Master Builders Association’s Rampathon 2017 with the MRM Team

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Each year since 1993, Master Builder’s Association (MBA) members and community volunteers head to homes across King and Snohomish counties to build wheelchair ramps for people in need. This year the Model Remodel team stepped up to the plate and offered to build a south Seattle recipient, Laura, a front entry ramp. Laura spent years on her feet as a high school custodian, and has developed a number of conditions that make walking difficult. Her husband and two daughters were also very thankful for the ramp, as it will help them leave the house as a family. [Read more…]

How Model Remodel Got Its Name

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Every person and company has a story to tell. We’re excited to share with you our unconventional story of how a Seattle remodeling company was born from a cosmopolitan modeling career and a deep-rooted love for the state of Washington.

Modeling and Remodeling

Two occupations you don’t often find on the same resume: fashion modeling and home construction. Yet, those are two you’ll see when you look at the resume of our founder, Jason Legat. In junior high he started working for a family friend, Rick Newell, who owned a general contracting business on Whidbey Island. It’s a place Jason, his family, and many of the staff in our office still frequent. After high school, Jason spent a few years traveling the world to model designer clothing including: Nike, DKNY and Pierre Cardin. His heart was always back in Washington and within an industry that provided a more tangible and permanent product. So eventually he moved back and the roles reversed—Jason began leading the business. He officially launched the company in 2002, and retired from modeling shortly after, but retained the history of his career within the name of the business: Model Remodel. It was a little known fact, until now! [Read more…]

The Future of Sustainable Building: Built Green Conference 2016

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On Tuesday, several members from the Model Remodel team attended the Built Green Conference held at Cascadia College in Bothell, WA. We send a few members to every green building conference each year so that we can stay current on trends and remain an active part of the discussion on the future of sustainable building. As Leah Missik, Built Green Program Manager, wrote in the event brochure “though understanding how green building is connected with complex issues such as equity, health, and climate change can be daunting, it is incredibly heartening to know that as we improve in one area, we also rise in others.” As a builder, we are committed to building in a way that is structurally sound, but also environmentally-friendly. We do this because we believe it to be right, it is a shared-value of our entire team, and it is the only way to build for the future. This is a view we thankfully share with a large community of advocates in the Puget Sound area, and it was a pleasure hearing from and speaking with some of these great minds. As Shannon Affholter, Executive Director of the local Master Builders Association, said “It’s about being a good neighbor.”

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The future is looking bright for green building in the Seattle-area. Roughly one-third of new homes built in King County last year were certified Built Green, and the goal is to have 100% enrolled in a green program by 2030. The Built Green team also shared preliminary data that shows [Read more…]

Three Cheers for Subcontractors!

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TREX Awards with Modern Hardwood Floor

Owner Jason Legat poses with Minh Pham of Modern Hardwood Floor

In June, Model Remodel won two Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. Judges granted the awards for the Redmond Revamp and Fremont Houseboat. Of course, Model Remodel did not earn the awards by itself.

As a result of the team effort that goes into a project, REX Award organizers put together another awards ceremony. The T-REX Awards honor the trades people who contributed to the REX-Award-winning projects. For Model Remodel, that included Coates Design, Langford Plumbing, Maple Valley Electric, Modern Hardwood Floor, and Whitelaw Plumbing.

Model Remodel owner Jason Legat attended the awards ceremony in downtown Seattle Sept. 16. He presented the subs with their awards and thanked them for their quality work over the years. Without a doubt, no project would be possible without them.

4-Star Built Green ADU in Seattle’s Columbia City Neighborhood

Pre-construction meetings have just wrapped up for this modern Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in one of Seattle’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. The Columbia City unit will be a photography studio and guest house, with a smart, modern aesthetic.

Sheri Newbold of live-work-play is designing the ADU, with construction going from the ground up. (For the companies’ previous partnership on ADUs, see photos from the Ballard Backyard Cottage.) The lower level will be a garage, with the living area designed above that. Sheri has created a space that is much more than a box; it incorporates an interesting mix of textures and angles. The siding will comprise boral and Hardie lap, with a standing seam metal roof. The materials are resistant to rot and provide “a fortress to the Northwest weather,” according to Model Remodel sales director Mark Lowe.

Model Remodel is especially happy to team up with the clients and designer, as all three parties highly value sustainable remodeling. With features like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) framing lumber, salvaged items for finishes, and fortified insulation, the project is trending toward a 4-Star Built Green Rating.

For progress photos and project updates, keep your eyes on the Model Remodel blog!

Model Remodel Gets the Cover Shot

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Model Remodel and the company’s Towering Alki Home have been selected for the cover story of Premier Builder Magazine! The article highlights Model Remodel’s history, including owner Jason Legat’s interesting past; the company’s core values, which include high-level customer service and a commitment to sustainable remodeling; and a series of recent projects, from the high-performing Eastside Harvest House to the healthy home of the Wallingford Family Kitchen. The magazine also has a one-page story on the Master Builders Association’s Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards, from which Model Remodel won two awards this year.

A very special thank you goes out to Premier Builder’s editor and publisher Curt Hines, who was an excellent partner and helper on the story and photo spread.

Three Cheers for Rick Newell!

Model Remodel last night celebrated the long, industrious, quality career of supervisor Rick Newell. After more than 10 years with Model Remodel as a supervisor, Rick is retiring. With sincere gratitude and affection, the company threw him a retirement party at Reuben’s Brews, complete with family and past employees.

Rick has a long history with Model Remodel. Owner Jason Legat knows Rick well, from growing up on Whidbey Island. Jason began swinging a hammer with him at the age of 14 and regularly refers to Rick as his mentor. By 2004, Jason had started Model Remodel, and Rick was ready to part with the demands of being a business owner. In an interesting role-reversal that the Wall Street Journal wrote about, Rick decided to join Model Remodel, and Jason became Rick’s boss.

The two men have worked together seamlessly since then, and Rick has been an invaluable part of the business. “Rick has not only been a mentor for most of my life,” Jason says, “but he has also been a great role model and friend. I have learned so much from him about how to treat clients, employees and all people with kindness and respect. To have worked with him over the last 30 years has truly been a blessing.”

Former employee Jason McCullough shared in an email, “Rick was my professor, mentor and plain old boss for most of the time I lived in beautiful Seattle, Washington. Those were my real developmental years in remodeling. Rick was hands on with everything and would answer questions or show me a better, less stupid way of doing just about anything. However, he taught me much more than trade skills; he taught me professionalism, work-life balance and how to take real pride in every part of everything one did.”

While Model Remodel will miss Rick dearly, everyone wishes him well in this new chapter of his life. He has certainly earned it!

One Final Award for Model Remodel

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) Award is Model Remodel's fourth award this year
The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) Award is Model Remodel's fourth award this year

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) Award is Model Remodel’s fourth award this year

Model Remodel is closing out its awards season with a final one from the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW)! The Redmond Revamp has won an honorable mention in the Entire House category. The award is shared with Coates Design, the architects of the project. See the full list of winners here.

The BIAW Award is the company’s fourth award of the year. The others came from the Chrysalis Awards and the King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards. Other 2015 winning projects include Ada’s Technical Books and the Fremont Houseboat. See a full list of Model Remodel’s awards and award-winning projects on the company Recognition page.

This is the first year Model Remodel entered the BIAW Awards, but it won’t be the last. Congratulations to all the winners this awards season on all the beautiful completed projects!

Adorable Green Lake ADU

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With her long-term renter moving out, this homeowner in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood decided it was time to remodel her accessory dwelling unit on her home’s second floor, to make it more stylish, functional and a stronger investment.

The biggest challenge was creating a beautiful, functional, airy ADU kitchen, in a roughly 90-square-foot space with a sloped ceiling. Luckily, the homeowner and Model Remodel’s in-house designer clicked, and the two began a dialogue to transform the space. The designer listened carefully to the homeowner’s goals– an important distinction from the homeowner’s initial ideas– and selected materials that matched the client’s aesthetic and budget.

The crew took down the wall that divided the kitchen from the living space and effectively flipped the original layout. Though removing a wall lost some upper cabinet space, the designer planned a peninsula to maximize base cabinet storage, along with countertop space. In the peninsula, she added a sleek, flat-top range and a bar-top seating area. To get the most out of the small space, the designer recommended slightly-smaller-than-standard appliances and creatively added shelving in the nooks along the sloped ceiling.

The result was a bright, open kitchen—the complete opposite of the dark, closed-in look from which it began. The white cabinets, blue walls, and light grey quartz countertops create the effect of more soft, natural light. Model Remodel replaced all the fixtures with more modern ones, keeping with the cool, calming color palette.

Another design choice was keeping with the home’s 1920s character. The lines in the French doors are craftsman, the hardware on the cabinets is oil-rubbed bronze, the backsplash is a glass subway tile, the overhead light fixture is vintage, and the crew exposed the old chimney bricks. The handy homeowner- who is no stranger to construction and even filled in the brick masonry hole herself- also decorated the home with refurbishing projects from Seattle’s salvage stores.

In addition to the remarkable kitchen transformation, the team replaced the ADU’s inefficient French doors and window; added new flashing and railing to the balcony, which had fallen victim to rot; installed new durable, stain-resistant carpet for future renters; updated the electrical work; safely removed the second floor’s asbestos; and insulated the entire space. The unit now feels far less drafty and far more welcoming.

To top off a wonderful partnership, a Model Remodel friend decided to rent the beautiful Green Lake unit. It is no surprise why!

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Model Remodel in Alaska Airlines Magazine

2015-07-01 Alaska Airlines Built Green photo spread
2015-07-01 Alaska Airlines Built Green photo spread

Frequent flyers can find the magazine on Alaska Airlines flights during the month of July

If you’re traveling by air this month, and you’ve chosen Alaska Airlines, give that in-flight magazine another look. Flip to page 124. Alaska Beyond Magazine’s July issue features Model Remodel, partners CAST Architecture, and the two companies’ wonderful Laurelhurst clients who chose green building.

The story highlights the area’s Built Green program. The article opens with a two-page photo spread of the beautiful, 4-Star Built Green Remarkable Laurelhurst Remodel project—a second-story addition to accommodate the home’s growing family. The spread pinpoints the project’s sustainable features, such as refinished floors, radiant heating and natural lighting. The piece also covers the process of remodeling or building within the Built Green program; the financial and environmental benefits of sustainable design; and the cool features of this Built Green home.

So, if you’re on an Alaska Airlines flight, instead of wishing away the minutes, read up on green building! For everyone else, view the story online here.