Point Monroe Residence

BC&J Architects,  Bainbridge Island, WA

A Home to return to on Bainbridge Island 

When the future owners of the Point Monroe house were shown the lot in 2006, the only inhabitable structure was a small boathouse that needed a lot of work.  They hired BC&J Architects to put together a design team and turn their ideas into a home while they lived elsewhere for almost a decade. The new residence, built on the waterfront of Madison Bay in Bainbridge Island, completed the home its owners had always dreamed of.  Complimented by a detached garage with a guest suite near the street, and a restored boat house at the waterfront, this house might find its way into anyone’s dreams.

Architect Peter Brachvogel and Project Manager John Geurts from BC&J started with the boat house and dock, both of which needed a full renovation, and that’s where IL Gross got involved.  Due to the site restrictions, the existing structure couldn’t be replaced, only renovated.  Upgraded framing and hardware was installed to accommodate the enlarged openings that made the boathouse a place where you might want to spend the afternoon, rather than just where you keep the life jackets.

Then they designed the new carriage house with a garage that included a small apartment on the second floor so there would be somewhere for the owners to stay on the property.  Finally, in 2014, Dave Carley of Carley Construction started building the new Main House.

The original architectural design started with a simple idea; the more natural light the better.  This soon led to a two-story house that was seemingly all glass on the east facing waterfront side, and used more steel than the engineer’s office building.  The structural design was further complicated by the need for a pile supported foundation system due to the years of soft beach deposits on the site.  At one point it looked like we had created the most expensive patio in history as the first summer ended with new piles and grade beams buried in the ground and hidden by the new slab, but nothing else to show for six months of construction.   But in the end, the design came to fruition and the low sloping roof ringed with clerestory windows floats above the wall of glass panels, and from the kitchen you can see all the way back to Seattle.  Not to be outdone, the owner’s office seems to climb up from behind the master bedroom, creating a second story perch where you’ll eventually get some work done.

Instead of trying to conceal its structure, this house celebrates it.  With steel trim matching the square columns supporting nearly every corner, and window casings that end at the concrete piers separating the dining room from the bedrooms, the structure for this house is as much a part of the architecture as everything else.  

When people ask us what exactly a structural engineering firm does, we tell them it’s really quite simple.

We keep the floors from touching.


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