Having been Asian during one of my former lives, I am drawn to Asian-inspired art, music, homes, gardens, and this little treasure, on a small bay on Lake Washington, with views of the Cascade Mountains, is just the right thing.
Tis home was built for people with the same aesthetic and sited on this particular wooded lot because the owners have long been drawn to Japanese gardens for their serenity and beauty, and have spent over twenty years amassing an impressive collection of art and plants and trees they have lovingly cared for and painstakingly pruned consistent with the ancient traditions of Japanese landscaping.
So, while the home is lovely, this was all about the gardens, which in turn, make the home even better.
The homes was conceived as collection of one-story pavilions surrounding the garden to create an experience that is sanctuary-like and has that sense of stillness and calm. The oddly shaped parcel was challenging but allowed the gardens to expand, with the main pavilions running in an east/west orientation. The garden is divided into two principal “rooms” connected by a water course that falls from the street towards the lake, representing the journey from the mountain to the sea.
The pavilions are connected by a covered walkway that runs almost the entire length of the property tying the pavilions together. Each pavilion has its own separate function: living areas, bedrooms, art studio and garage. Consistent throughout is the low-angled hip roof—characteristic of traditional Japanese homes—with overhanging eaves. Each roof is clad in specially designed zinc shingles which will patina over time and invoke the feel of the ancient roofs.
To keep the home light, the roof was lifted up on ultra-thin steel posts to allow a continuous band of clerestory windows; the sun’s direct rays are shielded by the overhanging eves while allowing the winter sun to warm the interior.
Due to the weather in the Northwest, there are limited outdoor living months, and so extra-large overhangs were integrated; the exterior terrace has an ultra-thin fourteen-foot-deep cantilevered roof which not only protects the space from weather, but allows for unobstructed views of the lake and mountains.
Floor to ceiling glass was used extensively throughout the home frame each unique view of the courtyard garden as almost a painting. The ceilings are clad with cedar planks for its beauty and for sound absorption—no exposed nails were used in the ceilings; each plank is separated by a half inch to allow sound to be absorbed into the sound insulation in the cavity above.
It’s just the kind of peaceful serene place I’m looking for, where everything seems so natural and organic, but is created and placed with the ultimate care ….