One of Seattle’s highly regarded architects of the past century was Paul Hayden Kirk (1914-1995). Modern home design put him on the map, and he went on to design the Intiman Theatre building and Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center; Balmer, Haggett, Meany and McMahon halls at the University of Washington; and UW’s Odegaard Undergraduate Library.
Design of the house at 2711 First on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill was a mid-career effort for Kirk, a bold, compact composition with shingled walls that wrap over to become the roof. The idea was reinforced inside with cedar clad walls and ceilings. When owners Gavin & Jenny Kelly asked us to renovate and expand the house in 2008, they had two young children living in an 1870 square foot, two-bedroom house, with very limited space for family activities. We extruded the plan and form, stretching the house to the west about ten feet, making room for another bedroom on the lower level, with a separate bath for kids. The enlarged lower level also accommodated a media room and a spacious home office. Upstairs, the entry, and combined living/dining/kitchen area, were all expanded. The master bedroom and bath were reconfigured to create a little extra elbow room for 6’-7” Gavin, and the stair was completely changed to increase headroom.
The power of walls that become roof was not changed. The original cedar shingle exterior was long-since replaced with a mishmash of corrugated metal and shingles, in need of replacement. While a handsome standing seam metal system might have been ideal, it was cost-prohibitive, and the final solution was fiberglass composition shingles for the walls and roof, which ought to last 40 years.
Inside, extensive cedar paneling had darkened with age, and when combined with tall trees that had grown up around the property, the effect was a dreary interior. We added more glass, including a large skylight that replaced a roof monitor, smoothing the lines on the exterior and brightening the interior. Some of those cedar walls were replaced with white gypsum wallboard, with cedar limited to the exterior walls that become the ceiling, emphasizing the exterior concept.