The tradition of midcentury modernism in the Pacific Northwest lives on in the handsome West Mercer Residence nestled along the shores of Lake Washington. SKL Architects worked closely with local craftspeople to create the custom 5,500-square-foot cedar-clad home, which frames enviable views through large expanses of glass.
California may be considered the stronghold of midcentury modernism in the West, but the design movement also crept up to the Pacific Northwest led by the likes of architects William Fletcher and Paul Kirk. Taking cues from the neighborhood, the West Mercer Residence continues the “tradition of mid-century Pacific Northwest modernism.” The three-story home is wrapped in native cedar that contrasts beautifully with black steel, rock, and cement. Full-height windows blur the line between the indoors and outdoors, as does the series of steps that lead down the grassy slope towards the lakeshore.
SKL Architects was tasked to design a home that would replace a small, cluttered one with a more spacious abode accommodating a busy family with young children. “The house can be imagined as two bars of space, one public and one private, which are connected by a central double height volume,” wrote the architects. “The design emphasizes the seamless connection between internal and external spaces. The house is oriented towards the lake, so that water and light are present throughout the house. Floor and wall materials are continuous from indoors to outside, blurring the delineation of the two spaces.”
The large communal areas are mostly placed on the main level, while the comparatively smaller bedrooms are located above on the upper floor and the secondary rooms tucked below on the lower level. Local craftsmanship is visible throughout the home from the bronze and leather front door to a custom steel chandelier that can be raised and lowered.
Images by Tim Bies