A Cottage for Amah and Oompa
The Peregrins love to visit their grandson Ray in Seattle. They wanted to spend even more time together, but the cost of buying a condominium was prohibitive. Fortunately, Seattle's new Backyard Cottage ordinance was the solution. Their new pied-a- terre is in the backyard of their daughter's home in Ballard. It is, appropriately, named the "Falcon's Nest".
The Nest is a 320 square foot apartment perched above a one-car garage, with a view of Mount Rainier, and a deck in the branches of an old apple tree. Saving the apple tree was a priority for the whole family.
Placing the entry at the back of the cottage preserves the back yard, and makes comings and goings more private. This will be especially valuable if the cottage is ever rented outside the family.
The old concrete driveway has been replaced with one that slopes gently toward a rock reservoir that collects storm water and keeps it out of our over-taxed pipes. Rain that falls on the roof will be collected in cisterns below the stair, and will be used for watering the gardens.
Careful air sealing of every outlet and light switch, combined with a one-inch ""flash coat"" of closed-cell foam sprayed into the advanced-framed walls, helps the house exceed Seattle's strict requirement for air tight construction. Insulation in the ceiling and floors is ""Eco-batt"" a formaldehyde-free fiberglass. The blower door test showed 3.3 ACH/50, exceeding energy code requirements.
The cottage is occasionally vacant, and the plumbing is designed to be drained so the building doesn't need to be heated when it's empty. When the grandparents are here, it takes only 2000 watts to heat the cottage.
Ceiling height was modulated to help make this small space feel big. The flat ceiling defines the entry and circulation, while the vault spans the living area.
Light colored and reflective finishes, including the bamboo floors and all-natural linoleum, make the most of the plentiful light from the expanse of south-facing windows. The cabinets are Lowe's Diamond, with low-formaldehyde particle board, and the zero- VOC paint is Ecohaus's American Pride.
The owners collaborated from start to finish with Red Cottage Studios and Fradkin Fine.