Why move to Petaluma?

  1. One of the main reasons I personally chose to move from Marin is limited housing options within my budget. However, the housing options in Petaluma are amazing. Compared to similar rentals in Marin, you will save roughly $1000 a month if not more. You are able to choose between single family houses, condos and apartments. For example, I just rented an apartment for $2900. It’s 1100 square foot, brand new construction with hardwood floors, all new stainless steel appliances, washer/dryer in unit and pet friendly. We chose a new construction apartment complex with amenities like heated salt water pool, bocce ball court and gym. They have Peloton bikes for residents to use and a 24 hour fitness center.  Some of the units come with 1 or 2 car garages which is hard to find in Marin. Many properties offer EV charging stations or (hookups to install your own) to accommodate residents with electric cars. 

To see some of the rental options Petaluma has to offer, check out the link below: 

Azure Apartments 

Altura Apartments 

Theater Square Apartments 

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2. Petaluma is an easy drive away from major wineries and Sonoma square is just 15 minutes away. Personally, I’ve always wanted to be closer to the wineries that Sonoma County has to offer. Petaluma is a solid choice if you want to have some city life but also want to be close to world class vino. 

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Did you know that Petaluma actually has its own AVA? The Petaluma Gap is the premier gateway to the Sonoma Coast and northern Marin County wine region. Designated on December 7, 2017 as the country’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA), the Petaluma Gap is producing premium grapes that make the new AVA one of California’s best areas to grow primarily Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah grapes.

Here’s some of my favorite spots a short drive away: 

Cline Cellars

Anaba 

Gloria Ferrer 

 

3. The food scene is also a huge change from Marin and even San Francisco. New quality restaurants are opening up all over downtown and Sonoma County in general. Having access to the farms of Sonoma and their produce, makes all restaurants stand out for the quality of their food and service. You can find cuisines of all kinds like Japanese, Korean, Italian and many more. Meanwhile, Marin County is still stuck with mediocre Mexican, old school Italian and the occasional steak house.

I’ll post a separate newsletter about all the restaurants in the area, but for now here’s the list of some of my favorites:

Della Fattoria 

The Shuckery 

Street Social

 

4. Another amazing point of being in the North Bay is access to nature. Multiple hiking  and running trails that are all over Sonoma will keep you busy for weeks. Lakes, rivers and mountains are all within an easy drive of downtown Petaluma. Most of the trails are dogs friendly as well so you can take the dogs with you for an adventure. 

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Helen Putnam Regional Park

Taylor Mountain Regional Park

Tolay Lake Regional Park

5. The SMART train has just opened up more stations in Marin making the commute back to Marin super easy. Jump on the train in downtown Petaluma and you’re in Larkspur in under 40 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s so much better than sitting in traffic for an hour. They’ve even added more trains to accommodate the new commuters.

SMART Train Schedule

 

 

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How to decorate a small living room? 7 must haves.

Have a small living space and don’t know how to deal with it? Having a cluttered space makes you not want to spend time there. However, with smart styling and design you can make your living room appear open and bright.

Adding a few essential pieces of furniture and decor can create a cozy, warm environment and open up a space. Some of the key elements of any living room include items like an accent chair, rug, and a staple coffee table or bar cart.

• Choosing a large and bold area rug will help to create a larger space. Go for bold patterns  and interesting color to create focus. This can also help anchor the space and give you a good staple piece to design the rest of the room around. Placing your “seating area” in a corner of the room will also help with opening up the room.

•Coffee table is another must have in any space. If you want to go minimal, you find a skinny coffee table to have more room to walk around it. You can also repurpose ottomans to use as table or get smaller stackable pieces to make the furniture flow better. 

•Smart lighting is the key to ensuring your space looks big and bright. If you have good natural light, make sure to use it all! Don’t block the windows with dark curtains. If you don’t have enough natural light, invest in smart lights like Hue Lights. That way, you will multiple light sources birthing up your room. My favorites are light strip which you can attach to a tv stand or bookshelf. 

