Facing rising housing costs downtown, Seattle architects Matt Wittman and Jody Estes traded an apartment for a small house in a gritty neighborhood, sensing promise in a deep, skinny lot with a scrap-filled yard. A few years later, enough resources had been collected to create this modern studio. A covered walkway provides a sheltered passage between the main house and studio.
For instance, the old-growth fir sliding screens, fence, and gate originate from a heavy timber warehouse in Pioneer Square. They conceal storage, utilities, and a bathroom. The ceiling and wall panels are plywood, the floor is radiant heated concrete. An Eames lounge chair from Herman Miller mingles with an IKEA sofa.
Steel pipe columns and wood beams were recycled from a 1960s church carport. “We wanted to continue the blurring of Japanese landscape design with modernists like Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright" says Wittman.
“The project has an eclectic feel because it evolved over time,” says Wittman. “And the scale was such that we didn’t have to favor any one source for materials.” The glazed envelope and overhang of the new studio puts the material collage on full display. It is designed in the Miesian pavilion tradition, a study in planes and columns.
Our readers appreciated the clean lines and eco-friendly approach that led to this addition, dubbed the Grasshopper Studio for its lightness and slender vertical supports.