Architects: DeForest Architects / Ted Cameron, Michael Knowles
Project: Union Bay waterfront residence
Interior Designer: NB Design Group / Nancy Burfiend, Whitney Maehara
Location: Laurelhurst, Seattle, Washington
Area 6,000 sf
Photography: Benjamin Benschneider Photography
Overlooking Union Bay, this 6,000 sf waterfront residence is both a practical family home and an elegant oasis of space and light. It is also a return to roots, as the new house rests on the site of the owner’s childhood home. Defined by architectural concrete walls and sheltered by substantial wood and steel beams, an entire wall of lift-slide doors pocket out of sight to open the home to fresh air, an expansive terrace, Union Bay, Husky Stadium and the existing teahouse, which was preserved as a respectful nod to the past.
Internally, the house is composed of two wings. One is all about retreat—a tranquil den, luxurious master bath, and master bedroom. The other embraces togetherness—a spacious kitchen, family room, and breakfast bay overlooking the water. Between these distinct volumes is a series of lofty open spaces for indoor and outdoor entertaining — entry courtyard, great room, lakefront terrace, and dock.
A subdued color palette of soft greens and dusty blues mix with clean, low profile furniture pieces to create an understated yet elegant foreground to the fantastic water views. As you enter the home, views of Union Bay pull you into the dining area of the Great Room. The sculptural glass chandelier mimics the reflections of the water without taking away from the landscape beyond.
A modern design with long, clean horizontal lines, the home appears as an extension of the surrounding landscape. The design team’s limited pallet of materials creates an overall impression of simplicity that belies the buildings underlying complex structural intersections. Upon opening the large entry pivot door a visitor’s eye is drawn through the building to the water beyond. A massive sliding window wall in the great room transforms the home into an outdoor pavilion during warmer months. To quote the client, “it’s a main house and vacation house wrapped into one”.