Lake Forest Park House, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Architect: Finne Architects, Seattle

Builder: Schultz Miller, Seattle

Nils Finne

Finne brings a woodworker’s obsession with joinery, precision, and tools to his projects, too. But there’s irony in those carefully hewn details. Though they appear to carry the artisan’s touch, “they aren’t handcrafted—they’re made with really powerful machinery,” says Finne, who adds that he’d have to be out of his mind to do otherwise. Large CNC milling machines produce intricate grid work and complex textures quickly and affordably—provided that the prototypes are worked out beforehand, to the millimeter.

Here, warmth transcends woodwork; an interplay of wood with materials such as terrazzo, glass, and steel keeps the home from looking heavy. “You never want to use too much wood,” advises Finne, who says that the contrast with cooler materials allows the wood to appear more lustrous and beautiful.

Natural light also helps the house feel inviting. Vertical clerestory windows allow light to bounce off various surfaces and they permit natural ventilation, too. As for skylights in this light-challenged part of the country? Never. Finne is adamant that they do nothing to make a home feel cozy.

Assembling individual elements so they hang together without looking crazy-busy is harder than it looks, but here, the interaction of materials defines the warmth of the house. “It’s like a family standing there,” Finne says, “where you can see differences between family members, but you can tell they’re all related.”

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Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA.