Maximize the assets you already own

Maximize the assets you already own

Backyard Cottage and DADUs 
Maximize the assets you already own, like your home and your property.

The holidays are a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the functionality and usefulness of your home. Entertaining friends, family, and pets for one-day celebrations as well as hosting guests for extended stays, really highlight what works, what doesn’t, and what the dream may be. Maybe it is a remodel to open up the kitchen to the living space – perfect or entertaining – or the need for extra space to accommodate extended family for longer periods of time – whichever, both are good to start discussing immediately if you are considering having it done in time for the 2023 holiday season!

ADUs grow out of a variety of design opportunities. When the additional living space is contained within (think basement, attic) or physically attached (like a converted attached garage or an addition) they are called ADU – or attached accessory dwelling unit. An ADU has the design advantage of feeling like just another part of your home if you want it to and has less of a cost impact due to the easy access to systems/utilities and building no or less exterior walls.

Sometimes, however, it makes sense to have the additional space detached – which is often referred to as a backyard cottage or detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU). More costly than an ADU, but with other advantages (like sound, and privacy for just two) that have additional opportunities for increased value as well.

In today’s crazy world, maximizing your existing assets — like your home and property – is not only smart but sometimes the “easiest” solution for maximum return.

If you find lack of space is your biggest obstacle, many people consider finishing out a basement or adding square footage to the existing home. Neither are an inexpensive endeavor when done right, so we often encourage families to consider diving deeper and maximizing the effort by expanding scope into an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU). Yes, it costs more and there is often equal to not more value added to your home immediately – not many investments can boast that kind of return!

A few reasons why ADUs pencil out:

Perfect Guest Space
While most of us love having friends and family at our house, things can get a little uncomfortable, especially if you don’t have extra space to begin with. A backyard cottage makes for the perfect guest house friends and family will love!

Ideal for Family Members
These structures make for the perfect in-law suite or multi-generational housing options. Whether you have an aging-in-place family member or your young adult just graduated from college, an ADU allows independence while saving money and being close by to provide support.

Income Generating Rental Opportunities
Have you ever considered investing in rental properties? If so, an ADU is a smart choice! You can rent it out for short periods or fill it with a full-time tenant. Because these units have their own entrance, bedroom, and bathroom, they make for the perfect vacation destination or long-term rental.

Increase Your Property Value
Another benefit of building an ADU is that it will increase your property value. With rental housing costs and the lack of available units, ADUs are becoming more and more popular and are in high demand. Having one on your property will give your home a competitive edge when it comes time to sell.

Sustainable Housing Solutions
The new generation of homeowners and renters are much more concerned with their ecological footprint than ever before. Accessory dwelling units are low-impact housing solutions that tend to use far fewer harmful resources compared to building traditional homes. Because they are small in size, they also require less energy to light, heat, and cool. And utilizing space on an existing housing property rather than breaking new ground is always the more environmentally-friendly approach!

This holiday season, consider giving yourself the gift of more or more flexible space, and consider the real estate investment opportunity “right in your own backyard.” Reach out to us today to help you get started on that path!

Check out our photo gallery page to view a few of our recent backyard cottage, DADU, and ADU projects.

When It Comes To The Smallest Details – Size Does Matter

When It Comes To The Smallest Details – Size Does Matter

MHC Butcher Block to QuartsFinish work is often about the smallest of details, and it takes the right carpenter with an extensive line of experience to execute it precisely. No matter how beautifully designed, this high level of detail work is the first thing that will catch any visitor’s eye when they walk into a room. Whether it is intricate tile work, crown molding, built-in custom cabinets, or live edge shelving, you will not regret taking the extra step to integrate this level of work into your new construction or remodel.

Most seasoned finish carpenters know the tricks of the trade about getting it right. This requires them to think quickly and adapt to any given situation. A successful finish carpenter also needs to have an eye for the work and dedication to making every single detail work. We pride ourselves on our fine craftsmanship, and we are committed to every project from start to finish – down to the very smallest detail.

Check out our Details photo gallery from projects throughout the years. Contact us to let us know which are your favorites and how we can help integrate extra fine details into your upcoming or existing projects. We look forward to hearing from you.

