Mathieson Residence

Seattle, Washington

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Located on the historic Olmstead Brothers Queen Anne Loop, the site originally housed a flower shop which, with its adjacent greenhouses, supplied flowers for the neighboring cemetery and the Pike Place Market. The owners purchased the abandoned structure – long ago converted to an apartment – from an absentee landlord. The site has significant street noise, as it is at the corner of two arterial streets that serves as the first stop/holding area of a bus route.


The owners desired an open urban loft layout with a feeling of density at the street and a tranquil interior courtyard. Driven by a modest budget and the willingness of the contractor to use the owners as his construction crew, the solution reflects decisions made based on using cost effective materials and the owners’ unskilled labor.


The existing structure was closer to the street than existing zoning regulations would allow for new construction. In order to maximize the space available for the courtyard, portions of the existing structure were retained. These portions serve as a base for the two-story open loft structure above. An existing shed served as a wood shop and metal fabrication area during construction and was then converted into storage, studio, and garage spaces once the house was completed. The two structures – along with the clad site wall – define an urban courtyard elevated above the adjacent roadway. The house faces into the courtyard, the solid walls acting as a buffer from the noisy streets and bus stop.

Awards & Publications

  • Honor Award – AIA Northwest and Pacific Region 2002 Awards
  • Honor Award – AIA Seattle 2001 Honor Awards for Washington Architecture
  • “West Coast Residential: The Modern and the Contemporary” by Greg Bellerby (Canada), 2007
  • “West Coast Residential” Exhibition at the Architectural and Design Museum, Los Angeles, October-December 2006
  • “West Coast Residential” Exhibition at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Vancouver BC, June-August 2003
  • “25 Houses Under 1500 Square Feet” by James Trulove, 2004
  • “Old Queen Anne Renewed”, Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine, 23 January 2000
  • “Naughty, Immigrant, Flowers” If Walls Could Talk, HGTV, aired 10 December 1999