The JayMarc Blog

Blog Category - Things We Love

Adventure Playground 2017

Categories: Events, Things We Love | Posted: June 27, 2017

Adventure Playground Mercer Island 2017

The highly anticipated Mercer Island Summer event is back! Families from Seattle & the Eastside join forces at Deane’s Children’s Park to create one-of-a-kind tree forts to enjoy all summer long. Kids get to dive into the construction world with their own set of tools and safety equipment. From ladders and decks to rope swings and slides, the amount of creativity and imagination is endless.

Adventure Playground Schedule

Days: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday
Dates: June 27 to September 27*
Time: 1 pm to 4 pm
Location: Deane’s Children’s Park (5500 Island Crest Way)
Fee: By Donation
Closed: July 2, 4 & 9 and September 3
* The park is only open Sundays in September

This year, we are excited to have YouthBuild participating in Adventure Playground! YouthBuild is a program put on by YouthCare, an organization who builds confidence and self-sufficiency for homeless youth by providing a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training. YouthBuild is an employment training program that teaches youth newly acquired construction skills and building techniques. They often work on low-income housing at one of Habitat for Humanity’s local projects. YouthBuild has trained over 100,000 young people and built over 20,000 units of affordable housing.

YouthBuild will have participants helping out at the park throughout the Summer, so look out for their shirts! Their team will be a great guide to help the kids learn more about construction and assist in building their dream forts.

July 16-23 and August 13-20, all donations will go toward YouthBuild. 

 

Closed toed, hard soled shoes are required. No one will be allowed into Adventure Playground wearing open-toed shoes such as sandals or crocs. A tool box and supplies will be provided, but we encourage participants to bring tools and supplies.

Child Participation Waiver – it will cover your child for the whole Summer
Adventure Playground Rules

 

We want to see your tree fort creations! Share on Instagram by using the hashtag below. Happy Building!
Instagram: #AdvPlaygroundMI

 

Thanks to Mercer Island Parks and Recreation for creating and running this program! We are excited to have YouthBuild on board this year too.

How Nordstrom ‘Delivers the Extraordinary’

Categories: Things We Love | Posted: March 23, 2017

In a world plagued with “Alternative Facts,” sometimes it’s hard to know what is true and what is fiction. It would be wonderful if we didn’t have to take everything we read with a grain of salt, but a healthy dose of cynicism can be helpful when trying to weed out true stories versus anecdotes made up for PR or branding purposes. Image result for snow tires

One of my favorite customer service stories that may or may not be true, is the old tale of a man who was successful in his attempt to return used snow tires to a Nordstrom retail store in Anchorage, Alaska. There are versions of the story that  have been verified by numerous sources, but the gist of it is that a man came into a Nordstrom store, placed some tires on a counter, and asked the customer service representative to give him cash back for his return. Without hesitation, the Nordstrom representative looked at the price tag on the tire and gave him cash back for an item that was clearly not from the high-end department store. There are many conflicting accounts of this tale, noted in this article on Snopes, though the main fiber of the story seems to hold true.

Image result for happy customer nordstromWhy did the cashier give this man money for something that could not have possibly come from the store? Perhaps that employee, using foresight, thought it would be best to make the short-term investment in order to secure this man’s future patronage of their store. In fact, when Nordstrom hires a new employee, the individual is given a handbook. Rather than going on for pages of rules and best practices, the handbook simply and concisely instructs the employee to “Use good judgment in all situations.”

The Ritz Carlton, one of the world’s most premier luxury hotel chains, empowers every one of their employees to spend what they need in order to please their guests. If something goes wrong with the guest’s stay, or the employee overhears how the guest forgot something at home, any employee (from the doorman to the housekeeper to the concierges) can make purchases in order to turn that guest’s experience around.

What this achieves for the Ritz Carlton (and Nordstrom, and any other customer-centric business) is that every employee feels empowered to solve any issue, and they don’t have to jump through hoops to have requests approved by management.  Effectively, this empowerment allows issues to be resolved much more quickly. Consumers and clients see and appreciate this, increasing the likelihood that they will continue to shop at Nordstrom, or stay at the Ritz. At JayMarc Homes, one of our core values is to always “Deliver the Extraordinary,” so that we can follow in the footsteps of great companies like Nordstrom and one day have a reputation for being the most customer-centric home builder around.

So, whether the story about the man returning snow tires at Nordstrom is true or another Urban Myth, the principle holds true: Nordstrom, The Ritz, and many other great companies are wholly dedicated to pleasing their customers, regardless of the circumstance. And that dedication is what keeps customers coming back for years to come.

