The Finished Product: Flattop House 🏑

April 13, 2021

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

I have come to call our house “Flattop” and there are a few things to know about this name:

  1. Sachi is against naming any house because she doesn’t want it to sound pretentious. And I get it. Boats and houses can both have names that make unintentional impressions.
  2. The marketer in me loves naming things. Having an informal name for a house can add a bit of personality and serve as a useful shortcut.
  3. The roof of our house is not flat.

The name started organically in 2018 when we were living in the Yurt and using Amazon Alexa to play music. I created a playlist that was to be our up-tempo music for moving-in and celebrating. I originally called the playlist “The Yurt” and found myself saying “Alexa, play ‘The Yurt’ playlist” and then waiting for her to shrug her virtual shoulders. The words “the yurt” were not easy for her to understand. So, I decided to change it.

For inspiration, I looked out over the water, to the island that is closest to us called “Flattop”, which is a nature preserve. I said the words to myself and tried to image being a robot. Flat top. Play the Flattop playlist. Alexa got it immediately. Problem solved.

From that point on, the name stuck in my head, at least. It seemed easy and obvious. So I started using it for other things like folders on my computer and albums of photos. That’s the shortcut. It helps, too, that our property is flat and on the top of a hill. I’m not sure Sachi abides, but I think she’ll come around.

Flattop – Unadorned

There is a unique point in each house’s life when it’s naked and in its purest form. The work is done, but the people haven’t yet moved in. For us that lasted about 24 hours and I took the opportunity to take photos before it was hidden behind furniture, rugs, and all the things that bring it to life. Below, I’m sharing those photos along with sections of the creative brief from last week.

Brief: Exterior Appearance

“We want this house to feel like it was built for the PNW. It should feel at home among big evergreens, madronas, ferns, and rain. We love the idea of the charred siding, known as Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi.”

Front view from the Driveway
Flattop West
Western Facing View
Over the Water
Rear View from the South
Flattop Entry
Front Entry

Brief: The View

“The focus of the house will be the view and maximizing the view and feel of privacy, both inside and out. This is also true for noise, which travels easily to neighbors. The great room and office must have views of the water, others are negotiable.”

Nana Wall doors facing west. Each door is 6′ X 10′

Brief: Exterior Deck

“The west facing exterior has been a big focus. We imagine a thoughtfully designed deck that faces the water. We envision a roof that overhangs the deck, blocking sun in the summer and provides shelter in the winter. We’d like to have a place to be outside on cool days with heaters in the ceiling, perhaps. We imagine a grill and a fire bowl, or fireplace. We love the idea of being able to look at the water from the great room without seeing a railing.”

Fireplace and Grill in the Outdoor Room
Fireplace and Grill in the Outdoor Room
Outdoor Room
NW Corner of the Deck
Deck Facing South

Brief: Interior

“The interior should be warm and cozy, probably with wood ceilings and floors. We imagine sloped ceilings that may be higher than normal, but no vaulted ceilings. Bi-fold doors open the great room to the patio. Further, we like the idea of the house being divided into two sections that are connected with a hallway.”

Kitchen
Great Room (Fireplace and TV)
Outdoor Room and Hallway
Hallway with LED Strips
Guest Bedroom
Guest Bath
Office/Bedroom
Master Bath
Flattop Master Bath
Master Bath

Brief: Fenced Garden and Dog Run

“We will need to think about placement of a deer fence and dog run that connects to the house.”

The (Future) Garden
Dog Run

Find more posts about Building Flattop.


0 Comments

Ready for Rain isΒ  a newsletter that's personal

On most Tuesdays, I share a story from my life on Orcas Island and a recommendation for something I love. I'm interested in how to design work and home for lifestyle, livability, and fluffy dogs. Learn more.

I care about your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

You May Also Like

I Believe (in Build Livable) 🏑

I Believe (in Build Livable) 🏑

Today, I feel like I’m on the right track and learning as I go. I’ve been able to address most of what I wanted to do, but there are always going to be ways to improve (like using a dSLR camera). My goal right now is to look professional without spending thousands of dollars.

read more
Home Studio Tour πŸŽ™ πŸ”Š πŸŽ₯

Home Studio Tour πŸŽ™ πŸ”Š πŸŽ₯

Today, I feel like I’m on the right track and learning as I go. I’ve been able to address most of what I wanted to do, but there are always going to be ways to improve (like using a dSLR camera). My goal right now is to look professional without spending thousands of dollars.

read more
We’ve Got Worms πŸͺ± – How to Subpod

We’ve Got Worms πŸͺ± – How to Subpod

The idea is pretty simple: You put thousands of earthworms, like red wigglers, into an outdoor container with food waste. The worms eat the food and turn it into gold in the form of castings. That’s the beauty of this system. It converts waste into fertilizer for the next round of crops. Win-win!

read more