Design: SHED Architecture & Design
Goal: A young professional couple working in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood were looking for a home near their offices that would allow for a walkable lifestyle. They were drawn to this 1,702-square-foot in the 1310 East Union Building designed by the Miller Hull Partnership for Seattle-based developers Dunn + Hobbes but wanted to customize it with a cohesive and rich material palette and new kitchen. The couple approached SHED Architecture & Design looking to replace the original "starter" kitchen (small sink, appliances, and very limited work area) that lacked enclosed storage, as well as add additional storage throughout the space.
“The main challenge was to add functional elements to the space that blended with the building’s original palette of concrete floors, zinc-plated pan-decking ceiling, and blackened steel beams and railings,” says SHED principal Thomas Schaer. “The goal was to weave new elements into the cool industrial shell to improve how the space functions and add warmth and richness to the material palette.”
Inspiration: “From the outset we knew the elements needed to be bold to truly integrate with the industrial interior,” Schaer explains. “We wanted the elements to be as robust as the shell building but with a finer grain that is more human scaled. The concrete brick is a good example of this. Made of the same material as the floor it’s at once heavy, grounded, industrial and clearly built by hand.”
Breakdown: The SHED team decided to start out by extending the kitchen into a space that was formerly an entry door in order to provide more storage and workspace. This allowed them to create a more private entryway that didn’t step directly into the kitchen. Working around the existing range and hood (which would have been difficult and expensive to move) Schaer used concrete brick (masonry by Mutual Materials) as the main material in the kitchen to anchor the space, and added linear grain teak comprised of varying tones that bring natural warmth to the hard industrial shell. The blackened steel staircase and railings were part of the original build. The zebrawood cabinets were fabricated by Dolan Built, and the wallpaper is custom by local designer Brian Paquette—a custom wheat paste pattern inspired by a traditional Japanese pattern book. The hefty island replaced a small industrial worktable, and provides plenty of space for meal prep, dining, and more storage on the opposite side.
Get the Look: Schaer offers four design pointers for a remodel:
- Be bold.
- Use elemental materials simply.
- Work with the space, not against. it. For example, look for ways to compliment what's already there.
- Weave materials throughout a space for integrity and continuity.
Image Courtesy of Mark Woods.