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5 Daring Hillside Homes

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Clinging to their precarious sloping lots, these houses rise to challenging building sites.
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  A supposedly impossible site was the perfect plot for architect Prentis Hale (pictured) and Tracy Edmonds, who were searching for some sort of break that would afford them the chance to build their own home. Stilting the house over the steep hill gives them direct access to nature while still being located just a ten-minute drive from downtown Seattle. Photo by Philip Newton.  Photo by: Philip Newton

    A supposedly impossible site was the perfect plot for architect Prentis Hale (pictured) and Tracy Edmonds, who were searching for some sort of break that would afford them the chance to build their own home. Stilting the house over the steep hill gives them direct access to nature while still being located just a ten-minute drive from downtown Seattle. Photo by Philip Newton.

    Photo by: Philip Newton

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  The first-floor great room is where all the action takes place. “It’s like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes: everyone in one main space,” Hale says. Photo by Philip Newton.  Photo by: Philip Newton

    The first-floor great room is where all the action takes place. “It’s like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes: everyone in one main space,” Hale says. Photo by Philip Newton.

    Photo by: Philip Newton

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  An affordably built New Zealand house features a promenade—playfully dubbed "the wharf"—that extends over a nearby ravine.

    An affordably built New Zealand house features a promenade—playfully dubbed "the wharf"—that extends over a nearby ravine.

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  The second-story viewing platform was born from an onsite discovery. After framing the first level, Patch Work Architecture noticed a vista to the west and decided to add a window. Photo by Paul McCredie.

    The second-story viewing platform was born from an onsite discovery. After framing the first level, Patch Work Architecture noticed a vista to the west and decided to add a window. Photo by Paul McCredie.

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  In a leafy residential area a few miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, an enterprising architect saw opportunity where others saw trouble. He took a sloping, triangular lot and designed a new home for his growing family—an open, tree house–like structure on stilts that hovers at the quirky edge of a conventional neighborhood. Photo by Mike Sinclair.  Photo by: Mike SinclairCourtesy of: Mike Sinclair

    In a leafy residential area a few miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, an enterprising architect saw opportunity where others saw trouble. He took a sloping, triangular lot and designed a new home for his growing family—an open, tree house–like structure on stilts that hovers at the quirky edge of a conventional neighborhood. Photo by Mike Sinclair.

    Photo by: Mike Sinclair

    Courtesy of: Mike Sinclair

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  The residents enjoy an unexpected bonus of living in a house on stilts—–a pair of swings suspended from the base of the structure. The family often goes for walks on the property, looking for wildlife and playing in the tepee they built in a secluded space in the woods. Photo by Mike Sinclair.  Photo by: Mike SinclairCourtesy of: Mike Sinclair

    The residents enjoy an unexpected bonus of living in a house on stilts—–a pair of swings suspended from the base of the structure. The family often goes for walks on the property, looking for wildlife and playing in the tepee they built in a secluded space in the woods. Photo by Mike Sinclair.

    Photo by: Mike Sinclair

    Courtesy of: Mike Sinclair

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  Casa Cuatro sits above a 180-foot cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The locally quarried stone makes the house blend in with the landscape and acts as a thermal-mass wall, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it through the evening. Photo by Cristobal Palma.  Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

    Casa Cuatro sits above a 180-foot cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The locally quarried stone makes the house blend in with the landscape and acts as a thermal-mass wall, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it through the evening. Photo by Cristobal Palma.

    Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

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  A side view shows off the thermal-mass wall (to the left) and the stilt construction. "The ridge floor is so fragile; we didn't want to touch it and disturb the landscape," architect Nick Foster says. As a bonus, the air circulating underneath helps naturally cool the house. Photo by Cristobal Palma.  Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

    A side view shows off the thermal-mass wall (to the left) and the stilt construction. "The ridge floor is so fragile; we didn't want to touch it and disturb the landscape," architect Nick Foster says. As a bonus, the air circulating underneath helps naturally cool the house. Photo by Cristobal Palma.

    Photo by: Cristóbal Palma

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  An unvisited ocean-facing plot of land, a couple of architect neighbors, and one giant leap of faith have netted a pair of erstwhile Londoners a dream home of their own in northeast Australia. Photo by Richard Powers.  Photo by: Richard Powers

    An unvisited ocean-facing plot of land, a couple of architect neighbors, and one giant leap of faith have netted a pair of erstwhile Londoners a dream home of their own in northeast Australia. Photo by Richard Powers.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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  The open-plan living room was inspired by the couple’s previous residence, a London loft. The paintings are by Dunlop. The louvered floor-to-ceiling windows, ceiling fan, and sliding deck doors usher in sea breezes and encourage good air circulation. Photo by Richard Powers.

    The open-plan living room was inspired by the couple’s previous residence, a London loft. The paintings are by Dunlop. The louvered floor-to-ceiling windows, ceiling fan, and sliding deck doors usher in sea breezes and encourage good air circulation. Photo by Richard Powers.

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