real estate

My Hobby, My Job, My Passion

Generally, by the time you are Real most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes don’t see as well and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are Real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.
— The Velveteen Rabbit

“So, you like houses?” my friends ask me.

Well, that’s just the beginning. I mean, YES, I love houses. I love to design for houses. But mostly, love all the steps that go in to creating a brand for a home. I love the staging, the home auditing (Home Auditing is when the stager/designer walks through the home and removes the extraneous “stuff”). I love when a broker can see beyond the life that’s been lived in a home, and strives to create the story that the next owner will bring.

Basically, I love restoring old and broken things. I love finding the “diamond in the rough” and bringing it to life. Capturing the aged, the unlovely, the challenging property, then showcasing it in such a way that it finds a new home. It feels kind of like taking the Velvateen Rabbit and showcasing that the love it was given for so many years is actually a benefit. New doesn’t always mean better.

My Hobby: Finished Bookshelf, complete with wheels on the bottom for easy access.

My Hobby: Finished Bookshelf, complete with wheels on the bottom for easy access.

My hobby - when I have free time - is restoring furniture. Well, more like re-imagining furniture. This is an old radio from the 1930’s that was completely trashed. I purchased it at a thrift store for $25. I cleaned it up, added some shelves, wheels, color and style and resold it on Craig’s List. I know I’ll never be able to make a living doing this, but it brings me so much joy!

FLYERS: Design for Seattle Condo, Matt Martel, RE/MAX Northwest

FLYERS: Design for Seattle Condo, Matt Martel, RE/MAX Northwest

There is just something magical about finding the beauty within a space or an object, and the look of surprise when others see what you see. This is one of many, many reasons why I choose to do the kind of work that I do. And it’s one of the things that helps me help my brokers be the best that they can be.

Brand New // New Brand

Tracy Vaughn and I have worked together for so long that we’re actually rebranding on my own design! This is a great place to be - watching my clients grow both themselves and their businesses! Tracy is an exceptionally hardworking broker; she’s passionate, fiercely feminine, artistic and funny and we wanted to create something that felt more like who she is. The new branding had to feel like a “step up” in terms of style, while not losing the aspects of her previous logo that she loved for so long.

Don’t Dull My Sparkle

After a fun-filled trip to visit my extended family in North Carolina and Virginia, I came down with the plague and lost all energy for almost ten days, and the bulk of my creativity as well. Being creative on demand is a skill that takes time to develop, but when you’re out, you’re out.

I reached into my wonderful toolbag for my favorite logo designer, Sarah Alston, who just happened to be available for a two day Design Jam with me. The homes that Tracy is hoping to focus on listing are in Sarah’s old backyard; it was a match made in heaven. “Just design something that makes you want to list a house with this amazing agent. Go.”

The Drawing Board

Okay, I can almost hear my favorite prof telling me that “you have to do the process” and all the other brilliant things she would say anytime I tried to take a shortcut. You have to do a thousand sketches, throw them away and start fresh. Since Sarah’s been helping me with logo design, she’s been reminding me of a lot of my basics and we’ve been revamping the way I offer deliverables to my clients.

For Tracy, it was important for me to create a mood board with her because 1) I wanted her to see herself in this new light, and 2) it helped me hone in on her goals and needs for her the direction of her business.

On a side note: I may have sparkled all over myself with monogram this design. *swoon

Making a Match

I know that I say this often, but this really is one of my favorite things about my job; The Refresh. Watching the look and feel begin with an idea, a touch of color and few magic sprinkles and spreading into new high-end brochures, an updated website style, email designs - each piece adding to the value of her brand. Special thanks to Sarah Alston for the awesome logo design and to Tracy for being the kind of creative person that is a joy to play with.


There’s always an “&”

And. we’re already sold and on to showcase this incredible sale in only three days to the rest of the neighborhood! Congratulations to my client and her clients, too!

Tracy Vaughn Branding Postcard Pending.jpg

LOOK BOOK: Spring has Sprung

A Collection of Stunning Backyards & Outdoor Living Spaces

As the busy season starts to wind up there’s a rush to showcase gorgeous new listings, and since it’s my favorite time of year, and my favorite projects are always the ones that highlight pretty new properties. And if I get to showcase beautiful backyards while I dream of getting my own hammock out of storage, so much the better!

Symo Social | Specializing in Real Estate

What’s the highest and best use of your time?

If the answer is “selling homes” and not “social media”, then this is the blog post for you.

