Discover fabulous views from amazing properties in Southwest Washington

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Peek-a-boo! I see you! Again.

Originally posted on August 15th, 2017 by Rod Sager

 Occasionally I photograph homes for other real estate agents. I always ask if the property has views. Sometimes the agent says, "no." When I arrive I may find a peek-a-boo view or even a great view that went unnoticed by the agent. This can be a value view!

Any home with a grand vista will likely have a stiff premium added to its asking price. But for those looking for the budget view one may have to poke around a bit to find it.

The picture of Mount Hood was made from the back patio of a house that did "not" have a view. In all fairness, the full length rear deck did not offer a view but if you leaned out over the rail just a bit this mountain came into clear view. Better yet, out beyond the deck was a patio area that took full advantage of the view providing that you were standing and not sitting.

This hardly constitutes calling the listing a "view property" but mentioning a peek-a-boo view does add some value to some people. People like me.

I love views even when they are of the minimalistic variety. I am likely not alone in this desire to have a view. Since many of us cannot afford to spend the enormous amounts of money on a home custom built to soak up one of the many grand spectacles of nature and man, some of us have to take it where we can find it.

What ever you do, be sure to enjoy the view!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Happy Holidays!

 Happy Holidays and may you enjoy a prosperous new year. I'll see you back here in 2023!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Columbia River Gorge Views

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area begins at Washougal and ventures into the Gorge for about 90 miles. There are building restrictions in the region but several communities that predate to National designation offer properties with exciting views of one of the most spectacular natural features in the US. 

Washougal itself has built a number of developments up on the ridge outside of the designated area that offer lovely views of the gorge entrance but further east you'll find Skamania, Stevenson, and White Salmon along the Washington side. The Washington side enjoys more sunshine in the winter dues to the low hanging sun that keeps most daylight from reaching the floor on the Oregon side. Truly amazing views can be found in properties in any of these communities.

View from a homesite in White Salmon, WA
As you move east into the gorge you find a transition from temperate rainforest to mixed forest. Further east a transition to a Mediterranean semi dry then to a semi-arid and finally arid, This all happens over a mere 90 miles or so. White Salmon is about halfway between the temperate rainforest of Eastern Clark County and Western Skamania and the semi-arid to arid regions of Eastern Klickitat County. 

The gorge is a spectacular place. It should be noted that some properties lie within a juristiction of a commission that monitors development in the gorge. This commission has authority to approve or deny some property improvements and changes. Be advised that this can affect the homeowners ability to make significant changes such as adding a shop. Not all properties fall into this commission's grip several areas are excluded including the City of White Salmon and City of Stevenson.

It should also be noted that even at the lowest elevations in the gorge, winter weather can be much more severe than the nearby Portland-Vancouver Metro Area. The gorge has its own micro-climate and winters are a fair bit colder, icier, and snowier than the Willamette Valley and Lower Columbia Basin.

What ever your do, be sure to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Tidewater Cove, Living on the Shore

Tidewater Cove is a luxury condominium development right on the shore of the Columbia River about three miles east of Downtown Vancouver. This community is gated and features all the luxury amenities one might expect for condos in the 7 figure price range. tennis, indoor and outdoor pool, large property with wetlands, walking trails, a private marina, and views to die for. Most of the units in the development have nice views of the river, city lights, and the Cascades. 

Tidewater has three active listings right now according to Urban Living in the Couv which tracks several condo developments in Vancouver via the local MLS. I believe the largest condo unit in the city is in this development although it is not currently listed.

Here are the listings currently active:


Photo from RMLS
I'll spotlight the middle priced unit which features 2052 SF with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. This being a secure gated community ground floor security is not a problem. The advantage to a ground level patio is the ease at which you can decide to go for a stroll along the shore or through the many wooded trails in the immediate area.

This ground level unit looks out over lovely grounds right past wetlands and on to the Columbia River. Off in the distance lie the Cascades which are obscured by clouds in this image and the local Portland-Gresham area that lights up nicely at night.

Photo from RMLS
This unit has been nicely updated with a light and bright theme that never gets old, especially with our dark Pacific Northwest winters. The richly decorated interior is wide open and spacious, ideal for entertaining. 

This unit is priced at $1,495,000 and stands out against other properties with darker interiors that really feel gloomy in the winter. Tidewater Cove is a premium location and a fantastic development. There are only a handful of properties in the Portland-Vancouver metro area with this level of pedigree. 

The private marina provides an opportunity for the yachting enthusiast to keep a vessel locally. As a specialist in Vancouver's urban condos and a personal lover of great views, this listing gets a big thumbs up. You can follow activity in Tidewater Cove and other urban condominium developments in Vancouver at Urban Living in the Couv.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What's the Better View: Water, Mountains, Cityscape?

