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

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.
Kitchen and Master Suite Renovations in Bryant

Kitchen and Master Suite Renovations in Bryant

Barb and Jeff were unsatisfied with their existing kitchen. It had low-functionality with super limited counter area and funky storage solutions.

They also were desperate for a comfortable master suite. There was already a attic space that included a bedroom, though the way it was laid out with an awkward sitting space just didn’t fit the bill nor did it have a bathroom – something that seemed more essential every day as they anticipated family moving in with them alongside their growing child.

Since good friends of theirs had used Mighty House in conjunction with Parker Home Design to complete their kitchen remodel – it was an easy choice for them to bring this team to their home.

The Kitchen

The original kitchen layout severely lacked functional countertops and cabinets. It also posted safety concerns with the stove installed right next to the doorway without any countertop separation. Our team developed a new layout design that created more space to reinstall the stove with countertops on both sides by pushing back the plumbing wall. The new kitchen also features stunning sustainable solutions, such as locally-made and VOC-free cabinetry, heat-resistant and non-porous quartz countertops, and a beautiful Dutch door.

The Master Suite

On the second story, an underutilized space at the top of the stairs separated the master bedroom from the bathroom. Mighty House Construction and Parker Home Design successfully collaborated to convert the entire floor into a practical, cohesive, and comfortable master suite with a master bathroom, plenty of closet space, and beautiful new wool carpet on the stairs and the redesigned connective space. The new master bathroom is tiny but mighty, fitting all the amenities into a small space without sacrificing beautiful features like tile flooring and shower surround and cabinetry to match the home’s aesthetic. The attic work also included a ductless heat pump in the master bedroom, infrared radiant heat in the master bath, and improved insulation to significantly increase both the energy efficiency and comfort to the delight of the homeowners.

Love Your Kitchen, Love Your Family Remodel

Love Your Kitchen, Love Your Family Remodel

Join us for a chance to tour this beautiful kitchen remodel in Ballard

May 5, 2019 on the the Northwest Green Home Tour! 

This family was unhappy with the layout of their existing kitchen. They needed a new kitchen that encouraged social cooking within the family, better storage solutions, and more counter top space. The goal of the project was to create a space where, while one person cooks, the other can occupy the same space to keep each other company.

Through the collaborative efforts of Entero Design and Mighty House Construction, we worked within the existing footprint of their kitchen to create a space that fit their design aesthetic and their personal needs. Entero Design worked with the clients to develop a kitchen layout that encouraged socialization between the couple and incorporated a variety of sustainable finishes and materials to make the space unique. To gain more kitchen space, the unconditioned back porch was enclosed and incorporated into the kitchen space, enlarging the kitchen by a few feet.

 

Mighty House Construction handled the construction process for the project. We were able to keep the pre-existing exterior stairs and reuse the interior kitchen doors. The old flooring was replaced with Marmoleum, a natural linoleum made from linseed oil and mixed with other natural products on a jute backing. The new counter tops are made from Paperstone, a solid surface counter top made from recycled paper, and the newly installed cabinets are from Canyon Creek, a local cabinet company in Monroe, WA whose wood products are Carb2 compliant. The beautiful new back-splash features Bedrock Recycled Glass tile made in Seattle from 100% recycled glass product. The space also features newly installed LED overhead lighting, and under-cabinet lighting from  Northwest LED.

West Side Second Story Addition

West Side Second Story Addition

Join us for a chance to tour what’s behind this West Side War-Box

May 4-5, 2019 on the the Northwest Green Home Tour! 

A typical West side war-box gets a Mighty Second Story! This addition is still underway – so it’s an exciting chance to see the “inside the walls” stage of the project. 

This family was living happily in their 1940’s war box home, but as they grow they are finding that their compact home was just a little too cramped. The West Side Second Story Addition was designed by Leo Smith Architect with the goal increasing square footage while preserving the first-floor bedrooms and bathrooms. Adding a dining room off the kitchen on the backside of the house with a 2nd-floor master suite, became the ideal solution; adding just enough square footage and gaining some stellar views of tree canopy and the Puget Sound in the process. 

475 High Performance Building Supply provided a modified Smart Wall System including cellulose insulation and smart vapor barriers provides a highly efficient envelope. “Glavel” – a recycled glass material – insulates below the foundation. Instead of replacing the flooring, the existing wood will be re-finished and added onto for a seamless flow. We also worked to minimize scope and cost creep by maintaining the existing kitchen mostly as-is. 

Infrared radiant ceiling panels by Mighty Energy Solutions provide an efficient and cozy heat source throughout the addition. Hardie siding and Borel trim make for a super durable exterior. The existing deck of the home was recycled. The addition’s finishes will include a repurpose antique furniture for the master bath vanity, LED lighting throughout, VOC-free interior paints, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. 

IN PROGRESS – stay tuned for more photos!