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HOME &garden


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Septic Dos and Don’ts

Check it! Don’t wreck it!

Do put down the drain 

Water & Mild Liquids

Your Septic System needs TLC, from what goes down the drain inside to protecting your drain field outside. Avoid costly repairs or replacement.

Mild Detergent

Attend Septic 101 for free to learn how to live with your system.

Urine & Feces

Attend Septic 201 If you have a conventional gravity or pressure system and

Toilet Paper

pay $28, you could get certified to inspect your own system. Inspections are required by law every 1-3 years depending on the type of system.

Don’t put down the drain 

Coffee Grounds

Handy Wipes

Dental Floss

Cigarette Butts

Disposable Diapers


Feminine Products


Pet Waste, Kitty Litter

Paints or Solvents

Septic Additives

Food Waste

Oil and Grease


NEW! Free classes on Alternative Septic Systems available now. For a list of certified Island County Maintenance Service Providers, or to register for Septi Septicc classes online.or.in.person,.call. 360-678-7914 or visit: online or in person, call 360-678-7914 www.islandcountyseptictraining.com


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Contact Information: Todd Heppner 360-333-8805 PO Box 1344 Coupeville, WA 98239 theppner@earthlink.net

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Freeland builder sees big potential in tiny houses

Ron Newberry photo

By RON NEWBERRY Dan Neumeyer holds a large place in his heart for tiny houses. When he built one on Whidbey Island in 2012, he didn’t cut any corners with his craftsmanship, turning quality materials and green building practices into a 144-square foot work of art. He brought it to the Bayview Farmers Market, where it was warmly received. “People would walk in and sit on the couch and smile and say, ‘I could live here,’” Neumeyer said. The idea of drastically downsizing one’s living space ­— as opposed to living large — is part of a tiny house movement that has captured people’s imaginations in recent years. Accommodating those interested in simpler living in smaller, more environmentally-friendly homes holds large appeal to Neumeyer, owner of Jade Craftsman

Dan Neumeyer, owner of Freelandbased Jade Craftsman Builders, stands in the kitchen of a 144-square foot house he built in 2012. The house was showcased at the Bayview Farmers Market that summer with more than 1,000 curiosity-seekers stepping inside to take a look. Tiny houses often face several challenges related to zoning and building codes.


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Builders in Freeland. “I’ve always been interested in energy efficiency and resource efficiency and healthy building,” said Neumeyer, who came to South Whidbey 16 years ago from the Bay Area. “And working with clients, I find a budget is always an issue. The best solution to that, to energy and budget, is less square footage.” Still, tiny houses are only a minuscule part of Neumeyer’s business focus. He and his team handle complete home construction of all sizes as well as remodels, additions and decks. Yet, the “small house” social and architectural movement that has gained national attention and even spawned a television show looms large on Neumeyer’s mind. He understands the desire for simplified, economical living and is intrigued by the social and environmental benefits that come


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TINY CONTINUED FROM 4 with the creation of smaller-scale communities such as the one Langley architect Ross Chapin designed and co-developed in his community in 1997. Chapin created the country’s first contemporary “pocket neighborhood” with the Third Street Cottages in Langley. Eight cottages, each under 975 square feet, make up the community in a space that would normally hold four homes and share features such as a garden and parking. The development was made possible after the city adopted a unique cottage housing zoning ordinance. Still, cottages such as those in Langley are relative mansions compared to the “tiny house” Neumeyer built and the ones made popular in the media. A tiny house is generally described as a home smaller than 400 square feet built either on wheels atop a flatbed trailer or set on a foundation as a permanent dwelling. The houses often contain a separate bathroom, kitchen, living room and sleeping loft, though some are designed with pullout beds on the main floor. The movement to go small and live more affordably picked up momentum after the financial crisis of 2008 with companies emerging to build custom tiny homes or offer kits for do-it-yourselfers. Building a tiny home generally costs anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 in materials, while professionals charge $30,000 to $70,000 to build models. An added appeal is tiny utility bills. Neumeyer’s tiny house features a stainless steel, marine-grade propane space heater that keeps heating expenses to a bare minimum. “I’d say $15 a month,” he said. “It’s well insulated.” Still, the obstacles to the simpler life can

