5 Portland Food Fests to Check Out This Fall

It’s time to look out the window and face the facts: the perpetual overcast, the unending drizzle, and nose-numbing cold is back—and here to stay well into 2019. But you can’t let SAD take over, at least not yet! Here are five food festivals worth bundling up for in the next four weeks.

Apple Tasting

Oct 12—14 & Oct 19–21, Portland Nursery, FREE
For more than 30 years, locals have mobbed the Portland Nursery each fall for bulk apple and pear purchases—and, of course, fruit and cider tastings. This years, there’ll be 60-some varieties to try. Bulk purchases are 99 cents a pound, and there’s no hurry at this family-friendly annual event: all six days feature live music from the likes of Pete Krebs, pumpkin painting, scavenger hunts, and free roaming among the nursery’s rows of potted plants.

Portland Fermentation Festival

6–9:30 p.m., Oct 18, Ecotrust, $10–$25
Sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are just the start at Ecotrust’s ninth annual “stinkfest.” Last year’s samples introduced Portlanders to Hawaiian okolehao (moonshine, in other words) and Japanese tofu misozuke (often used as a vegan cheese). This year, hobnob with fellow fermenters of everything from hot sauce to natto. The evening event takes place on Ecotrust’s twinkly-lighted rooftop, scored by DJ Jimbo and soused up with cider from Reverend Nat’s.

10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct 21, Castaway, $45–$90
Portland’s first ever Mac & Cheese Festival—a touring event, of sorts, with future iterations scheduled for Austin,  Dallas, and Seattle—will have chefs from Tapalaya, Montage, Mac’d PDX, and many others competing for the title of “Best Mac & Cheese.” At $45, the “Generally Cheesy Admission” tickets ain’t cheap, but do include unlimited tastings and three drink tickets, and, we’d bet, next-day regrets.

Killer Pumpkin Festival

11 a.m to 11 p.m., Oct 27, Rogue Eastside Brewery, FREE
Can’t get enough pumpkin flavor this season? Rogue Brewery’s Killer Pumpkin Festival has your back: putting the squash on every tap, developing a special pumpkin menu to snack on, and providing a legit pumpkin patch for decorating and carving—and smashing. Gratuitous gourds not really your thing? There are also costume contests for adults, lil’ punkins, and even dogs.

Ramen and Whiskey Festival

Noon to 5 p.m., Nov 4, Leftbank Annex, $45–$65
Nothing warms the bones like a bowl of ramen … except maybe chasing that broth with a fine whiskey cocktail. This year, festival organizer Willamette Week partners with Fubonn to present chefs and bartenders from restaurants all over town—Afuri, Noraneko, Boke Bowl, and last year’s Judge’s Choice winner, Double Dragon, back to defend its title.

View the full article here at Portland Monthly

It’s Libra Season: Your October Home Horoscope

Prepare your finest glass cleaner and step through the looking glass, astral voyagers. October’s cosmic clarity is brought to you by the sign of Libra, and the zodiac’s aspirational aesthete has us both reckoning with our spatial reality, and vision-boarding our dream houses.

Libra energy’s notorious sense of “balance” actually reminds us that coming into equilibrium is a highly dynamic, individualized process. Our thresholds for certain extremes, and carefully concocted calibrations are as personal as paint chips.

Consider the concept of alignment in all its various guises this month. What is off kilter inside your heart and inside your space? Take October to look it straight in the eye with love, and to right any crooked paintings on your metaphorical wall.

The other major cosmic news is Venus’ retrograde journey through Scorpio. Contrary to some astral fear-mongering, retrogrades are delicious times to invite that planet’s energy into a private dance, and Venus’ slowed-down sojourn wants us to delve into our desire nature and clear out any cobwebs around worthiness and self-critique.

So dream it big and beautiful, astral voyagers. But don’t forgot to honor exactly what’s here. October wants you to throw back the blinds and let the light, the darkness, and everything in between, flood your boudoir without judgment.

In the Stars: Happy birth month, aspirational angel! You’re capable of a powerful cosmic mixture of realism and idealism, and this particular Libra Season asks you to deeply align those ideals with your blood and your bones. With Venus’ retrograde journey through Scorpio, you’re being asked to really feel into any blocks around intimacy that come from an unwillingness to get friendly, first and foremost, with your own shadowy bits. There is an unprecedented amount of humanness and self-forgiveness available to you this month, Libra. Take this time as an invitation to dance and romance yourself fully without any trace of shame.

