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Better Than a Dog Run — Yard Ideas for Your Four-Legged Family Member

Selling Your Home 101

When it comes to selling your home, it is always a good idea to have a home inspection first before you put your home on the market.  Here’s why:

C-1 Photo

  • When was the last time you went into your attic? Poor ventilation in your attic can lead to mold issues.
  • What about your crawlspace? Dry-rot can lead to big issues if not replaced.
  • Check to make sure your hot water heater has the required earthquake straps.
  • Curb appeal is a MUST to get potential buyers interested in your home. Investing in curb appeal is one of the most important things you can start with. Make your house stand out from all the rest!
  • Cleaning your gutters is one of the items an appraiser will call for to have done.
  • Has your roof been cleaned recently? There should not be any moss growing there.

“It is always a good idea to have your furnace cleaned and serviced,” noted Leslie Swindahl of Hawkins Poe .

If you find any of these issues, you will want to get them fixed as soon as possible. Once you have addressed health and safety issues, it’s time for a Hawkins Poe REALTOR® to come and look at your home inside and out. Our REALTORS® will always make sure you are well taken care of.

When it comes to selling your home for the first time, this is when a Hawkins Poe REALTOR® is your best choice to help you through the process. When you work with Hawkins Poe, you can expect friendly, professional service that includes in-depth knowledge of the area and the current market conditions, outstanding communication skills along with the ability to aggressively market, manage and negotiate for you!

The Simple Tweak That Led Me To Get Rid Of 25,000 Items

August 17, 2017 5:35 

The Simple Tweak That Led Me To Get Rid Of 25,000 Items Hero Image
Photo: Trinette Reed

Back in 2010, my life looked pretty great (on paper). I had a lovely, happy baby girl, I was married to a wonderful, hardworking man, and I was running a small hand-made jewelry label. We had recently moved to the mountains, were currently renovating, had just returned from a Fijian holiday, and I was pregnant with our second child.

I knew how lucky I was. And yet I was filled with a bone-aching despair. Life was pushing down on me so hard that it took my breath away, and I couldn’t figure out why. All I knew was that I was constantly striving for more. More stuff, more toys, more clothes, more busyness, more, more, more… Somewhere along the way I’d learned to equate more with success and success with happiness.

A few weeks after our second child was born, I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression. Looking back, I’m fairly certain I’d been struggling since before our first child was born but had maybe been a little better at hiding it or convincing myself that it was what life was like as an adult, a partner, a mother.

As part of my treatment, I spent an hour a week with a psychiatrist. It was during one of our sessions that I began complaining about everything I “had” to do in life. All the things I needed to achieve, own, do, or be. All the ways in which I could never sit still, never be present, and never fully soak in the joyful details of my own very lucky life. There was always more to do, and I was tired.

She looked at me for a moment and asked, “Have you ever considered simplifying your life a little, doing less?” I admit that I was initially offended by the idea. I’d always prided myself on the fact I got a lot done in my day, on being the person people asked themselves, “How does she do it?”

Turns out that wasn’t working out very well for me.

I went home and Googled, “How do I simplify my life?” and found myself deep in the archives of Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits, where I discovered a whole other world of people who were saying no to more.

Discovering the simple life.

From there, I began to see that there was another way. A simpler way.

The simple life was freeing people up to do more of what mattered to them. I immediately thought the best place to begin this simplified era would be our double-car garage. It was stuffed to the brim with boxes of stuff we’d moved to our new house but never actually brought inside. It was crammed with cartons of stock and materials from the jewelry label I’d built up and then shut down as my depression took hold. Surely this was the best place to start…

This was not the best place to start.

My husband and I rolled the garage doors up early one Saturday morning, determined to sift through the boxes of stuff and rid ourselves of a huge amount of clutter. We began by opening boxes and dumping the contents on the floor, sorting them into sprawling piles of “Keep,” “Donate,” “Recycle,” “Rubbish,” and “I forgot we had this thing, but now that I see it maybe we should keep it.” Gradually, as decision fatigue took over and the piles began to merge into one unholy mess, we realized we’d been defeated. So we rolled the doors down and went inside for a cup of tea.

It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized I’d been trying to run before I could walk. I didn’t need to declutter the garage in one weekend. (I actually couldn’t.) But maybe I could begin with my handbag.

