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Fall Home Living

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times


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ATTENTION VETERANS! Tap Into Your Home Equity Get cash from your home and put your equity to work for you If you’re considering a cash out refinance to cover the cost of home improvements, credit card debt, or unexpected medical expenses, we are here to help. The VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan gives qualified veterans the opportunity to refinance your conventional or VA loan into a competitive rate while extracting cash from the home’s equity.

With a VA loan you can refinance up to 100% of the appraised value of the home.

ATTENTION VETERANS! Tap Into Your Home Equity

Tour a little slice of heaven on West Beach Page A12 A supplement to the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record

Kris Crane


(360) 668-3600 kris@craneloan.com | www.kriscrane.com

Get cash from your home and put your equity to work for you If you’re considering a cash out refinance to cover the cost of home improvements, credit card debt, or unexpected medical expenses, we are here to help.

Find out if a VA cash-out refinance is right for you today!

Harbor Station Office: 32650 SR20, Suite C-210, Oak Harbor WA 98277



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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times

Georgia no longer on their minds Couple's West Beach home reflects their southern style set along a scenic bluff By RON NEWBERRY

After Linda and Ken Olsen purchased two acres of wooded property on a bluff on Whidbey Island in 2007, they would wait another four years until they started building their dream home. During that waiting period, once a year, they would travel from Atlanta, Ga., to visit their property, walk through the woods along a narrow path to the cliff edge and gaze at the natural beauty all around them. “One of the times, we were standing there at the bluff and an eagle went by at eye level and we couldn’t even talk,” Linda said. “For someone from Atlanta to come and be standing out there on the side, it just took your breath away.

You’re 200 feet up and they (eagles) are right at your eyes.” Nearly five years after moving into their new home, the Olsens still sometimes feel like they’re floating. From their perch along West Beach Road in Oak Harbor, they enjoy the solitude of the woods and a water and territorial view they consider the most spectacular on the island. Although Smith Island rests directly in their line of sight, it’s just the starting point in a mosaic of mountains, saltwater and islands. “That mountain over there, that’s Mount Constitution on Orcas,” Ken said, pointing to the north from the bluff’s edge. “Then, you’ve got Lopez.

The couple's cozy living room features lots of view windows and furniture and items they brought with them from Atlanta.

Photos by Ron Newberry

Linda and Ken Olsen used to live in a top-floor condominium in downtown Atlanta before settling down on Whidbey Island to retire. Their favorite spot on their Oak Harbor property is a sitting area near a bluff that overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There’s a little cut there. That’s San Juan. “That island out there is Vancouver. We’re almost due east of Victoria. We see the lights of Victoria.” When they bought the land, the Olsens weren’t even aware that the Olympic Peninsula was another prominent feature in plain view when not obscured by clouds. They learned that during a sunny visit. “I said, ‘Oh, my God, we can see the mountains,’ ” Linda said. The Olsens relive such awe-inspiring moments whenever friends and family visit from other parts of the country. Almost always, there’s a beeline to the bluff, then a tug-of-war to get them

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The Olsens' yard includes shady escapes and a vast assortment of perennials. Plate-sized dahlias are among their most prized. Olsens had custom-built to the finest detail. The retired couple had a specific plan in mind. They wanted a house where Linda would have ample room to cook and entertain but wasn’t too big. She spent a career as an inte-

back. “We’ll have parties. We can’t get them off here,” Linda said. “That’s why we have eight chairs,” Ken said. Only 50 feet from the bluff’s edge rests a threestory house that the

ve Your Sto& Your

rior designer for mostly upscale homes in Atlanta, some that exceeded 15,000 square feet. “They never felt cozy or at a human level,” Linda said. In Oak Harbor, they settled on a plan for a coastalstyle home just under 3,000 square feet. There are three bedrooms — one on each floor — and three-and-a-half baths. The second floor features a kitchen, dining area and living room with tall ceilings and windows that look out at the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There also is a sunroom with a fireplace. What’s unique about this building project is that SEE BLUFF HOME, A13


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times


The Olsens' kitchen features a stainless steel oven and cabinet-like fridge.

BLUFF HOME CONTINUED FROM A12 the Olsens brought many of the home’s distinct features with them from the South. They shipped hardwood floors, appliances, bathtubs and lighting fixtures, even much of their furniture. While the interior was Linda’s major point of focus, Ken was eager to try to tackle the wild outdoor landscape. But shaping the front yard was an enormous project. To avoid putting in a stairway to reach the main floor, the Olsens settled on a rock garden with a path that winds its way past plush perennials to the front door. “Ten truckloads of dirt and 200 tons of rock,” Ken said.

The project was hugely satisfying for Ken, who has a passion for gardening and spends much of his day tending to his yard. “It took me a while to learn because we’ve never dealt with sand,” Ken said. “We always had clay. The first year or two was a learning experience.” “People who come here from Atlanta, the gardeners, they just can’t believe the things we can grow here,” Linda said, pointing to dahlias that stay in the ground year-round as one example. They can’t believe a lot of things about the place the Olsens now call home. Especially that view. “I have no desire to go back to Atlanta,” Linda said.

Linda Olsen's career as an interior decorator in Atlanta is reflected all over her custom-built Oak Harbor home. Most of the appliances, fixtures, pieces of furniture and even the bath tub were shipped from Georgia and placed in storage until the Olsens' new home was completed in late 2011. The house has three bedrooms — one on each floor — and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The home is just under 3,000 square feet.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times

Warm up for winter with the latest in fireplace inserts

Photo by Evan Thompson/Whidbey News Group

Brian Sherlock of Ace Hardware in Freeland displays different ways to customize the look of a fireplace insert.


“They get real fancy with diamondback mosaic. them,” Sherlock said. Travis Industries also makes The most decorative aspect “linear” fireplaces that can be of the fireplace are the “faces,” built on a wall so people can seethrough to the another room. For Sherlock said. The faces offer a variety of some products, the glass is made h S sleek designs for the gas inserts in a material that allows people to n e Haz r complement different home that touch itSwith the burner turned D teward Rd ne on. Lyn décor. es

unique features and options for buyers, Sherlock said. “(People) like the realistic look of the gas log fire,” Sherlock said. “Travis prides themselves in their hand-sculpted (log sets) and multiple choices of different kinds of log sets that are very realistic looking. So, of course over time they try to make them look more and more real.” Some of the varieties of log sets include traditional, driftwood or fire stones. Sherlock said the flames can also be customized to the buyer’s preference. At Ace, there are three different varieties that Travis Industries offers — emberfyre, diamond fyre and dancing fyre — all of which differ in size and movement. The variety in choices accommodates different styles of what Sherlock said Ace Hardware calls ‘interior art.’ Glowing embers also aid in making the flame look more realistic. Another option for buyers is firebacks, which help fireplaces blend in with its surroundings with varieties of colors and textures. Different for r firebacks view D Shorechoices include common brick, herringbone brick, old world stucco, stainless steel, ledgestone and




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“You can spend anywhere between $135 and $500 on faces,” Sherlock said. Sherlock said Travis Industries does not sell gas insert fireplaces that are meant to be friendly to the environment, though it is said that gas inserts are generally the greener option.


Although summer just ended, it’s never too soon to think about how to warm up for the winter. Buying a gas fireplace insert may be one way to stay cozy without having to venture out for some wood. They can be purchased at Ace Hardware and installed by an affiliate of the Freeland-based store. Unlike wood fireplaces, which require a chimney, gas fireplaces can be installed on walls or other places around the house with more flexibility. They’re a mixture of sleek and modern. Those looking for a more traditional-looking fireplace are also in luck, says Brian Sherlock of Ace Hardware’s stove department. He said people generally buy gas fireplaces for the ambiance. It is also a more convenient source of warmth as the fireplace can be turned on with one push of a button, and two of Ace Hardware’s gas fireplaces have a heat radius of 1,500 square feet. “They’re for ambiance, but mainly they’re a heat source,” Sherlock said. “ Ace Hardware sells only fireplaces made by Mukilteo-based Travis Industries, which have

