Words to Build By: INTENTIONAL

intentionalWe always keep the word intentional at the forefront of our design process.

We have a reason for everything.

Our homes aren’t just built with four walls and a roof because that’s the way houses have always been built. We design with a specific purpose and floor plan in mind. Each wall, cupboard, and sink are placed where they are for a very specific purpose. That extra room at the end of the kitchen? That’s not just for storage. That’s a kitchen command center when you can take extra time and use the space to create your grocery lists, plan out your week, organize student papers, or whatever else you need the space for. It’s not just a room that we built because we had space leftover. It’s a room we created for planning and commanding your lifestyle.

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Words to Build By: BOLD

boldOne of our favorite words to build by is bold.

We build what you always wished you could buy.

At NW LifeStyle Homes, we take the “wouldn’t it be cool if…” ideas and turn them into “I can’t believe they built this” realities. Bold steps are part of our repertoire. We challenge the norm and the standards of new construction home building. Putting a red roof in West Bellevue was a bold choice, yet it fit the home and the lifestyle of the soon-to-be homeowners. We added red details throughout the house to tie it all together.

Our bold decisions are what make our homes unique, make our style stand out, and what make the NW LifeStyle what it is.

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Words to Build By: LIFESTYLE

As you know, we are very proud of our new construction homes and the method behind their designs. It’s what makes each of our homes unique. We tailor each house to fit the lot, neighborhood, city and surrounding geographical features specifically. In our newest blog series, we’ll be giving you a glimpse into how we come up with the decisions we do. These are our Words to Build By…

lifestyleThe most important word we design with is lifestyle.

we care about yours.

Where would we be without lifestyle at the forefront of our minds during the initial creative process? You would have a building, not a home. Just walls and a roof, not a place to grow, flourish and truly live the way we feel individuals can thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Lifestyle is in our name, and it’s our number one Word to Build By because it wholly defines the homes we are creating for you.

Stay tuned and follow our blog for the remaining ten words we build by…

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More Housing Trends for 2015

In our last post, we discussed housing trends predicted to make an appearance in 2015. Now that we’re in the second month of the year, we’ve got a better grasp on what trends could last or fade away. Returning to the 21 Housing Trends for 2015 from RealtorMag, here are some additional trends we can expect to see this year and our interpretation of them.

Understair StorageStorage: The new buzz-phrase is “specialized storage:” placing things right where they’re needed. Homeowners in 2015 want everything to have its place and plenty of hidden storage to put it all away. Our clients have consistently commented on how much storage we have in our homes. We have heard the desire for everything to have its place and we’ve accommodated our clients by giving them enough storage to fit their busy lifestyle.

Grander garages: People are beginning to invest more time and money into their garage space as they realize its value. Some trends include making a space for washing pets and continuing driveway material into the garage. All of our garages are oversized compared to other new construction homes. We also see the value in a larger garage with more storage and room for a car in each bay. We’ve even created a separate area for the water heater and furnace; they’re closed off from the garage by large doors to create the ultimate grand garage.

Return to human scale: During the McMansion craze, kitchens got so big they almost required skates to get around. This year we’ll see a return to a more human, comfortable scale. At NW LifeStyle Homes, we firmly believe in making more efficient spaces. We’re not designing space just for the sake of having space. We’re designing just the right amount of space for your home and your LifeStyle.

30600_19_1Luxury 2.0: We take a different stance on “luxury 2.0” than this article speaks of. Yes, sleep is important and creating the right bedroom set can make all the difference in living healthier and happier. We want to take it a step further and stress the importance of quality in making a luxurious bedroom. Furthermore, we want to add fun to it. Room for the TV, reading, a warm fireplace, as well as extra space and closets for more storage.

Medina KitchenShades of white kitchens: Despite all the variations in colors and textures for kitchen counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and flooring, the all-white kitchen still gets the brass ring. It’s not just white that’s getting the attention; people are looking into varying shades of off-white and cream, even blue-grays. While we see this as a trend in 2015, we know this is a classic look and we have included white kitchens in some homes. Our most recent house, Medina 8416, had white and shades of gray in the kitchen.

Some of these predicted trends are proving to be really big in new construction and remodel designs. However, we have already been including these in our homes for several years and we are happy to have already been providing our clients with such a tailored lifestyle. What do you think of these trends predicted for 2015?

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Housing Trends for 2015

2015 is here and now we’re bracing ourselves for the trends in home design and construction that are on their way. We work to get a very specific look and feel that we believe represents and reflects the LifeStyle of Northwest. RealtorMag released its list of 21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015 that we should all be expecting in the new year. These trends, clean and chic as they are, are merely trends that can either make a lasting impression or have a fleeting existence. Some of them have been in our home designs for years. Others do not quite fit the image we want to create when we design a new home.

Great room leading into nook, kitchenOpen spaces: We have been perfecting the open floor plan and great room concept in our homes since 1992. Larger, open rooms might be vogue in 2015, but we’ve felt the need for them for the last 23 years here in the Northwest. This is definitely a trend we agree with and are happy to see others embracing the open space.

