The Bainbridge Farmhouse: Completion!

 

modern farmhouse

 

Fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home on their family’s land, our clients have recently moved in to their new home in the woods, surrounded by tall firs, fern glades and birdsong. This is an intentionally small, simple house, drawing on Bainbridge Island historical references: simple farm structures, Japanese rural dwelling influences due to that unique aspect of the island’s history, and including the warmth and connection to nature that Craftsman architectural elements can offer.

 

country livingFront entryway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that they are retired, this home is a “down-size”. With only 2200sf, all living spaces are open and connected. On the main floor is a master suite as well as an additional bedroom and bath to accommodate visitors. A second floor loft doubles as a quilting workspace and future grandchildren’s sleeping loft. Generous attention has been paid to storage and mudroom spaces due to the reality of country living! The house has been designed so that the owners can “age in place” with wide corridors and doorways, a one-floor living area, and an abundance of natural light.

 

beautiful dining room

 

New kitchen design

 

modern farmhouse loft

 

covered porch modern farmhouse

 

We have been sharing the progress of this project on our blog since the very beginning, from the initial sketches to the early construction as well as a later look at construction nearing completion. We invite you to take a look back and learn more about the project and the process!

bainbridge island farm house architecture | CTA Design Builds | Seattle Architects 

Craftsman Homes Seminar this Saturday!

Julie will be giving a seminar this Saturday, October 6th, at 1:00 at the Wallingford Historic Homes Fair!

Craftsman Homes in the Modern Age: Craftsman homes were traditionally, and intentionally designed to create a cozy hand-made retreat; a sanctuary that would provide connection with nature and sustenance to the soul. This lecture will illuminate that original design rationale to guide you if you’re planning to remodel an existing home, or build a new Craftsman style home.

craftsman home architecture details

Close up of a craftsman home in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.

 

For more information, visit https://www.historicwallingford.org/events/homes-fair-2018/

poster for wallingford historic homes fair

Creating a Craftsman Home in a Modern Age – Part 2

In our first article in this series, we offered a brief history of how Craftsman or Bungalow style architecture came into such popularity in the late 1800’s Industrial Age. Here in Seattle, as elsewhere, we continue to witness how this unique, nature-influenced style never seems to grow old or dated; there’s an inherent timeless appeal to these structures, and this appreciation is gaining popularity again as our daily lives grow ever more technology-filled .

In this article, we’ll dig into the specific architectural elements of Craftsman and Bungalow styles, focusing on exterior elements and explaining the reasoning behind these features. If you’re planning to build a new Craftsman style house, or remodel an existing, it’s critical to really understand the Craftsman philosophy and let it guide your design; if not, you risk missing the mark. As architects, we take this challenge very seriously and work hard to incorporate the essential elements into our Craftsman projects, staying true to the intention behind the style.


As I mentioned in Part 1, Craftsman style was born out of discontent with an alienating modern world; it was a resurrection of the long-held values of handcraftsmanship in reaction to the dehumanizing effect of factory life and industrial labor. The design of homes focused on creating cozy retreats nestled into natural landscapes, welcoming you into a restive sanctuary, rich with natural materials and beautiful details, fixtures and furnishings.

To begin with, the most prominent element of a Craftsman home is the roof. Without fail, every traditional Craftsman home has a prominent low pitch roof with exaggerated overhangs!  The low-angle pitch is key. Look at contemporary spec houses that purport to be Craftsman style: most have steeper roof pitches with perky dormers, and just don’t have a true craftsman look about them. Most historic old dwellings had a single floor with a low slung roof form, as the entire philosophy emphasized simplicity over indulgence. This home style was very popular (and affordable!) among working class folk, so homes tended to be modest in scale.

Wealthier homes often had 2 floors, but the architect worked to keep the upper roofs as low as possible, using lower shed roofs below to minimize the impact of a 2-story wall; the whole intention being to keep the house looking like it snuggles into the landscape, versus sitting perched up on top of the ground.

To illustrate how these architectural elements can inform new construction, see our current Craftsman projects below.


