First-of-its-kind home shown off in Brace Point


At least we hope that’s the right neighborhood description for this new home at 10012 47th SW. It drew a crowd today as part of a media-and-industry-invited event touting it as the first West Coast home certified as “Fortified … for safer living” by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (an insurance industry-supported group), a certification that means it’s “disaster-resistant.” Among other aspects of the house (listed for sale for $1,695,000, by the way) that make it disaster-resistant — strong enough to withstand 130-mph winds and big earthquakes — is the fact it’s framed with insulated concrete forms rather than wood. We’ll be adding some video and more info to this report in the next hour or so, but in case you were in that area and wondered what all the fuss was about (one neighbor stopped us to ask, in fact), here’s the baseline. ADDED 12:51 PM: Since we promised in the comments – here’s the first clip, the view (main-floor deck):

Next: less visual but more central to the disaster-resistant concept, the concrete forms:

The ICFs were explained to us by Ted Engstrom (heard but not seen in this clip) from the Canadian company that makes them, Amvic, in the not-so-glamorous (but vital to withstanding a disaster) area of the home, the unfinished section of its basement (which neighbors a rec room, not shown on this floor plan):

Another interesting point about the concrete – it used “slag cement,” a byproduct of steel mills. (More info here.) Other features mentioned at the event included fiber cement siding, a steel roof, and a tankless water heater. The home was built by Anderson Construction, which isn’t based in West Seattle but did have a West Seattle-residing executive on hand at today’s event, Chad Quillici. One of the event speakers noted that the project did recycle some materials from the home torn down to make room for this one, which also carries green-built and energy-saving certification (and has some interesting high-tech features we’ll add to the info here as we continue). ADDED 1:24 PM: Before we get to more info on the disaster-resistant features, another brief break for real-estate voyeurism – here’s an 8-second look at the master bathroom’s view bathtub (also in the bathroom, a 2-head shower enclosure and a walk-in closet):

ADDED 2:13 PM: One last note; this project seemed to be doing double-duty as both a “disaster-resistant” home and also as a demonstration for other cutting-edge concepts such as built-in digital capabilities. Note the wall outlets, featuring built-in ethernet capabilities:


If you’re interested in photos taken while the house was under construction, find them here. IBHS has a video gallery with various disaster-prevention-related topics here.

54 Replies to "First-of-its-kind home shown off in Brace Point"

  • Aidan Hadley March 4, 2008 (12:30 pm)

    Looks like they forgot to fortify it against hideousness. Are they really thinking they’re gonna get $1.7 mil for that monstrosity?!

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (12:39 pm)

    Well, an exterior review is certainly subjective, but from inside there’s a killer view. Which will be included in the clips.

  • RobertSeattle March 4, 2008 (12:48 pm)

    Its not a real killer view unless you can see at least one of these:
    1. Mt Rainier
    2. Downtown
    3. Space Needle


  • RobertSeattle March 4, 2008 (12:50 pm)

    And the listing agent isn’t based out of West Seattle – it’s an outrage! :-)

  • flowerpetal March 4, 2008 (12:54 pm)

    What an odd time to be flaunting gross excess in a time when the economy is tanking and ecoterrorists are torching luxury houses in Snohomish County. This place definitely qualifies to be labeled a “hummer house” as discussed the WSB forums.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (12:55 pm)

    The builder lives in West Seattle, fwiw. Will be adding those details. And Robert, we personally would beg to differ re: view … I guess this is a subjective matter too … looking westward toward Vashon, the ferry run, the Kitsap Peninsula is our personal favorite view. (Now there’s a whole different discussion, huh?)

  • Reed March 4, 2008 (1:02 pm)

    What’s up with the deck posts? They appear to extend vertically about 14″ above the top railing…talk about spoiling the “killer” view.

  • flowerpetal March 4, 2008 (1:10 pm)

    Yes, view is subjective. I find a view of an apple tree or a vine maple through all four seasons to be view$ with a thrill.
    Besides, I’m not sure that I would want to tempt the fates by owning a house “fortified for safer living.”

  • jeannie March 4, 2008 (1:19 pm)

    I agree about the Westward view toward Vashon – it’s a view that I enjoyed for 16 years, till someone built a humongous and ugly Hummer House, which destroyed my view. I have no criticism of the concept of a “safe house.” Drug dealers, overpaid techies, rich real-estate developers, and sports stars need to be protected from windstorms like the rest of us.

  • beachdrivegirl March 4, 2008 (1:20 pm)

    A view towards the Suond and Vashon is in many more ways more impressive to some of us then downtown/space needle anyday. And Robert, for the square footage (3900), view, and number of bedrooms although a high price point for most of our standards–it is realistic for the Seattle housing market.

  • Forest March 4, 2008 (1:39 pm)

    Whoever owns the house will be plenty sorry when it gets damaged by Seattle’s next 131-mph storm.