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Social Media is a huge undertaking; and no, posting random photos occasionally or taking pictures of your food doesn't count. Especially if you want to make a real impact. Now, who has time for that, especially during the summer real estate busyness?

So, picture this: wouldn't it be great to have someone post regularly for you on all your social media? Someone to reply to comments, add followers, and give you a heads up when leads come through social media?

Mother of actual dragons. It’s actually that easy. Now, you just need to see it work for you! She’s offering a special right now for real estate agents and I highly recommend it if you are looking to grow your online presence without hassle!

  • Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter setup and/or optimization

  • Setup of Hootsuite social media tool ($350 annually, included in package cost)

  • 4 posts a week across all social media

  • Connecting with real, engaged followers 

  • Every post handwritten by Rose Symotiuk, a local, experienced social media professional

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Right after signing up with Symo Social, a client from years ago I’d lost touch with saw one of her posts for me on Facebook. She shared it to a friend selling their home for over one million dollars who ended up choosing me as their agent.
— Matt Parker, Waterfront Real Estate Agent

SOLD | Interlaken Drive Manor

Interlaken-Drive-SOLD.gif
It shows the exquisite beauty of the space and the land to perfection!
— Ann Wilson, Heart

The Interlaken Drive Manor has six fireplaces, a ballroom, wine storage, china storage, a laundry room and hot water boiler heating system with vintage radiators. The home includes four bedrooms, three full-baths, two half-baths plus the pool house, exterior shower, wet bar and half bath. The home includes an incredible, custom in-ground pool and hot tub along with a smashing pool house.

Vertical brochure and email campaign for Interlaken Drive Manor, Seattle

Vertical brochure and email campaign for Interlaken Drive Manor, Seattle

Owned by the first female architect in the state of Washington for many years and spent nearly 40 years under the ownership of Ann Wilson, lead singer of the award-winning 1980’s band, Heart, this gated property is nestled in the hub of Queen Anne. I designed a website, brochure and email campaign that was adopted by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and disseminated it to their extensive mailing lists.

NEW LISTING: Escala #2005

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Remodeled. Redesigned. Reimagined.

Recently remodeled with wide plank rift oak floors, a wall on the southside removed to reveal more extended views of the Puget Sound. An exposed concrete ceiling adds height and custom style to the space, automatic Lutron shades make for easy privacy and walls of windows invite the sunshine in to fill the space. The elegant gourmet kitchen offers a custom-built dining bar with refrigerator drawers, granite countertops, custom backsplash and stunning Italian Pedini cabinetry. Stainless steel appliances and plenty of counterspace are ready for the budding chef. Modern custom lighting and a built-in, mirrored bar in the dining area creates a luxurious space ready for entertaining.

 

2 Bedrooms + Den
2 Bathrooms
1,988 Square Feet
2 Balconies
Semi-Private Vestibule
2 Parking Spaces
1 Storage Space

Offered at $2,395,000

Collateral included a custom property website [  Escala2005.com  ], a brochure, an email campaign & a Just Listed postcard

Collateral included a custom property website [ Escala2005.com ], a brochure, an email campaign & a Just Listed postcard

PHOTOGRAPHY | New From My Toolbox

It takes more than a fancy camera to make a photographer; there’s an artistry, a sense of light and shadow and a passion for capturing a moment in time. I’m super excited to introduce you to a new photog in my toolbox: Mary Dee Mateo :

 
Mary Dee Mateo  |  info@marydeemateo.com

Mary Dee Mateo | info@marydeemateo.com

“I’m obsessed with light and I believe that it is a critical tool that is extremely powerful when used well in any form of photography and that is why I strive to create elegant, timeless portraits with carefully, planned lighting.”

 

I highly recommend Mary, not just for her absolutely incredible photography, but her consistency and her ability to make her clients feel comfortable and honored.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Matt Martel

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Ah, photography. It’s the ability to capture a moment that will hold time at bay for a brief moment. I’ve been a second shooter for Sarah Alston Photography for nearly ten years, but I still consider myself a beginner. Last year I finally got my very own Cannon 4D - it’s not the newest, fanciest camera, but it’s all mine.

