Renovating existing buildings rather than building new ones is one way to recycle on a large scale. In this project, a second story with a new master bedroom, deck, bath, and study was added to a 1950's brick rambler in the View Ridge neighborhood of Seattle. The design respects the character of the existing house and neighborhood while at the same time moving the feel of the house toward the Craftsman look the owner, Bob Scheulen, desired.
Bob was committed to (and ready for the potential consequences of!) being an early adopter of green building practices. Back in 1993, that was a fairly adventurous position. And, this was the first significant green project we had designed. Luckily the architect, contractor, several subcontractors, air-tightening consultant, and several suppliers were all members of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. This resulted in a great collaboration, and a very successful implementation of a comprehensive range of green building techniques.
French doors lead from the bedroom to a deck with panoramic views east across Lake Washington, from Mt. Baker to Mt. Rainier. The study has windows on three sides. The design was inspired by Rob's experience of a wonderful place - the pilothouse-turned-bedroom of a paddlewheel steamer moored on Lake Union.
For Bob, this project coincided with a developing passion for green building. He became active in the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild--becoming president of the Seattle Chapter. Eventually he downsized and built a 5-star BuiltGreen compact house he calls the Sensible House.
The study is set up for telecommuting - which avoids the time, expenses and environmental costs of driving to work.
Modifications to the basement level will allow its future conversion to a mother-in-law apartment.
Rather than building over the entire main floor, the new second story is as small as possible. Building small reduced construction costs, conserved resources, and will conserve operating energy.
The roofing is shakes molded from recycled computer casings.
Floors in the addition are made of apitong, a beautiful wood salvaged from railroad boxcars.
The contractor implemented full-line job-site recycling.
Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation was blown into the 2x4 walls of the old house.
Additional loose-fill cellulose (recycled newsprint) added to the attic brings insulation up to R-49.
Single-glazed fixed windows were replaced with super-insulating operable casements.
Air leaks were caulked and sealed.
Locally produced low-toxic paints were used.
Cabinets used healthier materials and finishes.
Whole house ventilation was installed.
We could have been more convincing in the choice of exterior siding. Our client didn't like the existing Roman brick, and yet wanted a durable, low-maintenance exterior. This led his choosing plastic "cedar" shingles for the roof, aluminium clad windows and vinyl siding…. We would have much preferred materials that weather, and don't produce dioxins during manufacture.
Bob used up a good portion of our fee during Schematic Design, coming to terms with the character of the house, leaving very little for construction administration. We were only called in for structural questions, while Bob and Jon made design decisions, changing a few things along the way. The master bath plan was flipped and a window eliminated--leaving the north side of the second story without a window. Window sill heights on the second floor were raised about a foot, which had the effect of separating the second story visually from the roof. Windows were reduced in size. Perhaps most dramatically, a front entry gable was added and the roof brought across the stair, so the long stair window and vertical tower that connected the second story to the ground was lost. The effect was to make the second story look much less integrated with the existing house. Compare the rendering to what was built.
As Jon Alexander says, "Everyone in a construction project has the opportunity to (and will) make mistakes--the owner, the architect and the contractor!"
Project team:Rob Harrison, Lara Branigan, Matthew Sullivan General Contractor:Jon Alexander - Sunshine Construction Structural Engineers:Jay Taylor, Joe Dixon - Ratti Swenson Perbix Air-Tightening Consultant:Scott Finley, Energy Options Northwest (now Atmosphere) Cabinets:Logan Services Electrical:Tarrant Electric Roofing:Eiger West Flooring:Columbia Trading Company