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Judkins Park House

Seattle, Washington

Filling in the blank: in a quiet residential neighborhood, a century-old house gets a bold new neighbor—parked inside its own driveway

By Josephine Minutillo

When it came time to buy a home, architect Bradley Khouri, AIA, wasn’t just hoping to find a place to live, he was looking for his next project. After settling on a charming one-story house in the Judkins Park neighborhood minutes from downtown Seattle, Khouri, the principal of Seattle-based B9 Architects, got to work on designing a brand new house—not to replace the old one, but to grow from it. Attached for 20 feet along the existing structure’s southern elevation, the new house sits in what used to be the driveway. While the challenge was to create a modern dwelling that would complement the small house without overwhelming it, there was also one big opportunity: The new house would be Khouri’s first chance to incorporate green technology, designing from the ground up with sustainability in mind at every step of the way. “For me, it was very important that the new house be as green as I could make it,” Khouri explains. “I had always emphasized daylighting and natural ventilation in my designs, but with each new project I like to take things a little bit further.” From the entrance (composed of recycled concrete from the demolished driveway) to the roof (lined with tubing for solar-radiant heating), the thin structure is packed with sustainable features.

Judkins Park House. Seattle, Washington
Photo © William Wright Photography
Judkins Park House. Seattle, Washington

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Location: Seattle, WA (Isthmus Between Lake Washington And Puget Sound)

Gross Square Footage: 1,981 Ft2 (184 M2 )

Cost: $430,000

Completed: September 2007

Annual Purchased Energy Use (Based On Utility Bills): 48 Kbtu/Ft2 And (550 MJ/M2 )

Annual Carbon Footprint: 8 Lbs. CO2 / Ft2 (39 Kg CO2 / M2 )

Program: Residence

Owner: Project 818 LLC
Architect And Interior Designer: B9 Architects
Engineers: Mitchell Engineering (Structural)
Environmental Consultant: Indoor Environmental Management (Atmosphere), Conservation Services Group (Energy)
General Contractor: Gprojects, LLC

Pervious Pavers: Grasscrete
Cement Siding: Hardipanel
Windows: New Castle XT Certainteed Windows
Cabinetwork And Custom Woodwork: Medite II Custom Cabinets
Paints And Stains: Devinegreen Paints, Osmo Polyx Oil On Bamboo Floors, Osmo Opaque Blue Stain
Special Surfacing: Paperstone Countertops
Plumbing: Caroma Dual-Flush Toilets
Solar Pre-Heat System: Sunda Evacuated Tube Solar Collector
Boiler: Trinity (92-97% Efficient)

At its street frontage, the handsome residence—clad primarily in a rainscreen of clear cedar planks separated by ⅜ -inch gaps—features a dramatically sloped shed roof over the second story. At the rear of the house, an additional level is topped by a gable. One enters the house on the ground floor through a bend along the 60-foot-long south facade. Just past the entrance, at the building’s narrowest point, a stairwell bisects the house and defines the circulation core, which contains a triple-height space and a bridge connecting the living and dining rooms on the second floor. Daylight pours into this central volume from windows set high atop the north, south, and west walls.

Materials and fixtures both inside and outside the three-bedroom home were chosen for their recycled content and sustainable approach. Renewable bamboo was selected for the interior flooring, while the ground outside is covered in a pervious paving system to prevent runoff. Each of the two and a half bathrooms features dual-flush toilets. But the most innovative strategies were ones Khouri would use for the first time.

Though he considered using photovoltaics on the roof, the house’s long, narrow form, and its position behind two large trees, was not ideal for such an installation. Instead, Khouri decided to try solar-radiant heating. Liquid from a heat exchanger runs through a series of tubes set in the roof, where it is heated by the sun. It then pre-heats water held in a storage tank under the stairwell. From there, a small, wall-mounted, high-efficiency boiler finishes heating the water and sends it to the ground-floor radiant slab, and to radiators throughout the house for domestic hot water requirements including laundry, kitchen, and bathroom.

Going a step further, Khouri also chose to harvest the shower and bathtub water for use in the home’s toilets. Situated on the ground floor, a graywater recycling tank filters the gravity-fed graywater and pumps it to the toilets. “We used it in this home for the first time because it offered a wonderful way to reclaim usable water,” Khouri recalls. “We believed that the additional cost was balanced by the benefit.”

If the sale of the new house is any indication—going within just two weeks on the market—the demand for attractive, sustainable housing is high. But the owners of the new house are not the only beneficiaries. The original house, occupied until recently by Khouri and his family, reaped some rewards as well. “The original house was L-shaped in plan, which allowed us to attach to it without dominating it,” Khouri says. “In doing so, we ended up improving it in terms of its soundness and construction.” It sold in less than a week.

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This article appeared in the January 2009 print issue of GreenSource Magazine.

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