Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Recently I was asked if I work with buyers. The short answer is, I do. What I prefer, is a mix of buyers and sellers. Listings are indispensable, because they often lead to buyers, buyers are indispensable because they often lead to listings. I like both.

All the deals are special--really. Because the people are special. I've never disliked a client. If I dislike someone, or vice versa, it doesn't get that far. But the transactions I feel best about, the ones that make me smile in the dead of night, are the improbable negotiations that saved something imperiled. The historic house, stuck in a market niche--or neighborhood, in which continued disintegration or even loss was probable. The houses for whom the next buyer would make the difference, because another ten years of neglect, likely meant the house wasn't recoverable, that the market economics would never incentivize its restoration.

That isn't every transaction, mostly because it doesn't suit every buyer, and also because those opportunities aren't always available.

I get attached to some of the houses. I like coming to them, imagining life within them, picking out their nuances, exhorting their strenghts. When I drive past a house I was involved with, I feel a connection. I usually slow down, examining them like some drivers do their appearances in a vanity mirror, usually with great satisfaction.

I have the clients to thank for that.

Carpet Diem

Monday, May 28, 2007


Playtime at Parag's, layers and layers of floor coverings dissevered. In one bedroom, three layers of carpet sat atop two linoleum rugs.

The fir floors beneath looked worthy of refinishing, most had been covered/protected for over half a century.

Baseboards grew in height, as over an inch of padding and carpeting was rudely escorted to the curb. 'A carpet salesman'll be by any minute', we joked.

Then we began removing the luan (or luaun) panelling, 1/4" wood veneer, tacked in the stairwell, entry, and hall.

The layers theme continued, as the luan revealed de-laminating wall-paper, painted, and finally beautiful sand-finish plaster.

In looking for obscured value, I often counsel clients to consider those things that can be done quickly and easily and therefore cheaply (because most improvement/restoration projects will take long, require money, and impose difficulties). Yes, it will cost to refinish the floors and to patch the scarred plaster, but probably less than it took to cover these surfaces originally, and the psychological return is immediate.

I'm going back for the awnings and security bars.....

Real Estate Agents, Go Figure

Sunday, May 27, 2007


In a new twist, some buyers agents are now installing their own post-sale signs. That's right, after the listing agent removes his/her sign, the buyer's agent installs their own, complete with a prominent rider that reads SOLD.

(Remember this beaut, and my dark green signage?)

Self-promotion, I concede, is a necessary evil of the practice, heck I do my own chest-beating now and again, not to mention RecenteringElPueblo; still, this tactic put me a bit off-balance, and it enraged my seller, "the neighbors'll think you lost the listing, and this other person represented me in the sale."
"They might", I answered, considering appearances.
"This other agent has absolutely no presence in this neighborhood", my seller continued, "she's a carpet bagger."
"It is a bit misleading," I agreed, "but most of your neighbors know me."
"All the more reason why", the seller persisted.

Ultimately, my seller called the other agent's office manager, complained, and the sign was removed.

Quickie Details

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Hubba, hubba: molded decorative brickwork. This fireplace detail, from a 1910 Craftsman home in Harvard Heights, features an egg-and-dart molding, a widely used pattern of classical origins. The egg-and-dart pattern enriches an ovolo molding or quarter round, a simple convex shape, applied here to a niche or recess, over the firebox. These glazed bricks, a beautiful orange-brown color are freckled with round to irregular shaped brown to black iron spots (some with blister holes).

Clematis & Roses

Friday, May 25, 2007


The weather was splendid this week so I've spend it mostly outside. The garden is slowly becoming the paradise I wish for. New flowers are blooming everyday and I took hundreds of pictures, so it's hard to choose what to post, but for today I decided to show you some of my Clematis & Roses which are in bloom right now:

Above is "Auswife", called "Rosarium Glücksburg" in Germany and below is "Constance Spry" which is now growing on my rose arc. Both are English David Austin roses:

"Constance Spry" is a climbing rose and has a wonderful strong but lovely scent which makes me want to smell her all the time when I pass by:

Next is "Wenlock" also an Austin rose, she scents very good and doesn't the raindrops look good on her?

