Originally built in 1955, this modest, 1,500-square-foot penthouse apartment typified the small, separated living spaces of its era. The design challenge was how to create a home that reflected contemporary taste and the client’s desire for an environment rich in materials and textures. The keys to updating the space were threefold: break down the existing divisions between rooms; emphasize the connection to the adjoining 850-square-foot terrace; and establish an overarching visual harmony for the home through the use of simple, elegant materials.
To start, the designers combined the previously separated kitchen, living, and dining areas to create a central, flowing space for the family. The resulting contiguous, shared living area serves as a counterpoint to the otherwise modest living quarters. Access to the south-facing terrace was enhanced through the addition of large, glass sliders that visually and physically blend indoor space with the outdoors—effectively doubling the living space on nice days and affording views to Elliot Bay and Mt. Rainier.
To lend coherence throughout the apartment, flooring, ceilings, and lighting were made consistent throughout. Existing, structural wood beams were sanded to expose the wood’s natural color. Lighting is integrated into the ceiling plane, helping to create a tidy ceiling while adding a dramatic visual element that was previously lacking. The interiors blend vintage, custom-designed and contemporary furnishings. Strong textures and forms provide a counterpoint to the simple, neutral bones of the space.