Posts Tagged 'Santa Rosa'

Real Estate Market in Sonoma County – Many Offers and Cash is King

On October 1 I entered 152 Firethorn Drive, Rohnert Park into the MLS.  After a week of constant showings and a well attended open house, I received 10 offers on October 8.  We accepted a full cash offer from a party that was willing to do inspections during the period of review for a preapproved short sale with Bank of America.  The sale closed on October 30 with no hitches.  This home was a fixer but was in a great location and had good “bones”.

Yesterday I learned that an offer we submitted on a major fixer in the Rincon Valley area of Santa Rosa was not the winning bid.  They received 17 all cash offers and ours was the only one for an owner occupant.  The asking price was $229,000.  I believe that the final contract price was around $255,000.  We will not know until the property closes.  What is a “major fixer”?  The roof was caved in at one spot and the floor boards underneath were rotted through.  Read the article below and you will learn that this is not an unusual scenerio.

Realtors’ 2012 Housing Survey:

Competition Is the Name of the Game in California

A highly competitive market pushed California’s housing recovery into high gear in 2012, forcing homebuyers into bidding wars for available homes and rewarding sellers with the strongest prices seen in years.

A new report — the California Association of Realtors’ annual Housing Market Survey — helps explain the dynamics of today’s market.

The survey found that 57 percent of home sales received multiple offers in 2012, the highest in at least the past 12 years, with each home receiving an average of 4.2 offers, up from 3.5 in 2011. Lower-priced homes – typically short sales and bank-owned properties known as REOs – attracted more offers than equity sales. Seven of 10 short sales and REO sales received multiple offers, while only half of equity sales received more than one offer.

Such a competitive housing environment has led to more properties selling at or above the list price, with 41 percent of homes selling without a markdown from the asking price, the highest since 2005 and up from a long-running average of 32 percent.

Additionally, homes sold faster in 2012, with equity sales selling in 32 days compared with 67 days in 2011. REOs took 30 days to sell compared with 50 days in 2011, while short sales took 90 days compared with 141 days in 2011, reflecting the still-difficult process.

Many regions in the Bay Area saw even tighter markets.

“San Francisco saw a higher percentage of multiple bids than the statewide average,” said Patrick Barber, president of Pacific Union International’s San Francisco region. “A solid majority of homes here are selling at or above the asking price.”

Chart showing the share of home sales with multiple offers.

The share of California home sales with multiple offers is the highest in at least 12 years.

In the East Bay, nearly 70 percent of home sales received multiple offers in the third quarter, and many homes went into contract within two weeks of coming on the market.

Across the state, the competitive market is being fueled by favorable home prices and record-low interest rates combined with pent-up demand and a severe shortage of available housing.

“Well-qualified buyers are recognizing the once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase a home in California and are jumping into the market,” C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold said in a statement accompanying the survey. “However, the fierce market conditions have forced many buyers to compete with all-cash offers and investors, setting off multiple offers and bidding wars, making it even more difficult for first-time buyers to become homeowners.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • The percentage of homebuyers making all-cash purchases has more than tripled in the past 11 years, from 9 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2012.
  • Demand for investment properties and second homes remained strong in 2012, with investors accounting for 16 percent of sales and second-home buyers for 7 percent. The remaining 77 percent purchased homes as a primary residence.
  • International buyers accounted for 5.8 percent of sales in 2012, relatively unchanged from 5.7 percent in 2011. Buyers from China, Canada, India, and Mexico made up the vast majority of international buyers at 39.1 percent, 13 percent, 8.7 percent, and 8.7 percent, respectively.
  • Reflecting tighter lending standards, very few homebuyers have a second mortgage. The share of home sales with a second mortgage has fallen dramatically from a high of 43.4 percent in 2006 to 1.8 percent in 2012.

The C.A.R. report was based on a questionnaire sent to a random sample of 15,000 real estate agents  throughout the state.


2011 Has Been A Wonderful Year

Happy American Canyon Buyers and Los Altos Sellers!

