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Earth-bermed Phil Kallsen design lists for $775K

A house that settles into rather than sits on the Earth

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The goal of some architects is to have the house work with the land. It will be a long term relationship, so they should get along. Look to this Phil Kallsen house from 2004 that settled its backside into the ground to deny the blasts of northern weather, while revealing a broad expanse of windows on along its southern face to welcome sunshine throughout the year.

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It takes skill to execute a design that is practical, Earth-friendly, and beautifully crafted. Step inside to a find a marvelous example of Northwest Contemporary. Natural materials, warm tones, casual yet refined. Taking the broader definition of the Northwest, the fireplace is Montana stone, the wood is clear cedar from British Columbia. The materials, the way they’re fitted and stacked, create patterns that require no additional ornamentation, except maybe a bit more local art.

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Great rooms allow kitchens to have views, too. The kitchen continues the style because it is part of the same room. In addition to high-end appliances, it includes a dedicated wok-station that probably produces serious BTUs, enough heat to justify a high-powered overhead vent. Setting off the smoke alarm does detract from a dining experience.

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Offices are becoming more important parts of houses. The trick is to build in functionality, without obscuring the view or making it too distracting. You may find yourself rolling the chair and a laptop over to the window despite the excellent built-in desk and cabinetry.

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With 5.21 acres of the prairies of Ebey’s Reserve, there’s enough room for major crops, wheat, or at least hay. An organic garden is established, but the more innovative space is a courtyard garden that takes advantage of the earth berm to create a quiet, protected place. The deer may not be able to get in.

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The most pragmatic feature that also provides a luxury is the furnace. Heat comes from the floor, which is more common, now. The part that is less common is the furnace that heats a hot water boiler in a small building separate from the house. Notice the wood. It isn’t chunks of split firewood. Small logs are fed into the fire. Check to see if there is another heat source, just in case.

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Also, if you want something simpler, walk around back to the two yurts that are yet another take on traditional housing.

Three bedrooms and three bathrooms are the core of the 1,637 square foot one story. Basics like those and the price, $775,000, are all some ever see.