Once inside the house, it’s hard not to notice the ceiling treatments. “One of the highlights of this house is the ceiling detail. You get a sore neck walking through it,” Davis says. “There is a groin vault ceiling in the family room, and an 80-ft.-long barrel-vaulted ceiling that carries through the house. There is stained glass in the barrel-vaulted ceiling that is backlit, and also includes natural light.”
The stained glass adds to the experience upon entering the house. “The stained glass is in the entry rotunda. It is designed to show interest and originality in the entry sequence,” DeRoulet adds. “There is an axial element that leads you through the formal foyer but makes you stop and center yourself and look at the space above you.”
Another of this house’s highlights is the office, which in this house is an oval office. “The oval office is the seat of power; the occupant commands, and is important. In the Street of Dreams, we wanted to send that message,” DeRoulet says. “It’s not an original idea but it is effective.”
DeRoulet adds that circular rooms are another way to showcase a builder’s talents. “Circular or oval rooms are unique and are a challenge in craftsmanship. Unless you build the house right, curved rooms won’t turn out correctly. [Curved rooms] are a luxury,” he says.
Inside the oval office is a bookcase that is also a hidden passage to a spiral staircase leading to a third highlight called the man cave. The man cave includes two plasma screens, a 1,500-bottle wine cellar, leather chairs, poker table and a wet bar. “It was designed as a getaway from the executive oval office,” DeRoulet says. “This is an over-the-top masculine retreat. It includes a lot of stone, dark wood and leather.”
The man cave is the alternative to the feminine part of the house. “The life management center is a 1,000-sq.-ft. space between the garage and kitchen. It incorporates the laundry, woman’s office area, powder room, cubbies and benches. There’s also a walk-in closet, two washers and dryers, and an 8-ft. by 12-ft. island with a 5 ft. aisle around the island,” DeRoulet says. “We took all the functions of a house that never had a grandiose space and put them in one place. It took a lot of research but it came together beautifully.”
All bedrooms are suites and include both tubs and showers. There are three child bedrooms, one guest room and a master suite. Connecting two bedrooms is a loft area, with access only through these bedrooms. “To make the house unique, we included hidden rooms throughout it,” Davis adds. “There is another hidden room off of the master closet which contains the exercise area.”
Let There Be Light
When working on a house this size, ensuring enough natural light penetration can become a problem. To combat this dilemma, high windows and ceilings were used. “The ceilings on the bottom floor are 12 ft. high, and 10 ft. high on the top floor,” Davis says.
A clerestory was added to enhance the amount of natural light entering the house. “The house is large so what we did was bring light into its center. It’s over 40 ft. tall so we created a clerestory monitor — an element that pops out of the roof. We could’ve just used skylights but we prevent a potential for leaking by using a clerestory,” DeRoulet says.
Another important feature used throughout the house is the NanaWall systems. A total of five are used in this house — four in the main house and one in the cabana. “The NanaWall doors open up and out of the way,” DeRoulet says. “It integrates the indoor with the outdoor living space into one major area.”
The NanaWall folding-door systems open up to terraces and porches. “These areas are located on the west side of the house and because it rains a lot in Seattle, we covered the terraces and porches. Open trellises provide shade and covered porches offer all-year living,” DeRoulet adds.
Building a house for a Street of Dreams event can be stressful and extremely fast-paced. This project took nine months for construction and ended up showing to 100,000 people within five weeks. It not only won best of show but also most livable.