully start going up soon. 

The median home price in Portland is $404,500, and in Seattle it's $708,600. 

You guys. 57%. The median house in Portland is 43% lower! So we don't have professional baseball or football. We have a smaller opera, ballet, etc. Less big boats. I'm ok with this! 

Let me know if you want to get a foothold in our amazing little city! 


Home Energy Scores Are Coming


A new and interesting step in selling your Portland home is coming next month. The Home Energy Audit is intended to let buyers compare homes more accurately. 

As of January 1, 2018, the City of Portland will require that all homes within the city limits attain a home energy score from a qualified home energy assessor prior to going on the market. Similar to how miles per gallon can quickly convey how efficient a car is, a home energy score is intended to let potential buyers know how efficient a home is.

The Home Energy Score is a measurement of the energy efficiency of a home based on an onsite evaluation of the physical characteristics of the house. A Home Energy Score is not a measurement of the household's actual energy usage, which is influenced by occupant behavior. 

If your home scores a 5, it is expected to perform comparably to an average home in Portland in terms of energy use. If your home scores a 10, it ranks among the 10 percent of homes expected to use the least amount of energy. A home scoring a 1 is estimated to consume more energy each year than 85 percent of homes.

Scoring a 1 does not mean your home is poorly built. A beautiful home with up-to-date equipment can still get a low score if the square footage is high or if there is insufficient insulation. A low score just means there is significant room for improvement to reduce a home’s energy use. Scoring a 10 does not mean your home cannot improve. Even a home that uses less energy than most of its peers may benefit from additional energy efficiency or renewable energy investments. 

During a home energy assessment, the home's heating and cooling equipment, ductwork, water heater, insulation, windows and roofing are examined and collected data is entered into a program. A score of 1-10 is generated for the home in question, as well as recommended improvements that can raise the home's score and increase efficiency. The assessment is not destructive or invasive. 

There are several inspectors who have been certified, and I've seen costs ranging from $150-200. That's not bad compared to a pre-listing home inspection ($400-600). If you have any questions about selling your home, or obtaining an audit, please don't hesitate to reach out to me! 

I've Found a New Home

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I have found a new home! It's been 6.5 years since I moved brokerages, and I have never really shopped around seriously. I just took the next step right in front of me. This week, starting Monday morning at 9am, I started to really explore where I could fit in and be encouraged to grow to be the best Realtor in Portland and SW Washington. I found that place at Dwell Realty. The culture of a brokerage I'd really important, and I know it is tomy clients as well.

Portland Is for Pets

Portland: It's raining. Also, we have cats and dogs.

In fact, Oregon is one of the few states in the nation with more cat owners than dog owners, but Portland proper belongs to the hounds.

We're tied for first in the country with the most dog parks per capita (slipping a bit from 2012, when Portland led that category "fur and away") and our dog ownership rate is 38.8%.

But dog parks and catios are only part of what makes a city statistically welcoming to our canine and feline family members. WalletHub recently performed this ridiculously in-depth study on the nation's most pet friendly cities... and Portland is ranked all the way down in 26th place! This, despite receiving very high marks in both the "Pet Health & Wellness" and "Outdoor Pet-Friendliness" categories. That part at least makes sense, as we've got posh day spas for both pups and kitties.

Turns out, regardless of its many pet amenities (or perhaps because of them), Portland is one of the most expensive places to own a domestic creature. Portlanders typically love to spoil their fur babies with premium, natural foods and accessories. Additionally, our veterinary care costs are among the highest in the country. So it's a great place to be a pet and a vet!

As any pet owner will affirm, looking for a new home involves consideration for the happiness of any animal family members. The next time you're thinking of entering the housing market, I'd be thrilled to incorporate your pet plans into your overall strategy!

Fall 2017 Market Update

Autumn has arrived in Portland and the cooler temperatures are also extending to our local real estate market. Not to worry, I'm here to help you navigate it successfully. If you're looking to buy or sell in 2018, now is a great time to start forming our strategy!

Overall, the local market has cooled off over the summer and into fall. We currently have the largest number of homes on the market since January of 2015. This is rather unusual, as we typically see a decrease in inventory going into fall and extending into winter. The present increase in available homes is largely due to houses either being overpriced or having unaddressed issues that buyers won't accept.

Homes are selling at the slowest rate since January of 2015 and more than half the properties on the market are dropping their prices after going live. The average amount of time a home spends on the market is up to 37 days now.

But this isn't a doom and gloom post. Well presented homes at an attractive price point are still capturing the interest of multiple buyers, bolstering the final selling price. It's all about finding the perfect strategy for your home, your neighborhood, and staying ahead of the market.

If you're considering buying (and maybe took the summer off due to competition), now is a great time to start looking again. We have more inventory than we've had in years, there are fewer competing buyers, and inflated prices are coming down. Let's find the perfect home for you before the end of the year!

I'm always available to pull the most recent market data and chat with you about your real estate goals. It's truly no trouble at all. I love learning about your specific objectives and helping you achieve them. Please consider me at your service for anything related to your home!

