Inside Outside House by David Coleman Architecture

Located in Bellevue, Washington, this contemporary private residence has been designed by David Coleman Architecture.


Located a stone’s throw from the region’s technology center, this house is nestled into a stand of mature cedar trees. Our client wanted a house that had abundant natural light and a strong connection to the land. To accomplish that, we pushed the building back away from the street, freeing up a large outdoor area, then organized the interior into two wings – living and sleeping. We then developed a series of courtyards that terrace up the site and through the building, linking inside and outside space in a sinuous whole.


Visitors approach the house from the east, entering the first of three “outside rooms”, the Auto-court. This space doubles as a sport court and is often strewn with badminton equipment, bikes, and family toys.

The Meadow-court, shaded by cedar trees and merging directly with the interior spaces, has a more pastoral setting. Planted in field grasses and containing an outdoor living area and water feature, nature is the predominant experience here.

The third outside room, the Terrace-court, is an extension of the living area. Facing west, this space is used for seasonal dining and evening campfires, the final destination of a sinuous path.


The roof over the living wing, supported by four concrete columns, appears “light” and pavilion-like, inviting daylight in and views out. Seemingly formed from a single sheet of material folded subtly in an origami-like manner, and combined with a glass curtain wall, inside and outside space become one.


The sleeping wing, with its low-slung roof and dark-colored finishes, stands in intimate contrast to the rest of the building. A children’s play loft is tucked under the living area roof ,where the living and sleeping wings intersect. A private terrace is located off the master bedroom.


Materials and details are designed to minimize visual noise and strengthen the calming quality of the site. Geothermal heat, super insulation, passive solar with thermal mass, and wide overhangs reduce heating and cooling loads.

Photography courtesy of David Coleman Architecture

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- by Matt Watts

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