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Mark R. Blubaugh, architect
We are architects skilled at making spaces feel largher than they really are and we applied those skills in this Shoreline, Washington residence remodel architectural design. The owner wanted to explore possibilities for reconfiguring the oldest part of their house after a fire damaged it. There was a sleeping loft over a cave-like sunken living room area constructed at the location of the original one car garage. Our architectural design abandons the sleeping loft in what remains a three bedroom house, opening up the living, dining, and kitchen area to each other in a generous, vaulted ceiling space. A large, glue laminated beam spans the space and allows a vaulted ceiling in an area of about 800 square feet, working with existing walls and structure but replacing the fire-damaged roof framing. Morning sun comes in the high east windows and a large skylight provides light throughout the day. Blue Brook Architecture's experience as a residential architect allowed the City of Shoreline to quickly approve our drawings.
Major Considerations: The construction cost needed to stay within the insurance company’s budget for reconstructing the damaged loft area. In the original configuration, the living room was split in half, between the sunken portion and the part at main house level, with a little slit between the main floor level and the ceiling below the loft to connect them visually. The fireplace had no connection to the sunken portion of the living room. The kitchen was isolated. Blue Brook Architecture developed architectural design schemes to open the living/dining/kitchen area up, either keeping or eliminating the sunken portion of the living room. The owner agreed that constructing a new floor over the old sunken living room portion to put the entire living room on one level would make the space more appealing and flexible. The remodel improved the thermal performance of the building by increasing insulation at the roof, wall and improving window performance. The original design proposals included a gable with clerestory windows which would shade the south-facing glass in the summer, controlling heat gain. To save money, the owner wanted to switch to a skylight, so we selected an opening skylight. This has proven valuable for cooling the house during warm weather.