For years, Jen and Kirk Schumacher’s weekend house in Washington’s Methow Valley was simply a place to drop their bags before hitting a rock face or ski slope. But once they had their first child, they dreamed of replacing the tiny cabin with a full-time home. With “forever” in mind and ideas flying, the stage was set for a design battle. Jen is a traditionalist, while husband Kirk describes his style as “much more sparse.”
Fortunately, the Schumachers found Thomas Lawrence, an architect who doesn’t mind providing couples therapy. “Tom was very understanding and good at melding our visions,” says Kirk. The Schumachers did agree on one thing: They wanted a small house on the 1-acre lot. Lawrence was happy to comply. “To create a nice compact house requires more creativity than designing a big one,” he says. The resulting home squeezes a great room, a master suite, and bedrooms for the couple’s son and daughter into just 2,000 square feet, with a 500-square-foot loft over the garage for guests.
In addition to a small footprint, the couple also wanted their home to be environmentally friendly. On-demand hot water, electric in-floor radiant heating, and ceiling fans in lieu of air-conditioning keep energy usage down. To help modulate the area’s temperature extremes, Lawrence also designed a super-insulated roof.