Designing a new life for an old house.
This major residential remodel and addition transformed a house with a strange history into a dream home for a couple starting a new life. By the time the owners approached us about a potential remodel, the house had already been through a series of alterations over the decades, but none of them had involved an architectural designer. Because of this, there were quite a few odd features of the house, both inside and out, which led them to consider selling it to start fresh somewhere else.
However, the house sits off a secluded gravel drive, with a large & sunny backyard, plenty of established trees, a wide variety of wildlife passing through, and a sweeping view of Puget Sound. It would have been very difficult to find another property offering those same benefits. So, through considered design, we remodeled the house into a home that husband and wife are proud to own, and in which they love to live.
Look at those “Before & After” shots!
Before the remodel, the front entry seemed almost like an afterthought: unceremoniously patched into the exterior wall, beyond a hatch to a crawl space, and up a concealed flight of concrete steps. The front door opened directly into the dining room, with no transition space, or sense of privacy at all.
Construction documents detail how to bring it all together, and make it real.
A set of construction documents — including a site plan, as-built plans, demolition plans, proposed plans, electrical plans, exterior elevations, interior elevations, building sections, and wall sections — communicated the design to the contractors for construction. The redesign required that we gut the house down to the studs on all levels, removing some interior walls completely.
Custom woodwork adds a warm touch.
Composed of oak and custom-milled hemlock over a hidden iron structure, these one-of-a-kind railings are the brainchild of collaboration between us, Royal Dumo, and his team of skilled carpenters. The hemlock matches the other interior trim details, and the oak is stained to match the refinished red oak floors. Shadowline details in the stanchions mimic similar details in the kitchen cabinetry and at the mantel on the hearth.
Designing to bring in natural light.
One of the big drawbacks of the house before the remodel was that it suffered from limited natural lighting. Despite large windows in the living room, a needlessly closed-off floor plan and a deep overhang at the dining room window prevented light from penetrating very far into the rooms. The remodel expanded the glazed wall area in the living room, added a wall of windows and two skylights with the new entry, and opened up the walls separating the living room from the dining room. Now, even though the exterior wall is six feet further out from the dining room, the space is flooded with natural light.
A hearth of limestone and and live-edge maple.
Replacing the hearth was not originally in the scope of the project, but during demolition, we discovered it wasn’t anchored to the wall when it began leaning out into the room. That was that, and we tore it out. The new hearth lifts the existing gas fireplace insert as far off the floor as it could go while still fitting within the existing firebox. Constructed of concrete blocks and clad with honed seagrass limestone, the hearth absorbs the heat of the fire and radiates it back into the space long after the flames have been turned off.
When you need a little extra air...
The original house had a corner window in the living room, and a reasonable amount of glazing, but it was all composed of plain, fixed, picture windows. The remodel features beautiful (and efficient) wood windows with aluminum cladding on the exterior, and a custom, asymmetric mullion pattern. Three massive awning windows in the living room open to provide cross-ventilation.
Creating spatial privacy between spaces.
Before the remodel, the front door opened directly into the dining room, where the two wood columns now stand. There was no transition space, and no sense of privacy: anyone standing on your front stoop had a direct view into the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Now that the front door is down a flight of steps, the spatial distance creates a sense of privacy, and the foyer offers space for a bench to sit while removing muddy shoes, and hooks where rain-soaked coats can dry.
A beautiful, but serious, kitchen.
Just because it looks nice, doesn’t mean that you can’t have some hardcore appliances that any chef would love. Beyond the quartz countertops, solid wood cabinetry, glazed cabinet doors, and the tiled backsplashes, the kitchen is outfitted with two full ovens, an industrial sink, and (taking advantage of the upgrade to gas) a 5-burner Wolf cooktop.
Lighting for varied light conditions.
From the dimmable LED recessed cans in the entry and dining room, to the pendants, downlights, undercabinet and in-cabinet lights in the kitchen, the lighting is designed to flex easily to suit varying conditions and needs from day to night.
A solution in the stairs.
Pre-remodel, the stairs to the master suite climbed in one, straight, steep run. With the hall and closets reconfigured, the stairs now turn at a landing. New windows high above allow the glow of southern light to reach the living room.
Relax in a spa-like master bath.
With a view of Puget Sound, and flush with natural materials, this master bath is neither short on amenities, nor on peaceful style.
Napolina limestone: tile for a gem lover.
The gorgeous Napolina limestone tile of the shower and bath changes character as the light shifts throughout the day, and the naturally occurring quartz inclusions glisten when they catch the sun. The tile extends cleanly from floor to ceiling, with curated grout lines, so that there are no awkward finishes or joints disrupting the peaceful view.
Many thanks to a great team!
As our first, solo, large-scale architectural project, this project will always hold a special place in our designer hearts. So, humor us while we give a few thanks.
To our clients, who had faith in us in the first place: thank you for entrusting your house to us, and sharing with us your needs and desires so we could turn it into your new home. To the talented carpenters, woodworkers, and tile artisans, whose eye for detail and care crafted this place together. And, from this gal especially: thank you to Royal Dumo & Scott Lovell of Chermak Construction for partnering with me to not only make it all real, but also for the good time we had making it happen. Cheers!
Still hungry for more about this project?
Go deep, and read more about it in our blog.
92nd Street Remodel & Addition: Before & After
Explore the dramatic before and after remodel photos for this major residential re-do, and read about what it took to bring new life into an old home.
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