Collection by Zachary Edelson

A Smart Update for a Japanese-Inspired Midcentury Modern House


A Washington gem starts over.

Renowned Pacific Northwest architect Gene Zema, known for his mix of modernism and Japanese architecture, designed this house around 1974 towards the end of his career. It features a rich palette of woods and Japanese joinery visible throughout the home. Located outside Seattle on Bainbridge Island, the house had decayed over the years and suffered from constant roof leaks. The clients, a family, brought in SHED Architecture & Design for minor fixes but the project expanded to an overhaul and revitalization that included the rebuilding of the house’s central living space, the reorganization of the kitchen, and a new outdoor deck.

Nestled in a grove of Douglas fir trees, the house stands on series of wooden pylons in a Japanese-inspired fashion.
The building’s character is defined by the texture and color of its exposed wood.
The kitchen was originally an awkward alcove facing the main living area.
The light fixtures, a string of dangling lights seen above the dining table, emulate what SHED Architects principal...
The dining room table previously had an awkward placement around a column.
The dining room opens up to the new concrete hearth.
The sloped roof has the added advantage of looking onto the surrounding trees.
For the master bath, the clients requested a splash of color: sea green concrete Moroccan tiles with geometric designs.
The brass fittings are new to the project but are similar to metal that was originally used elsewhere in the project.
The architects added an extended deck that creates an opportunity for gatherings.
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