• Publications

  • A Tall Assignment: Blending a Cottage with a 'Tree House'

  • Seattle Times / AIA Open House
  • By Elizabeth Rhodes

  • The house: Built in 1922 as a modest West Seattle cottage, it grew from 855 square feet to 1,880 square feet thanks to a remodel that gave it a “tree-house” addition. The existing house became public spaces, including living, dining, kitchen and den, while the “tree-house” portion contains bedrooms atop a new garage and office.

  • The architect: Lisa McNelis of McNelis Architects. “The ‘cottage’ metaphor describes the close, low, original, now-public part of the house, and the ‘tree house’ the lofty, new private part, which you climb up through to views of higher tiers of trees,” McNelis explains. “A considerable design challenge was to unite the two ‘houses’, and that was done with color and materials that deep the eye moving and break the house into an assembly of forms.”

  • The owners: McNelis and her husband, Grant Glover. “Although this is my own home, in many ways it was no different than any other project where the owners include a spouse who studied art and a very opinionated 9-year-old,” she says. Additionally, she faced hurdles common to many other owners, particularly those of older homes: an inadequate foundation and a tight budget.

  • The Contractor: The owners and Erickson Construction. Judges’ comments: “A very creative project. It didn’t use a lot of dollars or space to achieve a nice, efficient home.”

  • The size: Three bedrooms, two baths. Project cost: $185,700. (Includes all labor, materials, building permit fees and architect, contractor and/or consultant fees. Excludes land cost.)

  • Tour hours: Noon to 4p.m. today (Sunday) only. The Seattle Times/AIA Open House program began in 1954. All licensed architects are encouraged to submit their residential work to the AIA for consideration. Nominees are reviewed by the Seattle Chapter, AIA Open House committee.