Best Remodel 2018: Sound Design
A cramped single-story cabin grows up.
Synopsis: The 2018 Best Remodel Award goes to Matthew Swett of Taproot Architects for using traditional materials and a steeply sloped roofline to transform a boxy cabin into this modern farmhouse with a flexible floor plan that considers aging in place. The remodel involved the creation of a small addition for the stairs which incorporates a walk-out laundry room on the first landing and a built-in window seat on the landing above. Swett included a wraparound porch to extend the living space outward, with an enlarged bathroom and weaving room on the first floor that can be utilized as a future master bedroom. Much of the native fir used in the home was salvaged and resawn; the homeowners built the kitchen cabinets and restored the historic doors for use in the interior.
This project began with a birthday present. Kathy, who attends my wife’s yoga classes, learned that I’m an architect, and asked if she could gift some of my time to her husband,David to help him design a small woodshop. Kathy, I soon discovered, is an avid weaver. She didn’t know it at the time, but I had grown up in a woodshop making weaving looms with my parents. We were well matched.
A few hours consultation evolved into a full design for the woodshop. We worked well together and our collective attention turned next to their house. Kathy and David were nearing retirement and were considering transitioning from their home in Seattle to their property here on Whidbey Island. The existing cabin was a mere 800 sq. ft., and downsizing from their four-story Craftsman-style home was too much of a leap for the couple. However, they realized they could make it work with some thoughtful modifications.
The site steers design
The cabin was old—the first of…