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Come by the Phinney Center Home Design and Remodel Fair


The Phinney Home Design & Remodel Fair will be held Sunday, January 31.   Please stop by Room 6 to say hello!!

This year’s theme, “Smaller Living, Larger Life,” will focus on ideas for living in a smaller footprint, simplifying, expanding outdoor living space or converting part of a home for a multi-generational household. Sheri Newbold, owner of live-work-play, will be a featured speaker. Her presentation, Creating a Backyard Cottage, begins at 12:50 p.m. Topics include:

– What to think about: goals and values for your Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) (Read live-work-play’s informative blog post on Backyard Cottages here.)
– What to do to get started: does your property meet initial requirements (such as area) and talking about your project with architects and contractors.
– Plus, a brief discussion on potential code changes that may make it easier to create your backyard cottage.

The Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m and showcases a selection of over 70 local exhibitors including general and specialty contractors, suppliers, designers, landscape professionals, nonprofit groups and permitting agencies. Check the Fair website for a full schedule of presentations.

Tickets are just $4 for PNA Members and $6 for General Public. Children under 12 are free and tickets are only available at the door. The Phinney Center is located at 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.

Looking forward to seeing you at Sheri’s presentation, or stop by room 6 to chat with us at live-work-play.

The proceeds from the Home Fair benefit PNA’s Well Home Program, which provides extensive resources for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers, including a Tool Library, education classes and hand-on workshops, a resource library, referrals, and a monthly Fixers Collective.

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From the Ground Up – Starting your Remodeling Project with Site Design

In our second installment of the live-work-play series, From the Ground Up, we’ll discuss starting your project with site design and how your home is situated on your property. (Read the first in the series here, From the Ground Up – Financing a Project.)

What are some of the issues you’ll need to talk about with your architect? Sheri, and the staff of live-work-play will review and discuss what opportunities you can take advantage of and what the challenges might be. Here are several:

Sun and shade: Where is the sun at different times of day, and different times of year. How does it enter and flow through the house. Is there enough daylight in the appropriate parts of the home? And, don’t forget the exterior spaces!

Privacy:  Are your neighbors overlooking you, or vice versa?  It’s especially important to separate private spaces like the bedrooms and bathrooms. At the exterior, do you feel like you or your neighbors are on display?  Is there enough separation to feel private yet enough openness to feel neighborly?  (This applies to all kinds of housing: single family homes, multi-family and detached accessory dwelling units (DADU’s).

Flow of spaces: How do you want the home to function? What are your needs for your family and looking toward the future? Are you considering indoor/outdoor rooms? How does your garden and/or landscape plans fit into your vision?

Materials and textures: Will you be incorporating elements of ‘green design,’ environmentally friendly systems and products? Will your addition and/or remodel integrate with the original home design and materials? What is the aesthetic you’re looking for?

Storm drainage: You may require review by the City of Seattle if there is over 750 square feet of site disturbance. Each city and/or jurisdiction is different but have commonalities. This means that both roof water, and foundation drain water, need to stay on site and flow into a rain garden (read more here about Seattle’s 12,00 Rain Gardens program,) an infiltration trench, or combination thereof.  (These are best practices, if possible, in all instances whether required or not!)

All of these considerations need to be addressed before your architect can create a design for your new space. Working together ‘from the ground up’ from financing to site design, every stage of the work to completion, will culminate in a well thought out project, with minimal surprises, bringing your dream home to reality.

Next up in our series: From the Ground Up–Foundations and Sub-Flooring.

Remember it’s not too early to plan for next summer and fall construction. Site design can particularly take a bit of extra time! Call or e-mail the professionals at live-work-play now to discuss your new design or remodeling project. 206.726.0077













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From the Ground Up – Financing a Project

You’re inspired. You’ve done your research, you’ve saved your favorite magazine articles and photos, and you’re starting to envision what your dream house will look like in reality. You’ve made the decision to remodel your home or build a new one and you’ve selected your architect. You’ve taken big steps as you’re making these monumental family and financial decisions.

So, what’s the first thing you need to talk about in your initial conversations with your architect? Sheri, and the staff of live-work-play, will want to start the discussion from the ground up; from financial options, to site design, to decisions on building systems and materials, from foundations to the roof.

Our “From the Ground Up” series will focus on all of the above, starting here with how to finance your project.  When it comes to financial issues, we don’t consider ourselves experts, but we would like to get you started with some pertinent information and valuable resources. There are different considerations depending on your project. Are you adding on or altering a current home? Are you building a detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU)? Are you contemplating completely new custom home? Below are some possibilities to consider.

For additions and home alterations:

  • Cash: Where does it come from:  savings, sale of stock, inheritance, family gift?
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC): There is a maximum amount of credit established by the bank, but you will only pay interest on what you actually spend.  A HELOC often has a variable interest rate and a balloon of 15 years. HELOC’s can be converted to a home equity loan (HELOAN) with a fixed interest rate when you’re all done spending.
  • Home equity loan HELOAN:  This is a fixed amount, disbursed all at once at a fixed rate, with a pay back term which you have to start paying back when the money is disbursed.
  • Construction loan:  This is based on appraised value when construction is complete.  Typically, a bank pays the contractor when invoices are submitted, and then bank personnel visit the site before paying the contractors invoices to see that the work was actually completed.  There is consequently a lag time until the contractor is paid.

For detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU), options here include:

  • Cash
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Home equity loan (HELOAN)
  • Construction loan:  Fannie Mae does not underwrite second units on single family property (as of this writing) so a construction loan is more likely to be a “portfolio” loan NOT underwritten by Fannie Mae. Washington Federal is a good place to start. In general, you’ll want to stick to a more local or “local” bank such as credit unions, Homestreet, Umpqua, Salmon Bay and Washington Federal. (All banks have their own nuances to the rules, so it is important to ask a lot of questions and find out what each bank does, and does not do, that applies to your particular situation. Some, for example, may include potential DADU rental income in the income calculation and some won’t.

For new house construction options are:

  • Cash
  • More typically a construction loan (see above) or a conventional construction to permanent loan product
  • FHA construction to perm products are available at times for a lower down payment, but they incur mortgage insurance costs both up front and ongoing and may be more challenging to locate.

With all of the above ideas, you can refinance into one mortgage when construction is complete, potentially making more sense long term.

We hope this information is helpful in your planning and securing financing for your project. Remember to ask lots of questions and do your research. This is most important in avoiding any disappointments, setbacks or lapses as you move through the construction process.

Next up in our series:  From the Ground Up–Site Design.

Call or e-mail the professionals at live-work-play now to discuss your new design or remodeling project. 206.726.0077









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