Spade & Archer Sets the Stage for Your Next Adventure

Like many of the small design-focused companies that have flourished in Portland in recent years, Spade & Archer is a product of the recession. In 2008 when Justin Riordan, an architect, saw signs of a layoff coming at the company where he worked, he realized that there were no other architecture jobs to be had in Portland. He decided he might as well create his own dream job. He asked himself, "If you could do anything in the world and didn't have to worry about money, what would you do?" The answer: "I would rearrange people's furniture." But he realized that the only time people actually spend money on that type of thing is when they're getting ready to sell their houses. Home staging was the answer. He called his husband and told him they were starting a company - he even had a name for it. A month later Spade & Archer was in business. He's been busy ever since. The company has recently grown to Seattle and Palm Springs, with 22 employees in all. It's not surprising that the business is a success. Justin is the type of person that you warm to quickly, and trust easily. He is poised but genuine, practical and extremely well-organized. He expanded the business slowly, with the directive from his executive coach to replace himself in every aspect of his job - with the ultimate goal being that the business would run even better if he took off for six months. He quickly learned that the secret to a successful business is hiring the right people. Justin admits that it was trial and error at first, "I am a terrible flirt, I fall in love with everyone I meet. Great for marketing, but bad for business. The people we hire have hard skills but they're also really good at handling pressure."

First located in the 4,000 square foot house Justin shares with his husband and two children, the company finally outgrew its premises one Christmas when Justin's husband balked at the mattresses stacked in the middle of the living room. The furniture inventory is now housed in a 4,000 square foot warehouse just a few blocks from their home in Portland, with a 6,000 square foot warehouse in Seattle. Spade & Archer doesn't yet need a physical location in Palm Springs, where they focus mainly on vacation rentals. Justin's team fully furnishes an entire vacation home in two days and has it ready to go on day three.

I asked Justin how he convinces people that their house will show better and they'll get higher offers if they hire a home stager? Wrong question. Justin's principle is "we don't sell, we educate." The analogy he uses is that if you walk into a Gap store, you're willing to pay more for the crisply ironed and folded shirt than you are the one crumpled up in the corner. There's a buyer for both shirts, but the buyer of the crumpled shirt wants a bargain, while the person buying the nicely ironed shirt is willing to pay full price. Spade & Archer is not selling the crumpled shirt. One of their recent properties went for $340,000 over asking, the highest amount ever in Seattle's history. So the ultimate problem is not convincing people that staging works, because it's pretty apparent that it does, but convincing people that they are not the client. Homeowners like to give their opinion of what they like and don't like but Justin (nicely) tells them that, ultimately, of all the people in the world who are going to buy the house, they are not one of them. Instead, Spade & Archer is really really good at designing for their clients' clients. In other words - the buyer.

Spade & Archer's business model is a reflection of Justin, being somehow both methodical and quick at the same time. Each office has a creative director who is in charge of the day to day operations and overall setup of each project; and two design managers who are the profit centers for the office. They're in charge of sales (ahem; education), design and installation. They meet with clients, pick out everything that goes into the house, and implement the actual staging - they are the 007s of Spade & Archer. Everybody in the entire company works to support them. For each design manager there are 2-3 warehouse people who move and arrange the furniture. The company runs like a well-oiled machine.  

Consultations are always free. Spade & Archer understands that they are first and foremost a service provider, and secondly a design provider. They operate on the premise that it doesn't matter whether the space looks great if the client hates them in the end. If the client enjoys the process they're going to come back time and time again, so they make the entire process as seamless as possible. Clients book a consult through the website, by clicking a button that says, appropriately, "book a consult." It takes them straight to the Spade & Archer calendar where they pick a time and date that works for them and 90 seconds later have a confirmation. Consults take an hour and the client is given a price based on the size of the project. An average house, which includes 3bd/2ba, living and dining room, kitchen and family room, is about $3400 for the first month and $1,000 for each additional month. Once they give clients the pricing they never contact them again, especially since 80% of their clients are realtors. "We understand that real estate agents' most valued asset is their time, and phone calls from us will just drive them away," Justin explains. As soon as a client calls the date goes on the calendar. The last thing they do is send the client a check reimbursing them for anything they didn't use. So if you paid for 30 days and you only used 15 you get payment for the other 15 days back.

They average about 80-90 houses at any given time in the summer, and 40 in the winter. There are six houses staged each week in each office, and six houses that are de-staged every week. They work four 10-hour days per week, starting at 7:15am. Trucks are loaded and ready to go by 8:30-9am. They go out and stage, come back, put everything away and might pull some things for the next project day and they're done by 6pm. The crews have it down to a science at this point.

Spade & Archer clients see, conservatively, a threefold return in 30 days. If a client invests $10,000 in home staging they get a $30,000 return on investment in a month. A client in Seattle who used their services for a year reported a seven-fold return in 30 days. You might think that with that kind of a return, the furniture must be exotic and crazy expensive, but Spade & Archer isn't selling furniture, they're selling houses - they are also committed to buying local. Justin started the company with the concept of purchasing furniture with the lowest number of product miles. Product miles are determined by where materials are extracted, where the piece is built and where it's sold. A piece of furniture made from materials sourced in Russia, which are shipped to China for manufacturing and then to the U.S. for sale have an astronomical number of product miles, whereas a piece of vintage furniture sold at a local Portland shop is at zero product miles. Ninety percent of the Spade & Archer inventory has less than 10 product miles. Each office also produces under four square yards of trash per year - in fact all of the offices together used one box of copy paper last year. Being designers, they're also creative in their how they reuse materials. If a piece of outdoor furniture becomes too worn to be usable, they cut it up and make it into picture frames. They use things over and over and over, with virtually nothing going to waste.

