02 Sep AIA Home of Distinction: Seattle Couple Doubles Size of Small Floating Home for a Modern Upgrade
To allay the home’s boxy appearance, Donnally set the second story back several feet on the dock side to both interrupt the front wall’s presence and provide the required power line clearance. Decks on the south side of both levels also help break up the volume. To finish the exterior and add visual interest, Donnally used a combination of white and dark gray fiber cement cladding together with stained cedar boards to create different volumes, layers and textures that intersect and overlap.
Inside, the home features an inverted floor plan in which the tidy entry, with built-in storage, and the one bedroom sit on the lower level. The bedroom suite’s luxurious master bath comes complete with a soaking tub and glass-encased dual-head shower, and a large walk-in closet that is shared by the couple.
Master bedroom with a large walk-in closet
“The closet was a nonnegotiable for my wife,” the husband says. “So, instead of having a second bedroom, we were able to build that space out. We don’t have kids, and while we love to entertain, having one bedroom means everyone goes their separate ways at the end of the day.”
Upstairs, the second level comprises an open kitchen, dining and living room, with built-in cabinetry along the east wall and a grid-like wall of windows to the south that looks across neighboring rooftops toward downtown Seattle. To satisfy the husband’s desire to watch his favorite sporting events while also enjoying the cool lake breeze, Donnally installed a retractable window opposite the TV; this integrates the living room with a covered outdoor deck that sits about 7 inches above the main floor in the living room. The extra height allows for proper rain drainage below the deck flooring while also creating a stadium seating effect for TV viewing.
PUTT PUTT: Among the homeowners’ other wishes: a rooftop putting green and integration of outdoors and indoors via patios for lounging, watching sports and entertaining
To cap off the project, Donnally installed a rooftop deck that offers a stunning 360-degree view and plenty of space to lounge, as well as unique extras such as a putting green and a TV that pops up from the lightweight and durable Kebony wood decking.
“Living here really is the perfect life,” says the husband. “For me, it’s the second-floor deck, where you can sit outside and still enjoy the living room and then the putting green on the deck. I think my wife would say that for her, it’s the closet and all the built-in cabinetry. But when it comes down to it, it’s really just a spectacular place for us to come home to every day.”
Bruce Donnally, architect
Gath Interior Design
Andrew Gath, interior designer
Chris Thomas, general contractor
Trevor Leland, general contractor, site superintendent
Quantum Consulting Engineers
Dan Fenton, structural engineer
Luke Zankich, naval engineer
> This floating home was selected by a panel of architects for the AIA Seattle Home of Distinction program for its level of detail, quality of craft and its exceptional specificity of design to this particular client. Dreaming about a home design project and not sure where to start? AIA architects can help. aiaseattle.org/askanarchitect