Poetic Downsizing

By , March 21, 2011 3:48 pm

It’s been a whirlwind of activity with four pending sales in one week, which is fantastic but also exhausting. A trip to my beach house was exactly what I needed. Some downtime. A day or two to rest. Thinking that my weekend would be a rainy one, I had plans to do some creative projects around the house.  I was going to do this to my bathroom…don’t you love the vintage maps as wallpaper?

image via here

But…I never got around to this project because, lo and behold – THE SUN CAME OUT! When the sun is out in Manzanita you have to get out and enjoy it and we did just that!

With a busy job and bustling social life, the only pleasure reading I really get to do consists of short stories and poetry. Bite-size nuggets of literary goodness.

So…how perfect is it that the Hoffman Center was having a Poetry Fest!?  Without hesistation, I headed down to attend.

Four poets were spotlighted : Oregon’s own Poet Laureate -Paulann Petersen, Margaret Chula, Carlos Reyes and Penelope Scambly Schott.

image via here

All the poets were inspiring and listening to them read their work truly made it come to life, offering a personal insight to their prose. Carlos Reyes’ work struck me and I purchased his book – “The Book of Shadows“. He signed it for me too!

One poem, in particular got me thinking and brought me back to the focus of my career -Downsizing.

This poem truly speaks to the job of clearing out our belongings – our past, our memories – and the inevitable nostalgia and emotion that accompanies the task. Enjoy…


by Carlos Reyes


Each piece of paper

each leaf each

breath left


or scent inhaled

from a piece of clothing

in a green and yellow box

from Brazil that says


“Entrga Urgente”

“Cuidado Fragil” …


I spend the weekend

at estate sales trying

to determine if this

is how we measure


our lives, by what’s left behind

to sell to strangers – the box

marked “free.” Untouched

as though unclean…


In the end does it matter

if the prints of our passing

ends up as rummage?


We sniff the air inside

the garages and houses

of strangers, judge

their lack of taste,

their sentiments.


But when the chattels are our own?

How reluctantly we part

with these traces


This plastic bag,

the scent the piece of clothing

in it carries, we are sure we know it

before we seal it up again

in the carton labeled


“… Urgent” “… Fragile”


That scent a breath

still alive

as we take it briefly

into our lungs.


Pretty amazing right? Can you relate to these words? We’ve all experienced the process of letting go when there is a shift in our lives. Isn’t it funny how easily we can go through the belongings of others at estate sales but when it is our own possessions it’s a whole different story.


p.s. Check out this fantastic Q & A session with Carlos Reyes via the Oregonian.

What makes a great place to live?

By , March 16, 2011 5:10 pm

image via KDA Developement

What makes a great place to live? It’s a good question right? I was recently listening to webinar on AARP about this very topic. Click here for the webinar handout full of good resources!

Certain ingredients are needed to create a truly wonderful place to reside and walkable communities rank among the highest for their livability!

Here are some bullet points from this wonderful article about walkable communites:

  • Housing Values are Higher where its Walkable
  • Walkable Communities Attract “New Economy” Workers
  • Walkable Communities are becoming a Business Relocation Alternative
  • Walkable Communities Reduce Commuting Costs
  • Walkable Communities Cost the Taxpayer Less
  • Walkability Attracts Tourists
  • Walkable Communities Can Capture an Emerging “Lifestyle” Retail Market

What’s not to like about those stats!?

image via walklive.org

So what ingredients are needed to create a walkable community?

  • Sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks – encourages pedestrian and bike travel
  • Good, safe, public transportation – reduces car traffic, pollution and noise
  • Community services and events – things like farmer’s markets and festivals encourage community participation and local commerce
  • Parks & Green spaces – encourages healthy lifestyle, recreation and exercise
  • Places for fun! – cafes, local boutiques, community pools – places to gather and socialize strengthens communities

Does your home town have these? If not, consider getting involved in your Community Planning groups and let your voice be heard. Having these elements in your community not only creates a more pleasurable place to live, it raises home values too! If you are wondering how walkable your community is, go here and get your walkability score!

We all deserve a home where we feel safe, happy and enriched by our community. Get involved in your town and make it a better place to live.

Call me if I can help and I’d love to hear more about your hometown!




Old Barn – New Home

By , March 11, 2011 5:45 pm

Happy Friday! Hope your week has gone well.

So, after my last post, I was eager to find a beautiful home that used reclaimed materials in the building process. This one caught my eye….

Would you believe that this gorgeous residence used an old barn frame for the main living quarters!? Yup…an old barn in the area was going to be torn down, so the genius team over at Alex Scott Porter Design saved it and put it to good use in this home!

I love how the old and the new come together to create an interior with such unique character, rich in texture and contrast.

Who says an old barn can’t do new tricks? This home truly illustrates the exciting possibilities of forward thinking, eco-conscious design!

Have a great weekend!


Images via Alex Scott Porter Design

The Greenest Building

By , March 8, 2011 10:56 pm

Hello friends! Hope your week is going well.

So, last month, I had the privilege of viewing a very relevant and thought provoking film titled, “The Greenest Building“, produced by Wagging Tale Productions and directed by architect/film maker, Jane Turville. I viewed the documentary at the beautiful Gerding Theater within the historic Portland Armory building. Synopsis…

“The Greenest Building aims to incite change in the way Americans see their own geographic communities. With a focus on the partnership between the built environment and the natural environment, the film promotes a better understanding of the symbiotic relationship between reuse of buildings and the conservation of natural systems that sustain life.

Here is a little peek from You Tube to check out…

This is the first of the clips from the film…here are the second and third.

It is no longer playing at the Gerding, but fear not, OPB will air it in April. Click here for dates.

I was really impressed with the sustainable projects that were featured! They even highlighted Oregon city (Jane’s home town) and it’s historic downtown district. I was also completely enchanted with the incredible work of Amy Harrington McAuley of Oculus Fine Carpentry. She lovingly restores historic windows and wow, she does some beautiful work!

The mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle needs to applied to all our building and construction projects, not just our curbside waste.

Set your DVR’s and don’t miss this compelling film!


Downsized Dwellings # 1

By , March 4, 2011 3:06 pm

Touring homes that have just hit the market allows real estate brokers to have the first look and get a jump on properties that might suit their client’s needs. In this market, homes have to be TOP NOTCH – clean as a whistle, updated, edited of personal photos, great lighting, fresh flowers and the outside needs to be just as inviting as the interior!

So as I’m touring homes and using my keen designer eye – I wanted to start featuring listings that are perfect for anyone who’s downsizing! Ready for the first one? Let’s go!

Check out this Mid-century Modern home in West Linn, OR with lovely natural setting.  A nice, modest footprint at 1503 sq ft, with 2 bedrooms  and 1 bath.

This lot is large and private. Gotta love that!

Great modern kitchen with open floor plan – love the built-in refrigerator with vertical storage!

Good for entertaining…the kitchen flows effortlessly into the generous dining room…

The large slate patio out back has a zen like quality sets a great foundation for an outdoor retreat.

Exploring the garden reveals meandering trails and a beautiful water feature complete with pond and waterfall.

A little oasis but still close enough to town and fabulous amenities. At just over 1500 sq ft. this peaceful home would be perfect for someone looking to downsize their space and rightsize their lifestyle!

Look for another featured Downsized Dwellings next week! If you would like more information on this listing, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a fabulous weekend!


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