Rethinking The Details Of That Cozy Retreat

Rethinking The Details Of That Cozy Retreat

Integrating a safe and eco-friendly fireplace into your design.


MHC eco friendly fireplace webIf 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.


Click here 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.
Covered Porches and Backyard Spaces

Covered Porches and Backyard Spaces

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.
Going Up and Out!

Going Up and Out!

A few weeks ago we notified neighbors that there would be some construction noise this month at one of the houses in their neighborhood. Kids growing out of space is the official reason to get this project underway, but actually getting started was a dream that was a long time coming. The expanded views that this remodel second story accesses are stunning and that extra space is nice with a good sized family. What has been just imaginations figment is starting to take shape and form. It is amazing how fast the projects get going once all the mise en place is done.
Photos courtesy of neighbor, Larry! 

Backyard building under construction
Backyard Playhouse under construction
Backyard Playhouse
Growing in the Green Belt

Growing in the Green Belt

Picture of Blue Home with Trees behind it.

Mighty House Construction and ming | architecture and design present Growing in the Green Belt for the 2021 NW Green Home Tour.

When we met this family of four (Mom, Dad, Daughter, and Son), they were living in chosen simplicity in a small 2-bedroom/1-bath home, less than 1000 sq ft. As the kids were growing, they knew it was time to expand, and they assembled a project team who they could trust to guide them through the process and who understood their minimalist approach – Grace Huang of ming| architecture and design and Mighty House Construction.

The family was concerned about maintaining a small visual impact in the neighborhood and keeping within a limited budget. There was great effort to design the new second floor to feel like it had been there a long time and will continue to be around a longtime. A lower roof height and vaulted ceilings reduced the overall height yet didn’t reduce the amount of usable floor space.

The new 720-sq-ft second floor contains 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. The new bath is designed with privacy details to allow the entire family to use the room at one time. The parents intentionally avoided the typical primary bedroom/bath suite – this saved both resources and space. The former first-floor bedrooms became multipurpose spaces –one became the stairs, laundry room and pantry; and the other became a flex room that serves as den, office, online school classroom, crafts space, or guest room. The new covered back deck provides a year-round outdoor space and greater connection to the yard and green space beyond.

Green features include:

A ductless mini-split heat pump replaced the gas furnace on the main floor. Ductless heating and cooling systems are two-way heat pumps that transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding refrigerant. The Dept of Energy reports that heat pumps produce up to 4x the energy they consume.

Infrared radiant heat ceiling panels and cove heaters by Mighty Energy Solutions provide heat on the 2nd floor. Infrared radiant heaters utilize the same physical properties that warm the earth from the sun (minus UV radiation). Panels are heated by infrared coils which radiates energy down —heating the objects in the room inc. the floor, furniture, and people. The heated objects radiate heat out, warming the space faster and longer with very little electricity. This contributes to healthy indoor air quality by not circulating dust/pollutants and they require need zero maintenance.

WhisperGreen Exhaust Fans in the new laundry and bathroom help regulate humidity.One contributor to unhealthy air quality can be buildup of moisture and potential growth of mold and mildew. These fans operate automatically until moisture levels are normal and are a great option for bathrooms and laundry rooms, where moisture is generated in a home.

Two pairs of Lunos HRV’s (heat recovery ventilators) in the bedrooms bring in fresh air and exhaust stale air, while pre-heating the incoming air with heat from the exhaust air. These units are quiet, communicate wirelessly to work in tandem, filter the incoming air, and are a great way to save energy.

An exterior tankless water heater saves space and a dual flush toilet reduces water use.

Marmoleum was used in the kitchen and the new bathroom. Marmoleum is a natural linoleum made from linseed oil and mixed with other natural products on a jute backing. It is also naturally resistant to bacterial growth, making it an extremely hygienic flooring choice.

Cork flooring was used in the new bedrooms. As cork is bark, it is a rapidly renewable resource, a great sound and thermal insulator, anti-static, hypo-allergic, impermeable, and fire retardant.

No VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints were used in the project, ensuring the highest indoor air quality.

The south facing roof was kept clear of roof penetrations to maximize solar access for future solar panels.

Products such as Kebony decking, fiber cement siding, and Ceasarstone quartz countertops were selected for durability and low maintenance.