From Toilet to Play Pavilion in Seattle

Tucked in the back of a Craftsman home in Seattle is a two-wheeled freestanding garage which reimagines the family room. Rather than a space based around a tv, the garage became a multipurpose pavilion which struggles the household to engage in play and actions. “My customers now have a large multipurpose space on the second degree, a bicycle and auto storage area on the initial degree, and a unit that’s designed to be flexible and stimulating for your kids — one which can grow and change together well in their teenage years,” says architect Margaret Menter.

Space at a Glance
Who uses it : A couple and their three young kids
Location: Seattle
Size: 413 square feet
Design challenge: Getting zoning approval for a project which the planning department did not know how to categorize.

Menter Byrne Architects

The customers wanted their kids to have the ability to use their imagination in the area. They could read novels from the hammocks, hang from the monkey bars, climb the ropes run around freely. The space can easily be converted from a gym to a party space, hosting a small dinner party or a family movie night. A little bathroom and a utility sink are all on the premises, making cleanup after craft parties and tiny gatherings easier.

Monkey bars: aluminum pipe system; rate rail: Hollaender; walls: painted plywood; hanging swings and gear: steel trusses; slipping barn-door hardware: Better Barns; utility sink: custom; swings and rings: Ikea

Menter Byrne Architects

This project pushed Menter to envision an area through the eyes of active children; it also enabled her to utilize more modern, streamlined and practical design elements while still being aware of a largely traditional residence built in 1904.

Menter’s customers, who use the very first amount of the garage-pavilion as an electric car docking station, wanted to utilize as many green design alternatives as possible for this particular distance.

Menter kept 75 percent of the garage’s present walls to reduce waste; used lasting materials like plywood (for the walls) and stainless steel (for the fittings and baseboards) to reduce the demand for repairs; and installed industrial lighting fittings, high performance windows and skylights to reduce energy loss.

The play pavilion uses the original roof frame of the older garage; Menter simply added a steel truss throughout the middle of the room to support the climbing ropes and swings.

Flooring: reclaimed chestnut broad boards, Pioneer Millworks

Menter Byrne Architects

The pavilion is connected to the outside and is within plain view of the larger home. Its proximity to the patio ensures entertaining can quickly extend to the outside.

Menter Byrne Architects

The biggest challenge for Menter was getting zoning approval. “We could not alter the garage into a play area without including auto parking elsewhere on the property, therefore we finally ended up using a auto garage tucked beneath a multipurpose space,” states Menter.

Folding doors: Bi-folding Aluminum Door System, Fleetwood

Menter Byrne Architects

What was a storage area filled with boxes and arbitrary things is now a distance that reflects the current lifestyle of this family. ” [My clients] can always convert the pavilion in an office, music room or a in-law apartment later on, but for now, it satisfies the requirements of the active and fun family.”

The very best part of the renovation was when Menter’s customers emailed her a picture of the kids in the pavilion with a sign that read, “Best room ever!”

See related