A Cedar-Clad Courtyard Home by Seattle’s KOArchitecture

Influenced his time spent living and working in Europe, architect Kevin O’Leary has an affinity for courtyards in the homes he designs.

His Broadview Residence in downtown Seattle is no exception.

It’s 2,400 square feet with an outdoor space at its center.

“It gives layered views and vistas through the house to the courtyard to the living space,” he says. “It’s outdoor living in an enclosed, private setting.”

His clients, a couple with a young daughter, had a specific program in mind. She’s a realtor with a strong desire for direct sunlight. He’s an architecture photographer who wanted a studio and as much indirect light in the home as possible.

The architect compromised. “There’s a bay window on the end of the house for her direct sunlight in the afternoon,” he says. “On the south side the windows are recessed for indirect light and to cast shadows – and there are clerestories in the kitchen and dining area.”

Needless to say, the two-story photographer’s studio offers indirect light. And the architect kept the massing on the one-story kitchen “box” low. But the courtyard is south-facing for as much sunlight as possible.

“The dining area is the connector between two areas, the living ‘box’ and the kitchen ‘box,’” he says. “Light comes in early in the morning from the east, and from the west in the afternoon and the courtyard gets light all day long.”

There’s storage in the front entry “box” for firewood, yard maintenance equipment, and camping gear. “They’re outdoorsy,” he says. “And now they can back their car up to the storage space and load their camping gear right up.”

The 2,400-square-foot home is clad in cedar and stained with pine tar for ample protection. “It’s a stained black ‘box,’” he says. “The grain and highlights of the wood are visible.”

That’s true for the 800-square-foot ADU for in-laws, guests, or use as an exercise room. “It’s very flexible,” he says.

If this home sounds like it came from someone who’s been engaged in building as well as design, that’s because O’Leary has done exactly that. Once he graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1996, he worked first for a design/build firm in Colorado, then another in Seattle.

He opened his own firm there 10 years ago.

Not surprisingly, he’s stayed busy.

For more, go here.