Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane: Blog http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog en-us (C) Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:40:00 GMT Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:40:00 GMT http://www.hansoncarlen.com/img/s/v-5/u1038328606-o656945943-50.jpg Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane: Blog http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog 120 93 "No Curb" Shower http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2018/1/-no-curb-shower A lot of people would prefer a ‘no curb’ shower where the floor flows in evenly from the bathroom. However, from the builder’s point of view this can be difficult.

Question: Why do showers have a curb in the first place? 

typical shower curbcrub showertypical shower curb

You most likely answered, “To work as a dam; to keep the water in.”

You are correct; however, the answer is more complicated. That clumsy looking toe-catcher called the curb hides the fact that the shower floor is higher than the bathroom floor. Why? The reason for this is that to obtain the slope needed to drain the water, the perimeter of the shower floor must be raised. So, just how is a shower pan sloped?  In the olden days, my father said this was often done with a cement gravel mixture called a mud set. Nowadays it is accomplished with a pre-made pan on which tile can be directly applied.  Either way this sloping makes for a difference in floor levels which needs to be covered by a curb.

So how do you make a shower curb-less?  First, you need to lower the floor in the shower area before you build your shower. But this is problematic in the fact that the floor joists are normally installed at the same level with each other. This means to lower the floor in the shower something must to be done with the floor joist. We have worked on many older homes in which they simply just cut off the top 2 inches of the floor to lower the floor. Was structural integrity considered? Probably not! These same homes had old growth lumber where a 2” x 10” actually was a 2”x 10”. Nowadays a 2”x10” measures 1-1/2” x 9- ¼”. So it is unlikely you can just cut off 2” from your floor. The key to this is conundrum is to consider the shower floor during the planning phase of your project and lowering the joist for the shower area when the home is being framed.  See photos. 

"No Curb" Shower"No Curb" Shower"No Curb" Shower

Rough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" shower Rough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" shower

Rough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" shower Rough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" showerRough framing of a curbless shower, Rough framing of a "no curb" shower

Detra matt into curbless shower, "no curb shower"Detra matt into curbless shower, "no curb shower"Detra matt into curbless shower, "no curb shower" "Custom curbless shower", Custom "no curb" shower"Custom curbless shower", Custom "no curb" shower"Custom curbless shower", Custom "no curb" shower

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) custom residential construction no curb shower residential spokane http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2018/1/-no-curb-shower Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:30:00 GMT
What's a buck or two? http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/12/what-a-buck-or-two It’s only a buck or two!


When we use European hinges on our cabinets, we have come to exclusively use the Grass Tiomos hinge system. It is only about $1.00 more than the flagship hinge from Blum or Salace.   We think it’s worth it for several reasons. 


  • It drops or sags less under load than other cheaper hinges- this is important after say, 5000 operations
  • The soft-closing speed is adjustable.  Very cool and can be done by homeowner if needed
  • It is beautiful – no visible screws.  We use the Immpresso model which is just plain sexy for a hinge
  • It has super smooth movement 

Beautiful Hardware !


Grass TiamosGrass TiamosGrass Tiamos Grass Tiamos adjusterGrass Tiamos adjusterGrass Tiamos adjuster Grass Tiamos adjusterGrass Tiamos adjusterGrass Tiamos adjuster

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) beautiful hardware http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/12/what-a-buck-or-two Wed, 27 Dec 2017 21:45:00 GMT
Are your pictures level? http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/12/are-your-pictures-level Does it drive you crazy when things that are supposed to be level are not?  Nice artwork on the wall does not look quite as nice when it is a half-inch out of level.  Do you have your spouse stand back and say, “Move it down on the right a bit”?   I have a secret tip.  Use a crossline laser level to hang your artwork.  You can easily make every photo in the room spot-right in seconds.  These tools also help with planning on deciding, “What am I going to hang there?”

Use a laser level to hang photolaser to level photosUse a laser level to hang photo

Use a laser level to hang photoUse a laser level to hang photoUse a laser level to hang photo

Best of all, laser levels are inexpensive.  You can buy a homeowner’s model for $40-$60 which will work just fine.  See: https://www.amazon.com/Suaoki-Self-Leveling-Cross-Batteries-Included/dp/B01MYABSZR/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1501540980&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=laser+level&psc=1


Or, if you would like a high-end model like the “Old World Craftsmen” use, take a look at this:



office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) custom custom residential architecture & construction custom residential construction spokane http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/12/are-your-pictures-level Wed, 06 Dec 2017 08:45:00 GMT
Cast stone hoods http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/11/cast-stone-hoods Cast stone hoods

This past year Hanson Carlen became a dealer of Euro Cast hoods.  These hoods are made from genuine crushed travertine stone using a cast and mold process that creates surface variations found in real stone. We believe these hoods bring beautiful elegance to many kitchen designs.