So I emptied the contents of my bag onto the kitchen table and sorted through receipts, pens, lipsticks, hair clips, toys, baby wipes, random pieces of junk, and enough crumbs to make a whole new loaf of bread. I recycled, threw away, or put back in place everything that didn’t belong there, and then I hung my much lighter handbag behind the front door. It took five minutes.

How baby steps helped me part with 25,000 things.

It was one small step toward a simpler home, but it felt good. Much better than failing to summit Garage Mountain. So I took another small step, this time decluttering inside our car. More toys and books and drink bottles and rubbish and dried-up fruit and junk. Fifteen minutes.

Then I moved on to declutter the utensils drawer, top of the fridge, coat rack, etc. None of these tasks was difficult or emotionally taxing, and they began to add up to big changes. We began counting the items we let go of, and by the end of the year we’d decluttered more than 25,000 items from our home. (I stopped counting after that.)

We discovered more space, time, and contentment that requires less maintenance and worry. We were amazed by how much calmer and happier we felt in our home, and over the subsequent years we’ve let go of so much more.

Now, you might be wondering, did we ever manage to declutter the garage? And the answer is yes. Once we got better at the art of letting go, those boxes no longer felt like such an impossible task, and over the course of a couple of weekends we emptied the garage of everything.

After we packed up the last of the garage’s contents and sent them off to the charity shop, my husband and I found ourselves in the backyard, staring at the massive empty structure. We decided to let the garage go too, in the end. We sold it to a neighbor, tore up the concrete slab, and planted some grass and a veggie gardenthere instead. Now I watch my kids play in that space every day, often joining them on the trampoline or as we water the garden together.

I can’t think of a better example of everything we stand to gain simply by letting go.

Inspired to start tackling your home, one small section at a time? Here are some more genius decluttering tips to get you started.

Be Unstoppable: How Buyers Can Find Home in a Hot Real Estate Market

Leslie Sells Houses

In Seattle, it’s definitely a hot real estate market. With all the latest corporations hiring throughout the area, there are simply more people moving here than there are selling. Consequently, listed homes are snatched quickly, often with dozens of offers made during the negotiation process. So what’s a buyer to do?

Whether you’re in Seattle, or any other sizzling real estate market, these three tips will keep you in check while you search for your next home.

Be Strategic – Prepare yourself by finding the perfect broker and lender, and create a strategy with your broker that can help you win the home you want.

Be Resilient – Don’t get discouraged if you lose your dream home to another buyer. This may happen more than once! But keep looking; there is a reason you haven’t yet found ‘the one’.

Be Unstoppable – Don’t get overwhelmed by the intensity of a hot market. Teaming up with your broker will help you keep calm and shop on for the perfect home.

Leslie Sells Houses

Protecting Your Home: What Insurance Do You Need?

Jul 26, 2017

Image result for pictures of water on ground and rain boots
Home Life, Home Maintenance


Whether you just bought your first home (congratulations!) or you’ve been settled in your humble abode for several years, it’s important to think about how you’re protecting your property. In an ideal world, nothing would ever happen to threaten the safety of your life and loved ones in your home. But there’s no harm in being prepared!

You may be thinking… I bought homeowners insurance, doesn’t that cover everything? Probably not. Policies vary, but typically, risks posed by some natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, volcano, etc.) are not included in a standard insurance policy. If they are, coverage is limited.

Obviously, not everyone has to worry about threats like flooding or earthquakes. But for many in the Pacific Northwest, flood insurance is a necessity. Water is everywhere in the region, and it’s not uncommon for rivers to rise dramatically during the wetter fall and winter months. If your property is located in a flood-prone area, your lender may require you to have flood insurance. But even if it’s not required, you may still want to protect your home from raging waters. Your insurance agent can check your flood risk and help guide you to make the best decision.

In addition to flood insurance, there are other options you might want to consider and learn more about:

  • Earthquake: May require inspection of your property to determine potential risks, based on your home’s construction.
  • Landslide: Coverage may be rolled into earthquake insurance, but double check! Your standard homeowner insurance policy could cover landslides, but only under certain conditions. When in doubt, consider supplemental insurance.
  • Volcano: Good news! Most homeowner insurance covers at least some damage due to volcanic eruptions. Take the time to review the specifics of your policy to ensure you’re covered.

Give yourself peace of mind! Reading through the fine print isn’t always fun, but you’ll thank yourself later.