  • Rockyraccoon March 4, 2008 (1:42 pm)

    I agree with Aidan, the house is butt-ugly. Why spend that kind of money on something that so detracts from the beauty around it? Its ability to withstand an earthquake is only the final injustice.

  • djake March 4, 2008 (2:09 pm)

    can you imagine what it must be like to be architects responsible for designing something that would pass the cosmetic test for every Seattle resident? For an region of the country priding itself on diversity and independence, we certainly always seem to be overly concerned with others choices

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (2:12 pm)

    The concrete framing (and siding) is fire-resistant too, in addition to the seismic and wind-resistant features. Another data point.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    WRT the posts, keep in mind we were shooting from street level looking up. Not noticeable from inside the house.

  • beachdrivegirl March 4, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    Thanks Forest!

  • Cruiser March 4, 2008 (2:17 pm)

    Ah…anyone remember that ship they said was an unsinkable ship…eh what was it’s name?…… oh yeah the Titanic, we all know how that ended:) Ah I’m only kidding it’s a lovely box

  • Andee March 4, 2008 (2:22 pm)

    A letter was sent out to neighbors by the owners of this house, Rick and Refawne Acarregui in early 2007 which introduced their family and informed neighbors that there would be major construction over the next 10 months (it was at least 12-13). They state in the letter that “while Mr. Acarregui is always looking for the right home to improve to keep West Seattle beautiful while trying to make a a profit” but continue with “we fell in love with this neighborhood…we purchased this property about a year ago and have finally gotten out future dream home ready to build” and that they were “looking forward to moving in before Christmas”. The letter goes on to talk about the 75 pin piles that will anchor the home and that the construction would be filmed for a TV show.

    As a neighbor to this monstrous house, I appreciated the letter and communication from the would-be owners. However,the day that the house was finished, it was put up for sale. So much for all the hooey about “building a dream home” and “moving into the neighborhood” – it appears to me that this was simply an expensive house ‘flip”. I resent the misleading representation of the project and wonder the reason for it.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (2:24 pm)

    Thanks for the backstory, Andee. I actually tried to look up some history on the previous teardown on the site, but the county recently changed the format of its online property information and that sort of thing isn’t as easy to find any more.

  • JE March 4, 2008 (2:34 pm)

    I’m interested that it carries green-built and energy -saving certification. That’s a promising trend, although one does wonder how its energy-efficiency stacks up against a more reasonably-sized house, without the certification. Does anybody know?

  • Reed March 4, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    WRT the posts….I look at images 3, 4 and 5 on the listing agents webpage for the property and they look oddly prominent from the deck and the interior…they must serve some purpose? lighting?

  • shocked March 4, 2008 (2:45 pm)

    I am sitting here shocked at the comments posted to date – this blog should be called the “West Seattle Judgement Blog”. How many of you have actually seen this house in person or met the owners? Since when has a two story Craftsman house with a ground level garage become a “monstrosity” or a “hummer house”?

    How does a house that strives to be green friendly and use sustainable materials “flaunt gross excess”? A 3,000 square foot house with a basement is humongous? Ultimately it is your right to critize the house, but as to Andee’s post about the family themselves – you should be ashamed. I happen to know the family and maybe you should step in their shoes before being so critical. They happened to have had an absolute sudden tragedy in their family that is the reason for their decision to sell the house.

    They are a beautiful family who would are proud to call West Seattle their home. I am literally shocked to read the hate and judgement on this blog.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (2:47 pm)

    If you follow the links from the list of products used in one of the programs this house was part of
    it mentions outdoor sound system – which could be in those posts. Sorry I didn’t ask while there. Re: the energy efficiency, it’s “built to Energy Star standards” per the press kit but no particular breakdowns – the concrete framing/siding was also mentioned as an insulating factor, fwiw.

  • Wendy March 4, 2008 (2:47 pm)

    Insulated concrete forms are such a brilliant idea and I don’t know why houses are built any other way! I don’t know a lot about construction, but ICFs is a major “built green” feature, for so many reasons. I posted about it on my blog last October when going thru the Certified Built Green Agent class at North Seattle Community College:

  • GreatViewOfSlag March 4, 2008 (3:01 pm)

    West Seattle slag cement, meet West Seattle slag heap.

  • always sunny March 4, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    West Seattle Haters- have you driven by the house? Have you been inside? Do you know the family? All answers likely no. It’s a 2 story w/underground garage and only looks big because it sits on the hillside where another 2 story house sat. About the same size as any other WSea house being built. The house is amazing for energy efficiency and in some rooms only a few light bulbs being on warm it up. The energy consumption used by this house is probably less than Andee’s (and others’) hateful words being spewed into their computers. Andee- how about I come over and barf on your house…maybe it will look better. You don’t even understand what this family has gone through so maybe you should shut up and get out of WSea, no one really wants people like you in their community.

