Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Awful Multifamily Boxes could spring up everywhere in Marin if SB50 passes.

In Seattle, multifamily living done right

An architect couple creates a home in a newly developed trio of townhouses in Squire Park

By Samantha Weiss Hills Feb 18, 2019, 9:00am PST
Photography by Eirik Johnson

Three years ago, architects and life partners Kailin Gregga and Steven Lazen were scouring Seattle for opportunities to buy a home—or a lot on which they could make their mark.

“We were drawn to the idea of having a hand in making our own space,” says Gregga. “[But] in [Seattle’s] crazy real estate market it’s a little bit inconceivable to say [we’re] going to buy some land and build [our] own house.”

Owners of all three units pose outside with Mojo the dog.

To make the couple’s dream a reality, Gregga, who is a part of Best Practice Architecture & Design, linked up with Rob Humble, founding partner and design principal for Hybrid Architecture. Humble happened to be developing a set of townhouses in Squire Park, a neighborhood of the Central District, and the collaboration would mean Gregga and Lazen could cut costs and do some customization with a new-build home. For Humble, it would also mean that one of the townhouses would already be occupied when the rest went on the market.

Big Mouth House—so dubbed because one of Gregga and Lazen’s friends photoshopped teeth onto a photo of the main window, giving it the look of an open maw—is situated at the front of the three-townhouse series. Each is clad in vertical panels of black metal. While the two townhouses behind Gregga and Lazen’s, units B and A, are accented by splashes of pink, thanks to their house numbers, Big Mouth puts color front and center, using it to frame a cantilevered floor-to-ceiling window, line the front entrance, and highlight the roof deck railing.
In the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) at Big Mouth House, two of Gregga and Lazen’s bikes hang in front of a wall decal from FAB. The couple’s cat, Novi, sits atop a wood pedestal hand cut by a friend from a giant fallen fir tree. The shelving unit is two-stories-tall, and runs into the second-level living room.

Each unit has a roof deck that, to the west, overlooks Seattle’s skyline and the Central District. A gabion retaining wall stands in front of Big Mouth, while landscaped walkways mark the way to the additional homes.

At 1,850 square feet, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, Big Mouth is a little larger than its two counterparts, with an additional bathroom and a configuration that, unlike the others, puts the main living area on the second floor rather than the third.

Gregga calls it a “genius” move on the part of the developer, because if “the middle unit and back unit had kept the same layout that we had, they would essentially not have any views from their living spaces. The site is actually [on a] a little slope, so by flipping the units and taking advantage of that, all the living spaces actually [have] great views.”

EDITORS NOTE: Life in the suburbs with sunshine and nature or in an Ikea inspired tin can dystopia?   i feel so sorry for the people next door to this new townhome complex in Seattle.  This fawning YIMBY inspired article turns my stomach.  This is exactly the type of debasement of my neighborhood that I fear from high density housing.  Where once there was a neighborhood and sunshine, now will be tin can Ikea shacks. No gardens. No community.  Just bland boxes everywhere.

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