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times

Preparation, research key when looking to finance your home By KATE DANIEL

Whether you’re a firsttime home-buyer or are in the market for an upgrade, you may consider financing to make purchasing your dream home a reality. Early in the home-shopping process, you’ll need to make some considerations and gather some information to see what kind of financing will be most feasible for you. A financial advisor can assist you in determining important factors such as how much of a mortgage you can afford and what loan

option will be best. Kris Crane, branch manager of Crane Financial Group, a Division of American Pacific Mortgage NMLS No. 1850, said the following information is typically needed to apply for financing: full legal name; date of birth; social security number; address history for the past two years; employment history for the past two years; one month of pay stubs; two years’ W2s and tax return statements; and two months of bank statements. Crane said more information may

be needed depending on the type of loan sought, and any special circumstances. It is also important to ensure your credit reports are up-to-date and accurate. However, Crane emphasized that poor credit shouldn’t deter someone from seeking a loan, as there are multiple options available depending on a client’s needs and circumstances. Most commonly, Crane says buyers select from conventional loans, VA, FHA and USDA. In addition to these, there

is a myriad of down payment assistance programs available through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, designed to accommodate an individual’s income, credit and specific needs, Crane added. In addition to deciding what kind of loan is most suitable, you’ll also need to choose between a fixed rate mortgage, which locks in the interest rate for the duration of the loan term, and adjustable rate mortgage, which could increase or decrease periodically over time.

According to consumer finance.gov, many adjustable rate mortgages have a lower initial interest rate, which may stay the same for months, or even years. At the end of this “introductory period,” however, the amount of the payment “will likely go up.” “It has a lot to do with a client’s tolerance for risk vs. their need to be able to have a guaranteed monthly principle and interest payment,” Crane said. Particularly if you’re scoping properties online, it’s

likely you’ll receive offers for financing via email or advertising. Crane advised that many consumers aren’t aware of the fine print on some such offers, and end up with a closing transaction that does not mirror the “deal” they initially expected. “It’s very important to research the company and individual that you are working with, and carefully review all documentation before signing anything to make sure that you fully understand what you are being offered,” Crane said.





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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times

Winter doesn't mean an end to your garden By KYLE JENSEN

While it may seem like winter is the time to say goodbye to your garden, Maureen Murphy is setting out to change the perception of what a winter garden should be. The Bayview Farm and Garden owner and horticulturist says now is a great time to plant in the face of the coming winter months. The Pacific Northwest has a multitude of “great winter plants” and evergreen foliage that power through the winter. Murphy said gardeners are less active in the colder season due to the assumption the cold weather doesn’t agree with greenery, but she said that isn’t the case for all plants. “It’s a very good time of year to plant many things, like trees, shrubs and some flowers, but not everything,” Murphy said. “The reason is soil is still warm, so roots are continuing to grow. Also, the rain comes during the fall and winter so you don’t have to water if the plants aren’t covered.” Some plants bloom in the colder months, and some root before a spring bloom. Either way, there are ways to prepare

Photo by Kyle Jensen/Whidbey News Group

A pansy thrives in the greenhouse at Bayview Farm and Garden. Owner Maureen Murphy said now is a great time to plant in the face of coming winter months. your garden for winter. Here are a few, starting with equipment. Finding a quality container, or pot, that can withstand

the winter chill is a crucial and common sensical starting point for winter gardening. Murphy says gardeners should pay the extra dollar

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Provided photo

Make sure any contractor you hire has the proper credentials and insurance coverage.

Tackling storm damage Having your home severely damaged by a storm can turn your world upside down. The damage could simply be cosmetic, or so extensive as to render your home uninhabitable. In either case, you need to act fast, but smart, to ensure that your home will be properly repaired. Often, foremost among your concerns will be your roof, as it is protects the rest of your home and possessions. Start your post-storm repair process with these tips : 1. Keep safety first. Leave emergency repairs to the professionals. A crisis that affects your home is an emotional event, but your safety is paramount. Do not attempt any emergency repairs unless you are qualified to do so. 2. Prepare for your insurance adjuster. Take time to do your own documentation. Take plenty of photos and notes on the damage to your home. This information will become a helpful checklist to compare against the insurance company's findings. When it comes to the roof, check outside for things such as blown off shingles, damaged gutters and large branches that may have fallen onto your home. Also, if you can safely access your attic, examine the underside of your roof for damage or leaks. 3. Find the right contractor. You will want to interview at least three contractors for your roof repair. This allows you to compare prices, work styles and other factors before making your selection. Here are some key questions to ask: n Are you a credentialed installer? Most shingle manufactures have strict guidelines for installation. These assure that you get