Spade & Archer designs for the client's client. They show how the house is used, so buyers understand the purpose and scale of every room. They enhance strengths and detract from weaknesses and make the home memorable in the minds of potentially overwhelmed buyers. They determine the demographic for each house partly on what the schools are like. If the elementary schools are great but the middle and high schools are terrible, they know the potential buyers will be 25-35 years old with either a very young child or no children. If the elementary school isn't great but the high school is excellent - the buyers will be 35-45 with older children. If a college is nearby grad students or professors might be in the demographic. Once they determine the potential buyer, they design for that buyer. If they're in the baby boomer generation Justin's team knows they can't use vintage radios and typewriters because that's their parents' old junk. But for millennials it's their grandparents' super cool stuff. So they're always concerned with what the buyers' parents' aesthetic was so they can stay away from it, because, Justin says, "You hate your parents' design aesthetic, but you love your grandparents' style. If I can get an age for a potential buyer I know how I'm designing."

Cultural differences matter too. A house in Hillsboro that might appeal to Intel employees will include a large Indian population. Justin's team is aware of how they need to design to that market, and know what colors or other design elements to avoid, such as hanging a mirror in a bedroom, which is bad luck. Feng shui is very important too; an open toilet seat literally means money going down the toilet. With the huge influx of Chinese buyers heading into the Portland market from Vancouver, it's more important than ever to understand these cultural differences. In fact Justin thinks that every realtor interested in capturing this market should be brushing up on WeChat, China's version of Facebook.

The Next Adventure apartment looks like it's been gleaned from a Wes Anderson movie set. This look is not "standard" Spade & Archer, which according to Justin, "acts mostly as a backup dancer as opposed to the headliner." In the case of the Next Adventure apartment the client needed more because the apartment was both dark, small and outdated, with metallic wallpaper and grasscloth everywhere. Justin's team treated the project like a concept car, not something that people are going to drive around but that everyone wants a chance to sit in. Everything that Spade & Archer put into the apartment was purchased specifically for the project, which gave them a chance to try new ideas and break their rules a little bit. The recent tenants were a young hipster couple with a little kid so they decided to design for them. Their concept was that the apartment was like a cabin on a cruise ship, a place where you store things and sleep. During the day you go on fabulous adventures and come back at night to recuperate before your next day of exploring. The family would use the apartment as a landing base before embarking on their next adventure. There's a map with pins in all the places they've traveled, photos of the family surfing, the couple's bedroom is an apres-ski love den, and the kids' backpacks are at the ready above their beds. They're doing what everyone else wants to be doing. "We make people feel like they can be that family, even if it's just for 7 minutes, just long enough to make an offer," says Justin.

Five More Questions for Justin Riordan


What are your favorite sources for design inspiration?

Everyone in the office reads Martha Stewart Living, not because of her great design concepts, but because of her advice on homekeeping. Clients will call and ask questions such as how to get rid of dents in a carpet. You put ice cubes on them and let them melt over the course of a day so water is slowly leaked into the fibers. Come back the next day and run a vacuum over the area and they're gone.

Design-wise, there's a magazine called World of Interiors that is way out there in terms of what's going to happen in design 10 years from now. Elle Decor and House Beautiful are good for what's happening right now or six months from now. We stay away from magazines like Dwell, Real Simple, and Sunset because they talk about what's popular at this moment right now and that moment is over in terms of design. So we're constantly trying to stay ahead of what's happening in the industry. There's a pin board above every design managers desk. They're encouraged to tear out pages and put them on their pinboards and use those ideas in their designs.


Any other influences?

The series "Transparent" has a great design aesthetic. "Dear White People" has fantastic costuming and set design. I get a lot from movies, television, and plays. I love looking at what 19-25 year olds are doing in terms of fashion. It tends to be that interior design follows fashion by about 5 years, and 19-25 year olds tend to be 2-3 years ahead of fashion. Right now this demographic tends to wear clothes that don't match, it's all ironic, nothing is tailored, what's ugly is beautiful. If you look at the Next Adventure space, that's ugly is beautiful. So, being a 42 year old gay man wearing a pastel plaid tie, you have to forget about what you like and look at what someone else is going to like, so that's a huge source of inspiration.


Worst design crimes?

The worst design crime in home staging is thinking that you're the client. I had a homeowner whose bathroom was sponge painted pink and gold - a DIY project. All her friends told her they loved it, but I had to tell her that it looked like feces had been smeared on her walls and needed to be painted over. The worst design crime is believing your friends. They have absolutely no reason to be honest with you because they'd rather spare your feelings.

We also don't want to alienate buyers by creating a feeling of us vs. them, so anything political, college or sport team-related is not allowed. An example was a house that had a huge Oregon State Beavers flag in the living room. When I told the owner that they'd need to take down the flag he refused. Why, the owner asked, was Justin a Duck? No, I'm a Rainbow, I went to the University of Hawaii. No, we have different priorities - I want to sell your house and you want to root for a football team. People can have a hard time letting go of control when they see three humongous guys in grey shirts come in to stage their house. People are incredulous that these guys can do a better job than they have.