be imposing. Tiny houses face zoning challenges in most communities and have trouble complying with building codes. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the very tiny nature of the structures themselves. In accordance with the International Residential Code, Island County calls for builders to meet minimum room sizes for single-family residences, said Andy Griffin, county building official. Island County only allows permanent dwellings with a minimum of 220 square feet for an all-encompassing, single room, Griffin said. For homes built in the county that feature multiple rooms, one of the rooms must be a minimum of 120 square feet and there has to be a separate bathroom, which could be as small as 15 square feet, Griffin said. So, conceivably, a tiny house built on a foundation in Island County could be as small as 135 square feet. “They still have to meet the same building codes that all other houses meet,” Griffin said. Tiny houses that comply with residential codes may be allowed to be built in the county, but Griffin said requests for such permits are virtually non-existent. What is more common are permit requests for small houses around 400 square feet, he said. Smaller houses of this nature are commonly allowed to be built as an accessory dwelling unit on property that also contains a larger main structure. Tiny houses on wheels have a tougher time becoming legal residences. They are typically classified as recreational vehicles, meaning they can be camped in temporarily but not lived in full-time unless



the zoning regulations on the land on which they rest allow year-round camping. Tiny houses are starting to gain acceptance in RV parks, and tiny house communities are starting to surface in other parts of the country. “It’s a real problem,” said Sharon Read, founder of Seattle Tiny Homes, which designs and builds tiny houses. “There’s a huge desire for tiny houses out there. The difficulty is being able to (legally) park them where people want to park them.” Whether on wheels or on a foundation, tiny houses face barriers. “Most platted developments would not allow that size of a structure,” said Jon Roberts, owner of Coupeville-based Cascade Custom Homes. “They have a minimum size of square footage it has to be.” For tiny house enthusiasts, there is hope on the horizon for more relaxed residential codes for site-built homes in the near future. Tim Nogler, managing director of the Washington State Building Code Council, said the state is in the process of adopting the 2015 International Residence Code, which has reduced the requirement for minimum square footage for a habitable dwelling from 120 feet to 70 feet with a separate bathroom still required. “The issue is a health and sanitation issue,” Nogler said. “Seventy square feet is

very minimal.” These rules don’t apply to mobile tiny houses, Nogler said. If adopted, they won’t go into effect in this state until July, 2016. Neumeyer is pondering his next move with small houses with various ideas on his mind. Three years ago, the unit he built that was designed by Taproot Architects was popular with the public in Bayview, with more than 1,000 people stepping inside to take a look over the summer. Yet, visitors were fuzzy about a $55,000-$60,000 price tag and rules and regulations that seemed intimidating. “It’s a conundrum for me,” Neumeyer said. Still, he wouldn’t trade the four months it took building the tiny unit. Three years later, the scent of the salvaged, old-growth, blown-down Douglas Fir that makes up interior paneling is still strong and the bamboo floor in the kitchen and living room still looks new. “It was a blast,” he said about building the unit. He points to a tidy, little closet, another tiny feature that puts a big smile on his face. “It’s perfect for South Whidbey,” he mused. “There’s room for a party dress and a pair of Carhartts.”

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Marine living offers affordable, secure lifestyle By JUSTIN BURNETT

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Ted and Linda Pampeyan say living in their boat is affordable, friendly and secure.

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Small living paradise can be found on the ground, in the trees and, as one Oak Harbor couple has discovered, on the water. Ted and Linda Pampeyan moved aboard their powerboat more than three years ago and haven’t looked back. Marina life, they say is affordable, friendly, secure, and, best of all, afloat. “Once you get on the water, it gets into you,” Ted said. “There’s really no other place we’d rather live than right here, right now,” Linda said. Ted, 70, is a pastor to pastors for Christ the King Community Churches, and Linda, 68, is a substitute teacher in Oak Harbor. The couple’s “street” address has been slip E3 at Oak Harbor Marina since 2011. A tough economy dictated they find new living arrangements, and renting wasn’t the right fit. So, as previous boat owners who’d dreamed of a life aboard, they took the plunge and bought Renewal, a 32-foot Bayliner. It was a great decision, they say. First and foremost, by downsizing they found they had inadvertently joined a larger community, one made up entirely of fellow boaters. It’s a group of neighbors who share a common bond, and watch out for each other and each others boats.