the best performance and meet the requirements for the product and/or workmanship warranty. n Do you have storm experience? Some contractors are experienced in storm restoration and trained in storm damage evaluation and repair. These are the contractors you want when dealing with an insurance claim. n Where is your business located? You will want a local contractor with an established business location who can provide at least four to five references. This way, if you need to follow up for any reason, they will be easy to reach. n Do you carry liability and workers' comp insurance? Your contractor should be fully insured with liability and workers' compensation insurance. This will protect you should any workers get hurt during the repair process. n Are you licensed with the state or municipality? The answer to this question may be no, as not all states or municipalities have licensing requirements for roofing contractors. If licensing is required, there are websites where you can look up a company's status. 4. Check for special repair designations required by your insurance. In some instances, insurance companies require that certain materials be used in the repair of your home. In areas prone to hail storms, for example, you may be required to install shingles that are classified as impact resistant, which stand up better to hailstorms. (Family Features)

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tainer products. Winter is also a time when gardeners should care for their tools. If gardeners apply a coat of mineral oil to their tools and sharpen when necessary, it not only makes them last longer but makes digging easier when the soil is tougher to quarry. To prepare plants for colder weather, Murphy said it’s a good idea to make sure there is plenty of water in their vascular systems before temperatures drop. The water helps them survive; an Arctic blast on plants low on water leads to a high mortality rate. Tending to your garden bed’s soil is crucial for winterizing your garden. According to Murphy, Whidbey Island “doesn’t have dirt” since the island is a pile of rocks, so using compost, mulch and manure can be a game changer. Gardeners should “clean” their gardens, or rake up dead material, to dig up nutritional soil for their plants. Murphy suggests tossing on some garden lime to lower the acidity of your garden bed’s soil — if the soil is too acidic, plants can’t access the nutrients. Blueberries and rhododendrons are acid loving plants, but Murphy said most of what is grown in our gardens likes lime. An extra layer of top soil is key not only for flowers, but also vegetables and fruit.

Pam Mitchell, owner of Pam’s Place Produce, said gardeners looking to protect their edible greens should add a two inch layer of manure since it helps prevent soil from washing away during the rainy season. She added that earthworms take the manure down into the soil, leaving nutrient rich soil. “Manure forms a sort of web when it’s rained on, so the soil stays there,” Mitchell said. “It’s like a blanket. You can do that any time of year, not just the winter, but the rain is coming soon.” By following these tips and stocking your garden with plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest winter, your garden should power through the cold months. Flowers such as pansies, which provide bursts of color, fragrant daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth typically fare well in the winter, Murphy said. Produce like lettuce, kale, swiss chard, broccoli and herbs such as parsley are good winter vegetables, and should keep plates full throughout the winter. The expectation that a garden will die in the winter is a common misconception, as many plants thrive through the Whidbey winter. “The beauty of living here on Whidbey is we can have flowers 12 months out of the year,” Murphy said. “We can have fragrance, beauty and vibrant color year round.”

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Page A20

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • Whidbey News-Times

ATTENTION VETERANS! Tap Into Your Home Equity Get cash from your home and put your equity to work for you If you’re considering a cash out refinance to cover the cost of home improvements, credit card debt, or unexpected medical expenses, we are here to help. The VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan gives qualified veterans the opportunity to refinance your conventional or VA loan into a competitive rate while extracting cash from the home’s equity.

With a VA loan you can refinance up to 100% of the appraised value of the home.

Find out if a VA cash-out refinance is right for you today!

Harbor Station Office: 32650 SR20, Suite C-210 Oak Harbor WA 98277

Kris Crane MLO#38143 (360) 668-3600 kris@craneloan.com www.kriscrane.com


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Home and Garden - Fall Home Living 2016  


Home and Garden - Fall Home Living 2016