Fairhaven Gardens


New landmark, historic flavor

Sometimes a building can add to the flavor of an entire community. This mixed-use condo and retail complex does just that.

This mixed-used project is located on a prominent sloping city block in downtown Fairhaven which faces three different streets. These site characteristics along with height limits were the driving forces behind the appearance and form of the building. The vernacular of the project blends in well with the surrounding historic downtown Fairhaven neighborhood. Retail and restaurants are located on the street level with two stories of condos above, which step with the slope of the site. A courtyard in the center serves both as a place to gather and allows natural light into all of the units.

32 condos • 7 retail spaces • 75,000+ sq. ft.


The primary focus was to design a beautiful, mixed-use building for retail spaces and condominiums, while blending the architecture to fit the historical aspect of the town.

The 75,000+ sq. ft. structure needed seven retail spaces, 32 condos, and two levels of underground parking.




Mixed use commercial
vintage lamp
Corner stone
Corner of classic multi-use building
Arched Garage


Because of the history of Fairhaven, we knew it had to be a brick building. After a view analysis, historical photo research, and studying the style and character of the town, we went for a fresh renaissance look.

The retail spaces were given direct access to the main streets. While the tenants roof gardens have a view of Bellingham Bay.

Adding to the attractive, old-style feel, square and arched windows are varied in a sort of modulated pattern, and the entrances to the undergound garage are arched.

Fairhaven Gardens is an enhanced landmark for downtown Fairhaven, adding to the creative vocabulary of the whole town.


At the time, Fairhaven Gardens was one of the most expensive buildings in Bellingham to build. But this was intentional, as up-scale condos would add to the sales value.






Back side of Fairhaven Gardens
Classic window detail
Roof garden
Fairhaven Gardens corner retail and condos
Garden chess
Courtyard chess


We were not involved with construction but we provided detailed documents for the builders.

The city’s height limit was 35 feet. But the code was poorly written since it didn’t address the fact that the building would be on a hill adjoining three streets.

We helped the city better understand how the code impacted Fairhaven as a whole and our project in particular. They appreciated our input and changed the code, setting a precedent for all future building in the city.


The rewritten code allowed us to maintain the city’s 35 ft height requirements throughout the slope of the hill by incorporating a stepped design. Our efforts to assist the city in changing their building codes helped the permitting process go smoothly for the client.

And because the city was so happy with the design, we passed the design review the first time through.




Fairhaven Gardens window detail
Fairhaven Garden Classic Window Detail
Fairhaven Gardens
Fairhaven Gardens balcony
Fairhaven Gardens
Fairhaven Gardens


As the architect of record, we were fully involved from the schematic design through to the final design development drawings. We also handled all communications with the city. Once our designs were completed, assuring the look and feel of old town Fairhaven, the simple task of completing the construction documents based on our design and reviewing construction was performed by another firm.






Construction: Ebenal Construction    Photography: Jim W. Smith