Architect’shome shows care in details

Published on Thu, Mar 22, 2007 by JackKintner

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Architect’s home shows care in details

By Jack Kintner

Architect Craig Telgenhoff has built another of his clever and innovative one-of-a-kind houses, this time at 4763 Alderson Road in Birch Bay and, as with his earlier efforts, it’s a pleasing blend of textures, colors and surfaces with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.

The three bedroom, two and a half bath two-story house sits on a narrow and steep lot above a small creek a few blocks back from the beach.

Telgenhoff began by grading the back of the lot to a retaining wall a full story below street level that gives access to storage under the house and provides for a small back yard suspended about halfway up the steep gully. Despite having neighbors close by, the space is both pleasant and private.

The creek flows most of the year, providing habitat for birds and a pleasant running water sound that can be heard anywhere in the house by just opening a window. A trail that was improved some years ago by the local Lion’s club runs through the area from the beach up to Camp Horizon, the former air force base.

The front of the house is dominated but not overwhelmed by a large porch that has elements of both craftsman and post-modern design. It resembles the craftsman houses of the 1920s with its two large shingle-clad pillars that widen at the bottom and exposed support beams. There are lots of different surfaces that can be seen from the street, including cedar shingles, exposed fir beams, glass, metal flashing and siding and even galvanized hog-wire fencing.

That’s very much a post-modern approach in its visual impact and exuberant use of variety for variety’s sake. And that’s what distinguishes Telgenhoff’s houses – he can pull all this together into a unified, even dignified whole.

The glass in the front doors and windows to each side are in reeded glass that allows light but little else, since the bedrooms are on the main floor. In fact, when you open the front door you can see all the way through the main stairway and, if the door to the master bedroom is open, to the trees over the creek in back, which makes it into an extra design element.

The 2,800 square foot house is tall in part due to the narrow lot it sits on but also to take advantage of the views and the light.

The main stairway is literally and figuratively the centerpiece of the house, leading up to a unified second floor that has a large living room, an alcove for a kitchen, a dining area and a second alcove for office space. All these spaces connect without walls or doors, although behind the one door there is a small walk-in pantry that connects through a second door to a carpeted bonus room over the single car garage.

Telgenhoff’s use of a variety of textures and surfaces continues with his treatment of the main stairway as it ascends to the second level, where the floor around it is made of standard fir two- by six-inch boards that are polished and lightly stained and covered with a clear sealer. “I wanted the stairway to look like a boardwalk,” Telgenhoff explained, “so I used standard grade fir and even designed it so there’s some give to the boards, like a real boardwalk on the beach.”

Like a violin solo, the idea of putting rough fir boards that feel a little loose underfoot while they shrink a little and check with age alongside his lavish use of solid maple flooring stained a deep walnut and deep pile beige wool carpeting leading up to a slate covered fireplace could be almost painful if not done exactly right, but once again the effect works together to make just the right kind of statement, neither too loud nor too subtle.

In fact, that’s one of Telgenhoff’s techniques, to carry colors and design themes and patters from one surface or area to another. One of the boards that lies next to the stairwell, for example, is a 2x4, giving a wide-wide-narrow-wide wide pattern. That’s repeated in the porcelain countertops and the slate facing on the gas fireplace on the west wall, as well as in the spaces between windows and the colors that are used in the maple kitchen cabinets.

The walls on the second floor are all nine feet high, and in the living room the cathedral ceiling peaks out at 15 feet making for a western wall that’s nearly all glass. The light pouring in highlights the textures and surfaces. The colors, deep and rich earth tones, change as afternoon sun gives way to the rosy sunset glow.

Two of the bedrooms downstairs share a full bathroom that also has a door to the central hallway next to the stairs. The master bedroom is directly opposite the front door and is set up that the beach can be seen from the bed. It has the biggest bathroom in the house and beyond it a walk-in closet.

Telgenhoff said that he has had the place listed but that it now is off the market. “I’m thinking about renting it out for $1,700 a month,” he said, “but if I were to list it I guess it would go for $490,000.”
Telgenhoff can be reached at 933-1770.