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On an "unbuildable" lot, a tall, narrow house on deep, deep piers.

On an "unbuildable' lot, a tall, narrow house on deep, deep piers

A steep lot with a stunning view of Lake Washington was the choice of architect Richard Hobbs of Hobbs Architecture Group for the narrow, vertical house. A house previously built on the site shifted in 1929 when its concrete retaining wall gave way, and the lot had then been by-passed as unbuildable.

According to Hobbs, "Landfill from the previous construction, lying loose on the face of the hill, was our first obstacle. We hauled it away. We then went down with concrete piers through glacial till and clay until we struck solid earth.' The piers reach 20 to 25 feet into the ground, anchoring the 16- by 48-foot rectangle.

To help hold surface soil, Hobbs restored the original dense ground cover of ivy and salal, and planted a screen of poplar trees with spreading roots along the north property line for privacy.

To open the house to the outdoors, Hobbs included two decks. Facing southeast, the decks are quarter circles, whose round forms add an illusion of width to the narrow house. Pipe railings and wire mesh ensure security without blocking views.

The top-level deck extends 12 feet from the greenhouse window wall; a tall sculptural pier ties it to the ground below for support. Cantilevered on extended floor joists, the smaller children's deck, one story beneath, extends 8 feet.

Photo: Soaring with poplars, house occupies steep site; decks give outdoor living space

Photo: Backed by greenery, quarter-round deck on upper level enjoys visual privacy; greenhouse window brings light to kitchen and living areas

Photo: Children's playroom that opens off bedrooms has its own deck; railing with chicken wire (almost invisible) provides security

Photo: Midlevel entry landing, a wedge-shaped cut in corner of house, has translucent sliding-glass door
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1987
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