Four Whidbey homes on builders’ tour Sept. 11-13

The kitchen in this home gets extra light from the abundant windows in the adjacent living room’s east-facing wall. Sliders (at left) lead outside to a covered deck

Media rooms are so 2014.

The newest things in home design are outdoor kitchens and “Costco rooms” — a fact that those participating in the upcoming Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association home tour will be able to see for themselves, said the event’s coordinator, Brenda Harter.

The ninth annual tour, set for Sept. 11-13, will feature 11 houses by nine builders who are members of the trade association.

Four of the homes are on Whidbey, one in Anacortes, and the others are in the Mount Vernon and Sedro Woolley areas. All were chosen to display the latest trends in home technology, innovative products and design and construction, according to the group.

Tickets to the self-guided tour are $10 and are available at any of the houses on the tour.

“The idea is to showcase our builders and the association,” said Harter. “It’s to help them get new clients.”

The association is the voice of Skagit and Island counties’ building industry.

Media rooms, with comfy chairs for viewing movies, used to be the big thing, she said. Today it’s outdoor kitchens. And one home has a room just for receiving the huge portions of food available at Costco and breaking them down into more manageable sizes.

Also appealing, she said, are some of the homes’ luxury touches, like heated floors. Last year each home got 300-400 visitors, she estimated.

“It’s a fun tour, a great way to see your community,” she said. “Eat at some good restaurants, make a day of it. That’s what most people do.”

For information about the tour, directions to the homes or to preview the tour, visit, contact Harter at 360-757-6916 or