Take a look at the photos:

cast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoods cast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoods cast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoodscast-stone-hoods

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) cast stone hoods http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/11/cast-stone-hoods Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Warm walls http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/10/warm-walls A Better Mouse Trap with Less Money


Most of the homes my dad and grandfather built used primarily 2x4 studs for the outside walls.  In the early 1900s hardly anyone used insulation in the walls.  I remember once tearing apart a home built in the early 1940s that was very unusual. It had one single layer of aluminum foil put meticulously in the center of the stud bay held in place by small little lath strips. This might have been a good air barrier but provided little R-value and the time involved putting it in was huge!  


In 1945 after the war, my father recalls building 2x4 walls and using a product called balsam wool as insulation. Several years later, dad built our home in 1958 (the home in which I was born) using R-11 fiberglass.  R-11 was quickly replaced by R-13 which fit in the same 2x4 walls. 


When I was a very young man in 1976 our company built mostly with 2x4 walls; however, Dad was using insulated sheeting on the exterior walls to boost the r-value.  This stuff looked like it was made from horses hair so we called it, “Punk board”. 


By 1980 we began using 2x6’s for walls.  With the added 2 inches, we could get an R-19 insulation batt in the walls.  We thought this was really great! By the 1990s, R-19 insulation was mostly replaced by R-21, a high-density batt that would fit into a 2x6 cavity. Today the building code in our area still allows for R-21.However, homes that contain what I call, “Good bones” and built by superior builders do not stop insulating at code minimum. There are countless ways to increase insulation values and stop air movement in a home.  Thicker walls, foam on the outside walls and so on.


So the first question now becomes, “What about longevity and systems that do not allow for wet walls and mold to grow?” and, secondly, how do cost and value play a role?  Like anything, there is a law of diminishing returns on insulation, meaning an R-11 wall will not save twice as much money on energy bills as an R-22 wall.  If I spend $10,000 more and save $200 a year, does this make sense?  You need to look at your goals. If you are looking for a “Net zero-energy home” you will want to go further than someone who wants a comfortable home with reasonable energy bills. 


Below is a photo of an R-30 wall that goes well beyond the code minimum R-21. It is quite inexpensive and a good “Bang-for-the-buck”. We are using here 2x6 construction and adding 1-inch of foam followed by a ¾” fir strip.  The foam acts as a thermal break for the stud and the 7.25” cavity allows for an R-30 Bibs system to be installed.

thermal break on the studsthermal break on the studsthermal break on the studs

Below is slightly better at a significant more expense with a double 2x4 wall that gives a thermal break on the studs and allows for a 9-inch cavity for an R-38 value.

thermal break on the studsthermal break on the studsthermal break on the studs

Many builders are using an XPS or EPS foam on the exterior walls to achieve high insulation values. My main concern with foam systems is in the detailing of the windows, doors and roof- to-wall areas under wind-driven rain conditions.  


Design and theory are great, but the important thing in any system is good craftsmanship and care in the assembling of the wall you are building.




office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) warm walls http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/10/warm-walls Wed, 25 Oct 2017 23:00:00 GMT
Ironing tips and boards http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/10/ironing-tips-and-boards I like to iron. Do you? Most folks I talk to would rather have a toothache than iron, but I like it! There is something clean and relaxing about smoothing out wrinkles and breathing the warm, moist air as the iron shoots out steam. And the ironed product looks brand new when it is hanging all pressed and ready to wear.


