Hell’s Kitchen Closing Down

kitsilano restaurantHell’s Kitchen, the popular restaurant on 2041 West 4th Avenue has closed its doors.  The restaurant had a decade long run and has surprised regulars by its rather sudden shut down.

The doors are already closed and the building has a ‘For Lease’ sign up.  The owner Sean Gregory has yet to make a statement regarding the move, but the restaurant’s former sous chef is already working at the newly restored Kings Head Inn.

The pub style restaurant was located in the desirable Kitsilano neighbourhood.  Kitsilano real estate is one of the most highly sought after investments in the Vancouver area.
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New Chinatown Development

vancouver new condo developmentA new development is set to go up in the heart of Chinatown.  This 81 unit 9 storey building known as Keefer Block and designed by the award winning Solterra, will be made of brick and concrete.

The project is best described as a mix of heritage feel with modern finishings.  The building will be close to the Downtown Vancouver core, transit, and the seawall.  The area is ripe with restaurants and amenities and is quickly becoming revitalized through new developments such as this.

Units will range from 450 to 1012 square feet and all will have open balconies or decks attached.  A common roof deck with an amazing 360 degree view of the city will be available to all as will an outdoor movie theatre, community gardens, lounge and fire pit, children’s playground and BBQ. Continue reading

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Future of Cornwall Avenue and Point Grey Road to be Discussed

kitsilano-bike-laneAn open house will be held soon in the city of Vancouver with regards to the future of Cornwall Avenue and Point Grey Rd.  These streets have been chosen by the city as targets for the triple-A (or all ages and abilities) cycling route for 2013.

Three possible modifications to the routes have been proposed in a UBC report.  One suggestions includes allowing for a separated bike lane which would require removing some parking.

Another issue involves diverting some traffic at Alma and Macdonald, in hopes of reducing the traffic in the area.  This would effectively limit the traffic to local traffic only.  Local residents have been in favour of the idea as outlined in a previous proposal.

Some of the important points brought up in the presentations, proposals and documents created so far include the large numbers of vehicles that traverse these roads each day; the fact that the average speed of many vehicles that use the road is about 50kph even though the posted speed limit is 30kph; and the high volume of transit on these roads which at its most frequent is a bus every 3 minutes during the rush hour period.
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Hot Chocolate Festival, Vancouver

vancouver-real-estate-homeFrom now until Valentine’s Day, February 14th, Vancouver will be celebrating the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival.  This Kitsilano event will feature loads of luxurious hot chocolate drinks, brought to you from the best chocolatières and patisseries in town.

Each day the menu will vary, meaning you can come as often as you wish and experience a new decadent taste.  Some of the hot chocolates will be served with mashmallows and cookies others will be topped with amazing treats and sprinkles.

Orange drinking chocolate, mousses, bitter chocolate, dark chocolates and almost any other variation you can think of will be available.  There will be something for chocolate lovers young and old. Continue reading

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Best Textiles for your Home

vancouver-homesWhen it comes to decorating your home, the right textiles are a must.  Coming in to a room with just the right mix of fabrics and textiles can make all the difference in terms of both comfort and appeal.

If you are putting your Vancouver real estate on the market, you might also want to think about showing up the bedroom or living room space with the perfect print or fabric design.  The perfect blanket or bedspread can really enhance the look of your sleeping area as can even the addition of a few fresh throw cushions on that older sofa.

So when it comes to textiles, just where should you look first?  Well Ikea has recently launched a new addition to their line of fabrics.  The Swedish manufacturer is increasing their previously limited collection and adding many more lines. Continue reading

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BC Housing Value Assessments

real estate marketFor the first time in a few years many homeowners in BC will see a drop in their property assessments.  According to the report, those with the most significant drops are homes in Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, Bowen Island and Pemberton.

While last year homeowners were generally pleasantly surprised by rising values, in some areas as much as or more than 25%, this year things are levelling off and in some cases dropping slightly.

Vancouver real estate has been seeing pretty good increases over the past decade or so.  From 2002 forward the trend has been towards increases overall.

Some areas of Vancouver saw as much as 30% rises in their assessments last year.  In West Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond in particular, the household values were increasing pretty sharply. Continue reading

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Seasonal Storage 101

Home Storage IdeasAs the colder weather continues to blow its way in, many people are faced with the difficult task of storing all of their warmer gear.  For many people space is a key issue here.  Finding workable solutions for storage is an important part of keeping your home organized and tidy.

Without proper storage in your home, you may find yourself having to improvise a good deal.  If you want to avoid the cluttered, overstuffed look, you’ll need to invest in a few gadgets and pieces to keep all storage hidden away.

Older homes in particular may lack adequate storage space.  People tended to have less stuff a few decades ago and as such, many character homes have small closets and few storage cubbies.
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Custom Bathrooms

Vancouver-Real-Estate-BathroomsCreating a spa-like feel to your home bathroom can be as simple as a few extra candles and bath salts, or as extensive as a forty thousand dollar free standing tub.  And while not everyone will want to or can spend such an exorbitant amount on redoing a bathroom, there is something to be said for creating your own private get-away in today’s overly scheduled and stressed world.

