Whole House Remodel

This whole house remodel included several phases and elements.  

Initially, we replaced the roof, and focused on the interior demolition.  There were several things on the chopping block, including the drop ceiling in the kitchen, the opaque stair railing, and the flooring.

Opening up the house floor plan was a primary design goal.  When we did the permit drawings, there were really just a few changes needed to improve circulation through the house.  We had to get a building permit because of those structural changes, and because of the substantial alterations requirements found in the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, Client assistance memo #314.   In this memo, they outline several ways of calculating what constitutes a “substantial alteration.”

Here are some of the project drawings.

For this project, the structural alterations were minimal.  We moved the front door from the side corner, back to the front of the house.  We also changed the front of the house from having a sliding glass door and two windows, to having the front door, and three windows.  It seems to create a better rhythm to the front façade, and a more recognizable entrance point.

In order to bring light into the center of the house, we added eight sun-tubes. They are also known as sun-tunnels and various other brand names, but essentially they are flexible reflective tubes that give you many of the benefits associated with skylights, without any framing or added drywall requirements.

We used the Velux brand that is available at a variety of retail locations.  They have several sizes, so we went with the 14″ in most locations, and two 22″ versions in the kitchen.  They let in so much light that you will find yourself reaching for the light switch when the lights aren’t on.


Whole House Remodel – After Construction

We changed all the windows and doors, matching the interior doors to the original mahogany closets and trim.  To match the existing detailing, the window sills and stair railing posts are also mahogany.

Initially, there were two places in the house that had been leaking.

One seemed to be related to the electric line coming into the house.  The flange at the house was a little bent, and looked like a tree branch had hit the line in the past.  That must have created an entry point for some water, because there was water damage right below that section of the roof.

The other leak area was related to homeowner fixed kitchen plumbing, so that had to be redone professionally.

It definitely had this potential when we started, but you had to look for it.

Before Construction

Another big phase of this remodel, involved removing the stucco siding and replacing it with a custom rain-screen system. We used IPE wood with a routed drip edge as the screen.  After we flashed everything, we used a woven building wrap and then sheet metal hat channels to hold the IPE off the wall and create a 1.5″ air gap between the exterior wall and the siding.

This method of siding creates a new weatherproof and breathable skin for this 1939 house.  With few bugs, and moderate temperatures in Seattle, this has proven to be a durable and paint-free siding solution.


During Construction


After such a great project, we were happy to take this house a step further a few years later.  We converted the basement storage and laundry area into an Accessory Dwelling Unit.

That area was easy to close off from the rest of the house once we added a new electrical sub-panel.  The door to the laundry room provided the egress we needed to convert the space.  You can read more about it in this post.

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Design Scales, LLC

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