Open this Weekend– Built Green, Denny/Blaine/Bush School — 541 Lake Washington Blvd E

Seattle WA

Are you looking for a smartly built home in a great neighborhood in Seattle?  This new construction showpiece is a stunner. Overlooking Madison Valley and yet it’s in dog walking distance to the Arboretum. Perched on a hill, you are in the trees, with added bonus of lots of light and  privacy. Located on the local walking trail to Bush School.

Open House Kim Mulligan

Denny Blaine New Construction Built Green

The Design/Build firm First Lamp is targeting a 4 Star Built Green rating, and NW Energy Star and should easily achieve the popular 3rd party designation. It’s a multi-functional home for a family who likes to entertain, empty-nesters, someone to likes to work at home, or a number of other households. So many beautiful views, if the valley is fogged in there is always the green roof with an explosion of color any season of the year. The cheery sedums are visible from the home office, laundry or master suite.

Flexible Uses in This Floor Plan

The great floor plan and modern finishes, all have been thoughtfully and executed to really wow the visitor. The lower level could be for entertaining, a home business office to meet clients, a home theater, a studio, guest or Au pair suite, a rec room or?  What really stands out is the flexibility of the design so easy for multiple uses in each room. Are you a home body an entertainer?  Both personalities can appreciate this house.


Green Home for Sale Seattle

Overlook Bush School and Madison Valley over the Colorful Roof

Located on a seldom used public right away, the lot seems much larger and allows for other landscaping options. It blends in with the natural environment in part because of the the unusual cedar finish  Shou sugi ban. A what’s-old-is-new-again environmentally friendly finish.

Open this weekend 1-4 Saturday and Sunday, this house will go pending soon. This is the home many home buyers are looking for, so come and see it while you can. It’s a bit of the beaten path, so feel free to call for directions. Here is the listing.

This house is highly desirable due to the green rating, the location, but most of all the quality of construction and design. It won’t last long. As the buyer’s agent for the open houses, I can help you craft a competitive offer, just give me a ring for a private showing.




The Low Hanging Fruit with NWEBG

 The Low Hanging Fruit with NWEBG

Green Building is taking off  Seattle. In fact we are one of the leaders in the nation due to public demand and to local policies.

Come join us on Wednesday July 23, 2014 at the Phinney Neighborhood Center in fabulous Phinneywood the the monthly education session. This will be a a discussion on the low hanging fruit of green building as it relates to Developers, Design Professionals, Real Estate Agents and of course the residents of homes.

There will be time after the talk to ask questions of the presenters. Refreshments are usually offered, so come and meet some other like-minded professionals, homeowners and students in an informal setting.

Guild members are happy to share their knowledge and no matter how deep you knowledge may go, there is always something new to be learned at every NWEBG meeting.


Kim Mulligan Eco Building Guild

Come learn about Green Building









2014 NW Green Home Tour Kicks Off

2014 NW Green Home Tour Kicks Off

As this year winds up, a group of very dedicated people are working hard on the April 26th NW Green Home Tour for next year. Using the previous 3 years as a starting template we are bound to have a very successful year. There are more 3rd party certified new homes built this year than ever before.  The sheer number of homes being built smart, combined with a growing awareness in the general public and with industry professionals is proving that “green” adds lasting a value.

Sign up now for the Seattle area Green Home Tour

Get in now to be a part of the tour. Call for sponsors, site hosts and volunteers

Appraisers are learning to add a monetary value to the high performance features. Real Estate agents are being trained in numbers before previously unseen in the systems and special features of green homes. Banks have discovered that green home buyers are less likely to forfeit on their loans. Indeed, there is talk of EEMs and other loan products for green homes coming back in a big way.  Some lenders realize the energy savings can skew the lending ratios in favor of the buyer.  The value of smart building is being quantified and tabulated monetarily.

Sustainability both financially and environmentally is not just a passing fad, it is actually the future of building. The Seattle area is in the forefront of a national movement. You can own a home built to future codes now. In fact, both the previous 2 and 3 star self certified homes under our Built Green program won’t be an option soon. The energy code is already risen above some of the lower benchmarks. Recently Built Green of King and Snohomish counties have added the highest level yet. The “Emerald” level for homes that are Net Zero or better in their energy performance. You may have driven past such a home in your neighborhood not knowing that not only are the solar panels on the roof generating enough power for the residents of the home, but for some of the neighborhood as well.


Look into the NW Green Home Tour. You will likely see many of the types of homes we have had on the tour in the past years. Some of the tour homes categorized as Passive House, Built Green, LEED,  approaching Living Building Challenge, Detached Accessory Dwelling Units, Rain Gardens, Solar Systems, or Permaculture sites.

We are currently recruiting site hosts, sponsors, and volunteers. If you would like to be included please contact us and we can put you in touch with the right person to get your questions answered.

