Eco Materials and Huge Windows Connect This Striking Home to its Environment

This two-bedroom, three-bathroom Seattle home is a tranquil haven for an active couple.
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Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood is bustling with single-story, wood-paneled homes, outdoor-loving families, and plenty of nature. A couple yearned for a home with private spaces and outdoor connections—and Seattle–based boutique agency mwworks went above and beyond their expectations. 

The 2,900-square-foot concrete structure, which is "quite adventurous for the neighborhood" says architect Steve Mongillo, seamlessly integrates with its environment. There’s even an indoor/outdoor sunken garden.

The homeowners wanted a multifunctional dining space conducive to alfresco meals.

The three-story home consists of three concrete volumes, but it's laid out so that "it doesn’t feel out of place. The primary mass of the house is away from the street so it isn’t imposing," he says.

The home is defined by its flowing kitchen/living/dining area and exposed front porch. One of the homeowners' primary goals was to access as much of the southwestern sun as possible— a luxury in Seattle—so mwworks created a public space perfect for letting the light in. For more privacy, the couple can draw the built-in tracked curtains. 

The front-facing patio is quite exposed—but it's flanked by the garage and indoor/outdoor garden so there is a barrier from the street.

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The interior furnishings were all chosen by the homeowners to complement the home's modern design and building materials. 

Another important design element is the central staircase, which is made out of charred chunks of Douglas fir the homeowner torched himself. "It’s really a pivot point," Mongillo says. "You have these concrete volumes as more solidly defining the primary spaces, then the stairs are this contrasting, delicate feature that slices the landscape and blurs the boundary of the inside and the outside."

The custom-made steel and Douglas fir staircase leads up to the bedrooms.

Drawing upon their love of the outdoors, the couple sought to incorporate durable, sustainable materials in the home. "They focused on bringing in things such as alpine trees and elements that reminded them of their experiences and had a real spirit to them, instead of doing wood siding, which is more common even in modern homes," Mongillo says.

While very modern for the neighborhood, the home still fits and pays respect to the landscape. 

In addition to the concrete, the primary skin on the upper level is made of black Richlite panels—a layered paper product that is pressed together with resin—sourced from Tacoma.

Inside, the main floor is the real showstopper with a beautiful concrete fireplace, open-concept living areas, and a sleek, dark kitchen. The upper floor contains private spaces like the master suite and guest bedroom, which are simply finished.

The black Richlite and walnut kitchen is one of Mongillo's favorite elements of the home. He says that kitchens often feel out of place—but this one is an architectural feature, with the island acting as another piece of furniture.

In the end, every design decision was tied to the home’s location, which led to not only an architecturally beautiful home, but a place where the homeowners could reconnect with nature.

Related Reading: A Minimalist Home in Seattle Embodies a Simpler Way of Life

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: mwworks / @mwworks

General Contractor: Frost Construction

Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions


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