Located on a lake in Seattle, Washington and overlooking Mount Rainier, the homeowners of The Courtyard House approached DeForest Architects with a brief to design and create their dream home by incorporating an indoor outdoor lifestyle within a west coast aesthetic of warm and natural materials. The site is sandwiched between a narrow and private lane and a lake creating the challenge of securing views while still offering the homeowners as much privacy as possible. The architects suggested creating a social volume within the first floor that opened wide to a private courtyard of waterfront entertaining zones. This was achieved through the use of a steel framework supporting large expanses of glazings that can be completely opened up for a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior zones.
Whether relaxing from the indoor living room or out on the terrace the perspective views of the lake are enhanced by the lush landscape, especially the large and curvy branches of the oak. Enhancing this natural viewline is the choice of a laser cut area rug with free flowing abstract lines that seem to repeat the limb formations of the oak tree itself.
Following their clients brief of a westcoast aesthetic, the architects chose a light and warm weathered limestone floor of 12″x24″ tiles laid in a subway pattern to balance the linear lines of the slightly darker fir ceiling. A stunning fireplace detail created with oak veneers adds an extra layer of geometric pattern as does the open riser stairwell. Just past the fireplace is the dining room in warm shades of wood and just past that is the kitchen featuring paler shades of wood.
The kitchen is neither an open floor plan nor a closed one but while most homes use a standard island as divider space, DeForest Architects chose instead to feature the island within the centre of a work station with an overhang on just one end large enough for three comfortable bar seats. The pale oak shade of the cabinets is carried through the facing of the fridge while a bar area features glass doors on both the upper cabinets and the lower coolers.
The stairwell that leads to the upper volume has an outdoor feel about it – even when the glazings are closed. This is partially due to the line of wood flooring that meets up with the decking, creating an intermediate zone between the outside and the inside. With open risers views through the wall of glazings that runs the length of the stairwell can easily be enjoyed from the kitchen, dining and living zones.
The stairs lead to an upstairs hallway that looks out to the landscaping or down to the lower level. A creative detail of channel glass has been used on the upper portion of the glazings to allow light into the home while maintaining complete privacy from the neighbourhood. Adding to the visual interest of the channel glass, the views and the architecture itself is the choice of light pendants that have an appearance of crystals floating through the air.
the views from the upstairs looking out are carefully constructed landscape images that keep the views of the neighborhood at bay. Layered onto this the channel glass and lighting create a serene Zen like vibe.
Upstairs the Master Bedroom has everything the homeowners could want. Both indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy the expansive views. A raised fireplace for beside enjoyment and a TV tucked quietly beside the TV within a niche created by the fireplace facade.
The ensuite to the Master Bedroom is flooded with natural light via the wall of channel glass within the large walk in shower. The frosted and clear glass sections on the inside panels of the shower allow the light to pass through the windows, across the shower and into the rest of the bathroom while the continued use of fir on the ceilings keeps the room warm and spa like.
The Courtyard House has a total of four bedrooms and each faces the lake for panoramic views that can be enjoyed from each of the four bedroom’s terraces. Each bedroom also has its own guest bath lit by floor to ceiling channel glass and ceilings of fir for that spa aesthetic.
Through the clear glass of the shower, a guest bath shows off its stunning cylindrical vanity for a moment of simple elegance.
Photography by Benjamin Benschneider