Why Did the Shoe Retailer Order a Pizza?

Categories: Things We Love | Posted: March 9, 2017

Zappos is an online retailer known across the world for their exceptional customer service. Since the company was founded in 1999, stories have come out detailing the great lengths they have gone to secure their reputation as the most customer-centric online retailer in the nation.  Zappos was acquired by Amazon in 2009 and the marriage of these two consumer obsessed companies created a conglomerate that cannot be stopped. Both companies have seen tremendous growth since the merger.

Tony Hsieh stands in the quirky, jungle-themed section of the Zappos Headquarters

Tony Hseih, the CEO of Zappos wrote a book about the creation and growth of Zappos, called Delivering Happiness. Throughout the book you can feel how proud Tony is of the company culture
he was able to create, and how excited he was to share the amazing stories of his employees and coworkers.

One great story is one of his personal experiences with Zappos’ customer service. Tony took some clients out on the town, and late into the night when the bars were closed, one of his clients mentioned he was craving some pizza. The hotel was not able to provide them what they wanted, so Tony had the idea of calling Zappos to ask for one. Tony was so confident in his team that he believed whoever answered the customer service phone line at 2 AM would help them.

Of course, when his client called and spoke to an individual, the Zappos employee was able to find a pizza restaurant that was still open, and called and placed the order for them.

 

Zappos is not a pizza restaurant. Heck, they aren’t even a food vendor! Many people working in customer service would hear a silly request for pizza delivery and politely tell them they can’t help. But at the heart of the Zappos culture is problem solving. They see people as people, not as numbers and data on a screen.

JayMarc Homes went to a conference in Las Vegas two years ago and we had the opportunity to tour the Zappos headquarters. From the moment you walk in, you can get a sense of the wacky, open and fun-loving culture that the company has fostered. Employees are encouraged to be themselves, and they go above and beyond to provide a service to all Zappos customers that they themselves would want to experience.

There’s a ball pit in the Zappos Headquarters. Feel free to jump in, but watch out for gators!

JayMarc has modeled our core company values after those outlined in Delivering Happiness, one of which is “Deliver the Extraordinary.” We see the importance in setting and meeting expectations, but that’s not enough. We also want to surprise and delight those that we work with by going above and beyond expectations. Doing just enough to get by isn’t enough for Zappos, and it certainly isn’t enough for us either!

 

 

Why we aspire to be like the Four Seasons

Categories: Meet the JayMarc Team, Things We Love | Posted: March 2, 2017

At JayMarc Homes, we often say that we strive to be ‘the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton of Homebuilders.’ But what does that really mean? What are those companies doing that inspires us to model ourselves after them?

The answer is a big, nebulous phrase in the clouds – “Customer Experience”

In a world filled with reviews (Yelp, Google, Amazon, and Houzz, to name a few), it is more important than ever for companies to distinguish themselves by providing a service or experience that keeps people coming back.

In this column I want to help define what great customer service is, through examples and anecdotes from companies around the world who are doing it right. Examining epic wins (and epic fails) will help us learn how to continually surprise and delight our clients—and we want to pass along that knowledge to you as well! That said, let’s start with a story from the “Customer Service Colossus,” the Four Seasons.

Isadore Sharp, the founder of the Four Seasons hotels, wrote a book in 2009 about his experiences. It’s an anecdotal and incredibly detailed account of how the Four Seasons went from a single unknown motel (yes, with an ‘M’), to one of the most recognized luxury hotel chains in the world. How did he do it? By providing exceptional service and value to everyone that walked through his hotels’ doors.

I wouldn’t mind sitting on the rooftop lounge at the Four Seasons in Mumbai!

At the Four Seasons, you are paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars each night for the experience of staying there. When you book a room, you are expecting a comfortable bed, down pillows, fuzzy bathrobes — the works.

Sharp was one of the first hoteliers to really put into action the idea that companies and organizations should consistently be exceeding the expectations of their clients and guests. The Four Seasons was the first major hotel chain to provide complementary shampoo & conditioner in their bathrooms, which is a practice that is now used in almost every hotel around the world.

One of my favorite stories from Sharp’s book was about a VIP who was considering doing business with the Four Seasons. He decided to stay at their hotel in Paris under an alias. When he called, the hotel was completely booked. Hours later, however, he received a call from a concierge who was able to accommodate him, and even got him into the room he requested. That, in addition to how he was treated all week as “just another guest” helped him decide to go into business with the Four Seasons.

A company should treat anyone who walks through their doors as a VIP. This includes their clients, employees, vendors, and anyone else who interacts with the business.

