Have you ever heard the saying, “luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.”? Every time I walk through the front door of Kate and David Zimmerman’s home I am reminded of it.
These first time homebuyers came to me full of ideas. When they found their home they committed to the process completely. It was just a matter of time before all of their dreams became plans and, well, the results are amazing.
This 1983 split level has been turned into an impeccably designed safe haven for it’s owners. Kate and David were fun and savvy first time homebuyers. They chose a spacious, yet dated home in the beautiful and historic Mount Baker neighborhood of Seattle. This home had every thing going for it; location, size, price….. but it needed a facelift. Two words: sparkle ceilings.
I’m so excited to feature this awesome couple on the site. They are awesome (obviously. Just look at this house!) and now they are my neighbors too! I really cherish their friendship. Having a first row seat to their first home buying experience…. they gave me such a beautiful gift. Not just to be there to witness such a transformative time in their lives but to watch them take their design dreams to fruition so smoothly. We all can learn from this creative and crafty couple. I certainly have.
~ Betsy Morris, Broker, Realty West Properties
Q: How did you come up with the creative design ideas used in your renovation?
A: The design idea for our home was an aggressive one, born from a desire to maximize open space and natural light. On our main floor, my wife Kate and I took down several walls, replaced banisters with modern deck railing, and renovated our kitchen to reflect our modern sensibility. The result is dramatic, spacious, and in my humble opinion, beautiful.
Q: What do you like best about your house?
A: I love the open floor plan of the house and I love that I was able to take an unconventional approach to an otherwise ordinary (some might say “unpleasant”) split level floor plan, and create a totally unique environment.
Q: Tell us which update you are most proud of.
A: The removal of a bedroom and hallway wall that completely opened the main level of the home and gave access to views of downtown Seattle.
Q: Has owning a home changed your life at all? In what way?
A: Owning a home has unlocked a passion for interior design I did not know existed before we purchased the home. Since Betsy helped us buy the house two years ago, we have renovated almost every square inch, and have loved each and every step of the process. My wife and I do all of the demo ourselves. Daily frustrations are easy to take out on a piece of drywall that needs to come down.
Q: How long did your renovation take?
A: We’ve renovated the kitchen, the main floor, the entire lower level of the home, and the four bedrooms. The total time for renovation is about 4 months
Q: When you first saw your home, did you know it was “the one” right away?
A: The first time Betsy walked my wife and I through the house design ideas began to percolate. We hadn’t even talked about making an offer – hadn’t left the home yet – there was something oddly promising about the home and the potential to dramatically change the layout. The caveat to that story – I had the same design visions every time Betsy showed us a home.
Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned when looking for a home?
A: I learned that I don’t like turn-key homes, I love planning a remodel, researching different materials and fixtures, and then tearing a room apart and watching it reform as a new beautiful space. I also learned how important a smart real estate agent is in a crazy competitive market like Seattle. Betsy was a coach, an expert, and a therapist through the entire process.
Q: What was the hardest part of the buying process for you?
A: This may sound a little strange – but I thought the buying process was straight forward and for the most part free of headaches. It’s hard to make an offer on a house and get outbid – but that happens in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country.
Q: Tell us about your neighborhood.
A: I live in Mt. Baker, a fantastic neighborhood with a vibrant diverse population, easy access to light rail, good restaurants and parks. I love it when I tell a friend or colleague I live in Mt. Baker and they do a double take. Our city is obsessed with Ballard and Freemont – those scenes are great don’t get me wrong – but I cannot imagine not living where I live. Mt. Baker is closer to the urban core and because of the ethnic diversity this neighborhood has an energy that is hard to find in other parts of the city. Mark my words, north Rainier Valley is making some serious infrastructure and zoning changes as well. In 2020 y’all will be saying, “Damn, why didn’t we buy in Mt. Baker?”
Q: What made you choose Betsy as your real estate agent?
A: Betsy is a close friend of my family. We met for dinner (sushi) and by the time our rolls were finished we were convinced she was the one.
Q: What would you say are her strengths?
A: Betsy listened to my wife Kate and me, she researched a variety of home styles, prices, and neighborhoods, and then helped us focus our priorities. She gave Kate and I space to explore, discuss, argue, and agree. Every time we had a question Betsy was there with an answer. Each stage in a home buying process can seem overwhelming, and at each stage on our journey Betsy was there to calmly guide us through the process. She is a terrific friend, but watching her maneuver the real estate obstacle course was so impressive. Betsy is a person who is at the same time an expert and an advocate. I could talk for 20 hours…Betsy is awesome.
Q: Do you think Betsy offered you something more than other agents you’ve worked with? If so, what?
A: Betsy knows Seattle. She knows established neighborhoods and neighborhoods that will be on next year’s “most wanted” list. She knows where the nearest park is, what the schools are like, and how close light rail is. Betsy listens – then proves she listens by showing you homes in your budget. I’m sure there are agents who tell you how much they know about Seattle and real estate, Betsy SHOWS you she knows what she is talking about.
Q: If given the chance, would you work with Betsy again?
A: I will work with Betsy again, and again.
About Their Broker: Betsy Morris
Betsy lives and works in Seattle’s Central District and has been living in Seattle for 15 years. Real Estate is a labor of love for her ; sprung from a fascination with abandoned homes in the childhood. Originally a theater major, Betsy embraced her technical side for 10 years as the owner of Seattle Bed and Breakfast.com, an online reservation service for owners of unique vacation accommodations across the Northwest. She’s happiest when she is busy but when she has spare time Betsy likes to cuddle with her pug Ernie, quilt or work on upholstery projects.
You can get a hold of her at Betsy@realtywest.com!