Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Realizing that I needed help, I enlisted the aid of an honest to god professional. An architect.

He has been incredibly helpful in helping me figure out what to do next and figuring out how I can make the best use of this property. To that end, he worked with me to come up with the following plans for the house renovation. My requirements that we figure out what will make the renovation go as quickly as possible, as I need a place to live!

The end design maintains the current exterior envelope of the house, removing two feet from the front of the house and four feet from the back. The main floor will be on large living space, with no walls dividing the rooms, and a sleeping loft upstairs.

With the plans in hand, I can finally go the city to apply for permits. Normally this type of remodel would be considered STFI, however, because I am replacing the foundation and the property is located in two ECAs, it will require a plan review. Thus begins a long and seemingly drawn out process of getting the plans reviewed by the city.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Asbestos - Good enough for grandpa, good enough for me.

So the entire sides and back of the house were covered in cement-based asbestos siding. So I had to don the Tyvek suit and begin abatement. The rules of home renovation in Seattle are pretty simple:
  • Are you the homeowner and do you live in the home?
    • Yes - you can do whatever work needs to be done, if the house falls down, you'll be the one to die.
    • No - hire a contractor
Lucky for me, I am the homeowner, so rather than pay $5k to have the asbestos abatement contractor come and remove the siding, I was able to do it myself. This required a permit and special handling for the material, but it was worth two weekends of labor to save $5k.

Be safe kids, wrap it.

Underneath the asbestos siding was really good cedar shingle siding. I was surprised it had even been covered up in the first place and not just repaired.

Here are the fruits of my labor, 2,400 lbs of siding. Double bagged in 6mil plastic bags. This was then transported to a special facility which properly disposes of it (read: buries it real deep). I loaded up the trailer to haul the siding to the transfer facility and the allowed load limit for my car and trailer is 1,000 lbs of material. So when I left and they told me that I just got rid of 2,400 lbs, I was happy that my car still ran and that the trailer's axles were (fairly) straight.