Why We Love Living in Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center in 2012.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass features eight galleries of his work, with the Glasshouse – a 40-foot tall glass and steel structure inspired by garden conservatories around the world taking center stage. In the garden, Chihuly’s sculptures are interspersed within a magnificent display of trees, plants, and flowers. Those who still do not know his work, or have never seen it in person, will be enchanted by Chihuly’s genius and ability to transform spaces and create true glass forests.

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The museum recreates some of the major works of Chihuly’s career, and invites us to explore, imagine, photograph and compose. A wonderful tour that will tinker with your creativity and leave you inspired.

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At Home in the Outdoors

More than 80 percent of Americans say they want an outdoor living space where they can relax and entertain. And it’s no wonder why. Outdoor spaces extend your livable space, add visual interest, and increase not only your quality of life, but also the overall value of your home. (In some cases, the increase in your home’s value can cover most or all of the cost to create the new space.) Here are some options to consider:

Deck

DECK

Decks are still the most popular outdoor living spaces, not only because they work so well for entertaining and relaxing, but also because they have the highest return on investment (see the Tips column for data).

Surprisingly, wood decks (made of cedar or pine) are actually the better financial investment, because building with Trex or other popular composite products costs considerably more, yet doesn’t increase the home’s value by as much.

Expanding and reconfiguring your current deck is another option that’s popular today. The contractor will typically remove the old face boards, extend the underlying structure, and then put down the new decking. This is also an opportunity to add built-in furniture, privacy screens, even plumbing and electricity.

Patio

PATIO

Running a close second to decks – in both popularity and investment return – are patios. With a patio, you can relax and entertain at ground level, which can afford more privacy in urban areas, and allows you to be more engaged with the surrounding plants and landscaping.

Typically made of brick, concrete, or stone, a patio also comes with far fewer maintenance and repair issues than a deck. Plus, patios are generally easier and less disruptive to construct – which is why they’re often about 30 percent less expensive to have professionally built.

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GAZEBO

For those who want even more privacy, as well as shelter from the sun and protection from mosquitoes and other pests, there’s the gazebo. Available with walls or as an open-air design, with screening or not, these modestly sized, affordable backyard structures can be built from scratch or purchased as a kit (for assembly by a do-it-yourselfer or a professional).

Popular in the Midwest for decades, gazebos have made their way west as homeowners here have discovered how nice and easy they are for creating a shaded spot for reading, relaxing, and backyard gatherings.

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OUTDOOR KITCHEN

People tend to gather naturally in the kitchen. And when the kitchen is outdoors, it creates an ideal opportunity to mix, mingle and interact in the open air. Other reasons why cooking outdoors makes so much sense: less kitchen cleanup, the house stays cooler during the summer, and grilled food just tastes better.

Some may think an outdoor kitchen is only for cooks who host large parties, but homeowners who go this route say they’re more of an extension of the home, and great for daily use.

Designs for outdoor kitchens range from the simple (a grill, limited counter and cabinet space, and maybe a prep sink) to truly independent entities with a refrigerator, an elaborate grill, warming oven, freestanding island with storage space, rolling cart stations, and even a dishwasher. Depending on how elaborate your design, you may be able to list it as a second kitchen when selling your house.

 

SIX PLANNING SUGGESTIONS

  1. Before meeting with contractors, gather photos of designs and ideas that you like; this will make it much easier to communicate your ideas.
  2. Make sure the materials you plan to use, as well as the overall size of the structure, will be harmonious with your home’s current look and feel.
  3. Give serious consideration to a roof – which will likely add significantly to the cost, but will also provide much-needed shade on hot days and protection from rain and inclement weather. In fact, to ensure things are structurally sound and architecturally appealing, start with the design for the roof first, then set your sights on the roof supports and structure below.
  4. Incorporate lighting into your design, which will extend its usability into the evening and throughout the seasons.
  5. Consider convenience, comfort, and longevity when choosing materials. For example, a floor made of dirt or stepping stones may last forever, but one made of wood or concrete is much easier to clean and arrange furniture upon.

 

If you’re eager to live a healthier lifestyle and reconnect with family and friends, as most people are today, it’s time to consider an outdoor living space.

Originally posted in the Windermere Blog by Tara Sharp

Unique Furniture Stores of Seattle

Buy local and find those one-of-a-kind pieces you’ll never see anywhere else.

Looking to add some pomp and flare to your dwelling? Yearning for a unique piece to tie the room together? Look no further. Each of the stores on this list are small, independently curated boutiques, perfect for finding one-of-a-kind furnishings, vintage pieces, and home goods with a distinctly Seattle flair.

Adorn

This is a store with a super-stylish perspective. Adorn is a great place to find something unique for your home. The staff is well known for its friendly attitude and the always charming Rocco, the shop dog.

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Unique Find: Temporary wallpaper in uber-stylish prints

Ballard Consignment

This is a store with a super-stylish perspective. You’ll find an impeccably curated inventory of eclectic vintage furnishings and art.

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Unique Find: Warthog Taxidermy Mounted Head

Camelion Design

In addition to an amazing array of furniture styles and a seemingly endless selection of fabrics, it’s also a boutique housewares store full of goodies. You’ll discover gifts for everyone in their offerings of serving ware, candles, furniture, art, accessories, and gifts for baby.

