by Jill Williams | Oct, 2021 | Article, Design + Architecture, Green Building, Tips + Inspiration
Integrating a safe and eco-friendly fireplace into your design.
If you watch HGTV regularly or constantly browsing Pintrest, you will undoubtedly see the trend of adding fireplaces (sometimes in the most unique places) into the design of new builds and remodels. Who doesn’t love the idea of a cozy warm fireplace in their home? Although we recognize that most of the appeal is in the ambience itself, to keep our commitment to provide sustainable innovative solutions, we usually try to steer our clients away from installing wood-burning units.
In general there are no true eco-friendly fireplaces that burn wood or gas. Even though some companies manufacture high-efficiency, wood-burning fireplaces (those that feature a firebox separated from the interior of the home by a sheet of ceramic, heat resistant glass), if they are not maintained regularly and specifically, they lose their efficiency and their particulate rates begin to climb.
If the ultimate goal is to create a cozy fireplace ambiance, we recommend an electric or white (light) gas option. Along with the help of Entero Design
, we installed this beautiful white gas fireplace into the design of a recent remodel in Bellevue (see photo above). This particular fireplace is from ecosmartfire.com, that offers a premium range of ethanol fireplaces and electric fires that comes in many colors, styles and finishes to perfectly accompany the look and feel of your home.
to see more living spaces we have completed over the years and let us know
if we can help you integrate a safe and eco-friendly fireplace into your upcoming design.
If you already have an existing fireplace in your home that you use regularly, especially for heat, here a few tips on eco-friendly ways to use your wood burning fireplace:
- Always burn seasoned firewood. Using dry firewood greatly reduces the particulate matter that is released into the indoor and outdoor environment.
- Burn hardwood trees. Hardwoods burn hotter, longer, and cleaner than softwoods.
- Avoid a smoldering fire. A smoldering fire yields a lot of smoke and releases hazardous particulate matter into the indoor and outdoor air.
- Keep your chimney clean and in good working condition.
by Jill Williams | Oct, 2021 | Green Building, Living, Material Salvage + Reuse, Tips + Inspiration
And, lessening the impact on the environment and your wallet!
Salvaged or reclaimed materials are building materials that have been recycled specifically for reuse. Some people conjure up images of dumpster diving – and while they could be from dumpsters (Doug has been known to pull materials out of dumpsters for reuse), most are building materials that were carefully deconstructed from or home or building and one way to greatly lighten your remodel’s carbon impact. Not only does the reuse of materials lessen the overall impact on the planet, it also can lessen the impact on your wallet while also adding unique character that is hard (and sometimes impossible) to replicate.
Mighty House Construction is a huge proponent of using salvaged materials and finishes. We encourage clients to check out the warehouses at Second Use and like businesses during the early planning stages of their projects.
Often you can find salvaged cabinets, lighting, windows, doors, and fixtures (to just name a few) for up to 50 percent less than buying new – like these cabinets in Doug and Laura’s own kitchen (pictured above). Sure sometimes there are additional costs to making the salvaged materials work in your home (like Doug had to build two upper cabinets to infill), but often there is still a cost savings plus now we get to tell a fun story about our kitchen. (Ask us later!)
The trick with utilizing salvaged materials is that you either let the materials dictate the design or find materials that will fit or can be modified to work with your design. Then you begin the hunt for what will work and start collecting your items. Similar to shopping for that perfect prom dress or tux from a used clothing store, committed hunting usually will lead to some great finds! Like this gem of a counter and backsplash (pictured below) one client found awhile ago planning ahead for the ADU she knew she wanted to build.
Reach out to us anytime if you have ideas of unique ways to used salvaged materials in your project or if you have some items you’d like to use just to update your existing space. No project is too big or too small.
Salvaged Kitchen Backsplash
Salvaged Materials Kitchen Counters
by Jill Williams | Oct, 2021 | Article, Living, Tips + Inspiration
Whether it is your stinky child or a wet dog, fall is the season of stink. As the weather turns colder and wetter we also have less opportunity to open our doors and windows or to air out stink before bringing it in. We recently learned about seemingly simple, healthy, and effective options for battling those lingering odors.
Ozone Laundry System. Ozone is often used in commercial laundry systems as a way to conserve energy and lower overall costs. by replacing hot water and reducing the need/desire to use chemicals. Ozone laundry systems create ozone by combining electricity and oxygen and then dissolves the ozone into the washing water. The oxidation process happens when the ozone water is mixed with organic or “dirty” materials in your laundry and works to kill bacteria, fungi and live viruses in your clothes. It appears that most ozone laundry systems may easily attach to existing washing machines.