The Four Seasons does a wonderful job of “walking the walk,” in this regard. They have carved a path for service businesses around the world, and JayMarc Homes has worked hard to model our customer experience mission after them.

 

Advantages of Buying New and Custom-Built Homes

Categories: Custom Homes, Home Trends, Things We Love | Posted: June 16, 2016

Trulia Guest Blog

Advantages of Buying New and Custom-Built Homes

by Sam Brannan, Trulia

 

If you’re looking for the perfect home, you can always test your luck with the Bellevue real estate market, or consider the JayMarc custom home alternative. Choosing a new and custom home builder allows your dream home to come to you with some major advantages over buying older and existing homes. The majority of homes currently on the market are previously-owned which often come with time-consuming challenges such as repair, maintenance, and remodeling. Given these considerations, a new home may provide a more fulfilling home buying experience. Newly-constructed homes offer personalization and low-maintenance can make a significant difference in free time, energy bills and overall quality of life.

Customization

JayMarc Homes Mercer Island Custom Home

JayMarc Homes Mercer Island Custom Build

Sometimes new can mean recently made homes that have already seen a previous owner, but newly built homes made for the first time can be customized to fit your family. Buying a new home is a big investment — just like buying a car, you wouldn’t want to buy a two-seater for a family of four, so consider working with JayMarc to build a custom home personalized to fit your family. Many new home builders offer personalization of structural and design features. Personalized structural options frequently include cabinets, countertops, appliances and more for new homes.

Energy efficient

Buying homes with energy efficient features can be good for your wallet. New homes are built with improved insulation techniques, and tight construction which retains heat and cool air. With constantly evolving construction techniques, newly-built homes offer the latest and greatest heating and cooling systems, so you won’t need to worry about running your air conditioning for hours to stay cool. Newly-constructed homes also come with eco-friendly appliances, and water-conserving plumbing fixtures which will save you on monthly utility bills.

Less maintenance

How many times have you wanted to spend your free time playing your with kids but had to fix the broken sink? Older homes can have hidden costs in repairs and updates that are sometimes missed in the inspection. A new home, like buying a new car, comes with a peace of mind without the stress of constant maintenance — plus, you can finally get around to going for a family hike, or a day at the beach.

 

JayMarc Homes Mercer Island Custom Home

JayMarc Homes Custom Build Kitchen

Financial advantage

New homes more often than not provide a warranty. These warranties can replace certain elements of a home like windows, heating and air conditioning systems, and ventilation if necessary. Another benefit along with a warranty includes the option to finance your personalized upgrades and a mortgage amount in the original purchase price. With older or existing homes, you’re on your own in obtaining a mortgage, and renovations will come out of your pocket.

 

Beneficial for your family

The Seattle real estate market is becoming more and more competitive. Making offers, and looking at several homes is never an easy process, and can bring unwanted stress into your life. Working with JayMarc will let you see the home-building process from start to finish, and saves the stress of house-hunting. Once your home is ready, the move in will be easy, without any immediate repairs or renovations. The more time you have with your family and your significant other, the happier you will be.

 

Are you looking to build on your lot in Bellevue, Mercer Island, Seattle, or Kirkland? JayMarc’s custom homes program would be a perfect fit to help make your dream home become a reality. Call 425.615.6203 or email brenda@jaymarchomes.com.

8 Budget-Friendly Ways to ‘Fun Up’ Your Patio

Categories: Home How To's, Home Trends, Things We Love | Posted: April 20, 2016

The warm, sunny Spring weather has us itching for Summer! To prepare for some fun in the sun, here are 8 budget-friendly ways to spruce up your patio! provided by Houzz
 

 


 

 

 

28 Decorating Moves to Try This Month!

Categories: Home Trends, Things We Love | Posted: April 8, 2016

Fun Facts – Year of the Monkey

Categories: Things We Love | Posted: February 8, 2016

Year of the Monkey 2016

 

Happy New Year! It is the Year of the Fire Monkey. All the monkeys out there were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and 2016. Monkeys are known for being witty, intelligent, lucky, charming, adaptable, bright and have a magnetic personality.

Many may not know this, but the Year of the Monkey is known for being one of the most unluckiest years in the Chinese calendar. BUT, there are ways you can avoid a bad year. A few examples are wearing red, wearing jade and facing in the right direction. For monkeys, you want to face Southwest. Many people will reorganize their furniture or if it is business related, make sure they are facing Southwest during important conversations.

But enough about this bad luck business. Here are some fun facts related to those who were born in the Year of the Monkey:

  • Their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life.
  • Strengths: sociable, innovative, enthusiastic, self-assured
  • Weaknesses: suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant, jealous
  • Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
  • Lucky colors: white, gold, blue
  • Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
  • Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

 

To learn more about your Chinese New Year animal, click here.

Best Year Ever! 2015 Recap

Categories: Things We Love | Posted: December 30, 2015

2015 JayMarc Homes Best Year Ever
 

2015 was a pretty awesome year! We grew as a company, had some exciting accomplishments and got to continue doing what we love: building beautiful homes where families will love where they live! Below are a few highlights we are proud of!

 

Mercer Island Business of the Year

JayMarc is Mercer Island Business of the Year

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce awarded us with the 2015 Business of the Year award. The JayMarc team was very proud and grateful for this recognition. We love the community we get to work and build in!

Adventure Playground

DSCN4082

Adventure Playground is one of our favorite events we sponsor! It is a one of a kind play area that allows kids to create their own play adventure. Nestled in the wooded forest of Deane’s Children’s Park, children are provided toolboxes, various building supplies, safety items and the freedom to create build-it-yourself play zones with the guidance of Staff. This year we had the largest attendance and are excited to continue the fun next year!

Gold Nugget Award

Taipei 2015 Gold Nugget Award Winner

The Gold Nugget is the first time we won an award for our home designs! JayMarc was excited to have the Taipei home design win the Grand Award for Best Single Family Detached Home – 3,500 to 3,999 sq. ft. Our Seoul home design also won an Award of Merit forBest Single Family Detached Home – 4,000 to 5,000 sq. ft. Later in the year, we would go on to receive the Tribute Award from the New Home Council for our Bodrum home design for Exceptional Elevation over 3,000 sq. ft.

The Symphony House

The Symphony House Mercer Island WA by JayMarc Homes

The most exciting project we accomplished this year was renovating the Symphony House on Mercer Island. Built in 1910 by James K. Car for the D.B. McMahons, owners of a haberdashery in downtown Seattle, The Symphony House is an important historical landmark for Mercer Island residents, offering a rare glimpse into the architecture of the past. It was an honor to have the opportunity to be involved with such a beautiful and important piece of Mercer Island history. http://www.jaymarchomes.com/symphony-house

 

Thank you for helping us make 2015 so memorable. We are looking forward to a fun-filled and successful 2016!

World’s Most Expensive Home

Categories: Things We Love | Posted: December 17, 2015

World's most expensive home

Talk about a dream home! Located in Paris, Chateau Louis XIV is a 50,000 sq. ft. palace nestled between Versailles and Marly-le-Roi. It took three years to build and was recently purchased by a Middle Eastern buyer who requested anonymity. Kim Kardashian even considered it for her wedding location back in 2013. It reportedly sold close to $300,000,000!

The 17th century-inspired home has:

  • indoor and outdoor pools
  • a private cinema
  • a squash court
  • two ballrooms
  • a nightclub (how convenient)!
  • 10 bedroom suites
  • a grand reception room with a 52ft-high frescoed dome ceiling
  • a library
  • a wine cellar with space for 3,000 bottles
  • a “meditation room” under the moat circled by an aquarium with huge sturgeon inside
  • 23-hectare estate
  • 1.2 mile maze with a three quarter-sized replica of the Chateau de Versaille’s fountain of Apollo, whose statues are covered in gold leaf
  • the facade has a genuine monumental bronze and enamel clock identical to the one on the facade of Versailles

 

Wine room can hold over 3,000 bottles | photo from The Telegraph

“meditation room” under the moat circled by an aquarium | photo from The Telegraph

 

It is the work of Saudi developer Emad Khashoggi who employed 200 people to spend three years building the property on the outskirts of Paris. Mr. Khashoggi’s company, Cogemad, used 13 types of marble and 15,000 sheets of gold while it is thought there are 650ft of leather-embossed books on the shelves.

“With elegantly planted parterres, a gleaming gold-leafed fountain, an infinite array of flowers, marble statues, bridle paths and a hedged labyrinth, the property’s park and gardens evoke the genius of Le Notre,” developer Cogemad said on its website, referring to the King Louis XIV’s gardener.

Chateau-Louis-XIV-_3528761b
 

Security is high, with 40 state-of-the-art surveillance cameras which can be viewed from around the world via iPad as well as a hi-tech alarm system.

“The automated hi-tech controls are incorporated with the utmost discretion, blending invisibly with the interior’s breathtaking Grand Siecle decor,” said the website.

Article provided by The Telegraph. To read the full article, click here.

 

Could you survive living in this dreamy chateau? Comment below!