Alki Perch Residence / by Josh Brincko

Alki Perch Residence

Alki Perch Residence

I think I'm a good architect - except at one thing: marketing. Fortunately, my business has been busy for the past 11 years despite limited marketing efforts. I have so much fun designing new projects that I rarely take the time to brag about my work publicly - because bragging about your work is really what marketing is, right? Another way of describing marketing could be to explain the value of your product or service to a targeted audience, so they know they should hire you. I tend to do this on a one-on-one basis with potential clients since all of my work has been from referrals and not traditional advertising methods. Therefor, most of my marketing efforts are a consultation with a client to educate them on the design process, construction process, and other related factors. 

Well, here's one of the few times I have taken a step back to get professional photographs (from my pro-photographer wife, Heather Brincko), and show them to the world simply for the fun of doing it. I designed this project almost 10 years ago, so it feels great to revisit it, finally take photos, and share them with you. I hope it doesn't take another 10 years to photograph more of my work! 

I call this project "Alki Perch." The property is simply amazing (click to see photos). As you go up the driveway, you scan the landscape and are quickly infatuated with a stunning piece of architecture. Getting closer to the house, you study the materials and contrasting forms and sort of forget where you are for a moment. As you get to the front door, the architecture makes you feel warm and welcomed. Then you glance over your shoulder, and your eyes pop open. You knew there was a view, but you've never quite seen a view like this one. It's not a 180 degree view. It's much more than that. You can see from Magnolia to Bainbridge Island to Blake Island to Vashon Island and down towards Tacoma. Since you are perched so high on the hill, you also have a view down to Alki Point, Alki's beaches, and far across the islands onto the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic Mountains . Although you are quite close to downtown Seattle and you can see a variety of activity such as ferries, cyclists, other homes, and people on the beach afar, this place has an amazing sense of serenity perched atop the beach community. As this calming sense and amazing view overcomes you, it is easily forgotten that you are standing on Ron's front porch waiting for him to greet you at the door. I'm sure Ron greets the backs of his guests' heads more than he sees their faces as they are in a trance gazing at his incredible view. The combination of the exciting architecture, the expansive view, and Ron's calm persona makes you not want to leave. Maybe this is why Ron converted his daylight basement into a rental apartment for visiting guests. It's so nice that it's booked up for the foreseeable future. 

A little about the project... It started as a tiny bungalow. Very typical. Outdated. Nothing was really special about it except for the view. Ron asked us to help him find a new house to buy and freshen up. Knowing that remodeling is a major ordeal, we told him to pass on other homes that did not have the special potential that this home has. Our design solution involved removing the gabled roof, converting a bedroom to a stairway, adding a second floor, and also adding an addition that cantilevered over the sloped site to avoid additional ground disturbance that is not allowable on steep slope areas. We created contrasting forms that define the different areas of the home such as the stair, the entry, the kitchen, the master suite, and the office. The roofs slope to frame the views, and the highest roof over the master bedroom slopes to the south to enable future installation of solar panels. It also creates a higher, more dramatic ceiling in the master bedroom. We cantilevered the roof from the office to extend quite far over the roof deck which is adjacent and accessible from both the master and office. As Ron works from home, he can walk outside anytime of day and stay under cover from the rain or sun - or not. This extended roof plane allows a lot of flexibility. I don't know how he gets anything done with such a provocative view that he stares at every day. The only remnants of the original house are the main entry, living room, and main floor bedroom which we refinished on the interior and re-sided on the exterior. We actually used the old siding on a cabin on Guemes Island for one of my other clients. I am very proud of the outcome of this project, and I hope you enjoy the photos.