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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.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
New Heights

Previously a single-story home, this second-story addition is now a Pacific Northwest contemporary marvel with newly acquired views of Puget Sound. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

New Heights

Previously a single-story home, this second-story addition is now a Pacific Northwest contemporary marvel with newly acquired views of Puget Sound. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Outdoor Amenities

Complete with a new sports court and outdoor patio, this space offers everything a host could need to throw the ultimate bash. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Outdoor Amenities

Complete with a new sports court and outdoor patio, this space offers everything a host could need to throw the ultimate bash. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Indoors & Out

A covered deck offers the perfect solution for hosting guests — indoor or outdoor — all year long, never losing sight of evergreen views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Indoors & Out

A covered deck offers the perfect solution for hosting guests — indoor or outdoor — all year long, never losing sight of evergreen views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

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.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Welcome Home

The front door opens up into a gracious foyer, filled with natural light uninhibited by the central staircase’s open railing. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Welcome Home

The front door opens up into a gracious foyer, filled with natural light uninhibited by the central staircase’s open railing. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Breaking the Norm

The downstairs houses the more private areas, like bedrooms, so the second story common areas can overlook stunning views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Breaking the Norm

The downstairs houses the more private areas, like bedrooms, so the second story common areas can overlook stunning views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Up, Down, All Around

The first and second stories are connected by light-stained wooden stairs, adorned with custom, open railing, keeping the design bright and natural. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Up, Down, All Around

The first and second stories are connected by light-stained wooden stairs, adorned with custom, open railing, keeping the design bright and natural. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Put a Bird on It

A bold, statement wallpaper is a great way to liven up areas that are often overlooked — like powder rooms. Paired with darker wood, this space now has contrast and character. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Put a Bird on It

A bold, statement wallpaper is a great way to liven up areas that are often overlooked — like powder rooms. Paired with darker wood, this space now has contrast and character. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
The Home Chef’s Dream

A large, freshly appointed kitchen with chic appliances was necessary for hosting (and feeding!) parties of all sizes. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

The Home Chef’s Dream

A large, freshly appointed kitchen with chic appliances was necessary for hosting (and feeding!) parties of all sizes. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Tina Witherspoon.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Clever Solutions

The stairs were intentionally designed to serve as a divider between common areas — giving each room its own distinct space without the use of walls or other barriers. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Clever Solutions

The stairs were intentionally designed to serve as a divider between common areas — giving each room its own distinct space without the use of walls or other barriers. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
The More, The Merrier

Between a casual breakfast table and a formal dining area situated across the room, there’s plenty of space for guests to relax and enjoy a meal. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

The More, The Merrier

Between a casual breakfast table and a formal dining area situated across the room, there’s plenty of space for guests to relax and enjoy a meal. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
Dinner with a View

The dining area opens up to the second story covered balcony via large, glass doors, so guests are constantly connected to those outside views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Dinner with a View

The dining area opens up to the second story covered balcony via large, glass doors, so guests are constantly connected to those outside views. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Sunset Hill Overlook – Board & Vellum
A Place for All

The living area — tucked away in its own sector of the upstairs — offers ample, cozy seating for family movie nights. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

A Place for All

The living area — tucked away in its own sector of the upstairs — offers ample, cozy seating for family movie nights. Sunset Hill Overlook | Photo by Travis Peterson.

Notes & Credits
This project was built by Armata Construction.
Landscape architecture by Scott Holsapple Design.
Landscape construction by Orion Rockscapes.
Interior styling by Candace Powell and Lisa Sand.
Photos by Travis Peterson and Tina Witherspoon.

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