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.
Erika Heet has been working in publishing for more than 20 years, including years spent as a senior editor at Architectural Digest and Robb Report. She has written for Architectural Digest, Robb Report, Interiors, Bon Appétit, Sierra Magazine, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. She recently wrote the foreword to New Tropical Classics: Hawaiian Homes by Shay Zak. She lives in a Topanga cabin with her artist husband and two children.
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