Bedford Brown Fieldtrip

bedfordbrown4 About a year ago, I was struggling to find the right gift for a client. Flowers were nice, but didn’t last very long. Gift cards were too impersonal, unless I was privy to some inside information about a favorite restaurant or shop.

Luckily, I recalled an earlier trip to Bedford Brown. My first purchase was an exquisite white orchid in the pot of my choice (and there are many to choose from). I had honestly never seen a grander orchid, the boxed presentation of the plant was beautiful and my client was thrilled that it was still going strong several months later.

Located in NW Portland, the 12,000 square foot showroom features unique furnishings, gifts, accessories, art and garden objects. And their selection of large-scale indoor plants is truly spectacular. As you wander through, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how intimate each elegantly designed space feels. The staff members are incredibly helpful, friendly and will make you feel at home. It's clear how they have made a go of this business for 15 years.

Stop by, and if you haven’t been to their neighbor, School House Electric, drop by and explore. They have a nifty espresso bar, and they don’t seem to mind if one browses through the space cup in hand.

Visit Bedford Brown

Airbnb Vacation Rentals Spawn Vibrant Sub-Economy

SE Portland Airbnb It has been eight years since the concept of Airbnb was launched in the Bay Area, and it continues to grow each year. In Portland alone, visitors can choose from over 300 lodging options from beds in shared rooms to private suites and full residences ranging in price $35 to $750 per night. But homeowners are not the only ones benefitting from the concept. Airbnb has created its own sub-economy filled with young start ups hoping to grab a piece of this fast growing market. It is not uncommon for homebuyers in today’s market to look specifically for properties that offer good layouts for vacation rentals that can augment their mortgage payments. Note,  banks do require the purchasers to qualify for the mortgage without the income.

Many owners of Airbnb’s have found it difficult to manage all of the aspects of the rental process, so many are trying to fill the void.  Companies like Guesty, Airspruce, and Portland-based White Spider Rental Concierge are all in the mix.

These lesser known (but probably not for long) companies are helping owners with everything from guest screening and check-in and marketing. “A lot of our clients are people who do not have time to do this 24/7, 365 day a year job,” says Mel Hignell of White Spider Rental Concierge. “We also work with people who travel abroad a lot. A large majority of our clients have homes around the world, so they are traveling quite often.” Like in Real Estate, Hignell and others recognized the importance of capturing the prospective guest’s attention through professionally written descriptions and photography.  Airspruce features a pool of professional travel writers to help entice visitors and White Spider was the first company in the world to pair design services (staging) with specifically Airbnb rental. “Our rental in Portland was chosen to be converted into one of Airbnb’s conference rooms in San Francisco [each Airbnb conference room reflects an actual Airbnb room from around the world],” says Hignell. “Once that happened, we thought that maybe other people needed help with that aspect, and we just branched out from there.”

Visit this SE Portland Airbnb here.

To read more about Airbnb’s impact on support start-ups, please visit:


Portland Dining Month


Last December, The Washington Post ranked Portland as the number one food city in the US.  With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, persistent rain and a little bit of ice, many of us have been hunkered down at home avoiding the wet and working off the holiday excess. Here’s your chance to explore our incredibly diverse restaurant scene at a price that may just tempt you away from the home treadmill literally and figuratively.

Portland Dining Month celebrates its 8th year next month. From March 1st to 31st, you can enjoy three course meals for $29 at over 120 restaurants.  There are favorite hot spots on the list from the Pearl to Downtown, North Portland and even the ‘burbs’ offering something for every palette and location.  Some of my favorites, such as Bar Avignon, Little Bird and The Country Cat are included, and the following list may inspire you to sit down at a new table.

Learn more and download the entire list of participating restaurants at: Portland Dining Month 2016


Featured Listing: Kenton Charmer

IMG_9893 Yes, it is a strong seller’s market, but how does one take a home and make it even more marketable to get to that multiple offer scenario for your listing client?  You’ve professionally staged, videoed, photographed and power washed. You asked the stager come back out and rearrange the seating in the living room because you were worried it looked too small. You’re holding it open both Saturday and Sunday to give ample time for buyer visits and letting everyone know you are looking at offers on Monday. And now you wait for the response.

And once everything possible has been done to enhance the property, I must put on my navigator hat to get the seller through it all.  By Sunday there were three offers. All Monday was spent answering queries from buyer’s agents such as what terms the seller is looking for, acknowledging received offers, and calling lenders to verify solid financing. There are spreadsheets, strength and risk calculations, there are calls from brokers wanting to submit after the deadline, there are calls from brokers wanting to amend their clients offers, there are texts asking about the current number of offers.  Your mom calls to chat. Throughout the day, new offers are coming in, right up until 2:51pm. The offer deadline was 3:00.

