Category Archives: Architecture

Reorganize Your Home Around Wellness!

crates mounted on wall

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

While Wabi-Sabi may be all the rage this year, I personally identify with (maybe some Swedish roots?) the “Lagom” design trend.  Which one do you like most?

See article HERE

Be well!

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Real Estate Sales & Property Management

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A Window with a View – Your neighbors may be increasing the value of your home?

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What do you see when looking out your front window?  I sit here and write from a comfy chair, looking out my front, picture window, onto a tree-lined street, with flowers beginning to blossom.  My neighbor across the street has a red front door and a matching red bird house in the tree that we can see from our window too.  I am very fortunate and try not to take for granted our entertaining view.  Kids play on their scooters and shoot each other with Nerf guns.  People walk their dogs and converse while strolling [our dog barks or whines, trying to get their attention].  Three or four retired men on the street meet up for a weekly bike ride.  Birds flit and perch… a squirrel jumps from a tree branch onto a roof.  I had no idea the beauty and entertainment I would receive from this window and view.  I am thankful for my neighbors and the hood in which I live.

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Many buyers spend hours sitting in front of a home they contemplate purchasing… Curb appeal is everything, right?  Yes, everyone wants a sharp-looking home.  And yes, a lack of curb appeal detracts from value.  I do NOT see many people standing at the front window and look out, asking, “Do we love this view?”  Most of us are focused on our house and the interior.  What about the view out front and back?  These, I believe, are overlooked assets.  I understand that not every price point has this option, yet there are many nooks, even in the worst neighborhoods where where neighbors comes together and have pride of ownership.  There are also so many ways to simply beautify your own yard, yet it’s difficult to control what you neighbors do.  If you are looking to buy a home, consider this concept when considering a neighborhood and the houses around the subject property.  I have a lot of ideas from years of experience and insight into what others may ignore when it comes to buying a home.  I hope to share with you this attention to detail on your next deal.

Best

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Sales & Property Management

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New Development in Curtis Park, Sacramento

Yeah, I know what you were hoping for… an article about Curtis Park rail yard development.  Sorry not on this one – no chit chat about gas station wars and dollar stores.  Instead I’m inviting you to follow my own development experience as I build out two houses.  I hope to post some thoughts on the grueling process of splitting the lot / sub-dividing the parcel map.  Could be educational to some – loads of learning from my mistakes and experience.  I’ll be talking about the ins and outs of the scope of work, contracting, and architectural plans.  I’d love some feedback on the design elements when we get to the interior (yeah, everyone loves the interior – this is the sexy part).  Ultimately, these babies will be sold and I will be high-fiving my contractor and business partner.  Welcome to my housing development journey.house rendering

Brief background

If you live in the area, you can check out the progress on 5th Ave., highway 99 frontage road, and Portola Alley.  I bought the house on 5th Ave. in 2008 and got the approval to subdivide the parcel later that year into 3 lots (original house sits on one, leaving 2 to build on).  Oh yes, it came with conditions.  I figured a budget of $25,000 to do curb and gutter work and maybe a few other things.  The City gave me a laundry list of improvements that got bid out between $100,000-125,000 – Yikes!  That killed the deal quickly.  So for the next six years I paid a portion of the property taxes and kept the weeds down.

5th ave overview pic

Fast forward to 2014… I saw a house sell for a decent price on the alley and knew it was time to build.  I got a contractor on board to share the project and do the work at cost (cutting the improvement work cost more than half).

Contact me if you want to discuss the boring, but essential ins and outs of engineering, special use permits, bonding, traffic plans, dealing with the City/fighting with the City (everyone has their war stories), utilities, etc.

We’ve begun improvement work – manholes, water main, sewer main, fire hydrant, and much more!  At the same time I’ve got an architect putting plans together and submitting to the Design Review Board.  In addition, I just got bids from five structural engineers and Title 24 bids.  Yay, getting serious.

lot clearing

Scrubbing the lot earlier 2016

 

“Man holes” – or should I be PC and call them “people holes” – might get a few weird looks?

 

Dropping the “hole” in the ground

Jimmy is the MAN!

Never thought I’d be so exited about a fire hydrant.

Water main beginnings.

Stay tuned for the next phase.

Cheers,

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Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker / 916.595.7900

The Front Porch – Curtis Park, Sacramento and Beyond

[This was an article I wrote for a monthly newsletter I used to produce for my neighborhood (Curtis Park) each month.  A friend of mine inspired me with his writings “The Relevance of the Front Porch for a Community” to re-post my article.

