Flip Flop House(s)

Firm Name: 
Adams Mohler Ghillino Architects

Use: 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath single-family residence and 2 bedroom, 1 bath attached accessory dwelling unit.

Solutions – The project departs from the Seattle norm of a single-family dwelling, centered on its lot and surrounded by an ill-defined and underused ring of outdoor space by providing two complete ‘flip/flopped’ dwellings that define outdoor spaces. The design responds to its corner site with diagonally opposing entrances, gardens, parking and corner windows. Each unit is comprised of bedrooms and baths on the upper floor with an open main floor living space connected to its garden via french doors. In response to code, which requires the units to share a wall, the two dwellings overlap by 24” at a thickened wall comprised of fireplaces, closets and casework.

Past Forward – A decidedly modern home in a traditional neighborhood, the two units are offset to present a scale more in keeping with their neighbors. The use of generously overhanging shed roofs, wood windows and the articulation of upper and lower floor siding materials provides a connection to context without mimicking it. The house(s) provide a transition between the adjacent residences and the non-conforming, zero lot line commercial structures across the street.

Economy – The project provides the amenities of single-family living for two households, not one, on an in-city lot using existing public utility and transportation infrastructure. The building is configured on its lot to maximize the use of exterior spaces for defined entrances, parking spaces and gardens. Interior spaces are open, flexible and serve multiple functions such as the stairwells, which also function as light wells and, in the main dwelling, a study. The units are heated with a single high efficiency in-floor radiant heating system and clad with low maintenance siding materials. Retractable awnings allow for shade in the summer and daylight in the winter. A below grade storm water cistern is used for irrigating the gardens.

Good design makes a difference

American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects