Northwest exposure

Northwest exposure – Seattle area

With its culturally aware population, distinctive climate and topography, and rich architectural heritage, the Seattle area has long been a hotbed of custom home activity. Recent hard times for high-tech industries have battered the local economy, though. And with Microsoft stock down some 40 percent since 2000, that company’s employees, a mainstay of the market, have lowered their expectations considerably. But while budgets have shrunk, architect Lane Williams finds that there is still demand for original design with a distinct local flavor. “People are thinking a lot smaller,” he says, “but this new trend is just turning back the clock to where we were five or six years ago.” The spirit of Seattle architecture is alive and well. * This house has Seattle written all over it. Built in two parts–the main house and a garage/guest suite–on a steep bank above Lake Sammamish, the structure was engineered to hold back the unstable slope. Simple shed roofs with deep overhangs, commercial-grade aluminum windows, and low-maintenance cement-board siding respond to the drizzly Northwest climate. To address the chronic blue-sky deficit, the building’s shape allows for acres of glass up high in the walls. “We were able to bring in light from four sides,” Williams says. “Even on overcast days it’s a pretty bright space.” The building’s subtle Japanese cues reflect what Williams terms “a whole history of Asian influence in Northwest architecture.” * Inside, the house sounds another Seattle theme: better living through advanced technology. The owner, a Microsoft employee, specified an extensive home automation system. “He can sit there at his touchscreen computer and dim the lights, lower the shades, adjust the heating, and turn on the TV and stereo,” Williams says. But with all those windows filled with lake and sky–gray as it might be–he’ll never forget where he is.–B.D.S.

Project Credits: Builder: Jed Johnson, Seattle; Architect: Lane Williams Architects, Seattle; Living space: 5,700 square feet; Site size: .67 acre; Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider. * Resources: Cabinets: Cornerstone Fine Woodworking, Circle 466; Dishwasher: Miele, Circle 467; Exterior doors: Quantum Doors and Windows, Circle 468; Fiber-cement siding: James Hardie, Circle 469; Fireplace: Heat-N-Glo, Circle 470; Glass tile: Ann Sacks, Circle 471; Hardware: Omnia, Circle 472 and Stanley, Circle 473; Ice/water shield: Protecto Wrap Co., Circle 474; Lighting: Bega, Circle 475, Lightolier, Circle 476, Lumiere, Circle 477, Metalux, Circle 478, Norbert Belfer, Circle 479, Roberts Step-Lite, Circle 480; Oven: Dacor, Circle 481; Paints/stains: Daly’s, Circle 482; Plumbing fittings/fixtures: American Standard, Circle 483, Arwa, Circle 484, Kallista, Circle 485, Kohler, Circle 486, Kroin, Circle 487, Toto, Circle 488, Vitraform, Circle 489; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero, Circle 490.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Hanley-Wood, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group