Inviting Sunset Hill Den

This Ballard couple tasked their cute niece and nephew with swinging a hammer into the wall, to kick off this fun remodel. With that, the demolition began, and Model Remodel got to work creating a basement where the couple could enjoy laidback Seahawks games with friends or classy cocktails with one another.

The clients first wanted to open up the basement space. Starting with the stairway, Model Remodel shored up the house above, installed new posts and beams, and were then able to take out the door and wall. In its place, the crew installed an open railing system. They salvaged the rustic lumber for the railing, trim and posts’ casing from another jobsite—a cabin remodel on Camano Island. The cabin’s siding was functional for the basement project, but it also matched the clients’ aesthetic, which centered on exposing various kinds of wood grain.

The three track doors in the basement also came from salvage. The multi-colored door next to the stairs is truly unique. A crew member grabbed from a local salvage company crating material that lined a shipping container. He glued and screwed the pieces together to make the door. The basement’s other two doors also came from the salvage company, but the crew member put extra work into the door adjacent to the kitchenette, to give the wood a distressed look.

The custom wine storage stands out in this basement remodel. The project supervisor, with a background in architecture, designed the wine rack to maximize space and take advantage of the salvaged wood. Rather than just install a square rack under the stairs, he designed an angled rack with a pull-out mechanism—perfect for the wine-loving couple.

Of course, there were more fine bottles to be stored, so Model Remodel planned a kitchenette and bar area in the basement. The crew removed another wall and door to connect the space with the living room. From there, they built the kitchenette from the bottom up, installing cabinets, plumbing and lighting. The clients chose Paperstone countertops, in a color appropriately named Cabernet, and a live-edge juniper for the bar top. An upper awning cabinet stores the clients’ beautiful glassware. The rustic light fixtures match the motif of the rest of the basement.

The sweetest part of the remodel was seeing just how much the crew was making the house a home, when the couple got engaged on site after hours. The pair had bought the home months earlier, with the intention of moving in after Model Remodel finished the remodeling. The soon-to-be husband lured his now-fiancée to the home, saying they needed to make a decision on paint colors. Instead, there were candles, rose petals, champagne, and an even bigger decision to be made! Model Remodel was touched that the company could play a small role in setting the couple off on a long life together in their new home.

Now that the remodel is through, the couple can focus on an even bigger undertaking—wedding planning!

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Model Remodel at the Sustainability Slam

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sustainability slamJoin us Wednesday, April 22 for the AIA Committee on the Environment’s Sustainability Slam. Celebrate Earth Day with presentations about green design and building, including Model Remodel’s presentation on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe with architects Board and Vellum. Speakers will present in the dynamic, short, PechaKucha-style of 20-second PowerPoint slides, limited to 18 slides total. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with light food and drinks, and presentations begin at 6 p.m. The Sustainability Slam will take place at the Waterfront Space in downtown Seattle at 1400 Western Ave. The event is free. For more information about the Sustainability Slam, presenters and to RSVP, click here.

Setting Up the New Office

A month ago, Model Remodel made its new home down the road at 1111 W. Nickerson St. The old office on Westlake is slated for demo, and the site will soon house 725 apartments and a bowling alley, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. While the staff was sad to say goodbye to the old space, everyone is happily getting settled into the new one!

Among the clicking keyboards and document scans, the office is filled with hammers swinging, drills screwing, and ladders unfolding. While the crew put the essentials in place several weeks ago- desks, computers, bathrooms- now they are putting the finishing touches on the things that make the office feel like Model Remodel. The salvaged items and project photos are finding their way to the walls, and the Model Remodel aesthetic is starting to show.

To see how the space comes together, stay tuned to Model Remodel’s Twitter feed, Facebook page and blog. Or, come on over to 1111 W. Nickerson St. to say hi!

Retro Capitol Hill Condo


When this young professional moved from Chicago to Seattle, she bought her first condo in Capitol Hill. Working in Seattle’s theater community, Capitol Hill’s proximity to the city’s entertainment culture was a good fit. However, the dated appearance of the condo wasn’t. Before moving in, she called on Model Remodel to give the unit an overhaul and incorporate her fun retro taste.

In the kitchen, as the project progressed, the team together made the decision to remove one wall. This relatively straightforward change made a world of difference, creating a space that felt more open, welcoming and modern. Then, the crew took apart the kitchen and replaced the sink, countertops and appliances. The cabinets, though, got recycled. Instead of ditching them for new ones, the crew removed the old cabinets, sanded them, painted them, and reinstalled them in a slightly different layout. The grey color fell in line with the client’s retro style, and the reuse matched Model Remodel’s environmental values.

The crew incorporated reuse in other parts of the condo, too. They framed the old bathroom mirror with trim salvaged from a previous job. They also removed one of the mirrored sliding doors from the bedroom and framed it for another part of the home. The crew installed more of the leftover trim as trim itself throughout the unit.

