Ballard Cut is on a difficult, highly regulated site with a steep slope to the west and a large railroad easement and setback to the east. In response to these challenges the foundation and cellar are set the required distance back from the slope, while the rest of the house is extended over the steep slope buffer to access the water view. This method of extending volumes and elements over others is carried throughout the project ultimately establishing a simple parti of two stacked rectangular volumes that rise over the site. The second floor is rotated in relation to the first floor, creating a covered entry, a stair enclosure, and access to a roof garden, as well as focuses the bedroom, bath and office to views of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
What was the brief?
The clients came to us after having lived years on a houseboat. They were looking to settle on 'dry land' and have more space than their previous home, they did not want to go too far in the other direction. Touches of houseboat-inspired moments, including the stair from the main to the second level, recall their time on the water, while the 2800 square foot size is generous without feeling too spacious.
What were the key challenges?
The site itself was the main challenge in this project. With a railroad easement and large setback to one side, plus a steep slope to the other, the siting of the house was an exercise in balance and careful planning.
What were the design solutions?
The foundation and cellar location was dictated by the setback to that side at the slope. To capture views of the water in that direction, the main floor extends out from this boundary to form a deck. The second story follows this example, stretching beyond the main floor, with an added rotation to capture secondary views. This in turn opens up additional space on the lower roof to turn it into a green roof and garden, adding a pop of brilliant color outside. The angle of the second story also lends itself to a small overhang at the entry, a welcome invitation into the client's home.
How is the project unique?
The clients, owners of a wine-related business, were naturally keen to house their extensive wine collection and incorporate it into the design. The end result is a delightfully unexpected window, via the kitchen floor, from the entertainment space to the wine cellar below.