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Stone Patios, Walks and Walls
Oddities and Painting
Interior Projects

This Queen Anne hill Seattle Craftsman style house had suffered aesthetically from the awkwardness of a doghouse bathroom dormer and from the installation of an asbestos cement siding, which had necessitated the removal of all trim that protruded past the original siding. See the "before" photo below.

Steve Dahlin did the design, produced complete drawings and procured the permits before starting the job.

After the replacement siding was removed by a licensed contractor, we started Phase 1:  renovating the second floor to add a new bathroom for the young lad new to the household; and restoring the exterior of the whole house.

First, we gutted the second floor, built out the new dormers and replaced the original bath with two new, one for the boy and guests, and another as a master bathroom.  We also raised ceilings up to the rafters in both bedrooms.  The boy's room has a ladder to access either the new attic or the new kid's loft above the bath, complete with an operable arch-top window.

On the exterior, we restored all trim, including a thick cedar watertable with 6 inch lap siding below and an old style tongue-and-groove 3 inch siding above, and cedar wall shingles in the gable triangles.  All items were available off local shelves except the t&g siding, but we found it's profile matched that of a standard fir flooring except for the beveled front face, which a local lumberyard did for us, converting the flooring to a siding that looks like lap siding when installed.  Aside from the new dormers needing all new siding and trim, most of the old trim and much of the old siding had to be replaced.


Although we were able to trace the actual molding profiles of original trim, mostly from indications exposed when the asbestos siding was removed, the nextdoor neighbors, whose house (on right below) is virtually identical but turned 90 degrees, had found an old photo in the city archives that showed the same exterior trim details.

We returned the following year for phase two; new retaining walls, steps, driveway slab, and fenced patio.

After the old concrete walls and slabs were removed, we built the new wallsand steps, with brick pavers as caps and treads.  The new stepped sidewalls flanking the front steps are typical for the craftsman period in Seattle. The sideyard, accessed with a new french door we set into the living room wall, was ringed with a wall topped with a short picket fence.  The 4 x 4 posts are steel tubes anchored to the concrete, and the rails and pickets are cedar.  The enclosed patio, not visible, was paved with flagstone. 

The 1990 Seattle "Skywalk"

Actually separate from the geodesic dome house in the background, this curving stair enclosure joins at its top a sunroom that projected from the second floor of the dome, and at the bottom, a former workshop becoming a master suite.  The owners, a newly married couple with 5 kids combined, needed more privacy and space than the open plan of the dome provided, and the shop had no better use for them than as a new master bedroom suite. 

So how does one manage such a project?  Well, let's start by making a full scale drawing surface, right in place, by laying out sheets of plywood on the ground and then sketching curves to define the wall locations.  Second, we'll cut holes in the plywood where footings need to go. 

Third, put in the framing for the flat landing next to the sunroom.  Fourth, we'll stand up wall studs right there on the plywood,following the curve, in pairs braced across the enclosure, running wild at the top to be cut later. 

Fifth, wrap plywood sheathing around thewalls. Six, attach curved plywood stringers to the inside of the walls,laminating layers to provide the strength needed to bridge across the span later. Seven, lay out the curve and slopes of the roof so that it could intersect the opposite pitches at each ends, attach rafters across the stud pairs and cut the tops of the studs off accordingly. 

Now our shape is defined and wrapped with all the necessary layers inside and out, including the bottom, where the studs are cut right out from underneath the stairs.