Aug 27, 2014

Room of the Week: Andrew van Leeuwen, Build LLC

Category: Office/Outdoor
Architect: Andrew van Leeuwen, Build LLC
Location:  Seattle, WA

Goal: The recently retired clients purchased a rundown mid-century modern house in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood to renovate as their final home. Their active lifestyles included a love of entertaining, and they wanted more interactive outdoor spaces.

Inspiration: “The design process focused on creating a piece of timeless architecture that fit in with the scale of the neighborhood,” says architect Andrew van Leeuwen. “The result is intended to be handsome, practical, and modern. At the same time, we wanted to achieve an ageless aesthetic that seems like it’s always been there.”

Breakdown: Wanting to make as few structural changes as possible (according to van Leeuwen, the property is in an area highly scrutinized by the building department), they retained the entire existing foundation and some of the framing. “We enjoy the constraints of a project and find that, when interpreted thoughtfully, limitations actually produce the most enjoyable aspects of a design,” he says.

For this project, the constraints included not only the existing foundation, but the house’s adjacency to park property and its relationship to a mature landscape. “A deliberate sequence of spaces leading up to the front door introduces screen walls, trellises, and private outdoor rooms,” van Leeuwen says of the house. “Once inside, intentional views are framed and the ceiling is vaulted to capture more natural light. Thin roof eaves and attenuated steel sunscreens refine the elevations.”

The office and TV lounge room opens up to a large outdoor courtyard with a La Cantina accordion door that leads to a patio made of poured-in-place concrete with a fine aggregate. The rock-filled grid is a sophisticated touch. Inside, the flooring is solid T&G oak with a light gray stain by Olde English Hardwoods, the desk is a custom-made walnut veneer desk by Special Projects Division, and the chair is Jacobsen Series 7. The covered trellis outside the courtyard is tempered matte glass on cedar slats.

Tips to Get the Look: “Keep the material palette simple with subdued grays and sophisticated browns so that the people, activities, and furnishings become the celebration of the space,” van Leeuwen advises. “Allow the necessary structure of the home to play a role in the finished aesthetic and make design decisions in favor of natural light, open spaces, and indoor-outdoor relationships.”

Image courtesy of Build LLC. 

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