Bainbridge Artists' Home Makes A Bold Statement

The house: Nestled in a cedar grove on a Bainbridge Island hillside overlooking Mount Rainier and Rich Passage, this is a compound composed of a three-bedroom house plus his and hers detached artists studios. All are clad in white corrugated metal punctuated by boldly colored window frames. The home's interior, with its soaring ceilings and 8-foot French doors, is purposely dramatic to serve as a backdrop for art. Unusual and custom-made touches include custom bathroom tiles, stone drawer pulls and a curved wall that serves as a woodstove mantel.

The architect: Tom Kuniholm. After interviewing numerous architects, the owners settled on Kuniholm in part because he was very open to their view that the home should be a strongly collaborative effort. "It was obvious from the start that we would be creating a bold statement consistent with their artwork and outlook," he says, "yet the structures are sited to have a light touch on the landscape, conforming to the grade and carefully working around existing trees."

The owners: Robert Carlson and Mary Fontaine-Carlson are both well established artists (he a sculptor/glass artist and she a writer and creator of custom-printed books) and they had strong ideas about the home that would occupy the acre-plus view lot they purchased a decade ago. The home would have "a soaring feeling." It would have "surprises." But it would not have much of what is considered de rigueur today: thus no garage, family room, soaking tub, large kitchen centered by an island, or as is so so common with a sloping lot like theirs, daylight basement. But it would have a grand main room - a combination living-dining area that can turn, chameleon-like, from a quiet family area to a dance hall.

The contractor: Colegrove Brothers Construction.

The size: House is 2,350 square feet; studios are 850 square feet and 500 square feet.

Construction cost: $390,000. The owners did much of the finish work themselves.

Judges' comments: "This is a fun design, good floor plan and site planning. The artist client was surely fun to work together with. Terrific views and site topography. The exterior, white-on-white light-gauge metal, is harsh to the neighbors and environment, but it will be pleasant for the occupant."

Tour details: Noon to 4 p.m. today (Sunday) only. To avoid having people go directly to the home, which is on a narrow private road, no specific address is being given.

Driving directions: A shuttle van will take people a short distance from a pickup point to the home. To get to the pickup point from Seattle, take the Bainbridge Island ferry. Coming off the ferry, turn left at the first light onto Winslow Way. Continue through the main business district. Turn right on Madison Avenue. Turn left on Wyatt Street Northwest. It will wind around the head of Eagle Harbor. Stay on this road to a flashing yellow light; veer to the right and continue on Bucklin Hill Road Northeast. It will become Lynwood Center Road Northeast. Turn right onto Northeast Baker Hill Road. At the top of the hill, park near the intersection of Northeast Baker Hill Road and Palomino Drive Northeast to ride shuttle. Route will be marked with Times open house signs. The Seattle Times/AIA Home of the Month program began in 1954. All licensed architects are encouraged to submit their residential work for consideration. Nominees are reviewed by the Seattle Chapter, AIA Home of the Month Committee, which includes peers and non-architects. Call 206-448-4938.