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1212 NE 65th StreetSeattle, WA 98115206.523.1618

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December 7, 2018 5:07 pm

Washington’s Newest National Historic District

As December rolls on and 2018 comes to a close, we’re looking back at one of our major projects from the past year: Larry and Lani’s work spearheading the establishment the Ravenna-Cowen North National Historic District! Washington’s newest NHD, roughly bounded by NE 65th Street on the north, Ravenna ravine on the east, Ravenna and Cowen Parks on the south, and 12th Avenue NE on the west, was officially entered into the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 2018.

The nomination was unanimously approved by the WA Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) this June, and was added to the Washington Heritage Register, which includes historic and cultural properties that have been recognized for their unique contributions to Washington’s heritage. (You can read more about this part of the process here.)

The district includes 443 homes, most constructed prior to the early 1930s. The average construction date for contributing resources is 1918. This district exhibits a special character, scale, and setting that represents a period of population growth and housebuilding resulting from the excitement generated by the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at the State University (now the UW main campus) and lasting through the Great Depression.

The district exhibits the range of architectural styles of its era(s). Although homes are relatively modest, styles include Craftsman, Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival. Many designs were taken directly from pattern books and kit home catalogs from the early 1900s to the 1930s. The existing cohesive neighborhood conveys a unique feeling in place and time.

Larry E. Johnson, AIA served pro bono as Lead Historian for this project. Both Lani and Larry Johnson devoted hundreds of hours to this project. The application for historic designation was prepared by the Friends of Ravenna-Cowen, an all-volunteer organization whose purpose is “To preserve and protect the heritage of the Ravenna-Cowen neighborhood as a community resource for all.”

 

 

 

 

 

November 12, 2018 9:13 am

Howard interviewed by Bontena

An interview with our own Howard Miller is currently featured on the business and branding website Bontena. Howard discusses what inspired him to become an architect, the design and building process, and the challenges of building a new house in booming Seattle.

You can read the entire interview here.

 

 

 

October 15, 2018 9:30 am

TJP at the Wallingford Historic Homes Fair

Last weekend we were pleased to be the featured architect at the Wallingford Historic Homes Fair at the Good Shepherd Center. This annual event features local designers, builders, and suppliers offering expertise in historic renovation and preservation. The event also included lectures, seminars, and “Ask-an-Expert” panels, and covered topics such as researching your home’s history, earthquake retrofitting, and the process of landmarking historic buildings. Howard and Audrey represented the firm and met a variety of homeowners, from renovation veterans to new homeowners seeking inspiration.

July 30, 2018 4:42 pm

North Bend timber frame project featured in PNW Magazine

We were surprised and delighted to open the Sunday Seattle Times yesterday and see one of our long-ago projects featured in Pacific Northwest Magazine. In the early 1980s, Larry was approached by a contractor friend who in turn had been contacted by a couple wanting to build a timber frame house in the woods outside of North Bend. Larry agreed to the project, in spite of knowing next to nothing about timberframing. At the time the company did not yet have an office building and his and Lani’s home was being renovated, which meant that he drew up the plans for the house sitting at his kitchen table.

At the time the only resource for learning how to build in the timber frame style was a book called “Building the Timber Frame House” by Tedd Benson. Larry read the book and designed the joints according to the book’s hand-drawn instructions. The craft was still so obscure that the permitting office didn’t even have protocol for reviewing the plans, so Larry and the team brought in a scaled model of the house to show the permit reviewers and to explain how the whole thing fit together.

The clients procured fixtures for the house with skill and ingenuity: From one day to the next Pat and Daucey would have come into a heap of salvaged flooring materials; the day after Larry finished an initial design for the kitchen, Pat announced they’d sourced a vintage back bar for the refrigerator, which sent Larry back to the old drawing board (rather, the old kitchen table).

We’re so pleased to see the house again, and that the family has been happy there for all these years.

You can see more of our timber frame projects here.

The house, shown here shortly after its completion, seems to glow from within, lighting up the dark Northwest evenings. Photo by Lani Johnson

Photo by Lani Johnson

From “Building the Timber Frame House” by Tedd Benson, 1980

 

April 4, 2018 10:18 am

Madison Heights Bungalow Addition: Framing Continues

Today we’re checking in on the remodel on the eastern side of Capitol Hill. In addition to updated fixtures and finishings, this 1925 bungalow is getting a new sunroom, bathroom, storage space, and garage. As the concrete work nears completion, framing begins. Next up: adding the utility systems.

The garage foundations and retaining walls are complete. The area with the black waterproofing will be the City required non-infiltrating bio-retention pond...

The garage foundations and retaining walls are complete. The area with the black waterproofing (center front of the picture) will be a non-infiltrating bioretention pond. A bioretention space is required by the city to manage stormwater runoff and reduce soil erosion.

The salvaged walnut boards will be used as exposed collar ties for the cathedral ceilings.

The salvaged walnut boards will be used as exposed collar ties for the cathedral ceilings.

The attic has been stripped to the studs and is now ready for collar ties and insulation.

The attic has been stripped to the studs and is now ready for collar ties and insulation.

March 6, 2018 4:45 pm

Ready for more concrete

March came in like a lion, but work on the remodel in Madison Heights continues apace in spite of the rain and the mud. The addition to this 1925 bungalow is taking shape as the concrete work nears completion and the framing gets underway.

Audrey, our newest employee, braves the mud to observe the construction.

Audrey, our newest employee, braves the mud to observe the construction.

Framing up the cantilevered portion of the addition.

Framing up the cantilevered portion of the addition.

Removing the last of the old insulation in preparation for installing the glum beam that will support the roof of the addition.

Removing the last of the old insulation in preparation for installing the Glu-lam beam that will support the roof of the addition.

The formwork for the garage foundation is ready for concrete.

The formwork for the garage foundation is ready for concrete.

As the framer demonstrates the strength of the cantilever, Ellen avoids the mud as best she can.

As the framer demonstrates the strength of the cantilever, Ellen avoids the mud as best she can.

February 22, 2018 5:45 pm

Snow Day at Stillidale

Today Larry is working on some projects at Stillidale–his “cabinette” on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. He sent us these pictures of the snowy, sunny day:

The cabin, viewed from the riverbank.

Whitehorse Mountain looms to the east.

The rain chain has become an icicle chain!

Woodland creatures (rabbits?) come and go.

Another view of the mountain.

 

January 17, 2018 3:42 pm

Award-winning Customer Service!

We’ve been awarded a “Best of Houzz” award from the architecture & design website. We were commended in the Customer Service category, thanks to the consistently high satisfaction (and ratings) from our current and former clients!

Check out our Houzz page for additional project photos not available on our website, information about materials and resources, and inspiration for your own remodeling–or new house–dreams. And thank you to our clients for their kind words about working with us.

January 11, 2018 11:58 am

Maple Creek Deck is finished!

Construction has wrapped up on this cantilevered deck on a steep slope in Maple Creek. Here we see the deck in November, nearly completed and just waiting for installation of the railings.

 

 

 

By mid-December the railings were up and the scaffolding was down. Final details only include restoring the minimally disturbed landscaping around the project. Kudos to Houseworks Construction for minimizing the site disturbance in the environmentally critical areas on such a complex building project.

 

The simplicity of the finished product belies the complexity of the construction.

 

To maintain the character of Anna Williams’ original Pacific Northwest Modern design, the steel beams are inlaid with Douglas fir.

Underneath the house, a clean storage and patio area masks the major amount of foundation work that went into seismically improving the house. Pin piles and new foundations were installed on the southern end of the house not only to support the cantilevered deck, but also to strengthen the house, bringing it up to current codes.

 

One of the programatic requirements for this steep site was a catwalk for easier window washing, visible in this view from below.

Another view from the ravine.

Atop the deck, a custom aluminum and ironwood railing compliments the architecture of the original house. The decking is also made of custom milled ironwood. 

Decorated for the holidays, and now ready for years of enjoyment.

January 5, 2018 3:45 pm

Magnolia Tudor project — in print!

We’re delighted to kick off 2018 by having one of our projects featured in Old House Journal magazine–on the cover, no less! The gracious and extensive (nine pages!) article explores the whole design process of the remodel of this 1924 house overlooking Elliott Bay, including how we devised solutions for thorny problems. Pick up a paper copy today or read the whole article online here.