Now that I have my very own Kodachrome I’ve been learning how to shoot real estate brokers. (yuk, yuk yuk.) Last week I had the pleasure of photographing Seattle RE/MAX agent, Matt Martel. He’s kind of quiet, but honestly one of the most genuinely kind humans that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. We’re working on his new website (coming soon!) and he was in need of some new headshots, so off we went to Alki Beach. And now I get to add his adorableness to my portfolio! My life is truly amazing.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Sheri Putzke

“Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day…”

-Paul Simon

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There’s something magical that happens when you take someone’s photo, when that person sees - for just a moment - the way that you see them. Not only is Sheri Putzke of Windermere a complete treat to work with in real life, she’s amazing to take photos of. Stunning in her own right, with a sense of style that shows across everything she touches, Sheri’s smile starts in her eyes and she played to the camera flawlessly. And we can talk about pearls and pink? I was swooning before I even turned on my camera.

Logo Design

There’s something magical about logo design. I don’t do it as often as I’d like, and it’s easily one of the most challenging projects that I take on. It’s like creating a version of someone’s heart while driving clients to grow their business and oh, yeah - it should look cool. Piece of cake.

My job is to make you look good. But it’s also my job to understand your business and your clientele well enough to fill in the blanks where the heart of your idea bumps up against the needs of your business.

All of that being said, it’s quite rare that my favorite logos make the cut, and I wanted to share some of my personal favorites with you. Please remember, these are just my drafts, but they were too much fun to leave behind.

Final Logo, Approved

Final Logo, Approved

Marilisa Vergottini of Marketplace Sotheby’s International Realty needed a logo that was glamorous and classy and she wanted something with a Mediterranean flair. Luckily, my toolbox includes the lovely and talented Sarah Alston who is an incredible designer; she worked tirelessly to create a series of drafts for her to review and we were able to create a balanced and classic logo for her new brand.

Final Logo, Approved

Nancy Klinck is a Seattle broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, and I had the privilege of designing her logo, branding and website along with multiple properties websites as well. She needed a logo that was elegant and classy, without being pretentious. The end result feels wonderfully “My Girl Friday” but with a certain Cary Grant-esque stability about it.

Final Logo, Approved.

Final Logo, Approved.

Okay, don’t judge me…I love the door in the logomark. I just love it so much I squeed outloud when I designed it. But, just because I think it’s fabulous doesn’t mean that my client will love it. Nine times out of ten, the one that I absolutely love gets set aside for a better connection to a logo that speaks to the clients’ heart.

RE/MAX Northwest

RE/MAX Northwest

Work Hard. Be Nice.

RE/MAX Northwest is the largest RE/MAX in Washington State and they are still growing. They needed a website that was dynamic and engaging, but also useful. So, it needed to be pretty, but they also needed to be able to showcase properties, build out a Market Report and blogs, and showcase their current and new brokers.

Custom Design_Map of Seattle and Eastside for REMAX Northwest NEW OFFICES.jpg

It started with their tagline: Work Hard. Be Nice. We wanted to capture the kindness and values of the people that work there, embrace the largeness of the company and welcoming to potential brokers. Wordsmithing is always important; the owners had done an incredible job of putting these values into words, which made my job much easier, and helped me understand what they needed to showcase. We made recommendations on the direction for the site, but they gave our team a lot of freedom to be creative.

Each of the ten locations is highlighted individually, with custom coded IDX feeds for each location, highlighted properties and beautiful images. Custom map design, market report design and tons of research went into this project, and the clients were thrilled with how it turned out!

Pantone's Color of the Year | Living Coral

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

According to Pantone: “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

All I can think when I see this is color is my best friends dumb little antique chair that she painted this wonderful, shocking color that matches nothing in her home so it sits on the porch.

My best friend’s husband Sam pictured on the chair, his true love, Luna on his lap and guard dog, Xollin.

My best friend’s husband Sam pictured on the chair, his true love, Luna on his lap and guard dog, Xollin.

It’s wonderful, bright, cheery and ridiculous. Pair it with blues and it feels like a beach house. Pair it with grays and it becomes elegant.

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Pantone’s goal was to create an authentic color that is both sociable and spirited that symbolizes our innate need for optimism and playful expression. Mission accomplished.

 

And speaking of coral…

Dr. David Vaughan is a marine biologist who works specifically with coral reefs. Due to an actual “oops” in science, he found out that while the coral reefs are still in danger, he could speed up the growth of the reefs by - get this - breaking them. Just a “happy little accident,” as Bob Ross likes to say. But this happy accident is going to change, and possibly save, our oceans.

Hygge | A Danish Concept for Seattle Winters

Pronounced “hoo-ga,” this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.