If you feel something is lacking in your Vancouver real estate home, perhaps adding a few extra features to your ensuite is in order.  For those who don’t yet have an ensuite some homeowners have opted to turn an extra bedroom into a spa retreat bathroom, giving the home that extra little something special.
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Healthy Home, Healthy Air Quality

Vancouver Real EstateWith winter in full swing in many areas, most windows are closing up and very little outdoor air is let in.  In the name of energy efficiency, our homes are now designed to help keep the cold out.  Unfortunately, though this is important in most regards, it can mean that very little fresh air is let into the home.

When little outdoor air is allowed into a home the air quality can become stale and deteriorate.  Without adequate ventilation, home air quality can even become toxic.

Some of the worst pollutants are actually located right inside our homes.  Without fresh circulating air to remove these, illnesses and allergies can result.

If you’re worried about the air quality of your Vancouver real estate there are many things you can do.  Below is a list of suggestions for keeping your air quality top notch during these long winter months. Continue reading

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Refinishing the Basement

Real Estate VancouverWhen it comes to home decor, many people either skimp or forgo the basement suite entirely in order to focus on the main floors.  While this is important of course, especially on a more limited budget, there is increasingly a trend towards refinishing the lower floor in style.

For some families, the basement serves as a rec room or simply a storage space for unused or rarely used goods.  However, by investing a little time and money into this oft neglected space, you can really improve the function of your home; not to mention the resale value of your Vancouver real estate.

Using more upscale furnishings to treat your basement digs can really add appeal.  The area can become a perfectly designed space for your home office, entertainment area, extra kitchen and bathroom or even home gym.
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Where to Buy Vancouver Real Estate

vancouver real estate agentAccording to real estate expert Michael Corbett, there are a few simple ways to tell whether or not you should buy in a particular neighbourhood.  In his book Before you Buy! The Homebuyer’s Handbook for Today’s Market, Corbett outlines some of the tried and true methods for knowing where and when to buy.

One of the best ways to tell whether you should buy in a particular area, according to the book is to look out for the arrival of big chains like Starbucks.  When big chain stores start to appear in a neighbourhood it means that the area is up and coming.

Finding areas that are transitioning into more desirable real estate is the best way to get the most bang for your dollar.  Fringe or transitional neighbourhoods are ones that are up and coming, that is, moving from less desirable neighbourhoods to more sought after ones.
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Vancouver – A Great Place To Live

Vancouver-Real-Estate-MarketVancouver has consistently been rated one of the most amazing and dynamic cities in the world to live in.  Vancouver offers something for everyone, old and young.

To begin with, the natural splendour and beauty of Vancouver draws crowds of visitors and tourists every year.  The mountain views, the beaches and the nearby ski resorts, mean that one can experience all the amenities of a big city while still being only a short trip away from any natural vista.

For those who are passionate about living an active lifestyle, Vancouver has a myriad of activities to offer.  Vancouver is a terrific residence for those who love to ski, hike, practice yoga, play beach volleyball or cycle.

For those yoga practitioners, you couldn’t find a more inspired yoga community than what is available in Vancouver.  Vancouver’s yoga culture is probably unsurpassed in North America and with every variety of practice imaginable, every yogi is guaranteed to find a centre to call home.
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Investing in Real Estate

Vancouver real estate investmentWhether or not to invest your hard earned money in real estate is a very personal question.  Not everyone enjoys being a landlord or holding a mortgage and when it comes down to it investing in real estate can require work than investing in a GIC for instance.

Having said this however, investing in Vancouver real estate can be an extremely rewarding investment.  Owing your own Vancouver condo or Vancouver home and renting it out to others, offers a host of potential challenges and rewards both monetary and otherwise.

For most people, an investment in real estate comes with a mortgage.  In one sense this means that you are indebted to a bank, however you will also be building equity through time.

Because banks are much more likely to lend financing for real estate investments than most other investments, investing in real estate can be easier.  Real estate tends to be less volatile and more secure than other investments which is why banks are less hesitant about lending money for this sort of investment.  Continue reading

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Condo Buying and Model Suites

vancouver real estateWhen it comes to buying a Vancouver real estate, appearances can sometimes be deceiving.  For many first time real estate buyers, not knowing which questions to ask, particularly when viewing a model suite, can lead to disappointment when it comes time to move in to your own apartment.

Though most developers are not out to trick buyers into a false view of their future digs, the fact of the matter is that most model suites are designed to make you want to sign on the dotted line.  Expensive materials and exquisite designs are often used to make the model suite as attractive to buyers as possible.  Generally, no expense is spared on this suite and major differences can sometimes arise between what you’re shown and what you get.
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Interior Design Ideas

vancouver bc real estateDeciding to redecorate your home can mean large scale renovations, or simply small updates to your space.  But whatever the case, most people can benefit from coming up with some ideas before splurging on any purchases or calling the contractors.

