Kentfield Home Earned a Red Hot “Most Sustainable Renovation’ Award from Met Home

redhot According to Kentfield Architect, Sarah Robinson, an Alumni of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture; that Being Green is not just to tear down and build from scratch but it’s about “Seeing the untapped potential that already exists.” Kentfield, Marin County Architect, Sarah Robinson, was thrilled, when her house earned the ‘Most Sustainable Renovation’ Award from the prestigious Metropolitan Home Magazine.

Robinson’s 1963 fixed-upper home incorporated the following winning features:

redhot1) Retain and Expand upon the original mid-century contemporaries design. Robinson’s usage of rich wood, glass, American clay plaster and copper echoed the ‘sensual surfaces’ from the outdoors. She also retained the original custom mahogany paneling and cabinetry.

redhot2) Resourcefulness- Adding 1200sf space (office, family room, extra bedroom) blow the building allows Robins the retain the original footprint of the building. Large dormer captures light and provides views of outdoors

redhot3) Usage of Reflective Surfaces Such as stainless steel, high gloss woods, glass cabinets, white ceilings makes the most of the natural light that streams into the space.

redhot4) Reused 80% of the original building material and incorporated with recycled materials from other sources – including reuse of the redwood framing from the attic for additional trim, exterior siding and new kitchen dormer. She also bought the seconds from a local tile manufacturer (Heath Ceramics in Sausalito).

redhot20090313__14finelivingxx_2005) Incorporated the outside environment to be the primary decorative feature for the home by using ‘floor-to-ceiling glass’, adding skylights and creating a large dormer to bring the outside in.

redhot6) Usage of Energy-Efficient Mechanical Systems Suchas soy-based form insulation, Eco-friendly American clay plaster, no-VOC paint and double-paned windows.

Footnote – I was contemplating about what to write for the RED HOT contest on ActiveRain eCO-All Star Group’s March challenge, and my upcoming presentation to my Rotary Club (of Novato Sunrise  about LEED and Local Green Buildings, when the Marin IJ Article about Local Architect, Sarah Robinson’s winning design caught my eyes. This is an excellent, timely example of how to creat a “RED HOT” Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Home while thinking Creatively Outside of the Box.

The idea of not having to build an eCO-friendly building from scratch, using recycled, reused, local materials to avoid the commonly expensive GREEN features, which is the main concern in a heathy economy and a huge hinderance in the current dismal economy while creating stunning buildings in the process makes this RED HOT for me!

* The post incorporated information from Met Home and Marin Independent Journal. – a news article caught my eyes and just in time for the RED HOT entry!

Novato Real Estate Market Overview. March 4, 2009

Stafford Lake County Park, Novato, CA

Stafford Lake, Novato, CA

The last time I did a blog post on Novato Real Estate Market Statistics was back in November, 2008 – almost seems like an eternity; so much has happened in the past four months.  I have to say, the fun and challenge is all in there.   

Novato Real Estate Market statistics stays pretty flat with a few big gain in percent pending – under $500K starter single family homes had a gain of 10% to a strong sellers market at 51% pending; the midrange, properties between $700K and $800k enjoyed an 8% increase in pending.  The total now reach 27%, moving towards the right direction. 

The Biggest gais are the over $1,25M market – I guess people with money can take advantage of the softening market and buy luxury homes when the prices are low; a couple I know bought with cash! One thing to keep in mind is that due to the very small volume of the homes avaialbe, a house or two sale makes a huge difference percentage wise. 

The ratio is held steady by dwindling inventory – overall inventory dropped by another 20%, from 370 to 305. This can be attributed to several reasons –

* The normal beginning of the year brings slower new inventories

*  The bail out plan gives many home owners hope and they decided to refinance or negotiate for a ‘loan modification’  Whether they will get their loans modified is irrelevant for this moment.  The reality is it brings down the available homes market. 

* Sellers are holidng onto their properties for the right moment – either the prices go up or when they HAVE to sell.  This also limits the inventory.

This is a great time to buy, with bargains abound, whether it’s in Novato, San Rafael or Southern Marin.  Bank owned homes or sellers with plenty of equity are pricing homes low to attract multiple offers. 

