Living in Stone
The owners of this new home along Lake Tapps, in Bonney Lake, WA, had a demanding program for Architect Mat Bergman. They wanted a home where they could really live inside and outside most of the year, despite the Seattle-area weather. They wanted the home to be contemporary in design, to acknowledge the regional styles and to be rendered in the color palettes and textures of the local natural environment. As the owner of a masonry company, the homeowners also wanted to use masonry, but they wanted it to look like stone.
“The owners had collected a number of images and plans that captured the different elements they wanted in their home. They are an active family who like to entertain a lot and wanted a home that would allow them to live comfortably with the priority being outdoor living and taking advantage of the amazing lake views,” says Bergman. “This was easier said than done.”
The site is very tight, uniquely shaped, and has some grade issues, all of which required the project team to build out to all setbacks. “We had to weave the outdoor space in and around the home. With the family room, kitchen, and dining room all looking out onto the lake we included a covered outdoor patio for dining and a patio with a fire pit that allows the family to enjoy the lakeside views,” he said.
In an unusual approach, the front door to the house is set on the backside of the house. Locating the main entrance to the rear allows visitors to experience the progression of space in this home. Guests greet large custom gates at a front porch that leads to a breezeway opening onto a backyard that is designed around a pool and spa. Guests then continue through the large outdoor covered living area, complete with an indoor-outdoor fireplace, to reach the front door.
“We deliberately wanted to blur the distinction between inside and outside,” says homeowner Kristin Fairweather, so the exterior stone veneer extends into the house, from the pool area.” When the doors are open, it is hard to tell if you are in the house or outside. The stone veneer, along with concrete pavers outlined with moss, is really organic, she says, and exactly what she and her husband Monty Fairweather were looking for.
Lake views are not needed for the master bedroom, media room, family dining, and cabana that all open on this slice of outdoor heaven. The owner also wanted the ability to incorporate quality and sustainable products into the construction of the home. In a cutting edge move, they agreed to be the first home in the nation to use a new, greener masonry product. With 54 percent pre-consumer recycled content, third-party validated through UL-E, and with its recycled content, the stone veneer provided the type of sustainable element the owners were seeking.
“As the owner of a stone and mason company, it just made sense to include stone veneer and pavers and showcase it for those to visit the home,” said Bergman. All of the outdoor areas are done in pavers and butt up to the stone veneer base that wraps the home. The stone was used to highlight the columns around the house and add texture to the outdoor living spaces by going all the way up to the tongue and groove ceilings. In conjunction with the exterior lighting, the stone gives the home presence atop the site and a feeling of longevity, says Bergman. Cast in molds of natural stone and hand-colored, the veneer textures give the walls the look and feel of real stone. Once installed, stone veneers are virtually maintenance free.