Thursday, March 25, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Hare House Phase 1, top (photo by Anna Howden), San Juan Channel House, bottom left (photo by Jeff Case)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
"Third party verified new homes with an environmental certification in the City of Seattle sell for 22% more per square foot in 12% less time." GreenWorks Realty.
This is big news for those of us involved in new home construction and sustainable practices. Until now, our clients simply had to believe in green construction and be willing to spend the extra cost without any promise of added resale value. We still need to push for the proper training of our local appraisers and realtors in order for these statistics to infiltrate the rest of our state.
For more information and detailed statistics for Seattle and King County, check out:
For events, seminars and certification, go to:
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Many people choose to remodel, if they have room on their lot. Others will chose to look for a larger house. If you are considering whether to move or remodel, here are some pros and cons to consider:
Remodeling Pro/Moving Con:
- You have already invested in a home and made it your own. In our transient culture where so many people move around constantly, trade up for larger homes, and view homes as just another investment, there is something so innate about owning a piece of dirt, watching a tree you planted 20 years ago mature, marking the kid's growth on a wall. This goes beyond just a sentimental attachment.
- You know what you want, and there is freedom (within the parameters of your property lines and zoning codes) to make this happen. Unless you build new custom, there may not be another house on the market that fits your needs.
- Buying a home is a known quantity. You get approved for your mortgage, you know exactly what you can afford, with professional and visual inspection you know what you want to improve upon and what is move-in ready.
- Remodeling is not a known quantity. I recently spoke with a woman who is pricing out adding a dormer to her cape cod and received bids ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. The contractor does not know what he is going to find until the walls are actually opened or what the building inspector is going to require in terms of bringing the rest of the building up to code.
Armed with this information, you should be able to gain somewhat accurate bids from a contractor. Again, remodeling entails a lot of unknowns, and the contractor needs to make sure they are covering all their bases.
None of this is meant to sway anyone either way, but to provide more fodder for discussion. Of course, I am biased towards remodeling, for many reasons: yes, I am sentimental, and there is such a comfort in having the constant of my grandparent's and parent's houses in my above mentioned transient life. As a designer, I love the challenge and problem solving involved in a remodel, and who does not appreciate a great before and after, especially when the "after" is a home where a family can share a lifetime of memories.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The San Juan Channel House in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce Building Green Blog, shown as one of the winners of the 2009 AIA Seattle What Makes it Green? Competition.
More information on this year's competition.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Add second homes and second incomes by upselling smaller spaces on existing property
Guesthouses have gone beyond a second-thought approach when constructing a home. Successful builders and designers are staying competitive by offering their customers a second space to live in or a space to rent as a profit-maker. It’s an untapped market that hasn’t slowed down in the economy.
In a lot of areas, such as the San Juan Islands, guesthouses provide a unique opportunity for rental properties. For Anna Howden of D+A Studios, who has an office on San Juan Island and in Seattle, many of her clients build guest homes with the idea of renting them out to people living on the island. “They’re basically the only affordable housing on the island,” says Howden.
Another option for people who don’t live on the island year-round, which is most people who can afford to build there, is to use the guesthouse as a place to house caretakers of the property for the winter. This way, there is someone to stay onsite to look after the property, and your client can trade them rent in return for their work.
According to Howden, the key to building a guesthouse is to keep it flexible. “That way you can use it as an office, a rental property, or a space for parents or grandkids. It’s basically a mini house that can keep changing according to your lifestyle. I’ve used mine as an office, we had our nanny live there at one point and other times we had friends living there that needed a place.”
Design-wise, trends for guest homes include high ceilings; lots of open space; building lofts (they can help capture space in every little corner); windows, which add views and natural light; and large slider doors, to partition off and create different spaces out of one room. Natural light is key, because they’re always smaller spaces, and proper planning can seriously cut down on the amount of energy needed to light the interior.
The typical guesthouse, according to Howden, is usually under a 1,000 square feet, but her firm has built them as large as 2,000 square feet and as small as 460 square feet. And since a lot of her clients live in Seattle full-time, most of them build their guest homes on top of a garage, where they keep a car year-round.""
Continue the article here.
A small bathroom can still be luxurious: the Hare House guest house bathroom contains a Japanese soaking tub/shower room.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Design Build: An Avenue for Women in Construction & Green Building
By Anne Hamilton and Anna Howden
Although there are relatively few women-owned general contracting companies, the transition from offering design build and general contracting services in addition to architectural services can be a fairly natural one. Many architectural firms offer construction management and administration services, and by default end up working side by side with the superintendent to work through issues and to ensure that the design intent is carried out in the final product.
Transitioning to a design build firm allows the architect to be involved in a project from start to finish, control the budget more efficiently, and have more control over the quality of the final product. Participating in the actual process of pricing and ordering in construction allows for architects to design more thoughtful and cost effective buildings. The commitment to green building can be upheld throughout the project most importantly through direct contact with suppliers and subcontractors. The architect writes the green specifications and also puts them into action rather than relying on someone else to follow their green initiative. Acting as both the architect and the contractor, the site visits are streamlined and create a team approach since the architect and the tradesmen are working together and not as separate entities.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that about 8 times as many men are employed in wage and salary positions in the construction industry as women, while 5 times as many men are self-employed in the construction industry. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as reported by Rena M. Klien, FAIA, in 2008 16% of architectural firm principals and partners were women, up 4% from 1999, though most of these are owners of small firms. In all industries, just 6% of highly paid executives are women.
An increasing number of women continue to receive architectural degrees. However, unlike the bar exam, for instance, which allows lawyers to obtain licenses directly out of law school, architectural interns must work for many years before they can become licensed (and in some states, before they can sit for the seven architectural licensing exams). This is usually in their early to mid thirties, when women with advanced degrees usually begin having children.
This biological reality and the time commitment outside of the work day needed to become licensed will most likely keep the “glass ceiling” in place for women architects in general. However, as revealed above in the statistics about the increasing number of small women-owned architectural firms, women can create their own opportunities in construction by adding construction management and design build services to their firms through becoming licensed general contractors.
The Master Builder tradition held almost exclusively by men and mostly phased out in modern times as most industries moved towards specialization, can now be enjoyed by women.
D+A Studio strives to create elegant, sustainable solutions by forming flexible working relationships with each client based on their unique needs, making Real Green projects possible in the Real World. Learn more at www.dandastudio.com, (206) 706-2565 (Seattle) or (360) 370-5955 (Friday Harbor), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Studio How, LLC is our design-build entity that specializes in green construction. Learn more at www.dandastudio.com/studiohow , (360) 370-5955 (Friday Harbor), or email email@example.com