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The importance of Universal Design (sometimes also called Aging In Place)

Wendy 051713One of my areas of interest after being involved in “green homes” for so long, is upping my game to learn more about Universal Design.

The concept has been around for over 50 years. It is a set of ideas meant to create buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities and people with disabilities. ALL PEOPLE (even children).

One of the sessions I attended at last year’s Built Green Conference in Seattle was led by Dave Porter (PorterWorks) who actually built his entire home around both green and universal design concepts. (See Going Green at The Beach) One of the first things Dave asked was, who decided why the light switch was located where it is – or the wall outlet’s location in height above the floor. Even the direction that a door opens makes a huge difference. Especially for someone using crutches or a wheelchair. It gave me a lot to think about and I bought a couple of books I am still reading.

So until I have a lot more to say on the subject, read something by a professional: “Universal Bath Design: Light Your Bathroom for All Ages and Abilities

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Trying To Bring Green To Orange

Wendy 051713Although it has been some time since I have written an update on this blog, I do frequent green updates on Facebook on Westside Green Living With Wendy, and also have a special “PNW vs. SoCal” with a special page called “Meanwhile Over A Thousand Miles Away“.

I was off to a quick start, finding a ave estate company in Irvine that I thought would be a great fit for me called iNet Realty. It wasn’t until later that my Seattle broker, Linda McFarlane, moved us to The Cascade Team (Issaquah), which also has a presence in San Diego! So my license has been changed to “referral only” status in Washington and I have connected with the San Diego office here. Once I get my license in California I will be building out a team in Orange County. I have already found three people for my time, believe it or not, who I think are going to be great to work with.

Getting licensed here takes months, so I found a part time gig within three weeks of arriving. I was on that job for six weeks and am looking again for work to satisfy the need to pay rent – while trying to get on track with the required clock hours to get my license here. I have given up almost all hope of being able to specialize in “green homes” in Southern California as this area is so far behind when it comes to environmental advances for sustainability in housing it depresses me some days.

There is the beginnings of a green building program here, called Build It Green, which promotes a rating system of “Greenpoint Rated”. It is a recognizable, independent seal of approval that verifies a home has been built or remodeled according to proven green standards. And studies are showing that green labels like GreenPoint Rated can improve property values at time of sale.

Having been a part of the Environmentally Certified housing market in Seattle for years, I KNOW that when a property holds an environmental certification such as Built Green or Greenpoint Rated the homes sells for more money and sooner than a non-certified home. But it helps if the buying public also knows what that is. Orange County, and probably most of Southern California, is years behind the Pacific Northwest in this regard.

So I am here to bring some Green to Orange. Wish me luck! I hope soon to be connected to the green building community here and be able to learn first hand more about how things are going down here.

The Orange Coast – not so green!

At the beginning of February I came to Orange County to tour rental property. My husband thought he would be getting a job for a company in Newport Beach, but the company was moving to San Clemente so we started researching what’s called South County. Somehow the job fizzled out, even after two months of being told he was flying down for a final meeting. Well, by this point in the process we kind of had our minds on living in a place where we could be outdoors 9 months out of the year, not just four. We had three months straight of good weather in Seattle this year, and we sort of got used to hiking and biking and not wearing a coat.

In mid February I managed to find a place to stay for a few weeks in San Clemente (on the coast) in advance of an apartment becoming available in Laguna Niguel (a little further north and another mile back from the beach). So on February 26th I got in my stuffed car, with a green cheek conure in the passenger seat (I was delivering the bird to the daughter of my broker who lives in Santa Barbara)), and spent four days on the road to get to San CLemente. I had time to visit friends and family before leaving, and stopped in Vancouver, WA, Portland, and Eugene to see family there before really hitting the road. I got to spend a morning in Santa Barbara before reaching my final destination. I got here March 1st.

I’ve been here almost two weeks. I’ve immersed myself in getting to know the town, finding a real estate home for my California business (iNet Realty in Irvine), have had a couple of interviews, one of which looks to lead to a position managing the new Irvine office of LRS Realty and Management in a few months when it open – including developing a green program for the company for home owners involved in their property management program, and signed up for San Clemente Fitness Bootcamp which kicked my butt the first day but tomorrow is Day 4 and I am feeling better (as in, not as sore). I have tried playing with two handbell groups in town, but one is not a good fit, and the other isn’t either but I will stick it out until June.

