Leschi Inventor’s House
Leschi Inventor’s House
Designed for a thermodynamic engineer and passionate inventor, Leschi Inventor’s House merges a home with a working laboratory. Guided by the client’s curious and creative nature, the design blurs boundaries between spaces for living and spaces for experimentation.
A durable interior materials palette of concrete, steel and wood reinforces the concept of the home as a functional workspace. In the kitchen, lab-grade countertops and an integrated Bunsen burner coexist with the expected refrigerator and cooktop. An adjacent double-height cantilevered living room provides ample space for gathering as well as an opportunity to showcase the home’s engineering. The cantilever is supported by a single 30-inch structural steel pipe that contains a true Rumford masonry fireplace built within its base, designed in collaboration with the client. A custom steel stair provides access to the upper level master suite and “think tank,” which features a library of textbooks, manuals and books about engineering and inventions.
The porous stair, mechanized windows, sliding doors and roof hatches work in concert to exchange daylight and support passive ventilation, harnessing fundamental principles of engineering to maintain a comfortable interior. Exposed systems throughout the home highlight the client’s fondness for “tinkering” and provide a canvas for future experimentation and refinement. Several systems, including the radiant heating and window/hatch controls, are labeled with the names of the engineers and craftspeople responsible for their installation, celebrating the human ingenuity behind these inventions.
The low-maintenance exterior of Leschi Inventor’s House further showcases the natural forces that shape the home’s unique ecosystem, including durable weathering steel cladding that will patina over time. A meadow of native plants and grasses adorns the site’s steeply sloping rear yard; these plants will bloom and re-seed throughout the year with little to no intervention required. Outdoor systems continue the home’s theme of engineering innovation, including rainwater collection expressed as a rectilinear planter-machine with its inner workings revealed. Perched at the top of the hill to capture eastern views to Bellevue, Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains, the home also preserves space for a basement-level accessory dwelling unit and several overflow workspaces.
Leschi Inventor’s House draws design inspiration directly from the inquisitive, fascinating mind of our client, fostering an environment where no thread of curiosity is off limits to exploration. Every space within the home can be a laboratory, every system a canvas for innovation. This is a house that will continuously evolve over time, propelled by the owner’s interests and ideas.Kevin M. Kudo-King