Myth Busting: The Truth About Construction Loans

With the housing market creating buying frenzies in some local markets, people are considering building new versus purchasing. Many people have been scared off in the past by incorrect information or myths about the downsides of building loans. Let’s bust some of those myths using the help of a friend with 45 years in the financial world who works at Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed), Barbara Whitlow.

To begin with, construction loans with OlyFed are designed to meet your financial needs, so there is no reason to be afraid of one. Whitlow suggests you begin the process by determining your budget with the help of one of the knowledgeable loan officers at OlyFed. They will help get you pre-qualified and determine what an entire realistic budget for your project should be.

Next, it is not necessary to buy the land and pre-buy house plans or other things as some people suggest. Save your money for a larger down payment. The great people at OlyFed will roll all the expenses from beginning to end into one loan and you may not have to sell your current house first.

Called “One Step Financing,” OlyFed is one of the few banks that rolls construction costs and permanent financing into one convenient package. They close up-front on the permanent financing so there is no need to refinance upon the completion of your new home. You avoid paying additional closing costs or running the risk of interest rates being higher than when you started.

Throughout the construction process, you or your builder can utilize a program called BUILT to assist in securing construction draws against your loan. BUILT helps to manage risk, maximize productivity of the builder, and improves the draw process.

Did someone tell you that you could save a lot of money serving as your own general contractor? Whitlow would advise you to use a great local builder because it saves you money in the end. Whitlow said, “They really can save you from making costly mistakes as well as the time wasted to re-do an error.”

For Additional Information
olyfed.com/personal/construction

LYNN CASTLE

Defining Space in an Open Floor Plan

An open concept living room, dining room, and kitchen by nature blurs the lines between each area or room. The best way to define your space is to determine how you want to use the space.

Consider Traffic Flow

Once you have defined your circulation paths, also consider how you want to use the room. For more definition, incorporate a focal point in each adjacent space. These standout elements capture the eye while improving how the space works.

Furniture

Creating a furniture layout in an open floor plan can be overwhelming. Arrange your furniture away from the walls. Anchor your furniture and conversation areas with a large statement piece like a coffee table and use a rug to complete the look.

Storage

What helps to make these spaces work is to have proper storage and thoughtful planning. These open spaces work best when you have adequate storage and defined smaller areas like an efficient laundry room, home office, home gym or an “amenity room” (also called a “plus room”).

Cohesive Color & Elements

When designing an open concept living room, consider the entire area, because you can see all your elements at the same time. Make sure they relate in some way. By using elements like color, texture and wood tones, you can repeat these to create layers and make your space feel cohesive. Our rule is three colors in a space. This also applies to textures and wood tones. If your style is more sophisticated than whimsical, you will want to add texture to a monochromatic space, with high contrast neutrals and layers of texture. If you are looking to create a high-end custom feel, use different custom wall coverings in different areas for added definition.

Create Intimacy with Lighting

Use a statement chandelier. Consider the light fixture but also how the light illuminates specific areas. If the lighting is versatile and visually interesting, it can help make a bright and spacious interior feel cozier and more intimate with strategic lighting.

For Additional Information
Instagram @alindamorris

ALINDA MORRIS

The HeART of the Home Cabinets by Trivonna

Cabinets by Trivonna of Olympia pride themselves on a design experience that is uniquely customized to their individual client’s dreams and wishes.

Trivonna Cabinets brings to life an artful design plan built around their customer’s need and budget. We’ve all discovered that the ‘heart of the home’ isn’t just for the cook anymore. 

“The kitchen has become a gathering place meant for entertaining guests and gathering family alike,” states Trivonna.

Navigating the myriad of decisions on textiles and design options can be daunting. Trivonna has created a design studio offering a nurturing environment that helps clients realize their best kitchen design.

Many of us have already discovered our kitchens to be the center of the home in more ways than one. Often our kitchen plays host not only to baking and cooking, but to child and adult art, science and sewing projects, and even Dad’s auto repair, fishing and tackle shop.

Whatever your kitchen design dream, creating a work of art and functional space built for you and your family is what Cabinets by Trivonna does beautifully. Be sure to visit their creative space and showroom in Olympia and realize your dream kitchen fulfilled soon.

For Additional Information
Cabinets by Trivonna
cabinetsbytrivonna.com

BY DANA PETHIA

TREE Eco Home Furnishing is Now Sage Interiors

TREE Eco Home Furnishing, an award-winning furnishing and design company in Tacoma, has been relaunched as Sage Interiors. Founded by Nicole Wakley in 2017, TREE specialized in curating furniture and decor from makers in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe, while ensuring sustainability was upheld.

Sage Interiors is an evolution of the TREE brand and concept. “We are absolutely bringing the TREE feeling with us into Sage Interiors,” said Wakley. “By savoring our loved and timeless signature collections, we are stepping forward to layer them with hundreds of new curated pieces– specially sourced with the understanding of knowing what our clients want,” she explained. Their one-of-a-kind gallery, in the historic Nisqually Power Substation building in downtown Tacoma’s Brewery District, showcases a variety of handcrafted, mindfully-made pieces across a range of styles, budgets, and signature collections.

“Since establishing ourselves in the Pacific Northwest, our dream for the brand has always been evolving. We have expanded from mainly offering reclaimed wood furniture to curating thousands of exceptional, luxurious, and sustainable pieces,” said Wakley. “Don’t worry, though– we still have our famous candles and handcrafted chopping boards for when you need some quick retail therapy.”

New products now available at Sage include luxury leather, locally-made bespoke sofas and upholstery, and outdoor collections sourced especially for the Pacific Northwest. New services include a comprehensive Quickship service provided through their in-house white glove delivery team and home staging servies.

Home design and styling services are provided in-person and virtually by their talented team of designers. “It’s always a privilege to be invited into our clients’ homes and work with them one-on-one to bring their styles to life. These personalized services are becoming the soul of the brand,” said Wakley. The Sage team not only believes that home is where the heart is, but that it is also a personal space to inspire and nurture the soul.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

A New Home for Holy Lamb Organics

The innovative and sustainable company, Holy Lamb Organics, surprises our community once again with a new location. This time, right in the heart of creative downtown Olympia! Surrounded by international cuisine, historic buildings, breweries, cafes, art stores and other clothing and home goods shops, Holy Lamb Organics fits right in.

Since 2017, the previous Olympia location was in the historic steam plant building, mere minutes from the space on Washington Street. When asked why the company decided to move, co-owner Jason Shaefer explained, “[when] the lease ended, we came here because this was more of a central spot. And we wanted to be a part of the revitalization of the downtown after all of the antics of COVID-19.”

The new space is narrow, but still spacious enough to fit all their product, including mattress displays, and walking room for social distancing. Between handmade blankets and soft bed sheet bundles is a colorful chalk board featuring the cellular structure of wool drawn by a local artist. Around the store are more art pieces by another local artist, giving the store appropriate Olympian character.

The move is working out well for the company and providing a different shopping experience than before. Most customers that visited the steam plant store were more conscious and already-decided buyers. At this central location, customers are largely walk-ins browsing the downtown. The benefit has been the profit of display settings, meeting interesting people and more involvement in a community they love.

They are becoming especially close to their neighbors, Painted Plate and Ember Goods coffee. “When customers seem to be stuck or indecisive, we will send them to Painted Plate for some creative release,” says Shaefer. “If the customer is lagging, we send them over to Ember Goods for some caffeine and vice versa. People are sent over to us to rest and test our mattresses.” Overall, the connection the company is creating with their community has been the most rewarding part of their move to central downtown.

Be sure to check out Holy Lamb Organics’ new showroom to touch and experience their all-natural product and learn about their mission to provide ethical bedding.

For Additional Information
holylamborganics.com

NATALIE BENSON

Outdoor Living Spaces

It’s time to start thinking about your impending spring and summer garden parties. Outdoor living and entertaining are important to modern life; people enjoy spending time outside, surrounded by fresh air, wildlife and the sounds and smells of their environment. Ultimately, this means you need to offer your guests an outdoor space where they will feel comfortable spending time. If you haven’t given your outdoor spaces a second thought since fall, you might need some guidance toward up-and-coming trends. Here are some design ideas to jumpstart your creativity and get your outdoor areas ready for sunny skies.

