There’s a house that sits on a hill in Kirkland overlooking the shores of Lake Washington.
Come late August, it will be sailing to Canada.
The Asian-inspired, northwest contemporary home built in 1980-81 is to be salvaged thanks to a few environmentally conservative folks, including the people at Nickel Bros. Moving Company and Dan Wozniak of DKWozniak Design and Build, a Kirkland-based design and build firm.
Wozniak’s client wanted to tear down the home and build another in its place, but there was something about the house that caught Wozniak’s eye.
“It seemed like such a shame to tear it down,” Wozniak said. “It’s a beautifully designed old home.”
The 2,370-square-foot, three-bedroom home was “unique” and “well built” by the structural engineer who first owned it, Wozniak said.
It started with the foundation — part of it is holding up the hillside that the house sits upon. We have to save that, Wozniak thought.
Then, earlier this year, Nickel Bros., a company that’s been moving homes and historic structures since 1956, approached Wozniak and said they thought they could save the upper two stories of the house.
The house has two main floors, each with large windows over looking the lake. The third floor is only about half the length of the house and contains a pool. This lower level will not be traveling to Canada later this month.
Nickel Bros. will park a 35-foot-wide barge in between two docks in front of the lakefront property. It’ll be a tight fit, as there’s only 39.5 feet between the two docks, but Wozniak is confident Nickel Bros. can handle it.
Crews will then begin to “surgically” remove the house, hand demolishing various points across the foundation, Wozniak said. Crews will disassemble the columns from the back of the house and then they will lift the home using hydraulic jacks. Then they’ll slide the home forward and lower it into its basement and then slide it forward down the hill onto the barge.
“It’s going to be like threading a needle, but we’re going to do it,” Wozniak said.
Recycling the home is a win-win for all parties, Wozniak said.
“I like to take a look at salvaging rather than lighting a match to it and letting it go,” Wozniak said.
Firstly, it keeps materials out of the landfill. Then there’s the financial benefits.
It would have cost Wozniak’s client $100,000 to demolish the home. By salvaging the home, Wozniak’s client saves 80 percent of that. Additionally, the client gets a tax write-off, as he donated the house first to House Donation Group, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that works with homeowners and Nickel Bros. to save homes from demolition and generates funds for charitable housing programs.
Wozniak’s client paid House Donation Group three percent of the total value of the home. House Donation Group sold the house for $1 to Nickel Bros., who sold it to a buyer in Canda for $1 plus moving costs, which, in this case, are $250,000.
This price is much cheaper than it would be to build a new home, especially a waterfront home, in British Columbia, Canada, Wozniak said.
“What might cost ‘X’ down here might cost three times up there,” he said. “Building waterfront homes is kind of expensive.”
The house is going to a property in the Sunshine Coast region of British Columbia that has a similar slope to the one the home sits on in Kirkland.
“It’s the ultimate recycling,” said Tawny Davis, a Washington state sales representative for Nickel Bros., and the woman who reached out to Wozniak after seeing the demolition permit in King County for the house.
When asked why someone should consider recycling a home, Davis said “why not?”
It’s a win for the developer, the developer’s client and the buyer.
“The majority of our clients are people on the island where it’s really cost prohibited to build,” she said.
But, ultimately, she said, it’s a win for the environment.
“It’s a perfectly good house,” she said. “Why let that much debris go to waste?”
Hundreds of homes were torn down last year in Seattle, Davis said, which is why she thanks builders like Wozniak and homeowners like Wozniak’s client for understanding that it doesn’t take that much extra to donate a home.
“It’s really great that Dan is a developer who can wrap their head around this and understand it’s not going to take anymore time,” she said. “I really wish more developers would do that because we would save more homes.”
Nickel Bros. recently moved a historic Kirkland home, the Trueblood House, on Aug. 15. Nickel Bros. moved the house to Sixth Avenue in the Norkirk neighborhood.