Cody Robertson, of Nickel Bros., walks out from underneath the house being moved Wednesday down Bellflower Road in Bothell. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cody Robertson, of Nickel Bros., walks out from underneath the house being moved Wednesday down Bellflower Road in Bothell. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

At home with the ‘upcycled’ option

Katie and Dave Forbes, of Bothell, took a different path toward home ownership

BOTHELL — The Forbes family wanted a new house.

Their double-wide mobile home on Bellflower Road was becoming a tight fit for the married couple and their three young children. They were fascinated by the idea of moving a salvaged abode onto their half acre.

“We were completely sold on keeping something out of the landfill,” said Katie Forbes, who teaches elementary school in Lake Stevens. “There are so many houses out there that are being torn down that don’t need to be.”

They also stood to save money, compared to building from scratch.

“I would be lying if I were to say that wasn’t a factor,” she said.

She and her husband, Dave, an operating engineer at a crane company, browsed online and found one they liked, in Canada. It was on the website for Nickel Bros., a structural moving company that transports buildings around the Puget Sound area and British Columbia.

Moving the Canadian house didn’t work out, but the couple didn’t give up.

“We put the idea to the back of our mind,” Forbes said.

It didn’t stay there long. They found a solution much closer to home — up the block.

Casjen Cramer, left, and Cody Robertson, of Nickel Bros., watch as the house being moved down Bellflower Road in Bothell on Wednesday just clears a tree. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Casjen Cramer, left, and Cody Robertson, of Nickel Bros., watch as the house being moved down Bellflower Road in Bothell on Wednesday just clears a tree. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Like many neighborhoods, theirs is changing rapidly. The unincorporated area around the corner from Lynnwood High School has a Bothell address and a Mill Creek ZIP code. Most people on their semi-circular street have large lots, though infill development is starting to change that.

Last year, they noticed signs for a new subdivision up the street. The house on that lot had always stood out, a 3,500-square-footer built in 1992.

“It looked like an estate,” Forbes said.

They noticed demolition plans and approached the homeowner, at the time still living there. They had to get permission from the developer, Village Life Homes of Lynnwood, to take it away. It worked out.

They called Nickel Bros.

Moving day was Wednesday. Crews started prep a week earlier, removing parts of the house that were too wide for the street or likely to fall off in transit. They put in support beams for the lift.

“Instead of being demolished, this house was recycled. As we like to call it, upcycled,” said Nick Carpenter, a sales manager for Nickel Bros. in Marysville.

Local residents watch as a house is moved Wednesday down Bellflower Road in Bothell. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Local residents watch as a house is moved Wednesday down Bellflower Road in Bothell. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

To make it happen, the crew split the structure in two: the 60-ton house, and the 20-ton three-car garage. It all trundled down the street on two-axle dollies connected to a semi-truck. It took about two hours. The crew of four movers was outnumbered by utility workers.

This was a relatively light lift. Two years ago, Nickel Bros. moved Everett’s historic Weyerhaeuser Office Building about a mile, all 6,000 square feet of it. That’s far from the heaviest they’ve done. The company often barges structures across the water.

“We move nearly 300 buildings a year between all of our branches and crews,” Carpenter said. “We do this kind of work all of the time.”

The Forbes now have a new home waiting for a foundation. The couple and their children — Callin, 6; Holden, 3; and Colter, 10 months — hope to move in by spring. For now, they’re staying in a fifth wheel on relatives’ property next door.

“It was a definitely very cool experience from start to finish,” Katie Forbes said. “But very stressful.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald net.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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