Completing the Box
The four-bedroom plan on the second floor of this Seattle Box had been crowded by unnecessary hallways and poor use of space. By adding a small addition—literally just 8' x 12'—architect Howard L. Miller was able to reconfigure the interior, filling in a missing piece of the exterior at the same time.
“We completed the Seattle Box,” says Miller, referring to the region’s name for its variant of the American Foursquare. “In this case, the square was missing one corner.”
The second floor now has a true master suite with a much larger closet and a real master bath, a large children’s bath and a guest bath, plus an upstairs laundry—all without reducing the size of any bedroom. Along with the small addition, eliminating about 6' of hall space provided the space needed to make all the rooms work more comfortably.
As part of the new arrangement, Miller angled some of the entry doors to give the hall a stronger period feel. The original operable transom windows above the bedroom doors were reconditioned with new hardware, allowing for natural ventilation.
If it looks as though the addition was meant to be, it was. There was already a floor and foundation for the new space. “You can see the dashed line on the porch. That’s what squares up with the rest of the house.”
On the exterior, Miller repeated the design of beam ends under the eave line of the addition. “It helps tie the addition to the house.” A careful observer would notice that the spacing between the beam ends is a little off. That’s because the old ones weren’t moved. “We left them where they were. They aren’t exactly equal distance apart, but it’s hard to tell.”
Adding a small addition allowed the architect to fill in a missing corner of this Seattle Box, but the real transformation was experienced inside.
ABOVE (left) Operable transoms over the doors and slight jogs in wall alignments give the hall a turn-of-the-20th-century feel. (right) The enlarged children’s bath has a new rolled-corner tub. INSET Architect Miller took care to continue original architectural details along the eave. BELOW (before) An awkwardly placed bath and long hall made the second floor feel cramped. (after) Adding just 96 square feet allowed for a full master suite with a larger closet. Miller carved out an additional bath plus a laundry room, as well as more closet space for guests.