Following are a few tips I have found to be helpful:

  • Be sure to use distilled water when directions call for it, otherwise the inside of the iron will rust.
  • Cut down on ironing by removing the clothes from the dryer while they are still damp. Then hang them up to finish drying. I keep a large, wooden clothes rack handy for this task.
  • After washing your ironing board cover, let it dry on the ironing board- then starch it! It will stay cleaner longer.
  • To help remove creases in hems, sponge them with a solution of white vinegar and water. Then iron flat.
  • Never use circular strokes — you can stretch the fabric. Iron lengthwise and eliminate wrinkles by blasting the area with steam.
  • When ironing large items, such as a tablecloth or curtains, set up two chairs next to the ironing board and fold the piece carefully onto the chairs as you work on it. You could also iron large items on a tabletop padded with a towel, provided that the table won’t be harmed by the steam or hot temperatures.
  • Iron sensitive fabrics with a pressing cloth — a clean cotton cloth, handkerchief, or napkin. I like to iron fabrics inside out (such as a dark pair of David’s pants) to protect them from becoming singed or shiny. Be sure to iron the legs right side out so the crease is correct (not inverted).
  • If you must use an extension cord with your iron, use a 12-ampere cord. Lighter-weight cords could overheat, causing fires. Make sure that you arrange the cord so you won’t trip over it. I always unplug my iron when I am finished, even though my iron has auto-shut off.
  • Press pleats starting from the bottom, working from the inside of the pleat to the outside. Set pleats with a shot of steam.
  • Let clothes sit for a few hours after you’re finished ironing to allow the creases to set.

Here are a photo of ironing boards we have done


Built-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing board Built-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing board Built-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing board Built-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing board Built-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing boardBuilt-in ironing board



office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) ironing tips http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/10/ironing-tips-and-boards Wed, 04 Oct 2017 22:45:00 GMT
Handmade Truss http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/9/handmade-truss Roof systems in homes basically fall into two categories: stick frame and manufactured trusses.   By far the majority of homes today are built with manufactured trusses.  However, 75-years ago most homes were stick framed.  Stick framed houses could be very good or very bad depending upon the knowledge and experience of the carpenter.  I have seen homes in Spokane with 2x4 rafters spanning 15 feet and was amazed that the roof did not collapse (a 2x10 @ 16” on-center would be correct size). On the other hand, manufactured trusses are specifically engineered for roof loads. 

In our early years my Dad showed Tom (my brother) and I how to build our own roof trusses.  This was time consuming and did not have any ‘certified engineered’ design.

Once in a while we still build a timber truss or two for projects, which is fun.  On this project, we are making trusses from glue lam beams and metal gusset and bolts. We cut the parts on the ground and test that everything fits correctly then haul it up to the roof and assemble in place.   What a fun job!



custom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trusses Making metal gusset for timber trussMaking metal gusset for timber trusspainting bolts to handmade truss Making metal gusset for timber trussMaking metal gusset for timber trussMaking metal gusset for timber truss custom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trusses custom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trussescustom made decorative wood trusses

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) making trusses http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/9/handmade-truss Wed, 13 Sep 2017 22:45:00 GMT
Grilling Season http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/8/grilling-season Hosting an outdoor barbeque is a favorite summer tradition. However, more people increasingly find themselves barbequing year-round.  I can remember as a kid spraying lighter fluid all over the Kingsford charcoal and enjoying throwing the match on the coals to hear a satisfying ‘whoosh’ sound. 

Most young couples start marriage barbequing with an old used Hibachi grill. However, as we progress in life so do our taste for fancier grills. The most luxurious outdoor cooking involves a built-in appliance which allows a place for everything handy to the cook. This outdoor area includes a grill which can produce a whopping 54,000 BTUs on three burners. Drawers to store utensils come in handy, as well as outdoor refrigerators that are built in under a spacious quartz counter.   

Outdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ space

Outdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ space Outdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ space

Outdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ space Outdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ spaceOutdoor living and built-in BBQ space

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) custom residential architecture & construction custom residential construction spokane http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/8/grilling-season Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:45:00 GMT
Closet organize http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/8/closet-organize So, you’re engaged?   Then next question to follow would be, when is the big date?  Wait a minute - I am talking about closet storage and organization, not marriage!

Tag Hardware has come up with some nifty products that we have been using for our custom closets called, Engage.   What is great about these products is that they give a soft or comforting feel to the closet environment. Most of the products are fabric covered and offer a richness that is hard to beat. This same fabric also tends to protect clothes from snags and dirt.  Dividers make organization quick and easy. There are lingerie drawers, deep drawers, jewelry organizers, folding stations, pant holders and even shoe organizers in the collection.

So, how about becoming Engaged?


