Before & After: Grand Capitol Hill Remodel

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Our recent clients, a couple working in Seattle tech, purchased this 1909 home for its spacious interior and grand features. The home, located between Capitol Hill and Eastlake in Seattle, is one of many box-style homes in the neighborhood having features such as: a dormer, covered porch and square columns. Though the home had been renovated before, the interior had more Victorian details than modern ones. With the help of local architect Board & Vellum, designer Jules Thomas of Maker Agent and our build team, the couple reimagined some of the major spaces and made quick updates to modernize others. The result is a truly stunning modern home that retains its historical grandeur. Note: The interior design of the home is currently still in progress, and we look forward to sharing updates upon its completion.

Before:
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After:
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The entryway and stairs received a touch-up with new painting, flooring and a fireplace addition. The fireplace was a change that occurred during the build process, as the living room shaped up to focus on the entertainment system. So that the fireplace did not compete with the TV, the original brick fireplace was removed from the living room and a new traditional, marble fireplace was added to the family room where it becomes the focal point. [Read more…]

Columbia City Backyard Cottage

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Location: Columbia City

Type: Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU)
Year Built: 2016
Building Recap: Detached office and guest house built in the backyard
Considerations: Sustainability, multi-purpose usability, maximizing square footage

The DADU is a building by many names: backyard cottage, mother-in-law unit or carriage house are also widely used. This backyard cottage in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood was recently built by Model Remodel and designed by live-work-play as an extension of the existing bungalow home, though a separate structure entirely. The owners intend to use the dual-purpose space as a home office and extra storage, and have found new use for their backyard space with the fun, blue dwelling. Receiving a Built Green 4-star certification means the property is not only functional, but it’s highly sustainable too!

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units are small structures next to, most-often behind, the existing home on a lot. They can be used for a variety of purposes including: guest house, rental property, yoga or art studio, hobby space, and more. DADUs are a great way to supplement living space without creating a traditional home addition. Since they’re separate from the main property, they have more flexibility and opportunity for evolution as the owner’s needs change. In 2001, Seattle legalized the addition of these small properties on residentially zoned lots, making this couple one of the many homeowners taking advantage of the change. [Read more…]

Going up! House Lifting 101

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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.

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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…]

Blue Ridge Boeing Castle Taken to New Heights

Cindy Apple Photography

Cindy Apple Photography

Location: Blue Ridge
Type: House
Year Built: 1931
Remodel Recap: Kitchen, bathrooms, stairway, mudroom
Considerations: Preserving historic charm, modernizing and opening up the space

Land originally purchased for timber by William E. Boeing, founder of The Boeing Company, was built into a neighborhood for company executives in the early 1930s. A series of five brick homes were constructed and appropriately dubbed “the castles” by local residents. With spectacular views of the Puget Sound and Olympic mountains, this home was a catch for a local family of four who purchased it mid-2015. The 3-bed, 2.5-bath boasts plenty of yard space, a grand ballroom-style living room and a carriage house. As expected from a Depression-area home, the utilities and hubs of the home (bathrooms and kitchen) needed some work. From dated to dreamy, Satterberg Desonier Dumo and our team at Model Remodel helped these Blue Ridge homeowners take their historic property to new heights with some major updates and much-needed TLC. [Read more…]

Delightful Wallingford Basement

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In this fun project, we finished a shell of a basement that had been used for storage, turning it into a complex of entertainment and living spaces. Our in-house designer worked with the clients to create a place where they could relax and their kids would feel welcome.

One main feature of our design was a bright playroom complete with a mini rock wall in the corner and monkey bars installed on the ceiling. A new shelving wall with colorful organizers helps to keep the play den in order. The sliding door that connects to the media room provides easy supervision when needed.

In the new laundry room, the team creatively worked to hide a freezer underneath a faux cabinet. The workers carefully calibrated the springs of the lid so that it would come down gently around small hands. [Read more…]

Wallingford Whole House Remodel

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Sometimes, all an older home needs is a little TLC. We updated this 1920’s home with mechanical and electric work, new plumbing, finishes, and lead abatement, to give it the fresh appearance our clients were looking for.

