A major addition was planned for this dark, claustrophobic 1950s ranch house near Seattle. But when the budget forced a choice between square footage and highly crafted interiors, the clients chose the latter. Architect Nils C. Finne, AIA, added glass and borrowed space from a storage area, turning a dated kitchen into a generously proportioned place to cook, eat, and enjoy the view.
It feels like a new kitchen, although you can trace the bones of the old one. The hemlock ceilings are original, but Finne exposed a steel beam that had been boxed out and inserted a roof monitor, spanning the dining and living areas, with motorized operators that allow for venting. The slightly expanded footprint meant patching in new sections of terrazzo floor. “We started off thinking we’d match the existing terrazzo, but that stone and cement matrix was no longer available,” Finne explains. “I shifted gears and said, rather than be close, let’s have a contrast.” The new rectangle of espresso-colored terrazzo anchors the open kitchen. It’s also a foil for the pale cherry cabinetry, which Finne designed. Some of the panels are smooth resin inset with natural grasses, others have a CNC-milled texture like woven wood.
Custom-fabricated surfaces are a feast for the senses. A 30-foot-long wall is clad in umber-colored steel panels that bend around the wall’s undulations, and the bar’s 1-inch-thick cast glass, lit from below, adds sparkle to the room’s muted hues. “The intensity of the detailing adds a whole new level to the house,” Finne says.