What is the range of house prices you've worked on?

High: 22M

Low: 186k studio


Best tip for staging?

Practice empathy. Put your feet into your buyers' shoes, and think like they think. Try to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to make a full price offer on the house. Because when you're a seller with only one product and it happens to be the biggest investment you've made in your entire life, you may want to think about who your client is.


Next adventure?

I'd like to have offices up and down the west coast.

Written by Melissa Moran

Celebrate NW Architect William Fletcher

Post and beam construction, floor to ceiling fireplaces and windows, pitched roofs; these are just a few notes you might have found in a mid-century architect's house plans in 1960. They're also the distinct features of modern homes built during the era and are part of what shaped the style known as Mid-century Modernism. Its innovators broke from architectural styles of the earlier century in that mid-century architects looked to bridge indoor and outdoor landscapes in ways not seen to that point.

In the Pacific Northwest, architects like William Fletcher lead the charge in designing these homes and were met with unique regional challenges in light and rugged landscapes. Fletcher and other Oregon contemporaries John Yeon, Pietro Belluschi, John Storrs and Van Evera Bailey helped shape the NW Regional Style of architecture, sometimes referred to as Northwest Modernism.

Next month Restore Oregon hosts their annual Mid-century Modern Home Tour which celebrates mid-century modern homes and this year's tour shouldn't disappoint as it marks the first time William Fletcher's residential works have ever been open to the public. The tour will feature several homes where tour goers can see period details, construction and Fletcher's style.

Of the tour and why Restore Oregon chose to spotlight William Fletcher this year, Director Peggy Moretti explains, "We wanted to recognize the many ways Fletcher shaped the Pacific Northwest Modernist movement, and to celebrate his work in a meaningful way."

Fletcher began his career in 1955. His influences stemmed from the works of Mies van der Rohe and the International Style movement. He went on to open a practice in downtown Portland on 14th street, Fletcher, Farr, Ayotte, now known as FFA Architecture and Interiors. There Fletcher worked alongside other noted architects, Saul Zaik, Donald Blair, John Reese, Frank Blachly, Alex Pierce and designer George Schwarz. They loosely became known as "the 14th Street Gang" and together worked on residential and commercial projects spanning the decade.

Fletcher's style reflects modernist principles of the time. His homes were constructed of native wood found in the Pacific NW and incorporated geometry and proportion into the environment of each site. His designs worked with the landscape and made use of placement to create light-filled buildings, Fletcher later designed The Rex Hill Winery and Black Butte Ranch where he incorporated many of the same features.

Restore Oregon's Mid-century Modern Home tour is in its seventh year and has grown. "In our first year, we had several hundred attendees and attendance has more than doubled since then. We feel this presents Oregon's interest and appreciation of these vintage places. Our mission is to preserve, reuse, and pass forward the historic places that make our communities livable and sustainable."

"We are proud to add pacific northwest modernism to our list of places that are meaningful for Oregonians," says Moretti.

This year's self-guided tour takes place on Saturday, September 23rd. Ticket holders will have complimentary access to two companion events: a lecture on "The Life, Works, and Legacy of William Fletcher, Master Architect Who Shaped Pacific Northwest Modernism" and an exclusive after-tour party hosted by Rejuvenation. The lecture is open to the public without a tour ticket for a suggested donation of $10.


Event Details:

Mid-Century Modern Tour of Works by William Fletcher

Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 10am to 4pm

$45 General Admission / $35 Restore Oregon Members

Ticket purchase required; includes complimentary lecture and after-tour party


Lecture: "The Life, Works, and Legacy of William Fletcher, Master Architect Who Shaped Pacific Northwest Modernism"

By Troy Ainsworth, Principal of FFA Architecture and Interiors, Inc.

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 6pm to 8pm

Held at Design Within Reach

825 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Open to public; $10 Donation (Complimentary with purchase of Mid-Century Modern Tour ticket)


After-tour Party: Celebrate Fletcher at Rejuvenation

Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 6pm to 7pm

Exclusive after-tour party open only to Mid-Century Modern ticket holders

Held at Rejuvenation's Flagship Store in SE Portland

1100 SE Grand Avenue

Portland, OR 97214

Collaboration in Color


Collaboration, creativity, sustainability, and integrity. These are the four principles guiding Colorhouse paint, a local, independent paint company with a unique mission: to make the world more colorful and less volatile.

Colorhouse was founded in 2005 by Virginia Young and Janie Lowe, two artists who had originally started a business called YOLO Paints. They spent all day in rooms thick with fumes from the paints they were using, and were coming home at the end of the day exhausted, with headaches and sore throats. Their concern over the toxicity of their materials fueled their research into healthier options, which lead to their immersion in Portland's budding green building community.

At first, they experimented with making their own paints out of rice and other organic materials. The process was interesting from an artistic standpoint, but the product ended up being costly and inconsistent. They started talking to both paint chemists and green chemists about creating a paint that was safe to use, environmentally responsible, and of the highest quality, and so Colorhouse began!