Make Sure You do not spend TOO MUCH time waiting for the right price and when you finally buy, you already missed the bottom of the market.

Just Remember, The Bottom of the Hill is all hindsight – You don’t know it’s here and when you discover it’s the bottom, you have already missed it!

Give me a call at (415) 717-0293 or email me at for inventories on the market, whether REO, Trust Sale, start home, luxury homes.. I will be very happy to find the best house / investment property for you! 

It will be a pleasure to serve you!  



Total Units/ In Escrow


% Active


% Pending

% +/- since 09/10/08

All SFD’s and CID’s






35% (N)








30% (N)








45% (S)


$0 -$500K SFD






51% (S)








28% (N)


$600,001 – $700K






28% (N)


$700,001 – $800K






27% (N)


$800,001 – $999,999






4% (B)


$1M – $1.25M






13% (B)


$1.25M – $1.5M






18% (B)








33% (N)


  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%



Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frank Howard Allen Realtors

SERVING MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA – FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.

Federal Tax Credit for Qualified First Time Home Buyers – Purcahsed between

This post addresses the Federal Tax Credit for Qualified First Time Home Buyers.  Look for new post for California Tax Credit.

Note that the Federal and California tax credits are very different from each other, and the methods for claiming the credit are likewise very different.

The good news is that the first time home buyer credit allows qualifying home buyers who bought their homes between April 8, 2008 and December 1, 2009 to claim their first home buyer tax credit.

This summary is provided for general information only and does not apply to any individual situation. Remember to advise all buyers who are interested in qualifying for either or both of these credits to consult with their own tax advisors.


Amount: $8,000 if home purchased in 2009, but no more than 10% of the purchase price of the home (half that amount if married filing separately). $7,500 if purchased before 2009.

Expires: December 1, 2009

Only First-Time Homebuyers Can Claim the Credit: In general, buyers can claim the credit if they are a first-time homebuyer.

 Buyers are considered a first-time homebuyer if:

  • They purchased their main home after April 8, 2008, and before December 1, 2009.
  • The buyer (and spouse, if married) did not own any other main home during the 3-year period ending on the date of purchase.

Main home. A main home is the one the buyer lives in most of the time. Not limited to new construction. It can be a house, houseboat, house-trailer, cooperative apartment, condominium, or other type of residence.

The Credit Cannot Be Claimed If:

  • The buyer’s modified adjusted gross income is $95,000 or more ($170,000 or more if married filing jointly).
  • The buyer is a nonresident alien.
  • The home is located outside the United States.
  • The buyer acquired their home by gift or inheritance.
  • The buyer acquired their home from a related person.

No Repayment of Credit: There is no repayment of this credit if the home is purchased in 2009. However, the buyer must repay the credit if the home ceases to be their main home within the 36-month period beginning on the purchase date. (Note: For homes purchased before 2009, the tax credit is subject to repayment rules.)

Time to Lower Your Marin County Property Tax Bill – Get Reassessment Now!

Property value in Marin County have suffered from the current housing crisis; homeowners who bought their homes during the past few years have seen their share of property value decline. 

Depending on the location and types of the homes, the price drop might result in current market value to be much lower than their homes’ taxable (assessed) value.  Marn Homeowners whose property value is lower than the current market value should ask for a reassessment from Marin County Tax Assessors. 

If successful, the property tax bases for these homes will be lower resulting in lowered property tax payment for their Marin Homes.   

Proposition 13 allows homeowners to keep their property tax to no more than 2% annual increase during the time when property values are going up until the property changes hand. 

On the other hand, Proposition 8 protects homeowners when the property value drops below the current market value.  Proposition 8 allows homeowners to request for reassessment of their properties when the market value of their home is less than the assessed value of the home.  This results in a lower property tax which is in sync with the current lower market value.

To request a reassessment of your property value, you will need to provide Marin County Tax Assessor’s office with the value of three current comparable properties that are sold around 01/2009 (no later than 03/2009). 

Fill out the ‘Request for Informal Review of January 1, 2009 Reassessment’ and follow the very simple direction.  Your request has to be in before 12/31/09. 

If you need help with comparable values of homes, please feel free to contact Sylvia (415) 717-0293 and I will be very happy to help.

contact a real estate agent


Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services