Category: Modern Life

Happy Real Estate

Happy Real Estate

Tired of gloom and doom stories about the US real estate market? We are, too. Check out
Happy Real Estate News via Curbed.

Does your home make you happy? Alain de Botton can tell you why with his book The Architecture of Happiness. This book about architecture and design of your home “examines the ways architecture speaks to us, evoking associations that, if we are alive to them, can put us in touch with our true selves and influence how we conduct our lives… The author suggests some of the virtues a building should have (illustrated by pictures on almost every spread): order combined with complexity; balance between contrasting elements; elegance that appears effortless; a coherent relationship among the parts; and self-knowledge, which entails an understanding of human psychology, something that architects all too often overlook.” More than just an exercise in philosophy, the book includes examples of the happy and not-so-happy, “of buildings that either incorporate or ignore these qualities, discussing them in ways that make obvious their virtues or failings.

Architecture of Happiness

New Ways to Get Rich and Happy

Broker Boys and Babes

Curbed just announced their Broker Boys and Babes of 2008 for the Los Angeles area. Does Seattle have any cute Broker Boys and Babes? Indeed we do.

Just a random list of agents from my little office on Capitol Hill….

Alanna Ireland
Alanna Ireland

Shawn Filer
Shawn Filer

Jamee Barber
Jamee Barber

Pat Ursino
Pat Ursino

Jennifer Braun
Jennifer Braun

John Rutledge
John Rutledge

If you’d like to contact any of these excellent agents for real estate services in the Seattle area, you can call them at 206-322-8711.

If you want to make this a real competition with agents from other brokerages, send me your photos and nominations for Seattle Broker Boys and Babes and we’ll go from there.

Innovative use for a rental house (aka Renter as Entrepreneur)

Swingers in Seattle

Having trouble paying your rent?

How about turning it into a sex club and having members “donate” to use the facilities.

That’s what one enterprising couple did in Des Moines, a suburb South of Seattle.

The house, on the 1200 block of South 232nd Street, rented for $2,200 a month. It seemed perfect: It’s a big house on a suburban street, set back from the road and shrouded in foliage, with 6 bedrooms and a huge swimming pool and hot tub.

The perfect place for an erotic sex club, right? Unless the neighbors complain.

Cathy Sorbo weighs in on the wisdom of having a sex club in your rental property.

The Hardwood Cabin’s website’s been suspended, but the Seatac Blog found excerpts from their website.

Saving a vintage S&M dungeon house

Gypsy Arms B&B

The Seattle PI had a story about Steven Flynn, a Seattle musician who is trying to save a 1908 Craftsman house scheduled for demolition. A developer wants to clear the space for more townhouses and Flynn is in a last-second bid to make arrangements to buy the house and move it to his Fremont property 10 blocks away.

Nickel Brothers House Movers has a list of homes that need to be moved on its website, and it’s not unusual for older homes to be removed and repositioned on other lots around town.

Mack McCoy shared this post from HistoryLink about the 100’s of homes that were either moved or destroyed when I-5 cut a swathe through downtown Seattle.

The unusual thing about the home Steve Flynn wants to move is that it’s a very famous S&M B&B, the Gypsy Arms. The house is a 1908 box Victorian Home in the middle of old Fremont- the hippie area of Seattle during the 60’s and 70’s and local legend says it was the home base of a group of “outlaw bikers” who parked their cycles in the living room and dining room areas by driving them up the steps on some 2″ X 12″s. On the old website, they tell tales of skeleton sketches on the walls, and floor to celing covered with smoked mirrored tiles. As they say on their site

What is today the dungeon was divided into 8′ X 8′ cubicles, made out of whatever boards and cardboard was available, thus creating “personal” space. We will leave the activities there up to your own imaginations! We are sure that some of their energy still resides at the inn.

While the home operated as a regular Bed & Breakfast, what set the Gypsy Arms apart from other B&B’s in the area was the dungeon.

Gypsy Arms Dungeon

The dungeon was built into the lower level of the house when the inn was remodeled in 1994.

The dungeon was divided into two areas; one for play and the other for relaxation and videos. The subdued red lighting was adjustable by dimmers in three separate areas and guests could independently control the lighting with strategically located spots.

To set the proper mood the owners equipped the dungeon with a stereo system and the atmosphere was also enhanced by a multitude of visuals: From the sling or any other place, one could see hard hats, football pads, sports equipment, firemen’s helmets, motorcycle regalia, boxing gloves, handcuffs, whips and more.

Gypsy Arms Dungeon 2

The owners names were Wayne and Gary and they got the idea of Gypsy Arms on vacation in 1994 when they were exasperated that they couldn’t find places to stay where they could play comfortably. Seattle had no such venue, so they created one.

Gypsy Arms owners

Rumor has it that one of the men passed away and the house was sold, hence the dire position of the house and its imminent destruction if not purchased and moved to its new location very, very soon.

