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The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage

Posted on Jul 1, 2022 in:
  • Case Studies

Vital Stats


Remodel Points

DADU Points

Location: Seattle
Star Level: 4-Star
Checklist: Remodel & 2018 New Construction Single-Family/Townhome
Verifier: Evergreen Certified
Site and Water 105 146
Energy Efficiency 95 83
Health and Indoor Air Quality 99 103
Material Efficiency 94 70
  Total Score 393 472

While many urban areas with single-family zoning constantly battle NIMBYism (“Not In My Backyard”), The Cottage Company embraces the concept of “Neighbors for More Neighbors” via density infill at their Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage new construction project.

The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage

Inspired by the 19th century farmhouse ‘compounds’ of clustered worker cottages, this site, located in the Olympic Hills neighborhood of Seattle, created moderate density by constructing a detached accessory dwelling unit behind a newly renovated 1928 Tutor cottage in a single-family neighborhood a short walking distance from shops and transit in Northeast Seattle’s Lake City Urban Village.

The project team sought to preserve as much of the existing cottage as possible including elements like the clear fir and oak flooring with inlay, mouldings, arched doorways, divided light windows, stone fireplace, and ‘Dutch’ front door. The Ida Pearl House kept much of the original exterior aesthetic, but finished the existing basement and built-up portions of the roof to allow for more total livable area. While designing for more livable spaces within the home, the envelope, structure, and systems were also brought up to and, in some cases, beyond code. To maintain much of the existing interior finishes and aesthetic, a centralized heat pump air handler replaced the existing HVAC system that serviced the basement and main floor and supplemental ductless mini-splits were installed at the top floor. Additionally, all existing exterior walls and roofs were insulated, and a hybrid heat pump water heater was installed to address the domestic hot water needs.

The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage
The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage
The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage

The newly constructed Post Cottage is separated from the Ida Pearl House by a green ‘buffer’ space, keeping the lots private from one another, but allowing for connectivity to nature. The interior design features a large, vaulted ceiling great room, dining nook, and Douglas fir flooring throughout the one-story, two-bedroom space. In tangent with a robust liquid-applied weather resistant barrier (Enviro-Dri) to protect the home from moisture and air leakage, high-efficiency systems including a centralized, ducted heat pump air handler and Energy Star appliances were installed to perform over 20% better than a new code-built house.

The entire project is centered around the concept of preservation: from the reuse/refinishing/retention of existing interior elements and large heritage cedar trees on site, to the naming of the homes based on the original farmstead owners, nod to the historical architectural style of the time, and an extensive owners’ manual that includes the site’s history as well as a “Who Built My Home” section for major subcontractors involved in the project.

The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage
The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage
The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage

Built Green Highlights

Site and Water

  • Large cedar trees retained on site
  • All pervious hardscaping
  • 100% stormwater management on-site
  • Private outdoor areas for both homes

Energy Efficiency

  • All-electric site
  • Designated outlet for EV charger at garages
  • Remodel: Upgrades implemented to bring the home beyond code and perform 20% better than new construction
  • Remodel: Hybrid heat pump water
  • DADU: High-efficiency, centralized heat pump air handler
  • DADU: Enviro-Dri liquid-applied WRB

Health and Indoor Air Quality

  • Detached garages (Remodel carport rebuilt as garage)
  • Moisture management methods beyond code implemented (dampproofing paint, dimple drainage mat, interior footing drain)
  • Remodel: Comprehensive improvement for existing dining room crawl space
  • DADU: No carpet

Materials Efficiency

  • Over 7 regionally produced materials used throughout each unit
  • Remodel: Reused majority of original framing material (donated the rest), original interior trim at windows/doors, original front door and bathroom door, window and door hardware
  • Remodel: Refinished all original wood flooring on main and upper floors
  • DADU: Salvaged or SFI Certified Sourcing Montana Douglas Fir flooring
The Cottage Company—Ida Pearl House Remodel & Post Cottage

Photos Courtesy of The Cottage Company, Clarity NW Ryan Slimak Photography


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