Latest From the Blog

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Big View House #4: A Design-Build approach to Construction

We left off of the Big View House and its sweeping panoramas of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier just after the permit phase. With several months under our belt, the construction is well underway and everything from stairs to solar panels is going into place! After finding the underground water issue in the garage excavation, sump pumps were installed so that foundations could be poured and framing could begin. The green pump caps are visible at the back of the garage foundation, shown at right. Framing was the next exciting step of the process as our clients were finally able to experience first-hand their new living space, particularly their master bedroom which they are standing in below. As you can see, we are using composite joists which are generally stronger than dimensional lumber, can span greater distances without needing supporting walls or columns, and allow for higher ceilings because the deep channels can accommodate openings for utilities without losing any strength. O Our beautiful fir columns are structural

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Update on CTA's work in Haiti

Our Architects Without Borders project, a large campus-style secondary and trade school outside of Cabaret, Haiti, is coming to a conclusion!  We’ve been working for over a year to provide drawings and images for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, our client and current administer of eight other schools throughout Haiti.  These images describe a large, rural, 3,000 student campus-style secondary and trade school.  The program includes classroom buildings, science labs, and shop space, along with dormitories, a chapel, auditorium, and cafeteria.   Community and sustainability are hallmarks of this project – fundamental ideas inherent in the campus layout that impact the landscape and building designs.  Such a school would provide a continuous stream of graduates, bringing the benefits of an educated population into the community, affecting both the immediate area of Cabaret, and Haiti, country-wide.  It is our hope that these drawings will help the Brothers describe their vision of this community to potential partners and funders. The

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Seattle builders are busy everywhere

The Costs of Remodeling these days: a post-recession update!

  Now that the recession is well behind us, you've probably noticed how much building there is going on around everywhere you look. This intense building economy has caused noticeable cost escalation in the construction industry overall. Its been frustrating for all of us in the trade - architects and builders - to keep tabs on what seems to be a bit of a moving target, but here's our current analysis of rough costs in the home improvement world. Costs of building a new home can run from $200/sq ft. for a bare bones, not-much-in-the-way-of-finishes simple structure; to $250 for something a little more interesting; to $3oo for a house with nice finishes (think stone counters, built-ins, nice tile)…the likes of which you see in our portfolio. And of course you can spend more as desires and budget allow! For remodeling, we prefer not to use square foot costs, as these numbers are subject to the kinds of spaces

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thumbs up for the excavator!

Big View House #3: Navigating Permits and Breaking Ground!

With our permits approved, we have started to dig at the Big View House site! We've started construction on the Big View House, but there was an intensive design process entailed in getting to this point.  Here's a brief overview of the sequencing of efforts required to put this residential remodel project together. Once we have a good sense of the design, structural requirements, and have pinned down the plan layout for this new project (see earlier Big View House blogs), we put together a basic set of sheets (some refer to these drawings as the "blueprints") to submit to the city for a building permit. Typically, this involves a 16-week review time from the initial application to final comments and permit approval. In recent years, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has been requiring more and more documentation for a building permit, including procedures for site water management, construction waste and recycling,

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