Saturday, April 12, 2014

City Compost Awesomeness

Reason to love San Francisco number 14,397.

This is picked up and taken away from the curb outside my apartment building.

Then twice a year I take a big bucket to the Great Compost Giveaway.

And take it home to use it in my little city garden.

How wonderful is that!?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Environmental History and Real Estate

Business Insider SF Real Estate Market Explosion 
It's no secret that San Francisco Real Estate is hot hot hot, and Marin is not far behind in terms of multiple offers well over asking. The bidding war is just part of life now, alas. If you are focused and can afford to compete, I can help get your offer accepted, or if you want to sell I can help you do so smoothly and efficiently. Don't sell with out a good plan in place, as selling is soooo much easier then buying right now. My esteemed colleagues and reporters have covered the changing real estate landscape  very well, so I'll stick to my obsession with earth based real estate.

This fabulous article, via Richmond Blog from the wonderful Outside Lands folks, sums up how water shaped the development of the western side of the city. Of course water and topography also shaped the development of the rest of the city and Marin, and historical development across the globe.

Topography has a powerful influence on microclimates, on earthquake risk, tsunami risk, underground creek issues, even how well your plumbing works. Location is the one thing you cannot change when you buy property, and it is easy to forget that the earth is still underneath all this built environment we live in.

So, as you gird your loins to enter the fray, pull focus a little on that property you are so excited about. Will the climate suit you when the dust of the escrow settles? Is it in a landslide or flood zone? Will you be able to grow the things you want to grow, or will you have to spend extra on earthquake or flood insurance? Flood insurance rates are rising fast, but that's for another post.

Bold Italic - Microclimates

If you already own property here, and are staying put but curious, or renting and curious, the San Francisco Library has tips for researching buildings, and Nature in the City put together a wonderful nature map of the city. If you are in the market, though things are moving fast and furiously these days, do be sure review the Natural Hazard Disclosures, to be sure you know about long term environmental realities you may not notice underneath the fresh paint and newly refinished floors.

SF Rec and Park, Nature in the City

Happy Spring!

Friday, February 14, 2014

I know you are busy, but get thee hence to the Botanic Garden!

If you have never smelled Edgeworthia, you are in for a treat. Amazing.

You can get a magnolia map at the kiosk, or just follow the blooms around- they are hard to miss.

So grateful for this beautiful city and it's beautiful flowers, and parks in which to decompress. So happy to be a busy realtor, but sometimes I get a little stressed out, and scheduling a meeting here turned out to be a genius de-stress move. 

I swear you will feel so much better after a walk in the park, and then you can go back to all those urgent matters with a clearer mind and a happy heart. Happy Valentines Day everybody!

P.S. The pink flowering currant is going off too!

Monday, December 30, 2013

King Tides and Water Rationing!?

Last year around this time we discussed why it's great to look at real estate in winter, and during King Tides, so you can accurately assess the water level potentials on a property. This year, with no rain to speak of, the King Tides will still come through, but instead of floods we are looking at drought, prompting new water conservation orders for 2014. Snow surveys are scheduled for January 3rd.

San Francisco has a point of sale water conservation ordinance, which requires low flow toilets and shower heads and such be installed before close of escrow. Many people swap these out after the inspection, but now might be the time to swap them back in.

We have been through this before, and we know the drill. Gardeners, plant more drought tolerant species this year (natives!), and install a grey water system, if you haven't already. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth and any other time you're not using it. Pray for rain and bless the farmers. Spare the air and watch your sparks, and enjoy this fabulous weather (and "Super Moons") while exploring the King Tides. Happy New Year!

Berkeley Garden Coach

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Bay Windows Are So Awesome

Italianate Style Victorians

"When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty."  When I first read Christopher Alexander, in A Pattern Language articulating the importance of light coming from more then one direction in a room, I was so struck by the truth of this observation.

Studying biogeography and working as a botanist continually impressed upon me the importance of aspect, or exposure, ie which direction the location faces to receive the changing angles of light of the day and the year.

I remain a little obsessed with light, and as a realtor I see the effects of exposure and fenestration on the quality and livability of rooms everyday.

As I've rambled on about on several occasions, sunlight moves around during the day, and the light from the different directions has different qualities.  Bay windows allow for light to come from more directions, as the windows in them face different directions then a flat window, considerably enlivening interiors.

In San Francisco, where there are relatively few freestanding homes, bay windows allow for light to come from more then one direction in buildings that are adjacent to each other and blocking each others light. Bay windows also open up views up and down the street that are not visible from a flat window, and generally help a room feel more spacious.

Plus, they are gorgeous.


Note that the middle lower window is really just a pop out window, not actually a bay window as I am describing them. While these are also lovely, and provide some variety on the face of the building, the sides do not have window panes and not allow for light or views down the street.