IT’S NOT UNUSUAL for an architect to stay in touch as a project progresses. We enjoy and appreciate this. From our end, it’s fascinating to watch a home take shape; learn the personal and design story behind it; and, best-case, eventually schedule a visit so we can share that story.

Here is a highly condensed example of that typical email process:

Architect: Thought you might like to see this project we’re working on.

Me: Thanks! It looks beautiful! Please let me know, once it’s completed, whether the homeowners might be on board for a story.

Architect, some months later: Look! It’s done! The homeowners are on board for a story.

Me: See you all next Friday.

Given its location, there was not a lot of “typical” involved in this week’s story on The Venice House, a spectacular home in California by Seattle architect Nils Finne that incorporates a Cascade mountain of Northwest materials and one-of-a-kind architectural elements by Seattle-area craftspeople.

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Here is a highly condensed recap of that atypical, but ultimately awesome, email exchange (actual, partial quotes):

Finne, September 2016: “Check it out! This is our project in L.A.”

Me: “Wow. Oh, I wish I could swoop down and write about that!”

Finne, March 2017: “The contractor tells me that the house has a constant stream of people taking photos, so evidently ‘Seattle’ has cache in Venice! Just let me know next time you are in L.A., and I will arrange for a visit to the house.”

Me: “I might just take you up on that sometime!”

Some time passed. Finne sent more updates, details and photos, all increasingly illustrating the astonishing level of our craftsmanship and our craftspeople, and we realized that The Venice House really is, in fact, a long-distance Pacific NW story — a faraway representative of unparalleled Northwest design, creators and skill.

Plus, the homeowners were on board for a story.

I scheduled a February visit with them, and Finne, during a long weekend with my mom to see her aunt in Santa Monica.

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As I strolled over from my great-aunt’s, I remembered something else Finne had written over our two-plus years of correspondence about The Venice House: “This sculptural house clearly stands out from the typical Venice stucco boxes.”

It certainly does. I picked it out from the end of the block — because of its striking profile, and because I’d watched it evolve into a super-special showpiece of Northwest talent and craftsmanship … a couple states south.

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