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nwBuilt: Saving the Cottage

Nestled in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle is a cottage house built in the early 1900s with a hidden backstory: it was recently relocated from one lot to another. When nwBuilt wanted to redevelop the lot and build a new, contemporary urban farmhouse, they didn’t want have to demolish the existing house. So, with the help of a large truck and crew, they safely relocated it nearby! Following the move, excavation for the new foundation started with sustainable concepts in mind.

True to the nwBuilt design, this farmhouse-style house combines sustainability and healthy components with a contemporary modernist design. Filled with natural light from large windows, a double-story space in the living room, and light-colored finishes, the house feels bright and airy as soon as you step through the main entrance. The heated polished concrete floors, a vintage oak island, vertical shiplap, and use of reclaimed wood instantly captures your attention, while built-in shelves beneath the staircase add functionality.

Vital Stats



Location: Seattle
Star Level: 5-Star 
Checklist: Single-Family/Townhome
Verifier: Evergreen Certified
Site and Water 154
Energy Efficiency 162
Health and Indoor Air Quality 124
Material Efficiency 119
  Total Score 613.73


The Lifebreath heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system, no carpet, and low- to no-VOC products provide a healthy indoor environment. The 2x8 exterior walls, triple-pane windows, full radiant hydronic space heating, high efficiency gas tankless water heater, LED lighting, and efficient appliances keep energy consumption low.

In addition, to achieve the high point level required for Built Green 5-Star, nwBuilt incorporated features like reclaimed red bricks from the original house for the back patio and small retaining walls throughout the property, purchasing FSC and FloorScore certified wood flooring, using cellulose blown-in insulation, using only fully pervious hardscaping, and integrating a large bioretention cell for maximum water infiltration. Besides the addition of those features, they also incorporated many local products, making this home fit for today’s modern standards.

To see more of the house, check out the virtual tour.

nwBuilt cottage

Built Green Highlights

Site and Water

  • Large tree retained and protected
  • Reclaimed brick patio and small retaining wall
  • 100% pervious hardscaping onsite
  • Bioretention cell for water infiltration

Energy Efficiency

  • 2x8 exterior walls with cellulose BIBS
  • 2.34 ACH blower door score
  • Enviro-Dri liquid applied WRB
  • Multi-zone radiant hydronic space heating
  • Lifebreath 300 DCS HRV
  • Navien tankless water heater
nwBuilt Farmy hall
nwBuilt Farmy utilities
nwBuilt Farmy exterior

Health and Indoor Air Quality

  • No carpet
  • Motion sensor garage exhaust fan
  • Large overhangs on east and west walls
  • Rainscreen beneath the siding
  • All LED lighting

Materials Efficiency

  • Relocated the original house!
  • FSC and FloorScore certified flooring
  • Polished concrete slab floor
  • Stepless entries and accessible bathroom
nwBuilt Farmy great room
nwBuilt Farmy bedroom

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