Our client’s primary objective? A comfortable house that would be fully responsive to his needs. Today, his new single-floor residence is half the size of his previous three-story home, and it works perfectly. Fully accessible, the spaces flow easily from room to room with ample natural light and ventilation. The project is both functional and restorative. Whereas it incorporates all the requirements for someone with limited mobility, it is not institutional in feel. Just as planned, the house allows the owner to live and work independently.
Fundamentally, this is a courtyard house with an introverted shape: a public front—which is reserved and austere—and the inner court, which is private and relaxed. The courtyard is an outdoor room around which interior spaces are organized. Three-sided, it has a direct relationship to a back-yard garden that is populated with native plants and raised vegetable beds. All is easily accessed by the owner.
As all the living space is on one floor, the house could have easily sprawled to fill the entire site (within the allowed limits by city code). Instead, the design works with the site. Its courtyard configuration provides ample useable outdoor space and includes a deck.
This mid-century northwest modern home design was strongly influenced by Japanese domestic space. One aspect of this space is the “rain porch” which provides a fairly narrow transition between the interior and exterior allowing people to sit and enjoy the outdoors protected from a light rain or strong sun. Overall, the relationship of indoor to outdoor is carefully modulated from the street to the entrance, through the house to the courtyard, and into the backyard. Each room has a unique experience of the private garden.
Mercer Island, Washington
Bykonen, Carter, Quinn