Jackass neighbors

Jackass homeowners

Ha ha. What’s worse, the house or the sign? After looking at both houses, the one being built by E. Cobb Architects looks infinitely more interesting than the existing McMansion.

Mike Davidson spotted the sign and offending new construction when out on his boat, and shot a few photos.

Eaton House

The architect, E. Cobb Architects, designed the cool Eaton house on Magnolia that was on the market last year for $3.6M. It didn’t sell, but it did provide a lot of real estate eye-candy for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing. I imagine that this new home they’re building for Justin Graham will be a similar trophy-style home.

Are you ready for your close-up?

I\'m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

The siren song of fame and fortune causes many people to make decisions they would not normally make.

Who in their right mind would switch spouses with someone else? How about for the chance to be on TV and for $20,000.00? Wife Swap is looking for unusual families with unusual homes to be publicly humiliated on national TV.

What You Get For The Money on HGTV is looking for distinctive homes and outgoing homeowners to star in their show. If your home is one of the snappiest, most appealing, charming and/or hip homes in the country, then they want to know about it. When they find four delicious domiciles (priced between $150,000 to $1 million) in the same city, they’ll “come for a visit.” (You can view one of the episodes that I filmed for the show on November 19th. It will be airing on the Fine Living Channel at 11AM.)

Want your TV debut to highlight your homestyle rather than your lifestyle? Style Network’s My Celebrity Home wants to give your place a makeover. The Style Network is currently seeking fun folks from around the United States who want to participate in a design project with My Celebrity Home. Who says you have to be rich to live in the lap of luxury?

My Celebrity Home teaches regular Joes how, with just a little creative thinking and elbow grease, the good life can be had at a great price. After an exclusive tour of one star’s posh pad, host Peter Marr joins forces with a famous designer to help everyday people re-create the high-end look without the Hollywood price tag.

Is clutter your problem?? Call the Clean House Team to purge your home of all the junk. If your home is chosen, they’ll surprise you with a makeover that will amaze family and friends.

They’re also having a contest for the messiest home. Just send them a video of your nasty, trashy house and you could win a complete house make-over. That’s one contest I wouldn’t want to win.

Another show that’s casting is Hidden Potential. This program shows homebuyers what their dream home could look like before they buy it. In each episode, a homebuyer will look at three very different homes that need renovation. As they tour each home, a design expert will show the homebuyer computer-generated graphics that will showcase the home’s “hidden potential.” In the end, we’ll learn which house the homebuyer chose to turn into their dream home. Click here to apply.

Do you have a horrible kitchen, like with avocado appliances and harvest gold walls? The apply to be on “Save My Kitchen“. What about a crappy bathroom? Well then, you want to be on “Save My Bathroom”.

After all this fix up, you’ll want to find out what your home is worth. My House is Worth What? is a new series that began airing this summer on HGTV. Each show tells homeowners across the country what their current home is worth, where they should renovate if they are planning to or just how much equity is available to fulfill a life long dream. Appear on My House is Worth What? and get a free evaluation of your home by the experts. Find out its current worth, what renovations are worthwhile and what you need to do to increase your value. If you don’t make it on the show, and you live in the Seattle area, I’ll tell you all that stuff for free! (Wink)

A friend of mine, with 3 kids and overwhelmed with the thought of packing up her house and moving, answered an ad for a TV show that promised to pack up her stuff and move her for free if she allowed them to redecorate and arrange her furniture any way they wanted at her new house. It worked. The new house decor didn’t turn out that well, but it was easy to put things where they belonged when the camera crew left. She was mortified, of course, to see herself on TV, but she thought the momentary embarrassment was a small price to pay for being moved by a third party.

Bag Borrow or Steal (or “More Gender Politics”)


Bag Borrow or Steal, just received a $8.25 million dollar cash infusion from Madrona Partners.

Bag Borrow or Steal is an online business that rents high-end designer handbags to women. Is this an incredible concept or what? I’m sure this could only succeed in America.

The reason this news caught my eye is because Madrona Partners are the same venture capitalists who gave Redfin $1.25 million last month.

Both businesses were founded by men. Madrona Partners are all men.

Women own about 40 percent of all businesses in the U.S. but receive only 2.3 percent of the available equity capital needed for growth. Male-owned companies receive the other 97.7. percent.

In 2001 in the U.S. women held only 2.5 percent of the top jobs at American companies and only 10.9 percent of the board of directors’ seats at Fortune 1000 companies.

This not about men. This is about women and what makes them afraid, unwilling and unable to make the decisions about their lives that would get them into these kind of positions.

Women often don’t know the market value of their work. According to Linda Babcock in “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide” , women report salary expectations between 3 and 32 percent lower than those of men for the same jobs; men expect to earn 13 percent more than women during their first year of full-time work and 32 percent more at their career peaks.

39 Jobs Where Women Make More than Men

Quotations on Women’s Issues