Happy Valentine's Day

kim I’m feeling a little guilty that I have not participated in the “Romancing the Home” theme as requested by Dustin.

My Valentine is Kim Harris. I do not need to ask him to be my Valentine as I know every minute of every day that he loves me with all of his heart. For those of you who think he looks familiar, prior to being in Real Estate, he was the founder and long time owner of Easy Street Records, a Seattle mainstay. The two remaining stores in West Seattle and Queen Anne currently owned by his stepson, Matt. He also “founded” Queensryche from some Redmond High School kids who hung out at this store on Bel-Red Road and managed bands for many years including Econoline Crush popular in Canada.

My “home” is in his heart.

Romancing Ballard

Before being interrupted, the contributors of Rain City Guide were having a nice little series on Romacing Our Homes. Seeing how tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d sum up things and add one more article on my neighborhood! So what type of romance did rain city guide contributor’s share?

On to Ballard…

ballard rr crossing

Anna and I simply love living in Ballard. We’ve both lived in different parts of the country (and the world!), but we’ve never lived in a place quite like Ballard. It offers a great mix of urban features (walkable neighborhoods with lots of coffeeshops, bakeries, art houses, farmer’s markets, etc.) without feeling too urban. For a relatively young family, it offered us a wonderful opportunity to own a home with a big yard and great neighbors! Thank you Ballard!

In addition to the year-round Farmer’s market in Downtown, Ballard hosts three festivals that are a lot of fun:

If you’re looking for more on Ballard, check out the post I wrote last march on the Ballard Community as well as this post Anna put together on the history of Golden Gardens! (Interesting stuff!)

Quicker than a Ray Of Light

I’ve had the opportunity to live in Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Carnation & Issaquah since I first left my alma matter back in the days of when Mosaic ruled the web. However, of all those places, I’ve loved my current home the most.

What do I love about my current home in the Issaquah Highlands, you ask? To quote a cell phone company’s ad “It’s the network”.

fiberWe’re talking about the only housing development in the Pacific Northwest that I’m aware of that has fiber optic network connectivity in to the home. The community’s network is run by the Highlands Fiber Network (although ISOMedia is my ISP and Ecuity provides my VOIP service).

One of the nice things about a community owned network, is that the operators of the network are more focused on customer service than profitability. We probably have the best performing residential network in the county. Are you ready for HDTV over IP? I didn’t think so. If that wasn’t cool enough, our network traffic goes straight to the Westin building in downtown Seattle, so it’s very reliable (I’d say it’s very close to ‘five nines’ level of uptime). BTW, if your ISP is Qwest, Comcast or Verizon, your internet traffic usually goes to San Jose first, before it comes back to Seattle (which leaves you vulnerable to backhoe denial of service attacks).

Nearly every room has a phone jack, cable/satellite TV jack, and an ethernet jack. All of the cables get routed into a wiring closet in my master bedroom. So equipment upgrades are pretty painless. Even cooler, some outlets have 2 TV jacks, so if you have a dual tuner TIVO, you can record 2 TV shows at once, or watch live TV while recording a show on another channel at the same time.

Perhaps, best of all my network speeds are FAST. My download speeds currently approach 10 Mb/sec (typical DSL speeds are about 768 Kb/sec). My ISP says I could go even faster if I was willing to pay for it (contrary to popular belief network bandwidth isn’t free).

Yeah, the eco-friendly building materials, the gas stove w/ stainless steel appliances, the clawfoot tub, the easy access to I-90, the nearby parks, the new elementary school and kid friendly neighborhood were all things that my wife & I both love about the house & the neighborhood. But you can get all that stuff in many neighborhoods.

So, if you’re tech savvy person with a family, and want a nice place to live, look no further than here. Builders (& their real estate agents) are standing by.


Bedtime Stories…

What I enjoy most about our home are the many places where our family gathers to share stories. Some of the places include our the kitchen table, our computer room, and our deck. But the place that I’ll always associate most closely with epic stories is our living room.

Taken by itself, our living room is nothing unusual. It is not too big, not too small… It includes two couches, a rocking chair, and a fishtank that takes up way too much space. What makes our living room is not the stuff or the size, but rather the time that our family spends here almost every evening reading stories.

Sasha's Book Shelf

We’ve spent countless hours observing Harry Potter (barely) make it through the 5th year of school… We’ve helped and been helped by Aslan in the land of Narnia an numerous occasions… We’ve been fortunate to travel along with Laura and her family from Wisconsin to the Oklahoma Territories to Minnesota to the Dakota Territories

I only have to think of the many enjoyable nights we’ve spent sharing stories with a roaring fire in the fireplace and the rain pouring outside to remind myself why I love our living room!

Please feel free to join us on the day’s leading up to Valentine’s Day as we romance our homes by discussing some of the many ways we love our homes and neighborhoods.

Romancing the (City) Home

In September, my wife and I bought a condo/townhouse across the street from the Pike Place Market. There’s lots to love — the beautifully landscaped interior courtyard (it’s in Market Place North), the great neighbors, the not-so-grueling commute (a 7 minute walk). However, best of all is living by the Market. Last night on Rick Steves’s travel show, he featured Paris in the springtime. Accompanied by a Parisian guide, he walked around the Rue Clare neighborhood to the many food merchants (the butcher, the fromagier, etc. etc. etc.). The Parisian talked at length about the superiority of such merchants in comparison to a supermarket. “Hey!” we said, “it’s just like our house!” Now if only my cooking skills approached the food resources at my doorstep…

We love you, Home! Happy Valentine’s Day! xxoo
Tiff and Craig

Fruit at Pike Place Market

My Home

“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

My heart will always be connected to the place my daughters where born, and where my wife and I have watched them grow. There are a thousand memories that have blended with this place. In many ways our home feels like a trusted partner that has help us along the way.

Romancing the Home

I’ve been inspired by Bill Wendel of the Real Estate Cafe to explore the theme “Romancing the Home!” during the next couple of weeks that lead up to Valentine’s Day. My hope is that some of the contributors (and readers) will use this as an opportunity to talk about the things that we love about our homes!

[photopress:girls_walking.jpg,full,alignright]I’ve had a great email correspondence with Bill for a while now and I always find him to be exceptionally knowledgeable and full of inspiration. Last year, he built a Valentines Day blog that is filled with wonderful stories including one about the Valentine’s Day parties that he would celebrate with his daughter every year.

When real estate blogging, it is so easy to get caught up in the investment value of a home that we can easily overlook some of the more subtle benefits. No matter how hard we try, most of us choose our home based on considerations that go beyond getting the best deal… Maybe we want on a home with a fireplace… Or a home in a nice neighborhood… Or a home with a great school system…. Or a home with a large kitchen. All of these things represent features that make our homes special.

So what makes my home special? Things that come to mind include our family room where we spend many nights reading stories around our fireplace, our neighborhood filled with great kids, and our garden where we’ve spent many a wonderful spring day after a rainy winter.

I encourage you to share you’re stories as well as check back in over the next two weeks as we spend a little time romancing our homes!