A true sign of a town’s maturity is to have enough diversity to develop specific neighborhoods — not an easy task for one less than 10 years old. However, in the coastal town of Seabrook, Wash. (est. 2004), a very distinct and sustainable district is being planned with the help of Sunset magazine, which will help promote its development.
Called the “Idea Town,” the group of buildings is the latest iteration of Sunset’s annual “Idea House” project, which showcases various green technologies and designs in gorgeous homes around the country. In this instance, the magazine will focus on not just one but several homes that are nearing completion in Seabrook and should be completed by August.
The Idea Town section of Seabrook, located just a few yards away from the beach access stairs, the 2013 Sunset Idea Town will include two new houses, a courtyard and some guest cottages that will be sited near Seabrook’s small but growing retail district, with a restaurant, a market and other shops. The homes will comply with Seabrook’s already existing sustainability protocols that apply to the rest of the town.
The demonstration homes will include tight thermal envelopes to prevent heat loss, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, Energy Star appliances and lighting, and the use of low-VOC-emitting materials to protect indoor air quality. In the courtyard, landscaping will be planted with native and drought-tolerant vegetation to reduce the need for irrigation.
The homes were designed by a group of architects, including Brian Paquette of Seattle’s BP Interiors, Peter Brachvogel of BC&J Architects and other contractors who are building the rest of Seabrook, such as garden designer Stephen Poulakos.
Idea Town should be available for tours starting in August and will continue through October. Sunset magazine will also feature the homes and designs in its October 2013 issue. Sunset editor-in-chief Kitty Morgan described Seabrook as “a charming seaside town built on big ideas that promote a true sense of community.”
Located about three hours west of Seattle on Washington state’s wild and scenic Pacific Coast, Seabrook itself can be seen as an ongoing green building experiment that’s being played out in real time. Town, the brainchild of local developer Casey Roloff, is part of the New Urbanist trend that focuses on efficient building methods, energy conservation, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and close proximity between commercial and residential properties.
Carved out of an undeveloped and rarely visited forested property in 2004, Seabrook today has 200 houses built, with about 100 available for summer rentals, and continues expanding inland with a final goal of more than 300 single-family houses ad 450 total units.