NE Portland

Open House: December 2-3

Join us this weekend for our open house in Portland's highly-desirable St. Johns!

From 12-2p this Saturday (12/2) and 1-3p on Sunday (12/3), come see this 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom near-by the heart of St. Johns. Thanks to bright picture windows and gorgeous hardwood floors, the open living and dining room fills with light. The remodeled kitchen, with a pantry, makes getting ready for gatherings a snap. A large backyard and multiple patios will be perfect for entertaining and relaxing throughout the warmer months. Listed at: $350k

Can't make it? Give us a call to schedule a walk-thru.

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Open Houses: November 19, 2017

Join us this weekend for two open houses in the Portland area!

From 10a - 3p this Sunday at a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo nearby Portland's bustling North Killingsworth Street. This quiet courtyard condo is in a well run community, with charm galore, including hardwood floors, a breakfast nook, and private backyard. Ideal for a student, first home-buyer, or long-distance commuter looking for metro area home. (UPDATE: the open house has been changed to 1-3p.)

Also this Sunday, from 1-3p, we'll be showing off a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home in in Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood. Nestled between SE Belmont and SE Hawthorne, this single-family home is nearby all the activities while offering a serene retreat.


Can't make it during the above times and wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!

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Open Houses: November 4-5, 2017

We have some great open houses happening this weekend throughout the greater Portland area. Hope you can join us! Have questions about the homes below - or one you recently spied while out and about? Give us a call! 

Saturday, 11/4:

From 10a-12p on Saturday, at 11132 NE Morris St, Portland, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, home with a huge yard is perfect for a first-time home buyer or someone looking to dive into investment properties. A little love and a handful of updates will make this home shine. Listing price: $250k.

New Listing! On Saturday, from 12-1:30p, at 245 W Hereford S, Gladstone, a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom Tudor home with an incredible layout, backyard, and 2-car garage. Link coming soon; call us for details. Listing price: $400k.  

From 1-3p on Saturday, at 1827 SE Regner Rd, Gresham, a 3-bedroom, 1.1-bathroom, ranch home with a private yard and recent updates, including a new water heater. NEW listing price: $250k.

Sunday, 11/5:

New Listing! From 1-2p on Sunday, at 11389 SE 35th Ave, Milwaukie, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom sweet bungalow with remodeled kitchen and large private yard with deck. Listing price: $300k.

From 1-3p on Sunday, at 3746 SE Washington St, Portland, an incredible 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom classic craftsman home a block away from Laurelhurst Park and nearby Belmont's restuarant scene. Listing price: $525k.

Can't make it during the above times and wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!

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Open Houses: October 29, 2017

We're hosting a few open houses this weekend! 

This Sunday, 10/29, from 1-3p, an amazing three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in the Sunnyside neighborhood, near Laurelhurst Park. Listing price: $525k. (Listing link coming soon; visit our Facebook page or call us for details!)

Also this Sunday, 1-3p, this charming two-bedroom, two-bathroom Southeast Portland bungalow with a deck and backyard ideal for entertaining. Listing price: $400k

And last, but not least, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Northeast Portland, with a large backyard. Listing price: $250k.

Hope you can join us! Questions about these homes? Wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!

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Five on Friday with Alexander Frane

We sat down with Portland native and beverage writer extraordinaire, Alexander Frane, to get his take on all the essential information home-seekers need about Portland libations.  

1. In your time covering local restaurants have you seen any places that have had a big enough impact to change the dynamic of a neighborhood? 

When I think about that, what I really think about most is Mississippi. That change was around ten years ago. Restaurants and bars opening in that area happened along with a major shift of the demographics of homeowners in the neighborhood. It has been a big topic of conversation in Portland; I don’t want to comment too much on that shift other than to say that it occurred in tandem with these new food and beverage businesses taking up residence. I love that neighborhood and I love those bars and restaurants - I think they are amazing - but it is indicative of how the city has changed.

Woodstock seems to be going through some of those changes Mississippi went through with a new Double Mountain Brewery and other attractive businesses moving in. I wonder if it is kind of a chicken and the egg thing. I’m curious whether these new restaurants change the neighborhood or if the neighborhood starts changing and new restaurants come in as a result. Woodstock still has many long-term residents but I also feel like it is attracting new people and the street itself is starting to look different.

I think Pok Pok on Division was successful and lead to that area being more developed as other restaurants followed suit. I imagine that had an impact on the housing and rental market in the area.

