Bellingham bay house

The design for the Bellingham Bay House centered around creating a deep connection with its site. Inspired by the working saw mill and freight rail yard below, cedar shakes and rusted corrugated metal clad the exterior. The wood and steel are renewable and recycled materials that enter into an ecologically sensitive dialog with the site’s industrial roots and aesthetics. The home’s south elevation opens up to capture impressive views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan islands as well as natural light. Full height glazing on the living level provides panoramic views while thoughtfully placed windows on the sleeping level frame specific vistas and provide privacy.

Along the south facade, a trellis structure visually extends the interior ceiling beams outdoors, turning the terrace into an outdoor living room, usable most of the year in the Pacific Northwest. The trellis plays an important element of the home’s passive solar design as well, seasonally modulating the amount of sun entering the house. In winter, low sun angles penetrate deep into the space and the sun’s radiant energy gets absorbed by the interior surfaces of the home. The concrete floors have a high storage capacity for this radiant energy, releasing it slowly and warming the home “passively” for many hours after the sun goes away. Following the natural contours of the site, the main floor level steps down, benefiting the living spaces with higher ceilings, more expansive views, as well as reducing costly earth-moving. Drawing from classic mid-century modern design, wood built-ins and kitchen cabinets at the floor level transition provide additional storage and enrich the interior finish palette.

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