The last day of 2011 and what a year it has been.  When January 2011 came around, I had no idea where I was going or what the year was going to bring.  My first post was about the increased and difficult business of real estate.  Thankfully the volume continued and I am pleased to report that I closed more transactions than I have in any other year of my real estate career.  The year finished as it had begun with a flurry of activity.  Alas, the difficultly continues as sales are plagued with late appraisals, slow loan approvals and the hurry-up-and-wait process of short sales and bank-owned properties.  Home values have continued to decline except in those few areas where the prices fell so precipitously that there is nowhere to go but up – specifically Rohnert Park has seen some price increases in single family homes.  This December was a very busy month.  Not only was I working on Sonoma County real estate but I closed transactions in American Canyon (Napa County), Los Altos (Santa Clara County) and Lakehead (Shasta County).  These put a few miles on my car but I love working with great folks and these buyers and sellers were top-notch in my book.  I would go anywhere in the State of California for people like them.  And speaking of going – I only attended 8 parties in 14 days during this frenzy of work.  I needed a rest week after Christmas.

View from a Bedroom Window - No difference which one - they are all fantastic!

I am starting 2012 with a listing that I expect to be of great interest to anyone looking for a luxury weekend getaway.  Privacy, space and up-to-the-minute elegance is the best description.  This modern tree house is in a wonderfully sunny spot on Green Valley Road.  It will hit the market late January and you can be certain that you will see it on this blog.  There are many people looking for bargains in real estate and I am working to serve them.  But enough about 2012.  This post is about 2011!

The statistics for this blog were sent to me today.  Around 5,300 hits in 2011 with 35 posts.  I have made a New Year’s resolution that you will get a weekly update on Sonoma real estate.  This is something I follow and I should be sharing the information.  I was surprised to learn that my most read post in 2011 was the one I wrote in May of 2009 on our Redwood Empire Rose Show.  I guess that tells me that I should be more diligent about reporting on the Rose Society.   And, of course, I will continue sharing events around Sonoma County and my travels.  I don’t expect much traveling this year but then, one never knows.

Just a quick report on the Sonoma County real estate numbers.  Here are some numbers comparing November 2010 to November 2011.  The months of inventory (meaning – at the rate houses are selling, how many months would it take to sell all the houses on the market if no new ones were added for sale) has dropped significantly from 5.9 months to 3.3 months.  This is an indicator that buyers are taking advantage of these great prices and low interest rates.  Another interesting fact is that while the average list price has increased from $616,000 to $773,000 (about a 25% increase), the averages sales price has only increased from $374,000 to $386,000 (only a 3% increase).  This tells us that more expensive houses are coming onto the market as owners realize that holding out for better prices may not be a good idea.  The lower priced homes are not getting any lower and the higher priced homes are seeing a price compression.

Maike in Kauai

This last week I have spent on Kauai with my granddaughter – oh, and her parents and my friend, Katy.  What a great way to spend Christmas – no hassle, no clean up, no expectations.  We have had a wonderful time and I may get to reporting on our activities here.  But now it is New Year’s Eve and I wish the very best of 2012 to all my readers, colleagues and friends.

View of Bali Hai from the St. Regis Beach

New Homeowners in Santa Rosa

Today was one of those days when I love being a Realtor.  I was able to pass the keys to new owners.  The experience is even better when the owners are first time home buyers.   Don’t get me wrong – I like giving the keys to retirees, second home buyers and folks new to the area.  It makes all the phone calls, bank delays and inspections worthwhile.

Celebrating with a little bubbly!

I met Katie a couple of weeks before she and Justin were married.  They were looking to start their home search when they returned from their honeymoon.  I called Katie a week or so after their return.  We met to discuss the process of purchasing a home and to define what type of home they wanted.

First step – they were qualified with Redwood Credit Union for a loan.  Second step – I identified a number of homes that might meet their needs.  Third step – we went out looking at houses.

Katie and Justin were wonderful clients.  When we visited a home, they were forthright with their reactions and what worked and didn’t work for them at each house.  I was quickly able to ascertain what they really wanted.  When a vintage 1920’s home in central Santa Rosa came on the market, I emailed Katie immediately.  Bingo!  This could be the one.

Thinking about the floor plan, the neighborhood, the condition of the house, will the classic car fit in the garage . . . . . .

The offer made.  The escrow open. The inspections done.

