Okay, so I might be biased since I’m a native but it seems that there’s been a whole lot of beautiful, eco-friendly feats of architecture coming out of Washington lately. Recent cases in point: the LEED Platinum Ellis Residence on Bainbridge Island and the Davis Residence in Bellingham, a Miller Hull Partnership-designed home with some seriously dramatic views.

Today, here’s a look at the eye-catching green renovation of a 1950’s Contemporary home situated on a remote wooded lot in Lake Forest Park, a bedroom community just north of Seattle. Overseen by Finne Architects, the complete renovation — they didn’t just redo the kitchen, replace some questionable carpeting, and slap on a new coat of paint — was carried out with “the spirit of the original house” in mind.

Explain the architects: “With extensive new windows and glazed roof monitors, the renovated house appears to be a glass pavilion in the forest.” The warm, woodsy, window-heavy vibe reminds Jamie over at Design Milk of a “fictional meeting between Philip Johnson and Davy Crockett." Well said. 

In addition to the new windows, sustainability played heavily into the renovation. In fact, the folks over at Finne believe that the act of renovation itself is inherently sustainable:

Sustainable design practices were integral to the project from the start. Radiant heating under terrazzo flooring has created an even heat source with maximum energy efficiency. High clerestory windows bring natural light deep into the house and motorized operators allow for venting during summer months. Many green materials (such as resin panels, quart counters, linoleum, low VOC paint, and sustainable wood products) were used in the project. But above all, it is the fact of renovation itself that is inherently sustainable and captures all the embodied energy of the original 1950’s house, which has now been given a fresh life. The intense craftsmanship and detailing of the renovation speaks also to a very important sustainable principle: build it well and it will last for many, many years!

Sustainable design is not simply creating a laundry-list of green materials; rather, it is creating enduring building form and construction with appropriate long life-cycle, low-energy consuming materials.

I haven’t seen images of the home pre-renovation but it looks like Finne did a mighty fine job of bringing the home into 21st Century with plenty of thoughtful, eco- additions while preserving the structure's original architectural splendor. And while I admit I'm not a huge fan of the etched glass sliding doors in the bedroom, I could probably spend the rest of my natural life lounging about in that bathroom. 

Enjoy the photos of the home below (coincidentally, from the same photographer who beautifully captured the beautiful views from the beautiful Davis Residence).


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Green and glass dominate in Seattle-area renovation
Although it could have used a touch more color <i>aside</i> from green, Finne Architect's renovation of a Seattle-area 1950's Contemporary home incorporates su