Project Spotlight: Aging in Place in a Split Level

Sometimes sustainability is about enhancing the longevity of what you already have. This couple wanted to stay in the home, garden, and neighborhood they love as they look forward to aging. With modest updates and practical design by Sheri Newbold of Live Work Play, we were able to create an accessible space that will enable these homeowners to continue to live in and enjoy their home for many years to come.

A widened window in the master bedroom creates a comfortable sitting area to enjoy their garden and bird watch.

In the bathroom, we added grab bars, a fold down seat for bathing, and created a zero threshold shower. All light fixtures are energy-saving LED with dimmer switches.

Most important was how to get from the garage to the main floor of their 1960s split level home. The existing stairway would not work with a chair lift, so they chose to add a Garaventa elevator to make accessing the second story easy. They also wanted to widen the hallway and increase the width of two doorways to 36″ to access the master suite.

Check out more photos in our Flikr gallery.

Tips for a Beautiful Backsplash

The Seattle Times recently published an article highlighting the ways that simpler, subtler backsplashes are becoming more and more popular. Here are some of their best tips, alongside a Mighty House spin.

From The Seattle Times:

  • It’s worth hunting for high quality ceramic or porcelain.
  • Choose a neutral color or coordinate it with your countertops – you won’t get tired of it and neither will buyers down the road.
  • Get creative with shape or arrangement instead of color, like choosing hexagonal tiles or laying them vertically instead of horizontally.
  • If you cook a lot, be sure to stay away from big grout lines and marble so you won’t have to waste time scrubbing them down.

Additional thoughts:

  • A backsplash is not always required in a kitchen – depending on how you cook and clean. It’s also a feature that’s easy to add on later!
  • Glass tile is another great option and it’s even better if you can find it as recycled material or salvaged!
  • Natural stone, such as marble, is a mined non-renewable resource, so we discourage using it whenever possible.
  • Stainless steel behind the stove is easy to clean and has a simple, minimalist look.

Check out more backsplash inspiration on our Mighty House Flickr page and read the full Seattle Times article here.

Find Salvage Inspiration with Second Use

At Mighty House, using salvaged materials is one of our favorite ways to minimize the impact of our projects on the planet. By incorporating reclaimed pieces in your home you can save money while also keeping those items from going in the landfill. Plus, they can add unique style and character to your space.

Did you know that Second Use Building Materials offers an easy way to shop for reclaimed items and materials? Head over to their online Inspiration Gallery to see what inspires you!

 

Creative Corner: Solutions for Older Homes

Sustainability is often about creativity and working with what you’ve got. This is especially the case when remodeling older homes, many of which were not built with modern kitchen design or location in mind.

At this home in Leschi, the existing kitchen windows were lower than standard counter height. Our solution was to create a window-well behind the sink. This allowed the windows to stay in place, while also reducing cost, minimizing landfill waste and preserving the home’s old world charm.

See more photos of our kitchen remodel projects here.

Project Spotlight: Contemporary Wedgwood Kitchen

While this kitchen was never the prettiest, what really drove these homeowners to Mighty House was how it severely lacked any sort of functionality – from layout and cabinet style to lack of functioning outlets and poor storage, the homeowners found it nearly impossible to cook solo — never mind as a collaborative family effort!

With a substantial shift in layout and only a few inches of change in footprint, their designer provided a concept that has revolutionized how they nourish themselves and socialize in their home.

BEFORE

 

AFTER

The original layout was quite traditional with its 3-point work triangle between fridge, sink, and stove, however, it severely lacked functional workspace. By moving the refrigerator just slightly out of the “ideal zone” they gained over 13 square feet of countertop. In actuality, the total functional counter space was doubled beyond that by replacing the poor storage capabilities of the 1950’s, narrow, non-adjustable shelf cabinets with durable, sustainably-manufactured, and locally-produced cabinetry from Canyon Creek.

Recycled Paper Countertops by Trea – made from post-consumer recycled paper and bonded with a petroleum-free, water based system. The material is strong, durable, hygienic, and resistant to staining and heat damage. Composite recycled paper countertops are environmentally friendly, elegant, and contribute to healthy indoor air quality.

Marmoleum, or natural linoleum flooring is very durable and made entirely from natural, readily renewable ingredients (linseed oil, rosin binders, wood flour, limestone, dry pigments , and a natural jute backing). Naturally resistant to bacterial growth it is a spectacular alternative to other sheet goods.

Other healthy home solutions include:

  • No-VOC paints
  • Low-maintenance finishes and appliances
  • Weather-resistant doors and windows
  • Mini-split ductless heat pump
  • Energy Star appliances

window and LED light next to refrigerator

Between opening the kitchen to the dining room to maximize light from those windows, replacing the back door with a glazed version, and adding a Solatube in the kitchen this project maximized the potential for daylighting their space reducing the need for mechanical illumination. The homeowners took it one step further and used LED bulbs throughout.

Project Spotlight: Blue Kitchen Ravenna

Kitchens are the hearthstone of the home — a place to nourish, console, debate, love, and celebrate. After raising a family in this classic home, the kitchen had reached its limits. After research and design advice from their design team at Greenhome Solutions and builder Mighty House Construction, the homeowners were able to achieve their vision of an updated kitchen that not only met their dark green renovation goals but also would sustain their needs and give them an enjoyable, beautiful space to sip their morning coffee.

Creative, Budget Conscious Design – Farm sinks are unusual and beautiful but often not inexpensive – nor are the cabinets that fit them. Here an IKEA sink and cabinet were used in conjunction with Canyon Creek doors to maintain consistency. The Katana line by Canyon Creek is offered at an excellent price point for people on a tight budget. Made in Monroe, Washington, in a state-of- the-art facility, the finish is completely cured when delivered to the job site providing excellent indoor air quality. Canyon Creek cabinets are available through Greenhome Solutions.

