Even his design-savvy colleagues weren’t sure what to make of Michael Northrup’s fantasies of purchasing a dilapidated fruit-processing and storage plant in Tieton, Wash., as his second home.
At the beginning of 2015, he said: “I went with my best friend, an architect, a developer.” Each and every one of them thought he was completely insane.
Ten thousand square feet had been plundered and much of the electrical wiring taken from the structure, making it unusable. In the end, Mr. Northrup was ready to move after months of house hunting in this location, which was appealing to him because of the area’s expanding creative community, about 150 miles south of his primary residence in Seattle.
After admiring the cherry orchard and Cleman Mountain’s vista, 52-year-old Mr. Northrup from Accenture decided to transform a run-down warehouse that had lain empty for more than 50 years into an art studio and gallery.
“I just couldn’t get it out of my thoughts,” he remarked, expressing his frustration. You can’t ask too many people, and you can’t get too many opinions, but you have to trust your instinct. The idea was simply too intriguing not to pursue.”
He paid $70,000 in October of that year for the home on a one-acre lot. A old Timberline trailer was then purchased and brought into the house. First, he used the two facilities and showers in the warehouse, and then hosed in a gas heater to shower outside in the trailer. To prevent the pipes from freezing, he drained them each winter.
However, he desired a more permanent residence where he could spend the entire year without feeling displaced. As a result, in 2017, he hired Seattle-based architecture company Best Practice to develop a plan.
Two years later, Mr. Northrup and his architects looked into a variety of alternatives. He initially requested a shipping container home, but then realised it wasn’t the best option. A house might be built inside the warehouse, or a portion of it could be converted into a dwelling.
In the end, they decided to destroy the garage on one end and build a two-story, 1,100-square-foot standalone house that would be connected to the original structure by a new courtyard as the best course of action.
In order to take advantage of the expansive views of the cherry orchards, Ian Butcher, the founding partner of Best Practice, opted to build a new house with a living room and kitchen on the upper level. “We painstakingly constructed a succession of smaller, punched windows to showcase intriguing, cool aspects of the old architecture,” he explained.
Front of the living room is a 250 square foot porch with an extended roof and the home’s only bedroom is located on the ground level.
Concrete blocks and corrugated metal siding were used on the exterior and plenty of exposed plywood was used on the interior for financial reasons and to reflect local building traditions. It was intended as an abstract depiction of an agrarian building, according to Mr. Butcher.
He started construction in late summer of 2019 and finished the house in late fall of this year at a cost of around $350,000. He’s spent the most of his time since then there, taking in the scenery, meeting other creatives in the area, and figuring out the best ways to utilise his warehouse.
Asked what he called it, he said “playing warehouse.” “There are things I can do there that I couldn’t do at home. I’m confident enough to say, “Let’s hang a tent from the wall with screws.” Another option is to create something or repaint an existing surface. “All you have to do is have fun.”
In an effort to brighten up the courtyard, he chose to create a large-scale mural of yellow semicircles. A few days later, he and some pals built a warehouse bedroom so that he could accommodate guests who didn’t want to stay in the trailer.
According to Mr. Butcher, “the central, enormous area where they used to store apples is set up so that it could be a tennis court or hold a big dance party.” Mr. “He has a projector and a lot of wheeled sofas for movie evenings there.”
In the Fall, He Intends to Host a Group Art Show.
As of now, everyone is wondering, “What is the plan?”” In describing his warehouse, Mr. Northrup made the following remarks. “Never occurred to me. Even though I now own a home there, the area is continually changing. Just for the time being, we’ll accept it as is.
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