Posted by Dabney B. on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
A wealthy soon-to-be homeowner came to Vandeventer + Carlander Architects (VCA) with a mission: build the ultimate floating house that would be perfect for daily life and hosting parties. What VCA created was a beautiful, modern abode that’s certain to be the swankiest floating house in the neighborhood.
This box-shaped house is located on the banks of Lake Union in Seattle — for now, at least. As a floating house, the owners could haul up anchor and float east to Lake Washington or west to Puget Sound and eventually the northern Pacific Ocean. But why on earth would they ever want to leave such an amazing view?
The homeowners can enjoy the sights of Queen Anne Hill to the West, the vintage charm of Gas Works Park to the north, and the unique charm of downtown Seattle from every window. And of course, let’s not forget about the beauty of Lake Union itself. The lake is a hub of boating, canoeing, and other activities for the local aquatic community. Snow-capped Mount Rainier to the southeast reflects off of the lake to provide a stunning mirror reflection of the famous landscape.
The only thing that can even begin to rival the beauty of the surrounding landscape is the interior. VAC created a sleek, modern design that’s all about right angles, pristine surfaces, and symmetry. The only piece of curved architecture that you’ll spot is the spiral staircase that provides access to the second floor and the roof.
Oddly enough, that staircase doesn’t lead to the bedroom. The clients charged VAC with the task of building a space that is optimized for entertaining guests. VAC answered that unique request by taking the traditional floor plan and flipping it upside-down. All of the rooms that you’d expect to see on the top floor, like the master bedroom and the guest bedroom, are on the first floor, while the kitchen and living room are both on the top floor. This layout allows people hanging out in this floating crib to enjoy an elevated view of Lake Union. It also provides easy roof access without requiring guests to walk up three flights of stairs.
One fortunate little side effect of this layout is that it places the master bedroom at water level. As you can see in the picture below, a pool ladder allows the home owners to wake up, slip out of his pajamas and into swimming trunks, and dive into the chilly waters of Lake Union. It also does a good job of warding off nosy neighbors. The only way a peeping tom is ever going to be able to spy on you is if he brings some scuba gear.
The aesthetic of the building isn’t the only thing that’s modern. It’s also completely up-to-date on environmentally friendly technology. The solar passive design naturally keeps the building warm during the day, while overhangs and sun shades block off extra heat during the summer. These features will bring down energy bills dramatically, and it’s a good thing, too — a house like this is bound to cost a pretty penny.
That raises an interesting question: if you had $5 million to blow on a house, would you sooner buy a full-blown floating house nestled comfortably next to your favorite city, or a self-sufficient yacht that lets you explore the world? If you ask me, I think I’d go for the yacht. There’s something undeniably appealing about the idea of reliving stress from a tough work day by firing up the motor and moving to another city.