A thirty-minute northbound drive from Seattle brings you to the quaint seaside community of Edmonds, home of the Rockwell family and their modern, open-concept sanctuary. Theirs is a home fit for the pages of an architectural magazine, its clean lines, natural light, and magnificent wall of glass communicating warmth and welcome. But its walls are keeping a secret: it was built off site, constructed by a team of craftsmen in a climate-controlled workshop several miles away. Their affiliation? Stillwater Dwellings, a Seattle-based architecture firm disrupting the world of high-end modern homes with their meticulously designed, turnkey homes constructed via an ingenious panelized system.
Clean, Sophisticated, and Fully Customized
The Rockwells selected their floor plan from twenty-five options ranging from a thousand square feet to over 5,200. Nods to the masters of modern architecture are evident throughout Stillwater’s portfolio, from high ceilings to special order surfaces and even handcrafted address numbers. Their generous use of glass brings the outdoors in, showcasing the outdoor living areas and landscaping that have become one of the company’s signature elements. But ultimately, the firm knows that home is where the heart is. And so every home is personalized to accommodate the unique lives of its owners. For some customers, garages are added or bedrooms eliminated. In Edmonds, modifications were made to allow the owners to age in place for years to come. All customizations are overseen by an architect and limited only by a single factor: the homeowner’s imagination.
Bringing Home Home (Even in the Middle of Nowhere)
Stillwater’s process is a more akin to a NASA operation than a construction project. Meticulous doesn’t begin to describe the efforts taken to ensure each home’s masterful completion, from first rendering to ultimate unveiling. And that includes the transition from house to home. A typical systems-built house arrives as an oversized load on flatbed trucks, precluding any destination that would require navigating narrow roads or rough terrain. But Stillwater’s process is different. Rather than arriving in a single piece, their homes are delivered in panelized sections and assembled onsite. It’s a subtle distinction that is making a significant difference in the high-end home market. One of the key beneficiaries? The owner’s bottom line.
Designer Homes within Time and Budget
The typical magazine cover home was the culmination of years of research, design, and engineering, not to mention significant financial investment. Stillwater’s process is actually quite similar. Each is designed and engineered by a team of award-winning architects in Seattle. What sets them apart is that the costs are recouped across multiple properties. The company says their average customer saves tens of thousands of dollars in architecture fees alone due to the efficiency of a standardized systems-built approach. But cost isn’t the primary motivator for most Stillwater customers. “Our homebuyers depend on our quality and our efficiency,” says Stillwater CEO John Morgan. “We build designer houses for people who admire fine architecture and don’t want to wait five years to live in their dream home.” In the modern homebuilding market, the impact is evident: Stillwater is making waves.
*Names have been changed for privacy.