As we draw closer to summer and the Seattle weather reminds us all the reason that we all live here — the gorgeous and abundant natural environment and community. We are excited to see our community work so hard to get the region opened up again. And while we are jubilant about being able to hug and actually see the smiles of our friends and family again, the re-opening also is a little nerve-wrecking… Seeing the crowds collect at sporting events (especially indoors!) fills us with a sense of concern. Being in confined places unmasked has us uneasy. Time will help us all move forward – together.
We have also made some positive strides toward impacting our climate. So much more to discover about socializing in this new reality.
In a similar vein, we think it will be a bit before figuring out to best live, play, and grow (and maybe work or school!) in our homes is still shaking itself out. Sure there was an immediate need; though now people are getting to make decisions about which path forward is the right path for their family and how that is reflects in their housing needs. The knee-jerk reactions of spring 2020 are giving way to future-proof planning. Tough conversations for most of us with most everyone I know is having them (including Doug and myself!)
And while we can’t make the decisions for you, we are here to help to answer questions, consult with you
, or give you referrals to partners to help you gather the information you need to move your housing thoughts forward.
With NWGHVT (“v” for Virtual) coming to you over three successive Saturdays in May 2021 on your Internet connected device. We hope that you will join us again at this event. We offer conversations on topics you are interested in, virtual tours and discussions of new Green Home construction trends, products and ideas. It is a highlight of our professional year and a chance to show off our work and talk about your projects. Check out the plans for this year at https://www.nwgreenhometour.org/ and we hope to see you again in May!
As you have probably heard, Punxatawney Phil has seen his shadow and we have another month and a half of winter assigned to us. Great. It is actually quite a pleasure to be following innocent, non-news about a groundhog and not another emergency.
The sun setting later and later, is a reminder that the season is changing. The dogs appreciate the extra walking time and increased focus on getting outside. Of course, February is also good at reminding us it can still pack a wintery punch. No days off for remote workers or scholars this year, though the snow is still nice to transform the landscape for a few days.
We had the opportunity to get up to the mountains for some snowshoeing a couple weekends back. Getting a break from everyday rushing around, and being enveloped in a world covered in white was the balm our family’s collective souls needed to embrace another busy week, finishing up a 2nd-story addition, continuing work on a basement ADU while preparing to start another, all the while working away on a kitchen while talking about all the potential in store for our company in coming months. It’s a lot to juggle sometimes though we wouldn’t trade the work (nor the play) for the world.
One manner in which we experience our surroundings is by framing it with language. The room is big or small, filled with light or damp and dark. The living room, the den, the guest bath, the kid’s bedroom, and of course lots of other descriptors.
One of the things that is important to us is to create a home (and a world) that works inclusively for all. And sometimes to do that, we need to change the language we use to frame our work (and the world). To that end, Mighty House has been working on changing how we describe the biggest bedroom or bedroom suite in a house. “Master Suite” is a patriarchal term – in which the “master” was always a man. Master obviously also has a historical connection to slavery and discrimination. From our research, it is less clear that the term Master Suite was common during slavery; regardless though it is recognized as an exclusive term that could be triggering for many.
In an effort to help build more inclusive language in our industry, we are trying to refer to the largest bedroom or suite as the Primary Bedroom/Suite. The change isn’t easy – in fact, it’s hard! For one, it is habitual language. It is also a term most homeowners and professionals still use it and since it is imperative to use common language for clarity, it can be hard to implement later in the design process. Obviously racism and discrimination in housing won’t be eliminated by changing this term, however it will help to bring more rise to the conversation. We have an ask: when you meet with design professionals or have service people to your home, try using “primary” instead of “master” when referring to that space… change has to start somewhere.
If you are interested in this exploring this change, Sidney Franklin, in the August NY Times
, wrote an engaging article about the evolving label in the New York real estate brokerage communities. And, regardless of how we refer to it, we’d love to help you make your primary bedroom or suite more Mighty. Contact us
to discuss how to get started with your ideas.
I relish filling my lungs with Northwest air. I can taste how clean and different our air is from rest parts of the world every time I leave our region. The new summer smoke season makes me appreciate when I can really fill my lungs with the good stuff. Especially during COVID, air awareness has become a greater consideration in rooms and buildings; cross breezes are mapped to minimize sharing your breath with others and we anxiously take a deep breath of unmasked air as soon as we are in our safe zones.
And the summer smoke season really brought home (literally and figuratively) the importance clean air in our homes as the smoke particles found their way in through the tiny cracks and crevices in our walls and windows. What can you do to minimize your chances of breathing viral particles and standing smoke? There are many approaches, including:
- Attaching furnace filters to box fans.
- Window fans blowing outward to expel stale or polluted air.
- Avoid unconditioned spaces.
- Improve central air filtration.
- Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air WITH the right filtration (that is a whole science on it’s own!)
- Wear a mask, yes even in your home or vehicle.
- And, of course, air purifiers.
While it is easy to see when you need to dust or sweep, it’s a lot harder to see when your air needs cleaning. Air purifiers work by creating finer and finer filters. Purification can be improved by conducting a static electrical charge. Purification efficiency is measured in MERVs, a higher MERV rating means increased filtration from 1-16. Airborne viruses can be caught by any filter MERV 13 or greater.
Many of our design partners consider air quality in their design work and have seen an uptick in demand lately. One of them, Entero Design, has gone as far as to supply some great systems – such as one in which the air is filtered through a proprietary Coconut Carbon/Purafil media for a 99.26% efficiency, capturing particles of .3 microns and larger. The whisper quiet operation is Multi-Function, removing both gases and particles from air. Mighty House had one at our office that now (as that space is abandoned) is much appreciated at our home.
The New York Times Wirecutter article analyzed what they considered the Best Air Purifiers on the market.
Another option for more whole house ventilation and air cleaning is the Lunos HRV System. The system is composed of paired through-wall paired fan units with regenerative heat recovery cores. This captures heat from escaping air and puts it back into incoming air. These take a lot more forethought and finessing to install than a plug-in air purifier though also have a number of additional benefits too. Reach out to us to learn more.