The Palatine Passive House by architect Tiffany Bowie of Malboeuf Bowie Architecture was one of eight homes featured during last year’s Seattle Modern Home Tour in April. Bowie, a certified passive house consultant, fielded questions from tour guests curious about passive construction. “Many people weren’t familiar with the concept of a passive house, so it was a great educational opportunity,” Bowie said.
Thanks to its efficient design, the 2,700-square-foot urban infill project boasts energy usage up to 90 percent less than standard building code requirements. The home earned certification as a passive house. Its technological efficiencies include an airtight envelope, continuous high-performance insulation, and managed solar gain, as well as the home management and control system Kirio, which monitors the home’s systems, appliances, and even lighting. A continuously filtered heat and moisture recovery ventilation system offers excellent air quality and temperature-control, making the home exceptionally healthy and comfortable.
Its stunning herringbone façade and clean, modern landscaping make it a good aesthetic addition to the tree-lined streets of the Greenwood neighborhood. Bowie worked with architect Joe Malboeuf, her husband and business partner, to treat the cedar siding in the manner of “shou sugi ban,” a Japanese art form for charring cedar. Her father, for whom the home was designed, also pitched in to help with the charring and sealing process. In addition to its rich, elegant patina, the treatment protects the wood and prevents the need for maintenance. The herringbone pattern was intended to meet at 45-degree angles, but the roof’s pitch was adjusted to slightly less than 45 degrees in order to keep the roof’s height within neighborhood restrictions. That made cutting and installing the siding slightly trickier, but the end result was worth it.
The home’s dark exterior means visitors are in for a surprise when they step inside. Bowie’s father, a retired energy consultant who enthusiastically embraced the passive house concept, had lived abroad in Japan and Scandinavia, and the home’s design reflects both influences. The interior is voluminous, bright, and filled with light, natural finishes. Large windows were strategically placed to maximize daylight. The floor plan offers three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a loft. The master bedroom design features an open sink and shower with a separate water closet. Bowie’s go-to white paint color, Eider White by Sherwin-Williams, is used throughout the home.
“Joe and I are influenced by Scandinavian architecture that exhibits simple forms, clean lines, natural materials, and thoughtful daylighting,” Bowie said. “We like keeping our designs simple while adding in our own unique details or using materials in new ways.”