In the left photo above, see our owner’s existing 1913 Craftsman home – a single story house with some lovely Craftsman features, especially the covered porch with chunky, detailed posts. We are adding a second story addition (right image), so in an effort to keep the house from becoming too massive with its new second floor, we’ve stepped the upper wall back from the front of the house, and keeping the two lower existing roofs intact so that the broad low-pitch roof forms step up and back from the street. Note the big overhangs, brackets, divided light windows, continuation of original siding patterns.


Also on our boards and under construction: a totally new 2-story, Craftsman-inspired home. Although large, note the roof with large overhangs and Craftsman-detailed brackets at roofs and bump-out bay window. Also included is a big covered porch, and adjacent overhanging second floor with corbel details to break up the mass of the wall.

updated craftsman bungalow


Below is a photo of a classic old, 2-story Greene & Greene home in Pasadena CA. Note all the roof forms stepping up to camouflage the height of the structure, enabling it to seem nestled into the landscape.

Ground forms and site-work also work to strengthen this effect; rockeries stepping up to the house, stepped patios, mounded planting beds all create a naturalistic landscape out of which the house seems to emerge. In the photo below, even the chimney is built out of the same rocks that form the entry terrace walls, as if the landscape is within the house itself!

Other attributes of Craftsman exteriors include wood siding that offers textural interest: shakes or narrow horizontal boards, or a combination of types. Often the overhang “tails” are exposed (see above photo) to add textural interest. Wooden roof brackets are common and add visual interest.  Almost all Craftsman homes have front porches that are usually covered by big roof overhangs, enhancing a feeling of indoor/outdoor connectedness. Colours are usually earthy and natural hues.

Windows always include divided lights in some repetitive pattern – stained glass in key areas is common.

The Tiffany studios were in their heyday during the time Greene & Greene homes were being built in California; the Gamble House has extraordinary examples of this:

As you can begin to understand, common to all these features is an emphasis on the natural world: natural, local materials, low, earth-bound architectural forms, colours taken from the landscape, strong connection between inside & outside; all this comes together to help the dwelling feel as if it’s connected to the earth in a timeless fashion.

Next up: Part 3 will focus on how Craftsman INTERIORS achieve this same goal: home design that provides connection with nature and sustenance to the soul. That’s an architecture that suits any era!

Bainbridge Island Farmhouse – First Sketches

Tucked away behind Manitou Beach on Bainbridge Island is a large grove that has belonged to our clients’ family for several generations. As our clients move into retirement, they’re looking to build a modest home for themselves and their family to enjoy, borrowing from the island’s rural vernacular. Bainbridge has had a deeply-rooted Japanese-American cultivation history since the 1800s, and although lessened, the tradition still exists today amid the many newcomers to the island and so we’ve begun our schematics inspired by the simple farm house.

Bainbridge House 1

Bainbridge House 2Bainbridge House 3


Humbly nestled on the sloping site, the island home will resemble many of the island’s traditional farm styles, with a gable roof and light monitor running along the length of the building. Subtle window and elevation details will allude to the spaces and forms happening on the interior, with a single bump-out at the master bathroom. Our preliminary studies above show our original intent in both form and site, and on the right you can see our cleaned up layout. The loft above will allow for a sitting area and extra guest room during the holidays. Outside, the gardens planned for around the house, in spaces between buildings, and outside key rooms will all enhance the indoor-outdoor connection.

The second driving factor in this design is to make the transition from a working home to retirement home as imperceptible as possible. This includes wide corridors and doorways, a one-floor living area, and an abundance of natural light – all aging-in-place strategies.Bainbridge House 4


Currently, the land is being cleared so that we can precisely stake out the house while both preserving the wooded feel of the site and allowing the best angle of natural light into the home and garden areas. A 40′ buffer zone is being preserved on all sides of the home to maintain the quiet, natural environment that the owners are looking for in retirement. Once the home has been situated, the septic system will go into place, and we can start moving forward with construction!


 

The Front Porch Lifestyle

The Britties porch 1900s

The Britties porch 1900s Photo credit

As one of the rare architectural features that is social by nature, it goes without saying that the front porch has a welcoming history. In the same realm of American culture as baseball and apple pie, the porch has been an important cultural and transitional space for both the family and the neighborhood since the 1800s.