I miss my husband and my dog and the cats a lot. They are all still in Seattle. I am the pioneer, here to carve a path in this sunny paradise. Our home in West Seattle is still tied up with the lender so he will be staying as long as that takes. We have an apartment on reserve for April 8th, though, that I don’t want to lose, so he is going to bring down a small truck AND MY DOG for an April 8th move in date. I am excited to see them and have my dog Sophia with me again. And the really awesome part is that the real estate office I am affiliating with is dog-friendly!

So some things i have learned in my time in SoCal:
1. Just put all your stuff on the floor when you first get in the car. They’re going to end up there anyway, so just get ahead of the game and stow your electronics safely and your purse RIGHT SIDE UP on the floor.
2. The melting point of Peanut Creme Pretzels (Whole Foods) is about 80 degrees. But they still taste good, even if they are a little messy.
3. You really have to pay attention on the freeway, well everywhere. Everyone drives so fast, things go wrong that much faster. I had another very close shave today, have no idea where the truck came from, but if I wasn’t a confident driver and have absolute faith in my MINI Cooper, I would have already been in the hospital.

Stay tuned to see how Green Spaces Real Estate can impact Orange County – not a very green place so far!

2013 is off to a roaring start in real estate in the Seattle area

20130130-175356.jpg The 4th quarter of 2012 roared to the end of the year, and I had the best quarter ever, including two sales closing on the same day! I even already have had a closing in 2013, and another sale in the pipe in the Alki area.

We may be potentially relocating to Southern California, which means I will be bringing some green real estate to Orange County. I will keep you posted.

Celebrating the end of a record year for Green Spaces

Green Spaces is celebrating almost six years of being online. 2012 has been a record year in sales for me (evidenced by LESS blogging!) since becoming licensed for a second time at the beginning of the real estate crash (crap timing, I know). I also spent 2007-2010 as right hand to two different broker owners, and not focusing on sales – instead my specialty is compliance (file administration and keeping people in line with the law from a paper perspective), marketing, and social media. Two years ago the broker I was working for essentially went under, so I began full time sales – and it is true, it takes 18-24 months to get up to full steam. I have been licensed to sell real estate for a total of ELEVEN years (1998-2002, 2007-2012), but much of that time I am working on other real estate related projects.

As 2012 melds into 2013, I am faced with the prospect of a major relocation, from Seattle to Orange County in Southern California. My husband is being considered for a job there and it is a 50/50 chance we will be moving before the end of January (there is one other final applicant competitor). I admit, I started this ball rolling as I have lived my entire life in the Puget Sound area and even I can get sick of rain after 8 months straight of it. A move will also give me the opportunity to remake my own career. I will study to get my CA real estate license but I may not go into sales there, waiting to see if marketing or property management opportunities become available, or finally take the step I’ve been trying to figure out for awhile – how to leverage my experiences in real estate and GREEN into a job in the new green economy. I’ve been thinking about solar sales for awhile, and this would be an opportunity to change gears.

Today I am also celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary with my husband Stephen (and tomorrow, 16 years since the day we met sitting outside of a Starbucks and smoking cigarettes – ironically we quit smoking the first year we were married and caffeine too about 5 years ago)), and I wanted to share this awesome mashup from DJ Schmolli (discovered through the movie Pitch Perfect) to celebrate LOVE of all kinds all over the world. What we need is love, more love, to make the world a better place. I am hoping for more love for the world in 2013.

Happy New Year.

Zombie Apocalypse Survival House Walk Through Tour (VIDEO)

I don’t miss a beat at just past 9 minutes when my dog hurtles herself over the side of the hammered copper soaking tub in the master bath. Worth watching just for that!

I don’t do narrated tours much anymore, as they are not as professional as slide shows to music, but with out of state buyers interested in the property it seemed the right thing to do.

