Morse Code Project, Seattle
The Morse Code Project required us to decipher the coded messages throughout the property to unlock the urban oasis hidden within. It was originally built in 1944 as a two story chicken coop for the community. In the late 1960's an addition converted it into an auto mechanic shop. When it ended up in our hands, we found a lot of dead space throughout that needed to be activated into living and growing space. This house was gutted to the bones in order to remove the honeycomb-like interior. It required structural reinforcement to strengthen the building and to prevent the house itself from sliding down the hill that extends to the end of the property.
The interior was converted into two two-bedroom apartments. First, the upper level was turned into a rental, then the bottom half became individual rental units with a shared common area. In the process, the original rafter beams were exposed, and curved entryways were added from room to room to adjust to the settling of the house. Later, a studio cottage was built at the bottom of the property and concrete stairs were added to provide access. Terraces were created to handle the steep slope of the backyard, which included a bottle-brick wall for stabilization along the pathway, garden beds along various levels, and a fire pit with seating area on the lower level. A deck was added to the bottom level of the house as well.
The large concrete parking are in the front of the property was demolished in order to create an inviting entrance, a comfortable outdoor living area, and more growing space. The features added include a patterned-brick courtyard, a solarium, a privacy fence (eventually removed), rain water harvesting, and landscaping with a French drain system. The side pathway leading to the backyard was also converted into functioning space by adding a protective cover, pavers, and a large storage shed.