The Britties porch 1900s Photo Credit

1909 Front porch living Photo credit

Prior to 1950, “front porch living” was a common occurrence. Open to the outdoors and inviting to neighbors and passersby, the traditional porch was an extension of the home, a room outside of a room. With shade from the sun and shelter from wet weather, it provided a place of respite and relaxation after work and through the evening. Mid-century, however, showed a marked decline in porch construction.

This new home was inspired by the stately old homes on Queen Anne in Seattle. The big wrap-around covered porch allows for seating looking out onto the street, as well as views to the Olympics out back. The stone terrace to the right of the front door provides a delightful spot for a sunny morning coffee.

We were inspired by the stately old houses on Queen Anne in Seattle as we designed this new home. The big wrap-around covered porch allows for seating looking out onto the street, as well as views to the Olympics out back. The stone terrace to the right of the front door provides a delightful spot for a sunny morning coffee.

What has tempted us away from this social feature? The disappearance of the front porch can partly be attributed to stylistic changes in building developments. In the ranch house and cape-style homes that were being built post-war, a front porch was less complementary to the facade than with previous styles such as the shingle or stick style house. Also with the advent of air conditioning and new technologies (including TV!) that provided endless entertainment, the need and time for being outside faded as people simply relocated a few feet indoors. For the time spent outdoors, spaces were allocated to the back of the house where private patios and backyards could be kept for family and socializing.

This mid-century rambler features a new front yard addition - kitchen and breakfast nook - that opens up to a south-facing front yard. The deck and front garden court has become a sunny outside room that greets the street in a neighborly way.

This mid-century rambler features a new front yard addition – kitchen and breakfast nook – that opens up to a south-facing front yard. The deck and front garden court has become a sunny outside room that greets the street in a neighborly way.

Recently, however, the front porch is beginning to reappear as a sought-after feature – in Seaside, Florida, porches were required by building code in the city as a part of the “New Urbanist” movement for community-oriented neighborhoods. In Iowa, just this past September, a civic event was held to celebrate and discuss porch design and restoration, and in Seattle, even spec homes are beginning to include modern takes on porches into their designs.

This mid-century remodel and addition is virtually a new house. Being very contemporary in style, a traditional covered porch was not appropriate, yet it’s still important to create a spacious weather-protective canopy at the front entry. Our “porch” is created by the large patio space set along the path from city sidewalk to the front door.

This mid-century remodel and addition is virtually a new house. Being very contemporary in style, a traditional covered porch was not appropriate, yet it’s still important to create a spacious weather-protective canopy at the front entry. Our “porch” is created by the large patio space set along the path from city sidewalk to the front door.

CTA Builds is interested in revitalizing “front porch living” by integrating it into contemporary style – we believe it is essential to building neighborliness in the community! In our recent “Big View” house, we designed a porch front to extend out from the entry in order to add dimension and room for activities. The owners children were as excited as we were about the new addition, eying the patio for future hop-scotch and four-square parties! Updates on its construction will be coming in the next few weeks!

As the organizer of the Iowa event, Mitch Bloomquist, says, “Everybody likes hanging out on a good porch!”

Front Porches everyone!

Front Porches Everyone !

We love residential architecture and we love our neighborhoods, and the two work really well together when each supports the other. It works out best because when synchronous, architecture and neighborhoods together support “community”. In our new digital world, a world of “seemingly” endless interconnectedness, what we really find is a world of individual isolation. People often appear very open and public, but the reality is that the barriers are up all around them. We have a world of emails and texts instead of talk; a world of being at home on screen instead of being out and about; a world where we watch others and engage in downloaded movies instead of engaging ourselves, or even going to the video store to get our movie, a world where… well, this goes on and on. But to my pet peeve of the day – lots of new houses and remodels are being built in the city with a blank wall to the street, “objects” without so much as a stopping place before you enter the house, nary even a stoop, and where to say the least, there is no front porch from which to sit and interrelate to your neighbors, your neighborhood. Sure, sometimes these porches are catch-alls for junk, but they are an important part of the transition from the outside world to the inside, from the public realm to your private world, from your neighborhood, to your street, to your yard, to your home – this gradual transition to your home is simply an extension of what is already going on in the fabric of the city, and creates neighborliness and neighborhoods. So when you’re building, think front porches everone!