Norway Hills: 20 Years Later
Location: Bothell, WA
Size: 15,696 SF (Overall project area)
Twenty years ago, Rhodes Architecture + Light worked closely with a young builder, Chris Coddington, to design four speculative homes in the Norway Hills area, each situated on sloping 1.25-1.5 acre lots. The floor plans were similar; the finishes were different. Our original vision was filled with hope that each home would become a successful incubator for the future of people, families, and communities and allow for investment in the individualization of their spaces. Our role was to set the stage for lives to unfold and expand, and for homes to evolve for ever-changing generations.
Twenty years later, we returned to chat with one of the families about their experience with their home and the owner additions they’ve made. We wanted to see for ourselves how their home had changed over the years and how what was once bare land, had become a garden paradise.
Approaching the home from the road, all that is visible is an intriguing peek of a rooftop through the trees and garden understory. Lush, terraced gardens lead the way to the entrance with the sounds of birds, rabbits and other wildlife rustling in the thick foliage. As the owners later commented, it feels rural even though you’re in the center of a well-populated residential area.
Surveying the lush landscape throughout the neighborhood, we were struck by the thought that in most cases, housing developments take away from the natural environment and push wildlife out. The careful and abundant landscaping at Norway Hills actually gives back by providing shelter for wildlife, purifying the air and water, securing the sloping soil, and cooling the local environment.
Years ago, Rhodes Architecture + Light designed a pergola addition for the couple we interviewed. During our visit, we sat under the dense canopy of grape vines that had nearly enveloped the 16-year-old structure. The owners wanted something unique that couldn’t be found at a big box store, and felt like an extension of their home. Today they call it one of their favorite rooms of the house and take pride in entertaining guests in the cooling microclimate it creates.
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