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This is Where I Live: What’s Not to Love?

This is the latest in a series of guest posts by people who live in small-lot homes or microhousing telling their own stories about where they live.

You live in a home that  some people say shouldn’t have been built. How do you feel about people that don’t like your house and where you live? What would you say to them if they said it was too small or too big or ugly?

Within six months of possession, our fence had been spray painted twice with graffiti.  The first tag was, “Gentrification Kills” and the other was, “F#%@ Gentrification’.  Both graffiti’s were removed.  If I were to confront the taggers I would have simply explained that our home is a Five-Star Green Home and is the most energy efficient home in the neighborhood.  It is only 2,400 square feet, while many surrounding homes are 4,000+ square foot turn-of-the-century homes.

Many people have driven or walk by and commented that they loved the way our home looked and often asked the contractors name.  I’ve worked in the yard & neighbors would simply exclaim, ‘beautiful home’.  Since the initial tagging, we have had only received positive feedback.

How do you feel about where you live now? Does it work? How does it compare to alternatives you had?  Why is having this house in Seattle important to your family?

We specifically wanted a home in close proximity to Downtown Seattle; a few minute drive or a bus ride to all that downtown has to offer was important.  This is my first home that is located close to the downtown area of a major city; only 14-blocks and within a block of Swedish Medical Center; one of the finest medical centers in the country.  Although, the home is on a small piece of property, it perfectly matches our lifestyle.  A large deck, located off the main living space, is perfect for relaxing in the sun or barbecuing with family & friends.  The neighborhood is great for walking our dog, Willie, and our route now includes stopping in one of three conveniently located dog-friendly coffee shops.

Tell us about you and your family. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing about work, family life, where you’re from. It would be good to get a paragraph about who you are.

In the 90’s, I traveled on business for several years and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest; its people and, especially, its climate.  After retirement and becoming single again, I met, Kim, a wonderful woman who had lived in Seattle in the 80’s and always felt a special kinship to the region.  She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area but had lived in New York City, Durham, NC, Kauai, Napa and San Francisco.

When, in 2009, I suggested that we relocate to Seattle from San Francisco, Kim was 100% supportive and within a few minutes, she searched Seattle home listings via the internet & found a recently completed Dwell Development home; she contacted, Susan Stasik of Windermere, and learned that home was just sold.  We subsequently established a dialogue with Anthony Maschmedt of Dwell Development and within a few months, we met and contracted with Anthony to design & build a semi-custom home on a piece of property that Dwell had already purchased.

We worked closely with Anthony and his architect, Julian Weber, to design a home whose main living space and master bedroom wing were located on the second floor with southern exposure to maximize the light.  That, along with it’s radiant heating, additional insulation, triple pane windows & other green home features makes this home the most comfortable home I have ever owned.

Anthony was willing to design a home that had the ‘look & feel’ of a Dwell home, which initially drew us to him, plus many of our requested features to make this our dream home.  It includes a self-enclosed studio on the first floor that has a full kitchen, a large ADA bathroom and a separate entrance.  The studio is currently set up to house a home-based business and is available as a short-term rental & guest room for family visits.

I have recently joined a small, boutique restaurant, Thrive, located in north Seattle.  Thrive offers freshly made smoothies, juices and gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, vegan entrees to nearly 200 customers each day who have embraced a healthy lifestyle.  My wife, Kim, is a certified holistic health coach along with managing our B&B activities.  She manages her businesses from our home studio.  So, our home, business, lifestyle & outside activities synergistically support our goal of living a healthy & comfortable life in Seattle.

The Future:  Should we allow more housing like yours in Seattle? Why? 

We own a home that is:

  • Contemporary and stunning
  • Certified as a 5-star green home
  • Comfortable in both winter & summer
  • Demonstrated a 60% decrease in energy cost per square foot
  • Used modern fabrication techniques for affordability
  • Constructed on a small footprint
  • Includes three courtyards
  • Includes a large sunny deck
  • Close proximity to downtown Seattle

What’s not to love?

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