These steps can help you get the coverage you need to protect your home.

  1. Research what’s covered and what’s not in a standard home insurance policy (or your existing policy).
  2. Still have questions about coverage? Is the policy jargon confusing? Contact your state’s insurance commissioner.
  3. Plan ahead for ongoing insurance costs. They can change over time.
  4. Go shopping! Just like auto insurance, you should research and compare costs to find the best coverage for the best price.


Just Starting Out Check Out This Video

Leslie Swindahl Hawkins Poe Inc

First-Time Homeowners: Everything You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance

 What exactly is home insurance and do I really need it?

By Ryan Hanley

Ready to buy your first home? Before you dot the I’s and cross the T’s on your mortgage, it is important to understand the ins and outs of homeowners insurance.

Without homeowners insurance, a property buyer is unlikely to secure a house. Homeowners insurance protects a residence—and the items stored in a residence—against disasters. Therefore, if your home is suddenly destroyed in a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster, homeowners insurance guarantees you are fully protected.

Homeowners insurance should be simple, but there are many factors to consider as you evaluate all of the coverage options at your disposal.

Now, let’s take a look at five common questions about homeowners insurance.

  1. Why Do I Need It?

 There are two reasons why homebuyers must purchase homeowners insurance:

  • It enables you to protect your assets. Homeowners insurance safeguards the structure of your home and your personal property. It also protects you against liability for injuries to others or their property while they are on your property.
  • Your mortgage lender probably requires you to have it. Most lenders will require you to maintain homeowners insurance for the duration of your mortgage. A lender usually will require you to list the company as a mortgagee on your homeowners policy. Moreover, if you let your homeowners coverage lapse, your mortgage lender likely will have your home insured at a much higher premium and with less coverage that what you had in the past.

Homeowners insurance is a must-have for homeowners, without exception. If you allocate the time and resources to find the right homeowners coverage, you should have no trouble protecting your house and personal belongings for years to come.

  1. How Does It Work?

 Generally, homeowners insurance is considered a “package” policy because it includes a combination of coverages. The package policy focuses on the following areas:

  • Dwelling: Covers the costs associated with damage to your home and structures attached to it, including any damage to electrical wiring, heating systems or plumbing.
  • Other Structures: Ensures you’re protected against damage to fences, garages and other structures that are on your property but not attached to your house.
  • Personal Property: Guarantees you’re covered for the value of possessions like appliances, clothing and electronics if they are lost or damaged. This coverage applies even when your personal property is stored off-site, like in a storage unit or college dorm room.
  • Loss of Use: Provides financial assistance to help you cover some of your living expenses if you need to temporarily vacate your house while it is being repaired.
  • Personal Liability: Offers protection against financial loss if you are sued and found legally responsible for injuries or damages to someone else.
  • Medical Payments: Covers the medical expenses for people who were hurt on your property or by your pets.

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider as you evaluate a homeowners policy. Review your coverage options closely, and you may be better equipped than other homeowners to secure your house and personal belongings effectively.

  1. Are There Homeowners Coverage Limits?

You should get homeowners insurance that covers the full replacement cost of your home—not just the market value of your residence.

The replacement cost and market value of a residence may seem identical at first. But upon closer examination, it becomes easy to understand why you’ll want to purchase a homeowners policy that offers protection for the full replacement cost of your house.

For homeowners, the replacement cost refers to the total amount it would cost to rebuild or replace your home if it was completely destroyed. This cost may vary based on your home insurance provider and usually accounts for the plans and permits, fees and taxes and labor and materials that you would need to replace your house. However, the replacement cost does not account for the value of the land associated with your home.

On the other hand, the market value reflects what your home is worth today. It fluctuates based on the current condition of your house, the real estate market and various economic factors.

The market value of your home commonly proves to be great indicator of what your house may be worth if you intend to sell it in the near future. Conversely, when it comes to homeowners insurance, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you calculate the full replacement cost of your home, you can insure your residence appropriately.