Next is "Clematis Pilu" climbing up on one of my little trees:

"Pilu" close up, after a warm summer rain shower:

Now this "Augusta Luise" a wonderful scented rose which I bought last summer and she's coming along so fine, see she's just unfolding her petals:

Climbing on the blue trellis (my dad made for me) is Clematis "Rouge Cardinal":

I love catching rain drops on my flowers, can you tell? ;-) This is "Rouge Cardinal" close up:

One of my absolute faves blooming right now is my "Eden rose 85", she has such big buds:

and unfolds her petals slowly as well:

She is voted for the world's most beautiful rose this year!

Then I have Clematis "Angelique" planted in a pot on my deck 2 years ago and it is still blooming very well also I think I should change the soil for the next season:

Here is "Angelique" up close and personal:

I did show you my Clematis "Nelly Moser" already in my last post she is still in full bloom:

Well I guess I better stop here or this post never ends lol!

In the next picture you see a little bouquet from my garden and one of the magazines I've offered to swap in my last post:
I'd like to thank all my blogging friends who have offered me to swap magazines, you are all so very kind! I swap Somerset Life with Jen Duncan and some other mags with Nature Girls lovely neighbor and friend TWT and with Andrea Singarella now, because they were the first to offer/answer, but there is always next month and new issues and I hope that you, who I can't swap with this time will still be up for a swap next time! It's so nice to meet bloggers more personal through real mail and swapping and have I recently told you that I love to swap? In my next post I have to show you all the gorgeous things I've got from a swap with the lovely Cari Craft today!
Happy weekend everyone! Carol xox

Barrio Services

Thursday, May 24, 2007


As wholesale sections of Los Angeles continue to undergo demographic change, from chiefly African-American to chiefly Hispano-American, commercial corridors are transformed.

Panaderias emerge, wig/braid/curl shops vanish, and Party Suppliers proliferate. Si, fiestas! The Mexican Bureau of Popular Cultures has identified at least 10,000 fiestas that are celebrated by different communities in Mexico. Many are now celebrated here, along with other Latin American festivities, and near-universal social-gatherings like birthdays, sporting events, and religious occasions.

Jumpers or Bouncers (inflatable play structures) are very popular. The word "jumper" hasn't a spanish language equivalent evidently, whereas other items--sillas, mesas, pelotas, are often billed in Spanish.

So prevalent are party rental stores, that more than one may occupy the same block (Vermont and 30th). Some, like the all-purpose pharmacia or versatile cafeteria, reject the specialty model, and operate as a defacto florist or confectionery.

The Pinata, which probably derives from Pre-Columbian Aztec ritual clay pots, is another staple (and one of Mexico's greatest cultural cross-overs). Pinatas, filled with toys and candy--traditionally sugar cane--accompany more than just kiddie fests. In the Mexican Catholic celebration of Christmas a seven-pointed star is featured, representing the seven deadly sins. That which the devil is witholding--the contents of the pinata--are released by striking blindfolded, a display of faith. Neighborhood food markets, like Mercado Uno, sell pinatas as well.

Ellen's Party Supplies operates a virtual compound on King Boulevard with dual storefronts. Ellen's offers vending machines of all kinds, floral materials, and audio gear. An employee said the business depends most on theme-based birthday parties for boys and Quinceaneras, which celebrate a young woman's fifteenth birthday, or coming of age. Because Quinceaneras are such a large event, the celebrant holds a court composed of fourteeen girls (damas) and fifteen boys (chambelanes), with dancing, and props (the throwing of the quince doll), they tend to be the most profitable.

Growing up in Oakland California, I attended plenty of birthday parties, luaus (I have family from Hawaii), and Bar Mitzvahs, but never a Quinceanera. I kind of feel like I missed out on something.