TAG Engage jewelry organizerTAG Engage jewelry organizerTAG Engage jewelry organizer TAG hardware closet organizer storage boxesTAG hardware closet organizer storage boxesTAG hardware closet organizer storage boxes Hafele Engage,  Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closets Hafele Engage,  Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closets Hafele Engage,  Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closetsHafele Engage, Luxury closets

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) closet organize luxury closet http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/8/closet-organize Wed, 02 Aug 2017 21:15:00 GMT
Is that Oak? http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/7/is-that-oak Often when you say to a client, “How about using oak?” they will look anything but impressed.   Why is this? Maybe this is because they were around in the 1980s when everything from furniture to cabinets was made of poorly crafted oakwith a sickly golden stain.  Or better yet, how about hollow core ‘oak’ doors where you can actually see owl eyes in the grain; or O’Sullivan plastic furniture with simulated oak. 
O Sullivan yuk oak  These are not good examples of oak. So when I show these same clients some samples from our showroom, they say, “Is that oak?”  

Quarter sawn oak bathroomQuarter sawn oak bathroom

The reason for this is in the cut of the wood and how it is fabricated.  Quarter sawn oak does not look anything like the rotary cut that is typically in people’s minds. It is made from a different process. Look at some of our photos of quarter sawn oak.


So how about oak? Even if you do not like it, be sure to say it in such a way as to not hurt my feelings; after all our office has oak in it. 


Quarter sawn Newel Tom Hanson MadeTom Hanson Made newel from quarter sawn oak Quarter sawn oak crown molding

Hanson Carlen office cabinet 

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) custom designed bathroom quarter sawn oak http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/7/is-that-oak Wed, 12 Jul 2017 20:15:00 GMT
Attic Venting http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/6/attic-venting Most people do not think much about attic space in their home.  In the old houses of yester-year that we often work on, the attic space typically has a floor of some kind and maybe a stairway that is narrow and steep. In these older homes the builders did not typically use insulation or think about energy efficiency, so any make-shift space in the rafters was not much different from the rest of the house. Today these attics are accessed through what we in the trade call a scuttle-hole. This may be located in a closet or hallway in your home.    

This may be located in a closet or hallway in your home.  Most new homes have attic spaces; however in most cases the space is unusable for anything but insulation. 

Most people think the only thing that matters in a typical attic is having a lot of insulation. This is true but the most important thing is ventilation.  Question: Should your attic space be warm or cold in the winter? The answer is cold if you have good attic ventilation.  In the wintertime, the attic should be close to the temperature outside.  Why?  This means your house is properly insulated and sealed. Also, a cold, ventilated attic will not grow mold.  Lastly, a well-ventilated attic will keep your roof from creating ice dams and/or icicles on eaves which are hazards to a home.

In the summertime, a well-ventilated attic keeps the house cool inside.  A poorly ventilated attic can easily reach temperatures over 160 degrees while a well-ventilated attic may only reach 100 degrees.  Once a home is built, obtaining proper ventilation can be difficult.  The best ventilation schemes involve bringing air in low at the eaves and releasing the warmth out high in the attic. I wrote an article on soffit venting in the Journal of Light Construction, Three Ways to Vent a Soffit.

One thing that improves an attic in the summertime is installing a power vent.  This is basically a fan on a thermostat. When the temperature increases to a pre-set setting, the fan will kick on and draw air into the attic.  Oftentimes on a hot day an attic power vent will keep running possibly until 3 a.m. when the air temperature finally cools below say, ninety degrees. The drawback to these fans is that depending upon the conditions of your attic, a slight hum can be heard from within the house when the unit is running.  Also, you can expect to get less than ten years before the motor needs replacing on one of these units.

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Spokane attic airflow attic fan custom residential architecture custom residential construction soffit venting http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/6/attic-venting Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:00:00 GMT
Molding New and Old http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/5/molding-new-and-old This is a short transcript of a lecture on moldings and trim that Janette, our architect, and I gave to the Spokane Preservation workshop.

Older homes often have unique moldings and trim. Stock moldings ‘off the shelf’ rarely match moldings produced 100-years ago. Not to mention that wood from old growth is often hard to find.  You do not necessarily need the tools of a big shop to make some nice molding for your home.  Much can be done with a table saw and a router that many weekend woodworkers have available in their garage.  

Hanson Carlen often makes and designs our own moldings and trim; however, we have greatly improved our equipment from when my father and grandfather were in business.