The house is now a home.  The Wedgewood range will be producing great meals and the back deck will be the venue of great gatherings.

I love my job!


The Beginning of the Season in Sonoma County

Occidental Center for the Arts

Many an evening I am entertained by the various renditions of Jane Austin’s stories.  Storylines are filled with discussions of “the season.”  I don’t think that just London in the early 1800’s had a season but so does Aspen, the Hamptons and our own Sonoma County.  Looking at the number of activities happening in Sonoma County this weekend, I can state that “the season” has begun.

Today was a full one.  The Apple Blossom Parade was in Sebastopol.  Butter and Egg (yes, that is the correct name) Days is happening in Petaluma.  Sunday is the Cotati third annual Old Fashioned Chicken Barbecue. Earth Day Fairs and Festivals are occurring in Santa Rosa, Windsor and Sebastopol.   The Burbank Gold Ridge Farm is holding their plant sale.  Whatever your special interest may be, there is a place for you to enjoy, find like-minded friends and take in the beauty of Sonoma County.  I am sure that if a dozen West County people were asked what they were doing this weekend, a dozen different events would be mentioned.

Golden Nest by Jennifer Beckham

Last evening (that would be Saturday) I attended the Spring Fever Art Show opening at Occidental Center for the Arts.  The Center for the Arts is located across Bohemian Highway from the end of Graton Road in Occidental.  The complex that houses OCA is part of the school conversion to community resources that allowed the development of a small plot of land by Orrin Thiessen (known best as the restorer of Graton downtown and the developer of Windsor Town Green).  OCA is one of many locally created organizations that showcases the talent within their community.  The Opening of this show started at 5:00 PM.  By the time Jen and I arrived at 6:15, the savory snacks were consumed and tiramisu was being served in abundance.  For a small local event on a very busy weekend, there was a good crowd.  I got to chat with a few local artists who have become friends over the years,  MaryLu Downing, Tony Spears and Lisa Beernsten to drop a few names.  I was very pleased to see some of Jen’s cigar boxes displayed –   glad to have her back in the showing mode.  This show is until May 31.

Discussing Art

Many years ago, I met a young man and his girlfriend at the Forestville Firemen’s Breakfast.  It was one of those regular pancake breakfasts with sausage and scrambled eggs.  Boy Scouts scurried around the tables pouring orange juice and maple syrup was everywhere.  Anyone who has been  to one of these feasts knows exactly what the scene was.  To get on with my tale, the fellow informed me that the two of them went to a $5 breakfast every weekend throughout the summer.  They never needed to travel beyond the county.

Peeking into the Occidental Center for the Arts

So the season has begun.  In addition to pancake breakfasts, there will be crab feeds, spaghetti dinners and other food feasts.  Next weekend will bring another round of activities.  The following weekend even more.  Check here regularly as I plan to be the reporter of the “Sonoma County Season”.

Major Storm Hits Sonoma County

Bohemian Highway at South end of Occidental

This morning I woke to an eerie silence after a night of howling wind and pounding rain.  Yes, it was pitch black – not even a little red LED was shining.  The power was out.  I first decided that I would just lie in bed and enjoy the quiet – get a few extra winks of sleep.  But, no –  my body was awake.  I pulled out my flashlight (yes, when you live in the country, a flashlight is right by the bed) and propped up on the extra pillow and started my crossword puzzle.  While this seemed like a good idea at the time, it is really hard to do a crossword puzzle in bed while holding a 6 inch Mini Maglite.  Next, I decided to browse the web on my Android phone to find the outage number for PG&E.  Considering that the temperature was 55 degrees and when the only light is a flashlight, it seems even colder, I was not keen on getting out of bed.  Unable to find the number for PG&E, I started texting people I thought might be up.  Finally, around 8:30, I decided that it was no longer too early to call people on the telephone.  Out came the old fashioned telephone (you know, the kind that is connected to the wall by a cord) and the dialing began.  The first person who answered was my landlord – I can always count on them.  They had called PG&E and the message was “anticipate an extended outage.”   What does that mean?  Definitely, it means that coffee from my own kitchen is not going to happen this morning.  No answer from my daughter.  Do they have an old fashioned phone?  No answer at friends in Forestville until I call on their cell.  Their comments were “no power”, “why get out of bed?”   I figure out that coffee is beyond Occidental or Forestville.  I left a message in Sebastopol.  I discovered that the heater works without electricity – duh!  By the time I was dressed, I had a return call from Sebastopol – the power is on – yeah!

Detritus on and along the side of Bittner Road

Deciding that I must face the world to get a hot drink, I opened my front door to find my torch stand blocking the way with the cover and candle lying nearby, my jade plant thrown from its pot and every light weight item from the porch scattered down the stairs and across the walkway.  I ventured out onto the road to discover debris everywhere.  Rounds of wood revealed that chainsaws had already been to work.  The roar of generators broke the early morning silence as seasoned residents began the post storm ritual of keeping the refrigerators humming and the wells pumping.  No area was spared.  From Joy Road to Occidental to Graton to Sebastopol to Santa Rosa – the carnage of redwoods, firs and oaks littered the roads and filled the roadside swales.  A large tree had taken out a streetlight pole on Sonoma Avenue in the middle of Santa Rosa.  PG&E is having a busy day.

Volunteer Fireman on Joy Road

A great thing about Sonoma County folks is that no little storm is going to get in the way of having a good time.  The Occidental Community Center was full (without power) of local residents celebrating the 30th birthday of Efren Carrillo, 5th District Supervisor.  It was a bit cool but the spirits were warm.

I am one of the lucky ones whose power was back on by dinner time.  At 8 pm Joy Road was still closed at Bodega Highway due to a downed power line.  I only know this because I had accepted a gracious offer of dinner in Bodega Bay.  I only had to detour through Occidental instead of traveling over Coleman Valley Road because Bohemian Highway had opened around 5.  How wonderful to experience the beauty of a sunset within hours of such a storm.  Thank you to all the county maintenance crews, PG&E, volunteer firemen and great citizens who have cleared our ways today.

Sunset from Bodega Harbour

What is Happening in Sonoma County Real Estate?

Amazingly I realize that it has been almost two months since I have posted.  It is not that I have not thought about it – it all has to do with timing.

December was filled with getting myself situated at RE/MAX PROs in Rohnert Park.  Yes, it is the same office as CPS Property Advocates which I joined in November.  Four affiliations in the span of six weeks is quite an undertaking.   Fortunately during this time, I have been able to get some business transacted.

Last week the little cabin in Maribel Heights of Forestville closed.  Two days prior to the close, the short sale on Gamay Street in Santa Rosa was approved and inspections were completed.  Early last week, we opened escrow on a bank owned condominium on Racquet Club Circle in Rohnert Park.  I would say that business is picking up in Sonoma County.

But none of these escrows are straight forward or “easy.”  What is a “straight forward” escrow?  Straight forward is where the seller agrees to an offer, the inspections are completed to everyone’s satisfaction, the appraisal is submitted and accepted by the bank, the escrow company draws up the papers, the buyers and sellers sign the documents, the bank funds the loan and the sale closes.  There are many steps but everything goes in a smooth order.  This does not seem to happen often these days.

8190 Knoll Drive, Forestville

The sale in Forestville was the perfect opportunity for a regular, straight forward transaction.  It is a cute, clean cabin – built in the 50’s (maybe – who knows when the county did not keep records at the time) and with a second lot next door.  First problem was that many did not believe that the lot was buildable (i.e. that the county would allow a residence to be built upon it).   We finally (okay, it was only a couple of weeks) got an offer that seemed to be acceptable to all parties and opened escrow.  Second problem was that while there were other homes sold in the last three months in the neighborhood, none were with post and pier foundations or with a lot as large.  Then the appraisal came in $40K less than the agreed upon price – not much value for the extra lot and no comps in the same area.  When the bank reviewed the appraisal, they decided that errors were made and took another $20K+ off of the value.  So now we have a buyer who was willing to pay more and a seller who was expecting more.  After much back and forth, it was agreed that the house would sell for some over the appraisal (based upon what extra cash the buyer could pull together) and after the first of the year to allow time for the sellers to find a property to exchange into.  Everything was set – and then the interest rates began rising.  The property finally closed but it was nail biting down to the end.