Remember: “A code-built house is really the worst house you can build”.  Why not raise the bar, increase your comfort, save money in the shorter term and make more money in the long run. Be an eco-capitalist, while bettering your health and increasing your comfort. In other words pay attention to the triple bottom line.


Phinney Ridge Neighborhood in Seattle Named #7 Hot Market in Nation

Phinney Ridge Neighborhood in Seattle Named #7 Hot Market in Nation

The Puget Sound Business Journal named Phinney Ridge as one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the nation. The Eastside publication quotes a Real Estate company that doesn’t have offices nationwide, and there is no back up data offered. People in other parts of the country reading this might have heard about Greenlake on Oprah years ago, about South Lake Union, Alki Beach or Belltown. Oddly enough many people in Seattle haven’t even heard of Phinney Ridge, they think of it as Ballard, or Greenwood or Fremont. This is one of the smaller micro-hoods in the city. How do I know this?  Because I have made it my home for quite some time.

Top Market in Real Estate

So many views to choose from on the Ridge. This one looks West over Ballard towards the Olympic Mountains

Don’t get me wrong. I have lived here for so long because I think it’s pretty great. If offers spectacular views (as do many other neighborhoods in the area). Views in 360 degrees can be found, in fact some condo roof tops do indeed have both mountain ranges, the Puget Sound and Greenlake, Mt Rainier and Mt Baker to gaze at on a clear day. Our walk score is around 74 with a bike score of 71.  We have great schools with involved parents, wonderful parks, including the Woodland Park Zoo, and even our own little main street of innovative independent, local businesses. Our anchor is the PNA Community Center, which has been an innovative model for building strong communities for decades.

The combined neighborhoods of Phinney Ridge and Greenwood are often referred to as Phinneywood.  It’s a stretch of road about a mile long that makes up a Main street of sorts. It turns into a pedestrian promenade once a month for the Art Walk and for city sponsored events such as the Greenwood Car Show and Summer Streets.

It’s agreed by my neighbors who just move across the street to upsize from their starter houses that homes once listed, tend to fly off the market in no time at all. We do have a shortage of homes for sale and we have for years.

The company who shall remain nameless that authored the article is great at hype. Last year Lawton Park was named the hottest neighborhood by a Realtor.  Not only have most people in Seattle not heard of this neighborhood, but many people that live there don’t know they live in a neighborhood by that name. As special as this little part of the world called Phinney Ridge is I can’t believe it is more sought after than parts of LA, Chicago, Manhattan or Boston.

If you want to be part of the Ridge contact me and you can be aware of homes as they are up for sale I can give you the ins and outs and I will ask you if you are a morning or a night person. It makes a difference on what part of the hill you live on.

I prefer to quote a more reliable source, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”


Phinney Ridge Seattle named Hot neighborhood

Want good neighbors? Move to Phinney Ridge


West Seattle Craftsman Home For Sale

West Seattle Craftsman Home For Sale

Perched towards the top of the hill that is known as West Seattle is this 1923 gem.  The corner lot allows abundant light to this updated reminder of the past. It includes all the charm that draws people to Craftsman houses, the fir floors, , the built-in generously proportioned wood trim, eating nook, solid wood doors, the antique hardware, in addition to the many updates.

1923 bungalow for Sale

Kitchen with Old World Charm and modern updates

This home has a mostly level lot along with a fenced back yard and off street parking for you to bring your car, boat, RV or storage shed. The full on light throughout the day from the corner lot location offers great opportunities for outdoor gardening as well as indoor light.

Don’t judge the interior from the street, this is a special home. The kitchen has practical modern updates, and still the charming features from the era in which it was built.

West Seattle Charmer

Cozy, Comfy Living Room With On Demand Gas Fireplace

The basement is currently used as a workout/shop/storage area. It could also be used as a wine cellar or root cellar or finish it for more living space.  What used to be the back porch in its former life is now a sunny office nook and mud room.

So think the floor plan of yesteryear may not be for you? With this top of the hill location, fantastic views as well as increased square footage could be gained from a 2nd floor addition. This established neighborhood is seeing people wanting to stay and instead of moving, merely remodeling.

West Seattle Bungalow For Sale

Main Bedroom Large Enough for a King Sized Bed

What keeps people here? The fantastic convenient location. Minutes to shopping, minutes to the nightlife of California Ave and the junctions. Proximity to downtown by several different routes, minutes to small local parks as well as the Golf course and Lincoln Park. Minutes to the Fauntleroy Ferry. Westwood Village is just down the hill as well as a couple of local libraries including both books and tools. Live the Best of the local West Seattle lifestyle at 5400 36th Avenue SW, Seattle 98126. MLS # 507124.



