Meadowbrook Cabinet Basement

Located in a small Cape Cod style house in the Seattle's Meadowbrook neighborhood, the benefits of compartmentalization have been taken to a new spatial level with this innovative remodel designed by PMDA and built by Karlstrom Associates.

In order to maximize space while also creating a private sanctuary, the architects conceptualized of the home's basement as a piece of furniture; specifically, a cabinet to contain both utilitarian functions and surprises.

“Our Meadowbrook basement project was all about using every square inch possible in a small space,” founding architect Paul Michael Davis explains. “Our concept was to treat the space like a piece of furniture: in this case, a cabinet that holds all of the pragmatic spatial uses, such as the laundry facilities and HVAC in a wooden frame, and a carefully detailed bathroom. We designed a series of birch plywood volumes with sliding panels that conceal brightly colored spaces under the stairs and along the foundation wall for storage, laundry and utilities. The space is a quiet, neutral palette, except when the doors open. With our talented contractor, we developed a series of sliding, whitewashed wood doors to contain the utility elements.”

The homeowner loves being able to come home after a long day and relax in a highly efficient space that is free from both clutter and predictability, but displays a true dedication to craftsmanship.


Name:  Meadowbrook Cabinet Basement

Location:  Seattle, Washington, USA

Client:  Withheld

Area:  489 Square Feet                    

Site:  Lower/daylight basement level of an existing 1940s bungalow

Cost:  Withheld

Completion:  January 2018


Architect:  Paul Michael Davis Architects – Paul Michael Davis, design principal; Tiffany Chow, junior designer

Co-Designer:  Graham Day, Daydesignstudio

Structural Engineer:  Swenson Say Faget

Software:  Sketchup, AutoCAD     

Contractor:  Karlstrom Associates – Dick McDonald, Project Manager; Jeff Stevens, Site Supervisor/Lead Carpenter; Jones Van der Spuy, Carpenter

Cabinetry:  Carlos Roldan, Contemporary Cabinets

Tile:  B & E Tile – Ben Mogovan

Glass & Mirrors:  Distinctive Glass

Concrete Floors:  Diamond Polishing

HVAC:  The Plumbing & Heating Group

Photography:  Dale Lang, PhD


Structural system:  Type VB / Light Wood

Hardware:  Emtek, Restoration Hardware

Tile: Ann Sacks

Light Fixtures:  Schoolhouse Electric, Juno

Exterior Door:  Codel

Windows:  Euroline

Interior Doors:  Whitewashed Birch Solid Core Doors

Flooring:  Existing slab, ground to reveal aggregate

Dick McDonald, Karlstrom's project manager collaborated closely with PMDA and the homeowner to get every detail just right. Lead carpenter Jeff Stevens and assistant carpenter Jones Van der Spuy met with the homeowner daily, sometimes for hours on end, to make sure features like the sliding doors operated comfortably and felt right to the touch. The client also took on the tasks of painting and whitewashing the birch cabinets, paneling and doors themselves, under the careful direction of the Karlstrom team.

In the shower, PMDA designed an ombré tile pattern with handmade square tiles from Ann Sacks of varying sizes, expanding from a tiny ½ X ½ inch grid at the floor to a 6 x 6 inch grid at the ceiling. Ben Mogovan of B&E tile meticulously aligned the grout lines of the 4 different tile sizes, and perfected centered the shower niche and plumbing fixtures on the complex, fading pattern. There is also one erratic pink-red tile that can only be seen from inside the enclosure: a special surprise for someone using the shower. The cabinets are birch plywood with exposed veneer and feature a triple coat whitewash finish. A full height mirror serves as a backsplash and mounting for a Schoolhouse Electric orb light fixture.

PAUL MICHAEL ARCHITECTS, PLLC               All Rights Reserved               1221 E Pike St #300 Seattle WA 98122  USA               (206) 890-9229