•Bar or bar cart is also a great way to add a unique feel to the space without taking up too much space. You don’t even need to stuff it full of liquor. Make is into an accent piece by adding beautiful books or magazines to display. 

•Use a small pouf or an accent chair for an extra pop of color and to add dimension and light to the space. It’s an easy way to have another talking piece in the house and extra seating without taking up the room. Pouf with storage are a great way to go if you want to hide some of the smaller items.

•Cozy throws and pillows are always a must. Throwing some blankets around and a few pillow will give your house a warm and welcoming feel. It’s also space and budget friendly. It’s also the best way to add some seasonal flare to your living space. Add more reds for Christmas pastel tones for spring and bright yellow, blue and oranges for summer. 

•Smart use of colors is also a powerful tool when creating an open concept feel. Keep most of your walls white. Using darker tones will eat up the space. It’s always fun to add an accent wall which can be a darker shade, however be mindful of which wall to paint. Adding that pop of color on the wall will add depth to the space you’re creating. A small wall in the hall facing the living room or the wall behind your couch is a good place to start. Don’t add more than 3-4 colors (or even 2) to keep your living room cohesive.

Paying attention to details and maximizing the available space will help you create an open and welcoming environment without losing space. Adding intentional pieces of furniture and a color palette is a simple way to increase an areas use and cozy feel.

Apartments for rent. Top 4 Communities in Marin.

Marin county is one of the most prestigious places to live in California and the country. Just minutes away from San Francisco and Sonoma, Marin county is a beautiful area full of outdoor activities, great dining options, shopping, luxury spa and hair salons. Renting an apartment in Marin is a great decision if you want to be in the center of it all and life the best life North Bay has to offer. Here’s the top 5 resort style apartment complexes in Marin County based on location, amenities, and community ratings. 

  1. Serenity at Larkspur – this beautiful 16 acre property offers amazing amenities such as salt water pools, gym, yoga classes. It’s one of the most dog friendly apartment complexes (with off leash dog run) in Marin and have limited breed restrictions.  This property hosts monthly events like cooking classes and fitness bootcamps as well as quarterly events like whiskey or wine tasting, holiday party, pool side bbq and yuppy hour for dog owners. They offer modern 1 and 2 bedroom apartments that range in size from 708 sq.f.  To 1096 sq.f. 

Highlights:

5 minute walk to/from Larkspur Ferry Terminal

30 minutes drive at Sonoma wineries

Multiple grocery stores within 5 minute drive

1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 2 bedrooms town homes available

Rent starts at $3200 (based on availability and market)

Pet friendly; Pet rent $50 per month; Pet deposit $500.

 

2. Cove at Tiburon – located in prestigious Tiburon, the Cove offers a truly luxury lifestyle and resort amenities. 2 pools, full gym, fitness classes, kayaks, and even charter boat to rent. The Cove is also a dog friendly community but has limited play areas. The Cove is known for outrageous resident parties with amazing drinks and catered food. 

Highlights:

30 minutes away from San Francisco

Minutes away from downtown Tiburon and ferry terminal 

Walking distance to Nugget Market

1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 and 4 bedrooms apartment homes available

Rent starts at $3310

Pet friendly; Pet rent $50 per month; Pet deposit $500.

 

3. The Preserve at Marin – gorgeous hilltop property features a no-edge pool, brand new penthouses with views of the bay and Marin’s best schools near by. This property is also dog friendly with breed restrictions. Located slightly further out from the shopping and dining, The Preserve has the best views on the north bay and even San Francisco. 

Highlights:

30-45 minutes drive to San Francisco 

10-15 minutes drive to closes downtown and restaurants 

10-15 minutes drive to ferry or Golden Gate transit 

2 bedroom apartments and 3 bedroom penthouses available 

Rent starts at $5000

Pet friendly; Contact the property directly for pet rent and deposit. 

