In the News: The Craigslist House

Craigslist house, after

The Craigslist House, after the rebuild.

It’s always fun and rewarding to see our projects attract media attention! A project that our own Doug Rees helped manage a few years ago, was featured this spring in The Seattle Times’ Pacific Northwest Magazine, King 5’s Evening Magazine show, and, as well as other media outlets.

Originally a 1960’s Blue Ridge house, with a sweeping view as its most attractive feature, the home was re-built and completely transformed between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2011. Earlier in 2013, the home garnered significant press when it went on the market. It came to be known as “The House that Craigslist Built” because owner Dave Henderson completely rebuilt the home with many items that he found on the popular website.

Just a few of the Craigslist finds:

  • A stainless-and-copper bathroom sink.
  • A Madrona slab dining bar.
  • A complete kitchen that was once in a Bellevue showroom.
  • Wolf kitchen exhaust fan.
  • A dining table top planed from cedar slabs found through Tree Cycle on Craigslist.
  • Stunning old-growth, clear-fir lumber that became a vaulted ceiling.
  • More fir from a college museum, perfect for finish trim.
  • Enough two-foot slate tiles to tile the main floor.
  • Fir doors that had literally fallen off a truck – remade into barn-door sliders.

The Henderson house, long before the Hendersons.

While the project garnered attention for it’s salvaging of materials from Craigslist, Rees cautions bargain-hunters who think that salvaging is a way to save “easy money” on a construction project. For instance, he has seen owners and architects purchase materials that are not user-friendly, or that may even be completely unusable. (He recalls a termite infested salvaged beam that someone purchased for its “rustic” appearance….)

Furthermore, the complexities of working with salvaged and “to be determined” materials typically raise labor costs and delay projects, as streamlined planning becomes impossible. Owners who wish to hunt for their own materials need to work with a builder on a “Time & Materials” basis to accommodate the process, rather than a Guaranteed Pricing Contract which requires material decisions to be made ahead of time.

Salvaging can bring many unexpected challenges, but in this case, the owners got it just right. Of course, it helped that Dave Henderson was an experienced and innovative engineer, and it didn’t hurt that his wife, Karen Anderson, was a former director of Washington’s Nature Conservancy who shared his commitment to the principles of sustainability.

The “Craigslist House” wasn’t primarily a way to save money, although Henderson did score some fantastic deals. Ultimately, their quest was focused on the environment — limiting the carbon footprint, buying locally, recycling materials and reducing waste.

For Dave and Karen, salvaging was a way to:

  • utilize Henderson’s creativity and skill,
  • have a greater degree of involvement with the progression of it,
  • end up with a truly unique and stunning home, and most of all, to
  • honor their desire as homeowners to “build as green as possible,” as Henderson told MSN.

An innovative engineer, Henderson tackled the contracting of the mechanical installations and interiors himself. However, he contracted the framing, roofing, and window installation with Rees.  This is known as ‘seeing the project through dry-in.’ Once the building is dried in, the pressure is off to beat the weather, and the remaining work can proceed at a more leisurely rate.

Rees consulted as the project developed, reviewed the mechanical installation and estimated the finishes. After the completion of the project, Rees also helped Henderson price and scope a potential future addition.

The “Craigslist House” served as a perfect foundation for the Hendersons’ vision to “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” For Rees, it was fun to work with a talented engineer like Dave Henderson, and find the work pop up in the press a few years later!

The Henderson home, "after"


Seven Benefits of Green Construction: A Case Study

Built Green Home in Seattle Delivers Much More than Just Energy Efficiency

This Shilshole house was transformed from a rambling 1800 sq. ft. Ballard bungalow fixer-upper into a comfortable two-story 2700 sq. ft. home. It was a successful project that picked up panoramic views of Puget Sound, achieved a Built Green ‘3 star’ rating, and, most importantly, made the clients very happy.

The owners, an environmental consultant and a real estate professional, bought this “diamond in the rough” in a good neighborhood with intentions to renovate and expand it. Their goals? To increase the living and bedroom space, make it beautiful and comfortable, take advantage of the view, and increase the home’s environmental standards.

For their architect, they selected Jay Lazerwitz from Art and Architecture, a Seattle certified passive home consultant with a natural sense of design. Doug Rees, who administered the LEED’s program for Washington’s 1st gold rated building (IslandWood), became the project manager.

Together, this team built a home that met all the criteria of a Built Green home: it maintained the character of the neighborhood, used energy and materials efficiently, and left a healthy home to raise a family in. As a “bonus”, the green construction methods produced additional advantages such as building value and giving the home a unique personality!

Here are seven benefits of this green building addition, the steps taken by the team to achieve those benefits, and deliver a home of lasting value: [Read more…]

Seward Park Remodel Featured in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine

A project designed by Chris Serra, of BjarkoSerra Architects, and managed by Doug Rees, while he was working at Odyssey Builders, was featured in a several page spread in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, following it’s completion in 2009.

The task? To revitalize a 1952 Seward Park split level, originally designed by renowned Seattle Architect Paul Hayden Kirk. The owner asked for open spaces, a custom display case to showcase her collection of glass and ceramic sculptures,  and “updates everywhere.”

Walls were removed, spaces opened up, and many contemporary design features were integrated. But the classic,  mid-century design elements  remained.  Original parquet floors were patched & repaired with flooring salvaged from closets. Unique awning windows were rebuilt, rather than replaced. And, the floating stairs that connect the multi-level house, were restored and became the central theme of the new design. 

The project was full of challenges for a  builder.  To create the illusion of  the new  ‘floating’ cabinetry,  all non-essential structure was eliminated. This became interesting when  fabricating a nine-foot wide, four-foot tall, display cabinet – that sits two-feet off the ground.   Conversations between Chris Serra, Cabinetworks and Doug Rees went on for a few weeks prior to construction. The wood cabinet required hidden metal reinforcement, or the glass shelves and  art sculptures could break when bumped.  Also, wiring for accent lighting needed to be woven through the cabinetry, requiring Radford Electric to be on site with McVay’s Mobil Welding & Cabinetworks during assembly.

The result of this collaboration between client, architect, tradesmen and builder? Absolutely stunning! See for yourself online at Seattle Metropolitan Magazine (be sure to click on the photo gallery!) or you can click the thumbnails below to see a copy of the original article: