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Behind the Boards at George's

If it weren't for the giant signs in front of George's Restaurant reminding us that they are "Open During Construction" you'd never think you could duck behind that plywood and into a construction zone for a meal.  But you can! Same menu, same friendly faces.  Here's a sneak peek of the inside.  To my surprise and delight, there must have been 40 other people in there for breakfast on Friday morning.   Love the local support!

GeorgesRemodelInteriorFeb2017<--front door is to the right of where I'm standing, and there will soon be big roll-up windows facing the street for an open air experience.

Also, in other local news...kudos to Samantha St. John for being selected as the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce's new Executive Director. Congrats Samantha!

Escape to the Great Outdoors in a Homegrown Trailer

HomegrownEricGertsman <---Eric Gertsman, Co-founder & CMO of Homegrown Trailers

Have you ever dreamt in the back of your entrepreneurial mind that a business opportunity would present itself that you are truly passionate about?  This is exactly what happened to Eric Gertsman and Corey Weathers, when they took the leap to start Homegrown Trailers (nothing to do with the sandwiches!). These two friends were both consulting in the energy management/sustainability field just a few years ago.  Corey was learning that with a young family, his outdoor adventures were not as frequent as they used to be, and so his daughter suggested creating a 'tree house on wheels.'  Pretty clever.  He searched for a solution that would be sustainable, non-toxic, lightweight, easy to tow and able to fit in his residential garage, but couldn't find anything.  So an idea was born.  He recruited some construction friends who helped build their first prototype.  


HomegrownPrototype <---how it all began (first one)   HomegrownExterior  <--you can totally customize your trailer

The prototype Homegrown trailer realized 36 travel nights that year!  Everyone at campsites swarmed them with interest since people had never seen anything quite like it. Corey and Eric quickly realized they were onto something and seized the opportunity they had been awaiting. As I chatted with Eric and he shared the story, his energy and enthusiasm for this concept was unmistakable. So here's what makes these guys different.   Homegrown Trailers use 100% solar power so you have the ability to stop anywhere and be 'off the grid' instead of requiring plugs and and RV park.  Eric said some of the wineries in Walla Walla even let him stay on property.  Now you're talking! So much thought has gone into the design and production to minimize the environmental impact of these trailers. All of the wood is CARB 2 Compliant , the walls are insulated with wool, floors are cork, countertops are "Richlite" recycled paper pulp, there's a composting toilet, no VOC's/toxic chemicals for indoor air quality and the teardrop shape makes it lightweight (2500 lbs) and more aerodynamic to save on gas.  And with the tiny house movement being super hot right now, this concept of being quickly and efficiently mobile to explore your surroundings is one many people are yearning for.  Ahhh, can you smell the mountain air already?

Homegrown started their business in Woodinville but quickly outgrew their space.  So now they  have double the staff and are getting settled in Kirkland at 511 6th Street S (Kirkland Music Academy's old space). They make about 4-6 trailers a month there and also have 3-5 trailers in their rental pool. Every trailer is made to order with about a 3 month delivery time.  Custom pick your finishes and expect a price tag anywhere between the low $30 K's up to the 40's depending on your options. They are low maintenance and there's a 2 year warranty.  Trailers sleep between 2-4 people dependent on layout. Look at how adorable these are inside! Lots of clever uses of space and, as you can see, I was quite comfortable. 

HomegrownJanisChillax  HomegrownInteriorfeet 

Rental trailers
come fully stocked with towels, soap, pans, full battery and 12 gallon tank of water and are ready to just 'pick up and go.'  There's a 3 night minimum and daily rates range from $159-179/night depending on the season.  Of course you get a full orientation and a practice drive.  What Eric says he really wants is to change people's minds about what RV'ing is so they can see the viability of this in their lives. Many Kirklanders understand sustainability and appreciate this level of craftsmanship and purpose, so they are excited to be here in our community.   "We want to get people out exploring! We hope to inspire them, give them a reason to go get out there and a cool unique way of doing it."   Are you feeling adventurous? Have a little time for a quick getaway? AWESOME DEAL ALERT:  If you call 425-892-8566 and book a rental reservation before the end of Feb, mention the Kirkland Blog and you'll get $10/off you nightly rentals. I know.  You're packing your bag now.  Thank me later.  Have fun!

Kirkland History Month & Woman's Club GoFundMe

February is Kirkland History Month.  Each February, the Kirkland Heritage Society, a non-profit all volunteer organization supported by its members, the City of Kirkland, and 4Culture, promotes the history of Kirkland.  They are proudly sharing some of Kirkland’s history by having volunteers deliver “History Month” plaques to participating merchants that are graciously displaying them from February 1 to February 28.

Kirkland was founded in 1888 and incorporated in 1905.  Peter Kirk came from England to build a steel foundry and dreamed of making Kirkland the Pittsburgh of the West.   Although, the mill never opened and all plans were finally abandoned about 1908, Kirkland had been platted and settled.  It is this platting that we all enjoy today with the ambience that we love about Kirkland. 

The plaques can be seen at Carillon Point/Houghton; Juanita; Kingsgate; Totem Lake, Downtown Kirkland, and Market Street.  We hope you will agree that they are educational, interesting and FUN! 

Comments and/or suggestions are welcome. Kirkland Heritage Society, (425) 827-3446, www.kirklandheritage.org

And while we are talking about Kirkland's heritage, you should know that there is a GoFundMe page for the Kirkland Woman's Club.

The Kirkland Woman’s Club is one of Kirkland’s most charming Landmark Buildings.  It was constructed in 1925 and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

Located on 1st Street just a couple of blocks north of downtown Kirkland, the building is a popular venue for small weddings, birthday parties, memorial services and other events.  Rentals from these events provide income to the Club for its numerous charitable and service projects to the community, including scholarships for young women graduating from Kirkland high schools and layette gift baskets for new mothers who cannot afford all the things their newborns need.

Club members report that although the building is very charming, it is in need of substantial repair, restoration and updating, totaling about $200,000.  The Club has started the massive project but will soon exhaust its own funds.  The Club has received some grant funding but needs to raise substantial funds on its own.  Members have started a GoFundMe campaign to ask for community assistance.  If you appreciate historic landmarks and would like to help preserve this one, go to https://www.gofundme.com/kirkland-womans-club.

New members are always welcome! The club members meet at 11:45 on the first Thursday of the month for lunch and a speaker and also meet for coffee on the 3rd Thursday at 1:00. They are hoping to start an evening group soon. Please join and help as you are able! 


Crown Linen Designs: Warming Hearts and Tables

Everyone is chatting about the beautiful transformation that took place at 906 Market Street.  What used to be a vacant office space has blossomed into an adorable cottage that is now Crown Linen Designs.  I know you are dying to go in there, don't pretend you haven't wondered what is happening on the inside. Here's a perfect opportunity- Crown Linen will be opening on Tues Feb 14th (11am-6pm), so pop in to say hello, drink some bubbles,  check out the linens, and you can even buy some flowers for your Valentine!


CrownLinenVictoriaandLyuba Lyuba Urshulyak & Victoria Fanning  (photo credit: Warren Mell Photography)

Victoria Fanning and Lyuba Urshulyak are the heart and soul behind this business.  It's important to know that the outer beauty of their new retail location is only a brief introduction to the inner beauty of what is really happening at this address. 

I know your first thought.  You don't want to say it outloud, but you're worried that Kirklanders couldn't possibly need enough linens each month to support this business.  Rest assured, though,  Crown Linens already runs a booming business as a wholesaler that supplies over 500 stores across the US. Their affordable linen pieces have a classic elegance and contemporary design for the table, kitchen, bed and bath.  When you walk in, the soft palate of organic white, taupes and creams pair beautifully with the house they are adorning. Fully decorated rooms with linen bedding, table-settings and resort-wear clothing are ready for you to peruse.  Love the clean simplicity of these linens! Check out these photos:  

CrownLinenDesignTabletop  CrownLinenbedding  CrownLinenDesignwhites  CrownLinenDesignnapkins  CrownLinenDesignclothing

