1976 In the Beginning...
Actually built my first home in 1965 and loved it.
By 1976 I had built three homes and in the process discovered a new vocation. I sold my 1966 Porsche 911 to bankroll the venture. I became registered as a Contractor General.
Beth and I started John Riebli Construction and I completed my last year of teaching in 1976.
Our first house clients were teachers for whom we created a home on Puget Drive with panoramic view of the Seattle skyline. The work was rewarding. The design was ours. And the satisfaction of finishing a project was beyond imagination. We were off on a road that would encompass the construction of approximately 80 individual homes or significant remodels betweeen 1976 and 1997..
The Design Process
If you could dream it, we could translate it to plans.
Beth and I were a design team. We spent many hours working with people at our dining table. Together we would probe and listen.
Because our learning styles are different, we make a great team...challenging each other to find the best solutions for our clients.
When you build a home you have a chance to change your life. No one can afford all of their dreams. Our job was to sort the priorities and create an affordable solution.
We were fortunate to work with some amazing people and place landmark homes on awesome properties.
During those years we probably produced 200 design concepts and around 60 blueprints. And, we never did the same home twice.
The Solar Story
IngleSol: Wood Heat + Solar Energy
During the eighties we experimeted with passive solar and super-insulated housing.
Solar 1 was a home with up to R-32 walls, R-38 Ceilings, south facing glass and heat storage in the crawl space.
We tried to sell it but all were afraid of the new technology. When it did sell the owner turned on the furnace a total of 3 times in the time he owned it.
He spoke of an evening when 15 friends came over to cook dinner. The guests asked him to open windows to shed excess heat. The interior temperature was 76 degrees and the outside temperature was 36 degrees. That's a 40 degree difference with no heat other than appliances and body heat.
But people continued to say solar doesn't work.
Building a better house.
Quality became our mantra.
We couldn't sell solar, our development IngleSol eventually died. But we could sell wood windows, high quality trim work, 2x6 exterior walls, quality design work, and a truly unique home building experience.
When we took down the IngleSol Sign we also changed the business name to Riebli Built Homes. After all, the business was a family venture with Beth playing a major role in the design, in making color decisions, and in coordination of finishes, flooring and positive client communication.
After InglSol we took a job at Twanoh Falls in 1986. It was one of the wettest sites we ever attacked, but it had character and we put an amazing salt box design home on it for a retiring couple who wanted to live high in the trees. We literally built from the mud up to create a tree house view home overlooking the Canal.