Article No: 48

2006-05-01 09:54:38
Special Features Highlight 'House of the Millennium'
By: Robert Martin

Real estate agent Deena Loveland kept hearing the same questions from prospective homebuyers as she showed houses in the Seattle, Wash., area. "Why isn't somebody building houses that are sustainable. Why aren't people building houses for a different kind of life style; our kids are grown and gone and we don't need a 5,000 square foot house."

She pitched the idea to every builder she knew, but it fell on deaf ears so she decided to do it herself. The result is what she calls the" House of the Millennium" and what the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects designated Home of the Month in November 2002.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Mason

Loveland's dream home on Lake Sammamish is a 2,400 square foot one-bedroom, two-bath loft style house with a separate 500 square foot guest house and a detached three-car garage. The house is completely open inside, with only the bathrooms enclosed. All three buildings were constructed of Rastra, a recycled Styrofoam product filled with concrete for 12" thick walls stuccoed both inside and out. The frame is constructed of powder-coated structural steel columns and beams. There are stained concrete floors throughout the three structures and the driveway is stamped concrete with a colored releasing agent. Concrete cone tables are in the garden and hand-built concrete curbs throughout the landscaping.

"With this house I had the architect design it in such a way that the four outside walls are the bearing walls," said Loveland. " There are no interior load-bearing rooms, which means the buyer can design the inside how they want. It's a totally convertible house inside, which I think is a great concept.

"For example, this is a one bedroom house, but I could make it a three-bedroom house and have a high open loft if I so chose. As the kids left the house, say, you could take the walls down and make it just one big room if you wanted. The concept is for the new generation of buyers that don't need huge houses but they want something very cool."

Loveland blended a myriad of different products literally from all over the world to create her dream house. The kitchen is from Italy, baths from Italy and Germany, the cone tables from San Francisco, a 20-foot diameter umbrella from Canada sits on the patio.

The rear of the house is a wall of windows 20 feet high and 50 feet across presenting an outstanding view of the lake. Loveland put in a glass front door, so a visitor coming to the door automatically looks straight through the house and out to the view. The windows themselves are European tilt and turn doors.

"They open up like regular French doors," explained Loveland, "but if you turn the handle in the opposite direction, the bottoms lock and the tops tilt back. I don't know why builders aren't using those; they don't cost much more than a regular slider and they give you so much more security."

There is no copper plumbing in the house; it's all Kytec (a rubber hose sort of plumbing). "The only place there's copper is in the control panel in the mechanical room," said Loveland. "The plumbing for all the toilets and sinks and everything is Kytec. It's so much less effort to install, so much less expensive and it lasts virtually forever, but you have to change a mindset. I had to find a plumber that had used it and believed in it."

One of Loveland's favorite features is the Takagi "on demand" hot water heater. Measuring only 24.5 by 16.5 by 8.3 inches, it hangs on the wall in the mechanical room and produces hot water on demand for both the main house and guest house.

"It's very energy efficient and you never run out of hot water," Loveland said. "I can have the heat going, dishwasher going and fill a Jacuzzi and I still have hot water. It's incredible; I've never seen anything like this."

The concrete floors in the house and the guest house have radiant heat. Loveland said a heat cost calculation was conducted and it was estimated that all of the hot water used for a year would be around $600. (Unfortunately, since the estimate, there's been a sharp rate increase.)

Loveland had two open houses at her dream home. One was for builders and architects to see the various products at which she expected maybe 50 people. More than 400 came to learn and marvel.

"When it was the AIA Open House, they stopped counting at 1,200; they figure 1,500 or more were here."

Now that she has her dream home, Loveland is ready to do it for others. She has five lots tied up in an exclusive area of the city and is planning on contracting for a "Street of Dreams."

Step-by-step construction photos and information are available on her Web site