Lake House Decorating Ideas


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There are few luxuries in life more enjoyable in the spring than relaxing in your beautiful lakefront property. And while your property might have gorgeous lake views and a quiet, peaceful surrounding neighborhood, it’s possible that your home’s decor may be in need of a little touching up. If you’re looking for a few decorating tips, here are a few suggestions to get you started:


  • Play Up Views: Let the view speak for itself. Keep it as the primary focus by adding a neutral design palette without any area rugs or window treatments to take away from the view.

  • Durable Seating: While making sure the color is aligned with your other design choices, you want to have seating that’s durable with minimal upkeep and maintenance. Nothing too fancy or expensive is necessary here.

  • Hybrid: Feel free to infuse your own sense of style with the more classic and crisp white backgrounds that are traditionally found in a lot of lakefront properties.

  • Let Light In: You’ll want to be sure and have as much natural light coming into the home as possible. Not only does it look better than artificial light, but the natural sunlight can help kill bacteria that collects in the room. Some people have removed ceiling beams to bring in more natural light from above as well.

  • Rustic: Dark and wood-based vibes really stand out on any lakefront property, which is why it’s such a common design choice. Bark browns and driftwood grays can really pop, especially in the kitchen.

  • Personal Touch: Every home needs a few personal touches around. It doesn’t matter if your lakefront property is seasonal or your main residence, adding family photos and other personal mementos throughout the decor will give your design a much more comfortable and authentic look.


Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture For Your Space



Any room in your home is only as impressive as the light surrounding it, because without good lighting, the details and features of any room will be underutilized and under appreciated. That’s why it’s really important to take the time to consider all options for lighting a room before you decide. But if you need a few quick tips before you get started, here are some to help you out:

  • Entryway: A large lamp positioned on the floor just outside your front door could provide solid mood lighting at your entryway. For larger entryways, consider using more than one pendant light. But for true elegance and beauty, you can always go with a chandelier as well.

  • Living Room: Large chandeliers and other large, overhead lights are the most popular when it comes to living room lighting. It serves as a focal point of the room it’s in, but just be sure to get one that matches the style and design of the surrounding area so it doesn’t clash with the aesthetic.

  • Dining Room: Low-hanging pendant lights are your safest bet here since they look great when hovering above the dining room table. However, you can also use task lamps or accent lights here if it feels like a better fit.

  • Kitchen: This is a good opportunity to bring in as much light as possible, so it’s likely that you’ll need more than one pendant light in your kitchen. Consider using a combination of both chandeliers and pendant lights for a truly dynamic look.


Unique Hardwood Floor Designs For Your Home


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Hardwood floors are all the rage right now in homes across the country. It not only looks nice and compliments pretty much any home decor, but maintaining it is a lot easier and more cost effective than the hassle that comes with carpeting. But if you’re looking to spruce up your hardwood and give it a bit of a lift for the new spring season, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Distressed Wide Planks: A style that’s increasing in popularity due to the fewer seams, this beautiful style comes in a variety of different wood types.

  • Reclaimed Pine: Mostly found in historical buildings, reclaimed pine flooring has proven to have eco-friendly benefits while also giving your home a much more luxurious look and feel.

  • Maple Plank: Oftentimes found in powder rooms that don’t feature a shower, this hardwood brings out a lot of warmth when placed against a black-and-white linear mosaic tile wall.

  • Red Oak: One of the most popular hardwood flooring choices due to its ability to coordinate with any design style. Especially great for high traffic areas of the home such as the living room.

  • Ebonized Hardwood: A great way to exude luxury into a neutral, contemporary space. Dark hardwoods always tend to create the best sleep black look.

  • Brazilian Cherry: If you’re wanting something that has a more exotic look to it, Brazilian Cherry is quite sturdy and affordable while also offering a multitude of different grain colors.

  • Douglas Fir: If you’re looking for a more comfortable and inviting feel in your home, Douglas Fir wood features a lot of detail in the grain and offers a striking design aesthetic to any space it’s featured in.

HVAC Spring Cleaning Checklist



Summer is right around the corner! And while we’re all looking forward to warmer weather and cookouts with the family, we’re definitely not looking forward to spending more time than we need to on maintenance. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your HVAC is in its pristine condition so that you’re prepared when that warm weather arrives. Here’s a quick checklist that you can use as a reference:

  • Tune-up: It’s always best to have a little preventative maintenance done by having a qualified HVAC technician come by your home to make sure your system is running effectively. This not only lowers your odds of experiencing cooling problems later, but it can also save you some money on your utility bills.
  • Ductwork: When it comes to your energy bills and comfort level, ductwork that’s leaky can really cost you. It’s best that you take a look at yours to ensure that ducts are properly sealed and insulated before you the heatwave of summer begins.
  • Thermostat: A thermostat that’s programmable will give you increased comfort and help you save more on your energy bill. These are great because it allows you to set the temperature for custom times, so you won’t have to worry about wasting anything while you’re not at home to use it.
  • Clean: It’s a good idea to clean up some of the debris that’s collected on the outside of your unit. If you want to be extra effective, you can also clean the outdoor coils by shutting off the power and hosing them down.
  • Air Filter: Your filters should be changed once a month. Dirty air filters block the necessary airflow which causes the cooling system to work harder in order to maintain the same temperature.

Featured Listing: Iconic Waterfront Living



Luxury doesn’t even begin to describe this iconic Lake Sammamish waterfront estate located at 3016 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE in Bellevue!

This expertly remodeled residence lives large and is move-in ready. With 5 bedrooms, 3.75 bathrooms, and 5,360 sq st, you’ll feel overwhelmed at the majestic lake and mountain views that are all visible from the tall walls of windows throughout the home. Plus, you’ll have a kitchen that’s the definition of a “wow” factor with its commercial grade appliances, massive entertaining island, exotic woods, and a stellar sun-infused breakfast pavilion! There’s also extensive use of inlaid stone floors, hardwoods, and Venetian plaster that creates a notable rich, sophisticated ambiance.

But that’s not everything! You’ll also enjoy the pleasures of a welcoming water feature, massive entertainment deck, 2 master suites, a guest suite, bonus room, and so much more! The estate is also privately gated and features a massive dock, so you can take your adventures from your home to the water in no time at all!

For more information on this property, visit the listing page or contact Margo Allan at 206-898-7455.

First-Time Home Buyers Checklist



As spring kicks into high gear, so too does the housing market! Have you been thinking recently about buying your first home? If so, you may find yourself becoming a little overwhelmed at all the tasks ahead. This is completely normal and is a standard part of the process for most first-time prospective homeowners. But here’s a quick checklist of things to go through as you move forward:

  • Debt: Your credit score is going to play a huge role in whether or not you’re able to buy a house. Make sure all outstanding debts are paid and that your credit score is in OK condition. The better your credit score, the better your interest rate on a loan. But keep in mind, if your credit score is too low, you may not be granted a loan at all.

  • Savings: According to experts, you should have at least 20% of the house’s purchase price saved as a down payment. While it’s still possible to buy a house with less than 20% saved, there are way more advantages to being at 20% or above. One advantage is that you’ll likely avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

  • Budget: No matter how much money you currently have in your bank account, you’ll have to account for the long-term, month-to-month, and year-after-year expenses that come along with it. You’ll also have to take property taxes and your homeowners association dues into account as well. Experts recommend working the numbers backwards to make sure you’re completely covered to buy a home financially.

  • Loans: When it comes to loans, most homeowners go with a 30-year mortgage, but others sometimes go for a 15-year loan or somewhere in between. The standard train of thought is that the shorter your loan, the less interest you’ll ultimately have to pay over time. Make sure you crunch the numbers and do plenty of research before committing to anything.

  • Scout: Once you’ve figured out the financials and done all your prep work, now comes the fun part. Start scouting out the different areas and neighborhoods where you would be interested in living, and don’t forget to look up the tax rates as well. Get a feel for the different areas and visit some of the local attractions to give you a better sense of what living there would be like.


Spring Gardening Checklist



Your garden is finally ready to be tended to! It’s time to get out of the house and enjoy this beautiful spring weather while you prep your garden for the rest of the season. There are three key phases you should break your work into, and if this is your first time, you may be a little unsure of where to begin. Here’s a quick guide and checklist to help you find your way:

  • Early Spring: First, you’ll want to check for signs of growth before prepping the beds. You can remove winter mulch, but if it’s well composted you can also rework it into the top layer of soil. Next, you’ll need to prune. You’ll need to do this before buds begin to bloom or you’ll stress the tree and yield a tiny crop. After that, just divide the perennials and perform some basic maintenance before you start seeds indoors and plant some vegetables.

