Photo by: Emily Hagopian

A Modest Deep Green Home in the Woods



Silver Rock

Bainbridge Island, WA

Living Building Residence

Nestled within a beautiful forest glade on Bainbridge Island, WA (an island only a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA) sits Silver Rock – a modest, humble, yet poetically enchanting home dedicated to a family’s personal values of peace, serenity and environmental stewardship.  The home was built for a family of four – two working professionals and their two young children who value their privacy and wanted a homesite that would connect them to nature and all that it provides.  The three bedroom home is simple in its conception – located in the far northeast corner of their property in order to have the best solar exposure and to preserve as many large, mature trees on the site. All of the major spaces look out to the south for warmth and views andthe home was designed to frame two courtyards – an entry courtyard for vehicles on the north side of the home – and a garden courtyard on the south side of the home.

Inside the home an east-west corridor organizes all of the spaces and was affectionately nicknamed “the Hallway of Life” during the design process – so called because every major space enters off of this singular, wide and gracious hall.  On either side of the hallway, spaces are organized into primary rooms that have double height pitched roofs – notably the family great room and the master bedroom suite or secondary spaces that have flat roofs/green roofs such as the children’s bedrooms, home office spaces and garage.   A notable feature of the home is how connected the inside feels to the gardens and outdoors, since all primary spaces have windows and views on at least three sides and no matter where you stand in the house there is at least one view back out to nature.  Biophilia was an important consideration to create a home that feels connected to place and life itself.

Photo by: Emily Hagopian

Photo by: Emily Hagopian

Photo by: Emily Hagopian

Photos by: Emily Hagopian

Built From the Earth Itself

The home was built with a palette of natural materials – in many cases literally from the site itself.  A major organizing principle within the design – the hallway of life, features a massive two-foot thick rammed earth wall made from soil from the site and nearby quarries. The rammed earth wall utilized Sirewall technology that features insulation in-between two steel reinforced wall sections- creating an energy efficient and durable construction that is beautiful and creates a feeling of solidity and permanence.

Complementing the rammed earth construction was the use of extensive wood – both inside and out from responsibly sourced FSC forests or salvaged sources – including some giant salvaged columns repurposed. Even trees from the site itself that were cut down for the project weremilled and used in a variety of ways including all of the exterior siding (cedar) and some interior wood (douglas fir).  Creating a ‘localist’ construction with considerably reduced embodied carbon and habitat impacts compared to most new homes.

The outside of the home features charred ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ cedar siding, done to ensure longevity without the use of chemicals, paints and stains.  The house feels natural and part of the landscape as a result of its materials and color palette.

Using all the natural materials and building from earth and wood from the place made the construction process the most meaningful in his career according to Brant Moore, the construction lead “ the home has a good soul”.