My father, Dewey made many moldings using a table and a simple molding head. Much sanding and finish is needed with this method because the table saws have RPMs that are too slow.  Routers combined with various homemade jigs can also produce some nicely handmade moldings. Shapers and small molding machines are a huge upgrade over table saws and routers but come with a higher price tag and actually take up floor space from your shop. Then there is the big equipment like this 6-head molder. Nice but at what price!

For more information on the Spokane Preservation Advocates visit http://www.spokanepreservation.org.

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Custom Moldings Historic Homes Moldings Spokane Spokane Preservation Advocates http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/5/molding-new-and-old Wed, 31 May 2017 07:30:00 GMT
Members of Spokane Preservation Advocates http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/5/members-of-spokane-preservation-advocates This past year Hanson Carlen became a sponsor of the Spokane Preservation Advocates whose goal is, “To preserve and enhance the historic character of Spokane and Spokane County through advocacy, education and preservation.” In February, our architect (Janette) and Kim and I participated in a workshop of historic moldings and woodwork of historic homes.  It was a lot of fun. I often think perhaps one day many of our Hanson Carlen projects will be preserved by future generations.  

You can learn more about the at http://www.spokanepreservation.org.


office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Spokane Spokane Preservation Advocates http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/5/members-of-spokane-preservation-advocates Wed, 10 May 2017 21:30:00 GMT
Darn Grout! http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/4/darn-grout Darn Grout!

I do not like to swear.  But one thing that takes me to the brink is trying to scrape out filthy, dirty grout.  

You may have nice tile work, but if your grout is moldy-who cares? Shower floors are the worst, it seems! 


We have a cure that we encourage: do not spare any extra expense at installation for epoxy grout. Not all epoxies are the same, for sure. We like to use Laticrete Spectra Loc grout for our nice tile work. https://laticrete.com This grout is superior to traditional grout for cleaning, yet does not need sealing. It will cost about 3 times more than traditional grout and is harder to install; however, this seems but a small price to pay for tile which will need less cleaning-not to mention it will cut down on feelings of frustration and the desire to curse!



office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Bath Custom Laticrete Loc Spectra Spokane construction custom grout residential http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/4/darn-grout Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:30:00 GMT
Color Stories http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/3/color-stories Color stories is a newer paint from Benjamin Moore that I have found interesting.  These colors are called “full spectrum” which means all that the colors are mixed with no black or grey tints.   The difference between this paint is how it is mixed. Normal paints use three pigments to get the color you would like.  These paints use five instead of seven color tints.    

What makes this cool is when applied onto the wall, you get different looks in the depth and overtones of the wall depending upon lighting conditions.   This is subtle way to add sophistication to our projects.

These “colors stories” are only available in the top of the line flagship product line called Aura.  Here's a link to Benjamin Moore Aura paints https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/interior-exterior-paints-stains/product-catalog/awip/aura-interior-paint

A big difference from Tom Sawyer’s whitewash on the fence. 

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) & Arua Benjamin Custom Kitchen Moore Spokane architecture construction custom residential http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/3/color-stories Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:15:00 GMT
Raised Pavers http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/3/raised-pavers      When I was a younger man, we built many decks out of Redwood.  In retrospect, I kind of feel guilt-ridden about using so much redwood knowing how rare and old these beautiful trees are, especially when the reality of it is that redwood does not make the finest decks anyway. 

    These days it seems like every vendor has several decking products.  We have several favorites and some we avoid like the plague.

    As an option to composite or wood, we have used concrete hydo-pressed slabs. Normally you find this type of product used as pavers under a sand bed. 



     If the correct structure is used, these concrete slabs can be installed above ground on a wood deck frame.  As you can imagine, concrete slabs are heavy and require extra structure.  Care also needs to be taken in the layout of the framing. Slabs are installed on a pedestal support that keeps the stones in line and correctly spaced.  


office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) deck joist pavers http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/3/raised-pavers Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:15:00 GMT
Open soffits - do you like them? http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/2/open-soffits---do-you-like-them      In our area of the country, most eaves are enclosed soffits.

WAIT! What is a soffit, you say?

A soffit is defined as:   

“The underside of an architectural structure such as an arch, a balcony, or overhanging eaves

     So why do we have enclosed soffits? One possible reason is economy. In order for an open eave to look attractive, the roof sheeting needs to be something other than sheet goods, such as plywood or OSB. Also, rafters that are just plain 2x4s are not very elegant or pleasing to the eye.

