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For the views and warmth, she lives mostly on the second floor.

For the views and warmth, she lives mostly on the second floor

The top floor of this two-story house promised both the best views and the warmest living spaces. With that in mind, Seattle architects Bill Curtis and Pat Emmons put the most frequently used rooms--the kitchen, living, and dining areas--on the upper level when they designed this 1,100-square-foot house for Diane Wetzel.

From up high, owner and guests get sweeping views of Lake Washington and the Cascades. Windows on both levels face the east and south (downhill) sides of the corner lot to let in maximum light and scenery. The almost total absence of windows on the other two sides cut building costs while reducing energy losses and increasing privacy from adjoining lots.

On chilly days, rising warm air is trapped in the upper rooms; on hot days, two sets of French doors vent excess heat outdoors. Leading from the dining and living areas to the southeast corner deck, these doors also let in light and views. With both sets of doors open in summer, living and dining areas merge with the deck to become one large L-shaped indoor-outdoor entertaining space.

Fireplace separates kitchen, living area. In the middle of the upper floor, a stepped fireplace enclosure divides the interior. This 7-foot-high partition defines and makes a narrow kitchen without sealing off the cook or breaking up the soaring (and visually enlarging) overhead volume.

Downstairs, two bedrooms share a bath. The bedrooms stay cool year-round: well-ventilated and insulated, they make for comfortable summer sleeping. To reduce energy costs, they are also kept cooler in the winter than the other rooms. Sheltered on two sides by the bedrooms, a ground-level patio gets overhead protection from the deck above.

Midlevel entry. At the west end of the house, the entry area floats midway between upper and lower floors. This allowed space below for a garage, minimizing the need for expensive excavation. Where the garage extends forward from the house, its top creates an entry landing. Inside, the entry hall provides a gentle transition to the entertaining space.

Photo: Perched on a slope with minimum excavation, small house makes best use of corner lot, distant view. Living spaces cap bedrooms below. Turn in staircase ameliorates steep entry

Photo: Fireplace enclosure divides spaces without blocking off overhead expanse

Photo: Narrow but efficient, kitchen measures 7 by 10 feet; it opens to bright dining space beyond

Photo: Outdoor dining is regular warm-weather event. With French doors open, summer breezes billow into the living area

Photo: Generous bank of closets lines entry level. Stairs lead half a floor up to living area, half a floor down to two bedrooms
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Diane Wetzel
Date:Nov 1, 1987
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