In Your Space: Let this down and dirty self-love fest start at home, with all of the hearts, stars, and animal prints one cavern can hold. Follow your tastes completely, no matter any clashing or critical voices buzzing inside your head. It’s a month for unabashedly loving what you love, and letting this remind you that personal palettes and perspectives are invaluable to the world outside your doors. Start with your vanity table and shower rack, and trick them out with collections of items and fragrances that you can simply wear and relish solely for yourself in the comfort of your own boudoir.

In the Stars: Originally, Libra and Scorpio were one sign, and this collaboration between the zodiac’s light and dark sides of partnership will serve you well this month, Scorpio. Where have deep dives into the underbelly started to leave you exhausted and longing for some straightforward sensual release? With Venus traveling retrograde through Scorpio, and Jupiter poised to make its final, expansive stand in your sign, you’re being asked to loosen your grip around your desires, and get touchy-feely with what simply feels good. Let it be easier, sweet Scorpio. And know that this process of embracing ease may just be your most badass move yet.

In Your Space: Easy and breezy are your key design terms this month, Scorpio, and anything that feels heavy, oppressive or challenging simply must go. If you’re able to budget for it, ask for help at every turn. A professional design eye, and cleaning or furniture assembly service will serve as a potent reminder that you don’t have to go it alone, and that you absolutely deserve comfort without having to prove it with blood, sweat, and tears. Swap out old duvets, plump up pillows, and upgrade pasta bowls. It’s time to settle in with your snacks and celebrate your spatial worthiness.

In the Stars: As the Libra Sun forms a supportive angle to your sign, you’re being asked to hone your focus so you can best utilize the resources on hand. The concept of narrowed focus sometimes makes you feel stifled, but this month, treat the art of strategy like a grand reconnaissance adventure. Gather information on the ground. Be willing to open wide to another, seemingly oppositional point of view. Friction and perceived limits are actually your besties right now. With Jupiter poised to enter your sign for a year-long transit, starting in November, you’re being asked to pause and realign before this next cycle’s radical leaps.

In Your Space: Follow the motto that how you do one thing is how you do everything, Sag, and start with a single room overhaul, or even a closet. There’s no need to pull spatial cleansing all nighters, or to stage epic redesigns right now. By all means, you can hold the big picture vision in your mind’s eye. Just let it unfold step-by-step without having to fly into excess mode. And celebrate the creative potential of seeming constraints by working around statement pieces, upgrading wall art, and reveling in the finely-tuned potential of drawer organizers and storage pieces.

View the full article here at Apartment Therapy

The Best Time to Buy a House May Be Fall After All

The best time to buy a house has long been considered the spring and summer. Meanwhile, their seasonal sibling, fall, often gets tossed to the leaf pile by potential buyers who might think autumn is just about haunted houses and turkey dinners rather than house hunting.

But surprise! Fall is not only a great time to buy a house, it might also be the best season to find the perfect property (and not just because you can browse the listings while cupping a pumpkin latte).

The best time to buy a house for cheap

The best month to snag a deal when buying a home? October. This isn’t just some random guess; it’s based on RealtyTrac’s analysis of more than 32 million home sales over 15 years. The resulting data showed that on average, October buyers paid 2.6% below estimated market value at the time for their homes.

For a house that would normally be $300,000, 2.6% translates into a $7,800 discount. Those savings are nothing to sneeze at, so bargain hunters should get hopping once autumn rolls around. (For an even better deal, aim for Oct. 8, when buyers get a home, on average, at 10.8% below estimated market value.)

“For buyers looking for a better deal, fall is a great time to make offers,” says New YorkCity Realtor® Joanne RDouglas. (In case you’re wondering, the worst month for buyers is April, when homes sell for 1.2% above estimated market value. The worst single day is Jan. 19, with an average 9.6% premium.)

Less competition

Like a beach after Labor Day, the realty market clears out as the days turn crisp. Most summer buyers have already found a home, meaning a fall buyer will have way less competition for the available houses on the market, says Bill Golden of Re/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside. And don’t worry about those buyers who didn’t close before August, either.

“Many folks will drop out of the market until after the new year,” says Golden, giving a fall buyer even greater room to roam at open houses. There may not be as many properties to choose from, but as Golden says, “a little patience and perseverance could reap big rewards.”

