Engawa House is a two story lakefront property that has been designed by Seattle-based studio Sullivan Conard Architects, situated in Seattle, Washington. Here is a description of the project from the architects: “The home can best be understood in its multiple contexts: lakefront site, Pacific Rim city, timber-industry clients open to materials that speak simply but poetically of shelter and home. At its heart is the “light core,” a vessel-like structure rising to a clerestory, illuminating the house and organizing its circulation patterns.”
Timber-framed in hemlock—a reference to the owners’ long involvement with Northwest woods—the light core acknowledges its source in Japanese architecture, also expressed in the structure’s horizontal banks of windows, screening devices of glass and lattice, and the engawa itself, a south-facing veranda edge between interior and garden.
Engawa House’s spare detailing allows materials to speak of themselves, of the art of construction, and of a creative process marked by owner, architect, and craftsmen finding stillness amid the complex demands of house design and construction.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Kuruma House project is a modern remodel by Olson Kundig Architects of an existing house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Bringing light into the 2,230 square foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home and creating a stronger connection to the outdoors were important aspects of the renovation. In addition to extensive skylights, the rear of the house was transformed with the addition of a 10’x10’ custom designed jalousie window, and large sliding and pivoting windows and doors.
The interior of the home was updated to provide a comfortable space to live and work. A simple, dark material palette provides a unified backdrop for elements that carry significant personal connection for the client. Many of the home’s furnishings were custom designed, including a rolling office “kuruma”—a modern interpretation of a traditional wheeled storage chest.
West Seattle Residence is a modern house comprised of concrete, glass, and steel, designed by Lawrence Architecture, situated in the West Seattle district of Seattle, Washington. The 3,800-square-foot house sits on top of a steep hill looking westward with dramatic views of Puget Sound. It’s essentially a loft-like glass curtain wall pavilion that sits on top of an opaque and rectilinear podium next to a similarly massed 925 square foot detached garage. A road runs along the rear of the house on its opaque east side, where the main entry is. Parallel to this road is a tall concrete wall up to twenty-four feet high that shields the house and a side patio for privacy. This wall then extends to the garage and living space unit next door where the client’s parents often stay when they’re visiting, blocking views into the main house’s master bedroom and keeping family at a comfortable distance. “They didn’t want to have to put up blinds,” Lawrence says.
The wall is also the organizing element for the circulation including the stairs with cantilevered steel treads. Supported on steel frames and triangular steel trusses, the roof swoops over the concrete wall capping the pavilion. Eight by sixteen foot sections of the curtain wall pivot for ventilation.
The house’s roof is its most engaging and formal feature. Lawrence describes the arcing shell as “springing over” the house from the rear privacy wall. The garage and loft apartment building has a similar curved roof. Both create a dynamic formal tension with the largely rectilinear buildings below.
An interior and exterior fireplace on the north side connects the house to its patio.
Several wood flourishes warm the inside and outside of the house. Douglas fir is used on the underside of the roof and on the ceiling of the kitchen. The opaque facades of the building are covered in metal panels. Inside, the floors are terrazzo and many of the walls are raw concrete. A steel slab floating stair adds more cool, industrial sophistication.
The house sits on a long, rectilinear podium that contains four bedrooms, a family room, bathrooms, and a media library, occupying the daylight basement level. Upstairs, the main level is an open plan, loft-like living room and kitchen, bathed in light and air through the curtain wall’s operable windows and steel structure. The top level of the house contains the master bedroom and bath. There is additional living space above the garage accessible via stair or future elevator.
The stair has demountable guardrails which are normally in place but were removed for the photographs.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Port Townsend Residence was designed by Lawrence Architecture for a retired couple in their mid 60s who were moving ashore after 30 years of living on a sailboat. The two bedroom home is situated on a heavily-wooded 10 acre site on the Olympic Peninsular near Port Townsend, Washington. Originally containing a grove of deciduous trees, the building site is a clearing within a forest of fir and cedars.
A main cabin with living and cooking spaces and a settee for dining; sleeping quarters for the owners; separate office space; sleeping quarters for the owner’s friends and family, many of whom live outside the United States; an engine room; ample built-ins and lockers for storage including 200 linear feet of shelving; and (finally) a bathroom of their own that isn’t shared by everyone else in a marina. A separate building with 2-car garage, work shop, and an accessory dwelling unit.
Lake House Two is a stunning contemporary waterfront property that has been designed by McClellan Architects and is situated in Seattle, Washington. The home has been programmed as a primary residence, sited on a very steep waterfront lot, with drive access limited to the very top of the site. The client expressed a desire for exposed steel structure and to fully engage in the waterfront landscape. The home is conceived as a single living environment expressing the seeming dichotomy between interior and exterior living spaces pivoting around the central kitchen and hearth. Rather than “bring the outside in,” Lake House brings the inside out.
The dynamic tension between the crafted and the natural is evident throughout: the rhythmic structure of the stacked building masses is articulated by exposed steel beams and columns, repeated and transformed by trees ordering the outdoor living spaces.
The work of master craftsmen in stone, plaster and steel is essential to the natural, competent feeling of the home. A blackened-steel stairway with Scarpa-inspired details is placed against a venetian plaster feature wall. Powerful raking LED light fixtures illuminate the wall in the evening, looking like gold leaf.
An elevator unobtrusively integrated in the back of the home makes the Garage (with solar panels for the client’s electric car), Mother-in-Law apartment, and main living floors all accessible. A green roof provides landscape and view for the upper apartment.
Photos: Ben Benschneider
Case Inlet Retreat is a modern vacation home designed by MW Works Architecture+Design, nestled into a forested slope along the eastern edge of the Case Inlet, in southern Puget Sound, Washington. This small retreat opens to a western view of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound. Anchored by a weathered cedar clad bedroom wing, a bold concrete cantilever projects the living and dining into the dense forest and toward the view.