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4. Tam Ridge – this brand new property just opened for leasing 2 years ago. Tam Ridge offers spacious apartments and town homes, amazing deli/market on the first floor that’s super convenient, roof top bbq area with views of mt. Tam, fitness classes, new gym equipment  and beautiful heated pool. Located on a busy intersection close the Highway 101, the traffic around the property is not the easiest to get around. 

Highlights: 

30- minute drive to San Francisco 

Walking distance to shopping and dining 

5 minute drive to Larkspur Ferry 

Rent starts at $3000 

1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and town homes available 

Pet friendly; Pet rent $100 per month; $1000 pet deposit. 

I hope this summary of Marin’s best apartment will help you with your search for the perfect rental in the North Bay. 

What to look for in “dog friendly” apartment

Marin county in general is very pet friendly. You can bring your dog to a bank, have him/het sit with you on a patio in a nice restaurant, and walk it through a shopping mall. However, when it comes to apartment hunting in Marin things get a little tricky. You need to make sure to speak with the apartment community manager directly to  discuss your options.

  1. What is the pet rent and deposit? Most apartment complexes have a set rent that you have to pay for your pet. It ranges from $35 to $75 per month. Pet deposit is another thing they will charge you. Typically, it’s $250-500 one time fee refundable at the end of the lease minus the cleaning fees. Some apartment have different amounts they charge for cat vs dog.
  2. Do you have breed restrictions? Sadly, most apartments will not allow Huskies, Pit Bulls, Dobermans, German Shepherds and other “dangerous” breeds. You will need to speak with the office staff about the restrictions and how you might be able to get around them. Some places even have weight restrictions in which case even if you have the friendliest puppy but he’s chubbier than 25-50 pounds, he might not to allowed to live in the community.
  3. Does the community have a pet waste area or dog park? This is a very important part of apartment hunting in Marin. You need to make sure not only you’re allowed to have a dog but also that there’s a decent area for the pup to play, use bathroom, and even run off leash. Many apartments started to install fenced in dog runs to promote healthy and active living for dogs.

Overall, I love how pet friendly North Bay is. Anywhere you go, you will see cute pups hanging out on patios or lounging by storefronts. Most of them are better behaved than crazy spoiled kids, too.

5 Questions to ask when Apartment Hunting in Marin

Marin might be the best place to live but don’t forget how difficult finding housing can be. Don’t have 5 million dollars to spend on a house? No problem,  try apartment hunting in Marin and see what’s available.

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I know, everyone wants to own a beautiful house on a hill with views and pool… But what if you can get even better amenities in a Marin resort style apartment complex? Marin county apartment shopping isn’t all that scary. Many apartment complexes offer pools, gyms, fitness classes and even wine and bike storage. Start your apartment hunting in North Bay by checking out the multiple resort-style apartments. You can schedule your showing with the leasing office directly or use a relocation company like Foundation Homes to help you book a tour.

What to ask when apartment shopping?

  1. What is included in rent? Typically base rent is just that. Base rent. Make sure you understand what other charges you will be responsible for. Most likely, you need to pay for all utilities such as water, sewer, trash, even valet trash in some places. An average costs of utilities is $120-170 per month. Only 30 minutes north, in Sonoma, it can be as low as $80. Some of the smaller apartment communities might include utilities in rent but you need to check with the office.
  2. Are dogs/cats allowed to live on property? Marin county is super dog friendly however not all apartment communities are. Make sure to ask about the pet policies, pet rent, and pet breed restrictions and pet friendly area on property
  3. What amenities are available on site? If you want to truly enjoy Marin indoor/outdoor life style, ask about the pools and outdoor areas available in the complex.
  4. Is there any shopping, hiking, dining available near by? Even if you fall in love with the apartment, ask what there’s to do in walking/driving distance from the property. Marin county is famous for its hiking trails, outdoor lifestyle, good food scene and shopping.
  5. What lease terms are available and what happens after my lease is expired? Don’t just sign the paper on the spot, ask about your options. Many apartment communities offer flexible lease terms from 3 to 14 months based on your needs and preferences.