Squalicum Mountain Residence
- Location: Bellingham, WA
- Size: 4,900SF
Designed for wine enthusiasts who love to entertain, this 4,900 SF custom home is located on a 20-acre north facing slope near Bellingham, WA.
Working with the site contours led to a linear floor plan with the goal of orienting all of the living spaces toward the dramatic view of the Canadian Cascades to the north while also allowing ample southern light deep into the main floor level through the use of clerestory windows.
The entry sequence unfolds as one enters the site through a gap in a concrete and cor-ten steel fence around the circular driveway and proceed to the front entryway. While approaching the oversized steel pivot door, adjacent windows provide a view through the living space allowing guests to see inviting glimpses of the mountains beyond.
The sloping site also led to a 2-story design with a daylight basement. The main level has an open floor plan perfect for the public entertaining spaces, while the on-grade lower level is where the more private family spaces are located.
The use of exaggerated cantilevered roofs provides weather protection at the main entry on the south and an outdoor living space facing the views on the north. Stacking glass doors between the main living area and the outdoor covered deck allow for a seamless flow between interior and exterior living spaces.
The owners expressed a strong design aesthetic which dictated the extensive use of exposed concrete for both the interior and exterior finishes. The solution was to use a 12” Thermomass wall system which has rigid insulation embedded in the center of the concrete walls. Other prominent materials include cor-ten steel (aka weathering steel), exposed structural steel, two species of wood, and ample glazing. Although it is a simple and clean aesthetic, it required extensive detailing with no room for error, a task which was superbly executed by the contractor.
The owners and the design team were very committed to sustainable design. The house is oriented for passive solar heating and cooling, and utilizes the thermal mass of the concrete walls to help cool in the summer and help heat in the winter. Other sustainable features include solar panels with battery storage units, a geo-thermal system with heat pump, and a rain water catchment system with storage and filtration.
Like the delineation between the more public, entertaining areas and the private family zones, careful consideration was given to the juxtaposition of the angular, sharp lines of the house and the surrounding landscape. The areas surrounding the house have hardscape and planters filled with flowers and feathery grasses, while a low curb encircling the yard indicates the transition to the remainder of the surrounding property, which remains in its unstructured state of meadows and forests.