Reused Tile Backsplash – Reusing salvaged building materials is a sustainable alternative to buying new products. Salvaged materials greatly reduce natural resource consumption and landfill demand. A great alternative to buying new! The tiles used in this project were salvaged from a previous project on site

Creative Salvage – Salvaging old materials is a great way to give your space character without opening your wallet. It’s also a way to mix old in with the new. This door
to the basement was made with custom shutters repurposed from the previous owner’s own shutter business.

Which features of this kitchen might you implement in yours? Let us know!

Contemporary Wedgwood Kitchen @ NW Green Home Tour

Join us for the 2017 NW Green Home Tour! This year we will be showcasing multiple sites on both Saturday and Sunday. A Westwood Addition, a Wedgwood Contemporary Kitchen Remodel, and a Modern-Retro Westside Kitchen.

Sunday April 30, 2017 | Contemporary Wedgwood Kitchen at 4008 NE 86th St

Saturday April 29, 2017 | Westwood Addition at 9323 31st Place SW

Saturday April 29, 2017 | Modern-Retro Westside Kitchen at 3726 SW Austin St

11am – 5pm | FREE TICKETS

While this kitchen was never the prettiest of kitchens, what really drove these homeowners to Mighty House was how severely it lacked any sort of functionality – from layout and cabinet style to lack of working outlets and poor storage, the homeowners found it nearly impossible to cook solo (never mind as a collaborative effort) in their kitchen! With a substantial shift in layout and only a few inches of change in footprint, their designer provided a concept that has revolutionized how they nourish themselves and socialize in their home.

Updates include: New, locally-produced, sustainably manufactured cabinets, colorful marmoleum flooring, innovative and cost-saving LED lighting solutions, Trea composite paper countertops, two Solatubes for enhanced daylighting, new, more weather-resistant door, no-VOC paints, and re-purposed glass from windows for cabinets doors.

Project Spotlight: Deep Green Westwood Addition

The goal for this DEEP GREEN Westwood Addition designed by LD Arch, was to transform a typical Seattle war-box home into one that is intriguing, yet approachable with a modern, super-functional design for an expanding family.

BEFORE

AFTER

Mighty House added a second story with a master bedroom and bath, a family sized porch, and a kitchen refresh. The family had an eye on choices to increase comfort, efficiency, and a healthy indoor environment that also made budget sense. The result, is a beautiful two-story addition that includes simple and complex sustainable building solutions suitable for projects of all sizes.

The floor plan of the existing house was largely untouched, but the the thoughtful design of the addition allowed the second story and new porch to complement it with a new modern aesthetic and improved functionality.

Kitchen with teal backsplash

Recycled glass tile, locally produced cabinetry with non-toxic construction, and an existing oak floor refinished with a water based finish, gave this kitchen and dining space a completely new look with very few new materials.

The south-facing windows high on the wall of the upper floor allow sunlight to wash over the ceiling and into the space, creating a naturally bright and welcoming master suite. Infrared Radiant Ceiling Panels provide a cozy, efficient heat source without impeding furniture placement or blowing dust and allergens around. And a Solatube in the master closet greatly reduces fabric-damaging UV rays while maintaining all the benefits of daylight.

large front porch with wood panel ceiling

Salvaged front porch ceiling paneling, reuse of existing siding on the new structure, and reusing the old front porch as the back are just a few of the creative ways we minimized resource consumption & gave new life to old materials.

See more photos of this project on Flikr

Modern Retro Westside Kitchen on the NW Green Home Tour

Join us for the 2017 NW Green Home Tour! This year we will be showcasing multiple sites on both Saturday and Sunday. A Westwood Addition, a Wedgwood Contemporary Kitchen Remodel, and a Modern-Retro Westside Kitchen.

Saturday April 29, 2017 | Modern-Retro Westside Kitchen at 3726 SW Austin St

Saturday April 29, 2017 | Westwood Addition at 9323 31st Place SW

Sunday April 30, 2017 | Contemporary Wedgwood Kitchen at 4008 NE 86th St

11am – 5pm | FREE TICKETS

Once awkward and dimly-lit, this Modern-Retro Westside Kitchen was creatively altered for improved use, better socializing, a place to sit, and enhanced storage in an inviting and lovely space. This project showcases stunning and colorful sustainable solutions for big functionality in small spaces.

Updates include:

  • Locally produced Canyon Creek cabinets
  • Salvaged Ceaserstone countertops – from Second Use, with zero VOCs
  • Re-used materials that already existed in the home – such as kitchen appliances, butcher block, and tile on the walls in the bathroom
  • Blue Marmoleum flooring, that is non-toxic, anti-microbial, and durable
  • Creative plan to open and lighten up the space
  • Maximized amount of natural day-lighting entering the room
  • All around non-toxic and healthy finishes
  • Rather than a full bathroom remodel, these homeowners chose to make modifications to the existing room, saving money and materials from the landfill

blue stairs

New Book: Remodeling Advice from an Architect

Are you thinking about remodeling your home but feeling unsure of where to start? A new book by our friend + colleague Stephanie Wascha of Wascha Studios, summarizes what she’s learned from 18 years as an architect, on two key subjects. First is how to prepare for your project – information you’ll need to give your architect, how to establish your priorities and save money. Second, she outlines how to avoid major conflict when you and your partner have different ideas in mind.

More info here. Available from Wascha Studios as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like.