Homeowners with architectural backgrounds work with BUILD LLC to create a place of maximum minimalism.
THERE IS A SPACE for everyone in Satish and Anila’s ultramodern home in the Issaquah Highlands — even for folks who don’t get to live there:
• In the gleaming great room, Satish can catch up on movies in the living area while Anila cooks in the kitchen, and they’re still sharing wide-open space, even when they trade spaces. (“I like to cook,” says Anila. “I like to clean,” says Satish. “It kind of works.”)
• The adjacent two-story atrium is ideal for snuggling with their 5-year-old son, Ashwin — rain or shine.
• Before bedtime, Ashwin works on reading and writing in his awesome upstairs big-boy bedroom, where he can keep an eye on Mom and Dad — upstairs or down — through a floor-to-ceiling all-glass wall.
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• When Satish’s parents visit from India for a couple months, they encamp in total comfort in their own connected-but-private first-floor guest room.
• And when dozens of guests alight for a housewarming party, they flitter from welcoming space to welcoming space, naturally spilling out onto the back deck, overlooking a lush greenbelt and maybe the entire horizon.
“We use 95 percent of the house every day,” Satish says. “We spend 80 percent of our time downstairs, and use the upstairs just to sleep.”
It is an excellent use of space — for family and friends. “Things,” though, might want to find a new place to live.
“I don’t like clutter,” Satish says. “Even now, I think we can get rid of 30 percent of our things.”
In the kitchen, he says, as a striking and tidy example, “I didn’t want to see anything out. Andrew [van Leeuwen, partner and lead architect at BUILD LLC] helped us find a nice cabinet.”
This modern minimalist kitchen is no place for haphazard refrigerator magnets, either. “At school, they say you can go home and put [art] on your fridge,” Satish says. “That’s not happening in this house.” Instead, he says, Ashwin gets “one wall, a small space” in his room. (Ashwin puts that to adorably artful use.)
Even clothes are not immune to the clutter aversion of a true minimalist. In the streamlined master suite upstairs, Satish estimates a 30-percent foul line in the closet and declares, laughing, “Everything from here should go.”
Satish, perhaps not surprisingly a “huge fan” of modern-architecture pioneer Le Corbusier, and Anila both have architectural backgrounds. They knew what they wanted — and how to express it.
“We were looking for modern homes,” Satish says. “More minimalist. We wanted exposed concrete, glass, steel.”
They just weren’t sure where to build it — until they found this site (with its picturesque green spaces and view) in this neighborhood (with its architecturally accepting point of view).
“The whole idea is that Seattle is such a beautiful place; let’s build a house where we can enjoy that,” Anila says. “We looked in West Seattle and Des Moines. And when my son was born, we started to look at school districts. … The lot brought us here, and the community said each style can be individualistic. This one sort of clicked. It encouraged houses to be unique — modern and contemporary style.”
And with project designer Carey Moran, also of BUILD, the architectural clicking continued.
“We could elevate our conversations and could dive deeper more quickly,” she says. “With the drawings, that aided in our initial massing explorations — we could spend time honing in on proportions.”
In the airy great room, Satish says, “The ceiling height and room proportion in here we spent a lot of time on.” (The ceilings are 10 feet high downstairs, and 9 feet upstairs.)
And in the two-story, light-filled atrium, he says, “The initial concept had two skylights and a retractable roof. The budget made it smaller and smaller. For the scale of the house, it would have been too much.”
Now brilliantly balanced, Satish and Anila’s modern, minimalist home is a special space representative of a style, and a family: It is used and appreciated, daily, but not weighed down, ever, with things.
“You can go sit there and look out,” says Anila — at the grassy park across the street, and at the front yard … landscaped, beautifully in tune, very, very gently.
“The whole idea is to keep it as simple as possible to keep the house the focus,” she says.