Friday, October 30, 2009

Ripping it Apart

The laundry room becomes the temporary kitchen...

In hopes that this mess will soon be functional again...

Delivery Man...

Well, he's not a delivery man but one of the reasons for this truck is to pick up recycled building materials, and, as it turns out, to deliver no-longer-needed-items to their new home. Here the new truck is full of cabinets and appliances, removed from the Lois remodel project, to be delivered to a new owner in Seattle. The purchasers of these items only had an SUV available for picking the items up which would have required at least two trips. Since Brad was going to Seattle anyway, he delivered the items saving on trips, gas and ferry fees thereby making the purchase much more eco-friendly.

The dbbrad truck

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The satisfaction of a day's work well done!


The other part of the drainage equation, along with the French drains, is to dig a pond. One of this site's French drains terminates at the edge of the pond and shares the pond's wetland overflow to control any excess water. The pond and wetland will be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, as well as providing habitat for birds and animals. Storing water, using water for wildlife, and recharging the aquifer are all sustainable functions in planning how to control the "waste" water generated from roofs and runoff.

A Garden Happening

Once the cardboard is in place the areas get chipped or graveled depending on the use. The patios and pathways are graveled and the beds are chipped. Part of the work Brad Hankins (dbbrad) brings to his jobs is when the machine is on site for one task, do as many as possible at the same time. In the spirit of that philosophy, landscaping frequently becomes part of building or remodeling. It also means the site is thought about in terms of drainage, gardens, and the protection of the land during construction (such as the crew parking only on the gravel drives or designated areas, cleaning up the site at the end of the day, not burning waste, recycling the crew's waste as well as the construction waste, and so forth.)

Street side garden with the flags marking the pathways.
Small patio/landing off the street side steps with the chipped beds. At a later time gravel pathways will connect to the patio/landing.

A larger sitting area near the new front entry. Gravel is the surface for now but at a later time large flat stones will make up the patio surface.

The shaping, mulching and graveling of the first beds and outdoor living spaces are roughed in only. The fine tuning happens after the machines leave and the dust settles.

Soil Preparation Follows

Site management means many things to many people, but to Brad of dbbrad it means thinking into the future of the site and how it will be used. The gardens, if one looks ahead, are a critical part of the project so protecting the earth, and in fact improving the soil, go hand-in-hand with his building projects.

Here the sod is being covered with recycled cardboard (both the sod still in place, and the sod dug from other locations piled in the areas we desire to create berms). The cardboard is then covered with chips and soil to create berms or future planting beds. A few months of waiting for the grass to die and the beds will be ready for planting. Using recyceed cardboard or newspaper is a great way to add to the fertility of the soil, kill weeds, and reuse these materials.

Dealing with the Water

Digging the ditches, for the drains (uphill from the residence), was the first task to handle all runoff before it travels to the home's foundation. The ditches are dug 3 feet deep by about 2 feet wide; filled with several inches of drain rock; then perforated PVC; then more drain rock; followed by landscape cloth; and then soil.

Getting it all together

One of the first important tasks, before beginning a big job, is getting all the materials on site. Here the chips, gravel, drain rock, cardboard and machine are all gathered together before a huge drainage/landscaping effort can begin.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creative Waste Solution

Adding the scraps to an area that does not need to be insulated, but it won't hurt, keeps the bits and pieces out of the landfill.

Garden Screen

The wall that was removed to make room for a door is about to become a new garden screen.

The Instant Door

Today this wall went from no doors to doors. These doors were no longer going to be used in the kitchen area so in a one-day blast of reuse they have now been installed in the south wall of Lois' new studio.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Life For an Old Building

702 MLK (Martin Luther King Way) two blocks south of Jackson  in Seattle Washington was an old dilapidated house purchased by my friend Kent Richards which we renovated changing not only the house and the corner, but the whole neighborhood.

This house was moved to make way for I-90 in Seattle and then sat vacant for 18 years. A few years ago the owner, Kent, and Brad brought it back to life. The roof was raised and every inch was reworked. The dwelling is now a duplex, home for two families, on Martin Luther King Way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roofing Details

These two photos show how the rafter tails extend the overhang for better protection from the rain; the newly painted green plywood as seen from below; and the roof waiting for the new roofing.

Protection from the Rain

The new entry porch had it's footings poured and is ready for roofing. In the second photo Joe is mixing the concrete for the porch posts. The rafters are of recycled wood.

Ready for Roofing

Matt, Brad's new worker, nailed the roof's plywood in place today. The roof then passed inspection, and is ready for the new metal roofing.