Building the Maxon House: Week 14

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 14: Material selection.


We were drawn to the raw aesthetic and low-to-zero-maintenance materials that Olson Kundig uses in their residential projects: raw and oxidized steel; blackened steel; cast-in-place concrete; floor-to-ceiling glass; off-the-shelf plywood; and simple white-painted drywall. Tom Kundig often takes materials typically used in industrial environments and adapts them for residential use with a completely different application, and a touch of craft.

On this particular visit to Olson Kundig we were presented with an edited palette of materials for consideration in our kitchen. My wife and I had wondered how we'd manage spreadsheets with hundreds of line items of materials, not knowing what goes where and why. One of the advantages of Olson Kundig is that they have their own interiors team, as well as an extensive library of projects and samples—so our anxieties were put to rest early on.

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For previous installments of "Building the Maxon House," click here.

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