A Modern Seattle Structure with City Views

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Modern Black Exterior on a Sloped Lot

For this modern structure's remodel, the design team leveraged the views and maximized the height of the house.

Modern Dark Metal Stairs in White Entry

The dark metal stairs refer back to the structure's reversed seam-metal cladding.

Modern Neutral Entry with Dynamic Sculpture

A dynamic sculpture, a find of the homeowners, stands at the entrance to a Seattle residence designed by the architectural team of Chris Pardo, Peter Greaves and Derry Betts. Builder Travis Gaylord and his colleagues fabricated the concrete wall.

Modern White Foyer with Blackened Steel Front Door

In the gallery-like foyer, a painting by Barbara Kaempf Matkowski hangs above a console by a local craftsman. With its minimal, modern feel, the space signals the aesthetic found throughout the rest of the home. The architects designed the dramatic front door fashioned from blackened steel and fabricated by the builder.

Modern White Living Room with City Views

Homeowners Jeffrey Hansen and David Barashi took on the responsibility for the interiors, selecting simple, elegant pieces including the living room’s Ventura lounge chair by Poliform. From the Magis table and chairs on the deck, diners can have an unimpeded view of the Space Needle.

Modern White Kitchen with Black Walnut Dining Table

Homeowner Jeffrey Hansen designed the black walnut dining room table, which he had custom-made for a previous home. Panton chairs present a contrasting modern element to the piece’s more traditional lines. The seven-pendant chandelier is by Bocci.

Modern White Kitchen with Zebrawood Finish

Miele ovens, refrigerator and cooktop, along with a Thermador hood, outfit the kitchen. A Tom Dixon fixture illuminates the island. Thatcher Woodworks fabricated the custom cabinets, a combination of white with a lacquer overlay and zebrawood finish by Treefrog Veneer.

Modern White Living Room with Blackened-Steel Fireplace Surround

In the living room, a Ligne Roset sofa and Eames coffee table create a comfortable spot by the fireplace, which is housed in a blackened-steel surround, a material that serves as a unifying element in the abode. Beyond, the Jeremy Cole light fixture in the stairwell functions as a dramatic focal point.

Modern White Sitting Area with Flexform Sofa and Table

A casual sitting area features a sofa and table by Flexform and a white Zanotta Mezzadro stool. The Chris Hardy Wig pendant lamp by FontanaArte lights the space. The artwork is by Barbara Kaempf Matkowski.

Modern Neutral Terrace with Casual Seating Area

Ipe wood on the underside of the overhang on a terrace references the same material that covers the floors inside the home. The deck flooring is made of concrete pavers. From the casual seating, both the city and the water can be viewed—as can fantastic fireworks on the Fourth of July.

White Modern Master Bedroom with Rift-Sawn Walnut Bed

In the master bedroom, the dramatic paneled wall serves as a stylish backdrop to the nightstands and the custom rift-sawn walnut platform bed by Thatcher Woodworks. The classic white leather Eames chair and Le Corbusier lounger provide seating.

White Modern Master Bathroom with Floating Vanity

Even the master bathroom yields a stunning spot to enjoy the residence’s views—from the tub area, which is lined with dark gray tile from Pental Granite & Marble. Abodian fabricated the floating rift-sawn walnut vanity.

It would be hard to imagine a time when someone didn’t jump at the chance to reside in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Between the city and lake views and easy access to downtown, it is one enviable perch. But turn the clock back about a century and a half, and developers were offering two-for-one lot deals to anyone willing to build a home there and still coming up short. The reason was simple enough—it was too steep.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and even with the advent of modern technology, the architectural team of Chris Pardo and Peter Greaves, along with their former associate Derry Betts, would find it a challenge to design a home on a dizzying 26 percent slope for clients David Barashi and Jeffrey Hansen. In an odd twist of fate, an existing 1928 Tudor would play a pivotal role in solving the problems of building on such a steep site. “The house is actually a remodel of sorts because it’s built on top of the footprint of an existing house,” explains Greaves, who took the lead on the project. “Parts of the original foundation remain in the basement of the new structure, which minimized the extent of the site work required.”

Not surprisingly, the phenomenal views and proximity to amenities first attracted David and Jeffrey to live on the precipitous slope. Looking to spend part of their time in Seattle, the couple were standing on the deck of a condo unit they were touring when they spied a “for sale” sign on the Tudor across the way. “In that moment we realized the potential of building a home in the area and decided to go for it,” says David.

Wasting no time, they assembled a design team that included builder Travis Gaylord. After scouring the Internet and poring over design books to learn as much as possible about modern architecture, the owners crafted a vision for their home that involved leveraging the views and maximizing the height of the house. “It’s a corner lot so we wanted huge windows but we also wanted privacy,” says David. Adds Jeffrey, “And we wanted every floor to provide a different perspective of the city.”

Conceptually, the vertical structure the team devised is a series of nested cubes where the interior form is expressed on the exterior, as well. “Dark and white metal, cedar and concrete balanced on each elevation tell a story about the inside of the house,” says Greaves. “The wood floors recall the cedar siding, and the dark metal stairs, doors and fireplace surround refer back to the reversed seam-metal cladding, while the white walls, cabinets and tile finishes reference the white flat aluminum-composite panels.”

Adds Pardo, “The home balances privacy and views by shifting planes in the façade and careful placement of glazing.” Installing those large expanses of glass put Gaylord’s building prowess to the test. “The pieces were too big to carry them up the stairs, so we had to cut a slot through the floor to transport them,” says the builder, who also oversaw the on-site construction of the sculptural stairs.

In lieu of one continuous staircase, the architects devised a series of stairs to vary the experience on each floor. The entry and its yard establish a neighborhood feel, while the middle level, with its open living room, dining room and kitchen, enjoys ever-changing views. “Depending on the time of day, you can see the Cascade peaks, including Mount Rainier, as well as the Space Needle, and at night the city turns into a sparkling jewel box,” says Jeffrey. By the time you reach the third floor and the self-contained master suite, you are 41 feet up with a clear sightline to Lake Union.

Selected by the homeowners, the furnishings are a mix of understated pieces—the gray wool sectional in the living room and molded white dining room chairs spring to mind. Elsewhere, the couple wove in eye-catching elements, including numerous colorful works by artist Barbara Kaempf Matkowski and the dazzling Jeremy Cole chandelier suspended in the stairwell. “We purchased the chandelier before we even closed on the lot,” says Jeffrey of the series of porcelain-formed leaves intended as the home’s centerpiece. Adds David, “We wanted it to be seen from every room in the house and from the outside, as well.”

The light’s beautiful warm glow is emblematic of how the owners feel about their home. “In the winter, we like to come into the living room and turn on the fireplace and just watch downtown,” says David, “and in the summer, we sit on the deck and enjoy the twinkling lights.” Jeffrey continues, “We feel so fortunate to be connected to the architecture of the city while living in this wonderful neighborhood.”

— Mindy Pantiel

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