The Snow House designed by Graham Baba Architects is a 3-storey residence with wide-open spaces and touches of fun. By exposing just the centre swathe of ceiling joists in the main living area, the seating arrangement is defined and framed with the dining space located below the finished ceiling on one side and a walkway on the other. Hanging a swing from one of the joists, choosing an area rug with large irregular circles and colouring blocking a section of the far wall in green all add in a layer of playful fun. The deep couch, over sized dining table with seating for 8 and the swing itself create a space of casual comfort that the whole family can enjoy. Yellow walls and mid-tone wood flooring finish the look of this inviting space as one of bright, casual, comfort that does not take itself too seriously.
When approaching this single family home, it is already apparent that the designers have had fun on their mind. Exposed corrugated steel wraps one third of the façade and is topped off with a yellow, triangular cap. The spaces between the two upper floor windows are filled in with a dark stained wood as is a two-storey strip over the entryway. What appears to be a garage – but is actually a huge family room, has been fitted with a 12-panel window – perfect for the family space inside.
The family room is where the real fun happens. Flush ceiling globes flood the space with light as do the two sets of 12 panel windows on either end. The large windows are actually sliding doors on either side of stationary panels. This wide open floor plan is perfect for the whole family.
The wide open spaces continue on the main level of the home – one flight up. The kitchen flows smoothly into the living zone where the oh so awesome swing is located. Keeping the kitchen from feeling closed in, Graham Baba Architects opted to forgo upper cabinets in favour of windows. Located below the windows is a long length of counter with the sink. The slide in stove is located in the island and has a downdraft rather then a stove hood. Just beside the kitchen is the open tread stairwell leading to the private zone on the 3rd floor.
The bedrooms on the 3rd floor take advantage of the views from long expanses of window. Maintaining the privacy of the bedrooms, the architects opted to keep the windows at a modest height. Wood flooring continues on this level but the bright yellow walls have been replaced with a soothing sky blue.
The bathroom continues the blue and white hues, but swaps the colours with the blue on the ceiling and the white on the walls. Here, too, strategically placed windows keep the privacy while offering peeks at the trees outside.
From the 3rd storey, the stairwell continues up to the roof deck. The open treads and horizontal balustrade keep the column of stairs light and bright, as do the continuous use of windows and skylights.
The Snow House stands tall and proud in its Seattle neighbourhood. The vertical pattern on the corrugated steel accentuates the height of the home while the natural steel tone allows it to blend with the skyline creating a non-imposing profile. The corrugated steel fencing in front with the graffiti seems to know it is framing a home that doesn’t take itself too seriously.