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BOAT LIFE CONTINUED FROM 6 “It’s part of being in a community,” said Ted, adding that conversation comes easily among those who share a common bond. “Everyone has something in common so you always have something to talk about.” Their slip is on one of the busier traffic areas in the marina, as it’s one of the few docks that lacks locked gates and is entirely open to the public. It’s also on the way to “F” Dock, which is a favorite spot for a healthy community of fisherman. Asking the “fisher folk” how they fared is always fun, they say. Along with a sense of community, a big perk of living aboard is the price tag. Their bills about one-third that of a conventional home, making for a lifestyle that’s easy on the wallet. There are tradeoffs, however, such as the “150-yard walk” to the parking lot and laundry services. Also, boat savvy people might cringe at the thought of two people crammed into a vessel just 32 feet long, but the Pampeyans say Renewal’s 350-squarefoot interior is larger than it sounds. Two staterooms, a living area, galley, head, separate shower and lots of storage space make for a surprisingly comfortable living

arrangement. Also, usable space nearly doubles during the summertime with the boat’s enclosed cockpit, flybridge up top and the foredeck. That’s not to say that the move didn’t take a little getting used to — their previous home was about 3,000 square feet and had twice as many bathrooms as people living in the house. There are times when Renewal can get too small, such as last month when Linda had pneumonia. Another tradeoff is the use of power. Small boats mean less electrical capacity, making things like big screen televisions a challenge if not outright impossible. However, life aboard has it’s benefits and challenges both, it’s changed their view about how much space people really need and they now prefer a smaller, more sustainable lifestyle. Their time on the water won’t last forever, and eventually they’ll have to move back ashore. When that happens, it won’t be back into a 3,000-square-foot home. “You don’t have to be big to be comfortable,” Linda said. “Small is very attractive to us,” she said.

Space on the boat nearly doubles during the summertime when the couple can utilize their boat’s cockpit, flybridge and foredeck.

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Getting the most out of a small garden space By MICHELLE BEAHM

Michelle Beahm photos

Gardener Henry Vandenhaak says the most important thing in gardening success is starting with the right soil.



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With houses getting smaller and closer together, yard space is shrinking or even nonexistent in some places, leaving people with limited gardening options. But having a small space doesn’t have to be limiting to aspiring gardeners, said Henry Vandenhaak. “The most important thing is,” Vandenhaak, a gardener with Greenhouse Florist and Nursery in Oak Harbor, said, “success starts with the ground you’re gardening in.” After ensuring the soil is the right “structure,” there are other factors to consider, he said. Does the gardener want a sunny garden or shaded, flowering, evergreen, seasonal, perennial, etc. “The plant choice is real critical,” he said. One challenge he’s heard of, he said, is when people purchase a plant for a small area, but it grows too large for the space. “The plant gets too big and then they want to prune it back , and the plant doesn’t like it,” he said. But one of the biggest advantages to the smallest gardens, he said, is that they involve only “a little bit of time, a little bit of weeds, a little bit of water.” Sally Clifton, owner of Sally’s Garden in Coupeville, said that potted gardens are her favorite, “because you don’t have to worry about pulling weeds all the time, you don’t have to worry about where you’re gardening.” “Pots are flexible and can go anywhere,” Clifton said. Last year, Clifton grew tomatoes and lettuce in a single pot on her deck, giving her “all the tomatoes I needed in the summer.” “The good thing about small gardens is,

Sally Clifton, owner of Sally’s Garden, says potted gardens are convenient in that they flexible and easily maintained. they’re manageable,” she said. “You don’t have this huge field to weed and water.” Clifton suggested prospective gardeners might want to try vines, which can grow tall, but don’t need a lot of ground space, taking advantage of vertical space. She added that anyone needing advice or help choosing the right plants should visit their local garden center, as staff can help recommend the right plants, give gardeners choices and help steer them in the right direction for their small gardens. Small gardens also take away some of the stress of color coordinating large gardens, and if the gardens are potted, people can take their efforts with them when they move. “It doesn’t have to be backbreaking,” Clifton said. “You can have just as much fun in a small space as you can in a big space.”

