This original mid-century home in Seattle, Washington, is really well built. You can tell just from the pictures.
Upon approach from a path of concrete slabs, a solid wooden door is reached by way of two steps and it is situated slightly to the left of the path. This asymmetry emphasises each individual element of the entrance, but especially the wall that surrounds the door, which occupies a privileged place in the façade as you approach the house.
Comprised of thin cut stones, varying in colour from pale orange, to light grey and cream, this wall is really smart. With the stones also jutting out at slightly different lengths, it also benefits from an additional layer of texture. With this simple arrangement, and minimal decoration (just a plain, dark brown lamp), the natural complexion of the materials is allowed to speak for itself.
Meanwhile, a subtle indoor/outdoor transition is created by the roof overhang. You can also see that the underside is a combination of polished wood planks, and beams painted in a rich dark brown to match the steps and the lamp. It’s a neat contrast which again emphasises the precision detailing.
Three clerestory windows follow the roof incline. Along with the large square window adjacent to the stone wall, they provide considerable light to the interior space in the entrance hall, which quickly transforms into a living space as you enter.
This part of the house was the main focus of the renovation by First Lamp Architecture, where they were tasked with creating a more spacious and naturally lit space.
For this, they used the hearth as a focal point. Pleasingly, the hearth features the same stone wall as was used in the entrance. In both interior and exterior, this lovely layered texture takes well-deserved pride of place.
First Lamp make quite a big thing of being a multidisciplinary team of architects and builders. As they say on their website, “when the hands that hold the pencil also drive the nails, everything changes. Buildings mature through construction with the same creative focus and clarity that began their conception. Ideas become more practical and philosophically relevant to every client’s project.”
The obvious benefit of this integrated approach is clear to see in the spectacular renovation of this mid-century modern house, which looks as sturdy as it must have done when it was first built.