In the rest of the condo, the crew added can lights throughout, set up new electrical systems for safety, and installed floating oak flooring. In the bathroom, they put in a heated floor, new tub, shower controls and retro floor tile. The fireplace is the centerpiece of the living room, reconstructed with 50s-inspired thin white brick—very different from the original gas insert and drywall surround.

Model Remodel’s project manager says the best part of the project was working with such a vibrant, enthusiastic client. Any time the crew presented a question or problem, she was quick with decision. Professional team work was the standout of this remodel.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Model Remodel Wraps Up Job, Ada’s Technical Books and Café Now Open for Business!

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Adas prelim photoBook lovers and techies unite! Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe has swung open its doors, and the space couldn’t be more welcoming.

It is warm with salvaged wood, colorful books and a fireplace. The café serves hearty, seasonal foods, along with beer, wine and of course coffee. Perhaps the biggest standout, though, are the interesting tables. The compass table, in particular, is a Model Remodel staff favorite.

Architects BOARD and VELLUM are responsible for the welcoming design of Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe. Jeff Pelletier worked hard to design a store that respected the original space, the neighborhood, the owners’ vision, and the interests of customers.

On top of that, the bookstore needed to be accessible. “Ada’s is the quintessential ‘third place’ that every neighborhood needs,” Pelletier says. “It [feels] comfortable inside and out and [helps] provide a diverse retail mix for the street.”

The Model Remodel crew built Ada’s out of a 1920s craftsman residential house, which Horizon Books turned into a bookstore in the early 1970s. The used bookstore closed in 2009. In a story by the Stranger, one Seattleite in the comments section remarked that he couldn’t think of a better replacement for Horizon Books than Ada’s. In between Horizon and Ada’s, you might have seen the house with a colorful shell of yarn bombings.

The Model Remodel crew transformed the house into the bookstore you see today by removing the interior walls and ceiling of the house and opening the space up. Site supervisor Matt Everett says it dramatically changed the space from one that felt like an ordinary room to one that was far more airy and monumental. In addition, the crew expanded the space with a 2,500-square-foot addition in the back.

In the process of opening up the space, Model Remodel salvaged the lumber from the original design of the house. The crew used it for the point-of-sales shelving, book-shelving units, and cabinetry. Los Angeles-based artist Nicholas Hernandez used some of the remaining salvaged wood for a hanging sculpture of the space needle. The crew also salvaged the old paneled doors from the original space, which turned into a creative demarcation between the books and the café.

The store officially announced its presence in Capitol Hill on Nov. 2, when the hospitable owners Danielle and David Hulton welcomed a crowd of people for the grand opening. The couple provided snacks from the café, raffled off door prizes from local businesses, and granted sales on books.

The new store has received glowing press in the Capitol Hill blog, the Stranger, and the Daily Journal of Commerce. All involved are especially proud of the opening line from the Stranger, “This could very well be the new most beautiful bookstore in Seattle.”

Customers can buy books from Ada’s ranging in topic from “Einstein: His Life and Universe” to “The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Craft.” The store is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

For professional photos of Ada’s Technical Books and Café, keep your eyes glued to Model Remodel’s portfolio page.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe Will Soon Open its Doors

Ada's photo Jeff

Ada's photo JeffThe Model Remodel construction crew is nearing the finish line at Ada’s Technical Books and Café on 15th Avenue in Capitol Hill, after months of progress. Customers will soon be able to peruse and buy technical books, ranging from computer programming to European architecture. More importantly, though, Ada’s owners, architects BOARD and VELLUM, and Model Remodel have worked hard to transform the old house into a pleasant space where customers will want to relax with a drink and a book for hours at a time.

Most recently, the Model Remodel crew has installed large shelving above the sales area, sales-floor bookshelves, front-display cases, and a wide variety of other small, recycled material throughout the space. Unique about the shelving and display areas is the fact that it comes from salvaged lumber from the original store. The lumber is one of the project’s sustainable features, which supports the larger goal of diverting reusable or recyclable materials from the landfill.

Preserving the character and history of the building is sure to be an asset to the neighborhood. The space previously housed Horizon Books and the neighborhood’s note-worthy yarn bombing.

“One of the great things about this project is [the owners of Ada’s] worked with us on preserving the character of the existing building and not overwhelming the neighborhood with an out-of-scale building,” says BOARD and VELLUM principal architect Jeff Pelletier. “This small little house had stood as a book store for decades, and we were able to continue that tradition and maintain the character of this fantastic street.”

Model Remodel and its subcontractors are working around the clock to finish the project. They are in the depths of the “most exciting part of the building process,” according to job supervisor Matt Everett.

“It’s nice to see everything come together and get cleaned up—countertops, plumbing fixtures, lights, appliances, door locks, door stops,” Matt says. “It’s really becoming a show piece.”

The project also features beautiful daylighting; low- and no-VOC paints and finishes; low-impact landscaping; and flexible office space above the store.

The bookstore is slated to open in early November.

For photos of the finished project, visit Model Remodel’s portfolio page next month. For the latest fun events at Ada’s, keep your eyes glued to the company’s blog.