Located on the west side of Mercer Island, this house is a reconstruction of one of iconic Seattle architect Fred Bassetti’s earliest designs. Fronting a busy street, the owners wanted to create a protective shelter for family life. While appreciating the classic modern structure, they wanted to open up the floor plan and update the finishes. Our goal was to respect the original intent and spirit of the design while making the house reflective of its owners, of its time, and a celebration of its place.
The owners provided us with a metaphor for their home of children’s wood blocks, and we have used block forms to delineate programmatic space within the residence. The steel Pantry provides needed storage and provides separation between living and sleeping spaces. Kitchen casework is contained within a defined block that extends up to a clerestory.
The Dressing Room casework provides separation between sleeping and bathing spaces.
The open plan allows for family gathering and perspectives through the full length of the house. The relationship of interior to exterior space are enhanced with large glazing panels and celebrated with the creation of new outdoor spaces that extend out smoothly from the interior. These include the large Main Floor Deck, the Outdoor Room provides sheltered
outdoor space for Taiko drumming, and the sunken Courtyard off the Media Room allows for private sunbathing. A new metal clad roof with interior cedar liner wraps over the house and grounds it to the site. The cedar continues seamlessly from the interior ceiling and end walls to the exterior. An aluminum bar grating screen encloses the Outdoor Room and Main Floor Deck, filtering interior views and forming a sparkling and diaphanous wall from the street. The entry approach is redesigned with a cantilevered concrete landing in the sunken Courtyard and a large glass pivot door to the interior.
Wet areas and Bathing spaces are ethereally bright, smooth and seamless. Milestone acrylic cement plaster was used to be seamless and impart a depth and patina of the hand. Materials throughout are natural but installed and crafted in an extremely crisp manner.
Fred Bassetti, now 93 years old, was invited to visit the home before and after the reconstruction. Upon visiting the new design, he stroked the surfaces and declared “I feel at home here”.
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