Thursday, November 15, 2012

Umbrella House Meets Puget Sound

Along West Seattle's Beach Drive, about halfway between Alki and the ferry dock, we have a unique pair of houses going up side-by-side.  The project began as a new house for a couple who had lived in their home on Beach Drive for decades.  We helped the take their land and short plat it into two lots so that they could sell off half the land & use the proceeds to build a new home on the remaining parcel.  We designed and permitted their new home, but before beginning construction, the owners wanted to get the other lot sold off so that they could firm up their construction budget.

City Closers, the listing broker, asked us to produce a quick prototype design (some conceptual plan drawings & a web video) to help illustrate what could be done with the empty lot.  The day after it was put on the market, we got a call from an interested buyer who was very taken with the project and decided to buy the land and hire us to build the house we designed, all in one fell swoop.  Within 72 hours, the lot was under contract, and we were designing two waterfront houses side-by-side.

The project has been a great opportunity for us to further explore our Umbrella House concept.  The houses are only 30-40 feet away from Puget Sound, so our general emphasis on technical detailing for a challenging climate has been further sharpened by the wind driven weather and salt corrosion issues that come along with the marine environment.  The backyards facing Puget Sound are one of most beautiful and ever-changing patches of land we've ever worked on.  A site of this quality really reinforces the need to create floor plans, decks, and grading that are well  integrated & help to stitch together the interior and exterior living spaces.

Along the way we've been constantly using our 3D modeling software to study the views from various rooms of the house and check privacy relationships between the adjacent homes.  We've also had a chance to learn a lot more about a range of issues, from corrosion resistance & low maintenance finishes, to universal access design, and the latest developments of many energy efficiency technologies.  I'll share more detail in upcoming posts.

The first house, for Carl & Carol Binder, is currently under construction and will be completed Summer 2013.  The second house, for Zach Mosner and Patty Friedman, is currently under design.  Construction should begin in Spring 2013 with completion in early 2014.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Architect turns Architect/Developer

Big News.  David Neiman Architects has just purchased on a property near 14th & Marion that will be the site for our first townhouse project with us acting as the developer.

Marion Green will be a five unit townhouse project.  Like it's predecessor Beacon Green, it will be designed with all of its units clustered around a central community courtyard.  More than that, can't really say for now.  We're working on preliminary plans & will have something more definitive ready for public design review & community meetings in a few weeks.

I'm delighted that we've found a great piece of land that I think will allow us to pull off exactly the kind of model development that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  Look forward to sharing more soon.