9 Places to Buy Unique Home Gifts in Seattle This Holiday Season


With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start making your shopping list so you can avoid the last-minute rush. If you know a family member or friend who has recently purchased a new home or completed a remodel, you may consider gifting them something for their new space. Buying for someone else’s home can be a tricky affair, since our homes are such personal spaces, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose something that fits their style (and thoughtfully includes a gift receipt). Watch as the recipient opens what’s sure to be a unique gift this holiday season—much more exciting than a gift card! To help in your search, our office staff has rounded up a list of our favorite home shops in Seattle:

seattle-home-stores [Read more…]

Going up! House Lifting 101


No, we’re not talking about a Disney movie—homes can actually be lifted using manpower and modern technology, as opposed to balloons. It’s actually a fairly common endeavor for homeowners. Typical reasons for house lifting include: repairing the foundation, adding a basement or protecting against water damage. Last week, we lifted—with the lead of talented lifting pros D.B. Davis—a home in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle so that we could begin remodeling the space into a livable basement. Our awe of the recent lift led us to write this informational post about how a house lift is conducted. Photos provide some excellent points of view on the process. We can’t wait to share the “after” photos of the finished basement later this year.

Reasons for Lifting a House

Lifting a home is a great way to add space and increase value without taking away square footage from your yard. It’s also a surprisingly economical way to approach a change to your living space, as it avoids the costs of selling and purchasing a new home (broker and legal fees, taxes, moving costs, etc). Typical reasons include:

  • Excavating a new basement
  • Adding head room and increasing current basement functionality
  • Adding another story to the home
  • Repairing an old or deteriorating foundation
  • Protecting against or retrofitting for flooding

House Lifting Companies

Though house lifting is common, that doesn’t mean it’s not a hefty process with a substantial bill. Finding the right, experienced house lifting company is the key to the whole process. We’re lucky to work with D.B. Davis Structural Moving & Raising. The owner, Dell—a 5th generation lifter—is an extremely approachable and efficient guy. It was clear that with his great leadership, the skilled team had the entire process down to a science—as any good lifting company should. Plus, their years of experience and very successful lifts make them the most appropriate choice for the job. They even lifted the real-life “Up” home previously mentioned (see photo) and “can move anything manmade” including bridges, boats and heavy industrial buildings! Along with experience, a qualified lifting company should always have appropriate liability insurance policy.

House on Howe raised - DB Davis    1 - DB Davis
Bottom two images provided by D.B. Davis

Before the Lift

Prior to the house lifting, it is determined whether or not a new foundation or additional concrete will need to be poured. Some excavation work may also be necessary. As these considerations are being made, the homeowner will be asked to thoroughly clean their basement of personal belongings. Exterior cleaning will also take place, since patios, decks and landscaping will often need to be removed or relocated to some degree. Utilities (electricity, plumbing, phone, etc.) will also have to be shut off and disconnected, while pipes, plumbing and ductwork that hang below the floor joists will be removed. As a design-build contractor, we are normally the orchestrators of this preparation and the lift for our clients. [Read more…]

The Advantages of Hiring a Design-Build Firm for Your Next Remodeling Project


What does design-build mean?

First, a short design-build definition: design-build is a simple approach to a construction project in which a single entity provides both the design and construction services.

This single point-of-contact approach has a variety of advantages over the traditional design-bid-build method in which a person uses two different companies to complete the subsequent phases of a construction project: an architect/designer for designing and a general contractor for building. Here at Model Remodel, we do both. There are some wonderfully talented architects in the Seattle area, and we work alongside many of them to bring their designs to life. However, we often receive inquiries from people who are starting from square one. If you don’t have someone in mind to complete the design phase of your next project, you might consider going with a design-build firm to simplify your project and increase efficiencies.

We feel strongly that every job should boil down to a satisfied customer who received quality work and communication every step of the way. A design-build process is one, common way to achieve that result. Using a Seattle design-build firm for your next remodeling project has three main, and directly-related, advantages:

  1. Simplifying the process and people
  2. Balancing the budget with your design goals
  3. Increasing efficiencies

Below we break down these advantages in detail. We also explain when a design-build process may not be the right fit for you. [Read more…]

What are Subcontractors and Why are they a Good Thing?


