This Futuristic Home Elevator is a Washington First

Who needs stairs? Joan Krajewski’s pneumatic elevator takes home design to a new level.
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The pneumatic elevator offers clear visibility

Innovative problem solving is nothing new for Joan Krajewski, a general manager of safety, compliance and sustainability for Microsoft. This year, Krajewski was faced with a unique challenge in her Denny-Blaine home: adjusting her three-story space to accommodate guests with restricted mobility and her own on-the-road lifestyle, which often includes carrying heavy luggage up and down the stairs. 

An elevator was the clear answer. Krajewski contacted H2D Architecture and Design (Edmonds, 23023 Edmonds Way; 206.542.3734) to explore alternatives to a hydraulic model. H2D’s solution? A pneumatic vacuum elevator, the first full-size model in Washington, according to Mobility Concepts (Fife, 1017 54th Ave. E; 888.227.6375), the company that installed the elevator.

Without the need for cables or pistons, the pneumatic elevator—installed in two days during a remodel by GT Residential Contracting (Edmonds, 7025 182nd Place SW; 206.769.4128)—fit conveniently into an existing closet space. Zipping right through the home’s center, the elevator has a transparent polycarbonate casing that allows natural light to seep in as it travels between floors. The elevator also consumes minimal energy during ascent, and zero energy during descent. 

It’s a popular feature with visitors, Krajewski says. “I get a lot of big smiles and comments like ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’” 

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