"This neighborhood is happening," architect Bradley Khouri says, enthusiastically spearing his asparagus during dinner at the nice young couple's house next door to his own Judkins Park home. And he's right. A new contemporary home here, a Victorian remodel there, intent-to-build notices posted in yards, chalkmarks for a traffic circle at the end of the...

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Now.

“This neighborhood is happening,” architect Bradley Khouri says, enthusiastically spearing his asparagus during dinner at the nice young couple’s house next door to his own Judkins Park home.

“There are multiple projects in the neighborhood.”

And he’s right. A new contemporary home here, a Victorian remodel there, intent-to-build notices posted in yards, chalkmarks for a traffic circle at the end of the block. Tree limbs wave in the wind; flowers nod from pots on porches.

A big change in a very few years.

“When we moved here (in 2005) from the top of Queen Anne, there were drug deals going on on our porch. And prostitutes,” says Khouri’s wife, Kyri. “The neighbors hadn’t talked to each other before we got here. Now we are in touch with all the neighbors.”

And Khouri, captain of his local Block Watch, which he started, can name them by profession: “There are graphic designers, lawyers, artists, a contractor, builder, social worker, grad student, carpenter, UW employees.”

Brad Pauly (Web developer) and Nathalie Molina (globalization consultant) nod in agreement. They’re the neighbors. And they live in one of Judkins Park’s newest homes, a tall, urban-cool duplex designed by Khouri of b9 architects. The Khouris, meanwhile, live on the other side, in an old red farmhouse.

Huh?

That’s right, a three-story, 4-star BuiltGreen contemporary sharing a wall and a city lot with a single-story bungalow. New house — three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths in 1,735 square feet — attached to old house — two bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, 1,200 square feet: 2007 attached to 1904 at the hip.

“We built this basically in our driveway,” Khouri says, explaining the vertical nature of the new dwelling. “I have to have uber modern or something seriously old.”

He’s got both. The Khouris thought at one time they might move into the contemporary, but it sold fast — at the open house, twice.

“We found it online, and it was striking,” Molina says. “But our realtor wouldn’t show it to us because there was already an offer.” So they sneaked over and spent about two hours wandering around the house.

The other deal fell through, and Pauly, Molina and their chow, Gordo, moved in November 2007.

“We loved all the decisions Brad made. They were things we would have picked out ourselves,” Molina says. “We love that Brad didn’t tear down the old house. It sealed the deal for us.”

Lots of architects and builders say they build green, enviro-friendly. But new construction is new construction; labor spent and materials manufactured. Khouri, also the developer, went one better by keeping the old place and adding a home on the lot. Multifamily zoning helped.

The new house, built by G-Projects, is filled with natural light. Superinsulated, it also has a solar hot-water system, dual-flush toilets and a gray-water reuse system. The walkway is recycled concrete, the driveway is lawn-like Grasscrete. Materials were purchased from local companies and contain recycled goods whenever possible. Patio and deck carry the living spaces outdoors.

But Pauly and Molina also have Grohe faucets, Ann Sacks tile, a heated garage. The kitchen includes a Viking range and Bosch dishwasher.

And, boy, the neighbors are talking now.

“This house became a big business card,” Khouri says. “The people across the street bought their house in foreclosure at auction. They toured this house, and now I’ve designed two single-family homes with a courtyard in the middle and parking below for them.”

A buzzer sounds. Time for dessert. Khouri’s organic apple pie — made in the old house, baked in the new.

Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.