Building Green to Age in Place
Crescent Creek House
A home modeling not only many aspects of energy and food resilience, but co-housing opportunities.
This residential remodel is the dream home and future retirement residence created by a budget-minded green residential architect for her family. Dreaming of the combination of a walkable community and the closeness to nature that a creek provides, the cute, creekside, 1950s rambler in old town Issaquah was the perfect candidate for reinvention.
One of the top goals was a partial upper-level expansion that could be converted into an ADU to help fund retirement years. And on the main level, the current space didn’t flow or furnish very well, so in the end, it was decided to go big — flip the kitchen and dining areas, move the fireplace from an outside wall to an inside wall, and reconfigure both bathrooms and bedrooms.
All this challenged the budget, but, fortunately, a creative solution allowed the big dreams to move forward. A friend was looking to downsize her home, so a co-ownership agreement was forged, allowing her to buy into the property and live in the newly-created ADU.
While the bones of the home were solid, spot demolition exposed issues with rusted plumbing, rough wiring, and non-existent insulation in some exterior walls.
To explore and resolve the extent of the problem, everything was removed from the interior side of the walls. Beyond providing peace of mind, it allowed for much better air sealing, insulation, and better opportunity for installing new building systems.
New systems include 26 grid-tied solar panels, LED lighting, all new piping for plumbing, heat pumps for space conditioning, through-wall heat recovery ventilation, gas on-demand hot water with on-demand recirculation, and fiberglass windows and exterior doors.
Interior fittings and finishes were chosen for health, sustainability, durability, and ease of maintenance: cork and porcelain tile floors, solid wood doors, and plywood box cabinets with solid surface counters.
Outside, a 600-gallon rain cistern and a raised bed food garden have taken up residence on the former driveway. The 1,180 square foot main level of the home is now bright and accessible for aging in place, and the 580 square foot upper-level ADU feels like a treehouse.
The result is a cozy and efficient mini-co-housing community in the middle of walkable Issaquah, twenty minutes from downtown Seattle and just steps away from nature trails.
Notes & Credits
Photography by Brian Hartman.
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