Worn-out home sellers

Say hello to your little friend, leverage. Sellers who have their homes on the market in the fall “are generally people who need to sell, which can make for better negotiations for the buyer,” says Golden. And if a home you have your eye on has been on the market all summer, you’re really in the driver’s seat as far as making an offer the seller can’t refuse. The longer a home sits on the market, the more negotiating power the buyer wields.

The holidays are around the corner

Not only are most home sellers worn out after the summer selling season, they’re also caught between a real estate rock and a hard place in that the holidays are barreling down on them. If they want to move and settle down in time to host Thanksgiving and put up their Christmas lights, they’ll have to close, fast. So use this pre-holiday window to your advantage by offering to help them vacate fast if they cut you a deal.

Year-end tax credits

No one wants to buy a home purely to make their accountant happy. But there’s a sweet added incentive to that makes the best time to buy a housee sometime near the end of the fiscal year. Come the following April 15, you might be able to take some nice tax deductions, including closing costsproperty tax, and mortgage interest, to offset your taxable earnings.

More quality time with your real estate team

As the year comes to an end, fewer buyers also means you should have the full attention of your real estate agent, mortgage broker, real estate lawyer, and everyone else on your house hunting team. This is the best time to ask all those questions you have about earnest moneydue diligence, title transfers, and more without feeling like you’re horning in their busiest season to turn a buck.

Home improvement bargains

Once you close on that home you found in the fall, you may want to upgrade your appliances. Luckily, December is when major appliances—refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers—are at their very cheapest, according to Consumer Reports. It’s also the best time of year to buy cookware and TVs.

So once you’re settled in (and provided you have any money left), get ready to renovate!


View the full article here on Realtor

Can my neighbor do that? Feeding birds can become a messy issue

Oh, civility. It resides in some neighborhood, hasn’t arrived yet in others. Knowing city laws can take the sting, and emotion, out of an errant parked car, predawn noise and other annoying habits from the people next door. Oregonian archive photo used to add levity to the topic.

Most neighbors don’t mind neighbors feeding birds. The problem begins when too many birds and squirrels hang around the feeding structures. The city of Portland enacted an ordinance that all exterior property areas must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.

Most cities make it clear if trees are public or private, based on the location of the trunk. If your neighbor’s branches are hanging over your yard, you can prune them to the property line as long as you don’t destroy the tree or go on your neighbor’s property without permission. Here’s Portland’s tree guidelines: www.portlandoregon.gov/trees/article/528110

Is there a law to stop the neighbor’s loud music from shaking the windows of your house? By city code, Quiet Time is 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Families with young children especially need this quiet time on weekday nights during the school year.

Cigarette and fireplace smoke can drift into open windows across property lines. No laws regulate this. Neighbors should be considerate, especially in the summer.

What’s bugging you on your block? You can get free mediation and facilitation services to help find solutions to conflict at the Resolutions Northwest in Portland (503-595-4890; resolutionsnorthwest.org) or Beaverton’s Dispute Resolution Center ((503-526-2523; beavertonoregon.gov/562/Dispute-Resolution).

View the full article here at Oregon Live

A Garage Converted into a Compact Guest Cottage, Courtesy of Mark Lewis

London designer Mark Lewis knows how to conjure a world out of empty space: He began his career working on theater sets. So he was the perfect person for the job when a client wanted to transform a charming old garage into a guest room.

Above: Located in Hampstead, in North London, the garage stands alongside a 1905 house that the owners recently inherited and remodeled—they hired Lewis as a consultant midway through that process and gave him free rein over the garage, which has its original terracotta-tiled roof and glazed door with decorative strap hinges.

Above: Lewis stripped the interior to reveal the vaulted ceiling (now insulated and plaster-finished), left the old brick exposed, and laid a new floor of reclaimed pine. He placed the bed against the sealed-up garage doors. Shallow wall shelves serve as bedside tables (for something similar, see the Corbin Bernsen Handyman Special.)

Remodelista and Gardenista regulars know we have a weakness for garage makeovers: See, for instance, our own Michelle’s Grottage, Karen Montgomery Spath’s Airy Studio Apartment, and Model Carolyn Murphy’s Painting Retreat. These transformations are a recurring dream come true—the discovered room you never knew you had. Doll-house-like in their appeal, they’re filled with small-space solutions to be remembered and copied. In the case of Lewis’s project, the trickiest part was figuring out how to incorporate a bathroom—while maintaining peace with the neighbors (and, of course, securing a permit from the planning commission). Join us for a look at Lewis’s industrial-rustic results, dustbin WC included.