We started by converting the underutilized attic space into a beautiful master bed and bath. In the process, our crew reframed the aging ceiling to improve the appearance and save the owners money in the long run. Sleek new cabinets and wood finishes added texture, while new VOC-free white paint and recessed lighting brighten the room.

One of the most unique new features of the house is the master bath in the attic, which is complete with a standalone tub and a steam room. The steam area has fold-out wooden benches for the couple to sit and melt the stress away. A hanging glass sculpture complements the elegance of this at-home spa.

[Read more…]

Camano Island Dream Cabin

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Working in a unique location is always a treat for the Model Remodel crew. This past year, we worked with Baan Architects to create a one-of-a-kind, upscale cabin on the shores of Camano Island to act as a meeting place for a globetrotting family.

The beachfront cabin, which sits at the North end of the island, is brand-new right down to the foundation. It boasts an enormous La Cantina 23’ x 12’ sliding glass wall and an open plan kitchen and loft to take advantage of the spot’s gorgeous views of Puget Sound’s Skagit Bay and Whidbey Island.

The designer made some appealing choices in the finishes. The white appliances and surfaces, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, help to maximize the light in the house. But then a two-story dark gray wall and matching fireplace insert add some sophistication. The airy interior has a distinct wood against steel aesthetic that you can see in the stair and railings combination in particular. Aside from that, the homeowners decorated with a global flair, matching pieces they’ve brought back from their travels. [Read more…]

Bitter Lake Bungalow Master Suite

The homeowners of this Bitter Lake bungalow created a lot more bang for their buck when they decided to transform their attic into a glowing master suite.

Prior to the remodel, the attic was a bare, dated single space. It offered limited insulation, and the couple had to travel downstairs to use the bathroom. So, they called Model Remodel to transform the attic into a beautiful master suite.

The project began with Model Remodel’s in-house designer reimagining the whole space. First, she exposed the collar ties and consequently raised the ceiling line, making the relatively small space feel instantly larger and more open. Further improving lighting, she added skylights and strategically positioned one so the homeowners could stargaze from their bed. Finally, she added a closet, a TV nook, and a wall to close in the new bathroom.

The biggest transformation came with the new bathroom, which the Model Remodel crew built from the bottom up. It entails marble hex tile, a bathroom vanity of warm sapele wood, a doorless shower, and a modern track door. The designer also installed a laminated detail behind the vanity mirrors, to add visual texture to the space. [Read more…]

Bellevue Back Addition

To fully take advantage of their love for gardens, gardening and grilling, this Bellevue couple called in Model Remodel to build a 280-square-foot addition off the back of their home.

Waiting as long as possible to open the home up to the elements, Model Remodel carefully constructed the addition. The team of carpenters and subs excavated by hand and shovel the dig-out for the foundation, set the foundation forms, poured the concrete, and then began erecting the framing. From there, the team installed internal gutters, roofing, windows, doors, siding, drywall and finally, they meticulously matched the new trim and flooring to the existing ones.

CAST Architecture designed the addition, creating a space that generated cool, welcome breezes via the new room’s French doors. The doors- on both the north and south side of the room- are the perfect recipe for air movement. When the doors are wide open, the addition gives the feeling of a covered patio, while maintaining all the advantages of indoor living. [Read more…]

Backyard Shed in Seattle’s Greenwood Neighborhood

Model Remodel met this artistic Greenwood client at the Phinney Neighborhood Association Home Design and Remodel Fair in January. She wanted to turn her underwhelming, minute backyard shed into one that would have the ambience of an escape—a place to gaze at the garden, paint and just relax. The project was a team effort by Model Remodel’s new in-house designer, Cat Schmidt, and new supervisor, Lincoln Skrypeck. The crew added new siding, roofing, insulation and windows. Now, it does just the trick for this homeowner!