Project Description

A second story master suite addition provides the owners with amazing Puget Sound views


Over the years we’ve observed that West Seattle has some of the funkiest and also most interesting homes in the City.  This existing home leaned a bit more toward the funky, having been previously remodeled on the lower level but not the upper. With an amazing west facing view of the Sound, we could tell this would be an opportunity to create something both special and interesting.

Our clients expressed a desire to construct a new second story with a master suite to capitalize on the amazing view but also gave us the challenge of limiting the amount of structural work necessary to accomplish this.  The site also had its own challenges, being on a steep slope, which limited the possible area of development, and a high wind zone, which made modifications to the existing structure more challenging.

After examining our options and consulting with one of our structural engineers, we decided to construct the new addition mostly over an existing, very solidly built ‘bunker garage’.  Due to its sturdy concrete construction we were able to locate the majority of the new addition over the garage without any modifications to the existing garage foundation.  The new addition added two levels of covered decks which greatly increased outdoor living space facing the amazing view.  Located on the top floor, the master bedroom faces the view while being nestled next to an existing pine tree, giving the feeling of being in a tree house.

Of course the main level was remodeled to match the craftsman aesthetic of the existing lower level, and we redesigned the deck stairway and main level deck to provide better access to outdoor spaces.

Project Info & Tips

  • This unexpected solution was the result of analyzing the owners needs for additional space (only a master suite) and the specifics of the existing house and site (particularly the views)
  • Western views also come with the harsh western sun. Covered decks on the west are a great way to help shield the house from the sun
  • Western decks can be made even more livable by hanging vertical sun shades at the exterior wall of a covered porch
  • We analyzed the structural capacity of the existing bunker garage to determine that it could support the additional weight with very few modifications
  • This house is located in a high wind zone. Permitting portions of the work on the existing house using a Subject-to-field-inspection permit allowed for less structural reinforcing of the existing house (which would have eaten into the budget for the addition)
  • While the house is quite tall, it is still 2 feet under the height limit, which helped us avoid having to get a survey of the property (in Seattle, if the structure is within 2′ of the height limit, a survey is required)
  • This property is within a mapped steep slope.  Building on top of the existing house helped avoid additional permitting challenges with the City
  • To learn more, see our article on Second Story Additions
  • This project was featured in
  • Level of Design Services: Permit Set Plus
  • How do I Estimate Construction Cost and Design Fees?
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