Per a Pacific NW Magazine write-up of this house in 2010, architect Rex Hohlbein was presented with quite the task by owners Jim and Ann Ewel.
...on a lot surrounded by houses he was charged with creating a most private sanctuary. The couple requested a home of elegance, peacefulness and whimsy; a strong separation between public and private; interior rooms that flow into the landscape; quality construction, environmentally responsible. All with design to fit the region and be sensitive to the neighborhood and surrounding view homes.
Oh, is that all?
Hohlbein used the proximity of surrounding houses to influence the way this residence would "turn in on itself." With that, he and landscape architect Randy Allworth worked together to create the full picture that became Hinoki House, which won an AIA Seattle Honor Award in 2009.
The residence becomes an amazing set of experiences. Forms open up to landscapes and the sequence becomes an incredible choreography. Every design decision seems to have been carried through to resolution, at the same time the work doesn’t overwhelm the neighboring houses. The house is still part of the neighborhood, it’s not a compound.
The home basically exists as two separate boxes. One for cooking and dining and the other for sleeping and bathing. Enter through the blackened-steel door and you'll find a residence that doesn't quite seem to ever end. Glass walls throughout the house open up and connect the home to beautiful ponds, reflection pools, and the greenery surrounding it all.
Hohlbein keeps rooms small to conserve energy but not so small that they feel cramped. The mixture of ledge stone, sapele, blackened steel, concrete, and glass ensures that each room maintains that connection to simplicity and elegance.
The original owners leave behind a story about themselves and what they wanted from their home (the three library stacks for their books in one room, for instance). Now it's up to the next owners to figure out if that's the kind of lifestyle they want as well. So long as they have $6,200,000, of course.
· 1436 92nd Ave NE, Clyde Hill [Estately]
· Award-winning Clyde Hill house is the picture of harmony [ST]
· AIA Seattle 2009 Honor Awards [Build]