Things are moving right along on our current Seattle basement remodeling project. All of the plumbing, HVAC and electrical have been roughed in. In an effort to keep the cost down the owners elected to leave the existing duct work where it is and soffit them in. It’s made for quite a convoluted ceiling. Drywall is underway and we’ve got our doors and trim being delivered so we can pre-stain everything before it gets installed.
By: Kyle Keever
If you own your own home or building at some point in time you will end up hiring a remodeling contractor. Even the most rugged do it yourselfer will eventually succumb to the reality that some things are best done by professional remodeling contractors and tradesmen. The following five tips are intended to put any potential remodeling project on the right footing.
By: Kyle Keever
We’ve been building a bunker garage for a customer over the past several weeks. It’s been a fun custom builder project and I’ve been thoroughly documenting it for a future video montage of its construction. I thought however, I would go ahead and post some of the highlights of this custom builder project. We originally started working at this site about 18 months ago and completed an extensive interior and exterior home remodel for the owner. She liked things so much she asked us to design – build this bunker garage. Even though the house is situated on 2 acres the desired location for the garage construction made things tight. We basically maxed out the vertical cut for the excavation and if it were any bigger we would have needed shoring to keep the road above from falling in our hole.
By: Kyle Keever
Did you know that buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 75 percent of electricity usage and about 50 percent of energy and emissions? This, in combination with other environmental factors, is influencing architects to become more aware and knowledgable to the use of sustainable design in order to build energy efficient green houses. The Design Build Team supports six simple steps to help architects become leaders of sustainable building designs.
1. Grant design awards to architects that at least meet the minimum standard of sustainable performance in architectural design.
2. Have all American licensing agencies require architects to be capable of demonstrating a minimal level of competency regarding sustainable design in order to be licensed.
3. Mandate all federal, state, and local agencies to require building projects to incorporate sustainable architectural design and construction concepts.
4. Encourage all architectural design magazines to feature green houses that satisfy at least the minimum standard of sustainable performance.
5. Adopt the American Institute of Architects 2030 Commitment to take a leadership role in building green houses.
6. Require all U.S. architectural schools to provide an effective sustainable architectural design course.
When these steps are adapted into the standard procedures for current innovative design, then architects can lead the building industry in improving the preservation of a healthy, habitable planet.
Contact our professional staff at the Design Build Team for a more creative and sustainable way to build. We guarantee full architectural service from start to finish. Call 888-570-1828 for your design build projects.
image via Design Build Team
Built in and cabinet used to conjure the same images. Over the past 5-10 years or so we’ve been designing cabinets to look like furniture and using furniture in place of a cabinet. I feel like the “shabby sheik” movement began the use of furniture for cabinets and the look has evolved from there. The first time I came into contact with the blurring of furniture and cabinetry was during a Seattle home remodeling project where the owner had a vintage desk she wanted to use as the powder room bathroom vanity. I remember being suspect of such a request at the time but when it was done the results where unique and stunning. Since then we’ve had our custom cabinet maker build cabinetry that looks like furniture rather than a traditional cabinet. One of the hallmarks of this look is the lack of a toe kick or recessed pedestal that a traditional cabinet sits on. The toe kick is usually replaced with some sort of feet that make the cabinet appear to be”placed furniture pieces” rather than “built in”. It used to be that in high end construction and home remodeling no room was complete without an elaborate built in but there seems to be a stylistic shift where the built ins are becoming “placed furniture pieces”.
By: Kyle Keever
Keever and Associates has begun work on another Seattle basement remodeling and finishing project. The new owners of this 1950s home wanted to add a master bedroom suite, guest room and family room in their existing basement. We spent time initially helping the owners work through the details of their upcoming Seattle basement remodeling and finishing project so we could come up with a meaningful budget. Once we were able to select materials and tweak the design to fit their budget we started demolition and as you can see from the pictures basement remodeling is underway.
can be a great cost effective way to add livable space to your home. The three of the most important things to consider when thinking about basement remodeling and finishing project are: 1. Is the sewer line exiting the house high enough for the new fixtures to gravity feed? 2. Does the basement ever flood? Are there any ceiling obstructions that will impact the usability of the space (ie: duct work, gas lines…). None of these things is necessarily a deal killer for a basement remodel and finishing but can add significant cost.
By: Kyle Keever
Cabinets or casework is a really important part of any Seattle remodeling or custom home construction project. Cabinetry breaks down into two basic categories; custom cabinets and modular or prefab cabinets. Custom cabinets are exactly what they sound like. Cabinets built to your specifications to fit the dimensions and look of a given room. Modular cabinets are cabinets that are built in pre-determined sizes and require fitting the room to the cabinets or mixing and matching the sizes of cabinets manufactured with filler strips to make the cabinets work for your home remodeling project or custom home builder project. The main advantage of modular cabinets is they are typically less expensive than custom cabinets and easier on your home remodeling or custom home building budget. The disadvantage is of course, they are not custom and if you have an odd shaped room or very specific ideas on the design of your cabinets they may not work. Most of the Seattle remodeling and custom home builder projects we get involved with use custom cabinets as they are typical for higher end projects. More on cabinets next week. Thanks for reading!