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Unique Find: Modern furniture that doesn’t compromise comfort for style

Capers

Let your Seattle pride shine at this West Seattle home and lifestyle shop. Featuring the work of local, independent, and eco-friendly artists and craftspeople, Capers is a great spot to pick up a beautiful new cookbook that also serves as a coffee table book.

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Unique Find: Coated outdoor linens that are chic and functional with really stylish textile patterns

Digs

This Market Street staple has an exuberant mix of art, furniture, and craft; boosting a healthy mix of mid-century and contemporary pieces with a generous dose of whimsy.

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Unique Find: Life size cow sculptures

Fremont Vintage Mall

A basement full of furniture, art, and accessories could be considered the mother of all vintage stores. Spending a couple of hours browsing here is like shopping an entire antique district. Each visit will reveal new things. From the roaring ’20s to midcentury, this gallery isn’t stuck in a particular decade.

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Unique Find: 1950’s metal carnival clown baseball toss game

Phase Two Interiors

Gigi Buchanan opened Phase Two as an art, décor and furniture shop for gently used home furnishings that are worthy of a second life span, in a new home. The showroom has a large and varied selection spanning many different design styles.

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Unique Find: Scooter the shop dog apparently has great taste and is happy to help you find the perfect throw pillow

Second Use

The ultimate store for a hardcore scavenger; going to Second Use feels like being at a 100 yard sales under one roof. From old lumber, vintage cabinet pulls, and fun retro lighting options to modern appliances, unused doors and large stock piles of unused wood flooring options; they literally have it all.

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Unique Find: Antique Pine Winnowing Table used to separate the wheat from the chaff – great for a side table

First Sign of Spring: The NW Flower and Garden Show

February 22 – 26 at the Washington State Convention Center

Just when we need it most, the NW Flower and Garden Show arrives each February to provide us with a breath of spring air; providing inspiration, education and motivation for gardeners – new and old. Whether in a backyard, flower box, or rooftop, this is where green lovers go to discover ideas while having fun.

Embracing the upcoming show’s theme, “Taste of Spring”, this year some of the Northwest’s most respected designers will incorporate elements of the theme into big, blooming gardens, as the show celebrates food, trends in organic and urban gardening, sustainability, and a variety of culinary experiences, such as outdoor dining.

In addition to the regular show, which includes grand garden exhibits, seminars, and the very popular Garden Wars, they have added a tasting room in the Marketplace, a container garden contest, and a garden-themed baking competition for local bakeries.

Tasting Corner

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The Tasting Corner will feature samples (and sales) from local merchants that specialize in gourmet food products of the Pacific Northwest, including infused oils and salts, floral elixirs and honey.

Container Wars

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Master Gardeners are tasked with creating three luscious planted containers—each drawing from identical plants—in under one hour. Container gardens are a fabulous addition to any outdoor space, be it a small deck off your condominium or part of the landscape in your backyard.

Bouquet of Cakes

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The cakes will feature artistic, unique and celebratory special event cake designs inspired by elements of flowers and gardens.

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Whether you are a new gardener in need of sensible advice or a seasoned pro, you’ll find scores of inspiring seminars and hands-on demonstrations filled with valuable education and entertainment. Dig in and learn how to solve your landscaping challenges, create livable outdoor spaces, and grow edible gardens for year-round enjoyment.

Winter Gardening – Preparing For Spring

During this time of year when the holiday activities have faded and foliage everywhere is bare, many of us tend to get restless in anticipation of the arrival of spring. Master Gardeners know that gardening during the winter (climate permitting) is therapeutic for your garden and your soul.

Getting a jumpstart on planning, prep work and keeping perennials safe and warm during these months will pay off when warmer temperatures arrive with the first buds of spring. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you back into the garden now and keep your cabin fever at bay.

  • Rework your garden design. Were there areas last year that didn’t provide enough sun to some plants and too much to others? Was there wasted space that you’d like to incorporate this year?

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  • Start a garden journal to record your seed/plant orders and keep track of progress on your garden design. Sketch your garden design and decide which plants should be planted in zones based on full sun, partial sun and full shade.

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  • Shop local nurseries for asparagus roots, strawberry plants, and bare-root roses and fruit trees. These can be planted as soon as the ground is no longer frozen.

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  • Top-dress lawns and garden beds with compost and cover root crops still in the ground with an extra layer of mulch.

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  • Sow beets, carrots, radishes, cress, bok choy, and garden peas directly in the garden; cover the planting rows with dark compost to warm the soil.

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  • Sow seeds of herbs, such as dill and parsley in a greenhouse or sunny window. Veggies starts like tomatoes can also be done this way, rather than buying the starts later.

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  • Sow seeds of annual flowers (delphiniums, snapdragons, and larkspur are good choices) anywhere you want flowers for cutting or as a background for other plants.

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  • Feed the birds and provide them with some unfrozen water.

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  • Finish pruning trees, perennials and roses.

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  • Sit back and dream. Your work now will lay groundwork for a gorgeous garden later!

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