There is much hope and fear, and the clock is ticking as 18 brokers and their clients anxiously await the seller’s decision. Each one of these buyers has a story, and each one of their realtors has shown countless properties and given of their personal time to get their client’s offer in before the deadline. Assessing the top offers, I make calls to several of the buyer’s brokers in order that I understand the motivation of the prospective purchaser and whether there are areas the buyer is open to a potential counter from the seller. It’s 7:00pm and I am only now able to present the offers to the seller in a manner that is clear and understandable, so they can make the best decision possible. In the end, it will be up to the seller to choose their direction.

Surprisingly, it is not always the highest offer that is the best for the seller’s needs.

We are currently pending with an accepted offer and two back up offers.

Now here’s the home-

Built in 2012, this home meets Earth Advantage Gold Construction standards, which equates to incredibly low utility costs, last years costs averaged under a hundred dollars a month. And with the Solar World System, it’s even more economical, with the panels producing a monthly credit for the owner.

The open floor plan concept has been a favorite amongst many of my recent purchasing clients, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  All the finishes and appliances have been upgraded, and the home’s systems include on-demand hot water, built-in vacuum, and a high-efficiency furnace.

To view the photo gallery link here: Kenton Charmer

To view the video tour link here: Kenton Video Walk-Through

Close to All, Yet Nestled in Nature


Who says you can’t have it all?

This impeccable town home is situated within a stone’s throw of great shopping, the Sunset Max station and lush nature trails.  Part of the highly sought after Peterkort Woods development, residents love the community’s design: like a modern-day Ladd’s Addition with back of the homes facing a joined alley. Earth Advantage construction makes for incredible efficiency, durability and healthier indoor air quality.

This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom town home features a spacious master suite with walk in closet and double vanity, lower level media room, and an open, elegant living room with a welcoming electric fireplace. The attached 2-car garage makes bringing your groceries in from the new Cedar Hills Market of Choice a breeze. Enjoy the covered deck for year-round grilling, upscale community clubhouse, pool, and convenience of low-maintenance town home living.

More Photos Here...



Sweet Success

IMG_8539 How do 40 kids use up almost 15 pounds of frosting in a few hours? Gleefully!

The eighth year of my cookie decorating project at the Parry Center was a great success. With much appreciated help, nearly 400 cookies were baked, icing prepared and duct taped into bags to prevent icing explosions, and pounds more sprinkles were loaded into my Mini and delivered to the Parry. We laid out colorful tablecloths to host our cookies & decors as small groups of kids began to come through.

Most cookies do not make it back to the kids units, their colorful creations devoured toot sweet- some cookies fairly groaning beneath the weight of their decorations. I am highly dubious that much dinner was eaten that evening.

The Parry kids live in residence where they receive help for a range of emotional issues and this event, held in their cafeteria, has become a seasonal favorite. Several visiting parents joined in decorating with their children, as well as many staff members. I like to imagine that I am encouraging the children’s creativity, but with kids this is always in abundance. It is a wonder to see the joy and sense of play that the simple act of gathering around tables and decorating cookies can bring.

A big thank you to all my helpers this year, including my kids Lauren and Spencer and my dear assistant, Lauren Marrone for mixing icing and real estate. I hope we will all gather again later in 2016 to bring this event together once more.

Not to Miss: Portland Winter Lights Festival Debuts Next Month

Portland Light Festival[1] copy As a fan of Lite Brite as a child, for me, this is a sure hit. While searching for upcoming events in the city, I stumbled upon the Portland Winter Light Festival, and was intrigued to learn more.

In its inaugural year, the festival will bring together more than a dozen artists who will illuminate their innovative, vibrant and colorful artwork outdoors. Each eye-catching piece will be featured along the east bank of the Willamette River surrounding OMSI.

Bringing existing outdoor spaces to life, large-scale interactive light exhibits will engage and spark imagination. Buildings will transform into massive canvases for innovative animated projection displays. Performers will manipulate light and fire. Together they all create a dazzling spectacle not to be missed this February 3-6.

“I chose each of the artists because they are gifted and create interesting work,” says Artistic Director Chris Herring.

“We have 13 artists presenting their installations every night of the festival, with several more performers and additional artists who will join us at different times throughout the festival,” says media representative Chad Carter. “The main festival will be outdoors surrounding the OMSI campus. We will also have affiliate events that will be taking place at several locations throughout the city.”

