Flip Flop House(s)

Adams Mohler Ghillino Architects
Firm Contact: 
Rik Adams
(206) 709-3070

The project departs from the Seattle norm of a single-family dwelling centered on its lot and surrounded by an ill-defined and underused ring of outdoor space by providing two complete “flip-flopped” dwellings defining their own outdoor spaces. The design responds to its corner site with diagonally opposing entrances, gardens, parking and corner windows to provide the amenities of single-family living for two households, not one, on an in-city lot using existing public utility and transportation infrastructure.

Each unit is comprised of bedrooms and baths on the upper floor with an open ground floor living space connected to its garden via french doors. In response to code, which requires the units to share a common wall, the two dwellings overlap by 24” at a thickened wall of fireplaces, closets and built-in casework. Interior spaces are open, flexible and often serve multiple functions such as the stairwells, which double as light wells and, in the main dwelling, a study. The units share a single, high-efficiency in-floor radiant heating system while retractable awnings allow for shade in the summer and daylight in winter. A below grade storm water cistern is used for irrigation of the gardens. A modern house in a traditional neighborhood, its two units are offset to present a scale more in keeping with its neighbors while providing a transition between the adjacent houses and the non-conforming, zero lot line commercial structures across the street. Generously overhanging shed roofs, wood windows and the articulation of upper and lower floor siding materials provides a connection to context without mimicking it.


Good design makes a difference

American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects