Top 3 Tuesday: Trending Restaurants

Marin is home to dozens of great restaurants and cuisine. This week’s Top 3 Tuesday features a few trending local eateries.

1. Burma Town


2. Rancho Nicasio

rancho nicasio

3. Village Sake

village sake



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Bay Area Earns High Marks for Home-Improvement Returns

hammer and nails

In its 2016 Cost Versus Value Report, Remodeling magazine ranks 27 midrange and high-end home-renovation projects based on how much of the improvement’s cost can be recouped if the home is sold within the next year. Nationwide, those projects are expected to generate a 64.4 percent return on investment in 2016. Here on the West Coast, home-improvement jobs are projected to deliver larger paybacks than anywhere else in the country — an average of 77.5 percent.

The Bay Area shines when it comes to home-renovation returns, and Remodeling’s report says that is likely due to inventory constraints. In fact, of the 100 U.S. metropolitan areas included in the analysis, San Francisco was the only one where all 27 projects in aggregate generated a return of more than 100 percent.

San Francisco is also tied for first in the country for number of home-improvement jobs — 18 — that are projected to recoup 100 percent or more of their costs. The San Jose metro area ranks No. 3 in the country in that respect, with 15 jobs expected to return all of their costs or generate a profit.

For both midrange and upscale improvement projects, San Francisco homeowners will most likely get the biggest bang for their buck by replacing the garage door. With an average cost of $2,077, a new midrange garage door is expected to recoup 165.3 percent of its cost. A high-end, $3,353 garage door should return 141.3 percent of the money spent.

In San Jose, fiberglass attic insulation tops the list for midrange-project returns, with a $1,381 job recouping 151.5 percent of costs. For upscale projects, the garage door is again a winner, costing an average of $3,325 and returning 147.8 percent if the owner sells the home in the next 12 months.

No project in either Bay Area city is expected to recoup less than 70 percent of its costs. In San Francisco, the improvment with the smallest return is a backup power generator (74.6 percent); in San Jose, it’s adding a deck (74.4 percent). In both areas, the addition of a high-end master suite was the priciest improvement: about $270,000 in San Jose and $285,000 in San Francisco.

To check out the full list of all 27 projects’ costs and returns in the San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Rosa metro areas, download full copies of the 2016 Cost Versus Value reports.



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Top 3 Tuesday: Marin Start-Ups

Silicon Valley isn’t the only place with an entrepreneurial spirit, Marin is home to countless extraordinarily successful start-ups. This week’s top 3 features widely recognized companies that were founded in Marin.

1. Restoration Hardware

restoration hardware

2. Method Home


3. True Nature Botanicals

true nature





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What Trends Will Dominate the Next 10 Years of Home Design?

trendsWhat will the modern home of 2026 look like? What gee-whiz features of today will be standard 10 years from now? Having a better understand of emerging design trends could be useful for today’s house hunters hoping to buy ahead of the curve — and for sellers hoping to entice buyers with home features that are out of the ordinary.

Some clues about tomorrow’s homes are revealed in the latest Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects. More than 500 residential architects offered insights into what they think will be the most significant home design elements over the next 10 years.

The 10-year forecast for home design can be summarized in three words: functionality, accessibility, and sustainability — everything from healthier building materials and furnishings to homes that will be more resilient to bad weather. Here are some home design trends to watch for over the next decade:

HOMES THAT ARE SMARTER: Smart-home technology — automated controls and remote access via the Internet — will play a bigger role in managing home systems such as heating, cooling, security, and lighting.

HOMES THAT ARE HEALTHIER: Environmental health issues will grow in importance. Homeowners will steer away from volatile organic compounds in paint and composite wood, opting instead for natural-fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing, and air-purification systems.

STORMPROOF HOMES: Demand will grow for homes that can hold up better against natural disasters. That may mean elevating residences, windows with impact glazing, dedicated safe rooms, and backup power generation.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Solar panels, water-reclamation systems, and tankless water heaters will become more popular.

AGING IN PLACE: Universal design elements will help an aging population stay in their homes longer — think wider hallways, added handrails, and one-level living spaces.