Off-the-shelf plans: This one is hard for us to comprehend as a “trend.” We disagree with the idea of choosing from a pre-made selection of plans. Off-the-shelf plans don’t quite work here in the Seattle area; each property has different topography to work with and each homeowner has different needs to be reflected in their home design. Our new construction homes have unique floor plans to fit the unique landscape. You can’t create a proper fit with an off-the-shelf plan.

Freestanding tubs: Another trend we’re happy to see make a statement this year. We’ve been using freestanding tubs in our homes for a while and we really feel that they add to the artistic and design development as well as complement other elements of the bathroom.

KitchenQuartzite: We’ve been working with quartzite for the last three years and have been using it as central to our kitchen designs in every house. We prefer it over granite and manmade quartz. It’s elegant and durable and with a timeless look and feel, we’re happy to be incorporating this into our homes.

Porcelain floors: We’re excited to see that another trend making it’s way to more homes this year is one we’ve been using since the early 1990s. We now use porcelain tiles almost exclusively in our new construction homes. We love the elegant look and feel this brings to any room. If we’re not using porcelain, we’ll use a small natural stone.

Multiple master suites: While we agree with including this in today’s floor plans, we admit that it only works with certain demographics. In Medina 8416, we used a master suite and guest suite in a similar fashion. We’re excited to see how multiple master suites can be used in other home designs this year.

IMG_0029Fireplaces and fire pits: We absolutely agree with RealtorMag’s statement that “the sight of a flame—real or faux—has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness.” We are focused on creating original and unique custom-made fire pits like the built-in gas brick fire trough at Medina 8416.

 

We’ll be discussing more of these hot home trends in the future and sharing our own input and examples of what we’ve already been doing. It’s exciting to see that staples of NW LifeStyle Homes designs are only just now making their way into “mainstream.” It’s another example of how we stay ahead of the design trends on the market and bring you the most unique and quality elements in new construction homes.

Let us know what you think about some of these trends. Read the full article here.

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New Homes and Plans for 2015

Bellevue 8909There is a lot to be excited about in the coming year! We’ve acquired more properties in the Northwest, including our first property in Seattle. There are great plans for these upcoming homes and we’re excited to bring our NW LifeStyle floor plans to more locations next year.

Here are some of our upcoming projects in 2015. Make sure you follow our website and social media pages like Facebook and Twitter to see more announcements next year!

8909 NE 10th Street, Bellevue 98004

Currently under construction, this house will be our first finished property to hit the market in 2015. With 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, this 3,700 square foot house will uniquely fit the needs of the NW LifeStyle. Take a look at the floor plans and more.

7804 NE 22nd Street, Medina 98039

Take a look at the floor plans and more.

9803 NE 13th Street, Bellevue 98004

Take a look at the floor plans and more.

1025 91st Avenue NE, Bellevue 98004

Floor plans and more coming soon.

3005 Bellevue Way SE, Bellevue 98004

Floor plans and more coming soon.

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NW Lifestyle Homes Names Megan Atkinson Chief Operating Officer

IMG_1583Last week, NW LifeStyle Homes announced that Megan Atkinson has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, a new position within NW LifeStyle Homes.

“Megan is uniquely qualified to lead at NW LifeStyle Homes. With her acumen in both the design and business disciplines, Megan will enhance operations in every facet of our company,” said J. Michael Burke, Chairman and Managing Member of NW LifeStyle Homes. “With the addition of Megan’s skills, NW LifeStyle Homes is positioned to scale the business while maintaining its core values of product excellence and true livability.”

Atkinson brings on-point excellence with people, business and design. Atkinson has successfully run two Seattle businesses and was a highly valued asset at AT&T and Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects. She is well poised to grow NW LifeStyle Homes to new heights with her collaborative style, ability to resonate with clients, and focus on process. Atkinson has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Bucknell University and a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington.

Effective immediately, Atkinson will assume responsibility for the day-to-day business operations, including branding, marketing, communication, design, construction, and real estate. Atkinson will be working very closely with Burke, as well as Matt Mawer, Director of Design, Mason Mawer, Head of Construction, and Julie Scozzafave, Director of Real Estate and Marketing. As a team, they will align, prioritize, and focus the company’s strategy and systems for the future of NW LifeStyle Homes.

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Changes Coming to Bellevue Neighborhoods

You’ve probably noticed lately that there has been a lot of change to Bellevue’s neighborhoods. Old homes are being torn down to make room for larger and more expensive homes. As highlighted in a recent Seattle Times article, there’s a lot of conversation about how this affects the city and its neighborhoods. However, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the city of Bellevue. Our Managing Member, Michael Burke, shared his input on the growing publicity for this situation.

People are beginning to think differently about our neighborhoods, homes and cities. In West Bellevue, where a 1200 sq ft home build in 1950 is selling for 600-800k, the value is in the land. The wrong type of home is sitting on these lots, and the highest and best use is to build new. According to the Seattle Times article, more than half of Bellevue’s housing stock was built in the 1950s and ’60s as returning war veterans and city dwellers flooded to the suburbs in search of new houses in safe neighborhoods.

