This Seattle House is a perfectly poised modern family home
Sound House, designed by young architecture studio GO’C, is a Seattle family home with a view and architectural drama aplenty
Sound House by emerging Pacific Northwest architecture studio GO’C is not only a visually dramatic piece of architecture, perched on a leafy hill overlooking long views of sea and cityscape; it is also a carefully balanced family home, a Seattle house that brings together the needs of different users and looks perfectly poised while doing so. The project, named Sound House and set in the city’s Magnolia neighbourhood, is the work of the young practice, which is headed by founding partners Aimée O’Carroll and Jon Gentry, who got a call one day to design a base for a blended family of eight.
‘The programme for the house was unique in that it needed to house a large family of two adults and six children,’ the architects recall. ’The owners, Brandon Ebel and Sarah Jio, each had three children and combined families and homes for the first time with the build of this house. Each member of the house had unique needs and desires for how the spaces should function. For Brandon, a music lover and owner of a local record label, intertwining audio throughout the house and creating a space for his large record collection was a high priority. For Sarah, a New York Times best-selling author and chef extraordinaire, having calm refuges to write, a library to house her many books, and a large kitchen in which to cook for family and friends was key. For the kids, the aim was to create their own private spaces to escape to, and also a dedicated kids’ area, to play and do homework, with good connections to the family living space.’
Ensuring this is a home that can be enjoyed by every member of the family equally was key in the design development. The house’s main spaces are contained within two levels, in what is overall a fairly minimalist architecture affair.
The lower level is centred around a double-height living space that is also the heart of the home. Climbing up via a highly crafted metal staircase that wraps around the periphery of this void, users can reach the private areas of the house, including six bedrooms, a family room and an extensive master suite. Built-in furniture and storage at strategic places maximise the spatial potential.
The structure was placed on an existing plateau on the sloped, richly planted site, minimising disruption to surrounding nature, while orientating the building towards the Puget Sound and downtown Seattle. The architects wove the site’s natural terraces with architectural landscaping that creates an outdoor pathway across the garden, leading up to the swimming pool and the paved areas that spill out from the generous living space. This also gives the home impressive, almost 360-degree views (also counting the accessible roof terrace that tops the house). Meanwhile, vertical cedar slat cladding helps the building blend comfortably in its green environs.
Natural materials, such as timber and stone, are blended with cool concrete and metal, aiming to provide a space that feels sleek and modern but also homely. ‘It was important for the house to be both elegant and refined as well as withstand daily use from a family of eight that likes to entertain,’ the architects say. §