  1. Are There Optional Homeowners Insurance Coverages?

Believe it or not, a standard homeowners policy won’t cover everything. As such, you may want to consider adding some of the following optional coverages to supplement your homeowners policy:

  • Flood Insurance: Floods rank among the top natural disasters in the United States, and even an inch of water can cause severe property damage in a short period of time. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance coverage that will protect your home for up to $250,000 and your personal property for up to $100,000. Keep in mind that there often is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy goes into effect. This means if you want to buy flood insurance in the days leading up to a hurricane, you may be out of luck.
  • Earthquake Insurance: Many Western states are prone to earthquakes. In California, Oregon and Washington, earthquake coverage is available from multiple insurance providers. Or, if you live outside these states and still want to purchase earthquake coverage, your state’s Department of Insurance can help you find licensed earthquake insurers.
  • Daycare Coverage: If you take care of a friend’s children and are unpaid, your homeowners insurance offers limited liability coverage. Comparatively, if you provide daycare in your house, you will need to purchase insurance to cover the related liability.
  • Additional Liability: You can purchase additional liability coverage any time you choose. These add-ons may require a nominal premium but sometimes makes a world of difference for homeowners.

Of course, if you’re unsure about which coverages you need, it always helps to consult with an insurance agent. This insurance professional will be able to respond to your homeowners insurance concerns and queries and help you get the coverages you need, any time you need them.

 How Much Will It Cost?

 There are several factors that will affect your homeowners insurance premium, including:

  • Attractive Nuisances: If you have an “attractive nuisance” like a swimming pool or trampoline, you may have to pay more for homeowners insurance than other property owners.
  • Coverage Options: Adding flood insurance, earthquake insurance and other coverages may cause your homeowners insurance premium to rise.
  • Home Protection System: If you have a home burglar alarm, security devices for windows or deadbolts on doors, you may be able to lower your insurance premium.
  • Pets: Some insurance providers won’t offer homeowners coverage if you own certain types of pets.
  • The Home Itself: Your house’s age, condition, construction and distance from a fire department and water source may impact your homeowners insurance premium.

Homeowners insurance premiums will vary from person to person. But those who take an informed, diligent approach to homeowners insurance can boost their chances of getting the best homeowners policy at the lowest rate.

Homeowners Insurance Tips

Let’s face it—homeowners insurance can be confusing, particularly for those who are searching for coverage for the first time. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you discover the right homeowners policy.

Here are five tips to help you secure homeowners insurance that meets or exceeds your expectations:

  • Shop around. Meet with various homeowners insurance providers and learn about different types of coverages so you can make an informed homeowners insurance decision.
  • Bundle your homeowners and car insurance policies. In some instances, you may be able to save between 5 and 15 percent if you purchase your homeowners and car insurance from the same insurance company.
  • Minimize risk across your house. Homeowners insurance offers immense protection, but you also can install storm shutters, enhance your heating system and perform assorted home upgrades to reduce risk across your home.
  • Look at your credit score. With a good credit score, you may be able to lower your homeowners insurance premium. If you don’t know your credit score, you can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Keep in mind that only some carriers use credit scoring.
  • Stay with an insurer. If you find an insurance company that you like, stay with this company for several years, and you may be able to reduce your homeowners insurance premium over time.

There is no need to settle for inferior homeowners coverage. If you use the aforementioned tips, you can purchase homeowners insurance that guarantees your home and personal belongings are fully protected both now and in the future.

Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, “Content Warfare.” Ryan has over 12 years of insurance expertise and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.


8 Things Interior Designers Notice the Instant They Walk Through Your Door

By  | Aug 14, 2017

If an interior designer were to walk through your front door, like, right now, what would this professional think of the place you call home?

We’ll tell you right now: plenty. And that’s even before you’ve given the pro the grand tour. Interior designers, with their sharply honed sensibilities, can take in a space in seconds. In fact, these pros can’t help but make a ton of snap judgments—and typically these first impressions aren’t all that good.

In case you’re curious about what jumps out at interior designers when they first enter a home, here’s an unsettling glimpse, courtesy of some experts who aren’t afraid to spill the beans. But don’t beat yourself up if you recognize your home in some of these criticisms; these flaws are entirely fixable. Read on for an inspiring home decor wake-up call.

1. A wonky flow

Photo by Intrabuild

“The first think I notice is whether or not the furniture placement promotes good flow of traffic,” notes Lorelie Brown, a Showhomes franchisee in Charleston, SC. Most living and family rooms have a focal wall that’s anchored by a fireplace or television, which means the chairs and couch should be arranged to face this point without causing you to walk awkwardly around them.

