Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 29, 2015

Heartland Home Staging ready to design for you

Owner and designer Abby Lockhart, of Newton, will take items you already have in your house and make it a welcoming space for prospective buyers.

“I’ve always loved design, loved interior design, rearranging furniture and I also sew a lot so I make a lot of my home decor,” Lockhart said. “Home staging was the perfect mesh of all of those things.”

Home staging creates style, appeal and focus in a home Lockhart said. Combined with proper pricing and marketing, home staging can give a home an advantage in any kind of market.

How a home is shown to those interested in buying it is very different from how people live in it everyday. Lockhart will use furniture and accessories that you already have in your home in new ways to redesign the space and recreate a fresh style.

“That’s part of the reasons why staging is so important because everyone has HGTV, everyone is on Pinterest and buyers expect a lot more when they walk into a house now. They want to be wowed,” Lockhart said.

In a new or vacant home, rental furniture can be used to fill the space and show the potential that otherwise might be unseen by those viewing it.

“A few new accessories can bring color and harmony to the whole house,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart offers several services to maximize the value and style of your home including home staging, color consultation and redesign.

“Consultation is where the staging process begins. Over the course of our in-home consultation, we’ll spend up to three hours going through each room in your home with you. We’ll discuss furniture placement, removal of excess items, organization and de-cluttering,” Lockhart said. “Any necessary minor repairs will be noted, as well as possible paint color and flooring suggestions.”

Outdoor landscaping and curb-appeal ideas are also available for the house. At the end of the consultations, Lockhart will give a written plan of action and the homeowner can complete it themselves or hire Heartland Home Staging do the work.

Lockhart knows that it can be extremely difficult picking out paint colors with the vast selection available, which is why she offers color consultation for those struggling to decide.

“It can be overwhelming with all of the paint colors that are out there,” Lockhart said.

Finally, even if you are not moving but want something a little different for your home, Lockhart offers a room redesign to give a fresh set of eyes to a place that has become stale.

“If you have a room and it is not functioning the way you want, it’s not quite looking how you want, I can come in and help you rearrange the things you have to help it flow better and serve your family better,” Lockhart said.

Although she has only been in business for six months, Lockhart said things are going great and she couldn’t be more excited for the future.

Article source:

Meet the 8 new college roommates who just moved into a house for women …

Tune co-founders Lee and Lucas Brown with new Tune House residents Karishma Mandyam and Aishwarya Mandya. Photos via Tune.

What started as a dream for Lucas and Lee Brown is now a reality at the Tune House.

As classes get underway this week, eight University of Washington women studying computer science are now settled into an 8-bedroom house that Seattle startup Tune is operating for the first time.

We wrote about the Tune House in April, detailing how the Brown brothers — also co-founders of Tune, a 6-year-old mobile marketing analytics company — came up with the idea for an off-campus house that would provide a living space for women pursuing a degree in computer science and/or information technology.

After locking down a rental agreement earlier this year, Tune employees spent a combined 300 hours volunteering to help paint walls, install new carpet, work on landscaping, and decorate the 3-floor house itself with new furniture, curtains, blinds, windows, doors, locks, and more. 

The eight students — one senior, two juniors, two sophomores, and three freshmen — were picked from an applicant pool of more than 50 who submitted resumes and personal essays, noted Tune Engineering Growth Manager Kristina Linova. A group of 15 students interviewed for the final eight spots in the house.

Linova said she was “blown away” by the women who applied to live in the Tune House.

Tune co-founder Lucas Brown, CEO Peter Hamilton, and co-founder Lee Brown.

“We tried to find a balance between women who are entering the field of computer science and individuals who are a few years along in their studies,” she said. “While we’re going to provide mentors for each student, our biggest goal was creating a supportive community in the House and having residents at different stages in their studies will help foster an environment where students push and encourage each other.”

Linova added that an interest in technology was a requirement for the new roommates.

“These eight students not only excel at school but their passion came through in the interview process,” she said. “Technology was not only their career goal but also their hobby.”

New Tune House resident Larissa Ho and her parents on move-in day.

Tune, which raised a $27 million funding round earlier this year, will cover housing costs, weekly groceries, and provide a MacBook to each student for the entire school year starting this month and running through June 30, 2016. The company calls the Tune House a “scholarship program that, instead of tuition assistance, creates a space, provides resources and establishes a support system for women interested in technology.”

The house, located just a few minutes from the UW campus in Seattle, features three kitchens, four bathrooms, and a fenced yard. In addition to free housing, laptops, and groceries, accepted students will have access to a network of professionals and mentors in the tech industry. Some initial ideas the roommates have already kicked around include job shadowing of Seattle tech industry workers, hackathons, tours of office spaces, fireside chats with inspiration women in tech, attending conferences, and more.

The Tune House also has support from partners like Redapt, a fellow Seattle tech company that donated monitors, TVs, and iPads for roommates to use.

Here’s a brief biography on each student, courtesy of Tune:

  • Meredith Lampe attended high school at Bellevue Christian High School, where she served as student government president. A National Honors Society commended student and on the high honor roll of the National Honors Society, she is currently studying computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. She holds the top score in Computer Programming I class and codes in Java, HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, JavaScript, and others. A 2015 Grace Hopper Scholarship Recipient, Meredith mentors women in computing with Go Girl, Go, a forum co-organized by ICRA 2015 and Washington FIRST. Go Girl, Go connects girls from 6-18 with undergraduate and graduate students, and established robotics researchers and professionals.
  • Lilian Liang is a prospective Computer Science and Human-Centered Design and Engineering student at the University of Washington. Lilian is a liaison to the Society of Women Engineers, works with coaches and speakers as part of TEDxUofW, and is a opinion and science writer for The Daily, UW’s student-run newspaper. This summer, she served as a TA in a summer immersion program organized by Girls Who Code. In addition to working in Python and Java, she is also teaching herself web programming and design.
  • An incoming freshman at the University of Washington, Larissa Ho is a graduate of TAF Academy in Kent. TAF Academy is a 6th-12th grade public school preparing students for successful careers beyond college in a technology-driven world. As a student, she received the TAF Academy Principal’s Award for Excellence, served at vice-president of the TAF speech team. Coding in Java, HTML, JavaScript, CSS and C++, Larissa’s senior project focused on women in STEM and gender inequality, a topic in which she is passionate and plans to continue working on at the University of Washington.
  • A double major pursuing undergraduate degrees in human-computer interaction and business-information systems, Keting Cen is the external vice president of the Society of Women Engineers, UW Chapter. She is also the assistant director of the Associated Students of the University of Washington, a student-led organization committed to student programming and developing future leaders. She codes in Java, Python, HTML, CSS, Javascript and SQL.
  • Karishma Mandyam graduated from Skyline high school as Salutatorian and with an International Baccalaureate diploma. She founded her local Girls Who Code chapter. She codes in Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript and Python. In high school, Karishma participated in TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) Seattle, a group that mentors students in what it means to be an entrepreneur. With her team, she developed a product that won the TiE competition, an iPhone case that, when squeezed three times, can signal emergency services to your exact location. She also teaches South Indian dance.
  • As a high school student, Aishwarya Mandyam participated in the Google Summer Girls Who Code immersion program, and interned with Expedia. Along with her team, she was featured in GeekWire for her work on an iPhone case while still in high school. As part of the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) Seattle program, Aishwarya was a member of a four-student team that developed an iPhone case that, when squeezed three times, can signal emergency services to your exact location. She is passionate about computer science and wants to use her coding skills to disrupt medication distribution.
  • Pooja Sethi has been offered internships with Microsoft, Google and Facebook, all while working as an undergraduate research assistant. She is among the top 25 percent of all computer/engineering students at UW which qualifies her to be a member of the national IEEE Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society. Pooji has also received numerous grants, including the Space Grant Scholar from NASA.
  • A rising sophomore at the University of Washington, Anna Pendleton also teaches various programs to the students of Girls Who Code in Seattle. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Computer Science. Anna is also a researcher in rehabilitative medicine at UW’s Moritz Lab. In high school, Anna was elected senior class spirit officer and participated in a French exchange program in Nantes.

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: Don’t miss the GeekWire Summit on Oct. 1 and 2 in Seattle, featuring key execs from companies including Nike, Zillow, Concur, Xbox, RedfinUber and more. Plus, 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, the return of “Inventions We Love,” New York Times reporter David Streitfeld moderating a panel of Amazon veterans, and much more. Register here today.