It’s unfortunate that people are having to sell their homes because of the increase in property taxes from the surrounding new homes. But homeowners can take advantage of their financial legacy by selling their lots if they want to invest in another property. If they don’t want to move, that’s okay, too. It’s just by luck that the neighborhoods they chose in the ’50s and ’60s became so desirable today. Conrad Lee, a 20-year member of the Bellevue City Council, says that the redevelopment of older neighborhoods is a good thing. “It means people want to live here. We are in more demand.” 

Change is coming to Bellevue, but it doesn’t have to be negative. This is just the way the city is progressing, growing and becoming the go-to location on the Eastside.

Read the original Seattle Times article for more information.

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Why New Construction Homes Are a Hot Choice for Homebuyers

Location, Location, Location, and Livability! That’s our motto. At NW LifeStyle Homes, we never duplicate a floor plan or design. We think our sites are so valuable and unique that we can’t afford to standardize the most important element of a new construction house. Our homes are designed to reflect and enhance the lifestyles of those living in them. We create a very specific floor plan and layout with the NW LifeStyle in mind. Along the lines of this philosophy, Huffington Post published an article based on a Trulia survey of why more and more people are looking toward new construction homes such as ours. A sizeable 41% of the population prefers a newly-built home over an existing one.

Existing or older homes have the advantage of architectural charm and sizable lots, and are generally located in more established and often more desirable neighborhoods. Older homes, if they are not an obvious tear-down, especially ones that were not meticulously maintained or renovated each decade, usually need a little TLC and are often slightly less expensive than a new construction home. However, our new construction homes have advantages that outweigh their older, more established counterparts.

Floor Plans Designed For The Way We Live Today

One the biggest advantages of buying a new construction home is that they are designed and built for today’s lifestyle. They come with the flowing open floor plans and features that meet modern-day demands, including open, eat-in kitchens, walk-in closets, large master baths, more access to outdoor entertaining areas, and even additional storage. Many older existing homes built between the 1920’s and the 1990’s often lack one or more if those features as part of their original home design.

Energy Efficient

Utilizing new construction materials, just-built homes are usually more energy efficient — and that means potentially lower utility bills. Not only are these newly-built homes rated higher for insulation, many new homes are incorporating renewable sources of clean energy like solar. All of this new home tech could save you thousands over the course of the years you live in the home.

New Technology = Smart Home

New construction homes are often equipped with the latest technology built right in. Think cable, alarm systems, speaker systems, high-speed wired internet, digital thermostats and detectors — when they’re just the flip of a switch away, you save you lots of time and money, not to mention holes in the walls.

New Trumps Retrofit

New homes are built with the latest building plans, designs, and materials. The systems (electrical, plumbing, sewage lines, central heating, and air) already meet today’s codes and standards. It is always much more efficient and practical to have these systems built into a new home, rather than have to upgrade and retrofit existing older systems, which can sometimes mean ripping into the walls, floors, and ceilings to gain access to the key home systems.

Free Weekends

When you buy new, you get more time relaxing at home. You won’t be spending all your weekends at home renovation stores as you try to tackle that “honey-do” list of home improvements each week. Buying a new construction home allows you to enjoy your weekends at home almost as soon as you are unpacked.

Check out the complete article on Huffington Post.

Image via Huffington Post

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A Case for Energy Efficient Housing

At NW LifeStyle Homes, we aim to be the most innovative in design and function. Part of our design process includes ideas of what make a house energy efficient for homeowners. In an article on AOL Real Estate, energy efficient housing isn’t as difficult as it has been made to be. While it may not be available to everyone, there are options for creating an energy efficient or even zero-energy home.

Years ago, it was difficult to build a very energy efficient house because there was a lack of technology and materials — such as extremely energy efficient insulation and triple-pane windows. The cost for solar panels was also high and subsidies were non-existent. Today this is not the case. We know how to build houses to substantially reduce the use of fossil fuel and energy costs. You might then ask: Why aren’t all houses built to a much higher energy standard?

One reason for not building to higher energy efficiency is the cost. Homeowners wrongfully assume that it will cost a great deal more to build a more energy efficient house. In 2010, Habitat for Humanity built a house in Vermont to Passive House standards, using a tiny bit of energy and at a minimal cost. Many other houses have also been built in this country and around the world that are moderately priced and extremely energy efficient.

Nobody can say exactly what the return on the additional investment will be for all houses — it varies with the products and systems used, location and the efficiency achieved. Most people, however, can agree that their heating and cooling bills are substantially less than those of their neighbors with less-efficient houses.

There is an assumption that very energy efficient houses are not particularly attractive. But evidenced by the houses in this country and around the world — this is definitely not the case. Furthermore, the environmental and financial savings pose a strong case for building an energy efficient or even zero-energy home.

Visit AOL Real Estate for the full article.

Image via AOL Real Estate

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