Modern Living in Enatai
Coop 15 Architecture
Shifting and cantilevering masses transform a generic 1960's home in Bellevue, WA.
The Enatai neighborhood is one of those hidden gems, tucked between downtown Bellevue and Lake Washington, with easy access to everything and to water views. The home was a dated and very tired 1960’s generic modern, one story over a daylight basement on a sloping site. There was no hip mid-century modern coolness, and little in the way of high-quality materials to preserve.
So we blew the roof off. Where the carport once sat, a new two-story living space was created, with a master suite upstairs to take advantage of lake views. A new carport was added, along with clerestory windows in the new roof over the main body of the house. The old house had been dark due to heavy shading from tall surrounding trees; the new windows bring in light from all sides. Contractor Dave Weitzel did the work, with some hands-on help from owners Todd & Monique.
This project is primarily about space and light, with big drama as an added bonus. The new roofline and materials transform a once forgettable home into a powerful play of shifting and cantilevered masses. The projecting second story master suite protects the deck below. Strong horizontal lines of the new flat roof intersect with a two story window at the stair. High contrast aluminum, cedar, and dark fiber-cement paneling cover the exterior.
Monique and Todd remember it this way: “We were looking to do something modern, and we found this house in an eclectic neighborhood where we could do something like that without offending the neighbors. We had a pretty tight budget – it was very generous of Lane to take us on. His vision for the house really came together when we decided to spend the money to expand the carport to two cars. We were thinking it might not work, but when he showed us the renderings we both just thought wow – it balanced everything out and got us a look that was spectacular. The finished house got great reactions from the neighbors, and it still thrills us when we overhear the bicyclists as they zip by saying ‘Cool House!’
“We worked for many hours with Lane about siding for the two story addition. Originally we wanted to use stucco but that was immediately taken off the table after we found out what that would cost. We tossed around many material ideas when we finally settled on Hardie panel, installed with spacers and fasteners. There is no doubt that the installation of the siding was also labored over for many hours but in the end it became a focal point of the house. To this day we have people knocking on our door asking us about the unique siding.
“Beyond the aesthetic, what has really worked for us is that we have this marvelous family gathering spot. The boys now 14 and 16, still do their homework at the kitchen island while Monique does her magic in the kitchen and I read in the sunroom or watch the game. We seem to always be in those positions, everybody with their space but still close enough to be part of the goings-on.”