We’re excited to announce that EVOKE Modern homes were featured in the February 2014 issue of The Scene, a monthly publication that covers arts and entertainment news for Bellevue and the Eastside.
The article, titled “Luxe Life,” discusses EVOKE Modern’s design sensibility at length, exploring facets like the homes’ 10-foot ceilings and emphasis on sustainability.
We’ve posted the text of the article, written by Kirkland-based independent journalist Francesca Lyman below:
A new brand of homes being built on the Eastside may be redefining the homeowner experience of green design, mixing sustainability with the high ceilings, glass and cement that marks industrial chic while achieving some enviable cost and energy savings.
EVOKE Modern homes, a new offering from Bellevue-based Quadrant Homes, embrace the outdoorsy lifestyle of the Puget Sound, cool and rugged, but with an unmistakable urbanity, achieved through high design, using natural materials like hardwood and stone that warm up interiors.
Quadrant Homes, known more for production homes in master-planned subdivisions on the sprawling edges of suburbia, is now focused on building these high-design homes in closer-in, ‘infill’ locations that offer walkability and proximity to services. “We think that this is the niche we can fill,” says Bonnie Geers, vice president for community development at Quadrant.
What’s different in this offering, says Geers, is a revival of the Northwest contemporary style, after building many Northwest Craftsman homes. There’s a return to the clean, sleek lines of contemporary design, leaving out moldings and cornices – hallmarks of earlier styles like Craftsman or prairie. All of the homes feature 10-foot ceilings, a huge departure.
While the builder has offered buyers some customization (adding a window, moving a wall), the EVOKE brand takes this a step further, enabling buyers to plan their home in a way that’s most conducive to their lifestyle, putting, for example, the master bedroom downstairs or upstairs, moving halls, doorways, and other design features around. People with several children might opt for a so called “Jack and Jill” bedroom design, with a bath situated in between. Older people often choose to have their bedrooms built downstairs.
Since kitchens are rooms people gravitate toward, particularly “foodie” Pacific Northwesters, these form the centerpiece of these homes. People in this region are particularly interested in outdoor entertaining, with new sorts of spaces for grilling or serving food. “A desire for people who live in the Northwest is to really be outdoors, relaxing in multi-use spaces,” says Geers.
According to Jennifer Kim, Quadrant’s house architect, “People live in more open ways, with parents sitting around reading, drinking coffee and working at home, in places where they can also watch their kids, or visit with friends. A lot of action happens together around a family room, and spaces between kitchens and dining room, as well as outdoor spaces.”
Indeed, the Pacific Northwest architectural style was born out of the natural qualities of the environment. Lush forests and long rainy seasons allow for year round evergreen gardens and landscaping spawned a style that author Anne Wall Frank, author of Northwest Style, calls “informal, organic, and above all eclectic.”
The EVOKE Modern offered by Quadrant adds to the design kit of tools in the Northwest contemporary style, by adding some of the industrial feel pioneered by architects like Tom Kundig, featuring industrial materials like cement, says Kim. On these homes, the exterior siding consist of flat, fiber cement panels that are painted, as well as prestained, fiber cement lap siding.
Kim says that a lot of the energy efficiency is gained through the way windows are situated, with rooms facing courtyards, looking south or west to capture natural light. Smaller windows in bedrooms, situated high, insure privacy and keep out noise, but also save energy.
According to Geers, these homes are more efficient than most new construction by a factor of a third. They feature enhanced insulation products and sealants, tight window treatments, and mini-split heat pump system for heating and cooling, she says, where comfort in climate “zones” can be controlled by remote as well. Other green features include Energy Star-rated appliances, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual-flush toilets, and rain gardens.
“Sustainability, and energy efficiency, are among those features that people, especially luxury home buyers, have more come to expect than ask for it,” says Geers.
According to Geers, the Evoke models achieve impressive energy-efficiency by Home Energy Rating System (HERS) standards. The Luxe model achieves a HERS rating of 63, the Grande a 64, which are thus 37 and 36 percent more energy efficient than average new American home, (which is about 100), says Geers.
On one of the smaller models, the “Luxe,” there’s an accordion-fold patio door in the kitchen, giving it the feel of a Mediterranean restaurant. Upstairs, a child’s room has a barn door sliding across the top of the room opening. And a family room features a mechanical shade, with hallways sporting marine lighting. On the larger model, the “Grand,” the kitchen features a smaller island, as well as niches for home desks, workspace countertops, and overhead beams. Floor to ceiling windows or half-wall windows look out onto lush Pacific Northwest forest.
With the new level of customization available to them, what are some of the unusual features home buyers asking for?
“People are redesigning their homes for their cats and dogs,” she says, adding that two people whom she design for just added new closets to the house, complete with cat-friendly flooring, kitty closets, and kitty doors specially tailored for those nocturnal creatures. Felines have been trending this “indoor-outdoor” feature for centuries.
For the moment, EVOKE has a few homes of $700,000 and up under construction in several locations in Redmond and Kirkland, since it was launched by Quadrant last summer, but none of the homes is in the finishing stages. The company will also, for the fist time in its history, “build on your lot,” too.