LA Movies

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Play it As it Lays

Director Frank Perry's fearless adaptation of Joan Didion's LA opus, stars Tuesday Weld as model-cum-actress-cum-brutalized has been. Often described as a scathing show biz indictment, the numbing monotony of desert landscapes and freeway drivescapes are stunningly juxtaposed in this rich textural work, magnificently photographed by Jordan Cronenweth (previously noted for the Nickel Ride and most celebrated for another dystopian LA flix Blade Runner).

Sidenote: I realized after watching Play it As it Lays, that in just 35 years, L.A. looks utterly different from its freeways: sound walls have been built, connections have been added or altered (like the 105 or the 110 carpool fly lanes), and in some places (along the 405 for example) massive development has taken place.

This Thursday, the Egyptian theatre is screening a good L.A. cop film, The New Centurions (1972, director Richard Fleischer). Chinatown screens at the Aero Saturday night.

Real Estate Agents: Friends or Foes?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Do I count real estate salespersons among my closest friends? No, not really, though I do enjoy close rapport with my boss/broker David Raposa. I make a concerted effort to maintain amicable relations with other agents however; and, often I've used personal capital to give my clients an edge in negotiations. After all, an agent's fiduciary duty to a client is paramount.

It isn't productive to alienate other real estate professionals, because you never know who'll represent the right deal-making property or clientele. Still, in some of my circles, real estate rivalries do exist and bad relations between agents are common.

Even with my peacenik posture, there are a couple of agents I'd rather not enter into a/nother transaction with. Neither fortunately, are currently active in my sphere. One, in our first go-around, failed to disclose known material, value-affecting facts (though I suspect incompetence, not malice). The other, with whom I came closest to real antagonism, was simply unbalanced.

Some agents can be positively unhelpful too. One long time area broker, remains nearly silent whilst exhibiting or viewing properties, and responds to most questions with a shrug.
Another agent, balked at showing his University Hills listing by appointment. "If I have to drive there," he explained, "it's an hour out of my day."

Some agents skip showings altogether, recruiting junior staff to sit open houses, and deploying lock boxes (or electronic key boxes) to allow others entry.

If I can't service a listing personally, I don't take it, and I never use lock boxes.

Allium love and a little photo shot with my antique dress form

Friday, May 18, 2007


Hello dear blogging friends and readers I'm glad you came back to see what's new at Boxwood Cottage! :D

Well last weekend I've had a little photo shot with my vintage German dress form which a dear friend was so nice to give me last year (see post from December 11th 2006 in my archives). She had no more neck, but my dear Dad has made me a new wooden neck that suits her perfectly which you'll see in the next pictures. This is a not so good picture that I took of her back in December 2006, still in my friends home and without neck, that's the way she was awaiting me decorated with some fresh ivy and a pink necklace and a welcome sign:D

I've had her in my bedroom all the time since I brought her home, but somehow I didn't really liked the place for her there, so while my dd was away to Lissabon last Friday I decided to bring her up in my studio corner in our loft room and so I secretly obtained another corner of our loftroom for my studio ;-), by putting some not so decorative things of my dd in another place and placing the dress form in the corner of a wardrobe which belongs to my studio space. Then I began dressing her up a bit. At first she's got this cameo necklace around her neck.

And then I tied some vintage borders and little paper roses (Can you recognise the lovely roses and the pink border you recently gave me for our swap Nicki? Hope you'll get your swap parcel from me this weekend too! And not to forget the vintage crotcheted border which was a gift from my dear friend Corey !) around her waist:

Ulla, Lauren and Nicol will surely recognize the prints of their gorgeous colloborative jewelry work that I pinned on my not so beautiful cheap IKEA wardrobe for inspiration (I so need an antique warderobe for my studio soon!). Wouldn't such a beautiful soldered necklace look wonderful on my dress form? *sigh*

So here she is now in her full beauty and it was a pleasure to have this little photo shot with her:

See her new wooden neck? I think my Dad did a great job making it look old too!

