Central District Residence

The versatile dwelling boasts a self-contained art studio for one of its residents.

In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Heliotrope Architects and Dovetail General Contractors teamed up to create a spacious 3,953-square-foot residence with simple forms and defined functions. Their clients, an engineer and artist, wanted the interior to be anchored by an open studio and stick to a minimal, clean aesthetic. They emphasized a light-filled interior with a strong connection between the workspace and the rest of the home. In thinking about the exterior presentation, the design team wanted the front of the home to make a modern statement, while still fitting into a neighborhood of mostly older Seattle bungalows.

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The cedar-clad front facade features one of the home’s defining design elements: a cantilevered gable that appears to float over the garage. The project is composed of two unique forms, divergent in convention but complementary in execution. A traditional gable, simplified and modernized, sits next to a striking modernist cube. A custom entry gate fabricated by Dovetail’s metal shop and a steel privacy fence add color to the front elevation.

The front exterior entryway features expansive windows and door by Quantum, which lead into the dining and living area of the main floor. "[Pulling] as much natural light into the interior as possible” was one of the clients’ biggest requests, says architect Mike Mora of Heliotrope.

Bordering the dining room is an entry courtyard and a partially open bookcase wall, custom designed and fabricated in Dovetail’s own wood and metal shop. Daltile Season Wood porcelain tile offers tonal contrast with Ligne Roset Eaton dining table and Quantum wood window frames. Eames Molded Plastic chairs and Tom Dixon Felt pendant lights complete the space.

The main living area is one of the owners’ favorite aspects of the home. A Malm fireplace, Eames lounge chair and ottoman, and Roll & Hill Excel floor lamp are sleek statement pieces, while the Ligne Roset Ottoman Series chairs add fun pops of color. The rug is from Design Within Reach.

The kitchen, framed by Loewen windows, features walnut butcher block countertops, custom made by Dovetail, a Hansgrohe faucet, Franke apron sink, Miele refrigerator and oven, and Thermador cooktop.

Executing subtle design details, even in transitional spaces, was one of the great successes of the collaborative architect-contractor relationship. "Our collective strength," says Dovetail principal Chad Rollins, is that “we genuinely understand each other’s craft.” In the transition from the den to the artist studio, natural myrtlewood stairs meet a wood-grain Daltile landing. Where the stair treads and risers meet the wall, a three-quarter-inch reveal is placed in lieu of conventional baseboard. These simple and clean details so often “can be costly to create and can be jeopardized when the budget is under pressure,” says Rollins.

The double-height artist studio showcases custom pieces by Dovetail, like a metal handrail and maple work tables, as well as Eames Aluminum Group chairs. The goal for the home, says Heliotrope principal Mike Mora, was to, “Create an interior space akin to an art gallery with white wall surfaces adequate to hang art."

The owners were passionately involved in every aspect of the design, and pushed the team to make choices they normally might not have, including using Western red cedar for the master bathroom countertop. The spa-like space features a soaking tub, tile from Statements Urban, an MTI sink, a custom mirror, and a Vola faucet.

The custom cedar tub, fabricated by Dovetail, elegantly fits into the master bathroom.

The two volumes converge at an exterior courtyard. On the gabled side, skylights bring light into the artist studio; on the cube side, a garden occupies the flat roof. The team used eco-friendly Wet-flash on the roof to draw away moisture from the outside, while allowing a permeable escape for water vapor from the inside. During the estimation and design phases, Dovetail worked closely with Heliotrope to cost engineer and rework elements in order to stay within the client’s budget. The metal roof of the original design was discarded in favor of a simpler and more economical black composite roof.

  • Dovetail General Contractors


Square Feet
  • 3953