Article source:

Preliminary work continues for Carson City’s William upgrade

Possible traffic calming and landscaping features aimed at enhancing Carson City’s East William Street corridor were unveiled Monday.

Ideas that include various options were discussed in a charette and at an evening open house, with another public open house set for noon Wednesday. The charette was conducted Monday morning in a conference room where the Community Development Department and city’s Building Division are located, while the 5:30 p.m. open house was in the Carson City Community Center’s Sierra Room at 851 E. William St. Wednesday’s noon gathering also will be there.

The proposed options were keyed to improving the commercial corridor for safety, stormwater runoff, integrating complete streets for all users, and green streets with landscaping to create a “place-making” environment that upgrades the commercial corridor, access to Mills Park and ability to reach Carson High School more easily.

“We can wed these things together,” said Phil Erickson of Community Design + Architecture, the firm brought in via an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program.

“William Street seems like it’s ripe for some improvement,” said Abby Hall of the EPA. She said the charette would continue with the ideas unveiled Monday massaged as public and other input comes in over the three day event. She said changes would be shown at the noon Wednesday open house, with final ideas coming to city government later for possible action.

Options include the possibility of fewer lanes closer to Carson Street and then four lanes east of Saliman Road, but leaving the lane and turning configurations near the Interstate 580 overpass virtually as is with six lanes for vehicles. Other factors call for many trees and other landscaping points, plus spots for public art.

“Public art in the environment can really make a difference,” said Erickson.

There also could be bicycle lanes, upgraded pedestrian usage and even ways to cross William Street at points such as State Street. One option, in fact, included a possible roundabout on William Street there to improve access to Mills Park from the north.

References to a “road diet” were found in written matters covering the initial design concepts put forth in the Greening America’s Capitals program that spawned the name here “Greening William Street.”

Noting the road diet features could be a hot button issue, Community Development Director Lee Plemel after morning charette meetings said the consultants brought in by the EPA hadn’t been instructed by city officials to promote it.

“We didn’t tell them to do this,” he said.

At the same time, however, he noted discussion during the morning charette in which Transportation Manager Patrick Pittenger had said the daily traffic count as you head toward North Carson Street and the city’s core is about 8,000, less than half the daily traffic count on Carson Street downtown.

Plemel at the evening public session said there’s some city money for eventual William Street upgrades, but cautioned all the ideas unveiled Monday might may not be covered.

“We do not have funds identified to pay for what you see here,” he said, but added this kickoff can provide public input for grant seeking later that may be sought to augment what’s available.

Join the Conversation
View and add comments »

A Facebook account is required

Article source:

Residents push for Livermore to continue recycled water program

– Once homeowners get serious about using recycled water, weaning them off of it is tough.

An East Bay community that’s had overwhelming response to its free recycled water program is calling it quits on Wednesday, at least until the spring; something that those using the program don’t like.

Even a half hour before Livermore’s recycled water station opened, people were lined up and ready to take the free water back to their lawns, gardens, landscaping and trees.

“We’ve spent thousands on our yards and our trees. And, by them doing this, it saved our yard and saved our trees,” said Livermore resident Bill DuBoce.

But the free water faithful and miffed, because this service ends on the 30th.

“I’ve reduced my usage about 40 percent, because I could use the recycled water and I can save my trees and I can save my bushes,” said Charlie Gabriel, another Livermore resident. 

“We’ve always said it’s to supplement the portable water if you needed it to keep plants alive during the hottest summer months,” said Helen Ling of the Livermore water reclamation plant.

She adds that state regulations and cost of providing attendants is more than Livermore wants to deal with. That now leaves customers with only precious potable drinking water for lawn and garden.

“And now that we’re into the fall season, the days are growing shorter, the weather is going to be cooling off. And we felt that the 2 days a week of potable water irrigation should be sufficient,” added Ling.

Water users are not so sure.

“It should be predicated on what the weather is, because there’s gonna be some hot weather the rest of the month.  Let it go to November,” said Gabriel. 

Despite the overwhelming popularity of  water refill stations everywhere they’re offered, the simple fact is only a very few agencies throughout the state of California even offer it. Users say recycled water changed hearts and minds.

