After rescuing an aging structure, a mid-century home’s views are reborn.
Living with Legends: The History Behind an Incredible Find
The Ion chairs by Gideon Kramer were introduced in the Space Needle’s Eye of the Needle restaurant at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. They were designed for the Ion Furniture Company in chromed steel and fiberglass. “I became aware of the requirements as well as deficiencies of seating and decided to see if I could do better,” Kramer said of the design. “The chair took its form from the process which it was intended to support.” Initial prototypes, he said, “were fabricated out of Vulcanized Fiber, with the simplest of tooling. Soaked in our bathtub, formed on a wood fixture, baked over the living room stove, hung on a wash line to be sprayed with a resin finish. [It was] a low tech family enterprise.”
When Sally Julien and her partner, Peter Loforte, found their 1963 lakeside house in Issaquah, Washington, it was in desperate shape. The couple had just come off an easy-breezy process of remodeling their Palm Springs vacation home when they discovered the throw-back house, with its L-shape, five-bedroom layout that cascades down to the waterfront of Lake Sammamish. Given its dismal condition, the house was being advertised as a teardown. “We started looking at it like, ‘Wow, this could be a good investment; it could be a really neat place,’” says Julien, who runs her own interior design and staging business called Modernous. After buying it and calling in Julien’s friend, Grace Kim of Schemata Workshop, the couple’s optimism quickly waned. About 65 percent of the house had to be reframed because of the rot, all the windows needed to be replaced, and a new roof was needed. Instead of walking away, the couple brought the house back to its mid-century glory. The open dining room was key, as it overlooked the water. They knocked down a wall to the adjacent kitchen and installed what the architect calls a “moment frame” to unlock the view. Julien installed a table from an artisan in Pennsylvania she discovered on Etsy, and a patterned rug also found online. But she paid closer attention to the hunt for the Ion chairs by Gideon Kramer. In their bright-blue hue, they are a perfect nod to the water just outside.