1623 Gamay Street

The home on Gamay Street is a short sale.  What that means is that the bank is owed more money than the house will bring in a sale.  Wachovia is the bank who holds the note and they have been proactive in addressing the issues.  My client was qualified for HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) which is a very good program for people who are losing their homes due to financial circumstances beyond their control.  The two major benefits of HAFA for the seller are that the loan is forgiven (meaning that the bank cannot come after the seller in the future to pay off the remainder of the loan) and the seller is given $3000 to cover moving expenses.  All was going well and then the appraiser climbed under the house and said that he observed a leak in the plumbing.  The bank said that there needed to be a licensed plumber called to remedy the leak.  Two inspectors had been under the house and did not observe a leak.  The plumber did not observe a leak.  We are awaiting a resolution from the bank.

The condo in Rohnert Park is in escrow with a bank.  Fortunately (based upon the two earlier examples) there is no loan and, therefore, no appraisal.  The challenge is that the bank wants everything done yesterday but seems to be taking their own sweet time about getting their end of the deal done.  I am sure that it will work out well but I expect that something out of the ordinary will happen.

This is real estate today.  Deals are getting done.  Nothing is easy.  Most buyers and sellers are stressed.   But the bottom line is:  When you need to sell, sell.  When you need to buy, buy.  There is no better time to do it.

When I return to Sonoma County from my vacation, I will be holding the home on N. Main Street in Sebastopol open and I will be listing a horse property on Sonoma Highway.  Watch here for details in early February.

417 N Main Street, Sebastopol - OPEN FEB. 13, 2011 1 to 4

Joe Jaqua – Artist Profile

Joe Jagua

Joe Jaqua loves to watch people and transfer their lives to canvas.   Evidence is his large collection of urban, rural and interior paintings with people as accessories to everyday scenes of modern civilization.  The backdrops span European cities, the Eastern Seaboard of our United States to the bucolic hills of Sonoma County.  These images bring back memories of past travels, evoke plans for future excursions and raise fantasies of what could have been – or maybe could be in the future.  Joe’s paintings have a universal appeal.

I wanted to know what path led to all of the places in the paintings and ended in Santa Rosa.  Surrounded by paintings of scenes from around the world and in our own backyard, the story unfolded.  Joe was raised in Southern California but realized as a teenager that San Francisco was the place to be.  He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in English and soon came to the decision that painting was his primary driver.  His first entrée into the painting profession was art fairs in Sausalito, Mill Valley, Beverly Hills, Palm Springs and La Quinta.  He challenged himself to present differing styles and genres for the reactions – both good and bad.   During this period he developed a style that was both pleasing to buyers and himself through observing which paintings were ignored and which were studied as onlookers strolled through his booth.

Joe was fascinated by art as a young student and was first drawn to the Impressionists.  Then he moved on to the Old Masters. Next was the German Expressionists with the bold art of Kandinsky.  Following was the detailed and realistic paintings of the Pre Raphealite Brotherhood.   The influence of Matisse and Picasso developed into a style of William Wiley.  Most recently the bold lines and colors of  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the social documentary of Edgar Degas are evident as strong inspirations to Joe’s creations.  Joe traveled to New York, Rome, Paris and took in the day-to-day life, the contrasts in style and popular art trends.  Experiencing different cultures and societies translated into an ongoing evolution in his painting.  During these episodes of expressing his creativity through different styles and approaching different venues for sales, Joe recognized that his figure work depicting society and the result of inquisitive people observation is his favorite genre and, also, the most difficult to sell.  After much travels, Joe settled in Marin County for seven years and eventually moved to Santa Rosa.  Proximity to family and San Francisco led him to Sonoma County.  He now has learned the many benefits of living in an art active community.  This year he participated in Art Trails for the 8th year and looks forward to many more.

Joe draws on his academic training to substitute teach in Santa Rosa schools.  He teaches mainly English but fills in wherever he is needed.  The interaction with students keeps him on his toes and provides a wonderful conduit to the positive energy of education.  He believes that he learns much more than he teaches in these sessions.  One never knows, he may inspire another young person to open their hearts to a gift they possess.

