BUILD LLC just wrapped up a sharp, modern residence in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and it’s a perfect time to share some materials, methods and design ideas. We decided years ago that the BUILDblog would be dedicated to transparency and getting useful information out there in the world about design and architecture. This project, in particular, is an excellent means to do so as the owner, Mike Davidson, has kept the most thorough journal/blog we’ve ever seen on a residential project. A HOUSE BY THE PARK documents everything from talking to realtors about buying the land, through the design and construction process, all the way down to the punch list. It’s an objective, accurate look at home construction and you should check it out. Give the owner some kudos for the achievement and supporting architecture!

[Existing Entry, photo by BUILD LLC]

The project was completed for 1% over the target budget and we worked diligently to keep the finances on track, still accommodating several scope increases. The owner’s blog details every expense and keeps a running tab of the construction costs each step of the way. The design-build process proved to be an excellent system as design modifications and construction decisions could be taken care of expediently in the field.

[New Entry, photo by BUILD LLC]

Because the existing house was located on Magnolia’s steep western bluff, any earthwork would have been precarious, bureaucratic and expensive. The team decided to re-use the existing foundation for several reasons; it was in good shape, it would save a significant amount of work, it was cost effective and last but certainly not least it’s a great way to re-use materials. The landscape package was integrated with the geometry of the home to create a formal entry at the approach; the landscaping at the back of the home maintains the original mid-century modern design.

The house was organized into (3) parts; the center circulation space -nicknamed the Big Wood Rectangular Thingy (BWRT), the north wing housing the kitchen and master suite, and the south wing containing the living spaces, bedrooms and garage. This helped us define the interior functions and it allowed us to make deliberate changes to the siding package. The BWRT also becomes a feature design item of the house and the framed views from within are just stunning.

[New west face, photo by BUILD LLC]

[Existing west face, photo by BUILD LLC]

There are (3) types of materials at the envelope; a Prodema rainscreen offers warm tones and a durable skin at the BWRT, CBF Sil-Leed 5/16” treated rainscreen panels create a handsome gray background at the lower level, and dark stained T&G clear cedar adds detail and texture to the composition at the upper level. Both rainscreens sit in front of a Vapro Shield membrane. The changes of exterior materials coincide with the different programs within the home; also employed is a change of plane at the various surfaces to lend shadow and depth to the exterior.

The window package is made up of Marlin 1505 series clear anodized aluminum windows with an Atrium Shade side cabled sunshade system at the west side of the house. Exterior shades prevent a tremendous amount of heat gain inside the house and thereby decrease the amount of necessary cooling. Gaps in the siding at the window system are filled with aluminum panels to match the machined look of the windows. The door package is a variety of systems including NanaWalls at the north wing, Milgard sliders and a fir entry door. The NanaWalls allow entire walls to open up to the outdoors and we’ve been impressed with the accordion mechanical folding system.

A standing seam metal roof with a 1:12 slope is installed at the north and south wings as well as the garage. A flashing package by Taylor Metal seals up the edges and provides a match to the roof color. Strategically placed Tam Skylights align with interior geometries and bring natural daylight to the center of the structure.

The BWRT performs many functions including defining a roof deck at the highest point of the house. On top, it is constructed like a deck with Trex decking on sleepers over a single ply roof membrane. The roof deck guardrail is composed of custom fabricated galvanized steel verticals and a horizontal kit-system by Cable Rail.  A custom ipe wood cap finishes off the gaurdrail and provides an inconspicuous pocket to hide an undermount rope light. The roof deck offers a spectacular view of the Puget sound and Olympic Mountain Range complete with a roof-top hot tub.  A Bilco roof hatch provides access without compromising weatherproofing.

The rainscreen system allows for space to conceal downspouts for a clean and unencumbered facade. The precise breaks of the rainscreen also give a structured, machined look to the envelope.

BUILD’s on-site project manager, Bart Gibson (above), puts some of the finishing touches on the residence.
Stay tuned for the interior and cabinet review of the home, and for the play-by-play of design and construction follow us on Twitter.