“I get plenty of water. It’s free and I hate to see it dumped in the ocean, not being used,” said Livermore resident Mike Cude. “Especially because we’re not using this water and if the plants are OK and the grass is OK.” 

“I think it’s a great idea.  I think we should have it all year round when we can,” added user Martha Perez.

“For the convenience of the people of Livermore, yeah.  If Pleasanton can do it, why can they? ” asked Livermore resident Detroit Hamilton.

Other districts say they’ll keep up the freebies, but, depending on demand, may shorten the number of days or hours they offer it.

Article source:

Captain America decoration highlights man’s water-conserving landscaping

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – According to Water Sense, a partner with the Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor water use accounts for 30 percent of total household consumption, and half of that water is used for watering lawns and gardens.

In the fourth year of drought, Californians are finding ways to cut back on outdoor water use.

Steve Wyatt decided to do his part and xeriscape his lawn with a 15-foot Captain America and peace symbol, all put together with painted rocks.

Xeriscaping is a way to landscape an area with little or no irrigation. Water experts say that xeriscaping a yard can save close to 60 percent of water used outside.

Wyatt let his lawn go brown, saved up the money and found someone to do the work.

The project cost him close to $8,000, but Wyatt said that in two years he will get all that money back by saving on his water bill.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install xeriscaping is $3,250 nationally with most homeowners spending between $1,601 and $5,012.

Article source:

Garden will grow where Chelmsford firehouse stood


By Alana Melanson

CHELMSFORD — In the past year, the property at 7 North Road went from fire station to vacant, and in the spring it will begin to undergo another transformation — into a public garden.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the concept Monday night, as recommended by the 7 North Road Committee, the group charged with determining the property’s future following the demolition of the old and crumbling Center Fire Station. The proposal came from the Chelmsford Garden Club, and was unanimously supported by the committee.

The club will sponsor the work and seek donations from residents and the business community to make the Chelmsford Public Garden a reality, according Brenda Lovering, who spoke on behalf of the Chelmsford Garden Club at Monday’s meeting.

“The public garden would add a delightful place for residents to enjoy the gardens, rest, or perhaps meet friends,” Lovering said.

She presented a plan that would include planting trees, shrubs, perennial flowers and ornamental grasses on the .27 acre property. There will be a handicap-accessible walkway and tables, as well as picnic tables, benches and spots for sculptures and other artwork. Lovering said Jim Martin, a local arborist, has volunteered to help select trees that are suitable for the space.

She said the club plans to ask local nurseries and landscapers for help in donations, as well as donations for a sprinkler system and electricity to allow trees to be lit during the holiday season. Lovering said people can also donate to the garden in honor of loved ones, by providing funding for benches, picnic tables and other aspects of the garden. All donations will be marked through plaques and other signage, she said.

The garden was one of only three presentations given to the 7 North Road Committee during a nine-month process to determine what the community wanted to see happen with the property, said Chairman Ed Acheson. The others were from the Parade Committee and a resident who was interested in creating an information center with restrooms, similar to that in Concord center, he said.

Other ideas were solicited through several public hearings, online surveys and other means, Acheson said. He said he was disappointed with the small response — only 50 replies to an online survey, and about 11 emails throughout the whole process — despite the committee’s efforts to get the word out through a number of avenues.

Among the top responses were: landscaping the lot, moving the Toll House to the site, adding historic markers for center landmarks, building a town storage facility and creating a performance area.

While the responses were few, many who did voice their opinions asked that no town funds be spent on the eventual outcome, Acheson said.

He said he expects the town’s maintenance responsibilities to be light — mainly spring and fall cleaning, watering, mowing and a little electrical work.

Lovering said she spoke with Department of Public Works Director Gary Persichetti, who said the DPW will continue to mow the grass and mulch the area in the spring.

Selectmen will still need to discuss and approve other, specific pieces of the garden plan, such as the idea of relocating the Toll House there or creating a performance area.

Lovering said the club must also present its plan to the Historic District Commission, which has final approval on all projects within the Center Historic District.

Anyone interested in donating to the Chelmsford Public Garden can reach out to the Chelmsford Garden Club at Lovering can be reached at 978-256-0705 and President Carol Langevin can be reached at 978-485-9898.

Follow Alana Melanson at or on Twitter and Tout @alanamelanson.

Article source: