Steve Keating

Guest house hits high notes

Sunset  –  January 23, 2006

“It’s where every visitor is going to want to stay.”
– jury comment

SPECIAL AWARD (remodel), Bernie Baker, Bainbridge Island, WA
The dollhouse quality of this 350-square-foot guest house – transformed from a derelict garden shed – on Washington’s rural Bainbridge Island captured jurors’ attention at once. Though small, it makes a big impression, thanks to the clever incorporation of a two-story element that echoes the slant-walled shapes of the area’s old water towers. Actually, there was a water tower on the site, but its open framing stood on a rickety platform.

The architect’s simple but ingenious idea was to turn the tank platform into a real tower, with a small room on the ground floor and a cozy loft accessible by a ladder. The rest of the structure contains a sitting area, a bedroom, and a bathroom. An acrylic-stained concrete floor, board-and-batten wainscoting, and a pair of built-in dressers with upper cabinets behind copper-paneled doors complete the cottage. As one juror said, “It’s charming without being cutesy: a romantic version of a vernacular building tradition.”

ARCHITECT: (206) 842-6278