Morris Graves Residence

Site: Painter Morris Graves (1910-2001) designed and built the main house from 1947-52 on a heavily wooded site north of Seattle.  The structure was built from 8 x 16 cinder block walls painted white, French doors, European shutters and massive cedar columns at the loggia.  The interior consists of 14’ high ceilings with whitewashed fir walls and multiple 10’ high glass doors.  Today’s site is surrounded by 150-foot cedars, groomed gardens and a walled courtyard- complete with a koi pond.

Program: New owners saw the need for the addition of an informal place for the family to gather and a true working kitchen. The program for the addition was to: 1) Maintain the character of the house with its large volume spaces and “see” through walls.  2) Provide a family room/sun room and kitchen.  3) Design a garage, laundry and changing room with direct access outdoors to the swimming pool.

Solution: Removing the existing wood shed, the new addition was designed as the fourth side of the U-shaped building complex enclosing the koi pond courtyard.   To maintain the connectivity of the addition to the outdoor environment, the addition was designed as one large glass room with minor areas of concrete block. The walls are primarily custom built floor-to-ceiling wood windows and doors.  The rooms look both internally to the koi pond and externally to the southern gardens.  Radiant blue stone floors continue from the interior to the exterior patio.

Ceiling beams also pass from the interior space to support the southern loggia. The interior connection to the original residence is made though large glass doors hung on exposed rolling barn door hardware and mounted to the existing exterior concrete block walls.

Experience: A project of Weinstein Copeland Architects, Julie Kriegh Project Architect

Date: 2000