For architect John DeForest, a call from a repeat client–who happened to be a childhood friend–meant returning to a house where he had spent much of his youth. The property had been in the owners’ family since 1970, when his father purchased the waterfront parcel of a larger estate. The homeowners considered a remodel, but decided to rebuild and make better use of the site while retaining the original ’20s dock, teahouse and boathouse.
To develop the new Seattle home, DeForest put the owners through his rigorous but playful process. First came homework to get the clients first thoughts. Then came building blocks. “The blocks correspond to spaces, so we can try out options,” says DeForest. “There’s some risk of giving up control, but it brings up things the clients may not have told us and it creates a richer discussion.”
For the interiors, the owners brought back designer Nancy Burfiend, who had also done their previous home. Burfiend let the architecture and views drive her decisions, which included a soft color palette and low furnishings to echo the horizontality of the home. “It’s elegantly understated,” she says. Outside, landscape architect Randy Allworth incorporated existing trees into a modern design, adding a great lawn, maples for color and natives like huckleberry, ferns and red twig dogwoods.