Phinney Ridge Deck & Garage

Phinney Ridge – The deck and garage redesign for this 1910 Craftsman Style house harmonizes with an earlier renovation – all designed by the owner/architect. Her intention was to honor the historic style of the Seattle house while blending in a modernist inclination and contemporary functions. In 2010, she created various outdoor “rooms” with access from every floor of the house. In 2019, this deck/garage rebuild completed the design intent for the property.

An attention to details elevates this renovation from the ordinary. A simple palette of sustainable materials (unfinished ipe, concrete, and steel), and limited colors, blend with the house and reflect the ecological consciousness of owners and architect. The slim, black steel trellis with galvanized highlights brings this deck into a contemporary attitude while harkening to the past. The choice of a plain brushed nickel garage door completes a minimalist look. The deck wall and trellis use the Japanese concept of “borrowed landscape”, framing a view of distant mountains and sky. An inward-looking orientation gives the outdoor space a sense of secure comfort.

The close collaboration of architect and contractor meant that relatively quick aesthetic decisions could be made, such as a unique rhythm in dimensions of the ipe, a choice of raw aluminum siding, and a custom gutter. Remnants of the old concrete wall, cut to achieve the deck slope, were used as retaining walls in the garden. The fabrication and construction were completed with fine professional care, and contractor and owner worked together to insure that the project would have a high level of functionality and beauty while staying in budget. Rainwater now runs off the properly sloped deck, the space allows for a flexibility of use, and both interior and exterior perform admirably for their needs. Finally, the owners can store goods and park their car inside their garage.

Although this renovation was instigated by a need to mitigate water infiltration and repair a shaky parapet wall and trellis, since completion, the deck and garage have taken on added importance in the owner’s lives. Prior to the pandemic, the deck worked as a space for parties. Since the pandemic, the family has spent much more time on their property for work, play, recreation, and leisure, and the deck has new value and significance. The beauty and functionality of this relatively expansive outdoor space in the city has gone a long way to keep the family safe and happy.

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