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Ideas to easily enhance the master closet

Add paint and update the lighting. Bring the bedroom paint into the closet. This makes the space feel like a true extension of your bedroom, not a forgotten area that belongs behind closed doors. Great lighting is also important in a closet — it helps you to see everything clearly. Why settle for a standard light fixture

when you can add a statement piece that not only provides proper light, but proper style. Utilize more space. Most master bedroom closets come standard with only a single shelf and rod. Since most closets have little need for so much long hanging space, professional organizer Lorie Marrero, author of “The Clutter Diet,” suggests improving your closet with the addition of double hang space. “Don’t be shy about adding shelving up as high as you can to accommodate seasonal items and long-term storage boxes - utilize every space you can,” said Marrero. A good rule of thumb for double hang space is 84 inches for the top shelf and 42 inches for the lower shelf. By adding additional shelves, your storage space goes from standard to functional. Adjustable systems can create a perfect upgrade for your closet. The wire shelving and brackets can be reconfigured as needs change. Consider accessories. If you plan to update your closet with




a wire system, there are a multitude of perfect accessories to include such as a tie and belt rack or shoe shelves. You may also consider installing a laminate or wood system. These products can provide drawers, doors, decorative molding and more and can transform your closet into a personal haven. “Adding drawers into your closet system can centralize your clothing into one space,” said Marrero. “The more storage, the better.” Investing in a functional closet organizing system can help you save time now by reducing the stress of finding items when you need them, and benefit you in the future by adding extra value to your home. After all, “standard” just doesn’t work for today’s closet. (Family Features)

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Reclaimed structures create sense of whimsy Giving old materials new life

By KATE DANIEL In the yard of Bob Bowling Rustics near Bayview, a charmingly small-statured Victorian-style structure sits as if awaiting the homecoming of its resident. The structure is a mere 4-by-5 feet, standing less than 7 feet tall. It is accentuated by bright red, yellow and purple flowers potted on its sides; an old, rusted wheelbarrow rests beneath a window. Like many of Bowling’s unique structures, it is reminiscent of a long-ago era. Bowling’s structures range in their appearances as they do in function. All are made by Bowling himself using reclaimed and recycled materials. Some are sheds, others sanctuaries, greenhouses, playhouses or chicken coops. Each is designed to evoke “a sense of whimsy” and joy, according to their creator. Bowling began building several years ago in order to sustain a living on Whidbey, and his work has since received accolades from numerous home and garden shows and publications. He creates each of the pieces in a large metal warehouse he rents from the nonprofit organization Goosefoot. Though some of his buildings are larger, the most popular style is the 4 by 5 foot shed, according to Bowling. The smallness, he said, makes these most desirable as customers can use them

to add a quaint dash of character to any garden or yard. The base of the structures is composed of new materials to ensure they are sound and will withstand harsh weather. But the rest, including doors, windows, roofs and sides are made with vintage and found materials. Many of these materials Bowling collects from South Whidbey’s Island Recycling. Aside from the quality of his work, Bowling attributes a good portion of his success to the nostalgia evoked by his designs, as well as his willingness to work with budgetary restrictions and customization requests. “I think it brings people back,” he said, adding that he himself always enjoys coming across “old-school” buildings and homes. Some of the structures contain an extra personal touch, as Bowling often accommodates a customers’ wishes to incorporate elements doors, doorknobs or wooden slabs collected from former homes. Most of Bowling’s customers are located within the Puget Sound region, though he delivers to satisfied customers throughout the Northwest. “They’re all going to fabulous places,” Bowling said.