"We really are the first paint company to combine greener paint with beautiful color," says Puji Sherer, president of Colorhouse and Chief Color Nerd (favorite colorhouse shade: Thrive 0.5, a soft green inspired by the St. Johns bridge.) "It's not just what's in the can. Everything we do is from a green perspective." The can itself is made from recycled materials, with 100% post consumer, chlorine-free labeling. Their headquarters uses renewable energy, and boasts the gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating, as well as numerous other certifications for sustainable formulas and practices.

When the company first launched, there wasn't much public knowledge of Volatile Organic Compounds (the toxic chemicals that evaporate out of paint at room temperature, also known as VOCs) and other toxic chemicals found in conventional paint products. Educating consumers on this topic has helped to propel the entire paint industry in a healthier, more sustainable direction.

Now, regulations have been created requiring all manufacturers to reduce their VOCs, and safer, greener paint is no longer such a niche product. "It's awesome that we've really helped to change the paint industry. And so now, we're looking at how we can take this a step farther," says Puji. "Larger paint companies have either focused only on color or only on the green. For us to combine green and color with the high quality paint has been our biggest success."

Puji moved to Portland in her early twenties, after graduating college with a B.F.A. in painting and ceramics. She jokes that it was after moving that she realized she might not have gotten the most practical degree, and started wondering what she was actually going to do with it. "I distilled down the thing that I'm most passionate about, and it's color. And the most practical application of color in our lives is paint!"

She started apprenticing with a local paint contractor to learn more about coatings, technique, and interior design. Inside people's homes, she'd analyze the colors they picked, and why it was or wasn't working with the space. From there, she moved on to doing color consulting on her own. That's when she met the founders of Colorhouse and became their first employee. "They brought me in, and I've been here ever since!"

Throughout her time with the company, Puji has been involved in sales, customer service, marketing, sample production, color trend forecasting, and more. As Chief Color Nerd, her current focus is on developing new colors and palettes, often in collaboration with other local businesses.

For this process, the business they're partnering with will put together a general mood board, featuring a selection of photos, items, pantone chips, and paint colors from other companies. From there, Puji uses her artist's eye to relate those colors to existing Colorhouse shades that are working well, and create some new samples.

Paint samples are created in a machine that adds up to twelve different pigments one drop at a time to a quart of base, then mixes everything up. The software Puji uses breaks everything down into a color formulation, that can be fine tuned to perfect every hue. "There are a lot of colors that don't make it," Puji says, flipping through a stack of rejected swatches. "They can be too boring, too muddy, too peachy, too golden. I come more from an artist's background so I really had to train myself to do all the careful records in the accounts."

Eventually, the colors are narrowed down into a palette for their collaborators, who make the final selections. This overall creative process can take about ninety days before production even starts on a new color.

Colorhouse paint can be found all over town. Nedd Ludd, a craft kitchen in Northeast Portland, was painted in the morning, and was open again, serving dinner to the public that very evening. Bee Local, an artisan honey company, needed a paint for their beehives with a clean formula that wouldn't be harmful to the occupants. This inspired Colorhouse's beeswax palette: a collection of warm, earthy yellows and tans.

They have teamed up with Pendleton, Revolution Designhouse, the Joinery, the Land of Nod, and many others. They're always working on diversifying their color collaborations, and will soon be releasing some exclusive palettes for One King's Lane, an online home decor company.

When creating a new color for their own line, a lot of what Puji looks at is fashion, which can help forecast color trends. She also draws inspiration from travel, and from visiting new restaurants that pop up around town. The colors are intentionally designed to be timeless backdrops for living.

"We try to simplify the color choosing process, because a lot of those colors in typical paint stores don't really look that good when they're up on your wall." Unlike other paint centers, the colors are curated, making the selection process less overwhelming. Puji and the Colorhouse team believe that painting a home should be fun, and have striven to remove all obstacles to that. "There's the painting part, where if you have a low quality product, it makes that process even more painful because you're doing so many coats. When you open up a can of Colorhouse you can really tell the difference in the quality of the product. It's how it levels, the coverage that you get, how it flows."

Painting a home is one of the biggest ways to transform it, and it's also the most affordable. "We design our colors in a way that makes it so you don't have to be afraid of adding colors. Don't just go with the standard white everywhere. Color offers the opportunity to express yourself and your individual style. It's a really cool creative outlet!"

In addition to its four main principles, the brand offers an accessibility that you can't find elsewhere. Their headquarters, warehouse, and showroom share a building in Northeast Portland. Sun streams through their front window, illuminating the neatly organized paint samples in their cozy storefront. From behind a desk, Puji's dog Goose, the vice president of morale, (favorite colorhouse shade: Thrive .03, an exact match to his tennis ball) taps his tail in lazy greeting. They do all the DIY projects and photoshoots for their website right there, in the warehouse, without hiring bloggers or influencers to do it for them. Colorhouse is a company made for (and by) passionate people, who together are making the world more colorful, and less volatile.

"We are inspired by color and creativity and we want to share that," Puji says. "And I think that that translates to people."


