There is a lot to see at Chris and Linda Hugo's house. So it's a good thing their architect, Michael Knowles, gave them lots of windows to see it all from.

Share story


















There is a lot to see at Chris and Linda Hugo’s house. So it’s a good thing their architect, Michael Knowles, gave them lots of windows to see it all from.

The couple’s view stretches 10 miles up Rich Passage and six miles into Port Orchard Passage. Beaches, boats and birds to be seen from anywhere in their house. Anywhere. Sitting in the bathtub, they even watch the occasional aircraft carrier sail by: Slide open the door there, and they practically are outside.

It is fitting, then, that the inside of the Hugos’ house is all about the outside.

“It’s hard to get much closer to the water than this,” says Chris, pointing straight down over the deck railing. “At high tide the water is right here.”

“Right here” is a Port Orchard waterfront neighborhood of beachy homes where floats and life rings are proper lawn ornamentation. Across the way is Bremerton and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. An aged rowboat in remnant red lists in the muck of low tide. The silver-blue water waffles meekly in the wake of a handsome Chris Craft. The right word for this place is, darn it — pretty.

“We like to watch the ferries go by,” Chris says, scanning the sights from the master bedroom. “But last night we left the door open too long and the sea gulls woke us up this morning.”

Yeah, that’s a problem.

Sure, the Hugos have the house they’ve always wanted. But it has taken a lifetime of getting here. Years ago, in Spokane, they had what they figure was one of probably only a dozen contemporary houses in town. Theirs was designed by Lars Kundig, father of acclaimed architect Tom Kundig. Chris describes it as “a big cube” of an industrial box.

“This house reflects what we learned in the box,” he says. “You have to warm up your home with your own things. We were lucky to have lived in that house.”

Chris, Bremerton’s former city manager, is a planner by profession. And before building the current 2,628-square-foot industrial contemporary, featuring two full dwelling units on either end of a kitchen-living space, they lived in a “one-story-falling-down-before-your-eyes house,” Chris says. How bad was it? The handyman who had remodeled the old place before they bought it simply built a new house over the old one. Even the roof was encapsulated in the sarcophagus.

“We had mice and spiders and flickering lights,” Chris says.

“And rolling floors,” says Linda.

But that experience gave them a few years on the site to figure it all out before moving in December 2005. This house, built by Tim Zieser of Zieser Built Construction, reaches for the sky and water using low-maintenance industrial building materials (corrugated metal siding, ground-face concrete masonry unit veneer, metal roofing, steel gutters and downspouts). Those materials pass into the inside, too, where they are juxtaposed with warm wood elements. Corner windows appear at every opportunity. While Knowles, of knowles ps architecture + design, designed the structure, his business partner and wife, interior designer Colleen, assisted the owners with the interiors.

The walls, in Unusual Gray by Sherwin Williams, appear to be as changeable as the weather. Kitchen cabinets are African mahogany crafted by Creekside Cabinets in Silverdale, the floors American cherry, and the ceiling rough-sawn cedar plywood panels with aluminum reveals.

For fun, Chris got his wife to humor him with a 5-foot steel tool chest in the kitchen from Costco. It offers storage with an industrial look, holding dishes, cigar and wine paraphernalia, a junk drawer, silverware.

“Where do you find that much stainless cabinetry for $700?” Chris asks. “And it locks!”

Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Mike Siegel is a Seattle Times staff photographer.