The owner of this rooftop residence wanted to downsize from his 3,500 ft2 house. When he learned that the industrial zoning would allow a small “caretaker’s unit” in the marina his company owned, he envisioned enjoying the views from a small loft-like home placed on the roof of one of the warehouses.
One of the advantages of small houses is that sometimes they can go where larger houses can’t. In this case, zoning regulations limited the house to 800 ft2 (74.3 m2). And, the warehouse required significant structural upgrades to support even a house that small.
The house was designed by The Miller Hull Partnership. Its outside appearance is extremely humble, a gray metal-clad box that blends into its industrial setting. From the ground, most people would never guess that it was a residence, if they noticed it at all. Luckily the spartan appearance ends at the entrance door. The inside is very warm and inviting, invoking a feeling of breezy comfort.
The arrangement of the space follows a classic small house strategy of lining up the main rooms along one side of the house, and lining up the service and storage spaces on the other side. Typically the service and storage spaces are used to buffer the home from street noise or winter winds, but here they are arranged along the one side of the house with no view. A built-in bookcase and storage wall runs the length of the home separating the living side from the service side. The warmth of the wood bookcase and its contents provides a homey balance to the expansive views through the glass walls opposite. A large terrace with reflecting pool expands the living space to the outside.
Building on the roof of a warehouse didn’t turn out to be a low-cost option. Before the home could even be started, the warehouse needed $200,000 worth of foundation and seismic upgrades. However, compared to the cost of a regular plot of land in the Seattle area with similar views, it can’t be considered outlandishly expensive either.
Would you be willing to climb some 40 or so steps to get to your front door if you could live in a home like this? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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