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Location:  Mercer Island -  Seattle, Washington
Type:  Residential

Originally built as a modest beachfront cabin, and subsequently modified through a series of piecemeal renovations, by the time our client acquired the 1960s house its design integrity had long ceased to exist. The forested property, however, was ideally suited to the creation of a quiet refuge with direct connections to nature.

The movement from street to house is conceived as a journey, where work and public life gives way to nature and private reflection. The 60-foot drop from entry drive to water's edge, was not without challenges. The upper driveway becomes a winding forest drive, while the final steps to the house pass through a series of intimate landscapes. Planted roofs merge the house with its setting.

Inside, the house was taken back to the studs and completely reworked. Previously lacking visual connections to the lake, all major interior spaces were reoriented to the views. The main floor and formal entry, the middle of the house's three floors--serves as the public zone. Spaces including the galley kitchen and breakfast room, and dining and living, flow one to the other. A second floor was added for private spaces, including the master suite and bedrooms. The basement supports family-oriented spaces. Materially rich finishes (polished concrete and stone, cerused and fumed oak, and blackened steel) balance the otherwise crisp and spare detailing found throughout the house.

Outside, variously-sized, dark-stained cedar siding and Cor-Ten provides subtle dimension and shadow effects. Integrated sun shades and fins on west-facing windows marry function with aesthetics.

Photography:  Kevin Scott