Next up in our series of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects: patio decorating. The weather is gorgeous right now and it’s the perfect time to sit outside after a long day and enjoy your patio space. Looking for some great ways to decorate your patio without spending a lot? Here are three simple ideas for creating a tranquil patio environment on a budget.
Shop around for used pieces:
There are a variety of unique used pieces out there if you look hard enough. Check around estate sales, flea markets, or other sales that are known to have one of a kind furniture and décor. For example, there are often oak barrels used for wine that have been repurposed into fantastic chairs or tables. This is the perfect touch for a vineyard-style garden or patio area. Or, look for beautiful restored or handmade picnic tables – they are gorgeous additions to any outdoor space and can be surprisingly affordable.
Summer evenings mean spending more time outside. As the night gets dark, it’s appealing to sit outside and enjoy the warm summer air. The setting sun won’t put a damper on any of your patio activities if you add the right lights. Add ground lighting around the patio area or use some creativity and hang string light bulbs around the area.
Focus on creating a gathering space:
One of the best parts about having a patio space is the ability it has to draw people together. Making your patio space a place of comfort means that people will naturally feel drawn to it and will want to hang out there. For example, wicker chairs can be found for very affordable prices at stores around town and they’re comfortable enough to invite guests to sit in for hours at a time for a fun dinner party. Add soft pillows and throw blankets (perfect for when the night air gets a bit brisk) to the chairs, then find some unique vases that you can use to put flowers in for table decoration. Add a rustic serving tray to serve desserts or drinks on and before you know it, you have a table set for a wonderful and comfortable evening of entertainment outside.
No matter how big or small your patio space is, if you try hard enough, it can live up to its lovely potential, making it a great memory making spot for years to come.
The holidays are in full swing and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun! For many of you, this time of year means decorating your house, shopping for gifts, and doing lots of baking. Christmas is such a wonderful time of year and is full of joy and making memories. Of course, there are usually a lot of holiday parties to attend as well as other concerts or other events that are part of the season’s tradition, which means that you’re probably busy. Even if you’re feeling a little bit over-stretched, it’s important to remember that the holiday season should be a time of giving, whether it’s to friends, family, or people that you don’t know in your community.
This holiday season consider how you can give back to your community. Next time you’re at the grocery store stocking up your pantry, grab extra cans of food and consider how you can help stock someone else’s pantry, too. Local food banks are always in great need during the holiday season, as many families simply can’t afford to put a full meal on the table. Or, if you’d rather do something more hands-on, look into local organizations that serve meals to the homeless in the city, or make and hand out care packages to people that you see on the street. There are also several local organizations that help serve pregnant teenagers or young mothers that are struggling. Donating clothing, formula, baby food, or diapers is a great way to help families with young children that are having a hard time for paying those things. Or, maybe you see a need right within your family. Do you have an estranged family member or a friend that is alone this holiday season? Reach out to them and share the love and hope that is part of Christmas!
From my family to yours, I wish you a very merry Christmas! May you be reminded of the hope of the season!
On any given day, you can walk into the Windermere Room at the Children’s Justice Center in Vancouver and see boys and girls playing and enjoying life, just like any other child. What you might not know is that this center and the play room especially, is a safe haven for children that have been victims of criminal-level abuse. Non-offending family members can bring their children here and get valuable and necessary assistance to address incidents of child abuse. The Children’s Justice Center (CJC) is nationally accredited as a Children’s Advocacy Center and employs a team of well-trained and experienced responders to come together and help the children that have been victims of crime. Staff helps provide health services for child victims of abuse, while also working with agencies and jurisdictions to hold felony criminals and perpetrators accountable by prosecuting through the law and judicial system. CJC staff works with the following agencies in Vancouver on a regular basis:
-YWCA Sexual Assault Program
-City of Vancouver
-Washington State Department of Children and Family Services and the Children’s Center
These agencies, along with the CJC, seek the truth and continually work to protect the rights of victims during investigations. For the last several years, Windermere has been proud to host fundraising events and match funds from the Windermere Foundation to help the Children’s Justice Center. To see the room and how it’s helping kids learn and become happy, well-adjusted children, watch this short video.
If you have driven through this portion of Evergreen Boulevard, you have seen some beautiful historic homes with nicely manicured lawns. The area is lined with mature, stately trees, there are often events happening in some of the buildings, and you’ll oftentimes see tourists and even Vancouver residents walking through the area to immerse themselves in history. Officer’s Row is one of Vancouver’s greatest assets.
What’s the history behind Officer’s Row?
For over 100 years, the homes along this row were used as residential housing for soldiers, officers, and families that were stationed in Vancouver at the Barracks. The oldest homes date back to the mid-1800s! In the 1970s, there was an effort started to save the site and restore the properties. In 1987, there was a $10.9 million rehabilitation effort approved and the following year, tenants began moving in. Today, there are 34 residential units, office space, as well as business space in the various buildings. Windermere Real Estate is a proud tenant of the building on the entrance to the Row at the traffic circle and the company also occupies another building to the west. In addition, many of the homes were originally duplexes that housed two military families, and today you can still see that mirror image as you visit the office space.
What are the specific houses used for?