I survived twelve winters in the bitter cold of Chicago, and it’s nothing compared to the frigidness of the Pacific Northwest; it’s a wet chill that seeps into your bones and makes you nearly ache from the chill sometimes.

I’m a sunshine girl, so the winters can be a struggle. For me, the Seattle winters mean that it’s time to settle into a hot tubby filled with bubbles and soak my cares away while getting my temperature back up to normal. That being said, I have a soft spot for a nice bathroom that is staged and photographed in such a way that I want to crawl through my computer screen and into the tub! Here are a few of my favorites from my amazing clients this year:

820 Blanchard Street 1005, Seattle
Sold by Mary Nelson, Kathy Madsen & Parker Johnson

↑ Condos have a unique kind of luxurious living high above the rest of the world. It’s a space filled with magic. This stunning condo in the coveted Enso building is an elegant space that invites you to enjoy the views while offering a safe and relaxing space to unwind.

 

1024 West Bothwell Street, Seattle
Sold by Olga Dyckman

I love the depth of this tub, the views from the bedroom, and the separation of the actual toilet, creating a area that is fully luxurious, and protective of the space.

 

8323 NE 110th Place, Kirkland
Sold by Marilisa Vergottini

The tub in this Kirkland home is so deep and wide you have to step up to step in. (This is where I swoon…) This bathroom needs candles lit and a glass of wine in hand immediately.

 

1915 Interlaken Drive. East, Seattle
Listed by Nancy Klink | View More at InterlakenDriveManor.com

And speaking of “hygge”, curling up in this vintage tub while the fireplace roars in your bedroom? Absolute heaven. And this isn’t even the Master Bedroom at Interlaken Drive Manor - this is the second master/extensive guest suite! This space requires a Jane Austin novel and a hot toddie!

Introducing: The Seattle Condo Group

The new website for The Seattle Condo Group

The new website for The Seattle Condo Group

I’m so freaking excited to introduce this incredible website! Featuring a carefully curated collection of condos that possess the exacting standards that we expect for our clients. When we talk about the luxurious lifestyle of downtown Seattle, this is what we're talking about.

Full page ad design in Luxe Magazine, announcing the release of TheSeattleCondoGroup.com

Full page ad design in Luxe Magazine, announcing the release of TheSeattleCondoGroup.com

Dreaming of Kitchens

I love kitchens; I’m not completely useless in a kitchen, but outside of the best toast and coffee that you’ve ever had it’s not really my forte. Meanwhile, the man that I love is constantly in the kitchen trying new things. Smells of slow roasting garlic, fresh spices and simmering something on the stove that makes me drool.

Needless to say, I’m much happier on the other side of the dining bar with a drink and a good story while he cooks. But I still love a good kitchen. Here are a few of my favorites from this year.

I had a client who did a big half day clam bake with nearly 30 brokers. They laughed and ate and talked and took photos and posted it on their social media. The house sold within 2 weeks. It’s a great way to showcase a home and property, especially as the season slows down.
— Deep Thots with Jesse Gibbs

Listed by Olga Dyckman, Windermere | 737 Olive Way #2705, Seattle

Condo kitchen are always a challenge, but Olive 8 certainly does them well. Pedini cabinetry, neutral colors, inset lighting and soft finishes play with the open spaces and the floor-to-ceiling windows. This kitchen makes me dream of dabbling in fine cuisine, puttering over buttery sauces and warm breads while soft holiday music plays in the background.

Pending by Marilisa Vergottini, Marketplace Sotheby’s | 24280 NE 26th Court, Sammamish

I love the modern lines, the subway tiles and the use of both light and space in this kitchen; I just envision lots of laughter, tiny conversations going on throughout the room, Holiday music blaring and someone yelling not to let the dog out.

SOLD by Scott Whittlesey, Marketplace Sotheby’s | 4020 94th Avenue NE Yarrow Point WA

There’s something magical about including the outdoors as part of your kitchen; not only does it add an entirely new space to the inclusion, but it also brings nature into your home. My husband enjoys cigars and we both enjoy the outdoors, so to be able to finish dinner and head to the patio to curl up next to the fire for a hot toddy and a cigar? Smashing.

Listed by Jamie Michaud, Realogics Sotheby’s | 28 Forest Glen Lane, Lakewood

The granite countertops are the most delicious shade of sunshine and the glass subway tiles mirror the color and bring warmth to the entire kitchen. I love the french window cupboards with glassware and lighting; the shape of the kitchen could easily become cramped, but the skylights, curated lighting and use of different textures creates an open and welcoming space.