Northwest

Area homes sales up despite shortage | Northwest Indiana Business Headlines



Home Sales



Home sales in the Region remained strong in August despite the continued shortage of homes on the market and the rising prices, according to information from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

GNIAR collects sales data from members in a seven-county area, including Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski. In August, the members reported selling 1,246 homes, almost 100 more than August of 2019, or an increase of 8.3%. August was also up from July’s total of 1,227. For the year, sales are about 1% up from 2019 at 7,113 units sold.

The median price of a home rose almost 12% from a year ago to $211,500 and it jumped almost 5% from July’s median price of $202,000. So far this year, the median price of a home has risen 8% to $189,000.

GNIAR CEO Pete Novak said a total of about 1,800 homes were on sale during the month. That’s almost half as many as were on the market in August 2019. The shortage of homes on the market began to occur in 2014, but the number has decreased more rapidly the past three years.

Novak compared it to 2006, when buyers had 6,000 homes to select from. Despite the dramatic difference in the number of homes on the market, the number of sales was about the same in both years.

“We had strong August numbers,” Novak said. “We still have a very limited number of homes available and high prices, so to have an increase in sales is surprising. Buyers don’t have much to choose from, but they are still buying.

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Designer Kimberlee Melcher’s favorite space is her newly renovated custom kitchen | Home | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

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Kimberlee Melcher had her dream studio in Spokane not once, but twice, early in her interior design career with her contractor-husband Kevin Melcher under the moniker Downtown Kitchen & Design, and then again in 2014.

“We opened our first design showroom in 2001 renovating an old historic building, creating display kitchen vignettes with working appliances and using the space for trade events and hosting client parties,” says Melcher.

But things change, and within a few years of rebranding under Kimberlee Kristine, Melcher closed the downtown studio and decided to fashion the company’s new design studio closer to home. Her home.

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The couple renovated their Millwood-area residence into a space to entertain clients, as well as to highlight cabinetry, surface, flooring, countertops and lighting for which they are dealers.

The newly completed kitchen is now her favorite space, combining function and form, says Melcher, and does double duty as a showcase for her husband’s master craftsmanship, especially notable in the stacked crown molding.

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Open concept galley kitchens featuring large islands for family life and entertaining are enjoying enduring popularity with clients, says Melcher. Her own welcoming island cabinetry is finished in a distressed soft French blue, while the custom inset cabinetry in the rest of the kitchen is robed in a delicate white. An integrated armoire refrigerator is flanked by tall pantry cabinets, while an elegant wood hood tops the gas range. The farmhouse sink is crafted from firecay, which is scratch-resistant and less prone to harboring bacteria. The floors are French oak, with an oil finish and radiant floor heating underneath.

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Although the color scheme is mostly neutral, a carefully curated mix of textures,

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Pacific Design Studio offers homewares at online shop | Home | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

click to enlarge Hand-painted striated vases are some of the finds at Pacific Design Company's online shop. - KAYLEEN MICHELLE PHOTO

Kayleen Michelle photo

Hand-painted striated vases are some of the finds at Pacific Design Company’s online shop.

Little Pacific Design Studio isn’t so “little” anymore. Under the new moniker of Pacific Design Company, the Spokane interior design firm owned by Shaleesa Mize now offers an online market of home décor items reflecting what she terms a “modern organic aesthetic”

“Whether I’m curating products for the shop or creating designs for homes, I like to bring a mix of modern style with earthy materials,” says Mize, who sources wool or cotton textiles (versus synthetics) and ceramic and recycled glass (not plastic), she says.

click to enlarge A green stoneware tea pot is another online product at Pacific Design Company. - KAYLEEN MICHELLE PHOTO

Kayleen Michelle photo

A green stoneware tea pot is another online product at Pacific Design Company.

“You will also find plenty of other natural materials like leather, marble, brass and copper, reclaimed wood, etc.,” Mize says.

The bone and olive wood spoons are functional works of art and, along with tea and bath towels, are among the most popular items.

click to enlarge Customers can also find organic wool pillows. - KAYLEEN MICHELLE PHOTO

Kayleen Michelle photo

Customers can also find organic wool pillows.

Mize deliberately seeks out not only high-quality natural materials, but also fair trade and unusual items. Recent additions to her offering include fair trade baskets from Africa, products made from hand-woven textiles dyed with botanicals, and the Massa pillow crafted from cactus silk.

Visit the Pacific Design Company store at shop.pacificdesignco.com.

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Celebrated textile designer Anna Benham develops new tile line | Home | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

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Compared to her exuberantly colored textiles, Anna Benham’s new tile designs are more about line and pattern, subtle yet timeless, like the locations throughout Uzbekistan, Jerusalem and other regions which inspired them.

“My aim as an artist is to try and create something that has a longevity, that has a subtle stunningness,” says Benham, who is originally from Bath, England, and now makes her home near Moscow, Idaho. “My style is very English, because I am English, but I love history.”

Benham’s early influences include her father, a craftsman and maker of Windsor chairs, and a neighboring family who made pottery in the midcentury modern style. Stronger still was the influence of Bath itself, whose history is a panoply of cultures and styles, from initial occupation by the Romans in the first century AD to the city’s revival during the 18th century as a resort town in the Georgian architectural style.

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Despite being surrounded by the arts and attending Glasgow School of Art, Benham didn’t initially see herself as an artist. She had early success, however, with her paintings which were soon translated into a range of fashion and home décor items, launching a lengthy and celebrated career.

Then a few years ago, Benham connected with Quarry Tile, a Spokane Valley tile manufacturer, and spent the next few years learning a new design process. Working with a Northwest-inspired color palette — grays, blues, earth tones — Benham creates a single, square design. The company then uses digital technology to translate the design into glaze that’s applied to mostly local clay tiles. Once fired, the tiles are waterproof like any commercial tile, yet slight variations in the glaze application lend the tiles a hand-painted look.

Visit annabenham.com/collections/tiles

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Feedback Being Sought On Proposed Northwest Bus Improvements

Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
are asking for feedback on a proposal to significantly
improve public transport connections to and from
Auckland’s northwest.

The plan to make bus journeys
quicker, easier and better connected involves upgrading and
extending the existing bus shoulder lanes along the
Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and building interim bus stops
at Westgate and the Lincoln Road and Te Atatū motorway
interchanges.

This would enable a northwestern express
bus service using the motorway which connects with local
feeder services operating to each station. The bus network
will also be reviewed to make better use of the proposed new
bus stops and adjustments are planned at motorway
interchanges to increase priority for buses.

Transport
Minister Phil Twyford says this joint AT and Waka Kotahi
project will allow faster and more frequent bus
services.

“Bus passengers going from Westgate to the
city during the morning peak could save up to 35 minutes on
their journey as a result of these
improvements.

“This project will also create around
300 jobs and support our economic recovery,” says Mr
Twyford.

Mayor Phil Goff says the project will have
economic and social benefits for the northwest and will help
support jobs and population growth.

“The $100
million in government-funded upgrades for public transport
in the northwest will enable a further 170,000 people to get
in and out of the city within 45-55 minutes on the bus,”
he says.

“This will support jobs and population
growth in the area and help to reduce traffic congestion and
vehicle emissions by allowing more people to commute without
driving. Construction of the projects will create jobs and
provide economic stimulus across the
region.”

Funding of $100 million has been provided
to deliver these interim bus

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