Given that there is a shortage of single-family housing in Seattle, what are the options for homeowners who want to add value and space to an existing home? If you're considering a remodel of your home, you may not be aware of the many advantages of a house lift. In this video, master craftsman Daniel Westbrook interviews Katherine Pelz, owner and principal architect of Katherine Pelz Architecture. Katherine has been working with some of the best architects in Seattle for nearly 30 years, and started Katherine Pelz Architecture in 2006. As a house lift specialist, Katherine enjoys building great working relationships with local homeowners, contractors, engineers, and tradespeople.  

Daniel Westbrook Katherine Pelz

Here’s what you’ll learn in this video:

What are the details of a house lift?

A house lift raises and suspends a residential home in the air to create valuable living space underneath. The home is supported and lifted in the air for four to eight weeks, with the entire project completed in six to nine months. Water, sewer, and electricity remain connected throughout the duration of the project, minus a brief interruption for changing or extending systems. In the Seattle area, it's best to begin a house lift project in June or July. The warm summer climate will help the excavation process while keeping water out of the basement as a new foundation is laid and the remodel is completed.

What are the advantages of raising a house?

A house lift offers a great return on your investment by providing additional square footage for bedrooms, offices, media rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and more. A house lift also allows homeowners to completely redo a foundation using current technology and install new heating, electrical, and water management systems that will help the home increase efficiency and withstand weather and moisture. By raising the height of the basement, a house lift creates more light, a fresh aesthetic, and opportunities for reorganized utilities. Homeowners often choose to lift their home because they have existing problems in their basement such as water leakage, a sloped foundation, or prohibitive ceiling height. House lifts frequently increase the resale value of a home while creating opportunities to host live-in relatives or make additional income by renting out space.  

residential house lift seattle area

What are the challenges of lifting a house?

Like many construction projects, house lifts pose temporarily challenges such as limited site access, short-term disconnect of some utilities (such as natural gas and water), and neighborhood congestion. Homeowners may stay in their home during much of the project, but many will relocate for the time when utilities are disconnected and modified.  

How do you start a house lift project?

You'll want to begin by finding a great architect who has experience raising houses. A snapshot of Katherine's process should be helpful to you regardless of who you choose to work with. Katherine sees her role as implementing her client's priorities throughout the design, permitting, and construction phases of a house lift. She also works to keep things on schedule, answer contractor and homeowner questions, and solve problems. Katherine views the homeowner as an integral part of the house lift process, and believes frequent communication helps achieve an optimal result.

what is a house lift and when to consider one