An ipe deck slips from inside the kitchen into an open meadow to the south, separated only by large sliding glass doors extending the sense of interior directly to the outdoors. A broad flat roof hovers high above the living spaces creating the feeling that one is sitting outdoors amidst the trees. Smaller, thoughtfully placed apertures define the exterior of the bedroom volume, along with a single large opening belonging to the master bath to give the users a ritual of bathing within the forest.
A balance of clean lines and natural materials, this modest 2,800 square foot retreat is a welcome sanctuary from the city for just two or the full family.
Photos: Jeremy Bittermann
This Queen Anne mid-modern home has been transformed by design firm Coop 15 Architecture in Seattle, Washington. The northwest contemporary design was originally constructed by noted architect Paul Kirk. The owners Gavin & Jenny Kelly asked the architects to renovate and expand the house in 2008, they had two young children living in an 1,870 square foot, two-bedroom house, with very limited space for family activities. They extended and reordered the plan and form to create 2,400 square feet with a comfortable living/dining/kitchen area, open stair, and third bedroom plus children’s bath.
The power of the original design continues with walls that wrap over to create a roof. Original cedar-clad interior walls and ceiling were brightened with added glass and up to date lighting. The enlarged lower level also accommodated a media room and a spacious home office. Upstairs, the entry, and combined living/dining/kitchen area, were all expanded. The master bedroom and bath were reconfigured to create a little extra elbow room for 6’-7” Gavin, and the stair was completely changed to increase headroom.
A steel beam was placed where the existing home ended and the entire form was stretched an additional 15 feet.
The cedar ceilings and walls were restored and extended to accentuate the original concept.
The dining room window aligns with and continues a break in the rolled roof plane drawing the eye inside to the exterior.
Cost effective materials like laminate and quartz were used to create a durable and simple kitchen.
A massive 12 foot wide sliding door (coated with a layer of chalkboard paint) obscures the media room.
The shingle roofing material continues down the walls to create the appearance of a singular roof form.
Photos: Will Austin
Lopez Island Residence is the remodel of a stunning seaside home by Graham Baba Architects on Lopez Island, in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. The remodel involved the removal and recycling of the original 1960s split-level house and the design of a home that’s more connected with its location. The island residence is comprised of several natural materials associated with the Northwest vernacular, including exposed wood, iron, glass, and local fieldstone. Exterior windows provide a continual view of the San Juan Islands region, while the architectural elements and materials reinforce the Pacific Northwest locale.
In keeping with GBA’s practice of employing reused and sustainable materials, metal destined for the dump has been reclaimed to form the divider between kitchen and dining space, and beautifully weathered Australian gumwood from Sydney Harbor’s wharves has been repurposed as exposed trusses within the house. Custom ironwork was fabricated by Seattle-based Gulassa and Co.
The transition from interior to exterior space is minimal with the use of a panelized glazing system that easily folds and tucks away to allow nature in. Deep overhangs protect the interior spaces from overheating during the summer while letting in the much-needed low sun during the winter. The open floor plan allows for amazing views from all positions, making the Puget Sound environs a constant in the residence and tying in beautifully with the physical elements of the house.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
The Hotchkiss Residence is a striking modern home that has been designed by Scott|Edwards Architecture, nestled on the banks of the Columbia river in Vancouver, Washington. The home exemplifies a northwest contemporary vernacular in its 2,000 square feet. The one level home, built for a retired couple, was placed on the site to maximize the southern view to the river. A large overhang creates a dynamic outdoor living room and creates enough overhang to shield the harsh rays of the sun from penetrating the interior of the home. Radiant floor heating, exposed wood structure and walnut cabinetry create a contemporary, yet warm home.
Photos: Courtesy of Scott Edwards Architecture
This stunning open glass pavilion house is nestled on the shore of Lake Washington in Bellevue, designed by Olson Kundig Architects along with interior designer Garret Cord Werner, lighting designer Brian Hood and landscape architect Charles Anderson. This 6,800 square foot home was designed for entertaining and displaying the clients extensive northwest art collection. The home merges the exterior and interior spaces to provide a seamless environment with the northwest landscape. Running down the length of the great room, is a dramatic center pavilion of 3,060 square feet, the focus of the architecture by Jim Olson that displays a grand thirty-five foot long dining table that floats on two pedestals, comprised of mahogany and nickel and ready to seat up to 40 for dinner. Underneath lowered ceilings on either end are two living-room areas: one as light as outdoors itself, surrounded by glass, next to a reflecting pool; the other darker, intimate, a fireplace, concrete walls, a bar. Outside spaces mimic the interior in function: living area with fireplace, kitchen, dining area, expansive lawn, long terrace.
The entire house has been designed for art and to display it, as well as to help the groups that support it: “We got involved with the arts organizations and McCaw Hall and the expansion of the Seattle Art Museum and PNB. And we lend our property for things like this,” states the homeowner.
The dramatic center pavilion is the focus of the architecture displaying a grand thirty-five foot long dining table that floats on two pedestals. The table was engineered and constructed out of reclaimed mahogany wood and nickel plated steel sections and may be disassembled to provide a flexible party space.
Natural materials were purposely left slightly raw – translating to an elegant but not overly refined space.
Custom made furnishing by Seattle interior designer, Garret Cord Werner.
Center console before the media room. Projector comes up from table to project across into media room.
Custom lighting and countertop by Seattle interior designer, architect, Garret Cord Werner.
Master bath featuring custom made traditonal Japanese sunken bath.
Japanese sunken bath in master bath.
Custom built vanity and mirror by Seattle interior designer, architect, Garret Cord Werner.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider