Laurelhurst DADU

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Laurelhurst DADU


This stately old home in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood required a delicate and considered touch when the request from the homeowners was for a contemporary detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU) — from the mere thought of it through construction and landscaping.

When viewed from the main home’s prominent back deck, the homeowners look upon a raised patch of planted earth trimmed in river rock, not harsh roofing materials. The living roof both extends the landscape design and offers a restful view. Landscaping is by ANR Landscape Design.

The new structure, 575 square feet, sits politely in the backyard, nestled among mature trees and placed so that the lawn serves as outdoor carpeting for an exterior living “room.” The DADU is painted in the same deep gray as the Tudor that towers above it, bonding the structures. The contemporary cottage was a collaboration between architects Paul Moon of Paul Moon Design and Bruce Parker of the microhouse.

Further tying the Tudor to the modern cottage is the use of exterior corbels.  New concrete retaining walls define and separate outdoor spaces, and also provide a framework for additional plantings.

While the cottage is quite small, it feels much bigger with large walls of windows that welcome in the surrounding and private landscape. Mature trees and integrated landscaping allowed the new structure to settle in immediately.

just a simple box, 14 feet x 28 feet? No way, from what you see here. The open main-floor living spaces appear grand, expansive and warm with loads of daylight from walls of windows and open web trusses.

The inside of the new space is pure possibility. It was designed for maximum function. Guest house? Home office? Exercise space? In 2020, staying home became all-important to families everywhere. What better way to be sent to one’s room than to create a new one open to all options.

This wall of walnut at the top of the stairs serves as coat rack and storage. The contrasting lighter wood, as opposed to the dark-stained walnut in the nearby kitchen, adds depth and a sense of play.

This living-room wall of built-in cabinetry in walnut provides a concentrated dose of function that keeps the rest of the room free. It contains the television, holds bookshelves and offers ample room for office work.

Countertops over HenryBuilt kitchen cabinets meet in the middle. This is what is meant by “clean lines.” Quality contemporary construction requires mastery of the art of science — 45-degree angles, seams and alleyways straight as arrows every time, everywhere. Nothing askew even by the smallest of a fraction. When building a contemporary dwelling, it all comes down to this.

The cottage is petite in square footage only. Spaces throughout feel open and large with high ceilings made even higher with exposed joists. The kitchen, with HenryBuilt cabinets in dark-stained walnut, is grounded and made substantial with a large welcoming island, also walnut, that serves as a table and a place for the dishwasher and wine refrigerator.

This bit of whimsy in walnut from HenryBuilt — a knife block embedded into a blackened steel shelf over the kitchen sink — follows the mantra for this project: function first, function throughout.

A glass door to the shower is the key to making this small bathroom seem larger. The bold choice of tile adds big glamour to the small space.

The bedroom sits below the ground-floor main living area. Access is via this ship’s ladder. The stairway is bathed in natural light from the windows above.

This is a room doing what the name implies, it’s a bedroom. All other functions are served upstairs. The room is lit from above and made open through a sliding glass door. The rough-wood ceiling joists have been left exposed to increase the sense of openness and add warmth.

Landscape Architect: