Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis

Modern oasis facing Lake Washington | SkB Architects

| 19 : 30 – 29 June, 2018 |


 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis

Modern Oasis facing Lake Washington in Medina is a 1990’s built home discovered by the occupants and remodeled to a simple modernist composition.

Renovated by Seattle-based SkB Architects, the gallery-alike space within the renovated home highlights the owner’s artwork. The expansive living room opens the home to the front and extends towards the pool at rear side. The house had a sunken living space which were preserved. A beeswax-coated wall feature by artist Susan Zoccola forms a background for a unique artwork. The use of natural materials and white-painted walls give the overall abode a unique minimalist sense of decor. A floating space was created around the kitchen while connecting it to indoor and outdoor spaces.

 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis, Swimming pool

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

From the Architects –

The clients discovered this house, which was built in early 1990’s, while looking for a place in which to raise their family. They were drawn to the site’s natural landscape and its western views to Lake Washington. The original 3,800-square-foot house was an unusually austere interpretation of minimalist modern architecture—dark and inwardly focused.

Entrance to living room, Modern Oasis, Bell-Henry residence

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

The updated design evokes a gallery-like aesthetic, with the interiors spotlighting the owner’s art collection and substituting light filled interior for what was previously dark. The focal point for the home is the primary living space. It opens the house to the site, extending from front of the house to back and out to the pool.

 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis, Reading corner

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


Modern architecture, Bell-Henry residence

Photo – © Mark Woods 

Interiors – 

Inside, white walls contrast with dark wood and steel floors. The original sunken living room was preserved as a nod to the past and to serve as a cozy sitting area. A beeswax-coated wall conceals the stair and creates a nuanced backdrop for art while helping to anchor the central gathering space.

 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis, Sunken living rom

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis, Kitchen

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

The kitchen was opened up to more directly connect it to adjacent living spaces and includes the addition of a floating island. A wall of glass opposite the island directs focus to the outdoors and towards the breakfast/family area.

 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis dining room

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis outdoor space

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

A new pantry, powder room, and laundry area were added off of the kitchen. From the buckshot flooring to the granite countertops, the juxtaposition of organic and inorganic materials creates an atmosphere of minimalist elegance and a celebration of natural materials. The remodel also included a renovation of the master suite.

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


Photo – © Lara Swimmer

Exteriors –

All windows, roofing, and finishes were updated during the remodel of this modern oasis. Indoor/outdoor connections were reinforced by inserting large, fixed windows into the main level windows to emphasize axes through the house and to orient views to key focal points in the landscape.

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

Concealed doors were installed next to the windows. These created access to key areas of the yard, while limiting visual intrusions into the otherwise abstracted space. On the exterior, existing architectural forms were abstracted by removing embellishments and refinishing the house in white stucco resulting in a simple modernist composition.

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


Bell Henry residence

Photo – © Lara Swimmer


 Bell Henry residence, Modern oasis, Garden

Photo – © Lara Swimmer

Project details –


Project name – Modern Oasis / Bell-Henry residence

Architect – SkB Architects |

Lead Architect  – Kyle Gaffney, Co-principal designer | Shannon Gaffney, Co-principal designer

Project location – Medina, Washington, United States of America

Project type – Residential design, Single-family House, Renovation

Completion year – 2014

Photography – © Lara Swimmer Photography , © Mark Woods Photography

Contractor – Dovetail General Contractors

Landscape design – Allworth Design

Specialty fabricators/materials – 

Beeswax feature wall – Susan Zoccola

Oak flooring, espresso – LV Wood Floors

Chroma Quartz countertops – Pental

Carpet – Tuva

Light Boxy lights – Delta Light

Cosmic Celadon wall coverings – Maya Romanoff

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