Enjoying the Food, Wine and Company at The Wine Emporium

Art Trails is past but there are still many opportunities to meet Joe Jaqua and enjoy his art.  You can see Joe’s work at The Wine Emporium at 125 North Main Street, Sebastopol until January 1, 2011.  The Wine Emporium is open Wed – Sun from 12 until 6.  Also, check out Joe’s website at:

Artist Profile – Pam Selvaraj

It's Genetic

Meeting Pam Selvaraj is like stepping into a palace of vibrant color and artist composition.  Forget that I am in a tract neighborhood of Northwest Santa Rosa – I am transported to a land that is part India, part England and a great deal of enthusiastic American creativity.  Pam’s art is the essence of this fantastical paradise.

Saturated secondary colors jump out from the canvas and grab my mind.  Abstract shapes hint at biological origins.  Everything is very alive.  Pam Selvaraj is very alive – and is thankful for it each day.

Pam may have been born in Chennai, India and raised until age 13 in the United Kingdom but she is undeniably American in appearance, demeanor and attitude.  The transplant from the metroplitan Edinburgh to the rural Hillsboro, West Virginia was an adjustment but as most teenagers, she fully acclimated to her new country and environment. She was introduced to the bold and fanciful depictions of life and landscape of Vincent Van Gogh in high school and wanted to follow in his footsteps.   But when it came time to choose a course of study, she selected Biology at Marshall University near her home – relegating art to elective classes and the status of hobby.  After graduation she sought out the glamour and excitement of the big city in Miami.  For nine years Pam pursued her career as a field representative for Beckman Coulter, a medical instrument manufacturer, and lived the life of a successful young professional.  Art fell to the wayside as she married, established herself professionally and availed herself of the life that Miami offered.  She and her husband, Jeff Goodwin, relocated to Sonoma County as a career move and life was good.

Everything changed when in 1995 Pam discovered a lump and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Cancer at any age is scary and daunting.  Cancer in a thirty-something is devistating.  Rather than lament her misfortunes, Pam embraced the experience of breast cancer as enrichment to her life.  She and her husband purchased their home, got a dog and reintroduced art into her daily activity.  Pam was going to live each day to the fullest no matter how few or many those days were.  As a fifteen year survivor, Pam has lived with the uncertainty that is always present but she has used that threat to make her time more meaningful.  She does this by pursuing a deep passion – ART.

The story of Pam Selvaraj is expressed in all of her paintings.  The colors are vibrant and can be found in the sari fabrics that her mother still wears.  Intricate designs in scratch board or paints can be traced to Pam’s Eastern roots.  The abstracts have a biological nature that must reflect the technical education and professional endeavors that are a large part of Pam’s makeup.  Pam discusses the maturation process of her paintings as she coexists with them before they leave her home.  Every piece is a part of her and they, Pam and the art, need to go through a separation process of close association before finding new homes. 

During her illness, Pam began taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College (and like most Sonoma County residents sings the praises of our gifted and giving fellow residents who teach at SRJC).  On a business trip she discovered Chaim Soutine, the little known early 20th century artist, whose saturated colors and raw strokes are strong influences in modern art.  Pam traveled to the Oakland Museum to study the art of the Bay Area Figurative Movement and the Society of Six.  She especially draws on Selden Gile.


Pam shows her art with a group of friends she met in her SRJC classes.  Their group is Intertwined Art and they can be found at  She seeks out inspiration at every opportunity through museum visits, book browsing or art related conversation.  She cannot stop producing art and developing in approaches.  In July and August, Pam’s paintings will be on display at Frame of Mind.  The show is It’s Genetic! And it is a perfect metaphor for Pam’s life and art.  The opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 10 from 4pm to 6 pm at 6671 Hwy 116 in Forestville.   If you cannot attend the opening, stop by to see the show during normal business hours.

Getting the House Ready to Sell

In my business, I am constantly letting people know what they need to do to get their home sold.  Have good curb appeal, pare down the possessions, take the family pictures off the wall, stow away valuables….  The list goes on.  Then there are the disclosures that need to be completed.  In a turn around of roles, I am dealing with these issues from the other side.   My home should be on the market within a week or so.  I have gotten most of the interior ready to show.  The front yard has a new cover of mulch.  The patio is neater than usual.  When did we put down those limestone floors?  Does the doorway into the master closet really need to be repainted?  Pity the poor Realtor who has a Realtor for a client! 

