Northwestern Modern
Creative us of inexpensive materials open spaces shape a new Seattle house.

Fine Homebuilding Magazine: March 2000

“It was a familiar scenario: Young professional couple wants a stylish home with four bedrooms, garage, home office, great view of local scenery and low price tag. Sounds like the recipe for every other spec house, doesn’t it? Usually, the house ends up looking like every other spec house, too. But this house was different.”

“They bought their small lot in Kirkland, Washington, from their future next-door neighbor. As part of the purchase agreement, the seller required a strict rear-yard setback so that the new house couldn’t block his view.”

“The house touches all the setback lines. The street setback established the front of the house; I ran the rear patio along the view setback required by the purchase agreement. I angled the kitchen bay and the deck above to fit within the side-yard setback. The garage and office space made a window-less blank wall to face the next-door neighbor’s house and also define the setback on that side.”

“The owners were enthusiastically involved in the selection of interior and exterior finishes; they both used the house as a laboratory to try new materials and methods. The concrete floors, used as a mass for the hydronic radiant heat, were sawcut and stained with a chemical dye.”

An interior courtyard/living room open to second-floor bedrooms. Interior windows transfer light from the window wall to the bedrooms. Exposed joists emphasize the 11-ft. ceilings under the bedrooms.

“We selected the exterior materials for the simplicity, ability to weather, and low cost. The materials include galvanized standing-seam roofing, colored acrylic stucco, and painted plywood siding with horizontal cedar battens. An upper band of colored stucco contrasts the house’s base of horizontal battens, reducing the scale of the house and lending weight to the base.