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Spring – a Time to Re-think/Re-purpose/Re-new

In this age of reuse/renew/recycle, we at live-work-play  strive to incorporate renewable systems and reclaimed materials.   What does this mean?

At the very basis, it means reusing your home!  Adding to, changing, repurposing your space.  Often older homes need system upgrades, and they were built at a time when people lived in their homes differently than they do now.  We design more open spaces with the amenities people seek now in their homes.  We like to blend additions into your home and the neighborhood.











More low-hanging reuse fruit:  reusing materials.  Maybe we can use a material again on your project– plumbing fixtures, cabinets, wood.  Or, items can be reclaimed and sent to REStore, Second Use for a new life in another person’s home.  You can be that person, and stockpile items from the many salvage companies for your project.  It’s a great idea to visit salvage yards frequently over time, and pick up items that appeal to you so they are on hand for the design and construction process.   It just makes sense: keep useable materials out of our landfills.  We used many salvage materials in this greenhouse, school cabinets and bleachers, and reclaimed siding.  Here are some great ideas for reclaimed wood from Houzz.  The REStore includes the REVision Division that makes furniture from materials they salvage.  Thanks Ventana Construction and REStore for sharing this photo of a cabinet made from salvage from a live-work-play project!


Beyond these ideas, there are new building materials that incorporate recycled materials into them.  Starting with a few examples on the outside,   Boral TruExterior durable trim made with fly ash-an industrial by product.     Andersen 100 windows use wood fiber leftover from other manufacturing.  Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper fiber.  Inside, locally made Environite counters use recycled glass and Ecotop and Paperstone are made from recycled paper.  The Environite example shown here is from the West Seattle Sunporch. Plus there are Ecotop and Paperstone products that can be installed outside for panel siding!



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Healthy Home Remodel

Remodeling!  At the end of the process, you have a beautiful, comfortable home.  How do we get there?

Follow healthy home remodeling ideas:

Before and during the design process, work with a health conscious architect and contractor.  Include aging in place ideas if that is appropriate for you.  Plan to use materials that have no or low toxicity, including paint, glue, caulk, stain, clear coats, cabinets.  This includes hard floor surfaces everywhere since wall to wall carpet harbors dust and dirt and this is difficult to remove.  Consider a whole house ventilation system.  One easy solution is a spot ERV (energy recovery ventilator).

During construction, make sure the contractor provides containment barriers around the work area, plus floor mats going in and out of the work space.  While generating dust, the contractor should create a positive air flow so the dust exits the space as much as possible.  Debris should be handled appropriately, including any materials that may contain lead or asbestos.   Keep the work site and materials dry so they do not mold.  At the end, make sure there is a thorough cleaning.




After construction and cleaning, your daily care and maintenance is just as important as planning and construction.  Liberate your feet with a shoeless home!  Make sure there are door mats at each entrance.  Use a great vacuum often with a HEPA filter and keep it clean.  If you have a forced air heating system, clean the filters regularly.





At least twice a year, check gutters, downspouts to make sure they are clean and flowing.  Also check around the exterior and make sure there are no signs of water leaks at windows and doors, chimneys.  Repair any trouble spots as soon as possible.  Use low toxic cleaners like vinegar and water (although it cannot be used on stone)  and clean regularly.

You’ll have a lovely place to call home!!!  Feel free to contact us for more information.


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Join us at the Phinney Center Home Design & Remodel Fair January 26

It’s that time of year again!  Join us upstairs in Room 6 at the Phinney Center Home Design & Remodel Fair.

It is one day only, Sunday January 26th from 10 AM to 4 PM.

6532 Phinney Avenue North
Seattle, WA  98103

We enjoy meeting with you and talking about addition and remodel ideas, next steps and any questions you might come up with.

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