I just loved to decorate her with roses!

Well now I think it's time for a few more pictures from the garden as I promised you in my last post.
One of the first roses to bloom in my garden this season was this David Austin rose "Wenlock" which is growing in a deep, big pot on my patio, she has a very intensive deep pink color:

The pink and white striped Clematis "Nelly Moser" is my first blooming Clematis this season:

These are the last blooms of my pink Wisteria, it's almost faded now:

People who frequently read my blog surely know about my love for Allium blooms. Now it's the time of the year they are beginning to open their gorgeous pink balls. This ball is of my fave Allium The "Globemaster". The ball is still very small in this picture, their blooms are getting really huge as you can see in a picture from last year here.

These are 3 Allium Purple Sensation blooming like a family at the bottom of my rose arc at the moment:

"Lavendula stoechas" is still in full bloom:

Oh and the first peonies are blooming between my blue cat nip plant Nepeta x faassenii "Walkers low":

In the background of this picture you can see two of my three new wicker paravents, the pink blooming plant in the middle is a Thalictrum:

I guess that's enough pictures for today as I know they'll take ages to load for some of you, thank you for being patient!
Have a fabulous weekend everyone! It's a sunny one here after almost two very rainy and windy weeks so I'm off to the garden now!
Hugs Carol xox
Oh btw some of you have asked me about my name lately, it's written and pronounced Carola with an "a" at the end in my language, but I really like being called just Carol! :D
Would someone of you lovely US readers would be interested in a little one to one magazine swap with me? I'd get you a copy of our most beautiful eye candy magazine Wohnen und Garten if you'd get me the latest issue of your gorgeous new Somerset life magazine! Or you just tell me which magazine you'd wish to get from Germany. I so need a copy of Somerset life and it takes ages until we can get it overhere. I'd be forever thankful to you!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I've been awol for a bit. A combo of allergies and an annual buying trip to England. But am back, recovered from jetlag and back to listing fab items for Time Was Antiques.

The trip was fun and featured a lot of walking and shopping in different venues. The last week of the trip was in London in unseasonably gorgeous weather in the 60-70s. We hit the various daily antique markets and this photo is from the Saturday antiques market at Portobello Rd by Notting Hill in London. If you have claustrophobia or enochlophobia (fear of crowds) you don't belong there!!!! It's always the most packed, and amazing at what a mass of humanity can be packed into 4 blocks between shops and street stalls, and how much STUFF! Valuable to junk. Amazing! This year though, prices were up, variety was down and we came away with less than usual. Sigh...

I've got London pictures at the moment. A bit out of order for the trip, but haven't gotten to the other to transfer/upload from my laptop.

We also spent 2 days between/after markets being London tourists and walking the north & south banks of the Thames on the Thames path which is always fabulous, especially in the good weather we had. We did the British Airways London Eye which we tend to do every year or so. Love it for great views of the city.

As for the stock we purchased, we have started adding what we brought home with us in our carruons. Because we flew back on Maxjet ( an all business class airline at an incredible price, they didn't weigh our carryons so we were able to cram a lot in. The rest is starting to arrive as well.

So we have added/adding British royal commemoratives, Shelley China, small silver items like knife rests and sugar tongs, motto ware, china and lots of interesting things. Quite fun. It's neat to remember as you unpack them where you found them. Like reliving the trip. Awesome.
New items can be seen at:
click the Our Newest Additions link.

To see photos of the Monty Python Spamalot Coconut Clapping Orchestra in Trafalgar Square which broke the Guiness" Book Of World Records while we were there go to:
go to Our Latest Newsletter and click on the photo album link. FUN!

Back to listing on a gorgeous day in southern Oregon. Supposed to be high 70s which is about perfect! Plan to first go to the weekly Grower's Market for some organic produce thena cup of tea and a pastry with my DH in the park then back to work!!!
Have a great day!


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