The House Is Not About the Ocean

The House Is Not About the Ocean

In Seattle, a Modern Home That Looks Toward the Sky and the Water

I spent part of Wednesday morning listening to the audio recording of an interview with the lead architect, Steven Holl, and the lead designer, Jeff Schlich. I listened with an open mind, and what I heard made me wonder if we’ve ever had a more perfect home. It’s the epitome of what a home should be and one of the reasons why I loved living in West Marin—its proximity to water, which meant that we could get out to the water for almost all of our outdoor entertaining.

“So the first thing is, the house is not about the sea,” Holl says as he looks out across the pool and pond that stretches out by the pool house. “It’s not about the ocean. The water here is so important for the house and the story of it. It’s about a life lived at home, it’s about not having to go to the beach, not having to go to the ocean. And I think these days we’re so conditioned to go to the beach… ”

It’s worth noting that we had no ocean views from our new home, and in fact, we rarely left the pool. But I understood what he meant. We were so busy spending time around the pool, and the house itself, and we took that for granted. But I couldn’t help thinking how incredible it was that not only is he able to live in a place that’s very far from the water, but he is able to live with a pool. I spent more time than I should have walking by the pool, watching as he changed diapers, played games, and generally lived a life that didn’t involve going out to the water much.

I can’t say the same for me.

For me, the pool was the centerpiece of my home, and even though I often came home from work and spent time in the pool (usually on Wednesdays at lunch),

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