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Page 12



A seasonal guide to maintaining your home Homeowners can avoid emergency repairs by completing a few home projects each season. A simple project such as inspecting the plumbing annually can prevent the unexpected cost of repairing water damage from a pipe that burst. From spring to winter, these tips to will help homeowners save money and time in the long run: SPRING n Plumbing: Every spring inspect all plumbing for leaks. Small problems, like leaky faucets and clogged drains can turn into big headaches if left unchecked. The average national cost of hiring a plumber to repair pipes is $411; however, repairing water damage can cost seven times that amount. n Roof: Checking for damage and making general repairs in the springtime can extend the lifes-

pan of a roof. Neglecting to make these minor fixes can lead to longterm damage. The average cost of replacing and installing a new roof is $7,744. SUMMER n Trees and shrubs: The average cost of trimming trees and shrubs is $577, but leaving them untrimmed can lead to roof damage. The average cost of repairing a roof is $1,100. n Paint: In the summer, touching up the home’s exterior paint not only boosts its curb appeal, but it also acts as a home’s primary defense against weather, insects and other damage. If a homeowner neglects to complete this task, completely repainting the home’s exterior costs an average of $3,180. FALL n Gutter and downspouts:

During the fall, clean the gutter and downspouts. The average cost of cleaning the gutter and downspout is $212. Ignoring this matter can affect the foundation of a home, which can cost an average of $4,607 to repair. n Windows and doors: Install weather stripping during the fall for an average cost of $458. This will prevent unwanted air from leaking into a home. On average, homeowners spend 40 percent more on heating and air conditioning due to drafty windows and doors. WINTER n Refrigerator: Vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge during the winter. Letting the coils build up with dirt and grime can decrease its efficiency, and can cost $317 to repair. n Furnace: In the winter, service the furnace to make sure it is

operating properly, safely and to its fullest capability. TIPS FOR EVERY SEASON n Flush the garbage disposal every season. Regularly doing this will keep your disposal clean and functioning properly. The average cost of repairing a clogged drain

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Page 13


Easy tips for getting your home more organized By MEGAN HANSEN

Downsizing and organizing your home is never a simple task. “It’s a lot of work,” said Kirsten Bird, a Greenbank productivity coach and professional organizer. “It requires a lot of time and commitment to take on.” But there are steps you can take to help and make the process more manageable. A lot of Bird’s clients are older or are families that are taking care of parents and have to clean out their homes and move them into a new situation. “These projects generally seem overwhelming,” she said. “I always recommend getting help.” PLAN For the average person looking to downsize, make time and create a plan. “People live in their homes for 30 years, they accumulate a lot of things,” Bird said. “I help them see what they can keep, what they have room for.”

RESEARCH Before starting, look into a charity you can donate items to, she recommends. People often create piles of items to donate and end up leaving them sitting forever. “As you go through purging, take it to your car,” Bird said. That way they can drop off items the next time they go out. “It’s definitely hard work, harder when it’s your own stuff,” Bird said. If you’re helping someone, “try to help make the decision on their own.” Try to make your environment fit what you want. Also, make it fun — invite friends over, have fun snack and music. Make it something to look forward to. THINK ABOUT LIFESTYLE If you’re downsizing, look at measurements. Do you really need service for 12? “Really think about space and how do you spend time,” Bird recommends. “Do you need things to fit into lifestyle changes?”

Start with a small area or small project. Even if you have 15 minutes, do a drawer. “It doesn’t matter where you start, little successes lead to bigger successes,” Bird said. THINK SAFETY And for those spring cleaners, motivated to get things organized, be careful. People often find themselves with an injury. Bird herself has been injured a time or two. She also recommends setting a timer because once people get going, they can often wear themselves out. CONSIDER SYSTEMS Also consider creating a paper filing system. “For homes, 90 percent of the paper we have, we don’t need,” Bird said. “The toughest thing for people is paper.” “Some people just can’t let go. Having a filing system really helps people make decisions.”


