Perched on a bluff overlooking Mt. Rainier, Elliott Bay, and the Seattle skyline, you’ll find the Tesseract house. The name Tesseract comes from the YA novel “A Wrinkle in Time,” describing a theorized cube that exists in three spatial dimensions: wrinkling space and time. Named so by the owner’s son, Max, this home aptly defies expectations.
The Tesseract home was at the pinnacle of innovation from its inception, with the intention of bringing the outside in. Originally designed by Seattle Architect James Paul Jones to live in himself, he called it home until his death in 2017.
When owners Dave and Cindy moved into the home, it hadn’t been updated since the 80s. They were confronted with an old indoor water feature, a dated kitchen including a large bar (rumored to have once entertained Sammy Davis Jr.), and other features needing updates. The most crucial updates, however, were related to the seismic stability and energy usage of the house.
That’s why Dave and Cindy enlisted the help of JA. After working with the firm on a previous project, they knew JA had the skills, expertise and technological-savvy to lead a full-house remodel, and bring their new home as close as possible to a net-zero goal.
THE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE UPGRADES
To achieve a close-to net-zero energy goal, JA’s renovation plan included adding insulation, replacing windows, installing a photovoltaic system, and enhancing sustainability with radiant floor heat and mini-split air conditioning units. Overcoming challenges such as topography and solar gain, JA’s design technologist Shane Leaman created parametric software to optimize the home’s performance.
Dave and Cindy also incorporated custom art into the home, including a light fixture inspired by a trefoil knot. Designed by Shane Leaman, the modern but warm fixture connects to Dave’s physicist mind – the trefoil knot stemming from a fairly esoteric branch of mathematics and, in contrast, serving as a prominent symbol in Celtic and Norse traditional crafts.
The home was originally purchased in 2017 by Dave and his wife Lisa to share with their young son Max. It caught their eye because of its tucked-away privacy, stunning city views, natural light, architectural history and character. Sadly, a few months after purchasing the home Lisa’s long battle with cancer returned and she passed away, leaving Max and Dave to grieve and design the home with her memory at the core.
Adjusting to their new life, Max and Dave named the home “Tesseract” after the plot in “A Wrinkle in Time” – a beloved book by the family due to its adventures and personal tie with Dave’s career as a genius quantum physicist and software engineer (he’s a truly fascinating guy). The book just so happens to have been published the same year the home was built.
Cindy, an entertainment and media industry consultant, and Dave fell in love and embarked on the remodel together, sharing a minimalist, but inviting design aesthetic.