[this is from “The Front Porch” March 2006]IMG_4380

Some of you have asked me about the significance of the news letter’s name.  The name, for me, evokes a feeling and concept that many of our homes already have built in – namely the front porch.  The front porch can be the equivalent of an outdoor sitting room, a place for discussion and relaxation.  As I walk the streets of our neighborhood I see people cooking/barbequing, reading, children playing, writing and even business being done (with the advent of wireless technology) on the front porch.  You might catch some just sitting, gazing at the street or in the trees, entertained by a bird or squirrel.  The front porch welcomes the passer-by, and invites conversation between neighbors.

IMG_4382The word “porch” originally derived from “the Latin word porticus, or the Greek word portico, both of which signify the columned entry to a Classical temple”(Kahn 1).  As history unfolded and the Middle Ages arrived, the porch came to represent a cathedral’s vestibule, “where worshippers could gather to socialize before and after the service”(Kahn 2).  By Victorian times, the word “porch” became interchangeably used with the words “veranda,” “piazza,” “loggia,” and “portico,” each of which could connote individual meanings.  From this period until the second half of the nineteenth century, “the word ‘porch’ itself most often described a small, enclosed vestibule or covered rear entrance” (Kahn 1).  At this time, at the end of the nineteenth century, the word “porch” began to represent its present meaning. This meaning, in its American sense, generally refers to a “roofed, but incompletely walled living area”(McAlester 52) contiguously attached to the frame of a house. Generally, in America, this area would be found attached to the front of a house, offering a covered and shaded area for an array of uses and would be known as the American front porch.

Between the rise of the front porch in the middle nineteenth century and its decline in the post World War II era, the front porch developed a cultural significance. It represented the cultural ideals of family, community, and nature.IMG_4381

The new technological development of air conditioning further aided in the decline of the front porch. Providing a cool environment indoors, the front porch was no longer needed as a cool shaded area during the day or as a place to enjoy the cool night air. Families remained indoors comfortably, and a primary use of the front porch was no longer needed. Air conditioning, in a sense, also contributed to another technological development which would affect the front porch: the television. The television, which could exist only inside, provided endless hours of entertainment indoors. As a result, family life shifted from the porch to a family room or TV room, where families could watch the evening news, sporting events, or the early sitcoms, all while enjoying the newly invented “TV dinner.” No longer would families relax outside on the front porch.

Some of our friends, who live in the “burbs,” lament, “Our neighbors just open their garage, pull in, and you never see them – Or, “Everyone hides out in their backyard.”  And, “We still don’t know many people on our street, after all these years.”  Notice what might be missing from these homes… the front porch or at least the “front porch attitude.”  Granted, this home feature will never guarantee a gregarious disposition in life or an abundance of neighbors who are open and friendly, however it does give us a head start.  Why do you think the street side café or coffee shop with outdoor seating will always be a hit?  It’s for the same reason why front porches exist.  Is yours lying dormant?  You may not be the one who throws a block party or is best friends with everyone on your street, yet you may try dusting off those beautiful Adirondack chairs (or whatever furniture you have – pull out a folding chair, it doesn’t matter) and become a part of the front porch culture.

A while back, I received an email from a friend in the community saying, “I came by to visit today, but you were not home.  Hope you don’t mind, but we just sat on your front porch for a while and enjoyed the neighborhood.  We may be back soon, even if you are not home. J  Thanks! “

While my day job consist of real estate investing, property management, and real estate consultation, I hope to also be one who helps draws the community together.  So whether you have one or not, you can still enjoy the ethos and attitude of the front porch.

See you soon, walking by or enjoying a beverage … on the front porch.

McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

Carr Jones Architecture in Sacramento

One of my client turned me on to a home just down the street from where I live, that is now on the market. Check out the virtual tour and pictures online. carr-jones1It was designed by Carr Jones, who mainly built in the San Francisco Bay Area, but designed a few homes in the Sacramento area as well. I was privileged enough to be able to let myself and my client in for a gander. Let me know if you want to take a peek too OR make an offer 🙂

While the home was not that impressive from the outside and only one bedroom in the main house, my breath was taken away upon entering. From what I’ve learn subsequently, Jones built pragmatic and practical homes. He used reclaimed timber and predominantly bricks. A local news paper article explains, “Many of his materials were scrounged. Used bricks were plentiful and cheap after the 1906 quake and he used recycled timbers and phone poles, refrigerator tubing for radiant heat, and disassembled old stoves to create built-in kitchen islands.”

Check out some other examples of his work in this article and this book.

Enjoy!