The Portland Winter Light Festival invites the community together during a time of year when the city is traditionally quiet. Portlanders are known for enjoying outdoor activities year round and supporting unique arts events, so this seems like the perfect fit for all.

The festival is free and open to all ages. Prepare to be wowed: Portland Winter Light Festival

White Hot Paint Trends for 2016

Color of the Year[1] copy Really Panton? A periwinkle blue and a pink that borders on mauve? Those are fighting words for some...

The word on the street is that white is the hot color for the New Year. Recently, several of the major paint retailers across the US released their top picks. And almost across the board, various and layered shades of white were at the top of the heap. Benjamin Moore, which had featured shades of blue and green as their top picks for the past two years, has selected “Simply White” as its “color” for 2016.

Justin Riordin, owner of Spade & Archer Design Agency says, “I could not agree more. The American populace has been beaten over the head with color during the last umpteen design waves. Every HGTV DIY show has been screaming about color pops since HGTV started doing DIY shows. We are just sick of it. We need a rest, a place to go to that allows us to change our minds a year later or even an hour later. White is the new easy; it allows us to update, swap, change, mix and match, and it stays out of the way. White allows us to be creative on a daily basis, rather then once every 10 years when we decide to paint again. I think Simply White was not a brave choice, it was the right choice.”

But maybe you’re not quite ready to make the jump to such a bright white? You can still stay on trend with the slightly deeper “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore. David Peterson, owner of Synergy Staging says “We have tended to lean toward White Dove more often than not because it’s soft and not too bright. We recommend it for trim color as well when the wall isn’t white.”

Sherwin Williams, Behr and Glidden have all followed suit as well. And while the shades vary within their depth and tone, it is very clear that white is hot for 2016.

To read more about the color trends for 2016, please visit Benjamin Moore's site and video.

Holiday Wish Come True: The Parry Center

IMG_5992 While eating lunch at our Windermere office eight years ago, I remarked to one of my co-workers that I wished I could share my love of cookie baking by hosting a cookie decorating party for children that were in need. Wouldn't you know that person was on the board of the Parry Center, a residential treatment center for severely troubled children, and my wish was granted.

The first few years, I baked hundreds of cookies on my own, mixed up tens of pounds of confectioners sugar to make colored icing with my daughter Erin, then loading up a carful of sprinkles, tablecloths and other goods with my other kids Spencer and Lauren,  taking the show on the road to host a party on-site for up to 40 kids and staff.

Now I am pleased in my eighth year to have a great number of other helpers to bake at a neighborhood church who kindly donates their kitchen. Friends and co-workers help make icing and dough.  It really is gratifying to all involved. I like to imagine that I am encouraging the inner artiste of the kids who pile on dangerous amounts of icing or arrange sprinkles "just so" to their cookies.  Some gingerbread or sugar cookies become so laden they need to be picked up with a spatula in order transfer it to a paper plate. Many of the kids immediately start decorating their cookies as gifts for their mom or siblings. The Parry staff seems to enjoy the decorating party as much as their charges, and often the older kids seem to show the delight of younger children in the simple joy of decorating cookies.

This year I've been told, I'll be hosting as many as 45 children and up to 20 staff. It's time to start taking stock of the sprinkles.

Windermere Foundation and $100 Pies

foundation1 I’m proud to share that the Windermere Foundation has been recognized by the Portland Business Journal as one of the top three medium-sized companies in corporate philanthropy in all of Oregon and SW Washington. Last year alone, the Windermere Foundation donated over $350,000 and over 6,000 volunteer hours to local charities that support the homeless and low-income programs for children and families.

As part of every real estate transaction, I make an extra donation in my client’s name to the Foundation. Not surprisingly, our Stellar Windermere offices compete with one another to raise the most money, and we brainstorm imaginative ways to do so. Our latest sales meeting found us taking part in a rousing auction for a “Sinful Southern Pecan Pie”  (baked by one of our brokers) that I scored for $100, while another was sold for $10 a slice. That should certainly slow down the pie eating!

All calories aside, it’s very important to me to be part of a company that gives back to our community and makes a positive impact on those in need. If you’d like to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, please visit:

The Good City to the North

Chihuly Garden & Glass How lucky are we that within a few hours drive we can be in the great City of Seattle?

Here are a few of my favorite things…

Have you been up the Space Needle in a while?  For an extra hoot, take the monorail there from downtown. The SN venue is completely updated, and after enjoying the awesome views, your ticket gets you into the Chihuly Glass Museum- one has to experience it to believe the scale, color, and spectacular display of these incredible works of art.

Chihuly Gardens.

