Cutting-edge technology meets high country living in this contemporary residence designed to appeal to metropolitan Seattle's upscale, tech-savvy home buyers drawn to the area by a lucrative employment market, scenery and outdoor lifestyle.
Constructed by Kirkland, Wash.-based builder Lochwood-Lozier Homes for the 2004 Quality Street Showcase of Exceptional Homes in Newcastle, Wash., this 5,694-square foot luxury home has every bell and whistle, says executive vice president Patricia Lochwood-Lozier.
A dramatic radius staircase serves as the hub for the main floor living space in this contemporary Washington state show home.
This home's design blends materials typically associated with commercial construction — such as concrete floors, exposed steel and glass block — with a curvilinear floor plan, free-form ceiling details and a natural color palette that complements its Pacific Northwest location.Design Concept
Because this project was intended to be a builder's showcase home, it was critical that the house have exceptional drama inside and out, says residential designer Ben Mulder of 4D Architects.
One of the most exciting elements of this project, says Mulder, was working with a builder who was willing to embrace the curvilinear nature of his design concept — and one who was up for the challenge of executing it.
The home's opening statement — a three-story floating staircase in the foyer that cantilevers off a 6-inch steel column that also supports the roof — is both exciting and practical. "This central spine is intended to be the single unifying element that connects all three levels of living space visually, functionally and fluidly," says Mulder. "It also serves as the focal point for the main floor's gently curved gallery, which promotes the flow of traffic throughout the living space without creating clearly defined transitions between the rooms."
Todd Lozier, president of Lochwood-Lozier, agrees the home's flow is one of the best features. "With all of its curves it literally has no dead ends. Instead, the hallways just seem to bend and connect from one area to the next."
The open floor plan is designed to make entertaining easy and includes a spacious central kitchen with a large island adjoining a great room. A well-equipped caterer's kitchen features an out-of-sight location ideal for large-scale events the homeowner hosts.
The second floor houses the master suite, secondary bedrooms and a large play room. Although this particular home was not designed to include an elevator, Lochwood-Lozier says buyers in the area often choose to include one.Location Challenges
All residential construction throughout the Pacific Northwest must be designed and engineered to meet seismic and wind-load criteria, says Mulder. That includes earthquake strapping and heavy duty hold downs.
Don't judge a house by its front elevation. The front of the Newcastle, Wash., home gives the impression it has standard square rooms. Instead, visitors find each room has unique angles and curves.
Excavation expenses can also have an effect on the construction budget in this area, Lozier says. Excess dirt on the construction site can mean an extra $20,000 in removal costs for big projects because disposal sites are often more than an hour away.
The home's location at the end of single-access road with an 18-degree grade makes fire response time an issue. Building codes call for the home to have its own residential fire protection sprinkler system. "We use zoned systems, which are activated by high temperatures (150 degrees or higher) directly under the individual sprinkler head rather than by smoke, so they are very safe and are not set off accidentally," says Lozier. Such systems typically add between $2.50 and $3 per square foot, but homeowners often get a discount on their homeowners' insurance, Lozier says.Back to the Outdoors
The kitchen island's high-tech glass block base is backlit by fiber-optic lighting connected to a color wheel that can be altered to change the mood in the room when entertaining.
The home is a natural offshoot of the outdoor-lifestyle that people in this region embrace, Mulder adds. "Even if they can't use (outdoor space) all the time, they still want to feel as though they can. The challenge is to create space that gets the right balance of sunlight and protection from the elements in order to maximize its potential for use."
Each of the three levels offers outdoor living space. The multi-level deck offers a spa, which adjoins the great room and breakfast nook. Overhead heating systems, such as those incorporated into the overhangs above the decks in this project, allows homeowners to use outdoor living space longer throughout the year.
This $2.3 million project sold before completion.