In Seattle, a builder and architect prove that remodeling and energy efficiency can be a winning combination.
Synopsis: Remodeling a fixer-upper to make it green is a tall order, but in Seattle, architect George Ostrow joined up with a team of builders to turn a shabby small home into something special and sustainable. For this project, most of the original house remained, but there were smart changes within. Interior walls were re-created to form new spaces that benefit from cross ventilation, eliminating the need for air-conditioning. A careful recycling plan ensured that 70% of the demolition debris was recycled. The house earned both Built Green and Energy Star certifications after the project was complete.
After years of building custom homes, a local builder decided to buy a fixer-upper to remodel and sell on their own for a profit. As the architect for many of their earlier projects, I’ve gotten to know the owners of Lasting Nest Builders. When they asked me to help them transform this small, run-down house into a decidedly green one, I was happy to join the effort.
Design isn’t always the first priority for builders who are looking to flip a house for profit. In this case, however, we agreed that a thoughtful design had to be part of the equation because the house sits on a prominent corner lot in an established neighborhood. It’s close to the University of Washington and Seattle’s biotech district, and we were aiming to attract an educated buyer in a green-minded city.
The neighborhood and the large lot both called for a large house, so we spent some time looking carefully at nearby houses for design inspiration. This process led us to traditional details such as a bay window, back bands at the window trim, and drip caps at the trim bands and window heads. Early on, we talked about a big gable roof…