For dining, try Walrus and Carpenter in Ballard for the best of the best seafood and hip vibe. For a more formal dinner, Spinasse is my favorite. The tajarin with sage is one of the most sublime pasta dishes I’ve ever had.  Sitka and Spruce has a bright and charming atmosphere that is perfect for brunch with top- flight ingredients (but won’t leave you needing to go back to bed!). But just in case you wish to, the Hotel Andra is a lovely boutique hotel, with wonderful beds and linens, and very walkable.

And there are many free attractions as well. The outdoor sculpture park has massive pieces, with a view of the Puget Sound behind you.  At The Seattle Public Library, a neon lit escalator takes you by views of the stacks behind glass, and then opens up to a multi-level space. Don’t miss the large flat-screen display that shows which books are being checked out in real time.

Driving back into Portland after a weekend away still gives me a great sense of pride in our fair city- but one doesn't have to choose, we can enjoy both.

To see more stunning images, visit

The Changing Landscape of Portland’s Hottest Neighborhoods

Oregon City Barbers The Portland Business Journal recently named the hottest neighborhoods in the Portland metropolitan area based on recent numbers of home sales. You may be thinking that the top contenders include Hawthorne-Division or The Pearl District, but did Oregon City or Foster/Powell come to mind?  They are in the top three.

It’s been fascinating to watch the areas surrounding our city develop and become more desirable as rising prices and other factors push buyers out of the close-in neighborhoods.  And businesses are taking note as well, moving into up and coming areas and creating thriving pockets of shopping and dining. Note the transformation of North Williams and the Lloyd Center in the last few years.

Who would have foreseen that a cutting edge video production company like Funnelbox would share a location on historic Main Street in Oregon City with the state’s oldest running barbershop? (pictured here) To see the list of the top 25 neighborhoods, visit:

Portland Business Journals/Portland's Hottest Neighborhoods

A New Kind of "Flyer" in Real Estate Marketing

Scholls Mid-Century at Twilight Gone are the days when a nice color flyer was the leading marketing tool in selling a home. Today, international buyers are being escorted over neighborhoods in helicopters and drones are providing a true “virtual tour” of properties. In a recent NPR story, it was reported that video productions costing tens of thousands of dollars, complete with professional actors, are being produced and delivered for viewing on iPads to potential luxury home buyers in California and abroad . In this niche market, such expenses are now seen as “the cost of doing business.”

I recently had my first experience with the utilization of a drone for marketing purposes at my listing on Scholls Ferry Road.  I was seeking a creative way for potential buyers to experience this magnificent home online, and while the photographs were beautiful, they couldn’t provide the same experience that the drone could.  It’s ability to maneuver into the pool house and shoot from above, highlight the serene grounds and setting, and show the property’s setback from the road just couldn’t be captured otherwise. It was the perfect opportunity for me to test the waters with the latest technology in Real Estate marketing, with a crack architectural photographer and the drone operator who does the drone work for the Portlandia show.

Experience this lovely local Mid-Century here:



Win Free Movie Nights!

CinetopiaHere’s your chance to win a basket of goodies filled with treats for both a cozy movie night at home, and one at Cinetopia, compliments of Contract Furnishings Mart. If you’re not familiar with CFM, it’s certainly worth a visit. They stock a large, high quality selection of hardwoods, cabinets, carpeting, vinyl and much more. CFM is not open to the public, but as a valued client, I am happy to share the use of my account with you. Not only will you have access to any location, but you’ll also save 20-40%. Visit anytime, and just mention that you’re my client at the door of one of the several Portland-area locations. To learn more, please visit: The first person to respond correctly to this Oregon-related movie trivia question wins the basket and Cinteopia gift card:

Which was the final bridge that Reese Witherspoon crossed in the 2014 film, “Wild?”

Portland Makes History, Again.

Orange Line[1]Tilikum Crossing, the first bridge to span the Willamette River since 1973, opens this week in Portland. Home of Tri-met’s new Orange Line, which connects SE Portland, Milwaukie and Oak Grove with downtown, the bridge is the first of its kind in the United States. It is truly “Portland” in so many ways, including its sleek, cable-stayed design and extra wide pedestrian and bike paths. Tonight, September 10th, a spectacular event associated with the opening takes place, called “First Light.”  The 178 aesthetically placed lights on the bridge will be permanently lit at approximately 9 p.m., and will change based on the Willamette River’s speed, temperature and height. The light program was designed by artists Anna Valentina Murch and Doug Hollis as part of Tri-met’s public art program. For more information about the Orange Line, visit their really lovely website at:

Slab town Field Trip

school house interior If you haven’t found a purpose to enjoy the NW area known as Slabtown, here are a few good reasons to spend several delightful hours there.