Written by Jane Hartle

Photos by Mark Coffin

What Market Trends Mean for your Mortgage

CNBC (the news network) recently reported that mortgage applications were down 6% in June. This week over week number fails to note that mortgage applications are still up 7.8% when compared year over year. Even though interest rates are approximately .375% higher than this time last year, demand remains high. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) expects home prices to rise another 4% in 2017, after a healthy 6% increase last year.  

So why are applications down? Lack of inventory!


Homes are again viewed as a good long-term investment. Even those paying private mortgage insurance on their mortgage are enjoying massive home appreciation. The average home buyer in the US is earning $13,000 per year in equity. In Portland, Oregon where prices rose nearly 13% in 2016, homeowners earned over $46,000 in home appreciation last year alone.

But what if rates go up? Mortgage rates change quickly with the economy, and with shifts in market sentiment. Mortgage-backed securities (MBS), the Wall Street asset upon which mortgage rates are 'made,' have been waiting for a reason to move one way or another. This has rates on shaky ground.

The average conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage started June at just 3.95%. That's down 7 basis points (0.07%) compared to the first week of May. These rates are down considerably as compared to January, when the thirty-year rate hit 4.20%. It's still an advantageous time to be a buyer, but it may not stay that way for long.

MBS pricing responds to various economic influences, including the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, jobs market reports, geopolitical concerns and forecasts for the new administration's stance on economic issues. The Federal Reserve hiked rates on June 14th, and we could still see one more rate hike before the year end. The hike will immediately raise costs for homeowners with a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or any other debt based on Prime rate.

Fortunately, there's no such direct relationship to mortgage rates. Over the last two decades, the Fed Funds Rate and the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate have differed by as much as 5.25%, and by as little as 0.50%. The Fed influences fixed mortgage rates, but doesn't control them.

We don't expect dramatic 30-year fixed mortgage rate swings after the Fed meetings. Rather, markets build in hikes long before they happen. The Fed makes its move known long before the meeting itself, in a series of statements and speeches by Fed members. Massive swings occur when the unexpected happens!

Mortgage shoppers should take note. Waiting for rates to go down could be an unwise move. The Fed, armed with every economic report available, says rates will only rise in coming years; 2017 could be the last opportunity at sub-4% rates in the next few decades.


So what is the mortgage industry doing in response to this high price, low interest and low inventory environment?


I serve two desirable markets limited by lack of inventory: Portland and Bend. Average median home prices within both city limits are increasing rapidly, forcing buyers to look outside to the surrounding areas for affordability. Those who do choose the city center are willing to pay for it. That means jumbo loans are back and very competitive.

During the mortgage crisis, jumbo loans all but disappeared. The ones that remained came with insurmountable guidelines for homeowners to meet. High down payments, interest rates, and credit standards made jumbo loans nearly obsolete. But jumbo loans have re-entered the lending landscape. In fact, jumbo mortgage rates are now nearly as low as conforming rates.

What is a jumbo mortgage? A jumbo mortgage finances loan amounts over $424,100 (the conforming loan limit in OR). Conforming loans meet guidelines established by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and can be easily sold to investors. A jumbo mortgage is often retained by the investor, and so the person with the money gets to make the rules. The underwriting requirements are similar to conforming guidelines but they are very detailed with less room for exception and often require some additional documentation and time needed to complete. It is a very viable loan product with competitive rates, but only for organized buyers who can accurately document their ability to qualify for it.

Other loan types have emerged to assist with this higher priced market as well. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have rolled out new programs for a wider array of buyers. An option called HomeReady requires just 3% down and is available to those with modest incomes.

Guild Mortgage has also recently announced a 1% down conventional loan. It is still structured as a 3% down conforming loan but the buyer's personal contribution is only 1% and Guild Mortgage will contribute an additional 2% via a forgivable grant for the qualified buyer! The buyer moves in with 3% equity for only 1% down payment from personal funds.

For mortgage applicants with student loans, Fannie Mae has introduced easier qualification standards. Also, a Student Loan Cash-Out refinance program is now in available, with which homeowners can use their home equity to pay off student loans.

Not to be outdone, the government-backed VA home loans offer lenient credit requirements and are available to home buyers who have served in the U.S. military. There is no down payment necessary, and no monthly mortgage insurance charged.

FHA loans are still extremely popular for first-time homebuyers. Flexible lending requirements allow new graduates to obtain an approval just after starting their careers.

In this environment, finding the right home may be more difficult than financing it!


This piece was generously written by Brent Lucas of Guild Mortgage.

Guild Mortgage Company is an Equal Housing Lender NMLS#3274. Brent Lucas NMLS ID#590610 397 SW Upper Terrace Dr., Suite 150 Bend, OR 97702 ML-176. The information provided herein has been distributed for education purposes only. The positions, strategies or opinions of the author do not necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of Guild Mortgage Company or its affiliates. Each loan is subject to underwriter final approval. All information, loan programs, interest rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Ranch House Renewal

By Jane Hartle

It is not every day that a seller chooses to go with the lowest offer. Around here, with property values skyrocketing, it's practically unheard of. But that was the case for Dan Rosen, a local art director who brought a tired 1964 ranch house back to life, transforming it into a vibrant, light filled home with a seamless blend of modern and retro features.