  • Mid-Spring: Start off by building some new flower beds. You’ll want to stop feeding the birds at this point and take down the clean feeders until fall. You can then continue to sow seeds outdoors or possibly even transplant seedlings. Then apply some more mulch. Tip: If you mulch now, you’ll have a lot less weeding to do come summertime.

  • Late Spring: Remove the spent blossoms from the spring-flowering bulbs, but let the foliage die back without removing it. It would then be a good idea to go shopping so that you can pick out flats of your favorite bedding plants. Just remember to pick ones that aren’t in bloom yet. Finish by pruning the spring-flowering shrubs. Trim away the spent blooms and overly-thick branches in order to help rejuvenate some of the older plants.


Tree Care Tips & Techniques



Keeping up with your tree maintenance does more than just help your property look nice. Studies have shown trees can add about a 7% to 19% more value to your property overall. Replacing trees can cost hundreds of dollars as well, so think of your tree trimming like an investment and you’ll already be on the right track. But here are a few good tips is this is your first time:

  • Sometimes Less is Best: The best part about trees is that they’re not reliant on humans to grow. When there’s a lot of commotion around the tree, that can actually cause damage to the roots and growth space. A good note to keep in mind is that roots need two or three times the length of branches to grow enough to support a tree. So don’t do more work than you need to.

  • Observe: Observing a tree over time can tell you a lot about how to maintain it. If a tree has rapid discoloration or any stunted growth, that tells you something. Knowing what your tree looks like when it’s healthy can help your arborist come up with some better solutions. Finding some information online and other resources that give you a guide to trees and their diseases couldn’t hurt either.

  • Weekly Mulching/Pruning: Surrounding the base of your tree with some mulch is usually a pretty good idea. This will protect the tree from overwatering/over fertilization. Just layer the mulch 2 to 3 inches thick, and make sure to keep it away from the bark of the tree.

  • Choose Right Trees: Take the time to do research in the planning stages and coordinate with your arborist or landscaper early on. It’s best to scope out the whole property and perform all necessary measurements to get an exact idea of what trees could be planted and thrive in that location.


Allergy-Proofing Your Home For Spring



Tis the season for allergies! You might have noticed your spring allergies beginning to flare up as the warm weather starts returning, but the good news is that there are things you can do at home that will go a long way in making sure you’re protected from dust, mold, pollen, and other allergens. Here are five steps to allergy-proofing your home:

  • Remove the Clutter: Clearing all the rooms in your home of clutter will do a lot to deter allergens from hanging around. Old rags, newspapers, and clothes should either be put away in storage or thrown out. Plus, this makes it easier to clean regularly.

  • Clean the Air: If you have an air conditioning system, you should be using HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. It’s also best to keep your windows closed when pollen in the air is high, which is usually during the early morning hours between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

  • Bathroom: You should start by inspecting water pipes for any leaks or fixes that need to be done. The walls should be regularly cleaned with a non-toxic cleaner and you should also scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.

  • Reducing Dust: Consider damp mopping regularly while also cleaning the walls and surfaces to limit dust. If you have carpeting, it would be best to vacuum once a week with a cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

  • Smart Landscaping: Adding maple and birch and ash on the landscape won’t do much to serve your allergies. Choose low-allergy trees like dogwood, double-flowered cherry, or magnolias instead.


Must Try Spring Landscape Projects



Springtime is here, so what better time to get started on those landscaping ideas that you’ve had brewing all winter long? With the sun finally starting to come out (and staying out later in the day) there are a number of different things you can try out. Just keep these tips in mind before you commit to any new landscaping projects:


  • Take A Look: Take some time to walk around your property and take notes. Some areas of your yard will want to just be maintained a little more, others will need more extensive work done.

  • Plan Ahead: This goes without saying, but never start a landscaping project without a detailed, step-by-step plan. When you’re going section by section, try to envision how everything will look 5-10 years down the line rather than how it will look once the landscaping is completed.

  • Trim, Trim, Trim: When it comes to plants, shrubs, and trees, early spring is the right time to prune. When you remove the dead or diseased branches, it improves the health of the plant overall and allows sunlight to have better access.

  • Mulch It: After all the hard work has been completed, spread mulch to the flower beds along with your other trees and plants. This will add to the appeal and look while also allowing the plant life to absorb the needed nutrients and retain moisture as well.

  • Maintain: Unfortunately, taking care of landscaping requires regular maintenance or it’s likely to fall back into its old habits. The trick is to create a consistent maintenance schedule, but the real test of your efforts will ultimately be whether or not you adhere strictly to this schedule over time.