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Planning a dream kitchen? Discover your unique style When thinking about your dream kitchen, what finish style of cabinets come to mind? Is it rich dark-stained cherry wood? Maybe a clean, crisp white paint? Do you picture yourself having a rustic kitchen complemented by different techniques? Actually, you don’t have to be defined by any specific design style — you have the freedom to come up with your own. However, for some of us, that vision may still be undiscovered. Whatever your style, here are some considerations to help you determine the look you envision for the kitchen you’ve always wanted. Stains: Sometimes all a cabinet needs is a simple stain to allow the true beauty and character of the wood to shine through. Dark, medium and light tone stains each can create a completely different look depending on what they are paired with. Your style may call for a kitchen with all

stained cabinets, or an island can be the perfect place for a stain to pop out against beautifully painted wall cabinets. Techniques: A number of techniques can be added to a cabinet to add character, including rub through, spattering, burnishing, dry brushing, small dents, worm holes, carved edges, rasping and glazing. Each of these techniques creates a unique, oneof-a-kind look for cabinetry, allowing your personality to shine. Paints: You can’t go wrong with paint. A timeless white or neutral is something that will catch everyone’s attention for the life of the cabinetry. Tired of playing it safe? Maybe a bright bold color is what you need for an environment that reflects your own inspiration. Special touches: A number of different glazes can be added to give detail to the cabinet design. It gives the paint an overlay of a subtle brush stroke of glaze, providing

Provided photo

When decorating your home it’s important to find ways to incorporate your own unique style. depth to the finish. This is accomplished by hand brushing each individual cabinet, giving each a unique overall look. Decorating Tips: After your cabinets are chosen, it is time to decorate. n Frame some of your favorite recipes in the writing of a loved one. What is more special than having your grandmother’s famous chocolate pie recipe on display?

n Change decorations out when they begin to get old. Sometimes simply switching a flower arrangement can make the room look completely different. n Get some help with what goes together from sites such as Pinterest or blogs. With so much information out there, it is easy to pick and choose ideas that will make your decorating easier while reflecting your own style.

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Former Navy man: ‘I think quirky is nice’ By JANIS REID Brandon Davis is the first to say he’s a dreamer. But as such, he tries to live out those dreams and ideals in every aspect of his life - particularly when designing his home. Over the last five years, Davis has been renovating his Oak Harbor home in his own style and according to the dictates of his conscience. Both artistic and practical, Davis focuses on using recycled materials such as glass, wood, slate, marble and metal to create a unique and comfortable space. “Everything I’ve done here had great interest and thought,” Davis said. “You feel differently than you do in most homes. It’s something greater than average… a feel of uniqueness and comfort.” Davis’ passion for repurposing materials can most easily be observed at the new Rustica restaurant on Pioneer Way where he was hired to reconstruct the interior. Using salvaged wood, metal and pipes collected throughout the island, Davis repurposed the materials for doors, wall panels, tabletops, table legs and other furniture. An impressive 24-foot length of wood came from salvaged, old-growth timber on the south end of the island and serves as the tabletop for the bar. Davis built the restaurant’s tables using a mosaic of wood pieces covered by a gloss finish. Davis has applied the same techniques to his home, built in 1927 and purchased by Davis in 2008. According to his research at city hall, Davis said his home was one of the first 100 built in Oak Harbor. Davis joined the Navy at 22 and served five years, after which he was picked up by the Department of Defense and worked for another five years. Davis was a metal worker for the government but he says he’s had an aptitude for construction from a young age. “As a kid I grew up playing with stuff,” Davis said. “I always picked up tools and hammers, built wood forts… tinkered with bikes.” But Davis’ passion for repurposing began with his most recent home improvements. When Davis first began, he used materials he purchased - but found them substandard and unsatisfying. “I didn’t like them,” said Davis who realized reclaimed wood “was better quality, it was cheaper if you’re resourceful and you have the time. Something started to

Janis Reid photos

Brandon Davis thinks about the history of each material used in his home. The slate in his kitchen and bathroom floors came from a barn in Ebey’s Reserve and he used torn out flooring from his home and reused it to frame his windows and doors. happen.” In addition to finding reclaimed materials better quality, Davis also became fascinated with the history of the materials used on his home. The slate used on his kitchen and bathroom floors is black Vermont slate that came from the roof of a barn in Ebey’s Reserve. “I just knew it was too good to only use once,” Davis said. “It’s lasted 100 years... I love telling that story.” Davis replaced his wood floors but reused the original material to frame his doors and windows. “I thought about the man before me who put that in... there’s history there,” Davis said. “When you get something out of a package it doesn’t exist yet, there’s no story. The story is the great reward from working with salvaged materials.” Davis admits his almost-religious pas- to be an advocate to increase awareness. I to them. sion for reusing materials may not be for don’t want all the materials, I just want it to “We really need to think about what everyone and can be labor-intensive in be used with more thought and care. I’m we’re doing with the materials and not just some cases. But he’d like to see a local net- not the only one... it’s totally possible.” throw them away,” Davis said. “We need work created for those, like him, who want In the vein of the tiny house move- to start using these materials in a more to put these historical items to good use. ment, Davis would rather see people live in responsible, reusable kind of way.” Besides, Davis said, “I think quirky is “There’s a lot of potential and opportu- smaller spaces made with recycled materinity for that to exist,” said Davis. “I want als that have more personality and history nice.”

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Page 17


Improvements that up a home’s resale value Before you decide on a home improvement project, it’s a good idea to learn which ones will help raise your house’s value and recoup the most money when you decide to sell. From replacing your front door to adding a deck, there are many midrange improvements that won’t cost a bundle but will deliver great bang for your buck. It’s not about spending the most money; it’s about improvements that best hold value. The experts at “Remodeling” magazine recently released their 28th annual Cost vs. Value Report, comparing construction costs with resale value for 36 of the most popular home improvement projects. When it came to midrange projects, the report found homeowners recouped the highest percentage of costs on these five improvements: steel entry door replacement, installation of manufactured stone veneer on home exteriors, garage door replacements, vinyl siding replacement, and wooden deck additions. “Making your home stand out from others on your block and others on the market is achievable if you plan wisely when it comes to remodeling projects,” says Phil Wengerd, Vice President of Market Strategies at ProVia, a leading building products manufacturer. “This year’s statistics indicate that moderately priced exterior projects can significantly enhance home resale values.” This year’s analysis of top midrange home improvement projects provided definite direction for homeowners: n STEEL ENTRY DOOR REPLACEMENT: The 20-Gauge Steel Entry Door has consistently delivered the best return on investment for resale, holding the top spot in the midrange product category

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since its debut in this report in 2009/2010. The steel entry door is the only project that, on a national basis, more than pays back its investment, typically recouping 101.8 percent. At ProVia, for example, the company’s Legacy Steel Entry Doors are a consistent top sales performer. n MANUFACTURED STONE VENEER: A new project on this year’s report is the installation of manufactured stone veneer on home exteriors. This category zoomed to the top of the midrange list, grabbing second place with a 92.2 percent cost-value return. Increased product demand for Heritage Stone is a reflection of this trend, observed by Wengerd and others. n GARAGE DOOR REPLACEMENT: The installation of new four-section garage doors on galvanized steel tracks proved to be a valuable project with homeowners recouping 88.4 percent of their costs. n VINYL SIDING REPLACEMENT: Replacing a home’s vinyl siding was one of a handful of projects that jumped up the list for recouping improvement costs. So not only can new vinyl siding beautify a home, it can keep it weatherproof and enhance its resale value. n DECK ADDITION: Adding a wooden deck can do more than provide a place to enjoy the great outdoors. When it comes time to sell, you should be able to pocket more than 80 percent of the cost for this improvement. Before you dip into your wallet, learn which home improvements will best hold their value while enhancing curb appeal. (StatePoint)

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Tips to making your home, yard more tranquil

of the foliage. She does not have a television in her bedroom, but does have one in the guest room as a courtesy.

By BEN WATANABE The rural driveway leading to Glo Sherman’s home and One Spirit Garden sets the tone for finding tranquility in nature. Having owned and operated the Clinton retreat since July 2012, Sherman has hosted plenty of visitors for tea in the garden or meditation instruction and lessons. “I will drive 20 minutes from my home to get to her home just to be in that environment,” One Spirit Garden meditator and Sherman’s friend Cynthia Shelton said. “You can stay home and meditate, but there’s something incredible about her place.” “My first visit to Glo’s house was in the winter time, and her house, it’s like a lodge,” she added. “The comfort of her home just surrounds you. It’s not luxurious, but there’s something so wonderfully warm about being in that environment.” To make her home in the woods a place for relaxation, she created a terraced garden with several features worth emulating at visitors’ own homes. The wood-and-stone home with high ceilings brings the out-of-doors inside. A handful of tips are useful for both home and garden and can help anyone interested in creating a more peaceful place to spend time.