Victoria and Lyuba's special friendship started 15 years ago here in Kirkland.  Lyuba is originally from the Ukraine, where the average income is $300/month and people often move from place to place in search of work in their struggling war-torn economy.  So the two got to work designing linens and worked out of Victoria's house for the last year while Lyuba communicated with people back in the Ukraine that desperately needed work.  Linen and embroidery are at the heart of the culture in the Ukraine.  Victoria and Lyuba loved the idea of helping those in need while also utilizing an organic, naturally grown and sustainable resource (did you know that linen comes from flax seed?) that is so integral to this region.  Now they employ over 20 Ukrainians in 5 factories of which they consider an extension of their family who pride themselves on their craft. 95% of Crown's products are made in the Ukraine. 

So, why open a shop in Kirkland?  They were quickly growing out of their space, and in addition to employing some local moms that utilize the entire downstairs for product storage, preparation, packaging and shipping, these ladies wanted to be a visible presence and give back to their local community.  And, of course,  to be a place that Kirklanders view as a destination shop for a hostess gift, shopping a sample sale or hosting a party, attending classes on how to set a table, or even to test product and see what people like.  And lots of people are raving about Crown Linen Designs.  These are NOT your Grandma's linens (no doilies, I promise).Victoria Magazine featured them in their Jan/Feb 2017 issue as one of their "Favorite Things."  For you reality TV fans out there, even Lisa Vanderpump tweets about her love for their products and her daughter Pandora used Crown Linens to set her Christmas table.

You can always spot Crown Linen Designs by their signature crown emblem.  Locally, they are also found in Haley's Cottage (Kirkland), Via Lago (Kirkland), Hedge & Vine (Bellevue), Elegant Details (Woodinville) and Martha Harris (Madison Park). Pricing for napkins start around $15 and go up from there for towels, pillows, clothing, bed linens. Hours are Tues-Friday 11-6 and Saturday 11-5.  Questions? Email info@crownlinendesigns.com.  See you for bubbles on Tuesday!





Coolness for the Trail



Next time you are on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, keep your eyes peeled for the image of this little red kite along your way.  With support from Google and the City, the Kirkland Parks Foundation has created an interactive educational experience for anyone traveling along the corridor with a smart phone.  If you left your phone at home and are taking deep breaths and looking up at the sky and trees, then that's pretty awesome.  But let's face it, we live in a connected world. 

As people walk, bike or run the trail, information highlighting points of interest about the CKC Master Plan is available via the “New&Now” app. The app uses geo-fencing to deliver information to users and is available for iOS and Android. The signs along the corridor show where these “beacons” are located - they stretch along the trail from 108th Ave NE to 132nd Ave NE .

This is the first phase of the beacons.  The Kirkland Parks Foundation is looking for input from the community and partners to shape the next phase. The possibilities are endless, from historical information, or facts about local wildlife (including bird calls!), or setting up STEM-related games for kids, or working with a trainer to set up a series of exercise stations along the pathway.  What do you want to see?  Help shape the direction of the project by giving your feedback.

"We want the section of the CKC near Google to be a great place for neighbors and the community at large”, said Darcy Nothnagle, Western Region Head of External Affairs for Google. "This project with the Kirkland Parks Foundation has the potential to give our neighbors new ways to explore this vibrant corridor".

Kirkland Rolls out the Welcome Mat

is an organization comprised of Kirkland residents whose mission it is to advocate for the principles and values of the City's proclamation. Recently, they have been circulating an "affirmation of support" for residents and visitors to sign,  and I thought I would share it with you.

Oh geezz...that's a lot of big words. Let's make this simple.  And I'm trying to keep politics out of this because, as you know, I super-dislike talking about politics (at least in this forum).  BUT- I will say that there are SO many amazing friends, families, neighbors, professionals, business owners, hard-workers and good-hearted people in this community that come from every corner of the earth that I admire and appreciate. 

If you like/agree with the following statement....

"We should keep Kirkland a Safe, Inclusive and Welcoming City for all People" 

...then you should consider signing this affirmation.  Possibly before Friday when city council meets to chat about this. :-)