The peaceful red living room

I will keep in my bank of memories the many hours of peacefully reading in the living room with the shade of the oak tree adding a serenity to my day.  Red is not known as a soothing color but in this particular application, it envelopes instead of excites.   The beiges and warmth of the dark wood must be a huge contributor to this overall feeling because the dining room is the same color of red but with the inclusion of the blues from the oriental carpet and the large carborundum print, the dining room is stimulating and energetic. 

Dining Room during packing

Many a lively dinner party was held in this dining room.  The table would be set either formally with china or elegantly with pottery.  No matter what the dishes were, most every open space would have an array of  wine glasses filled with the best of California and French wines.   Friends and family would feast on terrific meals and the conversations would last for hours.  Thankfully the chairs are very comfortable. 

Those wonderful meals were prepared in the carefully planned kitchen.  The Dacor cooktop has handled multiple tasks simultaneously with the ability to provide raging fires and very controlled simmering.  The ease of cleaning is very important to me as that is the task that often fell to me.  The double electric ovens are great for baking as well as roasting the perfect turkey or pork loin.  A great deal of love went into the selection of every aspect of this culinary center. 

Cook Area of Kitchen

My favorite element of the kitchen is the granite backsplash behind the cooktop.  The flow of water from the flow of textural veining seemed a necessary complement.  Of course, the custom stainless steel hood and the pull out pantry between the ovens and wall are also favorites.  Then there are the sectioned drawers and the pull out seasoning shelves and the recessed glass shelves for spices.  I am quite pleased with the overall efficiency. 

The family room is just the other end of the kitchen.  The full kitchen/family room is the hub of the house.   The thermostatically controlled fireplace welcomes early morning risers to a warm and glowing sanctuary.  Well it is a sanctuary until the surround sound is activiated and the TV gets going!  I must admit that watching a golf tournament on the large screen TV is much more  entertaining than trying to see what is happening on a small one.  The living room and patio are wired to pipe music throughout the home and garden.   No matter how enticing I make the living room, guests and family alike seem to gather in the kitchen.  It is comfortable, in the middle of everything and has a great view of the garden. 

Family Room from the Kitchen Sink

If you know of anyone who is in need of a 4 bedroom home with a great garden, send me a message or comment.  It should be on the MLS tomorrow.  Our listing price is $724,500.  

I miss this home and everything that it stood for.  I will replace it with another – very different – but equally as welcoming.  I certainly hope that as many friends will visit me in my new place – where ever it turns out to be.

Arrangements at the Rose Show

Bouquet of Roses

My favorite part of a rose show is usually the arrangements and bouquets.  What is the difference?  An arrangement has roses embellished with other plant material or prop while a bouquet is just roses.  I am not sure if that is a accurate technical difference between the two but it is mine!   I love them both. 

In a rose show each arrangement classification is given a descriptive name to inspire the arranger.  Themes are selected to compliment the title of the Conference or Show.  In this case, the Conference name is You have a “Date” in Palm Springs.  The arrangements were beautiful.  My favorite (always a difficult thing to say) arrangement was a dried arrangement in a standard traditional design.  I prefer the traditional designs because they use more roses but there were many lovely modern designs also. 

Dried Arrangement of Marilyn Monroe roses and dried plant materials


You can tell from the names of these roses that hybridizers like to grab the public’s attention by drawing upon the fascination with celebrities.  Deidre Hall is a wonderful rose and yes, I must admit that I have been known to watch Days of our Lives in my past.  Is she still on that show?

Entry for "America the Beautiful: Across the Fruited Plain" - Roses are Deidre Hall



This Rose Show was a national ARS event so the quality of arrangements is fantastic.  We do pretty well at our local rose show that is held at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center the first Saturday of May each year.  Please come by and check it out.  While I am writing of local events, the Redwood Empire Rose Society holds pruning demonstrations at the center the first two Saturdays of the year from 9 to noon.  It is a great time to learn to prune roses and we have lots of fun.  Hardy rosarians are outside pruning in the rain, sunshine or fog.  Stop by and get expert training free of charge.


September 2021


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