     The second reason for enclosed soffits is venting of the attic. Homes that my grandfather built did not have much venting or insulation. Today’s homes need to breathe… attics need good ventilation and good ventilation starts at the eaves of a home. But how do you get air space into the eave and not bugs? Usually some kind of screen or mesh is used, which typically when used on an open eave is unsightly. 

Once in a while we construct some open eaves like yester-year. Here are a couple of eave projects we have done recently: 


New porch for a historic homeNew porch for a historic home

Old world craftsmanship to match the existing homeOld world craftsmanship to match the existing home

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) open soffits http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/2/open-soffits---do-you-like-them Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:30:00 GMT
Where to put the microwave? http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/1/where-to-put-the-microwave Let’s face it; microwaves are ugly!  Just where do you put an ugly, beastly microwave in a beautiful new kitchen?  I distinctly remember when my mother brought her first microwave home - it was an Amana Radar Range and the size of large dog carrier. In those days when you bought a microwave, you typically purchased a cart with wheels and proudly showed the unit off.   


These days a more sophisticated approach is taken to a microwave.  We have put them just about everywhere.  For several clients, we have installed a traditional unit in the island.  While this does a nice job of concealing the unit, the disadvantage is all of the bending a person has to do to see the controls and to remove the hot food. I hesitate building a custom cabinet specifically the size of the unit; it seems the longevity of a microwave is quite short - only three to six years.     

  Showalter kitchen 4Showalter kitchen 4

A drawer unit is a nice option. It will hide the unit and make controls and food handling easier. 

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) under island microwave http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/1/where-to-put-the-microwave Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:15:00 GMT
Azek Decking http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/1/azek-decking Many of the historic homes from the early 1900s were constructed with covered outdoor porches. The surface of the porch oftentimes was 1x3 Douglass fir tongue and groove boards.  I am amazed at how well many of these porches have lasted.   

There are several reasons for this in my thinking:

1.  Old growth lumber.  Fir trees from 100-years ago are not like today’s trees, at all! 

2.  Installation:  Carpenters installed the flooring at a right angle to the house with a slight slope. This allowed any water which may blow onto the porch to drain off naturally using the grove as a gutter, of sort.

3.  Lead-based paint.  Lead-based paint, for all of its disadvantages, has one upside. It sticks to wood like no tomorrow. Yesteryear’s paint stores bragged about how much lead their exterior paint contained! 


Recently, we have used a product on two different jobs that I am quite impressed with called Azek Porch.  This product truly gives a special look to that of standard decking.  Azek is made from PVC and contains no wood fibers.  Azek will not mold and is very resistant to staining.

There is much to like about this product.  The unfavorable is economics, as the material is very expensive and installation is about double the standard labor of traditional 6” decking.  However, it may well be worth the expense!



office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Azek decking Custom Homes Old World Craftsman Spokane http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2017/1/azek-decking Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:45:00 GMT
How to patch a drywall hole. http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2016/12/how-to-patch-a-drywall-hole

Patching techniques vary depending upon the size of the hole. For a golf ball sized hole, the “Pumpkin Patch” works quite well.  

    With a key holesaw, cut away the damaged area in any shape you desire, but angle the blade like the top of a pumpkin cutout. Next, cut a scrap of sheetrock as closely as possible to the same shape and size of your damaged cut-away spot. With a razor knife, bevel the edges to match the angle of the hole. You can fine-tune the fit by holding the piece over the hole and running the holesaw along the two edges together until it fits flush. Then, using 15 or 20 minute mud, butter the edges of the new piece and around the edge of the hole in the wall. Push the piece into place and smooth over with a drywall knife. Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. When set, skim another layer of regular mud or 15-minute mud (depending upon the time you have to allow it to set) on the spot you are trying to patch. Dry, sand and then you are done.  If texture is needed, a spray can works well.  Practice on some paper first. 

For larger holes we often will use a “screw backer board” like the photo above.   Simply cut rectangle larger than the hole and install. Then follow the "Pumpkin Patch" steps described above.

office@hansoncarlen.com (Hanson Carlen Architects Spokane) Patching drywall holes Spokane residential construction http://www.hansoncarlen.com/blog/2016/12/how-to-patch-a-drywall-hole Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:00:00 GMT