Originally from London, Dan moved to Portland from New Orleans seven years ago. His background is in graphic design, for both print and digital media. He's also the percussionist in a band -- don't miss Arrows in Orbit at the Mississippi street fair at the end of July. You can see some of his design work around town; he created the signage for Pip's Cafe in exchange for what he describes as a mile long gift certificate for donuts and coffee.

Upon first moving to Portland, he purchased an older style Craftsman home. It was nice but completely finished, offering little room for creativity and customization. Dan began his search for something that would better match his aesthetic.

Three years ago, the mid-century ranch house wasn't much to look at. The paint on the exterior was fading and it needed a new roof. Inside, the original gray wall-to-wall carpeting wasn't doing it any favors. The living spaces were small and closed in, the bathroom awkwardly designed, and the kitchen was suffocated by old linoleum flooring and cabinetry. It was untouched from when it was originally built.  

But Dan saw something more in it. "I loved the house," he says. "I could see the possibilities."

Dan's offer was outbid by several developers, whose intentions were to demolish the house and build several condos in its place. Emboldened, Dan wrote a letter to the sellers, the home's only other owners. He outlined his plans for the house and the untapped potential he saw in it, describing how instead of tearing it down, he planned to restore it, holding on to many of the original features. Miraculously, it worked. Dan bought the house in August of 2014, less than a month after it went on the market.

"There's this sort of trend to just not bother with dealing with what you have, and to just to knock it down and start again." Dan says. "It's nice to do something positive instead of tearing something down. I mean, I could have easily tore it down myself and created condos. But then, I wouldn't have got the house."

The first step in the home's transformation was planning. Before the actual building started in February of 2015, there were months of design work and time spent hunting down and restoring the features that complete the look. Instead of buying things new, Dan tried to track down vintage or secondhand items whenever possible, saving money to use on other parts of the restoration. Items were selected to match with the original features he decided to keep, like the cheerful pink bathtub that truly embodied the home's mid century style.

"For instance," he explains, "I have this 1950's pink sink that I found. It's like the Cadillac of sinks. This thing is not going anywhere, it's cast iron." That was discovered at a building center on Mississippi, the matching toilet was found on Craigslist, and the pink accent tiles that brighten the bathroom floor were actually free samples from a specialty store. The single vintage pink subway tile that serves as a focal point in the shower was the only one of its kind Dan could locate, and it was originally much wider than any new tiles, and had to be very carefully shaved down to match the other ones.

Before moving in, Dan found a treasure trove of round light fixtures from the forties and fifties at Hippo Hardware. Someone else might have walked right past them: they were in terrible condition and at some point they'd been sprayed with silver metallic paint. Once that had been removed and they'd been polished, they looked good as new.

It's safe to say Dan has mastered the craft of finding hard to find things. "It was part of the fun and the challenge of it," Dan explains. Working on a budget, it was important to prioritize where to spend money, and really think about the best way to achieve his goals.

Of all the aesthetic changes that were made to the living areas, perhaps the one with the biggest impact was redoing the floors. Dan's real estate agent suggested he look under the worn carpeting, at the wood floors beneath and sure enough, they were pristine. By bringing down some walls between the kitchen and the living room, and extending the gorgeous hardwood floors throughout, Dan was able to create a much more open plan.

In the kitchen, the fantastic viking stove (another Craigslist find) and white subway tile backsplash complement the ample cabinetry that Dan installed himself. Removing unnecessary closets created more counter space and room for the sink, and a skylight floods the area with natural light. He kept the inside spaces bright and airy by sticking to white walls, countertops, and cabinetry, setting the scene for colorful artwork and furniture.

He had a contractor, but since Dan's job allows him to work from home, he was able to help out on site all the time. Living in the construction zone wasn't easy -- there were a few days while the kitchen was being redone that he had to go without a working sink, doing dishes in the washing machine.

"I don't really want to go through that again, not to that extent," Dan laughs.  

Once the dust began to settle, Dan's focus turned towards decorating. The boldly colored and patterned furniture is true to the mid century theme of the home. Like the appliances, much of the furniture is refurbished, reupholstered, or reconditioned. One chair even came from off the sidewalk destined for a trash pile. Not unlike the house, Dan saw the bare bones of it and immediately knew that with a little patience and the right materials it could be transformed into something really special. "The people helping me work on my house at the time were like, I'm not quite sure what you're doing here! They were used to throwing all this stuff out."

Last summer, the yard and garden areas had a complete overhaul, with tall grass and shrubbery being replaced by recessed flower beds, tidy concrete walkways, and a sunken fire pit. Although the home is mostly finished, Dan says he is far from done with his projects. His future ideas include converting a bus into an ADU on the property either as a guest house or an Airbnb, revamping his study, and designing and opening up a bar.

Dan speaks of the knee-jerk reaction he got from people who heard he was doing work on his home. It seems like the assumption is that if you're upgrading, it's because you're planning to sell. Sometimes though, it's more than that. It can be about creating a space that reflects your personal style, or preserving an architectural time capsule from the past, or simply doing something positive.

"It's a modest house," Dan says, "but there's a lot of love that's gone into it."

