Josh Brincko – Architect of the Month

Josh Brincko of JOSH ps (professional service corp) is a fabulous
architect whom Mighty House enjoys working with. Josh focuses and excels at modern architecture and design. He likes modern architecture because it focuses on solving design problems in a way that functions the best for users of building rather than applying decorative elements to a building like traditional architecture. Creative solutions and fine details are his thing. Josh says theres so much more to architecture than just placing walls, doors, and windows.

Josh, can you tell us a little about your early career and background?

My next door neighbor growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, was our area’s most desirable builder and owned Donoghue Construction. “Lefty” had me on jobsites as a kid and taught me all the practical stuff I know about construction as I helped him build residential projects. In high school, I took a CAD class, and my computer lost months of work just one week before a big project was due. I called local architects to ask them if they had a computer with AutoCAD I could use after school. One guy (Mark Hanahan of Hanahan Strollo Architects) said YES, and I spent hours and nights in his office redoing my work. He noticed my work ethic and offered me a job after I graduated high school. I continued to work with Mark and Lefty through 6 years of architecture school while at Kent State University. Towards the end of college, Hanahan and Strollo split their firm that specialized in schools and hospitals. A staff of over 50 people went with Strollo, and I was the only one that went with Hanahan. He threw me right into some really cool residential projects where I could build upon my experience building homes with Lefty. I quickly found out that designing homes was my passion, and I moved to Seattle where the coolest homes in the world were being designed. Stuart Silk Architects and Prentiss Architects taught me the craft of designing high-end modern homes. Using this experience, my own style, and my background with construction, I started my own company to enrich people’s lives through innovative architecture.

What about architecture is juicy for you?

I love designing customized functional architecture, with built-in pieces that makes living easy. There’s so much more to architecture than just placing walls, doors, and windows.

Do you have a particular style that you tend to lean towards?

I like modern architecture because it focuses more on solving design problems in a way that functions the best for the users of a building rather than applying decorative elements to a building like traditional architecture.

How do you approach sustainable building and remodeling?

In all projects, I try to “trap” as much energy in a building as I can. Innovative ways of using insulation and caulk plays such a key role in making the “envelope” of a building tight, so energy doesn’t leak out. I have become quite a nerd when it comes to “putting a nice coat” on a building. I always tell clients, “you can buy an expensive Patagonia coat, but it’s not going to keep you warm unless you zip it up.” Houses work the same way.

Can you think of a recent project that you’re proud of where you were able to influence the way the homeowners live, play and grow in their home?

I designed a house on Alki on 59th that does this quite well. They started with an existing bungalow and asked for a traditional upper floor addition. After looking at their lifestyle and things that interest them, I gave them a functional modern residence that embraces the views, maximizes natural light, provides outdoor living spaces, and has roofs facing south for future solar panels. They loved it immediately when they saw the drawings. Somehow I knew they really didn’t want a traditional house even though asked for one.

Josh’s recent project on Alki

Solar Star – Green Building Material of the Month

The Solar Star Attic Fan is a solar powered fan designed to suppress heat build up and battle moisture. This fan comes with a 5 year warranty, is whisper quiet, and leakproof. It is a great solution for Pacific Northwest homes that experience some high temps for a few weeks during the summer. Most homeowners report a 10 degree difference in their home. In addition it will help the utility costs incurred from increased temperatures and ease the workload of AC’s. Solar Star Attic Fan’s help during the winter too! The fan equalizes interior and exterior temperatures which helps to prevent damage to insulation and framing materials produced by moisture accumulation. Or, if you already have an attic vent, Solar Star makes a conversion kit so you can change it to a solar powered vent.

Salvaged Doors + Windows at Second Use

Second Use Building Materials is hosting our own Doug Elfline, for a FREE education session on working with salvaged doors and windows. Doug will guide attendees in assessing window and door projects to see if using salvaged materials is an option, demonstrate how to choose appropriate salvaged windows and doors, and share tips for proper installation and maintenance.

Saturday, July 11
Second Use Build Materials
3223 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
RSVP‘s appreciated but not required.
Drop in any time!


Tips for a “Cool” Summer Home

When heat waves hit the Pacific Northwest it can be tough to stay cool in homes designed for a temperate climate! Here are some tips to help release the heat!

1. Close Your Windows

This may seem counter-intuitive, but closing your windows will help keep cool air in and hot air out. You can open them back up at night when the temperatures drop but then close them in the morning before leaving the house.

BONUS: Get a window fan that blows hot air out in the early evening & brings cool air in over night.

2. Let Nature Be Your Air Conditioner

With the help of fans of course! Strategically place fans throughout your home and open windows and doors to create a cross breeze if the air outside is cooler than inside. They have window fans that will work in both directions so you can blow hot air out and cool air in.

BONUS: Put a shallow bucket of ice in front of the fan, take caution of the water created from the melted ice.