Psychologists have known for years that looking at natural landscapes, greenery, and water leads to a relaxed state and increases productivity. This is why homes with a view are so desirable and tend to have much higher costs. But is there a difference. Well, yes there is actually. It seems there is clinical evidence that natural landscapes, wildlife, and waterscapes are indeed highly beneficial for mental health and well being. Cityscapes would likely be at a disadvantage compared to nature, but a nice city view is still better than staring at a wall or a neighbors fence. 

I wrote a post on this site years ago about views that were just a clump of trees and such and these clinical studies reinforce that even a view of some trees out your window in a normal neighborhood can be beneficial. Check that out here. If you have a home office situation choose a room that looks out over greenery if possible and you may find your street levels drop and your productivity rises. You don't have to live in a 7 figure home to do this in Vancouver. There are many older neighborhoods with old growth trees that are quite pleasing to the eye.

In other non-pyschological studies, it has been suggested that water views are the most desirable, followed by natural landscapes, mountains and such, then other assorted natural greenery, then last but not least cityscapes.

So this simple backyard vista is hardly the "million dollar view" but with the greenery it is still going to boost productivity and provide relaxation despite its humble nature. 

So there you have it, scientific data that shows even simple suburban homes can have a worthy view and some mature trees are better than staring at your neighbors siding.

What ever you do be sure to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Columbia Palisades is the Next New View!

Tower Crane at Kirkland Project 2021
If you have been poking around in East Vancouver lately you probably haven't missed the major construction activity happening on the site of those old gravel mines. The City of Vancouver has created a blueprint for the complete redevelopment of that area into an urban oasis in the largely suburban east side. The development will cozy right up to the Camas border. Many locals think it is Camas due to the encroachment into the 98607 zip code, but rest assured, it is Vancouver. 

This area will featured mid-rise high density apartment and condo developments along with significant office and retail commercial projects to create a real District approach. The location right at the junction of 192nd Avenue and SR 14 freeway will make this a great commuter spot as well as a live work opportunity. 

The 'view' aspect is that this area is literally perched up on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and with building heights up in the 50-80 foot range many of these residential units will have spectacular views all the way into Downtown Portland as well as the Columbia River Gorge. A row of single family houses is already built up on the highest part of the bluff and these homes have amazing views.

This will be an excellent alternative to Downtown Vancouver with an urban vibe on a smaller scale and likely a little less noise and traffic than Downtown.

Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Kirkland Tower is now "Real"

I wrote about Kirkland Tower previously but now after a long series of delays the project is just about complete. This project presents a unique property opportunity in all of the Portland - Vancouver metro area. It is the first lifestyle condominium project in the region offering a connection to the adjacent Indigo Hotel. Owners here will enjoy access to the complete hotel suite of services and amenities including concierge, valet, room service, and other hotel conveniences. Portland's Ritz Carlton tower will become the second such property sometime in late 2023 or early 2024. For now Kirkland is the king of high rise condo living in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

photo from RMLS

The tower offers a variety of floor plans ranging from small one bedroom units to large 3000 plus square foot suites. The tower is divided into a north and south side with the latter offering sweeping river and park views from any floor. The north side will offer panoramic city views from about the 8th floor and above. Pricing starts in the mid $900s and tops out well above $3 million. Although that may seem expensive to some, it is actually quite a value when considering the location, the condo-hotel connection, and that comparable sized units in Portland's nearby Pearl District are notably more expensive and do not offer the hotel services.

I mentioned the location of Kirkland Tower; it is right on the Waterfront Park just a block away from the spectacular Grant Street pier. Within just a two of blocks of the property are the following: 9 restaurants, 8 winery tasting rooms (some with food), 2 brewery taprooms, 2 gourmet coffee shops, 2 hotels, and several other shops. This is with the Waterfront development less than halfway complete. It will only get better at this point as the development proceeds. Kirkland is also just a four block trot to Esther Short Park which represents the heart of Downtown Vancouver and features festivals, concerts, farmer's market, and other exciting events nearly every weekend. Within a 10 minute stroll, there are literally scores and scores of restaurants, bars, breweries, shops, and services.

I am now starting to sound like and advertisement for this project and in a way I am; I do not represent Kirkland nor am I affiliated in any way. I do believe that this project along with many others in the city are delivering experiences that benefit not only the homeowners that buy them, but the public at large that utilize the cottage businesses and public spaces that accompany them. That is good for all of us.

I did a hard hat tour inside the building last fall but I do not have any updated images since then. The views will be excellent whether you have a river view or the more urban city view. The tower rising up to the north of the building will have 8 floors and the roofline will be underneath the 8th floor of Kirkland. The river views are fully protected as Kirkland Tower resides directly on the Waterfront. Residences in the tower will have access to the community penthouse on the roof as well as a garden area up top. That is a 12th floor view that should remain the highest point in that part of the Waterfront. Taller structures will go in to the west but should not disrupt Kirkland's views.

Kirkland Tower is poised to be the best urban condo view property in the city.

Kirkland penthouse and rooftop view to the north, September, 2021