Peak Opportunity

The driving impulse for this project rested on generating the perfect view of Washington's Mount Rainier. But Seattle's oft-inclement weather during the drawing stages didn't allow for a clear idea of where the homeowners would have the best vantage point. Here is what Blue Canyon Construction did to guarantee the customer got what they wanted.

June 30, 2006

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The outdoor stove and propane-fueled fire pit - and the fact that the patio is situated directly parallel to the home's dining room and kitchen - give the homeowners many options for cooking, serving, eating and entertaining.
Kathleen King Photography

The driving impulse for this project rested on generating the perfect view of Washington's Mount Rainier. But Seattle's oft-inclement weather during the drawing stages didn't allow for a clear idea of where the homeowners would have the best vantage point.

To guarantee that the homeowners would have precisely the view they sought, Blue Canyon Construction crews built mock-up deck platforms, and when the mountain appeared through the clouds, they would summon the homeowners, who would rush home to weigh in. Rick King, the company's president, estimates that six such mock-ups were created over the course of 30 days before the perfect placement was achieved.

To augment the home's ranch style yet retain its classic Northwest feel, the sandstone bricks along the exterior were reversed for a "like-new" effect, creating a key spatial and structural boundary for the patio. The new clear cedar siding on the home establishes a relationship with the new window frames and doors, which King says were purposely speced as fiberglass so

The old-growth cedar trellis creates an eye-catching focal point; functionally, it shades the eating area. The multicolored Indian slate tiles and copper caps and iron handrails pick up the color schemes of Mount Rainier Park and Lake Washington, and the columns echo the sandstone siding and the pillars at each corner of the patio.   After photo by Steve Keating

that the homeowners have the option to paint in the future. Stucco walls create privacy and ambiance, which are especially key given the patio's location at the front of the home.

Most notably, beyond giving the homeowners a space they could use year-round to take in the beauty and activities of the surrounding area, the pillars of the patio were hard-wired with speakers, telephone access, accent lighting and Internet access. "When the weather is beautiful here there is no better place, and on those beautiful days, it was important that the homeowner be able to work from the patio if he wanted," King says.

The four-month project cost $87,950.

"This project is a testament that you can still get value for a project without adding huge rooms or changing the footprint," King says. "Here we lived in the footprint, and by using upgraded materials on this exterior addition, we really made the project blend in the neighborhood and improved the homeowner's asset."

 

Remodeler and architect: Blue Canyon Construction, Seattle; Pelletier + Schaar, Stanwood, Wash.
Project location: Seattle
Age of home: 54 years
Scope of work: A 350-square-foot patio addition with outdoor kitchen and fire pit


 

On Solid Ground

Although there was relatively little excavation necessary to create the footings for the new patio, the slope of the land required effective structural deterrents against settlement and shifting. To prevent this, Blue Canyon had its landscaper, DHR Enterprises of Shoreline, Wash., bring in "4-6 man" rocks to fill in the area. The surrounding dirt and topsoil buries at least three-quarters of each rock, which ensures the surrounding earth is stable and allows for a more gradual slope than the yard had before. Having two stairways with an adjoining platform also eases the ascent from sidewalk to entryway and provides more space for vegetation.

"In a project like this, a good relationship with a professional landscaper is key," King says. "Even with the dramatic elevation change we were able to stay within code restrictions, and the landscaping as a whole gave the project a dramatic update; the rock croppings are important aesthetically so that the cap wall does not seem like a fortress."


Products List

Doors: Simpson. Fire pit: Vermont Castings. Lighting fixtures: Juno. Paints & stains: Cabot. Windows: Milgard

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