Somerset Starter Home

Somerset Starter Home


Wow! This is the school district everyone wants. A  Bellevue home  in the Somerset neighborhood you can remodel to your own life style and tastes. You already start with a generously proportioned home with a deck and view looking west to the sunsets, city and mountains. You also have a usable yard that still hasn’t risen to it’s full potential. What can you bring to this home as it’s third owner?

House for sale in Bellevue

So much potential for this one

This home already has 2 remodeled bathroom tastefully designed with penny tile floors and glass tile enclosures. Use your own vision to open up the floor plan for today’s living.

Updated bath

Master Bath with beautiful choices in tile

If this is too much to tackle, you can also live here, while you do any remodeling, it’s livable as it is.

Oak Cabinets and Greenhouse Window

Add small or large touches to the kitchen

Investors are bound to check out the possibilities, knowing a few cosmetic fixes might be all that’s needed to make this home sparkle.

So much to work with, in such a great neighborhood close to nationally ranked schools, parks and hiking, convenient commutes and great shopping. Come and check out one of the lowest priced homes in this desirable area.



Modern Ballard Townhouse Built Green For Sale

Modern Ballard Townhouse Built Green For Sale

A Ballard Seattle Real Estate search would pull up this amazing hip and comfortable townhome.  5 star Built Green, LEED Platinum, NW Energy Star, Third-party certified townhome boasts and promises benefits others can’t. Why? It’s because the advanced features in this home needs to be part of the planning even before the contractors break ground. Results like these can’t be achieved on the fly, a home like this is an integrated puzzle of many building systems done right.

606 NW Market Street 98117 Open Saturday March 30 & Sunday March 31 from 1-3.

Like modern design?  Thinking about living in Ballard?  Want to see what smart green design looks like?  Want to see a great view on a beautiful day? These are all valid reasons to mark you calender and save a little time to stop by and be inspired.

Go Green and Go Home

Classic Contemporary Styling

Here’s a brief list of some of the features in this special Ballard Seattle Real Estate:

  • Mini Split Heat Pump offers heating and air conditioning/ERV offers additional comfort
  • Modern and functional LED lights throughout the home
  • Electric Induction Stovetop (Look it up, it’s like magic!)
  • Low VOCs throughout the whole construction phase
  • Dual Flush Toilets/Other water-saving devices
  • Stormwater Management, including an established Green Roof
  • Solar Ready/ Net Zero possibility?
  • Walkable, busable, bikable
  • Fun and functional design

Smart Design

Smart Design Throughout Home and Site

Lets face it, green IS cool, and it’s where construction code is going much sooner than most people realize.  However is only marketable if the space “feels” right, including proportion, appearance, and functionality. This house has it all!  You can expect small utility bills, increased comfort–including those folks with indoor air quality issues, decreased maintenance and a better return on your investment dollar.

Beatiful central townhouse

Simple Modern Design That Doesn't Feel Cold or Harsh

Do you know that local studies proved years ago that green homes are worth more per square foot, sit on the market for less time and will hold up for a better dollar value? When houses get a “miles per gallon” sticker on them like our vehicles (yes this regulation is in the works) all of a sudden old drafty homes won’t be looked upon as being as charming. In short the small amount extra you pay today,  is a great investment and a money maker in the long run. This is an efficient and healty home where you can “Go Green AND Go Home!


NW Green Home Tour 2013

NW Green Home Tour 2013

It’s official! The date has been set, the sites have signed up and there are many additional sponsors including one of the favorites, Natural Awakenings! Here is what the magazine looks like that contains the official tour brochure inside:

 2013 NW Green Home Tour

Pick up one of these at your local Coffee Shop


If you haven’t gone on tour over the last two years there are some things you should know:


  • It’s all free!
  • Some of the homes on the tour are for sale, but most of them are owner occupied and the residents love them so much they aren’t going anywhere!
  • Because they are someone’s current home, they ask that you be courteous of the interiors and the exteriors during your visit.
  • You should wear slip on/off shoes. Hundreds of people will be walking through each home, for that reason, please remove your shoes and wear socks. It’s less wear and tear on the often new floors and helps to keep the indoor air quality at a healthy level. It’s not easy to get a homeowner to open their doors and disrupt their lives to so many curious strangers, please keep this in mind and be respectful of their personal spaces.
  • Often the architects, builders, and suppliers will be at the homes. They are there to answer questions and explain the features of each home. The purpose of the tour is for education and awareness. There are no dumb questions. Be fore-warned, they are passionate folks and believe in what they do, if you get one going, you might learn more than you bargained for!

What might be your biggest takeaway? The concept is there is no one “green” there are many different green certifications and each one focuses on a different aspect of health and well being for the natural environment and the individual. Green is what is important to you. Yes, greening your home can even green your pocketbook in the long run as well. Need convincing? Get out there on the tour next month!

Look for me, I’ll be out at the sites, likely in North Seattle. I’ve been a member of the organizing committee since the beginning and I have noticed an increased awareness of green concepts. I’m always happy to answer any questions, or send you to the right person who can get you the right answers!

You can follow me and my green interests on Twitter: @VerdantKim

Or on Facebook:

Go Green AND Go Home”


Saving Money in the Short and Long Term

Saving Money in the Short and Long Term

We are so luck in the Northwest to enjoy our wonderful older homes. Such variety, Craftsman, Mid Century Classic, and NW Contemporary styles of architecture just to name a few.  Along with the solidly built homes full of historic charm so carefully decorated and loved lies the evil money pit (cue the daunting music in minor chords). It actually resembles more of a sieve.  Small and sometimes larger cracks, holes and circuitous routes so small the eye doesn’t even see the stealthy thieves.  When the pressure from our forced air furnaces or the heat stack effect takes over during our cold winter nights, physics charms all the heat that good money and fossil fuels create as a by-product of combustion. It coaxes heat to find a way to escape our carefully locked-down fenestrations and into the wilds of the the outdoors.

In plainer language, the heat we pay so much to create leaves our homes too quickly around unintentional gaps in the inner walls of our homes and businesses. I recently was lucky to have Steve Hoffman, a contractor with Community Power Works, to my Phinney Ridge home to perform what is the state of the art energy audit.  This involves a large red piece of nylon fabric, some Velcro, an aluminum stretcher frame, a large box fan and a couple fancy electronics. In some ways the test is deceptively simple.

Save Money with Sealing your home

Community Power Works Makes This Easy

My part of the work ended at cleaning the ashes out of my fireplace. I also locked up my indoor dog and cat for a couple of hours just so they wouldn’t escape during the test as there are times the front door is open.

As I suspected, indeed my chimney flue leaked, but I also learned the double pane windows I installed to save energy were a large source of heat loss around the factory assembled mullions and transoms. No surprise of course the 10 year old can lights in the kitchen were also a source of money escaping through the ceiling and into the attic. I learned of some cold spots in the walls I need to investigate more thoroughly and a few other surprises.

To top off the deal of the decade, the auditor went through the house and provided me with replacement low wattage compact fluorescent lights to replace the soon to be outlawed incandescent bulbs. I plan to see how far I can go with this program, so far I have $95 out of pocket expenses for a $400-600 assessment, and about $50 or more value in light bulbs.

On the Job

Steve and his super power - a thermal imaging camera

Community Power Works is funded by a federal stimulus bill and won’t be around for much longer.  I highly recommend seizing the moment. This deal is too good to be true! My plan is to install a mini-split heat pump with two heads, one for each floor of my home. Not only will it provide me an inexpensive source of electric heat, but will also provide me with something I haven’t experienced in the 25 years that I have lived in this home. . . . air conditioning! Of course Community Power Works will be there to help me with the rebates and incentives I can collect while saving myself money in the long run and increasing the value and comfort of my home. Stay tuned to this channel for the ongoing greening of a 65 year old home. I will continue to blog about the process, the good, the bad and the ugly. So far we’re off to a great start!



Seattle Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU)

Seattle Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU)

Part 1

Please join me as I follow the progress of this project from the start all the way to it’s completion for the NW Green Home Tour. Detached Accessory Dwelling Units are also known as an DADUs in the City of Seattle. One can go to the Department of Planning and Development’s website and find the CAM 116B or “Client Assistant Memo” regarding the separate living structures Seattle homeowners may build on their single family property.  Much depends on the the size of the lot as well as available setbacks etc., but this is a great solution for increasing density without disturbing the feel and the lines of the neighborhood. If there is room on your lot this might be a great option to investigate, perhaps above an existing garage or the space at the back of the lot by the alley. Many Seattle neighborhoods are no longer car dependent and have readily available public transportation and such is the case of the build we will be following. The owner of this build could easily rent it out to a young professional who buses or bikes to South Lake Union or a student who attends the University of Washington. These projects can easily be built without having much long term impact on the neighbors or affect on-street parking.

Infilling in the City of Seattle

Site of DADU before contractors break ground

Seattle DADUs can be a great option as extra guest space, as an income producing unit or as a home office or studio. Quite often these are designed as an “aging in place” solution using universal design techniques. The old wonderful homes we have here quite often have the kitchen and bedrooms on different levels. Accessory Dwelling Units can be a great solution for downsizing when the time comes to transition into an ADA compliant structure right in ones own back yard. The main house can become the younger generation’s family home or as a rental when social security may not be enough to cover the bills.

Green building

Garden plot, shed and catch all area where cottage will sit

I will be following this project through completion  with thanks to the generosity of the General Contractor Wayne Apostolik, and the patient homeowner.

Stay tuned as this project progresses over the next 3 months.