Another chemical-free “ozone approach” to keeping your clothes and your home free from lingering odors are Closet Ionic Air Purifiers. They are small, hang in your closet, and use advanced plasma breeze technology to quietly remove odors with safe, natural ozone.
Both of these “smell removing” options are seem safe for you, safe for the environment, affordable, and easy to install.
Speaking of stink… Most people know by now that many laundry detergents don’t completely biodegrade and they contaminate rivers, oceans, and our water supplies, with toxic heavy metals – not to mention their heavy contribution to plastic pollution on a daily basis. Obviously people need to wash their clothes, so we have some simple ideas that can keep your clothes clean and lessen your carbon footprint.
Make the switch away from liquid detergent and pods. These products are usually at least 50% water (an expensive commodity to transport) and may contain toxic chemicals. Choosing powder detergents in cardboard containers (or in bulk in your reused container), is two steps up from the liquid because you tend to use less, save on the added water, and the cardboard packaging is easier to recycle. However, the packing is still very bulky and costly to transport. A third step forward would be to select one of the number of safe and healthy environmentally friendly detergents on the market today that feature zero (or little) plastic packaging with detergent sheets. Google “detergent sheets reviews” and you will find many happy customers.
Let’s not confuse detergent sheets with dryer sheets…just ditch the dryer sheets altogether or use dryer balls or reusable sheets if you must use something.
Let us know if you have other ways you try to keep your home sport stink free or if you try these solutions, we’d love to hear what you think.
by Jill Williams | Aug, 2021 | Article, Tips + Inspiration
If you have seen or heard Laura give a presentation, you’ve heard her talk about how Mighty House is skillful at finding the sweet spot between budget – aesthetics – and function and that you do not necessarily need a radical change to make a radical shift in how you live, play, and grow in your home. However, as she says, sometimes you do! Here are two examples in a bathroom remodel.
The first is a bathroom in Magnolia (pictured below) that already had a great layout for the most part but the finishes were worn out and in some places starting to fail. Certainly there were updates to the layout that *could* have been made, but the function of the space was solid and the cost of moving things around substantial. Not spending money on systems and structure changes gave them flexibility to make the finish choices to modernize their primary bathroom. And we kept the tub – it is huge and would have been painful and expensive to replace, plus it was still in great shape and worked perfectly. To do so, took some finessing of the new fixtures with the old holes, but knowing the right trades partners gave it a seamless finish.
In the realm of “sometimes you do need radical change to make a radical shift” was this bathroom remodel in Madrona (pictured below). The layout was odd, awkward, and not functional. We were able to leave the toilet in the same location (off to the left of the new shower), though the rest really had to shift in order to have substantially more functional – and more lovely – space.
to see more bathroom remodels we have completed over the years and let us know
if we can help you decide what level of remodel is right for you and yours.
by Jill Williams | Aug, 2021 | Article, Design + Architecture
Expanding your home – inside and out!
2020 was hard. And there were some amazing positive outcomes that grew out of the chaos. COVID brought families within single households a little (or a lot!) closer. It slowed down our lives and made us take a long, hard look at the four walls surrounding us that we call home. This new “confined awaking” allowed us the opportunity to rethink how we live, grow, and play in our home. Small, sticky, functional changes became imperative and desirable. One of the most popular home adaptations was to better utilize outdoor space as living space — a trend, we are excited about and predict, and will not fade away any time soon.
Below are examples of two recent outdoor living projects we have built over the past few years. Our family loves to be outside and extending the number of months we can enjoy outdoor spaces is just dreamy. Click here
to see more outdoor living spaces we’ve built over the years and let us know
if we can help your family enjoy an outdoor oasis of your own all year long.
Back Porch Extension After
This well-designed 2nd story addition project included a natural flow right out into this beautiful backyard covered porch addition. Precisely planned, this porch faces west to provide the perfect end to the day as you wind down and enjoy the sunset through the adjacent greenbelt.
Back Porch Extension Before
Before image of the same house before the remodel and backyard porch addition.
Front Porch Addition After
This “family-sized” covered front porch expansion, faces east bringing in an abundance of morning sun and plenty of play space when the weather is less conducive to uncovered fun.
Front Porch Addition Before
Before image of the same house before the remodel and expansion.