Sustainability in Language: How do you like your Primary Suite?

Sustainability in Language: How do you like your Primary Suite?

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.
Breathing Cleaned Air

Breathing Cleaned Air

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.

COVID-19

COVID-19

Friends,Laura and Doug
We hope these times find you and yours healthy and treasuring those moments of reason when ever possible. The last few weeks have been daunting, frustrating, scary, and confusing for us — as we assume it also has been for many of you. As with most every individual and every business around the world, our personal and professional lives are adjusting on an hourly or daily basis to this COVID-19 temporary existence.
Our office staff started working remotely early in March while our field staff took measurers to ensure safety at our occupied-home projects until Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order was placed. For home remodeling, the Order notes that “In general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.” He makes exceptions for emergency issues – erupting plumbing, broken heat, unintentional holes in the exterior, structural concerns, or other non-elective and immediately necessary home repairs. As such, on March 25th, we shuttered our current projects.
The MHC Team is patiently waiting (along with our entire WA State community) to understand exactly when we will go back to work and if there will be any restrictions with how we can work. We wish our lives, our clients lives, and the lives of everyone everywhere were easier right now; we are also super grateful to be able to take this break for the larger good..
Doug and I feel confident in the foundation of Mighty House surviving these unusual times. We have always and continue to move our company forward thoughtfully and conservatively and are engaging every avenue possible to best support our staff. Our goal is to pick up where we left off just as soon as it is safe and allowed.
In the meantime, Doug and I along with support staff are moving forward on prospective projects. We are also available to support you with your home ideas and future needs (as best possible given the physical distance) and are available by phone, email, and video meetups.
in health and community,
Laura and Doug
206-880-1550
Resilience and Sustainability Through Pocket Neighborhoods

Resilience and Sustainability Through Pocket Neighborhoods

The term pocket neighborhood sometimes referred to as “bungalow courts” or “cottage clusters,” was first coined by Ross Chapin of Ross Chapin ArchitectsPocket neighborhoods tend to consist of about 12 homes that all face a common area that residents must walk through to access their front door.  

Creating small homes on small lots allows more compact development, which uses land efficiently and can offer greater access to amenities. 

 

Pocket communities really took off in the Pacific Northwest in collaboration with developers and builders, including The Cottage Company in Seattle, Triad Associates in Kirkland, and Artisan Fine Homebuilding. Third Street Cottages in Seattle, is a community of eight detached cottages located on four standard single-family lots. To help this vision come to life, the municipality adopted an innovative Cottage Housing Development (CHD) zoning code. The code allows for up to double the density of detached homes in all single-family zones.  

Pocket communities also serve as a great solution for increasing the number of affordable units within a municipality. Creating small homes on small lots allows more compact development, which uses land efficiently and can offer greater access to amenities. Residents may also enjoy a smaller mortgage, with the option to enhance their home by selecting higher-end finishes. Then there’s the increasing value of these small homes. The Third Street Cottages, the first of the pocket neighborhoods, have resold for as much as 250 percent of their original price, proving their enduring appeal and value.

Small homes feed our recent fascination with resilience and sustainability because they meet the needs of communities that wish to increase density and reform land use patterns without losing the feel of a single-family community. Smaller homes also can reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions through the use of passive solar energy, low water-use fixtures, and the abundance of vegetation in these communities found in the interior courtyard, personal gardens and surrounding open space. Additionally, the demographic shift toward smaller households and the rise in single-person households is driving a need for a more diverse housing stock that includes small homes.

Surviving the Viaduct Closure

Surviving the Viaduct Closure

The SR-99 Viaduct officially closes down starting Friday January 11, 2019. Here are some tips from Sound Transit (and us!) on how to make the best of the increased travel times and traffic congestion:
  • Work from home when possible
  • Ride your bike to work – check out SDOT’s new interactive bike route map
  • Take the Sounder Train or Link Light Rail – ride share services are offering discounted rates on rides to transit stations through February
  • There will be additional Water Taxi Service – a fun way to get to/from West Seattle!
  • Talk to your employer about flexing your hours to avoid peak commute times
  • Be patient and considerate on public transportation – together we’ll get through the #SeattleSqueeze!

flex your time, pack your patience, be a good rider

SPU Rebates on Water-Saving Toilets

SPU Rebates on Water-Saving Toilets

Did you know that the biggest water-user in most homes is the toilet? Seattle Public Utilities is offering $100 rebates for homeowners and property managers who replace their toilet with a Premium Toilet that uses 1.1 gallons per flush or less. There are also free toilets available for income qualified applicants! Check out the list of eligible toilets and rebate applications here.

Here are some FAQ’s from SPU:

Q: Will I need to flush twice if i replace my old toilet with a new, Premium 1.1 gpf (or less) toilet?

A: No. New water-efficient toilets work better than older toilets. 98% of survey participants who replaced their toilets with Premium 1.1 gpf (or less) toilets say the new toilets work better than their old ones.

Q: What else can I do to reduce my water use?

A: Find and fix leaks or report them to your property manager. A leaking (running) toilet can waste 200 gallons or more every day.