Lagerquist & Morris AIA
5135 Ballard Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107Phone: (206)789-7611Fax: (206)
Frazer Residence
Exterior | Interior | Details | Construction

The Site:

The site is in a North Seattle neighborhood that fronts on Lake Washington. There was an existing home on the upper part of the site, with well-established landscaping that terraced down steeply (about 60’) to a large flat field along the lake. Our goal was to use all of the existing landscaping we could in the new design.

Because of the way certain vistas were best viewed, it became apparent that the original house on the site had bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen in just the right spot. The owners also requested that we try to have no roof of the new house be higher than the previous house. This home is also at the junction of three streets and is highly visible from the streets and homes from the neighborhood above. This eventually led us to break the house form into separate pavilions with slightly curved metal roofs. We did not want to make a wall between the neighbors and the view of the lake and mountains beyond.

The House:

When we first heard the words, “We want a house that looks like it came from the fifties.” those of us who were growing up in that decade wondered why anyone would want this. But, after some reflection, we remembered that there is a great legacy from that period. The owners wanted a home that reflected the clean rather spare lines of the fifties and its roots in the Bauhaus/International Style. They had acquired and incorporated into their daily use many designs (furniture, product design, household utensils and dishes, glassware, etc) from that period including Heywood- Wakefield, Eames, and others. They wanted these pieces to look like they belonged in the house. They also felt that the house could reflect the present as well.

The design proved to be a daunting task. We went through months of schematic design concepts. Until we came up with the design we finally liked, we thought that if we didn’t get it right this time we should quit and say we’re sorry. The owners thought more or less the same thing, only they thought; if they don’t get it right this time we’re going to have to let them go.

The curved roofs were central to the theme that we chose for the house. We used the curve in the interior stair and the large terrace above the steep hillside. The fact that the house would be so visible from above by the neighbors reinforced our decision to go with the three curved roofed pavilions. The largest and northerly pavilion contains the atrium/ entry bridge, dining and living rooms. The kitchen and family room are in the middle and smallest pavilion and the garage and shop in the southerly pavilion. We connected the pavilions with lower flat roofs.

The exterior of the house has horizontal clear (flat grain) cedar “drop” siding and stone veneer of Wilkeson sandstone. The Wilkeson sandstone comes from a quarry near Wilkeson, Washington (near Mt. Rainier) and was used widely in the Northwest until the quarry closed in the 1960’s. Many homes from the fifties had exteriors with Wilkeson sandstone. The windows are center-pivoting metal/wood in design. The mechanical system is a hot water, gas fired boiler, in-floor radiant design with an air-to-air heat exchanger ventilation system for fresh air. All the floors in the house are exposed stained concrete. All the cabinets are book-matched birch.