The project is sited on a difficult, highly regulated site with a steep slope to the west and a large railroad easement and setback to the east. In response to these challenges the concrete foundation and cellar are set back from the slope establishing an anchor. The lighter framed portion of the house is elevated by the foundation and extended over the steep slope buffer to access the water view. While the main floor had little choice in where it could be located, the canted second floor, rotated from the axis of the main floor, allows the bedroom, bath and office to be really focused on the stunning views to the Sound and the Olympics. The raised first floor is accessed along an elevated board walk which furthers the feeling that the house is “floating” above a sunken yard; appropriate imagery for the clients who are making the transition to dry land after residing on a boat for 14 years.
The massing of the house is also informed by the volume of train activity to the east. The linear scheme allows for the east wall to act as a barrier to insulate both the interior of the house and the west yard from the railroad noise. While the west elevation is largely glazed to allow access to the water view the view of the mountains, the east wall has few openings to maintain the solidity necessary for sound protection. A minimal pallet of inexpensive finish materials was used to achieve an economy of scale and reduce transition details. For example; an inexpensive concrete fiber board was used for most exterior surfaces, accented by smaller areas of cedar siding. Tight-knot rough cedar is selected rather than expensive and environmentally questionable clear cedar. This roughness is balanced with the smooth concrete fiber board to achieve both harmony and economy.Extensive glazing was desired on the west elevation. Rather than install an expensive curtain-wall system, less expensive aluminum nail-fin windows were ganged together and trimmed with aluminum break shapes to achieve a similar effect for a reduced cost.