In 2010 I had the opportunity to design a garden terrace for an intriguing mid-century modern house in Inverness, a north Seattle neighborhood. Designed in 1962 by renowned architect Jack Morse, who was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a University of Washington professor of architecture, the house was sponsored by Georgia Pacific Corporation as the “Century 21 Idea House” for “House & Garden” magazine. Publishing in the August, 1962 edition of “House and Garden,” Georgia Pacific, Jack Morse and the magazine all clearly intended to ride the tide of publicity raised by “Century 21,” the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Now as Seattle celebrates the 50th anniversary of the fair, it’s timely to unveil the house and garden renovation.
The original house featured pyramidal skylights over four quadrants of the nearly square floor plan: the living room, bedroom wing, kitchen and garage. In subsequent years, the garage was converted to a family room and an independent garage was built near the southwest corner of the house. Moving the garage freed up the original driveway to be converted for landscape use, and the south garden area was created. By 2010, this space needed a sensitive landscape renovation. Working closely with the new owners, I created a design that embraced both the confident modernism of the house and the Northwest Japanese flavor of the existing garden.
One of the best features of Jack Morse’s original house design was a flush concrete perimeter band framing the entire structure, inset in places with a band of river rock. We kept this striking feature and introduced new paving of Abbottsford “Texada” pre-cast concrete pavers in a striped pattern with two colors. The garden features a Coral Bark Maple and a candle oil-fueled fire table from Restoration Hardware.
The landscape installation was by Performance Landscape Company.
House From the Garden Terrace (Photograph by Holly Johnson)
Garden Terrace viewed from the family room (photograph by Holly Johnson)
Detail of the garden terrace (photograph by Brooks Kolb)
Restoration Hardware Laguna Fire Table (photograph by Restoration Hardware; location shown is not in the Century 21 Idea House garden)