    Wonderful people, wonderful house.

  • Aidan Hadley March 4, 2008 (3:17 pm)

    shocked: I disagree with your implication that the opinions of this house (which seem to differ with your assessment) are judgmental and hateful. In an open society people are free to express their impassioned opinions. The notion that taste is entirely subjective gives plenty of latitude to the ugly and banal in the built environment around us. Anyone with any kind of design literacy can look at this house and see that it as not designed out of any kind of architectural passion but instead a passion for profit. If honesty and directness offend you then perhaps you should seek other forums.

  • Vanessa March 4, 2008 (3:18 pm)

    I just think it’s ironic that it’s built on Brace Point.

  • jissy March 4, 2008 (3:32 pm)

    WRT/Reed — I went through this house last weekend and yes, the uprights of the deck posts do have lights in them…. they’re pretty cool looking from up close.

  • Holly March 4, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    I would live there in an instant, I happen to like the big windows and view. You want to see dumpy houses- drive down my WS street and see the lack of care my neighbors put into their homes. Roofs practically falling in, indoor furniture out in the yard, and I live in a “nice” neighborhood.

  • shocked March 4, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    Aidan – I clearly said that the opions of the house itself are certainly up to the individual. I do believe that many of these opions are uniformed – yet, as I said before, ultimately it is up to the individual to feel however the want about the house. My issue with “hate and judgement” was about the owner’s and the quick rush to judgement on this blog about their motives being disingenuous and their actions being motivated by profit. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  • RCH March 4, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    I also know the family and know of thier circumstances. I know for a fact that this is a great home and anyone would be lucky to live in it! Based on some of the comments from it’s neighbors…I have never been more happy to say I live in BELLEVUE. Way to support your local west seattle neighbors…way to take pride in your community…so much for trying to make your area a better place.

  • JenV March 4, 2008 (3:47 pm)

    not wild about the front yard, but the house looks fine. It’s better looking than 90% of the townhouses going up now.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    Also just a datapoint regarding the architectural commentary, since, having attended the event today, we have more background than we could possibly include in the report here, but will add it in response to any comments that raise additional questions. The focus was on the disaster-resistant aspects, with a secondary discussion of the green, energy-saving, and digital aspects.

  • sunshine March 4, 2008 (4:14 pm)

    “Stop Hatin’, Start Participatin!”

    I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that being said – here is mine. Houses, design, style, etc. are all subjective and you can’t please all the people all of the time. I think the house looks like an ordinary new construction house. The people who built it, built what they liked, just as anyone can do in this great city we live in. However, I agree with Shocked & Always Sunnny that to spin opinions on people that you don’t know is another story. I think they call it gossip or slander. I also know this family and they DID have the intention of building this home to live in and raise their family. Guess what? Life throws you curve balls and you have to adjust to them. No one can anticipate for personal & financial hardship. This family has chosen (as is their right) to change their mind about living in that house. I doubt that there is much money to be made off of the so called “flip”. Andee, I would bake a pie and take it to my neighbors to welcome them to the neighborhood, sounds like you would just throw it in their face!

  • barmargia March 4, 2008 (4:15 pm)

    I don’t think the house is ugly, but I can’t even afford a house in West Seattle, much less a house that will stand up to natural disasters.

  • JumboJim March 4, 2008 (4:34 pm)

    Shocked says – “I am literally shocked to read the hate and judgement on this blog.”

    Dear Shocked – You need to get out more. You wouldn’t be so shocked if you did…

  • Joe March 4, 2008 (4:37 pm)

    Wow – what a bunch of fricken whiners.

    Based on the neighbors comments above I wouldn’t want to live there either! Something tells me that this neighbor would have been pissed off whether these folks moved in or not.

    Not that it should matter, but the house is not really THAT big. It’s up on a bluff so the photo makes it appear bigger than it really is.

    That said, who cares? What’s with the hate mentality around here? Someone poors their hard-earned money (and time) into a project like this (which appears to be a very “green” house to boot if that sort of thing floats your boat)and all people do is spew venom. You’re just envious, that’s all. Yes, envy is really at the root of all these comments.

    If you don’t want your view blocked buy the house in front of yours then BUY THE DAMN HOUSE!

    If you don’t want a handful of trees and a family of squirrels to be displaced then BUY THE DAMN HOUSE!

    That said, these boards are fun!

    Comment away!

  • PSPS March 4, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    Well, I think the house looks fine. Sure, it doesn’t fit in that well, but that can be said for any recently built house in any established neighborhood. In time, it will fit in as other properties get demolished and rebuilt..

    So, let’s see. $1.675 million. With a 20% down payment ($335,000), that leaves a mortgage payment (a real mortgage, not one of those funny “toxic” Alt-A types) runs about $7,800 per month plus taxes and insurance.