Also, Coquine. It’s such a nice area but there is less directly around it so it might be bringing people into that area that haven’t been there before.

2. On the other side of things, any restaurants you are familiar with that have struggled because the neighborhood wasn’t a good fit?

There are some restaurants in town that are great, but in areas that have continued to feel quiet and residential. The main street of restaurants in Beaumont continues to have steady but a quieter turn out which is unfortunate since some highly-underrated restaurants can be found there. Like Bang Bang, which has a great, creative menu but doesn’t seem to get lines out the door like some very comparable restaurants in other neighborhoods. Smallwares was well liked and had an amazing reputation but closed after inconsistent levels of business. There is a complex relationship between food and beverage venues and the neighborhoods they live in and influence.

3. When people are looking for a home, they might find there are certain local amenities they can’t live without. When it comes to having a neighborhood bar, what requirements should a prospective neighborhood fulfill?

I think you should have one of every variety of bar: a dive bar, a neighborhood bar, and a cocktail bar. Some people group neighborhood bars and dive bars together but I think there is a distinction there. If you have one of each of those within walking distance of your new home, you will be all set.

4. One of my favorite things you have shared are the best places for dog owners to drink in Portland with their four-legged companion in tow. Since you have perspective on this topic, which neighborhood in Portland do you think is best for drinking with dogs?

That would be Mississippi. Everyone loves dogs on Mississippi and there are a lot of dog-friendly places. Prost, Interurban, and Bar Bar are all dog-friendly. Further up when Mississippi St. turns into Albina there is Victoria which is one of the best dog-friendly bars in the city. The owner loves dogs and the patio is set up well to host them. Alberta is good too for dogs, but really Mississippi hands down though, it’s not even a question, if you want to take your dog out drinking with you.  

5. If you were to buy a home based on its proximity to your favorite bars in the city what neighborhood would you choose?

Buckman. It has the highest concentration of the best bars at every level. It is the best eating and drinking spot in town. With all the stuff on Sandy and Burnside and all the stuff in lower Buckman into the lower industrial area. Even if you are just in the inner-industrial area just by the Morrison bridge you could probably go to a different wonderful place each night. It may be difficult to find a home right there since it is less residential, but if you head east a few blocks there are more homes. My dream house would be off Stark anywhere between 15th and 20th right over near Buckman grade school, where I went. That is my favorite part of town. You can walk anywhere from there to all the best bars and half the best restaurants and it’s beautiful. I think the Division/Clinton neighborhood would be my second choice. 

Check out Alexander's articles on ThrillistThe Daily Meal and Drink Nation's Drink Portland; and follow him on Twitter and Instagram for Portland insider libation locations! 

Five on Friday: Ross NW Watergardens

This week we are excited to share out conversation with local landscape designer, Ben Bowen of Ross NW Watergardens. Ben is a third generation landscaper and part of a family-owned business.

1. How do you consider the architecture of a home when you are designing a landscape?

It really depends on the client. Some people want a landscape very true to the style of their home; if they have a craftsman, then they want something classic. While other people may not care at all. They may have a very traditional home but they want a modern design for their yard that may not necessarily fit the style of the house. Sometimes the fit between the landscaping design and the house is seamless; other times you get a little more creative to make the styles work together in a way to make visual sense. If you do that well, it seems like you can make almost any style you want work. Whether the styles merge easily or not, there's usually things about the house that you're trying to accentuate or hide.

2. Can you give an example of what techniques you use to accentuate or hide parts of a house?

Sure; ranch style homes can have nice windows but will also have some long expanses of just bare wall. It's a great backdrop for some plantings, so picking where you put those involves some strategy. A lot of the newer homes that infill homes are too tall for some of the lots they are on. It can feel like they are looming over you as you approach the house when you have a two-story house eight feet from the sidewalk on a 4000 square-foot lot, the proportions can seem off. You can help soften that transition by utilizing tall, narrow plants. It goes the other direction too. Plants can also be a wonderful way to edit what you can see looking out from your house. Tall plants can be great for neighbors because they give a lot of privacy. Bamboo is usually the answer. 

3. How do you balance a client’s lifestyle with their landscape ambitions?

 Modern landscape and design-build project by Ross NW WatergardensAs far as maintenance goes I try to get a good sense of how much time they spend in their yard, including how much they want to be leisure versus working in the yard. Knowing their lifestyle helps to figure out what is the most sustainable design for the customer. When clients are planning to pay for someone else to maintain the yard, I design whatever they want and don’t weigh the two factors [leisure vs maintenance]. If they are going to do the maintenance themselves, then there are a lot of compromises that need to be made between beauty and labor. I find most people want to spend their Saturdays enjoying their landscape, not working in it. It helps that most people are realistic about how much work they will put into their garden, which really guides all those complex decisions.

4. Do you use edible plants in landscapes?

There is a lot of interest in edible plants in landscaping. I get asked this question often. There are lots of ways to work edibles into the landscape and I always try to do it in a way that works with everything else that we have chosen. I love to use blueberries because the shrub itself, even without the fruit, is very attractive. We plant quite a bit of persimmon; it's a beautiful tree and even if you don’t use the persimmons, they look so cool in the fall. In the fall, the fruit stays after you lose the leaves so it looks like a bunch of miniature pumpkins. If you were so inclined you could plant it just for that reason.   

5. How do you balance budgets and requests?

I try to balance the budget, climate, and style. For a lot of people, the budget is the most important. Depending on exactly how important budget is, I can make decisions about how to balance everything else. I feel like over time I have become good at reading people’s priorities. As we adjust the plan, I work with them to find their priorities and educate them about the costs and benefits of the different directions we could go with the design. It’s a very collaborative process and it is really rewarding to see the final product and hear client feedback about how they enjoy their outdoor space.

Bonus Question 1: The climate in Portland has been more extreme lately. How has that influenced your designs?

There have always been some plants that have been borderline evergreen for Portland but if we have more winters like this last one, they'll no longer be evergreen options. Hebe is an example of that; it’s a very popular plant that used to be considered an evergreen in Portland. I now must be more careful with what goes dormant during really cold winters. Hot summers just mean more water and more work, which is ok. It’s much more disappointing to have spring come around and think that your plants are dead - but they aren't.  

Bonus Question 2: Are you seeing any changes in your client's requests recently?

Portland is experiencing a lot of growth which is leading to some shifts in the demographics. People are moving from Seattle and San Francisco and bringing requests for modern homes and modern landscapes to go with them. These designs are really low-maintenance and attractive with clean lines, plantings that are function first, and a lot of hardscapes. As they get more popular I expect to see the effect snowball and we will get even more requests for these types of projects.

Bonus Question 3: What are your favorite Portland neighborhoods to look at landscaping?

Portland is a city where people really enjoy the outdoors and use their yards. All over Portland, there are more specific homes, not areas, I’ve noticed and really like. I enjoy the mid-century modern style and the landscaping that goes along with it. I think it can be distinctive and interesting. There are some great neighborhoods in Southwest Portland for those styles. It’s amazing how one person’s landscaping can influence and inspire the landscaping for the homes around it. There’s a six-block stretch of homes on North Flavel Drive where people have taken their landscapes and done interesting things with them, and they coordinate as a neighborhood. I don’t know how these things catch on but it is cool to see and I could imagine it spreading.

If you find yourself in need of some expert landscaping design or if you are looking for some inspiration be sure to check out Ross NW Watergardens on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Houzz, and their Website!

Five on Friday with Purringtons Cat Lounge

We had the pleasure of sitting down with local business owners Sergio and Kristen Castillo the owners of Purringtons Cat Lounge located in NE Portland. Read on to find out all about their awesome business and how pet ownership can change your home.

  1. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your business?

We saw a video of a cat cafe in Paris and thought it was such a great idea. Tokyo is known for them probably because people live in small quarters and it is not always a responsible option for them to have pets. Small home dwellers still love animals and cat cafes are a great way to have that interaction. We didn’t really see that as a reason to have a cat cafe in Portland, we more expected it to be good for people who cohabitate with people who are allergic. However now, with a lot of changes to the city, our business might also be good for people who don’t feel like their housing situation is stable enough for pets, or with the push for infill we might find people have less space in their homes and the cat cafe is a good alternative.

People often are forced to surrender animals to shelters because of their health or finances and it is such an insult to injury to have to lose a source of comfort during a stressful time and it is awful for the pets to have to be in a shelter and away from their family.

     2. While we are on the topic of rent increases and changes, what effect does that have on pets?

We haven’t seen too much of it yet, but we imagine with the rapidly increasing rents in Portland and property owners being more restrictive with their rental policies we will probably see an increase in owner surrendered cats to shelters. As people get priced out of their apartments they must seek new places to live and in a market with so many renters willing to pay well owners and managers can be very selective and often place restrictions on pet ownership for renters. People are charging rent for cats now. This puts people in the difficult position of having to choose between a beloved pet/family member and the practical necessities of having a place to live that suits their needs. That’s the benefit of being a homeowner. If you own your home you can do whatever you want, and a house is not really a home until you have a cat.