KITCHENS, KITCHENS, KITCHENS: Kitchens will increasingly be the focal point of the home, encouraged by open-design concepts and extra kitchen space.

OUTDOOR LIVING: Outdoor grills, patios, and decks are just the beginning. Outdoor kitchens and fully furnished outdoor rooms will increase in popularity.

WORKING FROM HOME: Telecommuting will continue to expand, and so too will the need for home-office space.

SMALLER, BETTER-DESIGNED HOMES: Access to public transportation and to commercial and entertainment districts will lure homebuyers to crowded urban areas. To compensate for smaller homes and lots, buyers will seek more innovative designs and personalized design features.



Image: Larkin

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Top 3 Tuesday: Saturday Afternoon Escapes

Less than an hour from home, but a world away from daily life, these destinations are the perfect escape for a Saturday afternoon. When you don’t have time to get out of town, be a tourist in your own backyard!

1. Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma

rams gate

2. Nick’s Cove, Marshall

nicks cove

3. Pelican Inn, Muir Beach

pelican inn



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Top 3 Tuesday: Fine Dining in Marin

Here are 3 of my favorites for an unforgettable food and dining experience in Marin:

1) Marché aux Fleurs, Ross

marche aux fleurs

2) Picco, Larkspur


3) Molina, Mill Valley






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Top 3 Tuesday: Spring Hikes in Marin


1. Mount Baldy (Bald Hill)

mt baldy

2. Tomales Point, Pt. Reyes

tomales point

3. Coastal Trail, Marin Headlands

coastal trail

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Top 3 Tuesday: Art Galleries in Marin

There is no need to venture all the way to San Francisco to enjoy fantastic art. Consider visiting one of these great Marin art galleries.

1. Seager/Gray Gallery, Mill Valley

seager gray

2. Sam the Butcher, Ross

sam the butcher

3. Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley

robert green


Photos: – by Douglas Sandberg

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Top 3 Tuesday: International Women’s Day

As the mother of 3 daughters, the education and empowerment of young women is a cause that is close to my heart. In honor of International Women’s Day, Top 3 Tuesday features 3 women changing the lives of women globally. When you empower and educate women, you change the world!

1. Malala Yousafzai

An activist for the education of women, and the youngest person to ever become Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzai has campaigned for widespread access to education for girls around the world. Her influence has been unparalleled as she fights for girls everywhere to be able to go to school.

malala yousafzai

2. Melinda Gates

Along with her husband, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates is the founder of the Gates Foundation which focuses on education and health. Their activism has made a difference in the lives of women and girls throughout the world.

melinda gates

3. Olga Murray

Olga Murray has been providing opportunities for women and girls through her Indentured Daughters Program. This program helps girls who would normally be sold into bonded servitude remain with their families and continue their education. The Indentured Daughters program is part of the larger organization founded by Olga Murray called the Nepal Youth Foundation.

olga murray



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San Francisco ranks No. 1 in U.S. for quality of life, study says

Financial District of San Francisco as seen from Coit Tower.

Financial District of San Francisco as seen from Coit Tower.

A new study from human resources consulting firm Mercer has found that out of 230 metro areas studied, San Francisco has the highest quality of life for any American city.

To create the study, Mercer evaluated 230 metros based on 39 different factors, crunching data for metrics like recreation, consumer goods, natural environment, medical accessibility, public services including transportation, politics, media prevalence and censorship, currency and banking services and a host of others.

Using those metrics, San Francisco came in first in American cities, and 28th worldwide. The top spots internationally were largely in Europe, including Germany and Scandinavia, while the lowest ranked cities were Baghdad, Bagui of the Central African Republic, and Sana’a in Yemen.

Vienna, Austria ranked highest overall globally. San Francisco was ranked well ahead of other U.S. cities like Boston (34th place), Honolulu (35th), Chicago (43rd), New York City (44th) and Los Angeles (49th).

“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centers around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analyzing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces,” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business, in a statement.

Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates,” said Bonic in a statement.

You can see the full list of city rankings here.



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