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SkB Architects imbues Washington residence with art gallery aesthetic

White walls and naturally lit rooms define this family house in the Seattle area, which was revamped by American studio SkB Architects.

The project, called Modern Oasis, involved the overhaul of a contemporary house located in Medina, a waterfront town that sits across Lake Washington from Seattle.

The clients, who were searching for a great place to raise their family, were drawn to the property because of the surrounding natural landscape and lake views. But they weren’t overly thrilled with the house, which was built in the early 1990s.

“The original 3,800-square-foot (353-square-metre) house was an unusually austere interpretation of minimalist modern architecture – dark and inwardly focused,” said SkB Architects, a Seattle-based firm.

The team set out to lighten up the rectilinear dwelling, both inside and out. On the exterior, walls were stripped down and refinished in white stucco. The roof and windows were also replaced.

“Indoor/outdoor connections were reinforced by inserting large, fixed windows into the main level windows to emphasise axes through the house and to orient views to key focal points in the landscape,” the team said.

Inside, the architects sought to create a gallery-like aesthetic, with white walls accommodating the owners’ art collection. Dark wooden flooring serves as a contrast to the bright surfaces.

At the centre of the dwelling is the main public zone. The living room – fitted with contemporary decor and a black-faced hearth – steps down toward a patio and pool terrace. Situated off the living room is a cosy little sitting area.

The dining room features a long white table and credenza, along with a large, abstract horse sculpture. Lining one side of the room is a textured white partition, which hides a staircase.

“A beeswax-coated wall conceals the stair and creates a nuanced backdrop for art while helping to anchor the central gathering space,” the team said.

Adjacent to the dining area is the kitchen, which features glossy white cabinetry and a floating island sheathed in grey stone. A glazed wall overlooks a small patio, where the family can enjoy casual meals outdoors.

The team added a pantry, powder room and laundry area off the kitchen. It also redesigned the master suite, where floor-to-ceiling glass offers view of the backyard and surrounding trees.

The team used a range of materials throughout the home, resulting in varied textures and colours.

“From the buckshot flooring to the granite countertops, the juxtaposition of organic and inorganic materials creates an atmosphere of minimalist elegance,” the studio said.