Sometimes our clients ask us why we hire subcontractors. It’s a reasonable question, as there are a lot of one-man shows that claim to be able to do all the work themselves. While there may be a few unicorns out there, it is certainly the norm within the building industry to hire subcontractors (or “subs”) for certain aspects of a job. Namely subcontractors are used for: plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and other specialty professions, and they’re used for good reason. The work subcontractors do is technical and requires precise execution. At Model Remodel, we have a trusted lineup of subcontractors we reach out to when these needs arise, and we have a strict vetting process that ensures they meet our company’s high standards and yours. We’ll share with you our reasoning for using subcontractors and how to make sure your contractor is vetting their workforce thoroughly. [Read more…]

5 Home Renovations to Brighten Your Home

Bright Room

Bright Room

Nicer weather is upon us, and with that it’s a good time to consider home updates to bring out the lighter, fresher side of your home.  Here are some ways to open your home to a brighter look, all budgets considered.


Using Glass to Your Advantage

Glass is an obvious choice for bringing more light into the home. New, bigger or reconfigured windows can have an immediate impact on not just lighting, but also the efficiency of your home. Besides adding windows, you may also want to consider adding skylights to capture that precious, direct sunlight. Super-efficient Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) can help you harvest the most natural light possible to cut down on artificial lighting. Last but not least, interior and exterior French doors can improve the flow of natural light from space to space and connect you to the outside.

Choose Reflective Surfaces
Reflective surfaces are perfect for amplifying your lighting. For example, marmoleum or wood flooring echoes your ceiling lights, and strategically-placed mirrors are a natural counterpoint to windows. [Read more…]

Don’t Let Phantom Load Spook You This Halloween

power strip

power stripDid you know you that your home electronics are costing you money, even when they’re turned off?

It’s called phantom load (otherwise known as vampire power or standby power). Your TV, DVD player, laptop, video game console, and even your coffee maker all use “phantom” energy while they’re idle. This applies to most electronics with an on-off button or a clock. Another common culprit of phantom load is the cell phone or laptop charger, plugged into the wall, without the device on the other end.

Energy efficiency consultants E Source estimate that phantom load amounts to 15 percent of energy bills for homeowners and 20 percent for commercial businesses. Multiply that amount times all the buildings in Washington, and you have a lot of wasted energy and cost.

So, what is the best way to eliminate this unnecessary expense? Simply unplug your electronics when you are not using them. In your entertainment area, where you may have many devices with plugs, put them on a power strip. Instead of having to unplug every item individually, you can just flip the switch on the power strip (or unplug it if it doesn’t have a switch). Some products, like this one, even let you be specific about what devices get power and when. The good news about eliminating phantom load from your home is that it doesn’t require any real change in lifestyle. Plus, it will save you money like 1-2-3.

Fall into Fall

fall leaves

fall leavesThere are so many things to relish in the autumn—cool air, yellow leaves, football, baked goods, and cozying up with loved ones. However, with the fall also comes a little seasonal maintenance that could help you enjoy your time indoors.

  • Holiday get-togethers – Are you ready to host that extended family for the huge meals of the holidays? Would you feel more comfortable having guests over with a remodeled kitchen or bathroom? Or perhaps it’s your New Year goal to revamp a couple of rooms in your home. Give Model Remodel a call, and we’ll see what we can do to make your home as warm and welcoming as possible.
  • Skylights – What better way to experience the change of seasons than through skylights? They give you the peaceful pitter patter of rain as the wet season sinks in. They also let in the much-coveted light during those short, grey days we know all too well.
  • Gutters – With the beautiful autumn leaves comes clogged gutters. This can damage paint, stress gutters due to weight, and even cause leaks inside your home if left unattended. Hire it out or get your hands dirty, but either way, make sure your gutters get cleared. And while you are thinking about your gutters, do yourself a favor and cover your spigots so your pipes don’t freeze!
  • Staying warm – Don’t forget about all those parts of your house that help keep you warm during the cold months. Consider upgrading insulation, changing your furnace filter, having it tuned it up, and getting your fireplace cleaned. Also check the batteries on your smoke detectors, especially when daylight savings hits. Then, just focus on hunkering down and relaxing with your family.

If Model Remodel can help you with any of your autumn house projects, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us at 206-282-2150 or smile@modelremodel.com. Wishing everyone a beautiful fall!