Lewis describes the style as “suburban Edwardian,” and says, “The space was being used for garden storage and junk. It had even been a chemistry lab at one point. It was unloved on the inside but externally in good condition.”
The space is just under 194 square feet and took six weeks to make over—the door on the left leads to the new loo. Note the wall lighting: It’s electrical conduit with sockets and bulbs from Urban Cottage Industries.

This half of the room has a flea market desk, a dresser (built to order to get the desired dimensions), and a clothes rack made from industrial hand railing: “It’s thicker than conduit and strong enough to hold heavy things; you can even hang from it”

In the back of the garage, new curtained French doors serve as the entrance: A short walk across the terrace leads to the main house. The concrete door surround is a detail Lewis also introduced around the bathroom door.



View full article here at Remodelista

Housing Predictions Ahead: REALTORS® Chief Economist Provides Market Insights

Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), says concerns that the housing market has peaked and is headed toward another slowdown are purely speculative, regardless of recent sales declines in some regions.

What’s in store for the future? Markets should slow down; however, this is due in part to insufficient supply and swiftly rising home prices instead of weak buyer demand. Yun predicts existing-home sales will drop 1 percent to 5.46 million in 2018 (down from 5.51 million in 2017). Home price growth, however, should remain strong, increasing an estimated 5 percent nationwide. And with an anticipated hike in inventory supply come 2019, home sales should stay afloat—existing home sales are predicted to rise 2 percent with home prices estimated to increase by 3.5 percent, according to Yun.

“Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession. Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory and accompanying unsustainable home price increases,” said Yun in a statement.

 Low inventory levels, which have fallen for three consecutive years, along with bidding wars, are prevalent across the country. And while homebuilding has jumped 7.2 percent year-to-date to July, Yun says new construction is sorely needed to continue filling the gap. Carefully considered policy decisions should help alleviate the shortage.

“The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” Yun said. “Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to perspective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth.”

“Rising material costs and labor shortages do not help builders to be excited about business,” added Yun. “But the lumber tariff is a pure, unforced policy error that raises costs and limits job creations and more home building.”

13 Home Improvement Projects That Practically Pay for Themselves

These smart upgrades pay off big in resale value and enjoyment of your home.

“For an immediate face-lift, update your light fixtures,” says Kim Howard, Realtor and co-founder of Howard Homes Chicago. You can buy a stylish ceiling fan for $100 dollars or less and updated semi-flush ceiling mount lights for about $60. Not only do buyers love the cohesive flow new lighting gives the home, but Howard also says new lighting easily increases the value of the home by 1 to 2 percent, which translates to $10,000 on a $500,000 home.

“Replacing your cabinets is a huge cost that is not completely necessary if the cabinets are less than ten years old, functional, and made from a high-quality wood like cherry, maple, ash, hickory, or oak,” says John Milligan, Product Development Manager at N-Hance Wood Refinishing. Refinishing generally costs between $3,000 to $8,000 and can potentially bump up the value of your home between 3 and 7 percent. Here are 13 more tricks to make your kitchen look expensive.

A fresh coat of paint instantly updates and transforms the entire interior of your home, and when you consider that the average price tag of a gallon of one-coat coverage paint is around $38, that’s about the biggest bang for your buck you can get. “Grays are back in vogue, and create a neutral palette that lets your decor really pop,” says Steve Frellick, licensed contractor and founder/broker of Yonder Luxury Vacation Rentals. Repaint your bathroom blue, and your house could fetch as much as $5,440 more than expected, according to a recent Zillow report.

Windows that stick or are warped or drafty aren’t doing your comfort level or your budget any favors. According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value report in Remodeling, vinyl replacements windows average just under $16,000 for ten 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows and have a resale value near $12,000. Plus, you’ll reap even more savings from your energy bill. Replacing the same number of wood windows is a bit pricier at around $19,000 with a resale value of approximately $13,500. Look out for these 12 hidden home expenses that are draining your bank account.

View the full article here at Reader’s Digest


Counting Cranes

Construction cranes are the most visible sign of where new homes are being built.

You know there is major construction underway when cranes tower above. And wherever they cluster, it is a good bet that there are new homes being built.

The recent RLB Crane Index, a report on the number of construction cranes in major American and Canadian cities, found that the vast majority are currently being used to build new homes. (The report dealt only with cranes fixed in place on construction sites, not mobile cranes attached to trucks.)

Paul Brussow, executive vice president of Rider Levett Bucknall, which provides project management and consultation to the construction industry, and which produced the report, said that of the 421 cranes in active use, 305 (or 72 percent) are being used for residential projects or mixed-use projects that include homes.

Of all the cities in the report, Toronto came out way ahead — both in the total number of cranes in use (97, up from 88 in January and 72 a year ago) and in the number being used to build homes (85).

Where else will you find a network of cranes? Here are the top 10 cities and how many cranes you’ll see there — building homes and other kinds of projects.
View the full article here at New York Times

Portland approves plan to preserve mobile home parks

A tweak to Portland’s zoning code will make it more difficult to redevelop mobile home parks, an effort to preserve the low-cost housing they provide.

The Portland City Council unanimously approved the change on Wednesday. It creates a new zone for 56 of the city’s mobile home parks, which house about 3,000 households.

Six of the city’s 62 mobile home parks have closed in the past two years, leaving residents scrambling to find a new place to live. Those who own their mobile homes are often unable to move them elsewhere, but they might still be responsible for a mortgage, turning a financial asset into a liability.

While it would be more difficult for owners of mobile home parks to sell or redevelop the land, the proposal would allow them to sell unused density to developers building elsewhere.

Residents of mobile home parks turned out Wednesday to show support for the proposal, saying it would help preserve communities and maintain families’ access to schools and services.

Gloria Contreras, speaking through a translator, told the city council she has lived at Cedar Shade Mobile Home Park in Northeast Portland for more than 12 years.

“For my family, this is home,” said Contreras, who lives with her four children. “We take care of each other, our homes and we take care of strangers. There are elderly people who know that if there’s any kind of time of need or emergency, we will be there to support them and help them.”

Mike Connors, a land-use attorney representing North Portland mobile home operator Hayden Island Enterprises, said the policy could open the city to claims under Measure 49, which would require the city to compensate property owners for the loss of property value. He also said it could restrict park owners’ access to financing.

“As a result of that, they’re either not going to upgrade or maintain the parks at the level they do currently, or it’s going to result in an increase in rent,” Connors said.

View the full article here at Oregon Live

Your State’s Most Popular Home Decor Item

Interior design might seem as straightforward as choosing a paint color and coordinating your furniture, but the truth is, the devil’s in the details. Those last few finishing touches can really pull together a room and make it your own.

Since we’re in the business of adding accents to homes, we were curious to know what finishing touch people like to use the most when decorating their homes. To get the answer, we first built a list of the most commonly purchased home decor items by reviewing the home decor item categories on popular retailers’ websites like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Target. Once we had a list of popular home decor items from these sites, we used Google Shopping search data to determine which item each state in the U.S. had searched for most often over the past year. This gave us a comprehensive view of the types of items people are most interested in according to their search history. Based on search volume, we identified the most popular home decor item in each state, as well as the top item overall- and the results might surprise you.

Top Searched Home Decor Item by State

The competition for the highest search volume in each state was fierce. The range of options was so wide that there were very few states that had the same item as their highest searched home decor item. In fact, in both the West and the Northeast, every state had a unique top searched item.

There were a few states with unsurprising results. Alaska’s most popular home decor item was hearths, consistent with the frigid weather in that area throughout most of the year. Similarly, Connecticut favored throw blankets, presumably to ward off those long New England winters, and Tennessee, famous for their whiskey, had the highest search volume for bar carts.

America’s Favorite Home Decor Items

In spite of the varied results, one item continued to pop up as the top searched home decor item throughout our analysis. People in five different states are very interested in the use of trays as a final home decor touch. Trays have become a trendy item over the past couple of years, and people often use them to create small displays in their homes.

Coming in right behind trays are mirrors, a great way to create the illusion of more space and natural light in rooms that might not have as many windows.

Finally, 12 states searched home decor items related to their walls: wallpaper, wall decor, wall art, wall shelves, and window treatments. It looks like while trays are the most popular individual item, people like to use their walls as a canvas to add a pop of color or extra visual interest to finish off a room’s design.

Small items are a great way to add some personality to any room in your home. They can be inexpensive and are easy to change around and swap in and out as your tastes evolve. For more permanent items like window treatments and wallpaper, it’s a good idea to look at all of your options before making a final decision, since it’s a look you will probably have to live with for an extended period of time. The good news is, whatever your interior design taste might be, there are certainly options out there for you to create the perfect interior design aesthetic in your home.

View full article here at Next Day Blinds