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.

Garden Kitchen Addition

Garden Kitchen Addition

Sometimes a small targeted addition can make a world of difference. In this case the just-right-sized addition enlarged and updated an older cramped kitchen and created a gracious connection to the back garden for a family that loves cooking and hosting garden parties. This home’s original small kitchen was showing some wear, and the stairs out to the back were narrow and not connected to the kitchen, so having people over for outdoor events was awkward. With a small addition that expands the kitchen and rebuilds the stairs, the kitchen is now large enough for parties and has a good connection to outdoors for entertaining. The “bump-out” addition provides better natural light and ventilation, so that the heart of the home can be a bright and welcoming space. The avid gardener homeowners also have an easy spot to peel off dirty shoes and clothes and store away small gardening tools. Although this is a small addition, there were still several opportunities to build with healthy and energy-efficient materials. Whether your project is big or small, here are some potential strategies you can choose to make your home greener:

  • Quartz counters by Ceaserstone – Manufactured, highly-durable, no-VOC, stain and heat resistant, quartz countertops are produced with a high commitment to health and environmental considerations.
  • Locally-manufactured cabinetry – Local sourced products reduce carbon impact and are made with healthy sustainably harvested materials.
  • Local sustainable butcherblock – The kitchen island is topped with sustainably harvested Pacific Northwest wood butcherblock.
  • Salvaged live edge wood shelves and bench – The shelves and bench are made from salvaged alder wood, thoughtfully crafted to highlight the beautiful natural edge.
  • Energy efficient windows – These wood and fiberglass windows match the original house window style with modern energy efficiency, providing excellent natural daylighting and ventilation.
  • Vapor Smart Air Barrier Wall – The new walls are 2×6 wood stud wall and air sealed at the interior and exterior of the wall with “vapor smart” membranes. These membranes create an air barrier, but also allow trapped moisture to escape from the wall system. Sealing leaks in the building envelope is one of the best ways to improve energy performance – a well-insulated but leaky wall does not perform as well as the R-value listed for the insulation.
  • No VOC Paints – Superior quality no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints ensure the highest indoor air quality
  • No wasted space – Every square inch is thoughtfully utilized to get the most out of this compact addition. Where the footprint would not allow a full-depth cabinet, there are shallower cabinets that provide storage for smaller items. And the former staircase is now home to the refrigerator, a small pantry, and a storage closet at the entry level.
  • Creative solutions – The cabinets are installed “tetris style” to create useful storage at the kitchen level on one side and down a few steps on the other side at the backyard entry level.
NW Green Home Tour 2021 Spotlight: Garden Kitchen Addition

NW Green Home Tour 2021 Spotlight: Garden Kitchen Addition

Stairs going to Kitchen

On May 1 | 9:11:30 am, Mighty House Construction and LD Arch Design will be presenting a Garden Kitchen Addition at the NW Green Home Tour. This home’s original small kitchen was showing some wear, and the stairs out to the back were narrow and not connected to the kitchen, so having people over for outdoor events was awkward. With a small addition that expands the kitchen and rebuilds the stairs, the kitchen is now large enough for parties and has a good connection to outdoors for entertaining. Come ask us about the green features that make this project environmentally friendly.

Kitchen with colorful painting over sink

 

Much Ado About ADUs – MBA Spring 2019

Much Ado About ADUs – MBA Spring 2019

Consider the humble backyard cottage. Its name conjures up images of a cute grandmotherly abode nestled in  deep green foliage. Indeed, this generally small and unassuming dwelling might seem more like a quaint guesthouse than a permanent place someone would choose to live. But people have been happily living in them for years and soon a lot more people-including people you know ­will be living in them, as well.

Read the full article here: Much Ado About ADUS by Laura Elfline