Seattle architect builds simple home inspired by own bio




Architect George Suyama wonders if his early years in a Japanese American internment camp led to his love for simplicity. “My theory is that we had nothing there so I became obsessed with little things. I was at a camp in Idaho called Minidoka and it was a tarpaper barracks. They were long shed buildings, I don’t know how many families lived in them, you had one window and a stove area and there were curtains that separated one family from another. Maybe because there was nothing there that I wanted to make everything as simple as I could.“

For five years, he and his wife lived in a tiny 500-square-foot fishing shack in West Seattle. When they bought the narrow lot next door, they wanted to recapture that simplicity.

Determined not to remove a single tree, Suyama designed a home 18-feet-wide. To reduce the visual noise of the home the walls, roof, ceiling, floor are all one color (matching the surrounding trees). The only exception is a white box that runs nearly the length of the home which houses the service elements- kitchen, bathroom, stairs and bedroom- and a loft.

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48 Comments

  1. wolf robot
    October 3, 2017
    Reply

    This is not a simple home. There's a lot that went into it.

  2. SuburbanHobbyist
    October 3, 2017
    Reply

    Make the "sliver" on the side 2' to 3' wider (it can still be offset, just make sure the other side is wider), add a window or some other element to the front of the white box and give the white box some texture such as wood, stone or color…something, anything. The way the house is now looks unfinished, a bit boring, rather pretentious and simply unbalanced. It's as if it is the anti feng shui. So close to the mark but so far at the same time. Just my opinions of course. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Anne Vallance
    October 5, 2017
    Reply

    I'd like a moon viewing porch…

  4. Mike Gomez
    October 5, 2017
    Reply

    interesting program but i wish there wasn't so much box over the kitchen. looks a bit claustrophobic, considering it's a communal space.

  5. DunderKlomp
    October 6, 2017
    Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. Little details like the offset, the sliver, the window that seemed to float.

  6. psiklops71
    October 6, 2017
    Reply

    it's wonderful i grew up on that beach so lovely

  7. vL Squid
    October 7, 2017
    Reply

    I hate this

  8. FeelItRising
    October 7, 2017
    Reply

    I wanted to see his old house. 🙂

  9. loren salazar
    October 7, 2017
    Reply

    Lovely design for a wonderful part of Seattle.
    Surprising he would leave the tree, which both restricts the home size and curtains off a beautiful view of Puget Sound.

  10. The Tick
    October 8, 2017
    Reply

    He has a deep knowledge and very intelligent.

  11. Man Cave Tiny House Loans Nationwide
    October 8, 2017
    Reply

    It shocks me, how so much can be, in a small place.

  12. FRIESENBOYZ OFFROAD Canadian
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    Beautiful home

  13. keith mcguigan
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    Pass

  14. Jason V.
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    I love watching your videos, buy please, no more extreme fish eye shots… Also the really slow frame rate sections are quite jogging as well… And no it wasn't my connection… You can clearly see where it gets very jerky.

    But most importantly, the extreme fisheye lens completely distort the house/video… A little bit of a fisheye is totally acceptable and also can be very useful… But once you start really distorting what you're suppose to be focusing on, it defeats the propose.

  15. biospheres
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    Beautiful design however there comes a time in the world of dwindling resources and increase of population you need to stop promoting dream structures for the masses. Next gen is going to pay dearly for the buffoonery of our times. Especially this area of the country prone to earthquakes, tsunamis and eventually a catastrophic volcanic action that is going to Pompeii everyone there.

  16. Flameberries
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    isnt everything you do in your life ispired by your ''own bio''. Stupid title imho….

  17. Daniel Sinclair
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    Love this house. Amazing to see the designer walk through every detail — it was like walking through his mind.

  18. mariam s kazi
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    Love it!

  19. Robynn Grant
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    I can listen to this guy talk for forever

  20. JustAnotherAsianGuy2
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    the guy an idiot cause it a big house but he made it much much smaller

  21. Scott Sanderson
    October 11, 2017
    Reply

    Love it. Simple as that!

  22. andi hidayat
    October 11, 2017
    Reply

    understanding again what was like to living in a "SMALL HOUSE"

  23. Pete Rayx
    October 11, 2017
    Reply

    2:30 Only Family Guy fans will understand…

  24. CERN Tech
    October 11, 2017
    Reply

    look at all those premium materials..lma0. nevertheless, bookmarked for future ref.

  25. Alpha Lite
    October 12, 2017
    Reply

    Nothing special, moving on…

  26. Josh S
    October 12, 2017
    Reply

    If you close your eyes you can hear Jeff Goldblum

  27. Moose
    October 12, 2017
    Reply

    I love that he based it all on the grid. Makes my design heart flutter. he did a good job of combining the humanist and geometric.

  28. Victor Da Silva
    October 14, 2017
    Reply

    He likes relief

  29. Weareallbeingwatched
    October 17, 2017
    Reply

    No acoustic privacy in that place

  30. Weareallbeingwatched
    October 17, 2017
    Reply

    Bloody hell! It really does remind me of that Concentration camp!

  31. D Storm
    October 21, 2017
    Reply

    Wonderful place. Washington is such a beautiful state, but being ruined by socialism and illegal immigration.

  32. Mitch Collins
    October 22, 2017
    Reply

    This man gets it.

  33. Hank O
    October 27, 2017
    Reply

    If I bought this house, first thing I do is: Paint the white box satin black and the dark walls pure white…….BAM…now you're cookin in rain city!

  34. Hank O
    October 27, 2017
    Reply

    BTW: For $1.7 Million…you too can have less visual noise…

  35. Judith Bisson
    October 28, 2017
    Reply

    I’m in love with this home.

  36. Brigitte Plattner
    October 31, 2017
    Reply

    I colect seeds too.

  37. tompaj10
    November 4, 2017
    Reply

    have you noticed how acoustic this space is?  , plus no evidence of real life in that house

  38. e james
    November 8, 2017
    Reply

    I can tell by the woman's high pitched voice that the acoustics are horrendous in this house. And that's very important to me cuz' I'm all about music…..

  39. Dillon Enns
    November 12, 2017
    Reply

    what an amazing house.. truly a human to nature connection that is simply astonishing…

  40. Prashanth Budihal
    November 15, 2017
    Reply

    Simply splendid !

  41. Alva Geffenblad
    November 16, 2017
    Reply

    This is such an inspiring place! Thank you!

  42. Joseph Neutral
    November 19, 2017
    Reply

    So…he had built a modern day concentration camp with his youth inspiration.
    Any House doesn't have to be perfect if you have the family you truly love.

  43. The JMR Experience
    November 22, 2017
    Reply

    I actually said WOW out loud when you showed that upstairs room. Really loved this house!

  44. L H
    November 23, 2017
    Reply

    This is the most epic house design I've seen.

  45. Taqi Munassar
    November 27, 2017
    Reply

    I loved it so much.
    Dear Kirsten,,
    I love watching your videos, it brings me back to life. I feel so much joy in watching them.
    Best wishes

  46. Tamás Viola
    November 27, 2017
    Reply

    I love it but every time he says Hwhite i feel like i am watching a scene from family guy. Coolhwhip.

  47. Olek Dav
    December 1, 2017
    Reply

    a proper use of architecture skills! wonderful!

  48. Jiro Conwi
    December 4, 2017
    Reply

    It's dark inside. But if you are there i think you wouldnt even mind because it is part of the character of the house. And it would be relaxing.

    I like the small space in the side where the rooms share 1 big window. Sometimes its not just about the space efficiency. You also have to factor in the connection of the rooms of the house.

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