By: Kyle Keever
Wood flooring is a popular choice for flooring in Seattle remodeling and Seattle custom home building. There is virtually an endless selection of wood flooring options available when planning a home remodeling project. I tend to prefer the sustainably harvested options such as reclaimed flooring or fast growing woods like bamboo to use in home remodeling projects or custom home building. If you’re lucky the wood flooring is lurking just beneath your carpet. In Seattle it’s not uncommon to find old fir flooring or face nailed oak underneath. Fir flooring can look great when re finished but beware of how soft it is. It is a fragile floor compared to many of the harder wood options like oak or maple. Another thing to consider when weighing your wood flooring options for your home remodeling project or custom home building project is whether or not to go with pre-finished flooring or job finished flooring. Job finished wood flooring is not as durable as pre-finished flooring but looks more seamless and “organic” in the room. Pre-finished flooring is typically more durable and much less of a mess to install, but it usually has v grooves between courses which some people may not like in their home remodel. I am actually in the market for a new wood floor and am gravitating towards using pre finished for the simple reason of not wanting to go through the finishing process while living in my house with my wife, kids and dog. Check out this idea for wood flooring posted on Houzz.com. Not sure how durable that will end up being but it’s certainly a cost effective wood floor.
By: Kyle Keever
There is something that has been brewing in our city for some time — we’ve been seeing peers stepping way too far over the line in pitching ‘optimism’ to potential clients. We’ve good-naturedly gone along with the spirit of competition and seen some deft sleight of hand from other firms. But this piece about Chris Pardo in the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog is so much uglier than we could have ever imagined. Now, we don’t plan on getting down in the mud on a regular basis, but the levels of deceit and trail of corpses found here are at best dishonest, unethical, alarming … at worst, well, dear reader, we’ll let you be the judge. We don’t want to hear about “getting caught in an economic downturn” or “businesses take risks” or any of that other stuff. This goes so far out-of-bounds that no flippant excuse applies.
In our on-going effort to make lemonade out of lemons (or in this case, valuable observations for our beloved readers out of what we see as appalling behavior), we think it’s time to clearly state principles that every professional architect should practice, and today’s post takes a deep-dive on three of them.
1. Professional Architects practice good business with everyone.
Perhaps the most important mind-set of practicing good business is thinking about each and every client as a long-term relationship. The decisions an architect makes should foster lasting trust with not only clients but investors, consultants, tradeswomen & tradesmen, employees, etc. A project should never be thought of as the only time you’ll work with someone (be it the client, the contractor, or the intern); architects don’t burn bridges. Most importantly, practicing good business should demonstrate to the next generation how professionals navigate challenges and hurdles.
2. Professional Architects are financially responsible for the decisions they make.
There is a certain amount of speculation and risk in just about every project, from something as small as a home remodel to a project as significant as a multi-family development. The professional’s job is to analyze the variables and manage the risk. A professional does not reach further than what they can take responsibility for, and when the outcome is financially unfavorable, a professional does not walk away from debt accrued. Most ambitious professionals like to set bigger goals and reach for better achievements. But part of the professional’s duty is to properly set the boundaries for doing so.
3. Professional Architects take care of the community.
Professionals have a long-term commitment to the places and people around them. They think about the built-environment in terms of how the next generation will be affected by the decisions made today. More so than most professions, a professional architect’s job is to make the world a better place.
Our home town of Seattle, like many places around the world, is emerging from a stagnating recession. The market is picking up, architects are going back to work, and there are tower cranes all over the place. This is tremendous progress, and we’re grateful for a recovering industry. But as a city, as communities, and as neighborhoods, we’re just now starting to deal with the repercussions of the individuals who used poor judgment and behaved unprofessionally, both before and during the recession. A rash of greed, shady financial transactions, and a trail of careless decisions have scarred Seattle; it will take decades to simply mend portions of our built-environment, to say nothing of forward progress. We refer to the architect-developer-builder teams who, when the reality of a downward economy set in, simply walked away from their projects and presumably the banks that financed them and the communities that accepted them. Dozens of projects have been left in various states of completion (or incompletion, really,) to rot, shifting the responsibility from the accountable individuals to the neighbors and communities.
As a community, if we’ve learned anything from the recession, it should be that there is distinction between mindful professionals invested in their communities and those simply masquerading as such for the gain of money, leverage, and stature. If we want to foster a sustainable built-environment and create a better quality of life for future generations, the latter group has got to go. They are a blight and a threat to the rest of us, the professionals AND the clients.
All professionals, architects included, should be held to the highest standards in society; and as with any single thing we ask of others, we hold ourselves to that same standard. We welcome the ‘challenge’ of hard questions and thorough inquiry from our own clients and peers. And in that spirit, we look forward to your comments and thoughts.