Driving through the sculptural gate and down the winding drive through the verdant green lawn dotted with carefully chosen trees and shrubs, there is a noticeable transition from the noise of the street to the sanctuary of private space. A pair of Chinese foo dogs flanking the offset, floating-block concrete walk hints at the Asian influence found in the interior design and the personal art collection of the homeowners.
This Colvos Passage home reflects the combined efforts of homeowners and designers working together to provide the most comfortable and intimate space for the people who inhabit it.
When the homeowners decided to make a life change and leave the hustle and bustle of Issaquah, a search for a smaller, quieter community eventually brought them to Gig Harbor. Through a long series of serendipitous events, eventually the perfect plot of land was acquired, and David Hopkins Design was identified as the home designer, with Hoppet Design Construction as the builder.
“David Hopkins Design is a one-stop shop,” the homeowner said. “David is a visionary who sees the structure, the interior, the topography and the landscape as one integrated design.”
Hopkins is an anomaly in the design/build industry. While growing up, his father bought and sold numerous houses, and took on a wide variety of construction projects. Hopkins never really got involved, nor was he particularly interested.
He says he was aware of the aspects of remodeling and construction such as drywall, electricity and plumbing, and just thought those skills were all part of the package — basic skills that everyone had. His interest was in art, and he hoped for a career in an art-related field.
Life is full of twists and turns, unexpected necessities, opportunities and diversions from one’s expected path. Hopkins found himself with a family to support, and turned to home construction to make a living.
With a partner, he acquired a 26-room home to remodel and discovered his gift of being able to see beyond the walls, into the vibrant space of the structure. Hopkins allowed his artistic creativity to flow, to design a space not just for efficiency, but for real comfort of the inhabitants of the space. A self-taught designer, he surrounds himself with other talented people who are able to translate his vision and implement his designs.
Always enamored of midcentury modern, contemporary design and the use of innovative materials, Hopkins also began to think in terms of sustainability. A sustainable structure is one made of materials that do not easily degrade or require constant maintenance.
A structure built with the highest integrity of design, allowing the homeowners’ voice to be heard, makes for a home that will not require updating or upgrading. A home designed for a family with their needs, present and future, allows for a lifetime of growth and change.
The Colvos Passage home is a prime example of how ideas, needs and wants coalesce into a solid form, resulting in a structure that meets the needs of its inhabitants. Sitting perfectly on its plot of earth and built of solid design and sustainable materials, the home also graces the environment.
Hopkins begins the design process with an in-depth interview with the potential homeowners. Engaging in a dialogue about lifestyle, floor plan preferences, accessibility and so on, the design team gathers information that is translated into line drawings presented to the couple.
With the line drawings finalized, the blueprints are developed and Hopkins’ business partner, Dawn Gogel, begins thinking about the inside space, including finishes and furnishings.
Partners since 1996, Hopkins and Gogel have “developed a symbiotic relationship, reaching an elevated level of capability working off each other’s strengths,” according to Gogel.
The gentleman who owns Colvos Passage is a self-admitted type-A personality. When first presented by Hopkins with the plans to build a unique “two-cube style” home on his property, he found it difficult to relinquish control. He eventually was able to share in Hopkins’ unique vision, and says that one of the most wonderful aspects of this home is how the floor plan emphasizes the view from every direction.
The two sections of the home are offset from each other to take advantage of the curvature of the shoreline at that spot. The main living area looks east and south, while the master suite windows provide a sweeping view to the north.
The cubes are connected by a glassed-in breezeway providing a view of Puget Sound from the entry garden. Space between the sections of the home on the water side shelters an outdoor patio that has a fireplace and steps leading down to the hot tub.
As the homeowners own an extensive, modern art collection, they required spaces to display it. Wooden sculptures grace a narrow table in the breezeway, and numerous paintings by a family member provide the focal points in a guest room and other areas of the home.
The couple also have inherited a collection of Chinese artifacts, which are placed tastefully throughout the home. Gogel designed a sturdy display unit with an Asian feel that fits against a wall in a passageway frequently used by the couple’s two large dogs.
“I was so pleased that Dawn was able to solve the problem of utilizing this space by designing a sturdy, safe place for my treasures,” the homeowner said.
Part of the David Hopkins Design’s process involves always being on the lookout for strong, sustainable materials. Steel I-beams used instead of wooden studs do not deteriorate over time, long-lasting metal roofs provide nearly maintenance-free protection from the elements, and industrial-grade windows offer soundproofing as well as thermal protection.
Floors throughout the home are porcelain tile, underlaid with a heating system, which results in a clean and warm surface underfoot.
“We picked out several different tiles,” the homeowner said. “And slowly but surely, by process of elimination, considering lighting and color, clean-ability, etc., we narrowed it down to just a few.
“The final test was to lay the last contenders down and have the dogs romp on them,” she added. “The tile that emerged unscathed is the one we chose.”
Another step toward sustainability is low-energy consumption, and the owners of Colvos Passage are fully dedicated to that process. The building itself is designed in such a way as to save on energy consumption. The homeowners have taken the process one step further by installing an electrical system that relies on solar energy, collected by solar panels installed on the south-facing sections of the roof. Excess energy is sold back to the power company, resulting in very low utility costs for the home.
As each of the living spaces is totally customized, the kitchen is highly efficient and large enough for several exuberant cooks to work together at one time. As it is an extension of the main living space, the appearance is unlike a standard kitchen.
Overhead cabinets are kept to a minimum, allowing for the wall over the sink area to be open to the view. The refrigerator is camouflaged behind cabinetry materials and a large, square, floating-granite island provides additional work and seating space.
The homeowners have met many others who live in Hopkins Design homes and say they are like a fraternity. Friends who all have one thing in common — an intensely personal experience working with an intuitive builder who knows how to provide just the right home for the people who will be living in it.
The homeowner summed it up by saying, “This home was built personally for us and our lifestyle — but these are really David’s homes. We just get to pay for them and live in them but they really belong to David.”