“I find this problem happens a lot in an open floor plan, with pieces defeating the whole ‘open’ idea,” she adds.

The solution: Less is more. Remove extraneous chairs and side tables to create a natural path in and out of the space.

2. Poor lighting

Photo by Rebekkah Davies Interiors + Design

The wrong lighting can ruin even the best interior design.

“Usually when I walk into a home, the overall look is dark and drab because there’s not enough of the right kinds of light,” says Anna Shiwlall, a designer with 27 Diamonds in Los Angeles.

Of course, we can’t all be blessed with a flood of natural light, but you can install what you need rather easily. Sit in each chair or section of the room, and determine whether you can read easily. If not, add in the missing table or floor lamps; don’t rely on one big overhead light.

3. The insane amount of clutter

Photo by CKS Design Studio

Interior designers dream of a streamlined, junk-free look, which means their eyes will immediately come to rest on the hot mess that is your bookshelf.

“Just because you have it doesn’t mean it needs to be on display,” points out Jeanne Hessen, senior designer at Closet Factory in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Her advice? Pick and choose a few sentimental or interesting pieces to show off, and put the rest away.

4. A lack of theme

Photo by Dresser Homes

Style continuity is a big one for design pros. If your pieces don’t work well together or there’s no unifying color or theme to the rooms, the whole look can feel off.

“This seems to come from a lack of understanding of the style elements and characteristics of the pieces in the room,” explains Mark Sidell, a Closet Factory designer. Too many colors, in particular, can create a sense of disorder. Make it better by choosing a neutral palette and then introducing just a couple of coordinating hues.

5. That (ahem) smell

Photo by Renewal Design-Build

Truth: Interior designers make snap judgments not just on what they see, but also on what they smell. As a homeowner, you’ve become inured to your own odors, but an outsider can nail a scent right away.

Pets are the most obvious offenders, followed by cooking smells and odious candles. Fortunately, the remedy is an easy one: Open the windows as often as you can to air out stale spaces (especially in bedrooms and the kitchen).

6. The state of your loo


We can’t be more emphatic here: Your bathroom must be pristine!

Interior professionals (and potential buyers) will look with a critical eye at every bathroom in your home, and a dirty one will convince them that the entire home isn’t clean, even if it is. Towels must be fresh, grout should be clean, and definitely clear your counters of personal items (makeup, hair dryer, toothbrush).

7. No sense of scale

Photo by Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects

We’re talking tiny lamps on huge tables, or king-size beds squeezed into too-small rooms.

“I always notice the layout and scale of the pieces in a bedroom,” says Hessen. Frankly, most people buy whole packages at the furniture store instead of choosing complementary items in the correct sizes for their home.

“To fix this, try to mix and match your styles and the stores where you shop,” she adds. “You’ll end up with a more interesting, inviting space.”

8. A lack of personal style

Photo by Rikki Snyder

Let it shine! A lack of personality in a home means your space will appear boring or sterile. Even worse is a look that’s been copied directly from a catalog. A designer can certainly help you develop a style, but you can also jazz up your abode with art you love, mementos from a faraway trip, or a collection that has special meaning.

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The beginning of Tacoma

701_SAINT_HELENS_AVE_TACOMA_BU10439_date_06271925 (1)


The beginning of Tacoma’s architectural history is very sketchy, drawn hastily to fit a city that was born in a burst of optimism tempered by desperation. Not surprisingly, the first important formal building was the Land Office of the Northern Pacific Railroad and headquarters for the grand enterprise that had just picked Commencement Bay for its Pacific terminus and was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Between July and December of 1873, the NP raced to finish the rail laying of the Prairie Line to tidewater. They were also racing General_Photograph_Collection_KERLEE01to survey and sell city lots in the new terminus city since the federal land grants made to the railroad represented its only real liquid wealth. The follow year, in the fall of 1874, the NP started building a highly stylized, Victorian headquarters that was part office building and part mansion. It stood in stark contrast to it’s surroundings when it was completed in early 1875 by the superintendent of construction Theodore Hosmer.  Hosmer was also the NP’s Special Agent in charge of city planning and land sales (and the brother in law of Charles B. Wright, chairman of the railroad’s Board of Directors).

