Home Remodels and New Houses

Welcome to my blog on Home Remodels and New House Design.  You can look at home remodels I have done in the Seattle area, and ask your questions about your own house.  I look forward to hearing from you.
-Alan Ness (zenArchitect)
www.TenDirectionsDesign.com
PS: I teach meditation in Ballard on Tuesday nights.  More information is at www.soma-yoga.com or www.seattle.shambhala.org.  And feel free to ask about meditation as well. -AN

Remodels: Garage conversions

NOTE: The NW Eco-Building Guild meeting last night on weatherization was a huge succcess. Over 120 people attended, and the expert presentation by Scott Finley of Atmosphere and David Vollan of Home Performance Inc was very informative.  I learned a lot about the latest insulation technology (celloluse applications) and good old insulation and air sealing (it is not all about doors and windows!).

GARAGE CONVERSIONS

Before: uninsulated garage

Before: uninsulated garage

New Den/Office

New Den/Office

Like a basement conversion, changing a garage into a living space will become even more popular in 2009.   Anytime that a homeowner can upgrade an existing space, they will save money over adding new square footage or expanding the structure of their house. 

Photos above show a West Seattle project where we carefully finshed out a small garage into a comfortable den/office for a family.  Issues included insulation placement, new doorways, and finding a legal parking space on the property. [Design: Ten Directions; Construction: Jim Alexander and Company; Interior Color Selection: Betty Brown].

Below are “before and after” shots of a carport that was enclosed to become a dining room for a small house.  The dining room has a new floor installed that is level with the exisitng house. The rest of the carport became a laundry and utility area.

Existing carport

Existing carport

Dining Room in enclosed carport

Dining Room in enclosed carport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 POEM

New legislation
Can this world be made better?
Which way will it turn out?

 HOT ITEMS

Meditation Class: I am teaching meditation for beginners in Ballard (Seattle) at 1423  NW 70th Street. The class is every Tuesday at 7:30 – 8:30 PM.  I will be teaching on a book, Turning the MInd into an Ally, during February 2009.  See: www.Seattle.Shambhala.org

PNA Home Remodel Fair: I will be exhibiting at the Phinney Fair on Sunday Feb. 8 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  See: www.phinneycenter.org

Free Design Services: There will be a raffle for free design services for your home at the Phinney Fair. All you need to do is sign in.

Alan Ness (aka ZenArchitect)

Ten Directions Design

(206) 323-6677

www.TenDirectionsDesign.com

Bathroom Remodels

HOME REMODELS: Bathrooms

 

 Bathroom renovations are a classic remodel that has been consistently popular.  Many renovations simple remove all fixtures and finishes and replace them.  But sometimes a small design touch can make a world of difference. 

The “Japanese” bath (above: double-click to enlarge) dramatically moved the location of the toilet and shower for great results.  A former powder room (above) becomes a family bathroom by breaking through into an adjoining closet and place a shower in it. 

Finally, the bathroom is a great place to be bold with color.  Push yourself  and think about a dynamic color scheme that you might be shy about using in a larger room in your house.

MEDITATION

In my class in Ballard, we started with the theme of  “making friends with yourself” as a metaphor for meditation. I went on to discuss the bravery of acturally sitting down with yourself without distraction.  But I want to go back to the theme of “not judging.”  This is the essence of the meditation technique.  We practice it over and over again while sitting.  This is valuable, because it starts to make a dent in our daily life.  It is amazing how we are subtly judging everything and everyone around us.  Relaxing our ‘judging” is a good first step in accepting ourselves and opur world.  And this loosens us up to accept reality, and maybe even get a little happier.

POEM

Even our computer
Could be a bit dignified
And let us breath out

HOT ITEMS

Weatherization Class:Come to the NW Eco-Building Guild class on Weatherization, featuring two great presenters with lots of practical advice.  January 28 from 7 – 9 PM at the Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N.  See: www.ecobuildng.org

Meditation Class: I am teaching meditation for beginners in Ballard (Seattle) at 1423  NW 70th Street. The class is every Tuesday at 7:30 – 8:30 PM.  See: www.Seattle.Shambhala.org

PNA Home Remodel Fair: I will be exhibiting at the Phinney Fair on Sunday Feb. 8 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  See: www.phinneycenter.org

Free Design Services: There will be a raffle for free design services for your home at the Phinney Fair. All you need to do is sign in.

Remodeling for Accessibility: Bathrooms

REMODELING for ACESSIBILITY: BATHROOMS

Hospital-style private bathroom

Hospital-style private bathroom

As I like to say, a home remodel is not a medical emergency.  Because that is true, a lot of remodels are “on hold” as people watch the economy and look for signs of recovery.  But it turns out that some remodels do have an urgency to them, sometimes medical. 

I recently reviewed some work I have done on accessibility: ramps, accessible bathrooms, wheelchair lifts, and door widening.  These have all had some urgency, because they were done for residents returning to their homes, or preparing a house for an older parent to move in. 

Accessible bathroom

Accessible bathroom

I have received 2 inquiries lately along these lines. One was a problem-solving session for a couple, where the man has developed greater disability to mount the stairs to his house. We concluded that a ramp from sidewalk to front door would be the best solution.  The other call was for an addition to a house for a parent who is getting seriously unable to walk.  The addition would include both a bedroom and accessible bathroom.

 

 

 

MEDITATION

I am teaching meditation in the Ballard (Seattle) neighborhood every week (see www.Seattle.Shambhala.com).  We started with the theme of ‘making friends with yourself.”  This is a great summary of the purpose of meditation.  There is something about us that craves entertainment and escape.  But the greatest satisfaction seems to be looking at and accepting ourselves.  There is something about constantly judging that comes in to play, creating a lot of dissatisfaction. 

The second theme is “bravery.”  This is the counterpart to craving escape.  It takes real bravery to sit down with ourselves, even for 10 minutes a day. I salute the class for making this effort.  It is curious how it seems easier to sit for 30 minutes with the group than for a few minutes by oneself. The class offers this kind of support.

Poem

Brilliant sunshine today
They say mind is luminous
But can I find it?

Looking forward to your comments,   -Alan

HOT ITEMS

Weatherization Class:Come to the NW Eco-Building Guild class on Weatherization, featuring two great presenters with lots of practical advice.  January 28 from 7 – 9 PM at the Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N.  See: www.ecobuildng.org

Meditation Class: I am teaching meditation for beginners in Ballard (Seattle) at 1423  NW 70th Street. The class is every Tuesday at 7:30 – 8:30 PM.  See: www.Seattle.Shambhala.org

PNA Home Remodel Fair: I will be exhibiting at the Phinney Fair on Sunday Feb. 8 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  See: www.phinneycenter.org

Free Design Services: There will be a raffle for free design services for your home at the Phinney Fair. All you need to do is sign in.