Whether revamping a clumsy addition, emphasizing generous views, or building an expansive deck, these Seattle renovations update historic homes that connect with the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful surroundings.
From the street, this 1927 French Norman–style home retained a lot of its original character, including the brick-clad facade, turret, and leaded glass windows. But around back it was a different story. "The first impression of the home is striking—it’s beautiful and stately," says architect Lisa Chadbourne, who cofounded the Seattle-based firm Chadbourne + Doss with architect Daren Doss. "Unfortunately, a previous owner had constructed a rear addition that cut the house off from the backyard," she continues. "It had to go."
The Chadbourne + Doss architects replaced the addition with a steel-and-glass structure that acts as a modern counterpoint to the home’s historic features, expands the living spaces, and visually connects the interior to the backyard.
Designer Prentis Hale of SHED Architecture + Design has worked on a fair number of midcentury homes in the Seattle area, and he prefers to avoid the gut-and-go approach to remodeling. "We don't view it as a tabula rasa," says Hale. "We view it as, How do we get clever and figure out how to solve multiple problems with as few insertions or deletions as we can?"
This 1961 home in the Seward Park neighborhood was originally designed by architect George Lucker, and despite having undergone a strange sunroom addition, there was still much to work with. The team removed an awkward wall sequestering the kitchen and swapped out the sunroom with a deck that was original to Lucker’s design. A streamlined palette was instilled, so as not to detract from the lake views.
For a remodel of a 1958 residence in the View Ridge neighborhood, designers Liza Curtiss and Corey Kingston of the local studio Le Whit say it was all about "stripping back the outdated finishes and opening up the living area to allow for the original midcentury vernacular to come through."
During the renovation process, the designers ditched existing finishes such as patterned carpet, mottled beige brick, and yellow floral wallpaper for a simplified palette that better highlights the home’s prized structural elements.
This full-scale remodel of a 1921 bungalow by SHED Architecture + Design was done to ease a convoluted interior layout and turn it into a "bohemian hangout pad," says designer Prentis Hale.
The designer focused on making clever tweaks like lengthening the external staircase for a more gracious entry, downsizing the front porch to give more space to the living room fireplace, and weaving in custom cabinetry throughout—all while maintaining the scale of the surrounding neighborhood.
The star of this remodeled 1969 Mercer Island home is the kitchen. Before, the stove hood blocked the views, the floor-to-ceiling windows had leaks, and all of the finishes were a dull, brown-gray color.
Now, a corner of the room opens up to the deck, thanks to a relocated support column and the installation of two large, aluminum LaCantina sliding doors. Marble counters, custom white-oak cabinetry, and terrazzo tile flooring from Ann Sacks offer a brighter palette throughout the space. The views of Lake Washington can now be seen from many vantage points, including from the custom breakfast nook and the kitchen sink.
When this 1951 Seattle house was built for illustrator Irwin Caplan, it looked like "a very modest home from the street because of the slope," says designer Prentis Hale. "The door was opaque [and] the garage was just sort of in your way," he continues. "But once you walked in, the house really opened up to the landscape."
Hale and Kyle Griesmeyer, both of SHED Architecture + Design, lightly reorganized the interior to better enhance the home’s innate midcentury charm and capture the surrounding views. An expansive glass door trimmed in vertical grain fir now opens the interior to the refreshed deck.
SHED Architecture + Design worked with the homeowners and interior designer Jennie Gruss to lightly update this 1957 dwelling for modern use. To do so, the team retained original elements from the home—such as the exposed framework and Douglas fir ceiling—then wove in strategic improvements.
In the kitchen, custom red-laminate cabinets offer a refreshing jolt of color. In the living room, new wall paneling accents the fireplace and extends outside, highlighting the structure.
It’s not every day that your clients are former circus performers. SHED Architecture + Design drew from their clients’ unique professional background to modernize a 1975 West Seattle home. After cleaning up the exterior envelope and adding solar panels to achieve zero-energy status, the designers turned to the interior, starting with reimagining the central fireplace as the tent pole around which everything else is organized.
"Figuratively, the centrally located hearth serves as a mast that pushes up a gable-roofed tent to create a large, lofted space," says the firm. "This ‘tent’ shelters the dining room, living room and music room under one big roof."
When yoga teacher Georgina Verza started outgrowing her studio in the basement of her 1967 home in Redmond, Washington, Seattle-based architect Robert Hutchison stepped in to help.
The ensuing remodel greatly expanded room for Verza’s classes to spill outside onto a sweeping new deck, and also addressed the rest of the living spaces. The team only added 400 square feet to the existing residence, but "you have the feeling that the home is bigger than it actually is," Georgina says.
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