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Old 10-30-2019, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
6,566 posts, read 3,715,937 times
Reputation: 17881

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Excellent points all. Stone and brick do not flex well in earthquakes!


Personally, I like the craftsman style homes with a more traditional feel, but I can certainly see modern square designs like the above being popular with the young techies who are most likely to buy them.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
370 posts, read 159,964 times
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You see brick and a lot of concrete on the East Coast because it's historically more common therefore expected among the locals and many times required for the sake of maintaining historically established areas looking "clean". Many of the new areas keep up with old styles to copy that historical feeling and for many people wanting to feel like a fancy DC local it does the trick for half the price.

Meanwhile on the West Coast we rarely see residential buildings built before the Queen Anne Revival or Victorian age; most are post-war bungalows or craftsmen single family homes and apartment building. Townhomes weren't really a common thing before in Seattle, it's more recent as the housing needs of Seattle grew and townhomes became a way to meet those needs with smaller pieces of land. Since we didn't have a set historical townhouse style in Seattle we created our own variation which is more modern and minimalist than D.C stately or repetitive like the Brownstones.

There are also elements regarding the individual environments that keep us from building exactly the same. Brick and concrete are find until you have an earthquake; brick will crumble and concrete can crack with no way to fix it other than to remove everything around it and see if it can be recovered. That is the main reason most builders avoid brick and concrete in earthquake heavy zones and prefer sticking to wood; it's one of the few materials that can bend and move with earthquake waves while brick and concrete resist it and breakdown. Meanwhile DC has high humidity and more coastal storms that require protection which is were brick and concrete come into play.

The design and decor of the DC townhouse makes it seem better built to you, but I doubt there is a real difference in livability between the homes and the people that will eventually live there. It's all about local preferences, people in Seattle want something different from those on the east coast and vice versa. And historically both coasts have maintained different cultural preferences, sometimes intentionally opposite of each other, so it's not uncommon if you like one style you won't like the other.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
6,566 posts, read 3,715,937 times
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What much of downtown Olympia looked like after our Nisqually Quake.

All the pretty stone facades fell off the old buildings downtown, leaving a pile of brick and stone on all the sidewalks.

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Old 10-30-2019, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Seattle
6,159 posts, read 4,891,988 times
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New home are being built by developers to maximize profits, the "boxy" home allows for the most square footage on a lot. Wood frame, as has been mentioned, is important to construction around here. Even though it looks like the places are going up fast, it's a reach to extrapolate that they are poorly built. Builders have a strong building code to follow and most of them are interested in producing a good product that positively affects their reputation.

That being said, I completely agree that these new structures being built are not the most architecturally inspiring dwellings. Fortunately, there are plenty of classic/historic and mid-century homes that come on the market, gorgeous in their design with larger lots. The perception among some people that "older" equals bad quality and "new" equals good quality just isn't accurate. Many of these classic homes are extremely well build and remodeled impeccably.

Last edited by homesinseattle; 10-30-2019 at 11:50 AM..
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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I used to live in DC. Those townhouses may look great on the outside, but were often stuffy, smelly and run down on the inside.
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Old 10-30-2019, 05:35 PM
 
Location: West Coast
1,453 posts, read 1,326,836 times
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Well part of it is the tastes of the locals (aka cheap), and the developers and builders know seattle is a very volatile market and is prone to booms and busts often, so they want to slap something together as quick as possible to get theirs before the next bust happens.

Let’s be real, Seattle ain’t San Diego, Honolulu, NYC, Boston or any other of those desirable places to live ASIDE from career, so it is prone to riding the roller coaster
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Seattle
7,158 posts, read 9,266,470 times
Reputation: 3990
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguy950 View Post
Well part of it is the tastes of the locals (aka cheap), and the developers and builders know seattle is a very volatile market and is prone to booms and busts often, so they want to slap something together as quick as possible to get theirs before the next bust happens.

Let’s be real, Seattle ain’t San Diego, Honolulu, NYC, Boston or any other of those desirable places to live ASIDE from career, so it is prone to riding the roller coaster
San Diego? Even Portland is nicer.
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:58 PM
 
792 posts, read 748,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botev1912 View Post
Why don't people in Seattle like natural light?
Maybe we're just too used to the lack of sunlight - particularly during the peak of winter, at least .

Back to the topic at hand - I can't say I'm a big fan of the modern/minimalist style townhomes & apartments (at least from an aesthetic standpoint) that are popping up everywhere here, but I also get why that's the style of choice for new construction - it's largely a case of practicality at play. Land is expensive here, so the minimalist design allows for more square footage or more units with the space available, and I'd also imagine it keeps costs in check for the developers looking to maximize profits as well. And like others have said, wood is preferable to brick/concrete around here for earthquake safety reasons.

Thankfully, there are lots of cool old Craftsman and Mid-Century homes here if the new-school "boxes" aren't to one's taste.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:24 AM
Status: "Damp" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Seattle
2,058 posts, read 1,143,605 times
Reputation: 3792
Quote:
Originally Posted by razmatazzy View Post
the Seattle version is too much of a fishbowl with all that glass. Needs lots of privacy blinds especially at night when lights are on.
I have night curtains behind my blinds in the bedroom but love the big windows in my condo. Natural light was the big seller.

I don't traipse around bare pickle, but if I did someone would have to go through great and regretful effort to see much.
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Old 10-31-2019, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Seattle
6,159 posts, read 4,891,988 times
Reputation: 3721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flightoficarus87 View Post
Maybe we're just too used to the lack of sunlight - particularly during the peak of winter, at least .

Back to the topic at hand - I can't say I'm a big fan of the modern/minimalist style townhomes & apartments (at least from an aesthetic standpoint) that are popping up everywhere here, but I also get why that's the style of choice for new construction - it's largely a case of practicality at play. Land is expensive here, so the minimalist design allows for more square footage or more units with the space available, and I'd also imagine it keeps costs in check for the developers looking to maximize profits as well. And like others have said, wood is preferable to brick/concrete around here for earthquake safety reasons.

Thankfully, there are lots of cool old Craftsman and Mid-Century homes here if the new-school "boxes" aren't to one's taste.
Brother from another mother . What you said is almost exactly what I did, I agree!
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