All electric Fiat 500e is TOO CUTE! And so green even in orange. Available in California in 2013

2013 Fiat 500e Recharges The Electric Vehicle (via Clean Technica)

  Fiat is planning on introducing the all-new 2013 Fiat 500e in the second quarter of 2013, and the company believes that this new small car “electrifies the next chapter of the brand’s legacy by embodying the FIAT brand’s simple, purposeful and fun-to-drive values – through iconic style,…

Continue reading All electric Fiat 500e is TOO CUTE! And so green even in orange. Available in California in 2013

Seattle’s ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SURVIVAL HOUSE is open Sunday 12:30-3:30 pm

The only thing missing from this house is bars on the windows (and sans apocalypse, that is a good thing).

On the surface it looks like a cute 1918 Craftsman in West Seattle. But peek below the surface and you will be impressed by the uniqueness of this property. It’s not for everyone – this is an eclectic and fun 1918 Arts and Crafts Movement home that has stood the test of time and offers forward-thinking “green” upgrades. 2+ bedrooms (used to be three, can be returned to three) and large studio space (in former garage) allow the occupants to live large with a very small carbon foot print. It has something for everyone – for the green at heart and also the traditionalist. New 200 amp electrical service for quick charging the electric vehicle or powering other hobbies (kiln?) The Master Suite addition offers luxury, comfort, and a unique place to relax. People just drool over the images of this bathroom! Let them be envious for a reason.

New 40 year roof
New Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling system with remotes
Prewired for use with backup generator (comes with sale)
Two EPA certified wood burning stoves with cook tops
European Master Suite -Sun-Mar composting toilet (and a regular bathroom too)
Graywater system with 300 gallon cistern serves master bath
Energy Star appliances (all appliances stay)
Property backs to the West Seattle Golf Course and sits above Longfellow Creek

Featured in Curbed Seattle with this recommendation: “Consider this 2-BR home a $285K investment in your future, post-apocalyptic or otherwise.”

Online video tour
Online flyer

Come look at this property up close, admire the Master Suite and the gigantic hammered copper soaking tub, and meet me, Wendy Hughes-Jelen, Green Real Estate Specialist, EcoBroker, and Realtor. Let’s talk green homes!

Seattle’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival house (VIDEO)

I like to have fun with my marketing. I just launched a new listing over the weekend, and this house is so very cool in its self-sustain-ability that naturally survival in the face of The Walking Dead (I am a recent fan of the show) came to mind.

This home is “green” although it is not an Environmentally Certified home from a local or regional green building program. However, the laundry list of upgrades and additions made to the property by the current owner of 22 years is extensive and noteworthy. See below the embedded video for more information.

4825 26th Avenue SW | Seattle, WA 98106
NWMLS #424753
2+ bedrooms, 1.75 bathroom, plus finished studio in converted garage
House is 1,360 square feet per King County Records, and the lot is 5,480 per the same source.

Offered by 22 year owner at $285,000

Eclectic and fun 1918 Arts and Crafts Movement home is located adjacent to the West Seattle golf course along the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail and
has a permanent greenbelt behind the property. It has stood the test of time and offers forward-thinking “green” upgrades.

What’s below the surface of chic and charm:
* New 40 year roof with warranty
* 200 amp electrical service (perfect for charging your electric car)
* Mitsubishi ductless heat pump for heating AND cooling, with remotes
* Pre-wired for backup generator, which is included
* Two newer EPA certified wood burning stoves with cooktops, clean and efficient burning
* Energy Star appliances, all appliances stay
* Two hot water heaters – a regular tank and also a point-of-use on demand hot water heater for the “off grid” spa master suite bathroom
* 300 gallon cistern as part of the gray water system for spa bath, use the water for the garden
* Sun-Mar composting toilet, top of the line (plus one regular toilet, too)
* Pesticide free property

The European-style master suite features a spa bath with gorgeous hammered copper soaking tub and sink from Mexico, Brazilian walnut flooring, exposed
beams, and romantic lighting, with a view of the garden. Totally private.

Floors are a mix of oak, cork, ceramic tile, white oak, and Brazilian walnut. Single slab granite hearts under both wood stoves.

Bring on the zombie apocalypse, survive in style here!

This property is listed by Mountain To Sound Realty and marketed by Wendy Hughes-Jelen, Green Real Estate Specialist, EcoBroker, and Realtor.
For more information, or to schedule a tour, contact or call/text 206.686.HOME (4663)

Video copyright 2012 by Wendy Hughes-Jelen
Music: Dead Island Theme by Thematic Pianos from Dead Walking: The Greatest Zombie Themes Ever

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