Architect Matthew Coates Designs a Modern Beach House on Bainbridge Island
To say that Tom and Heather Perilstein share an adventuresome spirit is an understatement.
They are inveterate international travelers, the sort who go in for camel-riding jaunts in India and folk art-scouting trips to Mexico. They are also creative careerists. It was during a visit to Seattle 20 years ago that they saw the ad for retail space in the Market. “At the time, we were importing rugs and jewelry from Pakistan and India,” recalls Tom. “The Pike Place Market commission said they didn’t want any more Asian folk art retail. So we just said off the top of our head, ‘How about Mexican?’ They went for it and we got a truck and headed for Mexico.” Thus was born the popular Milagros Mexican Folk Art shop in the Market.
The couple evinced the same kind of impromptu inspiration when it came to building a new home. When not busy tracking down funky Day of the Dead statues, Tom has a thriving sideline flipping properties on Bainbridge Island, where the couple had settled inland. A long-held beachside site, saddled with a dilapidated cabin, had yet to be turned. “We thought I’d fix it up and I’d sell it,” says Tom. “One day we just figured, ‘Why are we living in the woods when we could live on the water?’ ” They found a fellow adventurer, and islander, in Matthew Coates, whom Tom had come to know while working on one of his to-flip projects. The architect, now busy starring in green design lectures with the likes of Ed Begley Jr. and pitching custom housing lines in Japan, just then, was contemplating launching his own firm. Thus, with Tom acting as general contractor, was born Coates’ first solo endeavor and the Perilsteins’ new dwelling, home to engaging natural views and absorbing artworks.
“The main sort of architectural diagram or concept of the house was really about the view and about their lifestyle,” explains Coates. “The house, in a way, is a gallery for a lot of their art.” Artwork and water views both are served via an abundance of light-welcoming clerestory windows and a number of stylish display nooks. “We found many places to create niches, shelves and platforms to put some of their significant pieces,” he says.
Space was gained by building up and digging down, the latter in order to make room for a daylight basement turned teenager hangout for the couple’s son, Austin, and his friends. In keeping with shoreline restrictions, the 3,200- square-foot, three-level dwelling is situated on the former cabin’s footprint. Describes Coates, “There’s a red vertical volume as you’re entering [the house] on the right-hand side and then there’s a horizontal, wood-clad volume on the left…in between is just a glassy membrane….The whole idea was to create this very glassy, completely transparent space that’s defined by the [window] glazing between these two architectural forms.” He adds, “I didn’t want these forms to feel too massive and that’s why I lifted the roof plane up on these clerestory windows so it looked like it was floating. At night, you get this beautiful glow from the house.”
As well as hiring the contractors and contributing much sweat equity, minding the budget was Tom’s main mission (including late nights spent mining the Internet for attractive, yet affordable inventory, such as the sleek, modern lighting in the dining area). Thanks to the luxury of a no-rush approach on the project, he even managed to pay off costs as they built. Marvels Coates, “He’s a real DIY guy. He has this knack for finding deals that’s just amazing.” (Among Tom’s great gets were the factory-second PaperStone counters that he snagged at the company’s Hoquiam factory.) One splurge that Coates pushed for was the imported Swiss Pearl red-fiber paneling for the home’s exterior. Unlike less spendy materials, “It’s a through-color. You don’t ever need to paint it; well, almost never. It has a 20- to 30-year warranty,” says Coates. Another reason for the high-end paneling is that it travels inside the house to wrap around a living room wall that’s fitted with a large wood-burning fireplace boasting a distinctive custom steel surround. “The patina itself took about six months,” says Coates of the metalwork. “It’s essentially rusted steel, but it’s deeply pitted. I wanted something that looked like it had been washed up on the shore.”
Coates is confident that he nailed the home’s “big picture” idea of creating a lively space that highlights, and even mingles, art and nature. “The fact that you actually can see through the house and see the mountains before you even get to the front door was important to me, and we pulled it off. On the right day, it’s pretty phenomenal: It looks like the [Olympic] mountains are right inside the house.”
“We just love the feel, the layout, everything,” agrees Tom. “We work a lot, my wife is constantly in that store, and being able to come home to this is huge. We pinch ourselves every morning, believe me.”
OPEN HOUSE STATS
Edition 6 :: Number 34
Architectural Firm :: Coates Design Architects
Cost :: Approximately $200 per square foot for a
3,200-square-foot house (total project cost might include additional fees for
other services that are not reflected).
Open House Tour
Our ongoing partnership with the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter (AIA Seattle) continues our commitment to bring the experience of Puget Sound–area residential design to our readers. Each issue, we showcase an architect-designed home, selected by AIA Seattle and Northwest Home, which will be open to the public for a Sunday-afternoon viewing. We invite you to tour this issue’s featured home, designed by Matthew Coates of Coates Design Architects, located on Bainbridge Island at 12005 Arrow Point Loop NE, on Sunday, November 21, between noon and 3 p.m. For more information on the tour and the Open House program, please visit nwhome.com or
FIND IT RESOURCES
Architect: Matthew Coates, Coates Design Architects, 710 John Nelson Lane, Bainbridge Island; 206.780.0876; coatesdesign.com. General contractor/owner: Tom Perilstein. Project/siding assistant: Shaun Simek. Structural: Jack Wiggins, Quantum Consulting Engineers, Seattle; 206.957.3900; quantumce.com. Excavation: Zimmer Construction, Kingston; 360.297.8047. Tree removal: Westerlund Wood and Tree Service, Port Gamble; 360.779.2711. Framing: Allen & Charters, Sequim; 360.461.1381; allenandcharters.com. Steel: Lee Fabricators, Silverdale; 360.698.1190. Roof: Hanley Construction, Bainbridge Island; 206.842.4321; iroofit.com. Siding: www.swisspearl.com. Windows/sliding doors: sierrapacificwindows.com. Electrical: Ahearn Electric, Bremerton; 360.373.1900; ahearnelectric.com. Concrete foundation/floors: Kurpgeweit Bros. Concrete & Construction, Poulsbo; 360.297.6927; kurpgeweitbrosconcrete.com. Floor staining: David Cates, Maverick Specialty Contracting; 206.285.0703; maverickspecialty.com. Radiant heating: Olympic Radiant Heating, Gig Harbor; 425.828.4328; 253.858.2422; olympicradiant.com. Appliances: Schmidt’s Home Appliance & Sleep Center, 750 Ericksen Ave., Bainbridge Island; 206.842.0349; schmidtsappliance.com. Kitchen cabinetry: Hertco; 360.380.1100; hetrco.com. Kitchen countertops: PaperStone; 360.538.9815; paperstoneproducts.com. Lighting: “Renee 1” pendant (over island), Leucos “Fold S” (over table); LBClighting.com; “Ball,” “Cigar,” “Saucer” lamps (stairwell); modernica.net. Interior steel railing: Steve Johnson, Paracelsus, Port Townsend; 360.385.2754. Fireplace insert: Majestic Royal SuperHearth SHR5; legacy.majesticproducts.com. Finish carpentry: Paul Groomer, Bainbridge Island; 206.818.2233. Garden consultant: Tish Treherne, Bliss Garden Design, Bainbridge Island; 206.799.0897; blissgardendesign.com. Japanese maple: Woods Creek Wholesale Nursery, 21008 Woods Creek Road, Monroe; 360.794.6823; woodscreeknursery.com. Art: Milagros Mexican Folk Art, 1530 Post Alley, Pike Place Market, Seattle; 206.464.0490; milagrosseattle.com.