Plant choices, such as picking a child’s name or a piece of art, is highly subjective to the owner. Sherman recommended shrubs such as viburnums because they require less maintenance and have at least three phases (flowers, berries, leaves turning color) to stay visually interesting throughout the year. Grasses also provide a sense of movement with the wind and also the rustling sound without taking up much visual space. Any indoor plants need to be considered for light and water, but add oxygen and something living to the home.



Find a piece or two and let it live in your garden. Size can depend on what place it is in, but let it reflect outside what your style is inside the house. At One Spirit Garden, the medium is bronze castings in different shapes: a swan, an otter, a face, a cat. “That little bit of color that’s coming out of shrubs or plants adds to the enjoyment,” Sherman said.


Placing rocks of varying sizes helps keep weeds down, adds gray starkness and separates between the brown and green tones of nature. For inspiration, look to Japanese gardens, retaining walls and raised beds. At One Spirit Garden, Sherman had the space to add a sunken rock garden with a boulder and Georgia Gerber bronze piece depicting two swans together. If there’s no room, don’t sweat it.

Ben Watanabe photos

Above: Glo Sherman has created a tranquil paradise at her Clinton retreat, offering a place for meditation instruction and lessons. Below: Visitors describe One Spirit Garden as incredible and say the environment is a great place for meditation. Specifically, Sherman said, allowing space to exist and not seeking to fill every area with a different plant. Depending on how large the garden is, allow each plant to flourish in its space and rely on spareness to accentuate and focus your attention to each. As a plus, you may find more tranquility in having less to manage and tend. On a sidenote, given the prevalence of deer on Whidbey, high deer-proof fencing is important to keep them out of the plants and spaces you want for yourself. For those with limited space, use plants in containers on a deck or patio. Create places for people to be. In her living area, a television above a fireplace was a natural location to position chairs in a semicircle, all facing inward to one another. Out near the large garden-facing windows are other chairs for people to sit and relax with a simple view.

On a related note, tidiness is tantamount to relieving stress of having a to-do list waiting for dishes and laundry.


On Whidbey, people are surrounded by water. But unless you’re one of the lucky ones living on Poseidon’s doorstep, the sound and water moving, trickling and running is hard to find outside. Adding a water feature such as a circulating pool or fountain, even a small one on a pedestal or a desk-size version, is of the utmost importance to Sherman, who called it “just plain critical.” “The sound of running water is really important,” she said. “People are just drawn to it.”


A strong incentive to actually go out into the garden is having a place to sit and enjoy it. At One Spirit Garden, visitors can hardly


make it more than 10 steps before having the option to sit on a different chair or bench to take in the waterfall, herb garden, trail or fire pit. “Something near the earth so you can sit on it,” Sherman said.


Just like the advice to keep bedroom activities minimal and thus peaceful, follow suit with a garden. “I think what you do in your garden settles in the ground,” Sherman said, noting the “woowoo” nature of how that sounded, but nonetheless standing behind the advice. Have parties but limit loud music, encourage the play of children but don’t let them tear up any

Building an at-ground or placing an above-ground fire in the garden creates a central place for people to gather during cool nights. “Sitting out in the evening around a fire pit is just great,” Sherman said.


Natural light pours in through most of the exterior walls and even a skylight near the foyer. To supplement sunlight, lamps in each corner and on a few tables helps create a warmer light than the overheads, all of which are equipped with dimmers. “I very seldom use the overhead lights,” Sherman said. “Just about everything in the house is dimmable.” In addition, Sherman lights candles in a few locations to add scent in addition to light.



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photos by Paulk Images

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Profile for Sound Publishing

Home and Garden - Spring Home and Garden 2015  


Home and Garden - Spring Home and Garden 2015