Natural Materials

Metal and plastic outdoor furniture and features have been popular for decades because these materials offer the clean, modern lines essential to minimalism, and metal and plastic tend to withstand the elements fairly well. However, as interest in minimalism has waned, so has the use of synthetic or artificial materials in outdoor décor. Instead, you should look into utilizing natural materials, like organic cotton, wool, wood and wicker.

Warm Colors

In addition to the change in materials, the most up-to-date deck and patio furniture is warm and inviting in color. In recent history, color palettes for the home have been relatively cool-toned: grays, icy blues, white and black. Cool colors are refreshing and tend to have a calming effect, but they don’t often make a space feel welcoming or comfortable. As the new year dawns,
almost every designer is shifting focus toward warm and earthy hues, like brown, taupe, golden yellow, dusty red and olive green.

You can integrate warm colors many places in your exterior design, not just your outdoor furniture. You might consider giving your front and back doors a new coat of paint or changing the color of your home’s trim around windows and doors. You could add decorative hardscaping, like fences, with a new and inviting color palette. Finally, you can stain your concrete or repaint your deck to add color to your exterior. Most of these fixes are relatively small but pack a major decorative punch.

Functionality

It doesn’t matter how much time, effort and expense you put into your outdoor living area if your furniture is uncomfortable. Perhaps most important of all, the features you place in your exterior living spaces should be functional, meaning you and guests should be able to enjoy the stylish outdoors with ease and comfort.

Additionally, you might consider adding functional features to your outdoor living space, transforming it into a true room of your home. A popular choice is to add an outdoor kitchen space, replete with refrigerator, counter space, cooktop and more. An outdoor kitchen can be fun and interactive during warm-weather months, when you don’t want to separate the party between your yard and indoor kitchen. Plus, it gives you more opportunity to design your exterior, perhaps adding trendy countertops, backsplashes and lighting to the space.

BY MORGAN LUCAS

Olympia Craftsman Redesign

If you’ve ever done a remodel, you know they can be challenging. The original home located in Olympia was a 1920’s Craftsman style that had several previous remodels and additions over the years. However, each remodel was not integrated aesthetically to the original Craftsman home. The homeowners consulted Lara Anderson with Red Door Interiors on a kitchen remodel and full redesign.

A new entry was designed to cohesively connect a poorly-done addition from the 80’s into a welcoming connection to a reimagined master suite that related to the original craftsmanship of the home. “We were working within the confines of the existing house which can make everything more complicated. There was also a need to adjust when unforeseen conditions arose, which they did numerous times,” explains Anderson.

“Lara was always so calm, creative, and flexible. She would ask questions, took input, and came up with new ideas. It decreased the stress of doing the remodel substantially because I knew I could count on her,” says the homeowner.

The homeowners wanted the home to reflect who they are and how they live. They had considered moving but they loved their neighborhood with everything in walking distance. They realized in order to create their dream house, massive changes and improvements were needed. They wanted new areas to relate to the existing areas and ultimately feel warm and welcoming.

New and innovative products and finishes were utilized that created incredible results with unexpected texture and color throughout the home. Angled ceilings in the upstairs bathroom presented challenges with varying ceiling height and very little room, so a vanity mirror was mounted to the ceiling and provided peek-a-boo views of the West Bay waterfront.

The end result for the entire home is a completely cohesive look combining contemporary and artistic style, resulting in a home that the owners are thrilled with.

BY SARAH TURNER

COLLABORATORS: THOMAS ARCHITECTS
PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY CAROLYN BEERS

Gardening Tips and Tricks for this Spring

Whether you’re starting a new garden or returning to a well-established one, planning is essential for a successful and fun experience. To give your garden the best chance to thrive, take time to get organized at the beginning of your growing season. Here are a few tips for growing a healthy, bountiful garden this spring!

Pay attention to sunlight. What direction does your garden face? In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing yards and balconies get the most light, while north-facing gardens will almost always be shaded by comparison. Take a look, too, for buildings, trees and other structures that could block light by creating shadows. You may want to locate your vegetable garden in the sunniest spot, even if that’s your front yard.

Choose the right crops for the right place. If you can’t move your garden, work with what you have and choose your crops accordingly. Most salad greens, like spinach and lettuce, will grow happily in partial shade but can really suffer under hot sun. Good soil can help compensate for a less than perfectly located garden.

