Photo © Benjamin Benschneider

Chuckanut Drive Residence

Miller Hull Partnership

Bellingham, Washington

By Leslie Clagett

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Overlooking the craggy Washington coastline, this waterfront residence enjoys cinema-worthy scenery — but is subject to significant winds and extreme weather. The Miller Hull Partnership devised an elemental design and materials palette — exposed-timber framing, abundant fenestration — to harmonize with the wooded site and water views.

Located at one end of the home, the kitchen faces due south through metal-clad fir windows that rise from the countertop to the 12-foot ceiling. Running the full length of the southern wall, the fenestration has a 0.40 U-value befitting the climate. “These windows combine performance with design so well,” says principal Robert Hull. “They have such a thin profile, yet are strong enough to support mullions of a minimum dimension.” A deep roof overhang further shields the facade.

The west wall’s view is no less diminished, thanks to a clever glazing treatment that offers water vistas and access to the patio beyond. A wall cavity between the stove’s glass backsplash and a double-glazed fixed window accommodates one of the sliding doors when open.

Such expansive glazing does come at a practical cost, limiting available wall space for storage.

To compensate, a large walk-in pantry adjoins the kitchen, accessed near the refrigerator. Base cabinetry was also maximized: Maple units capped with stainless-steel counters line three walls, surrounding a concrete-topped island that holds court in the center of the room.

After sunset, dimmable MR15s illuminate the space, along with halogen undercabinet lights and pendant fixtures above the island.

October 2010
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