Seattle Wanderings

image courtesy

Turns out, everyone says Vermont and Seattle attract the same kinds of people. I'm not sure that's true, but there certainly a lot of Yestermorrow folks in that neck of the woods. I recently returned from an expedition to Seattle, WA. It was fun to catch up with people and hear what they're up to since Yestermorrow. Here are a few of their stories...

Jeremy Culver was an intern at Yestermorrow back in 2002 when he was in architecture school at Ball State University. After graduation he headed west and has been in Seattle ever since, working as a design/builder for a firm called Carlisle Classic Homes, where he's one of the main project managers for their renovation and remodeling clients. In his spare time (along with raising three cute kids) he has spent the last seven years renovating a 700 square foot bungalow in West Seattle. When I got a tour of his home I immediately recognized a number of touches that reminded me of Yestermorrow and the projects Jeremy worked on when he was here- attention to joinery, unusual hardware selections, and a natural wood finishes.

Janie Barnett first arrived at Yestermorrow in 2002 and over the next few years took seven courses. She went on to build the home she designed in the Home Design course in nearby Fayston, VT which features super insulated walls, passive solar orientation, locally sourced lumber, reclaimed materials and beautiful details. Her experience designing and building the house has led her to continue to pursue research in green building and building science, and since she moved to Seattle she's been advising others on how to build homes free of toxic materials and electro magnetic frequencies.

Catherine Calvert is an architect at VIA Architecture where she is Director of Community Sustainability for their Seattle office. She came to Yestermorrow in 2010 to take our Farm Design course as a way to further her interest in design connected to food production and urban agriculture. It was exciting to hear about some of the pro bono community projects her firm has worked on to support urban gardens in the local area among other projects.

Sam Kraft and Ji Shon were both Yestermorrow interns (2006 and 2004, respectively) who both ended up studying architecture at the University of Washington. Sam just graduated and Ji is finishing up her M.Arch this semester. Sam has continued to build a variety of projects while he was in school through Abacus Fine Carpentry and is in the process of forming a design firm which hopes to combine technology with an eye towards nature, and also incorporating Permaculture design.

Kristin Engelbrecht Bleem was an intern in 2006 and since settling in Seattle owns her own painting firm, Eager Beaver Works. She tackles all kinds of projects from historic home renovations to new construction, and provides handywoman services. And every once in a while when she gets bored she leads groups of college students on exchange programs in India to study Buddhism. A multi-talented lady.

I also got to see (briefly) two recent intern graduates, Chris Landingin (now an apprentice carpenter for a small design build crew) and Jess Osserman (on the job hunt) as well as former intern Scott Szeman (who admitted he had not touched a hammer since his internship in 2008 and has gone back to investment banking).

While at the University of Washington I did a presentation about Yestermorrow and visited with Steve Badanes (longtime YM instructor) and Kimo Griggs (former instructor) who both teach in the architecture program there. And had a shop tour with YM woodworking instructor, Steve Skonieczny, who runs his own cabinetry and furniture business out of Ballard Woodworks, a woodworking school and professional cooperative located near downtown Seattle. He is one of five professionals who work out of the shop full time and occasionally teach classes.

It was a whirlwind trip, but great to re-connect with so many Yestermorrow friends and hear how their time at Yestermorrow has influenced their careers and lives.