Generating ideas for decorating and redesigning your Vancouver real estate can be just a few clicks away.  Now, without even leaving your home you can start to make a shortlist of ideas for your dream interior.

Many people find that Pinterest is a great place to find and store decorating ideas.  Using this service allows you to pin all sorts of ideas and to explore millions of decorating and design ideas from all over the world.
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Remodelling your Summer Cottage

vancouver real estateWhen it comes to investing in renovations, updating your summer home or cottage doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  A few additions and renovations here and there can often be enough to really transform and old cottage into a summer home away from home.

Finding just the right Vancouver real estate for sale can be tricky and finding the right summer cottage can be just as challenging.  However, even old cottages can have potential if given the right face lift.

First of all you’ll want to ensure that your cottage is structurally sound and that it stands on solid ground.  If your cottage is next to a lake, river or sensitive area, you’ll also want to make sure that anything you do protects the environment from harm.  You may also have to check with local governance regarding rules for expansion and additions to cottages in the area. Continue reading

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Midtown Manhattan Penthouse for Sale

mls vancouver real estateIf you are curious to know just what $100 million can fetch you in midtown Manhattan well the answer is a spacious, three floor, six bedroom penthouse that boasts spectacular views.  This 8,000 square foot luxury apartment located on West 56th Street has 135 windows from which you can access your stunning view of almost every bridge in the city.

The penthouse is on the market now after having been bought in 1993 by the real estate developer Steven Klar.  Back at this time the apartment was purchased for 4.5 million.  Apparently another four or five million has been put into renovations.

The penthouse is located on the 73rd to 75th floors of the CitySpire building.  The apartment is octagon-shaped and boasts nine bathrooms as well as a wine room that can hold up to 1,000 bottles.

The building itself went up back in 1988 and inspired some controversy at the time.  Apparently the building went slightly higher than the building codes allowed and there were also complaints about a whistling noise emanating from the tower.

The developer and the city did eventually reach an agreement and the noise levels were reduced by adjusting the top of the building.

A downturn in the real estate market back in the early 1990s led to the removal of the tower from the developer.  Klar was then able to purchase the apartment.  His company, Klar Organization, came in at the time to sell the remaining apartments.

Though Vancouver condos for sale and Vancouver real estate prices might seem hefty at times, the asking price for this penthouse is the steepest ever reported for a New York city apartment.

The sale of the penthouse is being handled exclusively by Raphael De Niro, son of actor Robert De Niro.  Raphael is a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman.

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Yard Cleanup

Vancouver Real EstateIf you haven’t already done it, it is certainly high time that the yard or balcony had a full fall cleaning.  Before Winter sets in, Vancouver real estate owners need to ensure that the outdoor area is clean and ready for that first frost.

While planting and tending to plants may be a more fulfilling outdoor chore, the fact of the matter is that preparing your outdoor garden for the coldest season is essential.  Raking leaves and composting will help make next year’s garden even more fruitful.

According to some avid gardeners, potting soil can and should be used again.  However, many experts suggest that new soil should be bought every year.

Because annuals are some of the heaviest users of nutrients, potting soil is often very nutrient depleted after a garden season.  Potting soil is often lower in these nutrients to begin with and as such, you’ll want to put the old soil on the compost.
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Ikea Hacking 101

vancouver-real-estatePerhaps you’ve heard of it or perhaps you haven’t but Ikea hacking is becoming a major trend in home decorating.  Ikea hacking is simply a way of saving big on home decor without sacrificing the look and feel of something more unique and/or luxurious.

For those seeking to redo a kitchen, bedroom or home office, or even simply to decorate their new home, Ikea hacking can be a great way to go.  What this involves is choosing a typical product from the Swedish manufacturer and adding finishing touches that make it look a good deal more expensive.

One idea that many people have used involves taking the standard Ikea cabinets for kitchens and adding unique touches that make them look as if they weren’t actually Ikea brand.  Finding ways to make these cabinets look custom made can be as simple as adding crown moulding, different handles, and other special elements to the finished products.

The very popular Pax wardrobes likewise can be make to look more like built-in cabinetry.  Reupholstering a less expensive and basic Ikea chair in a slightly more luxe fabric is another great option. Continue reading

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Mixed Income Housing Crucial to Economic Success

MLS Listings VancouverVancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, has suggested that creating more low- and middle-income homes is going to be key to the city’s economic health.  According to the mayor, affordable housing is going to be central to the future of Vancouver as a whole.

The mayor addressed the housing issue alongside a variety of other pressing concerns during a lunch at the Urban Land Institute on Tuesday.  Rental housing in particular is seen as of major import if the city is going to move forward.

Robertson isn’t the only one to notice the huge increase in the price of housing over the past four decades.  Prices now are simply ‘unthinkable’ said the mayor from what they were some 38 years ago.

For people moving to the city from the U.S. and elsewhere the sting of having to move into a small condo for the same price that got them a large single-family dwelling in their previous locale can really sting.  For families in particular, this can certainly influence their decision to move to the city.
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