The city of Tacoma was mostly tree stumps, log cabins and plank barns when the transcontinental arrived and the new NP Land Office not only marked the physical starting point at 9th and C Street (Broadway today), ca. 1875 it displayed the first inklings of an ambitious, formal city. The startlingly white, wood frame structure became an instant landmark and the largest building on a seasonally muddy hillside where armies of workers were grading streets, marking out building sites, delivering wagon loads of lumber and hammering away at the first pieces of a metropolis. Everything was directed from the land office and everybody knew it. When a City Hall was needed they built it next to the big white capitol, smaller and set back from the increasingly busy corner on 9th, where they were planning a big time streetcar line. The first library and newspaper sided along what was then C Street next to the big white house and the first and most important telegraph wire ran from the rail head to the NP offices. Across 9th, Theodore and Louis Hosmer built an impressive house later in 1875 that reflected some of the refined charm of the NP Land Office. Today it still stands as the oldest building in downtown Tacoma. See Way Back-History as Hidden Code

Pac Ave 1878
Pacific Ave ca. 1880

The first version of Tacoma was wood and short lived but while it lasted the fashionable Italianate NP land office 1875 Bird's Eye Detailsat on the upper edge of the burgeoning city, the finest piece of architecture in town. But in less than a decade brick and stone were the new standard for commercial buildings and even the Land Office was being crowded out. 1884 saw several brick buildings rise including the Wright Building at 9th and Pacific and the Ledger Building just down C street. And most imposing of all was the towering Tacoma Hotel that opened in August

1881, NP Land Office on the far right with three chimneys

1884 to future guests like Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling. The completion of the Northern Pacific tunnel that brought travelers directly into the city triggered a major building boom and by 1887 the Northern Pacific was planning a new brick masonry, Renaissance style headquarters at the north end of Pacific Avenue overlooking Commencement Bay. Just months after the new headquarters building was occupied, the old land office was rolled off its real estate, the chimneys, balconies and porch were cropped and it was moved to the corner of 7th and St. Helens Avenue. In its place at 9th and C street, Theodore Hosmer oversaw the completion of a massive Tudor Style opera house that seated an audience of 1800 for those celebrities like Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling.

Tacoma Theatre
The Tacoma Theatre, built on the old NP Land Office site in 1890

After the move to 701 St Helens, the NP commissioned the architects Pickels & Sutton to convert the building to a boarding house and hotel called the Florence. By 1903, it was operating as the Sylvan House, still classy but showing its age some. The few survivors from the wooden city days were disappearing fast.

Chimney sweep
Roofline and bracket from the NP Land Office are visible behind the ladder during its final years in 1927.

The centerpiece days were over, dark paint covered the once white exterior and by the First World War traveling soldiers and touring vaudevillians from the theatre district found a cheap room in the Sylvan. They probably didn’t know or care that the final chapters in the building of the transcontinental railroad had played out under that roof, that empire builders and sea captains had bargained for fortunes in those rooms and that Tacoma was just an idea when those walls were nailed together. By 1920, the building was a shabby rooming house getting by on borrowed time and a largely forgotten past. Just as the Great Depression set in the wreckers came and Tacoma’s first piece of high style architecture vanished in 1930.


701_SAINT_HELENS_AVE_TACOMA_BU10439_date_06271925 (1)
NP Land Office/Sylvan House ca. 1926

Actually it almost vanished because just a couple years ago it reappeared unexpectedly when a long lost silent feature film made at Weaver Studios in Tacoma in 1926 was found in a New York Museum. In The Eyes of the Totem, the young woman protagonist and her infant daughter are befriended by a blind busker who takes her to a shady boarding house that serves as a headquarters for a hospitable, understanding colony of street wise hustlers. Thanks to some visual detective work and historical research it was discovered that the lost and then found silent film contained a hidden treasure-a last look at Tacoma’s first building. So here it is, like a window into Tacoma’s most distant past… Enjoy….




Thanks to John Carlton for making the film cut from Eyes of the Totem and John Christopher Bayman for the music.


This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it’s surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It’s also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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7 Secret Thoughts Interior Designers Have About Your Home—Revealed

By  | Aug 7, 2017

Interior designers have taste and style to spare, but here’s another trait they typically have in spades: tact. And for good reason—they know that not everyone is dying to hear their uncensored, unsolicited “helpful” opinions about their homes. Friends and family members might not want to know that those quartz countertops they just installed are so last year. Even clients who’ve hired these pros for their expertise don’t necessarily want the whole truth about just how bad their pad looks premakeover, right?

But make no mistake, interior designers have a running monologue in their heads packed with judgments and pet peeves—and truth be told, these are often the very best jewels of advice they could share with anyone who’s willing to listen.

You want the truth? You can handle the truth! So if you are curious and want to take a peek inside the dark corners of an interior designer’s mind, read on—then check if your home is guilty as charged.

1. ‘Why is the bed over there?’

Cabbages & Roses Ltd

While homeowners often obsess over their kitchens and living rooms, their bedrooms can leave a whole lot to be desired, according to Lorelie Brown, a Showhomes franchisee in Charleston, SC.

“The bedroom is supposed to be a restful retreat, but the way many people arrange the furniture can be awkward,” Brown says.

Amy Bell of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, NC, agrees. “I’m a stickler for bed placement,” she says. The head of the bed is the focal point and should be visible from the doorway. “It’s so disorienting to walk into a bedroom and then have to turn back around to see the bed because it’s on the same wall as the door.”

2. ‘The artwork’s too damn high’

Photo by Level Look

Artwork that’s placed too high is another secret annoyance for Bell as well.

“As a general rule, I like to hang pictures so that the midpoint of the piece is 60 inches from the floor,” she explains.

Exceptions to this include placing art over a low piece of furniture or in the dining room. “In this case, you’ll want to hang it where it can be viewed from a seated position,” she adds. You never want visitors to crane their necks in order to get a look at your paintings.

3. ‘You’re storing your stuff all wrong’

Photo by Lazzari USA

Every home has storage woes—and interior designers are quite obsessed with solving it.

“Clients usually ask for more storage, not realizing that the way they’re using their current closets and bins is inefficient,” says Anna Shiwlall, a designer at 27 Diamonds, in Los Angeles. Simply decluttering and adding smart units in cool colors can immediately brighten your look.

“A lack of good cabinetry really stands out and can distract from the other great features in a house, but it’s often one of the last things considered,” adds Pamela Amerson, a designer at Closet Factory, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

4. ‘Dear God, not another brown couch’

Brown and dark colors can make a room uninviting.
Brown and dark colors can make a room uninviting.praethi/iStock

“So many sellers have dark brown furniture or mahogany bedroom sets,” laments Brown. “But there’s nothing necessarily about this look that would entice a potential buyer—it’s just not inherently inviting.”

Dark pieces make a dim room feel even drearier, a small room tinier, and a dated home even more so. Think blond wood when considering flooring and new furniture.

“Lighter pieces also help increase the visual sense of space, which is critical for buyers trying to connect with a home,” she adds.

5. ‘Too much color!’

The color is a bit much.
The color is a bit much.hanohiki/iStock

A fuchsia bathroom and lime-green kitchen might seem funky, but sometimes too much color can be, well, too much.

“A home is more interesting if color is used as an accent, whether with pillows or tabletop accessories,” notes Jeanne Hessen, a senior designer at Closet Factory.

A profusion of color can be chaotic, so use it sparingly. And if you’re gearing up for a sale, most interiors designers and stagers urge their clients to go neutral. Quiet tones are more universally appealing and will allow potential buyers to imagine their own furniture in the space without having to (mentally) repaint it.

6. ‘That wall has gotta go’

Photo by Erin Hoopes

Interior designers live and breathe light and layout. And to achieve an optimal look, sometimes a wall or two needs to come down.

Lorraine Holmberg, a decorating pro with HR Design Group in New York City, is always praying a homeowner will agree to a little demolition.

“In my mind, I start to work out which walls I’d remove to open up the kitchen and living areas,” she says. “And I almost always plan to take out the back of the exterior wall in order to add glass doors.”

7. ‘This open floor plan doesn’t feel like home’

Photo by pulltab Browse modern living room ideas

Lorena Canals, founder of the brand of furniture of the same name, loves open floor plans, but hates how people have no idea how to carve up this cavernous space into areas that feel cozy and intimate.

“Furniture is usually placed too far apart,” says Canals.

The solution, she says, is to use rugs to tie a space together. “Rugs give you the opportunity to create multiple intimate spaces when they’re placed correctly,” she notes. As a general rule, people choose rugs that are too small. Instead, they should be large enough that your furniture should sit at least half on, half off the rug.

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