3. Eat Cool

Turning the stove or oven on will only increase the temperature in your home. Eating cold foods for dinner such and salad or gazpacho can help to keep your core temperature down as well as your home temperature. If you do want to eat hot food the grill is the best way to go so all the heat will stay outside.

4. Hang Out in all the “Cool Places”

If you’re lucky enough to have shaded areas in your home or yard, or super luck and have a below-ground basement, try to spend most of your time in these spaces. That might mean moving y our computer to the kitchen table for the day, folding laundry in the living room, or prepping your dinner on the patio.

BONUS: Open windows + doors across rooms from each other to create a cross breeze.

Save the Date – Greenlife @ Summerfest!

Mighty House Construction and Mighty Energy Solutions will have a tent at the GreenLife festival for the 3rd year running! GreenLife is sponsored by Sustainable West Seattle, as part of the West Seattle Summer Fest and this sustainability expo features local businesses with a focus on green and sustainable practices. Our very own Laura Elfline will be presenting, Smart Home Greatness, on the GreenLife stage Friday, 2pm and she would love to see you there! The Mighty tent will be set up Friday – Sunday. Stop by any time to check out some photos of our recent projects, test out our radiant heat panels, and play giant Jenga then check out the petting zoo!
Friday July 10 – 12
Friday/Saturday, 10-6
Sunday, 10-5
California Avenue between Edmunds + Alaska
P.S. If you miss Laura’s presentation this Friday you can catch it @ NW SolarFest 10am on the NW EcoBuilding Guild Stage

Mighty House + Mighty Energy to host Eco-Hour

Mighty House and our sister company Mighty Energy Solutions are co-hosting Eco-Hour with Second Use Building Materials later this month! Eco-Hour is a networking event, organized by NBIS, which focuses on connecting and promoting northwest leaders working at the intersection of business, innovation, sustainability, and community. This is a great place to build relationships with like-minded peers, share ideas, and learn about the activities NBIS and others are carrying out to promote sustainable and profitable business in the region.

Thursday June 25
Second Use Building Materials
3223 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

Drinks and light refreshments will be provided. The cost is free for NBIS members and $15 for non-members. You can RSVP here.

Save the Date: Skagit Power Tours

If you’re interested in getting a behind the scenes look at where your electricity is coming from the Skagit Power Tour is a great opportunity to get inside a powerhouse and see hydropower at work. These tours are lead by park Rangers and naturalist guides from Seattle City Light and the North Cascades Institute. Tour sizes are small and book up quickly so sign up soon if you’re interested! Learn more here.

Cork: Green Building Material of the Month

Cork, commonly known for its use as a wine bottle stopper, is also a fantastic green building material. Cork is made from the outer bark of the cork oak tree which can be found in the Mediterranean region. A typical tree produces several hundred kilograms of cork at each harvesting and will survive for many generations. Cork is harvested on a sustainable basis. Unlike other trees, stripping the cork bark from the tree does not harm the tree, in fact a cork oak tree can be safely harvested 20 times during its life cycle. This rapidly renewable resources makes cork an ideal sustainable building material.

This by-prouct of wine corks is a recycled material that can have many building applications. Cork is naturally fire retardant, impermeable, hypoallergenic and resistant to wear. The value of cork is further enhance by its low conductivity of heat, sound and vibration making great flooring applications for rooms with cold floors or reducing sound transfers on second story additions. In addition to cork flooring there is also cork roofing, exterior walls, interior walls, insulation and ceiling. One of our favorite cork material producers is ThermaCork. Visit their website for more information.

Homestead Community Land Trust

In celebration of each Mighty House anniversary we make a donation to an outstanding non-profit in the area. We like to give back to this community which has given so much to us.  There are so many organizations doing such great work it makes it very difficult to choose. In celebration of our 6th year in business we have chosen to donate to Homestead Community Land Trust.

Homestead’s mission is to empower individuals, stabilize families, and strengthen neighborhoods by creating and preserving affordable home ownership opportunities for low to modest-income homebuyers in the Seattle area. Through this program individuals and families are able to achieve homeownership and stay in their community – ever increasingly areas they may have otherwise been forced to leave due to rent increases. Homeownership helps to increase financial stability for these families because their resources are no longer tied up in commuting, paying high rent, or relocating frequently. And unlike the traditional housing market, homes purchased through Homestead remain affordable for every new buyer even when the previous owner decides to sell. Each dollar spent on a Homestead home is a lifetime investment towards sustainable homeownership and community stability. What is not to love about that! Learn more here.


Power Tools 101 @ Second Use, 6.13.15 | 11-12:30

Join Doug + Laura Elfline on Saturday, June 13 for a free Power Tools Demonstration. If there is a specific tool you have in mind ask Doug ahead of time at info@mightyhouseconstruction so he can try to accommodate your request! Learn about power tool safety and the applications of difference tools to help your become a professional DIY’er! This informal presentation will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get tips for your projects. We hope to see you there!