    So all you need is an annual unencumbered income of $750,000 or so to move right in!

    (By the way, the “filmed for a TV show” reference indicates that a large part of the expense incurred in this house’s construction was paid by material and appliance vendors.)

  • RS March 4, 2008 (4:53 pm)

    Um, what exactly makes this house a “craftsman?” I’m no student of architectural design, but this is not the image that comes to mind when I hear craftsman. Just curious.

    I agree with barmargia, 1.7 million is a ridiculous price tag.

    And really, Bellevue types dissing WS folks? I’m imagining all my favorite WSB posters doing a little West Side Story fight dance…

  • Erik March 4, 2008 (5:07 pm)

    If they were my neighbors I’d go over and meet em. Sit out on the deck, smoke a fatty, and enjoy the sunset.
    I find it’s better to know my neighbors than not, at least they might look out for me.
    The house sure is nicer than my little ole POS.

  • JOSEPH ANTHONY March 4, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    I can’t believe how many negative morons are posting on this really fine home. Nobody likes gloomy, and jaundiced naysayers in the near or far neighborhoods of West Seattle. They should simply move to Broadmoor or Rainier Valley – take your pick and get out of West Seattle. The owner should be proud of the home, and the builder should should be complimented on the fine construction, and a mighty fine job well done. All of Seattle, the Master Builders Association, and the Northwest are fortunate to have persons such as the owner and builder forging the “greenway”.

  • SLK March 4, 2008 (5:44 pm)

    I think it’s pretty cool that the house has concrete walls instead of wood. There are lots of benefits to that kind of construction (strength, fire-resistance, water-resistance, insulation built into the formwork, etc.) but I’m sure it cost more to construct than a standard wood-framed house.
    In my opinion, it would have been interesting to somehow express that concrete construction in the building’s design, rather than basically covering it up so it looks like most other (wood) houses.

  • Jenn Witsoe March 4, 2008 (7:09 pm)

    DITTO the comments above from both Joseph Anthony and Joe. It’s just sad to me how many fellow West Seattle-ites can be so negative. Probably the same people standing on the corner of the junction every Sunday morning…makes for a great Sabbath.
    Kudos to the owners for building such a beautiful home that looks out to the Puget Sound! It looks like it’s worth the asking price if you ask me. Just my 2 cents…

  • ALS March 4, 2008 (7:55 pm)

    Eh, not a lot else to add except that I had to giggle at shocked’s comment about being “literally shocked.”

    Tell me shocked, did it hurt?

    Sorry, that’s just the journalism nerd in me… :)

  • willow March 4, 2008 (9:09 pm)


    I am vey happy that someone in WS knows a little bit of proper English – that commas (,) are still proper, and, that it is polite to not trash anyone, or everyone, that does agree with you.

    Actually, it does appear that a few people read your comment in it’s entirety, BEFORE, having cranial diarreha.
    kma, (you have to really old to know to know what that means), the true meaning, that is.

  • miws March 4, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    KOMO 4 just ran a teaser, and showed a clip of this house, for their 11:00 pm Newscast.



  • WSB March 4, 2008 (9:46 pm)

    Yes, it was an official media-invited event and they were one of the few other outlets there besides us. Only TV station. I believe KOMO had a radio person there too. The KOMO story is on their website if you want to watch it now and not stay up for 11.

  • YinWS March 4, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    I guess us WS’ites are a wee bit jaded with all tear downs and new constructions. The congestion is getting worse by the minute. And West Seattle’s unique identity is slowly being replaced by cookie-cutter development. BLAH! We are slowly catching up with Ballard!

  • JoB March 4, 2008 (11:33 pm)

    i took the time to go see the komo clip after reading this thread… nice house… nice view… good idea on the construction… not a show house.

    i wouldn’t have wanted to live next door during the year it took to put it up.

    As for the family.. i hope there is profit from the house to help them through their financial difficulties… i am sure someone will buy it just because of what it is.

    somebody must make that kind of money … those houses do sell here.

  • WSB March 4, 2008 (11:38 pm)

    As do Alki condos … some priced more than twice what this house is listed for!

  • always sunny March 4, 2008 (11:47 pm)

    Here’s the KOMO 4 article for everyone complete with video as well for everyone to get a better idea of what a finely built home this is:

  • T Prescott March 5, 2008 (12:27 pm)

    Th real question is did it pass the E.L.F. approval?

    Last time I checked this was America and if you can afford to build it, you can. Right now the house looks rather naked, but once someone moves in and makes it their own, it will probably look much different. New structures in older neighborhoods usually stand out only for a short time.

  • flipjack March 5, 2008 (12:59 pm)

    I just put in a bid on the place..wish me luck!!

Sorry, comment time is over.