This full feature appears in our July issue of All Things Real Estate magazine. To learn more, email

School Modernization and Equity for a Future Portland

by Kelley Schaefer-Levi

As the historic buildings of Portland and century-old public schools require repair, updating and expansion to accommodate a growing city and the needs of students, Portland Public Schools (PPS) is working with local designers, architects, contractors, school administrators, staff and alumni associations on creating schools that will accommodate the future of a changing Portland. The 2012 PPS School Building Improvement Bond is funding modernization projects around the city. The most recent of them is Grant High School in NE Portland.


Construction on the new Grant High School has just begun, but the planning has been in the making for almost two years. The design and master planning of the high school renovation has been a community effort, progressive and collaborative in nature and has included an extensive engagement process over numerous public meetings.

Beginning in the fall of 2015 through the spring of 2016 a series of public design workshops and open houses took place providing the Grant community a voice in the schematic design process where students, staff, alumni and the neighboring communities provided input on what they hoped to see in a modern Grant High School. The Grant Design Advisory Group held regular meetings throughout this time to provide feedback for the modernization process. From design to management and development, the project embodies innovation and equity. "The {Grant Modernization} project is one of the most progressive that I have worked on, from the women in leadership roles to the MWESB {Minority-owned, Women-owned, Small Business} joint venture with Colas Construction, to the inclusive culture of the school," says Emi Day of Mahlum Architects.

The overall building design will maintain Grant's historic exterior facade, including replicating the original 1923 windows, and the new additions will have a contemporary application of the same material palette, and follow the historic window rhythm. Housed in the new athletics wing will be brand new main and auxiliary gymnasiums, weight and locker room facilities, a new band room, and covered bike parking. The historic 1923 gymnasium building will become an Arts Complex containing ceramics, graphic design, printmaking and photography studios each with access to ample daylight from new windows and the historic skylight.

The library and science buildings will be demolished so that the lower level will become a light-filled space where students can convene in the commons and courtyards. The auditorium renovation was a major priority for the community, and will be updated with state-of-the-art theater equipment. The PPS Educational Specifications require 500 seats and the Grant Advisory Group decided to maintain the existing auditorium to keep as many seats as possible. Furthermore, the campus will be one of the first high schools nationally to achieve 100% gender-neutral toileting, a testament to the community's commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

The campus will include additional outdoor areas that will be open to the public. The majority of classrooms will be located on the second floor, allowing views to nature from inside. One of the Design Advisory group's main goals was to blend indoor and outdoor spaces to enhance the quality of the learning environment and deepen our connection to nature.

Grant's remodel focuses on daylight, accessibility, technology and modernization. In the public design workshops, the Grant community prioritized the need and desire for state-of-the-art facilities in all disciplines that meet Grant's high-level leadership in curriculum and developing programs designed to prepare students with skills that will take them into future. Technology is at the center of the design where architects like Day of Mahlum has been advocating for digital displays in the public spaces where students will be able to connect to relevant content, whether it's a custom welcome wall, digital playbill, details about an upcoming event, or a school-wide alert on monitors in the common areas.

These public spaces will also become an access point for students who may have hearing loss or different learning abilities. Historic team photos that once lined the halls of the high school have been digitized and could also be displayed as part of showcasing Grant's long legacy. Grant Magazine articles and video could also be prioritized and could tell student and staff stories in the newly designed commons, lobbies, and gallery. Day explains, "There is so much digital content that Grant students create already. Grant has risen to the challenge of creating and curating authentic, meaningful content which is full of youthful, provocative questioning. Students are writing {and publishing} critically acclaimed stories that celebrate the voices of Gen Z. We want to take that culture of excellence and bring it to the forefront.  It must be part of the public experience of Grant High School." While the budget doesn't allow for the entire technology package, the community will likely see the value in becoming a truly digital campus.

The project will accommodate 1700 students. This number is specified by the district in the Educational Specifications for all new and modernized PPS high schools. The increase in student population is anticipated to grow and the new campus will add room for an additional 200-300 students.

Construction will begin in the summer of 2017 and the work will last for two years, with the modernized Grant scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. The spirit of inclusion and diversity along with public interest in creating a school that moves Portland into the future is at the heart of the project. At the groundbreaking ceremony the excitement was palpable. Says Day, "I am so inspired as a woman of color in architecture and construction to see women in top decision-making roles. The construction team was handing out t-shirts with EQUALITY across the chest, and I could really feel the momentum of change!"

This full feature appears in our July issue of All Things Real Estate magazine. To learn more, email

June 2017 Sneak Peeks

Less is more. This month's sneak peek gives you one gorgeous, cozy Craftsman before it hits the market! It's my pleasure to give you a jump on the competition. If this home catches your eye (I can't imagine it wouldn't), please reach out and we'll get you an exclusive viewing. Got something else you're looking for? Let me know and I can set up an automatic search to alert us as soon as your specific dream home hits the market!



Artisan Craftsman in the Milwaukie area -  $560,000

Your Craftsman dream home! This two story artisan home has too many special features to mention. Open floor plan includes the kitchen featuring hardwood countertops, dining room, living room, three bedrooms, full bathroom and laundry/mud room. The beautiful open staircase takes you up to a large master ensuite, another family room and office. All situated on a beautifully landscaped, private lot!


Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2.2 Square Feet: 3,035