There are three houses that have been designated for specific use. The first is the George C. Marshall House. This home was built in 1886 for the commanding officer of the Department of the Columbia. In the 1880s and 1890s, it was a popular social destination for military and civic people. George C. Marshall (commanding officer at the Vancouver Barracks from 1936 to 1938) lived in the home. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his efforts in helping rebuild economies in Europe and the Pacific Nations after World War 2. Today, the Marshall House is open to the public and is often rented out for weddings, ceremonies, conferences, and other social gatherings.
The second home is the Ulysses S. Grant House. This was the first home that was built on Officer’s Row and it was frequented many times by Grant when he was visiting the Vancouver Barracks. It served as an officer’s club for more than 25 years. After his incredible military successes, the home was named after him and today it is available to the public. The building also houses The Grant House Restaurant, which is open to the public.
The last home is the Howard House, which is named after the first General that lived there, General Oliver Otis Howard. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War and he worked to help aid former slaves. He also served as the U.S. Army’s Department of the Columbia Commander. The home boasts beautiful Italianate-style architecture.
If you haven’t experienced the beauty and rich history of Officer’s Row, head down there for a walk and visit some of the buildings.
Do you spend a lot of time in your kitchen? It’s likely that your kitchen is one of the rooms in your home that you spend the most time in – especially if you love baking or cooking! The kitchen is a central gathering point in the home, whether it’s with family or special guests. It should feel as spacious, comfortable, and cozy as possible. Making your kitchen warm and inviting is a must-have! If you’re considering a kitchen remodel or if you’re house shopping and curious about what the kitchen trends are in new homes, we’ve outlined what some of the fantastic trends are here.
Color and style that matches: Using colors and styles that coordinate with the rest of the kitchen space, and even tie into the rest of the home is important. For example, if you like darker cabinet colors, brighten it up a bit with some lighter coordinating countertops. Or, if you’re considering a remodel and you have a lot of vintage or antique décor in the rest of your home, you shouldn’t remodel your kitchen to be super modern and contemporary. Instead, look at design styles that are more classic that flow with the rest of your home. Consider what colors or décor will help you easily blend your kitchen style into the other parts of the house.
Bright, bright, bright: One trend that will likely continue is light and bright kitchen spaces. Light cabinets with a lot of surrounding bright lighting are definitely must-haves for many home buyers today, as well as those that are looking to redesign the kitchen area. Using light colors make the space feel more spacious, and it also gives it that crisp, clean look that many people desire.
Light paint: Light cabinetry with bright, bold colors is another trend that is common in kitchens these days. If you enjoy the look of white cabinetry, consider adding a bold or bright color to the surrounding walls like red or orange. This is a fantastic way to accept the space and make it notable.
Open space: Open concept kitchens are very desirable for homebuyers today. When shopping for a home, consider how long you plan on living there. If you plan on living there for years to come, even into the retirement years look at homes that you can grow into and space that is easily accessible when you’re older.
These trends go for big and small kitchens alike. No matter what your style preferences, homes that offer open spaces are usually most desirable, especially for those that entertain a lot and enjoy roomy cooking and dining areas. Kitchens are one of the most important parts of the home and are one of the biggest returns on investment if you choose to remodel, so be sure that you love the space and can envision yourself in it.
If you’ve been in Vancouver for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard about or seen events happening at Esther Short Park. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, Esther Short Park is the “go-to” place for concerts, The Farmer’s Market, and festivals. It’s the oldest public square in the state of Washington and it’s a true gem! It was established in 1853 and its five acres includes a lovely rose garden, a large children’s playground, a 69-foot bell/clock tower, the historic Slocum House, a large green space and stage, and a large fountain system that is popular with kids in the warm summer months.
Who was Esther Short?
Esther Short lived in Vancouver with her husband Amos & their 10 kids. They “jumped a claim” near the present-day downtown area of Vancouver – the land was part of a larger area of land that was owned by American Henry Williamson. When he left for California, he left his caretaker David Gardner in charge of the land. Gardner and Amos Short began arguing over the land and Short killed Gardner, but was later acquitted of any crime. Short became a judge and claimed the disputed land for himself, but shortly after that died in a shipwreck on his way back from San Francisco. Esther Short filed paperwork to claim the land and eventually got part of the land (present-day Esther Short Park). She also owned land that is now part of the Port of Vancouver.
In the 1990s, the downtown area in general was on the decline and Esther Short Park was known for being a home to transients. It was messy and not maintained, and there was a lot of drug activity that was going on in the park. The crime rate was high there and there were a lot of 911 calls that originated from the park. However, George Propstra saw potential for the park. He donated $2 million to help improve it, then donated $1.3 million to build the bell tower. In addition, when Royce Pollard began work as the mayor of Vancouver in 1996, part of his city revitalization project included a revamp of Esther Short. The park received $5.67 million in direct aid and $220 million of capital funding. This money allowed for redevelopment of the park and the surrounding area and Pollard began hosting a series of events that showed that the park was now a great area to bring families. It took a while to rebrand the park’s image, but in time, it has been transformed into a great public area. In 2013, it was even named as one of the nation’s “10 great public spaces” by the American Planning Association.
Have you been to Esther Short lately? If not, check it out! The park is a busy place! Families and individuals from all parts of Vancouver frequent the space – whether it’s just for a simple picnic on the green space or for gathering locally grown fruits and veggies at the weekly Farmer’s Market.