Monthly Archives: January 2011

We Love Portage Bay Goods in Fremont!

It’s not just because they often have the perfect gift, such as: “Flask In a Book,” a 4 oz stainless steel flask concealed in The Good Book, especially handy at office parties and P.T.A. meetings, $29.95. Or the Cat Butt Pencil Sharpener: put a pencil in it’s you know where and twist. “MEOW”. Yes, the cat meows when you sharpen your pencil in it’s behind! ($19.95)

This well-curated gift shop, offering an eclectic selection of cards and gifts “designed to make you look like the thoughtful, considerate person you really want to be. Deep down.” There’s also useful stuff for the home, for the kids and for the grownups and even for the office – try a pair of Drumstick Pencils You know the guy … the type that picks up a pair of office pencils and does an impromptu drum solo, like they’re playing to a crowd of thousands- not a water cooler and the photocopier. Pander to their fantasy with these perfectly formed drumstick pencils! ($9.95 a pair).

We love Portage Bay Goods because they’re small enough to dash in and out of, and large enough to have a great selection for finding something totally “appropriate” for the situation!

With a great selection of greeting cards, stationery, candles, and other fun stuff.

706 N 34th St, 100 feet or so east of Fremont Ave N. Open daily 10-7.


Seattle Home Values Down in November

The latest Standard & Poors / Case-Shiller Index is out, and it shows that Seattle home values for November dropped 1.1% from October, to 141.57. This is the lowest level in Seattle since February 2005. This also represents a dip of 4.7% from November 2009.

Nationwide, values were down 0.97%, and 19 of 20 markets showed declines; San Diego was the only winner, edging from 159.99 to 160.08.

Over the past year, values nationwide are down 1.6% from November 2009 and down in 16 of the 20 markets surveyed. Washington D.C. led gainers at 3.5%, and Atlanta led losers at -7.9%.

Portland, our sister city to the south, was down 1.58% for the month, and is down 7% since November 2009.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are calculated monthly using a three-month moving average and published with a two month lag. New index levels are released at 9 am on the last Tuesday of every month. Tables are available at

The Rosaia in Lake City

Built in 1983 by noted Seattle builder Richard Rosaia, this 17-unit elevator building sits on a quiet street, just a couple of blocks from the Lake City shopping and transportation corridor.

The exterior, of concrete stucco and wood, is time-tested, and the homeowner’s association established and in good financial shape. An application for FHA approval is pending and expected pretty much any day now.

Our new listing in this building, #304, is a sunny 753-sf, one-bedroom corner unit that has just been refreshed and modernized, in a clean modern style – with light birch cabinets in the kitchen & bath; laminate counters with an architectural plywood edge and retro tile backsplash in the kitchen; Marmoleum™ floors in the entry, kitchen, and bath; a grey-toned, low-nap carpet throughout the rest of the living areas; and modern light fixtures to bring the home into the 21st century, stylistically.

The project reunited our own Cynthia Creasey with Brian Tschider of Cobalt Construction, Cynthia acting as designer and Brian as general contractor.

Cynthia & Brian partnered on the 42nd Street Condos in 2001, which received acclaim from AIA Seattle, was named Home of the Month and was a finalist for Home of the Year, and also led to their being named Dwell Magazine Nice Modernists in 2002 and feted at an awards ceremony at the Smithsonian / Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City.

There will be an open house at the Rosaia on Wednesday, January 26, from 10 am to 11:30 am.

Photographs and listing information are available at


Picasso show sets attendance records at Seattle Art Museum!

Pablo Picasso. The greatest artist of the 20th century, and the Seattle Art Museum was host to a massive show of over 150 of his iconic works, on loan from the Musée National Picasso in Paris. More than 400,000 visitors came out for the exhibition, with some visitors having waited six hours or more on line, in the rain, to gain admission to the show.

“Picasso” broke the attendance record of 316,000, set by the show, “Impressionism: Paintings Collected by European Museums,” back in 1999.

Over the last week, the Seattle Art Museum used Facebook and Twitter to inform visitors of waiting periods and strategies to minimize line times.

The “Picasso” show featured works that were part of the master’s private collection, carefully reserved by the artist to shape his own artistic legacy, and spanned seven decades of drawing, painting, sculpture, prints, and photographs.

Next up? Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, March 10–June 5.

It Was 2010 – The Year the Market Held Up

Our analysis of data made available by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), for which they are not to be held responsible, shows that sales in 2010 were pretty much the same as in 2009. As with the rest of the economy, that’s not an improvement, but it does demonstrate an end (let’s hope it’s not just a pause) to the declines.

House sales in 2010 were slightly down – 1.8% – from 2009; the average sales price was up 9.8% to $494,910 (thanks to low interest rates and the $8000 first-time homebuyer tax credit), the median sales price was up 1.8% to $421,000; and the average days on market actually fell to 55 from 58.

Condo sales were down 2.8%, while the average sales price was up 2.7% at $368,817; the median sales price was up 0.5% at $292,000; and the average days on market went up from 76 days to 82.

The condo data has some glitches; the NWMLS has only a sampling of inventory from large projects which have a substantial number of unsold units, such as the well-publicized Veridian Cove (about half of 182 units) and Olive 8 (almost half of 229).

The latest Case-Shiller Index shows that home values in the Seattle metro area were down by three percent in 2010 through October (they operate on a two-month delay).

Certainly, the real estate market in 2010 wasn’t good by any standard, but we’re glad it wasn’t worse.

Once again. The data was not compiled or published by the NWMLS, and they are in no way responsible for anything we’ve written here.