stig carlson architecture blog

  • Project Update: Whidbey Island Custom Home
  • Whidbey Island Custom Home

    At SC Architecture we believe great architecture starts with the site – and that buildings should be designed to be responsive to and respectful of the surrounding environment.

    This Whidbey Island waterfront project near Coupeville is a great example of how professional architectural design can be used to blend unique living and lifestyle preferences with natural surroundings.


    Image:  Design elevation shows how the home will sit on this Whidbey Island medium bank property.

    This residential design project has been a labor of love for our clients for several years. Their property had a few challenges to work around including a small site with limited width (just 50’!), the desire to protect existing trees, significant archaeological issues, and a variance from restrictive setback requirements. Along the way, we have been able to successfully mitigate these challenges, design their dream home and keep the project moving forward.


    Image:  Waterfront construction site required mitigating archaeological issues and setback issues.

    Here are a few interesting design features to take note of:

    • Strategically situated to take advantage of Penn Cove and Mount Baker views from nearly every room
    • Just under 3,000 SF created with a blend of Asian, Craftsman and Northwest elements
    • Exposed post and beam framing, curved windows and roof dormer with clerestory windows
    • NanaWall system (sliding glass wall) connecting the sunroom to an expansive water-facing deck
    • Highly efficient Daikin Altherma air to water heat pump system.

    As you can see from the image below, Cascade Custom Homes is well under way with the construction of this home – we anticipate completion by year-end.  Watch our blog for future project updates!


    Image:  Home designed to take advantage of water views while preserving mature trees.

  • Fawn Drop Meadow Framing is Complete
  • Framing has been completed on the Fawn Drop Meadow House on Whidbey Island!  After the main floor ICF walls were finished, roof trusses and conventionally-framed clerestory walls were erected quite quickly followed by roofing and window installation.


    The interior of the home will be open and bright, with a clerestory running nearly the entire length of the building.



    The front porch is framed with exposed timbers and t&g decking to create a warm and welcoming entry.


  • Fawn Drop Meadow House Takes Form
  • mist

    Emerging from the mist on Central Whidbey is the Island’s latest energy-efficient ICF home.  Exterior walls and foundation walls are constructed with Logix insulated concrete forms, providing an insulation value of approximately R-25 while minimizing air infiltration and thermal bridging (heat transfer) through the wall.


    The home is utilizing innovative approaches to both concrete reinforcement and foundation formwork.  Footings for the structure have been formed using a product called Fastfoot; a leave-in-place polyethylene fabric form that, according to the manufacturer, conserves resources, prevents groundwater contamination (compared to “earth-formed” footings) and protects the completed foundation from moisture damage over time.


    Concrete reinforcing is being provided by Helix; a zinc-plated fiber concrete additive that replaces traditional rebar.  The fiber is plant-mixed into the concrete and according to the manufacturer, provides a 40% stronger concrete section and can reduce reinforcement costs up to 20%.


    The combination of using the Helix fibers and Fastfoot formwork allowed the contractor to pour the walls and footings all at once, saving both time and labor.  I’ll be checking back with the contractor, Viewpoint Group, Inc. when this phase of work is complete to try and get some feedback on the positive and negative aspects of this “all-in-one” approach.

  • Stig Carlson Architecture is on Houzz.  If you’ve never visited this web site, give it a go – lots of great information and a wonderful resource if you’re planning any home improvement or construction project.


  • Indiana Street Housing Press Release
  • Here’s a press release that was recently issued for the Kulshan CLT/Habitat project we’ve been involved with up in Bellingham:

    KulshanCLT’s Indiana Street homes:

    Four new compact, super energy-efficient, and permanently affordable homes

    for the Birchwood neighborhood


    (Bellingham) – Kulshan Community Land Trust begins construction soon on its newest super energy efficient, permanently affordable homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County in the Birchwood neighborhood at 2776 and 2788 West Indiana Street.

    Working together, the goal is to demonstrate that sustainable features can be incorporated into affordably priced homes. Using third party verification of U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes and local BIAWC Built Green rating systems, the Indiana Street homes builds on the success of KulshanCLT’s  Madrona Street home to serve as a model energy efficiency and affordability for our community. The four homes – two with attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) will be sold at an affordable price to households at or below 80% of area median income (AMI) for their household size. For example, a household of 3 would need to make $48,850 or less to qualify.

    KulshanCLT acquired the four lot Indiana Street homes building site, at risk of foreclosure, in 2009, using its own equity and Neighborhood Stabilization Funds (NSP) from the City of Bellingham. Like the Madrona Street home across the street, this home site is ideally located adjacent to trails, close to jobs, transportation options, and downtown Bellingham.

    Following the building site acquisition, the Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (Northwest AIA) ran a design competition for the Indiana Street Homes, encouraging innovative designs from among its members. The design team, led by Fred Wagner AIA of Grinstad & Wagner, reviewed and evaluated submissions and chose the successful designs. These include Stig Carlson AIA, in association with intern architect Bennett HartLandsem Architects AIA, , in association with intern architect Dan Demeules, and Marcus Swed AIA, in association with intern architect Marc Griffin.

    Concurrently, KulshanCLT engaged Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County (HFHWC) in the project, which will build two of the four homes using the Stig Carlson AIA and Marcus Swed AIA Passivehaus designs.  According to HFHWC Executive Director John Moon, this will be the first time HFHWC has built inside Bellingham city limits for 12 years.

    “Designing the Madrona Street Home in partnership with The Cascade Joinery showed us that building energy efficient homes our homebuyers can afford is challenging but doable,” said Executive Director Dean Fearing. “That success inspired us to invite Habitat for Humanity to be involved in these four new Indiana Street Homes, and make similar upfront investments in energy efficiency for their homebuyers. Together, we are raising the bar and aim for these homes to be both high performance and close to self-sustaining from an energy standpoint.”

    Landsem Architects AIA, in association with intern architect Dan Demeules, designed KulshanCLT’s homes and include attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), creating two additional rental units affordable to households less than 50% AMI. The homes’ compact footprint will advance new developments in energy efficient construction methods and materials with a goal of achieving optimum energy efficiency and affordability.  Its passive solar design and reliance on energy conservation will help homeowners achieve additional cost savings and efficiencies. As with KulshanCLT’s Madrona Street Home, we are requesting additional funding for a solar PV array. The two homes will be built by Emerald Builders for KulshanCLT.

    KulshanCLT projects that its homeowners may recoup their investment in up-front high performance building costs through annual energy cost savings in five years or less. The estimated purchase price for qualified buyers is $145,000. Homebuyer downpayment and mortgage, combined with permanent affordability investments, cover the full cost of construction.

    As planning and construction progresses community members will be invited to workshops, tours and open houses to learn more about the home’s affordable, sustainable design, features and advanced construction techniques. Construction is scheduled to be completed in summer 2013.