The Satterlee project is a new custom home in Kenmore, Washington for a family of four, currently in schematic design. The site is a steeply sloping west facing hillside across the street from Lake Washington with a gorgeous and expansive view to the west and south. This active family asked westerbeck|architecture for a modest, energy efficient, dynamic and hard working home on a tight budget.

We love a challenge and believe constraints make for the best architecture, so w|a got to work designing a 2500 square foot home. The home has four levels, connected by a light and airy stair tower. The first level will be an unfinished space used as a photo studio, the second level a guest room and office space, the third level is the main living/dining/kitchen area and the fourth level holds three main bedrooms and two baths.

Due to the steep site and the high costs of excavation and concrete foundation work, we explored schemes that placed a compact concrete core into the hillside next to the required two parkings spaces where the bulk of the home would bear on the earth. The core is two stories high, getting the two upper floors high enough to nestle into the natural bowl in the hillside where foundation will be minimal to preserve the site topography and minimize site destruction and natural water flow. This solution saves both precious budget and the natural ecology of the site.

On a hillside site with little flat area the decks become the “yard” so we made sure there was a generous deck at the main floor that connected with the living, dining and kitchen areas. On a warm day all the sliding doors can be opened and the efficient interior spaces become effectively doubled in size when connected with the deck.

Keep an eye on the w|a blog for updates on this project as design moves forward.

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