    3. Speaking of cats and homeownership when we first spoke you sent me a hilarious video tied to a tradition in Russia related to home purchases and cats.

  There are many beliefs about cats around the world and I think the one in Russia is that a cat entering through the threshold is good luck. One mortgage company capitalizes on that and has new homeowners pick out a cat to adopt that they bring to the home when their agent gives them the key. The cat is supposed to enter the house and it is lucky or a sign of a good home. I think that is a   little too much pressure for a cat, though. They shouldn’t be forced to provide goodwill or a good vibe for your house. They would just do that anyways without any sort of preconditions because cats are awesome like that. What if they don’t want to enter the house? Do people back out of a transaction?   Does it mean that something is wrong with the house?

  Maybe some cats can double as home inspectors. We adopted out a cat that knows when the diabetic child in his family has low blood sugar, maybe some cats can smell dry rot. I don’t know about adopting cats out with houses though because you don’t know if sensing a good purchase will be one of that cat’s special skills.

All jokes aside, though, a house really isn’t a home without a pet. 

     4. How do you help a cat get settled into a new home?

It takes cats some time to acclimate to a new space. At Purringtons we did a big build out, so when we first moved cats into the cafe they were really staying in back in the area that guests don’t spend time in and we got a little worried. I think the construction smells in the cat lounge were not really inviting to them. Once there started to be people here and other smells, like brewing coffee, they started to venture out into the cat lounge.  

I think it is probably a similar experience getting a cat settled in a new house, or after a renovation project. Give them time to adjust to changes, they are so sensitive to ambient sounds and smells. Newly adopted animals can take a long time to be fully settled in and you can expect the process to be even longer when there are other animals in the family.

As a homeowner, you can help the transition by enriching your space for your cat, making it more stimulating and inviting. Shelves mounted under window ledges so that your cat has a good vantage point, catios so they can get fresh air and take in the outdoors; there’s a lot you can do for making your house fun for kitties. Keeping them busy with toys and designated areas is also a great way to minimize damage to your home. Entertained cats with access to appropriate places to scratch like posts are less likely to scratch up furniture and home fixtures.

     5. You mention Catios to keep your cat entertained. Can you elaborate more on your opinion of indoor or outdoor for pet cats?

In Portland, we have urban coyotes on top of all the normal dangers to pets outside, like cars and inclement weather. There have even been some frightening reports of people hurting other people's cats. If you want your pet to be safe, we recommend keeping them inside or using a catio to let them explore the outdoors without the risk. Don’t let your cats roam outside because the lifespan for an indoor versus an outdoor cat is considerably longer. Of course, everyone knows an exception or two to that rule, but you have no way of knowing if your outdoor cat will be one of the lucky few that live to an old age without incident.

It’s our policy to only adopt cats at the cafe out to homes that will keep them indoors because we want to keep these animals we care about safe. We recommend homeowners consider a catio as a great option that might not be available to renters. There are some great companies around town that install them; a lot of their work is featured in the Catio Tour hosted by the  Feral Cat Coalition if you want a preview before you commit. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like, but either way, your cat will enjoy the option to go outside safely.

      Bonus question 1. As much as a cat is an excellent addition to a home they can also wreak some havoc on a house. Any advice for homeowners eager to have a pet and not damage their wood floors?

  One of the behaviors that can cause the most damage to a home is inappropriate urination.  If your cat is urinating outside of the litterbox there is usually a reason. It may be health related, like they have a UTI, or maybe you are not keeping their box clean enough, or it is in a location they don’t like.  Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with this with your cat, just focus on figuring out what is causing the behavior so that you can fix it and your home's floors will stay beautiful. All behavior has a cause, so if you are experiencing a behavior from your cat that may cause damage to your home don’t give up on your pet. You can find out what is causing the behavior and address it so that you can have both a lovely home and a happy pet.

If you ever find yourself having a rough day, I recommend you browse the Purringtons Instagram for some uplifting images of sweet kitties loving the cat cafe life and finding forever homes. Don’t forget to friend Purringtons on Facebook and bookmark their website to keep up to date on all the events they host! You don’t want to miss a movie night, wine tasting, or yoga with cats. If you are ready to find a forever home for a kitty we can help; No matter what stage of the process you're in, we are happy to assist you finding that perfect corner for your furry friend’s scratching post.