Once known for its lumber mill on Northrup, where its discarded log remnants were stacked outside the homes of the area’s working class, more recently it’s been the forgotten industrial area north of NW “trendy-third,” and it offers a somewhat grittier and interesting area to explore.

The longtime Bedford Brown is a favorite place to buy arguably the best orchids in town, the perfect alternative to the standard bouquet which wilts in a week. While there, hobnob with decorators and the friendly and stylishly dressed staff and peruse the decorator items. It is also one of the best places to buy indoor plants and has an amazing selection of pots, indoor and out.

Just a mile away, stop into the expanded newer home of Schoolhouse Electric, which adjoins their factory facility.  Admire the home furnishings and well designed light fixtures and partake in caffeine at the attached coffee house.

A little jaunt on a side road under 405 gives some lovely dining choices such as the NW outpost of Olympic Provisions, great for both lunch and dinner. Pick up some tea at the nearby Smith Teas, a calm and tastefully designed oasis. Not far away, slurp noodles at the NW Boke Bowl outpost at the base of the Addy building.

Now that there’s a New Seasons at NW Raleigh and 21st, it won’t be long until the area really starts to develop. Explore now while one still feels like a bit of an explorer.

A Great Resource: Angie's List

angies list For the past several years, I have utilized Angie’s List as both a personal and professional resource when searching for reputable vendors. I often look for companies who have received the Super Service Award, which is presented to those who have demonstrated excellence in their field. As a recipient of the award myself since 2013, I know the value of and importance of meaningful client reviews and I’m very grateful to all of you who have shared your positive experiences on the site.

I’ve discovered great companies for everything from hardwood floors to carpet cleaning, and even sewer scopes. When I need of information for personal home projects, it’s my go-to resource. What many people don’t know about membership is that it’s very economical and risk-free. Membership is just $3.75 for one month, or $9.99 for one year.  If you subscribe for a year and are unhappy with the service at any time during that year, you can cancel and receive a 110% refund.

Portland Permits: No Aversion to Conversions

stairs copy 2 The desire to create more living space in vintage homes has become more prevalent in recent years due to both the need for more room and the popularity of ADU’s (accessory dwelling units). For the most part, the city encourages the use of all spaces in our homes. At a recent class by the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, I learned a great deal about the permit process pertaining to the remodeling of rooms and utilization of spaces such as attics and basements. The three main factors in the renovation of your space are typically the ceiling height, windows, and stairs. In many cases, if a component of the space was installed legally at the time of its installation, for example, the stairs or a window, it can be “grandfathered in,” and only required to meet the requirements of what was legal at that time. On the other hand, if you change out that window for better weather efficiency, you are then required to bring it up to code, which may mean you’re going to need a bigger window. Or how about converting a basement space into a legal bedroom? A good start is to find out the requirements for an egress window. To learn more about the conversion of spaces, visit

The Charming Town of Carlton

cArlton foodcart Nearly everyone has taken a day trip to the coast or Mt. Hood, but if you head just a short drive southwest of Portland, a delightful town awaits. Carlton is one of the true gems of Oregon’s Wine Country, highlighted by a charming, picturesque main street. On a recent visit, I enjoyed rich, buttery shortbread at the Carlton Bakery and fell in love with Carlton’s first food cart, Henry’s Diner where I had some of the best pancakes ever, full stop. If you’re enticed to stay longer than the day, a number of stylish retreats offer lodging for every taste, whether that be a classic Bed and Breakfast, modern loft, or even a silo!

Housing Market is Tight, Especially for Renters

Rental Rates Perhaps you, a friend, or a relative has been searching for a home to purchase in Portland.  It’s tough, especially in our close-in neighborhoods. But as challenging as it is to find the right home to purchase, it’s even tougher for those who wish to rent. A recent Willamette Week story cited a 3% vacancy rate and an average rental rate of $1,100 per month. In short, we’re seeing the fewest number of available apartments for rent in over 10 years… at the highest price. Yes, there are more apartments being built today (518 rental units in 2011 to 4,413 in 2014), but the influx of new residents is substantially outpacing the growth. And, many developers have opted to replace single-family home sites with larger homes, skinny houses, or condos, as opposed to apartments. The competitive landscape of the rental market has increased in the number of potential homebuyers in our market, as renters weigh the pros and cons of renting vs buying.

Renters are being forced into split second decision-making, and are often subjected to the application process and associated fees without ever seeing their future dwelling in person.  It’s a simple, yet painful, case of supply and demand, and prices in our city are likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

Read more, in Willamette Week-