Most of us use faucets dozens of times a day without thinking much about them—until they leak, or break, or our cats take up residence in the sink!
Most often the fix isn't as simple as snapping a pic of photogenic felines. Fixing a leak or broken faucet means repairing or replacing it; something Kevin (my husband and our Yellow Ribbon Homes General Contractor) and I have had to do twice in the last month. Both times it turned out to be quite the learning experience.
Seven years ago Kevin built a studio apartment for his mother in an unfinished basement and installed a walk-in tub for her. He's a big researcher, and found one that got great reviews for access, usability, and comfort.
The retractable hose of the 4 piece Roman faucet system developed a leak in the past year which turned out to be impossible to repair. There was no manufacturing stamp on the faucet, and no information on the company website to order replacement parts. Kevin bought a few different sized washers and hoses to attempt repair, but nothing fit.
It turns out the faucet system was made in China using a non-standard size, and the only solution was to replace at all; something that cost several hundred dollars and hours of time online and in stores, not to mention having to rip out the bathroom closet wall to access the plumbing.
We remodeled our kitchen last spring and bought a low profile faucet since our sink is right under a window. I got a great deal at Costco on a Water Ridge faucet with a built-in sprayer that got stuck in the spray position the first time I used it. At first, we could finesse it back to regular mode, but soon, if you accidentally pressed the spray button, you'd be spraying for weeks, until the mechanism decided to release. It could've been a fluke, but it wasn't repairable, since we couldn't really tell it was broken. Thankfully, Costco has a great return policy, so return we did.
It turns out the old adage, "you get what you pay for," is true, a bargain ins't necessarily going to be one in the long run, and brand names are household names for a reason. But, I also don't want to spend more than I have to on a quality product—which is why I was so happy to come across Reviews.com guide to The Best Kitchen Faucets.
Their guide is really thorough and free--no need to subscribe to a magazine or website to access all of it. Their methodology is explained, and they include a huge price range and variety of styles in their guide, to satisfy bargain hunters like me, as well as people who want to make a statement with their kitchen faucets.
You can read their quick 30 second review, details about each featured brand, a section on how to choose a faucet, and even one on faucet care. As a remodeler, I can't wait to use Reviews.com guide to The Best Kitchen Faucets to guide me in choosing my next kitchen faucet. Check it out yourself. (Cats not included.)
The signature of Pacific Northwest winters is WATER, and water can wreak havoc on your house, so take some time to ensure your house is ready to weather the winter.
Kevin, who has become a specialist in repairing residential water damage for clients of our real estate broker, Jennie Wetter, recommends inspecting your property in the rain, or right afterward when water is flowing.
“Water follows the path of least resistance, so you want to make sure nothing interrupts its flow away from the house,” says Kevin. You can find his rainy day inspection list at our broker's blog.
Historically in real estate, spring and summer were the best months to buy a house, with many sellers waiting until then to list their houses. Buyers used the long days to drive from one neighborhood to another on the house hunt, and families needed to settle into their new homes before school got underway.
But in today’s market, all that has changed.
The low inventory of homes for sale in the Puget Sound region, coupled with Internet marketing has motivated sellers to list year-round, knowing that buyers can virtually tour homes and neighborhoods via software and apps. Those apps also connect buyers to social networks and neighborhood groups in advance of a move, aiding families in the transition to new schools and communities any time of year.
This is a great time of year to be a buyer.
You can read the rest of this article Cathy wrote for our broker Jennie Wetter at Infinity Real Estate.
When my husband and I converted an old garage into a studio apartment five years ago, one priority was to connect the studio to the landscape, which in this case, was a garden filled with Japanese maples, rhododendrons, and all sorts of perennials which were right outside the windows, as well as a filtered views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains visible just over our neighborhood rooftops.
We swapped some windows for a sliding door and built a small deck to provide direct garden access, .
relocated another window along the bed/desk wall to provide privacy by eliminating the ability to see into the house.
The only problem with the window relocation on the bed/desk wall was that the new window, which was just above the desk, looked onto the roof of the new garage—which had been a two-walled carport until we enclosed it. I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels with great city views from the upper floors, but all too often, they also incorporate the ugly flat expanses of neighboring roofs.
How could we spruce up the roof, which currently leaked and was covered with a tarp?
We thought about painting a mural, about adding planter boxes, after we fixed it, but it would still look like a roof. And then my husband came up with an idea: grass. We didn’t want seed or sod, that would need to be watered and mowed and would brown down in the height of winter and summer.
What about artificial turf—Astroturf—we called it decades ago? It would always look green, but it wouldn’t look real up close. But nobody sees a roof up close, right? This roof was not only outside the writers’ retreat; it was also just feet from our dining room, which had a sliding door that led to a deck that was only a few feet wide. Why couldn’t we use the roof as part of our yard?
My husband, brilliant again, looked at the short span between the existing deck and garage and decided to build a bridge, so we could enjoy the water and mountain views from the garage roof—which really was the best vantage point.
Kevin located Synthetic Turf Northwest, a company that installs real looking artificial turf—blades of varying heights with some browned down short grass near the “dirt”—on playfields, golf courses, and private homes. We were their first rooftop installation.
We cleaned the old roof, put on self-adhesive ice and water shield rolled roofing, and then the installers rolled out the turf, sprinkling sand to weight it down. The result was a lawn that looked great year round from the studio window, and that was soft underfoot and cooler than wood decking in the summer heat.