Take your lifestyle into consideration. If you like to travel, have a busy schedule without much free time or are planning home renovations in the next year, consider adding a smaller, less permanent container garden. An irrigation system with timers is a worthwhile investment if you don’t think you’ll be able to water your garden regularly.

Choose what to plant. Once you have a sense of your goals and capacity, it’s time to choose your plants. Keep your plan simple. Allocate a space for each of your crops, taking into consideration that some plants, like salad greens, need very little room, while others, like pumpkins, can get enormous. If you’re growing in raised beds, consider dividing each bed into tidy sections using string and nails, a method known as square-foot gardening. This technique is especially helpful with salad greens, which do best when planted in small amounts every week or two.

Keep in mind that it’s best to avoid planting the same crop (or a close relative) in the same place year after year. Rotating crops helps prevent soil-borne plant diseases and nutrient deficiencies.

It’s all too easy to get excited about a garden early in the year, only to abandon it weeks later when the work becomes overwhelming. By doing some advance planning, you’ll give your garden the best opportunity to thrive!

WRITTEN IN COLLABORATION WITH REBECCA CUTTLER AND HOUZZ.COM

Point Ruston Stylish Condo Virtually Designed

William Flanagan Pash-Uhn Photography

Condo owners at Point Ruston asked Alinda Morris Design to take on the challenge of designing and installing their dream house in time for them to enjoy the sun in their new home.  “This was such an exciting project,” said Morris. “We are all about creating stylish, eclectic yet clean-line spaces for our clients.”

The project began with several conceptual furniture plan options. Once a finalized layout was created, several design boards with furniture selections and lighting options were offered to the client. Alinda Morris Design provided the condo with furnishings, artwork, window treatments, and updated lighting fixtures.​

“When working to personalize new construction, we combine styles and periods through a wide variety of items to achieve a curated look,” Morris explained. The design team added small details to the home as well as larger pieces to create a luxurious yet comfortable feel. “We wanted our clients to feel like they are on vacation all the time but we did not want anything in the space to feel formal or precious,” Morris said.​

The house showcased a simple color palette with accent colors and patterns layered throughout to add interest to various rooms. Morris’s team knew that art, accessories, and interior styling were very important to their clients, so they selected custom artwork focusing on the theme of travel from artists they love. The completed space is cozy, sophisticated, and still great for an energetic family.

“Not only is our home stunning,” the owners said, “the whole process was also completely painless and was done 100% virtually. I could have as much or as little input as I wanted. When we arrived at our home everything was complete and perfect.”

It’s noteworthy how seamless this project was as all the work on this project “was done 100% remotely,” said Morris.  The homeowners actually live in Chicago and desired a second home in the Pacific Northwest. During these times, it is a relief that clients are still able to partner long distance and enjoy design services and virtual consultations. 

alindamorrisinteriordesign.com

Getting Settled into a New Home

After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of moving is over. And you’re right, but there are still things to take care of before you can relax completely.

Get Your Utilities Set Up

You don’t want to arrive at your new place, late at night, and find that the lights don’t work. Before you move, arrange for the utilities to be set up there. Make sure all of your services are up and running so you can check your electronics and appliances.

Check Major Appliances

If you moved major appliances, such as a range, dishwasher, washer or dryer, check to make sure nothing was damaged during the move. This is particularly important if the mover prepared your appliances for the move. Your insurance policy may have a limited time in which to make a claim. Since these are big-ticket items, you want to make sure they’re all working.

Check all Boxes and Furniture

Make sure all boxes and furniture arrived and that nothing is damaged. If you’re missing something or you find damage, contact the mover and your insurance company to submit a claim. It’s important to do this immediately after moving in or the insurance company may not reimburse you.

Save Receipts

Keep all receipts and documentation related to your move in one file and store the file in a safe, secure place. Make sure you have your bill of lading and payment receipt. You may be able to claim your move on your next tax return, and you’ll need all the necessary receipts to make your claim.

Make Sure You’re Getting Your Mail

Check with the post office about mail forwarding. Update all important files and documents with your new address and notify everyone who needs to know about your move.

BY KELLY LENIHAN