8 Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

This is a great article by Barbara Pronin on where to invest your money when remodeling your home.

When you own a home, it seems like there is almost always something you would like to do to make it more comfortable, attractive, or eco-friendly. But, home remodeling experts tell us, if you plan to sell your home at some point, put your time and effort into one of more of these renovations proven to pay you back because they increase the value of the property:

New garage doors – Nothing says curb appeal like attractive garage doors – and you can’t beat the bang for the buck. A mid-range replacement will likely return more than 80 percent on your investment. Continue reading

Coffee and Cigars


Louis Stewart came to Tacoma from West Virginia in 1888. With his brother, he formed Kona Koffee in 1905. This Dutch Colonial, in the North Slope Historic district, designed by George Bullard in 1902 was his home. He only lived here a few years and the next owners were William and Catherine H. McDonald. Mr. McDonald was a cigar dealer.

Only Two Apostles Left of the Twelve Apostles


Designed by architects Bullard & Haywood and built by Lemuel T. Root in 1892, there were originally twelve Queen Anne homes on this block, that were nicknamed “the twelve apostles”. The “apostles” were built for Tacoma mover and shaker, A. C. Mason, in what is now the North Slope Historic District. In the 1960’s, the Tacoma Housing Authority razed 10 of the “apostles”, leaving these last two. Mr. Mason came to Tacoma in 1883 and went into the real estate business. Buying land along Commencement Bay in the North End of Tacoma, he later built houses there. Mr Root built more than sixty houses in Tacoma.

Wedding Bells


This beautiful Neo-Colonial home in the North Slope Historic District was designed and built in 1895 by William Bullard, one of Tacoma’s first architects. This was Mr. Bullard’s home and he married his wife, Anna Heath here. Miss Heath was a member of the Tacoma School Board, a teacher and an early principal of Lincoln High School

A Department Store, National Park and Hotel


This North Slope Historic District home home was built for Henry Rhodes in 1901. Originally designed by Spalding, Russel & Heath, in 1907 Frederick Heath designed the three-story addition on the north side of the home. Henry Rhodes came to Tacoma in 1890 with his two brothers, Albert and Charles and opened a tea and coffee shop. This enterprise grew into the Rhodes Brothers Department store. The department store was Washington’s first and for many years, the largest department store in the state. Mr Rhodes later established and headed the Rainer National Park Corporation that built the Paradise Lodge that is still in use today. He was also involved in building the Winthrop Hotel and the Medical Arts Building.

Stylish Sanitarium


Designed and built in 1895 by the Cornell Brothers for William Ferguson, this home is a Neo-Colonial in style.  Mr. Ferguson came to Tacoma from Ireland in 1890 and was one of the founders of First Presbyterian Church.  In 1941, the home became a sanitarium, as did the neighboring home in 1948.  Large additions were added to both homes in the 1960’s.  After many years of medical use, in 2006, the last business moved.  The North Slope Historic District then  convinced the owner of the buildings to remove the additions and return the buildings into residences.  Both houses are now restored to their former glory!

The Governor Slept Here


This Four-Square was designed by Proctor and Farrell, (and yes, the Proctor District was named after this architect, John Proctor) in 1903 for Ernest Lister, who
was to become the eighth governor of Washington. Lister was elected governor in 1913, the first Democrat to hold the office in more than 12 years. He was re-elected in 1917 but suffered a heart attack in 1919 and died in office at age 48. Tacoma was at the zenith of political power at this time with the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor all living in Tacoma in the North Slope Historic District

North Slope Historic District Neo-Colonial

north slope


This home was designed and built by the Cornell Brothers in 1895 for William Gardener.  Mr Gardner was a business partner to William Ferguson and they owned and operated a plumbing and steam supply company.  In 1948, the house became part of a sanitarium that had been established in Mr. Ferguson’s neighboring house in 1941!  Large additions were made to both houses in the 1960’s.  In 2006, when all medical usage of the buildings ceased, the North Slope Historic District persuaded the owner to remove the additions and the homes were returned to residences.  The properties have now been restored to their original glory.


North Slope Historic District Craftsman


This is the first house on the North Slope Historic District walking tour.  Built in 1915 for Dr. Warren Brown, it was designed to be both his home and office.  Dr. Brown lived in Tacoma for over 30 years and was considered to be one of Tacoma’s premier physicians.  Besides working as a physician, Dr. Brown was president of the Lennox Investment Company.