A New Home on an Existing Foundation
Sunset Hill Overlook
With the bedrooms on the lower floor, the main shared spaces of this home enjoy the best views in the house.
These homeowners had big dreams for their single-story house. They came to us with aspirations for spaces that, from the yard to the kitchen, highlighted their love and enjoyment of entertaining, but their home and property lacked the dynamic indoor-outdoor connection and amenities they desired. And with an aesthetic that leans Pacific Northwest Modern, their aging ’50s-era home wasn’t making the cut.
Like many who establish roots in a home that ultimately isn’t providing them what they need, they loved their location and weren’t ready to throw in the towel. They knew their property could give them access to spectacular views if they could only build up, but a typical second-story addition wouldn’t give them everything they wanted. Instead, they opted for a full remodel and addition that brought their original home down to its foundation. With a clean slate, we could recreate their main floor and build up to capture westward views of Puget Sound and peekaboo views south toward the Ballard Locks.
While many assume that the more private spaces of a home should be on the second floor, that doesn't have to be the case. These clients wanted to take full advantage of the new height gained by the addition by flipping the standard floor plan: locating the active spaces of the home — the living, dining, and kitchen areas — on the second floor, and nestling the family’s private spaces — like the primary suite and other bedrooms — on the main floor. Now, the homeowners and their guests get to share the views as a backdrop to their social gatherings.
The second-floor great room opens to an expansive, partially-covered deck, wrapping from the front around the length of the house. We achieved the ample deck by remaining decidedly conservative with the interior square footage, while emphasizing the connection to the outdoors — and capturing the spectacular views from the indoors — with near-continuous glazing along the western wall. The roofline extends over the deck, with space for both outdoor dining and lounging, making it feel like a true extension of interior living and dining spaces, and allowing for year-round enjoyment.
While comfortable and spacious areas for guests was in the forefront of this design, daily livability of the home also needed consideration. The new, centrally located stair emerges in the center of the great room, delineating the kitchen from a spacious dining area, defining the kitchen as a discrete and contained space, while allowing it to remain open to the rest of the room. By strategically situating the sitting room and a small powder room along the eastern and northern walls, we were able balance the views with dynamic, livable spaces that feel right-sized for both large gatherings and quiet evenings as a family.
Outside, a lower deck carved out of what was once the kitchen provides direct access to a large backyard with a sport court and a grassy side-yard so there is plenty of room for outdoor fun for children and adults alike. Though visible from the raised deck, the backyard and lower deck feel intimate, an escape from the activity above, so multiple groups can gather and enjoy indoor and outdoor activities at once.
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